Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)
Remember my last blogpost on stimulus and response? That we all just need a space for coming up with a decision and formulate our best response to a given circumstance? I do believe that motion and movement represents a great playground to exercise our capacity for creating such a space and making choices. To communicate this idea I used the diagram below.
creates an impact with a ripple effect. Let me explain: Towards the end of his book “Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual” F.M. Alexander states:
“Confidence is born of success, not of failure, and our processes in education [should] develop confidence, […] not undermine our confidence and make us unhappy.”
Currently I am reading the book from Geneen Roth “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating”. My partner urged me to read that book, and though I am personally not confronted with eating disorders I really admire her mental discipline and her exercising her creativity that she demonstrates throughout her book.
Her story is one of courage and keen observation and I think she masterfully reasons out and then takes action based on the conclusion she arrived at. (If I only had had such skills when I was years younger…) I salute Geneen Roth and I hope to have one day the honor to meet her.
To me she is giving another bright color to the experience of success from within. Here is what she has to say in this context: “Trust develops and builds when I am given a choice – and not (as in dieting all too often) denied it.” Trust develops in consequence of exercising our capacity to choose, and make yourself comfortable – not miserable – and taking care of yourself — rather than going against the way you are made and made to move.
Isn’t she brilliant? Of course I threw that last part on movement in, just to bring what Geneen Roth says back to a movement context. With Motion Mastery™ I am intentionally creating a place for you to make the experience possible both of creating space between stimulus and response and creating space for yourself.
How many of you have ever experienced being told “Sit up straight!” in one form or another? You surely are not alone! I don’t know about your experience but I have been told this many many times, even in Alexander classes. (and I admit I have even heard my own voice saying it aloud to some people)
I do believe that it is using one’s reasoning where the real power lies and what makes a well taught lesson in the Alexander-Technique so “sexy”.
Exercising that muscle between your ears [ = your brains] is just what makes you come alive, curious, explore more possibilities and makes you even more attractive. Trust and confidence develops from experience. The services Motion Mastery™ offers – and ultimately is what I am offering – are experiential lessons, combined with a guidance, derived from a deep understanding of leadership and a clear understanding who is in charge of moving you: you’ve got the power and you alone. Full stop.
In time you will claim your power in your everyday life movements more and more often and you’ll learn and expand your experience and your confidence bit by bit. For your day-to-day life I wish you a happy exploring of your “playground”.
I’ll sign off with another quote from Eric Hoffer: «In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.»
Y’all are cordially invited to participate in my September Prize Draw.
By letting me know you’ll participate in my September Prize Draw.
I am passionate about unlocking people’s health potential. I love to assist you in considering the facts around movement, reasoning out the best movement protocol, implementing it and re-evaluate and improve again, and again, and again, and… again
If you would like to work with me as Alexander Coach for yourself, your team or your department, contact me here, please.
Cheers and sunshine. Till the next time
about the September Prize Draw:
May I request you let me know one or more of your major discomfort(s) at work? The lucky person will win three free Coaching Sessions and I’m happy to meet in person either in the Greater London Area or somewhere in Switzerland.
When I started to write the last post, I didn’t realize it would eventually be going so deep into self-exploration as I am now noticing.
As much as I want to express my passion for people, I just can’t reach everybody. I guess that’s just the way it is. It would be unreasonable to expect anything else: there are certainly many that don’t even want to know about me and my work. But there are some, who really can benefit from my professional help and yet don’t know about my work. There, I can give with care and passion something meaningful, while being respectful to the other – and to myself simultaneously.
“Simultaneously” – what a great thought! A professional colleague of mine reminded me today. I am stunned! I’ve never had this idea when displaying respect to the other person to think that, at the same time to also give myself the same due respect.
I have been observing time and time again how challenged I feel when people don’t give each other that respect I think is due. And the degree to which I am challenged is more often than not out of proportion in comparison to the trigger-event.
So, it looks like my last post is getting me into a self-exploration, something I really never would have thought when I started this blogging journey or started on the last blog post …
This week I had an interesting encounter with a client – she was having severe pain on her face and asked for help. She had been looking in all the places she could imagine, had been to several dentists, looked into help from competent doctors, competent complementary therapists and was suffering from a nerve pain in her face that was considered to be an inflammation of the trigeminal nerve.
When I worked with her the pain happened to be still excruciatingly sensitive – which was a good thing, because we then had a very clear discriminating measure to find out if it was going to improve or get worse immediately during our meeting.
When I gently touched her neck from the front, let’s say, starting from where the top button of the shirt that she is wearing and then slowly move upward, I can feel her voice box. Continuing past the voice box, is the transition area to the (lower) jaw. The bone of the lower jaw can be palpated.
Did you know you have another bone in the middle of that outside rim that makes for your lower jaw?
I didn’t either.
But, when I touched this area I couldn’t believe the solidity of that region. In other people this bone is usually called the tongue and other muscles. I always thought that muscles are defined as soft tissues, but certainly not in her case. Never have I encountered such an amount of force in this region on anybody during the past 30 years!
