Fast Wisdom™, the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.
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July, 2015
BY Lonner Holden

Plateau Power: Patience into Integration

The Plateau  Over the years, I have had Jin Shin Jytusu clients who discontinued sessions because they felt nothing changing for a short while, others who were going through medical treatment feeling ‘good’ choosing to reduce their healing support and still others who, after an initial period of improvement, persevered through a longer period of no apparent change. The latter eventually experienced another stage of obvious change, followed by another plateau of no visible change. The longer they remained in the process, the longer they experienced the repeating rhythm of change-to-plateau as the healing process moved from the visible surface to the invisible core and back to the surface, over time becoming healthier and happier people.

Get it Fast  In our fast-paced, high expectation & goal-oriented culture we have become generally intolerant when our expectations are not met. We have come to marginalize what moves slowly. “Get it now, fast” is the marketing mantra of our time.

Transitions as Process  Yet the greater part of life is transitions.  When we hurry to ‘here’, ‘through this’, to ‘get over that’, we are rushing through the majority of life, our goal-seeking blinding us to the process we are, in truth, most engaged in - transitions.  Transitions are the threads and causeways that connect ‘here’ to ‘there’. Without transitions nothing would be in relationship to anything else. The quick-fix life is mostly neither here nor there.  So where is it?  Usually in a state of impatience and frustration, unhappy and critical of a world that refuses to satisfy, addicted to the next opportunity that promises to pay-up on one’s expectation investment.  An unhappy life with little meaning.

Mastery & Loving the Plateau  A happy life with meaning, according to  Aikido Master George Leonard, is one which pursues the art of mastery.  In his instructional book “Mastery,” he encourages us to lose attachment to goals and perfection and bring attention to the process itself.  “Loving the plateau” is requisite for mastery, he explains, because the met goal is brief evidence on the surface of a much more sustained under-the-surface process of development. Being vulnerable to imperfection, being a learner of your process, not the ruler of your achievements, the ultimate reward is the path itself.

Flow and Plateau  In the field of Flow Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly characterizes timeless experiences of high achievement - of being in the “Flow” - in very similar terms as Leonard’s mastery. The “flow” experience is high in concentration, calm, hope for success, interest in the activity, intrinsic motivation, engagement in the activity as an end in itself, competence, challenge and a feeling of ecstasy; low on expectation, anxiety, motivation towards outcome and fear of failure. “Loving the plateau” of the mastery path is the Siamese Twin of the “flow” experience.

Potential & Becoming  Think of boredom as a state of latent potential. We mope around on some plateau in a field of interest. An enlivening experience unexpectedly surfaces in the middle of our stagnant pond of boredom like a lone, blooming lily.  Rooted to the bottom, gathering nutrients from below and sunlight from above, the lily bud was in the process of becoming all the time. The plant was slowly and quietly integrating all the variables requisite to blooming.

Invisible Integration  The plateau is the long rhythm of transition from one change to another. Love of the plateau turns drudgery and apathy into desire for the plateau-rich process of healing and of becoming - of awakening one’s potential. Loving the plateau is being in the flow of invisible integration.

Nothing Special  In “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” master Shunryu Susuki explains that the experience of achieving enlightenment is ‘nothing special.’ The visible change - the achieving of one’s goal, though desired, when treated as ‘nothing special’, allows continuity in the subsurface integration process.  Likewise, in a letter to his young apprentice, poet Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “Live the questions now.” “ will gradually, without noticing it, live ... into the answer.”

Patience During Plateau  When receiving chemotherapy or recovering from a surgery or accident, the temptation to stop healing work which reintegrates when one is feeling ‘good’ is common.  Yet, this is the best time to continue with the healing work one had been doing.  The integration process which was visible before has gone underground, involving a more complex and, therefore, slower process.  To continue keeps in motion an invisible healing process that is predisposed towards inertia, or reversing into some form of relapse or fatigue. This helps to prevent secondary side-effects from unresolved and incomplete healing processes. Patience, mastery and flow practices during the plateau yields more resiliency during medical treatment and a stronger, more reliable health future as well as a happier and more meaningful life.


  • Where in my life do I feel the most apathy?
  • What is my current experience of "plateau" now?
  • When is the last experience I had of "Flow"?
  • How I distract myself from feeling bored.
  • What my sensations are when I am not "making progress" in a pursuit.
  • How I feel when my skills spontaneously show improvement.
  • Execute a simple task, like washing the dishes, with focus and care without hurrying.
  • Develop a skill goal for a current interest of high value. Begin working towards the goal with consistency and high, relaxed concentration while giving your "Achiever" a vacation.
  • Surrender to your current interest of high value as a pursuit with meaning beyond yourself.
  • Develop a personal question about where you desire growth and change in your life.

  • Place your fingers on your back so right hand is over the right kidney (just below the ribs and off the spine) and left hand is over left kidneys (same) for five minutes.
  • Place your right hand gently on the crown of the head, left hand gently to the center of the sternum (breast bone) for five minutes.  Leaving right hand on top of head, move left hand to base of pelvis, front of pubic bone for five minutes. Leaving left hand on front of pelvis, move right hand from top of head to tailbone for five minutes.
  • Sit on your hands for ten minutes; right hand under right sitz bone, left hand under left sitz bone.
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  • Approach any tree with visible roots. Feel the roots at the surface, then dig down an inch and follow them into the ground a little. Contemplate how a single trunk is divided up into thousands of invisible sinewy threads which nourish the entire tree.
  • Find a  group of plants which have ceased growing - maybe weeds having gone to flower or brown grass in your lawn. Offer your own question about where you desire personal growth and change in your life to these plants.  Listen for what may come back.
  • Find a place of bare ground hard from the summer heat and drought. It should be convenient to visit. Keep an eye on it every time the weather changes.  Monitor what changes on that patch of ground, one season at a time.
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  • Notice how you respond to the most habitual food in your diet. How does it compliment or inhibit your pursuit of mastery?
  • Take an inventory of what is in your pantry and refrigerator. What does and does not have intention? Create flow in your food by clearing out what is stagnant.

NEXT MONTH:   Summertime: The Livin' is Easy

PICK OF THE MONTH: Fall Tracking and Nature Connection Series with Scott Davidson and John Brossard

  • Restorative Nature Practice™, Marin County: August 15, September 12
  • Marin County Tracking Club, Point Reyes: August 2, September 27
See events on calendar »
  •  July Tropics Retreat: "Into the Wild Journey: Healing Hands Under the Sea, Diving Cozumel, Mexico"
  •  October Retreat: Milton Marks Neuro-Oncology Family Camp, Santa Rosa, CA
  • October Backcountry Retreat: "Into the Wild Journey: Grand Canyon"  view video at: (

November, 2014 Thanksgiving
December, 2014 Winter Solstice
January, 2015 Life Letters
February, 2015 The Heart
March, 2015 Spring Equinox
April, 2015 Prevention
May, 2015 Recovery
June, 2015 Summer Solstice

Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.  Each issue explores a theme of living approached in the context of healing.  Included is a simple Jin Shin Juytsu® Healing Hands Self-Care exercise, as well as a Restorative Nature Practice™ activity to practice which relate to the newsletter theme of the month.  Nutrition and health tips too, so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.

© 2015 Lonner Holden
Fast Wisdom™

Copyright © 2015 Holden Healing Studio, All rights reserved.

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