Pixar’s Soul an Interesting View of States of Flow

Posted on Saturday December 26, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

Pixar’s 2020 Soul (Wikipedia Article or Pixar Article is a great movie that offers a fascinating picture of the flow state and obsession that can happen. I have for many years been in love with Pixar like so many people. Before subscribing to Disney Plus, which is a great value, I purchased most of them on iTunes. One of the things I appreciate, other than being able to watch them with my kids, is how they push the boundaries and offer new ways of imagining the world and concepts we have.

Soul reminded me Inside Out in that it pushes the theories of how our minds work to a manner of portraying it that is novel and elegant. I would propose that the format of animation affords Pixar to make these boundary-pushing visions. Soul dives into many aspects of what makes us people, our personality, the things that spark us, and does a similar job to Inside Out.

One of Soul’s visual representations is being in a flow state along with their theorized opposit of obsession and disconnection. Near The Great Before is a place that people go when they get the zone. Twenty-two, an ancient soul who had never been human before, described this area as “the space between the physical and spiritual.”

 Screenshot of 22 and Joe Gardner looking at souls in the flow
Pixar’s depiction of people who have entered the flow. We see 22 about to pop some people out of the flow with mischievous smile.

Buddhists have described this zone as Samadhi. In Nachmanovitch’s (2014), he explains that when somebody is in a selfless state and absorbed with absolute concentration. This Samadhi is about disappearing into the work and creation that we are doing. If you are interested in more about Free Play, you can read my short essay Free Play: Some Standouts of Nachmanovitch’s Book.

Csikszentmihalyi (2014) describes as flow experiences “the well-ordered, fully functioning dynamic state of consciousness” (p. 216). It is in this state that improvisation and newness are happening. I wrote more about this in Transformation, Creativity, and Some of the Things I Have Learned.

In the movie, Moonwind a devoted sign twirler on a Manhattan describes the The Zone and Lost Souls. He goes to the mystical astral plane during the movie, where he rescues lost souls from their uninspiring stressful lives.

Moonwind You know, lost souls are not that much different from those in the zone.

Joe Gardner What?

Moonwind The zone is enjoyable, but when that joy becomes an obsession, one becomes disconnected from life.

 The lost souls in the astral plane
The lost souls how have become disconnected from life.

Soul is a beautiful movie and well worth the watch for even kidless adults. The conceptualization they offer around flow and the potential obsession that can happen when fully absorbed is engaging.


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology. Springer Netherlands.

Nachmanovitch, S. (2014). Free play: Improvisation in life and art. Tarcher.

Pacific City Beach Trip: Rituals are Good

Posted on Tuesday July 21, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

The first year that you do an event or activity, even if it something that you want to do every year, you can describe that as a ritual or an annual event. It’s not until you have done it for at least two years or more that you can start to define something as a habitual observance. My personality style does not always engage with the conventional. As a young boy, I remember the value I used to place in doing something different. I would frequently make choices because I wanted to be different than everybody else.

Even now, I like to change things up in my life and “salir de la rutina.” New projects, activities, people that we know can be invigorating and feel very engaging. While that is true in my life, I (and I would argue that people in general) need to have consistencies as well. In my professional life, in talking to teachers and parents, I frequently discuss the importance of ritual and consistency. I see it in my family as well. Not only is it essential in managing the conflict that comes up (five kids, there is bound to be a lot of strife from time to time), but we have also made some of our traditions. We might change the location or activities, but there are some routines we have fallen into every year. I’m just getting back from one of my favorites (although I wrote most of this post while watching the fire die in Pacific City, I’m not finishing it up until we have been back home in the Tri-Cities). Growing together as a family is a great place that we can make traditions and rituals—the last couple of years, we have made it to the ocean at least once each year.

photo of my family on the beach
My Lovely Family

We stayed in a pretty decent VRBO, although they lack in amenities (who doesn’t even have salt/pepper or other basics.. as well there was some general disrepair in the home). We are just outside of Pacific City. I’m not sure if I am getting older, but I have some significant longing for the warmer oceans in Mexico and other more tropical habitats. I know as a youth loved being in any sea. I could spend all day, and I don’t think I ever thought it was cold. This year, I waded in to be close to the kids that I could go after them if needed, but the idea of swimming around in the cold water was more than I could bear. Maybe just need a wet suit.

photo of kids on the beach
Photo from when I was a child with my cousin on the Oregon Coast.

