Episode 89: Brant Secunda (Huichol Shaman and Healer) and Mark Allen (Six-Time Ironman Triathlon Champion) guests: Part 1 Fit Soul - Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You
“For human evolution to continue, the conversation must deepen.” – Margaret Mead
Brant Secunda: “Hi! I’m Brant Secunda, and I’m really happy to be here with Living Dialogues. I think that it’s so valuable for us to come together in dialogue and to speak together and to communicate about these things, which are so important. We think that the book Fit Soul, Fit Body helps to bring alive these valuable ideas that are important for us all. By being here with Living Dialogues I feel it’s really helpful, also, for myself. So thank you.”
Mark Allen: “I’m Mark Allen, co-author of Fit Soul, Fit Body with Brant Secunda. Living Dialogues with Duncan is a true, beautiful experience to be with somebody who talks from the heart and gets people to talk from their heart as well. Through that we’re all touched deep in the soul. Not just in our minds, but deep in our soul, deep in our bodies. It touches the genetics of who we are as human beings, as two-leggeds on this planet. This is a rare opportunity to have a dialogue with another human being on that level.”
In the description of my prior dialogue with Stanislav Grof in Episodes 83-84, which I entitled: “Barack Obama and Our 21st Century Collective Heroes’ Journey”, I observed:
“This new template [the “third consciousness” arising from the Sacred Marriage of our primal indigenous and adolescent modern mind heritages] contains all the elements of the traditional Hero's Journey archetype across cultures so well described by Joseph Campbell in mid-20th century in his classic "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" -- but goes further in uniting the best of the indigenous rites of passage and the modern mind's conceptual breakthroughs into a new collaborative midwifing I sometimes describe as “our 21st century Collective Heroes' Journey”. While remaining responsible and accountable to show up on our own horse, we effectively “ride into the dark part of the forest” together on our now larger Grail quest.”
In Dialogues 85 and 86 with Lakota historian Joseph M. Marshall III on the Contemporary Relevance of Leadership Lessons from the Hero’s Journey of Crazy Horse, we revealed the how the modern “conquering” Euroamerican culture in North America has ignored the traits of integrity, accountability, generosity, and attention to the welfare of the collective cultivated in traditional tribal, village life, as quaintly irrelevant in this Second Gilded Age to the culture of de facto unregulated corporate and personal greed (warned about by Abraham Lincoln prior to the First Gilded Age at the end of the nineteenth century ), commercialization, militarization, and endemic political lying and self-seeking that have now come – until just these past few months – to be accepted as necessary evils characterizing our modern anonymous urban industrial culture.
The time is now upon us to share the best of our indigenous and modern mind gifts, teaching and learning from the best of both traditions and from each other all over the planet. The latest excellent example of this Sacred Marriage’s ability to bear healthy fruit and happy mind-body-soul union is the recently published best-seller Fit Soul, Fit Body.
In this 2-part Dialogue (Episodes 89 and 90) American-born Huichol shaman and healer, Brant Secunda, and his twenty-year friend, student, and collaborator, American Mark Allen – six-time Ironman Triathlon champion – join with me in a trialogue journey of shared exploration, with intimate stories from our own experiences illustrating the profound relevance and potential applicability in our modern lives of ancient, timeless daily honorings of the naturally alive universe in which we all live. These daily honorings and celebrations, often punctuated with the transformative power of good-hearted teasing laughter, still occur in the human-nature landscape of intact indigenous cultures such as that of the Huichol Indians in the High Sierra Madre in Mexico. It was there that as a young man Brant Secunda encountered his teacher the 100 year old Don Jose.
It was the image of these two shamans, Don Jose and his adopted grandson Brant Secunda, seen in a magazine, that came into the mind of Mark Allen at a critical point near the final end game of the 1989 Ironman Triathlon race in Hawaii – still regarded by many as the greatest Ironman race of all time – resulting in an unprecedented surge which enabled Mark, after six previous losses, to defeat the reigning multi-year champion and win the first of what would become his epic six straight victories in the annual Ironman competition.
