- a catalogue of recent findings -
meet my extraordinary new friend, marie janicek.
marie is an absolute genius of what she calls INTUITIVE MOVEMENT, or free-form movement. she discusses what is meant by that in the short video that i’ve linked you to here.
pay close attention to the distinctions she draws between EXPLORATION + STRUCTURE, and notice how she elevates each without minimizing either.
also consider the core of her message, which speaks to personal prerogative, or the willingness to take ownership of one’s own growth + process of learning.
there is an impassioned prioritization of KNOWING, of self-exploration, of self-directed learning that is worth every one of the less-than-three minutes it takes to view this talk.
consider my very most favorite part (marie’s finale):
… you can have all the guides, you can have all the coaches, all the teachers, all the classes, all the structure; but if you are not taking that time by yourself to explore, to get to know your body, to… play around with different iterations of different movements, [to] just be curious + create, [then] those structures will leave you feeling more confused, more lost, more frustrated, and more helpless than ever.
of course, the video i’ve shared here is just the slightest taste of marie’s portfolio, so in case you wish to learn more about her, you can find her on:
for those of you local to NYC, marie accommodates in-person experiences + teaches at liberated movement (details can be found here).
marie also posts very regular videos via facebook, each one containing a coherent + remarkably well-thought-out message. these are pure gold + well worth following closely.
here’s a short beginning list of some recent favorites:
i hope you enjoy + make use of every one of these, and i hope you’re able to find some way of supporting marie as she supports your expansion of self.
when i was quite young, i began to experience regular headaches. they worsened + became more frequent with time until, finally, my family decided to track down the cause.
I saw several doctors. i even got my first (+ currently only) MRI. everyone was stumped. in the end, the problem was my eyesight, of all things.
turns out my eyes had been straining so hard to see that the effort alone had produced chronic pain. a new pair of glasses corrected the problem.
i continued to wear glasses every day of my life until i finally transitioned to contacts, which i wore every day of my life until i finally transitioned back to glasses.
unfortunately, both glasses + contacts proved to be impossibly uncomfortable. eventually, i was experiencing headaches all over again, for entirely different reasons:
the constant action of adjusting my glasses put undue pressure on my nose + ears. the fit of my contacts was never quite right, either, resulting in constant irritation.
it wasn’t until my 29’th year that i finally gave in + committed to undergoing LASIK eye surgery. i was intimidated by the procedure, but set in my decision.
within mere days of my operation, i had better-than-perfect vision, testing out at a (totally unexpected) 20/12. even more importantly, that clarity of sight was EFFORTLESS.
literally overnight, my whole world had changed.
the point of sharing this story is to demonstrate how a single subject or area of learning (or change) can in fact relate to so much more than what is superficially apparent.
in this case, my vision was about so much more than just my vision. achieving effortless vision affected my entire life in some really surprising + direct + tangible ways.
the relevance of this transformation existed on a timeline, too: stretching back all the way to childhood + stretching forward indefinitely into my future.
marie janicek’s take on movement is very much like that: the practice is about so much more than what it seems. it attaches itself meaningfully to every area of experience.
what may objectively appear as a simple dance move or neck roll is subjectively experienced as a limitless space of learning + sensation + discovery.
the practice affects more than just movement, too: it affects how we make use of the body, it affects how we perceive it. it affects how we organize ourselves.
it affects how we understand ourselves in relation to the outside world; it affects our willingness + ability to adapt; it affects our confidence levels + it cultivates resilience.
of course, i could go on + on, but by now you get the idea. the point is, not everyone engages movement in this way; not everyone embodies such an exploratory mindset.
but marie does, and this sets her work apart. it immeasurably escalates the value of her offering. it hugely increases the likelihood of transformative growth when working with her.
the ability to illuminate + expand ordinary objects or activities for the purposes of self-discovery is an exceptionally rare + special skill.
it is a powerful, adaptive, and universal skill that elevates ordinary experience to the realm of opportunity. it is also an essential skill that can never be appropriately valued.
of all the things about marie that fascinate me, this is the shining light at the core of them all. she’s been worth every minute of the attention that i’ve paid her.
she’s worth every minute of your attention, too.
truth be told, i have never considered myself much of a podcast guy… or an audio book guy… or an e-reader guy… or even much of a digital learner at all.
for the most part, if i want to learn something, i want to learn it from a book: from something i can see + smell + touch, from something with substance.
i also take great satisfaction in marking books: i enjoy the process of drawing dots + arrows; from circling specific words or phrases + printing notes-in-margins.
there have been very few exceptions to this rule… but there have been some. i intend to share those with you now - my little treasure trove of auditory learning.
the following three podcasts are the only ones that i’ve listened to with any regularity: may they serve you as well as they’ve served me.
this brilliant podcast is hosted by mark walsh, and has recently just celebrated its 100’th episode - a feat which mark somehow managed to accomplish in just one year.
as a host, mark is truly one-of-a-kind. he is good-humored + intelligent; he is honest + direct (to what some might consider a fault); and he is noticeably sincere.
you get to feeling as if you know mark personally as a result of his ravenous sense of curiosity, willing vulnerability, and (often outrageous) way of cracking jokes.
the topics address an impressively wide spectrum of relevance within the world of somatic or embodiment practices, but apply easily to any listener.
my podcast journey began with mark + continues to this day (albeit somewhat more sporadically). i even met one of my favorite mentors (paul linden) through his show.
here’s just a brief list of personal favorite episodes:
that’s enough to keep you busy for now. to stay connected, you can join on facebook here. to learn more, simply click on the image above or push the button just below.
the coaches rising podcast is hosted by joel monk, co-founder of the incredibly valuable coaches rising training platform, featuring many of the world’s top coaches.
