By Everett Goldner
As I continue with Alexander, I find more often these days that, when I think about it, I’m pretty comfortable with moving from the task of writing into other activities and back again. As a writer this is not a small thing. Most of us are aware by now that any job in which you spend hours every day in front of a computer screen can be bad for your body’s alignment. I try to shake things up by standing at times while writing, walking back and forth, etc. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that writing involves a great deal of (more or less) physically motionless activity, aside from your fingers.
If I think back to a few years ago, while working on a long-range, long-term writing project, my solution when feeling stifled would often be to leave the apartment for a while – go for a walk. And while I might still do this today if I’d been writing all day long (plenty of research tells us that a walk is good for your creativity), there’s less of an impulse toward that; it’s easier to stay where I am and keep with the thought that’s in motion mentally or spiritually – without moving. Or to get up and stretch for a moment without really taking my attention away from the screen. Another way of putting it would be that it’s easier to feel that I’m still working on a piece even while nothing is obviously “happening”; a state that every writer is familiar with.
The larger question I’m concerned with here is not simply about being able to sit motionless for long periods of time. Anything we do that becomes habit and eventually becomes part of the way we live has to meet some kind of criteria – what does this do for me; how does it make life feel better (or smoother, or more engaged – insert your own adjective). The changes that Alexander creates are not at all obvious – in session, when Leland asks me what thoughts I’ve had on Alexander this week, it’s often hard to come up with anything off the top of my head. And yet I always feel quite sure that there *are* benefits to my continuing with Alexander week by week, even if I don’t always know what they are. The benefits manifest incrementally – which is how you tend to learn anything really worth knowing; in bits and by degrees at a time. I may not be able to tell you how my experience of my body through Alexander has changed from what it was two weeks ago, but I can definitely tell you how my experience is different from what it was six months ago – I feel more tuned-in. Sitting in front of the computer screen, reflecting, it’s easy for me to sense the long-term difference: I just feel freer.