Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh My!

The Toddler Fully Present at the Aquarium

We are at the zoo. Three generations: a two-year old, a 30-something, and a 60-year-old.  In rapt attention at the glass enclosure wall, we watch two tiger cubs tumbling over each other in the morning sunshine. The moment shimmers with beauty and our amazement. And then the two-year-old says, ‘But I want to see the apes!’ His mama responds, “Yes, we will, but we are here now, with the tigers.’

What a vignette for an illustration of end-gaining, a term Mr. Alexander used to describe the habit of striving to arrive at the end-goal, get to the next place, satisfy our desires and wishes, complete our task. In attempting to arrive at the ‘end,’ we lose ourselves and the present moment.

This end-gaining habit starts early in life. Of course. We are born with a mind, and a healthy toddler has an active one. And so begins the life-long learning of mind/body integration. My body is here; my mind is there. Now what?

Follow the coaching of this child’s mother, and you will be on your way. Acknowledge that, yes, you would like to be done, you would prefer to be at the next place, you are getting just a little bit ahead of yourself. And then, notice where your body is in that very moment, and return to NOW.

That’s a primary practice of the Alexander Technique, so useful for the arts, for self-care, for the living of life itself. It also comes in handy at the zoo—




3 thoughts on “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh My!

  1. petry37 October 19, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Good one!

    Several of my students commented on liking your blog when we checked in from last two weeks!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jamie Massa October 19, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    This is a helpful reminder to practice being in the moment. Thanks, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

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