At the center of every use of the Alexander Technique is conscious freedom – in Alexander’s words, a “wish you carry with you through the activity”. As you do what you are doing – taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of autumn leaves, sitting in a chair to write an email, swinging a golf club, or playing the cello – this wish cooperates with a truth of our selves – our “all-doing-ability”. What I mean by “all-doing-ability” is the freedom to choose the how and the what of our daily lives and change course at any moment.
(You do need to have the skills for what you choose – I might want to play a cello, but I have very little practiced knowledge of that activity – in that case, “all-doing-ability” contributes to my freedom to learn as well as to the quality of how I learn.)
“All-doing-ability” is a companion to every moment in time – concurrent with our lives, inviting our natural way of behaving – whatever the amount of effort required. It is the center of the process, the heart of how the Alexander Technique contributes value to our days.
When the autumn leaves left the tree branches, they had no choice about how they fell to the ground. Most of the time, humans do have freedom. If we fell out of a tree, our choice would be about organizing how we responded to the fall – gravity would still bring us to the ground.
This freedom to choose is part of our birthright. Someone on the University of Washington campus yesterday chose to exercise their “all-doing-ability” to create something beautiful with the fallen leaves. I don’t know who it was – its relationship to the Alexander Technique their artful moment serves as a reminder that choice is part of our natural behavior. Whoever made this spiral chose to spend part of the day in this task, creating a surprise for strangers. The wish of the Alexander Technique consciously cooperates with our ability to choose that in this case, created a beautiful spiral.