Tag Archives: brain

jazz brain

jazz brain

Your Brain on Improvisation  (a 20-min. TED talk by a physician/surgeon and muscian)



Click on this link for large image:





Giant Steps




Bobby Watson – Being a Student and Being a Teacher


IRockJazz caught Bobby Watson on his recent visit to Chicago, and he discussed how he came to be a Jazz musician, how he picked the alto sax, and his view of Jazz education now. Don’t miss the quote Bobby recalls from Art Blakey when he visited University of Miami as a guest lecturer and addressed the students “You come here to get your diploma, you come with me to get your education”

Interested seeing more great interviews? Visit www.irockjazz.com


Ever hear of “trading fours?”

It’s that back-and-forth trade jazz musicians do when they’re engaged in a musical “conversation.” One musician will play four bars of music, and the other will respond with four bars of her own. This improvised call and response is one of the things that makes jazz music so … jazzy. (Here’s an example of trading. Notice how the bass and piano cut out at regular intervals.)

Scientists at Johns Hopkins wondered whether studying the brains of musicians actively engaged in trading fours might shed light on the relationship between music and language. Under the direction of Charles Limb, an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the School of Medicine, researchers placed musicians inside an MRI machine, gave them a special (see: non-magnetic) keyboard, and told them to have at it.

Here’s what researchers discovered: The brains of jazz musicians engrossed in spontaneous, improvisational musical conversation showed activation of brain areas traditionally associated with spoken language and syntax, areas that are used to interpret the structure of phrases and sentences. But the musical conversation shut down brain areas linked to semantics—those that process the meaning of spoken language.….”





Creative Brains: Music Art and Emotion

University of California Television (UCTV)  [71 minutes]





Secrets of the Creative Brain 

The Aspen Institute (58 minutes)

Nancy Andreasen is a leading neuroscientist and psychiatrist at the University of Iowa whose fascinating research into the creative mind has been informed in part by the stream of remarkable writers who gather there. She is now conducting a study that uses neuroimaging to visualize the creative brain in action, examining both artists and scientists. Her work also examines the roles of nature v. nurture and the relationship between creativity and mental illness.




Creativity, Genius and the Brain

Dana Foundation (93 minutes)


Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.

Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine

John Kounios, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, Drexel University

Roberta B. Ness, M.D., M.P.H.

Rockwell Professor of Public Health, Vice President for Innovation

The University of Texas School of Public Health




The Neuroscience of Creativity, Flow, and Openness to Experience – Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D.

BTC Institute  (64 minutes)

BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute

Part of the 12th Annual International Bioethics Forum, “Further Studies in Human Consciousness: Creative Insight”, held by the BTC Institute in Madison, WI on May 25-26, 2013.

For detailed information about the forum and more videos, please visit http://www.btci.org/bioethics



Creative Brains (Scott Kaufman)(20 minutes)




David Lynch: Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain (two hours)

David Lynch, the critically-acclaimed director behind such films as Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, spoke at the University of Oregon on Tuesday, November 8th, 2005. The Lecture is entitled “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain.” Lynch was accompanied by Drs. John Hagelin, Ph.D., and Fred Travis, Ph.D.





The Primacy of Consciousness – Peter Russell – Full Version (70 minutes)






“… If you told me a year ago we could stimulate 20 neurons in a mouse brain of 100 million neurons and alter their behavior, I’d say no way,” Yuste is quoted in Medical Xpress. “I saw the results and said ‘Holy moly, this whole thing [the brain] is plastic.’ We’re dealing with a plastic computer that’s constantly learning and changing.”

This is precisely the premise in my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind to be a Better Athlete (or anything else you want to be)”, published online right here at BoyDownTheLane. http://boydownthelane.com/2015/05/13/summon-the-magic/

STM, as it is known in my household, was born during the process of my kids’ adolescent forays into athletics, high school and life. Most of their focus was on the ballfields, and most of my early interest was in sports psychology.  But in my reading over 300 popular, academic and serious texts in the field (STM has a bibliography and is extensively foot-noted), the reality emerged in full vivid focus that each of us has the ability — right there where you are sitting, without invasive technologies, and under your complete control — to modify your brain in a way that it will work more readily and effectively to — how is it that Thoreau put it? — “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” That was the quote written artistically in calligraphic style on my personalized “graduation diploma” when I completed Stewart Emery’s 40-hour Actualizations workshop back in the 1980s. “… in the spirit of the work of Rogers and Maslow, he offered the interpretation of the word Actualizations as meaning “to make the spirit of the authentic self real through action in the world”, “with experiential learning processes, contemplative learning meditations and individual coaching conversations in a group setting.”

I got up off the floor (literally, many times, after my intra-operative hemiplegic motor stroke eight years ago) with the intent of polishing and publishing that work. That’s my story.  As I lay in my hospital bed, I could hear the frequent arrival of medical helicopters carrying people who had suffered strokes, injuries in auto accidents, et al.  I met a few of those people and realized how insignificant my challenges were, which spurred me to harder work. Debbie Hampton’s tale (see below) is even more dramatic. Stephen P. Hall, in the New York Magazine, writes the story of one teen’s recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI).

STM is now in multi-pdf format, free and freely offered to those who can and will take advantage of it.

My three blogs are also littered with references to neuroplasticity. See  http://boydownthelane.com/tag/neuroplasticity/ and http://www.thesullenbell.com/2015/06/22/doing-reverse-psy-op/.

“The human body is not an anatomical structure that is fixed in space and time. The human body is more like a river alive with energy, information and intelligence. It has a cybernetic feedback loop and can influence its own evolution and its own expression. It has the ability to learn from mistakes and the ability to make choices. The human body is an astronomical amount of raw material that comes from everywhere. In the last three weeks, a quadrillion atoms have circulated through our bodies that have circulated through the bodies of every other living species on the planet. We could think of a tree in Africa, a squirrel in Siberia, a peasant in China…. In less than one year, we replace 98% of our physical bodies… a new liver every six weeks, a new skin once a month, a new stomach lining every five days, a new skeleton every three months. The bones that appear so hard, solid and permanent are dynamic structures. Even the DNA, which holds the memories of millions of years of evolution, comes and goes every six weeks. The physical body is recycled elements — recycled earth, water and air — matter in all of its solid, liquid, gaseous and quantum mechanical forms.

Any time I explain the quantum mechanical model to my friends and colleagues, they ask me this question: “If it is really true that the human skeleton replaces itself every three months, then why is the arthritis still there?”

The answer I give is that, through our conditioning, we generate the same impulses of energy and information that lead not only to the same behavioral outcomes but also lead to the same biochemical processes, and that these biochemical processes are under the influence of our consciousness, our memory and our conditioned responses.”

“Quantum Physics and Consciousness”, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., in The Emerging Mind, ed. by Karen Nesbitt Shanor, PhD, Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, CA 1999.


“… neuroplasticity is an umbrella term referring to the ability of your brain to reorganize itself, both physically and functionally, throughout your life due to your environment, behavior, thinking, and emotions. The concept of neuroplasticity is not new and mentions of a malleable brain go all of the way back to the 1800s, but with the relatively recent capability to visually “see” into the brain allowed by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), science has confirmed this incredible morphing ability of the brain beyond a doubt….” [ http://reset.me/story/neuroplasticity-the-10-fundamentals-of-rewiring-your-brain/ ] “… In his book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge calls this the “plastic paradox.” (Read more: “Your Plastic Brain: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”)

I know the power of neuroplasticity first hand, as I devised and performed my own home-grown, experience-dependant neuroplasticity based exercises for years to recover from a brain injury, the result of a suicide attempt. Additionally, through extensive cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and mindfulness practices, all of which encourage neuroplastic change, I overcame depression, anxiety, and totally revamped my mental health and life….”


I regularly and repeatedly go back and read this material myself; my arthritis is not only still here, but seems to be advancing.  Can you prevent the advance of aging?  Can you program your life for how it will look after your reincarnation? Those are subjects for a different time.

