Journal – a final page
ATTS Day 396 Term 9 Week 11 – Friday
Not the end, not the beginning, but the end of the beginning.
This is a lovey quote from Winston Churchill which Laura used in her graduation speech – a closing statement. I loved it.
Last night was great, a grounded and heartfelt ceremony of accomplishment. It was incredibly special and yet normal in equal measure. No tears from me but a deeply felt appreciation and gratitude for the whole experience, warts and all.
After a late night, I stayed up chatting, and after a muted but sentimental final day at school I find myself in familiar territory – the train! I’m on my last official commute back to work following the final day of my training. The difference being, that I’m a certified teacher. Now there’s no stopping me!
I had the usual encounters, some great table work, stood up, sat down, felt the urges and impulses of my reactive nature. Honouring where I am today… It was nice to sign off with my teachers.
There is something different about this school. The level of dialogue and discourse in the ATTS about what the technique is and how best to deliver it through a lesson is second to none. It’s well reasoned, articulate, actionable, challenging and deeply poetic at times. I will miss it and yet I suspect it will stay with me forever.
In this final entry I hope to satisfy my urge to finish. Like in standing and sitting, the end gaining impulse to be ‘stood up’ or to be ‘sat down’ – to be student or to be teacher – there is a fine and indivisible line between the two.
I wonder, is the opposite of being understood being over-sat…? Food for thought… 😜
I think the best way to finish this journal is to attempt to reconcile or rather liberate a few of the paradoxes of this work. There are so many of them because the technique is neither this way nor is it that way but something else entirely. It is ‘non-doing’ which in itself is a paradox of sorts.
Of course, non-doing is a kind of doing, but it is very subtle The difference is that, in doing, you do it, whereas in non-doing, it does you.
On a practical level it is through the ‘not changing’ of a person that the profoundest change is able to happen. And non-doing is not a esoteric zen concept that we pay lip service to at the school, it is a way, actionable and relatable, developing the inner resource of this quality through connection, through touch, we are able to help cultivate it in another person. And all the while we also cultivate this culture more and more within ourselves.
The contact, the touch, the hands of a teacher can give this experience directly – unadulterated by language and attempts at knowing, at understanding. It is an embodied learning experience given through the learned embodied experience of your teacher being with you, being connected while maintaining their separateness. Holding that space of ‘loving detachment’. Sharing and communicating a moment of truth. Owning it quietly without any agenda.
The inner work of the Alexander teacher is to step from the known into the unknown continually, not in order to better know or understand ‘it’, but to accept the totality of experience as it unfolds, so ‘it’ has an opportunity to better understand you. To make yourself known.
The beauty of the unknown is that it is unknowable.
There is so much we do not know, there is so much unknown for us to step into, that this journey is a never ending one. The depth of the work extends beyond our ability to discover it – it is the un-drying well… like a never ending cup. Free refills for everyone.
There is always further to go and this is not a challenge, not a grandiose concept of which to be afeared, it is a comfort to know that the destination is simply where you already are, and the journey is only ever one foot in front of another. And so on. And so on. And so on… onward and upward. Stepping however bravely or fearfully into the unknown, the unknowable. Having and giving others the divine permission – not – to – change – a – thing.
I’ve loved this. Every difficult, easy, happy, sad, mad moment of it. And now it is time for me to officially wrap it up.
I still have so much to learn and yet somehow I know everything I need to know. Stepping with honest trepidation into the unknown – one foot in front of the other.
Welcoming yourself to your new home with every step.
This is not the end, this is not the beginning, but it is the end of the beginning.
And what a beginning I have had.