Well, this is all rather exciting...

642 signups for the meditation challenge so far! 🧘

Hello friends 👋

Just a short note to say that we’ve been slightly taken aback by the response to this—over 600 of you have signed up for the 30-day meditation challenge so far! 🥳

There have been some heart-warming introductory videos + posts in the Facebook Group—we’re thrilled that so many of you are keen to participate + commit to deepening your practice (Conni and I needed to upgrade our zoom accounts + rethink the format to accommodate for so many humans!!) 🧘

Anyhow, this is just a note to say that our initial kick-off call will be on April 1, 11am MT (5pm GMT), so there’s another 36 hours to join the challenge if you feel so inclined.

Join the Meditation Challenge

p.s. if you’ve already signed up, feel free to invite one or two friends who might be keen to play along. Just forward this email to them or share this link

Join Our 30 Day Meditation Challenge

PLUS: Full Spectrum Humanness, Deep Curiosity & Corona-Related Creative Wonderment

Greetings Self-Quarantining Curious Humans 👋

Right now, it’s early morning here in Lake Tahoe. Whilst typing these words, I briefly look up to see an expansive blanket of powder snow through the window—pine trees standing motionless + regal—draped in magnificent robes of white.

The contrast is striking. On my laptop screen, I see the turbulent social media streams, the relentless firehose of uncertainty + updates—whilst barely a few feet away there is stillness, calm and exquisite natural beauty on our doorstep.

Personally, this has been a month of juxtapositions. Holding both concern + compassion for loved ones facing a real risk of losing their health, savings, businesses or dreams for the future, whilst at the same time acknowledging my own feelings of creative fire—a deep excitement + desire to create amidst the joy of a new relationship coming to life.


🚗 Life Update // Early tomorrow morning, my partner and I will be hopping in her 1991 Toyota pick-up truck and moving to Boulder, Colorado. It’s approximately a 16-hour road trip through the snow. Along with the rest of the world, we’re not sure how long the self-quarantine will continue, but we’re determined to make the most of this opportunity.

🧘 30 Day Meditation Challenge // I’m thrilled to share that I’m teaming up with my good friend, creative genius and fellow meditation teacher Conni Biesalski to run a 30-day meditation challenge together. The full details are below, but right now all you need to know is that it’s free + this an official invitation! If you’re up for the challenge, join us here at meditate.group.

🎙️ Embracing Opportunity & Loss // I took part in a moving three-way conversation with dear friends Tim Adlin + Mike Slavin. We drop in and share heartfelt reflections on unfolding global events—asking what questions are alive for us most right now: what is ours to give? How can we best serve in this time? Watch here or listen over on Tim’s thoughtful Voicecraft podcast.


🤔 We can’t be sure of much right now but these three things feel certain:

  • We are witnessing the full spectrum of the human experience.

  • This is a time to pause, to listen, to be the mountain amidst the hurricane.

  • What we need now, more than ever, is deep curiosity—a willingness to lean into the questions that are surfacing for us collectively.

Sending love + toilet roll,

–JM

p.s. feel free to invite a friend to join the 30-day meditation challenge (the more the merrier!) Either forward them this email or share the invitation link meditate.group. We’re anticipating a group of several hundred aspiring + experienced meditators, so it should be a ton of fun!


🧘 Join Our 30 Day Meditation Challenge

Right now, I know many of you have been asking yourself how you might best take care of yourself so that you’re fully resourced to support others during this emotional turbulence? How best to navigate waves of anxiety, exhaustion and uncertainty—seeking safety and respite amidst this sense of groundlessness?

My answer to all of the above is meditation. This is a time to resource yourself. To recenter and find that stillness amidst the unfolding chaos from which you can act and give. Let’s rebrand self-quarantine as a worldwide extended meditation retreat 🙏🧘

I spent nine months of last year training as a meditation teacher and am excited to share as much of what I learned as I can—along with habit formation tactics to help you commit to a consistent practice.

