Breathwork Cheat Codes, Volcanic Musings & Soulful Book Recommendations

PLUS: Life Updates from Guatemala, Handpan Magic + Donkey-Delivered Internet

🌋 Greetings from Guatemala!

Yesterday we crossed the Guatemalan border in our ‘91 VW Kombi bus, which thankfully has proven very reliable despite the roads (or lack thereof) on this side of the border.

At this moment, I’m typing these words a lava laden ash cloud spewing from ‘Chi Q'aq’ or ‘Volcán de Fuego’—an active fire-spewing giant, whose earth-shaking belly rumbles will be a soundtrack for our foreseeable future.

The intention behind this road trip was following an invitation to spend the next month amidst a co-living community—a small gathering of worldly poets, artists, photographers and other creative souls.

I’m deeply intrigued to see what emerges from this gathering as we explore the question of what it means to create meaningful community in a post-covid world.


🙏 30 Days of Breathwork Challenge // It turns out that a lot of you are curious about breathing! So far 80+ folks have signed up for the upcoming breathwork challenge that Conni and I are running. We begin on Feb 20 so if you’re tempted at all—don’t dilly dally Join us here!

😿 Luna’s Adventures // Our arrival in Guatemala was deeply bittersweet as our kitten Luna found a way to escape our van en-route to Antigua. We’ve spent days searching for her + handing out flyers but now can only remain hopeful that she is both alive and somehow finds her way to humans who can return her to us.

🛸 Handpan Magic // You might not have heard of a ‘handpan’ before, it is one of the few instruments that is both joyful + socially acceptable to play (without any musical aptitude). They’re still relatively hard to obtain, but we found a local Mexico maker who forged one for us… so we took it busking in the streets of San Cristobal.

Twitter Question // If you were giving advice to someone in their early 20’s, what are some ways they could invest in serendipity (smart luck)–share your thoughts.

That’s all for now folks + as always please feel free to hit reply if anything resonates or there is something you wish to share.

Stay Curious Out There!

–JM

Left: The view from my desk this morning // Right: Kelly posing with our new handpan at a lake close to the Guatemalan border

🌬️ Why Invest in Your Breath?

As a kid I was addicted to playing Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo. Fellow 80’s children may remember that pressing DOWN, Y, DOWN, DOWN, Y during those intro credits sends you to a magical realm of power-ups and bananas that were otherwise hidden from the rest of the regular gameplay.

Why on earth am I talking about Donkey Kong?? Well…

There are breathing patterns which are like secret cheat codes for living. In particular, learning to down-regulate from a state of anxious energy into deep calm and relaxation.

In less than a couple of minutes, these breathing techniques allow me to freedive 90ft underwater or meditate in the mornings even when there’s an active volcano rumbling nearby.

Meditation might not be right for everyone, but I believe that breathing really is. It’s the energetic superpower that was just under your nose all along!

And there are other breathing patterns which re-invigorate our life force, boost our immune systems, enhance our focus and bring back that zest for life.

With a little bit of dedicated practice, anyone can increase their daily breath awareness and rewire a lifetime of poor breathing habits.

Intrigued?? Consider joining us and 80+ humans for the 30daysofbreathwork challenge that kicks off next week!

Join the Challenge

🤓 Breath Factoid: The optimum breath for human nervous system regulation lasts for 5.5 seconds in and 5.5 seconds out–breathing 5.5 times per minute taking in 5.5L per breath!


📚 Soulful Book Recommendations

Books! Remember those? They may now have to compete with Clubhouse and Tiktok for our attention, but boy are these to worth setting aside time to digest.

Below are two complementary soulful books that have arrested my imagination in recent months and at the risk of sounding grandiose, feel somewhat important to the flourishing future of humanity.

#1 // ‘Re-imagining Adulthood And The Descent of Soul’ by Bill Plotkin (link)

Bill Plotkin Ph.D, is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide and intellectual radical. His work first captured my attention several years back when I heard a trip report from a close friend who attended one of his nature-based vision quests.

In a nutshell, this book is a field guide to genuine human maturity—laden with poetry, mythology and refreshingly practical wisdom for cultivating a meaningful life and healing our planet.

Bill believes is essential to reclaim, redesign, and revitalize practices for what he terms the journey of soul initiation.

“I am not hawking a new self-help fad, and the Descent to Soul is not therapy or a rite of passage. Rather, this book is something like a psychospiritual bomb placed as carefully as I’m able at the very heart of the techno-industrial civilization currently ruining our world.“

This book feels to me a timely roadmap for the terrifing metamorphosis that humanity is in the midst of descending into—like the caterpillar dissolving into goop, silently praying that it will emerge as a winged beauty on the other side.

#2 // ‘Courting the Wild Twin’ by Martin Shaw (link)

Martin Shaw may be one of the most interesting humans you’ve likely never heard of (watch this trailer for his storytelling masterclass and you’ll see what I mean)

It might seem bizarre to choose to listen to fairy tales in 2021, but as Shaw describes: without a deeper mythical perspective, what we’re seeing in the world right now is just bad news.

Myths are our secret weapon. The have a radical agency of beauty in our age of amnesia, an agency far beyond concept and polemic.

He believes that ‘myth is our wild way of sharing deep truth’ and the stories he tells have a living quality to them.

I’ve listened to this audiobook three times through now – and it honestly becomes more potent with each round. I could not recommend his work highly enough!


🔗 Et Cetera

⏳ Is time a god?

🍪 No-one cares about cookies

🪄 Remote experience generator

⏰ Why didn't the alarm go off?

👨‍💻 Re-imagine work/play boundaries

💌 How to ever get an email response

🐴 Delivering the internet via a donkey

🌳 Winning carbon capture X-prize entry?

💡 Neuroscience insights delivered via IGTV

🌎 Change the word—a unique poetry collective

🐼 This Panda is Dancing—a spoken word masterpiece