Mark had always been intimidated by the sheer power of the surrounding volcanic landscape in Hawaii, but from that first victory forward he resolved to work with Brant and has done so in beautiful collaboration since then, learning the ways and power and ability to dialogue with our fully alive conscious universe which is our home. And to be joyfully and comfortably at home in that home. So when at age 37, the oldest person to attempt to win a 6th straight Ironman Triathlon, Mark felt near the end that he had given his all and needed more energy to continue and keep up, he asked the land around him he had come to relate to as a brother for help, and once again was able to surge seemingly miraculously to the front and finished first ahead of a much younger and able competitor.
In our “trialogue”, I observed that while other runners trained in terms of measured “times” and “splits”, Mark had learned to enter the timeless realm of appreciative soul and celebrating body, joyful together in their unity and sense of well-being even before the race ever began, as he described his later experiences. This is the relaxed sense of our common humanity that we can all share even as we race and compete, free of attachment to the outcome.
The many life lessons that Brant and Mark have learned apart and then together over the last decades have been organized and communicated in this, their first book together, in a very accessible and informed manner. In my view, this book heralds a paradigm shift in the genre of self-help and self-empowerment teachings and books, by bringing together in story, in exercises, in instructions (including diet), the fruits of this archetypal collaboration of our time – that we are called to awaken to the creative potential of both our indigenous heritage and DNA and our modern mind, in the celebratory power of their shared union, so as to generate evolutionary change to keep pace with our continuously evolving universe.
"We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth….and as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself....For the world has changed, and we must change with it." -- Barack Obama Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009
And as I often say on Living Dialogues:
“Dialogue is the Language of Evolutionary Transformation”™.
Contact me if you like at www.livingdialogues.com. Visit my blog at Duncan.personallifemedia.com. ”. (For more, including information on the Engaged Elder Wisdom Dialogue Series on my website www.livingdialogues.com, click on Episode Detail to the left above and go to Transcript section.)
Among others, programs you will find of particular interest on these themes are my Dialogues on this site with Vine DeLoria, Jr., Michael Meade, Angeles Arrien, Sobonfu Some, Andrew Weil, Larry Dossey, Ted Sorensen, Marc Bekoff, John Gray, David Mendell, Deborah Tannen, Michael Dowd, Duane Elgin, and Joseph M. Marshall III, among others [click on their name(s) in green on right hand column of the Living Dialogues Home Page on this site].
After you listen to this Dialogue, I invite you to both explore and make possible further interesting material on Living Dialogues by taking less than 5 minutes to click on and fill out the Listener Survey. My thanks and appreciation for your participation.
“Duncan Campbell, I heard about your podcast a few months ago, and have been deeply listening to all the dialogues with your fantastic friends/guests. Your words, ideas, and wisdom are truly inspirational. You have evoked a new appetite for knowledge in me that I hope to share with a starving younger generation. Thank you for doing what you do, and creating a unique space, void of boundaries and classification. A breath of fresh air! Much love and respect.” – Amit Kapadiya
In furtherance of creating and maintaining the planetary dialogues now required in the 21st century, I featured a special series of dialogues with myself and other elders in the weeks leading up to and including the 2008 Olympics hosted by China and the U.S. 2008 elections. Those dialogues can be listened to separately on this site or as gathered as a series on my website www.livingdialogues.com under the collective title “Engaged Elder Wisdom Dialogues”. They address various specific political aspects of our planetary crisis, with its dangers and opportunities for creating and sustaining a visionary and evolutionary shift. (We remember that the Chinese character for “crisis” is often described as meaning both “danger” when visioned from a fear perspective, and “opportunity” when visioned from a wisdom perspective.)
In all my Living Dialogues from their inception I talk in various ways about the call to generate dialogues across generational, ethnic, gender, religious, and national boundaries -- building bridges of understanding and wisdom in the cooperative spirit and reaching out -- required by our 21st century realities, and the essential roles that we all are called to play in our evolution for it to take place.
This is the time for renewed dialogue, for visionary and inspiring discourse producing practical and innovative ways of living and sharing together, to engage the deep spirit and spirituality of our own elder wisdom and youthful inspiration, and in so doing to experience and exemplify that “Dialogue is the Language of Evolutionary Transformation”™.
