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Showing posts from 2010

Ice Skating on Positivity

Sydney's gone.

I have closed my school, put my dreams to bed and turned instead to face the mounting challenges of Japan. (Another blog for that.) Me, the eternal optimist, experiences defeat. There is no rosy face to it - I lost. My learning is in the admission - don't try to cheer me up.

I had been ice skating on positivity, but there lurked death-freezing danger as reality created cracks across my veil of thin ice. Can you see me, joyously skating across the lake of my hallucinations? There I am, laughing and shouting then suddenly: GONE. Where is he? Oh, I think he fell into a hole…

It was my wake up call. I still imagined I was 26, but without a million dollars to back me up. BodyChance in Sydney needed money, resources and most of all - teachers. Who was going to staff my studio? In my own article of DIRECTION, I pointed out that a school can not thrive in the absence of a thriving practise. Actually, it was that article for DIRECTION that first triggered my doubt: I was n…

Nuggets of Knowledge

If you're a turkey on November 24th in the USA, just before the inevitable is about to happen, life is a wonderful thing. You are fed, cared for by your owner, who may occasionally have a longing look, so that generally - based on past experiences - why wouldn't the next day be the same as the last?

Such is the danger of habit, for this poor turkey (unawares) is about to be devoured…

My thoughts were provoked by a headline in the New Yorker this morning "Gobbled" with a trio of active turkeys pictured in the glorious morning light of a country setting… A quote from Susan Orlean's piece:

"Unlike megafarm turkeys, which have been engineered to have breasts so disproportionately huge that the birds can’t stand up when they’re full-grown, Royal Palms are athletic and lively and curious."

Read more here: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/susanorlean/2010/11/gobbled.html#ixzz16L2PlyWu

In the Turkey World, something close to genocide has just occurred, and wit…

Peering Under the Sheet of Civility

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;

I've always been attracted to this opening of Merchant of Venice - somehow it speaks to me. It reminds me also of Henry Thoreau's quote:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

In Buddhist philosophy it is called Duhkha or dissatisfaction, a condition that exists perennially at the base of every action we make.

What we usually call "fun" is most often only a temporary cessation of Duhkha. I get hungry, I feel wonderful while I eat, then I get hungry. Those who read my blog will know that every night these days I get hungry, so I have plenty of opportunities to study Duhkha.

These last two wistful days I spent wandering around my Osaka studio, pretending to be intent and focused, were all the time tinged with this delicate desperation. Hanging back at the wings was a sadness, not cl…

Mr Bone Knows Why

In Tokyo now, miles away in mind from Australia - only the paper lists keep it living.

This week a small class organised by Ikuo Nishioka, the ex-Chairman of the Intel Corporation of Japan, at his Business schools in Roppongi for some middle level executives from large Japanese corporations. I gave a quick powerpoint, then lots of demonstrations to my now accustomed looks of surprise, wonder and joy. I manage to throw in a mention of Victorinox's 40% productivity increase through AT—that got noticed. And there were the obligatory one or two doubters, looking through a cocked head wondering what my trick must be…

Of course nature's the trick—the wonderful capacity we have for natural movement, pain free. It is always the first surprise I love the most: the way the pain vanishes, the way nothing happens to make the pain vanish "What did you do?" It was a shock, wrote one participant after the evening, to learn that there is "nothing to do." I understand that. I…

I Am Still Quite Mad

I wonder if anyone noticed that I’ve stopped my series?

I write these things, it goes into this virtual abyss, and very little bounces back at me. So I wonder. Do me a favour and let me know if you want me to continue with it or not…?

So I have been away from my Blog, and in a swirl of constant creativity through exploring ways to get the business going in Sydney. What a challenge this is proving to be. Yet now it is starting to look simple. Now I am wondering why I thought it was difficult.

As regular readers of my blog know, I recently passed through my night of despair. Breaking my wrist and requiring surgery was the symbolic cry for help that alerted me to that I could not keep on going the way I was going. So I made major personal decisions—which are not for this blog—so that now interesting, unexpected consequences are manifesting all around me. The real truth is that exceptional results require a little magic.

