Tag Archives: je ne sais quoi

Grow Young … Soon

graphic posted April 25 2013 19:55.26 by Giorgos Lazaridis @ http://www.pcbheaven.com/opendir/index.php?show=440ah2187wt442ef569 

Grow Young… Soon: They’re Coming To Get You

A book fell out of my bookshelf from where I had wedged it — like a squirrel hides a nut for the future — and this piece fell out of the folder where I’d placed it waiting for the right moment to make its re-appearance.

I had set it aside because of its obvious resonance with the overall theme of a personal focus — finding and creating excellence, or summoning it- it follows naturally upon the recent series “Je Ne Sais Quoi”.  And because I’m a grandparent of three, all of whom exhibit many of the characteristics described in that book.

[Here is some accompanying music; 


read the text under the YouTube link and act as you deem appropriate.

Or try this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ea2eDyM3RE ]

The book — published in 1998 — is by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. (see more here http://institute4learning.com/ ) and it is entitled “Awakening Genius in the Classroom”.  It could ride along with other books on multiple intelligences, genius, intelligence, neuroscience, and along such authors as Gelb, Booth, Levine, Langer, and others, though it is by no means as heavy a hitter as those. [See also http://www.amazon.com/Awakening-Your-Childs-Natural-Genius/dp/0874776082 .]

The theme of the book, as expressed in the  preface, is “the sheer joy of what it means to learn something new”. Armstrong cites Whitehead’s  “rhythm of education” model http://www.amazon.com/dp/0029351804 and its 3 stages: in reverse order, a period of generalization or application of learning; a period of precision in which substantial energy is committed towards acquiring specific skills on the way to mastery; and Armstrong’s focal period of romance, “in which one celebrates the vitality and passion that accompany learning”, which he feels is neglected by educators. So the book is about how to help youngsters fall in love with, and stay in love with, learning. [Maybe it works for oldsters too….]

In the first chapter, Armstrong explains what he means by the word “genius”  by going back to the origins of the  word itself, as derived from Greek and Latin words meaning “to beget,” “to be born,” or “to come into being” (it being closely related to the word genesis).

“It is also linked to the word genial, which means, among other things, “festive,” “conducive to growth,” “enlivening,” and “jovial.” He zeroes in on  his synthesis at the bottom of page one when he speaks of “giving birth to one’s joy”.

He goes on to speak about the 12 qualities of genius but not before he notes the ancient Roman references to “A guardian spirit that protected all individuals throughout their lives”, and the relationship of the word to the Middle Eastern term jinni, the magical power that lies dormant, as chronicled in the Arabian nights, that is coaxed out of its vessel.

The 12 basic qualities of genius are: curiosity, playfulness, imagination, creativity, wonder, wisdom, inventiveness, vitality, sensitivity, flexibility, humor, and joy.

The child’s full-scale exploration of his world through his senses “branches out into hobbies, pastimes, collections, and interests that may change weekly” and which is later “replaced by a more subterranean curiosity in adolescence through questions that emerge out of “they’re often insatiable need to find out everything they can about their world”.

“… The formal rules and competitiveness  of structured games often force playfulness into hiding….”  Playfulness, described by Friedrich Froebel — the inventor of kindergarten —  as “the highest level of child development… The germinal leaves of all later life”,  shows up as the wise guy in the 11th grade or the fourth-grader who dances his way into the classroom.

Imagination (“stories in their heads”), sagas, odysseys and romances, have “come to be associated with something negative–daydreaming–rather than being viewed as a potential source of cognitive power” that can generate plays, works of art, or “deep dialogues about significant life issues”.

Creativity, too often limited  to gifted students or isolated by educators from the mainstream of American education “where to do the most good”,  is “the ability to make novel connections”, “the knack for seeing things that might be missed”, is  “a part of every students birthright” if “they haven’t been brainwashed… By the conventional attitudes of society”.

“The experience of wonder [as] an encounter with the mysteries of life” “doesn’t show up as a “skill” on any competency checklist; it is “the natural astonishment”, and “emotional experience”  that “underlies something particularly profound about the learning process that receives virtually no attention in education”. Robert Coles’ four books on children [see below] form the background for Armstrong’s statement: “The student who is able to experience the wonder of the world directly, without the blinders of preconceptions and clichés, has access to a certain precocious wisdom different from that of elders….”.

Inventiveness “should be seen as a part of the core curriculum” but “students generally have little time to exercise their “inventive” muscles because educators may fear such amusing side trips of the mind take valuable time….” away from the modern demands of education.

Vitality (aliveness, spontaneity, or vibrancy) “is really the essential spark of genius; the direct energy of the life force surging up into the world….”  “Sometimes teachers worry about containing this vitality in the classroom, believing that the asked classroom is a subdued classroom.”

Sensitivity is about the way that each individual “responds to each stimulus in a fresh and unique way”, allowing them “to be more deeply affected by great works of art, music, dance, and literature, and to be moved by the events of history and the discoveries of science and math.”

Flexibility is about the plasticity of the learner’s mind, its ability “to make fluid associations, the move from fantasy to reality, from metaphor to fact, from the inner world to the outer and back again”. It is about the ability to go on “fantastic voyages”.

Humor lifts us out of the dreadful seriousness of non-genius life, breaks the tension that drudgery all too often fixes upon us, and gives us something new: a funny angle, a new perspective, a broader view of life.”

Joy, the experience of joy, is a core component. “The neurochemistry of the joy of learning is still unclear [but] its importance cannot be underestimated.”

Armstrong goes on to describe for perspectives or theoretical foundations for genius: neurological, evolutionary, biographical, and phenomenological.

By phenomenological, he means the experiential, the “crystallizing experiences” http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED254544 , ”the “ecstatic learning experiences” described in Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory, in “Higher Creativity” http://www.amazon.com/Higher-Creativity-Liberating-Unconscious-Breakthrough/dp/0874773350, and, undoubtedly, here: http://www.creativeeducationfoundation.org/.

Under the biographical heading, echoing Booth’s book “The Everyday Work of Art”, Armstrong speaks of the examination of the lives of adults who were officially acknowledged to be geniuses in every sense of the word: such people as Einstein, Sir Alexander Fleming, Picasso, Matisse, Miro or Chagall, and others.

“…  it appears that many (if not most) extraordinary individuals possess attitudes of mind that are very similar to those of children and adolescents, and that when added to their formal training, years of effort, and unique capacity for synthesis, lead to transformative works.”

The biographical basis is an extension of the evolutionary basis as well as the neurological basis.  “… The absence of role models in the child’s environment that displays characteristics of some or all of the 12 qualities of genius may starve dendrites in those portions of the brain that support these behaviors….  An environment that fails to recognize the importance of the 12 qualities of genius may starve those traits out of existence, while surroundings that are “genius friendly” may well create neurological connections [hardy dendrites] that facilitate their growth.”

Armstrong cites Ashley Montague’s key evolutionary concept of neoteny  when he says “one reason that we have managed to survive and thrive as a species is because our brain is capable of adapting to a wide range of environments–in fact, our brain has the ability to wait until it directly experiences a specific environment and then programs itself to function within just that setting (assuming the environment isn’t too hostile).”

Montague writes:

From their “mature adult” heights, adults only to frequently look down patronizingly upon the “childless” qualities of the child, without any understanding of their real meaning. Such adults fail to understand that those “childish” qualities constitute the most valuable possessions of our species, to be cherished, nurtured, and cultivated.

