The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, April 27, 2006

More on The Path

All right—I’m back, and have had an opportunity to rest, and beginning to think about the Portland Path seminar.  Let me make one thing clear—it was instinct that told me Scott and I could create something worthwhile, but the truth is that I didn’t know exactly what it would be.  I’m very familiar with his work, and it suggested to me that Scott has a singular vision of the connection between mind and body.

My own lifetime of work has been obsessed with the ways that human beings can improve the quality of their existence.  All of that led me to my current thoughts on the Hero’s Journey (the combined world wisdom concerning the path of development) and the Chakras (my favorite model of the levels of development).  And in the midst of all of it is the growing certainty that the body is the safest and most direct doorway for this development.  Why?  Because it is an infant’s first laboratory, the primary way they discover the world, begin to create a “map” of reality.

But between the tabula rosa of an infant, and the confused and knotted internal skein of an adult lies a twisted, unmarked road that can damage us on every side.  One can spend thirty years in therapy deciphering an unhappy childhood and still marry your daughter (Woody Allen, anyone?) So…the head just isn’t my favorite place to start.  Honestly, though, I couldn’t devise a physical path equal to the task.

Coach Sonnon’s FlowFit is the key I was looking for.  Now, understand, it isn’t some kind of miracle “take one of these every day for the rest of your life” type exercise.  No.  The truth is that as soon as you can do it for 20 minutes at third level, you can forget it—you’re ready to be free.  But the person who can do that is flexible, strong, balanced,   coordinated, and has excellent wind.
Such a person can find other activities, devise other ways of doing the same thing.

But the most important aspect of FlowFit isn’t the exercises at all…it is the guidelines that make FlowFit safe and effective: the idea of rating pain, exertion and performance grace on a scale of 1-10 and putting very specific standards into effect.  Pain must go no higher than 3 (a pinch), exertion between a 5 and a 7 (you can talk, but cannot sing) and grace at 8 and above (seeking beauty in motion).

A person who learns these things can turn any activity into an opportunity to unite mind and body.
During the course of the workshop, Scott was everything I’d hoped he’d be—and came up with a few intuitive connections that blew me away.  I’m still working with them, and will talk about them in the coming days.  One has to do with the connection between the Hero’s Journey and the body’s Neuro-Immuno-Endocrine response.  That the “Dark Night of the Soul” and the “Drunken Monkey” voices in our heads as we attempt to reach new and higher performance plateaus are Macro-cycles of the Mini-Cycle experienced physiologically as we approach fatigue and then reach second wind.  Bringing this up to conscious level gives us an opportunity to consider every day’s exercise to be a model of the way we deal with larger, more global life stresses.

Cycles within cycles.  The important thing is to evolve your life to the point where every aspect of it is connected to every other aspect.  Scott REALLY came up with a winner there, and for me, that was worth the price of admission…
And by the way…I’ve seen about ten workshop reviews at this point, all glowing.  Big sigh of relief, with a cautious eye to the future.  We have a spark. The trick now will be to nurture it carefully into a full flame…

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