Presence. Memory. Mediation.

Kevin Corrado, from his series "Transfer", "Nemo" or "Liquid".

Memory is a strange beast.  So many different parts to the puzzle.  What the heck is it actually?? What is the material it is actually made of? What medium does it travel in? Where does it actually reside?  Science seems to describe it as a process... which is strange because I experience a memory as a whole thing.  To start off my meandering exploration of ideas around memory, here is what New Scientist tells us memory is this:

 So it is a process, not actually a thing?? 

So it is a process, not actually a thing?? 

Even with this explanation, I am still not clear, nor am I clear that anyone is clear, what actually is it when I remember a whole moment, complex with all the smells, images, emotions, place and time. As a scientist of life, I love examining my live experience of memory, and really enjoy the daily life experiments that I can do with it. 

Different ways I encounter memory: dreams, smells, places, with people, in movement and language. 

Flash backs in dreams, where something happens in the day, and all of the sudden I see a scene from my dream, where it was previously lost in the cavenous dark tunnels.  Something brought it forward, into the light, flashing on the screen of the mind's eye. 

The smell of those little white flowers, on bushes in England, in the spring time, that transport me back to being with my cousins in London, 30 years ago!

Memorising text as a young student, at the Royal Conservatory for competitions, or for speech day at school, or the debating club or all the verbs in latin class.  There was something I noticed early on that there is a difference between short term memory and long term memory.  If I wanted my work to enter into my long term memory, I needed to use repetition over many days to achieve it.  It couldn't be a last minute cram on little sleep the night before.  

I also noticed that it changed depending on my surrounding environment.  If I stood in a different place in the room, faced a different direction, sat in a different chair it all had an impact on how my memory withstood. I learnt quickly that if I wanted to have something solid in my mind, I needed to practice the text standing here, there, everywhere, with green eggs and ham.  

It also changed depending on the people that were listening.  My attention can be very influenced by the people present.  I could get swept up in how someone was reacting, or how I imagined they were reacting to my delivery and I would completely lose my memory of the work.  I have had to learn as I was growing up, how to control where my attention goes. Not to give so much of my attention to the other people present in the situation.  Like a good lesson in meditation, I needed to be skillfull in the wonderings of my mind.  If I let it wonder into the crowd, it was a very disruptive process to the delivery of my speech.  Mastering the delivery of speech to a group of people, was like learning to literally hold my attention in my space, with me, with my line of thought. If mind could be thought of as type of cloud, existing in a determined space, it was literally like hold my mind in the bubble of space that I am standing in. With my mind, with me in my space, I was more able to maintain my memory, and present what I needed to.  This idea has helped many different people and I use it as part of my public speaking coaching.


Dancing tied together some of my observations of space in relationship to memory.  More commonly known as muscle memory, it had something similar, and something very different to the work of memorising words. As a child I did it very easily, I used to dance for hours, with routines I had been taught. As an adult, who left ballet after two broken feet and the trauma of a horrid new ballet teacher, I tried very hard to approach it with my visual mind like i did with the memorisation of words. This created more of a sense of panic, and emotional disruption that any successful results.  The day that the penny dropped, in a ridiculous pop-jazz dance class, was such a beautiful day.  I found a new way to let the information in.  I tried just letting myself absorb it, observing and feeling I guess was the best way to describe it, and not fixating on getting it right.  It is a much less 'clear', more foggy, much less visual, much less certain way, but learning to trust it is a very, very wonderful process.  It is not a focus, like a single point of channeled, canalised, narrow mind focus.  It is an awareness, wide, three dimentional, 360 degree, wholistic experience.  A little like the experience of mind as a full bubble around and in my body. The memory seems to arrive, even when the focus of the mind, doesn't know.  It arrives first, like something that happens before I squeeze it through the pinhole of my logical thoughts. 

I also noticed that space can trigger a memory.  What is that about!?  I have experienced going back to a space that I once lived in and remembered things that I hadn't remembered since I left.  I love that.  It feels like an important part of the puzzle.  There is something in the full experience, the smell, the sight, the arrangement of all the things in relation to my self in space that triggers a memory.  Like the place holds the other puzzle pieces, and when I arrive all the pieces fit together and I see the full memory.  


