- a catalogue of recent findings -
i watched the movie ‘9’ for the second time in my life a little more than a year ago. it’s rather rare for me to watch any movies more than once; but for some reason, this one had been calling to me.
the reason for this soon became quite clear.
9 is an animated film set in a post-apocalyptic world. in this world, a lone scientist (the last remaining human survivor) divides his soul into nine unique segments.
these soul-segments are used to animate a total of nine handmade rag dolls. the scientist dies after transmitting the final piece of his soul + lives on in the form of these dolls.
the concept is that each of the nine dolls represents a special portion of the scientist's total personality:
one is a tinkerer; one is a brute; one is a leader; one is a warrior; and so on.
each of the dolls represents a special strength or skill set + each of these is bolstered by the rest.
PUTTING IT TO USE
now, i could have simply watched + appreciated the film for its entertainment value, but the concept really stuck with me; and so eventually i asked myself:
if i were to portion myself into a total of nine characters, who would those characters be?
the answer was not as forthcoming as i might have at first supposed. in fact, even to this day - more than a full year later - i still enjoy making refinements.
SHARING THE WEALTH
i found the process of searching for these characters within myself so powerful that it was only a short matter of time before i began to share the process with close friends.
the impact was confirmed: everyone who played the game learned something new about themselves. everyone who played the game received some benefit.
it became apparent that the game was more than just a cute little exercise - it was a powerfully proactive resource for perpetuating transformative self-learning.
STORY + MIND
at the time, i was fairly deep into the study of how metaphor + story affect the mind. this was a vital period of exploration that ultimately resulted in the creation of narrative design, one of three fundamental pillars of the WS:H methodology.
i learned that we make sense of the world through story + even store information as story. i learned about how make-believe characters (often called archetypes) could be used to reveal + to animate untapped portions of our being.
i learned that even my own sense-of-self was in fact merely a complex web of stories. i began to connect the dots:
if who-i-was was made of stories, then who-i-was could be adjusted, updated, altered, refined.
i already knew that how we perceive of ourselves determines the quality of our experience in life, but this realization had uncovered a whole new variable: it had revealed the possibility of CHOICE.
this meant that i was NOT a victim of circumstance or social influence - i was a victim of my own collected stories! it meant that those stories could be changed, that how i perceived of myself was totally malleable.
ultimately, it meant that i could choose better stories.
HOW TO PLAY
i decided to call my game PARTY OF NINE. the point of the game is to assemble the most powerful set of nine characters that you possibly can based on your own unique skills, traits, and preferences.
the “rules” of this game are deceptively simple:
pretend that your personality has been broken off into nine segments, each segment representing some unique aspect of your total self.
identify one specific, empowered character to portray each of these nine segments-of-self. get creative. draw inspiration from movie characters, book characters, fantasy art - whatever lights you up.
review + refine your party until every character excites you. hunt down artwork that effectively illustrates the image that you hold for each character. “wear” these characters around a bit. try them on for size. call on their abilities when you need some extra support in your day-to-day. embody them. understand these characters to be reflections of your greatest self.
WHY IT WORKS
positive change is a function of perception. as we learn to refine the quality of our stories, we directly affect the quality of our lives. it really is that simple.
by proactively setting out to locate, define, and animate the most powerful aspects of ourselves, we instinctively begin to LIVE INTO larger stories.
we transition from victim to hero - not just in the world of our imagination, but also in the world of our experience. we gain access to greater powers.
by fragmenting our personality into multiple character-containers, we encounter all-new resources + develop new relationships with our-self.
we begin to take pride in what we see in the mirror. we reveal new possibilities by expanding our range of choice. we become more flexible.
the crazy thing is, i could go on. the benefits of this game are fractal - they extend outward in every direction; their affect is universal.
to this day, i still consider PARTY OF NINE to be one of my most useful + advantageous offerings. i personally make use if it every day.
in honor of this game, i have just done something new - something i have never done before: i have created a facebook group in order to support + amplify the experience of this (already mind-bogglingly useful) game.
i would like to personally invite you to come join the PARTY OF NINE community + initiate your own powerful process of self-discovery. i promise that you won’t regret it.
click on the :BEGIN button above or else simply follow this link to request access + i’ll personally approve your membership.
i can’t WAIT to see you there!