Says Armstrong: “If our civilization is to keep from blowing itself off the map, we need to cultivate in our educational system people with the curiosity, sensitivity, and imagination, among other qualities, to come up with new ways of preventing wars, disease, and overpopulation. Montagu’s perspective suggests that the qualities of genius, far from being “warm fuzzy” concepts, are the basic building blocks of humanity’s hope for survival.”

Part 2 of Armstrong’s book focuses on how genius gets shut down through factors present in the home and in the popular media. There are 4 factors that are especially significant as negative home influences: emotional dysfunction, poverty, a fast-paced lifestyle, and rigid ideologies.

Parents (and other members of the household) who are crippled by emotional problems including alcoholism, drug dependence, food disorders, chronic rage, anxiety, and depression are identified as generating patterns that reverberate throughout the family system. Dysfunctional families follow “certain basic rules that govern their attitude toward learning and growing; these include the need to be in control at all times; the need to be perfect; the need to blame others when things don’t work out; and the denial of the ability to freely think, feel, perceive, choose, and imagined as one desires.” [One can’t help but think about the extension of these dysfunctional traits into the culture and the political setting.] “In families with emotional dysfunction, a child’s vitality is all too often crushed under a barrage of put downs and insults, curiosities punished or ignored, enjoy is squashed under the heavy blanket of depression. Living in such conditions, children don’t have the chance to explore, make mistakes, discover new ideas, and do the many other things that go along with being a genius. In families in which anxiety hovers over the home like a dark cloud, children lose their playfulness.” Drug addiction is noted by Armstrong as creating special problems that cripple the natural genius in children. This is especially troubling when one comes to awareness about the role of our government, its intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the banking and economic system in the importation and distribution of addictive narcotics. Poverty, the stepsister of those national policies-in-action, also plays a major role in depressing the joy and vitality of children as well as in generating poor prenatal care, poor healthcare, malnutrition, and “other factors commonly associated [which] can damage the child’s brain.…”. But even in well-to-do suburbs, there is destruction of genius.

“Many parents who have adequate financial resources and a solid educational background don’t appear to have much time to spend with their kids because of their own hectic lives. Often very successful in their professions, these parents spend so much time trying to get added in their careers that they don’t have any time left for their kids. When they do up and up focusing on their children’s learning life, they often think about how they get their children on the fast track to success. Hence, families with a fast-paced lifestyle often pressure kids to learn things before they’re ready for them.….Because these kids are given time to naturally expressed their genius qualities in their own way, they begin to retreat behind a façade of cynicism, apathy or aggression.”

“Some families raise their children in an atmosphere of fear and hate toward those who do not share their own rigid belief systems. These belief systems may be on the right or the left politically; they may be related to any of the worlds religions or be atheistic or philosophical in nature. What is at issue here is not the specific content of the belief systems but the way children are taught to fear any other way of thinking and to hate those who stand outside of their own way of thinking.” [Again, one can’t help but think about the socio-cultural milieu,  “the war of the civilizations”, continued and extensive racism, the use of fear as a political psychological weapon, and the ways in which we are divided against ourselves so as to increase the political power of the few.]

Our popular media are noted and discussed [in disgust] for the ways in which they are destructive to the qualities of genius among our children and our adults. “Beyond the violent content of television and video games–which is received the greatest attention and has a huge research-based demonstrating its harmful effects…, At least 3 other more subtle but nevertheless devastating threats to the genius [ of our culture]  seemed to emanate from the vast majority of TV, video, and Internet fair that [we]  are exposed to.” these threats include stereotypical images, insipid language, and mediocre content. The threats emanate from production centers “where the idea of nurturing a child’s or adolescent inner genius has no meaning”. “There is little left to the imagination of the child or adolescent to do in the face of [its] ready-made Logos, characters, plots, situations, and scenarios. As a result, kids simply sit back and passively drink in these images, which then proceed to seep into the subconscious only to emerge in school as stereotypical drawings, stories filled with clichés, and artificial and unreal conceptions of how the world works. Kids’ inner imagination, one of those qualities of genius described above, eventually begins to atrophy through lack of use and eventually disappears entirely….The modern-day image of the child at play is a great single child watching the television set while playing with a battery-operated action toy. With so little for the child actually do in this brave new world of automated playthings and preprogrammed entertainment, the genius of kids has fewer and fewer rich structures within which to develop into maturity.

What Daniel Boorstin once described as “hot and cold running images” include what Jeffrey O’Brien, executive director of the Library of America, called it “a language flattened and reduced to a shifting but never large repertoire of catch phrases and slogans….A dialect of dead ends and  perpetual arbitrary switch overs, intended always to sell but more fundamentally to fill time.” Says Armstrong: “the end result of this homogenization of language is heard in students whose speech patterns are replete with phrases like “yeah, right…” And “you know, then he went, like, you know…” And the ubiquitous, all-purpose response to societies complexities: “whatever.” Absent from these linguistic black holes is any attempted at playfulness, flexibility, imagery, humor, or other qualities that are the hallmark of real genius.

Lastly, Armstrong notes the mediocre content that is present in our explosion of new media, reminding us that Newton Minow, FCC Chairman 50 years ago, Carter rise television programming as a giant “wasteland.” Says Armstrong: “the cumulative force of such mediocrity has created a commonly shared culture based on the trivial and the base.….What do we value in our society? What do we pay most attention to? Clearly, the popular media every made the decision…” Our media fed popular culture extols “those who are often the sleaziest, the rottenness, and the most devious among us.” These are a far cry from the “tried-and-true ruling blocks of genius: contact with inspiring people and exposure to compelling situations, stimulating materials, and challenging problem-solving opportunities that arise out of daily life”.

We have an opportunity in our homes and in our schools and in our society to effect some change and re-direction, though we must probably work with haste and assuredness and probably in the face of entrenched powerful forces whose long-term plan has been the very destruction of our society.  I reference Melanson’s book “Perfectibilists”, Common Core, Agenda 21, the US Department of Education, and other such insidious and occult or covert plans.

Armstrong notes a colleague’s remark at a conference:

“Schools, prisons, and mental hospitals are the only institutions in society where — if you don’t go, they come to get you.”

They’re coming soon.




source: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande8818/architecture/2008/03/ 


Additional resources:

The Aims of Education* by Alfred North Whitehead

* Presidential address to the Mathematical Association of England, 1916.


“The students are alive, and the purpose of education is to stimulate and guide their self-development. It follows as a corollary from this premiss, that the teachers also should be alive with living thoughts. The whole book is a protest against dead knowledge, that is to say, against inert ideas.”[20]

Here are some of A.N. Whitehead more famous quotes on the topic of education:

  • “There is only one subject matter for education, and that is Life in all its manifestations.”[22]
  • “The pupil’s mind is a growing organism…it is not a box to be ruthlessly packed with alien ideas.”[23]
  • “Knowledge does not keep any better than fish.”[24]
  • “Celibacy does not suit a university. It must mate itself with action.”[25]
  • “The justification for a university is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and the zest of life, by uniting the young and the old in the imaginative consideration of learning… A university which fails in this respect has no reason for existence.”[26]




Growing Young [Hardcover]


[At $117, I’m gonna have to grow richer….]



