Posted on December 3, 2017 by Bette Chamberlin
Rabbit Hole: the definition from ‘the free dictionary.’
To enter into a situation or begin a process or journey that is particularly strange, problematic, difficult, complex, or chaotic, especially one that becomes increasingly so as it develops or unfolds.
I’m not thinking about the political meaning, used nowadays to describe the current conditions which are some or all of the above.
I’m thinking lately about the parallels between Alice’s adventures (down the rabbit hole) and the process of continual change that we are faced with, including the positive changes we want to make in our dancing.
Change is inevitable even when that change is avoided, yet unavoidable.
Change #1 – Inconvenient, unwanted, yet unquestionably necessary
Lately, I’ve been particularly annoyed by the many traffic detours I’v been forced to endure. If I wanted to get to where I was going, I had to go along with the detour (change). I’m almost positive that, if you drive, you have them too. (Even if you don’t drive yourself, you’ve been effected by them). Alice too was confronted by the sudden upheaval of her fall down the well.
This is an example of unavoidable change. After many days of frustration, I remembered to leave 10 minutes earlier than usual to account for the darned annoyance.
Change #2 – Exploring the benefits of unnecessary change
But what about change that is not essential, avoided because of a certain comfort with the familiar, regardless of whether or not that familiar is working for you anymore. We don’t have to make changes just because we or in many cases, others, have an inkling that we should.
I wrote in my last blog about how I was in my own rabbit hole while learning cuban hip action. Yes, strange,problematic, difficult, complex, resulting in a chaotic brain. And for awhile, the chaos did increase.
The discomfort I experienced, trying to get comfortable with this new movement pattern was discombobulating and frustrating.
My body and mind insisted on figuring it out based on my habitual known cues.
Oh dear. That was not working.
It wasn’t until I stopped seeking a familiar feeling and basically trusted that I’d best let myself be uncomfortable as part of the process, that my whole body started to cooperate.
For the past 15 years, F. M. Alexander’s discovery has enlightened my own kinesthetic discovery and has enabled me to help my students discover their own.
Here are 3 things that you can do right now to help make the changes you want whether it is to feel comfortable in a new ballroom style or movement challenge, adopt healthier eating habits, or stop negative thinking in its tracks.
1. Believe that change is not possible without giving up that familiar comfortable feeling. It is your habit and it’s not going away by keeping it front and center. It will always be there, but give yourself a chance to feel foolish or just plain dumbfounded.
2. Get support from others. Verbalize what you are trying to change and ask for feedback and patience.
3. Be aware of the moment that you are stimulated to react habitually and stop consciously. Give it a moment to flounder. Then act by responding with a different, more efficient (yet wrong feeling!) result.
This is what I can help you with. Making changes for the better can be daunting, but I have been down the rabbit hole and can tell you that it is a fruitful trip if you can open yourself up to curiosity and the unfamiliarity that can come with it.
If you find this intriguing, book a lesson with me, either on zoom.com or if you are in the NY/NJ area at my studio in Montclair, NJ. Please use my contact form below, tell me about yourself and leave your availability. I will respond within 24 hours.