Marc's Reflection on Aikido & True Play

Entries Tagged as 'Uncategorized'

March 15th, 2017 · No Comments


v. Hating.

n. Hatred.

Unacceptable, historically.

To get to hatred.

Not beyond.

Not sublimated.

Eased in through overwhelming sadness–just a warm up.

Barriers down.

Hate, taste it, get the visceral(1) feel of it.

How can I claim moral superiority over something I refuse to feel?

No victory here, only safety through avoidance and ignorance.

Going beyond thinking.

Going beyond righteousness this time.


Assignment: “500-word footnote on a single word”



noun: an ancillary piece of information printed at the bottom of a page.

synonyms: note, marginal note, annotation, comment, gloss; Aside, incidental remark, digression (informative footnotes”



Yeah visceral. Meat and bones. Organs. Of course, the publicly acclaimed heart and brain but also the liver, spleen, tongue, pancreas, brain, lungs and the gut. Sausage covering.

Viscera don’t get their due: Uncontrollable. Life giving. Capable of sudden surprises, always bad surprises. Unconscious. Hidden. Unpresentable. Back shelf at the butchers. Cooks and mothers know the secret. Butchers too of course.

Visceral: Fear, of course, the embodiment of fear, but the quieter side of things too. Digestion, rest, growth; all out-of-sight, all un-proclaimed. All dominated on the surface by a talking mind that claims dominion. A lie of course, but who can complain. We don’t have the language that is claimed to be the “highest function”. We are held together, ironically supporting that wording thing farthest from the ground, by slow nerves and slower hormones transported by rivers and streams, unfit for the internet–the fast chatty and truly crazy making neural network. Of course, the viscera do their work in silence, but the loud one, the meta-systemic brain, can scare the viscera to death, truly and literally. The loud one has a job, but it does not know what it is. It has lost its way, in the noise, in the cacophony of voices talking over one another, selling something or the other.

That loud one had a job. It was supposed to be making peace and food and keeping us safe. We can do a lot working together, but if the loud one only hears himself, believes only in his made-up stories, from purloined comic books and proffered bibles, well things can get too difficult for us viscera. We the embodied self, lose our identity, our self-assurance. Our immunity, your immunity, becomes auto immunity, self-destruction. Vascular disease: strokes and heart attacks and gangrene. Cancers of just about everything and miraculously even more—truly creative. Skin becomes porous. The cats are out of the bag then. It’s just a matter of time. Whose time? You thought there was a contract with a guarantee; in the fine print, you never read. Well the viscera do have voices, do have a language and you can hear, feel, sense it but it is on the other side of the brain, a world and more away; ignored by the taking jelly across the divide. Shut the fuck up, will you. Be very, very still. Very quiet. For a really long time. You will not recognize it at first. It is not what you think you are looking for.  Words about it are not helpful. Just shut the fuck up. Please for your sake, and the sake of your viscera who are the bigger, quieter part of you; pound for pound almost all of you. A near infinity of chemistry and physiology never missing a beat, never confused, never showing up late, totally balancing every moment without, no despite, “you” –if “you” are that talking jelly thing that only recognizes words—tragically, mostly loud words aimed directly at your bank account.

Viscera: Meditation is not about enlightenment. It is about shutting the fuck up and letting the viscera have a moment, without the fucking words always abstracting the signal down to some few bits and bytes on the narrowest of calculated channels, devoid of Brownian motion, devoid of receptors making love with transmitters, devoid of Epigenetics managing the monstrous otherwise psychotic snake. She is keeping that multibillion dollar, deified snake in check; reading from it only what the viscera, and the even more wordless environment, need in each moment. Confuse that librarian and shit happens. Call the doctors. They will sell you hope and stuff until the viscera can no longer cope. They’ll sell you the best modern technology can offer, but no silence–until the big silence.

Shut up, up there.

Give it a rest.

629-word footnote


The Engine of Life: The Humble Homeostat

March 13th, 2017 · No Comments


One of three engines of evolution, whether local or global.

The other two are 1) nested recursions, and 2) the small set of functions making up the viable system model.

Homeostats are the little clockworks what make it all possible–make life possible.

Homeostats are the learning machines. They are the trial and error mechanisms that notice errors and rearrange themselves to avoid that specific error, or that type of error, in the future.

Homeostats continuously compile sets of safe playing fields where they recognize the game and quickly abandon one field for a more suitable field, as they approach the side lines. As they are pushed to the side lines they hop to another game, hopefully a safer game, like moving between chess and checkers, football and basketball. They find a game whose playing rules are compatible with the set of players and situations that happens to have shown up.

Homeostats are the ultimate magic that allows any two participants to adjust themselves to one another so that they can continue playing together. The most generic partnership is an individual (generically defined) and the environment that sustains the individual—its ecosystem (and its egosystem).

There must be early warnings—fear, attention, nervousness–involved for this to work. Go to sleep at the wheel and you are immediately off into the ditch or worse.

There must be some way of remembering past experiences, good and bad. This recall mechanism must have evolved or must be installed or developed. Warning signs must be placed near the edges.

As an aside, I think the ability to stay near the dangerous edges is a huge advantage for any learning machine because that is where the learning occurs. Suggestion: Don’t jump to another game before you really have to–understand this one as much as you can before you jump. Inevitably you will want to come back to this game when the situation and the players are right. The more you know about this field and this game, the longer you can operate there.

Homeostats are conversations between people or other homeostaticly capable entities. Environments learn too.

Connections that change a list into a system. Interactions, that is feedback connections, create nonlinear systems from a list of parts. Homeostatic connections create living systems from nonlinear interacting systems.

Complex entities are made up of many homeostaticly connected entities. The homeostats are of course “things” that connect other kinds of things and functions. They are the way interactions learn. Smarter than billiard balls. Smarter than drunken adults or unskilled children playing bumper cars for the delight of the crash. Homeostats are designed (evolved) to avoid the crashes. To anticipate and avoid. Of course, they had to have the initial crash where they reset some parameters, i.e. learned and then began playing again to see if the random resetting of parameters made things better or worse. They remember. They can avoid worse options and choose better ones. Of course, the whole thing can become very nuanced, but that isn’t the problem you might expect. All you need to do is place the best homeostat available in the appropriate situation. You cannot, I repeat you cannot, pre-fill a homeostat with decisions. No, it must learn through experience and then it can be situated to advantage.

Don’t trust teachers to program your homeostats. They can provide some sense of early warning but they are always out of your context and necessarily either over or under worried. Attentiveness, love of attentiveness, is the essence of a successful homeostat. Of course, memory and agility are critical but not motive.

So why do I go on about homeostats? Because they are the moment-to-moment prime movers. The other two magic components are much larger, with much slower clocks. They are structural and the living parts of them are these homeostats and nothing else. No window dressing or ego or textbook replaces homeostats. No, it is just the hyper-attentional mechanism that notices danger, remembers both failures and successes and is always ready for the game–the games it keeps in its bag of tricks, in its collection of phase planes and phase spaces. Always ready for a good game with the environment or any opponent that wants to play. This is what life is all about. This is the self-organizing and ultimately self-creating mechanism of life. This is the actual engine of life. A kind of intelligent Brownian motion, but in this case an Ashbien motion.

Thank you, Mr. Ashby, for uncovering the source of life.

Thank you, Mr. Beer, for showing us how to organize our homeostats to make viable enterprises.




Willy-nilly (beginning a daily practice)

March 8th, 2017 · No Comments


Typing against the clock for 5 minutes, eyes closed. Without looking at my fingers. Like a long-distance runner stretching or doing sprints. A means of getting into the mood, getting into the habit. A discipline that precedes running, uh, writing. It is an exercise, a practice, not the real thing, a feint, a beneficial self-deception, a way to force oneself, this self, myself to some next level perhaps just to the first level since without discipline who could call themselves a runner or a writer. One may occasionally run or write, but that does not make one “a” runner or “a” writer. Being “a” doctor, “a” anything means that there are standards that there is professionalism. I wonder what it means to be “a” person. Not sure that I live to any rigorous set of standards. Certainly, there are some default standards like honesty, but does it include self-honesty, or activist honesty or is it only a passive and therefore partial honesty. What other principles of living are unprofessionally practiced, willy-nilly? Willy-nilly, that’s a title. I have default standards such as honesty, but is it an active honesty? I don’t lie to people but do I make sure they understand? How honest am I with myself about myself, about others?



September 30th, 2015 · No Comments

Balance is not an internal thing

Extension into the world

for the world

is required


Actively loving

is being alive

in balance



without love

is not balance




Love in the Face of Everything

September 30th, 2015 · No Comments

Aikido (human balance) is

not against,

is not even protection.

It is love

in the face of everything,

including attack.


Miles Horton was a master.

Pope Francis is a master.



December 19th, 2013 · No Comments



This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!…

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.


Be grateful for whatever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


— Rumi


freedom AND solidartiy

December 16th, 2013 · No Comments

By “AND” I mean intersection of these two foundational stances–situations where both freedom and solidarity support each other

Freedom + Solidarity = Participation

Freedom – Solidarity = Isolation alternating with Domination

When one’s state of being is in a sympathetic, adrenergic, stress-based mode–fight, flight, freeze–then we end up with isolation, power over AND subjugation or blind following.

When the state of being is in a parasympathetic, receptive, digestive, integrative, open mode–broaden and build–then we experience flow AND connection.

The difference in these two “ANDs” is the difference between war and peace.



December 16th, 2013 · No Comments

Disintegration of self occurs

when an aspect is set apart


Everything, every move, every relationship

is affected

when assuming a punishing stance to self



whole experienced,




Four years in summary

November 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

Body moves: micro-balance near the center of the center (simple flowing connection with the earth)

Connection (the illusion of separateness dissolves)


Heart moves: listen tenderly and move no faster than your tender heart (no self-violence)

Compassion and joy (the heart opens)


Mind moves: turn toward (open, accept, beginner’s mind)

Transformation (the mind changes)


Balance and breath

November 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

Breath and balance

are twins

who like playing together

in harmony



November 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

Loosing balance

is impossible


Being in a fear-base relationship with balance

is awkward and halting


Withholding to maintain my balance

is to deny the flow that is being in balance


Balancing is not the death defying act of control

it is the core act of participating–living


Participating is not controlling nor doing

it is merely the manifestation of balance


The inclination to hold onto balance (and the source of that inclination)

is something to become familiar and friendly with


Participation in micro balance

–the sensation and sincere participation at the center of the center of balance, effortlessly flowing with that fine sensations of compression, balance and breath–

is the foundation upon which one’s  body, heart, and mind  integrate

And further it is the foundation upon which I integrate with you.




Present without Pre Tension

July 15th, 2013 · No Comments

I got nearer to the root

of my fear and

lack of tenderness.

The root of this thorny plant

is “pretense”,

a felt need to appear

(to be)

other than I am.

There is little safety

or ability to relax

when compelled to

show up

instead of




without preconditions,




SENSATION as mentor

July 15th, 2013 · No Comments

I am exploring a primary way of being in the world.

Sensation. The sensuous.

More specifically the primary sensations are the ever-available sensations of gravity (compression) and balance which are handy as well as pre-emotional, the pre-linguistic. I am taking care not to say “pre-cognitive” because I want to reserve the concept of cognition to include sensation, emotion, and language.

The stage is always being set.

I prefer a stage which is set by the sensations of compression and balance and on this stage have emotion and language find their places. I do not enjoy the stages set by emotion or thought where the body has to find its place, literally as an afterthought, an after emotion.

Reality is available through the sensations.


(of Sacred, Love, Connection, Effortlessness, Transformation, Precision, Present Moment)

is available through the sensations

(of Compression and Balance).


A Reflection and a Meditation — on Learning Together

July 15th, 2013 · No Comments

Taking Time for Falling into Love
(alternatively “Learning to Wait”)





Patiently, sometimes interminably

For harmony to find itself

Learning to wait.

Silence when that is all there is



Curbing my enthusiasm


Finding our enthusiasm

Tempo, tone, timber, mood, color, flavor, texture, feeling

Falling into

Feeling into


Opening to Ensemble

Playing together.

Time and tenderness

Coming back to the moment, again and again

Letting emotion come and go, wash over me, wash over us, wash away

Learning to wait

Calmly or not

Again and again


Whatever it takes, so we are together,

Sometimes moving in harmony

Noticing breath

Noticing balance

Reaching out, into and through

Touching each other.

Being touched, sometimes deeply.

It’s was breathtaking


In these moments for no particular purpose other than the sensation of harmony

Finding our way tenderly, through touch,

touching one another, being touched






Tearful gratitude at being heard

No goal allowed to bury loving connection this time!

No form of violence, no forcefulness of personality, displaces tenderness this time!

This was a time of tenderness.


Play PENs

July 15th, 2013 · No Comments

My reflection on  Play PENs (Playful Participatory Embodiment Networks) and wellbeing:

An appreciative approach to exploration makes a big difference.

“Play”, “participation” and “embodiment” are all words pointing to the same thing. “Play” is critical as it clarifies that this is not violent nor coerced participation and that the affect is positive rather than negative or fear-based.

