Tag Archives: learning

uncertainty, crises, skill

uncertainty crises skill

I was feeling pretty good about the progress I’d made in the craft of writing — but then I read the first few pages of The Echo Maker by Richard Powers.   

In a recent re-arranging of office and library, the book had jumped into my hand: ‘remember me? This was set aside for later.  It’s later’

You can read all the kudos about it yourself but, for me, it’s a lesson in how to write and I shall enjoy finishing it. 

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If you’re into reading e-books, you might want to click on this link from booktalk’s bookbub 

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music compilations of jazz for studying, reading and working

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jCyFVgmSSo 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsD_yczGIg8 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9iWFHw5K84 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn7Iwtf50FE 

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https://qz.com/886038/isaac-asimov-wrote-almost-500-books-in-his-lifetime-these-are-the-6-ways-he-did-it/ 

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There are lots of lessons in writing on my bookshelves, including the course of writing creative nonfiction and the as-yet-unfinished brilliant-but-difficult-to-slog-through Building Great Sentences. 

And the fifty-odd books on the craft, plus all the handbooks, thesauri, dictionaries, and other tools.   And the 45 e-mails from writing craft groups tucked away for safe-keeping.  And the list of writing “assignments” from within the book The Butterfly Hours, whose author Patty Dann taught a class at a local writer’s collaborative. 

I added sixteeen of the topics listed on pages 128-129 to my own personal file of topics to write about; so far I’ve finished five of them.

 

Here’s one:

http://www.daskeyboard.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Duplex-Typewriter-Jewett-Antique-Typewriters-284×300.jpg

My functionality with the typewriter started in high school, the easy (?) elective of touch typing class in which I labored but never really learned. I could not break myself of the habit of having to look at the keys, nor could I master using more than one finger and one thumb per hand. I did not have a typewriter at home; all high school papers were done in cursive. 

Today, cursive is a dinosaur. 

Today, typewriters are a dinosaur. 

Soon, even typing will be a thing of the past. 

http://www.svsd.net/cms/lib5/PA01001234/Centricity/Domain/831/class_old.jpg

I made a significant leap forward when I worked the graveyard shift in college for a telephone answering service.  While there was some limited ability for sleep, I used the time — the phones went silent except for important calls from the hospital to the physicians, or calls for urgent service by towtrucks, or when the ambulance company was out on a call and I had to answer the line — to type up my college papers. I got through much of high school and almost all of college on the ability to write an expository paper. They had to be typed.  And my employer had an IBM Selectric.

All I had to do was to pay for the ribbons. 

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTM2MlgxNDEz/z/5~MAAOSwaG9XJT1g/$_35.JPG?set_id=2

By the time I got out of college, society’s approach to letters was changing.  Some genius who worked for An Wang created the word processor:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/f2/75/26/f27526d94676fc4338bf445c17cf285b.jpg

My father, who tracked job markets for the state department of commerce, wrote to the company on behalf of my niece, then in high school, to ask the company what the new tool was all about.  He got an answer, which I preserved in my archives somewhere, from some recent high school grad who worked for the p.r. department at the company in Lowell, MA whose office towers still command a major gateway to the city. 

The letter is a classic. It will probably bring serious dollars on an Antique Roadshow in the year 2035.

The company has long since fallen to the vagaries of competition and change, but the basic functionality of the word processing system is that the typist could make changes to the document before it got printed, thus eliminating typographic errors, bad grammar, and even bad writing. The letter is a classic because it was produced on a Wang 1200 but had so many examples of typographical errors, bad grammar and bad writing that it seemed like a parody of itself. 

I first used a Wang word processor right after I took the job marketing a medical symposium; with a Wang WP, I could print out individually-typed-and-addrerssed letters to hundreds and hundreds of addresses.  My bosses thought I was a wizard. I needed only to sit by and maintain the feed, pull off the product, fold it up, and stuff it into the envelopes. Some fellow named Nierenberg ( Andrea’s father ) had already taught me the value and art of personalized direct marketing.  Soon thereafter, I was running a one-day seminar to introduce computers to physicians; I was utterly dumbfounded when some of the brightest people I’d ever known would only very tentatively approach the subject or even touch the input device. They were mini-masters at trauma surgery but how to make a brain-in-a-box sing and dance was new to them.

Sometime thereafter I went to worked for a start-up producing cable TV shows for pediatricians and the company handed me the latest in IBM computers; I never could figure out to use the damn thing. But that never held me back; we got 15 shows in the can and I was already at work on a new franchise for orthopaedic surgeons when they informed me that I was fired because I’d failed to sell enough air time to advertisers, a task that was nowhere mentioned in my job description. 

A few years later, I took over running an association of business executives who worked for companies like Prime and Digital Equipment.  On the first two days of the job, the office staff told me the annual invoices for membership (the organization’s first and major source of income) were due to go out and the DEC system with its 10-inch floppies couldn’t be made to merge the membership database with the invoice form. Calls to the nearby company proved useless; the technical support staffer sent over by our very own internal contact through our vice president and their international director proved useless. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e3/Macintosh_128k_transparency.png/200px-Macintosh_128k_transparency.png

A quick phone call and some research turned up the idea that we could buy an Apple Mcintosh with custom-made software for association management tasks for $5,000 proved irresistible, thus earning me enmity with the Board that I could never outrun. 

The Mac ran faultlessly for the 14 months I was there. The invoices were sent out with a three-day delay, thus saving the corporation’s sizeable capital equity, enough so they could purchase an office condo after I left, but I got run out on a rail. 

But I had found Apple, bought two for my kids to use in high school and later college, and when my son moved out of the house in his senior year, I had a tool I could learn to use on my desk. I wish I’d had the cash to buy stock. Sorry, Joe. 

When I again found myself unemployed because I’d mastered a DOS computyer so well that I made more money at ten cents a line than my department director, I started drafting an e-book on performance psychology

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I once met a girl (or should I say she once met me?), and we talked until two and then she said it’s time for bed and crawled off to sleep (if she could) surrounded by her daughter and her dog. 

But while she was awake, she convinved me to take a Briggs-Myers psychometric test that, when it was completed, told me I was an iNTp who loves play, languages, and complex systems, amd specially games that coax analogies, patterns and theories from the unseen. So it’s no surprise that I’ve had a fascination for wargaming.  One of those nights we talked about her desire to run off 900 miles on a whim to help take care of people in a major disaster, but I talked her out of it.  It took me two hours, after which she challenged me (nop, she held my feet to the fire until it was finished and found a home) to write this

Some people think this nation is headed into a crisis larger than any its faced in 80 years (a major disaster), and the world has changed a lot since the Depression era. See the three articles below or scroll quickly through the last handful of entries at Occurrences Foreign & Domestic

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https://www.oathkeepers.org/crisis-end-kurt-schlichter-lays-lefts-violent-endgame/ 

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/planetary-lockdown-geoengineering-and-the-deep-state/5574404 

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http://thewellpreparedmama.com/52-survival-skills-your-kids-should-be-learning/ 

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No matter how your glasses are tintedI’m just going to park these here  for easy access and safe-keeping so I (and you) can watch them at your leisure.  