I have been just absolutely LOVING this power-packed conversation with mark whitwell. he is asked + deftly addresses what i believe to be a very important question:
what’s wrong with modern yoga?
beyond even the (admittedly brilliant) words themselves, i find myself appreciating mark’s demeanor + overall tone. it is something you can sense inside of every word + gesture.
i love how quick mark is to smile + to laugh. he demonstrates a special sort of presence that is good-humored, radiant, and soft. his words are piercing + lucid, but not condemning.
in so many ways, what i sense most powerfully in mark are the very qualities i most value in myself: he elucidates the sort of man that i, too, wish to be. he acts as a mirror.
perhaps my favorite part of the conversation comes from mark’s distinction between yoga (small “y”) + Yoga (capital “Y”). he describes how most people experience yoga as merely a passing on of patterns.
this problem of passing on patterns is not unique to the world of yoga, either. it is common to most realms of human experience. this is because patterns are easy to mimic + to transfer. they are easy to industrialize.
but this idea that any given set of patterns will prove useful universally - this powerfully prevalent idea of the magic pill - forgets to take into account the most magical + remarkable fact of what it means to be a human:
it forgets the fact of human individuality.
it forgets that every one of us is impossibly unique. it forgets to account for the immeasurable complexity of our human personalities. it forgets that every one of us is a universe of stories on kaleidoscopic scrolls.
the problem with the magic pill - with prescribed patterns of any kind - is one of inflexibility. simply put: the magic pill cannot adapt to human needs. and so its effect is severely diminished and, in many cases, totally negated.
what mark points at here is poignant + essential. in fact, what he points at is a fundamental quality of the work that i do, too, through WHOLESYSTEM HUMAN. what he points at is the advantage of a system that adapts to the individual.
this subject of adapting programs (like yoga) to individual need through a functional understanding of their essential value (Yoga) is worth a more in-depth investigation.
when it comes right down to it, what we need is deeper than the programs or the patterns themselves (small yoga); what we need is what’s inside them (big Yoga).
what we need is the ability to locate those solutions we’ve been seeking waiting patiently inside our very selves. what we each need more than anything is:
a personal method for returning to the source of our own inherent power.
based on the subject of this discussion, i would like to invite you to take advantage of an offering i’ve been developing for quite some time.
if you subscribe to the WS:H mailing list, you will begin to receive a FREE audio training series in which i address these very topics in great depth.
once you begin receiving the audio sequence, you’ll find that i go into more detail on this question of adaptability in the third part of chapter 1 (audio track 1.3).
since this entire offering is completely free of charge + presents such an unprecedented value, i sincerely hope that you’ll choose to make good use of it.
gain access via the :SUBSCRIBE button below.
questions + attention
lately i’ve been reminded of the value in asking + answering smart questions. this is the art of self-inquiry + it is a skill that i would love to invite you to investigate with me.
looking back, i can see that it was this very exercise of self-inquiry that led me to some of my most transformative insights + self-refinements.
let’s begin by considering a few examples of questions that have proven useful to me, and then dig in a bit deeper by reviewing why this process works so very well.
in the following examples, i am going to introduce you not only to questions that have worked well for me, but also to the sort of answers that arose in response to them.
the point of this is to provide a good sense for how a single question can be addressed from multiple angles, creating dimension + expanding its range of relevance.
our first example seeks to stimulate a new form of noticing everyday objects. the question is: what are some new treasures that have been hiding in plain sight?
here are some samples of my responses:
FINGERNAILS: the perfect opportunity to deepen my practice of self-discipline (by not biting them)
INDOOR PLANTS: a beautiful opportunity to connect directly w/ nature EVERY DAY, even when i can’t go outside
HAIR TIES: totally indispensable! totally under-valued + under-appreciated!
FACEBOOK: source of truly MAGICAL connections (people, brands, and more!)
CELL PHONE: a practically infinitely-capable TOOL in my POCKET (crazy!)
