The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Path Workshop coming up...

This Saturday, Scott Sonnon and I are teaching the second PATH workshop at the LAX Marriott.  I’ll have to start thinking more seriously about it tomorrow—today is my last writing work-day this week.

Not worried…I  know what I’m going to be teaching, but this is a good opportunity to bring it up to conscious level.  Let me go through this…
1)     All my life, I’ve been looking at the question of success, and how human beings can achieve their dreams in an honorable fashion.
2)     The route to accomplishing this can probably be best summed up in Tim Piering’s statement that you need a) Well defined written goals and b) the ability to take action despite the voices in your head.
3)     Those goals should be in balance (health, relationship, career) because otherwise conflicting values can tear your life apart.
4)     The ego thinks that it is you.  Any experience powerful enough to change your life is powerful enough to trigger massive fear response.
5)     Moving from one level of accomplishment to another requires an infusion of energy.  This can come from many sources, including a focus of emotions, or an increase in physical fitness.
6)     Fear is reflected in chains of muscle tension.  Breaking these chains is one of the positive benefits of disciplines line yoga and tai chi.
7)     The overall pattern of energy flow in life can be…well, not predicted, but let’s say intuited.  A fine model of how life flows can be found in the steps of the Hero’s Journey, a view of world mythology throughout history.  This pattern reflects human experience.
8)     The overall pattern of energy flow in an individual human being is possibly best represented by the yogic chakras, which suggests that there are seven levels to consciousness, ranging from purely animal to purely spiritual—and all levels are necessary for personal evolution.
That’s the basic stuff.  Scott created the phenomenal FlowFit system of physical motion.  It has about 80% of the basic benefits of yoga or Tai Chi (energy, flexibility, overall strength and endurance, core strength, coordination, etc.) and can be learned in a single day.

The most interesting aspects of FlowFit (to me) are:
1)     Teaching the triumvirate of Breath, Motion, and Structure…which can be applied to any other physical activity.
2)     Teaching students to enter flow state. Physical flow is probably the single most sought-after (and elusive) aspect of fitness.
3)     Triggering the neuroimmunoendocrine response, also known as “second wind.”  This “membrane” is one of the keys to removing inappropriate fears from your life.  It is also analogous to the “Dark Night of the Soul” in the Hero’s journey.  Man oh man, do the monkey-voices in your head sound off as you start pushing yourself physically!  Running in college, for instance, was my introduction to that voice: it would literally tell me I would die if I kept running.
4)     Raising energy through proper breathing, aerobic physiological adjustments on the cellular level, increased flexibility and grace of motion, reduced muscle tension.
5)     Teaching an internal reference for exertion.  This is CRITICAL, and absolutely genius level.  You are learning to exercise the way natural athletes do it.  The difference is startling.

Here’s the kicker: any skill learned in one area of your life can be transferred to others.  So, by tying the three aspects together and then giving a simple, effective tool for clearing the mind through rhythmic exertion, and clarifying dreams and goals to increase motivation, we can give participants an experience of life lived with greater joy, purpose, energy, and fulfillment.

That’s the overview.  To be frank, the Path is intended to be a non-dogmatic, non-sectarian spiritual discipline.  Take it, try it, and then reverse-engineer it and apply what you have learned to your own life.  The Saturday workshop is the beginning—you have to take the lessons home and apply them to your life for six weeks, which seems to be about the minimum period for any kind of deep change to anchor in. That’s the overview.  Hmmm.  Not terribly ambitious, are we..?


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