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How To Enjoy The Holidays (Especially If You Hate Them)

Holidays are supposed to be those times of the year that we enjoy the most, times of celebration and pleasure and togetherness.  Even if people love holidays, nearly everyone gets stressed out on the holidays and this decreases the overall enjoyment of them.  But for some of us, holidays can be the absolute worst times of the year. Many of us have so much pain around holidays that we have learned to hate them.  The problem is that the holidays never stop coming and so for many of us; they are just something that we have to get through as fast as we can. If you are one of these people, this video is for you.  
Today, I’m not just going to teach you from a transcendental or objective perspective.  I’m going to also teach you from personal experience. I spent the first half of my life hating holidays.  They were the most painful times of year. But today, I can officially say that Holidays (especially Christmas) are now my favorite times of year.  And with a shift in perspective and action, you might just begin to love them too. This is how you can come to enjoy the holidays:    
Don’t buy into that “just focus positive” or “you’re just being a negative Nancy or a humbug” rhetoric.  Changing your perspective about the holidays is about deep healing. It is not as simple and just putting on a smile or focusing positive.  The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved. One of the best ways to make yourself miserable during any holiday if you have had negative experiences with them before is to expect yourself to be happy or put on a happy face or even worse, to enjoy the holiday.  You will fail. This is no more unrealistic than it is to expect someone who had been bitten by a shark to feel happy and carefree swimming. Be honest about where you are with yourself. The reality is you hate holidays and you want to like them. So go towards them with that desire and a commitment to openness and curiosity about how to change your relationship with them instead.
  The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved.  This is something you’re going to have to face and work at, not just avoid or hope changes on its own.  You are not wrong to hate holidays. You have every reason to hate them. You would not hate them unless they have been extremely painful for you.  Why do you hate them? What are those painful memories or painful expectations associated with them? How could you make those different or create the opposite experience this time?  I have created a process to resolve this kind of pain . It is called the Completion Process. To use the Completion Process to resolve the pain associated with holidays, just focus on what you hate about the holidays and what you expect to go wrong during them until you feel pain or resistance build somatically in your body and use that as your doorway to the unresolved experience from your past.  To learn how to do this process, pick up a copy of my book that is literally titled The Completion Process. Doing this process will clearly show you what unmet need you had around the holidays and/or what you need to have be different. From there, you can consciously start to meet those needs and make the holidays different.
I know that many people who hate holidays don’t really care to prioritize resolving holiday trauma.  But let me offer a perspective that may change this for you. Life throws enough negative curveballs.  If you don’t resolve holiday trauma, what you have is guaranteed future pain. Holidays will not stop coming no matter what continent you’re on.  So you have a guarantee that every year, multiple times a year, you’re going to feel disappointed, be hurt again, resent other people, be the bad guy for ruining everyone else’s cheery mood and feel alienated and like you don’t belong because everyone else seems to fit into society by loving the holidays and keeping up dumb traditions.  I for one couldn’t live with that multiple times a year guarantee of re-traumatization hanging over my head.
  Stop justifying your hate for the holidays with the shadows in holidays.  People who have pain around holidays don’t want to face and resolve that vulnerability.  The way they cover up that vulnerability and very personal pain is by justifying their hatred of the holidays using the unconscious or negative side of the holidays.  For example: Valentines Day is just an excuse for card companies and candy companies to sell their products. It should be called singles awareness day instead. Christmas is just a time for consumerism and destroying the world with plastic toys that kids play with for three seconds.  Besides, the only reason people even care about the homeless suddenly on Christmas is because they all want to feel good about themselves, so it’s actually disgustingly egotistical. Thanksgiving is just some dumb day where we over eat with people who annoy the hell out of us. I mean, we killed all the Native Americans anyway, we shouldn’t even be celebrating it… it’s like a bitch slap to an entire culture.  Screw birthdays, people are too self-centered to actually care. Plus, I don’t need any more reminders of how old I’m getting etc. You get the point. The thing is, you are totally right about these shadows. There are lots of totally crap sides to holidays. And you are totally right that most people are totally unconscious of them. But focusing on the shadows in the holidays is just a cover for personal pain.  If it weren’t, you’d simply not make those painful parts of holidays a part of the way that you celebrate them. And consider that awareness is two sided. You may just be totally unconscious of the positive side inherent in holidays. And continuing to focus on all those holiday shadows will continue to motivate you to reject them instead of resolve your pain about them and learn to love them and celebrate them in the way that is uniquely right for you.
  Stop being passive about your holiday experience.  Be active and involved instead. When life has gone crap for us because other people haven’t been super concerned with our actual best interests, we develop a ‘life happens to me’ perspective.  Holidays happen to us. This keeps us in the cycle of disappointment. To get out of it, you need to initiate it actually being different. This means planning ahead. You’re going to have to be the one to change it into something other than what it is.  Grab the bull by the horns and allow yourself to have some control over your experience. Make the experience what you want it to be. Be the one to get others on board with this too. It is empowering and once you do it, it will shock you to realize how many other people are just passively hoping that holidays will somehow magically go different each year for them.  The reality is, they wont unless they actively change something.
  Take a look at your holiday habits and actively take steps to change them.  For example, you may know by now that you habitually confront everyone on their shadows and become the family scapegoat again, take all the responsibility for the entire holiday so everyone else just shows up, overspend, passively wait for others to make it a good holiday for you and get disappointed when they don’t, overeat, get drunk, say yes to everything and everyone and then feel depleted, take responsibility for bringing people together who don’t put in any energy into togetherness themselves.  Get stressed doing everything last minute ect. Just like a chess game with yourself, get ahead of these habits and shortcut this subconscious momentum by planning so you don’t slip into these habits again. For example, plan how to avoid conflicts, commit to limiting yourself to one glass of wine, exercise the morning of the holiday, commit to the practice of saying no to what you don’t really want to do, give people a date to show up and don’t nag them to come after you have done that, let them take their part of the responsibility of being connected instead.  Budget and don’t go over that budget. Ensure that other people share responsibility for the day. Simplify your holiday to do list. Start shopping months ahead of time etc.
  Mine the coal for diamonds.  Experiencing the positive in the holidays entails learning about the holidays, their origins and also how they evolved.  Also how they are celebrated around the world. Also thinking about your own culture or family’s traditions. What you are going to do here is to mine the holidays for what the important parts of each holiday are for you.  What does spark joy? What is worth celebrating? What do you love? There is nothing wrong with doing away with traditions that you don’t like, keeping or adding new ones you do like and borrowing from other cultures etc. For example, maybe you hate the tradition of the thanksgiving turkey, but you love the idea of potluck style feasts.  Maybe don’t spent the holiday with people who you know hurt you every year. Spend it with close friends instead. Consider it like mining through coal for the collection of diamonds inherent in each holiday. Having done this, you’re going to move to the next step.
  Create holidays that are like a cocktail of traditions and practices and experiences that you love and that feel right for you.  The worst thing you can do is to simply go through the motions of holidays as if there is nothing you can do about it because it’s just the way things are done.  This means you’re going to have to actively plan and seek out and create those diamond experiences. If it is your birthday, don’t wait for someone to mess up your birthday or test how much they love you by not telling anyone and seeing if someone calls.  Instead, really actively plan and create a day that you want to have.
  Get off the fence of obligation.  Obligation is a kind of ‘sitting on the fence state’ whereby you wont say a full yes or a full no to an experience.  The part of you that is subconsciously committed to doing something bulldozes the part of you that doesn’t want to do that thing.  This is a form of self-betrayal. Work with those opposing parts of yourself to find a meeting of minds or a third option between them that feels good to them both.  To understand more about how to do this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. I am also going to be doing a video soon specifically on parts work that you can look out for. Take a really serious look at those obligations and obligatory gatherings and decide to either fully commit to them with your free will or to not do it or to do something entirely different.  Living at the mercy of obligation is no kind of life and it will make for a terrible holiday. In fact obligation has a similar vibration to indebtedness. Why are you committed to doing what you don’t want to do and why don’t you want to do it?
  Don’t be afraid to celebrate holidays on different days than the actual holiday.  This is a tip that can be one of the most life changing. Believe it or not, but the body holds memory and acts like a biological clock.  If you’ve had trauma around holidays, your body memory is activated on those days. It takes time to un-do that programming. You can disrupt this programming by surprising your biology and celebrating Christmas on the 24th or your birthday on the weekend before or after the actual day.  You have no association to those days, so you can build a new one. You are much more likely to be able to really enjoy it this way. Eventually if you want, once you’ve healed your relationship to holidays, you can go back to celebrating on the actual day and you won’t have the same reaction.
Celebrating holidays on different days than the actual holiday also helps with family problems.  It is in your camp to decide whether it is healthy for you to be around your family or not. For some of you, it’s just an act of self-betrayal.  But for those of you that hate the way holidays go with the family and know exactly what crap to expect each year, but who also have decided to continue celebrating with family, you have two options.  The first is to try to get the family to adopt new traditions and/or ways of doing things. The second is to just play along with it all. If you play along with it all, celebrating the holiday your way on a different day means that you have already really enjoyed it your way.  The family can’t ‘ruin’ your holiday cause you already did it. Instead, you’re going to show up for the traditional family experience and put your energy into giving them what they want on that day.
  When it comes to the people in your family that ruin holidays for you and are not open to a vulnerable, authentic discussion about how to make that different, accept that the people in your family are not going to change.  You will be surprised at how much this can reduce your holiday pain. Give up on them being the picture perfect family, the source of the perfect gift or the perfect experience. Separate your needs from them being the ones to meet those needs.  After all, you’ve never been able to control them into being that have you? The expectation that magically one day it will be different is one of the biggest ways to hurt yourself. Your resistance to the way they are makes perfect sense, but it isn’t going to make them change.  It is only going to leave you chronically disappointed and hurt. For example, if mom can be expected to get you something that you don’t even care about from the dollar store, go there expecting this and not hoping it will be different this year. If dad can be expected to interrogate you about what ‘not up to par’ things you’re doing with your life, surround yourself with people who see the value of what you’re doing and go there prepared with answers to give him beforehand.
  Focus much more on the holiday experience you’re going to give people than on the holiday experience you’re going to get.  When we have trauma around holidays, our pain is about the experiences we didn’t get.  As a result, we become self-focused relative to holidays. This actually compounds the pain and causes us to give off an unconscious energy of ‘expecting and taking from and being disappointed by’ other people.  This point is actually the reason that most ‘holiday haters’ start to like aspects of holidays once they have kids. But you don’t have to have children to change this orientation. It feels amazing to actively create enjoyment in other people’s lives.  Throw them a party, take them to see the lights, surprise them with a great gift, bake them something, write them a letter, volunteer for a charity, make a child’s Christmas wish come true, organize a get together, offer them a holiday experience from another culture they’ve never tried.  My holidays really started to change when I started baking all of my neighbors rum cakes and making them handmade candy every Christmas. It was then that I really experienced the opposite of being victimized by holidays. I could be the change I wanted to see in the world relative to them.  And watching their faces light up was infinitely more empowering and felt better than any present anyone could give me. It was also profoundly healing to offer the holiday experiences I never got to have to other people.
  Many people experience pain on the holidays because of lost loved ones.  There is no doubt that the absence of loved ones on the holidays or even painful memories of losing loved ones on holidays can create a powerfully painful association relative to holidays.  Something people don’t usually realize is that they hold onto pain as a token of love for whoever they have lost a sense of connection with. That pain becomes their way of staying connected.  One of the biggest barriers to enjoying the holidays can be the fact that if this is what we are subconsciously doing, we suffer through the holidays without them instead of commit to enjoying them instead as a way of staying connected with them.  For example, enjoying Christmas without them seems like a betrayal to them and suffering feels like you’re proving your love and commitment to them. If you think this might be the case for you, you would benefit by doing the guided meditation on my website that is titled:  Replacing The Pain. Ask yourself what they would want for you? What is the best way to honor them or make them feel good if they were looking down on you on this holiday?
  Try to expand your consciousness by seeking the beauty and positive in holidays in general.  Ritual is an important part of human health. Humans have been creating holidays since the beginning of time.  There has to be a valuable reason why. For example: They give people an excuse to celebrate and deliberately create enjoyment.  They stimulate the senses. They mark and highlight what is important to us. They can imbue life with significance and specialness and meaning.  They create certainty and predictability in pleasure. They are something to look forward to. They can enhance the gastronomical experience. They can create a sense of continuity, connection and nostalgia across generations.  They are times to connect and gather which is vital to human health. They are times to consciously demonstrate love and enhance social ties and social glue. Group ritual also is critical for children’s developmental health. Look into what value they hold and ask people who love them to tell you why. When it comes to the holidays, don’t expect that hallmark moment or try to force it.  Even though people’s holiday albums may deceive you, no one’s family or actual experience is like that.  Life (which just so happens to include triggers and needs and mistakes) doesn’t stop for the holidays unfortunately.  Those perfect moments will come when you least expect it. And you can find new ways to keep each holiday meaningful and to take charge of creating ‘uniquely you holidays’ that you can look forward to every year.

