Monday, November 16, 2009

Seeing the Self

Our friends all suffer from our personality disorders, yet we rarely see or understand them ourselves - although these days I am coming to notice my own more clearly. To me it is perplexing - why is that a problem for other people? How can I possibly change this aspect of myself? Is it my problem or theirs? Finding answers only comes when the information about the disorder is clear.

And there's the rub - the flip side of our disorder is often the very thing that creates our success. In my own case, I have a talent to plan, to imagine, to create an endless cascade of ideas and possibilities that mostly overwhelms and discourages people closest around me. When I go into flight, people either feel that it is too fast and noisy and they simply can't (and don't want to) catch up, or that I fill the space around me so thoroughly with myself, that there is no space left for them to simply be.

To those who know me - I am aware of it. And it costs me, in small and significant ways. This year alone several people have walked out of a being in relationship to me: their core issue being - I suspect - this inability they perceive of me being unable to hear them. On that score it is often the case that I know people are against my plans - I simply choose to ignore their objections. Sometimes I listen - and I have spent my whole life attempting to develop this ability to listen - but another voice chimes away inside claiming that they just have fear for the unknown, and that if I listen and follow every objector around me, I will simply not get everything done.

I am a person on a frantic mission, no question of that. Frantic? Why frantic? Well, the clock of life is ticking. Death - as the regular reader of this blog will know - is already stalking me with finality and definiteness. Right now I have stumbled upon something the likes of which could reengineer the consumer presence of Alexander's discoveries in the world within a business model that could benefit millions of people for hundreds of years - and make a shit load of cash while doing it. Alexander's work is a commodity - it is like gold in your hands. But just as the internet is a place where you're always needing to be figuring out - what is the next angle? How else can we sell this thing? - so is Alexandersphere a mysterious place to be doing business, a new internet-like something at a scale that has not been witnessed as yet…

It is like an improved software program. We are installing this new software in the human brain - the essence of primary directed movement - and slowly reprogramming the world. I spent a long time thinking about the mission of the company I have started. And after 18 months - and going through many options - the simple truth of it hit me. The purpose of this company is to make Alexander's discoveries accessible to everyone on the planet. It will take hundreds of years, but when it is finally accomplished, as it most certainly will, humanity will not be quite the same anymore.

Alexander fantasied himself about this in his books, didn't he? Was he neurotic too? Probably he was, especially if it turns out that my theory about my disordered Self is true.

Alexander wrote that the adoption of his discoveries by humanity would constitute a new step in the Evolution of the Self that would usher in Man's Supreme Inheritance which is the Conscious Constructive Control of the Use of the Individual as a Universal Constant in Living.

And it will all be accomplished on such a huge scale, that it will eventually generate mountains of cash. It will transform the pain industry, eliminating thousands of jobs while creating even more new ones: rehabilitation programs will evolve into razor shape treatments that are so effective they leave patients better off than they were BEFORE their injury! Any why not?

This is the Alexander Technique after all. This is the thing that two Nobel Scientists have acclaimed, one of them being the father of neuroscience, Sir Charles Sherrington himself. This is the same Alexander Technique that the British Medical Journal in their August 2008 issue published a break through study which demonstrated a 86% reduction of pain in a study of 579 people. If that can't make you money in this world (?) nothing can.

I don't think this is just my drunken grandiosity, but it sure needs a little dose of insanity from somewhere just to keep it gong another day. It will, after all, affect primary school curriculums.

So, what if I could figure out a business model for doing AT on a corporate scale in a huge consumer market? What if I could capture basically the same sized market that Macdonalds does - then can you see why I am frantic about it? Ray Crock was 53 when he started Macdonalds. I am 54 and counting. But I honestly think I am on the edge of cracking something huge.

Macdonalds for a food chain? Well, why not Alexanders for a movement chain? What you eat and how you move - can you think of two things more important that those? That is the arrogant vision I am holding on to inside. I will even be offering shares in a few years. BodyChance has googles of potential. So. Such a vast and drunkenly grandiose plan (I've done my time in AA, NA etc.) requires a highly neurotic person with Niagra Falls in their brain, constantly spewing ideas out onto the early morning dew.

Such a person would be me - meet my personality disorder.
(If I could bow now, I would).

While I function in this hallucinatory world - for that is all it is - protecting myself from feeling any of the pain my insanity is inflicting upon those that surround me - out pops another idea, a new plan: ideas after ideas until all the weary people surrounding this endless thinking waterfall, finally nod off and go to sleep. Meanwhile, I dash out another idea in my drunken lust for planning things while I use this process to distract my attention from the pain I might be feeling if I was truly in empathy with those people around me. I continue to believe that all this is actually real.

So yes, I see my personality disorder quite well I think

But… (and here it comes)

What if I am right?


My spiritual teachers assure me that my job in life is to be of assistance to others, and this is at the core of the mission I follow so frantically. At a certain level, there's no room for doubt or cautiousness in me at the moment - yet I can see that this is neither wise nor beneficial to my plans in the longer run. How can being a catalyst for hurt towards those closest around me be congruent with a spiritual purpose? Clearly something is amiss here. Doubt is the artist's friend - without it arrogance, coarseness and stupidity can breed - so why would I choose to ignore that???

So I have my doubt, this blog is actually asserting it. For me there continues to be this unanswerable question pressing in upon the space surrounding my purpose.