I strongly suggest — and because it is free there is no conflict of interest or financial incentive for me to proselytize — that you attend to reading STM ASAP (and sharing it with your children as they advance toward high school graduation)  before DARPA finishes its work.

Here are understandings and tools for you to accomplish the control of your mind and your life; read them honestly, with skepticism if necessary, and with trial periods.

Survey the world to see how others have used this and similar concepts to achieve new plateaus. I already have a small stack of personalized thanks; I already can point to results in my own children, their peers, and myself. Do you not think I recalled what I had read as I struggled to get up out of a chair and walk fifty feet across the room? As I navigated through a world of medical follow-up and personal interrelationship to get to the point where the entire encyclopedic collection is now on transportable media?

You have the option of getting to this work before entities associated with mind control, murder, war, totalitarianism and transhumanism beat you to the punch. Hurry; you have only a little time remaining.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” 

mouse neurons.jpg-large

“… The team found that “activation of a single neuron” can spark a response across an ‘ensemble’ of neurons, an effect which can be “reactivated at later time points without interfering with endogenous circuitry”.

During the experiments, researchers used a laser to stimulate a group of cells in a mouse’s visual cortex and have even restored sight and hearing to rodents who had lost those senses. Prior to this ‘optogenetic’ technology coming on stream, scientists had to surgically implant electrodes into the brains of subject mice but this new technique is far less invasive and offers more control.

These methods to read and write activity into the living brain will have a major impact in neuroscience and medicine,” said the study’s lead author and researcher….



being well

being well

Source of featured image:


“… [W]here you live can have more to do with how long you live than your DNA, medical history, insurance status or experience with the health care system. When it comes to good health, our ZIP code can be more important than our genetic code….. Merely being black in America triggers exposure to stressors linked to premature biological aging. Research indicates that blacks get sick at younger ages, have more severe illnesses and are aging, biologically, more rapidly than whites. Scientists call this the “weathering effect,” or the result of cumulative stress.”





It’s a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching: researchers at the School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. “I really did not believe there were structures in the body that we were not aware of. I thought the body was mapped,” said Jonathan Kipnis, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of the University’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia. How these vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own.

But the true significance of the discovery lies in its ramifications for the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis. Kipnis said researchers no longer need to ask questions such as, “How do we study the immune response of the brain?” or “Why do multiple sclerosis patients have immune system attacks?” “Now we can approach this mechanistically — because the brain is like every other tissue connected to the peripheral immune system through meningeal lymphatic vessels,” Kipnis said. “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role.” Kevin Lee, who chairs the Department of Neuroscience, recalled his reaction the first time researchers in Kipnis’ lab shared their basic result with him.

“I just said one sentence: ‘They’ll have to rewrite the textbooks.’ There has never been a lymphatic system for the central nervous system, and it was very clear from that first singular observation — and they’ve done many studies since then to bolster the finding — that it will fundamentally change the way people look at the central nervous system’s relationship with the immune system,” Lee said.

More, and a video:



“Doctors know it’s important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care.

But they’re finding it tough to start those conversations. When they do, they’re not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.

Such discussions are becoming more important as baby boomers reach their golden years. By 2030, an estimated 72 million Americans will be 65 or over, nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population.

Medicare now reimburses doctors $86 to discuss end-of-life care in an office visit that covers topics such as hospice, living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders. Known as “advance care planning,” the conversations can also be held in a hospital.




See realtime coverage

A major food company is labeling its pasta sauces as occasional treats because of health concerns

Business Insider

dolmio Reuters/Stefan WermuthDolmio pasta sauces are seen in a store in in London, Britain April 15, 2016. See Also. Mars Food tells customers to go easy on the pasta sauce · Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s tell customers to eat their products loaded with salt …


Mars, Incorporated »

Food »

Pasta »

Company To Tell Customers Its Food Is Too Unhealthy To Eat Every DayHuffington Post

Some Food Packages Will Tell You How Often You Should Eat What’s InsideABC News

Highly Cited:Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s firm Mars advises limit on productsBBC News

In Depth:Mars Food Launches Global Health And Wellbeing Ambition To Provide Consumers With More Nutritional Food And …Montreal Gazette

[Ed.: Did someone decide that the “Mediterranean diet” — based on fresh fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil and red wine in moderation — was a failure? Statistically, that led to long life. In my household — I married an Italian-American — we eat and make tomato sauce from scratch, so we haven’t had jarred tomato sauce in over half a century.]


click on this large image




Music CDs for Health & Well-Being


mapping the magic

mapping the magic

I continue to make some progress in excerpting key elements of those three Dispenza books. I just cemented in the description of the differences between semantic and episodic memory, which I think has everything to do with the current Cartesian psycopathologies of global conflict:

Semantic memories pertain to the information that we come to know intellectually but have not experienced…. Episodic memories involve the body and the senses as well as the mind. They require our full participation.”

The world is caught in the clutches of over-thinking people who are disconnected from the realities and consequences of their actions.


I did slice open the DVD package from Professor Richard Restak’s course Optimizing Brain Fitness long enough to decide that it’s of major interest, has a 12-page bibliography that promises much more material (there are six books on cognitive neuroscience alone, two of them his), details on all 12 lectures, and his own august bio.

I’ll spare you the enormous volume of detail in that bio (I’m sure you can find one online) but I had a prolonged twitch in my frontalis muscles when I saw that he’s lectured at the FBI, the NSA and the CIA.

(I’m going to reflect on that the next time I hear from some political wag announce that we’ve had a yet another “intelligence failure”.)

But as you progress through this extended e-book on performance psychology, I thought it would be a good time for me to post four of the appendices:


Mind Map 2013 pdf

Mind Map Explained


Becoming a Champion in Sport and Life

Goals pdf

Mind Mints

On Mentors and Coaches


At long last, after some research which gave me a crash course in minor things IT. I have succeeded in fixing the problem and you the reader are now able to read the pdf’s.


To thank you for your patience and sweeten the pot a little, I threw in some extras: the mind mints, and the notes from a lecture by a world-class sports psychologist on becoming a champion.


Remember, this all has no agenda except the one that you give it.


jazz, piano, brain

Ahmad Jamal, Yellow Fellow

(Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvBYV4pLdgg (14:59) June 22, 2014


{##} {&&&} {##}

How the brains of jazz piano players are different

Jordan, Taylor Sloan, Mic –  A study by Dr. Ana Pinho showed that when jazz pianists play, their brains have an extremely efficient connection between the different parts of the frontal lobe compared to non-musicians. That’s a big deal — the frontal lobe is responsible for integrating a ton of information into decision making. It plays a major role in problem solving, language, spontaneity, decision making and social behavior. Pianists, then, tend to integrate all of the brain’s information into more efficient decision making processes. Because of this high speed connection, they can breeze through slower, methodical thinking and tap into quicker and more spontaneous creativity.

Most shockingly, though, Pinho also found that when experienced pianists play, they literally switch off the part of the brain associated with providing stereotypical responses, ensuring that they play with their own unique voice and not the voices of others. Basically, it’s the opposite of Guitar Center riffage — true innovation like Oscar Peterson:

But piano is a taxing and complex instrument for the whole brain. Real pianists are marked by brains that efficiently conserve energy by allocating resources more effectively than anyone else. Dr. Timo Krings scanned pianists’ brains as they soloed and found that they pump less blood than average people in the brain region associated with fine motor skills. Less blood flow means less energy is needed to concentrate. Though that’s likely true of anyone who’s mastered a nimble task, it only compounds the efficiency pianists’ brains develop through mutating the central sulcus and altering their frontal lobe’s function. In pianists, the change in blood flow frees them to concentrate on other things that are totally unique to pianists — like their own unique form of communication.

It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but it’s one of the coolest things about being a pianist. When pianists improvise, the language portion of their brain remains active — like any musician, playing music is fundamentally an act of communication. But the big difference for pianists is that their communication is about syntax, not words. Dr. Charles Limb’s study showed that when pianists solo, their brains respond as if they were responding in a conversation, but they pay attention to phrasing and “grammatical” structure instead of specific words and phrases.