Which brings me to presence and awareness of all the sensory information we are interacting with constantly. When I first landed myself in a Vipassana Meditation course at the tender age of 18 I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Among many other strong impacts on my life, after the course, I noticed that my memory increased.  Vipassana Meditation is a non-denominational intensive, 11 days of a LOT of meditation.  Seated, walking, no talking, no eye contact, no writing, no reading as a result ... very little sleep. My mind started behaving like a crazy monkey trapped in a cage.  As requested in the meditation, I forced myself to observe more of my experience in my body than I had ever done.  I started to search for the sensation of my spine, the sensation of breathing through my nose, all the sensations in my body, from painful numb legs to no registered sensation in my spine, they teach you to try and observe all sensations as equal.  This began a long journey for me.  This work of sensation observation has been a solid companion through my adult life.  

The cultivation of this sensory awareness, has increased my memory and awareness of my memory exponentially.  With this understanding, it seems also like another important part in the memory discussion. With all these inputs I start seeing an idea of memory like memory a spider web type substance, network type thing that exists inside our body and expands to outside our bodies.  It is connected and when the filaments match up, when I stand in the same place again, they come together, I see and feel the whole experience the way it was. Perhaps when working on text, and that one position is maintained, it trains the sensory body in connection to one external position, and when that position is shifted, we loose the whole picture, ie. the text disappears from memory.  Maybe repeating it over and over again, in different contexts, makes the place more local, literally, detaching it from the external situations, and brings it into your one place, your bubble, and inscribes it in there.  Like it is literally loose and large, like a net, and by repeating it, it comes into a smaller space, that you can have within your body.  When it is memorised very clearly and strongly, it doesn't have a dependance on the relation to the external space.


Another part of the elusive memory seems to be emotion.  Both sensing and awareness can be completely trumped by emotional experiences.  I have noticed that if my emotions are large, I don't remember much of the present context.  I am more present to my emotions, then I am to my actual physical, momentary presence.  SO already we could say that here and now presence creates a strong memory and anything that pulls us away from that, will diminish our memory proportionally.  

I am still interested in diving a little deeper on the subject of memory and emotions.  They seem to have a train track of their own.  Once I feel low about something, I can somehow remember all the other things that I feel low about, and pile them on top to feel even lower.  Or the same about joy.  When it arrives, I can see all the other wonderful things in my life, and it carries me even higher.  Or a trauma can even seal in a memory, so solidly that I can only return to that memory, if I experience part of that emotion again.  Maybe it is just part of the full tapestry, like all the senses.  It is part of the picture, and if we get too swept up in one part of the picture, we loose the full perspective of the present moment.  Or perhaps we only remember part of the whole tapestry.  Just the turquoise, or just the dogs playing in the kitchen, or just the smell of newly dyed wool.


Perhaps therefore, the key for remembering something is to be in a position where all levels of all  inputs are equal.  Like a well balanced sound check, where all instruments are equally balanced. Where the focus is on the symphony of the whole, and not just the violin.  Perhaps it is literally learning to be like the conductor of what you are paying attention to.  Where you are choosing actively over and over again to pay attention to what you have come to present (in the case of public speaking).  Choosing to place your attention, thoughts, or mind is the wider teaching of mindfullness and meditation - found in anything you apply it to.   


Learning a language is an interesting synthesis of words, emotion, muscle memory and place.  It has been an incredibly interesting experience to learn a language by listening and living in it.  My previous experience of learning languages have started with intense study of many years, and then finally applying it into the live situations.  This process has involved finding the memory of the grammer, at the right time, in the right context which is a strong mental exercise. Listening attentively for recognition of the words, making sense of them, and perhaps at the advanced stage applying the use of it. 

Italian however, I have never studied.  I was dropped into a situation where I needed to live in it, at very little notice.  So I listened. Tried speaking French, And gesticulated :o and listened.  and found that words would appear while I was washing the dishes.  Frichatone.  What does that mean?  Where the heck did it come from.  I had picked it up, without trying.  It had entered my mind, and was spat out when I was doing a simple manual task.  Very strange.  It started happening a lot.  It also started happening that I started saying words in the right place, that I had no idea were right.  It was a similar experience to learning the dance moves.  They seemed to enter somewhere different than the narrow tunnel of focus.  They walked through the vast landscape and ended up in my hands to use.  This was a strange synthesis of muscle memory with something as specific as words.

Very long meandering of thoughts on memory.  Admittedly, this would be better broken down, but I like it as a sort of catalogue.  