How To Be Productive

People are interested in success and one of the key features of success is productivity.   Productivity is essentially our effectiveness when it comes to making, causing, providing or creating something.  There are definite things that cause a decrease in our productivity and definite things that cause an increase in it.  Today, I’m going to share with you some of my top secrets about what makes people productive.  
Intrinsic motivation.  When your behavior is driven by internal rewards, you will be productive.  You don’t even have to try to be. When we are intrinsically motivated, the motivation to do something is because the doing of it is naturally satisfying you.  If you put a monkey in a cage with a puzzle, it will play with the puzzle because doing so is naturally satisfying. No one has to extrinsically motivate the monkey to do it.  If the monkey has to be fed treats for him or her to be motivated to play with the puzzle, he or she is extrinsically motivated. This is a recipe for productivity disaster. This is one reason why work environments in which people are motivated primarily by a paycheck are the least productive work environments in the world.  You will not have the wave of energy within you to accomplish a task if you have no intrinsic motivation, instead it will feel like it takes the forced effort of drudgery to do it. Intrinsic motivation is why a scientist can spend years in a lab until they emerge with a theory. Intrinsic motivation is why an athlete can dedicate their entire existence to a 10 second race. 
This is one of the reasons why contrary to most popular advice, many people (but not all) do better when their day is not structured.  They don’t follow a set routine. Instead, it is an intuitive, felt based and organic interaction with their day as that day occurs. These people organize their day according to inspiration. When there is inspiration, you can ride the wave of that inspiration and take inspired action steps. If you do whatever inspires you, even if a task is difficult to do, it takes no forced effort to do it and takes much less time to do as well.
If you don’t have intrinsic motivation or inspiration to do something, it is time to question why you are dedicating your time and energy to something that is not naturally satisfying.  It is time to re-evaluate your life.
  If you aren’t automatically intrinsically motivated, but you are still determined to continue to dedicate your time and energy to it, find something within that thing that doesn’t motivate you that really does intrinsically motivate you.  For example, imagine that someone is totally unmotivated to help others.  But this person loves problem solving. If someone in their life has a problem, they can set the intention of honing their skill of problem solving and suddenly, they will feel motivated to do it. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Priceless Motivation Tip (Find The Self Serving Motive).
  Act on inspiration immediately.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they don’t ride the wave of intrinsic motivation fast enough. When you have an idea that also contains the seed of inspiration, bringing it to fruition is like surfing. You have a very limited amount of time to ride a wave to shore. In the same way, you have a very limited amount of time to jump on the wave of inspiration. This means, act immediately.  Don’t say “I’m gonna do that in a couple hours or tomorrow or someday”. You literally have seconds or minutes. I’ve been known to stop everything I’m doing or clear the schedule or turn the car around in order to take my first action step that is in alignment with the fruition of the idea. Take that first step the second it occurs to you.
  Deal with resistance the minute it arises.  Most people think productivity is accomplished by bulldozing resistance.  The opposite is true. To understand resistance, I want you to imagine a lake.  In this lake, there is a boat. This boat has 6 oarsmen in it, each of whom have a paddle.  Some of the oarsmen are paddling in one direction. Some of them are paddling in the opposite direction.  These oarsmen are in resistance to each other. Resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force.  We can meet with opposition from the outside and we can meet with opposition from the inside.  Resistance makes it much harder to actually accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. It is essential to resolve the resistance first.  The rule of thumb for success is this:  If you have any resistance-taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else.  No action should be taken from a place of resistance.  When it comes to productivity, this is a particular problem when we have competitive commitments, interests, desires or goals.  To understand this in depth, watch my videos titled: Urgent, Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else and Bulldozing (The Way To Ruin Your Relationship With Yourself).  Doing this is like pulling an anchor up so your ship can sail rather than buying more sails so they stand more of a chance against your anchor.
  Do what you are excellent at.  This may sound strange at first but if someone is excellent at something, it will take much less effort for them to do that thing and they will be much more productive naturally.  Your area of excellence will be something you take for granted. A company or system can only be genuinely productive when people are placed correctly in their positions of excellence.
  Don’t think in terms of hours; think in terms of results.  Think of the completion of a task and the quality of what is produced.  A genuinely successful business is not based on hours. Super successful people see what they produce as a reflection on themselves.  They take the responsibility therefore for that which they produce. This means that it is in their hands whether they dedicate two hours to something or three full days to something.  It’s about what they produce, not about the time it took to produce it. People who are not successful have an ‘earning’ mentality. Where value is based on their time, not their results.
  Every day, assess what needs to be done according to what the actual priority is and why.  It is critical that you prioritize correctly before you throw your energy into something. Many people become distracted and scattered because they don’t do this. Your energy should pour into whatever the highest priority is at any given time. And be open to the idea that it may seem counterintuitive. For example, if getting a massage is what it will take to get you to be able to have enough energy to pour yourself into a high priority project, then getting a massage may be the highest priority.  And don’t forget to factor into the prioritization to do your most challenging tasks when you have the most energy to tackle them. For most people, this is in the morning.
  Make lists and cross items off of the list once they are completed.  It may sound trite and obvious but the reason that this item is such a cornerstone of success tips is because it actually works.  Try not to overwhelm yourself with this list. If you make a large to-do list, consider that this is helping you so none of your mental energy has to be directed towards keeping track of any of it.  But break it into smaller ones, specifically smaller goals.
Often, you will not be able to plot out the entire process of something being brought to fruition because many of the steps, you can’t see yet.  This is ok, plan to add to this to-do list and re-assess priorities daily. It is ok if the process looks like finishing the first step and seeing what the second step is then taking that second step and seeing what the third step is. If this is the case, just keep putting one foot in front of the other until the idea is brought to life.
  Focus on the first priority item all the way to completion until moving on to the next. The only exception to this rule should be if something that is truly higher priority comes up.  Truly productive people focus on completion of a task. When it comes to productivity, it is better if open-ended items bother you. If they don’t, your energy can become scattered and scattered energy is a recipe for lack of productivity.  You are really going to have to be honest with yourself if you have the capacity to multi task. Even if you can, you have to admit it may not be the best idea if you want to really focus on something through to completion. Also, it is a real energy boost to be able to cross something off of your list so it is no longer looming over your head.
  Become aware of where your energy is going.  People often feel confused about their lack of productivity without consciously realizing that their energy is not actually going towards what they are wanting and without realizing what their focus is actually on.  One of the most eye opening things you can do is to keep track of yourself over the course of a few days. Keep a journal with you and write down what you are doing and for how long. Every time you change focus or do something else, write it down.  For example: 8:00-8:20 getting ready in bathroom. 8:20-8:45 eating breakfast. 8:45-9:15 driving to work and listening to self esteem podcast. 9:15- 9:20, walking from parking garage to desk. 9:20 – 11:00 in a marketing meeting. 11:00- 11:20 arguing with girlfriend over the phone.  You get the point. At the end of the exercise, assess where your time and energy is actually going and how you feel about that. It usually blows people away how little energy they are putting towards the things they actually want and need to put energy towards. And don’t be surprised if you find that you spend a lot more time thinking about doing things than actually doing them.
  Be aware of when the time has come to delegate and when that time does come, delegate.  Productivity slows when there is too much on one person’s plate. That person includes you.  The day will come when the only way to remain productive or become more productive is to get help or hire people and productivity is exponentially increased when those people you delegate tasks to are even better at doing them than you are.
  De-clutter.  One thing that people don’t realize impedes productivity and forward movement is when space is not cleared for that movement and for the new.  The environment you work in absolutely impacts your energy and effectiveness. Throw away or store old papers. Clean your workspace. Delete things from your computer you don’t need anymore or put it all in one place and store it all externally.  Create the space for clarity. Be in control of your canvas. One of the most important parts of the de-cluttering process is to make sure not to clutter your awareness or space before you focus on a task. For example, if you wanted to write a book, checking your e-mail first before you sit down to write will clutter your mind with other people’s energy, things other people want from you and answers you have to give.  Looking at the news may create a clutter of new worries. Cluttering your morning with some small tasks before you get down to your main focus may deplete you and scatter your energy. Simplify, simplify, simplify. It is critical to remove tangible and intangible distractions.
  When you feel a lull in productivity happening, stop and re-evaluate.  Don’t be afraid of doing this. Being able to switch horses mid stream is a quality of highly successful people.  It is highly unproductive to continue doing something that does not work or that is not effective in the way you’re going about it.  It is necessary to step back, re-assess the situation, see the big picture (including what’s working and what isn’t, what needs to change, your relationship to the whole thing) and to be able to change course if need be.
  Set up systems.  Systems are nothing more than repeatable processes and they are entirely within your control.  For example, a goal might be “I want to be in a romantic relationship”. A system would be “on Monday I’m going to single’s night.  On Tuesday I’m going to the dog park and I’m going to initiate talking to three new people”. Productivity goes through the roof when people focus on systems.  This is the step where automation of repetitive tasks and creating habits you can stick to comes into play. In a company, setting up systems is critical. It’s the only way that success can be replicated and new people can be hired into the company without having to re-invent the wheel every time.
  The struggle is part of the process of creation.  No matter how motivated you are, you will have times where you just aren’t.  Times where no matter what you do, it isn’t feeling in-alignment. This is distinctly different than lacking intrinsic motivation.  We all have bad days. Embrace the struggle and use it to re-evaluate instead of immediately thinking that the struggle means it’s time to doubt the whole thing in it’s entirely.  Sometimes, we need to stop fighting and take a rest. Ironically when we do this, often times we release our resistance to the struggle just enough that a solution naturally arises.  Expecting that if it’s meant to be, everything will go smoothly or according to plan is not being in reality. It doesn’t work that way for anyone.  Many people feel blindsided by struggle, set backs and failures and they give up when they encounter these things.  But success is really about accepting that this is par for the course. It’s about riding the waves of motivation and streamlining your focused energy towards it’s highest and best use all the way to the completion of whatever it is you are wanting to produce.