So pianists’ brains actually are different. They are masters of creative, purposeful and efficient communication because of the very instrument that they play. They are the naturally efficient multi-taskers of the musical world.




{##} {&&&} {##}


music videosKoto Song, Dave Brubeck (rare version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvB_ZNtOb4E (9:49) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTDYN2yol3I (9:07)

Bill Smith – clarinet

Chris Brubeck – electric bass

Randy Jones – drums

Concord Jazz Festival, Concord, CA


{##} {&&&} {##}


I had an elongated kinesthetic re-awakening that has to do with music, the brain connection, a personal apogee, the choice of instrument, the fact that I am an iNTP, how I am going to learn to play, what I am going to play, and more (see later).

It has to do with the body and muscles and the sudden bodily awareness that much of my musculature needs, energies, future tasks, and future development are bound up in the musculature of being an upright biped.

The suggestion, as yet fully unexplored along with the YouTubes and lessons given to me by my friend the Arkansas Dirt Devil and who is in fact — name him, book him, convict him, throw away the key — the dude responsible for the growing awareness of who and where music resides in me.

He suggests that a keyboard-based approach would work as an instrument; I had perhaps over-reached by suggesting an accordion of some sort (it’s mobile, doesn’t need power). The keyboard will allow (no, if I am attentive and disciplined, it will force) extensive right-left brain-motor-hand growth and rewiring. I’d be tethered, and that’s alright during an intensive learning phase. 

Part of the explosive awareness about the apogee is this:

I have been a pack-rat. I have (or know where I can find) huge volumes of information about deep politics, history, corruption, etc. It can, to a great extent, serve as fodder for future posting, blogging, etc. [Even the posting is getting to be a bore, as almost every place has turned into a snit-fight between players or small cadres. It’s time to move on, kick it up a notch and transform it, or drop it). It can also serve as fodder for lyrics for songs, starter kits for rants and blog entries, and much more.] But the really explosive (and like stupid doh! Zen thwack of the day) was in coming to brutal awareness that it is time to go back to the beginning.

The beginning for me (in the modern day era) was when I rather suddenly became aware of this song playing in my head. The at-first-grievous annoyance became a sandpapery abraisve and stayed for a month or two until, finally, I stopped in the middle of the parking lot and said “Dave Brubeck! Forty Days!”, and then proceeded to remember when and how I could find a copy. A long, long time ago, in a time far, far away, the previous wife had made off with the entire stereo system and virtually all the LP holdings by a couple that were former college radio station DJ and former college radio station general manager. We had the best, and then she had it. And then one day the mental alarm went off with the strangely-haunting melodies and rhythms of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGt0gQ5hjvA

[I wrote and told the story to Dave himself, and he sent this nice postcard of him at the piano in front of a giant piece of art not unlike himself). Yes, and I have, since that time, attended a concert by the new (third or fourth) quartet playing live in Saunders Theater — described by the genius behind an exclusive business of music equipment and recordings as the best place to hear and record jazz in America) (a great experience, thank you very much you know who you are, my funny valentine) and heard Bobby Millitello in an absolutely rocking-and-riveting upbeat elongated rendition of Koto Song with him soloing a flute in a Japanese style, including his chanting (with an inch of separation) over with mouthpiece.

I had this thought…that the best way for me to learn the instrument was to have a light and portable keyboard with strap with headphone wiring that allowed me to work, exercise, train and practice both the left hand and the right hand. What better way to turn myself into a functional auto-didactic-and-assisted learner of music theory and composition than to put into my muscle memory. [I have given myself a six-month objective of identifying and acquiring the right tool.][Note that I have since acquired a five-octave keyboard/synthesizer that I can plug into my iMac and cue up GarageBand.]

And on the other hand (pardon the pun), listening to my already extensive iPod collection of tunes, much of which is piano, in the performance, jazz, and other styles. Therein lies the model which I can replicate (or try my damnedest). And it includes a huge collection from the keyboard of the man who will soon meet his Maker as the greatest living expression of (or at least popularization of) jazz. And much other work, and it’s still growing. But it’s slowing down, that growth, and what better way to pay tribute to Dave Brubeck and his career than to turn it into my own personal library of music education, learning, and perhaps even performance, though the performance I think I want to do goes in a different direction of being a supportive but minor player of bass, harmony and rhythm through a keyboard.

Perhaps it is time to stop the growth and take all those seeds in a different direction as a learning pathway and neuro-muscular re-organization (I can’t yet conceive of how the brain will further explode once the corpus callosum is alive and dancing in the polyrhythms of such things as Take Five (in 5/4 rhythm) or Unsquare Dance (in 9/8 rhythm), or … perhaps a tango, or the aikido of life).

The lesson in the great awakening of apogee I just had, and I recognize that I have a very long way to go (yes, even elementary skool but highly up to-date in terms of graphics, animation, etc.) but here are some first impressions:

There ought to be a test of some sort, a survey of prior orientation and skill, or-as-yet-undiscovered method of determining how best to advance in the world of musical self-expression.

Maybe the choice of instrument has a component of moving to it, which gets to the handheld thing, but both are. Or can be. Yes, the more advanced keyboardist probably has three to seven of them.

But the focus again must be on entry level easy-path to learning theory, notation, language, etc. From there, I move on into other instruments but, in recognition of reality and apogee, a keyboard can remain viable at its elementary level without electrical power. By then, both hands would have been cross-trained in theory, harmony, rhythm, and composition that I can squeeze my vast memory and see what comes.

I do recall sitting on the stage next to the keyboardist in the almost-cult-like group Vanilla Fudge when they played “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

There is a book/audio on Eurhytmics with CD on teaching kids music by having them move to the notes played on a piano, walking, bending, moving upper arms, in which bass becomes the heavy muscle memory section, and the hands become the higher-pitched brass, reeds, percussion, etc. In this way, as above, with music piped into both sides of my brain as well as inputted into my movement and muscle memory, I get to become the music.

And this, of course, leads and links to dance, voice, aikido, or wider-scale drama/performance, whether for or with two, or more.

{##} {&&&} {##}



There is nothing extraordinary about improvisation….. A jazz pianist begins playing a theme, takes it through variations, weaves in the second theme, attaches ornaments. The conversationalist draws upon a well-organized hierarchy of knowledge…. In either case, the quality of the performance depends on the depth and flexibility of the learned hierarchy, and the performers ability to exploit better hierarchy quickly, in real time.

Improvisation can be a marvel….the intersection of technique, understanding and creative flair.

Music, The Brain and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination, Robert Jourdain, William Morrow & Co., 1997.



Improvisation is the pinnacle of musicianship. Expressing oneself is a form of communication that is individual, intimate and, when done well, capable of touching the emotions of others. Most improvisation operates within some external design. Improvising requires initiating action rather than responding to someone else’s command; it is an activity that affirms our individuality. Impulse and the realization come from inside, and impulse is the critical element. Improvisation flows from moment to moment, each moment flying out of the previous activity. We find the next step below we are not sure what the next step should be. It requires sizing up the situation, trusting our judgments, and acting upon our own assessments.

Improvisation occurs throughout our day in many ways. A conversation is an privatization, unless we have a prepared speech. As we speak, we pull together the words that express the images, emotions and thoughts in our mind. There is probably no field of activity where improvisation does not occur. Ingenious, impromptu bits of activity often avert disaster. We freely improvise when cooking. Skilled improvisation requires a vision of what needs to happen and the ability to assemble the needed resources. The resources for improvisation are stored as the sensations, the connections and the constructs in our memory. Improvisation excites the memory traces in a lively way, alerting everything available.

Time is an essential element in musical improvisation. When we open to the whole world of knowledge (and we need to do this to explore the maximal number of choices), we cannot review every item with equal consideration. The rational planning part of our mind must back off and give control to the musical impulse. Because the outcome is unplanned, there is always risk involved. The successful improvisation depends on the strength and flexibility of the imagination–its capacity to hold and rearrange impressions from memory. If the memories can be recalled with considerable detail, choices can be made and the results shaped with continuity and with skill.

