The foundation of Alexander Technique is inhibition — the ability to stop doing things that hurt me so that I can explore new choices that might help me.
In my training, this might be some humble choices about how I get in and out of a chair or how much I tighten my neck and face when I speak publicly or just my ability to not talk about hot-button issues when I’m exchanging work with somebody.
This has been good for me. I’ve gone through my life aware to varying degrees of how easily I can go off the rails and hurt myself and those around me.
I want to share one classic example. On the Pacific Coast Highway, I was driving towards Santa Barbara from Los Angeles around 7 a.m. one Sunday. I pulled into the left lane, the lane of oncoming traffic, to pass and then for some reason, I just stayed in that lane.
Off in the distance, a car was heading towards me but I was not cognizant that I was in his lane.
My girlfriend of the time tapped the dashboard and said pull over now. I zagged back onto my lane and all was well.
Here’s another example of my wildness. A few hours after I heard about the Friday bombing in Oslo, I posted on my Facebook (since removed) a New York Times link to the story with its account of an Islamic group claiming responsibility. “Islam is the religion of peace,” I wrote.
Well, it turns out that the terrorist attack was by a Christian who hated Islam.
I was reckless. I jumped the gun. I didn’t practice inhibition.
When I heard of the bombing and the shootings, I immediately suspected Islamic terrorists.
When I was a kid, I got bullied. I had my head held underwater for 10-15 seconds. It was frightening.
I resolved as a kid that I would learn ways to defend myself.
Now that I am 45-years old, I realize that I use my blog to defend myself. If some rabbi tries to bully me, I blog about it.
At times, however, I’ve acted like a bully with my blog. I thought I was the good guy but I was the jerk.
When I posted that short hair on women looks dykey, one lesbian friend of mine told me that she felt hurt.
I guess I choose expressing myself over the feelings of my readers.
I don’t mind that some people fear me because of my blog. I know that when I respect somebody, it always contains an element of fear. If I have no fear of somebody, it means I don’t respect him.
I like it when my writing is powerful and I like it when people treat me carefully as a respect. It is common in Orthodox Judaism for Jews to go around and read the riot act to other Jews, accusing them of not being observant enough. This rarely happens to me. People don’t go off on me. They generally speak to me with care. I like that.
In many ways, I have created my ideal life. I have room to write daily on what I believe and what I see in the world that interests me. Many people, by contrast, go through life deeply afraid. They’re afraid of rocking the boat at home or the wife will leave or she’ll yell or just make his life a living hell. They’re afraid of speaking out in their community for fear of being shunned. They’re afraid of speaking out at work in case they get fired.
I don’t want to go through life burdened by such fears.