Nets or webs that work and are playful are necessarily voluntary and therefore held together by personally meaningful attractors–shared care and resonance among participants.

In sharing our past experiences of wellbeing, we discover that we are deeply connected with the outdoors, with the sensory, sensuous experience of nature.

In my own past, the human network or connections associated with wellbeing have been non-judgmental—accepting, calling for no pretense.

The technology for Play PENs is widely available—anyone with a smart phone. The key is the nature of the attractor and participating with playful attitude.


Muscles or Bones

May 24th, 2013 · No Comments

Fear/Control — strength, skeletal muscles, holding against, holding breath, rising up — horizontal

Trust/Flow — gravity, skeleton, sensation, compression, balance, resting into, moving with — vertical


Reinforcing Feedback

May 24th, 2013 · No Comments

Flow < x > Control
These are incomparable.

Trust < = > Flow
More trust, more flow.
More flow wore trust.

Fear < = > Control
More fear, more control.
More control, more fear.

Each chooses, moment to moment.


Organizational Aikido

May 17th, 2013 · No Comments

Whatever is human requires continuous connection, conversation and touch. Whenever the scale of an organization of humans gets too large for human connection and touch it necessarily becomes mechanical, inhuman and anti-democratic. Beyond the scope and scale where human touch and connection are possible the people in the system are necessarily serving the mechanism.
Representative governments are anti-democratic and their scope of decision-making should be as limited as possible.
There are emergent properties of large human organizations that are very destructive to the human spirit of the participants.

This wisdom is included in Eleanor Ostrom’s work on governing common pool resources.



May 15th, 2013 · No Comments

We are scared out of our bodies into our minds.


Muscular Tension

May 14th, 2013 · No Comments

Tension is my mind tying to control / avoid experience — openness.


Mind / Body way of knowing / living

May 14th, 2013 · No Comments

Logic excludes–by definition–nuances. Quote from Ernest Renan


Sacred Love

March 14th, 2013 · No Comments

In balance
transform in this moment


Being With

March 6th, 2013 · No Comments



Turn toward and rest into

From vertical turn toward and rest into the horizontal

Turing toward is the practice, the way of being.

Vertical is not the goal nor the practice.

Vertical is the ability to be with.

A little bit of vertical is a precondition to turning toward.

Restful curiosity, being with the object of curiosity is the practice

Being with is the same thing as love.

Turing toward and resting into is an act of tenderness,

an act of loving the ugliness or pain or confusion

for the sake of letting it integrate, letting it relax,

a kind of transformation that is not quite dissolving

certainly not defeating anything

more like

watching the awkwardness solving itself


De-reification of Opposites

January 21st, 2013 · No Comments

In my jigsaw puzzle life it feels like whole sections are falling together. At least in the parts of the puzzle that I can see. I am sure there will be an even bigger puzzle under the tree next Christmas.

Here is another area of the picture that is made easier to piece together as the other edges of the puzzle have come together.


I have also imagined and reified opposites where none actually existed. And now I sense and acknowledge the effort that I have been applying to hold things apart that are truly always together and interpenetrating. This sounds overly conceptual, and maybe nuts. The felt experience is like physically extending my arms and legs to hold large magnets apart. This gigantic background effort, this persistent psychological, emotional, muscular effort has been my experience of living. What a relief to see this insanity of missed meaning coming loose, being freed from effort.

Here are some of the interpenetrations that I have strived to keep apart, unnecessarily:

Joy Sadness

Longing Relaxation

Freedom Solidarity

Power Weakness

Love Frustration

Balance Frozen

Talking Silence

Needy Satisfied

Wanting Being

Fear Ground

Past Present

Future Moment

Alone Together

Running Staying

Fighting Accepting

Contact Isolation

Violence Love

Tenderness Violence

Sex Friendship

Need Curiosity

Opposites Wholes

Separate Together

Tender Direct

Acceptance Ambivalence-Apathy-Pity

Learning Action

Action Learning

“Horizontal” “Vertical”

Danger Danger

Desire Desire


I have stripped down my life to bare purpose.

Holding apart

That which is one


I have stripped bare a life

Holding apart


Held apart

Barely a life


Holding apart

Barely living


One held apart.


Where none…


No longer.


De-riefication of my Future

January 21st, 2013 · No Comments


It is odd to recognize this and even more odd to share it:

Until last week the future was felt to be situated in space ahead of my present position. Future had been reified into a one (not two nor three much less four) dimensional world. Front and back; future and past conflated, concentrated onto a line in front of me and extending behind me. My emotional intentional world was really experienced/interpreted as one dimensional, without up and down, not side to side, only forward—future and backward—past. My intentions and aspirations were reified onto a geographic-spatial line, a self defined chalk line with objects (objectives) sitting on it. I bound myself to use all manner of effort, persuasion, force, and resistance to stay on the line and reach the object of my intent. This approach can work to some extent so long as the object can be reached by one person alone. Problems arise when collaboration, coordination, cooperation or co-design are required to reach an objective or intention.

What I am saying is not metaphorical. Or if it has been metaphorical I have been really living in the metaphor. I really behaved like things were on a line in physical space. Time was not really a part of this odd construct of the future. Very weird to experience, to recognize and particularly weird to express.

I now recognize (sense) my mistake.

The future is now sensed (understood) to be an abstraction. Future is only a way of imaging intent emerging. The use of force, the need for force dissolves within this understanding. Emergence toward shared intent (care) occurs only in the present moments based upon shared trust, harmony, declarations, and attention. Leaning on people, including myself is counterproductive of emergence. I no longer need to keep everyone and everything on the line to the intended future. It is all happening in this moment, together, or it is not happening.

I have no idea whether or not this is understandable or useful to others, but it is cathartic to say it. At least one of us feels better for having put this on “paper”.




Joy and Sadness

January 21st, 2013 · No Comments

Another Paradox Resolved (integrated).

Joy and Sadness.

My (never exposed to the light of day) theory-in-use has been that joy and sorrow/sadness are opposites and certainly not of the same stuff. I have been refusing joy because it would, in my life, necessarily have had to include saddness, necessarily because that is my lived reality. The assumed hidden rule has been if saddness is alive then joy cannot possibly (must not) be present (allowed) in the room. It dawned on Thursday that joy and happiness coexist, interpenetrating, in this my life. It immediately felt as a whole, natural, tensionless, effortless, rich and refined experience–joy-sorrow (“soy”?). Maybe the German language has a name for this form of affective experience.
What a relief! Smiling and crying, laughing with tears. Authentically. 🙂 ;-(

Sadness of/in joy. Joy of/in sadness. No separation.


I now recognize that my joy vs sadness perspective felt like trying to hold two large magnets apart. And in noticing that they actually are just fine together the effort is gone. I am beginning to sense that I have similarly been holding lots of things apart that are actually quite happy together. I had imagined this as some kind of effortful “integrating”. Now I experience it as relaxing from the unwarranted effort applied to keep apart that which was one.

For me the applied effort has been huge, everyday every moment. Joy used to be a big part of my life and then…this way of being showed up!

The whole deal with opposites and paradoxes kind of dissolves. Unexpected. This effortlessness dissolving (reintegration) or just plain relaxing into the living of life is nice.


Living “OF”ness

January 21st, 2013 · No Comments

Mechanical or Emergent Perspective

Mechanical or Emergent Perspective

Integration as recognition that each body is an embodiment emerging from the cosmos, this solar system, and this earth.


A body which is OF the (cosmos, mood and emotions)

OF the body which is of the cosmos,

mind which is OF the emoting moods

which are OF the body of the cosmos.

Stories OF the minds… Meanings OF the stories OF… Actions OF the meanings…

Not interacting “with” but emerging from or “OF”. Nothing dominating another foundational part. No force, effort, doing, putting etc.



For going on 30 years Bob Dunham with colleagues and predecessors have been developing a useful approach to human ontology, and ontological reconstruction of any domain of interest.

They typically illustration the “integration” or overlap of three aspects of being human: language (cognition), mood (emotion, limbic system) and body (breathing, moving, sensing, blending) as three overlapping circles (Venn diagrams).

For this overly intellectual person it has been the greatest gift to become reacquainted with mood/emotion and body—other than as problems and conveyances for my head.

While the overlapping of circles is better than having separate disconnected circles, I feel that this representation may unnecessarily mislead. Certain ways of approaching the “situation of imbalance” can arise when one “attempts” to get the circles to overlap. The partially overlapping circles are perhaps just a first metaphorical step toward a more coherent metaphor. It has a Humpty Dumpty aspect to it and Humpty Dumptys indeed cannot be put back together. I begin to sense or imagine that there was no Humpty Dumpty here at all. No work may be needed to fix anything or put any puzzle back together. Perhaps when viewed differently, the truth of the very present wholeness that is an individual’s life emerges from the shadows.

It has dawned on me ever so gradually that there is are two kinds of hierarchy among these aspects of being human. One of the hierarchies tends strongly toward imbalance: the mind is very loud, moods and emotions are very persuasive, and the body is very quiet but with vast capacity for sensing and moving. The two unruly children have taken all the attention away from what is likely the most capable one–the body that they are of.

Another thought I share is that the limbic system and the thinking mind may usefully be viewed as fancy sensory organs of the body. Loud attention getting sensory organs that work almost exclusively from and on narrative or cognitive snippets. Unfortunately these snippets are often only very loosely connected to the present moment opportunities or threats or complexities.

I suggest that a better way to represent the fact of integration is a picture of completely nested circles, which suggest the second hierarchy–the phylogeny, the direction of emergence and the direction of scale. Bodies came first, limbic systems next, and languaging cognition next.

Oversimplifying considerably: So first there is the cosmos, the galaxies emerge, the solar system emerges, the earth emerges with its particular physics and chemistry, biologic life emerges, emotional neural endocrinological control systems emerge, … humanoids emerge, tools, symbols, and social language emerge. All kind of a wonderful flowering, emergence, unfolding of the cosmos. The Russian Dolls again.

Nesting Dolls Small

I am simply playing with the feeling of the nestingness of this. It ain’t Humpty Dumpty. It is a flower at cosmic scale. It has a different feeling. A feeling of acceptance and being “of” or “from” or “with” or “in”. Not so much a feeling of parts or ideas or problems to solve. It’s LOVE man.


That is what these arrangements of little circles point toward for me. To me it seems interesting and possibly important.


I must say that over the last three years sensi Bert Bennett has begun to help me awaken to the central role of the body in sensing as well as in living with others.


Open Mind

November 28th, 2012 · No Comments

Undefended mind

Undefended emotions

Fully sensating body



November 23rd, 2012 · No Comments

Intense Presence is required –

as occurred during critical moments in the emergency room.

Precisely appropriate presence–

a reciprocal blend of observing and responding with what is unfolding and required.

No allegiance to ego (or all allegiance to Ego).

Aikido–Serious PLAY.

Vertical–allegiance to beginning now in this moment, and from now on.


I am in.

No allegiance to self hatred.

No allegiance to self defeating moves.

No allegiance to hidden defensive routines.

Touch with tenderness and vulnerability–

openness to the past and the future

from this place, this moment, these “we”,

with explicit purpose and care.

No allegiance to  hurrying and

no allegiance to  lagging.


No Matter What (parasympathetic perspective)

November 14th, 2012 · No Comments

At once

From vertical (parasympathetic)

Always available,

I can sense my own horizontal (adrenergic) inclinations

And notice,

From vertical.

Things change.



The Mother of the Thing I Fear

November 14th, 2012 · No Comments


It is not the thing you fear that you must deal with, it is the mother of the thing you fear. The very thing that has given birth to the nightmare.

We stand literally petrified before the surface beneath which we must descend…We do not want to know what is down there, and we certainly do not want to know that the obscuring darkness is of our own making.

Beowulf is given the helmet of the king, and a great and famous sword, Hrunting, but as the story makes clear, these do not help him except to bolster his courage in entering. At this point Beowulf’s power seems to have more to do with a process of disarming.

Beowulf finds that the great sword Hrunting…is useless against this she-monster…Beowulf sees, glowing on the wall, an unknown but marvelous sword…Whatever is needed for the moment of truth in those dire, deep places seems brought to view only on our arrival at the very bottom.

David Whyte, The Heart Aroused



November 11th, 2012 · No Comments

Is it other than coherent, integration of body, mind, and emotion?


More Specifically–Meadows

November 11th, 2012 · No Comments

Refelections on Meadows Leverage Points

Awakening (perceiving, the source of human paradigms)

  1. Sensations (awareness)
  2. Melting (losing control in order to be in the present moment)
  3. Pivoting effortlessly in the fullness of the moment (coherent action in the present moment)

Paradigms (sense-making)

  1. Connectedness (part of) (more than sum of parts)
  2. Love
  3. Emergence
  4. More than possession, control, and dominion.

Polis (politics) (wholeness–defined)

  1. Open forums
  2. WWW
  3. Neighbors
  4. The Commons (Ostrum)
  5. Community Organizing (Ganz)

Dynamic interconnected systems (system interactions among interdependent parts over time)

  1. Rippel ReThink Health Model of community health (ACO context)

Mechanics (algorithmic, rule based decisions and plans)

  1. Execution on plans which derive coherently from A, B, and C.


Health is fundamentally more than the absence of illness.

