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Quote of the Month: March 2016

by Ellen on March 3rd, 2016

“[I would advise everybody in the world] to sit down and think over all the beliefs and ideas they have got and find out where they came from. You would not have many left. After a week’s thought, you would throw them overboard.”

~Alexander, Articles and Lectures, “Bedford Physical Training College Lecture,” p. 172

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote in recent weeks, due to the election season being upon us. I generally don’t get very involved in politics, but it’s hard not to these days. A version of this quote is usually my guiding thought wherever politics are concerned, since there is so much misinformation that gets spread around.

You will not find my personal political views in this blog post, and I will work my hardest to keep value judgements out of my statements as well. A person’s political views are their own. Ideally they should be something you’ve come to through your own thinking and feeling, rather than something you are told is ‘right’ by someone you see as an authority on the matter. As Alexander was fond of saying, “We all want to be right, but no one stops to think if their idea of ‘right’ is right.” This election season, I encourage you to stop for a moment and consider: where are you getting your idea of ‘right’? Who else shares your idea of ‘right,’ and who does not? Can you see where those people might be getting their own ideas of ‘right’?

To me, election season is a time to sit down, as Alexander says, and think over all your beliefs and ideas. Where did they come from? Are you following your family or friends? Are you trusting a party or other organization to know what is best for you? Think about why you trust that party, organization, or person. Have they earned your trust, or is it more of a case of inertia? There is a lot of vitriol in this election field particularly – have you had a visceral reaction to hearing someone else’s belief that is shaping your own? Have you researched the beliefs and motivations of the people you see as authority figures? Was that vitriol objective and unbiased, or have you been swayed by fear-mongering?

Voting is a big responsibility, and we owe it to ourselves and each other to put in the time to make sure that our votes are a true reflection of our own reasoned beliefs and ideas. Give your preconceived notions a second look, and don’t hesitate to throw them overboard if you don’t like where they came from. And don’t be afraid of ‘not having many left,’ as Alexander says. Becoming vulnerable is a crucial step to making change. Once you throw those habits overboard, you can take stock of what’s left and work from there.

Forward and Up! is a Pittsburgh-based private practice offering quality instruction in the Alexander Technique in a positive and supportive environment.

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