We made the reservation for the trip back in February. It was before we had any idea what has happened with COVID-19. We tried to stay as safe as possible, using masks when around other people. We did end up at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area and hung out at the Pacific City Beach, but spent most of our beach-going time in the almost private beach in front of our home. We also went to a restaurant for the first time since the quarantine started. We worked up an appetite climbing the giant dune and looking at the breathtaking views of the ocean against rock. We ate pizza at Doryland Pizza.

photo of kids in masks at Pizza Resturant
The Captan at Doryland Pizza

I would encourage people to find things that they can make as routines in their lives as their family. You can seem photos in Flickr 2020 Family Trip to Pacific City OR.

2020 Family Trip to Pacific City OR

Be Free, Releasing Sheldon

Posted on Saturday June 20, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

Two years ago, my wife came home from work (she was working in the fields at the time, doing agricultural work). She had found a turtle crawling in a canal and brought it home in a lunch pale. We bought an aquarium, supplies, named him/her Sheldon and they become a member of the family. We decided that Sheldon would be happier free, and this video a remember and letting go of Sheldon.

Music: Dreams - Benjamin Tissot (also known as Bensound)

Cameras: iPhone 11, GoPro Hero (2018), DJI Spark.

Cooperative Transformation [YouTube Video]

Posted on Sunday May 3, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

I created this video, Cooperative Transformation as a part of my class at CIIS TSD’s Creativity and Personal Transformation course. The class has been a wonderful experience to have taken this semester. Not only have I been able to learn more about creativity, myself, and transformation, but it has been personally useful to me as we are going through all of the stuff regarding this pandemic.

To create the video, it was a fairly involved process. The drone footage was filmed with my DJI Spark at the Juniper Dunes Wilderness. I filmed it a couple of days ago, and was surprised that there were so many people out there riding their ATVs. I guess it just opened. I had been just driving looking for somewhere I could film at, and ended up seeing a sign and deciding I should go out there. A couple of months ago, I purchased Micro Greens and set up my laptop to connect to my GoPro and take photos two times per hour. I also bought some mushrooms and tried setting up an old iPad to do the same timelapse video for it as well, but my set up kept turning off every couple of hours, and I couldn’t get it to work. Unfortunately, I think my lighting and set up was better for the mushrooms as I was planning on that being the primary project.

The music track behind my voice is something I created. You can listen to just the song.

Screenshot of GarageBand Project
Screenshot of GarageBand Project.

If you are interested, you can download the GarageBand file in a zip archive and edit yourself. I’m not super satisfied with it, but its fun to make music, and even somebody with no real talent/experience can create something that sounds decent.

The transcription of the video is here:

Cooperative Transformation

“There’s a loneliness that only exists in one’s mind. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald

The worldwide crisis that has been caused by COVID-19 has been extremely turbulent and will continue to be disruptive. It has been a time filled with crisis and turmoil for many. It has been a challenging time for everybody, but some more than others. It is a time that we can feel very alone. As we are practicing social distancing and dealing with grief and loss, it can be isolating.

It has also been a time that is developing connection and togetherness. In this time, we must be in alliance with one another. The process of transformation is destructive. The old must leave, and a new must come. This process is challenging and requires sacrifice. I hope to impart a desire and encouragement for connection and interdependence. We must not forget about those around us who might be in need. That we must develop cooperation that can change the world, let us leave this pandemic with a greater appreciation and higher level of compassion for each other. We must become better than we were before this started.

Together we can!

You can see my set up for filming the microgreens growing.

A photo of lighting setup for filming timelapse of microgreens growing.
A photo of lighting setup for filming timelapse of microgreens growing.

Along with a photo of the script I wrote in the Camera Suite app on my Mac, I used to connect to my GoPro. Speaking of this, its pretty awesome software, and even though my GoPro isn’t supported and isn’t supposed to help this type of implementation, it still worked.

A photo showing the camera suite app and the script used to record my timelapse video
Camera Suite’s script for filming my timelapse.

I recorded my voice using a ZOOM H4n Pro and edited it all together using LumaFusion on my iPad.

