K-A-I-Z-E-N CHRONICLES

- a catalogue of recent findings -

 

 
 

meet vivobarefoot.

if you have feet (and move about on them), then you need to know about this brand.

vivo is the king of barefoot. it was established on just a couple of basic, intuitive principles:

  1. the human foot is a natural wonder, evolved for balanced movement by means of a wide, flexible, and highly sensitive base.

  2. shoes should be designed to let feet do what they do best.


unfortunately, these principles are not as common-sense as one might suppose. this is why most modern humans walk around with feet squished inside of narrow shoe forms with layers of foam + rubber disconnecting them from any tactile experience of their environment.

vivobarefoot shoes, on the other hand, feature very wide forms, allowing the toes to splay like fingers + regain their natural grip for balance. they also feature some of the world’s thinnest soles, allowing the feet to safely interact with nuances of environment.

you can learn more about the science of barefoot by clicking this link + exploring all of the wonderful interactive educational material that vivo has already prepared.

 

 

PERSONAL HISTORY
i first met vivo a couple of years ago while researching minimalist shoes for parkour. at the time, i was startled by the price point + decided on a less expensive pair instead.

less than one year (and two pairs of “cheaper” brands) later, i finally gave in + ordered my first pair of vivos after receiving a direct recommendation from a close friend.

since then (a total of about one year at this point), i have worn nothing but vivobarefoot. i have also expanded my collection a bit + currently own four pairs.

this is because these shoes are the most comfortable, the most versatile, the most lightweight, and the most sensory-capable shoes i’ve ever worn.

i can feel everything - it really is as if i’ve gone barefoot. i can use my feet in all-new ways. i can use my feet like hands. i can grip with my toes like fingers.

since each of the styles that i own is made of wild hide leather, the durability factor far exceeds anything i’ve worn before, and the shoes fit like like moccasins.

in the short time that i’ve been wearing vivobarefoot, i have noticed distinct benefits in balance, posture, toe spread, groundedness, and overall foot sensitivity.

 

 

EVERYDAY DOORWAYS
foot health, postural support, and tactile connection aside, these shoes have changed the way that i move through life - they have become a transformative doorway.

they have done this by cultivating authentic appreciation; and they have done this by cultivating presence through embodied awareness:

  • every time that i slip on my shoes, i experience a swell of appreciation - appreciation for these brilliantly-designed shoes; appreciation for these remarkably evolved feet; appreciation for the capacity to feel + to move with confidence + balance; and so on.

  • every time that i move through life in these shoes, i am conscious of my feet in contact with the earth; i am conscious of my toes + how they grip for balance; i am conscious of myself as a body; i am conscious of my being in-the-moment; and i become present.


these benefits are ultimately far more valuable to me than any price i could have ever paid - they far exceed the benefits proposed.

they affect the very nature of who i am.

 

 

of course, not everyone will make such a big deal out of their shoes. but if the possibility exists, why not make the most of it? why not make such powerful use of your shoes?

if you’re interested in knowing, these are the four pairs that i currently own + confidently recommend:

 
 
 

 
 

this is an ingenious resource that i have only recently been introduced to, but it is one that i fully expect to reference often + benefit greatly from.

i’ve used concepts like design seeds for inspiration with just about every brand or website that i’ve ever developed. still, i’ve never seen anything quite like this.

 

 

i appreciate how the design seeds website just begs to be explored. i absolutely love their decision to forego ads in favor of generosity + patronage.

i am inspired by the minimalism + intention so apparent in their design + bits of copy. i am a huge fan of how everything has been organized, too.

 

 

this experience just oozes inspiration + usefulness, which is why i’ve chosen to include it in this release of the chronicles. if nothing else, i’d recommend that you bookmark it.

i sincerely hope that you’re able to make good use of it.

 
 
 

 
 
 

finding:
flip the skill

imagine that you have a hammer. imagine that you are exceptionally proficient at using this hammer - in fact, you’ve been operating this hammer for most of your life.

unfortunately, you also DESPISE this hammer. it has brought you nothing but pain. this is because you typically use the hammer to strike your bare thumb.

after so many years of using the hammer in this exact-same-way, you finally get fed up + assume that you need to pick up a new skill of some sort: anything but the hammer!

so you set out to find a new tool. perhaps you even take classes + set aside time to practice. but nothing ever feels quite as natural to you as that hammer did…

this, of course, drives you crazy. how could something so painful come so naturally to you? how long will it take before this new skill feels natural, too?

years? decades? a lifetime?

 

 

the above story may seem silly at first glance, but we do this all the time. each of us has a whole backlog of hammers: automated habits that do more harm than good.

but what if these habits did not have to be eliminated or replaced? what if these HABITS were in fact valuable SKILLS + the problem of harm merely a matter of misuse?

think about it for a moment. whether good or bad, every one of our habits is a PRACTICED SKILL. and, like a coin, every one of these skills has two sides:

  • useful + harmful

  • helpful + unhelpful

  • generative + degenerative

  • empowered + disempowered

  • productive + unproductive

awareness of this illuminates a whole new world of possibilities. it shows us that the hammer is not the problem after all - the hammer is just a tool.

the problem is how that tool is being used.

this realization introduces the possibility of “turning over” even the most ancient of unhelpful habits to consider its other side: to consider how it might be put to better use.

rather than seeing “bad habits,” we can train ourselves to see practiced skills; and then we can set about the (much easier) work of putting those skills to beneficial use.

