Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Way You Do Anything

Sylvie Simmons quoted Tom Waits
To begin her illuminating biography
Of Leonard Cohen, I’M YOUR MAN:

The way you do anything is
The way you do everything.

Decades ago
My acting professor at UNC said
That a breakthrough in one area,
Such as fencing, or juggling,
Or speaking verse,
Even listening …
Would spark progress
In other areas.

In fact, in all
Of the other areas.

It’s all related.

The knee bone
Is connected to the thigh bone.
(And so forth.)

That lyric is as
Widely known
As it is true.

But the rich essence
Of that wisdom
Is often misplaced,
Or worse,

The universe might
Not be round,
But karma doesn’t care,
Does it?
What goes around,
Comes around.

She’ll be coming
Round the mountain,
(But that’s another matter).

Since late August 2016,
I’ve been taking lessons
With an Alexander Technique teacher.

At first I thought
The enterprise was mostly
About helping me address
Years and years and years
Of poor posture.

But this brings us back to Tom Waits.

The way you do anything.

What happens in the body
Happens in the mind.
And vice versa.

Feeling pain in your back?

What caused it?

How do I fix it?

Start from the ground
And work up.

The way you do anything
Reminds us that 
It is all connected.

When you have pain
In one area,
Chances are quite strong
That you are compensating,
Perhaps in a manner
That you are not yet aware.

A great teacher
Helps you locate the portal,
But you have to take it from there.

F.M. Alexander said,
“The things that don’t exist
Are the most difficult to get rid of.”

At first glance,
Perhaps this seems a tad cryptic,
Or maybe Cheech-And-Bong fueled.

Let’s focus.

Until one is aware of a habit
That habit is impossible to tame.
And, to be honest, that’s a high bar:
Taming a habit.
My advice is to try and make friends.
Get to know that pest.
Get comfortable with its presence.
And smile every time
You realize it has returned.
And it is going to return.

Alexander also said:
“To know when we are wrong
Is all that we shall ever know in this world.”

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