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Crisis Management Wargaming (4)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr_1O75185o 

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The Secret to Successful Crisis Management in the 21st Century – Melissa Agnes TEDx Talk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQGEPEaEWtg (18)

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How to write the best crisis management plan for your business by Tony Ridley (13)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seO-GJ7J0G4 

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Better Risk Assessments, Management, Tools and Metrics by Tony Ridley (15)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD2mQ6ooYO4 

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How to Conduct a Tabletop Exercise (18)

A tutorial for campus administrators and crisis response team members

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XK_dZkb9Kw 

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https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=incident+management+simulation 

 

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At the Wargaming Table: Tactics – Strategy – Game Theory (40)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUOJBCmqGcY 

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In this lecture during the 2013 Yale Presidential Inauguration Symposia, University Provost Polak offers a sample of his popular undergraduate economics course. As the William C. Brainard Professor of Economics, he is an expert on decision theory, game theory, and economic history. His work explores how individuals choose when faced with uncertainty and how societies choose when faced with inequality.

[67 minutes]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3oWYHYoBvk 

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“Ceptre: A Language for Modeling Generative Interactive Systems” by Chris Martens

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFeJZRdhKcI 

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“I See What You Mean” 

by Peter Alvaro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Aa4PivG0g 

I love query languages for many reasons, but mostly because of their semantics. Wait, come back! In contrast to most systems programming languages (whose semantics can be quite esoteric), the semantics of a query (given some inputs) are precisely its outcome — rows in tables. Hence when we write a query, we directly engage with its semantics: we simply say what we mean. This makes it easy and natural to reason about whether our queries are correct: that is, whether they mean what we intended them to mean.

Query languages have traditionally been applied to a relatively narrow domains: historically, data at rest in data stores; more recently, data in motion through continuous, “streaming” query frameworks. Why stop here? Could query languages do for a notoriously complex domain such as distributed systems programming what they have done so successfully for data management? How would they need to evolve to become expressive enough to capture the programs that we need to write, while retaining a simple enough semantics to allow mere mortals to reason about their correctness?

I will attempt to answer these questions (and raise many others) by describing a query language for distributed programming called Dedalus. Like traditional query languages, Dedalus abstracts away many of the details we typically associate with programming, making data and time first-class citizens and relegating computation to a subordinate role, characterizing how data is allowed to change as it moves through space and time. As we will see, this shift allows programmers to directly reason about distributed correctness properties such as consistency and fault-tolerance, and lays the foundations for powerful program analysis and repair tools (such as Blazes and LDFI), as well as successive generations of data-centric programming languages (including Bloom, Edelweiss and Eve).

Peter Alvaro

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA CRUZ

@palvaro

Peter Alvaro is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California Santa Cruz. His research focuses on using data-centric languages and analysis techniques to build and reason about data-intensive distributed systems, in order to make them scalable, predictable and robust to the failures and nondeterminism endemic to large-scale distribution. Peter is the creator of the Dedalus language and co-creator of the Bloom language.

While pursuing his PhD at while UC Berkeley, Peter co-developed and taught Programming the Cloud, an undergraduate course that explored distributed systems concepts through the lens of software development. Prior to attending Berkeley, Peter worked as a Senior Software Engineer in the data analytics team at Ask.com. Peter’s principal research interests are databases, distributed systems and programming languages.

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http://www.techrepublic.com/article/understanding-the-differences-between-ai-machine-learning-and-deep-learning/ 

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https://hypothes.is/blog/annotation-is-now-a-web-standard/ 

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http://edutips.eu 

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https://qz.com/911681/we-tested-apples-siri-amazon-echos-alexa-microsofts-cortana-and-googles-google-home-to-see-which-personal-assistant-bots-stand-up-for-themselves-in-the-face-of-sexual-harassment/ 

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http://www.cohack.life/posts/what-is-transcendence-technology/ 

plastics

plastics

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSxihhBzCjk

“… 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….

https://www.rt.com/viral/355700-brain-manipulation-mouse-neurons/

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6300/691

creativity and transformation

creativity and transformation

I stumbled across a number of pretty darn good TED talks the other day. 

I am naturally interesting in learning, performance and creativity, and several of the topics seemed to be in alignment with my previous reading about sports and performance psychology.  A couple of them are simply startling barn-burners. 

Here’s a mix of short TED talks, a blurb on creativity, and a couple of long videos on how to be a really good photographer. 

Have fun. 

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Chris Lonsdale is Managing Director of Chris Lonsdale & Associates, a company established to catalyse breakthrough performance for individuals and senior teams. In addition, he has also developed a unique and integrated approach to learning that gives people the means to acquire language or complex technical knowledge in short periods of time.

how to learn any language in six months

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0yGdNEWdn0 

This has more relevance than to learning language.

Five Principles

Attention, Meaning, Relevance and Memory

Use The Tools Immediately

Comprehensible Input is Key

Physiological Training

Psycho-physiologic State

Seven Actions

Soak Your Brain

Get Meaning/Body Language

Get Creative/Mix It Up

Focus on the Core (80/20 rule)

Get a Mentor

Mirror/Mimic Feedback

Connect Learning to Your Mental Images

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Fundamentals of Physiological Psychology

http://www.slideshare.net/KrycesTorcato/fundamentals-of-physiological-psychology-by-author-carlson-neil-r 

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The skill of self confidence | Dr. Ivan Joseph | TEDxRyersonU

As the Athletic Director and head coach of the Varsity Soccer team at Ryerson University, Dr. Joseph is often asked what skills he is searching for as a recruiter: is it speed? Strength? Agility? In Dr. Joseph’s TEDx Talk, he explores self confidence and how it is not just the most important skill in athletics, but in our lives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-HYZv6HzAs 

[This is outstanding!]  [13 minutes!]

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How to believe in yourself: Jim Cathcart at TEDxDelrayBeach (8.5 minutes)

(How to transform the world)(nurture your nature)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ki9-oaPwHs 

http://cathcart.com/ 

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The psychology of self-motivation | Scott Geller | TEDxVirginiaTech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sxpKhIbr0E 

Scott Geller is Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and Director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the World Academy of Productivity and Quality. He has written numerous articles and books, including When No One’s Watching: Living and Leading Self-motivation.

Can you do it?  Self efficacy

Will it work? Response efficacy

Is it worth it? 

Competence, Consequences, Choices, Community

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Why people believe they can’t draw – and how to prove they can | Graham Shaw | TEDxHull

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TXEZ4tP06c 

streetphotonow

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Written by Helen Williams, Community Love Director at Holstee

I was recently given the opportunity to see author Elizabeth Gilbert give a talk in the city of Denver. It was an unseasonably warm evening in early May and the front of the Paramount Theater was pacing and alive with anticipation. Many of us had read Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert’s 2007 bestseller-turned-movie. It was a novel that sold ten million copies and sparked a million responses, good and bad. But what gathered us together that particular evening was Gilbert’s newest output, Big Magic, a reflection on her personal experience with creativity.