The Rhythm Inside: Connecting Body, Mind and Spirit Through Music,  Julia Schnebly-Black, Ph.D. and Stephen F. Moore, PhD., Rudro Press, Portland, OR 1997.



Jazz, that uniquely American musical form, is remarkable not only for the magnificent way that it wears its heart and soul on its sleeve, but equally for its structural-improvisational nature, the depth of its musical intelligence, and its raw life force.

The key to improvisation is that you choose to enter an unpredictable arena, well-prepared. You intentionally take your skills away from the safe place to play in a danger zone. Luck has little to do with it–the more background, preparation and courageous readiness one brings to it, the better it goes. One can spend a lifetime getting better at it; making a habit of it throughout life improves the quality of one’s music in one’s life. Improvisation is a fast series of tactical choices with personal skills. So fast is the choosing that they cannot think or plan; they must rely on educated intuition. Improvising happens in the perpetual present tense, and it always comes with risk.

Musicians are not the only ones who improvise. All of us do it every day: when there’s a traffic problem on our usual route and we try another route; when we meet someone new who catches ourr interest; when we dance; when the child asks where babies come from and we stutter a response; when we lie; when we try to express our feelings; when we tell an anecdote; when we order a meal in a restaurant; when we make love.

The artistic skills of jazz are used to improvise a life. We experiment, return, respond, follow intuitions, weave together thematic strands; we play what is there. It’s like standup Divine comedy. Life jazz is our yearning cruising the streets to find undeveloped raw material of daily life. It is the alchemy by which leaden life experiences are spun into gold. It engages all the skills of the artist to play seriously, to make high-quality experiences in the present tense.

The Everyday Work of Art: How Artistic Experience Can Transform Your Life, Eric Booth, Sourcebooks, Napierville, Illinois 1997.


{##} {&&&} {##}


Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation – YouTube (1:16:08)


{##} {&&&} {##}




Music video:

Endless (Keith Jarrett)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqEmBGHHyvA (15:00*) 


[buy the album “Changeless” here: http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1179042/a/changeless.htm ]

The Allmusic review by Richard S. Ginell awarded the album 4 stars and states, “This is a triumph, for Jarrett has successfully brought the organically evolving patterns of his solo concerts into the group format … a genuine collective musical experience.”[2]

This is quasi-orgasmic and I bought it the first time I was aware of it. It played endlessly for a month and longer. It was an elemental part of my recovery.  “Jarrett is a follower of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949),[19] and in 1980 recorded an album of Gurdjieff’s compositions, called Sacred Hymns, for ECM. Jarrett has also visited Princeton University‘s ESP lab run by Robert Jahn.[20][21]”

*The conversation that begins at about the 7-minute mark between Peacock on bass and Jarrett on piano is, for me, as good as it gets. 


{##} {&&&} {##}


Rhythm, Sound, Improvisation and ‘Life Jazz’


Rhythm is found everywhere…, In machines, nature’s tides, in sunlight and wind, in seasons, in animals and plants, in art and architecture, in the human body’s circular and respiratory systems, in the way we walk, and in music.

The word “Eurythmics” comes from the Greek words meaning “good flow”. The ancient Greeks used the term of your rhythmic to refer to the good form of an athlete in action, or the pleasing shape of the statute. When flow is missing, we say “the athlete is off his game”, or” “I do not like that statue”, or “that architecture is fragmented”, or “that music does not move me”.

 Sensory integration is best supported and expressed by linking auditory stimulation and body movement. This is been dramatically demonstrated by Emile Jacques-Dalcroze and the teachers of the Eurythmics approach. As sound vibrations travel through the air and enter the ear, the aural system transmits them to specific areas of the brain for processing. Information about the body’s arrangement in space and the state of its musculature (relaxed or tense) comes to the brain simultaneously through the proprioceptive system. The visual sense carries images of the activities of others around you, or from within your own mind, from which you take cues and clues. This complex flow of internal messages moving on different branches of the nervous system operates similarly in anyone who must perform with precision and skill–a violinist, a tennis player, or surgeon. [Or machinist…]

Practice moving in time to music, stopping quickly when the music stops, starting when the music starts. In order to move with wisdom and flow to music, you must listen carefully, and you will improve your degree of alertness; it becomes a game of keeping up with the music by clapping, then walking, then moving all of your body in more complex ways. If you feel embarrassed doing this with a close friend,

if you feel embarrassed doing this in the presence of others, that’s okay. So start by trying this in a private setting, done with a close friend, but do it. You may remember playing musical movement games of this kind in kid in kindergarten. It’s okay: let go and be a child again.

Although clapping in time with the beat is a common response to music, walking is a more vibrant expression of the beat….  The action of walking involves the whole body. We feel the movement in our knees, ankles, toes, elbows, head, shoulders, back, hips–all over. Walking uses balance as the principal force to propel the body ahead, supported by evenly-timed leg movements. It provides a greater stimulation for memory impressions than clapping, which lacks the demand of balance and the impelling force of leg movement.…  Walking is a simple, reliable source of stimulation for establishing … a sense of beat which then leads to establishing a beat using all kinds of movements including conducting, clapping, swaying, twisting, stretching and skipping. You can become keenly aware of the the varying intensities of energy necessary to move the specific parts of the body: a hand, whole arm, shoulder, or the entire upper torso. The body offers many ways of moving–each with a different flow of effort, direction, articulation and speed. The body is an instrument in itself.

Different muscles can be used to mimic the different rhythms and music. Slow, heavy rhythms might be reflected by movements in the larger muscle groups such as the legs and torso. Quick, light rhythms might involve the fingers or the tip of the tongue. As you learn greater control over your large muscle groups, you will feel corresponding growth in control over the smaller muscle groups. It is a smaller muscle groups that are vitally important in mastering performance on musical instruments. [Musicians are athletes of the small muscle groups!] Musicians, athletes and dancers often make it look so easy. This apparent ease arise arises from repetitive practice–so that their bodies move smoothly and elegantly, without detectable effort, nervous obstruction, or mental or emotional distraction. Playing games with the natural forces of weight and gravity, and taking risks to find the limits of balance, will enlarge your field of sensation and expression.

Lisa Parker, head of Eurythmics, Longy school of Music, Cambridge Massachusetts: “Once students start to use their whole body, it becomes like new worlds in the language. They find a richer vocabulary of behavior; they discover a lot of equipment in the back closet.”

Soon, if you give yourself permission to play at moving your body to music, you will learn to express the quality and characteristics of the music by the manner of your movement… fast, slow, light, graceful, forceful, tentative, exuberant… By learning to move your body to music, you can learn to transfer the feeling of selected pieces of music to your movement and to your performance… Linking movement with sound will help you increase your perceptions and awareness, focus and improve your attention, allow you to develop finer degrees of muscle control, and enhance your ability to improvise and respond creatively in situations of all kinds. Moving to music encourages the shy, lends balance and flow to the awkward, brings control to the impulsive and sensitivity to the unaware. It harmonizes our bodies sensory systems, the evocative influence of our emotions, and our minds memory and creative functions.

When internal communication flows effortlessly between body, mind and spirit without interference, the level of performance, insight and creativity soars.

Practicing Eurythmics will improve and accelerate your kinesthetic awareness. [Practicing tai chi to music may also help.]

With this enhanced experience of making stronger neurological connections with your proprioceptors, you will enhance your athletic capability as well as your musical one.

The Rhythm Inside: Connecting Body, Mind and Spirit Through Music, Julia Schnebly-Black, Ph.D. and Stephen F. Moore, PhD., Rudro Press, Portland, OR 1997.

[Based on the Dalcroze Eurhythmics approach to teaching music, with accompanying music CD, this book suggests a marvelous way to introduce movement with music and the practice of kinesthetic awareness.]

