PLEASE tell me people can change...

Some people seem happier with change than others. I quite like changing things up a bit; my husband less so. Whenever I suggest moving a chair or changing a wall colour, he will always pull a face and say, “You know I don’t like change” – unless and until I prove the change is an improvement, and then he might concede. But do you believe people can change?

A friend of mine once said to me, “People don’t change.” If I really believed that, I think I’d probably give up bothering with anything and sink into a depression, because I absolutely believe, not just that we can change, but that it's vital for the future of mankind that we are able to.

After all, the Alexander Technique is all about change; changing ideas and beliefs - not just about movement, but about ourselves and what is possible for us. But this can be so hard, I can understand why my friend said what he did.

The weird thing is that even when we want to change, we often push back and resist when our beliefs are challenged in any way. Even simple ones - even ones we’ve never realised we had beliefs about, like the way heads and bodies move. It can feel like a threat.

Questioning someone’s ideas and beliefs, therefore - even kindly and with the best of motives and intentions - can be difficult. In fact, it can really backfire, if not handled carefully; so I am eternally grateful for the extensive and excellent teaching training I had from the Interactive Teaching Method’s founder, the now sadly-departed Don Weed.

If simple things are hard to challenge, it’s no wonder that when it comes to philosophical, religious and moral beliefs, people dig in; preferring to insist that their belief is ‘the right one’. And yet the hope of the world rests on the possibility of people being open to changing their ideas, beliefs and practices.

Many people ‘believe’ that the Alexander Technique is just about ‘correct posture’; but my goodness, not only is that a bit of a misrepresentation of the movement side of it, it’s also omitting the huge scope of the work. As a brilliant student of mine wrote recently,

“It turns out that there are some philosophical aspects to the Alexander Technique, which I had not been expecting… (the work left me) with a heightened awareness about my approach to movement and life more generally.”

Ultimately, it comes down to one of my all-time favourite quotes from Mr. F.M. Alexander himself:

“…surely it behoves every individual to stop – and I mean this in its fullest sense – and reconsider every particle of supposed knowledge… and ask himself the plain, straightforward question, ‘Why do I believe these things?’ ‘By what process of reasoning did I arrive at these conclusions?’”*

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If you're in the Bristol UK area and like the idea of change, of greater flexibility in body and mind, it’s always my honour and pleasure to introduce people to this amazing work.

*Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, Part 1