I can’t summarize the book for you in a way that will do it true justice, but my one sentence rave review is this: it resparked me. I’ve always been a person who made space for creative endeavors. I dive into books for inspiration for my own writing. I listen to music that moves me enough to drive me toward the piano keys. I soak in colors and shapes to bring myself back to my original love of drawing. All these things and more made me certain, yes, I am a creative person because I participate in these things. I make stuff. I tune in.

“This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted—by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Tweet

But of course when it comes to the pace of life, there isn’t always ample time for the things that make you feel most like yourself. At least that is what I told myself when gaps of time would pass and I hadn’t picked up a pen or a paint brush and a thick layer of dust coated the chipping ivory keys. Other obligations would demand my attention and I would relent, letting those other parts of myself stay paused in midair until I had time to snatch them up again. During these times I would feel hollow, less engaged and sometimes even panicked at the time that would pass without my making space for feeling creatively inspired. These phases of life were dull, unmemorable. In this way, I treated my need for creativity as its own distinct feature of my existence, something entirely separate and extra from the rest of my more normal, responsible, adult life.

What I learned from turning the pages of Big Magic, however, was that I was looking at it all wrong. Creativity wasn’t meant to be a single strain among others. Creativity wasn’t supposed to be a hobby that would often conflict with “more important stuff” or be overtaken when duty called. It was meant to be the lens through which I viewed all parts of my life. Choosing creativity was what transformed an everyday experience into an adventure. Creativity could have a hand in all of it, if I allowed it to be so.

Well, that was news to me! I was so ingrained that creativity was a specific dedication to artistic endeavors that I couldn’t even picture it having a hand in my daily decisions, in the way I approach problems or interact with other people. I had reduced creativity to a rare moment that would come barreling towards me from a great distance and leave as soon as it came. Which, to be fair, was all it was capable of when I forced it into such a limited framework.

And while creativity can certainly make itself known to us in sudden, dramatic instances like these, it can also be more subtle, interwoven throughout the rest of us, the barely detectable hum beneath our every move. Suddenly, nothing was all that commonplace to me anymore. Everything had potential to be more than it was. And while some would view this revelation as daunting (“You mean I have to be creative every second, all the time, with everything?”), I choose to see it as a relief and an opportunity. Small seconds can balloon up and fill us with inspiration we would have otherwise overlooked. It’s looking one inch to the left instead of straight ahead. Mundane moments can present solutions we couldn’t allow ourselves to see. It’s asking internal questions instead of quitting. Conversations, interactions, passing people can all become more if we turn toward them, if we allow ourselves to pause long enough to find the connection. It’s saying, “Tell me more,” instead of simply nodding along.

It isn’t about always making or seeing something with an immediate and obvious purpose. It’s about engagement, simple awareness and appreciation of the here and now. So see what’s here. Soak it all in. It might not be anything except what it is. Let that be enough.

Suddenly, everything holds a new potential to me now, thriving, reaching, awake with possibility. To me, that’s something to look forward to. That’s the discovery of what happens next.

To get your own copy of Big Magic, go here.

___________________________________

Helen Williams is a Colorado transplant who is passionate about cooking, writing and combining the two on her vegetarian and vegan food blog, green girl eats. She strives, every day, to be less sorry. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading, loving the community at Holstee or trying to pet your dog.

https://www.holstee.com/blogs/mindful-matter/117673349-creativity-as-a-daily-practice 

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The 9 Types of Intelligence Which Make Us All Human

http://www.zengardner.com/nine-types-of-intelligence-make-us-human/ 

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matt-stuart--london-street-photography-moorgate-underground-big-hand-pointing-nose

The place where I have decided to take my creative yearning is back to the field of photography.  As noted previously, I owned a Minolta SLR and bought a 28-volume Time/Life series on photography and a bunch of other books, got a subscription to several well-known photo mags, and even enrolled in a correspondence course with some very good school in the Big Apple.  The course was pricey, and working in slides and stills can get pretty expensive too, but the course taught me some basics in how to see light, and more. I was a pretty decent amateur but one day some thief broke into my house and made off with the complete camera bag, a memorable event because the fellow left a prize of a pile of feces on the living room floor before he left. Aren’t people wonderful? Well, my step-mother knew I had a thing for photography and so insisted on going by the local mall to acquire for me a basic Nikon SLR.  Oh, Nikon, everyone sighs, but frankly I didn’t like it, couldn’t get the physiology of learning to work and thus the psycho-physical state of flow rarely showed up. One day I inadvertently left the rear window open with the gear on the floor of the back seat and a thunderstorm came by and lingered just above the window. Bye bye Nikon.  By that time, I had already scoped out the possibility of turning pro.  I’d checked out two major photographic schools, one in Boston and the other out in Franklin Country where I’d spent some time.  The one in Franklin County gave tuition-paying people a brand new medium-format rig worth $1,400 but I didn’t bite.  I’d shadowed some people selling their wares at art shows and investigated the economics of selling 4×6’s and more at tourist shops, but the conclusion I came to was that I couldn’t afford to make the investment. One such potential competitor was displaying the most elegant and pristine very large prints shot with the best film printed on the best paper at pretty reasonable prices and, over the course of five hours in a good crowd, didn’t sell a single one. And just at that time digital photography was on the horizon; suddenly people could put their new device on automatic, skip going to school and reading books, and turn out the same kind of thing at radically-reduced expense.  How could I sell them a masterpiece (assuming I had what it took to make one) when they could shoot one themselves?  I gave up the pursuit and turned to different things. Today, everyone has an iPhone.

Then three years ago my daughter gave me a $65 Kodak 14-mp point-and-shoot digital camera. A little playing around, and I was hooked again, and so I began slowly to learn something about digital photography.  Recently I took the next step up and bought a Canon EOS Rebel Vi with the kit lens and a zoom lens. Just today I bought an extra battery and a lens shade for the zoom. I’ve printed a page full of shooting sites and ideas, bookmarked a few events calendars, and started to avail myself of the incredible value of series of educational YouTubes put up by camera vendors on which pros share their tips and techniques. 

Here are three of my favorites:

Photography: Talking to People (Adam Marelli)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJHfT7lYqCo (1:48:10)

The Art of Travel Photography (Lorne Resnick)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En0DIfiu6TA (47:21)

Steve Simon’s 10 Steps To Becoming a Great Photographer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JjwNiInIOk (58:30)

You’ll enjoy them if you are a photographer, painter, videographer or street performer.

I’ll be taking five to six weeks off to pack and unpack. I’m moving. I’ll be taking my camera, my writing books and tools, and mooving out closer to farm country.

Currently on my desktop:

 “God Laughs and Plays” by David James Duncan, The Triad Institute

and 

“The Big Picture: On The Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself”, by Sean Carroll (Dutton/Penguin House 2016)

Blessings…

music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2rGbFhZrpk

 

complex challenge

Chapter 14 of the e-book is about leadership, building winning teams, moving people, and all of the factors and skills in doing those things. It draws on athletics, on business, and on the military. The art of leadership is embodied in the person. Leadership requires exceptional skills in conducting a changing or dynamic activity in a dynamic process that involves people who themselves are at various levels of skill, learning, and mastery. Leadership involves taking action. It requires presence. It involves communication.

