nic askew – soulbiographies

nic askew

Nothing would be enough to say. And anything would be too much.

Just spend your time here. Just see.

new site – good place to swim – humanity seen:

nic askew site

– – – –

mission from Nic’s site:

If we were to truly SEE each other from behind the folly of our own opinion, we might recognize that we are all intrinsically connected. That we each belong, without exception. And with such experience, everything might change.


MISSION : to capture The Soul of This Human Race on film. From all four corners of the world, and in all its glorious shades. So that we all might catch a glimpse of how similar we are, and sight of the experience that we belong, without exception.

– – –

original soulbiographies site:

nic's site

a soul bio and nic

[highlights from video]

too few people hold a conversation – just because

people don’t pay attention to random – because – where’s the benefit of that

most aren’t paying attention, most aren’t lost in the person

not destroying the delight of meeting someone for the first time without any assumptions

if there’s a space that’s totally clear between the two of us..

the point is to see someone, and to see someone, you don’t want to get in the way

there’s no formula, no way to prepare.. just to got to listen to the ether

love 18 min in – we usually need something of explanation, but when experiencing presence, that explanation eludes you

what if all we were looking for was to fall in love – with everything

intangible experiences

i don’t know what’s going to be there – my job is just to give the space

you never get to anything of depth, if you’ve already worked out where you want to go, .. because then you can’t see the person, there’s no sense of wonder, and we miss out on everything, the curiosity, the wonder, all the doors that might open to us

25 min in – talking about them is no fun – it’s all up here – up in their cleverness

right now i wouldn’t put the camera on – we’re not there – there’s something in the way

so – what’s going on – there’s too much thinking going on – we’re trying to explain what i do

what’s right in front of us now – that could be interesting, but we’re trying to be clever, trying to work it out 



31 min in: from interit felt safe, warm, an acceptance, i didn’t need to be clever, it was easy – it just was what it was

it seems like nothing is happening, but the attention i’m getting from you is powerful, feels like i’m being listened to, doesn’t matter what i say, feels like a light shining into my soul, feel a resistance, yet slightly seduced by it

it feels like someone is saying to me, you don’t have to pretend, as you are, you are fine, nothing else has to happen

it’s like i can’t see anywhere i have to get to, for a while anyway

so we heal ourselves, if we’re given the space


i can see you now – i couldn’t see you before

there’s a place where i can see someone’s intellect (far more easy to sell, to take in,…) far less easy to get someone to pay attention to the different state, but it’s far richer

everyone is capable of it

there’s a whole section of this world talking about possibility, but that comes from a place that doesn’t believe it

oh. well i’m here, but this isn’t it. 

what i do most of the time – i just wonder about stuff..

you can’t get to a definitive answer – so in a constant state of – i don’t know

the ability to be there, without expectation

that timid point happens all the time but we don’t notice it, it if sit still long enough i can see it

quiet enough to hear it..public (concerning all the people) living eudaimoniously



no prep


lighter or darker


interview aug 2014:

Behind the Film ‘Intro Interview’

the thing you can’t not do

it’s not really about film, it’s about witnessing someone… beyond assumption.. this space between us is no space

what am i doing it for?… i really like doing it

i’m never going to run out of people, i’m never going to run out of the depth of which to wonder

i’ve never felt loneliness – i’m part of it no matter what

part of the beauty – that i just don’t know – and adventure of uncertainty


oct 2014:

How to See Somebody Naked | Nic Askew | TEDxHennepinAve

i can’t see those people (naked) around me

we’re all disfigured. we’re not enough. – the world supports that.

when you collide with an experience of authenticity.. and neither party is trying to move the world in their favor.. it’s almost disarming.

as soon as i go in with a question.. it’s like i’m trying to direct it.

the words needed to finish before what was meant to be said would come out..

the space between us. you think you can see someone but you actually can’t.

to give enough space – and no direction at all to where it’s going to go.

there’s no one that doesn’t want to talk like that.. to go there… given a safe space (authentic/human)

we’re all connected – no matter what.

there are no separate lives.. and we’ve never been alone.


starting to collect some favorites on this page:

some fav soul biographies


paying attention w/o the need for it to take you anywhere..

a very offensive idea – it’s ok to take a step each day w/o knowing where you’re stepping – we’re all looking for some sense of certainty. how could  i just not have a plan..