The “Suffer So I Can Feel Loved” Relationship Dynamic

We all want to know that we are loved.  But how do you know if you are loved? This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself relative to your relationships.  No one can feel loved with a “fair-weather” partner or friend. In other words, a person who disconnects and un-commits the minute things get hard or inconvenient or painful.  But there is serious danger in our love being defined by the opposite extreme.      
A shocking amount of people either consciously or subconsciously believe that they know someone loves them if that person is willing to stay committed to them no matter what.  This essentially means, if they remain connected and committed through suffering; even if they, themselves are the one causing that suffering. This type of thinking opens the door for rationalized subconscious abuse. 
The definition of an unsafe relationship is a relationship with someone who cannot take you as part of themselves and therefore cannot take your best interests as part of their best interests.  This is a state of disconnection. In a state of disconnection, someone cannot see you, feel you, hear you and understand you to even know what your best interests really are. They become un-attuned.  
Most people think that love is to feel intensely positive towards something or someone.  This is not the case. This can be a byproduct of love. To love something is to take it as a part of yourself.  If you take something as a part of you, you do not perceive yourself to be separate from that thing and so you can perceive it fully and you seriously take its best interests into account.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Create A Safe Relationship. If you take something as a part of you, you can’t hurt that thing without hurting yourself.  
The reality is that many people had adult caregivers in their early life that did not do this.  Instead, they expected their children to be in pain in one way or another for their sake. The child’s boundaries (which includes thoughts, feelings, preferences, aversions, needs, and desires) were not considered.  The caregivers did what was best for themselves and the kids had to go along with it. The kids are praised for doing so. They begin to from a link between the self-sacrifice and endurism and love. 
  This may suit the caregivers in the short term, but they are setting up their children for an adulthood where they do this to the people in their life and this is done to them by the people in their life.  
This pattern becomes very dangerous because they will find themselves on either side of the following pattern in their adult relationships: One person does something to make the other person feel unloved, it doesn’t have to be something extreme, it could even be something small and unconscious, like looking at someone else.  It creates insecurity in the other person. They disconnect in order to preserve themselves. But to re-establish security in the relationship, they begin to ‘test’ the love the other person has for them. Because their subconscious way of knowing if someone loves them is if that person remains connected and committed even though they are suffering.  So, they subconsciously begin to put the other person in pain. The ways they go about doing this range all the way from overt physical, mental and emotional abuse to beginning to make decisions that are not in the best interests of the other person to no longer recognizing their limits to creating situations that seem totally beyond their control, but that cause the other person distress…  Any situation where how the other person acts and what they decide to do when they are in that pain, indicates that person’s level of commitment and connection and desire for them.  
People who are in the position of being caused pain in this scenario will immediately revert back to their original behavior of proving their love by staying committed and connected no matter what.  Their “I’ll suffer to be with you” mentality is now what establishes the security in the relationship.    
I want you to think about that, the holding pattern inherent in this relationship pattern is that for one or both people in the relationship, the security in the relationship and the knowing of how much your partner or friend loves you is defied by how much they will suffer to be with you or suffer for your best interests.  It goes without saying that this is where the recognition of a person’s limits goes right out the window in a relationship.      
An interesting thing to note is that love is not actually present in this relationship.  One person has to go into a state of endurism and to do so, must cease to take his or her own best interests as a part of themselves.  They must self sacrifice, which is the opposite of self love. So, one party has to stop loving themselves. To understand more about this pattern, it may help you to watch my video titled: Endurism (The Flip Side of Escapism).    
The other person has to disconnect from the other to begin to say and do things that put them in pain.  When they become ok with the other person being in pain so they can selfishly feel loved by them, they are by definition no longer taking the other person as a part of themselves.  So they are not loving them. It becomes a rather ironic twist whereby to have the other person’s love for them proven, they, themselves must cease to love. You may notice that you flip flop between both roles in one relationship and you may also play one role in one relationship and the opposite role in another relationship. 
So you can understand this pattern better, I will give you an example.  A couple struggles with money. The woman in the relationship loses her tolerance for it and makes the comment “Why couldn’t I have just married a millionaire?”  This makes the man feel unloved and immediately doubt the security of the relationship. Instead of really putting his energy toward financial wellbeing, he begins to test her love by subconsciously putting minimal effort towards improving their financial situation and plays video games or goes to the bar when he could be looking for ways to improve their situation instead.  Their financial situation stays bad or gets worse. She suffers, but he feels more loved as months go by and years go by and she is still choosing to be in the relationship with him despite their poverty and the suffering it causes her. He feels even more loved when she suffers even more by putting all her time and energy into improving the financial situation for the both of them.  And she looks at her willingness to suffer that much with him instead of getting another, more affluent partner as a measure and gesture of her love for him as well. Her willingness to suffer and stay connected and committed anyway becomes their barometer for the security of the relationship and the amount she loves him.    
If this is a pattern in your relationships, it means your wires are crossed.  They are crossed so badly that your definition of love is in fact the exact opposite of actual love.  To love something implies an intolerance for its suffering. This is part of why it is so critical to swallow the reality of incompatibility.  If you have this relationship pattern, incompatible relationships and the indescribable pain they cause will be the relationships in which you feel the most loved and think you love the other person the most.  Your relationships will devolve into feeling shame (like in any incompatible relationship does) but then, you will feel even more loved because they stay with you no matter how ‘bad’ you are and you stay with them no matter how ‘bad’ they are.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a harsh reality in relationships.    
If you recognize this pattern in yourself, don’t judge yourself as bad for it.  It’s totally understandable why it exists and that it makes you feel loved or loving.  You simply have to recognize that the moral of the story is that it is impossible to create a feel-good relationship with the security in the relationship and the knowing of how much a person loves you being based on how much they will suffer to be with you or suffer for your best interests.  And it is impossible to be in a good relationship with yourself when you define your love for someone based on your willingness to suffer to be with them or suffer for their best interests. It isn’t even ultimately loving towards them. What is in another person’s best interests is for them to be with someone who really appreciates and enjoys them and sees them as a source of pleasure, not to be with someone whose truth is “it hurts me to be with you or do this for you.”  The security in a relationship and the measure of whether someone loves you, is based on their commitment to your wellbeing. Let this be your way of loving other people and let this be your way of loving yourself.

