What is a journey? Before reading further, take a moment and think of what comes to mind. Did you imagine a vacation? A pilgrimage? Moving to a new town or city? Chances are that what you thought of was more epic that what you likely experience in your day-to-day. Would you call your commute a journey? Journeys are so often associated with epic travel, that it may sound silly to call your commute a journey. What about walking across a room? Picking up a pen? Sitting in a chair? Even sillier?
Let's change perspective for a moment and imagine that every little thing that we do is a journey - a trip from point A to point B. If we think about posture as a way we carry ourselves around throughout the day and a shape that we make of our bodies based on how we live, act, and react to all of the stimuli around us, those little journeys add up and become of epic importance if we truly want to change our posture for the better. The first step to change though is to become aware of what you're actually doing. An Alexander Technique teacher can help you feel that, but then when you're out on your own and using the technique in your daily life, these little journeys start to become more conscious.
When we become habitual about living, much of the space and time that we move through becomes invisible. We're aware of point A and point B, but the in-between becomes blurry, an invisible journey. During these invisible journeys, we may be intently focused on getting to point A and what will happen there, hung up on what just happened at point A, or off somewhere else completely (aka spaced out).
What was your body doing when you drove, took the train, or walked to work today? Were you compressing down to move forward or furrowing your brow and tightening your neck to think? Did you notice your surroundings? Were you on autopilot?
When you sat down at your computer or lifted your smart phone did you strain to do so?
Part of a typical Alexander Technique lesson involves simply moving in and out of a chair without tightening your neck, compressing your spine, lifting your shoulders, or gripping your thighs. For new students this experience is often like turning on a light in the corner of a dark room. The journey from standing to sitting becomes habitually associated with strain, but is at the same time invisible and then suddenly the light goes on and it's visible. We're present during that moment that previously felt blank.
It's likely that you sit and stand hundreds of times per day and that changing how you do that can positively affect your posture. Aside from that though, the act simply becoming aware of the space and time existing between point A (in this case, standing) and point B (sitting) can be a huge revelation and open a door to becoming more present and alert in many other life journeys both small and epic. You may learn that "there is something very exciting about going on a journey", and the small ones may be bigger than you think.
I spent about a half-hour looking for an image to go with this blog post until I turned and looked at Snoopy on my planner that was right next to me the whole time.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of "Journeys" in two weeks: "Journey to the N Train at Times Square".