I decided to write this little story having been so saddened to see the high levels of tension that children, young people and adults are experiencing on a daily basis. More on Education>>
I teach the Alexander Technique in a variety of settings – music schools, colleges and private practice and meet human beings of different ages and backgrounds but who all have a very common factor – the desire to ‘get it right’ at all cost. This desire creates a lack of awareness of themselves and what they are doing with themselves in any given activity, they are not present but are striving for the end result and to ‘get it right’. What’s wrong with that we may ask. Well tension not only affects our muscles and bones, it also affects our nervous system and our ability to think clearly, it prevents us from enjoying the moment and a well coordinated self that moves easily and has the conscious awareness to make the best choices rather than a panic stricken grab to get it right. This tension state causes stress and anxiety which is rapidly increasing in today’s society.
Storytelling is an age old tradition that we not only enjoy as children but as adults too. Stories seem to stay with us much longer than information forced upon us. The story of The Journey can therefore be used to communicate some of these ideas.
The Journey is a story about two very different characters, Maybell and Fangio, setting out on a journey to see the Master Peacekeeper where an unknown reward awaits them.
Fangio is quite a tense character, always striving to be the best, to get it right and afraid of making mistakes. Maybell is more relaxed, has time for others, is prepared to take a risk and is curious of the world around her.The story charts their very different experiences along the way.
Suitable for everyone but especially good to read together with children and grandchildren or for teachers/carers to read to children and young people. For younger children the reader can simplify the text as the illustrations carry the story along.
The fear of making mistakes has a crippling effect on our ability to learn and to enjoy learning. My daughter Rosa who did the illustrations told me some time ago that when creating, designing and puppet making she often makes ‘mistakes’ but these mistakes prove to be inspiring rather than ruining, and she has often produced pieces purely from these ‘mistakes’ and which have also given her new ways, means and ideas for doing things.
The Journey can be a useful opportunity/resource for teachers in schools and anyone working with children, as a project or subject areas taken at random, to provide opportunities for discussion and activities relating to the story. Parents, guardians and carers will find opportunities for conversation, shared activities and awareness.
Maxine Hope RMN, MBSR: “I read this story to my grandchildren (boys aged 5 and 8) and also at work to 14-16 year olds in my role as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse and Mindfulness Teacher. The Journey is a thoughtful approach to invite children and adults into mindful awareness. A great experience of reading together and opening conversation, recognising themselves in the characters and noticing the differences. Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly enjoyed.”
Sue Flemming MSTAT, Chair of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique: “Enjoyable and heartwarming, a wonderful way of engaging between and across generations. A welcome addition to literature on the Alexander Technique. We can all learn from it.”
Resources for Learning
For anyone interested in some ideas for health and well-being which include topics for discussion, movement, games and creativity, please have a look at The Journey - Ideas for Learning PDF>>. These ideas can be used in relation to the story or just used in general.
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ANNE WHITEHEAD MSTAT