Tab N (Leadership)

Chapter 15 of the e-book is about strategy, situational awareness, finding out what you need to know, decision-making in a dynamic setting and/or under stress, and more. It introduces the reader to some ancient and basic precepts in military strategy through time-tested and accepted sources: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War; Sir B. H. Liddell-Hart’s theory of the indirect approach, and John Boyd OODA loop theory. It provides some limited examples of how these are applied to athletic scenarios, and focuses on the psychological aspects that come into play with perception, comprehension, speed/tempo, and space/time.

Tab O (Psychology of Strategy)

Chapter 16 of the e-book is about possibility. It is based on sources from within the world of learning, and the world of business. It is focused, in the end, on getting people aligned toward producing a desired outcome. It is focused on accountability, on making a difference, on collaboration, and on honesty.  It’s about choices that leaders make.

Tab P (The Art of Possibility)

To make effective sense of a complex challenge, we must have a grasp of the whole of the situation, including its variables, unknowns, and mysterious forces. We must examine more than just the surface. This requires skills beyond everyday analysis.

healing a sick world

healing a sick world

The e-book I’ve been posting here piecemeal will continue here with the sixth chapter entitled “What’s Inside You?  Desire, Belief, Passion and Intent”. 

Tab F (What’s Inside You)

Borrowing from Richard Strozzi-Heckler’s seminal book “In Search of the Warrior Spirit”, it asks early on 

“For what reason do you come?”,  the master asked the student.

“I have come to learn the art of self-defense”,  said the student.

The master responded:  “Which self do you wish to defend?”

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O’SENSEI, A WAR VETERAN WITH PTSD…???

“.. the potential that Aikido, the “art of peace” could be a product of Post Traumatic Growth is a compelling point… Aikido is often referred to as “medicine for a sick world.” … the practice of Aikido can be a path towards healing.….”

Tom Osborn’s exploratory and explanatory essay can be read at the link

http://www.searchofpeace.com/blog/2015/05/27/osensei-a-war-veteran-with-ptsd/#more-594 

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Awo2s7aaof0/T5C3DNGACPI/AAAAAAAAAXg/0BkT_X0ynOk/s1600/aikido+quote.jpg

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Later, on pages 36 & 37, the sixth chapter touches upon — with two snippets — a subject addressed in a separate ex parte article below.

The main characteristic of an addiction is that it creates a need for itself that doesn’t provide you with energy to do something more. What you get from cigarettes is a craving for cigarettes, as well as the denial of a lot of other needs.

Some people eat because they’re hungry, others because they are bored, tired, or sick of being fat. A single substance comes to meet the needs of a lot of subtleties without fulfilling real needs. As Eric Hoffer said, “You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.”  In that way, it becomes an end in itself. It may seem like the supermarket and the video store give us choices but often we choose the same thing over and over again. When we choose the same thing time and again, it has to become bigger, better or more potent to meet the original need it satisfied. Addictions are substitutes for real community.  Any of the states that you reach through a substance you can meet through some form of relationship. In a fully functioning community, you can live on less, or do without.

Addiction is any dependency that self-perpetuates or self-catalyzes at an ever-accelerating rate…. Addiction consumes energy and leads to slavery.

Practice generates energy and leads to freedom…. Habits are addictive, if that mysterious acceleration factor is present, when enough is never enough, and what was enough yesterday is not enough today. Habits are addictive if the reward and the work are inverted. Samuel Butler joked that if the alcoholic’s hangover preceded the intoxication, there would be mystical schools teaching it as a discipline for self-realization.

So practice is the reciprocal of addiction. Practice is an ever-fresh, challenging flow of work and play in which we continually test and demolish our own delusions; therefore, it is sometimes painful.

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I guess that I just don’t know

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Drug_War_Fail%3A_Doctors_Now_Creating_More_Heroin_Addicts_than_Drug_Dealers/44174/0/38/38/Y/M.html 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xcwt9mSbYE 

On a great big clipper ship

[Ed.: The fortunes of the founders of Skull and Bones (as well as the family fortunes of one of its more famous members, the current US Secretary of State), the shadows of whose membership have brought us the American security state empire (read this book from cover to cover) and its prolonged intervention in Afghanistan, its hijinks within the Golden Triangle and so much more, were built on the opium trade out of China during the era of the clipper ships.]

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The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned — and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong — and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.

If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.

I learned it from an extraordinary mixture of people I met on my travels. From the surviving friends of Billie Holiday, who helped me to learn how the founder of the war on drugs stalked and helped to kill her. From a Jewish doctor who was smuggled out of the Budapest ghetto as a baby, only to unlock the secrets of addiction as a grown man. From a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who was conceived when his mother, a crack-addict, was raped by his father, an NYPD officer. From a man who was kept at the bottom of a well for two years by a torturing dictatorship, only to emerge to be elected President of Uruguay and to begin the last days of the war on drugs.

I had a quite personal reason to set out for these answers. One of my earliest memories as a kid is trying to wake up one of my relatives, and not being able to. Ever since then, I have been turning over the essential mystery of addiction in my mind — what causes some people to become fixated on a drug or a behavior until they can’t stop? How do we help those people to come back to us? As I got older, another of my close relatives developed a cocaine addiction, and I fell into a relationship with a heroin addict. I guess addiction felt like home to me.

If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: “Drugs. Duh.” It’s not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That’s what addiction means.

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments — ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.

But in fact some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers — according to the same study — simply stopped. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.

After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days — if anything can hook you, it’s that. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can’t recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is — again — striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them. (The full references to all the studies I am discussing are in the book.)

When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be? This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don’t seem to make sense — unless you take account of this new approach.

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right — it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them — then it’s obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing: It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

When I learned all this, I found it slowly persuading me, but I still couldn’t shake off a nagging doubt. Are these scientists saying chemical hooks make no difference? It was explained to me — you can become addicted to gambling, and nobody thinks you inject a pack of cards into your veins. You can have all the addiction, and none of the chemical hooks. I went to a Gamblers’ Anonymous meeting in Las Vegas (with the permission of everyone present, who knew I was there to observe) and they were as plainly addicted as the cocaine and heroin addicts I have known in my life. Yet there are no chemical hooks on a craps table.

But still, surely, I asked, there is some role for the chemicals? It turns out there is an experiment which gives us the answer to this in quite precise terms, which I learned about in Richard DeGrandpre’s book The Cult of Pharmacology.

Everyone agrees cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come from a drug inside it called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism — cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy (and deadly) effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed.

But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That’s not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that’s still millions of lives ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about The Cause of Addiction lying with chemical hooks is, in fact, real, but only a minor part of a much bigger picture.

