by Kirsten Harris
Do you ever get stuck – physically, mentally, emotionally?
Stuck in your work?
Stuck with your creativity?
Stuck in your relationships?
Stuck in your thinking?….
I do! For sure!
Pondering my present ‘stuck-ness’ I decided I would use the notion of being stuck as a subject for teaching my high school teenagers, as the sentence ‘I’m stuck’ reminded me of being at school….
Here are some answers from the children from yesterdays class-
What happens when you think ‘I am stuck?’
My shoulders tighten
I get frustrated
I get a headache
My breathing goes weird
I feel stupid
I stop trying
I feel defeated
I feel frozen
I don’t know how to move forward
I feel anger, annoyance or irritation
I feel worried
What solutions could we find when we feel stuck?
See the bigger picture.
Know when to stop – noticing when I feel tiredness, sore or achey.
Notice when I have stopped being productive.
Notice when I am practising my mistakes.
Notice when I am losing focus.
Notice that I am creating obstacles.
Need to think about how to get around the obstacle.
Notice I can’t do it as I am trying to do it.
Think about how I am, how my body is.
Ask for help, but that’s difficult because of fear of being wrong especially in class and my stubbornness or pride!
Sometimes I feel stuck before I give it a go. I think I can’t do it.
I don’t want to do the things that are tricky so I put them off until last, then I spend more time feeling stuck.
I need to prioritise, because sometimes I feel there is not enough time, and that makes me feel stuck.
Notice that when I am all tight and bunched up it gets harder.
Aren’t kids insightful and brilliant!
What really struck me about the conversations is – are we taught how to ‘deal’ with being stuck or being wrong or making a mistake? Do we just fear being wrong and get defensive instead of welcoming not knowing or our mistakes as a chance to learn, grow and create better connections?
What is your strategy for being stuck?
The skills that Alexander Technique provide consistently surprise me as a ‘fool proof’ paradigm for working through my stuck-ness.
Good job I find Alexander Technique consistency foolproof as I am so often a fool!
I love that the principles consistently move me to seeking truth.
Are children who are naturally questioning taught the art of questioning?
Or does asking a question become something to be ashamed of?
I remember a school report saying ‘Kirsten asks too many questions why!’ I thought it was a crazy report when I was 9 years old, and I still do!
The kids that I teach Alexander Technique to know how to access poise and the inner strength that it gives them. They know how to think and change instantly. However they informed me yesterday that they do not like to be forward and up in poise and direction in general class situations for fear of ‘being seen to be the teachers pet!’ They prefer to slump!
The school culture is slump.
Culturally we are allowing kids to become stuck!
Physically stuck and therefore inevitably mentally and emotionally stuck.
A class room of kids with the consensus downward pull of gravity being the major unconscious influence on the growing bodies. School education is not teaching an understanding of up or buoyancy or balance.
The kids want to be seen as normal. Slump is the norm!
The lucky few who get Alexander lessons as part of education at this state high school, constantly ask –
‘Why doesn’t everyone at school get Alexander Technique? School would be better!’
They know they are lucky…
They know they are being taught skills that they can apply to all sorts of situations…
They know they are getting an advantage….
I remember the late Don Burton saying during our training – ‘As Alexander Technique teachers we will know our job is done when the world no longer needs us!’
In schools our job has not even begun!
And so yesterday we ended the class discussion on being stuck with the kids choosing to stop and constructively rest. A bit of semi-supine in the middle of a hectic school day.
But first the children decided to do the mathematics and see if there really is enough time to stop in a day.
They worked out (I was stuck with the maths) that if we take the ubiquitous seventeen minutes for semi supine, in a 24 hour period there are 84.7 seventeen minute slots available!
Insightful teenagers who are great at maths. I love my job!
I am currently writing about unsticking creatively, see link below or
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of constructive rest click the links below to take you to my media downloads.