Novocaine Spirituality

The vast majority of people find their way to spirituality and self help through pain.  This means they are in a state of distress. When people are in pain/distress they want two things, they want to heal (which is actual resolution for the problem itself) and they want immediate relief from the pain.  But these two things can often be like two roads diverging in opposing directions.
You are familiar with anesthetics, otherwise known as painkillers such as Novocaine or Morphine.  The benefits of anesthetics go without saying. But there is a downside to them if they are used in the wrong situations or the wrong ways.  Pain exists for a reason. Pain is always the indication that something needs to be paid attention to, done or changed so a person can come back into alignment with wellbeing.  For example, the pain of touching a hot stove is calling you to remove your hand. If you could not feel the pain, you would leave your hand on the stove and burn it completely.  It is this misuse of painkillers that we need to be concerned with relative to spirituality. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Spiritual Bypassing.  
Physical anesthetics aren’t the only kind of painkiller.  There are many painkillers that are behavioral and mental that can prove to be just as powerful as far as coping mechanisms go.  What I want you to understand is that a coping mechanism infers no actual healing and no actual change. A coping mechanism is by definition a specific alteration that you make mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you stress.  It implies that you are not getting out of a distressing or painful situation, but rather finding ways to live with it.  And for so many people, spirituality is just one giant coping mechanism.  Religions have been teaching their congregations to use spirituality (and the different beliefs and practices inherent in it) as a coping mechanism for thousands of years.  To learn more about this, watch my video titled: Spirituality, The Great Coping Mechanism.    
I will never forget the first time I was hired to give a talk at a spiritual event many years ago.  It was one of those expos where there are hundreds of booths selling spiritual products and over 30 speakers were hired and scheduled to speak throughout the event.  Watching the people wander from room to room to listen to the speakers and watching them with their newly bought products reminded me of watching people in another place I had been… A methadone clinic.  It was there that I coined the term “Novocaine Spirituality”. Spirituality can take you down either road, the road of expansion, awareness and healing. Or the road of coping, numbing, delusion and substitute addiction.  Novocaine spirituality is the latter. Novocaine spirituality is those spiritual or self help beliefs, techniques, processes and products that do absolutely nothing to create awareness, expansion and change. Instead, it serves as a way to avoid or escape pain.                             
I’m going to tell you something sad.  Many people, even teachers don’t know the difference.  They can’t tell the difference between a coping mechanism and something that is genuinely healing and beneficial long term.  What they experience is pain relief and assume something is being healed. Feeling better because you had an injection of Novocaine does not mean the broken bone is mended.  And many genuinely healing things can in fact cause more pain in the short term. Many people don’t use these ‘Novocaine’ thoughts or techniques in the right way at the right time.
A sadder truth still is that many people in the spiritual field don’t care whether the spirituality they are delivering is simply Novocaine or not.  They don’t care because coping and numbing and delusion and substitute addiction is what they, themselves are doing. They don’t care because it is immediate relief.  It is what people are desperate for. Because of this, it is easy to sell and it guarantees to keep on selling. People flock to events and sit in the seats eager to get their “hit” of good feeling stuff.  But because it is being used as a coping mechanism, nothing in their life actually changes. So their only hope of feeling good again is to come back for a hit again. These seminars and products fail to actually benefit someone at this point, instead, they become like a ‘fix’.  People become addicted to Novocaine spirituality for the same reason that people get addicted to painkillers. To understand more about addiction, watch my video titled: Addiction and How To Overcome Addiction.         
Am I advocating for no Novocaine?  No. In fact, I will directly tell people to use these thoughts, beliefs, tools and techniques.  Many of them are incredibly powerful and beneficial tools. What I am advocating for is for these things to be used consciously in the right times and right situations.  Let me give you an example.  Positive focus exercises can be used to pull yourself out of a downward spiral so you can actually focus on those steps that you need to take.  They can also be used to bypass things that really need to change in your life. Using the metaphor, the first is Novocaine used properly. The second is Novocaine used improperly.  Almost any spiritual or self-help technique that makes you feel better (some definitely more than others) have the potential to serve as spiritual Novocaine. Here is just a tiny list of things that could serve as spiritual Novocain:
Positive focus exercises Gratitude exercises Religious or spiritual beliefs Meditation Present moment exercises Thoughts like “Anything that is happening is supposed to happen” “The physical is just an illusion” “It is what it is” “The universe will take care of it” “Darkness is always drawn to light” “We are all one” “All there is, is love” “You create your own reality” “It’s all perfect and in divine plan” etc.  You will notice that thoughts that cause you to feel superior or safe or good or justified pose a particular risk.   Talking with Spirit Guides and Angels  Positive somatic resourcing Crystals Essential oils Positive oracle decks    Listening to inspirational speeches  Affirmations Prayer Religious rituals or mantras  Spiritual ‘medicines’ including shamanic plants and/or their compounds  Retreats Workshops, Seminars and expos Yoga Energy Work Notice how several of these things that could serve as spiritual Novocaine could just as easily serve to help someone awaken?  This is one reason why it’s so hard for people to recognize when they are mis-using a spiritual or self help tool. 
It is dangerous when we find ourselves in situations that are absolutely changeable, where we do have the power to diminish or eradicate the stressor, to not realize it.  In these situations, in accordance with the illusion of powerlessness we perceive in ourselves, we simply immediately indulge in our Novocaine style spiritual or self-help coping mechanism instead of actually making necessary changes to our life.  
When you are looking to get out of distress, you run the risk of selecting a spiritual belief and a spiritual teacher who enables, validates or creates the coping mechanism.  When this happens, your ego has hijacked your spiritual practice so as to keep you away from feeling pain no matter the cost. In order to become fully conscious and to make the right choice of spiritual tool to use or to give to other people at a given time, we have to see the shadow side of all of our spiritual tools.    
If you are interested in letting go of your coping mechanisms, including spiritual Novocaine, watch my video titled: How To Let Go of a Coping Mechanism. Take a look at the spiritual or self help thoughts, tools, techniques or practices that make you feel better.  Make a list of them. How do they help you deal with distress? These tools may genuinely benefit you. But for the sake of this exercise, play the game of devil’s advocate. From this perspective, look for and argue the points against these things. How could each one be a pain killer like coping mechanism?  If each one was a coping mechanism, what potential downsides could there be to that coping mechanism? How does each one not work?  
By doing this exercise, you can become aware of some of the potential spiritual Novocaine in your life.  You can open your mind wide enough to see the potential shadow side of every spiritual and self-help belief or tool you have become attached to.  By doing this, you are less likely to succumb to the tool so that it uses you, instead of you using it. Awareness after all, is the primary agent for change.
I am asking you to develop genuine consciousness by taking each one of the spiritual beliefs and spiritual practices you have and ask yourself with an attitude of curious philosophical exploration: How could this potentially be a detriment to me and to those around me and to the world at large?  What could be the negative side of this belief or practice?
 So often people think they are becoming conscious and awakening, when in fact they are just developing stronger and stronger coping mechanisms.  Stronger and stronger coping mechanisms that will backfire one day or that currently harm themselves and the world around them. You can relate to this by imagining that someone thinks they are healing when in fact, they have just managed to hook themselves up to a morphine drip.  
Be sure that those things that belong to the spiritual and self-help world are things you are using for your expansion, awareness and healing rather than coping, delusion or numbing.

If You Want Someone To See The Truth, You Have To Get Them To See Their Resistance To Seeing The Truth

A while ago, I did a video in which I explained the single biggest barrier to awareness.  I explained that people don’t see things when the seeing of them means feeling pain.  Not seeing the truth, when the truth would imply pain is a coping mechanism in the form of an avoidance strategy.  If you want to see the video to understand this deeper, the video is titled: The Single Biggest Barrier To Awareness.  
In every city I go to, people sit across from me feeling powerless and desperate because they need someone in their life to see something (one of their important truths) and no matter what they do, they can’t get them to see it or accept it.  This is an excruciating experience because when someone doesn’t see something, they don’t adjust accordingly. For example, if we don’t see that we are stepping on a cat’s tail, we will continue to stand on it and even think that our cat has lost its mind when it screams.  
What people don’t see is that they are fighting against resistance.  This is something we are all trained to do. We meet opposition with equal or greater opposition.  We bulldoze it or continue to try to bypass it, anything but try to resolve it directly. When we do this, we don’t get that fighting against resistance, is resisting resistance.  That will never work. All resistance really is, is opposition. But it serves as a shield that makes it so we can never really be in relationship to whatever is behind the shield.  I am going to give you a golden rule of thumb. If someone has resistance to something, stop and deal specifically with the resistance. If they are refusing to accept something, deal directly with the part of them that refuses to accept it.  If they are not seeing a truth, stop trying to convince them of it and instead, directly address their resistance to seeing the truth.
I have an image for you that might help you to engrain this concept into your awareness.  Imagine that you are trying to dance with someone, but every time you tried to come close and grab their hands, they swatted you away.  If you continued to try to dance with them, this would be resisting resistance. Instead, imagine that there is an invisible shield that they have erected between you and them and you need to talk with them directly about that shield first to learn why it’s there and what you need to do for it to not be there, before you every start trying to dance with them.  This should be your strategy for communication.  
Continuing to use this analogy, drawing the person’s attention to this shield helps them to become aware.  It causes them to introduce awareness to their own resistance and this is what begins corroding it, like a light beam shining on a sheet of ice.  This is the necessary step to take for acceptance to occur.
Acceptance is the opposite of denial and avoidance.  To accept is to recognize something as valid or correct.  Doing this makes your being consent to receiving it and digesting it as truth instead of fighting to not acknowledge it and not take it in.  Acceptance has nothing to do with condoning something or condemning something. It has nothing to do with whether you want to change something or not.  It is simply about being able to acknowledge something as valid enough to let that acknowledgement in, instead of fight to keep it out.
Something that will help you to not resist their resistance is to understand that resistance comes from a super vulnerable space.  These parts of someone that resist seeing the truth, do so because seeing the truth would imply pain. They are trying to protect themselves.  This is even the case when it’s obvious to you that them not seeing something is getting them into more danger and more pain.  Try to remember that they are just trying to stay safe. They will only let go of this resistance if they see that not seeing is not actually keeping them safe.  Too understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing As Self Sabotage.
Helping someone to see and explore their resistance to seeing something or accepting a truth is a bigger gift than simply getting them to see whatever it is you’re wanting them to see.  For example, you may be trying to get someone to see that they are really self-centered in their interactions with and their attitude towards their child. The single biggest barrier we have to seeing something about ourselves is shame.  To avoid this shame (pain), this parent is going to immediately go into resistance. You will NOT be able to convince him or her of this truth. If you stop and work with the resistance directly so that the person sees their own denial and their own refusal to see themselves as self-centered, this awareness will effect ALL areas of their life, not just their relationship with their child.  This awareness has the capacity to make this person a different and more authentic person all around, someone who does not subconsciously get his or her needs met in round about, subconscious and manipulative ways. 
Within a person’s resistance is the key to their childhood pain and what really needs resolving.  In the above scenario, the parent has trauma around their own self interests. The condemnation they experienced when trying to meet their own needs directly is what created this covert strategy for meeting their own needs.  This is what really needs resolving within them.                    
Become aware of what pain or painful changes they are trying to avoid by not seeing, feeling, hearing and accepting certain things.  Become aware of the painful meaning they are adding to those certain realities that they don’t want to see. The more willing they are to consciously face that pain that they are wanting to avoid, the more open and less avoidant they will be of awareness.
Get off of your rigid stance about the truth you’re wanting them to see and instead, begin to dance with the resistance itself.  Do so with the energy and tonality and body language of curiosity. From this place, you can ask them, if this thing were true and were the reality, what would be so bad about that? If this thing were the actual truth or the actual reality, what pain could a person avoid by refusing to see and accept that?  What would it mean about you or about the world? You can help them from there to change their perspective relative to the answers they give. You can help them to ‘soften’ their resistance.      
If you really want to get someone to see the truth, you have to get people to see their resistance to seeing the truth, not just try to force them to see the truth.

