Artwork by Rosemary Meza-Despias

As part of my retreat, today we have come to Santa Fe, out of the wide open countryside to the picturesque city. I am practicing a couple things. One is paying attention to myself and what I am doing amid the greater stimuli in an urban area. It’s one thing when you’re off at a retreat in the middle of nowhere to work on yourself, and so easy to get distracted and forget about yourself when you’re back to regular life. It’s great practice.

I’m also practicing seeing the beauty in people who walk by. Doing this with people I don’t know takes some practice for me because I am used to seeing what I can help people with. Where they could ease up a bit, how they could make life easier on themselves, how they could organize themselves better to do what they are doing more easily or more efficiently. Because as an Alexander Technique teacher that is what I am trained to do. I see dysfunctional and unhelpful movement and postural patterns that most people don’t see.

But my teacher Bruce is encouraging us to focus on beauty. So I’m learning to look at people with more of a painter’s eye. And from there empathizing with them and how they are using their whole body, and from there seeing how I would help them. It’s a shift in perspective. It’s perfect for non-doing, one of the principles of the Alexander Technique. We sat in the plaza and watched people walk by, each in their own beautifully unique way. We watched a group of people who seemed to have some hardship in their lives and possibly no home of their own, and I could see the beauty in their human bodies and in the way they related with each other.

And what is the point of helping people with my hands and language? Well, it helps people to get their whole self working for them instead of against them. It helps people to get unstuck — to figure out when habits they’re not even aware of are not serving them well and how to change them. To flow. And Alexander Technique offers ways in through the body and through language and ideas, helping you to realize that where it seemed like there was just one option, or none at all, you have choice in how you use your body, think, feel, and relate to the world.

Wishing you a view through beauty-tinged lenses,