{##} {&&&} {##}



Father’s Day brought me two gift certificates for iTunes which I just redeemed for five albums:  Keith Jarrett’s Facing You which was described by Esbjorn Svensson as having had a seminal impact on his own work as a jazz pianist; three of Svensson’s albums (301, Seven Days of Falling, and Leucocyte), and Dhafer Youssef’s Birds Requiem

The connection between the Sufism influences on Youssef and the Gurdjieff influences on Jarrett will now inform my own sacred personal dance. Right now, this is playing: http://www.releaselyrics.com/3f9e/esbjörn-svensson-trio-o.d.r.i.p./ 

You will know for sure once you’ve seen the light. 


{##} {&&&} {##}


E.S.T.- Seven Days Of Falling 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyk5kg-r9Fg (5:58) 


{##} {&&&} {##}


Greatest Jazz Pianists

Jazz has had the broadest perspective of all genres in music since its first note to the present day. It is for that reason that this list is presented in the same manner, with respect to all the myriad forms & interpretations of jazz that exist today. 

Criteria: – These jazz pianists were chosen for their originality, versatility, compositional skill, impact and influence in addition to their technical and improvisational playing of the instrument. 

Newly added names are in Red

Edited By: Rick Varner

Last Updated: 09-12-2011









{##} {&&&} {##}


Patricia Barber, Caravan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xm9VUtJo8k (8:13)



{##} {&&&} {##}{##} {&&&} {##}{##} {&&&} {##}{##} {&&&} {##}

Tuesday night update:


Just now, having received a nice contact comment from Esteban, a guitarist, voting for Art Tatum and The Monk, I find this on Slashdot:

Programming on a Piano Keyboard

Posted by Soulskill  
from the well-tempered-claiverlang dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Here’s a fun project: engineer Yuriy Guts built a Visual Studio extension that lets people program using MIDI instruments. You can write code letter by letter on a piano keyboard. Granted, it’s not terribly efficient, but it’s at least artistic — you can compose music that is also a valid computer program. Somewhat more usefully, it also allows you to turn a simple MIDI input device, like a trigger pad into a set of buttons that will run tests, push/pull code, or other tasks suitable for automation. The extension is open source and open to contributions.

Alignment of Purpose

The final part of an extended article entitled

Getting Beyond:

Finding Purpose and Vitality After Enduring Systemic Insult

The first three sections are here:





Alignment of Purpose



What we tell ourselves,

in the quiet of our own mind,

is the key.




There is much yet to be said about this topic, which spreads across affirmations, self-talk, the nature of the music one listens to, and much much more. What do you feed your brain? You believe what you say to yourself for fairly obvious reasons, though a lot of people don’t “grok” the concepts very well.  First, your body/mind has been listening to your voice for a long time, and it recognizes and responds to that voice instinctively and instantaneously.  Second, the source of your voice is deeply embedded within your body; the vocal chords in your throat, the resonance of your abdominal expulsion of air, the rhythms and resonance vibrating directly through the boy jaw right into the bony stirrups of your ear and along the outside of your skull.

[For more, see  Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All In Your Head, Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., Great Ocean Publishers, Arlington, VA 1995. [The author is a nationally- recognized neuropsychologist and educator. This is a fascinating, very readable and important book on neuroscience, educational kinesiology and the brain/body connection as it affects us in learning, in performance, at work, and in society. It explains several basic BrainGym exercises, very simple techniques anyone can use to enhance their lives in innumerable ways.]



For further reflection:

“A fascinating corollary is [the] discovery that not only a lack of communication between individuals but the quality of that communication influences the cardiac system of the human being. Using state-of-the-art equipment to measure blood pressure surges during certain kinds of dialogue, Dr. Lynch has found that negative language – abusive, angry, loud, denigrating – when used repeatedly, and especially early in childhood, can have a devastating effect on the heart of the individual to whom it is directed. “Lethal talk”, Dr. Lynch posits, therefore can be just as much a factor in heart disease as exercise, diet, or cholesterol levels. Negative talk and loneliness, then, can negatively affect our health and, potentially, our lifespan as meaningful human relationships can in the opposite direction.

Although Dr. Lynch focuses on the psychological and emotional factors of loneliness and lethal talk and their relationship to cardiac health, he does not address the vibrational or resonance aspects of both physical proximity of electromagnetic fields and the sounds of conversation. Is it possible, for example, that when the energetic fields of two hearts are near one another that they actually entrain?

Rhythm entrainment, also known as sympathetic vibration, or simply resonance occurs when two wave-forms of similar frequency “lock into phase” with each other. The waves actually oscillate together at exactly the same rate. Two oscillating vibrations, if they are near enough to one another in frequency, will eventually entrain. An example of this is what happens when clocks in a clock store are wound, with their pendulums set in motion. At first the tick tock of the pendulums’ sway is just slightly off but eventually every clock falls into rhythm with the others as they become entrained.

This principle of rhythm entrainment can also occur with one wave triggering a vibration in a resting source such as when a violin string can be tuned to a certain pitch by playing another violin string set to the same pitch nearby. This is how tuning forks are used in remote control television units. The TV is remotely activated by pushing a button on the remote control unit which strikes a tone that entrains with a tone in the unit….

Have you ever felt the energy in the room shift when two or more individuals seem to be “on the same wavelength”?




music video: 

I Can’t Get Started 

(Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

(“A Child’s Dance”) (Woody Shaw on trumpet) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97NGOo92Tak 



We are what we think. What we are (and what will we will become) starts from within our thoughts. With our thoughts, we create our reality. Virtually all of our behavioral patterns are generated from the unconscious naming or categorization of our prior experiences. Much of what we believe about ourselves is based upon erroneous conclusions we have drawn due to how subjectively we interpreted and experience. We prevent positive outcomes for ourselves because we imagine that we have been slighted, or judged, or doubted, or criticized, or been found to be deficient in some way. Repetitive experience of this type leaves traces upon our subconscious mind. If we tell ourselves frequently that we are worthy, or unattractive, or clumsy, or at fault, or any of a range of negative self-perceptions in a variety of forms, then we will form identifications with those characteristics.

Identifications (how we see ourselves) are etched into the subconscious.

At the core of every identification is a subjective belief.

Beliefs generate attitudes. Our experiences related to our beliefs

Attitudes generate feelings.

Feelings generate thoughts.

Thoughts generate action.

At the root of every identification is a belief. This is a statement of relative truth that generates a series of attitudes, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. The subconscious mind will hold onto pattern the programming and become locked in, seemingly inaccessible. We can and do believe something, or act a certain way , without a clue as to why. Our minds have a built in sentinel which guards the mental file cabinet where we store our identifications and beliefs. It acts as a filter so that nothing can be filed in that file cabinet that does not already conform with the identifications and beliefs there are ready there. (Psychologists call it “the critical factor”.)

You can gain access to your subconscious, to that file cabinet of core belief, when your mind’s filtering sentinel can be made to step aside through the use of effective progressive relaxation techniques. The identifications and beliefs that do not serve you can be overcome and replaced. You can choose to give yourself positive messages that will generate positive experience and reality.


Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life, Dan Millman, New World Library, Novato, California, 1999. [Millman is a former world champion on the trampoline, a Hall of Fame gymnast, a coach and a university professor. This is a revision of his earlier book The Inner Athlete.]

The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron with Mark Bryan, Jeremy Tarcher/G. P. Putnam Books, New York, 1992. [A path for uncovering or unblocking your innate creativity.]

This all has to do with the harmony within one’s self, as well as the harmony that can be extended to others, within community, and within nature and the cosmos.




“People appear to think in conjunction or partnership with others and with the help of culturally provided tools and implements. Cognitions, it would seem, are not content-free tools that are brought to bear on this or that problem; rather, they emerge in a situation tackled by teams of people and tools available to them… What characterizes such daily events of thinking is that the social and artifactual surrounds, alleged to be ‘outside’ the individual’s heads, not only are sources of stimulation and guidance but are actually vehicles of thought. Moreover, the arrangements, functions, and structures of these surrounds change in the process to become genuine parts of the learning that results from the cognitive partnership with them. In other words, it is not just the ‘person- solo’ who learns, but the ‘person-plus’, the whole system of interrelated factors.”