where the embodiment podcast focuses primarily on embodiment practices, the coaches rising podcast focuses primarily on topics relevant to coaching practices.
joel’s tone + personality are extremely soft in comparison to mark’s distinctly-more-brash approach, so this podcast has always felt like the yin to TEP’s yang.
i appreciate joel for his gentleness. there is a deep + authentic sense of caring that just seems to exude from him, as if any arrogance has been sucked out in a vacuum.
though a remarkably capable teacher himself, it quickly becomes apparent that joel’s position is that of the forever-student: an unexpected mark of the truly GREAT teacher.
here’s a short list of personal favorite episodes:
that should make for a really solid start. click on the image above or push the button just below to learn more about joel’s show.
this podcast completely surprised me. it was recommended to me probably more than a year ago by one of my closest friends + proved over time to be invaluable.
hosted by howard cooper + featuring a whole slew of characters you might not meet by any other means, this show exists in a world all its own.
every conversation circles (in one way or another) around the idea that self-directed growth need not be measured on a linear trajectory: it can be effected rapidly… and sustain.
i love this podcast. one of the very first episodes i ever listened to featured yet another of my most-influential mentors: james tripp, inventor of hypnosis without trance.
many of these conversations are specifically intended to befuddle the listener - to shatter unconscious assumptions + erect in their place something NEW.
some of my personal favorite episodes include:
these are a bit “heavier” than the others, so let’s stop here. to stay connected, like the facebook page. to learn more, simply click on the image above or push the button below.
i realized while preparing the previous release of these chronicles that music has played a very central role in inspiration for me from the very beginning.
in fact, sharing music is one of my all-time favorite things to do - especially in cases where the style or tone of that music is used to set a particular sort of mood.
i’ve noticed that my own preferences change based on the day, based on the time-of-day, based on activity, based on intention, based on circumstance, based on mood.
when i am writing, i prefer something ambient, with a certain sort of flow to it; when i want to move, i need quite a bit more energy + rhythm in my music; and so on.
this, of course, is not arbitrary. the auditory experience is intimately connected to the quality of our STATE or frame-of-mind. it directly influences how we feel.
this got me thinking. what if, rather than introducing you to individual artists or songs, i was able to invite you into an aesthetic experience based on affect?
what if you could click through to a whole playlist curated to suit a specific sort of feeling? i decided to test that out.
(of course, i am aware that similar playlists already exist; but i have not often been very satisfied with them, so wanted to create some myself, using music that really speaks to me.)
today’s playlist is called STILLNESS. it features a collection of ambient compositions meant to evoke an inner sense of stillness + calm. i will be adding more to it by the day.
stillness represents the aesthetic experience that i crave when writing, when feeling a bit overwhelmed, when integrating new learning, when in need of inner silence.
often, i will pair this playlist to a steaming mug of tea, a candle (or incense), a soft texture on (or near) my body, a view of nature, a gentle sort of watching-myself-breathe.
this playlist is organized through spotify + is FREE to follow via the button just above or by clicking this link. i hope that you’ll enjoy it as it grows.
zones of learning
some time ago, i heard ido talking about something that he referred to as zones (or levels) of learning. i believe that the original source was another documentary by london real.
(the name of the documentary was ido portal - a moving conversation + it can be accessed for viewing by clicking either the image above or the :WATCH button below.)
recently, i stumbled upon some notes i must have taken during my initial experience of this conversation + have decided to expand on them with you here.
ido references three primary zones of learning:
ZONE 1 is first contact. this is where you’re introduced to a new concept, but don’t yet have the ability to execute it.
ZONE 2 is elementary competency. you can now execute the concept, but it’s neither smooth nor perfected.
ZONE 3 is mastery. you have now achieved a level of finesse in your execution of the concept.
he goes on to evaluate each of these zones based on benefit + opportunity. i have expanded on his observations here. consider the following distinctions:
ZONE 1 is where the best learning happens; it is the position of greatest possibility. it is also the position of greatest vulnerability, which means that, in order to advance, one must find a way of effectively subordinating the ego to the work of learning. amazingly, ido goes on to assert that even if one never succeeds at transcending this particular zone, the benefits of having immersed oneself in it are the same as if one had. there is something about how the human personality is backed into a corner during this phase that results in a complete re-forming of the basic structure of being; it cultivates all-new forms of awareness. in other words, we are changed by the process of consciously engaging with the unfamiliar: it challenges the boundaries of what is possible for us; it manages somehow to reshape the very fabric of who we are + how we perceive of ourselves.
ZONE 2 is inherently valuable to us as well once achieved. many new possibilities become available as we continue to explore + perfect within this space of learning. there is a special sort of awareness that begins to develop here: a sensitivity to subtle nuance, an attention to finer + finer layers of adjustment - we develop the capacity for refinement. this process changes us, too. it tends to make us softer, more deliberate, more responsive + self-aware. it is at this point that we begin to develop the capacity to adapt.
ZONE 3 contains the lowest overall benefit. at this level, effort is applied primarily to maintenance. since expertise has been achieved, what was once practice has a tendency to wander off into the realm of gratuitous performance + the likelihood of egoic contamination is increased.
in relating these learning zones to his own experience, ido explains the following (arbitrarily replacing the word “zone” with “level”):
i don’t stay on LEVEL 1. but i make sure LEVEL 1 is always present. i use all three levels. i learn new movements constantly; i improve those that i don’t perform well enough; and i also maintain + perfect movements.
ido closes off with the following charge to his listeners:
learn new stuff. never leave the playground.
only direct control of experience, the ability to derive moment-by-moment enjoyment from everything we do, can overcome the obstacles to fulfillment.
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K-A-I-Z-E-N CHRONICLES : an inspiration experiment