Context is everything. Perspective can shift in a moment. This year has been full of changes for me personally and professionally.
The American Center for the Alexander Technique has been a home of sorts for me since 1983, when I started taking lessons and attended a group class with my first Alexander Teacher, Nancy Wanich Romita.
I went on to train as an Alexander Teacher at ACAT, then joined the faculty, and am now servig as Director of the Teacher Certification Program.
Now, ACAT is in the process of winding down, and completing training for the last three teachers we will certify. As sad as this is for me and so many of us, at least all the people who are a part of my ACAT family are still here, alive and well. That perspective has given me comfort.
My feelings around this ending are wide and varied. At times I feel sad, relieved, sad, anxious, hopeful, worried, grateful, frustrated, disappointed, sad and hopeful.
I am relieved that, even though we have moved out of our home for the last 19 years, we are still holding lessons and classes, so the transition is not so abrupt and final. And I was so delighted to bring ACAT's unique style of teacher training and the legacy of Judy Leibowitz teaching to the larger Alexander Community in Chicago at the 11th International Alexander Congress teaching alongside many dear colleagues from the ACAT faculty at end of July.
I was looking forward to this summer to have time to transition, explore other possibilities and find my way into the next chapter of my life and career.
They say life is what happens when you are making other plans.
Once we got the ACAT studio cleared out, and moved into storage, I started a 9 day teacher dance teacher training with Lynn Simonson to learn the basic adult level of her work, The Simonson Technique.
After the first day of my dance teacher training, I went to have my annual mammography and sonogram, and they saw a cyst in one of my breasts. As it turns out, it is benign and all is well, and they were fairly certain it was fine, but they opted to do a biopsy just to be on the safe side.
Suddenly, I was dealing with the anxiety and fear that comes with these kinds of procedures. Even though I was told they would have waited and looked again in six months except for my family history, I was worried.
At the same time, I was in the midst of a rigorous learning environment of Lynn's training, and being challenged in highly refined and sophisticated ways. It's been a long time since I was learning a brand new skill and was a total beginner. It was scary, exciting and exhilarating, even against the back drop of my distraction and worry about the biopsy.
I got a cold in the meantime, so had to wait a week to have the procedure, and then fortunately only 30 hours for the good news that all is well. In that time, I watched how everything got shifted into a completely different perspective.
I found myself much less anxious about all we still have to do to complete ACAT. I shifted into that sweet place when every lesson I teach, every exchange I have with friends and loved ones, every flower I see, is vivid, resonant and vibrant. Some moments, I was overcome with fear and exhausted from worry, at other moments I was completely engaged in what I was doing. I reached out for support from many corners of my life and was met with such love and care.
I remember the relief and immediate lift I felt as soon as they confirmed all is well.
I am savoring things and taking it all in. My time in Chicago with friends, colleagues and learning was pure joy and a renewal and celebration.
I know I will fall back into the more routine pace of life. And, I know something else will come along to shift my perspective.
How does this relate to the Alexander Technique? I stayed far more present than I might have in the past, engaged in my life and able to keep my mind from running away from life in the midst of all these stressful events. I didn't deny what was happening, or belittle myself for any of the fears, feelings or thoughts I was having. I also kept connected to people and to the fact that I didn't know what might be coming, though I had a fairly good idea it was going to be fine.
It's all about perspective, and when I have enough space and the inner resources to choose, I choose a perspective that lifts me up. I am so grateful to the Alexander Technique for my capacity to access my inner resources and steer my inner narrative.