“No distribution without individual cognition: a dynamic interaction of view”, G. Salomon, in Distributed Cognitions — Psychological and Educational Considerations, Cambridge University Press, 1993 G. Salomon (ed.), as noted by Mark K. Smith, Learning and Organizations, at www.infed.org/biblio/organizational-learning.htm.




“… learning results in the construction of nodes and relations….”

How does this apply to (or how is it applied by) the super-empowered individual?

“Three types of learning are particularly interesting from an organizational perspective: communication-based, experience-based, and expectation- based.

In communication-based learning, individuals learn about tasks, people, organizations, etc. by observing or being told. The information garnered in this way is expected to be new or novel to the learner.

Experiential learning has its basis in task repetition and feedback. There are several sources for this experience: the communication of previous results, increased familiarity, increased physical skill, prior problem-solving.

Finally, expectation-based learning occurs when individuals engage in planning, thinking ahead about the future, and then use these expectations as a basis for future reasoning.

From a network perspective, learning results in the construction of nodes and relations.”


“On The Evolution of Social and Organizational Networks”, Kathleen M. Carley, Carnegie Mellon University, in Steven B. Andrews and David Knoke (eds.), Vol. 16 Special Issue of Research in the Sociology of Organizations on “Networks In and Around Organizations,”, JAI Press, Inc, Stamford, CT, pp. 3-20.





From Body-Mind Psychotherapy: Principles, Techniques & Practical Applications, Susan Aposhyan, W. W. Norton & Co., 2004:

“In my book Natural Intelligence,: body-mind immigration and human development (1998), I distilled six principles which underlie body-mind integration in any context. These principles are: respect, full participation, inclusivity, dialogue, sequencing, and development. [Otherwise] we are merely using our bodies to perform mechanical functions and thereby contributing to body-mind the synchronization.” [Page 15]

“Throughout the development of human cultures, as visions of how to live grew more complex in some parts of the world, in order to manifest those visions, industrialized nations came to dominate more of the natural world–including other humans. Body-minded dualism is part and parcel of this domination. In the act of dominating, we forgot our bodily connection with the other. In the act of being dominated, we became fragmented, losing touch with the vitality of our own subjectivity. This fragmentation increases cyclically; it is far easier to dominate a fragmented creature….” [Page 24]

“The development of modern mouth, teeth and tongue allowed us to articulate in so much detail and free up our hands even further. We could now speak and do at the same time….” [page 25]

“As cellular life evolved from colonies of cells to multicellular organisms, a new form of communication evolved–vascular communication. While still relying on chemical messengers, vascular systems provided organized, fluid channels of communication that both sped up and directed the communication process within within an organism (Margulis and Sagan, 1986). Our circulatory systems are still fundamental to communication within the human organism.” [Page 36]

The amygdala

“As we have come to understand the amygdala and its role in fear and other emotional reactions, we have recognized that it can receive and react to pertinent sensory data before the prefrontal lobe has had time to completely receive and process the input. In other words before we recognize the stick in our path as not being a snake, we have already jumped out of its way.  Our lower brain functions recognized that this stick could be a snake. It is adaptive to jump first, evaluate later. Not only does the prefrontal lobe receive and respond to the sensory data more slowly — as it is further way from the sensory input with many more synaptic connections to complete, it is also has a relatively weak ability to control the amygdala response. The prefrontal lobe has fewer and slower connections into the amygdala than the amygdala has to the prefrontal lobe. This makes the effect of the amygdala on the prefrontal lobe both quicker and stronger than the effect of the prefrontal lobe on the amygdala.

Understanding this brain circuitry helps explain why our emotional intensity can easily overcome our rational perspective. The degree to which this is true seems to vary with individuals and is a fundamental aspect of temperament.

Furthermore, this mechanism can be strengthened in either direction through practice and experience. This tendency for emotional intensity to overcome the rational frontal lobe is especially salient in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis, addictions, and adolescence. In these situations, the prefrontal lobe is already operating at a disadvantage. Thus, the emotional intensity generated by the amygdala can more easily overpowered.

Polyvagal theory

In the evolution of the motion, mammalian behavior is distinct due to the centrality of bonding and parental care. Some argue that this evolutionary legacy has placed relationality at the center of our emotional processing.   Stephen Porges (1995), director of the brain-body center at the University Illinois, has developed a poly-vagal theory of autonomic nervous system regulation that places the roots of social engagement in the brainstem, at the very foundation of our neurological regulation.

According to his theory, human autonomic regulation has 3 tiers of operations.” [They consist of immobilization; sympathetic arousal response of fight or flight; and, finally, the social engagement system. ]  “This system involves the ventral root of the vagus nerve as well as aspects of other cranial nerves. Together these nerves in their respective nuclei in the brainstem control bonding and engaging behaviors, such as facial expression, localization, listening, and sucking.

In a state of social engagement…, heart and respiratory rate vary…, [as does facial muscle tone which controls ears noses eyes and more, enabling] “the ability to respond with a variety of behaviors. This variability is essential to engagement. It could be seen as a fundamental aspect of responsivity or attunement….” [Pages 40-44]



And then, as if it were a coda, in response to a comment I’d made, Laurence Gonzales said I should check out “the polyvagal theory”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnfKmNRfLYU (2:27)


It turns out I’d heard of the theory before and even included it in a slice of my “Summon The Magic” material, replicated above.

And Gonzales was right again, I discovered, when I  re-examined Porges and his theory, this time in depth, and having a deeper understanding of what Porges means, what the theory is about, what it tells us about how we humans are constructed, and that it holds the key to our re-generation after trauma.

My return from West Virginia, my re-engagement with my wife and kids, my focusing on getting the “Summon The Magic” material in shape and online, and my looking for new ways to learn and get involved and engaged, are my examples. I got beyond the physical and emotional trauma of my dance with intensive care, my rehabilitative process, and found some answers to “What now?”.  I focused on restoring or keeping what health I had. WIth the kitchen empty and the wife still working 14-hour days, I focused on cooking. I bought an instructional cookbook from the Culinary Institute of America, watched cooking shows, and played in the kitchen as an artist in love. We got the kitchen re-modeled. I started to assemble some instructional tools on learning how to play the piano or electronic keyboard. I bought a new computer, got re-invested in blogging, and ended up transitioning my blog to a new host with a new approach. And I’ve put 9/11 and such things behind me, in the sense that I no longer feel obsessed, no longer have the need to chase down every detail, eliminate the doubts and variables in every piece of disinformation, or classify and categorize every one who posts on the Internet. I still watch and post about such things on the news,  obviously, but there are spaces and gaps now, places and times when I can turn away and invest my self in something else.

Each of us has to do this in his or her own way, when we are ready… again not for the sake of letting go of our awareness and activism, but in harnessing it to better ends with better tools and in learning to live a life in our own way that is contrapuntal and antithetical to “the evilarchy” that has brought us to the cliffside of brutal totalitarianism, economic collapse, and world war. 

Below the calligraphic break is a section devoted to Porges and his theory with more links for your exploration to the depth of your own interest.


In his article on love and our emergent autonomic nervous system

[ http://www.craniosacrale.it/pdf/dainfo/love_paper.pdf ],

Stephen Porges, Ph.D. explains our innate human neurobehavioral system and the way it promotes an alternative to the flight/fright mechanism by promoting social contact and communication.

His polyvagal theory describes the enervation of the branchiomeric muscles which control our facial expressions, listening and vocalization, our head tilts and all the  other very subtle elements that are intimately involved in the communication of affect.

These are the tools of engagement and interaction within the social environment (although these require face-to-face contact, not social media contact).

These same internal systems also communicate with our heart and with our gastro-intestinal system which are intimately connected with the brain, the heart and the body’s hormonal regulation mechanisms. This triad is inseparable and is deeply integrated with our abilities for cooperative and shared responsibilities of survival, the transmission of cultural values, and with physical safety.

Love, which is incompatible with fear, may have evolved to bypass slower, more tedious, and often unsuccessful processes of communication and social engagement.