And that is what we all do, in our mutual roles as host, deep listeners, and guests, when we gather together here from all parts of the globe in Living Dialogues.
SUBSCRIBE HERE FOR FREE TO LIVING DIALOGUES AND IN THE COMING WEEKS HEAR DUNCAN CAMPELL’S DIALOGUES WITH OTHER GROUND-BREAKING TRANSFORMATIONAL THINKERS LISTED ON THE WEBSITE WWW.LIVINGDIALOGUES.COM. TO LISTEN TO PREVIOUS RELATED DIALOGUES ON THIS SITE, SCROLL DOWN ON THE LIVING DIALOGUES SHOW PAGE HERE -- OR CLICK ON THE NAME OF A GUEST ON THE LIST AT THE RIGHT -- TO HEAR DUNCAN’S DIALOGUES WITH DR. ANDREW WEIL, BRIAN WEISS, COLEMAN BARKS, RUPERT SHELDRAKE, LARRY DOSSEY, JUDY COLLINS, MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, MATTHEW FOX, JOSEPH CHILTON PEARCE, DEEPAK CHOPRA, BYRON KATIE AND STEPHEN MITCHELL, CAROLINE MYSS, GANGAJI, VINE DELORIA, JR., MICHAEL DOWD (THE UNIVERSE STORY OF THOMAS BERRY AND BRIAN SWIMME), STEVE MCINTOSH, FRANCES MOORE LAPPE, STANISLAV GROF, RICHARD TARNAS, MARC BEKOFF AND JANE GOODALL, RICHARD MOSS, PAUL HAWKEN, PAUL RAY, JOSEPH ELLIS, DUANE ELGIN, LYNNE MCTAGGART, ECKHART TOLLE, MICHAEL MEADE, ANGELES ARRIEN, SOBONFU SOME. TED SORENSEN, ROBERT THURMAN, DAVID MARANISS, DAVID BOREN, GEORGE LAKOFF, TOM HAYDEN, JAY INSLEE, BRACKEN HENDRICKS, BOB GOUGH, VAN JONES, BARBARA MARX HUBBARD, LESTER BROWN, DAVID MENDELL, DEBORAH TANNEN, JOHN GRAY, ARI BERK, SUSAN JACOBY, JOSEPH M. MARSHALL III, JOHN O’DONOHUE, AND OTHER EVOLUTIONARY THINKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
The best way to reach me is through my website: www.livingdialogues.com. Many thanks again for your attentive deep listening in helping co-create this program.
All the best, Duncan.
P.S. As a way of further acknowledging and appreciating your part in these dialogues, and since I cannot personally answer all of them, I have begun to publish from time to time in these pages some of the appreciations received from you.
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Brant Secunda: Hi! I’m Brant Secunda, and I’m really happy to be here with Living Dialogues. I think that it’s so valuable for us to come together in dialogue and to speak together and to communicate about these things, which are so important. We think that the book Fit Soul, Fit Body helps to bring alive these valuable ideas that are important for us all. By being here with Living Dialogues I feel it’s really helpful, also, for myself. So thank you.
Mark Allen: I’m Mark Allen, co-author of Fit Soul, Fit Body with Brant Secunda. Living Dialogues with Duncan is a true, beautiful experience to be with somebody who talks from the heart and gets people to talk from their heart as well. Through that we’re all touched deep in the soul. Not just in our minds, but deep in our soul, deep in our bodies. It touches the genetics of who we are as human beings, as two-leggeds on this planet. This is a rare opportunity to have a dialogue with another human being on that level.
Duncan Campbell: From time immemorial, beginning with indigenous councils and ancient wisdom traditions, through the work of Western visionaries such as Plato, Galileo, and quantum physicist David Bohm, mutually participatory dialogue has been seen as the key to evolving and transforming consciousness, evoking a flow of meaning, a dia-flow of logos meaning beyond what any one individual can bring through alone.
So join us now as together with you, the active deep listener, we evoke and engage in Living Dialogues.
