Touch & 'Sense-itivity'
Cockburn reports on third London event at the Friends
Meeting House in Westminster, presented by Jill Payne.
stimulating and enjoyable event was hosted by the Friends of
the Alexander Technique at the Friend's Meeting House in
London. A mixture of Alexander pupils, teachers and trainees
came along to explore the theme of touch and sensitivity.
lead the workshop, clearly introducing us to a simple game
created by Glen Park to stimulate memory and the senses.
were placed around the room, each covered with a large sheet
of paper, one for each sense: touch, sight, sound, taste,
smell and movement. We were asked to make our way round the
room and remember our favourite sensory experiences and to
‘graffitise’ the paper with the coloured pens that lay on
each table, taking our time to read what others had written,
as these fragments might trigger something in us.
long before the papers were a bright mass of remembered or
imagined sensory experiences. We then divided into groups of
three and took turns to sit in a chair, whilst the other two
stood by and asked us to remember, either aloud or silently,
each of our sensory choices. Without touching the seated
person, the standers-by used their hands as ‘ listening
hands’ as the sensory experiences were remembered and/or
recounted. We were asked to observe whether any changes took
place in the person as they remembered or imagined. During
the feedback session, many thought-provoking comments were
made. Some noticed a connection between the thought and the
use of the person, for example as someone remembered a
movement, it seemed that the spine ‘went up’. Others noticed
that they gained a sense of the individuality of each person
through their hands, that each person ‘felt’ different. It
seemed for many that all the senses were hard to
compartmentalise, that the experiences remembered became
total experiences. Someone commented that although none of
the remembered sensory experiences -people, landscapes,
food, etc. were actually in the room, they were palpable and
that thoughts connected with experiences effect us in a
subtle way. That our thinking effects us is of course a
familiar idea in the Alexander Technique. Also familiar is
the notion of ‘listening’ hands.
Daisy Cockburn 2008