A friend posted something on Facebook last week about a children’s book that I know I read over and over again as a child—Watty Piper’s 1930 story, The Little Engine That Could. The story is about some railcars who need an engine to pull them over the mountain. Several engines, for differing reasons, choose not to help. Just as they are about to give up, the little blue engine, who happens to be a “she” engine, arrives and, even though she isn’t sure she can do it, agrees to help. That is when the “I think I can” rhythm of her effort begins. Ultimately, she succeeds and the chant turns to “I thought I could--- I thought I could---
The themes of the book made me smile in recognition of how much some of the story could be recognizable in my beliefs today. One of my fancier Alexander Technique terms is “psychophysical history.” We all have a psychophysical history that creates our present day behavior. Much of that history is very helpful—and when we run into an old idea that we are interested in updating, , a little chant of “I think I can I think I can” can be a great companion.