Tag Archives: spy training

thinking vs sensing


It’s been a week now into my new mission. While trying to translate the clues on how this chapter would roll out and follow where it might lead, I fell into some secret spy-training sessions. My trainer Grace has helped guide my path in the quest to uncover some of the mysteries that live somewhere deeply hidden within our interpersonal relationships.


this is the training book Grace uses

During the month of February many of us take the time to stop and think about the ones that we love, hold dear, and care for. We show our love and project our thoughts and feelings through plans, gifts, or words. But do we often show our love by taking the time to really understand or feel who that one we love is? Do we accept openly and unconditionally what they would like to receive and would like to offer us? Do we know how to truly listen?

What if we could hear, see or feel in ways that are outside of what we know? Would we realize that it is quite similar or much different from what we understand about ourselves? Be the person you are engaging with is the mission of this month. Have you tried it? Can this strengthen or create unique connections in our relationships?

Grace’s spy training sessions have given me some tools that sharpening my awareness and sensitivity, a first step in learning how to truly listen. I obviously can’t tell you everything that we do in our secret sessions but I will share some of the things we’ve been working on thus far.

1. Imagination/Visualization

2. Observation/Memorization

3. Intuition/Mind Reading

Imagination/Visualization : In this physical landscape of imaginary places, I am finding it easier to access my ability to let go of what “I think I know” to be true and I am becoming more open to seeing and feeling what may actually be true in this new place and time.

Imagine you are listening to yourself talking when someone else speaks to you. Is it possible to conjure a new set of thoughts values and viewpoints for a moment? Could I imagine that I am living in someone else’s skin, another body, working from a different set of circumstances? If so would I start to think like they do, feel like they do?

This visualization helps me to step outside of myself, allowing me to empathize and sympathize. It allows me let go of my own assumptions and prohibits me from projecting my own feelings about that person or the situation. Learning to listen as if I am the person speaking is a step toward becoming more open and accepting to what is being said whether I agree or fully understand it.


Spy Training Practice: Creating secret forts with invisible force fields using only the natural objects found in the garden

Observation/Memorization: Looking and memorizing through observation is another form of listening. A person’s facial and body movements hold so much information to decode. Are they nervous, relaxed, excited, calm, or curious? I find the answers in their foreheads, their eyebrows, their shoulder blades and hands. I observe and try to remember what it feels like to be crunching my shoulders or tilting my head or cracking a smile. I observe and remember their motions and emotions under certain circumstances or with certain people. Can I recreate a similar situation in my next interaction with them?


Spy Training Practice: Hunting hermit crabs and keeping them in captivity. Observing their climbing and nesting tendencies. Memorizing flying patterns of hummingbirds.

Intuition/Mind reading: Sometimes to do the best listening, I tune out all the sounds and clues that are right in front of me and tune into what is happening around me that is not always clear. Turning on my peripheral vision, I can get a feel for the outside environment. Is it cold, are there bright lights, is it loud, are there a lot of other people? How is the wing blowing? What in the environment could affect the interaction with the person you are with? These observation skills come quickly and naturally after a while. Through these exercises, I am defining and honing my intuition. Being omniscient of all that is going on externally creates a sharper sense and clearer picture of what is going on internally. Without verbally asking or intentionally trying, this observation practice becomes involuntary and I naturally start to know or absorb certain information before asking or being told.


Spy Training Practice: Dodging golden orb spider webs in the backyard using peripheral vision and web sensing skills. Where would you live if you were a Golden Orb spider?

Practicing these new skills, pushes me beyond thinking and requires full on sensing. I must thank Grace. One week in and I am equipped and energized to dive into new engagements, interactions, and conversations.  The quicker I dive in and sense that natural flow the quicker I feel connected. Now’s the time to put the training to the test.  Time to come off this hill.


Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.

out of my shell and into another


It’s been a solid seven months of intense introspective work living out the chapters, that my friends have so beautifully written. Focusing on my environment and new surroundings last month was a great first step in pulling me out of my head and back into the physical world. I spent a heck of a lot of time hanging out with rocks, sea shells, ocean waves and hermit crabs last month (which in my opinion is NOT a bad thing) but I am thankful for the “interpersonal relationship” change of theme this month and Max’s suggestion of focusing on being with others and engaging with people in this eighth chapter. This truly is my comfort zone and I welcome the opportunity to dive back in to play with both the people as well as the fish swimming around this beautiful island.

In the few years that I have known Max, I have found that our relationship has helped to ground me wherever I am. He surfaces my own knowledge and skills and then pushes me to learn something new by exploring and observing my environment from different perspectives. He is an incredible wanderer, thinker and connoisseur of the world and the stories it has to offer. Just listening to him share his experiences sometimes feels like he is reflecting back to me my own past adventures, struggles or encounters.

This month he has asked me to explore what it feels like to “be the people” that I am engaging with. This is a whole other level of learning new perspectives. Could I, like a hermit crab changing its home, crawl out of my shell for a moment and move into another? And if I did, what would it feel like? What would it be like?

Be the person that I am engaging with. Woah…. How the heck am I going to actually do this? Will I attempt to take on others feelings? Will I do what they are doing? See what they are seeing? Think what they are thinking? Do I need to learn magic? Do I need to brush up on my psychology reading? Take an acting class maybe? I am definitely going to need a set of tools. Max said this was going to be simple and here I go making it complicated.

I was lost in my own head again dizzying myself with question, when out of the corner of my eye,  I spotted a small mysterious note tucked under a book on my bed.


The message invited me to a private meeting held in a secret place in our gardens. It was signed “from your leader, trainer and friend”. Once again my island adventure partner and housemate Grace was at my side – pulling me out of my head and back into the present jungle that awaited each morning in the back yard.

As I may have noted before, Grace is nearly ten very intuitive, extremely bright and astute in her observation skills. She has taught me so much already in our 4 weeks living here. I was excited to find out what I could potentially learn today and dashed out the door with my camera, pencil, and notebook in hand.

I arrived making sure no one had followed. Secret meeting places need to stay secret ya know. I arrived and found her waiting for me with a small black book in hand and a mischievous look in her eye. “Whats on the agenda?” I asked. “Spy training” she replied.

I was immediately intrigued, crawled in between the sticks and branches sat down and started taking notes. Secret spy training? Of course! This was exactly what would provide me the needed skills to accomplish Max’s mission.


Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.