A man on Bermondsey Street invited us to find out more about the Alexander Technique.
He told us we had lost the ability to balance, could not sit up and down as effortlessly as we could when we were four years old, and lacked co-ordination in everything we did. That we were carrying hefty bags might have been something to do with it, but the man on Bermondsey Street seemed to discount the heft of our bags. Even when I threw one of them to the floor.
Our problems, that we were not aware of until we’d walked down Bermondsey Street oblivious to our unbalanced swagger were, he told us between touching, in an over-familiar manner, our respective heads, necks and hips, because we were caught up in the rat race.
We were not. We were walking down Bermondsey Street looking at nice things, picking nice things up, holding nice things, touching nice things and generally marveling at nice things. The rat race was far from our thoughts and was not impinging on our walking, our balance or our search for nice things to handle.
But, the man on Bermondsey Street told us, if we were four year olds, we’d be marveling at nice things in a much more effortless manner. We would be able to run across to a lamp post, five metres away on the pavement across the road, as if we didn’t care.
We didn’t care. The road was closed to traffic, for one thing. But, unabashed and unwilling to take on board our indifference lest he get caught up in the rat race that he assumed we were caught up in but weren’t, the man on Bermondsey Street demonstrated how to run across to the lamp post, dance around it, and come back to where we started. And then insisted on telling us that we were suffering back pain, muscle tension and stiffness, poor posture and breathing problems.
And, thus, we are now armed with a powerful tool for personal development, self-awareness, mindfulness and learning new skills. We are in touch with our four year old selves. And can walk down the street not actually looking at, or touching, anything, just in case an adult tells us off for doing so, or attempts to correct our posture.