Conni and I will be incorporating breathwork practices for calming your nervous system (which feels like a missing piece from many mainstream apps). I’ve written about this before in terms of ‘Sharpening the Axe’, the idea being that instead of attempting a distracted 15-minute meditation—consider spending 10 of those on breathing to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and effectively calming the monkey mind 🐒

📆 Kickoff: Wednesday, April 1st 2020

This is what we’ll cover over the 30 days:

  • Week 1 // COMMITMENT: How to Build a Sustainable Daily Meditation Habit

  • Week 2 // CALM: How to Regulate Your Nervous System + Cultivate Inner Peace

  • Week 3 // RESILIENCE:​ Transform Your Fears + Anxiety Into Personal Growth

  • Week 4 // FOCUS:​ Cultivating Deep Work Rituals + Fall Into Flow

🤙🏼 Here’s the Lowdown

  1. We meet for weekly online live calls, guided meditations & Q+A

  2. You receive daily journaling & meditation prompts

  3. You get our epic resource list + FAQ to double down on your meditation practice (no more excuses!)

  4. We connect for daily check-ins in our Facebook Group, where you can also connect to other meditators and fellow curious humans.

  5. Also… it’s totally free, and you’re invited 👇

Join the Meditation Challenge


🔗 Et Cetera

💯 Unrelated little ideas

📚 Join a remote rebel book club

🙌 Quarantine + creativity = quantivity

👐 How can I help (this could be replicated)

🎧 Listening package for uncertain times

👨‍🎨 Global artistic social distancing festival

🤓 Superbly helpful corona tech handbook

🎙️ The unfolding meta-crisis via Rebel Wisdom

😨 Helpful toolkit for anxiety-related resources

👪 How to create community in a time of corona

😴 Free binaural beats for stillness via Cory Allen

📝 How-to Guide for creating neighbourhood pods

🌎 Gorgeous + comprehensive guide to remote work

⛪ Virtual family chapel facilitator's guide via Casper

🎙️ The case for meditation in an emergency via Sam Harris

🧘 How to create a home meditation retreat via Tara Brach

🤔 Join the stoa (collective sensemaking with smart + brave humans)

🗺️ A dashboard of how the world is attempting to #flattenthecurve


📝 Parting Poem

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

David Whyte

How to Exploratorium, Embrace Embarrassment & Become a Resilient Leader

PLUS: Forging Personal Mythologies, Reckless Resumes, Invitation to an Entrepreneur-SHIP, The Not-Boring Club + The Spell of Total Work

Ahoy Fellow Curious Human 👋

📆 What Are You *Most* Excited for in 2020? // The theme of the year seems to be one of embracing transition. I’m reminded of the Anais Nin line that ‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage’—so with that in mind, I’m asking what expansive intentions I might set for the year (and decade) that awaits.

🌎 How to ‘Exploratorium’ // Last week I embarked on a creative pilgrimage. Tucked away in the northern corner of San Francisco there is a sacred temple to curiosity known as the ‘Exploratorium’. As I wandered through their wonder-inducing ‘explore-for-yourself’ exhibits—what resonated most was their idea of the ‘exploratorium-as-a-verb’—and how this lens of fascination served as an invitation to see the world through perpetually curious eyes.

📝 Resilience Survey // Sincere thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the emotional resilience typeform survey in January. The response has honestly felt a little heart-wrenching—we’ve received over 230 stories of burnout (more coming through every day)—which has left me feeling responsible and fired up to create something genuinely helpful.

🧘‍♂️ Download a Resilience Meditation // one of the most underrated uses of meditation is as a tool for processing challenging emotions. I’ve recorded a (15 min) emotional resilience meditation—designed to guide you through the process of integrating + extracting insights from triggering experiences. You can listen or download free here (offered as a gift, but feedback is always appreciated).

As always, please do reply or share any reflections in the comments. I’ll leave you with a prompt question that has been on my own mind lately:

Who will you be, when you finish being who you think you are?

Stay Curious Out There!

