Making yourself a puppet

Making yourself a puppet

Resonant guiding

It’s too easy to move or talk against or past one another, and what I’m discovering, through my Alexander lessons with Michal, is that to be properly receptive to the other you need to trust, to open yourself up to the guidance of touch, of voice, of muscle tones, of all the myriad subtle enkinaesthetic cues. We could think of this as becoming a puppet, but in doing this we must not let ourselves be misled by the metaphor.

Our tendency is to think of a puppet as passive, as a non-responsive body entirely, and quite literally, in the hands of the person controlling the strings or sticks, and subject to their urges and caprice, but that is not the case. The puppet is a material thing which, with its sticks or strings, presents all manner of tensions, resistance, bendings, and yieldings; it is not a nothing in the hands, in relation to the person which guides it. It is a something, presenting visual and kinaesthetic, possibly even auditory, feedback to the guide, altering their neuro-muscular tensions, affective experience, and their actions. It is a reciprocal relationship where puppet and puppeteer are influenced by one another, though only the puppeteer is influenced affectively. This is, then, an experientially entangled enkinaesthetic relationship, just as is becoming a trusting puppet under the tutelage of an Alexander teacher like Michal.

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