How To Activate Your Bridge (Soul Star) Chakra

Most people who are familiar with chakras, are familiar with the seven major chakras that correspond to the human body… The root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra and the crown chakra. If you want to learn more about any of these, I have a video on each one.  But there are actually many, many more chakras and today, we’re going to talk about one of the chakras that is not part of the traditional seven chakra system… The eighth chakra.
The eighth chakra is the bridge chakra. It is often referred to as the soul star chakra or just the star chakra. The reason that it is called this is because its appearance is quite similar to a very small star or a sun. Even its color can be described as shining and flickering golden-white light. It corresponds to your etheric body and therefore your energy field rather than to your physical body. It is located about half a foot above the crown of your head. Rather than being an energy center or a place where energy is stored, the bridge chakra is truly a gateway or bridge between your physical and nonphysical self, the finite and infinite.
Many spiritual traditions consider the bridge chakra to be the ‘seat of your soul’ because it contains the information about your current incarnation… why your consciousness or soul stream chose to incarnate into the physical self that you call by your name in this life. The bridge chakra manifests in the fourth dimension and above. It is the bridge between information that is beyond space and time and your incarnation into this time-space reality. The bridge chakra governs the purpose of your incarnation, transcendence of the physical, the ability to travel out of body while still remaining incarnated, parallel realities, your life path potentials and your experience of time. The bridge chakra also governs temporal identification and disidentification. What I mean by this is that in order to manifest oneself as a specific separate physical person, you must first create an identity... an ego. And to transcend the limitations of this specific separate identity that you call by your name, you must reverse this process and dis-identify with it. This process of identification and disidentification, whether we are talking about the initial process of identification and disidentification that we call birth and death, or the intentional conscious practice of disidentification through any number of spiritual disciplines, involves the bridge chakra. 
The bridge chakra goes out of alignment when one’s connection and/or alignment to their non-physical self is disrupted in any way. Just a few examples of this are when a person forgets their reason for incarnating in this life; and so, they feel lost relative to their reason for being. When a person stops believing in or being aware of the bigger picture of life itself, which is why so many nihilists and atheists have a bridge chakra that is so out of alignment. When a person begins to think thoughts or make decisions or take actions that bring them away from their life purpose. When a person is just going through the motions of day-to-day life rather than choosing a life of meaning. When a person does not live and prioritize according to their own values. When a person is too identified with their temporal self and temporal life. when a person is in rejection of their temporal self and temporal life. When a person is suicidal. When a person is not consciously using their time and when a person is in a state of determinism rather than choice, just to name a few. 
It is a bit ironic that the bridge chakra looks so much like a star, because it can be considered to be a person’s own personal North Star. The North Star (also known as Polaris or the Pole Star) is famous for holding nearly still in the sky. It appears this way to us because it is located so close to the north celestial pole, which is the point around which the entire northern sky turns. The North Star, as its name suggests, marks the way due north and, as such, acts as a guiding light for many. Travelers have used its brightness and prominence in the sky as a navigational tool for centuries. So too, the alignment of your bridge chakra is your key to proper navigation through your temporal life. It is to align your physical life with your pre-birth intention. Your purpose for being. 
Our life experiences, most especially the way we think and act as a result of our life experiences, can cause any of our chakras to go out of alignment. And it must be said that the bridge chakra is the one that is in the most danger in our human society today. When sir Isaac Newton changed the way that people thought about the universe that we live in (orienting people more than ever towards the finite temporal world, and disconnecting them from the infinite, nonphysical world) humanity experienced a mass mal-alignment with their bridge chakras. At this more macrocosmic level, this is perhaps the greatest disservice that the collective swing in favor of science has done to humanity. Science has contributed so much good to humanity. It is a beautiful practice. However, it is also true that at this point in time, science has become the new human religion and it has disconnected many, many people from the spiritual. For the benefit of all life on earth, the science of the future must put people back in connection with what people call ‘the spiritual’.
We all know that parenting and socialization can either be what maintains the health of our chakra systems or what causes us to lose energetic health and equilibrium in this regard. The bridge chakra is also the chakra most under attack as a result of our current system of parenting and socialization. When a child incarnates into the physical, their bridge chakra is very much in alignment. The child naturally follows their own north star. They display preferences and orientations and aptitudes and interests and behavior and a physical embodiment that are in-alignment with their purpose for being. Their selfhood matches their pre-incarnation determined life purpose. But most of humanity does not see a child as something that belongs to the universe at large. They don’t see a child as a being that has incarnated with its own unique purpose and path. Instead, they see a child as a raw substance to form according to their own intentions for it. The sad result of this is that a parent, culture or society can interfere with and interrupt and mislead a child so that they abandon that internal north star. When this happens, a child becomes what the people around them want them to be. And their bridge chakra goes totally out of alignment. 
When your bridge chakra is in alignment, some of the things you will experience are: The ability to transcend the physical. Awakening. Out of body travel. Incredible inspiration. The feeling of ‘rightness and being on the path’ relative to your own personal life purpose. The drive and decision to make the most of your life and your time here and all the benefits that come with that. The ability to manipulate time. Awareness of your own life path potentials. The comprehension of cause and effect with regards to your own lifepaths. Awareness that goes beyond our limited reality. Comprehension of ‘the big picture’ relative to your life. Harmony between your physical and nonphysical self. Seemingly unlimited energy. Supercharged intuition. The ability to identify and disidentify. Alignment with the higher self. 
Now that you know that, here are some tips for achieving alignment with your bridge chakra.
Spiritual practice. Literally any discipline that causes you to expand your awareness to accommodate your non-physical existence, that which is beyond the temporal, that which is infinite and eternal will assist the alignment of your bridge chakra. This is why there are certain individuals from every spiritual path, be it Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim or Jewish or Shamanic or Christian or non-denominational or whatever that have super bright and in-alignment bridge chakras. Take on the perspective that you are a soul temporarily having a human body. Do things that cause you to remember the big picture of your life on earth so as to not get lost in the day to day of your life. And then, instead of using that as an escape, really integrate that awareness with what you are doing in your day-to-day life. When enlightenment is achieved, one does the same things as he or she does before… They chop wood and carry water and do dishes so to speak. But everything about their perspective while they are doing it has changed. It changes the entire quality of the experience of living. Commit to authenticity and commit to honesty with yourself and with others. This means dedication to self-examination, self-exploration and self-discovery. The more awareness you develop, the more you will see that there is no contradiction between destiny and free will.  When you are in alignment with your joy and your talent and your inner calling, that is you being in alignment with your life purpose and how that life purpose fits into the bigger picture of the universe.  So, you must begin to really see and own up to and follow your own innate truths. To understand more about how to do this, watch my video titled: How to Be Authentic. Commit to life.  Commit to your incarnation.  To commit to something you must put your energy and focus into that thing.  To understand more about this, watch my videos titled: How To Get Over The Fear Of Commitment and Find Your Subconscious Core Life Commitment. Can you see how you haven’t been committed to your life and your time here in this physical time space reality? For example, one person may be avoiding meditation because they aren’t really being committed to life. Another person might be meditating because they aren’t really committed to life and they are using it as an avoidance mechanism. Do not use spirituality as a means of transcending, escaping from, dissociating from, disowning the physical or anything associated with your physical existence.  Instead see your life as an opportunity for your soul to canvass itself physically. Fall in love with the physical instead. You are being called by your bridge chakra to stretch to hold both the truths of the temporal and the truths of the non-temporal. Practice conscious dis-identification and conscious identification. There are many different disciplines that help a person to disidentify. Things like meditative practices and breathwork and questioning and altering your thoughts and shamanic medicines etc. to understand more about disidentification, you can watch my video titled: Disidentification (The Practice of Non-Attachment). To become consciously identified is to consciously decide what you will choose to identify with and to choose what you will not identify with. But to wear all identifications loosely, so that you can easily disidentify with them. This chakra is intensely influenced by meditation, especially meditation whose aim is to re-establish the bigger picture or objective perspective and whose aim is dis-identification. Do Breath Work and breathing exercises. Breath work is particularly useful in that it is a bridge between the physical and non physical, it has as much capacity to bring a person stuck in the physical into the non physical as it does to bring a person who is dissociated from the physical (and identified with the non-physical) into the physical. Use minerals that strengthen the connection with the non-physical, especially those that act as a bridge between physical and non-physical. In my opinion, the stones that effect the bridge chakra the most are:  Phenakite, Scapolite, Azeztulite, Apophyllite, Danburite, Indigo Kyanite, Okenite, Seraphinite, Glendonite and Lodolite (also known as shaman dream stone). Stimulate yourself with sounds that cause this link between the physical and non physical to strengthen or use silence. You can find specific frequencies that are specifically designed for this chakra, but the sounds that will work the best will be different from person to person. For example, if a person’s life purpose is actualized by being a salsa dancer, salsa music will work better than new age spiritual mantras. For someone else, Tibetan chanting might. For someone else, silence may work the best. Play around with what sounds and music cause you to feel your physical incarnation within the context of the bigger picture and within the context of your sense of calling or purpose. Use the plant kingdom to bring your bridge chakra into alignment. In my opinion, the ones that have the greatest effect on the bridge chakra are: Your own spirit plant. For more information on this, watch my video titled: Spirit Plants. La purga vine. Banisteriopsis caapi vine, Psychotria viridis shrub, Iboga, White Angelica, Bergamot, Arabian Jasmine, Datura, Neroli, Salvia, Roman Chamomile, Cypress, Star of Bethlehem, Magnolia Tree, Frankincense, Hyssop, the combination of sandal wood and red cedar wood and poppies, especially the white, grey and blue varietals.  By intentionally doing things that enable your bridge chakra to come into alignment and to open, you will be stepping into your life purpose and by doing so, into alignment with divine purpose within the universe at large. You will become the integration of the temporal and non-temporal planes of existence and you will begin to develop one hell of a zest for life.