Jonny

p.s. what is the weirdest job you've ever had? A good friend is crowdsourcing fun ideas for a ‘reckless resumes’ project—celebrating your odd jobs, semi-illegal income streams, and the quirky stuff you'd never actually put on your resume—share yours over at recklessresume.com.

📸 Left: sunrise above San Francisco // Right: San Francisco sunset at sea level

On Becoming a Resilient Leader 📝

This felt like one of those posts that I wrestled with & felt rather nervous to eventually hit publish, but I’m proud that it’s now out in the world (below is an extract).


It’s common to hear that we should learn to be resilient, yet far from being an innate character trait, resilience is a skill that must be practiced — which requires permission to invest time & resources into cultivating it, which for most people is a financial constraint.

I was fortunate to spend a week wandering the west coast of Ireland with the poet David Whyte in 2018 and he shared something that has stuck with me:

“Work is where we can make ourselves; work is where we can break ourselves.”

Many of us find purpose through our work, and push ourselves hard, but this has lead to significant burnout especially with those in positions of responsibility, both publicly and behind the scenes.

Whilst certainly not limited to the financial costs: founder and leader burnout severely impacts the bottom line of companies — yet it’s still not taken seriously at work.

Given sufficient time for recovery and processing, these ‘stressful obstacles’ forge resilient leaders. It is the alchemy of turning challenging setbacks into fuel for both personal & professional growth and ultimately into wisdom.

In fact, being in a position of leadership is one of the most efficient vehicles of personal growth imaginable. The level emotional intensity (eustress) will serve to surface your previously unexamined fears, insecurities and limiting beliefs.

So the question becomes, how do we train our resilience to stress as the path to growth?

Read Full Post


Emotional Resilience World Tour 2020 🌎

The four locations and dates for the 2020 Emotional Resilience Masterclasses are set and places are filling up fast (limited to 24 per location).

I’ll be facilitating these day long experiential workshops—designed to expand your capacity for confronting fears, and identify avoidance strategies—attendees will leave knowing how to remain centred in challenging environments, hold space for their teams and embrace their leadership potential.

If you know of any founders + leaders who may be a suitable fit, I would be grateful if you could forward this newsletter to them or put us in touch.

🌉 San Francisco // March 27
🇸🇬 Singapore // April 22
🇬🇧 London // September 25
🌴 Bali retreat // October 26-29

View Masterclasses


📸 Captured in South Ubud // above the rice paddies (close to our retreat location)

📆 What Events Are You Excited For in 2020?

The calendar is quickly filling up with exciting events! Here are three that I’m especially looking forward to (and would love to see fellow Curious Humans at):

🇲🇽 Founder Summit // Mexico City, March 13-15—curated by Curious Humans reader and Earnest Capital founder Tyler Tringas—I’ll be running a workshop with Anne-Laure on Mind-framing + Resilience for founders.

🚢 Entrepreneur-SHIP // Departing from Rome, June 7-11—stopping off in St Tropez, Tuscany + Monte Carlo… but luxurious locations aside, the attendee line-up is shaping up to be rather exceptional (I’m an ambassador and it’s invite only so let me know if you’re curious to jump on board).

🌎 World Domination Summit // June 23–29 in Portland—Already sold out! But spare tickets are available via their FB group. It’ll be the 10th and final WDS, having attended the previous two I’m excited to see what they team have in store!


Two Ideas Worth Sharing… 📝

1 // Why You Should Create A Personal Mythology 🐉

I spent a couple of days last week with previous podcast guest and thoughtful human Buster Benson and our conversations took an unexpected deep dive into the world of tarot and mythology.

Mythic mode is a way of looking at the world through a story-like lens. When you enter mythic mode, you recognize that you’re a character in Omega’s story, as is everyone else.

Embracing mythic mode feels like a medicine for our times. We crave story a+nd archetypes—they give us relief from the the anxiety of our perennial problems by creating spaces for shared meaning-making.

The realm of myths, the archetypal lens, and mythic mode are different ways of seeing this way of connecting our reality to the universal story directly.