the adventure of uncertainty – the one thing that is certain – is that it’s ok that there is no certainty.. fear of loss isn’t so much 

maybe the point is to get lost in a conversation.. rather than ending it and having 5 points.. it’s like cutting out the middle man… (that we have to get a job to get money to get stuff .. so we can then get together for conversation.. like this)

where on earth are you going.. choice

if i get a thought.. i’m just going to say it.. i’m not going to work out whether it’s worth saying or not

one has to witness someone.. witness is being there and nowhere else

each of us stand seemingly alone…as we cry out for evidence that we belong… there are no separate lives and we’ve never been alone.. (one same heartbeatwhole poem)

if you don’t believe you’re enough – you’re going to be afraid of everything..

you’re translating everything to have meaning… that might not have meaning..

everyone has this longing to do that.. to just drop everything.. 

47 min – on just following the day

revolution of everyday life.. ness

this is useful.. this is the point..

if i could just chisel out enough time and get rid of enough guilt.. to take some unknown steps

50 min – on curiosity – not question as a verb.. but as a way of being

56 min – something is going on underneath that.. and it’s nothing to do with the words

i can’t be bothered with explanations .. that can get in the way.. of what’s underneath

1:00 – i don’t quite know why… but i feel drawn to this

the luxury – to do stuff you feel drawn to

1:06 – if you can’t articulate – you hang out.. the communication is subtle and deep.. and people can spot it when they hang out with you

interview – april 22

1:10 – i’m really into paying attention to people.. i can see people.. and can’t explain it.. but i can capture it on film

1:15 – the way we see – everything outside is exactly the same (bob chadwick) – getting to that place with a person

i know you ness


This is likely my last contribution on social media and elsewhere for a while. Perhaps a long while. And this is why

Original Tweet:

experimental convo with Chris


nov 1 2015

surrender. there is no plan.

pay attention to that.

irrelvant quote vinay

whimsy matters. a nother way. for all of us.

embed\ing in still. enough.


recovering from schizophrenia –

the most important thing.. has been able to talk to someone

Jean-Paul Mari

that people were listening w/o judgment.. didn’t try to tell me it was wrong/untrue… just offered help by being there w/o having to correct me

full time work..?


nov 2015  – tedx

sitting still long enough to let someone tell what their soul is trying to speak.. you can keep quiet.. but that’s not really witnessing.. there’s this space… in between.. and there’s no need for anything… almost like a state of almost not being there… when that happens.. everything changes… there’s just space… almost the antithesis of media today… hard to watch and then not hard to watch.. then it’s intoxicating…

if i research someone.. then i might have an opinion

i had to pay attention to what she was saying.. beyond the words..

it does happen everywhere if you let it..


praying for home.. home is where peace can come from.. a nic askew film.. of Carrie Tree @carrietree singing..

and they call me a migrant. And they call me a thief. And they call me a beggar man. An asylum seeker. And I was once a teacher. I was once a family man. I was once a dreamer. A community leader.

I’ve seen friends and family all scattered and broken. And we don’t know why the cruelty keeps raging. And I’m seeking your kindness. I’m longing for safety and I’m praying for home.’

CARRIE TREE came unsuspectingly to a Soul Biographies RETREAT. Sometime after being stripped bare by the camera she shared this song, penned after time spent in the Migrant Camp at Calais known as the Jungle.


Laura Van Riper


souls of america tour


You belong without condition. This is at the heart of the #SoulOfAmerica filming process

people want to just feel like they’re home. that there’s no one the have to be. and no where else they have to be.

we belong. there was no condition to that.. ever

maté basic needs


from aug 13 2018 monday letter: set down your need to know and notice what there is to notice. It may just improve your eyesight.


poem about the moon by Nic Askew – from his monday newsletter oct 7 2019:

Let me introduce you
to the moon.
She sits up there
in skies afar,
gazing down
upon you
where you sleep.
Wondering why
you live just
half a life.
And crying
‘what if’.

whimsy matters. a nother way. for all of us.

