In Tune With Tone
It’s a remarkable moment when a student experiences that a more ‘in-tensional’ upwards organization: Head to toe, physical muscle tone , and cognitive awareness all with a particular tone to it. You can think of cultivating this change in tone in yourself like tuning a stringed instrument.
An instrument can be out of tune in many ways. Sometimes the entire instrument is too sharp or too flat. Sometimes it’s a mix of the two - some strings are too tight while others are too loose. To tune an instrument is really about finding the needed tensions for the entire instrument to resonate to produce its fullest sound.
For some ‘high strung’ students this means reducing excess tension - letting down and finding support from the ground - discovering how your habits of tone connect to the interactions with your environments, activities, and thoughts; how these relate to excess tension, tightening, or compression in very personal or unique ways. Learning to interact with the world in a less tight way so you can express and embody your actions in a more responsive and ‘in-tune’ version of yourself.
For other students, this means activating, or an increase in tension in your state of muscle tone. Learning to experience and deal with the change in feeling associated with this different tone can be a real challenge as you engage with the world around you. Resorting to a lower tone is a safe and ‘natural’ ‘home’ - a habit from which known expressions of movement, thoughts, and sensations can arise from.
In both cases, it’s perhaps more about getting really clear on how you’re holding or collapsing yourself - increasing this awareness - then giving yourself a direction that you want to go and letting your brain/nervous system figure it out. This can be exciting, scary, freeing, funny, frustrating, or even bring a sense of deep relief - the feelings and sensations come and go, but the in-tension of the process remains the same: Cultivate a dynamic and responsive tone throughout the self in activity.
Making Music In Everyday Life
Any beautiful stringed instrument is alive with a sense of tension and tone that responds and changes with use; it can sound more rich as time goes on. I believe the same is possible in all of us.
Once you have a general ability to use your conscious awareness and intention to move towards a state of dynamic tone, then growth comes from taking yourself into ever more stimulating movements, environments, activities, and aspects of your work and life; to learn and practice how to manage, recover, expand your range and expression of movement - to manage your own ‘tone’ and make music in these different parts of your life.
When you bring more intention and awareness, a more ‘in-tune’ or toned self to stimulating places, then growth becomes inevitable. There is no fixed system here, just constant making music with the self: Succeeding, failing, growing, loosing motivation, gaining motivation, developing skill, and changing your baseline tone. How far you go is up to you.
It’s an ongoing expression of self towards a greater state of dynamic and responsive tone throughout the whole self - more responsive to both internal experiences and external challenges. With the goal to discover and bring more of your fullest self to everything you do.