He acknowledges that this post is just a working ‘scratch pad’ and that the real work is to internalize the mythologies in order to better participate in the world’s problems and opportunities. Read Buster’s full post here.


2 // Embracing Embarrassment + The Power of Not Knowing 🤔

I have been following the executive coach Ed Batista on Twitter for some time (he lectures at Stanford on the ‘Art of Self-Coaching’) and this piece of his on the power of not knowing really resonated (extract below, bolding mine)

“Life is full of potentially embarrassing moments, and we have to learn to navigate them without undue distress--but at times our efforts to avoid embarrassment come with a cost. A common scenario in which this occurs is when we realize that we're expected to know something we don't, and we seek to cover up our ignorance.”

He goes onto share how we often feel obligated to have the correct answers (in my view this is a hangover from our archaic schooling system). It’s funny how afraid we are to simply admit when there’s something that we don’t know, and forget that this comes with a cost:

“It's easy to bluff our way through these situations, but this comes at a cost: When we prioritize our desire to avoid embarrassment, we relinquish the power of not knowing.”


🔗 Et Cetera

🚶‍♂️ How to walk + talk

☄️ Per aspera ad astra

✏️ Why writing matters

🧚‍♂️ The spell of total work

💯 1,000 true fans? Try 100

😃 Join the not-boring club

👪 How to build a micro-tribe

🥣 When in doubt, make soup

🌴 Do you fear taking time off?

⏳ How much work is ‘enough’?

📝 Beautiful app for self-reflection

🤔 How to choose what to work on next

🙏 How mindfulness helps solve problems

🙌 Make 2020 the year of maximum enthusiasm

😨 Healing Trauma & Awakening the Vagus Nerve


📝 Parting Poem

This isn’t one of mine, but written by Guillaume Apollinaire, I’ve revisited it many times recently and it feels like a prayer to courage (which we could all use an extra dose of every now and then!)

“Come to the edge," he said.

"We can't, we're afraid!" they responded.

"Come to the edge," he said.

"We can't, We will fall!" they responded.

"Come to the edge," he said.

And so they came.

And he pushed them.

And they flew.

📸 Left: Sunset at Lake Tahoe // Right: Sunrise through the trees in Nederland

Emotional Resilience, Reverse Gratitude & The Cure for Anxiety

PLUS: Thoughts on Life's Slipstreams, Giving Yourself Away + An Ode To Friendship

Ahoy Curious Human 👋

I’m typing this miles above a baron Arctic ice-shelf // I've always loved flying since I was young, and somehow those sensations of childlike exhilaration have stayed with me to this day.

But what struck me today // seated by the window close to the wing—was the moment just before the aircraft wheels leave the runway and that invisible slipstream appears, shaping itself around the wing.

Those misty threads // only materialised once the plane had totally committed itself to the take-off and they continue to keep us all soaring above glacial rivers as I’m typing these words.

So my invitation to you is this // as you prepare to take off and propel yourself into the open skies of a new decade, take a moment to consider where those intangible currents appear in your life, and how you might orient your wings towards their flow.

Maybe those intangible currents // are the friends who are there for you when times get tough, the unexpected opportunities that appear when you are brave enough to commit to that take-off or simply the moments of inspiration that flow from a dedicated creative practice.

My experience has been // that staying alert to these slipstreams, pulls me towards a life that has the potential to be infinitely more wondrous than the limited horizons of pre-conceived goals I’ve spent so many of my days chasing.


I wish to extend a deep thank you // to those of you who have read and supported me from afar over the past 18 months. The conversations, support and companionship that have emerged from this space truly means the world to me.

Here's a question to ponder as you embark on this joy-filled lap around the sun:

'Who will you be, when you're finished being who you think you are?'

Stay Curious Out There,

Jonny

p.s. if you appreciate these updates, the best way you can support these Curious Human Creations is to contribute to, or share the Emotional Resilience survey mentioned below 🙏

Above: taken on Jan 1st whilst at Bali Silent Retreat

🏔️ Embracing Emotional Resilience

A few months back (it almost feels like another decade), I wrote about my ‘Makers Dilemma’—the decision to turn down a very tempting job offer, pledging instead to continue hacking my way through the thickets of the entrepreneurial pathless path.