BOOKS: sight, smell, content
as you can see, these samples run the gamut. you can almost track the action as my brain scans every last corner of my personal world for “treasures” that have gone unseen.
this next example was designed to provoke appreciation by developing new awareness of current circumstances. the question may seem basic, but it really really WORKS.
the question is: in what ways am i already being taken-care-of + supported? here are some samples in response:
my body takes UNBELIEVABLY good care of me, supporting health + seamless function in ways that my conscious mind could never hope to duplicate.
my comfort is completely taken care of. it is supported by my clothes: by BEYOND CLOTHING + first-spear + mr. davis + vivobarefoot + darn tough + lululemon + vuori clothing + tommy john; it is taken care of by TUSHY + norwex + georganics + blankets + bedsheets + pillows + a couch + lighting + heating + a roof over my head + a cool-ass car + purple seat cushions + towels + toilets + warm running water + SO MUCH MORE!!
i am taken care of + supported by my partner, by my parents, and by my brothers; by old friends + by new friends + by memories of friends; by maintenance men + cashiers + customer service agents + neighbors + coffee shop owners + baristas + sales associates + UPS drivers + police officers + SO MANY MORE beautiful people!
i am taken care of by the sun + by the moon, by the air + by the wind, by water + by earth, by plants + by trees + by animals + by clouds + by rain + warmth + seasons + even by times-of-day.
i am taken care of by technology: by facebook + by netflix + by google; by the internet + our printer + by electricity.
yet again, it becomes quickly apparent that, in order to answer the question, i had to allow my mind to wander-in-search-of beautiful, helpful things.
i had to search inside of multiple contexts, too: i had to search inside my body, inside the room, inside my world, inside my everyday interactions, and so on.
HOW IT WORKS
the whole process is deceptively simple, in fact: it is primarily a matter of training one’s attention. (this, of course, depends upon knowing how to ask good questions.)
generally speaking, many of us go about our days relatively oblivious to the direction of our focus. as a result, our focus tends to train toward whatever is occurring in the moment.
we learn to focus our attention outside of ourselves + get carried along on the whim of situation + circumstance as a (rather appropriate) result.
this, of course, has a way of leaving us feeling very out-of-control. we tend to feel like victims, or like failures. the phrase that comes to mind is running behind the ball.
but asking questions that require us to go inside for answers has a whole different sort of flavor to it. these sort of questions train new + more creative forms of attention.
and this is perhaps their greatest benefit, albeit an obvious + a simple one:
good questions proactively train our attention in directions of our choosing.
this puts us back in control.
and it gets better, too: if the questions are really good, they can proactively generate beneficial states + frames of mind. with practice, these benefits can even be sustained.
all that is required is a desire to feel better, a childlike sense of open curiosity, and a little bit of practice.
HOW TO ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
asking good questions is easy once you get the hang of it. all it takes is attention to the following details:
know what you’re after | good questions are generative, but you must begin with a clear sense for what your questions intend to generate. ask yourself: what sort of state or ability do i hope for this question to evoke?
to illustrate this point, our previous examples were designed to instigate a new form of noticing on the one hand + a feeling of appreciation on the other.
listen for the feeling | good questions are always personally stimulating: you get a good feeling-hit off of them; you feel inspired or excited by them.
a boring or obvious question won’t inspire you to go searching for answers.
keep it broad | the art of self-inquiry depends upon broad, open-ended questions + a willingness to explore. a good rule of thumb: the broader the better. steer clear of yes-or-no questions in this context.
REALLY good questions stimulate the process of investigation - they require the mind to go out in search of something, they require it to SCAN for answers, they require it to explore.
THE #1 SOURCE OF FAILURE
the #1 source of failure when it comes to making use of a process like self-inquiry might surprise you. this is because it is obvious to the point of embarrassment.
you see, many of us are too smart for our own good. we read about an exercise like this, and then assume that we’ve understood it. we move on without a second thought.
but this is a devious trick of the intellect. an exercise like this can’t be understood without being actively engaged. it has to be made use of, not merely conceived of.
the #1 source of failure is not some complicated nuance of questioning - it is the pretension of assuming that the process itself need not be engaged.
this is the ultimate failure:
to have at your disposal the very key to your fulfillment + yet never put that key to any use.
so my challenge to you is as simple as it is profound:
if this process of self-inquiry inspires something in you, take that next + most important step of actually-putting-it-to-use. find a way to test it for yourself.
if you love this idea of self-inquiry but feel like you could use some help getting started with heavy-hitting questions, i would love to offer you a FREE collaborative consultation.
simply schedule your 45-minute consultation call via the button below, and then email me here with a short description of how you’d like to make use of the time.
today’s playlist is called SOFT. it features a growing collection of ambient compositions intended to soothe tension + settle the mind.
soft represents the internal experience generally associated with breathing a deep sigh of relief. it provides a space that is safe + warm + inviting. it is comforting.
the songs featured in this playlist feel to me as though a big-warm-fluffy-white blanket has been wrapped around all of my thoughts + worries + emotions + concerns.
this playlist reminds me to stop-and-breathe. i depend on this experience when i’m feeling sort of fragile, bruised, or raw. it is a brilliant companion to sadness, too.
this is the music of gentle flow, quiet surrender.
use it when the thought of something high-energy gives you a headache or on quiet, rainy days. use it after a particularly draining experience. use it to re-center yourself.