This has huge implications for the one-hundred-year-old war on drugs. This massive war — which, as I saw, kills people from the malls of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool — is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people’s brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren’t the driver of addiction — if, in fact, it is disconnection that drives addiction — then this makes no sense.

Ironically, the war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. For example, I went to a prison in Arizona — ‘Tent City’ — where inmates are detained in tiny stone isolation cages (‘The Hole’) for weeks and weeks on end to punish them for drug use. It is as close to a human recreation of the cages that guaranteed deadly addiction in rats as I can imagine. And when those prisoners get out, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record — guaranteeing they with be cut off even more. I watched this playing out in the human stories I met across the world.

There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world — and so leave behind their addictions.

This isn’t theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them — to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step is to get them secure housing, and subsidized jobs so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.

One example I learned about was a group of addicts who were given a loan to set up a removals firm. Suddenly, they were a group, all bonded to each other, and to the society, and responsible for each other’s care.

The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I’ll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country’s top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass — and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal’s example.

This isn’t only relevant to the addicts I love. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster’s — “only connect.” But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live — constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.

The writer George Monbiot has called this “the age of loneliness.” We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Bruce Alexander — the creator of Rat Park — told me that for too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery — how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog.

But this new evidence isn’t just a challenge to us politically. It doesn’t just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.

Loving an addict is really hard. When I looked at the addicts I love, it was always tempting to follow the tough love advice doled out by reality shows like Intervention — tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addict who won’t stop should be shunned. It’s the logic of the drug war, imported into our private lives. But in fact, I learned, that will only deepen their addiction — and you may lose them altogether. I came home determined to tie the addicts in my life closer to me than ever — to let them know I love them unconditionally, whether they stop, or whether they can’t.

When I returned from my long journey, I looked at my ex-boyfriend, in withdrawal, trembling on my spare bed, and I thought about him differently. For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along.

The full story of Johann Hari’s journey — told through the stories of the people he met — can be read in Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, published by Bloomsbury. The book has been praised by everyone from Elton John to Glenn Greenwald to Naomi Klein. You can buy it at all good bookstores and read more at www.chasingthescream.com.

The full references and sources for all the information cited in this article can be found in the book’s extensive end-notes.

If you would like more updates on the book and this issue, you can like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chasingthescream

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addiction 

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On the last page of the sixth chapter, it says

Beliefs are ideas that can be shaken,

but faith is the result of having been shaken.

Much has been written — I think of Laurence Gonzalez’ book “Surviving Survival” — about those circumstances, events or encounters that shake us to our bones.  

Many of us have had such events; war brings them to soldiers (as noted); accidents and health care crises brings them to civilians; imprisonment or worse brings them to people who succeed at overcoming that experience and writing about it: Nelson Mandela, Vladimir Bukovsky, Hurricane Carter — the list is long because authority keeps impounding people; that list is getting longer, having added Manning, Kirakou, and thousands of unnamed souls thrown into dank, dark centers of isolation and torture.  

I was lucky.  I was in a coma in a bed surounded by doctors and nurses and loving and caring family and friends.  Surviving has a way of getting you clear on which self. 

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There is present within the socio-political leadership of our milieu — including people, institutions, media outlets, and our economy — a massive pathological addiction to violence and war. 

 

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; 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p5QqKANMWo 

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.

 

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http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande8818/architecture/creativity.gif

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

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Additional resources:

The Aims of Education* by Alfred North Whitehead

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

http://www.faculty.english.vt.edu/Collier/sciwrite/pdfs/whitehead_1916.pdf 

“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]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_North_Whitehead 

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http://www.innovationmanagement.se/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/imagination-the-number-one-tool-for-innovation-and-creativity.jpeg

Growing Young [Hardcover]

http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Young-Ashley-Montagu/dp/0897891678 

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

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/ashley_montagu.html 

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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

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Armstrong/e/B000APY2HC

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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 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Coles 

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http://spimg.com/images/creativity.gif

The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog [Paperback]

http://www.amazon.com/The-Millennium-Whole-Earth-Catalog/dp/0062510592

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

http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Scholars-Handbook-Interest-Expertise/dp/0898155215 

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

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

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

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0062720732

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http://www.thegreatcourses.com/

Guide to Writers Conferences & Writing Workshops

http://writing.shawguides.com/

audio books available at a number of outlets

 

What-You-Did-As-a-Childeditededited

Je Ne Sais Quoi #3

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Three

 

http://www.bcsiteservice.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Vacant-Brushed-Silver-Meeting-Room-Sign-With-Round-Corners.jpg

Tim Gallwey

http://i.bookfi.org/covers/382000/769390fa653008c80ac760f41c58ef6b-d.jpg

[i’ve chosen this image here rather than his smiling face above because I found this book to be superb.  While I’ve read the ones about tennis and golf, I never played much tennis and I absolutely suck at golf, which is ironic because my son is a competitive amateur golfer with a handicap that hovers in the single digits. But he’d already been exposed to similar material and he applied himself. Funny thing about hard work and practice…. I have just ordered the book Galley co-wrote with Barry Green called “The Inner Game of Music”.]

“… In every workplace, we need to win. The workplace is not a social event, and our survival is always on the line. This doesn’t answer the fundamental questions of purpose and meaning, both for the institution and the individual. In a quiet and concrete way, the Inner Game argues for creating institutions that can offer people deeper meaning than just profitability, while at the same time achieving economic success.  How can we play a game where the human spirit is validated and still get good work done? Most organizations have this desire, but they are still wedded to a way of thinking that treats the person as a means to an economic end. The business has to prosper, but the person needs to find purpose beyond that and needs to do so in a way that nurtures rather than burns. Placing a higher value on learning, and the awareness that learning demands, offers us hope that this is possible.”

Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used; The Empowered Manager: Political Skills at Work and Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest, in the preface to The Inner Game of Work, byW. Timothy Gallwey (Random House, New York, 2000).

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•Green, Barry; Gallwey, W. Timothy (1986). The inner game of music (1st ed.). New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-23126-1.

•Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2000). The Inner Game of Work. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50007-3.

•Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2009). The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life’s Challenges, Fulfill Your Potential, Enjoy Yourself. New York: Random House. ISBN 1-4000-6791-X.
a b Whitmore, John K. (2002). Coaching for Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 1-85788-303-9.

Gallwey was one of the first to demonstrate a comprehensive method of coaching that could be applied to many situations, and found himself lecturing more often to business leaders in the U.S. than to sports people.[6]

Tim Gallwey’s work went on to found the current movement in business coaching, life coaching and executive coaching. One of the most well known exponents of business coaching is Sir John Whitmore, who popularised Graham Alexander’s and Alan Fine‘s GROW model of the coaching process.[6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Gallwey 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Green 

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35102470/The-Inner-Game-Of-Music 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-inner-game-of-music-barry-green/1000141216?ean=9780385231268 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mastery-of-music-barry-green/1100304301?ean=9780767911573 

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Coaching

Coaching is primarily concerned with the type of relationship between the coach and the coachee,  and the means and style of communication used. The objective of improving performance is paramount, but how that is best achieved is what is in question. Gallwey says that if a coach can help the player to remove or reduce the internal obstacles to his performance, an unexpected natural ability will flow forth without the need for much technical input from the coach. This is an approach that can be readily applied to almost any situation. Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them.