The Problem With What “Resonates” With You

If you have spent any time at all in modern spiritual circles, you know that the indicator that people use for whether something is true or whether something is right for them is whether it ‘resonates’ with them.  When something resonates, it produces or is filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound. We could say that when this happens, the sound vibration is expanded or amplified.    
When a person says that something ‘resonates’ with them, they are essentially saying that something is a match to their current experience, awareness, perspective or conscious desires.  Because of this, it causes an amplification of their own personal vibration, which includes their current experience, awareness, perspective and desires etc.  And because of this, when something resonates, it holds meaning to the person. We could say that when something resonates with you, it is a deeply validating experience.  This is why we experience it as a confirmation or a ‘yes’.  It is also why to the opposite, when something does not match our current experience, awareness, perspective or desires, we experience it as an invalidation, a contradiction to our sense of self and/or reality and therefore a ‘no’. 
I find it is amusing that people only say ‘that resonates with me’ when they have either already accepted a painful truth or when they are referring to a positive resonance pattern within themselves.  When something that a person encounters is a match to something within that person that they are desperately trying to avoid, it will also cause them to resonate, but this time it is amplification of the pain they are trying to avoid.  It will strike a negative cord instead of a positive one, like a trigger for example.        
 If you sit with this understanding of what it means to resonate with something, it is easy to see that the tool of ‘what resonates with me’ is a double-edged sword.  For example, on the one hand, if something does resonate with you, it can indicate that something is in alignment with you or your true purpose, is true, is a validation, is a match to your desires or that something is compatible to you or that you are understood etc.   But it can also mean that someone is reinforcing one of your shadows, enabling you, agreeing with what doesn’t serve you, offering a solution that allows you to avoid what you want to avoid, solidifying your limited perspective etc.   
On the one hand, when something does not resonate with you, it can indicate that you have encountered a mis-truth, someone is being inauthentic, are not understood, something is out of alignment, something is incompatible to you, it is not a match to your desires etc. But it can also mean that you are being introduced to an experience that will alter your current perspective, an awareness that will break you free but that invalidates the limited awareness you currently hold, your conscious mind is being confronted with something in your subconscious that you don’t want to see, you are being offered something that will serve you immensely, but that is the opposite of avoidance, someone is expressing something about themselves that you refuse to accept, your pre-existing programming is being undone, you are being introduced to a truth that is inconsistent with your highly limited grasp of truth etc.  
The problem with “what resonates with you” is that when something resonates with you, you are saying that it holds the same frequency as you currently do.  This implies agreement instead of discordance. And you know that discordance does not always imply that something is false or wrong. For example, as it applies to thoughts, when someone’s thoughts are in consonance with our own thoughts on a subject, we agree with one another, we feel we are in synch and so their thoughts ‘resonate’ with us. 
So you can understand the limits of relying upon “what resonates with me”, I’m going to give a short list of examples:
A person is hyper controlling.  This person is rigid in her thoughts, words and actions.  The vibration of willow is the opposite of this; it is a master of allowing.  This person says they dislike willow trees and despite having a big problem with headaches, has an allergy to willow bark extract.  She will say that willow doesn’t ‘resonate’ with her. When in fact, willow is the exact energy she needs. What she feels coming up within her any time she is near willow, is her resistance to being allowing. A man is in a relationship with a woman who is using him for money.  She uses sex and affection to keep him committed to her and loves to spend time with him so he will take her on fancy getaways.  Everyone around him can see this. When they bring it to his attention he says, “No, that doesn’t resonate with me, because she is so affectionate and complains when I’m not around”.     A woman is raised in a society that says the only way for her to be of value to the society and to be seen as good is to be a full time mother.  She has to deny the part of her that wanted to be a lawyer. She ‘sacrificed this part’ to be a mother and says she did so out of love for her children.  The children can feel her resentment and can feel that she made the choice so she could be seen as a good mother, after all she demands their gratitude and loyalty for the ways she sacrifices herself all the time.  When they tell her, “Mom, you never wanted to be a mother” she will say, “that doesn’t resonate with me, I have given my whole life up to be a mother.”   A black person goes into a job interview and does not get selected for the job.  The reality is that the company decided to hire someone less qualified because they were a friend of a friend of the boss’s.  Someone this person knows well says, you know why they didn’t hire you; it’s cause that company is full of crackers. Because of this person’s experience with racism, this explanation will immediately resonate with him or her.  They will take that ‘resonance’ to mean that this explanation is right.    A person has grown up in a Christian community.  They have a particularly hard time in life and so they start praying.  They hear a voice speaking back to them, offering them comfort. This voice is in fact their own voice; it is a coping part of themselves that is contradicting their negative thought with positive thought.  When someone says this is what is happening, they will say, “No, that doesn’t resonate with me, it was Jesus speaking to me.” A person goes to a self-help seminar.  They have been hating the idea of facing and resolving any of what happened to them in their past.  Seeing as how the past can’t be un-done anyway, they see no reason to look at what their parents may have done wrong.  After all, their parents didn’t know any better back then. At this seminar, someone on stage says, “Do not live in the past.  If you think about the past, it re-activates it. Just stop. Let your past life be a past life. Instead, become intensely focused on what you want as if it is happening right now.”  This person will immediately say “Oh my god, that resonates with me sooo much.”         You get the point.  We could be here all day going over scenarios where we can clearly see that ‘something resonating with someone’ has nothing to do with whether is it true or right.  
What you need to become the most aware of is that anything that is buried deep enough within your subconscious mind, anything you are in deep enough denial of, will not positively resonate with you.  Either it will elicit no reaction, or it will trigger you, meaning it will resonate with something you are trying desperately to avoid.  
Let me say this in another way, if you are interested in awareness, you cannot rely upon something resonating with you as the indicator of whether it is true or right.  By definition, your subconscious is what you don’t know that you don’t know. So it is more likely that anything in your subconscious, including anything you have suppressed, denied, disowned or rejected will not resonate with you.  To expand your awareness around this, you would benefit by watching two of my videos, the first titled: The Biggest Barrier to Awareness and the second titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening (click here to watch).
You should pay attention any time something does or doesn’t resonate with you and the question you should be asking (and open to any number of potential answers for relative to either scenario) is: WHY.  Why does it or why doesn’t it resonate with me? When something resonates or doesn’t, that resonance or dissonance is always telling you something. Just remember that your interpretation of what it is telling you is potentially not on point.  To commit to awareness, is to deeply consider all perspectives.  It is to treat the reactions within your body, including resonance or dissonance as an alarm bell calling us to curiosity, to open questioning, to further self and universal awareness.  And never forget that as you change and expand, what will resonate with you will change.

Attraction (Why You Are Attracted To The People You're Attracted To)