The Thin Line of Working with Hard Emotions

 Where hard emotions can lead to profound learning

Where hard emotions can lead to profound learning

While I was working for RoundTable Global and creating the embodied perspective of the Shine program, I put myself to task on why I felt it was important to be able to create a situation where various difficult emotions could arrise in new experiences.  

There is resistance, certainly in executive training programs to provide an experience that might take people to a vulnerable (some people think embarrassing, or antisocial) place like tears, or anger or pain.  While I certainly understand that force is not what creates sustainable development, there is something to be understood about these hard emotions surfacing.  There is something valuable about being guided or guiding someone through these strong, sometimes taboo responses and I would like to formulate my thoughts into this slightly meandering post.  

Like anything interesting, there is a thin line, ___________________________________________ and I will try and describe this fine silk thread _________________________________________  this tightrope _____________________________________________________________________

because if it can be walked the rewards are AMPLE. 

******** Essential point of departure... before any of the work is begun, there has to be an agreement that both the facilitator and the participant are working towards a common goal.  With this as the initial agreement we can proceed: 







I call these blocks in this context.  Arising physiological occurrences that can be so big, embarrassing, scary or taboo that they create a stop. I have experienced them in whatever given situation and the result is that I stop participating or the whole activity stops.  By a stop I mean,

I stop doing what I am doing.

stop listening.

stop reading.

the other person stops.

stop trying to learn the new dance.

stop walking down a dark road.

stop talking to my husband.

stop participating in the activity because the block experienced is stronger than my will to do it.  In some cases it is life saving, in all cases it is preserving something that already IS. Something that doesn't want to change, something that serves the organism in some way.  The thin line is knowing where there is real danger that my organism is protecting me from or where there are only minor 'dangers' that my organism is protecting out of habit.  By 'real' danger I am referring to the possibility of death, or a serious injury vs. the minor dangers of changing my opinion, being wrong, changing my habits, my addictions or changing a part of my identity.

When one of these emotions arrises within during a workshop or a class it requires a seriously high level detective work be able to witness the reaction, understand why the reaction has occurred, and gauge which level of danger I am experiencing. Further, after seeing my situation clearly, the most ideal outcome is to then choose to react in line with the goal I have chosen, not against it.  It takes experience and practice to work with ourselves in this way.  Whether the block is saving my life, or it is simply stoping me from stepping into a different way of thinking, the emotions we humans feel to stop in both cases are the same, FEAR, FRUSTRATION, ANGER, BOREDOM, EXHAUSTION, PAIN and sometimes we have TEARS.  These reactions can be all consuming, if not only to ourselves, but also sometimes to the people around us who will stop and watch, console, perhaps respond with the same emotions, but whatever the response is, it can easily stop whatever was going on.  Like our own personal and often very effective EJECTION chair. 

If we approach these blocks like a scientist watching an experiment, it is very interesting to see where they occur, and in response to what. That is what the guide/facilitator/coach is there to help take you through.  Ultimately, as you have chosen to participate in the experience, you also want the guide to take you through that block, despite what you may want to do to the facilitator at the moment you are experiencing it*!**%$@£&^*_()@

THAT PRACTICE, to know how to recognise a life preserving block or a life STAGNATING block is what I want to deliver in the training experience.  The training room, if well designed, is a safe, low consequence place to experience and experiment with these arising physiological occurrences so you can practice your response, and master where you want to go with your response. Right there, I have found again, the essential principle of PLAY.  I keep finding it in my work. To try something out in a low consequence environment. Go wrong, learn, get confident and then go on to apply it in environments with higher stakes. 

 There is a reason we play, it serves a very 'serious' purpose in our lives. 

There is a reason we play, it serves a very 'serious' purpose in our lives. 

With playful experiences, for example, I have seen that my organism reacts with frustration which turns into a feeling of anger when I am repeatedly asked to do something that I repeatedly can't do. That turns to tears, and then it turns to stopping and watching or running away. But with experience I can observe it now, I can watch my frustration arrise, and not blame my guide/coach/teacher for making me frustrated, or doing something that I can't do, or teaching badly.  I can just let myself be frustrated, not react to it and keep my eye on the goal.  Keep trying, keep finding another way to figure it out, keep putting in little land marks that can take me to the next point and the next point.  With qualities of lightness and seriousness. 

