Fountain pensEnd of Term 5

One of the key Alexander Technique concepts is the idea of ‘non-doing’, the opposite of ‘doing’ or ‘trying’.  It’s not doing nothing, but a way of doing less, so we match the effort to the task.

To do less, we have to stop doing things in the normal way and allow ourselves to find a better one.  The stopping or ‘inhibition’ means we intercept ourselves just before we proceed with an action. In the pause we have time to choose whether and how to continue.  This allows us to think more about the ‘means whereby’ we do something, rather than ‘end-gaining’ to achieve a given result.  By pausing we also stop our usual ways of acting and start to ‘unlearn’ our habits.  This allows new patterns to develop over time, as old ways start to be replaced by easier and more conscious ways of being.

I’m about to apply the idea of non-doing to this blog. I want to continue writing, but with less effort.  Non-writing.  Or maybe writing in a more thoughtful, more sustainable way. Gradually I’m discovering that the activities I undertake have to be sustainable.  This means looking after myself – working for shorter periods, taking breaks, and noticing when I need to stop, rather than carrying on regardless.

This term I’ve gone through some large ‘undoings’ in my body, and the process continues.  In line with Alexander’s concept of psycho-physical unity (that the body and mind are not two entities, but one integrated self), it’s having an effect on my sense of myself and, in turn, on how and what I want to write. My response is to apply Alexander thinking not just to movement but also to how I approach other areas of my life, including this blog. I’m not sure what the outcome will be, but that is very much the point.

After nearly nine months of weekly posts, I’ve decided to take a break over the Christmas holidays, and after that I’ll be posting monthly rather than weekly (on the first weekend of the month, with an email going to subscribers on the Monday immediately following).

The next post will be on the website in early January 2018 -until then, best wishes for the holiday season and the New Year.



One thought on “Non-doing”

  1. Thank you, Sheila, for your always thoughtful and thought provoking Alexander Stories, not to mention the delightfully original accompanying photos. They have given me something to contemplate all week. I shall now just have to make that last a month. I look forward to the new timetable in the new year.

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