Another irritating aspect of my personality disorder for friends and foe alike, is the changeability of my point of view. People start to distrust what I say to them, having already experienced shifts of viewpoint that leave them feeling stranded and betrayed on an island of my making! While I am witnessing this storm around me, what is my neurotic voice chiming to me inside?

Oh, that things change, everything is always changing, and people live with the delusion that things stay the same, when they simply do not. Sure what I said awhile ago is true, but that was then, this is now - things have changed.

Of course, for the opportunist, it is a lovely song. For those left behind in the wake of my new plans, it is no comfort at all. Success in business, it is often said, is dependant upon the speed with which change can happen. The corporate monoliths that finally fail in business do so because they can not adapt to changing circumstances quickly enough. The fourth biggest company in America before the advent of the Ford was a maker of whips. Now they no longer exist.

But at least they were reliable. They made whips, and continued to make whips, and they didn't disappoint the people who thought they were a whip making company. In a way, our Alexander community is a little bit like the whip making company. These days people want something that we clearly don't offer in a way that is wonderful for them. Yet at the core what we have is what they need - so why are so many Alexander teachers struggling to make a living, and most not even doing that?

But I veer from my subject, which is what I always do - yet another frustrating, personality disorder for others to suffer in my presence. So as usual I got nowhere figuring this out. I see what it is that people object to in me - I am not blind to that - but I do not see a way to change that without ceasing to be who I am. Recently I have been concluding that this is the package you get - take it or leave it. I am not without compassion for the effects of my disorders upon others, but I can not see how the engine of my ambition can function without them.


  1. Hi Jeremy,

    thanks for sharing of your visions - no hearty laughs on my side, certainly heaps of smiles while I was reading it. You touched on some issues I missed in my Alexander training so far, but appear in FM writing's over and over again.

    When our neck release, and the head connects to the feet with lesser interference our voices resonate more than usual. What we say might no longer rise from our own (and culturally imposed) habits, but from a 'deeper' place. When we ourselves are connected, the way we connect to others changes. Of course, this other connection is easier to experience during hands-on contact, and might appear quite confusing in conversations.

    By changing the way we move through life, the way we think and express ourselves changes. At some point, we might identify and verbalise the exact thought that 'brings us down', 'puts our defenses up', 'gets us into fighting stance', or whatever habitual reaction interferes with our connection to others. If we grab onto what we perceive as our 'personality', we create tension. Like you mentioned here, a lot of people imagine and wish that things remain the same, and get afraid of change. Or, for the same ignorance of the ever changing nature of universe, embrace empty political slogans that simply state the obvious (woohoo, without Obama the world would have stopped spinning, but now it 'changes').

    I share your optimism of the vast potential market for the technique - which makes me potentially as 'neurotic' as you. I have yet to meet a person that would reach my ideal of 'perfectly healthy', although I'm thoroughly impressed by the state of health of 'older' teachers I met. I consider most people that I observe potential candidates to profit from learning AT, luckily I can inhibit my desire to treat them like students (most of the times :)

    So far, 'evolution of mankind' has yet to be tackled from any 'official' side. Organized religion hasn't shown too much interest in this topic, the politicians that spread this idea in a strange variation about 80 years ago rather set a bad example, so governments don't care as well. Schools for AT are the biggest entity yet to popularize the technique, with limited resources and incentives for 'reaching the masses'. In 21st century, hearsay still works but certainly has only very limited reach, thus limiting the speed of evolutionary changes.

    Yet depending on how we present what we can offer as Alexander teachers can change the market reach. People spend some significant amount of money for personal development and somatic methods, enough to create a multi-million dollar business. Big business probably influences society much more than any individual government can - Coca Cola and Walt Disney affected education more than AT (yet. I would love to see this changing)

    When we would target half the worlds population as potential customers, with about 3000 AT teachers globally (please update with more accurate data if available), each would have a potential market of one million students. Personally, I like this prospect and am not really worried about too few potential students, although I'm well aware that running a self-employed business is not really part of the AT teacher training. Also, no world government will do us the favour of assigning students to teachers in the good old socialist fashion, so some teachers struggle to make a living with AT. Luckily I have some business experience from my 'earlier life' which I consider valuable assets for starting to work as teacher.

    Even with a hundred students per week, it would take about 192 years in the traditional one-on-one approach for any teacher to 'use up' his/her potential market share. If AT wants to have its say in the evolution of mankind, a business approach seems inevitable in the 21st century, War and violence as signs of bad use within society are still as prominent as in Alexanders times.

    Nothing wrong with some sweet hallucinations about the future. What we see might come true ...

  2. Jeremy, I am thrilled & so thankful that you are doing what you are doing. I am definitely coming along for the ride! We are all running out of time & this is sooo important.I love & share your vision for the Alexander Technique. Just keep going & take care.Looking forward to the training.Warmest regards,Theresa

  3. I'm reminded of the importance of seeing the criticisms others make of us as 90% information about themselves, and also as an opportunity for us to exercise a felt-sensed-assessment of ourselves without judgment. Without judgment really means no judging. Measuring ourselves from a 0 to ten scale rather than from an artificial minimum (at, say, 5) can be a very freeing way of starting this. That way I'm a 3 for "plays nicely with others", not a negative 2.


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