People are fundamentally more than consumers of goods and services.

Service providers are more than employees.

Institutions are more than bureaucracies.

Neighborhoods are more than inhabitants.

Citizens are more than people with rights.


The Sensation of Support

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments

Play with the difference

between Vertical and Horizontal.

One can become aware of the sensations of being supported

of being nourished in the moment (Vertical)

One can become aware of being depleted, or spending energy

to hold or withhold (Horizontal).

One can then learn to be aware of the difference

and experience this difference from the stance or state of being supported and nourished as part of the embodied,  physical and biological world.

Staying with, turning toward the difference, it transforms effortlessly.

This is what it feels like to learn from be supported.


Living Dangerously

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments

Resting into dangerousness

The sensation

The reality

The possibility

The excitement

The edges

The True Play of living in a deliciously dangerous world



November 7th, 2012 · No Comments





This is the foundation of life and living.

There is a way of being in the world in this moment that is nourishing.

It has a feeling,

a posture

a pattern of breathing

an open hearted way of being in the world

a grounded way of being in the world

a relaxed abdomen way of being in the world

a happy curious way of being in the world, full of wonder and awe.

There are other ways of being in the world.



Recommending: Buddha in Blue Jeans

November 5th, 2012 · No Comments

An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly and Being Buddha

Simple profoundness we can learn by sitting quietly.

Free e-book from Amazon/Kindle and iTunes.



October 22nd, 2012 · 1 Comment

Tension in my body is simply the way my body reacts to my attempts to make time go faster or slower. The  clear awareness of  my “trying” with my body to be in another place or another time is amazingly helpful. Knowing the symptoms of this physical near psychosis is very handy. Now that I can see and feel how precisely crazy this effort is, I can generally let go of it and rest into this moment. It is the best practice  that I have found for noticing my escape attempts and for then being comfortable in this very moment.

Thanks Bert!


Idealism & Cynicism – Rediscovering our Idealism

September 28th, 2012 · No Comments

Notes and reflections on a conversation with Bert Bennett yesterday:

A work in progress….

IDEALISM, enthusiasm, exuberance, spontaneous, self-expression: Giving, Loving, “being” “in” love

CYNICISM, misunderstanding, rejection, judgement, self protection, pushing, withdrawing–Taking, Needing to get (take) love.

Youthful emotional pain -> Pained stories of past and future -> Adult pained bodies and awkward moves

Exuberance -> Misunderstanding

Giving -> Rejection

Connecting -> Pushing & Withdrawing

Aliveness -> Self-protection

Spontaneity -> Self regulating (controlling self-others through “fences”)

RECOVERING from cynicism–recovering our idealism through the act of loving self, world, other as it “is”, with no violence to self or other or the world.

Together we can develop adult practices of idealism, and get back to loving in this moment (the ultimate high):


The past and the future live in our narratives, in our stories, of necessity since there is no physical past or future at any moment. The past and the future are products of mind.

The every unfolding present moment has substance beyond the activities of mind; however, with enough cynicism we can find ourselves living predominantly inside the biological and emotional effects of our stories of  a remembered past and an imagined future rather than in the physically present moment.

The strongest innate human attractor may be joyful connection and self-expression with others. There are ways to participate with this possibility. That is what the Friday Dojo sessions are pointing toward.

We can come face to face with our  embodied and lived cynicism. We can turn openly and fully toward this, and get really familiar and even comfortable with it.

From this place of awareness and acceptance of what is, we can also

rest into:

  1. our sensation of compression,
  2. our sensation of center,
  3. our sensation of connection,
  4. our sensation of effortlessness,
  5. our sensation of transformation,
  6. our sensation of precision,
  7. our sensation of the present moment (place/body/mood/stories/  and the other six immutable facts)

Bert’s deconstruction of the concept of boundaries  into “Fences” and “Boundaries” is useful

When we are “vertical” and aware of our own boundaries, within which we are sovereign, and move within that sovereign “space” and way of being;

When we are aware of our “fences” which we have built and maintained to protect some injured spot (some story of pain and protection), we can develop a practice of relaxing “vertically”  (seven immutable facts) into our livable, safe, soverign boundary and move gracefully with others as they connect with us, however they show up.


Idealism–possbbilities, self expression (replaces self control and contraction), giving (replaces felt need to take)

Loving–Radiating (replaces collecting, accumulating)

Physically Present – Physical compression, shape of our breath (replaces being lost in our minds and moving awkwardly in the world)

Resting–Into living our lives with others (replaces protecting ourselves from others and from a punishing self)

Time stands still (expands)–The present moment is lived in (replaces living in our reactions to our narratives of past and future)



Respect and Community Action

August 1st, 2012 · No Comments

Without violence

Without pushing or pulling

One envisions an attractive common future (possibility)

And invites others to join together

to co-create that future.

I see no other way for non-violent action.

The skill for this way of being is conversational human connection

–Which is itself life giving.


When time stood almost still

July 27th, 2012 · No Comments

When I was very young

And very present

Time stood almost still

Because it was being noticed.

Now I flip the pages to the chapter titles

And time flys away from me.

A summarized life moves too fast for joy.


We are all Drunks under Nested Lamp Posts–Meadows recast

June 10th, 2012 · No Comments

Remember the old story of the drunk searching under a lamp post on his hands and knees? Being ask what he is doing, he replies that he is looking for the keys he dropped. He acknowledges that he dropped the keys in the dark but chooses to search where the light is better.

We are all in a similar situation. We try to solve problems, tinkering mechanically, in ways that we are comfortable (in the light), never venturing into the next level of darkness–the well explored world of unintended consequences, huge effects form small actions, and small or counter-intuitive effects from huge efforts–nonlinear system dynamics.

And yet there is a next deeper level darkness (ignorance or apathy) beyond the pale light of dynamics. This is the dimmer light that reveals  who does or does not have a voice and why the game is even being played.

There is yet a deeper darkness (lack of curiosity) than the conversations of participation and purpose. This dimmest of light  hides (or reveals)  beliefs as choices and culture. This final or original darkness challenges the very concept of our own identity. It completely unhinges hope for unchanging certainty.

Miraculously, beyond this is dimmest of light exists a strange light indeed, where there are no comforting facts and no certainty. In this strange space there is a different light, one of intuition, where new worlds open up, dimly, where new possibilities emerge gently, where  there exists the mere possibility of dissolving intractable problems. Beyond the deepest darkness or dimmest light exists a state of possibility, of deep curiosity, openness, sensitivity, awareness, and creation. Without this identity-less way of being and knowing, nothing else offers real hope for a better world. Outside this way of knowing we are in a trap of conviction, isolation, simplistic thinking, and ultimately ineffectual tinkering.


MechanicsTinkering (the smallest radius,  brightest lamp light)

But if you don’t have the dynamics right, the mechanics won’t matter much.

DynamicsSystem Dynamics Thinking (the next larger radius, less bright lamp light)

But if you don’t have the right people in the right conversations, the dynamics won’t matter much.

ConversationsConversing, Social Complexity, Politics, Innovation (the next etc.)

But if you don’t have the right paradigm (cosmology, ontology, and epistemology) the conversations won’t matter much.

ParadigmBelieving, Knowing, Way of Being (the largest radius, dimmest lamp light)

But if you are not deeply awake to  your always  inadequate paradigm, it will inevitably determine or limit  everything else.

Deeply Awake to the Universe, to Self and to Possibility (a universal light of an often imperceptible wavelength)

Acceptance, solidarity, mystery, emergence, joy…

BEING before and over Knowing, Having, Consuming or Controlling.


NESTING (from bigger to smaller domains): Consciousness/Paradigms/Conversations/Dynamics/Mechanics. However, be aware that the smaller nested domains each have the potential of limiting the breadth of the next bigger domain whenever convenience trumps coherence.



Meadows, Ostrum, and Rippel.

Refelections on Meadows Leverage Points



May 16th, 2012 · No Comments

I have the great fortune to know three wise people, each of whom have been exploring the ontological basis of human experience continuously for more than thirty years.

Their starting points have been different. One–the mind. Another–the limbic system and emotions. And one–the body. And then there is me. Like many of you I have been curious about my lived experience, always surprised by deeper and deeper insights. My curiosity has been guided by coherence or fitness. I have not been unduly attracted to any particular answer, nor any particular place of safety or comfort. I have intuitively trusted my sense of coherence, or more accurately my sense of incoherence. I, like you, feel when things don’t fit together. I pay attention to this. I find it the most interesting of sensations. Of course the other side of the experience is that occasionally big chunks of experience suddenly fit together and THAT feeling is very nice—the eureka moments.

I just spent five days with these gentlemen. What an experience! Some new coherence showed up for me. I will share it with you.

Each of these gentlemen have taken on very difficult explorations. Bob has accepted a big challenge as he observes human thought processes and their outputs in an effort to make sense of thinking. The processes and the outputs are huge and complex. It is like walking around a large botanical garden. How does one begin to make sense of a botanical garden? That is not a rhetorical question.

When Julio began to focus in on the emotional life of humans it may have been slightly simpler than Bob’s challenge, less diverse than the mind, thought, and language of humans; but it is still a pretty complex landscape—maybe like one area of the botanical garden or one genus of plants. Still making sense of this area, understanding it, is challenging.

When Bert chose to focus on the body, in order to understand human ontology he may have chosen a simpler domain—especially if one focuses on it for a life time.

When I listen carefully to each of these explorers, these sense makers, something interesting shows up for me. I sense that there is a natural relationship between the three, that there has been a progression, a phylogenetic progression that may make sense, make coherence, of these related domains of being human: body first, limbic system second, self-aware mind third. Each is likely a fractal flowering from the former. The flowery complex patterns of thought, emotion, and body are intricate and complex and difficult to make sense of unless you see the original pattern which has been iterating and “flowering” for eons.

What if the original pattern is the simple two step dance of a single cell (the smallest living body), and this two step dance has led to the next more complex dance and so forth; its simplest flower leading into the development of its most complex flower—or this hypothetical botanical garden of plants and flowers—of moves, emotions, and thoughts.

So here is the idea—cells seem to have two modes that keep them alive and propagating forward. They either 1) open themselves to the environment and grow or they 2) close themselves off from the environment for self-protection until the environment is safer for openness and growth. It is these two fundamental moves that have lead to the flowering of cells into multicellular organisms, which then engage in the same two moves—this rather simple dance of life. As this fractal flowering of life has progressed for millions of years the two moves may have remained the basic pattern behind the development of the limbic system and the amazingly self aware cortex (thinking).

So what? When making any interpretation or hypotheses about what is going on in emotions or thought one can be informed by this possibility. The question which this will now always raise is—how does whatever is being observed create openness and growth OR closure, withdrawal, walling off for self-protection? We may benefit from always noticing the relationship of any emotional response and any flight of thoughts to these two fundamental moves or inclinations.

Put differently, one can always profitably  ask: what does openness (care, tenderness, and joy) OR fear have to do with it? One can lose sight of these two steps in the apparent complexity of emotions and thought. The body is less convoluted. One can often see the answer to this question. My emerging insight is that one can also almost always see the answer to the question in the reactions of the body, in the emotional reactions and experiences and in the world of thoughts.

What do you see? What avenues of sensemaking are coherent with this two step dance of life? Julio’s question is, “What ways of knowing (epistemology) are fit for the future of this planet?” My question is, “How do our ways of knowing connect to this original and ongoing two step way of knowing?”


There are several thinkers and scientists who have shaped my awareness in this topic and I want to mention two of them: Maturana and Verela’s book The Tree of Knowledge, and Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief.  Of course I am grateful for the life work of Bob, Julio, and Bert and for their generosity in sharing it and making it accessible to many.



April 30th, 2012 · No Comments

I forgive my father
I forgive my self, as a son
I hope he forgave his father
I hope my brother forgives his father

My resentment has colored every relationship for fifty years.
No more.



April 30th, 2012 · No Comments



“We have been missing you.”

April 30th, 2012 · No Comments

This sentence is liberating for me.

The fact that others want to connect is so different than the story I had been living in.



April 30th, 2012 · No Comments

There is no “doing” in melting
Only letting

No language
Nor self-violence


Living from the Belly

April 6th, 2012 · No Comments

Mind and muscles attempt to keep the world at bay
Belly (center) accepts the world and moves with it
Even the activity of the mind and muscles is accepted and digested
Mind and muscles strive
Belly digests and rests into living

Live from belly, breath from belly, move from belly, sense from belly


Sense Sensing

March 20th, 2012 · No Comments

Turn toward sensing
Rest into sensing

Sense my self (muscles, compression, skin, vision, hearing, smell, taste, stance, identity, voice)
Sense my Self (outside in)


Gratitude, Awe and Joy

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments

In that order


Present Sensations

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments

Turn toward, rest into, be with


Sensations are the present, period.

Some ever present sensations are:


Practice noticing and turning toward each sensation of the present

This moment is its sensations. Breath, sense, turn toward, stay with…

Pushing past and turning away are sensations and come from sensations.


