Betsy Robinson, author of funny literary stories about flawed people, is a perpetual seeker of truth.

From books to music to theater and fine art, from online TV to DVDs, this blog takes a look at current culture through a spiritual perspective ó with a touch of humor.

Materials under the "review" tag are a mix of free review copies (books, DVDs, etc.) in exchange for a review, to library copies, to materials and tickets I've paid for.


A Really Bad Hair Day (Feb. 13 blog)

The Art of Collapsing (Feb. 6 blog)

Life is only temporary says Evan Handler (Jan. 28 blog)

The New World of Finance (Jan. 28 blog)

All about growing up in a cult (April 16 blog)

Fierce Giving (Jan. 8 blog)

(Copyright © 2008-2014 Betsy Robinson. All rights reserved)

Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Thoughts on Tomatoes, Lousy Posture, and the Alexander Technique

June 18, 2009

Tags: compassionate wisdom, healing, Unemployment, fun, review

Itís another soggy day in New York City, so it seems appropriate to talk about my posture. I have lousy posture. I slump with my chin out and up like a turtle and, since Iím very flexible, I have a tendency to sit with pretzel legs. I also have a big, ugly lump on the back of my neck which has alternately been explained as a sign that my spiritual center is connected or that I have an energy block. I believe itís due to my lousy posture.

Because it is raining today and Iím having such a difficult time remembering to sit upright, it seems appropriate to also complain about my allergies. I recently discovered that I am allergic to my tomato plants. Not the tomatoes, but the Deadly Nightshade leaves that smell so good but make my eyelids swell like over-sized shrimp. My tomato plants live on my neighbor, Nurse Miaís, terrace because my building superintendent kicked them off our roof. Nurse Mia is the one who diagnosed my tomato plant allergy, so the last time I pruned, I suited up with swimming goggles, a surgical mask, and latex gloves.

However, because I am unemployed and have no need to vary my dress, I wear the same clothes everyday, and when my eyes swelled up the day after pruning, Nurse Mia queried, ďDid you get the plant on your shirt?Ē thus diagnosing allergy due to unvaried shirt-wear.

Which brings me back to my posture. Itís invariably very bad. Did I mention that already? My friend, Jane Kosminsky, has excellent posture. She ought to, since she makes her living as a master Alexander Technique teacher. Iíve always admired her posture, but it seemed like too much effort for moi Ö until I saw her DVD,The Alexander Technique: Solutions for Back Trouble with physical therapist and master teacher Deborah Caplan. I donít have back trouble. Just a big, ugly lump. But, as I said, itís raining, so today I watched the DVD. Wow. Deborah Caplan teaches you how to hold your head and release parts of you that you didnít know were tense ó so that if you have back trouble, or just a big ugly lump, it may go away. (No joke. A recent clinical study in the UK even proved that this stuff works better than meds or regular exercise.)

Which brings me to remembering. A lot of Alexander Technique has to do with remembering ó remembering to remember what youíre doing. Zen people call this mindfulness. Shrinks call it self-awareness. I call it a lot of work. But itís a soggy day in New York town ó too rainy to prune no matter how much I suit up; too dismal to job hunt; too dark to be sunny. But guess what? Iím sitting here in only a partial pretzel, with my head shooting up to the sky and no tangible lump in my neck. Not only that, but Iím in such a remembering, self-aware, Zen frame of mind that even though I long to inhale tomato plant perfume, Iím quite content to only eat the fruit.

Selected Works

Big Moose Prize-winning novel
a funny, sometimes sad, story of negotiating life without a clue

New on Kindle--a funny book for foodies who are committed to self-change through self-awareness
an epistolary memoir ... sort of
A funny and moving little book for anyone who's had a mother or struggled with being human.
anthology of stories and plays
includes Darleen Dances and stories below

1-act play

short story
the problem with worrying about the future

true story
Why I don't believe in death.

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