I want to write a book on the Alexander Technique, but I don’t even know how to start. I could start with what I’ve already written, print it out, and organize it in neat piles if my cat allows it. Is that the beginning of a book? I’ll need a cover. I could probably make one out of grocery bags.

But as I think about it I’d be left with 200 non-sequential pages, tons of repetition, no flow, and a cat-ripped, brown paper-bag-cover, with a Fairway logo and grease stains. What should I wear when I get my Pulitzer? I don’t have a suit. Am I getting ahead of myself?

Getting Ahead of Myself–Endgaining

In Alexander Technique terms, I’m exemplifying end-gaining. In fact if you look up end-gaining in an Alexander Technique dictionary, you’ll see my picture. Endgaining is a term often used by Alexander Technique teachers, never used by civilians. (It sounds like end-gaming.) On the physical side end-gaining can lead to poor posture and possibly pain. On the mental side you lose the moment by rushing ahead.

When you end-gain you react too quickly. No real decision is being made; you’re merely acting the way you always have; Re-acting. You’re following well-worn grooves in your brain and nervous system. You’re in a rut. You’re moving too fast but it’s slowing you down. Too much speed can stop you dead in your tracks. It can lead to freezing; preventing you from taking the first step, or the next step, because you’re only thinking about the last step.

What to do, What to don’t. Try A little Alexander Technique.

I’ll use constructive conscious care to come back to the present. I start with a stop–“Inhibition” to Alexander people, and “pause” to civilians–a blank slate to all. I now see that I need to release tension in my body and my mind, and I’ve practiced that. I may do a whispered ah, adding a slight smile. I’m a bit freer to make a decision. I just need to take the next step. “Initiating movement” is a concern of the Alexander Technique that is not restricted to the physical side.  I want to initiate movement toward writing–with ease. At some point I’ll jump in, one word, one sentence at a time.

Mark Josefsberg–Alexander Technique NYC


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