Freedom AND Solidarity

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments

Curiosity, I, Peace, Specific–AND–Universal, Harmony, Thou, Non-violence, Respect, Connection

The embodied meaning of each of the words show up from turning toward, resting into, being with, sensing, letting, opening, porousity


Why organizations should encourage training

March 4th, 2012 · No Comments

Aikido training develops

Respect in action (non-violence, curiosity, playfulness)

Leaders who do not instill fear

Employees who don’t amplify the fear they find in others

Only under these conditions will curiosity and innovation flourish


Alternatives to fear full hierarchy?

March 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

This is THE big issue in large organizations

How to support

Safe (fearless) creative organizations

For organizational survival


Playfulness as the driver of Organizational Flourishing

March 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

Curiosity AND non-violence (playfulness)

are the simple rules (actually practices)

for emergence of happier

complex adaptive systems:




Work Organizations







The feeling of innovation

March 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

What is the feeling of innovation?

Letting the outside in

Being the outside

Openness–riskless undefended openness


Smiling, chuckling, even laughing

Together–absent any violence, delicately respectful.



What is the feeling of rigid control?


Perceptive Stance, Internal Observer–External Originator-Creator

February 24th, 2012 · No Comments

Where is my observer positioned?

1) Behind my eyes, inside my skin–near the sensory organs and interpreter.

2) From the source of each sensation (rather than from the sensory organs).

I am finding it very easy to shift from my habitual stance–behind my eyes, to the source stance. I can now feel the perceptive stance shift back and forth.

The effect is amazing. I feel the rain to be creating me–in some real way I am BEING rained. Not being rained upon but being created in the moment by the experience of raining. There is another feeling–relaxation, less holding away, less need for protection from the “outside”.


Two Approaches? Experiential (phenomenological) Stance and Practice

February 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

Experiencing (sensing) the world from the inside out


Experiencing (sensing) the self from the outside (Self) in


Experience (sensing) as a practice of turning toward, resting into, nurturing acceptance of what experience (sensation) is present


Dialogue and Aikido

February 19th, 2012 · No Comments

If dialogue is the art of thinking together, then
Aikido is the art of being and acting together
Without violence or withdrawal

Dialogue is the Aikido of thinking.

Aikido is the art of living together.



February 19th, 2012 · No Comments

Open up
to the future
that wants to emerge
through us.


Enlightened Participation @ Scale

February 18th, 2012 · No Comments

The challenge
each of us
our communities


The Quest

February 18th, 2012 · No Comments


?,. ?,. ?,.


The Emerging Future

February 18th, 2012 · No Comments

The emerging future
is the fully aware present,
Particularly where there is a “we”.


Participation, Sensation & True Play

February 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Re-Connect sensing with doing
Sense-Feel as you act
Sense into action (this is where we act-sense into-from knowing)
This is true participation.
Do it from a place of gratitude and joy and it is
True Play.

Acting without simultaneous embodied sensing has the effect of a bull in a china shop.


The Trap of Hubris

February 12th, 2012 · No Comments

Knowing is a dead end.

Telling is the violent death of relationship.

Respecting individual sovereignty and connecting from there

is the way around this trap.


Dealing with Fear in Conversations

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

There is a safe space available.

There is a open space between individual safe spaces in which to connect on any concern.

Clarity on the safe spaces and the open conversational space is essential for generative conversations.

Fear is a signal that one is not moving from a space of safety.

“All” that is required and essential at this moment is to reorganize one’s stance.


The Inkling of Fear

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

The perception of fear, the felt sensation, the intuition–is great

It is the beginning of useful insight, knowledge, and action

The fight or flight stories and fantasies that often follow the perception of fear–

are not at all useful.

They lead to a narrow, automatic, awkward response where we push against or run from our essential partners.


Stressless Chaos

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

When people are stressed they don’t come up with very clever questions or answers.

If you or your work unit are stressed you are significantly under performing, under participating.

Developing personal and team practices to live in complex and chaotic situations without destructive levels of stress is the key to flourishing.


Sensed Awareness

January 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Out of control

Into balance



January 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Openness (permeability, freedom)


(my barriers to solidarity)

The Fences to deal with:

Not wanting to be judged

Not wanting to be controlled

Not wanting to be overwhelmed



January 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Safely and autonomously.

A continuous present.

Tacit sensations–gravity, center, connection, effortlessness, precision, and flow.

Not imagining a life frame-by-frame.


Notes on Freedom and Solidarity

January 25th, 2012 · No Comments


Awareness of compression!
Feeling, sensing fences and what is behind their construction.


In between


Committment to a special Awareness

January 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Moving, grounded, balanced, breathing autonomy (x 2).

Big care (x 2).

Connection (x 2) in between and

Conversation with.

Aware of centered care AND defensive routeines.

With full awareness, turning toward the defense from within the centering autonomous being I am.


Smiling and Laughing

January 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

If not smiling and laughing

then what

is going on?


Care as Identity

January 17th, 2012 · No Comments

Our multiple identities are our embodied care stories and the matching organization that attempts to protect us or that connects us. It is our centered, embodied, sensed care from which our emotions, ideas and actions arise and show up in the world.
With practice we can become familiar with the felt care and then we have real choice.

Until we can bring our care to our center, feel it, relax into it, until we can do this we will be moving from our head, from ideas, from analysis. Moving from our head, will always be late, off center, awkward and visibly inauthentic. More importantly, when can feel our deepest care at our core, at our center, then our physical movement, our emotions and our narratives will all flow authentically.

Of course feeling our care in this way is not available when we are stressed. But once we decrease our stress sufficiently, then we can begin to play with this sensibility. Trying to “do” aikido from our heads is not possible. Aikido is not technique. Aikido happens when we can move from our deepest care.


Not a Chicken and Egg issue

January 8th, 2012 · No Comments

Fear and Openness?

Openness must come first

because being closed causes real danger which causes fear which…

So commit to openness so there is more flow, more organizations, more capacity and more capability to move with what comes up.

Openness removes the need for much fear.

An act of insight and will (re)creates the chicken or the egg and then joy returns.



January 8th, 2012 · No Comments

To attention

as the goal

for transformation:

Is my body signalling fear?

What does it feel like? Really–where, size, texture, color, temperature, associated images or stories?

Am I open to this? Can I turn toward it?

What does that open turning toward feel like? What happens (how do the sensations change) when I am open and touching them with maximal curiosity and porosity?



January 8th, 2012 · No Comments

The signal that you are not organized for what is at hand.

A good thing.

A choice: reorganize or run.

Usually reorganize!

Become porous–open, sensing, aware, extended, adaptable, flexible

Joyous–surprised, smiling, playful, learning for learning’s sake, in the flow of things (not outside looking in, analyzing progress toward some goal other than pure joy).



January 8th, 2012 · No Comments


Turning toward





Parasympathetic (literally vagus nerve, heart rate variability)





Safe enough


Turning Toward Touching

January 8th, 2012 · No Comments

There are always two choices in each moment

Touch and connect


Fight – Separate

The skills are to be aware of the situational differences,

to make the appropriate choice,

to practice touching-connecting-blending when the situation is safe.




Dialogue as Ai Ki

December 31st, 2011 · No Comments

Being connected, touching, blending

In the present moment

Displaces assumptions and inferences with

Direct experience and movement

Displaces the violence and illusion of control with

Vulnerability and openness.

Conversations which emerge in this way (dialogue)

Co-invent shared insights


Why work against your body!

December 31st, 2011 · No Comments

Our mind

and others minds

Receive their direction from our body

Our breathing

Our posture

Our way of moving

Our way of holding against or away

Our gracefulness

It is all out there for everyone (including us) to see

We cannot force our bodies to be graceful

We can only turn toward what is happening

Accept it

And move with it

From center

With breath of the center

With intention of the center

With motion of the center


Smart Body

December 31st, 2011 · No Comments

Listen, without words, to the body

Turn, without words, toward the body

The muscles

The breath

The initiation (inclination) of movement

The felt experience of place, of other, of self, of movement


Big or Small; Big and Small

December 31st, 2011 · No Comments

This is an ever present question

How to take care of one’s self so that being big is the enticing choice?

Pay attention to this inclination.

Don’t force your way toward extension.

Turn toward, take care, rest into the inclination to get small and withdraw.


Care and Respect

December 31st, 2011 · No Comments

Anything good comes from the combination of
Moving from our deepest care
With complete respect
for yourself and for others.

Respect is: no pushing, no withdrawing, simply touching and moving together.
Care: what is the most enticing, most life giving, results in the most joy and meaning.


Committment to practicing

December 21st, 2011 · No Comments

In each present moment
To staying with and moving from my centered care
To not being directed by old and familiar yet violent and unhelpful voices

Feel my care and others care from center(s)
Feel the presence moment from center
Initiate movement (always turning from center toward) from my center, and stay with it (again and again)
Breath from my center
Rest and turn toward from my center
Ascend the stairs, open a door, enter a room, ride my bike from earth to center to others. Every moment is a practice of moving centered connecting. Play with it. Rest into it. The way (Thou-Thou, sameness harmonious) should reduce stress not increase it (I-It, sameness discordant).



December 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Is muscular striving for
Some perfect, preconceived outcome
Falling awkwardly toward the earth
But not toward deep care or shared care



December 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Is awareness
Able to turn and fall gracefully, restfully toward
Anything of interest

Including all the puppeteers


Awareness and the Puppeteers

December 13th, 2011 · No Comments

Ask awareness to turn and look behind

Get acquainted with the puppeteers

The feel of his hand
The intention of his soul
His childhood and adolescence
His concerns and fears


Muscles against bones

December 11th, 2011 · No Comments


Getting a feeling for the whole set of muscles, taken together,

Felt and worn like coat

Over my bones

Fighting gravity

Working unnecessarily against my supporting bones

Able to relax at once

A stress coat, taken off and put aside.

Relaxed over supporting bones.



Center of gravity and Care

December 11th, 2011 · No Comments

When one finds a way to associate or locate

ones deepest care

with ones physical center of gravity

with the place we breath from and move from

then things begin to shift.

Connection becomes possible

Poise shows up.

With allies and adversaries, when moving with anyone’s care,

we are best when moving from our center and their center.



December 10th, 2011 · No Comments

simply falling toward the earth



December 6th, 2011 · No Comments

Is in the present moment

Connected through one’s deepest care.


Tension in every muscle

December 6th, 2011 · No Comments

I spent last week with total muscular tension and no smiles.

Embodied awareness that

What I wanted most and what I feared the most were precisely the same thing.

Yesterday I had an embodied breakthrough.

My body knows the way forward.

Thank you Sensei Bert Bennett!



December 6th, 2011 · No Comments

Believe it or not,

It was the symmetry of connection that I did not know.

(I hate to say it, but in some very strange and illogical way, I was trying to connect alone.)

How interesting.


The simple fun of connection

December 6th, 2011 · No Comments

When there is symmetric interest in

Connecting (what would connecting be if it were not symmetric–pushing or withdrawing!)

Center simply falling toward the earth

And everything else moving and staying in connection

No technique, no thinking, no effort, no fear, no problem

Just purposeful attentive connecting without specific goals




December 6th, 2011 · No Comments

The very easiest way to be and to move.

Moving from one’s central care.

Connected to ground to center to other’s centers.

Tension melts. Simple, fearless movement displaces it. Over and over.

Very nice!


Effortlessness (patience, care)

December 4th, 2011 · No Comments

Turning toward is effortless.
Connection is effortless.
Center is effortless.
Gravity and the experience of gravity (compression) is effortless.
Transformation is effortless.
The present moment is effortless.
Precision and poise are effortless.

Effort (no smile, held breath) is the futile attempt to push against or move away from these facts. Effort is a sign of … Is an opportunity to

Turn toward, care for, envelope, experience my history of avoidance, effortlessly.


Smile, Respecting Self

December 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Grounded, breathing, with my history, in no hurry, with no judgement

Extend, reach out, in this moment, with my own history generating compassion and wisdom, to what is happening

With a smile

Move from center


Respecting self, my history, and others

Thou and Thou and Thou


My Care

December 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Connection with self and others

Acceptance of self and others

Turing toward disconnection and its childhood, with kindness

Turing toward rejection and its childhood, with kindness


Danger in Connection

November 30th, 2011 · No Comments

My parents lived isolated I-It lives.
As did their parents.
I believed it was too dangerous to connect.
I choose an independent life, a life of proximity.
Sensing a true connection to be too dangerous.


Today’s gratitude and awe.

November 27th, 2011 · No Comments

I am grateful for a day of rest and reflection in the company of Lola, Sofia, and Isabella.
I am grateful for a warm house on a windy rainy northwest winter day.
I am grateful Bill and Judy.

I am awed by the power of science to unfold things.

I am serene whenever I connect with the present moment.

I am close to Sofia and Lola today.

I am hopeful that communities can transform themselves and that RWJF and Rippel Foundation will help make sense of community transformation.

I am joyful when I connect with Lola and Sofia.

I am amused by my own foibles.

I am inspired by Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson, and Jane McGonigal.

I am interested videography as sense making and story telling.

I am proud of our work on personal health records and care coordination tools.



November 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Respectful (shared care) CONNECTION (turning toward/moving with) as embodied, emotional, mindful spirit:

Body => CONNECTION of CARES, with effortless precision, through compression/gravity and center, in the present moment, transforming.

