On a recent trip our hotel shower drain backed up and smelled like sewage. Very unromantic. When we told the hotel clerk the situation, he upgraded us to an executive suite. Which smelled like smoke and liquor. There was very bright light coming through the poorly fitting drapes, so that we couldn’t tell when it was day or night.
Not an ideal lovebird’s nest. I called the hotel manager and asked for another room and he told me that it was the last room available in the hotel.
Neither my partner Joe nor I got upset - it was a situation that we couldn’t control if we didn’t want to change hotels at 11:30 pm. At breakfast the next morning, Joe said, “I really like the way you handled that. You didn’t get upset. We dealt with the problem and when we got the 2nd room, you still didn’t get upset.”
One of the important skills you learn with the Alexander Technique is to choose your reactions, both in thought and habit.
It’s easy to wear your partner out if you have a habit of inappropriate actions and reactions. Keeping your perspective can often be difficult, especially if you have a habit of blowing things up. So how can you begin changing a habit of taking your brain into an unproductive zone?
1. Notice your foremost thought about the situation, and replace it with a more realistic one or a more positive one. One thought that can bring you back to earth:
“This is an unpleasant situation, but it’s not the end of the world.”
2. Pause before you speak. Notice where you are holding tension. Noticing a habit is the first step to changing a habit.
Most people hold tension in their jaws and around the mouth. Do you purse your lips or clench your jaw?
3. Direct yourself into expansion.
Use the standard directions, or use
your personalized directions that you’ve learned in Alexander Technique lessons with me.
The standard directions: "I allow the neck to be free, so that my head may balance delicately at the top of my spine, so my whole torso may lengthen and widen."
4. Breath is a major factor for interrupting and changing habits, so
understand your breathing patterns.
It’s worth taking the time to ask yourself how your actions and reactions affect your relationship. I know that a thoughtful, calm approach helps keep our relationship steady. If I were to make a big deal out of things, that would stress Joe out in a negative way. More importantly, it’d stir me up in an unproductive chain of thoughts and habits.
Of course, I am not perfect and sometimes I overreact, but my intent is to make our relationship as easeful as possible by practicing the habits I've shared with you. That keeps the chemistry cooking.
Talk to me
- Do you modify your behavior to make things easier between you and your partner (of course you do!)? How, when, where...?
- Or, do you wish your partner would modify his or her responses more so that you can have more fun and there's better communication between you?