Christopher Robin: I’m not going to do Nothing any more.
Pooh: Never again?
Christopher Robin: Well, not so much. They don’t let you.
– The House at Poo Corner, A.A. Milne (1928)
In this fast-paced, media driven, modern society, we all place value on moving fast and getting things done, but do you ever make time to stop? Many of us consider a short nap a luxury, or a one-hour massage once a month to be pampering ourselves. Have you ever gone on vacation and felt that, by the time you were finally able to decompress a bit, the vacation was over? So many of us have been moving and thinking so fast, for so long, that we’ve forgotten entirely what stopping is, why it’s important, and how the heck to do it. In this short talk given at the Institute, Dr. Dimon discusses the need to take time to stop in every-day life. For those of you who do not have experience with psychophysical education or the Alexander Technique, some definitions are noted below, but you don’t need any particular experience to get benefit from this talk, other than living in the modern, developed world.
A Talk on Stopping (Media File)
*Note- the Q&A was cut short, apologies!
letting “the system” quiet down:
this refers to our psychophysical system, which includes the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Neurons fire more often, and more rapidly when we’re in a hyperactive state, and when these neurons fire, they DO things, like activate muscles, or keep our mind spinning on a topic. The idea of stopping includes both stopping an activity and choosing to do nothing, but also quieting down the nervous system and stopping all the unecessary internal activity.
our work: psychophysical education, also see Neurodynamics
microstopping: stopping in the moment before engaging in a single, specific activity, e.g. Microstopping is a part of the inhibition work that we do at the Institute.
inhibition: The most simplistic definition is to stop, or inhibit, a neural response. In this context however, we refer specifically to inhibition as saying no to a habitual response when faced with a stimulus, and instead making a different choice. For example, if the doorbell rings, rather than jump up quickly and rush to the door, one might inhibit that response, and instead take the time needed to react in a more thoughtful way. Toward the end of the above talk, Ted mentions this as different from a more general notion of “stopping” in every-day life.
monkey: standing in a particular position, slightly bent at the knees, hips and ankles. This position is used for a variety of educational purposes