Bravery versus Perfection

There is something about this Ted Talk that resonates with me as I write this…

I too believe that there is so much conditioning that is done on a gender basis and that we are so limited in our thinking as to the role of girl/boy male/female…that it is destroying so many lives of those who feel they don’t want to conform, fit in or subscribe to a certain boxed identity..

And it is NOT abut dreaming big and surpassing expectations.  Happiness and success should be part of everyones’ lives, no matter who they are and where they come from.

I grew up in Ireland and back in the 80’s and 90’s there was still alot of closed mindedness about gender and its role in society…  At least that was my experience.

Now in 2016, there is a notable difference in how parents are raising their children.  Being open minded is almost (and I say almost) the norm. Tolerance of different cultures, languages, races and learning about the world is something that I think has come to positively affect educational systems across the world.  Access to the internet is of course playing a huge role in this evolution.

I know there are ¨nay-sayers¨out there who curse the internet and see it as a society and social killing evil force determined to make us lose out interpersonal skills.. and I can see the danger here, albeit that I don’t think we can turn back the clocks..

One thing’s for sure, evolution is inevitable and we are bound, if not obliged, to roll with it, learn new things, adapt, change and hopefully not suffer too much with those changes..

So when teaching the Alexander Technique here in Mexico City, sometimes I am still surprised at the conversations I am having with women about their apparent roles in families and societies and that they struggle with this regularly as nowadays it is almost impossible for the average family to live on one income alone (much like in Ireland too).. So as a wife and a mother, one needs to also work a full time job and that balance is indeed a HUGE challenge.

SO when I watched this Ted Talk, it struck a chord in me as it speaks about educating both our young girls AND boys! To be BRAVE and to not continue to strive for this so-called and non-existent PERFECTION!  Here! Here!

Watch it and let me know what you think… are we an open enough society for this to even be feasible?

– Louise

 

PS: I’ve also included some quotes that I love from two women who I admire Maya Angelou and Gloria Steinem15-quotes-from-brave-women-to-spark-your-inner-strength-grab-the-world.jpgi-have-met-brave-women-who-are-exploring-the-outer-edge-of-human-possibility-with-no-history-to-quote-1.jpg

 

www.louisephelan.com

 

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Opera studio…a day of learning…

Last Friday I was working all day at the Opera Studio here in Mexico City, where I teach the Alexander Technique.  It was a full, almost 8 hour day today as I attended an audition that my students participated in for a well known Opera Director, after which we had a 2 hour AT group session and then after a short break to grab something to eat, came back to attend and assist in the Acting class where pieces were being reviewed as well as workshopped for upcoming performances..

To say that I was a little tired by the end of the day is an understatement!  However, along with this sense of physical lethargy, I also had the oh-so-familiar feeling of regenerated energy and motivation to know more and plan for future classes and explorations!

I truly love my job!

I feel so incredibly honoured and priveledged to be working with this programme and these very talented young artists.

The day´s session was not too heavy and active as I know it was going to be an intensive enough day.. so we reviewed some of the principles, relating them to their experiences and my observations of the morning audition as well as some mind-body work on the floor in ¨semi-supine¨.

I also gave them a short questionnaire to fill out.  This is something I’ve done for years, especially with long courses and group sessions. I see it as a check in, both for the student as well as for me… a ¨see where we are at¨ moment and a ¨where would like to continue towards¨ review..

It is so helpful to just stop and take stock. Especially when it has to do with something that is relatively, if not completely, new.  We spend hours a week investigating, exploring, discovering and reeducating our bodies and our minds.. why not stop and see how we´re doing!

On the way home I took the forms and had a read over them. It delights me to know that each individual student is having their very own journey with this work, as this is precisely what it is.  No one Alexander Technique experience will be a carbon copy of another…  And it is not something that can be repeated and/or imitated.. It comes from the individual and is essentially all about getting to know oneself better (¨Know thyself¨- Pluto), becoming more consciously aware of ones artistic, movement, vocal expressions and choices and o¡in doing so, allowing for some more space in time to make better choices and to stay connected.

The students all filled out their forms honestly and candidly noting their own self observations, knowledge and discoveries with the technique and how, today, they are defining it for themselves and how it relates to them in their performances and creative development.

It was extremely interesting for me to read these…as it gives me

1. a sense of where we are as a group

2. a sense of where each individually is in their own understanding and application of the technique and

3. ideas for future classes and areas to focus on for the remaining months of the year and programme.

Since this day I have been focussing in on exploring new class plans and activities to focus in on what they have told me they need and want.

As a teacher / educator, I believe this is out job, first and foremost.  To listen!  We are not there to impart through impressing with our curriculum or feeding our own egos by performing to an audience..  This work in teaching for me is about providing tools for exploration, creating a safe, non judgmental environment for learning…remaining curious and above all being humble and never losing sight on the fact that we are ALL students!

And so… I remain curious and open, listening and responding to the questions that come up in classes and continue to grow and improve my teaching.  I love it and I believe that the people who chose to come and learn with me through the Alexander Technique are the ones I will learn the most from!

-Louise

www.louisephelan.com

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