My Alexander Technique Teacher (and friend): George Lister
Fortunately, on a few occasions in my life, I have had the benefit of working closely with what I would consider outstanding, exceptional teachers.
Of those I have encoumtered, George Lister "takes the cake".
George is a living example of what the Alexander Technique is to me (also known as the "inhibitory process").
In the 8 years I have known him, I have been astonished by his clarity and ability to adhere to Alexander's principles (as outlined in F.M.'s 4 books).
George is one of the most kind, generous and genuine human beings I have ever known.
I grew to know him, as I do now, not only from our our lessons together over the last 8 years, but through the shared rides between San Francisco and Redwood City that he generously offered me during my training.
He never asked anything in return and always waited paitently for me when I was stuck in traffic and arrived late.
If I had to offer my greatest compliment to George, it would be that he has integrity.
He is uncompromising in upholding the principles of the Alexander Technique in the training course he runs at NCCAT (which is an extension of his own life and way of being).
I didn't have a clear idea of this until we made a class trip to London to the Constructive Teaching Centre where I realized that George's teaching and training course are both based on his sense of what NOT to do (more than what TO do).
I have been with George on good days and bad days: the death of his beloved German Shepard "Mars", his excitement when finding his new dog pal "Max", angry days, sad days, happy days, laughter, jokes, etc.
He is not perfect or super-human, just simply human with as much openness and honesty about himself as he can muster in a given moment.
He showed me it is OK not to be perfect and to really enjoy it.
It is through George's example of being himself that I have found my way "back home" to my simple self, underneath all the "muck" I placed there unknowingly.
A little secret that I shared with my classmates (near my graduation) was that when I knew something was really bothering George, the "turn" I received from him in class that day was always unexpectedly "better" than usual.
That he could think about himself even more clearly and make a decision to do even less than usual, under those circumstances, has fascinated me.
Also, I recall (after about the first week of my training) thinking to myself, "This guy can't possibly keep this up."
But, I have never seen him waver in his honesty about himself or integrity concerning Alexander's principles.
I have seen George navigate the gauntlet of everyday life with more grace, poise, ease and humor that I thought possible.
George has never been hard on me or demanded anything from me except to suggest that I think as clearly about myself as I can and remember that inhibition is about ME.
As far as I am concerned, George should not only be teaching the trainees at NCCAT, but ALL AmSAT teacher trainees (as well as most of the current training course directors).
I suppose that, as more of us graduate from his course, we will seed the Alexander community with what it seems to have been lost (at times): clarity about NOT doing too much.
I have learned a lot about what NOT to do as a teacher through George's example of giving me a lot of space to figure things out on my own.
Thanks George, for teaching that the Alexander Technique is about ME and that to teach it, I have the opportunity to make the choice to live Alexander's principles (the best I can in a given moment) and, by doing so, find my own sense of integrity.