Dr. Armstrong on tape

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48vaD9CF1CE (3:39)

Dr. Thomas Armstrong on Progressive Education

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClUywtTsTjA (2:06)

Books by Thomas Armstrong



Books by Robert Cole:

The Moral Life of Children by Robert Coles (Feb 4, 2000)

The Political Life of Children by Robert Coles (Mar 9, 2000)

The Spiritual Life of Children by Robert Coles (Oct 10, 1991)

Children of Crisis by Robert Coles (Aug 2003)

The Whole List: http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Coles/e/B000APM210 




The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog [Paperback]



Independent Scholar’s Handbook: How to Turn Your Interest in Any Subject into Expertise [Paperback]


[described by Armstrong as “the best book on adult self-motivated learning” he’s ever seen.]


The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded [Paperback]

Clifton Fadiman (Author), John S. Major (Author)




Guide to Writers Conferences & Writing Workshops


audio books available at a number of outlets



Je Ne Sais Quoi # last

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Number Final

Eric Booth


As an actor, Eric Booth performed in many plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway and around the country, playing over 23 Shakespearean roles (Hamlet three times), and winning “Best Actor” awards on both coasts. Throughout 1981, he performed the American tour of Alec McCowen’s one-man play St. Mark’s Gospel. He has performed many times on television, directed five productions, and produced two plays in New York.

As a businessman, he started a small company, Alert Publishing, that in seven years became the largest of its kind in the U.S. analyzing research on trends in American lifestyles and publishing newsletters, books, and reports. He became a major figure in trend analysis, frequently quoted by the major media.…

As an author, he has had five books published. The Everyday Work of Art won three awards and was a Book of the Month Club selection. He has written three dozen magazine articles, was the Founding Editor of the Teaching Artist Journal, and his latest book The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. Recently, he has placed articles in the Harvard Education Review/Focus Issue on Arts Education (Spring 2013), in the special creativity focus issue of Educational Leadership (February 2013), and in the upcoming book Routledge Handbook on Arts Education.

In arts learning, he has taught at Juilliard (13 years), Stanford University, NYU, Tanglewood and Lincoln Center Institute (for 26 years), and The Kennedy Center (14 years). He was the Faculty Chair of the Empire State Partnership program for three years (the largest arts-in-education project in America), and held one of six chairs on The College Board’s Arts Advisory Committee for seven years. He serves as a consultant for many organizations, cities, states and businesses around the country, including six of the ten largest orchestras in America, and five national service organizations. He consults with arts organizations, businesses, boards of directors, state arts and education agencies, national arts organizations and occasionally to high tech and medical firms on their innovation work.

He is widely referred to as one of the nation’s most creative teachers and as the father of the teaching artist profession, and this is one of many topics he consults on. Formerly the Founding Director of the Teacher Center of the Leonard Bernstein Center, he is a frequent keynote speaker on the arts to groups of all kinds. He delivered the closing keynote speech to UNESCO’s first ever worldwide arts education conference (Lisbon 2006), and to UNESCO’s 2014 World Culture Conference (Seoul), and he gave the keynote speech to the first world conference on orchestras’ connections to communities (Glasgow 2007). He completed a six-week speaking tour of Scotland and Australia, speaking to over 40 organizations, government agencies, and universities about creativity and teaching artistry. He was the Senior Advisor to the Music National Service initiative (lead trainer and training designer for the launch of MusicianCorps). He is a senior advisor to the movement developing El Sistema-inspired sites around the U.S. and world. He is the co-founder and co-leader of the Orchestra Engagement Lab (including its Teaching Artist Academy), a national co-commissioning project which weaves the development of new orchestral works with bold community engagement design and practice, comprised of a summer intensive in a Vermont retreat, and a year of coaching to use the project as a catalyst for organizational change.

He is the first person to receive an honorary doctoral degree (New England Conservatory, 2012) for teaching artistry.

You’ll find his commencement address in both transcript and video format here.  Read and/or watch the whole thing, and especially pay attention to the one word he focuses on in closing.

I first encountered Eric Booth when I stumbled upon the first edition of his first book, since re-published; it ranks as the number one book I recommend when I talk to parents and others.  I find it to be mandatory reading, although the reader will want to have the kind of introduction to scaffolding awarenesses like the ones you’ve just had here. 



A pdf of excerpts from Booth’s book “The Everyday Work of Art”

%22Everyday Work of Art%22 excerpts




Breakout:  Making Creative Connections, Active Listening and Reflection (seven minutes)



80% of What You Teach is Who You Are


Breakout:   http://ericbooth.net/videos/

[six short videos addressing key questions of teaching artistry]


On Noticing

The word “notice” was born in the Latin “noscere”, which gives it powerful sister-words like “knowing” and “cognizance”. To know – this enormous human capacity and mystery – is the subterranean aquifer from which noticing springs.

“Attention” comes from Latin, meaning “to stretch out”; attending is the active effort to stretch out of oneself. This effort costs us something, which is why we must “pay” attention.

Noticing is not a single kind of act. A range of noticing goes on constantly, beneath our level of awareness.

We put out a low level scan for danger: erratic driver up ahead, weird color on that piece of chicken.

Sometimes this effort doesn’t even make it to awareness, we just monitor: the sounds around the house to make sure there is nothing amiss while we read in bed, sounds from the children’s bedrooms even while we sleep.

We have automatic pilot noticing: driving lost in thought” for three minutes on the highway.

We have trigger noticing: wake when the baby coughs, attend to a vague new pain somewhere near the lung.

We have anomalies-attending: sensing something odd about a person we see every day.

We have shelved noticing: specifics we did not notice at the time, but pull off the shelf to consider later in hindsight.

We have evidence-gathering noticing: “Are they thinking about changing my job?”; “Am I gaining weight?”

We have neurotic noticing: “She looked at me in a funny way”; “I’m fatter than three people in this room”.

All of these are manifestations of noticing carrying on beneath awareness, all the time.

Additionally, there is the noticing we are all aware of. We notice the obvious: Elaine looks great in her prom dress; the wall needs painting; what a gorgeous day.

There is entertainment noticing, for pleasure: following the garden year’s progression, repeating the words of a favorite song.

There is more intentional noticing when we are in some sort of dialogue: making a quick sketch of a flower, chatting amiably with Peter while we try to figure out what is bothering him.

There is engaged noticing: deep in one of those “great conversations” with Isabelle, or when completely engrossed in work.

Eric Booth, The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life, Authors Guild BackinPrint.com/iUniverse.com, Inc., Lincoln, NE 2001.


Breakout: “… just a nod and a look. The power of the human spirit to connect so quickly. It happened because I was as open as an artist to the creative opportunity of the moment….”  http://ericbooth.net/maeve/ 

Breakout essay: “… Community engagement used to be about “teaching” the public; ironically, it has now become about necessary “learning from” the public. Exploratory, in-depth partnership work also feels good to people in the arts, once they get past the sometimes awkward, creaky feel of getting started…..”

http://ericbooth.net/the-changing-grammar-of-community-engagement-past-imperfect-present-future/ !!!

Breakout: The Citizen-Artist: A Revolution of the Heart Within the Arts

“… A revolution of the heart is a paradigm shift in which our collective deck, our consensus model of the world, gets reshuffled, changing the story for everyone. In a revolution of the heart, those who have put themselves to sleep awaken, and healing begins to emerge where there has been harm. Such a revolution infuses the spirit of the times, so that even those unaware of precisely what is happening are able to sense that something new and important is unfolding….”



