The Alexander Technique is sometimes described as an embodiment practice.
But what does embodiment really mean? In practical, down to earth, so you and I can understand terms?
Let me tell you a story.
Earlier this summer I lead a workshop on the topic of stress.
As part of the workshop, the 20 attendees stood in a big circle and played a game with several different balls. Balls were tossed from one person to another around the circle. Depending on which ball you had at any one time you had to perform a different action.
So, the game involved paying attention, throwing, catching, remembering what one had to do with each ball, and then performing the action.
It got a little chaotic.
Some participants relished the chaos. Others found it quite stressful.
We stopped. And before we resumed play a second time, I instructed the participants to stop each time they caught a ball and say out loud “I have time”.
We started the game again; I introduced one ball at a time until we had all the balls going again.
We debriefed afterward. One participant, in particular, had an interesting experience.
The woman said that when we started to play the game again, she did as instructed and each time she caught the ball she said out loud, “I have time”.
As we continued, and subsequent balls were introduced back into the game, she realized that she was saying, “I have time” but she wasn’t really taking time.
In other words, she was saying the phrase but not truly believing it.
When she said, “I have time” and actually believed it, her throwing accuracy improved greatly. She had always been uncoordinated, but it suddenly became easy and smooth and fun.
What this participant experienced was the embodiment of an idea. That idea was “I have time”. When she said it and believed it, she could embody it. And her experience of the activity changed.
We are already very good at embodying ideas. It’s just that we seem to be very good at embodying stressful ideas. Ideas such as “I don’t have enough time to (get everything done…get this done right…get this done now…you fill in the blank).”
When you say, “I am stressed” you are experiencing stress physically. You are embodying a stressful idea, such as “I don’t have enough time to get this done”
Because you believe it.
Well, reverse it.
If you want to embody a more easeful thought such as “I have time” you have to truly believe it—with your whole being. Then and only then can you experience the idea physically or embody it.
My guess is that you already have a lot of stressful phrases you say to yourself.
So, start by collecting some easeful phrases or ideas.
- I have time.
- I have time to do what I am currently doing.
- I have time to enjoy what I am doing at this moment.
And start to use them.
Say them to yourself.
Get used to them and then start to practice really believing them.
That is the road to embodiment.