These days I am filled with possibilities, and overwhelmed with the idea…

Transformational Strucuture #8

THE MUDDLE-HEADED WOMBAT…

My mother loved to call me “The muddle-headed wombat” because my ideas, plans and intention shifted around like leaves in a hurricane. What I have learnt is that being muddle-headed is fine, providing you have a clear vision driving it. In fact, with clarity, muddle headedness can work to you advantage. How’s that? Well, here’s my story…

Three years ago on a bullet train in Japan—on my way to teach in Tokyo while reading a book on leadership by Pat Mesiti—I decided to open a BodyChance studio in Sydney. I had no idea how I was going to achieve that—at the time it seemed enough that I had the clarity of my intention.

I kept that clarity, organised my life around it, and finally arrived back home in January of 2010 to launch my new project. Needless to say, for those who follow my blog, it did not turn out the way I intended. It’s rare that anything does. The divide between conception and reality is never greater when bringing to life non-existent things. Luckily,…

Transformational Structure #7

HOW TO LOSE SLUGS AND GAIN PARTNERS WITHOUT EVEN TRYING

I’m having fun reading my own seminar notes!

If you want to have fun, don’t just read it—live it. That’s what I am doing in my journey to discover a way to create another thriving, successful BodyChance in Sydney: employing lots of people, getting great media attention, lifting the work into the minds of consumers in the same way that Yoga and Pilates have already managed. Everyone will benefit, but BodyChance will be ahead of the pack. THAT’S the plan.

So, now it is time for Testing. For experimenting with my ideas. And I am learning (from myself) that I need to let go of stuff. And “stuff” can be people, ideas, circumstances that are not inducive to my vision. Oh dear. So who gets fired? No-one really, I just hire new people around me, and the space is gone for other things. All those behavioural distractions that do nothing but mask the creeping despair… Well forget that! Here’s what I wrote to a colleague about that in an email …

Transformational Structure #6

THE LONGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR

Last night was the winter festival at Shearwater, the Steiner school that my kids attend. Parents, kids and teachers all gather outside to watch the 570 children perform on the grass amphitheatre with candles, costumes and chants. As we were standing around waiting, my mentor (whose child also attends) called me over, gestured for me to listen as he talked business with a successful local business man in the town that I live. So I stood and listened to them talk about numbers of people on the mail list, how a google add campaign could lift one aspect of business, schemes to lift the numbers of list, a plan to JV another income stream etc. etc.

As I took in their friendly business banter, I could feel my own business intentionality waking up… “Oh, I could this, and that. I must make my list happen, and campaign to get more people that way…” I came out of the fog, out of the sludge—suddenly, in a few moments, I was back feeling motivated, crystal clear and re…

Transformational Structure #5

Apologies to the 5 people actually reading this series. That's how it feels to me – funny how sensory perceptions colour our states of being isn't it? In fact, it is not a feeling at all. It is a judgement, a conclusion that is mostly based on my hallucinatory projections. To unravel this mess, first I need something more concrete than my own deluded thinking. I could track the number of hits to the blog—there are ways of collecting such information. Based on that, I could then better assess how many people (might) be reading. On that a feeling would also arise, but now based on something more than conceptual cognitions with historic precedents that are no longer related to current conditions.

And this kind of constructive thinking is what the next instalment on running groups is all exploring…

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Analysing

BACKGROUND

Once we have researched our topic, then the creativity starts: how can we interpret this information? How does it all fit together? Are there any patterns that sugg…

Biccy Budget Slashed, But ProCourse Continues

I flew in my dreams last night, in the last quarter of the night when the Dalai Lama says the meaning is most significant. I am on my back, looking up at trees and I can power myself, I can move miraculously across the tips of grass blades, in a field where a white cow is flying over fences designed to constrain him, staying ahead of the black cow in pursuit.

Yes, the Biccy Budget (for buying Arnotts Assorted Cream Biscuits) has been slashed, but our Sydney ProCourse continues. Three people dropped out, after only three weekends. I could be depressed, but I am past that now. I've done dark. We still have four members, so the tide is out. Whatever.

Instead, I march my faithful four down to Darling Harbour, with a fistful of flyers each, to watch as I cajole, terrify, entertain and lure whoever will listen to my declamation: "You can win $50 dollars today!" (And I snap the yellow note between my fingers, hold it high above my head amongst the glistening harbour water) "…

Transformational Structure #4

This is the fourth installment from an essay I wrote for the Lugarno Congress for Alexander Technique teachers in Switzerland in 2008. In that sense it is written specifically for teachers of Alexander Technique, but as a plan it is generic—anyone working in the field of transformation of restricting cognitive constructions (and name me one that isn't) will understand and use what I am writing about here. To save you time, there is a short synopsis just before the article proper!