Resource: http://ericbooth.net/the-ten-fundamentals-of-el-sistema/ 

Resource: A series of short articles in the Arts Journal on arts education: http://www.artsjournal.com/artsed/author/eric_booth/ 


13+ pages on the Open Secrets of El Systema 


Major Essay:


Breakout: Eric Booth talks with the UW-Madison Arts Enterprise course via Skype on how artistic and entrepreneurial enterprises can coexist and, in fact, thrive together. https://vimeo.com/35806427 (13 minute video)

Breakout: Playful Brainstorming and Creative Experimentation (4:06)



From The Everyday Work of Art:

“We can skillfully manage our lifelong learning in a sustainable pattern in three ways: by instruction, by experience, and by uncovering what we don’t know.

The basic dynamic of instruction is that someone who “knows” tells or shows someone who “doesn’t know”, and the not-knower tries to learn it — which usually means to repeat it on demand.  This dynamic applies in classes, personal interaction, books and the other media of instruction.  In many circumstances, this is efficient and effective.  However, it also has its limitations.  It tends toward exchange on the surface of things, requires that the learner apply tremendous energy to turn the lesson into real understanding, and requires the learner to want to learn.

We trust people with experience.  Learning in the artistic disciplines, apprenticeships and the school of hard knocks relies heavily on this approach.  The root of the words “experience” and “experiment” are the same. An expert is good at experiencing a particular situation.

What we don’t know includes most everything. Uncovering what we don’t know is the most powerful learning; it goes deep and resonates for a long time. This critical but often overlooked approach to learning plays havoc with learning systems and institutions.  It cannot be programmed; the best we can do is prepare and provoke.

Of the three ways of learning, instruction is the easiest to manage, the most orderly.

Experience is the most powerful place to enter the three, with the greatest pull toward personal involvement. Uncovering what we don’t know leads to the greatest change and forward movement.  

The best learning does not emphasize one approach over the others but slips fluidly among all three.  Yearning is essential to all real learning.  Most instructional systems do not develop a hunger to learn; in fact, they seem diabolically designed to squelch the idiosyncratic love of learning.  Yearning does evolve to some degree incidentally through interaction with parents, teachers and through hodgepodge experience.  But to develop a sustaining lifelong passion for learning we must become our own learning coaches, because institutions rarely provide them.

What nurtures a natural desire to learn? 

Hands-on engagement in an effort to create or accomplish something worthwhile.”


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Koto Song, Brubeck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvB_ZNtOb4E (9:50)

The End, Beatles (deconstructed)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P68IF-90WWU (10:20)




“What struck me was that it wasn’t discussed like it was a goal, but rather an expectation,” Porcello wrote

Thanksgiving,  George Winston



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RiI9yoiP14https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RiI9yoiP14 (4:08)

A parting gift for your journey 

Je Ne Sais Quoi #7

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Seven

Richard Strozzi Heckler, Ph.D. 

Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Ph.D. is founder of the Strozzi work and of Strozzi Institute. A nationally known speaker, coach and consultant on leadership and mastery, he has spent four decades researching, developing, and teaching the practical application of Somatics (the unity of language, action, emotions, and meaning) to business leaders, executive managers and teams from Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, technology start-ups, non-profits, the U.S. government and military.

Richard is the author of eight books, including The Art of Somatic Coaching,The Leadership Dojo, In Search of the Warrior Spirit, The Anatomy of Change, Holding the Center, Being Human at Work, The Mind/Body Interface, and Aikido and the New Warrior. [I’ve read and recommend all of them.] His articles have appeared in Esquire, East West Journal, The Whole Earth Review, and numerous other publications. In October 2000, a Wall Street Journal cover story featured the groundbreaking leadership program developed by Richard for the United States Marine Corps.

He was named one of the Top 50 Executive Coaches in The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching, Jossey-Bass, 2004 and Profiles in Coaching, Linkage Publications, 2003. He is also the Honorary President of the Peruvian Coaching Association. He is the co-founder of the Mideast Aikido Project (MAP), which brings together Palestinians and Israelis through the practice of Aikido.

From 2002 to 2007 he was an advisor to NATO and the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR) General Jim Jones, who is now the National Security Advisor.

Richard has a Ph.D. in Psychology and is a sixth degree black belt in the martial art of Aikido. He also holds ranks in Judo, Jujitsu, and Capoeira.

Richard has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Sonoma State University, Esalen Institute, Lone Mountain College, Naropa Institute, and the University of Munich. Richard was the 2009 William Dickson Leader-in-Residence for the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at California State University, Long Beach.




https://www.youtube.com/user/StrozziInstitute   [YouTube channel]


Are You Centered? Are You Grounded?  

(from In Search of the Warrior Spirit)

The aikido master says, “You will learn how to give up your ground without giving up your center.”

The student says “What’s the difference?”

The master says “Center is the connection with your own sense of personal power. Ground is extending that power into the environment.”

The student says, “Give me an example.”

The master says, “Imagine yourself standing on a well-polished marble floor and you have wool sweat socks on. You can be centered, but you cannot be too well grounded. If you take off the sweat socks, you can ground yourself.”

We can learn to give up our ground while still keeping our center, our own sense of personal power and choice.  We can learn to move in harmonious relationship to any incoming energy, any difficult situation, without giving up who we are.




http://theleadershipdojo.com/excerpts.html  [13 pages]

http://theleadershipdojo.com/videos.html !!



Five Minutes on Practice and Transformation 



Attention in the Body 

(from The Anatomy of Change)

Attention is a primary ingredient in embodiment and, at the same time, the connecting thread throughout our learning and development. When we are paying attention to what we are doing, we are both learning and encouraging learning. Our attention is the rudder that guides us through the world. It gives us direction, and it connects us to the current of energy that moves us. The act of paying attention creates a quality of awakening that expands us beyond the usual dreams. Cultivating this awareness enriches our lives because  it tells us who we are and how we are.

In order to embody and use our self as a source of learning, it is necessary to identify with the life of the body. To live in our body and be aware of what we feel, touch, taste, hear, breathe, see and think, it is necessary to shift our attention

from analyzing and remembering to feeling and sensing. Bringing attention to our body vitalizes and empowers our actions. Without it, our life is mechanical; we go through the motions but are not with our self in a truly meaningful way. We can correctly form our arms around another for a hug, for example, but if we are not paying attention, it is only a shadow of the kind of warmth that can be communicated.  Our attention is at work all of the time, probing into the world and back into ourselves. It is an innate skill; nothing needs to be invented. What we need to do, however, is to come into direct contact with our attention so that we can learn to use it to manifest meaning and wholeness.

The first principle of attention is that it is flexible and can be directed.   It is attention that imbues the sensory organs with presence and vitality. With attention on your fingers and hands as your read a book, information will come to you about the weight of the book, the texture of the paper, the pressure of your fingers. You can direct your attention to the sounds in this room, or the next room, and a whole new set of information will come to you. Yet your hands

remain holding the book. Now take your attention to your memory of the last meal you ate. As your attention probes your memory, highlights of that last meal will appear, perhaps woven with tactile and taste sensations and emotions about those with whom you shared. The experience of holding the book remains. The sounds of the room remain, but now we are focused on something else. This power of

directing one’s attention is the key to embodying ourselves. By integrating this capacity, we have a way of bringing ourselves back to the experience of the life of the body and of anchoring ourselves in the present moment.