Before the 1990s, technical ability and sport-appropriate fitness were what coaches worked on. The mind was not recognized to be crucial, and the prevailing theory seemed to be that the physical and mental talent you’re born with is all that you get, and no amount of coaching could radically alter or improve on it. The effect the coaches had on the state of mind of their performers was only unwittingly, and often negatively, influenced by autocratic methods and obsession with technique. Coaches in the past have denied their performers’ responsibility by telling them what to do; they denied their awareness by telling them only what the coach saw. The problem is that this method can and does produce reasonable results, or good performance, and so there is little motivation to try anything else, and the coach and the performer may never know or believe what they could achieve.

Starting in the 1990s, however, sports psychologists have been increasingly employed in both the athletic and business settings to develop attitudinal training, although this has been difficult to “sell” to many coaches who, unaware themselves of all alternative approaches, often intentionally unintentionally negate the best efforts of mind/body trainers and the performer who’s adopting their methods.

This approach — the teaching of the application of mental school skills, efforts at empowerment of athletes and others, and the use of took coaching techniques described by Galway, Whitmore, Heckler and others — seems to threaten the authority, egos and principles of some involved in coaching. This is simply an exaggeration of fears. And, while the resource of time is surely limited, the long-term benefits for the developing adolescent can be dramatic and extend beyond the playing fields and into their lives. What is being proposed should not be perceived as a threat, but merely a proposal that changing these directions will produce better results. The best way to develop and maintain the ideal state of mind for performance is to build awareness and responsibility throughout daily practice and the skill acquisition process.

Coaching for Performance: A Practical Guide to Growing Your Own Skills, John Whitmore, Pfeiffer and Company, 1994.

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Breakout

https://vimeo.com/5902861 (57 seconds)

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“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 the learner can 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.”

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Coaching for learner initiated choice

Two observations stand out as I reflect on my early experience with coaching performance in sports. The first is that almost everyone who came to me for lesson was trying very hard to fix some aspect of their game that they didn’t like. They expected me to provide a remedy for their problem. The second is the relative effortlessness with which change for the better takes place when they stop trying so hard and trusted in their capacity to learn from their own experience.

With a common context of the coach telling the learner what should and shouldn’t be done, the learner’s pattern of behavior becomes predictable. Placing his trust in the judgment of feedback of the teacher, the student’s responsibility becomes merely to do what he is told. Thus, he tries hard not to do what he shouldn’t do, and to make himself do what he should. The coach says “good” (really, “good, you are trying to obey me”) and the student learns to associate “good” with a forced and unnatural approach, and so it goes, over and over again. If change is viewed as movement from bad to good, as defined and initiated by someone other than the one who needs to make the change, it is done in a judgmental context that usually brings resistance, doubt and fear of failure with it. Neither student or teacher is likely to be aware that this approach to change undermines the student’s eagerness and responsibility for learning.

My role as a coach was not just to make the immediate goal is clear as possible but to evoke from the student the underlying purpose and motivation for reaching the goal. Allowing the student to be more aware of the choices he was making and the reasons behind those choices was an essential part of the learning process. The student felt more in control and as a natural consequence was willing to accept more responsibility, and exercise greater initiative and creativity in achieving their goals; it also greatly diminishes the resistance to change inherent in the command-and-control model.

There’s an old saying, “When you insist, I resist.” It is natural for a person to resist encroachment on his boundaries, and when the resistance isn’t expressed directly, it will come out indirectly. Either way, the resistance is detrimental to the outcome. To students used to the command-and-control model, having a greater degree of control is often disconcerting. But when the student learns that his choices were not going to be judged by the coach as right or wrong, he accepts his role as the choice-maker and accepts responsibility for the outcome of those choices.

Many positive elements for learning and change result from the shift. It keeps the initiative for learning and change in the hands of the student, generating a greater sense of personal involvement and participation. It prevents the learning from being merely by rote and thus easily forgotten. It allows for much greater involvement on the part of the learner. It allows for changes to take place naturally as true understanding grows. It engages the attitudes and feelings of the learners and often provokes changes that pervade every aspect of their lives. When choices for learning and change are allowed to be self-initiated and self-regulated, they become more comprehensive as well as more enjoyable.

The Inner Game of Work, W. Timothy Gallwey, Random House, 2000.

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Breakout (short three-page intro)

http://www.coachingcultureatwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Tim_Gallweys_Inner_Game.pdf

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From The Inner Game of Golf:

The Nature of Games: The Experience of Excellence Expressing Itself

All games have certain qualities in common. They are limited in time; they have designated beginnings and ends. They are limited in space; they are played within specific physical boundaries. They have goals, and obstacles that must be overcome to reach those goals. They are always limited by a set of rules.  Learning occurs most naturally in a setting where mistakes can be made without dire consequences. Yet learning and growth also require the acceptance of challenge, and the motivation to reach a goal is not always attained. Hence the value of a game lies in its ability to create an illusion, a separate reality in which you can experiment and take risks without great penalties for failure.

The simulated challenges, obstacles and pressures of competition are for the purpose of enjoyment and learning better how to meet the real challenges of life.  In addition, games can be an expression of skill for the sake of excellence. It can be art.

So, in the final analysis, we hold to one goal:

to express our best in the direction of the game’s goal,

not for the sake of that goal

but for the experience of excellence expressing itself.

Our punishment for not doing our best is immediate and simple; we do not feel the excellence.  By not making the effort to concentrate and relinquish control, we don’t get the pleasure that comes when we do. Our reward and our punishment are immediate and indivisible, and they do not emerge from frustration, thoughts and expectations.

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Breakout

http://www.peaksports.com/sports_psychology_blog/?p=3043

[podcast][more available through that source]

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“To perpetrate doubt”, says Gallwey, and in the quote he refers to the educational system, the parent-child relationship, or manager-employee relationships, “is one of the most debilitating — though often unconscious — crimes against human potential.”

The quote is from Timothy Gallwey, the author of a series of books devoted to the development of personal and professional excellence in a variety of fields, what he calls The Inner Game. This particular quote comes from the inner book of tennis. One of his books is The Inner Game of Work. (As John Janovy Jr. says, “When your business is the conversion of human potential into reality, you can find work anywhere….”)

I don’t think there is much room for doubt about the fact that our inner game of work includes improving society, limiting interpersonal conflict, reducing warfare, improving well-being, increasing human potential; we have a lot of work to do. And we must work together because, as individuals, we cannot do it alone no matter how much we embrace the tools of the noetic sciences.

Belief and discipline are closely related.

“The cost” Gallwey goes on to say “of not recognizing” [and counteracting] the creation in another of doubt “is high, not only for the individual but for the group of organization [or community or society]. When doubt becomes an internalized norm, the spirit suffers, a sense of purpose decays, dignity declines, excellence and greatness go into hiding, and the seeds for decadence and failure are germinated.” The perpetration of doubt about belief is destructive; it’s like dropping phosphorus bombs into the spirit.