For more, click on this pdf link: The Polyvagal Theory 


A Short Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGDMXvdwN5c (3:59)


ABC’s Sydney Lupkin calls it a “fake”, but maybe a placebo is a more correct term. 


RumblePitch tweets — inside the story — that it’s degrading for all intelligent women but then, on the other hand, intelligent women would know how to use their own minds in a manner that improves their well-being and, maybe, just maybe, some people need to be educated about how that works.

This is what I’ve been trying to do with “Summon The Magic” and, while my own direct applications have been focused on helping one individual be able to hit home runs seemingly at will, and in another case helping a post-Olympic pitcher [Danielle “Harry” Henderson] get over the simple psychological hurdle of making an error every time the ball was hit back to her [“Thanks… it worked!”, she told me a year later], it’s simply about opening up the door to the idea that the power of the brain can be focused on any issue the brain’s owner wants it to be.

Here are chunks of the old e-book “Summon The Magic”:

the Bibliography pdf,

Mind Map 2013 pdf

ActionMapping pdf

Team Chemistry pdf

Get Going



The state of loneliness can be crippling, and though majority of people don’t find themselves consumed by it, they do feel its effects as their inner worlds shrink and dry up.

According to the 65-year-old Indian-born American physician, the only real answer to loneliness is to experience your own fullness, and only then can you be sure that you will not look inside one day to find holes, gaps, unanswered fears and a sense of lack.

A few steps that enable an individual to become true to themselves have also been given, the Huffington Post reported.

Step one is to have a vision that you devote time to every day – according to happiness experts, the best way to have a happy life is to have a happy day. Chopra has modified this a little bit and said that the best way to have a happy life is to have a happy day that looks forward to tomorrow as the future is something you build toward and the place where you build is inside yourself.

Step two consists of putting yourself in a context for fulfilment – the solitary life is suitable for very few people and the vast majority prefer social connections. We all have them if yours are the kind that doesn’t fulfil you emotionally, the whole value of relationship is being missed.

Proximity isn’t the same as bonding. There is a sliding scale for bonding, from least to most intimate, which is as follows:

Relationships exist for the purpose of mutual fulfillment, but if they exist for other reasons like status, financial security, feeling wanted or meeting the social norm, it’s not the same as being true to yourself deep down and allowing intimacy to move into the region of the soul.

Lastly, view your life as a process, a never-ending journey – as long as you live between the end points of birth and death, life is like a conveyor belt heading inexorably for a black tunnel. The only time that never ages is the present moment.

Living in the moment has become a spiritual cliche, but it isn’t always a useful one. The now becomes eternal only when it is full, when your being is enough to sustain you, complete fullness is at hand and when just being here elicits bliss, you are timeless.



Random Acts of Kindness caught on film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeph_eX_pVw&list=PLxr6alg-YpQYPINmZkZuGl8xxN1HDOOkz (5:27)


music video (must be watched for its explanatory graphics)

Oh Come, Emmanuel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozVmO5LHJ2k&list=PLxr6alg-YpQYPINmZkZuGl8xxN1HDOOkz (4:36)



From “Deep Survival”

The appendix of the book starting on page 278 offers up the condensed rules”.


The rules of adventure:

Perceive, believe, then act. Guess well. Avoid the “four poisons of the mind”: fear, confusion, hesitation, and surprise. Hesitation. [My sports psychology reading taught me a very simple mantra which continues to remain deeply embedded and yet available: “Don’t  discriminate in the midst of action”.] Stop, think, observe, plan, and then act.

Avoid impulsive behavior; don’t hurry.

Know your stuff.

Get the information.

Commune with the dead. “If you could collect the debt around you and sit by the campfire and listen to their tails, you might find yourself in the middle of the best survival school of all.”

Be humble.

When in doubt, bail out.


The rules of survival:

Number One: Perceive; believe (look, see, believe).

Number Two: Stay calm (use humor, use fear to focus).

Number Three: Think/analyze/plan (get organized; set up small, manageable tasks;).

Number Four: Take correct, decisive action (be bold and cautious while carrying out tasks).

Number Five: Celebrate your successes (take joy in completing tasks).

Number Six: Count your blessings (be grateful–you’re alive).

Number Seven: Play (sing, play mind games, recite poetry,  count anything, do mathematical problems in your head).

Number Eight: See the beauty (remember: it’s a vision quest).

Number Nine: Believe that you will succeed (develop a deep conviction that you make real).

Number Ten: Surrender (let go of your fear of dying; “put away the pain”).

Number Eleven: Do whatever is necessary (be determined; have the will and the skill).

Number Twelve: Never give up (let nothing break your spirit).


Mark Knopfler – True Love Will Never Fade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cDxnbDfgYA (4:28)



[with a big tip of the cap to A. Peasant]






“Life is precious and irreplaceable. Even severe incurable illness can often be temporarily fixed, moderated, or controlled…. In chess, to resign is to give up the game with pieces and options remaining.  My version of DNR is “Do Not Resign”.

Don’t give up on me if I can still think, communicate, create, and enjoy life. When taking care of me, take care of yourself as well, to make sure you don’t burn out by the time I need your optimism the most.

It’s so easy to let someone die, but it takes effort, determination, and stamina to help someone stay and feel alive.”


Boris Veysman, M.D. [ http://rwjms.rutgers.edu/emergency_medicine/faculty/profiles/veysmanb.html ], in the journal Health Affairs,

cited on page 207 of Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You http://www.amazon.com/Your-Medical-Mind-Decide-Right/dp/B00CVDO05U , Jerome Groopman, M.D., and Pamela Hartzband, M.D., Penguin 2012.



From the Nag Hammadi library, the Book of Thomas, Christ tells us “For whoever does not know self does not know anything, but whoever knows self already has acquired knowledge about the depth of the universe”.

Compare this with a tract from the Upanishads, the Indian metaphysical treatise on self-realization:

“It is not by argument that the self is known…. Distinguish the self from the body and mind. The self, the atman, the highest refuge of all, pervades the Universe and dwells in the hearts of all. Those who are instructed in the self and who practice constant meditation attain that changeless and self-effulgent atman (spirit/self). Do Thou Likewise, for bliss eternal lies before you….”








“…. for god’s sake, one can’t spend untold hours chewing blogospherical cud when there is a real life to be lived out there in the real world….”

Chris Floyd

 On Data Dumps, Death States and “Respectable” Dissent


“You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he ‘s no longer in your power–he’s free again.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn 


Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/source/bobynin_in_the_first_circle_1968?page=1#QogthHx4ItgqQg3o.99



There is a tearsheet used as a bookmark in my copy of Civil Disobedience which notes an excerpt from the book The power highway: Saga of a desperate Southern gentleman, 1955-1967” (Dillard, 1997) (edited by Douglas Brinkley), and which reads, underneath the title in bold red

 “Fear and Loathing…”:

On the night of November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Hunter Thompson wrote to his friend William Kennedy from his home in Woody Creek, Colorado. The letter contains the earliest known use of his signature phrase “fear and loathing”. An excerpt follows.

….There is no human being within 500 miles to whom I can communicate anything–much less the fear and loathing that is on me after today’s burner….The killing has put me in a state of shock. The rages troubled….This is the end of reason, the dirtiest are in our time. I mean to come down from the hills and enter the fray….No more fair play. From now on it is dirty pool and judo in the clinches. The savage nuts have shattered the greatness of American decency. They can count me in – I feel ready for a dirty game….



The Sacred Ritual of Walking: Venkat Rao explains, for the benefit of us un-spiritual types, that sacred rituals are of four types: grounding, centring, connecting, and collecting. He then provides an intriguing exercise to assess which type most appeals to you.

When the Purpose of Meeting is Not to Agree on Actions: My friend Amanda Fenton summarizes some great thoughts on the value of conversation, connection and networking that yields no action plans, decisions or “solutions”. Sometimes, sharing and listening and learning is enough; sometimes, “the dialogue is the action”.


“Don’t turn your face away.

Once you’ve seen, you can no longer act like you don’t know.