The second principle is that attention can vitalize or devitalize a situation. This is because it magnetizes energy. Where we place our attention, energy will follow.  By turning the attention to a specific bodily function, we can gather information about that function and also initiate a change in that area and ultimately in our behavior.  For example, if your attention concentrates on an ache or pain, you will find that it is not static and unchanging, but dynamic and moving, and the power of your attention can become a key factor in working with and lessening the pain.  We can gain a better understanding of the numerous signals our body transmits concerning health and well-being.

The organ of attention has enormous possibilities for both healing and learning. If we place our attention on that which is life-giving and creative, that part of us will be nourished.  If we place our attention on negativity, that will be cultivated.  Sit comfortably with your eyes open and let your attention gaze out the window. Now bring your attention to the window frame, then to an object near you, then to your feet on the floor, now to the rhythm of your breath, now deep inside you to your core. As you shift attention, everything remains, but the power of attention illuminated and energized each one in turn. Everything exists at the same time, but our attention brings them into the foreground of our experience. We can illuminate our embodied states as well. Paying attention to what we are doing provides a spaciousness that allows self-inquiry to take place. We can literally open ourselves to participate in something that is larger that the boundaries we are normally accustomed to.

Through an ongoing personal discipline and practice, we can begin to contact an intelligence that is deep enough to be the source of our learning and precise enough to show us how to learn. This awareness is the basis for learning and transformation.   When we place our attention in our body, we can begin to connect to our energy which informs us of our direction and meaning in life. If we respond from that energy, we are responding from that part of ourselves that is least conditioned. If we act from our energy, and not from our ideas, social images, or what others expect, we feel enriched with genuine expression and life.


 The Body as a Functional Living Whole 

(from The Anatomy of Change)

Somatics, a word derived from Greek, defines the body as a functional, living whole rather than as a mechanical structure. There is no split between the mind and the body; the soma as a unified expression of all that we think, feel, perceive and express.  In the art and science of somatics, we are encouraged to become the source of our information by participating in our knowledge and self-discovery.

We become the source by contacting our body. In this way, we can bring to light the dimensions of gesture, stance, attitude, emotion, movement and that which is the foundation of all life: energy. This approach does not discount thoughts or thinking but integrates them with the how of our self.  How we really are, in action, attitude and the way we relate to others, is a basis for learning by experience.  If we embody our ideas and opinions, we can participate more deeply in who we are and who we may become; we have at our disposal the primary ingredient for learning: our self.  In whatever situation, the most difficult imaginable, the most delightful, the most boring, we have on 24-hour call what is necessary for making a decision, for taking a risk, for choosing and responding.

When we learn how to work with our excitement, an aspect of ourselves that is rich with information and creativity comes to the surface.





Staci Haines on Somatics (five minutes)




Jo Kata Aikido Demo (an outstanding 90 seconds)



What the Practice of Jo Kata is Designed To Do

(another great 90 seconds)



From Novice to Master 

(from In Search of the Warrior Spirit)

In the first level, the student plays without knowing what is happening.  He is lost in space.  He sees nothing.  Not only do the movements of his opponent seem to materialize by magic, but his own movements are beyond his control.

This stage is called Playing in the Dark.

Following this, the new student gains a foothold in the techniques and flow of movement; this is called Playing in the Water.

Then there is a mastering of technique in which the student demonstrates impeccable skill. Called Playing in the Light, this stage represents a shift from physical mastery to emotional control, an understanding of the philosophical elements of the art. This is the place where inner art is developed. This is also  the place where many hit a wall, lose motivation, or get stuck.

Some move to the fourth level, Playing with the Crystal Ball, where concerns about strengths, skills, speed and other physical aspects become less important to growth and the student begins trying to read the opponent’s mind and set himself in the right place at the right time.

After further work at this level, the last level Playing with the Mind is found, in which the opponent must do what your mind silently orders him to do. Such control has no other purpose than to help your opponent evolve.



Exercises for Jo Kata Practice (11 minutes)

to develop flexibility, strength and a centered presence


The full 31 Jo Kata evolution (five minutes)



“For the second year in a row an early fall storm soaks us with an inch of rain, followed by a robust sun. The air is thick and damp and the windows in the dojo steam over as the heat of moving bodies transforms the space into a translucent glaze of moisture. Despite the focused heat my waning garden reminds me it is not spring, as does the thickening light and the Vs of geese that arrow south. Mice, voles, and Brewer’s sparrows scurry in the underbrush, amending their rhythms to imminent change. As I harvest the last of the tomatoes, lettuce, and squash I’m reminded of what seeds were planted in the spring, both in the receptive earth and in my psyche. If we stop and quiet ourselves there’s a transparent abundance in this turning toward winter. Heeding our fragile place in its unfolding we are inevitably led to gratefulness. I perform a deep bow to the fence posts, to the corn, to the stones, to the gophers that ate the melons, to the emptiness of mind, to Life.

Our body is precisely the medium of exchange with this field of awareness we call Life. The body is life, it is the interface with life, it’s the ground in which we participate with the air, the falling leaves, the smile of a grandchild, the doe and its fawn darting through the live oaks. In concert with other bodies- waving our limbs, sighing and laughing, shouting to the night sky, walking into a shared unknown – we co-author a story that can be told an infinite number of ways, a pluralism that is mysteriously One. Our sentience is not a body in seclusion; it is birthed by our direct encounters with the terror of the night as well as the delight of a fresh Roma tomato dribbling off our chin; and everything in between. Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that our capacity for conscious reflection is the result of only partnering with our self, rather than with the world at large. 

Here’s a profoundly simple way of practicing that partnership: Align along your vertical line, extend through the crown of the head up towards the heavens and through the soles of the feet down to the earth. Now draw in a breath and let the vertebrae and rib cage swell while you both settle and straighten. Do this again, each time feel, and imagine, that the breath is connecting the world with your most inner places. Pull the breath from the outermost edge of the cosmos and feed it to your cells and let it expand your soul, and your skin. Notice how it is all tied together: breath, tissue, sensation, community, energy, self, the Mystery. Now say “Thank You” from this Unity.

Take It Easy, But Take It

Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Ph.D.


Posted by realitymanifest at 12:31 PM



Whenever there is work requiring strength or courage,

people ask

‘Are there no warriors around today?’

The warrior has been with us since man and woman first stood upright, not only protecting our hearths but expressing our highest values. A warrior is someone who is always striving for self-mastery, to improve himself and better serve his goals. Being a warrior doesn’t mean winning or succeeding. But it does mean putting your life on the line. It means risking and failing and risking again, as long as you live.

The intrinsic virtues of the warrior include commitment, service, courage, loyalty, comradeship – belonging to the entire human family. The imperishable code of the warrior over time includes the qualities of loyalty, intensity, impassioned, service (often expressed in the protection of others), calmness under fire, patience, strength of will, awareness of limitations, and self-mastery.

The modern warrior is grounded in a spiritual discipline and is at the same time committed to compassionate service in the world. In the traditions of both the East and the West, the warrior serves in a noble and necessary position in the overall well-being of society, but the intrinsic virtues of the warrior belong to the entire human family, in each human heart that hungers for a passionate and whole-hearted life, the calling to be tested, that part of us that seeks to be challenged to extend beyond ourselves. We long for the encounter that will ultimately empower us with dignity and honor.

