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Sloww Sunday Newsletter 129 (Jan 15, 2023) — Breathing Practices, Seven Generations, Knowns & Unknowns, & More
Sloww Sunday shares creations from Sloww along with curations of fascinating finds to 10,000+ students of life. If you enjoy this issue, please help grow Sloww by forwarding the email version of this newsletter to other lifelong learners.
🌎 Lighter Living
Breathing Practices for Better Living
At the end of last year, I took Jonny Miller’s Nervous System Mastery course. The next cohort will run from April 10 — May 12 (I’ll share another reminder before then).
In the meantime, the infographic below shares some of the key breathing practices I learned. Sloww Premium members can get an overview of the course here: 🔒Behind the Scenes: What I Learned from the Nervous System Mastery Course by Jonny Miller
“How we breathe directly impacts how we feel and even the thoughts that we have. Our seemingly objective experience of reality is in fact entirely mediated through our neurotransmitters—and because a breathing pattern shift creates a reliable and consistent shift in blood chemistry, this will in turn radically alter our experience of life.” — Jonny Miller
Explore more: How do I design a lighter life (Sloww Stage 1)?
🧭 Deeper Purpose
Ends are Beginnings
It took an existential crisis for me to start the investigation into who I am. While the crisis was a tough time, it marked the end of one part of my life and the beginning of another. I now refer to things as “pre-crisis” and “post-crisis” because it was that significant in changing the trajectory of my life.
If you are currently in the midst of any type of life crisis (identity crisis, quarter-life crisis, mid-life crisis, existential crisis, dark night of the soul, etc), just remember:
- “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” — Louis L’Amour
- “Every transformation demands as its precondition ‘the ending of a world’—the collapse of an old philosophy of life.” — C.G. Jung
- “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” — Joseph Campbell
- “The caterpillar doesn’t become a butterfly, it enters a death process that becomes the birth process of the butterfly. The appearance of transformation is an illusion. One thing doesn’t become another thing. One thing ends and another begins.” — Jed McKenna
Explore more: How do I find higher purpose (Sloww Stage 2)?
🧠 Mental Wealth
Think of the Knowns & Unknowns
This concept is referred to as the “Known-Unknown Matrix” or “Rumsfeld Matrix.” The top two combinations are straightforward, but the bottom two are where we really need to keep our eyes and minds open (more on Wikipedia).
“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.” — Donald Rumsfeld
Get Mini Mind: 365 Daily Emails of Bite-Size Brain Food
Explore more: How do I master the mind (Sloww Stage 3)?
☯️ Timeless Wisdom
Always consider Seven Generations
If you want to be better at long-term thinking, practice “seven generation stewardship” (Wikipedia). The origin is attributed to the Iroquois who believed that thinking and decision-making should always consider the consequences for multiple generations.
There are at least two ways to think about this. One is to think of seven generations into the future (see this YouTube video). Another is to think of yourself as one generation in between three past generations and three future generations (see this YouTube video). Personally, I find the latter scenario more powerful because it focuses on the interconnected thread between past, present, and future.
“We are looking ahead, as is one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come … What about the seventh generation? Where are you taking them? What will they have?” — Oren Lyons (Chief of the Onondaga Nation)
“Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground—the unborn of the future Nation.” — Iroquois Constitution
Explore more: How do I embody wisdom (Sloww Stage 4)?
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Synthesizer & Solopreneur