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.
my partner has a stack of yoga books that she is interacting with in one way or another every day. i opened one of them for the very first time myself just a few days ago.
the name of the book itself is the kundalini yoga experience + i came across something rather interesting during my (initially casual) review of its contents.
what caught my eye was something i had never heard of before, despite being extremely familiar with the relevant subjects: it was a basic method of yogic numerology.
even reading the words felt like i had just struck gold. of course i had to investigate further…
i learned that, using only the day, month, and year of my birth date, i could calculate up to five different meaningful numbers. these numbers were described as my:
each number can be calculated very easily + the book details the process of calculation very well. each number also holds a unique value, or meaning:
soul number | this represents the first + most primary challenge of your life: the challenge of integrating your total being. it is a matter of connecting the spiritual aspect of yourself to the more familiar aspects of your physical, mental, and emotional selves.
karma number | this represents the second challenge of your life, which can only be addressed once you have overcome the first. this is the challenge of sustaining what was gained through integration in the face of outside influence. this is the challenge of taking your updated sense of self into the wilds of an ordinary everyday life.
gift number | this represents your birthright, which is a talent, a gift, or an opportunity which has been bestowed in order to assist you on the spiritual journey of this lifetime. since it is a gift, it must be accepted, developed, and made use of in order to be of any value to you in application.
destiny number | this represents a vision of yourself that tends to be apparent to others but often seems elusive from your own individual perspective. the joke about destiny is that it is written on your forehead - obvious to everyone but practically invisible to you. the challenge of fulfilling your destiny is a matter of identifying + acting out of the best possible vision of yourself.
path number | this represents the path to fulfillment. it is achieved by means of the other numbers + also transcends them once arrived at.
once each of these numbers has been determined, a preliminary understanding of their unique meanings can be accomplished using the information provided in the book.
i have decided to share my own numbers + meanings with you here as an example. the path number in particular felt like such a powerful finale to the exercise! have a look:
soul number, 11 | embodiment | when this body is unbalanced you will value the material world over the spiritual + will tend to have too high an opinion of yourself. when this body is balanced you will commit yourself to one spiritual technology or teaching + practice it with humility + dedication.
karma number, 4 | neutral mind | when this body is unbalanced you will be unable to keep your options to yourself. you will tend to be dogmatic + argumentative. you may even enjoy argument for the sake of it. even when you can utilize the neutral mind in your own decision-making you will be unable to accept that those close to you need the space to do the same. when this body is balanced you are able to move beyond this duality + accept that everything outside of your control is as it should be.
gift number, 7 | aura | when this body is unbalanced you will repel rather than attract. when you claim your gift you manifest a magnetic personality that positively attracts + uplifts. your security comes not from what you have, or think you have, but from knowing who you are. you are at home wherever you are because you are at home with yourself.
destiny number, 8 | pranic body | your soul’s journey has shown you all the positive + negative aspects of this body. you have boundless energy. you seem to attract wealth + respect. you have a natural ability to energize those around you + may be recognized as a healer. if you cannot recognize this description of yourself you need to balance this body.
path number, 5 | physical body | your path in this lifetime is simply to share what you have, know, and are: to teach, both by personal example + by utilizing your god-given communication skills. you are able to find the point of balance at the center of anything; now find yourself as a teacher of balance.
elsie de wolfe
i am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.
did you enjoy this?
if so, consider joining the inspiration experiment by pushing the :ACCESS button below.
subscription qualifies you to receive personal notifications of each new release.
please also feel free to share this page or visit past releases
via the :ARCHIVE button at the bottom of this page.
prefer to participate?
if you find yourself more interested in the idea of participating than simply observing,
you may love what we're doing over at mission: K-A-I-Z-E-N.
to learn more about how you can take your own process of self-improvement
to the next level, visit our mission page here:
launch your own adventure
join me for an adaptive one-on-one collaborative learning experience.
review program options here or else skip right to scheduling
your FREE consultation call via this button:
do you have questions or ideas? good! i want to hear from you.
email me here to start a conversation:
K-A-I-Z-E-N CHRONICLES : an inspiration experiment