There are certainly a legacy that distinguishes the warrior fro war. The sacred path of the warrior is part of an ancient moral tradition that includes the Indian warriors Krishna and Arjuna from the Bhagavad-Gita, Homer’s hero Odysseus who outwitted his opponents rather than slay them, and the post-16th-century Japanese Samurai who, in his finest hour, administered a peaceful government while still maintaining a personal discipline and integrity to not only the martial arts but also to the fine arts of calligraphy, flower arranging, and poetry.

In Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Green Berets, Richard Strozzi Heckler, North Atlantic Books, 1992.




Musical Interlude for Notes:

Equinox, John Coltrane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2HN2y0yV8 (8:32)

Going Home   Mark Knopfler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2vCScBgf6s (5:01)


Tomorrow, day number eight, the last day, we cap off with an individual

whose credentials stretch across the diverse fields of

business trends forecasting, theatrical excellence, music education, authorship, and

creative engagement within the community. 

Je Ne Sais Quoi #6

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Six

Joe Dispenza, D.O.

Joe Dispenza, D.C., the author of Evolve Your Brain, studied biochemistry at Rutgers University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in neuroscience. He earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Atlanta, Georgia, and has received postgraduate training and continuing education in neurology, neuroscience, brain function and chemistry, cellular biology, memory formation, and aging and longevity. One of the scientists, researchers, and teachers featured in the award-winning film What the BLEEP Do We Know!?, he has lectured in more than 24 different countries, on six continents, educating people about the functions of the human brain.



“If we are consciously designing our destiny and if we are consciously, from a spiritual standpoint, throwing in with the idea that our thoughts can affect our reality or affect our life (because reality equals life), then I have this little pact that I have when I create my day: I say “I am taking this time to create my day, and I’m infecting the quantum field.

Now if it is a fact that the Observer is watching me the whole time that I am doing this, and there is a spiritual aspect to myself, then show me a sign today that you paid attention to anyone of these things that I created and bring them in a way that I won’t expect, so that I am as surprised at my ability to be able to experience these things, and make it so that I have no doubt that it has come from You.”

Dr. Joe Dispenza,

in the movie What the Bleep Do I Know?


Joe Dispenza, D.C., studied biochemistry at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in neuroscience. He received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating magna cum laude. Dr. Dispenza’s postgraduate training and continuing education has been in neurology, neuroscience, brain function and chemistry, cellular biology, memory formation, and aging and longevity.  He has taught thousands how to reprogram their thinking through scientifically proven neurophysiological principles. As a result, many individuals have learned to reach their specific goals and visions by eliminating self-destructive habits. His approach, taught using a very simple method, creates a bridge between true human potential and the latest scientific theories of neuroplasticity. Dr. Dispenza explains how thinking in new ways, as well as changing beliefs, can literally rewire one’s brain. His work is founded in his total conviction that within every person on this planet is the latent potential of greatness and true unlimited abilities. Dr. Dispenza’s first book, Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind, connects the subjects of thought and consciousness with the brain, mind, and body. It explores “the biology of change.” In other words, when we truly change our minds, there is physical evidence of change in the brain.

As an author of several scientific articles on the close relationship between the brain and the body, Dr. Dispenza ties information together to explain the roles these functions play in physical health and disease. His latest DVD release of Evolve Your Brain which was filmed in Australia, is based on the book and looks at the ways in which the human brain can be harnessed to affect reality through the mastery of thought. In his research into spontaneous remissions, Dr. Dispenza has found similarities among people who have experienced so-called miraculous healings, showing that they have actually changed their minds, which then changed their health.

As an author, Dr. Joe has written Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind (Health Communications, Inc., 2007), followed by Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One (Hay House, 2012), both of which detail the neuroscience of change and epigenetics. His latest book, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter (2014), which is an Amazon Bestseller and hit the NY Times Bestseller List within a week of its release, builds on his previous work.

“Make significant changes in your life by re-wiring your brain, 100 billion neurons firing into infinite patterns. Utilize tools to enable you to apply this process at any time in the future. Your mind is your brain in action. Change your mind, change your brain; change your brain, change your mind.”




 [TED Talk] [17:50] [more at this link]


Breakout: There are a series of six videos totaling 80 minutes here: neuroplasticity made simple [six videos]


Breakout: There are a series of fourteen videos totaling 12 hours here: The Power of the subconscious_mind/Dr Joe Dispenza/the_inspiration_show

Other Resources:


available in audio book format for $40+: https://rf127.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=277

downloadable podcast:



http://soulsessions.org/free/singleVid.php?id=123 [two videos totaling an hour on raising children]

http://www.drjoedispenza.com/index.php?page_id=event_list [schedule of workshops — online, in Europe and in America]


Available audiobook for “You Are The Placebo”:

Is it possible to heal by thought alone—without drugs or surgery?


[N.B.: This just arrived on my doorstep  It’s audio run-time is 12 hours. I already own two of his books.]


“We have to formulate what we want, and be so concentrated on it, and so focused on it, and have so much of our awareness on it, that we lose track of ourselves, we lose track of time, we lose track of our identity.

And the moment that we become so involved in that experience that we lose track of ourselves, we lose track of time, that picture is the only picture that is real, and everybody has had that experience when they’ve made up their mind that they wanted something. That’s a quantum physics in action. That’s manifesting reality. That’s the Observer in full effect.”

Dr. Joe Dispenza, in the movie What the Bleep Do I Know?


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Changeless, Keith Jarrett Trio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m_QSko_ryE (15:32)

Tomorrow features a man whose works I scramble to review, excerpt, and own.  He is a master writer, a 6th degree black belt in aikido, a doctor of psychology, a master of the field of somatics, and nationally-recognized in the coaching industry.

Je Ne Sais Quoi #5

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Five

Stephen Pressfield

Steven Pressfield “is an American author, of historical fiction and non-fiction, and screenplays born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943, while his father was stationed there, in the Navy. He graduated from Duke University in 1965 and in 1966 joined the Marine Corps.[1] In the years following, he worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital, fruit-picker in Washington state, and screenwriter.[1] His struggles to make a living as an author, including the period when he was homeless and living out of the back of his car, are detailed in his book The War of Art.[1]

His first book, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was published in 1995, and made into a film of the same name, starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Matt Damon, and directed by Robert Redford.[2]

His second novel, Gates of Fire, is about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopylae. It is taught at U.S. Military Academy[3] and United States Naval Academy, and at the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico.[4][5]

In 2012, he launched the publishing house Black Irish Books with his agent Shawn Coyne.[6] ….”

Stephen Pressfield’s “writing philosophy is a kind of warrior code—internal rather than external—in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self-sabotage that I call “Resistance” with a capital R (in The War of Art ). The technique for combating these foes can be described as “turning pro.” ….

[His] conception of the artist’s role is a combination of reverence for the unknowable nature of “where it all comes from” and a no-nonsense, blue-collar demystification of the process by which this mystery is approached.”


PDF:  Resistance


Short Videos:


Overcoming Resistance


Turning Pro


Do The Work


An 80-minute audio interview

Other resources:

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/ (home page and blog)


Newer books:



His complete list of works: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/books/

Books by others about Golf: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/category/additional-reading/golf/

Books he recommends on war (he is and was a warrior): http://www.stevenpressfield.com/category/additional-reading/ancient-modern-warfare/

Writing Wednesdays An ongoing, blog-version of The War of Art.