When we worked together on releasing that amount of tension, the effects were dramatic:
The pain in her neck disappeared, the headache went away, the tasting in the tongue came back, and most importantly the excruciating pain in the face disappeared within a course of ten minutes.
This event and other events like e.g. Katie’s on this page leads me to conjecture, that not all of the problems we encounter are purely structural, bony and part of a group of symptoms indicating a major health issue – though it is always a valuable thing to be on guard for that possibility – but we are such innovative creatures capable of moving violently against ourselves that we cause such major harmful impact on our well-being and sometimes with even severe consequences.
When you develop interest in your own movement quality, when you start studying it with the due diligence your own well–being deserves, then this study is not some new hobby, but it really is something worthwhile studying – because you learn a life skill that is serving you for a lifetime and (as F.M. Alexander puts it) it becomes incrementally more effective year by year.
So why do only so few people dedicate some of their time to it?
- Well, first of all only very few people know about this possibility, that they literally can learn some reasoning skills that can help them tremendously in their everyday life.
- Only few people would ever believe that they are that powerful and can have a major influence on their wellbeing to such a degree.
- As long as it doesn’t hurt they don’t care.
- People are too busy being frozen in front of their computer and feel drained at the end of the day.
- Not everybody is ready to replace habits that don’t serve them with new behaviors that help them.
Why is this so? I have not run a large study sample but over the years I have accumulated some experiential data while having met and worked with thousands of people, and here are my best guesses:
- I believe it is ineffective information politics or you may call it bad marketing. That depends on how you look at it, but it is something that I am targeting e.g. with my blog here.
- That is certainly because school didn’t teach us — we are not taught in schools— not taught about this possibility neither in schools or elsewhere. Since our parents and teachers don’t know about it, there is slim chance of us knowing about it.
I taught ten years (1987-97) at the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts. The level of understanding how performance is related to the physical movement was stunningly low! That was one of the reasons why my classes were always filled and overcrowded..
- Unless you have a strong reason to change, you will always continue in the ways you have always done – I can easily relate to that one myself.
- Because that’s what you know, and it gives you a sense of comfort.
- You may be tired of old habits that hold you back, but you may be too tired to pick yourself up
A certain mindset is necessary for people to get moving in this direction. To really get yourself into the mindset of taking action – especially referring to point 5 above, takes effort, courage and discipline:
The first time I came across this critical shift in mindset was at a Frontier Trainings course. Clinton Swaine, Frontier Trainings Lead Trainer introduced the idea of falling down five times and getting up six. And some days ago I came across a Japanese proverb: “Falling down seven times and getting up eight.”
I don’t know about you – but there are people for whom claiming their independence and vitality for the rest of their life seems such an alien idea that they have never ever considered that possibility! Yet another reason for writing this blog.
I want to reach you people with my blog here. The fact that you are still reading means you are asking yourself: “Is there something more for me here?” “What does Motion Mastery™ / Ulf have to offer?” I strongly believe, Motion Mastery™ offers a fantastic contribution to people’s health in general, and to your movement health in particular. The offer of a life rich in vitality and self-expression is captivating and the processes used are one of a kind.
I want to ask you:
Are you ready to claim your independence and vitality for the rest of your life?
If you are, then Motion Mastery™ has something great to offer: Let’s have a refreshing start.
I created an new offer: your Personal Refresh Button™ – Programme. If my blog post rings true for you and this Personal Refresh Button™ – Programme calls your name, please click on the link and sign up for it.
I’ld love to meet with you soon — and get you boosting your vitality!
In two weeks time, i will be talking about the colour blue and being in the zone (I haven’t forgotten this blog post’s title yet.) I’ll bring it all together and make sense of it then. In the meantime, think of how you are moving and how it can be better.
It is my pleasure to continue improving the quality of your life through movement!
The use of reasoning as a means for getting along in life is something I like very much. I mean developing the discipline to think things through sequentially makes a lot of sense to me. And sometimes I am up the walls, when people just don’t seem to use their brains.
What I mean by sequential thinking is that very often in life there are things that have to come first before you do something else. It is so obvious that you can’t pour the tea in your cup when you still have to take your cup out of the cupboard and put it on the table or counter. It is so obvious. But in other matters we sometimes seem to believe in woo-woo. As if things would ever manifest by themselves just because we already have wished them to be so.
My partner and me were having disputes and discussions some days ago, and in the course of events I asked her to bring me that jug of water from the living room, please. “Yes“ she answered and when she did, she distracted herself from completing that task, went first on to do „quickly“ something else before then finishing that task, hurrying to bring me the jug, bumping into the door frame, hurting herself – all of which was unnecessary. And I was bitching to myself, that she would not have bumped into that door at all if only she simply completed that task straight forwardly. It was upsetting and hurtful at the same time to see this happening and seeing her bumping into the door frame.
