Marjory Barlow: #2, “The Only Freedom We Have”, London 1984

Some years after that first experience of ‘magic’ with Marjory, I began to see her regularly for lessons. It was during my last term of teacher training,

Her approach was very much to emphasise ‘saying no’, ‘giving orders’ and to work with the basic procedures. She talked of ‘orders’ rather than ‘directions’ and the ‘orders’ were given with the idea that they might bring about some change later. She once described the process as rather like laying telephone cable: no messages can get through until the cable reaches its destination; if you don’t feel anything happening, it doesn’t mean nothing is happening; just go on ‘laying cables’ and be patient; eventually the messages will get through.

Marjory would often say. “I’m doing exactly what F.M. did. I haven’t changed anything.”

In one lesson she said to me, “My use might be a bit better than yours; that’s only because I’ve been working at it for longer. But when it comes to saying ‘no’ to a stimulus, we are all in the same boat. That never becomes easy or automatic.”

She also said – and it was one of those moments that really stay with you “the space in between stimulus and response is the only freedom we have“.

© 2013 John S Hunter

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