“The reason that doubt is such an enemy is that it attacks the will itself. Anxiety and fear are emotional and psychological disturbances that make functioning more difficult, doubt weakens the will, which is at the center of our being. Doubt can cripple a person desire to act, think or even to live. ”

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Breakout

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.: 12 pages on Gallwey, Meta-States, and the Inner Game

http://theinnergame.com http://meta-coaching.org/free-articles/Timothy%20Gallwey%20Meta%20States%20and%20Inner%20Game.pdf 

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Breakout

PDF:  Gallwey on Self 1, Self 2 and Doubt

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http://images.clipartpanda.com/taking-notes-clipart-take_notes.png 

Musical Interlude for Notes:

No Doubt About It,  Jimmy Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2fmsartpZQ (7:10)

 

 

Tomorrow: A master of mediation who has built the foundational research archive on extraordinary human functioning and the transformative techniques used to get there.

Mindmap to Enhance Your World

I’d like to offer an explanation of my Mind Map 2014. Click on it; it’s an uploaded and upgraded two-page pdf.  The word map as intended to be a mindmap, but I didn’t have either the proper software or outstanding artistic skills, so I cheated, and did the best I could.

Its purpose is to be an elemental guide to the content of that old collection of excerpts I called “Summon The Magic” whose mission is to allow you to come to a functional understanding of how you can learn to use your mind or brain to its best advantage, to make it work for you.

You can also see it from the perspective of a parent, teacher, trainer, learning coach, business leader, entrepreneur or a creative artist.

 

An explanation is useful and will extend the value of the “mind map”. Creating such an explanation is also a review of the material for me.

If you printed out the sheets, widened the margins so it can breathe better, taped the second sheet to the bottom of the first sheet, and got out some fine-point colored ink markers and a ruler and French curve ….

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/76100/76130/76130_ellip_frncrv_md.gif 

then you could stand back and see the structure flow from head to foot.

 

The top, surrounding the word Intelligences, is a riff off of the seminal work of Howard Gardner.

http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html 

http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/what.cfm 

Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child, Laurel Schmidt, Three Rivers Press, New York 2001.

 

You can examine any of those sub-headings or multiple intelligences and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

You can work with and improve on your strengths, and seek to improve your weaknesses.

Your particular mix can be identified and provide some further sense of direction for your further studies, your career, or how you can apply what you already know in the areas of your strongest intelligences.

Google for the term “multiple intelligences” and scan for additional titles by Gardner. http://howardgardner.com/

 

http://rebeccaholder28.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sci-ed.jpg 

 

The second block, what might be seen as the shoulders of the skeletal structure, center around the triad of Learning, Training, and Education.

Those who provide those processes to you operate from positions of trust, power, authority and respect.

[Here is a 25-page pdf “On Mentors and Coaches”]

You bring to your mentors, teachers and coaches your interests, curiosity, awe, yearning and inquiry. [You could spend 30 minutes simply listing elements within those five categories for you.]

Your coaches and trainers will provide — particularly if they are training a neuromuscular activity — the practice, repetition, and cognitive cues; you have to do the homework, the drills and go to practice/class and thus provide the repetition, the habit, and then find your groove.

Both of you will work along the spectrum of awareness and interest, applying discipline to the point of absorption.

 

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vZ4nt8boxrs/UaJ1BHp97hI/AAAAAAAAHqQ/iT4ovmKe4hQ/s1600/13thinking.jpg 

 

Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1999.

http://www.e-bookspdf.org/download/sparks-of-genius.html 

 

 

 

http://ericbooth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/The-Everyday-Work-of-Art-Awakening-the-Extraordinary-in-Your-Daily-Life-Eric-Booth-9780595193806-Amazon.com-Books.png

 

Use your PREP tool: your personally-relevant entry point

We are what we are attracted to, and become what we yearn toward.

Follow your attraction through the spectrum of curiosity, interest, admiration, concern, connection, resonance and change.

 

The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life, Eric Booth, Authors’ Guild Back-in-Print (iUniverse.com) (ISBN 0-595-19380-3)

 

“… Inherent in the artistic experience is the capacity to expand our sense of the way the world is or might be. This amazing human imaginative, empathetic capacity provides the artistic experience….. An entry point is a distinctive aesthetic feature of the work with enough dynamic relevance that many people will be able to apply it to parts of their own lives to discover meaningful relevance….To learn more about entry points or teaching artistry, read my book mentioned above, or check out many available essays on my website (ericbooth.net) or read David Wallace’s excellent book Reaching Out. ….

http://ericbooth.net/three-and-a-half-bestsellers/

Following your personally-relevant entry point is the backbone of the flow theory. It’s how you become engaged and absorbed.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Harper & Row, New York, 1990. [The flow theory is a major component in performance enhancement and is a wellspring for many applications. See also his sequel The Evolving Self, as well as Flow in Sports.]

 

Notice that it all starts with intent. 

 

Attention has four axes: broad, narrow, external, and internal.

 

A simple explanation with athletic implications is Nideffer’s model.

http://www.science.smith.edu/exer_sci/ESS565/MPres1/sld011.htm 

 

Attention is a core property of all perceptual and cognitive operations.

 

A lengthy, detailed, “taxonomy of internal and external attention”  from the perspective of psychology, neurobiology and brain research can be found here:

http://www.princeton.edu/ntblab/pdfs/Chun_ARP_2011.pdf 

 

You sharpen the point of the spear of discipline with concentration, which eventually leads to harmony and synthesis of the whole.

 

The torso of the skeletal structure of the mind map is centered around split symmetry. [The “translation” of the text and its various fonts into a pdf format somewhat destroyed this functional symmetry in earlier versions; the uploaded version here is improved with the upgraded Mavericks OS software.]

 

Put the gestalt mind {-} logic mind in the middle.

You have to use both sides in a balanced way; binaural beat-based guided brain wave meditation opens up your corpus callosum and exercises it.

 

At the top, the spectrum or curve of desire:

First you have or discover a passion, even temporarily; this then generates a fantasy (“wouldn’t it be nice if…?) which sometimes turns into an extended or developed dream. The dream transforms itself into a vision when you add detail. And then you’re only a step or two from developing an objective, or a list of them. You start to set goals.

Your mentors, guides and teachers can help you differentiate your goals

as outcome goals, behavioral goals, and process goals.

 

Motivation’s four dimensions:

Targeted zone of behavior

(e.g., be more consistent, stop swearing, focus on defense).

Quantity of behavior

(e.g., run more miles today than yesterday);

Quality of behavior

(e.g., shoot free throws more accurately);

Intensity of behavior 

(e.g., level of activation and amount of energy delivered).

 It’s your choice…

  • where to be active,
  • how much to be active,
  • what level of excellence to aim  for, and
  • how much of yourself to invest.

Coaches Guide to Sport Psychology, Rainer Martens, Ph.D., Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, 1997. [A high-level academic textbook for coaches.]

