The Posture Police Blotter was on hiatus for awhile and I've revived it with a daily blog that is running from June 20 through September 22. This daily edition has a different focus to it and the gem in all of this is that what I'm going to be writing and what I've written about posture and the Alexander Technique are all related. Follow along and learn how!
Lines in the Sand
If we can't really separate "physical" from "mental", then rigid ideas = rigid bodies. Whether a person is rigid or sunken in their body, this is a reflection of how they think and react. As I brought up in an earlier post, it's an attitude (physical, mental, and emotional). When we arefixed and held in ourselves, we think that things just are the way they are. A rigid person may be inclined to fight tooth and nail to keep things "as they should be" in him/herself and in everyone and everything that surrounds her/him. Someone who is sunken may have a similarly rigid attitude, with a more passive stance, thinking "Oh well, that's just how things are. I can't do anything about it."
What I've found often shakes up fixed ideas/attitudes is the innocence/wisdom of a child. Yesterday morning, I had such an experience with one of my own children. The four of us (myself, my partner, and my kids) enjoy listening to Jack Johnson's music and watching his music videos on Youtube. One in particular that we enjoy is video for the song "You and Your Heart", which features Jack Johnson surfing. None of us has ever surfed, yet we've developed a family preoccupation with it recently. I've become fascinated with the incredibly natural coordination, that surfers tend to exhibit. They rise to the challenge of maintaining a half-squat (called "monkey" in Alexander terms), with seemingly remarkable comfort - a feat that is often difficult for most adults in the Western world. I purchased a book on surfing to learn more about the sport, hoping to one day take lessons. My daughters have been surfing on our apartment floor using squares of paper towels as their surfboards.
So, yesterday, my five-year-old was talking about surfing and I said having no idea how or when this would actually come about, "Would you like to learn to surf? I'd like to learn to surf." She answered affirmatively and I mused about how we'd find a surfing instructor or where we'd go to learn to surf. She responded in her most matter-of-fact voice, "We could ask Jack Johnson. He's a surfer. He could teach us."
And why not? I responded that he could and thanked her for the suggestion. It seemed highly unlikely to me, but not impossible and I really wanted to keep an open mind. I marveled at how plausible the idea seems to her and it seems so impossible to me because of my ideas about celebrities being out of reach. My daughter knows nothing of celebrity, in part because we haven't spoken of it as such. Another reason is simply the internet. Anyone can be in a video that is available for countless people to see. We enjoy music on the streets and subway and then watch them on Youtube at home. Both of my kids are appear in a video produced by The Busking Project because they happened to appear at an outdoor concert one day. We just bring it up Vimeo and there they are. Anyone who they see on the computer, whether it's themselves, someone who has posted a home video, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Wiggles, or Jack Johnson are all equal in celebrity status. Celebrity doesn't even enter into their vocabulary.
I could have told her that it's difficult to get the attention of a well-known person because a lot of people are trying to get that person's attention, and therefore we shouldn't ask Jack Johnson to teach us to surf, but I don't want to shut down her openness and thoughtful suggestion with an assumption that's really based on nothing but an idea about "celebrities". Well-known people are people just like anyone else and I really have no idea what Jack Johnson would say if we managed to get in touch with him and asked him if he'd teach us to surf. From what I've read about him, he sounds like a pretty laid-back, thoughtful guy who had not intention to "make it big." I'm not prepared to say it's impossible and it fact, I'm reveling in the idea that it might be possible and thank my daughter for helping me keep my mind open to such thoughts.
I'll finish up this post with a quote from "You and Your Heart" by Jack Johnson that addresses exactly what I've been writing about - fixed ideas - when he sings about lines drawn in the sand. I love the lyrics in this song and this is the part that I enjoy the most. It addresses a serious topic in a fun and playful way.
According to thefreedictionary.com, drawing a line in the sand is "to create or declare an artificial boundary and imply that crossing it will cause trouble." In my opinion "drawing lines in the sand" (aka sticking to fixed ideas) is a worldwide problem of epidemic proportions.
On to the quote . . .
You draw so many lines in the sand
Lost the finger nails on your hands
How you're gonna scratch any backs?
Better hope the tide will take our lines away
Take all our lines
And hope that the tide will take our lines and
Hope that the the tide will take our lines away
Take all our lines away
-Jack Johnson - "You and Your Heart"