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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, May 02, 2013
Skipping with a Wild Mind by New World Library Social Media Manager Kim Corbin

Many moons ago, I crossed paths with New World Library author Bill Plotkin in a most unusual way. Little did I realize then that I would eventually join the marketing team here and help share his revolutionary work with the world as his publicist.

The year was 1999, and I was immersed in an unlikely yet passionate quest: to share the body-mind-spirit benefits of adult skipping with the world via my website. The national media, including Time, Newsweek, and People magazines, helped me spread the word and recruit “head skippers” in over 80 cities around the world. Bill volunteered to be the head skipper of Durango, Colorado, and became an online friend and avid supporter of my efforts to make the world a happier place one skip at a time.

I quit my day job to focus on my passion full-time but was unable to find an adequate revenue stream. Eventually, having skipped myself into financial ruin, I became discouraged and disillusioned about my quest, and I lost touch with Bill around this time.

Those were extraordinarily challenging years for me, and I struggled to keep the faith that it was possible to use my life to make any kind of difference toward the greater good. My whole world turned upside down.

Had I been more familiar with the work of New World Library authors like Joseph Campbell and Bill at the time, I would have understood that the “dark night of the soul” that I was experiencing was a natural stage of the adventure in consciousness that I had embarked on when I dared to say yes to my inner call.

The dark night of the soul is a key aspect of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey model. Meanwhile, Bill Plotkin’s work highlights the “descent into the underworld” and the value of the time spent there for the maturation of our psyches. As he writes in his just-released book Wild Mind: “The state of consciousness or dimension of the psyche known as the underworld can get pretty wild. To the Ego, it often seems like a madhouse of maelstroms or a precarious precinct of pandemonium. If there were ever moments in life that could sweep you from your feet so surely you might never again right yourself, your underworld hours are the ones. And yet these are the times when keeping your wits about you means everything. Your potential for creating meaning in your life, for discerning your way toward your destiny, depends utterly on your capacity to be fully present with the chaos of your underworld encounters.”

During those dark times I couldn’t clearly see the deep inner work that was happening within me or recognize that the universe had even bigger plans in store for me to use my energy to help positively shift things on our planet.

All of this has become much clearer in the eight years that I have been blessed to be a part of the New World Library marketing team. I am deeply grateful for the wisdom of hindsight and for the opportunity to work on projects like Wild Mind that take our understanding of human consciousness to an entirely new level.

In Wild Mind, Bill introduces a map of psychological wholeness that’s rooted in nature’s inherent wholeness. The book offers an elaborate field guide to becoming fully human by cultivating the four facets of the Self and discovering both the limitations and the gifts of our wounded, fragmented, and shadowed subpersonalities.

There’s a facet of the Self associated with each of the four cardinal directions — north, south, east, and west — and each one represents an important piece of our human wholeness. In this short excerpt from the book, Bill offers skipping as a wonderful practice for getting in touch with the South facet of the Self, which is the Wild Indigenous One, the sensuous, emotive, erotic, playful, and instinctual dimension of ourselves that loves life — and free-spirited activities like skipping!

“Here’s one of my favorite South practices: skipping! Yep: Bouncing from one foot to the other while maintaining dynamic forward momentum. Just do it, for at least five minutes. You can skip in the hallway or on the sidewalk or field, but if you really want to supercharge your skipping practice, try it on earthen trails with a downward slope of, say, ten to thirty degrees. Then you can really catch some air between hops. Sure, be careful. Take it slow at first. But if you do this for five minutes, you’ll be surprised at how alive you become, how your blood surges, your emotions stir, your senses become vibrant — your eyes feasting on colors and textures you had previously missed, your ears now awakened to the songs of birds and the calls of animals and the murmur of wind in the pines, your nostrils flaring to take in the fragrance of roses. Your body feels, well, a bit more wild, yes?”

Bill and I are curious: When was the last time that you skipped? We’d love for you to leave your skipping story as a comment under this post! If you haven’t skipped since you were a kid, we invite you to give it a try and to share your impressions here. Or if skipping isn’t your cup of tea, tell us other ways that you most enjoy connecting with your Wild Indigenous One that loves to play.

Skip on!


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