Since writing those words and following my intuition (+ generous invitations) to various far-flung corners of the world, it seems that a way forward has emerged in the form of a mission that scares + excites me in equal measure.

Those of you who have been listening to the recent podcast episodes (or watched the TEDx talk) will have noticed a theme that emerged around what I’ve been calling ‘radical curiosity’—the capacity to courageously enquire into our inner challenges and embrace life’s obstacles as a source of growth.

So I’m now in the process of investigating, designing and facilitating workshops and retreats to build Emotional Resilience for startup founders & leaders.

One of my insights from last year was that I thrive when collaborating with others (and frankly it’s more fun)—so with this in mind I’m excited to be teaming up with the talented humans over at Studio D.

Although he describes himself as a ‘failed academic’, the founder—Jan Chipchase—has crafted himself a career that enables him to plot expeditions, decode culture and essentially get paid to be professionally curious (Jan has also distilled his life’s work and philosophies into this thoughtful ‘Field Study Handbook’ and runs a high-signal + satisfyingly minimal newsletter called RADAR).

Above: credit Jan Chipchase / Studio D.

Together, we’ve crafted a survey with the intention of learning and developing resources centred around emotional resilience, based on a shared mutual belief in the deep importance of this work.

We have received some extraordinarily moving and heartfelt responses so far. It’s becoming clear just how many in leadership positions feel isolated, overwhelmed and verging towards a state of burnout.

If you fit the description of a founder, leader or investor—please take some time to share your thoughts with us (it won’t take more than 6-7 minutes unless you find it therapeutic to spend longer) and if you know any communities for whom this might resonate, please do hit reply or forward this newsletter on to them.

Contribute to the survey ➾ ➾ resilience.study

I will also be sending a curious humans care package from Bali as a thank you gesture to someone at random who fills this out 🙏

🔥 Breathwork, The Cure for Anxiety?

“How We Breathe is How We Think” – Ed Dangerfield

This might be the most powerful podcast conversation that I've recorded to date. If you haven't already heard of Breathwork, I think it's fair to say that you that you likely will have by the end of the year. It's exploding in popularity, in the same way that yoga and meditation has over the last decade, and I think for good reason.

On a basic level, breathwork is the practice of changing your breathing pattern to shift your mental, emotional and physical state... but what I deeply appreciate about Edward is his clinical approach that is backed by years of training, endocrinology research and self-experimentation mapping out the human nervous system.

The aim of this conversation was to create something of a comprehensive beginners guide to breathwork and some of the areas we dive into are:

🏂 Ed's personal journey from being trapped in an avalanche and nearly dying, which led him to being a highly functioning alcoholic and depressive.

🗺️ How he has been able to map certain emotions onto specific breathing patterns. 

🧙‍♂️ Insights gathered from living with the Canadian Tribal Elders 

😲 Some of the healing that he has witnessed in his time guiding sessions: from a man who re-lived and processed a near-drowning experience to powerful stories of women who have been able to process experiences of sexual abuse.

Listen to the Episode


🤔 Three Reflections for the Decade Ahead

📆 Give Yourself Away // the first week of January is usually my time for future planning: who is the me that I want to become this year? What traits do I hope to cultivate, what experiences do I desire to feel, what creative aspirations do I dream of fulfilling. Instead I took a strategic silent retreat and spent the first few days in stillness, learning to give myself away.

❤️ An Ode to Friendship // Anais Nin once remarked that each friend ‘represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.’ We see ourselves more clearly reflected in the eyes of another, the mark of friendship might be someone who lovingly reflects both your highest creative potential and your blind spots.

🙏 Reverse Gratitude // I believe most of us have the idea of 'gratitude' backwards. We’re told that we ought to be grateful ‘for’ something (bonus points if you complete your 5 minute journal)—which is wonderful, but in my experience gratitude is more of an orientation—a flavour of awareness and a way of being. You might say gratitude is the happiness that doesn't depend on what happens.