also same day in newsletter – 30 min candid of Nic.. a few quotes (ok.. maybe more like the whole thing) here.. as i’m sure the film won’t last.. as open

i think one of our challenges in this is to articulate what essentially doesn’t suit words.. there is no language that really describes the nature of what you are

no/beyond words ness

1 min – the trouble is.. many people couldn’t pay attention long enough to see what i could see in people.. so people used to ask.. ‘where do you find these people’.. and i used to say.. that’s an odd question.. like i got lucky and all the very open people lived in my zip code.. but of course what people were saying is.. ‘i can’t see people like this’

quiet enough.. so assume/see good

let’s try idio-jargon/self-talk as data/detox.. and a mech to listen to every voice everyday.. tech as it could be.. to jump start us (augment our interconnectedness) back/to us (ie: undisturbed ecosystem; eudaimoniative surplus; fittingness;..)

what i found along the way.. and i was never looking for this.. so much of the world seems to be telling you how to get to a place.. how to become yourself.. to become worthy enough to belong, to get some sense of progression

brown belonging law

2 min – then as i started to pay attention.. 7 days a week.. for 15 years.. literally.. there has not been a day i have not been paying attention very closely .. to humanity.. to people who sit in front of my camera.. to everything.. and by paying attention.. utterly.. no (nit?) going on trying to inquire in something.. there’s just attention.. and then i get to sit with the edit and i would sit with some for 2, 3, 4 weeks.. watching each frame.. and absorbing the experience of them and seeing 2 things really.. there they are.. and there they’re not

we are not being careful and we are missing it

3 min – i realized.. that most of what we see of someone is not real.. it’s just the story of what one tries to project into the world and people would do that.. or attempt to do that into my camera.. and it would have no place so it would leave.. and they would .. sat there in silence.. and i could see.. it was an experience.. it wasn’t an idea of stillness/connectedness.. it was connectedness.. simply the experience

whales in sea world et al

dang.. so resonating with my last 10 years..

most people are at it as a search for something that we already are.. which to me seems utterly absurd.. this is tense ness which populates every hour of every day about having to do something in a particular way to get to a particular place.. but here we are.. and when one is still enough one realizes what one is a part of and that there was no condition.. and it’s only in that place that you start to realize what it is that you are.. and that there was no requirement.. there was nothing needed.. by anyone.. not even yourself..

supposed to’s.. killing us

still.. enough.. unconditional

4 min – inner purpose is always trying to find you .. you shouldn’t be trying to find it.. when you try to find it you use your imagination/mind/intelligence/effort.. and you’re marching forward.. as you do w everything.. you’re pushing forward.. looking to find this.. looking to construct a life that’s worthy enough.. but that’s not how it works.. if you would sit still enough it would find/recognize/consume you..

fittingness et al

5 min – people are in disbelief.. ‘it can’t be this simple.. how can i just sit and do nothing’.. because the assumption is.. if you do something.. something will happen.. but it’s the opposite.. if you sit still long enough .. you are recognized.. everything finds you.. you act from there.. but if you never sit still long enough.. you never know

this is the essence of curiosity over decision making.. and that without that.. we perpetuate a whales in sea world world.. where we have no idea what/who we are.. this is what i mean by curiosity.. listening over inquiring/deciding/searching

6 min – i don’t want to talk/write about the idea of this.. it’s only the experience that counts.. and so to devise some kind of material/program that tells people .. teaches people .. about this.. is kind of missing the point.. the only thing that would ever count is that someone sit still enough and recognize that they always knew this.. that they always knew themselves and their part in this.. they don’t want/believe it.. they know it.. and knowing.. lives in your bones.. to know that you belong.. that you don’t have to fight for anything.. that there was no condition to that.. that you’re not alone in any of this..

the bit of insight/wisdom the world needs most now/always: it’s already in our bones.. not our words/actions/conditions

imagining a world where 8b people listened to their bones.. first thing.. everyday

tech as it could be..

no train et al

askew bones law – it’s already in our bones.. not our words/actions/conditions

7 min – because if you don’t know that .. those are the things ..that creates the friction.. the perpetual journey of becoming someone everyday.. pushing towards the mastery of life.. the achieving of something that seems important.. and none of that’s necessary.. it doesn’t mean it’s absent in your life.. just not the driver in your life.. one can become a master in any spectrum.. achieve great things.. but you’re not driven by it.. the point of all of this.. is to know that.. to let the image of purposeful life and what that might mean.. come to you.. consume/fill you

8 min – there’s uncertainty in everything.. we’re not in control.. so to let that go but know we are enough.. part of it.. a purposeful life is almost a surrender to that.. like wow.. not i can get on with the experience of life..  i don’t have to focus on my own journey into needing to belong here.. and acting dysfunctionally because i think if i don’t act in this particular way i won’t get/be it

