This blog about bringing yourself up is a way for me to share my ongoing thoughts about the work I do, how it helps me, and how it can help others. The specific reference to “up” is the basic direction we give ourselves when we practice Alexander Technique – we direct ourselves to go up.
Learning Alexander Technique involves a growing commitment to facing the sometimes overwhelming stimuli of life itself (which we don’t always choose) and responding the best way possible (which we must choose). That’s another take on “up” – it’s growing up. I believe that in our Alexander work we are cultivating the process of growing up.
I used to believe, when I was a child, that someday I would BE a “grownup.” But it turns out that growing up is something we must do on a moment-by-moment basis, all the time. We can’t stay there. We have to keep going. The process of directing ourselves up, in the Alexander sense, works this same way.
It also seems to me that when we take responsibility for going up (and growing up) we’re in a certain way parenting ourselves, “bringing ourselves up” – encouraging the up-going process and helping ourselves become the best we can be for that moment, almost as if we were guiding someone else we cared about dearly. It just happens to be ourselves.
Everyone has ups and downs in life. I’ve had a couple of big dislocations in the parenting department, since my parents died when I was quite young. So helping myself to go up and grow up has been and still is a very important task for me, a project I’ve been working on one way or another since I was sixteen.
I’ve had lots of help, from dear friends, teachers, a good psychotherapist, and more recently, from my Alexander training teacher, Tom Vasiliades. I decided I wanted to teach Alexander because, while going up/growing up is something that needs to be done all the time, it’s terribly easy to neglect it, and just go down and get stuck there. But if you are committed to helping your pupils go up, you yourself really must keep going up, and growing up, because it’s your job.
It’s a great job.