Organization: start with yourself


"When we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way.  But usually, without being aware of it, we try to change something other than ourselves, we try to order things outside us.  But it is impossible to organize things if you yourself are not in order.  When you do things in the right way, at the right time, everything else will be organized. "   -- Shunryu Suzuki (Japanese Zen Master)

When I read this quote, I saw the Alexander Technique.  Our reaction to our environment is to be pulled in by it, losing our connection to our support - quite literally, the support our skeleton offers us.  Much of the time, we are pushing ourselves out into the next moment, and falling off of our bones.  Our muscles come into action, gripping to hold us up, while trying to move us at the same time.

  • How often have you spoken only to wish you had taken time to think more fully about your response?
  • How many times have you worried over something that never came to be? 
  • How often have we missed the mark, whether bowling, playing pool or golfing, not having taken the time to allow our body to coordinate with our eyes?

While I cannot say that everything in my life is existing in the right place, in the right way all of the time, when I slow down and come to a place with more stillness and presence, I can feel tension and pain ease in my body, I can enjoy a sunny day in the middle of winter, I can delight in my cat playing "hockey" with his bottle caps.

Perhaps our internal state is more a predictor of our quality of life in any given moment than our circumstances.  How many times have you met someone who has things your wish for (a happy relationship, a beautiful home, physical health, artistic skill) and they are stressed and unsatisfied with their conditions.

Try This:
Can you find a way to be present to whatever abundance there is in your life?  Take 2  minutes now to find something in your immediate environment that reflects something you've created, or brought into your life that brings you pleasure, contentment or joy.  What is it like in your body and mind now?

(Originally Posted at 3/13/18)

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.

How Learning the Alexander Technique Has Saved Me Money

savings_piggy_bank_smallerby Jeffrey Glazer Recently, I realized that it’s been years since I’ve spent a dime on efforts to get myself out of pain.

Before I learned the Alexander Technique, I went to practitioner after practitioner in an effort to find a solution to chronic pain in my arms and neck. But really I was just trying to manage it. In addition to the psychological and emotional cost of having chronic pain, my inability to manage it myself was costing a lot of money.

I went to a great number of medical and nonmedical practitioners. I went to two different neurologists, two different physiatrists, a Lyme disease specialist, massage therapist, multiple physical therapists, an occupational hand therapist, a chiropractor for active release therapy, multiple acupuncturists, a craniosacral practitioner, and an MD for trigger point injections. While I would often feel some relief in the short term, the debilitating pain would always come back.

At first it was similar with Alexander Technique lessons, I would walk out with less pain, but it would eventually come back. BUT, what separated the Alexander Technique from the other things I was trying was that I wasn’t being treated; rather, I was being educated. I was becoming aware of what I was doing that was actually causing my own pain.

For the first time, I made a connection between my use (how I carry myself and react to life) and my pain. And all my teacher, Judy Stern, was doing was bringing my awareness to how I was moving, pointing out areas of excess tension and distortion, and giving me the experience of carrying myself in a radically different, and almost freakishly easier way.

Once I had enough Alexander Technique experience under my belt, I became adept at creating change in myself. I learned to identify when I was doing an activity in a way that would eventually lead to pain, so that I could then use my Alexander Technique skills to make a change. Now, when I start to experience pain, I am self-sufficient in dealing with it, no longer dependent on someone else to make me feel better.

Did years of Alexander Technique lessons, including teacher training, cost money? Of course!

But, the money I’ve spent on learning the Alexander Technique has been an investment, rather than a sunk cost.

And I am now reaping the return on that investment, not only in the form of greater ease and enjoyment of life, but the economic return of savings on health care costs.

As the saying goes, “health is wealth”, now I know that can literally be true.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]JEFFREY GLAZER is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. He found the Alexander Technique in 2008 after an exhaustive search for relief from chronic pain in his arms and neck. Long hours at the computer had made his pain debilitating, and he was forced to leave his job in finance. The remarkable results he achieved in managing and reducing his pain prompted him to become an instructor in order to help others. He received his teacher certification at the American Center for the Alexander Technique after completing their 3-year, 1600 hour training course in 2013. He also holds a BS in Finance and Marketing from Florida State University.[/author_info] [/author]