Making it Through The COVID-19 Pandemic with Words of the Day

Posted on Friday April 10, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

In needing a bit of break from more strenuous academic writing, I wanted to do a bit of creative writing activity. I have taken the 27 most recent words of the day from the Look Up. Look Up is an app on iOS and Mac. At least each new sentence has one of the words from the last almost month. Also, note that I took these words in order and have kept them that way. I hope that some of this makes you guffaw.

In these perilous times, during this pandemic, I want to repudiate Donald Trump for how he and some others are managing the crisis. COVID-19 has hit us like a tempest and it is effecting everyone around the world. Trump tends to bloviate frequently, and I can’t watch the daily briefings anymore. Even when he has outright lied, he pretends to be unerring.

If you aren’t already practicing social distancing, you need to make a cessation of going out and being around people as much as possible. I know the days are beautiful, perhaps with a zephyr. To flatten the curve and make it through this, we all need to be percipient. These actions do require an exaction, but it is worth it. The price is the only way that we can rescind all of the potential future pain. By making large and small sacrifices together, we will overcome by accretition positive decision by positive decision. I encourage you recognize the hard road ahead, and in the face of the dangers be phlegmatic but with our loved ones don’t be afraid to share your feelings.

This post might find you, eating your repast alone, but know that we are in this together. It is time for a generation of stentors to rise up and speak to power and support each other. Our world is in a precarious place. I don’t think I can wax panegyric enough to all of the health care heroes. If I could daub all of you a thick coat of my care and appreciation, I would. You go and save lives and watch as people die as you put yourself in quotidian dangers. Many of you work until you are ruddy in the face. You will keep working until we get this crisis to a place of stasis.

When we are through with this crisis, we will come back to a place of concinnity. People will go back to putting ovoid shapes in dogs’ mouths on Tic Tok. I will continue working to become erudite as I study for my Ph.D. I’m sure there will still be fractious political difficulties. But my evocative wish is that we can come together. We don’t have to frolic together in the spume like a corny love story. But… we should be able to agree that we are all in this world together, and just like we all need potable water, we need to be support each other.

When that happens, just like the pangram says, I will ‘pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs,’ so I can continue my jaunt to find a better world.

Definition from LookUp for guffaw Definition from LookUp for repudiate Definition from LookUp for tempest Definition from LookUp for bloviate Definition from LookUp for unerring Definition from LookUp for cessation Definition from LookUp for zephyr Definition from LookUp for percipient Definition from LookUp for exaction Definition from LookUp for rescind Definition from LookUp for accretion Definition from LookUp for phlegmatic Definition from LookUp for repast Definition from LookUp for stentor Definition from LookUp for precarious Definition from LookUp for panegyric Definition from LookUp for daub Definition from LookUp for quotidian Definition from LookUp for ruddy Definition from LookUp for stasis Definition from LookUp for concinnity Definition from LookUp for ovoid Definition from LookUp for erudite Definition from LookUp for fractious Definition from LookUp for evocative Definition from LookUp for spume Definition from LookUp for potable Definition from LookUp for pangram Definition from LookUp for jaunt
This is all of the images for the last 27 words of the days from the LookUp app.

Transdisciplinary Literature Reviews using Zotero, How I Manage References [YouTube Video]

Posted on Sunday April 5, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

I’m currently enrolled in the California Institutes Integral Studies Ph.D. Program for Transformative Studies. It has been an incredible program so far, but it is a ton of reading and writing and requires that I stay organized with all of my sources. I’ve gone through a bit of quest looking at various reference software, including Mendeley, EndNote, ReadCube Papers, and ended sticking with Zotero. While as the software, it is not near perfect, it allows me to do most of my work from my iPad and integrate Siri Shortcuts and my writing process.

Montuori (2013) talking about the complexity of a transdisciplinary literature review describes four dimensions that a scholar should consider.

  • inquiry-based rather than discipline-based;
  • integrating rather than eliminating the inquirer from the inquiry;
  • meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic;
  • applying systems and complex thought rather than reductive/disjunctive thinking

I wanted to share some of how I am using Zotero to keep track of all of the research sources I am coming across.