🎙️ New Guest Episodes

One of the joys of hosting a podcast is that every so often, someone invites you to appear on theirs. It’ fun surrendering to the mercy of someone else’s questions, sometimes you overhear yourself saying things you didn’t realise you knew. Here are a few that went live recently:

🔥 1 // I enjoyed a wide-ranging mind-meld with prolific creative Conni Biesalski which she appropriately title how to be a curious + whole human on her CREATE podcast.

🧠 2 // Shared thoughts on mental health with Taryn Raine on her ‘Embracing Human’ podcast.

🤔 3 // I talked about embracing radical curiosity on Matt Bowles’s Maverick Show.

✊ 4 // Dropping in with Celine from the Sattva Soul podcast on the topic of emotional resilience and what this means to us both.


🔗 Et Cetera

✈️ Buy or wait?

🍌 Duct taped banana

👊 Quality & effort (via Seth)

🎺 Very unlikely instruments

🧘‍♂️ Top notch meditation tips

👩‍🚀 MIT built an empathy suit

🐦 Gorgeous guide to Twitter

🔍 In-depth guide to deep work

😲 52 fascinating factoids from 2019

🐶 Dog playing jenga (you’re welcome)

🙈 Embarrassment leads to creativity

🍕 34,000 words on pizza toast (via Craig)

📆 2019 told six-word stories (via Twitter)

😋 Story of an automated food influencer

👊 Ewoks have the best fighting strategies

🐶 My Balinese friend Mr. Ketut goes viral

📆 Antifragile new year planning (via Taylor)

🗣️ The language you speak influences your attention

🙏 Advocating for buoyancy over burnout (via OnBeing)


🌘 Parting Poem

Lying under lunar limelight

Notice the jubilant firefly

Carving her signature

Into the thick of night.

Follow her phosphorescent line,

Up to a numinous thumbnail,

Cradling an Earth Shadow

Caught in a cobweb of stars.

Think of the ways in which

Your own shadow is revealed

By those, spinning in your orbit.

And how the world you inhabit is

Eclipsed by a thousand fragments

of projected, disowned Darkness.

Be still now.

Put down the weight

Of all that you know.

Recall your true nature.

As Sun. As Firefly.

Illuminate the cosmos.

Write your radiant love note

To the skies.

The Gifts of Grief

My TEDx talk on Embracing Courageous Curiosity & The Art of Surrender

🗺️ Greetings from the northern coast of Madagascar! I'm writing these words from a room appropriately named the 'Cabinet of Curiosity'—filled with a compendium of eclectic artefacts: from 17th century maps and charts decorating the walls—to various shamanic totems (used by Madagascan witch doctors) and a glorious old brass diving bell helmet.

💌 This particular newsletter is a slight departure from the regular Curious Humans broadcasting, but I have something that feels important to share…


🌴 Two months ago, I was invited to give a TEDx talk in Ubud on the theme of the ‘Gifts of Grief and the Art of Surrender'. At the time, it honestly didn't compute how much emotional labour might be required to dig into the depths of two years navigating grief.

🤔 However, what emerged from this exploration was my case for embracing ‘radical curiosity’ and having the courage to sink into the emotionally challenging experiences that we’ve been conditioned to habitually avoid.

🙏 What happens now feels somewhat beyond my control, but I hope that my story may invite in some new perspectives, questions and contributions to our cultural ideas surrounding grief, mental health and perhaps even reconsidering our relationship towards 'negative' emotions.

🔗 Alright, that's enough preamble from me, here's the link to the talk for those of you who are curious: https://www.ted.com/talks/jonny_miller_the_gifts_of_grief (there’s also a transcript here)

Watch the TEDx Talk


❤️ Final thought, if you think of someone who maybe has been through an experience of grief and might appreciate this talk please do forward on this email or share the TEDx video link on the socials.

Stay curious out there,

–J

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