Emotion/Mood => CONNECTION as positive relationship, meaning/CARE, engagement/flow, gratitude, love, awe, hope, inspiration, interest, joy.

Mind/Language => Commitment as CONNECTION through shared CARE.


Mindfulness or Bodyfulness?

November 19th, 2011 · No Comments

How would bodyfulness research be conducted?
What are the theories to be tested?



November 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Is syncinicity.
Is knowing/moving through sensing.

My head is informed later. My thoughts are much too slow for participation and therefore too slow for connection and care.

This is fascinating and of profound significance to my life.


Gravity is Present

November 19th, 2011 · No Comments

The experience of gravity (Compression) is the experience of Presence.
Sensing compression opens me to the experience of present moment
and The Present Moment’s other facts:
Transformation and



November 19th, 2011 · No Comments

is not analysis!



November 19th, 2011 · No Comments

I am grateful for a cold clear Bellingham Saturday.
I am grateful for Isabella’s determination, Sofia’s sensitivity, and Lola’s unbridaled enthusiasm.
I am grateful Richard and Helen.

I am awed by the atmosphere and weather.

I am serene simply by tuning in to my generative relationship with gravity.

I am close to Goran.

I am hopeful applied positive psychology will transform myself, my family, my organization, my community.

I am joyful today. A smile hiding just under my skin.

I am amused by Lola’s antics.

I am inspired by Martin Seligman.

I am interested in my work.

I am proud of my daughters and Nik, Brady, Kris, Lori and Jeannine.


3Gs +

November 16th, 2011 · No Comments

I am grateful for my family, friends and colleagues islacabbbrclnllakpbnpajjccp.
I am grateful for opportunities to make a difference in my community.
I am grateful to be here.

I am awed by the ocean, the night sky, and the cosmos.

I am occasionally serene when walking, when meditating, when connection with another at the dojo.

I am close to Lola, Sofia, and Isabella.

I am hopeful that WAHA will lead toward the Tripple Aim for health in Whatcom County.

I am joyful occasionally at the dojo.

I am amused by my mistakes and misperseptions. Also by humor in books and on-line.

I am inspired by sencere people who are doing their best.

I am interested in my daughters’ daily lives, my work, and the future of games and health.

I am proud of Congral, HiNet, WAHA, the Friday Dojo group, the quality, OD staff and medical group at St. Joes Med Center.


Ten Spectra?

November 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Opportunities and Antidotes?

More thought needed here.

I am looking for paired perspectives and practices.
Extended, happy vs. small, hard, hateful
Big, grounded, relaxed vs. small, free floating, jerky
touching, trusting, caring vs. pushing, withdrawing
personal stories are future rather than backward focused
playful, togetherness, playful vs. alone, small, involuting
big (Thou-Thou) vs. small (I-It)
big (we) vs small (you against me)
big (future together) vs. small (you and me against me)
big vs. small
big vs. small


Effectiveness through Aikido

November 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Daily, event by event, awareness of blending:


  1. Very Small–Self as It (Anti-self, anti-play, no smiles, lock down, a prison, closed, hidden, afraid, small, rigid… Frustrating, Shame, Shoving, Fear of failure
  2. Small–Self as Thou (relief, release, open, accepting of self and personal history with others, turning toward self, gentle, grounded, movable…
  3. Big enough–Other as Thou (Safe, shared care, mobile …)
  4. Very Big Thou-Thou (Big curiosity…Love…Playful…)


  1. Crazy (Uptight, disconnected, small, blind…)
  2. Controlled anxiety (Oriented to place and time, narrow focus, short sighted, controlling, fear based…)
  3. Shaky attempts at presence (Big enough to be aware of anxiety, awkwardness, breath…)
  4. Available from center (Big enough to ground and extend intermittently and partially)
  5. Able to move with whom and what comes up in a safe way (Big enough, grounded enough, flexible enough for flow to occur naturally)


  1. Pushing away (Fear, control, anger, avoidance, unavailable from center, unable to move fluidly)
  2. Withdrawing (Fear, control, avoidance, unavailable from center, unable to move fluidly)
  3. Touching (Calm enough, trust, safety, shared care, curious, turning toward)
  4. Moving as one (Calm, safe, skilled at blending, “falling” into shared space)


  1. Bad for all involved (painful for all and goals not accomplished)
  2. Goals accomplished with some dysphoria for all (was able to control this situation but at a cost to all because I was not connected)
  3. Goals accomplished with some dysphoria for me (was able to control this situation but at a cost mostly to me because I was not connected)
  4. Goals accomplished with happiness (Connected, moving as one, accomplishing shared goals in a playful way—together in shared context)



November 13th, 2011 · No Comments

–Losing self and time in helping the other

without risking self-harm

with safety for both.

Getting emotionally close has always felt very unsafe.

I only recently learned of Aikido, peace and harmony way, a way of  connecting with anyone without risk of harm for either.

One must be trustworthy in order for others to be trusting and in their turn trustworthy.

Aikido requires some serious emotional maturity.

Maybe there are some practices that can be discovered.


Flow less ness

November 13th, 2011 · No Comments



November 13th, 2011 · No Comments

What does it feel like when I am unable to find or move from center?

Can I turn toward that?

Is this the ghost who says, don’t dance, don’t trust your feet, don’t trust…

Is this the ghost who says, think first, calculate, protect yourself, don’t look silly, know the answer…

This ghost feels like me. Getting this genie back into the bottle seems daunting…

I can take intellectual and physical risks but not emotional risks!

I simply don’t trust…

I construct my life to require the least trust…


That is I-It.

Is there safety in I-It?

Is that style of safety worth the price?

What is the price?

At the minimum, awkwardness and distance.

Loss of joy, playfulness, spontaneity, touch…

Loss of connection with my daughters.

Loss of effectiveness in community creativity.


Positivity without extension or connection

November 9th, 2011 · No Comments

The positive emotions that I excel at are those I can do alone, without extension or connection!
This is a useful insight. Growth is on the other side of this insight.


Monday @ the Dojo–Thouness

November 8th, 2011 · No Comments

PRACTICES for the week: ( Respect-Touch, Extend-space & care, Play, Smile, Thou-Blending, Effect?)

  1. Notice/Experience from shared center (Thou-Thou) in a large space, with physical respect.
  2. Settle. Inclusively, not as I-It.
  3. Move / flow (without thought or technique) in the shared care (nested care), together, helping the other.
  4. Notice effect.

Notes from the dojo:

  • Thou is bigger than my present and past selves, bigger than my body, bigger than the present threat or frustration; Thou is the universe and includes me (as Thou) and the other (as Thou). Thou is loving-extension.
  • Touch is connection without a hint of force or violence. The joy of connection is possible only when the small self is nurtured and one is able to  expand to Thou-Thou. Accept self, accept other.
  • Extension is smiling (aikido is impossible without extension, extension is impossible without respect, respect is impossible without the intention to help the other toward their care–Thouness.) Touch without extension (Thouness) is technique and a subtle form of violence or dishonesty (I-It).
  • Extension is living as Thou. Always bigger then the tempest. Present conflict is always moving in a bigger care, never upsetting that bigger care. Extend attention and intention beyond the tempest and conflict to mutual even universal care.
  • Play is extension. Play is Thouness. If I am not smiling from center, I am probably not extending nor playing.
  • Blending is intention and assistance to help the other. The way is to connect and be (with) the other as I-Thou.
  • Respect is attention to the others intention (line) with the desire to help them with their care, with zero violence (pushing or withdrawing). Respect is I-Thou (Thou-Thou).
  • From the openness of Thou-Thou, Sense the others intention , that is the beginning of respectfulness.
  • Technique is from the head to the body, degrades to chaos in three reps or less
  • Aikido (technique-less) is movement from the center–of the situation–in harmony with no force but rather with the strength of extension–Thouness
  • True strength is extension with precision (based upon shared care).



Opportunities Lost or Found

November 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Fun loving? Extension!

Joy? Extension!

Awe? Extension!

Gratitude? Extension!

Love, closeness, trust? Extension!

Serene, peaceful? Extension!

How am I choosing to act as though I am so small?




October 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Is such a small thing

Give it no power

Turn toward the small thing

and simply be with it,

like the child it is.



October 28th, 2011 · No Comments

The window to my

way of being in the world

in this moment.


and turn toward what is pointed to

by my breath


Human Flourishing: Positivity Ratio

October 21st, 2011 · No Comments


My answers to these questions over time, determine whether I will flourish or languish. These are outcome measures of Sensei Bert Bennett’s “vertical” and “horizontal“. My practice is to turn toward each as I am experiencing it. Also I am designing my days to include experiences of awe, gratitude, play, closeness and serenity. Playfulness needs attention!

  1. What is the most amused, fun-loving, or silly you felt?
  2. What is the most angry, irritated, or annoyed you felt?
  3. What is the most ashamed, humiliated, or disgraced you felt?
  4. What is the most awe, wonder, or amazement you felt?
  5. What is the most contemptuous, scornful, or disdainful you felt?
  6. What is the most disgust, distaste, or revulsion you felt?
  7. What is the most embarrassed, self-conscious, or blushing you felt?
  8. What is the most grateful, appreciative, or thankful you felt?
  9. What is the most guilty, repentant, or blameworthy you felt?
  10. What is the most hate, distrust, or suspicion you felt?
  11. What is the most hopeful, optimistic, or encouraged you felt?
  12. What is the most inspired, uplifted, or elevated you felt?
  13. What is the most interested, alert, or curious you felt?
  14. What is the most joyful, glad, or happy you felt?
  15. What is the most love, closeness, or trust you felt?
  16. What is the most proud, confident, or self-assured you felt?
  17. What is the most sad, downhearted, or unhappy you felt?
  18. What is the most scared, fearful, or afraid you felt?
  19. What is the most serene, content, or peaceful you felt?
  20. What is the most stressed, nervous, or overwhelmed you felt?
  1. angry
  2. humiliated
  3. contemptuous
  4. disgust
  5. embarrassed
  6. guilty
  7. distrust
  8. unhappy
  9. fearful
  10. stressed
  11. awe
  12. amused
  13. grateful
  14. hopeful
  15. inspired
  16. interested
  17. joyful
  18. closeness
  19. proud
  20. serene

I will turn toward the underlined emotions.



October 21st, 2011 · No Comments

  1. Feels good–designed for flourishing
  2. Broadens–with broader long view more innovation occurs
  3. Growth–allows the person to grow over time, a delayed payoff
  4. Resilience–social situations go better because there is more openness, choice & flexibility
  5. Flourishing–one experiences the world, self, and others in a dramatically different way
  6. Personal Capability–increases as joy, sincerity and a light touch become available
  7. Synergistic–with goals of health, work, family, spirituality




October 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Care is nonviolent.

Care for violence

Especially toward myself
Especially in my inner voice



October 19th, 2011 · No Comments

The only asset



October 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Be one with

Not at arms length
Not to dispose of
Nor to move beyond



October 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Turn toward stuckness
Absorb the sensation
Become familiar
Hold that sensation in my arms gently
Care for it
Feel my connection with the earth
Holding this baby gently in my arms, in my heart
Wish it no harm
Find gratitude for stuckness
Now hold hands with your friend stuckness
Now walk together
Now breath together
Now move together, brothers, center and center



October 17th, 2011 · No Comments

clarity, embodied
present context


Taking care of innovators

September 25th, 2011 · No Comments

6 Embodied practices, three for recovery, three for innovation

8 Innovation Practices

8 Embodied facts

6 Psychological facts

Whole picture to locate the missing conversations early and often

Bite size innovations


Turning Toward

September 25th, 2011 · No Comments








Serious Play: Positive Emotions

September 25th, 2011 · No Comments


Gratitude (care)


Interest (curiosity)






Love (connection)








grounding fear

September 18th, 2011 · No Comments

ground each fear

turn toward the place of origin

breath from the center of the fear

stay with the sensations

eyes wide open, in this moment, in this place

breath from care

turn toward care and the source of fear

breath from center

sense ground

extend connect touch




September 18th, 2011 · No Comments

hierarchy has fear structurally built-in

therefore suppresses or kills creativity and innovation

any leader in any hierarchy must take active steps to decrease fear

if creativity is required or desired.

fear is embodied

peace is also embodied

what are your practices of embodied fear?

embodied peace?


the big picture

September 18th, 2011 · No Comments



as spirals


BEING with



Noticing Horizontal

September 15th, 2011 · No Comments




The first step is to begin to notice how it feels in my body to abandon vertical.

Feel how I look away from myself when I make a horizontal move.

One can feel / sense the risk, the dependence, the off balance, the instability of the relationship in the moment.

Horizontal is Buber’s I–It. Vertical is I–Thou or I–I.

Whenever the other is felt to be more or less than I am–that is a clue.

When they are felt to be less, that is Buber’s I-It.

When I am felt to be less, I am internalizing Buber’s instrumental approach with “myself”.

Kind of an It-It, where no one is being respected, where there is no self respect, only violence.

Whenever I become anxious in the presence of another–that is a clue that I am going horizontal.

