Michael Ashcroft

Thinking Out Loud No. 54 // Monday 15 August 2022 // 6 minute read

Joining Every, breathwork and tantra

Hello everyone! It’s another beautiful day in Bali and I hope you’re all well, wherever you are.

Since my last email I’ve been enjoying some of the wellness and personal transformation oriented activities that Bali has to offer, like:

weekly 1:1 facilitated breath re-patterning sessions with a trained practitioner
This form of breath work — a combination of Conscious Connected Breathing with hands-on bodywork — is one of the most fascinating things I’ve discovered in years. In just a few minutes of the breathing pattern, I enter a space that feels psychedelic in nature, a space that welcomes various things to emerge into conscious awareness so I can look at them more closely.

While it seems that this practice is largely limited to Bali for the time being — unless you live in Boulder, CO, in which case talk to Jonny Miller — I can see this fast becoming a global practice as an alternative to psychedelic therapy. I’m fighting the urge to ask about practitioner training. I suspect the combination of this with Alexander Technique would be one hell of a thing.

a two day intensive weekend exploring Hindu tantra
This workshop  pushed right up against the edge of my comfort zone, but I’m really glad I went and threw myself into it. It focussed in particular on an exploration of the healthy and shadow traits of the masculine and feminine, which is not a frame I’ve had much exposure to in the past, but I found it to be a helpful lens on a lot of stuff that’s been going on in me recently.

At the moment I’m fascinated by a concept I’m calling ‘aliveness’, which involves something like being fully able to experience the contents of any given moments without becoming fixated on them (see my full conversation with Jake below for more on this). Tantra feels like a door to this world, one where I can fully allow and express, let’s say anger, sadness or joy, without getting caught up in them. There’s a lot here to explore.

a five day silent retreat in the centre of Bali nestled among the rice fields
This was not religiously affiliated with an intensive programme of meditation. Instead it was a beautiful space that gave me an opportunity to lock my phone in a box, reset my circadian rhythm to natural day-night patterns, and remember what it feels like to not feel like I should be doing something.

I’m really excited to explore both the breath work and tantra in much more depth. I’ll report back on my findings!

Some news: I’ve got a column in Every!

But what is Every, I hear you ask? Well, let me answer that with some handy copy pasted blurb.

Every is daily newsletter dedicated to helping you better understand your business and yourself. Every day our 50,000+ subscribers get one longform essay that analyzes and explains new ideas in productivity, business strategy, Web3, and the creator economy. It’s written by a collective of thoughtful and experienced operators in tech dedicated to helping you unlock faster progress toward your goals, and live a better life.

I’m really thrilled to be joining Every’s team of writers alongside others I have long looked up to. I’m excited for Dan and Nathan’s vision for Every and consider it a real honour to be able to go on the journey with them.

The column will be called Expanding Awareness and, while it’s going to be influenced by my perspectives from Alexander Technique, will go beyond just that. Here’s the blurb for the column:

In this monthly column Michael will explore the human experience from a subjective, inside perspective, helping you develop conscious control over your awareness to unlock a greater sense of agency, ease and aliveness. From here the counterintuitive path of higher performance from less effort can be found.

The first essay in Expanding Awareness is Achieve your goals with less grinding, which explores some of the basic principles of Perceptual Control Theory and how they apply to working towards goals with less self-interference.

Every is a paid subscription, so if you’d like to get access to this article, all of Every’s other publications and the full archive of 400+ essays, you can use the discount code EA30 before next Monday to get 30% off your first year’s subscription.

And, if you do, please select “Expanding Awareness” as the primary column you joined to read as I get 50% of the revenue from these subscriptions, so if you’d like to support me, this is a great way to do it 🙏.

Some things I have made

I’ve been spending more time on YouTube lately over Twitter. YouTube feels less reactive, more serene and helps me to go deeper into thinking things through — at least for now.

Some things others have made

That's all for now — until next time!

I HAVE A NEWSLETTER!

I publish a newsletter called Thinking Out Loud, which chronicles my journey as an online maker of things, but it's also is where I talk about whatever I'm interested in at the time.​ There are almost 1000 of us now, come play!