sorry

Tonight in my Alexander Technique lesson, my teacher (and friend) said she wanted to work on speech patterns with me.  We’d never done that before.  Previously we had just focused on movement, muscles, bones, and posture.  Tonight she had me read a passage from a book to her.  In this exercise, and in many of the other exercises we’ve done, I have noticed that my inclination is to hunch over, to draw up, to lean forward, to try to conceal as much as I can of my own body.  As if I could hide in plain sight.  From the very beginning of our lessons, she’s been working with me on standing or sitting to my full height, and not trying to make myself shorter, not trying to make myself smaller.

The things she pointed out to me tonight about my speech patterns, both the words I use and how I hold my body when in conversation, did not come as much of a surprise to me.  She asked me a question she had asked me earlier in the lesson and I answered in a roundabout, defensive way.  I heard myself doing it, and yet, I couldn’t seem to stop.  She had me answer again, and this time I was direct and made no excuses, no apologies.  I felt more powerful, more assured as I spoke the words the second time.

As I think about the lesson, I know that I apologize, make excuses, and talk in a round-about, trying-so-hard-not-to-offend way.  I think this comes partly from the feeling that I constantly carry that I am about to get in trouble, that I’ve been doing something wrong and am on the verge of being caught.

And so it makes sense, if I’m feeling unsafe with people, on-edge, it is no wonder that I am so slow to let others in, to let them get close.  If getting close to people means having to justify myself all the time, if it means having to guard myself, or be contrite for who I am, it is not worth it.

But if I can somehow hold my ground and let them in, if I can manage both things at once, well, that would be amazing.  That would be living.

I think my teacher put it best when she said to me, “The more grounded you are in yourself, the more you stay in touch with yourself, the closer you can get to other people without giving yourself away.”

What I have been fearing is that in letting others into my life, or letting them be closer to me, I will lose myself.  Alone may be lonely at times, but at least I am intact.

So now I want to learn what it means to be grounded, to be present in my body, to stay in touch with myself, especially in those times when I feel uncertain or afraid.  I want to have my cake, and eat it, too—without apology.

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6 responses to “sorry

  1. I’ve never heard of the Alexander Technique. Thanks for providing the link. Fascinating.

    I learned some grounding techniques several years ago that have helped me a lot in my life — to tune in and trust my intuition, to calm myself when frustrated or angry, and to really be in my body, and my life.

    The easiest grounding technique for me is simply becoming aware of my breathing, relaxing with each exhale. Even though my kids sometimes think I’m huffing in anger, I’m just breathing deep to center and focus.

    Great observations.

  2. That comment you made about feeling like you were always about to be caught doing something wrong… I so get that! I lived with that for a lot of years, and honestly I don’t know what changed it for me, but I know that living without that hanging over my head is incredibly freeing.

  3. Wow, I so feel you, my friend. I am learning some of the same lessons, and I am so glad that you have a good teacher! I’ve always looked around at people who are really able to connect to others, who aren’t guarded and who feel safe, and it’s true: They are first and foremost ok with themselves. I, too, am working towards that goal.

    I’ve missed you.

    Sending love and hugs and happiness to you.

  4. I love this post. I like your line about how “Alone may be lonely at times but at least I’m intact.” I have noticed times when I felt this way. I also notice a tendency to give my entire self to a relationship and then feel resentful that the other side isn’t as “giving” as I would like them to be. Goofy I know.
    Glad the house situation has calmed down with Ms. Crankypants being gone.

  5. I had never heard of the Alexander technique. It sounds interesting! I’m glad you are learning more about yourself.

  6. I find this fascinating. I wish this much amount of intervention and guidance was available here.

    The best part is that all this is taking you to a greater height of self-awareness. Use it to become whole!

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