Whenever there is judging involved, that is a clue that I have abandoned vertical for horizontal.


Aikido: Serious Play @ Work

September 11th, 2011 · No Comments

Workplace aikido





August 28th, 2011 · No Comments







Breathe Center Ground

August 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Only then



Lead with breath

August 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Lead with your breath

into  / out from

your center

and move from there.

Holding your breath helps nothing

Stops flow

Prevents balance


Embodied Stress

August 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Stress is not external

Stress is what I choose to do with my own body

Lowering stress is

owning it

practicing stressless ways of being in the world

in my body



Practice relaxed presence–daily

August 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Flowers will not grow

without water


Knowing as Being

August 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Knowing joins being

In the body

In the world

In this moment

Disembodied knowing is misguiding.

Take care.


Knowing is Embodied

August 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Any “knowing” that takes me out of my body,

away from relaxed center,

is miss taken.


Marc, pay attention to this.


Aikido’s Basic Hygene

August 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Active whole body relaxation

Active  rest



The Human Art

August 18th, 2011 · No Comments

Innovation is the human art of creativity for others

It is non-mechanical.

It is done full-bodied,

a generative, fully human art



August 18th, 2011 · No Comments

Move among people in ways that they feel your support

So they feel safe enough

To innovate (create, “serious play”)


A simple practice

August 16th, 2011 · No Comments




From the belly




August 16th, 2011 · No Comments


brings me back to neutral

Aikido Practices

bring new possibilities


Flow or Control

August 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Your choice!


My Advertisement for Embodied Leadership at the Dojo

August 9th, 2011 · No Comments

You will engage in simple practices which enable skillful innovation.

These practices enable innovation through connecting with the situations you are in and with others.

The practices are simple and powerful; they support precise, effortless, moment-by-moment innovation through breathing, grounding, and connection.

Situations will be experienced as embodied and responses will become embodied and smooth.

Work will become less stressful and more playful.

You will be happier, as will those around you.

Your mind will have a body to play with–rather than having your mind go it alone, even working against your body.

Joy will show up.

Please come join us.


Precsion is not myopic Focus

August 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Brings the whole together
In this moment

It is not “focus” to the exclusion of the whole


My Body

August 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Connecting with the ground and any other


Frisby Akido

August 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Moving from center

Breathing out



August 7th, 2011 · No Comments

A sharp sword

A real attack

Placing a stitch

A good kiss


Precision, the seventh Assertion–the 7th Fact

August 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Precisely grounding

Grounding precisely

Precisely centering

Centering precisely

Precisely connecting

Connecting precisely

Precisely effortless (flowing)

Effortlessly (flowingly) precise

Precisely transforming

Transforming precisely

Precisely present (being) in this moment

Present (being) precisely here and now



July 31st, 2011 · No Comments

BLENDING  (Connection)


SPIRALS (Effortless Transforming)

(in the Present Moment)

(with Common Center of Gravity and Balance)



Always occurring

July 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Always occuring

In the present moment


Aikido Practices are not Habits

July 25th, 2011 · No Comments

HABITS are more or less automatic routines which are triggered and run without direct attention

PRACTICES are intentional actions which occur in the moment with the full benefit of attention and reflection

AIKIDO is not the replacement of ineffective habits with more effective habits

Aikido is the practice of playful fearless presence, a continual turning toward what is happening

with a mood of gratitude and curiosity and a body tuned to gravity and flow

with a intent to connect and blend rather than push, withdraw, or control.


Four dynamics at play

July 14th, 2011 · No Comments

ASSERTIONS   (facts)
CARE   (human choice)
ASSESSMENTS  (opinions from care and partial awareness of facts)

STRESS METABOLIZING PRACTICES (grounding, centering, connecting)



July 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Seven facts

GRAVITY    (attraction at any distance)
CENTER    (physics of mass, of physical being in motion)
CONNECTION    (wholeness, relatedness, I-I)
EFFORTLESSNESS   (flow happens everywhere, all the time)
TRANSFORMATION    (impermanence, emergence)
PRESENT MOMENT    (the only moment of being)



Start from

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments





Always turning toward

–this is presence,

the only place to start from.


Sameness Denied (or the practice of sameness)

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Will (choice) to SEPARATENESS!?

What historical perception fears connection?

What stance

Prevents the felt experience of


What history am I physically holding on to that precludes acceptance and sameness?

What does this holding, turning against, turning away feel like?

Find the sensation and turn toward it.

Practice sensing and turning toward, period.

That is the practice of sameness.


My Care

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Help others to have enough personal choice

in order that they

May help themselves and others to have good lives


Mood–gratitude, acceptance, curiosity, playfulness, ambition

Mind–attention to care

Body–relaxed, aware, vertical, connected

in total–blending



Trying or Being

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Horizontal force


Flowing presence


Both chosen and perfected through practice


“With it”

June 25th, 2011 · No Comments

I thought “it” was the point.

How funny!


The felt experience of being

June 25th, 2011 · No Comments


This encompasses everything so far.



June 25th, 2011 · No Comments


I – I



June 25th, 2011 · No Comments




June 25th, 2011 · No Comments



Experience Connection

June 25th, 2011 · No Comments

It is always happening

The felt experience is the practice.



June 25th, 2011 · No Comments

The enticing way of being



June 24th, 2011 · No Comments




June 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Holding on to nothing



June 24th, 2011 · No Comments

paying attention

Get a feeling for it
For connection with earth


Get Big–Prerequisite for blending

June 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Get big.

My attention must be larger than

my concerns and larger than

each of the others concerns and cares.

Movement occurs inside an envelope that includes all the cares in the “room”,

all the movements in the room.

This is essential, fundamental, in order to not be a bull in a china shop

moving blind to ones surroundings because you do not understand the contexts and situations of all concerned.


This encompassing position is calming and centering–knowing that you are not a bull in a china shop.


Care to Line to Connection

June 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

Clairity of purpose (care and line)
Is essential for Connection

Practice with the bokken.



June 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

Move at the speed of connection

Any thing faster lacks integrity
Produces fear and disharmony

Anything faster is instrumental

Connect to
Understand the other’s situation
You cannot blend otherwise


Sense from Center

June 23rd, 2011 · No Comments



Exploring Charge

June 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

Play with it
Become exquisitely aware of the sensations of
The transition moments
The reaction
The relaxation

The edges of heaven and hell
Peace and war
Harmony and discord
Play and fear
Joy and dispair


Playing with Fearsome Others

June 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

Master level akido?

I-I with fearsome people?

Get as big as their fearsome world

Include my world

Non- collision


Help them if I can

Without giving up my integrity

Move toward a creative space



June 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Through extension
and turning toward

Turning against
Turning away
Lose safety, lose integrity


Safety thru Connection

June 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Personal physical integrity
Through flow

–grounded, centered, flexible, extended, connected (“vertical”)

From care to care





June 19th, 2011 · No Comments



–is my care central to this moment?


–is my care connected with this moment?

Action (blending)

–is my care determining my precise line and my movement in this moment?



June 19th, 2011 · No Comments





Turning Toward replaces Fear and Aggression

June 19th, 2011 · No Comments

History of balancing fear with agression

History of balancing aggression with withdrawal


Both can be replaced with the third way

Turning toward–

Acceptance as presence, not acquiescence


Notice and turn toward

June 5th, 2011 · No Comments

With gratitude

Notice my turning

Notice the sensations of my

Notice my turning

Notice the sensations of my

Turn toward the sensations
and notice

This is my practice


Camel, Lion, and Child

June 4th, 2011 · No Comments

Per Bob Duhnam:

Nietzsche, an important philosopher of the continental and existential traditions, saw power as the capacity for creation, which often requires the capacity for destruction as well. In order to be someone who can tolerate and produce both creation and destruction, he said we have to overcome “the spirit of heaviness” that binds us to existing ways of being, that keep us unwilling to alter ourselves and leap into possibilities.

He portrays power with three images. Heaviness is portrayed by two images of power, the image of the beast of burden illustrated by the camel, and the image of the beast of prey illustrated by the lion. The camel is characterized by its resistance, its ability to carry others on its back, and its capacity to absorb adversity. We all need the power of the camel at certain times. The lion represents one who rebels, who asserts its own power in the face of others, and who declares the inviolability of its territory. We must also be lions at certain times.

The third image is the image of the child, who illustrates the power of the innocence of play, of the absence of heaviness. The child who builds castles in the sand, sees them destroyed by the waves, and then builds them again. To Neitzsche the power of the child, the power of play, is the superior form of power.
(This discussion is based on one in the book “The Ontology of Language” by Rafael Echeverria, available only in Spanish.)


Play as Supporting vs. Holding

June 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

The ground (and more)

Supports me

Without demands

I can let go of holding myself








In control

And just play in the…




To self






To extend sensing

May 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Not feeling is turning away


Drop into gravity’s calm hand

May 20th, 2011 · No Comments




May 20th, 2011 · No Comments


The Incline

Notice the feeling of The Incline

Turn toward this feeling


Drop into gravity’s calm hand


Does gravity need my help?

May 20th, 2011 · No Comments

What is supporting me?

What am I holding?

Can I trust being supported?
each moment



May 13th, 2011 · No Comments

Putting my whole self into the situation

Is often the best solution

Rather than trying to think or work my way out of the situation.


AIKIDO Practices–Calm down, Get big, Move forward

April 27th, 2011 · No Comments

The practices for calming down and sensing the situations for maximum choice, freedom and connection

The practices for getting big, sensing and extending into, the situation and possibilities

The practices for moving forward with others, with the situation; turning toward, connecting, blending with what is happening, who is present, and toward a positive healthy shared future (always aware of my choices of turning away or against same people, possibilities, and future)

The antidote (replacement practices) for (the practices of) anxiety, narrowness, and awkwardness, aggression, or retreat.


Transcending Paradigms

April 24th, 2011 · No Comments



Will power


Non-linear effect

April 24th, 2011 · No Comments




Practice the basics
Compression, Sinking, Balance, Breath, Supple Spine, Extension, Connection


A mat is always there

April 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Under my feet

Life is practice

The variable is



April 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Exaggeration is pushing against
Minimization is turning away


Freedom AND Solidarity

April 22nd, 2011 · No Comments






(peace, attention, extension, choice, flow…)


(union of)


(compression, presence, extension , connection, harmony, love, I-Thou, I-I, blending)


Early sensing

April 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Pay attention to what is sensed,

listen to the whisper, the murmur,

respect the whiff,

the slightest breeze,

the portent

Respond to that knowing


How much disonance is needed

April 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

for me to be aware of my intention?

Lower the level of feedback

the level of dissonance

needed for awareness of intention

Lower it to the point that it does not add stress to me or others

Below the crisis point.

Use curiosity rather than chaos, pain or force to be aware of my intention,

my inclination.

Be curious, moment to moment, of my inclination.

What am I turning against, away from, toward?


Reaching in

April 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

is not connection;

is off balance.

Connect with maximum freedom on all sides


Curiosity and Power

April 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

Protecting the weak,

Putting down, dismissing, the strong,

Indirection and calculation,

These ways of being are not essential. They are adopted from others who were not moving from curiosity. Nurture, like a loving parent, these misshapen children. Listen to them, protect them, converse with them, always moving from wholeness, from the deepest form of curiosity, which is power enough. They are now my life long companions, they are not who I am. Turn toward them, keep them in sight, be gentle with them, be curious about their activity. What is going on? Who are you? Who am I? What is your care? What is my care?


Off stage?

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

A waiting room

A private space

To withdraw into

Out of “sight”

A place to analyze, calculate, arrange for …


As John Lennon said,

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”



March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

You know!

Don’t blame or make excuses.

Staying with

what is authentic

True play.

You can stay connected.


(Extension required)




March 19th, 2011 · No Comments



What is unfolding

Not turning away or against, even a little




March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Everything is best processed through this body’s full experiencing

rather than only

My memory and dreams


Losing it

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments


and its big brother panic


–the ultimate lack of focus

–diffusion of capacity

–losing touch

There is little value in blinding one’s self

Choose presence

–drop back into this moment, this place, this grounded centered body

–moving center, moving from center

–extend and connect

–everything follows to the best possible outcome



March 19th, 2011 · No Comments



Vertical extension

from center

from ground

Head extended




March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

INTENT to push or withhold

Leaning against

Pulling away

Not a matter of degree





March 19th, 2011 · No Comments


Center to center

From extension to extension

Moving together, playfully

Imagine a work place where there was no violence

Only touching from one’s caring to another’s caring

Violence in the name of speed and efficiency

is demoralizing and disengaging

diminishing hope

precluding creativity, innovation

A recipe

for a static bureaucracy


Turning fully toward

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

(in no order, all together, as one way of being)


(instant intuition–sensing, knowing, pre-verbal, global)


(gratitude and respect, openness and curiosity-true play, touching, non-collisional)


(inclusive, not brittle & narrowly focused)


(falling/flowing into motion from center, with gravity)

Extension from ground

(in 3D with knees, hips, and spine)


(giving to and receiving from)

Accepting self

(with gratitude and respect)

Accepting what is unfolding

(with gratitude and respect)



March 18th, 2011 · No Comments

Move at the speed of relationship

Your speed of
Turning toward
And staying connected



March 18th, 2011 · No Comments

From obsession

Thoughts spinning
Disconnected from
The moment

Connected with
This ground
These feet
This body
These others, in front of me



March 18th, 2011 · No Comments


A relaxed abdomen
Is the embodiment of parasympathetic rest state

A fearful and excited mind
Is the embodied source of adrenergic fight or flight

Practice sensing, turning and moving from
A relaxed abdomen



March 18th, 2011 · No Comments

From center
Through heart
To head

The reverse!


