Popping your Knuckles and other Unconscious Habits

While traveling last month and taking various forms of public transportation which required me to share a seat with other travelers, I became curious about unconscious habits. Do we all have unconscious habits that occur when we are otherwise focused; for instance, while reading or watching a movie?  And because we are so drawn into the entertainment through our eyes, and our hands being free; that we do some unconscious movement with our hand.   I experienced on these trips the following unconscious habits as nail biting, knuckle cracking or popping and nose picking, all being done very unconsciously as the person was reading and/or watching something on their ipad or iPhone. It was very distracting to me, that in one instance I asked to be moved to another seat. So I thought, what habits do I have? We really can’t see ourselves, and the habit isn’t in our awareness. So I decided to watch a movie on my ipad so I could really become aware of what I do, it was so hard since I was so drawn into the story. I had to divide my attention between two things, and probably more if I heard a noise or my phone rang. WOW, could I do it?   This is what FM Alexander explored 103 years ago, when he lost his voice when performing. When he watched in the mirror that he tightened his neck, shoulders and ribs, he knew that tension made his voice scratchy and hoarse. However he wasn’t aware at all of the bracing and tightening he was doing “unconsciously”. He realized that we do have a choice on how we use our attention. What is our body doing, what are we thinking, what is around us, and then to practice being attentive to your self and your surroundings. This new way of being allows you to change the unconscious habits that may be affecting your voice, breathing, joint pain. My habit? I am still exploring, and I know there is one, I am finding that what I think I am doing isn’t necessarily what I AM DOING! Better pull out a mirror, and try Mr. Alexander’s way of seeing himself and find out what i can’t sense in myself.  To be continued….      

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