10 min – here’s the thing.. it’s a shift in consciousness (when sit still w someone in front of camera).. i don’t know how but i know what happens in that space .. to surrender any notion of what this might be.. that’s my only contribution.. if someone doesn’t know that they’re there.. then it doesn’t count.. and that’s the thing

again – the wisdom this man has.. form sitting still with people..  is vitally what the world needs most right now.. couple that with a means (as it could be) to allow that to happen to 8b people at once (why leapupdate) .. that’s our cure.. that’s our way back/to us

12 min – on woman wanting to show him her blank notebook.. yet realizing she knew more than ever now.. nic: well it was all innate.. recognize self.. that’s it.. not what you could be.. but what you are.. can’t describe that.. ‘now i’m this/that’.. it’s not that.. we’re so used to looking for the answers.. and then hearing that the answers are inside us.. but we have no idea how to look inside.. but it’s utterly utterly simple.. because looking isn’t an act.. looking happens.. none of this is an act.. it just happens.. despite what you do

13 min – so .. to find yourself isn’t a search.. it’s a giving up of the search

14 min – at the heart of it you just know that you are.. not who you are.. and that you are unconditionally.. that there was never any condition to it.. i think that is probably the biggest misperception of being a human being.. you just belong.. that’s all i have to say on the matter.. there’s nothing else

unconditional.. sans supposed to’s..


you can remove the camera/circumstance.. and all you really need to say to people is .. you belong.. we’re the same.. we’re part of the same thing.. in the end.. this isn’t even an idea.. in fact.. i shouldn’t have even said that.. it doesn’t even need words.. there’s just unconditional space

i know you ness and brown belonging law et al

no/beyond words ness

15 min – someone saying ‘you’ve just got to be’ and i say.. no you fool.. being is another thing to do.. it’s trendy .. a great thing to sell.. it’s a crock.. it’s not that.. it’s beyond that.. then same person ‘you must be really good at holding space’.. no.. space doesn’t need to be held.. by you .. by anyone.. space is unconditionally part of this.. there’s nothing you are required to do.. there’s nothing required..

unconditional.. sans supposed to’s..

6 min – askew bones law – it’s already in our bones.. not our words/actions/conditions

16 min – the experience of .. this is enough.. is the most extraordinary thing.. but so utterly simple because nothing needs to happen.. it never did.. enough.. no purpose required


18 min – peace is absolutely experience-able.. by peace i mean.. not fighting reality .. not fighting the idea of yourself.. not trying to find a different self.. a diff description of you in the world.. that must be exhausting.. constantly wondering if they’re enough

19 min – underneath it all.. what is so utterly simple.. crying out to us: you belong.. you’re enough.. you’re not alone.. no fighting required.. you are the purpose.. yeah and even the words are too much..  i mean no condition

20 min – most of the experiences in the world are about finding.. but i think the obvious was missed.. it’s meant to find you.. it’s that simple.. we’ve just got everything the other way around

22 min – if you’re too busy trying to become something.. it will never find you

there’s no one that’s incapable of that (simply sitting still).. and there’s no one who isn’t everything

23 min – when i describe this as a profoundly significant shift in consciousness.. all it is is the absence of all the things we fill our imaginations/days with.. all the movement toward becoming/achieving something.. it’s just not requires.. what if you were to sit still enough.. then you wouldn’t need to fight.. you would only love.. we have this immense energy now..

nothing will change but everything will be different.. because of how you experience it

nothing is required.. you were always enough

24 min – read tree of dreams

26 min – invitation to the world.. there is the possibility that you could just know it.. now there lies the challenge.. how on earth are we going to put this into the world in a way that someone can recognize the simplicity .. that’s what we’ve got to do

2 convers as infra

27 min – it would seem there are so many conditions.. to get to this place.. and it’s just not true..