Attraction is arguably one of the greatest elements of unconscious human behavior, even amongst the most conscious people.  It is like a two-sided coin. On one side, it can be a feeling state of the highest blissful excitement. On the other it can induce a feeling state of the lowest desperate suffering.  For this reason, it is time to ‘get sober’ in order to understand the reality about attraction. 
People mistake appreciation, attraction and love for the same thing.   All three can potentially be present in a relationship but they are three distinctly different states.  To appreciate something is to recognize the value or worth of something. It is to recognize the positive about that thing.  
To comprehend attraction in relationships, you must zoom out.  When you do this, you will see that attraction is very simple. It is a pull in the same way that wanting is a pull.  This pull occurs on a kind of sliding scale; from preference to wanting to needing to craving. Attraction is always an indication that there is something you are wanting or needing and it may be something you are not consciously aware of.  Usually, the more attracted we are to something, the further away we feel that we are from that thing we want and therefore, the more desperate we are for it. Attraction may be an indication that something about the other person is what you are wanting in a partner.  But we often make the mistake of thinking that attraction is always about the other person.  Often, it isn’t. Instead, it is something we feel when we think we will be able to experience something we are wanting or needing when we are with them or associated with them…  Something we can secure for ourselves through a mutual commitment like dating or marrying.
Attraction is a call for personal expansion.  Recognizing what this thing we are wanting or needing is, is the necessary ingredient for conscious choice.  You might quickly see that the best way to go about getting that thing you are wanting is different than getting into a relationship with that person.  If we aren’t conscious of this, we can become like a person so desperate for food that we eat a poisoned apple or so desperate for one thing, that we lose other things that matter in our life.     
Attraction is not love.  It is self-centered. Attraction is about something we want and need for ourselves and our own well-being.  It is about something we wish to add to our life experience. Love is not. Love is the conscious choice to take someone as a part of yourself and therefore their best interests as a part of your own.  Attraction and appreciation merely makes this choice easier. It makes the choice feel less like a choice and more like a compulsion, at least in the beginning. 
Here are some examples:  A female client of mine became attracted to a man.  When she really examined what she loved about being near him, it was that he is very wealthy and therefore very powerful.  This made her feel protected. It elevated her status and with that, her self esteem. Also, when she was with him, she was not under so much pressure to provide for herself.  What she was wanting was the relief from financial pressure, protection and safety and also status and the esteem that comes with it. There is nothing wrong with these desires.  But only once she saw that this was what she wanted could she evaluate whether being in a relationship with this man was the right conscious decision for her to make. Or whether she should go about getting those things in different ways.  One woman might have decided it is right for her and him to enter into a relationship.  This woman decided consciously against it because when she imagined him losing all his money, she no longer had any desire to be near him. 
One male client of mine became attracted to a woman.  She was beautiful and super ambitious and emotionally explosive.  He was the exact opposite of her. At first, the relationship felt exciting and fulfilling.  After a while, they started to fight. His lack of ambition began to bother her. Her ambition began to bother him.  They never had the same priorities because of it. When they would fight, he would become withdrawn and she would explode with rage.  When he examined the attraction consciously, he saw that she embodied all of the things he had disowned within himself. He saw that she was so much like his mother that a part of him believed if he could get her to prioritize him over her other ambitious desires, it would be like his mother choosing to do that instead of always having higher priorities than him.  He realized that he needed to end the relationship because the better way to heal that childhood wound would be to choose a partner who would prioritize connection like he did. And that his own expansion would be better served by re-owning his own ambition and his own emotions. In truth, they were completely incompatible especially in that they wanted drastically different things.
One male client of mine became attracted to another man.  This man was stable and doting and older than he was. When he examined his attraction to this man, he realized that he wanted stability in his life and he wanted to do that in tandem with a truly committed partner.  Even if he was not in a relationship with this man, there were things he genuinely appreciated about him. The things he wanted for his life were the same as what this man wanted. He made the conscious choice to love this man.  Because of this, he decided that the best choice would be to consciously commit to this man. They are now happily married.
The first problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is the meaning that we assign to it.  Because we don’t understand that attraction is an indication of wanting and because we think attraction is the same as love, we assign false meaning to attraction when we feel it.  Fairytales and Hollywood do not help with this. For example, we make attraction mean that this person could be ‘the one’. We make it mean that we are meant to be together physically or emotionally or both.  We take it as a sign from the universe pointing us to our perfect partner. We make it mean that we must be compatible at our core; and if we aren’t, it’s just a matter of time or healing before we will be. We make it mean that we aren’t meant to be with our current partner.  The actual meaning of our attraction can be far, far from this as so many people have painfully found out.
The second problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is overlays.  When we feel attraction to someone, we are usually unconscious of what specifically we are wanting or needing that we feel we can achieve via that person.  And because of this, we project our own life fantasy over that person. When we do this, we fail to see them at all. When we feel that attraction to someone, we ignore anything that is telling us that in reality this person does not match the vision of what we want for ourselves and for our life.  We do not recognize incompatibility where it exists. Instead, we become like casting directors. We mistake attraction to mean that this person is the character we have been waiting for in our vision of our life that we want.  Any sign that we get that suggests that they could play that character well makes us convinced that they are actually that character in reality.  But the truth is, they are not. We are not in love with the actual person.  We are in love with the character we want them to play in our life. When they act in character, we approve of them.   When they break from character, we disapprove of them and try to criticize them back into character. It is critical for you to understand overlays when it comes to understanding attraction.  For this reason, watch my video titled “Overlay, What Prevents You From Having a Real Relationship”. When we are in an overlay in a relationship, we are like moths flying towards the flame thinking it is moonlight.        
The third problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is the failure to recognize attraction as a greater calling from the universe towards a state of unification.  This is a concept that you must understand in order to fully understand human attraction. Our consciousness is not in a state of unification, it is in a state of fragmentation.  The universe itself is in a state of fragmentation. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. We identify with the aspects of us that kept us safe in the world and ensured our wellbeing.  We suppress, reject, deny and disown those that don’t. This creates ‘splits’ inside us. It polarizes us internally. Polarity implies attraction, just like a magnet. When oneness is the underlying truth of the universe, then polarity (two) will forever be finding a way to become one.  Our being wants to integrate and become whole. If we identify with one polarity, our attraction will be to the one that we suppressed, denied, rejected and disowned. 
This time space reality operates according to the law of mirroring.  Whatever is inside us, will appear externally like a reflection. This means, we will meet people who are reflections of that which we have suppressed, denied, rejected and disowned and when we do, we will initially feel attracted to them.  This is the universe’s way of trying to get you to integrate but in an externalized way. The thing is, when you get close to them, you will eventually run into the very same resistance that caused you to separate yourself from that polarity within you.  You will then reject, deny, disown and oppose that external person. This is one big reason why attraction so often turns into pain. Attraction is so often an indication that you have suppressed, denied, rejected and disowned a part of yourself long ago and are receiving a calling to re-integrate that part of yourself.  Doing so is the only way to be sure whether someone is actually compatible to you. It is also a powerful way to eliminate the ‘crazed craving’ you might have for that person who you know does not contribute to your wellbeing. 
For example, imagine that at four years old a little girl’s dad leaves the family.  Her mom has to get a full time job, so she isn’t available either. This little girl really needs and wants connection and she is scared and needs her dad and mom.  But there is no one to be there for her. Therefore, she has to cope by splitting. She will deny, suppress, reject and disown that vulnerable part of her. She will create a part of her that can climb on top of the counters and get her own food.  She will create and then identify with this part of herself that is fiercely independent and that keeps her emotions hidden behind a wall and that has no issue being alone. When she gets older, she will continually find herself attracted to men who turn out to be childlike, needy, clingy and emotional.  Being near these men causes her to feel that denied, suppressed, rejected and disowned part of herself. She hates it because it’s painful and instead of integrating that part of herself that she pushed away so long ago, she pushes these men away the same way that she did that part of herself.         
The fourth problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is that the body also has wants.  This is where biology comes into play and it comes into play strongly. These wants from the body create physical attraction.  The science of attraction and the biology of reproduction fall into this category. If the body wants to breed and wants strong offspring, it will respond to pheromones for example, regardless of whether the person with those pheromones is compatible to you in other ways.  I will never forget a conversation I heard between two women. One women was doubting whether a man was right for her because the quality of their sex wasn’t the best she had ever had in her life. The other woman quickly retorted, “You don’t want the best sex you ever had guy…  That guy is in jail.” And I had to laugh because there is a teaspoon of truth in what she said. Just because there is physical attraction does not automatically mean that it is the right relationship for you. In fact, physical attraction can be the thing that gives rise to the very strongest overlay.  If you think you may have this issue, imagine the person you are attracted to being incredibly unattractive, ugly even. Watch how they behave and see if you would appreciate them still and how you would feel about their behavior.                                      
Pay attention to how you feel having heard all of this.  The fifth problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is that we love it.  We love the fairy tale. We love the Hollywood story. We fight for the butterflies in the stomach feeling.  The reason we fight for it (aside from the fact that the chemical release that happens in the body in response to attraction feels good) is because we subconsciously feel that the underlying current for attraction is desire.  If anyone tells you to question your attraction or to go for a relationship that is based off of conscious choice instead of fierce attraction, all we hear is “don’t go for what you want.” It creates a feeling of drudgery. The reason for this is that our parents raised us this way.  They raised us to do what we have to do not what we want to do.  They raised us to oppose our own best interests and desires for what they thought was best for us.  We became miserable as a result and uninspired.  
Attraction is one of the only things strong enough to survive this “killing off of the internal guidance system” process.  It is one of the only things strong enough to force us to follow our feelings towards what we want and really feel alive and excited for the future.  And here’s the thing, if you unconsciously make decisions at the mercy of your attraction, there is nothing wrong with that. Doing so is far better than making decisions that oppose your desires.  It will lead to intense expansion. Just remember that so will running into a tree at 70 miles an hour. The universe has no interest in you denying your desires and needs. What it does want is for those needs and desires to be conscious.  And believe me, if you were conscious of them, you would be going about getting them in different ways than you are now, including getting into relationships. Don’t take any of this awareness about attraction to mean that the message is to deny your desires. 
The sixth problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is that we believe attraction is an indication that we are compatible with someone. This is especially true when our attraction comes from the desire for someone to be ‘like us’ so we can feel belonging and not feel lonely anymore.  This creates a ‘cut from the same stone’ or a ‘the only two of the same species’ feeling. But attraction in no way implies compatibility. In some cases, attraction can imply the exact opposite. For relationships to work, they have to feel good to both people in the relationship.  We are conditioned to believe that love triumphs over all. We have been conditioned to believe that if we are genuinely a good person, we should be able to have a feel good relationship with anyone and everyone, regardless of what role they are playing in our lives.  But this is completely false. Incompatibility is the condition of two things being so different in nature and so uncomplimentary in that difference that they are incapable of coexisting harmoniously. It is tempting to assume that incompatibility is simply about having differences.  But what incompatibility is really about it is putting people with these non harmonious differences in roles or positions with each other that require there to be either no difference or that require a difference that is non harmonious in nature to be harmonious.  When incompatibility is present in a relationship, it is only a matter of time before either one or both people in the relationship will feel shame for the way they are and for what they want and also feel totally unloved.  To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships.
Attraction is going to be a part of your life.  It will be there because it is caused by desire and fragmentation, which is a current reality of life on earth.  Unlike love, but like desire, it is not a choice. Attraction for other people won’t stop just because it is inconvenient or you know it comes from a shadow or you’re in a relationship or married.  It is simply important to know where that attraction is coming from and why it is there. From there, you can decide consciously what to do in response to it. If what you are wanting is overall wellbeing and happiness within the relationship, the choice of who to partner with must be a multi faceted choice and a conscious choice, not a compulsive one.  The way you will experience the relationship with that other person within in your own body is that it will be an exhale, a relief and relaxation in your body. It will feel like coming home as opposed to an inhale, a tension and an excited craving. The more conscious you are of what you really want, the easier this will be. The further you get on this path of awakening, the more it will feel like you are appreciating everyone and choosing to love everyone and selecting what role to put people in your life based off of compatibility and genuine priorities.