However, before then – what is topical for me now? As I write tonight, I have completed the first day of a seminar on internet marketing—how FaceBook, Twitter, a Website, Mailing List and Blog all converge together to create a "story' for people which is compelling enough for them to tell their friends and eventually buy in to the service you (I) am creating.

For your business to work, it best grows out of your life purpose and passion. This is true of me. All my life—since the mystical (hysterical…

Transformational Structure #3

Continuing my series on how to structure a group: today The Power of Wish.

For those just tunning in, the point I have been making (to save you time) is that the first job in any transformational relationship with another person is ensure that THEY are driving the process forward from within their own energy/cognitive construction. If you run the show, you get more of yourself. If you facilitate them to lead, you unravel a mystery…

The greatest compliment I can remember receiving was in Washington DC when I ran a workshop with some AT teachers, a Psychiatrist, a Dance Therapist and a couple of Psychologists back in the 80's. I had been invited as I was exploring "emotional directions" at the time, and how we need to recognise those if we want fundamental change. One of the participants came to me at the end of the workshop and said she gave herself the task to watch how I worked. However, she said she could never "see" me, it was as though I wasn't there. No …

Transformational Structure #2

The second instalment of my article on the underlying structure of a group that seeks to lead people towards transformational outcomes in their lives. Main point of today's article (to save you some time) is the critical importance of letting your participants set form/activity of the lesson...

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Stage 1: Wisher

BACKGROUND

You start by wanting something. The something you want is the final result, this thing you want to possess, do, become. The wish needs to be expressed positively. Alexander: I want to act. Once the wish is clarified, then the obstacles to that wish become the objects that are researched. Alexander: loss of voice. The wish is a source of energy, a motivator to do what is necessary to achieve that wish. Without it, there is no direction, no means of calibrating where you are on your journey, no way of knowing how you are doing. Alexander: voice becoming reliable or not.

WORKSHOP

Ask everyone what they want? Get them to participate in the workshop by asking them to set…

Transformational Structure #1

I write a lot of things, and some of my material lies languishing in piles around my office.

Are you wanting to transform your life?
Do you work in group teaching situations and need a fresh perspective?
Are you teaching, and want to know an underlying structure that informs your work?

I wrote a particularly long and thoughtful piece on "A Plan for Teaching Groups" which I've decided to run in sections in my blog for awhile. It's not been published anywhere. I gave it to teachers at my class in the Congress in 2008, otherwise that's it.

I don't know if it is about running groups, so much as about the process of transformation that I use structurally in all the work I do.

So the beginning of this article goes like this:

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A Plan For Teaching Groups

BACKGROUND
This is a generic plan that works for anyone wishing to move towards a new situation in their life, whether that involves the gaining of a new skill, the transformation of a social situation, or becoming a diffe…

Want A Whole New Life Update

I heard from a friend that my recent blogs, particularly my last, might have come across as though I was re-thinking my commitment to BodyChance in Sydney?

I am surprised to hear that, as I opened that blog by stating how powerfully I remain committed to staying on my current path. But if that isn't convincing to you, perhaps this is…

1st Reason

Since I was 20 years old I have done nothing else but study and teach others the discoveries of F. M. Alexander, so 46 years later I am not about to stop! What would I do? Who's going to employ a 56 year old who has never done anything else but teach AT - Small market eh? I think I could only employ myself!

2nd & 3rd Reasons

I have two compelling and rock solid reasons why I wanted to start BodyChance in Australia - as opposed to just staying in Japan - and those reasons are Angelica and Grace, my two children.

My heart has been moved by how they are blossoming under the influence of Steiner Education. The oldest one, Angelica now in yea…

Want A Whole New Life? Update

I heard from a friend that my recent blogs, particularly the one below, might have come across as though I was re-thinking my commitment to BodyChance in Sydney? I am surprised to hear that, as I opened this blog by stating how powerfully I remain commitment to staying on my current path.

But if that isn't convincing to you, perhaps this is…

1st Reason
Since I was 20 years old I have done nothing else but study and teach others the discoveries of F. M. Alexander so, 46 years later, so I am not about to stop now! Who's going to employ a 56 year old whose never done anything else but teach AT? Small market eh? I think I could only employ myself!

2nd & 3rd Reasons
I have two compelling and rock solid reasons why I wanted to start BodyChance in Australia - as opposed to just staying in Japan - and those reasons are Angelica and Grace, my two children.

