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International Congress, Chicago 2018

12 Oct 2018 2:48 PM | Anonymous

The Alexander Congress: Chicago August 2018

Just a Thought.

I arrived in Chicago late evening in a taxi from the airport full of trepidation and nervousness but tinged with excitement. This was my first visit to Chicago and my first Alexander Congress. Having two terms of my training left to complete I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right decision as to whether I was ready for a full week with a high number of qualified Alexander teachers. How wrong was I:

Loyola Halls.

The Loyola campus perched on the edge of Lake Michigan was wonderfully placed for this congress. The lecture and training rooms were excellent as was the hospitality and food. As a swimmer I was aching to swim in the Lake at some point but that would come.

My Highlights:

The first workshop that I attended on the Monday morning delivered by Tommy Thompson settled all my nerves within about half an hour. His opening discussion was to ask us about our narrative, how we were feeling at that moment and if there was any anxiousness within us.

He didn’t ask us about the anxiousness he just asked us to pair up and for one person to hold the other person’s hand and to give them unconditional support regarding their current emotional state for a couple of minutes. He said the fact that we didn’t know what they are anxious about did not matter, it was just to give them unconditional support, as an Alexander teacher would give any of their students. This simple initial work set the scene for two wonderful training workshops with Tommy and also for the week.

Another comment that will stay with me from Tommy was that as an Alexander teacher we can give people an experience of their ‘potential’. The emphasis was on ‘their’ potential not the teachers. He added “we can give them no more and we should give them no less”.

Another workshop was ‘Say Yes’ not ‘No’. Inhibition is ‘just a thought’ why not be a ‘yes’ thought. To stop, have the ‘thought’ and then say yes but in a positive uplifting light.

Great speakers; from an actor talking about his own Alexander Technique lessons that we could all relate with, to a Buddhist priest talking about ‘Edge States’ regarding compassion.

Chicago City Centre was great, I went up the Sears Tower; second tallest building in the world over 400m high. I went on a boat trip to see Chicago’s architecture and the skyline from Lake Michigan with over 100 other Congress attendees, a fantastic experience. Having lunch in the City with colleagues and getting lost whist trying to find a restaurant!!! I was the guide!!!

Meeting authors of books I have read. Having a training session from Missy Vineyard on emotional feelings and wordage. Work exchange with teachers and receiving their guidance and support. Meeting people and making new friends from across the world. And yes swimming in Lake Michigan practising the Shaw method with a new friend from Finland. Having a beer in the college bar with another new friend from Washington. 

Meeting a fellow construction specialist from Chicago and discussing the differences between US and UK work culture debating on how the Technique could be a benefit. Work exchange on a lady from Chicago realising that this is for real.

Dancing with a mob of Alexander Technique infused people on the last night, dance floor packed from virtually the initial song to the last. Listening to wonderful music from very special talented people.

So what did the congress do for me? It was an uplifting week, full of generous and positive people and in the madness of current affairs it was ‘time out’ full of positive and upward thinking people. It has given me a new confidence in not only the Technique but how I fit within it. A wonderful week, if I could book for Berlin tomorrow I would. Just a thought.

Paul Cano-Lopez Aug 2018

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