Extension–reaching out

March 18th, 2011 · No Comments

Three responses
Turn toward, Opening, Touching
Turn away, Closing, Withdrawing
Turn against, Pushing, Violence

Blending is connecting with one’s own care and with another’s care by turning toward, opening, and touching
From grounded center
On a chosen line
With the others chosen line
To a peaceful and surprising present moment


MOVEMENT from center

March 6th, 2011 · No Comments

I have discovered that I have a static or at least staccato approach to living. Fluid movement is not my way of being in the world–to date.

I am beginning to practice moving

My center (how uncharacteristic)

My feet, following center

My arms and head, extending from center.

Practicing belly breathing to acquaint myself with my neglected center.


A journey, a choice, from fear to joy

March 6th, 2011 · No Comments

Excitement and or fear are my most common responses to change.

My professional life has been a protracted attempt to master my appearance–hiding, managing, controlling my fight or flight response; holding it in check and performing “as though” I am not in an adrenaline driven state.

Living in a control game with fear is reflected into all of my interactions. It generates tension and fear in others, and it is especially problematic for my teammates and for the people who report to me.

What if there was another way, a way to actually choose a non-adrenergic response? Is it possible that there is a peaceful (non-threatened) playful (play is not possible in a state of fear) flowing way of being with change and uncertainty?

Threat or Curiosity? Fearfulness or Playfulness?

It has become clear to me that there is such a choice–a choice always being made. The interesting thing is that the choice requires a movement from being in my head, where I analyze and interpret things as threatening (or not), to being in my body as I move in the moment in the physical world with many fewer threats than my head produces. This physical world in the present moment is dominated by some quite forcesgravity (a kind of attraction or love story between masses, one of which is me), balance (a dance between quite forces), breath (the steady rhythm of my life which reflects everything else) and extension (the physical intention to reach out and connect). Working with these quite forces requires only practice. None of these quite forces require words, in fact, words get in the way, unless the words flow from them.

It is the quietness of these forces that has worked against their use. Fear screams. Gravity, well… it is always there holding things together, like a good parent.

So, I cannot report that I have conquered fear (that approach would just exacerbate the problem), just that I finally have an alternative, and that the alternative is a set of simple practices, and I have found a community of people working with the same practices.

What have the early effects been? A much less hectic and stressed family life. An awareness of what is driving my feelings and reactions at work. The ability to be calmer and more of a team member at work.

Stress and fear just don’t add much that is useful to my life and my work. My journey continues. I am very optimistic. Those around me have commented that things are very different with me and them. I have a place and a way to practice true play–living in the moment with  joy.



March 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Become familiar with the moment, the feeling
of Abandoning

Turn toward the feeling of abandoning:

In the futile quest for control, certainty, perfection
(All joyless, playless moves)
I routeinly abandon the engaged moment
For an abstract,thoughtful, private, “safe” retreat from–

How very awkward and unrewarding

Connection, uncertainty, creativity, play, joy



March 5th, 2011 · No Comments



Sense from center–self and others in the present moment

From the ground

as often as possible



March 5th, 2011 · No Comments


From ground

From center

Through extension

From and to my concerns and care

To and from the others concerns and care


Very attentively, very present,
on this ground,
in this place,
with this body,
on this line

Connected precisely with
that specific person,
on that specific ground,
in that specific place,
in that body,
on that line,
with those concerns,
with that past and that hoped for future,
in this moment

Only playfully

Together–Precise Play, Playing Precisely


Discover hara (center)

March 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Moving from center?

Practice opening doors from center

Practice stepping and then walking from center


Play with

March 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Perfection is not playful

It is wrought in private places

It is a magician’s act of deception (of self and a few uninitiated others)

Play is destroyed by knowing, planning, technique or effort.

Play is not perfect (except in spirit)

It is open (exposed)

It flows from physical gratitude into respect and connection

Gratitude for the attraction between us and the earth

Gratitude for the certainty of center (hara)

Gratitude for the possibility of suppleness and extension

Respect for ones past and future

Respect for the possibilities of now–this moment, the only moment

Connection with self and all of self’s contradictions

Connection with this space,

particularly this ground, through balance;

and this space through extension

And connection with the other(s)

Playfully, with no inclination toward perfection


Changing the incline

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Requires attention
Is pretty easy

Changing intention (arising from from a “hidden” incline) is more difficult

Changing behavior (muscles & bones, feelings, thoughts) is even more difficult

All are levers, doors, openings for learning and change.

The incline is the farthest up stream,
with the least attachment and momentum to deal with


Checking the incline

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

I can “feel” the incline
My momentary inclination
Away or against

This critical information is easily available to me.
It is the root, the well spring
Of what is going to happen

A little attention to my incline
Changes everything

A true nonlinear effect
Real leverage in my journey back to
True play



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments







From simplicity and safety

Toward connection



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Only occurs when vertical

Moving with
Self &



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Exists only when inclined toward

Human interest only exists when inclined toward



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Develop a bias against violence
Lean away from self violence
Lean toward presence and connection
With self and others



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments

My precise state of
The pre-intention
From which the intention originates
Which leads through intention to the action of
Away or Against

Inclination to protect self or to connect with self and others
Isolation or I-I

Turn toward the inclination
Observe that



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Is only staying connected, touching
Throughout the entire waza
There is no plan to fall
No “correct” technique
Technique is not aikido, is not present
Aikido is present practice of connecting and blending

Aikido is extending and balance


Over reaction

February 25th, 2011 · No Comments

Over reaction.
Fearing X I exhibit -X.

There is another way:
Present with what is happening
Including fearing X
And simply being present with what is unfolding
Not defending
Not correcting nor over correcting in order
To be in the RIGHT place.
All of this unnecessary effort puts one off balance
Out of touch

The practice is:
Accepting connection
as a practice of neutral observation.


Metabolizing Stress

February 20th, 2011 · No Comments

One week of a two week vacation.


Daily breathing practice.

Relieves Horizontal reacting. (Reliving my past, projecting past onto an uncertain future.)

Supports Vertical. (Present in this place, in this body, with these specific people, now.)



February 20th, 2011 · No Comments


Blinding shame

Fight or flight


Stay with it, turn toward it, let it dissolve itself through insight

Ever how slowly and non-violently


Presence for Solutions

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

“Problem solving”

Acceptance, Openness, Curiosity, Playfulness

Violence against
Conversations with


Extend and Connect, from the ground, up and out

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

That is True Play

Based on a Vertical orientation


Commit my Allegiance to the PRACTICE of Fearless Play

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Replace the HORIZONTAL
–time and energy devoted looking toward fear, self protection-destruction


Intention and attention to VERTICAL
–gravity, balance, breathing, and supple spine

I am literally being consumed by my ATTENTION to the Horizontal.
I NOW COMMIT to changing my allegiance (what I actually do with my time) from my history and fears to the simple PRACTICE of Vertical.


Selfish disrespect

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Turning away

Turning against



February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Feel the ground



Supple spine

Nothing else is necessary

The rest will take care of itself without effort or violence

Thoughts will flow

Resolutions and dissolution will occur

That’s what happens


3D and Timeless

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

The Horizontal relationship to fear is
time constrained (worried about the future, based on accumulated fears from the past) and
of limited choice

The Vertical relationship to True Play is
timeless (in the present moment–the only time that exists) and
choice full

(Marc, you can turn your hips, bend your knees, fall, roll–really. Practice)


Gratitidue and Respect or Selfish Disrespect

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

That’s the choice!

Allegiance to

–the present or the past?

Allegiance to

–Touching / Connection or Withdrawal / Violence?

Allegiance to

–Practice or Pain


Observe my intention’s turning

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Which way is intention turning (before the body turns)

Away from self

Against self

Toward self


Away from other

Against other

Toward other


Away from, Against, or Toward


–Balance (in 3 dimensions),

–Breath (in the belly),

–Supple spine (openness)

–Extension (line, true strength, precision, the precursor of connection),


Pain or Flow

February 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Withdrawal, Pushing Against


Extension, touching, blending



February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

From center



On a Precise Line


(not Against nor Away, not self Protecting-Defeating) (compression-center-breath)

Connect, Blend, Flow



Imposed rules, by who’s authority

February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

Self imposed:

Trying to perform

For whom?

Noticing the awkwardness

Turn toward it. Feel the rules and violence behind stiffness and imbalance

Pain points to old rules, old quarrels

Accepting the old antagonists

Letting the body relax, letting the rule relax



From reaction to response

February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

History: Startle, withdraw, plan, … From anxiety with intellect.

Practice: Notice, accept, sense and respond center to center, I – I, with playfulness.

Even noticing the startle chain reaction, playfully.


No negatives :)

February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

Turning toward,

Is the only creative way,


Expand self

To include,

Let, allow.

Say “yes”.

To Awareness

To Flow



February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

Is not violence to self

Is not turning my back on, is not pushing away

Is not performing to an autocrat’s memory

Is of gratitude and respect



Move from center

February 12th, 2011 · No Comments

For the first time

(while blindfolded)

I was able to feel myself move from center

And have my feet support that movement


Now I know what it feels like!


Where are you turning, your self, as your body turns

February 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Connecting with another

from hara, as best I can


Connecting with embodied confusion.

Turning from hara toward the felt embodied confusion

Turning from hara toward ground

Turning from confusion toward hara

Not turning away from nor against…

Embracing the whole

Staying with it


Not hurrying, scurrying, running, trying…

Dropping all effort for simple curiosity


Blinded by sight

February 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Embodied learning prevented by my sighted brain.


Like a race horse in a fire

Able to practice with bokken



February 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Facing, being with, connecting

Accepting the whole swirling with gratitude

Not punishing (aggression)

Not holding away (withdrawing, as passive aggression)

Allowing the space and time for metamorphosis

In the victim

As well as in the perpetrator,

Who, of course, was someone else’s victim.

End the cycle.

End the progression.


I felt compression while walking this morning!

February 8th, 2011 · No Comments

No complaint

Pure gratitude

It just happened

How pleasant.


Sword (Bokken) Practice

February 5th, 2011 · No Comments

If you don’t know precisely what you are doing

Others cannot possibly blend with you

Clarity is necessary

for connection


Staying Connected

February 5th, 2011 · No Comments


Center–Breathing Sensing

Balance–Supple Spine

Extension–Connecting Touching

Reconnect through: ground, center, balance, extension

Without turning away or turning against.

Moving out of harms way


Staying connected.


Always three choices, three ways

February 5th, 2011 · No Comments





In each moment, with each person

Which is it?



February 3rd, 2011 · No Comments





Work could be fun

January 30th, 2011 · No Comments


Shared care.


Stories of me, us, & now



January 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Is that really necessary?



January 29th, 2011 · No Comments

Accept one’s self

Accept others through extension to sameness

Embrace the sacred earth, air, body–move as one

Move with extension directly into purpose and care

With another’s purpose and care




January 29th, 2011 · No Comments



In motion

Flowing, Never pushing, Never pulling


Two as one

Many as one



Practicing sameness

January 28th, 2011 · No Comments


From what?

Separating, isolating


Breath, relax, extend into

The true I-I.

Into true sameness.

Acceptance, of self.

That is the key move.

To practice.


I-I, Sameness, a Larger Center

January 28th, 2011 · No Comments






January 28th, 2011 · No Comments

I dropped it

Two weeks ago

Caffeine is for thinking more

I am practicing being more from center

More connected

My thoughs are better when arising from center

From connection

Caffeine does not help

I have not missed it.



January 27th, 2011 · No Comments


Not forced

Not thought.



January 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Is my work really mental, in my head?

Isn’t insight embodied, felt, experienced

Rather than something  Controlled

and Done from my head?

Isn’t most learning done with others

In a state of blending, connection, listening


What have I been thinking/doing all of these years?


Tension, rigidity, unhappiness

January 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

I have become very aware of the tension in my shoulders, back, and chest. I can let it go, each time.
I now understand that this reaction makes no sense, is the source of unhappiness, in some way it is actually the unhappiness itself.
I get nothing at all from this practice! It makes everything worse.
Let it go.

It is my holding on to my past (even its repression) which shows up as tension.
How truly bizarre.



January 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

To escape what?



January 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Being perfect?

No visible mistakes, top of the class
leads to hiding & disconnection,
self punishment,
ultimately some kind of annihilation.

Perfect being?

by care,
by gravity,
by the environment,
by breathing,
by others


Is it play?

January 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

If my intention and actions are not playful, then what are they?


Isn’t TRUE PLAY the best way to

experience the world,
get things done,
connect with others?


From reaction to connection

January 18th, 2011 · No Comments

History : Startle, withdraw, plan, … From anxiety with intellect.

