This very field of sunflowers was to be the site of our forever house on the farm. Two years after Mike and I veered away from that plan, we find ourselves returning to the city after yet another glorious week-end on the hill. Our Shelter-From-the-Elements is splendid, sitting in all its glory with 360° views of the countryside. The former farmhouse site is now a 5 acre prairie and contains the summer vegetable garden. On preparing the soil for this year’s plantings, Mike discovered the kale had made a surprise return. Kale for dinner!
This off-the-grid structure is the result of a series of unexpected twists and turns. Its very design emerged without one, and consisted solely of occasional scribbles on scraps of paper. Its windows were scavenged from a local Habitat for Humanity Store, and none of them match. The materials were cobbled together from various demolition projects. The cast-iron stove, which kept us cozy warm through our most recent visit, had previously spent several years rusting in a barn.
None of this was part of The Plan. And we had big ones. The house plans are still sitting in a closet, representing untold hours of thought and expense. But….so much of the good life happens when our best-laid plans are not.
For my return readers, you know the blog formula by now…..this is where I ask, “What does this have to do with the Alexander Technique?” Read on—-
A foundational concept of the Technique is what Mr. Alexander termed ‘Inhibition.’ Sigmund Freud’s more well-known use of the word refers to the negative, i.e.–a form of self-repression, as in being ‘inhibited.’ In FM’s usage, he meant the positive practice of not responding to a stimulus in our habitual way. For example, in the face of numerous obstacles, Mike and I could have kept trying to make the build work, but we made the choice to stop. We paused.
As with physical habits of use, it is in The Pause that something new and different can emerge. When we stop compressing our head down onto our spines, the body will often say a happy ‘thank you’ by moving into length and width. This change occurs simply because we stop ‘doing.’ And, in the example of the House-Build-That-Wasn’t, The Pause led to something unexpected. A shelter from the storms. A prairie. A patch of kale. Recipe follows:
Chop up 2 or 3 pieces of bacon and brown them in a skillet.
Pour off the excess fat, add chopped kale, and an olive oil swizzle, if you wish.
Cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Salt/pepper to taste.
Prepare to be delighted.