The turnings of the year are times that I relish for reflection. Some people make resolutions, some don’t, but I have a few words to toss into the fray about how we approach our intentions to change…
“I Resolve.” To me, this wording has a head-strong feeling about it. To make a change by will-power alone. And it’s true: our wills are immensely powerful. But there is a place where our habits meet our will-power and it can start to look like tug-of-war between two evenly matched teams… or maybe our habits have been practicing longer and are just that teeny bit stronger. So we leave the sink full of dishes, or don’t exercise, or we do whatever it is that we’ve resolved to change.
I love this quote from Viktor Frankl (1905-1997): “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” It is when we give ourselves space – physical, mental, spiritual space – that we have power. The power comes not from striving and straining toward the goal. The power comes not from pushing and denigrating ourselves when we fail. This type of stress just doesn’t help! The power comes from pausing, making space and taking time where we thought there wasn’t any, freeing up our selves to release our power into the decisions we make.
For me, the Alexander Technique has been an invaluable tool in this process of releasing into change. I have found, personally and professionally, that the possibility afforded by allowing the process (rather than striving toward the goal) is much richer than the goal I had in mind to begin with! I can open to these possibilities as they unfold, and then make conscious choices about how to proceed.
There is so much ahead of all of us in the new year! I will be here, doing my best to release with mindful and joyful energy into the possibilities around me. Stay tuned! I have a newsletter – you can sign up right over there in the side-bar – and a facebook page you can follow if you’d like to be notified when something new happens. I anticipate an article series on Alexander Technique and the Choral Musician as I look forward to some great opportunities in store throughout the year.
Happy New Year, friends! I look forward to seeing what will be possible for you, too!
(This article was originally titled ‘On Resolutions, Habits, Change, and Possibility,’ and was posted on January 1, 2015).