Movement & Poise

Coping Well: The Path to Poise

Being grumpy is one way of approaching a problem, the Alexander Technique offers another way. Photo credit: Steve Ford Elliot

Coping well.  This is what we can do easily when we are feeling well with ourselves, and what the Alexander Technique can teach us.

When I think about well-being I think about being in a frame of mind and state of being where no matter what I am dealing with, no matter how sudden or difficult a situation is, I can cope. Somehow I know I can cope. I may not like what I have to cope with but I am capable of making the best of the situation.

Well-being is a state of self-possession, poise, and grace under fire. It is a way of life that you can definitely learn for yourself. How do we go from being angry, flustered, or sad in the face of challenging situations—whether it be something major, like the loss of a job, or something small like a traffic jam—to a state of grace and poise? According to F.M. Alexander in his teachings, to change anything we have to be aware of it. We can’t change a situation we are not conscious of. Secondly, we have to think differently than is our usual way of thinking. If we don’t change our thinking we cannot expect to get anything new. 

So how can we change the thinking that is causing a problem? 

Stopping. I mean a dead stop. Not a pause that at this stage of the game will be too weak. According to Alexander, we have to see how resistant our thinking habits are. They will go on with a life of their own unless we realty do stop and ask ourselves, Hmmm, this is a tricky situation here, and usually I am very flustered, angry, sullen, unhappy,  etc. when this sort of thing comes up. How can I respond in a better way here and now? How can I refrain from going into my old way of being at this moment? My old way of Coping?

F.M. Alexander called this Reasoning from the Known to the Unknown. This way of using his mind to unravel his problem started him on a path of development and self-possession that he had never had before. It put him on the road toward POISE.