How did you become involved in ITP? And are you currently a member of any ITP group?
I found ITP through my friend Ceci Brown in 2008. She would bring up this interesting group she was in from time to time. I'd never heard of anything quite like it, and I kept asking more questions about it each time it came up. Finally, she lent me her copy of The Life We Are Given, which I read and loved. I joined the Tulsa Thursday night group as soon as it was open for newcomers. While living in Marin County for a year, I attended the San Rafael group, and am once again, after a few years hiatus, back in the Tulsa Thursday night group.
Within your practice, what insights have you experienced that have made the biggest impact in your daily life?
Recognizing, honoring and skillfully navigating homeostasis has been incredibly helpful to my long term progress as a singer, song writer, improvisor and voice actor. Being comfortable in the role of the fool has given me access to new career paths and incredible adventures. In-fact, my business card for Soundbooth Theater (the audiobook company I work for as a narrator, producer and composer) sports the title, "The Fool." The importance of community has also had a big impact. Having a caring and engaged support system of people who have similar values, share deeply and honestly about their own journeys, and bear witness to mine has given me immeasurable comfort, resilience and courage to keep following my dreams.
What ITP practice resource/exercise/quote has been most helpful in your transformative journey?
George Leonard wrote, "Your resistance to change is likely to reach its peak when significant change is imminent." This has proven true to me over and over. I have learned to infuse my most extreme periods of fear and discomfort with a genuine sense of excitement for what lies on the other side. When I look back on my life since I started ITP fourteen years ago, and remember the person I was at 24, I'm astounded by the progress I've made, and the doors I've had the opportunity and willingness to walk through. Navigating my ever-present resistance to change, seeing it as a normal and useful part of my humanity, and developing a set of tools that have made my desire for change outweigh my resistance have opened up an entire world for me.
Have you participated in any ITP programs and if so, what resources or teachings have benefitted you most from the experience?
I attended ITP Mastery training in San Francisco in 2012 and 2013, assisted in leading a Leonard Energy Training workshop at Esalen Institute in 2014, assisted in leading an ITP conference at Esalen Institute in 2016, and assisted in presenting with ITP at the Institute of Noetic Sciences National Conference in 2017. I have attended many weekend workshops over the years, most recently, Exploring the Powers of Imagination presented by Pam Kramer and Max Gaenslen in Tulsa. There are too many teachings and experiences from these programs to list, so I'll share something from this most recent workshop. I have struggled recently with increasingly intrusive self-critical/ self-defeating thoughts. For most of my 20s and 30s, I perceived that my world was expanding, but in the past two or three years, between Covid and the approach of my 40s, I've started feeling a sense of my world contracting, and of time running out. This is what caused me to rejoin an ITP group. I know from years of close observation that my imagination is extremely powerful and predictive of my future. I know that its importance to my inner and outer experience cannot be over-exaggerated. I knew that this workshop was the perfect workshop for me in this season. After a weekend of guided exercises, deep sharing, and deep listening, I was sitting in a group meditation near the end of the last day, and a fully formed perfect affirmation appeared in my mind: "My awareness is drawn like a magnet to all that realizes my highest potential." As soon as this thought came, I had the physical sensation of a vice releasing its grip on my heart, and my heart gently tugging upward like a balloon. There has been a lasting shift in the quality of my thoughts since then, and if I catch myself contracting back into the old pattern, I am able to repeat this affirmation to great effect.
What is one affirmation you currently have/or had that has been particularly helpful in realizing your own extraordinary capacities?
I recently came across an affirmation I created in 2012: "I am rapidly evolving towards my highest potential as an artist and performer through practice, patience, and a passionate sense of critical purpose." Within five years of working with this affirmation, I produced my first album (an album of original music about meditation and self inquiry which won album of the year in Tulsa), moved out of Tulsa for the first time in my life, began producing music videos, began touring with Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, appearing several times in LA, at Sketch Fest in SF three years in a row, and Outside Lands Festival performing Jazz and comedy improv with the ensemble, debuted my original music at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, became a repeat guest performer on Instant Opus (an improvisational music series in New Orleans), recorded a demo in New Orleans for a second album of Original music, and headlined Dada Duets with Annie Ellicott (a two week residency at Meow Wolf: House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe).
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts or newsletters that align with and support your practice? Please share with our community.
I recently read a book called Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. It's about making the most of your time on earth by accepting its finite nature, valuing the contents of your life accordingly, and enjoying the journey. As a person who chronically feels they haven't done enough/ aren't getting "there" fast enough, and often forgets to enjoy the time spent on "the mat," I loved this book.
What ways have ITP and this practice supported your work/engagement in the larger community and world?
I feel that my voice is my gift, and I am able to do more with it, be more honest and daring, and reach wider audiences because of ITP. The practice of staying current in particular has enriched the quality of my interactions with others on a personal level, and as a band leader, project manager, producer and public figure.
Here is a link to some of Annie's original music: http://www.annieellicott.com/lonesome-gold-mine