Here is a 15-page pdf on the topic of goals: Goals pdf

 

The second tier of the torso of the skeletal structure of the mind map pertains to Spirit, Mind and Body. It is breath that links these three key elements. While one can study intensely the role of breathing in psychology and physiology, its relevance to meditation, etc., the simplest approach is to pay attention to your breathing.

On the body end of the triad are the brain, the lungs, the heart, the digestive system (much more important than we generally understand). You could spend a lifetime appreciating the interactions. Such is proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. The gamma system of your neurology is your internal feedback loop.

Within the mind, there are entire libraries and sciences given over to your exploration. Add colleges, associations, think tanks, institutes and so on and you can get lost and dis-oriented. Stop thinking; keep breathing; believe in yourself.

At the spirit end of the spectrum are awe, yūgen (profound grace and subtlety)[1], satori, stillness, silence, surrender, sacred places, empathy, love and gratitude. Again, there are libraries, book vendors, churches and religious institutes and their leaders, pastors, rabbis, gurus, shamans and charlatans. But you can pray and learn to meditate without them.

http://img.pandawhale.com/post-25617-yugen-meaning-gif-XonM.gif 

 

Some of the vertebral joints in the skeletal structure of the mind map include:

the aikido-based triad of balance, centering and grounding (Richard Strozzi Heckler is an outstanding writer and teacher, though there are surely others);

the triad of renewal, relaxation and rest ( look for the books by Jim Loehr, Ed.D. in  http://boydownthelane.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Bibliography-pdf.pdf );

the criss-crossed axes of connection, detachment, differentiation and integration through which we move our self; sometimes we must be apart, sometimes we must be with others, sometimes we feel different, sometimes we feel similar; we are unique and yet we are an integral part of It all (this is the epiphany I had sitting still, basking in the sun listening to the sounds of the waves sitting on the granite cliffs at Pemaquid Point, the grand ripping of the Curtain to which I surrendered through my silence);

the spectrum of physical activity that includes art, music (musicians are athletes of the small muscle groups), the martial arts, dance, play, recreation and sport (see Deep Play, Diane Ackerman, Random House, New York, 1999);

the grand Daoistic dynamic symmetry of contemplation and action, in the middle of which sits continuous incremental improvement;

examples of awakened mental development which extends from meditation and mindfulness to visualization and mental rehearsal and beyond through autogenic training (the bibliography contains many books on meditation and mindfulness: see below for the ones I recommend)

(think of it as preventive mind control under your complete control, ownership and decision-making process); 

and, finally,

the multi-faceted diamond of skills and challenge, of flow and action, of goals band feedback, and its core of immersion, immediacy and intensity.

 

 

http://russpetcoff.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/nate-appleman.jpg 

Source of image:

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/entry.php?12-Intensity-Immediacy-and-Immersion 

 

On Autogenic Training:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogenic_training 

Google the term for more.

The Break-Out Principle, Herbert Benson, M.D. and William Proctor, Scribner, New York 2003. [How to activate your accessible biomechanical “trigger” to power up creativity, insight, stress-reduction, and top-notch performance, by the author of The Relaxation Response.]

On Mindfulness:

Mindfulness, Ellen J. Langer, Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, MA 1989. [The apposition/antidote to mindlessness, by a Harvard psychology professor.]

Counter Clockwise: mindful health and the power of possibility, Ellen Langer, Ballantine Books, NY 2009.

Emotional Alchemy: How The Mind Can Heal the Heart, Tara Bennett-Goleman, Harmony Books, NY 2001. [Written by a psychotherapist, the wife of the author of the book Emotional Intelligence, on schema therapy and mindfulness.]

On Becoming An Artist, Ellen Langer, Ballantine Books, NY 2005.

The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer, PhD., Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, MA 1995. [Ought to be required reading for all teachers and coaches.]

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Hyperion, NY 1994. [This is considered elemental; the author teaches how mindfulness is applied to stress reduction and one’s physical health,  and was affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn ] See http://www.mindfulnesscds.com 

 

 

The hips and thighs of the skeletal structure of the mind map, the pivot points and strengths, include emotion and physiology.

Physiology gives us vision and perception (including acuity and peripheral awareness), the flexibility, agility and dynamism of movement in space, and the structure, speed and flexibility with which we choose action and movement, and the strength, balance and force with which we execute that action and movement.

Emotion has to do with belief (world-view, and belief in self), identity, faith, expectation, passion, dedication, choice, commitment, doubt, tension and anxiety, fear, distraction, intention, focus and composure.

It also brings together all of the comprehension of all of the factors that we bring to bear through our trip down the framework. You can’t execute excellence crisply if you don’t comprehend what you’re doing, who you are, and how to do it.

 

The knees, calves and ankle joints of the skeletal structure are the five A’s 

(attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing);

see David Richco’s books, or google the phrase in red.

 

I’ve included them twice for a simple reason: you have to apply them to your own self first,

 

and then you have to apply them to everyone else.

The connecting tissue is the understanding of losing your self-consciousness in the way you go about things. From a strictly training and performance perspective, you have to learn the skill or technique so well that you can put aside thinking about how to do it. It is the highest form of meditation in the middle of action. Artistic expression, dance, the martial arts, and deep play are all places where we practice losing our self-consciousness.

Losing self-consciousness is not about losing awareness or focus. It’s about getting beyond your self, not making you and your needs the primary issue or drive. We’ve all driven in and out of strip malls and box stores where we encountered people who are stuck in self-consciousness. They’re lost in their cell phone conversation at 35 mph; they aren’t aware of the presence of you or anyone else. This is the mindlessness for which mindfulness is the antidote.

I submit that this is at the root of the currently dominant world-view.

 

http://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/Blog%20images/mindlessness.jpg 

 

The entire skeletal structure of the mind map rests on the feet.

 

The two feet are leadership and team.

The feet are what propel you, keep you grounded, provide secure footing, enable you to walk, or run, or sprint, or run a long-distance race.

If there is someone out there in the world that thinks you can achieve something worthwhile alone, without the integrated interaction of at least a few, or several, then they need to send in a comment and some suggested readings.

 

Both leadership and team start with intent.

Team is also about expectation and cohesion, trust, communication, character, learning, and energy.

Leadership is about convocation (calling people together), will, audacity, courage, and enrollment (or getting others to sign on to the task).

Leadership is also about vision, clarity, energy, vision, and communications skills; it requires intellect, heart, humility, the ability to model behavior and action, the ability to create and sustain innovation and momentum, the ability to retain flexibility, and the ability to lead people through processes of problem-solving.

Applied teamwork and leadership require inspiration, imagination, improvisation and the synthesis of it all through to break-through to mastery and the achievement of quality and excellence.

 

Every word on that mind map can be a personally-relevant entry point for your own exploration and improvement.

Or you can take the wholistic approach and use the totality of it.

If you hung it on your wall and simply meditated, paying attention to your thoughts as your eyes wander, then when you get up, you may have been moved.

Nosce te ipsum.