Baggage Check – What are you carrying that you no longer need?

by helen on February 1, 2013

Baggage Check - What are you carrying that you no longer need?I was bullied in school.

Not beaten up or physically harmed.  It was all taunts that hurt on the inside.

I was at an all girls private church school.  Enough said.

Sometime during or after puberty, with my DD cups, high grades and obvious desire to learn, I became the target for mean-ness, nasty comments, and name-calling from a handful of girls.


I would dread gym class – changing in a frigid, brick building next to the hockey field, with the sneers and snickers from some girls as I unrobed and curled up to hide myself as quickly as I could.

I remember the elation of getting 100% in a mathematics exam, after much study and practice, only to sink in shame and humiliation at seeing the drawing of myself on the blackboard that a classmate had done of me as a square, and the giggles from some of the other classmates.

Armor up

Another girl might have been able to armor up.  Not me.  Each barb hit my sensitive and tender heart despite good friends and their support.

As I left for University, I left everything about high school behind, except for a few dear friends.  Or so I thought.

Body Realization

Now, at the age of 45 years old, I’m experiencing The Alexander Technique with the brilliant and talented Imogen Ragone.  It occurs to me how my body has shaped according to all it has been through.

I’m not just talking about aging or my impressive stretch marks from carrying my beautiful children.

I’m talking about old stuff that still resides in my body, long after the thought work and other coaching techniques have dissolved the painful stories.

Through the Alexander Technique, with my increased awareness to my body and it’s open-ness and stature, I have realized how much of the physical remnants I still hold on to from those early memories.  And still carry in my body.

Still Carrying

My shoulders droop, my first protection to try and hide my ample bosom.  My spine curls around my belly – perhaps a way to protect my soft parts.  Physical habits that served a purpose but continued long after they were needed, if ever needed, and even causing strain and tension in everyday movement.

Even after all these years.  I’m amazed that these physical tendencies are still here.

Even after all of the love, joys, and successes of my life, relationships, and career.


As I stood in the shower this morning, I noticed my shoulder droop and thought “open and wide” and my body adjusted accordingly.  Something I’ve learned from the Alexander Technique.  It felt good.  Strong.

A new dawn, a taller, open and less tense body.  Ready to do my work in the word for those I serve.

I’m ready to stand to my full God-given height and potential.

I’m ready to walk open.

To lead my life in a way that feels good to me, without the physical remnants of trying to fit in and approval seeking.

Me.  Fully me.  As I am.  Loving, kind, funny, intelligent, imperfect me.  Free to be who I am. Unfurled.

What are you holding on to, in any form, that is no longer serving you? 

Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise Edington February 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hi, I’m a friend of Imogens and also a student of AT within the last couple of years and my baggage was from my mums constant criticism of my body and my posture and this post made me cry. AT has done amazing things for me but I feel there is more to unfurl yet. Thank you, these were good tears.

Louise Edington

helen February 2, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hi Louise,
Thank you so much for your lovely comment and I’m so honored that the article touched you. Yes, there’s so much more to unfurl when we can drop the baggage and Alexander Technique is such a gentle and powerful teacher. Thanks so much and wishing you every joy, as you continue to unfurl and flourish.
All the Best, Helen

Annie Turner February 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Helen – what a beautiful blog, thank you. I too teach the AT (in the UK) and ‘focus’ my teaching on The Power of the Word – exactly as you have put so well; the way our bodies respond to the words we hear, firstly from outside, and then from inside; from ourselves as we begin to ‘agree’ at some deep level. I wish you much joy and many more smiles on your Alexander journey. Thank you again. Might I share your blog with some of my students? Always honouring you, of course. Warm blessings, Annie.

helen February 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hi Annie,

Thanks so much for your kind comment. Yes, the power of words and thoughts! I’d be delighted for you to share this blog. Many thanks.

All the Best,

Joanne Meredith February 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

Now this is the way we should all start our Mondays… reading an empowering message like that from you! Thank you for being the voice that brings us back to the person we really want to be. “Open and Wide” – I really like that! Will be holding on to that gem along with the thousand others you have shared! Thank you, Helen!!

helen February 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

Hi Joanne, now this was a treat for me on my Monday morning to open your bright and shiny comment today! Thanks so much Joanne. Smiling, Helen

Richard February 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Hi Helen,
Wow! What wonderful changes you are making in your life. I’ve been studying the AT for a number of years and I always find it inspiring to hear of the benefits others have gained from their involvement in the work. For myself it remains a ongoing process of peeling away the layers of tension and habits I’ve developed over a lifetime however it is never too late to change. Thank you!
ps I hope to qualify sometime this year as a AT teacher:)

helen February 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Hi Richard,
Thanks so much for your lovely comment and congratulations in advance on your AT qualification this year! I find such wonderful parallels between the AT and coaching, the peeling away of what no longer serves us, and moving forward in confidence. I’ve learned so much from Imogen and am deeply thankful for her work with me and what I have learned about myself and released as part of the process. Yes, it’s never too late to change!
All the Best,

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