by Brooke Lieb
In light of the recent hate crime, the mass killing in Orlando targeting the LGBTQ community on June 12, I thought about what it was to respond with meaningful, integrated action.
What has this got to do with the Alexander Technique? Alexander Technique often emphasizes “non-doing” which can be mistaken for inaction. Non-doing is more about having the time and space to unpack a response to find what may be habitual and automatic, and gain access to a conscious, reasoned response.
Working with this paradigm gives me a way to question the accuracy or validity of my feelings, both those I label as sensations, and those I label as emotions. I can also question the habits I have around using those feelings to guide my behavior and actions. I don’t want to respond to this latest tragedy comfortably or in my familiar and habitual way, I want to respond accurately and in measure with my examined belief systems.
I want to communicate with the people who feel particularly at risk of being targeted because of who they love or how they look, a danger that may be even more in the forefront of their day to day lives, as a result of this recent atrocity. I want to offer my support. But for me, my kind words are empty if my actions and behavior don't have the potential to generate a safer world for them.
I want to show empathy and connect with my friends and loved ones to show that I care about this issue and it breaks my heart that people are being murdered because of some distorted set of artificial values held by others. Those beliefs are what make some of us a threat to others of us.
I saw a number of posts about taking action, as the more impactful response to this latest in a “much too frequent and much too long” string of mass killings.
So I went to google to find out how to take action. I donated to the Brady Campaign, I signed a petition which I was informed was equivalent to writing a letter.
I wrote to both of my state senators to say I am a constituent who supports strict gun control, and when considering the second amendment as written: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” I support limiting access to and the use of guns to the confines of a well-regulated militia.
So, yes, I have been crying since Sunday, June 12, and looking at my transparent biases and bigotry to take responsibility for the ways I may have inadvertently contributed to the climate in our country by being ignorant and unable to see what I may be a party to. I see that my inaction contributes to the status quo. By the way, I was raised around activists, growing up in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and I take a lot for granted because so many took action during that time in history.
What has this got to do with the Alexander Technique? I am saying “no" to my comfortable habit to remain silent while feeling hopeless. I often keep silent out of my desire to appear non-judgemental and neutral so my clients won’t feel judged in my hands. Silence can be useful in some situations, but silence can also be a way to stay comfortable and ineffective.
So, instead, I am taking action, and being non-habitual by using my literal and literary voice to express my fondest wishes and hopes - that we take the actions needed so we live in a world that values all human life and celebrates creativity and diversity in how we each express ourselves. I wish to live in a world where no one is in danger from another, because of what they have or don’t have, for what they believe or don’t believe. And that we don’t use our personal beliefs to injure each other.
If you want to learn more about some possible actions to take, here are some links:
Contact your congressional representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
How did your senator vote on background checks?: http://everytown.org/senate-votes/?source=etno_ETActPage&utm_source=et_n_&utm_medium=_o&utm_campaign=ETActPage
Support the Brady Campaign to end gun violence: https://secure.bradycampaign.org/page/contribute/center-enough
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Brooke1web.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]N. BROOKE LIEB, Director of Teacher Certification since 2008, received her certification from ACAT in 1989, joined the faculty in 1992. Brooke has presented to 100s of people at numerous conferences, has taught at C. W. Post College, St. Rose College, Kutztown University, Pace University, The Actors Institute, The National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dennison University, and Wagner College; and has made presentations for the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Scoliosis Foundation, and the Arthritis Foundation; Mercy College and Touro College, Departments of Physical Therapy; and Northern Westchester Hospital. Brooke maintains a teaching practice in NYC, specializing in working with people dealing with pain, back injuries and scoliosis; and performing artists. www.brookelieb.com[/author_info] [/author]