New Eyes

 

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust)

By Stella Weigel

I recently attended the Alexander Technique Workshops International in Tuscany, organized by Michael Frederick.  I had not attended since 2007, the summer after I began my lessons, and I knew this would be an entirely different experience.  The place had not changed (I had even been given the same room), yet everywhere I looked I was reminded of the changes I had made within myself.  Alexander’s comment that “as soon as you feel you have got it, toss it away and start again” came to mind and seemed particularly appropriate.  Right then, I made a wish that my eyes would remain open to the possibility of change. 

 

I attended two sessions about vision and the Alexander Technique, which introduced some basic exercises from the Bates Method.  One of these exercises was palming, which is done by closing the eyes and covering the face with the palms of the hands to allow release of the muscles of the eyes.   Another exercise was called sunning, facing the sunshine with closed eyes to allow the warmth to surround the retina.   After I had palmed and sunned a couple of times, I was struck that an orange glow flooded my closed eyes rather than darkness.

We covered blinking.  We explored to find out if we could allow our eyes to move freely, instead of fixing them.  We also worked with our peripheral vision by not concentrating on one specific thing, but seeing the wider picture and allowing this to come to us rather than us going out to it.  We all tend to “look” (that is, strain) far too much.  In general, our eyes need to release, see and remain open to exploration; particularly in light of the fact that the optic nerve links the eye to the brain.

To this day I remember looking out across the olive groves and vineyards of Chianti in 2006, the first time I attended the Workshop in Tuscany, and the conscious wish that I would be able to keep my eyes open to allow the possibility of change.  Little could have I realized then that I would acquire a new pair of eyes with which to see this wonderful world.  Thank you Michael, for helping me to see again!

Guest Blogger, Stella Weigel, is a fifth term Alexander Technique student at The Constructive Teaching Centre, London, the world’s oldest and largest Alexander Technique training school.  She had Alexander Technique lessons from 2006-2009 before embarking on her training in April 2009.  She lives in the city of London.

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