Breakout (focused on the music & song-writing business):


Breakout (focused on the film-making world)


Musical Interlude for Notes:

The Good Life, Ahmad Jamal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIjQN9g5hSQ (4:35)

I Get a Kick Out of You, Brubeck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ji6wt6VMyQ (5:16)

Anthenagin (Woody Shaw w/ Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jvoztry5rg (4:21)


Tomorrow, we’ll talk about your brain and how you use it… about re-programming your brain so that it helps you accomplish your goals and visions.  How the bleep can you do that? 

Je Ne Sais Quoi #4

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Four

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy is Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Esalen Institute, and directs the Institute’s think tank operations through its Center for Theory & Research (CTR).



Books by Murphy:

Golf in the Kingdom (fiction) (1971)

• Jacob Atabet (fiction) (Jeremy P. Tarcher/St. Martins Press, 1977)

• The Psychic Side of Sports (non-fiction, co-written with Rhea White) (1978)

• An End to Ordinary History: A Novel (fiction) (1982)

The Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature (1992)

The Life We Are Given: A Long-Term Program for Realizing the Potential of Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul (non-fiction, co-written with George Leonard) (1995)

In the Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports (non-fiction, update to The Psychic Side of Sports, co-written with Rhea White) (1995)

• The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation: A Review of Contemporary Research With a Comprehensive Bibliography, 1931-1996 (non-fiction, 2nd edition) (1997)

• The Kingdom of Shivas Irons (fiction – sequel to Golf in the Kingdom) (1997)

God and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution (non-fiction,co-written with James Redfield and Sylvia Timbers) (2002)

• An End to Ordinary History: Comments on a Philosophical Novel (non-fiction) (2011)

In 1992 he published The Future of the Body, a massive historical and cross-cultural collection of documentation of various occurrences of extraordinary human functioning such as healing, hypnosis, martial arts, yogic techniques, telepathy, clairvoyance, and feats of superhuman strength. Rather than presenting such documentation as scientific proof, he presents it as a body of evidence to motivate further investigation.

He is also an avid golfer and has written two fictional books relating golf and human potential. His 1971 novel, Golf in the Kingdom has been in constant publication since its release and has become one of the best selling golf books of all time. It is considered by many to be a classic of sports literature. In 1992 it spawned The Shivas Irons Society, a 501(c)3 organization to explore the transformational potential of sport, of which Michael is the co-chairman of the advisory board. He partnered with film producer Mindy Affrime on the feature film adaptation of Golf In The Kingdom. It was directed by Susan Streitfeld and stars David O’Hara, Mason Gamble, Malcolm McDowell and Frances Fisher.

“Yes, worlds within worlds right in front o’ our nose. Think about the times ye really concentrated upon a thing, did ye see it change in front o’ your very eyes? Now, did it not? The lovely face tha’ grew lovelier still, the new music in the old tunes, the new meanin’s in a familiar poem, the new energies in the old swing? Yes, worlds within worlds here, with new shapes, new powers.”– Shivas Irons, “Golf in the Kingdom”


“Golf is a game to teach you about the messages from within, about the subtle voices of the body-mind. And once you understand them you can more clearly see your ‘hamartia,’ the ways in which your approach to the game reflects your entire life. Nowhere does a man go so naked.”

Michael Murphy (author of “Golf in the Kingdom”)

[Hamartia is the protagonist’s error or flaw that leads to a chain of plot actions culminating in a reversal from their good fortune to bad. What qualifies as the error or flaw can include an error resulting from ignorance, an error of judgement, a flaw in character, or sin.]



It is possible now to gather verified data about our greater capacities from medical research, anthropology, psychology, sociology, psychic research, religious studies, sports, the arts, and other fields.

See “The Future of the Body


God and the Evolving Universe is a book that deepens our knowledge of personal growth and shows how each of us can begin to integrate our extraordinary experiences into a heightened synchronistic flow – allowing us to participate consciously in an unfolding evolutionary adventure.




PDF: Murphy Excerpts 



The Center for Theory and Research contains, among other things, the online database compiled by Murphy on the topics of extraordinary human functioning, the bibliography for his research into meditation, books on near-death experience and related topics, and other scholarly resources.



Irreducible Mind

Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

by Edward F. Kelly, PhD and Emily Williams Kelly

Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates—empirically—that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and ‘mystical’ states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. The authors further show that these rogue phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative ‘transmission’ or ‘filter’ theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind.


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Somewhere/Everywhere, Keith Jarrett Trio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYSOeEsi87k (19:40)


Speaking of golf, tomorrow we here from the fellow who initiated the legend of Bagger Vance and has written extensively about finding the way to break through writer’s block or any of the myriad of things that you allow to get in your way and detour your eventual success.




Je Ne Sais Quoi #2


Rosabeth Moss Kanter


The author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin & End, Dr. Kanter tweets

The best #leaders convene conversations & set the stage that enables others to develop solutions. ow.ly/n0O3G Nearly anyone can convene she says.”


She is chair and director of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, a University-wide faculty group aimed at deploying a leadership force of experienced leaders who can address challenging national and global problems in their next stage of life. The goal of the Advanced Leadership Fellowship is to prepare experienced leaders to transition from their primary income-earning years to community and public service for their next years of life. The Fellowship is designed to enhance and leverage the skills of already accomplished leaders for maximum impact on significant social problems, including those that affect health and welfare, children and the environment.


From the book  Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin & End:



The Dynamics of Decline, Death Spirals and Loops of Doom  

Turf protection is clearly the enemy of change.  Secrecy and isolation, blame and avoidance, all accelerate the death spiral.  Time and energy get spent on self- protection instead of mutual problem-solving.  Invisible walls grow taller.  Informal communication decreases.  People feel trapped; some head for the exit.  The cycle becomes mired in learned helplessness; repeated failures to get out of a difficult situation teach people not even to try.  They settle for the timidity of mediocrity.  They sometimes leap for tantalizing short-run solutions that will only make the situation worse.

Acting from a weak position, they reinforce an ever-weakening position.  Promises of forthcoming superior performance only put more pressure on leaders and performers who then learn to hide bad news from each other.  With low aspirations and little innovation, with inflated hopes and metrics that have been tweaked for temporary advantage, everyone’s confidence is reduced.  When the results prove to be less than forecast, onlookers speak in discrediting tones, causing further decline in perceived value and the confidence of the team.

Individual choices, in which each person or group tried to exercise whatever power they felt they had, added up to a system that made all of them feel powerless — impossible to change, in a loop of doom.  Panic leads to quick fixes, and quick fixes in the face of losses undermine the long-term strategy and deflect attention from it.

The dynamics of decline are remarkably similar among sports teams and corporations.  The problems of distressed organizations are pathological patterns that are self-perpetuating perpetuating self-perpetuating and mutually reinforcing.

Decline is not a state… it is a trajectory.  Losing teams, distressed organizations, declining empires, and even depressed people often run downhill at an accelerating pace.  Common reactions to failure prevent success and make losing in the future more likely.  Unchecked cycles of decline can easily turn into death spirals.  Problems are exacerbated by responses that make them even harder to solve.  Secrecy, blame, isolation, avoidance, a lack of respect, and feelings of helplessness create a culture that makes the situation worse, and makes change seen impossible.

Decline stems not from a single factor, but from an accumulation of decisions, actions and commitments that become entangled in self-perpetuating system dynamics.  Once a cycle of decline is established, it is hard to simply call a halt, put on the brakes, and reverse direction.  The system has momentum.  Expectations have formed, and they can turn into a culture that perpetuates losing.