Maybe I get it this time. 

Maybe I don't.

Maybe I get it next time... maybe I don't.  But if I keep going I will get it.  

It is like the walls of our 'comfort zones' are lined with or made from these hard emotions.  Like we need to go through them, accept them, feel them, and go past them.  That is when real change happens.  Really profound shifts in our experience of self and the world around us.

So, when we do corporate training programs, do we really, really want to avoid bringing people to see one of their road blocks?  If someone gets angry, or someone cries, or someone gets frustrated and sits out, does that mean a failed program?  Or does that actually mean that we are touching real limits of identity, and providing a real place to move past them?  I sincerely think the later.  I think we need to create a place where exposing the less socially acceptable parts of ourselves can be done without harming self or others, can be held, can be processed, and moved through. Ideally holding the possibility of moving through with more ease and grace the next time.  Because there will be a next time. It is never over, until we are over, we will keep getting situations that we need to learn from and grow with. And we can get better at letting these blocks show themselves, see them for the value they have and move past them, if we want to reach the agreed goal.  

Having had the blessing and curse to live through many different and challenging experiences from 33 days of fasting, solo trips in the Canadian Rockies, to deadly canoe trips down the Saskatchewn River, dance classes way beyond my means, moving house almost every year of my life, ahyawaska ceremonies, a broken back, circus training with the Moscow State Circus, to sitting in meditation for 11 days, 7 hours a day, my parent's divorce, Whirling Dervish training, Gurgeiv Movements and different forms of heart break, I can only say that where there is discomfort, there is definitely discovery. 

I would conjecture (because there are no absolutes in this subjective work of human development) play, in various disciplines helps us process the larger, higher consequence situations in life.  And if we take full range of emotions in play with grace and acceptance, then we have the possibility to do that in life. 

In any given workshop, the role of the guide/facilitator/coach is to take it out of the realm of trauma and keep it in the realm of play and possibility, but we have to invite the vulnerable, be willing to hold the space through hard emotions and know that they come up as a sign of shifting identity, of shifting what we have considered right and wrong: shift to grow.   

As Dr. Brene Brown has famously said:

we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.
— The Power of Vulnerability



My Top 13 Eating Tips


My cousin and I can get into some great conversations.  Once he told me he was working out in the gym and getting really stiff afterwards.  So I shared my insight after experimenting with exactly that... I found that drinking an alkaline drink after the workout reduces the stiffness.  Which lead to his question "What is alkaline?" Which lead to "What do you mean good oils?" then, "What is GI?" "What are probiotics?" Finally he then asked me "OK so, what would be your top 10 health tips?"  So I sat down to write these:

Firstly before any of this, a foreword... please use any health suggestions you hear as an experiment for yourself.  Try it on for size, give it a good chance, and see how you feel with it, notice what changes and how you feel different, emotionally, physically, energetically etc,.  At the end of the day, YOU ARE THE BEST GUIDE FOR YOUR OWN BODY, but you need to observe and notice the changes.  After that, what I or any other source says, is a new opportunity to learn more about how you work and how you can feel better.  Every one of our systems and demands on life are different and also largely similar, but we are talking specifics, so there are huge differences in what you will experience vs what I will.  Regarding where I have gathered this understanding, I studied at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and have nursed myself back from eating disorders and strong imbalances in my systems. Over time I have worked with powerful guidance from some star naturopaths, iridologists, nutritionalists, energy workers and allopathic doctors.  I took 10 years to feel in top form, like my self again. 

HERE we go :)  I wish I was taught this in school. 

1. Water.  Drink quality water, more than you think, and on an empty stomach.  The stomach digests food and creates a nutrient rich liquid to dump into the intestines, where it is absorbed through the massive surface area of the walls made by villi. The stomach has an automatic response to open the valve into the first part of the intestines (duodenum) when there is a certain quality of liquid present. SO if you drink a glass of water/juice while you are eating your stomach will fill with liquid, it will think it has digested the food, and open the valve into the intestines, letting the undigested food pass through... not a good situation.  Short term this causes bad absorption of nutrients, gas, candida, eventually after years, IBS, Crones and possibly cancer to name a few.  Intestines are for absorption, not for digestion. SO, drink water 30 min before eating and 3 hours after a meal with meat, less time with fish and veg.  Think to drink water, when you feel a hunger urge. Notice the difference in feeling when you drink a large glass of juice/milk/water on a full tummy vs an empty stomach.


