Review of Joseph Riggio's Mythogenic Self


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


By Stever Robbins

I recently had the pleasure of spending several days in New York City taking Joe Riggio's “Mythogenic Self” self-improvement workshop. The workshop, developed by Joe Riggio and Nancy Ludwig, leads participants through a process developed by Joe, descendant from Roye Fraser's Generative Imprint process. It helps you reach the most powerful “core” state you can—a state powerful enough that it allows you to transcend the way you currently relate in the world and move yourself to your next stage of development.

It is hard to describe exactly what went on in the workshop. Being a personal change workshop rather than a teaching workshop, the emphasis was on experiencing what was happening, rather than understanding the process getting us there. “Success” meant something different for each of us. Joe ran it very informally. The group was quite small, so he and his partner Nancy had the opportunity to work very closely with us as we did exercises.

As a participant, there didn't seem to be much direction to what he was doing. He warned us at the beginning to expect this, so I hung in, despite some discomfort. And I was rewarded. The process indeed brought me to a very powerful state.

Balance was my theme. Physically, we actually changed the way I walked. I now have a calmer, more assured, balanced way of walking. Mentally, I developed the ability to orient myself to the world differently. I have increasing access to a way of being that lets me peacefully take in more information with less effort and internal chatter. I'm handling life by letting me let go of the irrelevancies and attend only to what's important in reaching my goals. The state isn't perfect, yet; I must often remember to get back there. But the workshop created and gave me access to a new level of resources.

I don't know how much the other participants achieved. Some of them preferred to sit several of the exercises out. Those I spoke with were clearly satisfied on a “now I know how to do this” level, but I wasn't sure whether they could actually do it. Unlike a Practitioner program, there wasn't a pre-defined set of outcomes for participants. We were all there for something different, making it hard to know who actually got what they were after.

A very powerful piece for me is how Joe leads with the body in the changework he does. He actually worked with me muscle-by-muscle to reach my desired physical state, connecting it firmly to the mental changes when they began. though others have used kinesthesia as an entree into changework, Joe was more thorough and complete than anyone else I've worked with. He really understands musculature and physiology, and uses his knowledge expertly.

Joe's style in the workshop was informal. We often digressed into stories and historical background surrounding the material. Joe is extremely intelligent, and the conversation several times drifted into areas of history or philosophy that I didn't fully follow. As interesting as those digressions were, it would have been nice to make sure they were accessible to everyone.

New York City was, well, New York. It is a city that has to be experienced to be believed. There is always something to do, people around, Places To Be. It's rich, it's poor, it's fabulous, it's mundane. It's a pretty incredible place. I stayed with a friend, so can't comment on accommodations except to say that being New York, hotel rooms were probably small and expensive. The workshop itself was held in a very nice hotel just south of Central Park. We were across the street from the building that started falling down, which made things exciting the first few days of the seminar.

I got a lot out of the workshop, though I have difficulty knowing how much my own rather voracious desire to learn played a part. I'd recommend this workshop for personal change, but not for achieving any kind of deep understanding of the process itself. Joe's style could be tightened up quite a bit and it would make the workshop more comfortable. More exercises and quicker lectures would help. The process itself begins with Joe's own body work and then works cognitively using a mixture of NLP techniques: state elicitation, hypnosis, anchoring, metaphors and submodalities, and timelines. It doesn't introduce any fundamental new distinctions, but combines the pieces for powerful effect. Though he doesn't require it, I suspect prior experience in those areas would help you get the most out of the workshop.

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        © 1993-2008, by Stever Robbins