My heart has been moved by how they are blossoming under the influence of Steiner Education. The oldest one, Angelica now in year 5,…

Deliverance

Dark days tinged with disappointment and despair have delivered determination unto my decisions...

Ambition has yielded to sobriety, and this creature understands better that balance is a function of intelligence.

BodyChance, that creature of my minds' imagination, absurdly flutters out from my 5 senses, faint projections on unsuspecting bases: which side is real - the base, or my projection upon that base?

The lives of those living in Sydney will continue on whatever I do. And yet, some lives are lived differently by way of my projections, while others remain as indifferent as the stars.

How quickly do I want to proceed? Always in a hurry. Be afraid of death, be afraid. Now, not later when it comes, but now. Then you are ready.

So I hurry. Then I stumble and fall - a broken arm, an eye falling out. Vision lost. My right hand is gone. Is this the way?

Clarity is power.

The Siblings of Achievement

Can you imagine success fuelled by darkness?
Powered by inner demons seeking escape?
Shielded by dreams that seek to forget?
Startled by tears that convulse?

Snapshots in my life:
a broken arm
tears at Golden Week
relief fantasies with death

It was the last that alerted me most - that ticked away, hidden beyond my daily grasp is desperation, hope is draining away. I want to share this with everyone. BUT. BUT. BUT.

Never Give Up - it is what I am guided by now.

My business life these days is shaped by my family: their needs, their wishes, the possibility of constructive living. My beautiful eldest daughter, who - until only a few months ago - was herself sinking into darkness, hiding herself from the tightening noose of Japanese school life, while puberty overtook her body. I was thinking she had become monosyllabic - hormones dulling her childhood - but once in Mullumbimby, at the happy Shearwater Steiner school, she came out of hiding: a bright face glowing lively again, lightening her vo…

Balls In the Air

If you can imagine Martha Graham marrying Noam Chomsky - Lucia Walker is the child of that family! She has her own style as a teacher - created mainly by herself, as she does not seem to "follow" any particular lineage of teaching.

At BodyChance Alexander Technique ProCourse Education in Sydney, Australia over the three days of May 7/8/9 2010, Lucia throws balls in the air and then asks you to collect information about all wonder of things…

- do you startle or not? do you think that is a bad thing? really? isn't it part of being human?

- are you annoyed when your ball does not fall into the hand of the person waiting to receive it? are you joyful when it does? isn't this also something natural? isn't it a deep part of your self that when your co-ordination requests are fulfilled, you experience a natural joy? Alternatively, when you fail, you feel some frustration - isn't this only natural?

- when the ball drops, why say sorry every time? isn't dropping t…

Knowing No

Rosa Luisa Rossi is flying out of Australia as I write this, no doubt saying no to something while receiving information about the results of continuing with her wish towards a new, unknown behaviour—this is the simple teaching, with profound results, that she shared for BodyChance ProCourse Education during these last few sunny April days within Sydney's glorious harbour side environment. It was lunch by the water, and reflections on deep but simply generated changes, wrought from Rosa Luisa's discoveries over 12 months of intensive Alexander related research.

Rosa Luisa, with 28 years experience of learning and teaching the work, worked together with Dr. Joanna Maria Otto—a German neuroscientist and recently graduated AT Educator—by relating together known facts about how our brain functions, with the procedural flavours of Rosa Luisa's teaching technology.

How does the brain govern habit?
How does the brain change habit?

[Note - these were my posing of Rosa Luisa's ques…

Everything Is About Movement

This is a post in reply to a question about my statement:

EVERYTHING IS ABOUT MOVEMENT, EVEN BEING.

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One of my favourite chapters of Alexander's writings, after Evolution of a Technique, is Habits of Thought and of Body (MSI Part I, Ch 6) - and he is basically writing what you are saying - that all movement arises from conception - and I agree wholeheartedly with that.

And I personally characterise my conceptions as movements, very subtle movements and confusing ones too: who is the thinker of the thought? who is the watcher of the thought? who is the asker of the question? They are all "me" at different moments, all me in different movements, so even "me" is a movement: a collections of habits, experiences and ideas that constantly move: now I am a great guy, now I am an arrogant guy, not I am a useless guy etc. etc. So even "me" or "self" is in constant movement.

Here's a quote from FM, taken from that chapter, on this point:

...we see ho…