How can we better ourselves without going to war with ourselves?
How can we engage in “self-improvement” – around habits of mind and habits of action – without setting up a supervisor and a supervised?
How can we pursue mastery without subjugating ourselves to a master – even if that master is some part of ourselves?
Philip Shepherd is the author of Radical Wholeness: The Embodied Presence and the Ordinary Grace of Being. I'm pretty sure it's the most impactful book I've read in the last 10 years.
I was introduced to Philip's work by my friend and teacher Mark Leuchten (listen to our conversation in episode 173).
About 12 pages into Radical Wholeness, I felt my entire worldview shift. Some of the cultural blinders that had blocked my understanding of wholeness were revealed, and I began to understand where I was in conflict with myself, and why, and what I could start to do to harmonize myself. I needed to know more.
When I looked on his website, I discovered that Philip was offering a 2-day workshop in Greensboro, NC, about an hour's drive away, two months hence.
I showed up, had my mind blown by the simplicity and difficulty of some of the exercises we practiced, and found Philip to be an exemplary teacher and human being, as well as a provocative and lyrical author.
Seven years ago, I worked on a book called Whole. I've been thinking, writing, speaking, and teaching about wholism and reductionism since then.
Radical Wholeness is the experiential and philosophical foundation of all that work. It's a way of looking at reality – of experiencing reality in the body – that puts all the research and paradigm work into context. It's the larger Whole that I didn't know I was looking for.
Philip's got a great story: as a teenager in Toronto, he rejected the “safe” career path of studying physics at university, and instead flew to London and bought a bicycle, with which he intended to ride to Japan.
In Japan, he planned to study Noh Theater, so he could understand and harness the emotional power of the voice and subtle gestures of this foreign-to-him art form.
His journey, his deep dive into theater, and his subsequent explorations of cultures other than his own, primed him to become a teacher of wholeness in a deeply fragmented society.
Without invoking any dogmas or spiritual platitudes, Philip draws upon science, everyday life, and our ability to experiment with our own consciousness, to draw a map to reintegration.
We spoke about his work in general, and then looked specifically at how it relates to cravings, bad habits, addictions, and other obstacles to a healthy lifestyle.
Here's a tidbit from Radical Wholeness that we unpack: “… the urge for self-improvement tends to pull us into self-tyranny.”
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box or audio recording box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
Support the Podcast
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by . Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
Ready to embark on your Big Change journey?
Are you tired of knowing what to do, and still not doing it consistently? The WellStart Health Big Change Program, led by Josh LaJaunie and myself, will help you take the steps to finally live according to your knowledge and values.
Go to WellStartHealth.com/program to learn more, and to get notified about the next program.
Ask your questions or share your feedback
Comment on the show notes for this episode (below)
Connect with me
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Anthony Dissen – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Christine Nielsen – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Viktoriya Dolomanova – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Julianne Rowland – Stu Dolnick – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Wayne Pedersen – Leanne Peterson – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Stephanie Halmes – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Nikole Ramsay – Susan Ahmad – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Ashley Corcoran – Kelly Michiya – DeAnne Norton – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Shell Routledge – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Brian Sheridan – Shannon Herschman – Cate Rolls – Linda Ayotte – Julie Lang – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – AvIvA Lael – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Tanya Lewis – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Kelly Baker Miracle – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Valerie Pelletier – Peter W Evans – Colleen Harrison – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Deb Coscia – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Günter Schmid – Marjorie Lewis – Kelly Moulden – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Rachelle Kennedy – Joan Bornstein – Diana Goldman – for your generous support of the podcast.
This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive amazon gift certificates from your actions on such links.