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Do what you love, for longer.

Do what you love, for longer.

At a recent art show in town, the artist was asking about my upcoming presentation, Improve How You Move and he rather perceptively asked, “What do you mean by move here? Is it just physical actions or is it also about what you do up here?” and he pointed to his head.

I smiled and rather excitedly elaborated on how people benefit from getting clarity on both levels, physical and mental, and how those benefits include doing what you love for longer.

I explained that as you think about what you are doing, you can change your actions to become more aligned with what actually needs to happen to get your task done. Then, as your activity involves less tensing, holding of breath, tightening in the shoulders, you actually have more energy and even mental stamina to continue with your activity.


He smiled sheepishly as he mimicked what he does to put paintbrush to canvas and nodded thoughtfully as he moved on.

So yes, by ‘move’ I mean both body and mind.

I mean looking at how you walk, run, sing, speak. The changing relationships of parts to parts, muscles moving bones at joints; the locomotion around, and manipulation of, our world.

And I mean what ‘moves us’. Our thinking, in the form of desires, paradigms held, rules adhered to, decisions, choices.

There is probably nothing more encouraging and pleasing to me than to hear someone interacting with the ideas left to us by F M Alexander (1869-1955). He himself had to solve a ‘physical’ throat condition that was proving to be an insurmountable obstacle to his pursuit of an acting career. His personal investigations and discoveries led to a much larger consideration of human evolution, but it started very, very simply with the desire to improve a problem that showed-up on the physical level.

The most foundational tenet of the work of F M Alexander is that you cannot have a volitional movement without the thinking that creates it. And while this might be news in this specific application, it is not in fact any different to the more general discussion these days about the importance of ‘intention’ in shaping our lives.

Whether it is Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “It is a principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.”

Or Deepak Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, “Intention organizes its own fulfillment”.

This is a principle.

And this principle applies equally to your movements within your own body system.

In Donald Weed’s “What you Think is What you Get”, he offers; “The design of a movement is a thought.” and so where the movements you design may be tiring you unnecessarily, we find a solution in changing how you are designing your movements so that you do less, achieve more and have more energy to spare.


The nature of the brief conversation I had with my artist friend seemed to pique his interest, and clearly left him with something to think about. This in itself has the power to ‘change someone’s mind’, so I hope he is already sitting and standing for longer as he puts brush to canvas.


Stephen R Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Simon&Schuster, p.99

Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Amber-Allen Publishing, p.70

Donald L Weed, What You Think is What You Get, An Introductory Textbook for the study of The Alexander Technique, ITM Publications, p57

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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5 Responses to Do what you love, for longer.

  1. Thank you Emma, I’ve really enjoyed receiving your email today and following the link to this blog. Sorry that being in the Uk means I cannot join you in person this Thursday or Saturday, hope those who do attend enjoy your light xx

    • Thank you, Kim! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I will be over there again in December and will let y’all know my plans 😉

  2. Emma, I know you are coming to our town on March 2 to do a workshop. I live near 100 Mile House, B.C. Canada. I hope to attend that workshop. I conduct our Eclectica Community Choir here (approx. 55 members – men and women age 13 to 83), am a singer and have acted in our 100 Mile Performing Arts productions. I am a retired teacher who has been a Fine Arts specialist (music, visual arts & drama) and a Learning Assistant, Resource Room and elementary classroom teacher. I hope to start teaching again in September as our school district is short of teachers and 2 years of volunteering in my local school (where I used to teach) and starting a choir in that elementary school, has made me realize how much I miss the children. So…I have an active life and am a healthy 68 year old. I know I could use what you have to teach me!

    • What a lovely introduction, Barbara; you indeed sound very active of mind and body! I truly look forward to meeting you next month in 100Mile. Thank you for reading these posts and for your comments. Your community are lucky to have you there!

      • I look forward to meeting you too Emma! And I am the one to feel lucky to be in such a great community. I grew up in Toronto, Ontario so I now love living in a rural area. Music, Art, Drama and Dance are very much alive in our community. I am so glad you are coming!

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