Review of Joe Riggio's Mythogenic II


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" to make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant."
- Moshe Feldenkrais


By Jamie Smart

Joseph Riggio's Mytho II training consisted of four, three-day weekends. At the start of the first weekend, Joseph asked us what we wanted to get from the training. He then proceeded to en-trance us on subjects as diverse as boxing, Frank Herbert's Dune series, and the hero's journey (´ la Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces), while he (and we) waited for our answers. Joseph uses a 'non-ordinary' vocabulary in many of his descriptions, explaining that 'regular' words are so semantically loaded (Eg. you say love, and I nod, not realising that I have no idea what that word means to you) that a new lexicon is required. Joseph's talks and storytelling are truly fascinating, and range over subjects drawn from his personal experience, from films, literature, history, business, and many other areas.

By the time the first weekend was through, I'd learned techniques for people-training (from Dr. Bob Brandau, a renowned dog trainer), found out about the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) and had experiences of moving/dancing 'in' each of them. I'd walked through the gardens of a country house in the darkness (Barnett Hill Conference Centre in Surrey, England, where we trained and stayed), and had a number of experiences of Joseph doing the work of eliciting 'what you are like when you are at your best' (the Mythogenic Self process) from me and others. We also started doing this work with each other.

At the heart of 'the work' is the Generative Imprint model, created by Roye Fraser (Joseph's mentor.) My nutshell description: Everyone has a way of being where they are at their best, a place from where anything is possible, and they are totally in step with the universe. This way of being can be elicited, amplified, and ultimately set as the default 'state' for moving through the world.

The effect of this, building in each of the subsequent weekends, was electric. I've learned how to be in the moment, to trust myself more, to pay attention to and have an increased awareness of my body. My sensory acuity (especially visual) has increased massively, and I have a strong sense of wellbeing (a good prerequisite for doing 'the work' with others.)

The Mytho II was filled with incredible experiences. John LaValle popped in for a weekend to play with our reality strategies, Joseph taught us to do hypnosis, we played 'black attack' and learned about the symbolic nature of language. We saw incontrovertible evidence of the power of positive reinforcement, chose mythical animals and did deep trance identification with them (did we walk through the gardens blindfolded one night? I think so.) Joseph says that repetition is the mother of all skill, and we went through the various stages of the Mythogenic Self process with each other many times, slowly increasing our abilities. Joseph presents the skillset 'whole form' (ie. we didn't study each tiny little piece, but instead used Joseph's constant 'walk of the talk' and our own repetition to start building the skillset in.) The ability to create such intensely positive experiences in others, either overtly or covertly, is truly magical.

Underlying these experiences was the experience of being a part of the group (about ten people.) I felt that I went on a personal journey during this course, but that the group went on a journey as well. Twelve days spent together in non-ordinary reality does extraordinary things to the group dynamic, and I learned a lot from the other trainees, as well as from Joseph; learned as much over the dinner table as I did in the training room (and the garden, and the cinema, etc.) The course material was multi-channel, with films, videos, books, emails and internet chats augmenting the experiential learning.

By the time the course was over, my relationship with the world had changed - changed so completely that it's difficult to remember what it was like before. I know that I like this better though.

        © 1993-2008, by Stever Robbins