I have a confession to make. Just recently I’ve taken on a smidgen too much. One result is no blogs, no tweets, no Facebook comments, no knitting – you may have noticed (apart from the knitting). Words like ‘swamped’ and ‘overwhelmed’ have been coming to mind.
In the middle of all this, I have been clinging for dear life to one of my favourite paraphrases of one of my favourite parts of FM Alexander’s books(*).
- REASON OUT THE MEANS TO A MORE SATISFACTORY END
- PUT THESE MEANS(**) INTO EFFECT
I can recommend it to anyone trying to deal with ‘overwhelmed’. If you put a few more words around the basics, it comes to this:-
- Stop rushing round
- Ask logical, reasonable questions to decide which task comes first
- Ask some more logical, reasonable questions to decide how much time you can allocate to this task
- Do what you have decided
- Forget about everything else until you finish that task, or that time slot
- Start your reasoning all over again
It’s beautifully simple. Choose a task; do the task. End of story. It’s a far more satisfactory end than my usual responses (dither, panic, get nothing done at all, feel very bad about it).
It’s not the usual way people talk about the Alexander Technique. No heads, bodies, muscles or directions. Would FM Alexander be happy with us adapting and recycling his technique? I don’t know. But based on his own criteria for judging activities: ‘on a general basis in the process of living and all-round usefulness’(***) it scores pretty highly. It’s certainly got me out of some awkward places.
I hope he would have approved. Now if you will excuse me, I must dash…
(*) The full passage applies specifically to direction of use:-
(1) to analyse the conditions of use present;
(2) to select (reason out) the means whereby a more satisfactory use could be brought about;
(3) to project consciously the directions required for putting these means into effect
FM Alexander, The Use of the Self IRDEAT edition p.423
(**) ‘means’ is a method or course of action
(***) FM Alexander, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, IRDEAT edition p.374
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