Alexander Thoughts: Change Your Inner Dialogue

(originally published 12/20/99)

playing cards

Today, I was sitting at the computer playing FreeCell (a solitaire game) contemplating berating myself for procrastination.  I decided not to do it. I said to myself "Don't go there."  And my mind began a delightful journey exploring that idea: "Don't go there."  I began to think about all the times and all the ways I create suffering for myself through my thought process. Specifically, through my interpretation of the circumstances.  I have a certain amount of control over my circumstances.  I have a great deal more control over the quality of my thought.  I sat there thinking about this. My mood began to lift as I started imagining a life where I "didn't go

Why do I write about this in an e-mail called "Alexander Technique Thoughts"?  Because this is a way of practicing inhibition*.  I have some habitual "tapes" that I run in my head, talking to myself, telling myself certain things and experiencing a correllating emotional response, attitude or shift of mood.  Since I began studying Alexander Technique in 1984, I have been undergoing a profound shift in my baseline attitude about life.  I spend more time wanting the life I have then thinking about what I need to do to change it.

*F.M. Alexander used the word inhibition to refer to withholding consent. Unlike the connotation of Freud's definition - repressing and denying oneself freedom of expression, Alexander used the word in the context of pausing in order to stop a habitual reaction from occurring.  This allows you to choose in this moment how you wish to respond.