Last time I talked about the concept of overloading; Alexander ideas are resilient, but sometimes the student is not. Taking on a challenging new idea and immediately trying to use it with a large, difficult and stubborn problem is likely to end in failure.
What’s missing is a period of building up and acclimatising. And the best way to go about that is to try it out on EASY things. SMALL, EASY things. Once you are confident you can manage the SMALL, EASY things, then and only then do you move on, to something slightly less SMALL and EASY. And you get better at that before you move on. You keep trying out the new strategy, but in a gradual, structured way.
So here is my recipe for putting some structure to that building up process. Take a piece of paper and a pen, and write down five versions of your chosen activity. Start with the easiest version that you can think of. Break off a small chunk, slow it down, take it out of context, whatever helps. Then gradually increase the level of difficulty, until your fifth step is really quite hard. Not super-mean, just quite hard.
Now apply this challenging new idea to No.1 on your list. If that works, go on to No.2. If that works, go on to No.3. Keep going until you reach the step that you can’t manage with this new Alexander idea in place. Got it? Good. That’s the level you need to work at for the next while.
Yes, it is almost certainly artificial. Yes, it feels a long way from helping the problem you are burning to solve. Yes, it is frustrating.
But bear in mind your priorities. Longer term, sure, you want to apply Alexander to that stubborn problem. Right at that at that moment, however, demolishing the stubborn problem is not your task. Your task is to build up your Alexander skills. Give yourself permission to go slowly, and improve gradually. Make it easier for yourself.