Alexander Technique, eyes, anxiety and safety
The eyes have it
When I go out to a restaurant or cafe, I need to sit at the furthest corner to the door, with my back to a wall. Apparently I have that in common with ex service personnel with PTSD. I also prefer to sit at the aisle seat in all sorts of venues. My husband knows this about me and when we go out together he is very happy for me to sit where I feel safe. Yes, it’s about feeling safe.
If the only option is a table in the middle of a restaurant, I can feel the anxiety rising and the dilemma of where to sit at the table. Then I probably chose the spot through gut feeling, though it will be facing the door. I’ve no idea when this need started. I’ve read it’s not a bad thing and that I am security minded. It’s not consistent because I prefer to sit at the front of a classroom, though that might be to do with vision.
Thinking about vision: running the “More Alexander” courses keeps me on my toes. The courses are different every time and are built around the wishes of the group. These opportunities are fabulous as I learn as much if not more than the group in the process of meeting their needs. I am very grateful for them. One of the requests from a course participant this time was to think about eyes and the Alexander Technique.
As I thought about the possible course material I reflected on my experience of “eyes” and the Alexander Technique and I read various author’s takes on it. I also began to think about how I “used” my eyes and how that changed depending on where I was, what I was doing, and how safe I felt! Richard Casebow has written a blog on using eyes in an AT lesson which an interesting read.
So, when I visited the dentists yesterday and sat in my usual spot with back to the wall and full vision of the whole room including exits, I thought about what my eyes were up to and whether I was scanning for threat. It was with even more awareness of what and why I was doing it this time.
I opened up the possibility of doing those things that I need to keep me feeling safe, without the physical armour and the fight or flight mode that it might normally elicit.
I began to enjoy the process as I was in present moment mode. A sense of curiosity grew about what I was looking at and how I was doing the looking.
Perhaps you might like to experiment with how you use your eyes?
Is it a conscious process, is your mind wandering, are you in safety mode?
What happens to the “use” of your body, as you look at things in different modes and different situations?
Maybe pay attention to your face, your jaw, your neck, your breathing and so on. What do you notice?
What happens when you invite ease, and rest in the present moment as you make those observations?
What happens to your vision and your experience when you free your neck?
‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ Wayne Dyer
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or a hostile universe.” Albert Einstein
Let me know what you discover?
Jane Clappison MSTAT