Open your eyes to the truth. It’s all around you.

Don’t deny what the eyes to your soul have revealed to you.

Now that you know, you cannot feign ignorance.

Now that you’re aware of the problem, you cannot pretend you don’t care.

To be concerned is to be human.

To act is to care.”

― Vashti Quiroz-Vega




Accepting reality

Americans’ Mental Health is Latest Victim of Changing Climate (Op-Ed)

An excerpt:

“When you have an environmental insult, the burden of mental health disease is far greater than the physical,” said Steven Shapiro, a Baltimore psychologist who directs the program on climate change, sustainability and psychology for the nonprofit Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR). “It has a much larger effect on the psyche. Survivors can have all sorts of issues: post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and academic issues among kids.”



“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 





In 2009, Rachel Weisz expressed her views on Botox to Harper’s Bazaar – “It should be banned for actors, as steroids are for sportsmen. Acting is all about expression; why would you want to iron out a frown?“[109]








There is no prosthetic for an amputated spirit.

Lt. Col. Frank Slade (blind from a foolish accident with a grenade)(From the movie “The Scent of a Woman”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN0rMmUxUMI (0:08)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2zTd_YwTvo (4:30)


“Happiness is the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.”

John F. Kennedy, citing Plato

See also page 159

Your Unfinished Life: The Classic and Timeless Guide to Finding Happiness and Success Through Kindness

by Lawrence J. Danks




“… Only the wealthy can afford to have someone else fix their bicycle, walk and wash their dog, change the oil in their car, repair their house, etc. Practical skills enable an individual or household to lower the cost of living to the point that savings (capital accumulation) is possible. Practical skills are human capital, which is the means of production in a knowledge economy…..”




There are two books in my bibliography for the never-quite-got-off-the-ground effort I called “Summon The Magic” that I recommend first and foremost for students and parents, students for the obvious reason that they have evidenced some desire to learn something useful and parents in the hopes that they would buy one for their kids (and read it when the kid was doing something else).

One of those books has this description in my list:

The Everyday Work of Art: How Artistic Experience Can Transform Your Life, Eric Booth, Sourcebooks, Napierville, Illinois 1997. [At the foundation of Summon The Magic, the concepts in this book should be taught to every high school student; written by an individual who has achieved unparalleled success in the fields of music, the performing arts and business.] [Having been recognized by many educators as an outstanding book, it has been re-published by Authors’ Guild Back-in-Print (iUniverse.com) (ISBN 0-595-19380-3) with the new subtitle “Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life”.]

There are many rich tidbits to be drawn from this book. He talks about developing own’s own hall of masters, the select few with whom you’d like to have a conversation, a dinner, or some form of deeper relationship. [He’s on my list.]  The second is a little meme about a spectrum of curiosity, really a spiral that describes depths of attention.

He does a lot with etymology, which endears me to him, and he is the kind of fellow I very much wish I’d had an encounter decades ago; it would have changed and improved my life. If you’re not yet convinced of the need to part with some of your hard-earned cash for this man’s book, read this commencement address of his:



Healing the Traumatized Self


Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology

Paul Frewen (Author), Ruth Lanius (Author)

With a Foreword by Bessel van der Kolk, With a Foreword by David Spiegel

A neurobiological explanation of self-awareness and the states of mind of severely traumatized people.

Cultivation of emotional awareness is difficult, even for those of us not afflicted by serious mental illness. This book discusses the neurobiology behind emotional states and presents exercises for developing self awareness. Topics include mood (both unipolar and bipolar), anxiety (particularly PTSD), and dissociative disorders.  Frewen and Lanius comprehensively review psychological and neurobiological research, and explain how to use this research to become aware of emotional states within both normal and psychopathological functioning. Therapists will be able to help survivors of trauma, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and dissociative disorders develop emotional awareness. The book also includes case studies, detailed instructions for clinicians, and handouts ready for use in assessment/therapy with patients/clients.


  1. Hardcover
  2. Forthcoming July 2014
  3. ISBN 978-0-393-70551-5
  4. 6.1 × 9.3 in / 416 pages



Healing Trauma

Peter Levine, author of “Waking The Tiger”, has a book/CD package called “Healing Trauma” which detail a number of exercises built on Eugene Gendlin’s “Focusing” theories of “felt sense” (Somatic Experiencing).

“Levine’s psycho-physiological trauma theory is informed by what ethologists, or biologists who specialize in studying animal behavior in the wild, call the immobility response, a survival enhancing fixed action pattern evolved in prey animals which is triggered by the perceived imminence of being killed by a predator.”

Levine talks on Track Nine of the CD about somatic collapse as a result of trauma or having been shamed; one wonders if there is a parallel to social or cultural collapse. He talks about the exercise in which the client begins to re-stack their vertebra to come back to an upright and vertical alignment. On the tenth track, he discusses immobility as the pretended death of the predator’s victim, frightened by the aggression of the predator and giving up one’s own to feign death. On the eleventh track, he talks about looking around, or re-orienting, after waking up and shaking off the energy of the feigned death, or a natural built-in neurological system that [echoing Booth] allows for interest, curiosity and exploration. “It’s also the antidote for the trauma response. The nervous system cannot both be exploratory, curious, searching, looking and be traumatized.”  The “trauma response” cannot co-exist with those activities. And the activities of exploration create an urge to contact others who are similarly searching.  “It’s a natural response because, when we are not in the traumatized lockdown, our natural response is to reach out and make contact, both with our natural environment and any individual that we have a relationship with.”

Healing Trauma – Peter A. Levine

Waking the Tiger | Professional Training For Mental Health Professionals & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Trauma Therapy Training

Peter A. Levine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Stop pretending that you don’t want whatever it is that you want, and take action. In every case, the remedy is to take action. Get clear about exactly what it is that you need to learn and exactly which you need to do to learn it. Getting clear kills fear.

Zen and The Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design, Laurence G. Boldt, Arkana/Penguin Books, 1993. [Thick, thorough, penetrating, demanding: it will help you work through the issues of what your mission in life is, where to apply your talents, and how to accomplish the dreams and visions you have for your life in the world.]


Imagining Healthy Work: Why We all Have to Become Monks


I’m going to have to think on a small-scale, I’m going to have to think little.  If you leave here today remembering one thing, let it be this paradox: to include everything in our work, we have to work on a small, local scale. This is why we all have to become like monks.

I’m going to argue that if we want to work well, we should seek to work in a local community, for a common purpose, and at a variety of tasks.


A Way of Working


Laborare est orare.


One’s true capacity for moving,

or being moved, can be achieved

only when one’s commitment to others

is in fact connected to and derived from

his primary commitment to himself. 

When we find this kind of alignment of purpose,

there is a harmony of motivation

that can provide the fuel and clarity

to overcome great obstacles

in the pursuit of great challenge.

from The Inner Game of Work, by W. Timothy Gallwey


To stay on track is hard. You have to want it really hard, and you have to get better every year. Why are you doing what you do? Is it instinct? Belief? The way in which you are different? A caring about what you do? The opportunity to be of influence, to give a gift of beauty and happiness to someone? It is a heroic endeavor to come to task with the demands of your inner gift or talent. What is the choice if you choose not to meet these demands? There are many professions and pursuits that will allow you to be average. But mediocrity is not acceptable in the many careers where you are constantly measured against the best, when the comparisons to the titans of the past are inevitable. Pursuing your life’s work is a kind of agony, and you have to be careful not to love the agony, but to use it. In the end, you have to break out by yourself.

From “Juilliard”, an American Masters production on PBS


Angels don’t produce art. Neither do beasts….

You and I do, in response to the pain of being human—without a credential and without the approval of anybody.



▶ Cinema Paradiso – Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Botti – YouTube (8:16)

Alfredo: Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.

Salvatore: Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?

Alfredo: No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it’s all me. Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.



▶ David Crosby featuring Mark Knopfler – What’s Broken (2014) – YouTube

▶ David Crosby – Holding On To Nothing – YouTube (3:40)

▶ David Crosby – Time I Have – YouTube (3:43)