Further, there are alarming studies on the effects of chronic dehydration linked to systemic disease.  Also, inform your self of the source and check the pH of the water.  You want pH neutral or even alkaline, so over 7 pH.  There is a lot of technology out there for water, you can get really geeky about it.  It is worth it.  It does make a huge difference to the functioning of the body. Find the nearest spring water if you can!

Find a Spring

Alkaline water Article

Dehydration Article (this guy is serious!)

2. Eat vegetables as a priority, before any other foods.  Gently steamed veg is best for you, then raw, then baked, then boiled, then fried.  Focus on greens.

3. Check the source of your meats/fish/poultry. If they are great sources, then the rawer the better. Same goes with eggs, as our body recognises the raw protein form.  But bad sources can be dangerous raw.

4. Eat a protein before or with a carb, so nuts before raisins, lentils before rice, cheese before grapes - chicken before bread.  You could also think of this as priority, so prioritise protein over carbs... but your veg/fruit intake must stay high to maintain the fiber you need.  This helps regulate the Glycemic Index of the body, ie. not throwing the body into a high processing of sugars (For example: sweets or raisins/dates/pineapple/alcohol on an empty stomach) Maintaining a moderate GI means less stress on the hormonal system, liver, digestive system and indirectly the rest of the body.

5. Reduce all refined foods, especially any flours, fried food and refined sugar.  The most tampered with foods in our food system are, Wheat, Soya, Corn, Peanuts, Dairy, Meat and Sugar.  Generally, check sources, and reduced the intake of the refined versions.

6. Good oils vs Bad Oils, basics: olive oil should not be heated, use it for salads and dressings, butter and coconut oils are the best cooking oils as they don't denature with heat. This is a fairly good chat on oils

7. Check for pasteurisation: you want unpasteurised (not if you are pregnant) juice, honey, sauerkraut, milk, and yoghurt (on the jar look for LIVE cultures).  The enzymes and cultures in the food help our digestion and give us essential vitamins. The best parts of these products are all killed from boiling them.  *of course you need to be certain of the source, pasteurisation was a brilliant invention for mass production of food

8. Alkalizing your body (interesting overview). Adding a green supplement is a great tonic, and fast way to help a lot of the body systems at once. My absolute favorite is Kiki. Again, what you are looking for are the algaes (chlorella, Spirulina, E3 Live) green grasses (wheat grass, barley grass) and pro-biotic cultures (bacteria for the gut). An easy step to integrate alkalizing is to begin every day with an alkalizing drink - Lemon Water, good plain water or freshly made green veg juice.

9.  The little villi in your large and small intestines get congested, like a dirty carpet, with all kinds of things that you haven't digested properly, or are unable to digest.  With all this STUFF sitting between the villi, you loose precious surface area to uptake the important vitamins and minerals you need.  In many cases, your body will go as far as creating a mucosal layer over the villi to protect your own body from the toxins stuck there. SO... I would suggest a good course of colonics to get your system efficient again.  Then after a course of them, every year doing a few as a way of maintenance.  There are of course some good stuff that is lost in this procedure.  The bacteria that help you digest are often washed out with the bad yeasts etc.  the green supplement can help with that, or you can get a great pro-biotic. to stock up the system again.  Otherwise, with a good diet and low stress, it is very normal for the right bacteria to grow back.

10. Inflammation is a very popular topic right now.  See if you can notice what causes your body to react with inflammation (bigger tummy at the end of the day, runny nose, swollen fingers, puffy eyes). Inflammation generally occurs from your body activating its histamines and mucous response in order to protect and eject toxins.  You want to avoid throwing the body into a histamine response, it causes a lot of stress on the body.  Most people live with it every day, until they get a disease. 

11.  ENZYMES - We have two functions of enzymes in our bodies - metabolic and digestive.  The digestive ones look after our food and the metabolic ones go through our body, generally at night or when we are fasting, breaking down stuff that shouldn't be there. There are live enzymes in fresh foods, and preserved ones in dehydrated foods.  These enzymes are killed when we cook foods over a certain temperature (the raw food industry is largely based on this).  When we constantly eat dead food, we draw a lot on our bodies' resources to digest it.  This can leave it exhausted and not able to breakdown the material that leads to disease over the years.

