We each have a personal narrative, which is our attachment to the story we ascribe to ourselves and to others, and it is completely enmeshed in who we are and how we live. At night we sleep with our story and we awaken in the morning to our story; to the story of our life which on some level begins at conception. For then our journey begins, our identity awaits us, our story begins. We don’t go to sleep or wake up and live through our day with our ‘use’ alone. If one does yoga first thing in the morning, one does so in a way that conforms to one’s personal narrative. And one’s ‘use’ reflects their attachment to their narrative. I submit It is the attachment to personal narrative that we are fundamentally changing when we change our ‘use’. Otherwise, we are just getting better at being the person we’ve been. And there is certainly value in this. The dancer moves more freely; however, the thief might possibly become a better thief. Therefore, and perhaps additionally if we really want to explore the mystery of ourselves, and encounter who we might actually be capable of being, we need to shift the personal narrative of who we feel we need to be at a given moment, and within the context of that moment, withhold definition.
We can imagine a ‘train of change’, blowing it’s whistle as your signal to get on board. The train stops at every station but only for a moment. If you tightly hold onto a fixed way of being, thinking, feeling, or perceiving, then as the train approaches one can refuse to get on board. You can watch the train go by, or you can get on the train. The train goes on without you. The ongoing present moves without you. Remember, the moment is a movement. And the “present” is your choice to belong to that moment and to go where the road takes you. And all change takes place in the ongoing present: in the space between things, between stimulus and response. You were given a ticket to ride at the moment of birth. You can remain defined by attachment to your story as you wish to be and stand alone on the platform or step on board the ‘train of change’.
In this workshop, as teachers and trainees, we will explore the value of viewing Alexander’s concept of ‘Use’ as a reflection of one’s attachment to their personal narrative, then how in doing so we might provide a more meaningful means for lasting change for our students. I welcome all of you who might attend.
About Tommy Thompson
For the past 47 years Tommy has taught and applied the Alexander principles and concepts and has guided thousands towards a life well lived more to their satisfaction. This list includes Alexander teachers and trainees, professional and Olympic athletes, dressage riders, scientists, physicians, corporate and university professionals, musicians, dancers, actors, children, trauma victims, the sexually abused, and those with life threatening disease and the disabled to a more fulfilling and meaningfully satisfying life. He currently has an active in-person and online teaching practice and taught on 30 teacher training courses in the USA, Europe, the UK, Netherlands ,and Asia. He has given well over 1000 workshops internationally for Alexander teachers, teacher trainees and the general public in 16 countries including Ireland, France, Israel. Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Spain, England, the USA, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Canada, and served as special assistant to the 1976 Olympic USA Heavyweight Rowing Crew. Tommy served on the faculty at Harvard University for 12 years where he taught the Technique to graduate students enrolled in the Institute for Advanced Theater Training, Harvard University/Moscow Art Theater and the American Repertory Theater. He is founder and Director of the Alexander Technique Center at Cambridge, where he has been training Alexander teachers since 1983. The Center was awarded The Best of Cambridge in Alternative and Holistic Health, by the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A former Assistant Professor of Drama and Managing Director of Tufts Arena Theater at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, Tommy has acted and directed over 200 theater productions, working, acting or directing with such notable artists as Tennessee Williams in a revival of Eccentricities of a Nightingale (1977), and Michael Douglas, actor/producer and two time Academy Award Oscar winner.
Tommy is co-founder, charter member, and was inaugural Chair of Alexander Technique International (ATI). His contributions to ATI earned him the ATI Lifetime Membership Award. He is also an Honorary Member of ATI France (ATIF), the Irish Society of Alexander Technique Teachers (ISATT), a teaching member of the Japan Alexander Technique Association (JATA), and is Associate Director of Body Chance’s Japanese Alexander Teacher Education Program in Tokyo and Osaka.
Along with Richard A. Brown and Helen Rumsey Jones, wife of Frank Pierce Jones, Tommy co-founded the Alexander Technique Association of New England (ATA) in 1982 and the Frank Pierce Jones Archives and the F. Matthias Alexander Archives, initially housed in the Wessell Library at Tufts University. He was ATA’s director for six years. He is author of Touching Presence (with Rachel Prabhakar) and co-author of Scientific and Humanistic Contributions of Frank Pierce Jones. He has contributed numerous papers on the Alexander Technique, Tai Chi, and theater to Alexander and theater journals, periodicals, martial arts journals and newsletters. Tommy is currently writing another book, ‘An Awakened Life: Evolution of an Alexander Teacher and a revised edition of Touching Presence, translated recently in Japanese and French, with Korean and Spanish translations in-progress.
No newcomer to the Alexander Congresses, Tommy presented papers on his teacher, Dr Frank Pierce Jones at both the first and second International Congresses at Stoney Brook, NY and in Brighton, England and was one of the Second Generation teachers invited to give master classes at the Third International Congress in Engelberg, Switzerland, and has consistently given Continuous Learning classes at the Congresses since their inception. In 2016, along with Debi Adams and Bob Lada, he co-founded ‘In the Company of Support’ an annual Summer Retreat for advanced study in the Alexander work for teachers, trainees and the invited public. Each summer teachers and guest presenters from the Alexander community and in the Arts , Humanities and Science worldwide are invited to teach and participate.
At the onset of the Pandemic, Tommy launched ‘The Gift Of Our Understanding’ a series of online Zoom classes based on his then recently published book ‘Touching Presence,’ granting to those participants who completed the course a ‘Career and Life Enhancement Advanced Study Certificate’ from the Alexander Technique Center at Cambridge. The course continues and now extends beyond the scope of his book into an in depth exploration of how to apply the Alexander principles and concepts to the ever evolving and delightfully surprising evolution of your life. Tommy continues to teach privately in Cambridge, Massachusetts, both in person and online. And, post pandemic he continues to travel and teach in numerous countries.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.easeofbeing.com Summer Retreat: www.easeofbeingretreat.com
See also: Tommy Thompson – Presenter Detail Page
Tue 23 & Wed 24 (Session 1)
Fri 26 & Sat 27 (Session 2)
9-11h & 15-17h (Session 1)
15-17h & 9-11h (Session 2)
Room not yet assigned
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