Practice : Notice, accept, sense and respond center to center, I – I, with playfulness.

Even noticing the startle chain reaction, playfully.


Cadence, rhythm, beat

January 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Move at a cadence of connection. Nothing generative happens when you move faster. That is pushing, pulling, or holding.

Novices move at a slower cadence. ( That would be me!)

Accept this. It is a big part of blending. It must be safe enough for playful learning.


Vertical & horizontal

January 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Vertical–present with, connected, timeless, unfolding

Horizontal–anticipating through fear and worry (history), with tension, control, avoidance


Fueling with fear

January 16th, 2011 · No Comments

To some extent I have used anxiety and tension to get myself to prioritize and act. I create a dam of resistance and avoidance which backs up enough anxiety and self loathing to break through into a flood of “productive” action.

I perfected this in college, cramming for finals in some courses. The tension made it “easy” to finally engage. In the courses that were interesting, I did connect and flow and generally had no work to do for the final exam.

This pattern is pretty much the opposite of acceptance and flow. I have used self generated fear to drive myself. This method must have effects on everything and everyone around me. It is very much a form of disconnection, withdrawing, and then pushing.


Extension, from You (Ground) to You (Center) to You (Other)

January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

And from You (Other) to You (Center) to You (Ground)

Extension. True play. Joy.


From holding to flowing

January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Holding on and holding back = Fear

Flow with safety and integrity = True play = Joy


Get big

January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Attention, as big as what you care about. Includes what you connect with.

For the sake of connection, being with, being part of, “sameness”.

From Center.

Includes others as “sameness”. Truly, what they are attending to, what they are planning, when they begin to move, how they are moving.

Includes lines, ground, tempo, — all sensed through center, precisely.



January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Holding breath is off center and fearful. Prevents extension and flow.

Breath into belly, supports center.

Exhale from belly, supports extension and flow.


Falling and turning

January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Sensing from the head and chest. Rising up? Against? Or in defense?

Sensing from center.

Recognizing connection.

Falling with gravity, with the flow of the situation, beside the other person’s line, precisely

Turing around center.

Staying connected.

Gravity, connection, & motion => Flow

One hundred times from my head–dissonance.

One time from center, connected–simply beautiful.


Practice awareness from center, with heart and head in tune.


Extension or introversion

January 10th, 2011 · No Comments

When charged, what happens?


Training, practice, awareness

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments

awareness, breathing,
awareness, tensions,
awareness, breathing,
awareness, acceptance,
awareness, breathing,
awareness, relaxation,
awareness, breathing,
awareness, supple spine,
awareness, breathing,
awareness, extension,
awareness, breathing, connection, breathing, flow;
again and again a hundred times a day.

Awareness is presence, the rest is practice.

Breathing is core to awareness, acceptance and practice.


Move through the origin of fear

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments

Find the small fearful "self" and come out the back side into the whole, including, not excluding, the small fearful nodule which is then experienced NOT TO BE SELF but an impostor of sorts–a dark magician.

Acceptance of the small nodule of fear, with gratitude that it is so small. Extend around it, back into the playful space with others.

Get as big as the moment, the situation, the environment, my reactions, your reactions, your care, my care, our care.

Accept all with gratitude, through center, through breath, through supple spine, through extension, in fact this is extension, this whole thing is extension, extending.

Play in this whole space in this moment.


All connection is physical, embodied in this moment

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments

There is a real world.

One moves in this world.

One experiences this world.

Then one reacts. (one can react before experience).

The reactions are either acceptance/staying/flowing/connecting/and perhaps blending

…or fearful aggression or fearful withdrawal–pushing or pulling.

The acceptance staying from center/flowing/blending are present, "physical", coherent; generally "playful" and enjoyable.

The fearful choice is non-present, non-staying, non-flowing, non-blending, abstract, and incoherent; generally awkward and painful.

That is a heck of a choice.


Heart to hara?

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments

Heart to head I get.

Head to heart I get.

Heart to center (hara)?


…Maybe that was open ocean sailing?

Emotion that connected with the ocean and the night sky’s peek into the cosmos, with felt rather than thought implications and meaning?


Bad behavior?

January 8th, 2011 · No Comments

In a world of pushing, holding and withdrawing, what is the middle way? What is the practice of acceptance and blending?

If not pushing, if not holding, if not withdrawing, then what?

There must be a non-collision course, a subtle move out of harm’s way, and a continuing connection that is not pushing, holding, or withdrawing–that is flowing with the other’s energy and momentum. Experiencing the other as same, as connected oneness

To do this one must remain grounded, without fear and attachment. This comes from a larger space than heart and mind. It can only come from oneness, sameness, "compassion" which is not empathy, rather universality, wholeness, total lack of narrowness.



January 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Not pushing, not pulling, not trying to dominate nor avoid. Knowing one another’s cares and moving with them, not against, not away from, but together. Connecting and reconnecting.


Moving from & to center

January 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Moment to moment, presently, without language, sense from center, stay with center, come back again and again to center. Connect to center from center. Over and over.


Kernel of fear

January 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

Fear has a way of puffing itself up.

This slight of hand is given it’s power when we loose track of the small, simple starting point. Some small past pain gains the upper hand when we wish to avoid a reoccurance in the future AND we loose track of the total felt sense of that initial psychic "injury"–often just a discomfort.

The untethered event becomes a fear which then commands life and death emotions and reactions, really disturbing our lives. Disconnecting us from life. Fear is disconnection. It lives in the horizontal, dispersed way of being.

A useful practice: Find the small original kernel, stay with it, reacquaint. Let it return to the size of an event. That is much better, almost laughable. Nearly enjoyable. Certainly a relief!


Two ways of being

January 1st, 2011 · No Comments

Fear or Joy

Fear: Autonomic nervous system for fight (push back) or flight (pull away). Fear–narrow focus, tense muscles; unable to "fall" where needed with no delay.

Joy: Parasympathetic nervous system for staying where you are, connecting, relaxation, rejuvenation, adaptation, growth, change. Joy–broad open focus, relaxed body, able to stay with whatever arises

Each is a practice. In the beginning a set of practices.


True play

December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

This is a big one. I will not say much here, yet.

It is Sensei Bert Bennett’s whole view.

It shows up as joyful, engaged, flowing, physically dynamic learning.

It is this felt sense of true playfulness which is so attractive and enticing about this dojo.

The moments of connection, the learning in these moments.



December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

Bert Bennett has an embodied way of being he refers to as vertical (as distinct from horizontal).

The more I explore this, the more wisdom I discover.

Embodied connection with gravity (and environs–grounding, extension, flow), feeling (in the chest, empathy, fear, care,…), and cognition (thinking, language, narrative, stories believed-lived-told). These three anatomically stacked ways of being in the world are at their best when all in play and given primacy from the ground up.



December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

A fundamental practice.

Awareness combined with staying/accepting (not pushing, not withdrawing) is the basis of being and learning and unfolding toward what is most attractive, most integrated.

I am becoming much more aware of the reactions and tensions in my body. This awareness allows me to return to my practice of breathing, extending, and supple spine.


Line, a committed path

December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

How to blend!

A line, is a person’s present, committed path, to take care of something…

To avoid collision, to blend, to co-create, to move together one must sense the other’s chosen line.

One must choose and commit to one’s own line, and then move together, blending, flowing, connected, thus staying out of harm’s way and helping the other on their path.


Gratitude & acknowledgement

December 30th, 2010 · No Comments

Everything on this site comes from my interaction with Sensei Bert Bennett. I am just documenting my own unfolding understanding.



December 30th, 2010 · No Comments

That which does not flow from vertical integration. Reactive, threatened, anxious, analytical, disconnected.


Staying with the unflowing practice

December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Trying to change, well it just makes things…

Accepting lovingly the felt experience of an awkward and unfulfilling practice, emotion, habit, reaction…

This is the only way. Pushing or pulling on some "unwanted" aspect of oneself gives more life to that.

Accepting the whole of the unfolding, horizontal practice, its source, its physical manifestation, its felt sense, AND DOING NOTHING about it, just being with it, connecting with it is the way. Things integrate and loose power or gain power from this way of being.

In my case: relax my belly in place of tensely holding it in and therefore holding my chest out–my current practices of unneeded tenseness. Oh, and allow my knees to bend, therefore allowing my waist to stay flexible rather than flexed. An unintended and unflowing consequences of tenseness.


Staying connected, committed

December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Be clear and committed to  what you care about.

Connect to that care.

Stay with that care.

It has an awareness from center, through the other, through the ground.

This connection, its attractiveness, is the source of everything that needs to happen. From this connection, when I stay with it, something real and wonderful unfolds without effort or technique.

By the way, standing to the side, watching, thinking, judging, planning–these practices are not the practice of connecting.



December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Balance is the manifestation of grounded care.

Flow originates in care.

Connection is shared care.

Lack of care is, careless, awkward, chaotic.

An attractive  future unfolds from present shared care.

I alternate between hiding and participating.

The practice is to know what my care is and move from there, connect from there, stay with it, gently return to it, again and again.

Straining (pushing and pulling) is not caring. It is avoiding care.



December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Trust arises in connection.

Grounded trust integrates embodied authenticity and its consequence, felt sincerity, with improvisational wisdom. When these occur together trust is worthy.



December 26th, 2010 · No Comments

There is always some limit, some boundary, some separation that I choose–to protect me from… what?

"Sameness" is an innovation beyond Buber. It is the experience of being Sensi’s "you-you".

It is true connection.


Timing and rhythm

December 26th, 2010 · No Comments

Start only when connected.
Move at a pace to stay connected.



December 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Connecting with another is… well it is the human thing.

Connecting with gravity, balancing, staying on a line, staying with gravity, to the end.

When connected, the movements unfold without technique, without thinking, without emotion.

Connection is the foundation of flow.

And flow feels good to everyone involved.


Breath and anxiety

December 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Anxiety results in poor timing. Moving too soon or too late. Moving in the wrong direction.

Breathing before I need to is connected to moving before needed.

Holding my breath is connected to moving too late.

Breathing before necessary comes from my chest.

Breathing when necessary comes from my abdomen.


Sameness or alienation

December 17th, 2010 · No Comments

There is real connection in the world.

There is a self imposed attempt to limit this connection.

It is a kind of fighting against reality in an attempt to protect something or the other from something or the other.

This movable, self imposed boundary is a big deal. Fortunately this "false" boundary setting and its origins are susceptible to Aikido practices, starting with awareness and then a gentle acceptance and curiosity.

The larger the space of sameness, oneness, non-otherness, the more flow that can occur.

Self selected alienation is another word for this boundary. Sounds inviting?


Practice and positive psychology

December 14th, 2010 · No Comments

People do flourish when their experienced ratio of positive affect to negative affect is 4 to 1 or more.

One does not have to change others or the world to change one’s own affective experience. One can develop personal practices of acceptance which shift from fear into joy and true play.


“Staying with it”

December 12th, 2010 · No Comments


It is not an act of will or power over.

It is the simplest of things.

Breathing from below the diaphragm.

Noticing what is going on, with tension,  with my muscles, with what is being held or contained or avoided.

Noticing my physical relation to the floor (balance)

Noticing how I am connecting with whatever is going one around me.

That is it. Seems simple enough. It is. It seems to be the main or foundational practice of Aikido.

The marshal art techniques are based upon this.


“Bad” thoughts and “bad” behaviors

December 12th, 2010 · No Comments

Assigning negative labels and then attacking one’s own unloved behaviors–my normal approach–is perfectly counter productive.

A different and simpler way is to accept it, stay with it, see what it does when felt but not threatened. Surprisingly, something nice and playful happens.

The power of the habitual reaction lessens, without effort; precisely because there is no effort, only openness and attention.

Another aikido surprise.



December 12th, 2010 · No Comments

Embodied mind! What a surprise!

What I practice with my body profoundly influences where my mind goes.

I would not have believed it.


A choice, not a reactive continuum

December 12th, 2010 · No Comments

Playfulness vs. apprehension; joy vs. fear–I now see that these are binary choices. The choice is to practice one or the other. The intensity of our reaction or experience can be placed on a continuum. The practice we embody in this moment is either/or.

How wonderful.

Joy or fear is a personal choice of practice, not a passive reaction to the vageries of the world.

The practices are as different as vertical and horizontal.


Buber extended

December 11th, 2010 · No Comments

The edge = the precise line where I separate self from ..myself.

The precise line where I begin pushing or pulling away

Where Martin Buber’s wonderful invention Ich-du (I-thou) now and more profoundly becomes I-I.

Where pushing, pulling,and avoiding become accepting and being with, sameness, unity.


Life is a breathing practice

December 11th, 2010 · No Comments

I might as well have a conscious awareness of the practice.


Staying with

December 11th, 2010 · No Comments

Stay with whatever comes up.
From "vertical", an inclusive, connected, movable place of choice.
Stay with fear, from "vertical", while fear exposes itself and transforms, without effort.

Effort only serves to amplify or harden fear.


Early insights from the dojo

November 28th, 2010 · No Comments

Calm down = Breath (deep diaphragmatic breathing practice)
Get big = Extend
Move forward = Play (5Ps)