Craig: Thomas, what are some of your current goals? And by that, I mean, it can be work goals, like I know you’re working on your business in New York City. But also, people have a lot of personal goals, relationship goals, goals with your kids. Or if you want, goals specific to Parkour.
Thomas: I like all of those.
Craig: Okey-dokey. [00:12:00] I try.
Thomas: Yeah, I only have one real goal at this point in my life and maybe that’s smarter than I used to be, I hope, which is to just continue to evolve and explore. And even though that sounds really simple, I apply it to everything.
Craig: That doesn’t sound simple to me. I don’t know what the listeners are thinking, but that sounds complicated.
Thomas: So, I’m writing this book, it’s just about done. It was a great exploration for me to write a book, [00:12:30] and to be in that space and take my thoughts about bodywork and put them all down.
Craig: Actually, word-smith, is that your first book that you’re –
Thomas: It’s my first non-fiction book, anyway. And it’s the first one I’ll publish, so that makes it my first book, really, out in the world.
Craig: I was just fishing to see if you were like a novelist under a pen name that I didn’t know about.
Thomas: I am, but not a published pen name.
Craig: Oh, okay.
Thomas: We’re not going to get into that book though. But the book that’s going to come out, it’s called “Elemental Bodywork,” [00:13:00] and the funny thing is I used to say that it was the book I started because I thought it would be the safe book to write, and the book that I really want to write is this other book that’s more on the spiritual transformation path that we all walk through in life called “The Field.” But it turns out that as I’ve written this bodywork book, which forced me to really admit to myself what I think is important about bodywork and what I think is not important, and the way that my mind [00:13:30] works is that when I try to understand something, I look for the through lines in it that fit in with everything else that I know and that are true through every aspect of a thing. So, when I went into the bodywork book, I found these six principles of all bodywork, everywhere, and then I was like, “Oh, okay. So everything exists within these. That’s easy. I can handle that.”
Craig: And then it’s just word-smithing. Not.
Thomas: And then from there the five elements are the rubric upon [00:14:00] which we look at different bodies, and minds, and spirits, and how they come in and out of balance, and that’s what the whole book is. But the thing that happened, unexpectedly I guess, was that as this goal keeps pushing me up and down the sine wave of development as I’m writing the book, suddenly elemental bodywork also shows me elemental medicine, and elemental Qigong, and we practice in New York at the [00:14:30] Element Center. And at some point I realized that I could create a through line through everything I do connected to the –
Craig: The book is just one point of the… uh-oh.
Thomas: … elemental transformations and that makes every time I approach something it has this central theme, and so then I just started to see the whole thing as the periodic table. And each thing was just a different element. And then I thought about Chinese Qigong, which is all about internal alchemy and the elemental charts, and I was like, “Oh, so I see. This is like the alchemical [00:15:00] transformation of life that you move through in these different practices.” And all that came out of writing the book. So, the goal of writing the book, which was to –
Craig: What you thought was a, “This is a straightforward goal. I can do this.”
Thomas: Right. And then it turns into this other thing, and that’s how it always happens, for me. I think it’s pretty common that it happens to us that way, even if we don’t realize it.
Craig: I agree. I was trying to write. I write short form stuff. I was trying to write about goals, and I quickly realized it’s like, you know what works best? When I have a bunch of goals, then they’re [00:15:30] out in front of me in a spread, and they basically pull me in a certain direction. But as soon as the path I’m on is veering, “Oh, I’m going to go that way,” it’s time to move the goals. And you never want to get to the goals.
There’s this great story about the Apollo program, and they tried to run the first simulations on the computer programs, and the computers crashed before they got the space craft to the goals. They realized, “Well, it’s a problem of finite adjustments and as the time goes to 0, everything blows up.” So, they just moved the goals. It’s like that’s why there are all these scenes in movies about them stopping and having to re-key [00:16:00] their positions, because they would just reset the computers, and like, “Well, if we get any closer to the goals, it’d’ve been a problem.” So, I was like, “Oh, once again, somebody else figured this out before me.” So, yeah, I think having those multiple goals and letting this goal, I’ve injured my shoulders trying to reach little goals, and just like learning to, yeah, move toward the goal, and then when you feel you need a new goal just move the goal post.
Thomas: Yeah, I mean, you plan a trip, right, to go somewhere? The doing of the trip is never what you think it’s going to be. And that’s why the trip’s [00:16:30] interesting. The plan’s fun because you set this whole structure up of what you’re going to do, but you know after you’ve done it once, that the doing of it is a whole other animal.
Craig: Yep. Life is a journey.
Thomas: Life is a journey.