The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #289: Knowing Yourself, Ukemi, Relaxing into Existential Angst, and Deep Breathing with A Thirteenth Hour Reading

This week’s episode comes at a time of increasing national and global anxiety about the future, and as inhabitants on this rock orbiting a star on the edge of the Milky Way, we’re subject to the milieu of the environment, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of angst in the soup.  And as anyone who’s ever had a muscle cramp can attest, the way around a cramp is not with more tension, it’s relaxing into it – leaning in to the pain.  In this episode, I talk about the concept of the “receiving body” (ukemi in Japanese, though usually translated as “breakfall”).  If we meet the impact of a blow or a fall head on, we play a game of structural strength with the opposing force.  When you play that game with the ground, you always lose (unless you are Chuck Norris, of course).  Just as a good training partner (uke, a.k.a. “receiver”) is able to flow with an attacker and ride off (or simulate) the impact of an attack so his partner can learn how the body moves and responds, doing a good ukemi means never making a dead landing.  It means rolling with the force of the fall as best you can.  The ability to relax the body in such situations is counter-intuitive, since the natural instinct is to brace for impact, but remember, the ground always wins in a game of strength. 

Ukemi is not limited to the physical, though.  We are always receiving bodies of the slings and arrows that life throws at us.  There, too, the ability to relax is counter-intuitive.  Thankfully, as with breakfalls, the ability to relax into potential pain can be taught and practiced.  We all have the ability within ourselves.  In this episode, I talk about one of the simplest (though I didn’t say easiest), most natural (again, natural does not mean intuitive) things we all know how to do – breathing.  It does take a bit of practice to do it in a way that slows things down to a more manageable pace, but the good news is that once you know how to do it, you can practice deep, slow breathing almost anywhere, anytime, and it doesn’t have to be during a time of official “meditation” (I did it the other day in a dentist’s chair).  

If the music playing during the breathing segment sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to the intro podcast music.  It’s a slow reworking of The Thirteenth Hour theme.  For Patreon supporters, watch for an exclusive podcast episode on it sometimes this week as well as a longer stretch to accompany the breathing exercise.  I’ll make an accompanying video soon as well.

Speaking of music, the song “Many Miles” debuts tomorrow.  It ended up taking 6 years, but I’m glad with how it ended up turning out!

And, as mentioned last episode, the patches I mentioned a few weeks ago are now ready and available for purchase here!  They come with a high quality mp3 download from Once Upon a Dream, the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack LP.


If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!




There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up ( and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!


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