 

 

here are a few examples of skills that have been flipped:

  • even the most crippling self-criticism is in fact only the opposite end of self-awareness;

  • externally-focused criticism is the opposite end of nonjudgmental observation;

  • even obsession can be enormously beneficial when more appropriately oriented.


this means that our habits do not need to be REPLACED so much as RE-EVALUATED; we do not need to learn new skills (intimidating!) so much as learn to make better use of the skills we have been cultivating our whole lives (very doable!).

this also means that we no longer need to persecute ourselves for having “developed such bad habits.”

instead, we can CELEBRATE the remarkable skills that we have already mastered - skills that are ready + waiting to be put to GOOD USE; ready + waiting to be “turned over,” and then animated by conscious intention.

 

 

can you get a sense for what a big deal this is? can you feel the difference in attitude between eliminating bad habits + creatively making use of practiced skills?

can you imagine CELEBRATING MASTERY as opposed to RENOUNCING POOR HABITS? can you sense the difference in momentum between the two?

when we learn to flip the skill, we change the name of the game entirely; we transition the activity from a space of un-conscious reaction to one of fully-conscious intention.

 

 

HOW TO PLAY
the rules of this game are simple on the surface, but nuanced in application, so plan on practicing up:

  1. the next time you find yourself disappointedly criticizing some old habit, ask yourself what skill it’s making use of.

  2. once you’ve identified the skill inside the habit, ask yourself how that skill might be put to better use.

  3. celebrate having successfully mastered such a useful skill + enjoy the process of putting it to more creative, conscious use.

 
 
 

 
 
 

chronicles: playlist

today’s playlist is called PRODUCTIVE. it features a growing collection of diverse, energetic compositions intended to generate + sustain creative flow.

productive represents the dynamic space of productive creativity, providing a kinetic experience designed to keep you focused, inspired, and alert.

the compositions feature a purposeful diversity, ranging from expansive soundtracks to quiet grooves to bumping rhythms, keeping the mind active + engaged.

this is the music of extended flow states.

i depend on this music to help me dig in for uninterrupted hours of focused, creative work. i also use it to support a sustained positive orientation-of-mind.

this is really meant to be the music of your workday. every track is decidedly constructive + the curated diversity helps to disrupt unhelpful mental meandering.

 

 

this playlist is organized through spotify + is FREE to follow via the button just above or by clicking on this link. i hope that you’ll enjoy it as it grows.

 
 
 

 
 
 

i really have saved the best for last this time around. in fact, i’m so excited about sharing this next subject that i feel at a loss for words to describe the enormity of its impact.

the subject of this section continues to inspire + surprise me every single day. it is more than just a powerful tool: it is an everyday source of wonder + appreciation.

the subject of this section is oracle cards.

 

 

oracle card decks are similar in many ways to tarot card decks, although the structure of the deck + its contents is often far less defined + there tends to be a bit of extra flexibility in application as well.

both oracle + tarot cards are used to gain insight, clarity, and perspective. both can be used for inspiration, for personal growth, for coaching, and for divination.

both deck types depend upon the intuition to evoke specific messages intended for the conscious mind. both deck types are known to “respond” to specific questions.

and both types have intimidated me for some time.

this was due in part to how i was raised + in part to lingering insecurity about what others might think of me if they knew that i was “using divination cards.”

i always felt simultaneously compelled to explore tarot cards + unsure of their validity. and so i chose to simply steer clear.

that is, until about two months ago…

 

 

i ordered my first deck of oracle cards off amazon. it was called the wild unknown animal spirit deck + i chose it primarily for the artwork (by designer kim krans).

shortly thereafter, i ordered the mystical shaman oracle card deck (pictured above); and most recently, i have added the spirit animal oracle card deck.

in the time since ordering that first deck, these cards have become a ritualized aspect of my every-morning experience. they are a vital part of how i choose to meet the day.

though there are many powerful ways to make use of the cards, my current process is decidedly simple:

  • first i’ll choose two decks for the day, and then i’ll choose one card from each deck.

  • each card will contain a message, and i will carry both messages with me into the day.

that’s it. just two steps, really; and those simple steps have legitimately changed my life for the better time + time again.

 

 

it seems so basic on the surface. the real benefit, however, is entirely internal. you see, there is ALWAYS something to learn from the messages that arise. always.

and those messages are ALWAYS relevant to the moment.

it’s consistent enough to defy belief, and so eventually you realize that it’s consistent enough to justify belief - and so you trust it. and then you lean into it.

you allow yourself to learn from it; and when you do, you find that there is always something more to learn.

the same card pulled on consecutive days will hold different meanings each day. this is because the person who engages that card has changed from one day to the next.

so the cards are not static. they are connected to the core of you. they are alive + they transform + they adapt.

all that’s required of you is openness + a certain flexibility of mind. all that’s required of you is a childlike willingness to listen + be surprised.

all that’s required of you is your attention.

 

 

IN SUMMARY
i want to be very clear about what i’m getting at here:

i consider these cards to be perhaps the most useful, accessible, and adaptable tool that i’ve ever yet discovered.

they tap into an inner space of playful anticipation, of expectant wonder, of trust, of intuition, and of clarity.

they instruct + they inform + they express. they shine light on what is best + most authentic + most needed.

of all the helpful tools that i’ve created or discovered, these simple cards are the ones i choose to work with every day.


YOUR TURN

if you’re interested in experiencing this for yourself, my personal recommendation would be to locate a deck that speaks especially to you.

whether it’s the artwork or just-a-gut-sense, begin with a deck that you feel particularly drawn toward, even if you can’t put a finger on why.

my current personal favorite is the mystical shaman oracle card deck, which can be purchased on amazon here.

 
 
 

 
 
 

andrew solomon

you need to take the traumas and make them part of who you've come to be, and you need to fold the worst events of your life into a narrative of triumph, evincing a better self in response to things that hurt.

 
 
 

 
 

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K-A-I-Z-E-N CHRONICLES : an inspiration experiment