12.  CHEW YOUR CARBOHYDRATES. The body produces the digestive enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates in our mouth.  If we swallow our sugars and carbs before they have been properly mixed with amalyse, then we are leaving them to go into our intestine undigested.  Over the years, that leads to fermentation of food products in our intestines... this leads to auto-immune disorders, IBS, Crones Disease, colon cancer.

13. and lastly... DISCOVER FASTING - that is all I will say.  If you want to chat, let me know. 

I watch dis-ease come from either toxicity or deficiency - so we want to empty out stores of toxins (including stress and negative emotions) and allow our body to absorb the nutrition that we provide it. This is a passion of mine, so feel free to shot me any questions if they come up for you. Oh, and if your body starts cleaning itself up, you can get a 'healing crisis' where your body gets worse before you get better, very common, don't panic :)









The Eye of the Storm

The centre is still, and becomes a home.

for a moment the world is turning 

You are still. 

I, along with every other little person, I loved turning around and around in circles, getting topsy-turvy, dizzy and watching the world spin as I tried to walk or eventually found the ground instead.  My training in ballet as a young girl touched on the same joy and finally, what has inspired me to write this is blog post is the experience that crystallised my understanding of the powers of spinning for me. 

I signed up for whirling dervish training at the Study Society in London. A very interesting place that you should check out, if not for the numerous brilliant study groups and teachers, then for the INCREDIBLISHOUS space in the top, front room. Not sure many places exist like that in the world.   

But the inspiration to write this came from the profound shift in myself after a year of training and a year of practicing this ancient mystic Sufi meditation.  The journey through dizziness, nausea, painful feet and a sense of being trapped brought me to an incredible silence, beauty and liberation. 

This sense of M U S T continue, despite all else, doesn't happen often in life. Perhaps we have had a martial arts teacher, or a swimming teacher who gave us this experience.  Or maybe we are one in many who can give ourselves that experience.  When there is a ceremony full of dervishes, whom you also respect, dressed in giant white gowns, turning in circles around the room, with the beautiful flute music, and sometimes an audience, 'you, ZOE COBB, simply cannot stop ****  No matter what is going on inside you, ***** you need to continue.  Find what needs to happen to make  you continue this absurd task. 

Continue to turn

and turn 

and turn 

and turn............................

While training, a sense of absolute panic came over me while confronting this obligation to continue despite the pain and discomfort.  Heart racing and some strong loud pre-lingual reaction inside me insisting that I stop. Interestingly, I didn't. Stop. 

It opened something new in me.  That allowed new experiences in other parts of my life.  Like I broke through to another level by not responding to my habit formed, boundary of self.  My confines had changed.  

With some distance from the practice, I realised that I had found a ground to stand on. Something that seems too obvious to say in words.  An awareness, a connection perhaps an energetic adjustment that I didn't hold before.  This position of looking at your left thumb, head tiled to angle through your heart, while turning in circles allowed my eyes to see my personal space as still, and the world as a blur of movement.

Mevlevi position

This still, personal space, this ground, this sphere that I physically created and saw, over and over and over again for hours had resounding meaning. We work on many levels at once.  The training of the physical, is a door way to the emotional, energetic, mental, sexual, intellectual and spiritual (however you want to call all the parts).

To have a ground - holding space - my body occupying a position - holding a perspective - owning the space that I take up with my body - responsible for the position that I am bringing into the world - the ideas I am bringing into the world - the actions, the emotions that I used this space for - the metaphors for the kinesthetic reality are all relevant.  There was a real sense of space that was mine to hold in the turning game with other bodies.  I wasn't afraid of it, ashamed of it, proud of it, just had it.  Like I had finally seen it, cleaned it and polished it and now stood strong inside of it.  It helped me start to centre in myself, where some how previously I had experienced my self as invisible. I realised that I had experienced myself as INVISIBLE. HOW absolutely BIZARE. Sometimes the most obvious things are not obvious. 

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
— David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life


That's it. Interesting to ask what are the ingredients of this breakthrough. Could it be: physical endurance, community, connection, collective aligned intension, sound guidance, observation, joy and persistence?  Someone must have outlined that in the development world?? In my case, my breakthrough was becoming visible to myself.  I am grateful, for the insight on how my self can learn new states.  I look forward to turning again and enjoy the application of this learning in daily life.