First I do almost all of my writing in Drafts. I have a couple of academic tools. I have a CIIS writing actions tab in Drafts. Most of them are pretty basic, but can be useful. I have three different ones to copy HTML depending on what I am writing. When I am writing a paper I start all of them with metadata such as

[Current Date], [Selected Location Topic] - [Topic]
[Course ID] - [Course Title]
Course ID: [Course ID]  
Course Title: [Course Title]  
Date: [Current Date]  
Location: [Selected Location]  
Topic: [Topic Description]  


#  [Selected Location] [Topic]

**Topic**: [Topic]  
**Date**: [Current Date]  

I create all of this with a Siri Shortcut - CIIS New Writing which you can add if want to see how I set it up. It fills in the information for me so I don’t have to. The first two lines are how I save my text file to my OneDrive account later. The first line becomes the title of the document and second line is the name of the folder it is saved in for my OneDrive. When I do this more formal writing and want to copy it to Canvas to post it, Drafts converts it to HTML skips the first two lines and the metadata is converted to HTML metadata which isn’t shown in my post because I write it in YAML format.

My Drafts Action - View APA Paper HTML Preview. Basically it is print action that skips the first two lines of the draft. The CSS is set up to help show how many pages have been written in an academic paper written in Drafts. It is set up as double spaced text, with APA style headings.

Another action that I use is one I create is a Javascript script that counts the number of words that are selected - Word-Count of Selection. I have a number of other ones that I use. I wanted to give you a taste of what Drafts and Zotero can do.

Another Siri Shortcut that I just finished making Add Reference List Entry. It lets you search for articles within your Zotero account. You will have to set up an API key and get your Zotero user code.


Montuori, Alfonso. (2013c). The Complexity of Transdisciplinary Literature Reviews. An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 10(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.29173/cmplct20399

Stop Motion Video for Nana [YouTube Video]

Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

With the quarantine and everything going on, it seemed like a good idea to do a fun activity and get our mind off of everything for a while.

We made a stop motion video by taking photos with my GoPro and processing them through Stop Motion Pro App. It was pretty easy to do and fun to go through and plan, set up, and implement. The final product turned out great as well.

The Set Up for the Stop Motion Video

The music is included in the app and called Mister Exposition.

We also built a fort in the back yard. It was fun to put together. You can see a time lapse video and some photos.

Arianna in a construction hat Mateo in a construction hat The Twins putting the fort together
The kids building their fort in the back yard out of some old wood.

Strengths-Based Engagement with Families [YouTube Video]

Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020 by Jacob Campbell.

Strengths-Based Engagement with Families

In working with individuals and families, following a strengths-based approach is a best practice, and it is contrasted with a traditional problem-solving strategy. Following some of Kirst-Ashman and Hull’s (2015) strategies, we can both understand the conventional problem-solving approach and a strength-based approach to solving problems.

To implement a strengths-based approach, there are some strategies that can be helpful. These include building on family strengths, working collaboratively, helping the family formulate a vision, boosting participation and involvement, utilizing environmental modification, and modeling high expectations.

Kruzich et al. (2003) reported families identified the following barriers as impeding involvement in their child’s care:

  • Distance from service providers
  • Caregiver’s work schedule
  • Cost of transportation
  • Lack of access to transportation
  • Child care arrangements
  • Cost of child care
  • Lack of communication between staff from different programs or agencies
  • Lack of open communication
  • Lack of opportunity or encouragement to participate in the child’s treatment
  • Inflexible visiting and meeting schedules
  • Lack of clarity about whom to contact with questions and concerns
  • Negative staff attitudes about the family
  • Restrictive policies
  • Lack of consideration for cultural values

They on to describe some strategies for supporting engagement with families:

  • Provision of a contact person
  • Notification of caregiver when something was wrong or if there were health or other concerns about the child
  • Flexible scheduling of meetings
  • Information about rights and grievance procedures
  • Comfortable and private space for meetings
  • Prompt return of phone calls
  • Inclusion of caregiver’s comments in the child’s records
  • Support for transitions into or out of services or programs
  • Communication with all relevant family members
  • Help with transportation costs
  • Help with telephone costs
  • Assistance with child care costs
  • Caregiver treated with dignity and respect
  • Caregiver made to feel that his or her participation was important
  • Caregiver made to feel welcome
  • All family members encouraged to participate
  • Responsiveness to the family’s cultural values


Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, Jr., G. H. (2015). Understanding Generalist Practice (Seventh Ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Kruzich, J. M., Jivanjee, P., Robinson, A., & Friesen, B. J. (2003). Family Caregivers’ Perceptions of Barriers to and Supports of Participation in Their Children’s Out-of-Home Treatment. Psychiatric Services, 54(11), 1513-1518. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.54.11.1513