Shibumi – on display at the 2017 Unbeatable Mind Retreat
The Japanese term Shibumi means “effortless perfection,” and it is the results of countless hours of passionate mastery of specialized skills, powered by the mental refinement that accrues over time from that work. Shibumi is similar to flow, with the exception that flow can occur when reading, writing or sitting with your kids. Shibumi, however, is flow experience while performing your craft, such that it looks and feels perfect and effortless. I was humbled to see many examples of it at our Unbeatable Mind Planning Retreat last weekend. Here I would like to focus on a single powerful insight from each of the masters of their craft who presented.
The way you eat is not your fault. This from nutritional expert Robb Wolfe. We are hard wired to desire variety and to eat when food is available. We survived up to a couple hundred years ago, by eating what was seasonably available or brought in by the hunters. Often this wasn’t much, at least not anything near the plentitude that is available today. We ate sparingly, seasonally and when food was served. Thus, we strove to eat as much variety as possible to get nutrient balance, and as much as possible because food may not be available tomorrow. Unfortunately, that wiring is still with us and works against us in our modern world of plenty. What to do? Well, that would be a second insight, and I only promised one! (hint, you can see Robb in our digital bundle video, or come next year).
Your blood-brain barrier can leak. And that leaking will impair optimal brain performance. Yes, I was surprised also, to learn that our brains can leak. Perhaps it helps explain why my thoughts have spilled into this blog so easily. Ben Greenfield is an expert in body and brain optimization and with great humor cued us on what causes a leaky blood-brain barrier and how to prevent it with fueling, supplementation, and other cool tricks.
You can breathe for optimal physical and spiritual health. Ok, this one is not new, since I have been trumpeting it for years, but it is worth revisiting again and again because we are also conditioned to breathe poorly by our hectic, seat-filled society. Sitting all the time weakens our breathing muscles, and too often we hold our breath unintentionally or pant through our mouths twenty or more times a minute. These dysfunctional breathing patterns lead to ill-health and troubled mental-emotional balance. Breath expert Dan Brule reminds us to breathe slowly through our noses in a circular pattern. That means we pay close attention to how we exhale after the inhale, and vice versa. Each breath can be 8 or 10 seconds for the complete circle, leaving us with 6 to 8 breaths per minute. Practice this daily for 10 years and you will be super healthy and enlightened. Who is with me?
Focus on your passion, and soon you could ski off the top of the world. I must say that Jimmy Chin was such an inspiration to me and captured the essence of humble mastery that I try so hard to achieve myself and to teach. Jimmy’s love for climbing led him to abandon his parent’s dream for his medical career, as he became a climbing dirtbag (he used as a term of endearment for him and his dirt-poor climbing pals in Yosemite). After learning he had a sideline passion for photographing places and people off-limits to other photojournalists, he was drawn to the big Eurasian mountains, including Meru (you must see his documentary called Meru), and he climbed, then skied off the summit of Mount Everest! Despite this unbelievable feat, there is not a speck of ego in Jimmy. His intense focus and tolerance for risk have tempered his mind like a finely sharpened sword. I hope we see Jimmy at a future Unbeatable or SEALFIT event.
Being bold, unreasonable and outrageous may just make you a billionaire. Our current mindset, even our success, is a limiting factor closing off possibilities for something much bigger in our lives. We learned this lesson from Jesse Itzler, who wrangled his way into a rapping career as a skinny white kid, then parlayed that into a successful entrepreneurial career in music, luxury air travel and big time sports. Jesse’s energy and bold thinking is inspiring and spurred me to think how my own thinking is holding me back. His book, Living with a SEAL is a great read and will answer your next question: how does he do it? We hope to see Jesse back again next year as well.
Living heroically doesn’t mean you need to risk your life! My friend Robert Schoultz is a 30-year SEAL officer and leadership professor who is on his own spiritual journey. From him, we learned that to live heroically means that to become self-aware and in constant conversation with our higher minds – about what is real, what is right, and how we can find simplicity on the other side of complexity. Bob is another example of a humble warrior, and if you haven’t heard him speak at the Unbeatable Mind retreat, he will be back. I challenged him to speak on how to raise heroic kids next year.
It’s the size of your heart, not your arms, that matters! I was literally stunned into silence by Kyle Maynard, who left me speechless and only able to utter “let’s box breathe” after his presentation. Kyle, who was born without arms and legs below the elbow and knee joints, has led an extraordinary life – including being a wrestling champ, MMA fighter, successful gym owner and world-renowned speaker. Oh, by the way, he also bear-crawled up Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua! Kyle realized early in life that his limitation was not his disability, but his mind. He’s committed to thinking big and living boldly…and serves as a living example for all of humanity. And his heart, wow, you must experience what true Kokoro spirit feels like in his presence!
Our words matter, a lot. I have learned through my own speaking that mastery in speaking is about great storytelling. And Greg Amundson is a great story teller. He reminded us that how we use our words impacts how we influence others, and how we cultivate our minds. Greg introduced a practice called “First Word” which we can all include into our morning ritual. The practice is simply to be very aware in the formulation of our first words in the morning – ensuring they are powerful, positive and impactful. What a beautiful practice, thanks, Greg, we look forward to seeing you on the road teaching Kokoro Yoga in 2017!
So, there you have it, some amazing insights from the masters who presented at the 2017 Unbeatable Mind Planning Retreat. Look for the digital bundle of the event, which we will release in January. Until then, continue your journey to self-mastery in service, and you will soon be performing with your own shibumi!