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Brian Alger
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The Liminal Frontiers of Experience
The Liminal Frontiers of Experience

81 followers
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Impermanence: On the Fragility of Life

Impermanence means that life is a perpetual state of transience. It reminds us of the inherent fragility of life. Impermanence is a primordial condition that conjures fear, dread, and distress. When we attempt to deny and avoid it, we become the source of our own suffering. However, impermanence and the fragility of life is also a source of clarity that can offer critical guidance in our quest to live a life worth living.

(Read more: http://brianalger.com/impermanence-fragility-life/) #liminalfrontiers
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Point of No Return: An Apprenticeship in Vulnerability

A point of no return is a situation in which our only possible course of action is to move ahead into an unknown and unfamiliar realm of experience. It is a transformative event in characterized by the impossibility of returning to the life we once knew. Decisive moments in life conjure mercurial periods of vulnerability. They haunt us with a desire to return the familiar ways we have been forced to abandon. Simultaneously, we become immobilized by uncertainty and the fear of moving into the mystery ahead. A point of no return transforms the feeling of being alive.

(Read more: http://brianalger.com/point-of-no-return/ )
#liminalfrontiers

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The Buried Life: Reclaiming Our True Course in Life

A buried life is a form of confinement within a pattern of living that is unfulfilling. Underneath the weight of a buried life, we are haunted by intuitions of a true course in life that has been abandoned. These mercurial sensations are often masked by the relentless busyness, exhausting routines, and frantic patterns that characterize the competitive struggle to survive in modern society. Pinned down by the existential strain of a buried life, we inevitably encounter the frightening realization that the life we have been living is not our own. We long for authenticity, a genuine sense of purpose, and a way to reclaim our true path in life...

(Read more: http://brianalger.com/buried-life/)
#liminalfrontiers
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Wellbeing: Finding Our Way

Wellbeing is the ability to lean into the full force life, even in the midst of distress, in order to discover something of importance, value, and significance. The common definition of wellbeing, however, describes it as a positive state or condition in contrast to an ability. Life does not allow us to enjoy a perpetual state of ease and comfort; the state or condition of wellbeing is transient. Wellbeing can also be understood as a core practice of life, that is to say, it is a transformative dynamic that guides us toward effective action most especially when our state or condition of life is something less than positive.

Wellbeing is a form of consciousness. It is a style of awareness that encourages us to grapple with difficulty with the firm intention to clarify and integrate the source of our distress. In this sense, wellbeing is a dynamic we apprentice ourselves to in order to alleviate and transform that which haunts us.

Ironically, we need wellbeing the most when it is least available. It becomes essential when we feel abandoned, isolated, and exiled by the vicissitudes of life. Wellbeing is a responsibility, that is, an energetic quality we need to consciously seek out when it especially becomes hard to find.

Wellbeing reminds us that life does not always feel good, nor should we expect it to. Sometimes our expectations become sources of inner conflict because they place us into direct conflict with the reality of our circumstances. The experience of unhappiness and hardship is inevitable. Even reasonable expectations can become a source of friction with the here and now. Our expectations and sense of entitlement can lead to a disconnection from reality.

The practice of wellbeing is the essence of finding our way in life. As a trusted mentor, wellbeing helps us to muster the courage to bear witness to the sometimes bitter truth of our own choices and decisions in life. It is a source of encouragement to confront that which causes fear and distress...

[Read more: http://brianalger.com/wellbeing/]
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One of the greatest blues/funk/jazz musicians alive comes to town!

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Impermanence: A Source of Clarity

Death has a remarkable way of focusing our attention on that which matters most in life. In a certain sense, we are all the unwilling apprentices of our own disappearance. The impermanence of life conjures fear, denial, and avoidance. Our natural tendency is to turn away from sources of distress. Contemplating the fragile and finite nature of our life is uncomfortable, but perhaps our discomfort has something of value to offer. It may be that impermanence is also a source of clarity that offers guidance in how to live a life worth living.

Death and dying make me feel vulnerable. Whenever I explore impermanence I immediately begin reminiscing about people in my own circle of life that have died, and especially the experiences surrounding the death of my parents. But my feelings of vulnerability also generate a different kind of awareness, that is, a consciousness of belonging to forces of existence too large for my comprehension to grasp.

Vulnerability is a form of participation; it is not a form of weakness... (http://brianalger.com/impermanence-clarity/)
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The Art of Improvisation: Music That Belongs Where You Live

Improvisation is an act of spontaneous exploration. To improvise is to find ourselves alone with our own creativity. Beyond the creative arts, improvisation is a life skill that is essential in helping us to navigate the confluence of our everyday lives. An improvised life is grounded in adaptability, flexibility, and ingenuity. It also invites risk because it always occurs in real time and the results of our efforts become immediately apparent. Improvisation is a core discipline in our pursuit of living a vibrant, fulfilling life.

Improvisation is commonly associated with the performance arts, notably music and theatre. During my graduate studies in ethnomusicology I became aware that improvisation permeates the music of all cultures; there is no creative process in the absence of improvisation. It is the underlying ground of creativity in art and in life.

In the documentary "The Art of Improvisation," Keith Jarrett describes improvisation as a way of constantly trying to undo what has already been done in order to discover the, “music that belongs where you live.” He embraces the beginner’s mind that allows him to approach a performance for the first time. His solo concerts are free improvisations, that is to say, the performance is completely emergent in its design that is only fully revealed in hindsight.

Jarrett’s improvisational prowess is elite among musicians. He describes himself as, “being on high alert,” and of having absolute involvement in the moment. The passion he exudes during a performance blurs the distinction between performer and instrument, as if the piano had become an extension of his own flesh...

Read more: http://brianalger.com/art-of-improvisation/
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The Human Age: Is Nature “Natural” Anymore?

Is nature “natural” anymore? When encountered this question in a book I am reading it caused me to pause and reflect – for quite a while. It is remarkable how a powerful question can unexpectedly emerge and then refuse to leave us alone. I began to realize that i had become entranced by a threshold question, that is, a question that opened up compelling new terrain to explore that would influence and transform my own direct felt experience of nature.

"Today, instead of adapting to the natural world in which we live, we’ve created a human environment in which we’ve embedded the natural world." – Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman is an inspiring author, poet, and naturalist. In her latest book, The Human Age, she poses a transformative question, “Is nature ‘natural’ anymore?” The underlying premise of the book is that humans figure as a geological agent comparable to the relentless power of erosion or volcanic eruption. Our impact on the oceans of the world is on par with an asteroid’s. She pursues these insights with a remarkable sense of equilibrium grounded in hope.

Direct felt experience refers to our capacity for personal observation, open awareness of our immediate surround, and clarity of perception. This is a pathway to authentic knowledge and understanding. The idea of direct felt experience retrieves our animal sensibilities. Intelligence is distributed throughout our embodiment, that is to say, human intelligence is a full-bodied physiological phenomenon. We can feel this kind of intelligence most profoundly when we are in nature, and most especially when we have an encounter with nature that startles our sensibilities...

Read more: http://brianalger.com/human-age/
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An interesting article on liminal space, or those uncomfortable in-between seasons of life...
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