Exactitude in human affairs, in art, and in human effort is hard to come by. If fact I don’t even think it’s desirable. Do you? Many of us just enjoyed a great celebratory meal. Did we clean our plates? If so, did we take in the exact number of heat units to fuel our day’s activity, a little less, or a lot more. For most of us it was the latter.
In human effort it’s the same. Who exerts the exact amount of effort to lift a tool, a fork, or a child? We’re almost always doing too much and very seldom too little. What about the way we wear our heads atop our spines. If you’re like me, your tendency is to pull your head back and down on the spine. It creates rigidity throughout your system. Stop a moment. Breathe. You might be able to feel that fixation right now. I certainly can. It is costly, very, contributing to the back pain that 95% of us suffer in any given year. We can all do better.
Take a look at this question mark: “?” It has something to tell you. Disregard the dot at the bottom. Take a look at its small vertical, its curvilinear turn to the back, its up, around, its forward, and its final downward wink, its tendency to begin all over again. Now imagine those directions—all at once—up, back, around, and forward, and its finishing wink, all within and around your atlanto-occipital joint.
That joint is located at the very top of your spine, your first cervical vertebra, approximately between the holes of your ears and equidistant between them. Imagine the whole of the movement. Pulse it like a light switch…on, off, on, off. Expand that pulse concentrically to include your entire head, pulse—on, off, on—concentric to its source around the atlanto-occiptal joint. Free your neck and let it stay back.
What is this about? It’s a retelling of F. M. Alexander’s directions, and he asked us all to do that very thing. I’m embracing that retelling, those directions, right now—a little up, a curvilinear turn to the back, another up, around, and forward, with a final downward wink, a tendency to begin all over again. I’m embracing it and I’ve gotta confess, I’m loving it. Please let me know how it works for you.