The Descent to Soul with Dr Bill Plotkin

PLUS: Farewell Mexico, Collecting Life's Big Questions & Dancing with Grief.

Hello Curious Human 👋

Greetings from a yard sale in Boulder, Colorado. It’s chilly this morning. I’m wrapped up in a puffy jacket whilst Kelly is selling 90% of her belongings to passing strangers. We’ve been reflecting on the meaning and nostalgia associated with these possessions that we feel oddly compelled to hold onto for so many years.


🎙️ Bill Plotkin Interview // This one is a must-listen episode for anyone interested in how to become a more mature human and find their purpose in life. To me, Bill is a genuine elder and visionary with a very unique perspective on these timeless questions.

🏫 Future of Learning // I joined the inaugural cohort of the Be On Deck Course Creators and have been extremely impressed. The quality of the curriculum design and community-first learning experience is potent (I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up disrupting Ivy League MBA programs)

🙏 Dancing with Grief // One of the most listened to episodes of my podcast was with Jungian psychologist, word-weaver + soul seeker Erick Godsey (listen here). Erick turned the tables and interviewed me on his ‘Myths That Make Us’ podcast and we dove into my journey through grief and explored what emerged on the other side.

🇲🇽 Farewell Mexico // After nearly a year in Central America, Kelly and I have decided to end the Central American chapter & will be relocating to Bali for the foreseeable future (to explore joining a co-living community there amongst other things—please do come visit!)


Wherever in the world you are reading this from, I hope you’re finding joy and magic in life’s little moments & pursuing the questions that matter most to you.

Stay Curious!

~JM

p.s. you can support Curious Humans by sharing this newsletter with friends, becoming a subscriber or even buying my episode with the poet David Whyte as an NFT


🎙️ Soul Initiation, Mythopoetic Identity & The Spiritual Adventure with Dr. Bill Plotkin (listen)

Dr. Bill Plotkin is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide and visionary ecopsychologist—his work might well be the map that you didn't know you were looking for. It has been for me an immense treasure trove of practical wisdom and guidance for thinking about my own growth and maturity.

In this conversation we talk about,

  • The definition of what it means to be a genuine adult (and why he believes 80% of humanity are currently stuck in early-stage adolescence)

  • His map of the five stages of the descent to soul and the path to becoming a true elder, what he calls 'sacred wound work' a story of the weavings of the Native American Diné people,

  • The 'four facets of mind' as a unique framework for personal development a and cultivating human wholeness,

  • An ambitious vision for this work to be put into practice by a global network of 'mystery schools' and so much more…

"True Adults and Elders are people who know why they were born, who know who they are as unique individual participants in the web of life, and who, in most everything they do, creatively occupy their distinctive ecological niche as a life-enhancing gift to their people and to the greater Earth community."

– Dr Bill Ploktin

Listen to the Episode


🔍 On Collecting Life’s Big Questions

I’ve been thinking about questions and how in some ways they are like the lenses through which we experience life.

Asking a beautiful question allows you to listen in a different way and can compel you to walk towards the unknown (Here are 53 beautiful questions inspired by poetry).

Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison has an excellent ‘Canon for Life's Important Questions’ which I believe is an exercise that everyone should attempt.

Examples of his big questions are ‘What's the successor to the book? And how could books be improved?’ and ‘Why is there no canon for life's most important questions?’

We are rarely taught the art of how to ask better questions—instead, we have a tendency to grasp hold of easy answers because frankly, it’s uncomfortable to sit with the uncertainty of not knowing.

At the end of each month in my monthly review, I include a section for ‘beautiful questions’ that I’m sitting with and feeling my way into.

related: Judson Brewer sharing the two flavours of curiosity and how they can help overcome feelings of overwhelm + anxiety.


🔗 Et Cetera

🌹 AI-generated pick-up lines

🦖 T-rex likely hunted in packs

🙏 Make generous assumptions

🌱 Live music generated by plants

👋 30 alternatives to ‘how are you’?

☄️ The Barnum effect via NessLabs

💌 Newsletter love: Soul Art Sundays

🧘 Meditation + profanity = mindf***

💸 A newsletter that pays you in bitcoin

🛌 The seven types of rest via TED Ideas

🎳 Drone-pilot wizardry in a bowling alley

🧱 Roman concrete gets stronger over time

💀 The dangers of being too attached to life

🃏 Learning to play the fool via Austin Kleon

👐 How to lend support without burning out

🤖 Robots can officially dance better than you

🌳 Stunning streaks of light falling from trees

🎙️ The 4-hour podcast episode via Tim Ferriss

🪙 Thoughtful incubator for social token design

🐒 Monkey playing mental pong through neuralink

🔬 The ‘moun’ particle is disobeying laws of physics

✨ Deep wisdom from the spiritual side of wolverine

😵 Why we stare at our own faces on zoom via WIRED

🕍 Economic principles for a Great Resetvia C. Eisenstein

🪶 Understanding brick, feather + dump-truck moments via Olo


📝 Parting Poem

By David Whyte

Start Close In Start close in, don’t take the second step or the third, start with the first thing close in, the step you don’t want to take. 
Start with the ground you know, the pale ground beneath your feet, your own way to begin the conversation. 
Start with your own question, give up on other people’s questions, don’t let them smother something simple. 
To hear another’s voice, follow your own voice, wait until that voice becomes an intimate private ear that can really listen to another. 
Start right now take a small step you can call your own don’t follow someone else’s heroics, be humble and focused, start close in, don’t mistake that other for your own. 
Start close in, don’t take the second step, or the third, start with the first thing close in, the step you don’t want to take.