Tag Archives: practice



The sub-protagonist in the stunningly-good book “The Last Echo”







As featured on WCVB-TV’s Chronicle:








I saw this mesmerizingly-superb movie“The Music of Strangers”, when my household cable carrier gave me a gratuitous peek at HBO.  

I borrowed a two-CD set of Asian music at the library years and years ago and have been hooked ever since. 

The YouTube channel is linked below so you can sample the music in-depth at your leisure. 

There is a lot of focus in the movie on Yo-Yo Ma (why not, since he’s a well-known name and entity) but the stars of the movie are the other people, especially the story of the founder pictured here, and — of course — the very nature of music itself.








Presence-Based Coaching

“… I have a friend, Charlie Lehman, who teaches 6‐year‐olds design technology and he says he has these 6‐year‐olds come into class every morning and they sit down and they center together and he says to them, to these kids, he says, “Children, if you learn what to pay attention to and what to focus on, you can be anything you want in life.”  And so that’s what we’re practicing here. We’re practicing choosing what we pay  attention to.”






Presence-Based Coaching Resources

Competency Model: 


Coach Training and Certification: 



Resource Library: 




Davidson, Richard: The Emotional Life of Your Brain. Plume, 2013. 

Gunaratana, B.H.: Mindfulness in Plain English. Wisdom Publications, 2011. 

Kabat-Zinn, Jon: Full Catastrophe Living. Bantam, 2013. 

Salzberg, Sharon: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation. Workman, 2010.    

Brown, K.W., Creswell, J. D., Ryan, R. M., eds: Mindfulness in Organizations: Foundations,

 Research, and Applications. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Hanson, Rick: Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Harmony, 2013.

Siegel, Daniel: The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being. Norton, 2007.

Silsbee, Doug: The Mindful Coach: Seven Roles for Facilitating Leader Development, JosseyBass, 2010.

 Silsbee, Doug: PresenceBased Coaching: Coaching Self-Generative Leaders Through Mind, Body and Heart, JosseyBass, 2008

American Mindfulness Research Association:




How Humans Change:

Conditioning, Identity and Self-Generation  



Chapter Two of 

Presence-Based Coaching

The world needs leaders who are resilient, optimistic, resourceful, authentic, and committed.











Start Small






Expand Slowly




Commit for the long run















“Practice, particularly practice that involves Samadhi  states, is often characterized by ritual. Ritual is a form of galumphing , in which a special ornament or elaborationmarks otherwise ordinary activity, rendering it separate and intensified, even sacred.

This dawned on me one day when I was first given the opportunity to play on a Stradivarius. I simply had to wash my hands beforehand even though they were already clean. The hand-washing was a context marker  – shifting from the 9-to-5 world into a sacred space defined by a beautiful and sacred implement. I learned from such experiences, and from the trouble I have gotten myself into by ignoring them, that much of the effectiveness of practice resides in the preparation . The specific preparations begin when I enter the temenos, the play space. [“A sacred circle where one can be himself without fear.”] In ancient Greek thought, the temenos  is a magic circle within which special rules apply and in which extraordinary events are free to occur…. To prepare the temenos  — to clear it, rearrange it, take extraneous objects out — is to clean and clear mind and body.”

“Mastery comes from practice; practice comes from playful, compulsive experimentation (the impish side of divine play) and from a sense of wonder (the godlike side of divine play). The athlete feels compelled to run around the track just one more time; the musician feels compelled to play that if you can just one more time; the potter wants to throw just one more pot before going to dinner. Then just another, please. The musician, the athlete, the dancer, move through their practice in spite of aching muscles and breathless exhaustion. This level of performance cannot be attained through some Calvinist demands of the superego, through the feelings of guilt or obligation. In practice, work is play, intrinsically rewarding. It is that feeling of our inner child wanting to play for just five minutes more.”

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art


Page D-26, Summon The Magic




source for featured image:





Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment 

George Leonard, Penguin/Plume, New York, 1992



Self-Mastery is the practice of having supreme control over your thoughts, feelings and actions. Though it isn’t the most popular of practices in today’s world, it holds some of the greatest rewards.

It requires control over your perceptions, with much meditation and mindful practice. It is a life long discipline, but will eventually grant you a life of ease and simplicity.

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior” – Confucius





“What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the population of incompetent cultures, but we do need to think realistically in terms of phasing out of such peoples. Evolutionary progress means the extinction of the less competent.”

1/9/94, Newsday





Investigative reporter Jon Rappoport warns of alarming future trends in the genetic engineering of human beings. Based on his contacts with several scientists over a period of 20 years, he’s concluded that human genetics research is basically a continuation of the Nazi eugenics program, and that medical research into genes as causes of human illness is simply a cover story.

Part of this secret agenda, he detailed, is to demonstrate that people have genetic predispositions to certain diseases like cancer, so in the case of lawsuits, this argument can be made rather than placing blame for illness on environmental factors like pollution. In citing the book Remaking Eden, Rappoport noted that author Lee Silver foresees a time when the “gen-rich” (genetically enhanced class) will account for 10% of the population, while “naturals” will work as low paid service providers/laborers.

Eventually, the gen-rich class and the naturals will become entirely separate species, with no ability to crossbreed, Silver continued, adding that the trend for genetic enhancement was inevitable. Rappoport had no doubt that some of this research was already underway, possibly under compartmentalized lab studies, so that scientists don’t even realize the significance of what they’re working on. “The best thing that could happen,” he stated, “is that recognized doctors and researchers stand up together, and say, this has to stop.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW-blCkQ2gw&t=17s [two hours]

Coast-to-Coast radio with George Noory


Center for Genetics and Society



The Ownership of All Life: Notes on Scandals, Conspiracies and Coverups

by Jon Rappoport

Dave Sielaff (Editor), Erica McGrath (Photographer)



Remaking Eden – Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World 

by Lee M Silver





Je Ne Sais Quoi #7

Je Ne Sais Quoi Day Seven

Richard Strozzi Heckler, Ph.D. 

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


Are You Centered? Are You Grounded?  

(from In Search of the Warrior Spirit)

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

The student says “What’s the difference?”

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

The student says, “Give me an example.”

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

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




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

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



Five Minutes on Practice and Transformation 



Attention in the Body 

(from The Anatomy of Change)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 The Body as a Functional Living Whole 

(from The Anatomy of Change)

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

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

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





Staci Haines on Somatics (five minutes)




Jo Kata Aikido Demo (an outstanding 90 seconds)



What the Practice of Jo Kata is Designed To Do

(another great 90 seconds)



From Novice to Master 

(from In Search of the Warrior Spirit)

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

This stage is called Playing in the Dark.

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

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

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

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



Exercises for Jo Kata Practice (11 minutes)

to develop flexibility, strength and a centered presence


The full 31 Jo Kata evolution (five minutes)



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

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

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

Take It Easy, But Take It

Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Ph.D.


Posted by realitymanifest at 12:31 PM



Whenever there is work requiring strength or courage,

people ask

‘Are there no warriors around today?’

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

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

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

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

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




Musical Interlude for Notes:

Equinox, John Coltrane

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

Going Home   Mark Knopfler

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


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

whose credentials stretch across the diverse fields of

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

creative engagement within the community. 

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 ….


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.



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/




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.





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







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. ….


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.



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:



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.



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.




Source of image:



On 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.




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.