Welcome to the program. I’m your host Duncan Campbell, and I’m delighted to welcome as my guests Mark Allen and Brant Secunda. Mark Allen is six-time Iron Man Triathlon champion. Brant Secunda, his great friend and mentor for 20 years, is Huichol shaman and healer for the last three decades. So I want to welcome you both to the program, Mark and Brant.
Brant Secunda: Duncan, we’re happy to be here.
Mark Allen: Thank you, Duncan. It’s great to hear your voice again.
Duncan Campbell: Yes, we had such a great initial program. Today we have the really great opportunity to talk about your groundbreaking real paradigm-shifting book that you have both put together from your 20-year collaboration. It’s entitled Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You with a forward by Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits Highly Effective People.
This is in a sense like the eighth habit as Stephen Covey says. It’s really extraordinary in the sense that it does bring together for the first time in any of this kind of literature, a real modern mind perspective and experience of how individuation and motivation through competition and excelling in competition as you have done, Mark Allen, with your six straight victories in the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii with the deep indigenosity and appreciation of the natural world and a sense of connectedness to the power, the energy, and the stress-reducing blessing of the natural world that Brant Secunda has been deeply steeped in for the last 30 years and more in his study and his carrying on of the Huichol Indian tradition from Mexico.
So without further ado, I want to actually invite both of you to perhaps begin our time together today by in turn telling each of your stories as to how you came to meet each other.
Brant, if you would perhaps begin by talking a little bit about how you, as a 17 or 18-year-old setting off in search of your life mission having grown up in New Jersey, wound up in Mexico in the Sierra Madre and became adopted as the grandson and apprentice of 110-year-old shaman Don Jose and have been, with his blessing and authorization, carrying on that deep tradition ever since.
Then Mark, perhaps you could talk about how you came to be interested in competitive athletics and how you, for your first six years in the triathlon, lost every year to Dave Scott of Boulder until the great race of 1989, which is still being talked about in triathlon circles as perhaps the greatest triathlon of all time, and what role Don Jose and Brant Secunda played in that and how you then began your 20-year-collaberation.
So with that introduction, let’s start with you, Brant Secunda. Tell us a little bit about how you came to your own life purpose.
Brant Secunda: Great. Well, thank you so much for your introduction as well. I asked Don Jose that. I said, “How did this happen?” He says, “Well, that was your good luck.”
Duncan Campbell: [laughs] Indeed.
Brant Secunda: I was originally, as you said, from New Jersey, New York, and New Jersey. Then I left right when I was 18 and began traveling around a little bit throughout America. Then I wound up in Mexico. I went to the town of Ixtlan in Mexico, which has now been made famous by one of the books about Don Juan.
Of course, when I went there, there was nobody waiting for me there at the bus station, and nobody was there to greet me. It was even during siesta time, so it was very, very quiet. But I had been given the name of a village and also a letter. I was told I would be able to go with this letter of introduction because normally the Huichol Sierra isn’t open for people just to come in. They have to be taken there.
So I had this letter of introduction, and I wound up walking through the Huichol Sierra. On the third day of my hike, I passed out from dehydration and from sun exposure. I was suddenly awakened by Indians standing over me, sprinkling water onto my face, and telling me that the old shaman of their village had had a dream about me two days earlier. They were sent out to look for me and bring me back to their village. I was taken back to their village.
Soon after, I was taken to meet Don Jose. He adopted me as his grandson and put me through then a 12-year apprenticeship. We became very close companions. We had a very deep, I guess you would say, friendship as well as student-teacher relationship. I went through an apprenticeship with him there in Mexico, growing corn with him and going to the different places of power. Many of them are in just spectacular settings there in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Then when I finished my apprenticeship, he came up with me to America and announced that he was leaving me in his place to help carry on this rich tradition of Huichol Shamanism. Then we founded the Dance of the Deer Foundation, which is dedicated to the cultural and economic survival of the Huichols and also to bring the power of this tradition to the modern world. So that’s a little bit my story of how I came to be on this path.
For full transcript, please contact Duncan Campbell