And I then changed my attitude, because to expect from my partner to act reasonably was – at that point in time – just inappropriate. I had to admit to myself that reasoning may be a great tool, but before starting to act in a reasonable manner, we have to become able to access our reasoning. Me too. And it makes sense to me that we do not and maybe cannot access it all of the time. That key step, that transitioning moment, accessing some X-factor that enables us to start using our reasoning is something that I yet have to discover. Or maybe we can use it increasingly more often – like training or educating ourselves towards that?
What I reverted to, at the time of the event above was the only thing that I could imagine doing – i.e. expressing my love for her – as I do love her. But… (and the motorboat went on and on in my head: but but but but but but but but .…)
I really like this sentence where Frederick Matthias Alexander defines what makes it special to being human. In the human realm “… its members are in communication with their reason“. I love this wording – to be in communication with – and it is not the other person first – but we, I as much as anybody else, need to communicate with our faculty of reasoning first, before interacting with others; and more generally speaking before interacting with the outside world. This rings true for me and it hurts me when I see that reasoning is not the primary source of guidance. It does not seem to be the prevailing one.
We all need to find the time and the space to make that switch in order to become able to start reasoning. Somehow it is sad for me to admit this, but at the same time it is a good thing because it forces me to act with more humility and kindness towards my partner and towards others in general.
There is another side remark of F. M. Alexander in his chapter «Incorrect Conception» in his second book where he states, that “it is absurd to try to teach a person who is in a more or less agitated or even anxious condition. We must have that calm condition which is characteristic of a person whose reasoning processes are operative.“ For a moment let’s not get hung up on the fact that the situation I described was not in a teaching context, though Alexander refers in his statement to such a context. But even Alexander says half a page before that statement that he himself may make shipwreck against this kind of rock when encountering it in a teaching context.
I believe this is not a problem that only I experience, but we all are confronting this issue from time to time, every now and again and I am genuinely interested how you handle these moments. What “techniques” do you use to find a “calm condition”? I guess you all do have similar experiences. What solutions have you found? I’ld love to hear from you, how you deal with this question and how you act in a similar situations. Share your ideas here! Comments will be moderated in person.
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Now you’ve come across Motion Mastery
™ and it looks like this work is different. As you have read the testimonials here, you see people being enthusiastic about it. And you’re asking me «Hey, why should Motion Mastery be any different?»
Phew…, that’s a fair question and you are not the only one who comes asking. It seems a question that bugs not only you, but in one way or the other most if not all of our students when our roads cross.
Not for everyone, but …
I want to be straight forward with you and simply admit: I have met people for whom Motion Mastery™ was not a good match. The testimonials that you have seen here have been written by people who really dug in with their search for a solution to their movement and tension related issues.
For instance, if you take Katie‘s statement, she had been looking for solutions all over the place, for seven years prior to coming across Motion Mastery™ and had practically given up when we met. And then we both were very lucky – she in the way she describes it here, and me in the way that she was intensely listening, even craving for what I had to say and show, yup.
Trust your experience
There was an intense listening, and there was her openness, which is so necessary for Motion Mastery™ to create the impact it really can have. This has been true for all of the people experiencing success in changing habits and for whom Motion Mastery™ have had the privilege to become their chosen catalyst of change.
At the same time you don’t have to believe anything before you ever meet me (and neither afterwards). But I need to be upfront about this point of openness:
You don’t have to believe anything, you don’t have to put away with your scepticism, but please follow along with and trust your own experience. Without your openness this work cannot “hit home“.
For instance: When I worked with Claire for the first time, she couldn’t tell if there was any difference at all between before and after we worked. Only a fortnight later (!), she realized that she hadn’t had any tension in the back of her neck at all !!! She was open enough to register and ask «hey, wait a second… what’s going on here with me now?» The tension she used to feel in the back of her neck and shoulders was quite painful, and only by having massages by professionals she got relief, though not sustainably — time and again she had to go back to massage.
Please, let us know your ideas below. I’ld appreciate hearing your voice!
I know we have only a short time together here but the great news is: I run a business – Motion Mastery™ – specifically to help more in-depth with changing habits, having fun and improving coordination. You’ll find me here, in the Barbican area, and in Zurich. So if you are fed up of being stuck all the time with the same problem and came across Motion Mastery™ — it is worth giving it a go. If you want more, even though I can’t promise success the very first session around – but give me some five sessions and we are talking…
You want to know more? More information on my Starter Packages you’ll find by clicking on the “In-Person“ package – the IP-package
or by clicking on
If you are on the verge of deciding and keep thinking “… but I still can’t decide“ then let’s sit down and let’s have a cup of tea or coffee together while we meet on skype.
Click here to book your free Clarity Session (30 min)
And if you just want to get on my mailing list, fill in the form to your right (at the top of the right column) and book the free video course. You are very welcome!
Thanks for being curious! I hope to see you some time soon, maybe even in person!
I’ll be back — every fortnight with a new blog post.