this is why we need a means to leap – because everyone is already ready right now.. and .. we need everyone in sync

what is this trying to do.. and how am i to help it to do it.. there’s a surrender of control in this

again – begs a mech that surrenders control.. everyday

28 min – i can sit with people.. but  you don’t take a solo responsibility for this.. i can’t articulate it.. best i can just sit with people

but you can’t sit with everyone.. and needs to be everyone

imagine a means for 8b to experience/sit with this ..everyday

wish you could hear what i hear.. from listening/sitting with people


from nic askew newsletter – by chris mcleod []:

most meaningful experiences have something in common. words are not enough. something is always lost when we attempt to explain… the language we use somehow confines what we feel. i’m somehow aware that the language i am so sued to using always has an undercurrent of finality

language as control/enclosure.. shaw communication law.. et al

by being still. by allowing myself to be seen. by surprising myself about what i notice about others when i lose the stories that i’ve told myself.. by allowing myself to know that here in this moment i am enough.. i can be here.. i am here

still.. notice.. enough..

as simple as ‘being here’ sounds, it means that i am not thinking about ‘there’.. being here means .. this is enough.. ‘this is enough’ means i can trust the feeling that i can’t explain. trust it and not need to explain it.. 

mcleod explain law

and that is the most liberating feeling i may have ever experienced..



zoom session mar 18 2020 – the possibility of us

much better place to get it .. than from books.. was encoded into way i sit with people and am in the world.. so that’s what we are going to explore.. most of what i have occurs to me.. finds me.. when not trying to work out an answer.. or having some outside thing working on you.. sitting there and things just occur.. i realized the nature of noticing was not an action

what on earth are you doing here?

notice how it feels to be here

only instruction.. rather than getting out there and seeking

i don’t need anything from you because belonging is without condition

our job is just to notice if anything finds us.. and if i’m quiet enough.. it does

whole world is trying to find us all the time.. but we’re too busy.. and we don’t believe we belong.. we don’t believe that we’re quite enough

fred: i hear that (frivolous et al) a lot about my work.. and yet it feels so profound.. so connected

what people do matter nothing compared to how they are when they’re doing it.. ie: doing something that you’re so fully absorbed in that it’s inexplicable.. knowing very different than wanting or believing i should.. this knowing.. is all consuming .. one can’t question it

underneath it all there’s this fight to be enough.. there’s nothing that needs to be done for that to be realized

marketing.. i’m going to work out what to say/do to get you to do what i want you to do. . that’s the nature of most human actions.. that conditional aspect.. but what you really need is to feel you belong.. that you’re enough

word nic used that fred noticed: undefended.. no defense

pri: the silence is too loud.. because all thoughts going on in your head.. but at this moment.. the silence felt very calming.. in that moment i wasn’t trying to understand anything

i think this is far simpler than any of us thought.. always searching.. for mastery.. there is no one you have to become.. nothing needs changing/transforming.. yet that doesn’t seem to be known.. and so the whole world is in this mastery game.. of understanding it.. and moving the world in your favor..

what if we didn’t have to know.. what if we couldn’t know.. for certain.. there’s this sense of.. what if there’s something else.. but what if that disappears..

i think film brought me to this in a much more substantial way.. because i would sit.. and then go edit..

there’s nothing to do and no one to do it.. that takes us completely off the hook.. it just feels peaceful..

this is what i reckon.. that it’s in those moments that things/experiences/direction.. find you.. it notices you.. nothing to do, one surrenders, and suddenly one knows

this overwhelming experience of us.. we’re ignoramuses together.. don’t even know what it is we are trying to do.. but.. it feels like what we are meant to do..

i think there’s this other way.. to conduct ourselves in the world.. not trying to give advice other than.. you’re it man..

what the big draw seems to be.. people want to be together

overarching feeling of .. no separation between you and me.. an unconditionalness that we belong to the same thing.. it was never the journey of working toward something till you got there

pri: so much to take away

oh.. don’t take anything away.. in the end it’s probably far more simple than that..

pri: everything seems ok

in this context.. ok is such a cool word.. no specialness here.. this is ok.. here we are

let’s not even try to be here now.. nothing to work out.. nothing to do.. nothing to resolve

(someone’s mic didn’t work but kept on talking) to me it doesn’t matter..  presence isn’t an action.. to resolve.. the assumption that one has to do something is entirely the opposite of the truth.. it’s the absence of an action.. there is nothing to do

one of real reasons for jeff and i to work on this is because people feel alone on this..

jeff on the point of us site:

how to work out how to communicate the ineffable is an eternal problem/challenge

now what am i going to do..

be cool to do this messing around thing.. just gathering together for no reason.. how does penny drop on that..

perhaps we change up the day..


askew unconditional law

askew bones law