So how does losing become a habit?

If losses mount, pressure goes up — or the perception of pressure.  Stress makes it easier to panic.  Panic makes it easier to lose.  Losing increases neglect — letting facilities get run down, discipline deteriorate, and good manners disappear.  Signs of failure cause people to dislike and avoid one another, hide information, and disclaim responsibility — key elements of denial.  All this makes the cornerstones of confidence crumble.  People doubt themselves, feel they cannot count on others, and do not trust the system around them.  The climate of expectations turns negative, and everyone begins to feel powerless to change anything

Losing streaks begin in response to a sense of failure, and failure makes people out of control.  It is just one more step to a pervasive sense of powerlessness, and powerlessness erodes confidence.  When there are few resources or coping mechanisms for dealing with problems, people fall back on almost primitive, self-protective behavior.  There are nine pathologies that begin to unfold as an emotional and behavioral chain reaction:

  • Communication decreases.
  • Criticism and blame increase.
  • Respect to decreases.
  • Isolation increases.
  • Focus turns inward.
  • Rifts widen and inequities grow.
  • Initiative decreases.
  • Aspirations diminish.
  • Negativity spreads.

These behavioral tendencies are polar opposites of the characteristics that help winners win.  Powerlessness erodes the cornerstones of confidence, reducing the triad of accountability, collaboration, and initiative.  And, at the extreme, it can corrupt, if losers’ habits lead to acts of petty tyranny, selfishness, and a desire to harm others.

Understanding each of the losers’ temptations makes clear how to recognize the symptoms of decline, and why it is so important to avoid them.  If untreated, these responses can turn a few losses into a long losing streak, and modest decline into a death spiral.

Finding New Resources to Invest in Your Team 

The clue to beginning the process of renewing confidence is the confidence leaders show in the people who must work to deliver winning performance.

That confidence does not come from empty pep talks, but from tangible indications that someone cares enough to invest in those people and to empower them to take new actions.  Leaders show confidence in the people by finding the resources* to invest.  Building confidence in advance of victory requires a leap of faith — a belief that the sick system can recover, even when the situation is most dire.

Although sick systems might need surgeons who cut out deadwood and unnecessary expenditure, if that is all that happens, then losses are temporarily stemmed, but the system has not been led to a winning path.  The art of turnaround leadership is in knowing how to shed deadwood without killing the tree, to dig down and find root causes and make systemic changes, and to help the tree blossom.  That takes a healer.

*[While those resources might at times require money for new facilities, new equipment, etc., be careful not to fall into the trap set up for you by thinking these new trappings are where the process must start.  The least costly but often difficult resources that must be found include, first and foremost, time, energy, creativity, passion, honesty, character, and commitment.]


Breakout: There are a series of videos here at this link:




Choices, Choices, Choice 

Heads of sports teams, airlines, schools, manufacturing companies, media organizations, hospitals, religious denominations, and nations define a culture of winning or losing, success or failure, by the choices they make in their messages, personal examples, and formal programs:

* whether to make decisions in secret behind closed doors, or to use transparent processes that involve opened that debate and dialogue;

* whether to restrict the flow of information, or to expose facts and support abundant communication;

* whether to blame problems on enemies and sinister forces, or to seek solutions by taking actions under one’s own control;

* whether to act unilaterally, or to seek collaborators;

* whether to fuel partisan division, or stress collective goals that unite people;

* whether to underscore suspicion and mistrust of groups that are “different”, or to promote mutual respect and relationships;

* whether to feed desires for revenge, or to encourage initiatives for improvement;

* whether to concentrate resources at the center, in the hands of the elites, or to invest in numerous small wins in many places by many people;

* whether to use fear to justify decisions, or to emphasize sources of hope.

Which end of the scale a leader chooses sets the standards for negative or positive behavior, restricts or opens opportunities for actions, depresses energy or raises spirits, and influences how much people are willing to invest. Secrecy, blame, revenge, unilateral action, partisan division, and motivation by fear are, of course, the stuff of losing streaks. Sending messages (explicitly or implicitly) that those phenomena are acceptable, and exemplifying them in policy and practice, tilts the odds toward slipping into decline and losers’ habits. This limits the capacity to solve problems and erodes confidence at all levels, from self to system, internally and externally.

Leaders who guide winning streaks make a different set of choices, toward positive, inclusive, empowering actions that build confidence. By believing in other people, they make it possible for others to believe in them. Working together, they increase the likelihood of success, and of continuing to succeed.

From Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Random House/Crown Business, NY, 2004. 


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Crossroads, Ahmad Jamal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naOtmf3vbeU (8:50)



Julia Cameron

Cameron’s memoir Floor Sample details her descent into alcoholism and drug addiction, which induced blackouts, paranoia and psychosis.[3] In 1978, reaching a point in her life when writing and drinking could no longer coexist,[4] Cameron stopped the drugs and alcohol, and began teaching creative unblocking, eventually publishing the book based on her work: The Artist’s Way.[3] She states creativity is an authentic spiritual path.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Cameron [includes complete list of her books including those in the extended “Artist’s Way series]

Other resources:

http://juliacameronlive.com (her web site)



http://juliacameronlive.com/the-artists-way/ (video series requiring subscription)


Breakout (a blog with subscription available)

http://juliacameronlive.com/blog/ !!


I’ve worked at length with “The Artist’s Way”, which I owned along with “Walking in this World” (but they disappeared on me); I also had once started building a major exercise series based on her book “The Vein of Gold”.

She is a true resource, and her books are marvelous self-development tools that I recommend to anyone. In my case, they were the impetus for the development of an e-book, now in its umpteenth variation; my morning pages turned into blogging.

“The first prerequisite for education is a willingness to sacrifice your prejudice on the altar of your spiritual growth.”


The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity is a self-help book by American author Julia Cameron. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection with God.[1][2][3][4]

The ideas in creative personal development outlined in the book, which were felt to be new at the time of the publication,[5] are said to have become a phenomenon and spawned into many meetups and support groups throughout the world. The group meetings are based on a 12 week creativity course designed for people to work through and gain Artistic inspiration, as outlined in the book. The program is focused on supporting relationships in removing artistic blocks and fostering confidence.[1][6]

Starting as a collection of tips and hints from different artists and authors, The Artist’s Way was collected into a single book and self published by Julia Cameron for maximizing the creativity and productivity of artists.[7]The book was originally titled, Healing the Artist Within, and was turned down by the William Morris literary agency, before being self-published. After the book began to sell widely, the title was then changed, when the book was published by Jeremy Tarcher (now The Penguin Group) in 1992.[5] The book went on to reach the Top 10 best seller list[8] and onto the list of the Top 100 Best Self-Help Books of All Time.[9] The book was eventually put into the “Self-Publishing Hall of Fame” after selling millions of copies worldwide.[7]

Cameron maintains throughout the book that creative inspiration is from and of a divine origin and influence, that artists seeking to enable creativity need to understand and believe in.“God is an artist. So are we. And we can cooperate with each other. Our creative dreams and longings do come from a divine source, not from the human ego.”[3][10]


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Seven Days of Falling, EST

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyk5kg-r9Fg (5:59)

Within You Without You, Beatle instrumental

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb_0SLGP9ls (5:27)


Tomorrow: The master of the inner game of whatever game you’re not playing well.