Confessions of a Terrible Alexander Technique Teacher!

Travelling Forward, Acylic on Panel, 30 x 30 cm

I have a sore arm from too much painting! 

Thank goodness for some Alexander Technique skills to fall back on to begin to undo the holding caused by holding a paintbrush aka magic wand, obsessively for months! 

A paintbrush for me is a transporter.

While painting I am at peace, in the flow, happy. All the stresses of the world just melt away. However, stupidly, I have completely over-done enjoyment of being transported to somewhere unknown, expansive and full of potential at the expense of my poor arm. Weirdly my neck is free, my shoulder mobile, just one point on my mid arm is ‘ouchy!’ Wake me up at night ‘ouchy!’

So, my point in writing – it’s not that as AT teachers we  have to have constant, perfect, queen-like poise, or that the complexities of being human don’t get us into a bit (or a lot) of shambles at times, but more that there is something about the freedom and release  brought about by Alexander Technique skills that allows us to follow a flow and actually BE passionate. It allows the flow to unfold without putting up obstacles.  Poise is not an end in itself, it is a place of potential…

This week I started wondering why my arm was sore beyond a repetitive movement. I have painted for ever and this hasn’t happened.

My insight – I’ve  started to feel that I shouldn’t be painting more as I have made so much artwork over the past 18 months. Thus I’ve set up a mental pattern of resistance that is creating tension as I paint. ‘I’m painting but I shouldn’t be painting, I have all these paintings – how am I ever going to sell them, who needs paintings when the world is in crisis…’ kind of thinking. 

Human are complex and our thinking effects us. We can set up tension patterns without even realising it. Then to make matters worse we set up a double bind and start to ‘beat ourselves up’ for being in pain – ‘terrible Alexander Teacher, I should know better, maybe the artwork is all shit..’etc.

Now the arm has become the obstacle to painting that I created with my thinking. A self fulfilling prophecy! Now I can’t paint more because it hurts.

Does anyone relate?

So today, I celebrate my sore arm and the fact that I have produced a ton of artwork and thoroughly enjoyed doing it! Art work that I hope will all sell in due course and raise money to plant trees. Today I let go of mental resistance and let my arm come back home! Today I let myself be free to be free. Free to paint or free to just lie on my back and look at the sky and visualise the future forest that my art will create. Today I let negative thoughts melt in the rare Scottish sun!

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