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Quote of the Week 10/25/11

by Ellen on October 25th, 2011

“Decide what you’re going to do and then do it, and the rest be damned!” ~Alex Murray

One of the main principles of the Alexander Technique is the need for transferring decisions from the subconscious plane to the conscious one, in an act that Alexander referred to as “inhibition.” Inhibition in the Alexander sense refers not to suppression or restriction, but rather to the voluntary withholding of impulsive actions. When confronted with an action that is usually performed subconsciously (such as getting out of a chair), Alexander challenges us to simply stop and think about HOW we intend to complete the action before attempting it. By stopping to think, we create choice where there was habit, and open ourselves up to the ability to complete old actions in new ways.

One of the drawbacks of creating this choice, however, is that doubt, self-consciousness, and the ever-present desire to be “right” can creep in and lodge in the space created by the choice. This frequently bogs down the student, as they feel a great responsibility to always employ correct use and to never “slack off.” My teacher, Alex Murray, deflects this feeling with this oft-invoked quote. Once you’ve created the choice, simply decide what you’re going to do and then do it, and to hell with the consequences.

Over and over I’ve heard teachers say that the moment they finally clicked with the Technique was the very moment they said “Oh, to hell with it!” and just tried something. Feeling that you must always choose the “right” action is just another sort of end-gaining. The important part is the act of choosing. If you stop long enough to create the choice for yourself, and then make a choice, you’ve inhibited successfully. Whether your decision in that moment was to correct it or to leave it be is irrelevant.

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