What do puppets, cramps and driving have in common?
Did you know I’m a Puppeteer? I work with small hand puppets in my creative engagement work in aged care (not a lot of this happening during COVID 🙁) and also I’m so lucky to work with large scale illuminated puppets when asked by the wonderful company Creative Legends.
The story I would like to share with you is about my last puppetry gig.
It was a council-led local festival up near Lake Macquarie with kites, kids, boats, and was much, much bigger than they expected; the community came out to play!
I got to work for most of the roving improvisational performance with a large gorgeous pelican puppet.
It tried to land on children’s heads, it sang for fish, it nibbled at kid’s fingers saying ‘yum yum fish fingers!’ The day was fabulous! You know it is working well when the audience speaks directly to the
puppet & not to the puppeteer. There were children picking up leaves and offering them as fish – they entered into the creative play. As an artist, this puts me into a flow state of being super aware and present. The creativity flows, Penelope Pelican spontaneously sang songs and had so much fun!
I used all my performance training and also my BodyMinded Alexander Technique training to achieve my flow state. Manipulating and moving this puppet on a long rod requires very good spatial awareness and eyes in the back of my head!
However, the real story begins after all this fun was over when I realised how tired I was. Then it was a long-ish drive back to St Leonards where Greg was teaching a Sunday workshop – perhaps some of you were there?
Once driving my feet started to cramp – oh no!
Then the traffic was heavy and slow – going about 50 in a 110 zone – oh no!
I was also a little late and Greg would be waiting – oh no!
My stress level went up.
Should I stop? I attempted to push through, wiggling my feet as best I could to relieve the pressure and pain. The next car we get BTW is going to be an automatic!
Then I caught myself. I saw I was allowing the whirlwind to lead to my grumpy unhappy place, a place I didn’t want to be.
I used my BodyMinded thinking and asked for more ease, gentleness, and patience!
I decided not to be robbed of the wonderful memories of the magic I had created with children and adults during the gig. I replayed some of the moments in my mind. I was so grateful for my health and ability to be able to do the work, and also so grateful for the artistic director of the company for asking me to be one of his puppeteers.
My cramping subsided, I was easier in the heavy traffic, I also felt a smile and more lightness.
I was still tired, however able to be with that carefully and safely in getting back to St Leonards. Luckily Greg drove to the mountains!
Has this type of thing happened to you? The world events are real, the traffic, you’re late, you have a headache or a cramp – it is so easy to be sucked in, isn’t it? What I find is that BodyMinded Alexander Technique gives me the ‘what to do’ in a mindful way to be more comfortable… even in the madness of life. Of course, the tricky part is realising what is happening and making a u-turn towards your more constructive self.
I’ve had years of lessons, workshops, and practice and I still am surprised how deeply I can go into my grumpy unhappy place! So be gentle with yourself if you are new to BodyMinded thinking, gentle and yet tenacious about wanting the best for yourself.
I hope my experience resonates for you. I want to encourage you to keep applying your BodyMinded thinking to your everyday experiences.
Looks like the second semester may need to begin with all online? For the Sydney classes, we will wait and see what NSW Health permits. You can still learn with us – ZOOM is amazing, allowing you to be supported via a different medium. If you would like to know more about starting, re-engaging, or topping up your BodyMinded skills please be in touch. You can book 20 minutes with Greg to find out more, https://sydneyalexandertechnique.as.me/?appointmentType=15772167.
Thanks for reading and many thanks for the emails you send sharing your experiences. I read and cherish each of them. It does take me a while to get back to everyone.