The 'If You Love Me' Pattern in Relationships

At this point in human history, people do not understand love.  This means they can’t yet truly practice it even if they use the words “I love you.”  To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. Doing this naturally makes their best interests a part of your own best interests.  It makes it so that you can’t hurt them without hurting yourself too. Doing this naturally makes it easy to prioritize needs. For example, if someone needs medical help because they are hurt and we need food because we are hungry, it will be easy (if we take that person as part of ourself) to prioritize their need for medical help.  This mutual caretaking of each other’s best interests is ultimately what creates trust in a relationship. But even people who understand this can fall into a damaging pattern in their relationships; a pattern that can be prevented if you see it clearly.   
At this point in human history, people are raised to believe that love implies selflessness or and/or self-sacrifice.  Because of this, they have been trained that when they love someone, they should act in that person’s best interests over their own.  This is drastically different than simply prioritizing the various needs that arise from either people in a relationship.  We expect other people tfighting against tho act in our best interests over their own as well. Because of this, the relationship inevitably becomes a fight over whose best interests are most important at any given moment.  It becomes a zero-sum game under the guise of love. To understand the concept of the zero sum game in depth, watch my video titled: The Zero Sum Game (What is a Zero Sum Game and How To End One). Any time a needs or desires conflict arises, we expect them to do what is best for us, even if they have to go against their own best interests to do it.  We expect them to willingly lose that zero sum game and if they don’t, we decide it is because they are self centered and cruel and they don’t love us.
For example, imagine that a woman enters into a relationship with a man.  In the beginning it seems like they are on the same page in terms of desires.  But soon, it is obvious they aren’t. He lives in an intentional community and loves it and does not want children.  She wants a single family home and is ready to start a family. It is a serious enough conflict that she is always miserable when she’s with the community and no matter how nice their time is when it is just the two of them, he never changes his mind and keeps bringing her back to the community.  Neither of them face the incompatibility and decide together what to do with it, so it begins to feel like he is simply fine seeing her in pain. She decides that if he loved her, he couldn’t see her in this pain and would choose to leave the community and get himself in the mental space to have a child.  He doesn’t because this is the opposite of his best interests. When he doesn’t, she decides that he is a total self-centered ass hole who held her back from her true desires and whom she can’t trust and who doesn’t love her.   
This pattern is a set up.  It is a set up because we put people in a zero sum game where we expect them to willingly lose.  And then we decide when they don’t willingly lose that they are terrible and unloving and that we can’t trust them.  But the fact that we put them in that position and expect what we expect means we can’t be trusted.  The bottom line is, we cannot put someone in the lose-lose scenario of making them choose between playing a zero sum game or self sacrificing and call it love.  
The main reason this dynamic occurs is that people are unwilling to face incompatibility in their relationships.  When we can’t face incompatibility, the conflicts that arise because of differences that are non-harmonious, cause us to fight for the rightness and goodness of our own preferences and choices.  We fight for them by fighting against the other person’s preferences and choices as if they are bad, wrong or dysfunctional.  The relationship eventually devolves into both people feeling shamed by the other. It devolves into the ‘if you loved me, you wouldn’t do this/if you loved me you wouldn’t ask me not to’ dynamic. 
Therefore, we may find ourselves in situations where no matter how much we love someone, we can’t do or be what they want and need without hurting ourselves.  In these moments, we have to get that love is not something that is demonstrated by hurting ourselves for someone else’s sake. We only have this definition of love because it is what your adult caregivers taught us in childhood.  They taught us that the highest expression of love is when we sacrificed our desires and needs for theirs and for other people’s. This is simply a zero sum game played for personal happiness under the guise of love. We got positive feedback and avoided consequences for choosing to lose this zero sum game, so our wires are crossed. 
One thing that must be understood is that we also have to stop thinking that an excuse for refusing to see incompatibility is that we know what their best interests are better than they do.  It is common when we can see that a person is making choices in their life based off of unhealed wounding, that we decide their best interest is to make the choice that we would want them to make.  But we have to accept that a person has free will. And what counts is whether they see something as their best interest, not whether we see it as their best interest.
If someone is unwilling or unable to align with your best interests, it is more likely an indication of incompatibility than it is an indication that your needs and desires are wrong or that they are a cruel, self centered person who does not love you.
In order to gain awareness around this, get a piece of paper and write the sentence:  If they loved me _____________.” Think of a situation where someone didn’t act as if they loved you.  Then fill in the blank with as many things as you can think of that you would expect them to do differently if they loved you.  For example, they would have cancelled the meeting, they would have stayed loyal instead of cheated, they would have made an effort to impress my family, they would have known I was overworked and made dinner for me etc.  Then become aware of how in those statements, you may just be expecting them to abandon their own best interests for your sake. See how you may be expecting them to willingly lose a zero sum game.
If someone genuinely loves you, it is reasonable to expect that they consider and caretake your best interests as well as mutually address any incompatibility that arises.  But if they love you, and if you love them, you cannot expect him or her to abandon his or her best interests for your sake.  Needs conflicts arise in relationships and when they do, it is easy to slip into a zero sum game.  You cannot define whether someone loves you or how trustworthy they are by how willing they are to lose that zero sum game so you can have your needs and desires fulfilled at their expense.
When we take someone’s best interests as a part of our own, it does not mean that we abandon ours.  When we love someone, our own desires and needs do not get thrown out the window. It simply becomes easier to prioritize the various needs that exist.  It simply makes it easier to see where incompatibility does and doesn’t exist. When we experience an incompatibility, we can then find a ‘third option’, an arrangement where by agreeing to changes, both people can feel the best that is possible in that given situation.  The third option is not the same as a compromise. It is a decision or arrangement that is the highest and best option for both parties given the incompatibility. And deciding upon this option together instead of unilaterally is what makes the relationship safe.

Is Teal Swan an Online Cult or Not?

In today’s world, there is a lot of fear about cults and understandably so seeing as how there have been multiple tragic incidents involving them in the past.  But this fear has led to a collective paranoia. The term cult and cult leader are now loosely thrown around like a subjective catchall term. And this has caused many people to distrust anyone in a position of spiritual influence.  Because of this collective paranoia, people are accusing me of being a cult leader and those who watch my material of being in a cult. This is a very serious allegation. For this reason, I want to take this opportunity to address this accusation head on. 
The fact that cult has become a subjective catchall term makes a rational conversation about cults difficult.  In the beginning, the word cult had no derogatory or negative connotations.  Cult was simply a word used to describe a group of religious people.  In the 1900s it became a term to describe a group of people who demonstrated excessive religious devotion.  And now, it is a derogatory term used as an attacking ad hominem to discredit, invalidate and dehumanize spiritual or religious groups. People use the word loosely and flippantly as an insult, not knowing how serious an accusation that really is.  In today’s world, if all it takes to be a cult leader is to have a devoted following on social media and therefore lots of influence on public opinion, then every celebrity could be accused of being one.            
Most people aren’t in fact working with a solid definition or criteria when it comes to classifying a group of people as a cult.  This means they don’t have proof, only accusations. Instead, people are working with a ‘feeling’ or ‘association’ they have. We found out just how dangerous this was during the witch trials generations ago.  As we know from back then, the ‘feelings’ and associations’ that made someone convinced that a person was a witch, were usually not based on anything other than a person’s own insecurities. For example, when a judge was threatened by the idea of a female in power, he would condemn a woman as a witch when she tried to change the law regarding inheritance and land tenure.  We have to be very careful that the paranoia about cults does not trend in the direction of a modern day witch-hunt. For this reason and for the sake of this conversation, I am going to use an established and widely accepted list of criteria for cults as the basis of our conversation. 
The first thing you must understand before I go any further is that I am a personal transformation revolutionary.  I am not a cult leader. The Teal Tribe is a shared personal growth community that is based on the material and information I create.  Teal Tribe is not a cult.  
Two PhD’s, Janja Lalich and Michael D. Langone in association with the ICSA created a “cult checklist”, a way to tell if a group is in fact a cult or not.  I am going to focus on their assessment for the sake of this discussion.  The following list is a collection of behavioral patterns that are commonly found in cultic environments. 
The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as law. I ask that people have unwavering commitment to themselves.  Questioning is a central theme of Teal Tribe because it is the only way to find out what is true for you personally.  I offer people my perspectives and opinions, I don’t present them as law.
  Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. I encourage questioning.  I see doubt as a normal part of personal expansion; it is a call to discover personal truth.  Dissent does not lead to punishment.  People are welcomed in the group even if their opinion varies from my own or other people’s.  Constructive conversation about conflicting viewpoints is an opportunity for establishing a higher truth.
  Mind-altering practices are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).  No consciousness-altering states are encouraged or used by myself or any of those who follow my material with the purpose of suppressing anything.  All of the processes, tools and practices we use are done specifically to help people to access things like personal freedom, health, clarity, peace and authenticity.
  The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, and so forth).  Like every other person, I have many opinions about the healthiest or best ways to do certain things.  Like any spiritual leader, my opinion is the cornerstone of my career.  But I encourage people to try on these opinions and perspectives and decide if they are benefitted by it.  I do not tell people what to wear, whether or not to have children, where to live, who to date, what their purpose is, what job to get etc). If people ask for my opinion, it is their choice to implement the suggestion and adopt the opinion or not.  No one in this group needs my permission for anything and needing permission suggests a lack of self-trust.  My intention is to teach people to govern themselves.
  The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).  I think all people alive today (regardless of whether they are associated with me or not) have a very important role to play in the success of humanity.  Because of this, all people are special because of this unique role they play in the bigger picture of human life on earth. I am simply playing one of these special roles.
  The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.  I am not alone in recognizing that there are important changes that must be made in the wider society.  Society must evolve with each generation. But an us-versus-them way of thinking and being is the exact opposite of what I teach.  I teach oneness. I teach integration.  Us vs. them thinking is out of alignment with both my teaching of oneness and integration. My vision is for humanity to be able to take an integrative, multi-perspective approach to all of society’s issues.
  The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, psychologists, military commanders or ministers).  In coming to understand people’s fear about cults and even religions, this is the element that seems to frighten people the most.  The idea of checks and balances makes people feel safe. When people feel they have less power than someone else, they immediately imagine that their only way of ensuring safety relative to that person is to know that someone else (or multiple people) with equal or greater power can reduce that person’s power or take it away entirely.  Everyone on earth is accountable to something that could be seen as having “more authority” than they do including me. I’m not above the law. Contrary to what people may imagine, I do not consider myself the ultimate authority. I strongly believe that power comes from excellence. For example, no matter how hard I try, I will never be as good with accounting than my COO. Therefore when it comes to accounting, he is the one with the authority.  No matter how hard I try, I will never be as good at editing as my video editor; therefore he has control over editing decisions. If I am in an operating room, I have no control or authority over what happens there, a surgeon does. My opinion is that it is very important to be aware of and in reality about the areas where you do have authority and the areas where you don’t.
  The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities). If something feels unethical or reprehensible to someone, it is an inner message that they are out of alignment with themselves and this message is never to be ignored.  No ends justify a loss of personal integrity.  And it is the fact that I encourage honesty with one’s family and friends that causes the most conflict between people who follow my material and their family and friends that do not follow my material.
  The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion. My vision for those who resonate with my material is that they are healing and support oriented.  As such, I do not see how inducing shame and guilt could play any part in healing and because free will is such an important part of my core message, I do not condone anyone participating in or succumbing to peer pressure.  Guilt and shame are not tools used in an authenticity based community of people because they discourage authenticity.  It is important to distinguish between someone shaming you as opposed to feeling shame in relation to something that someone is saying or posting online.
  Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.  I teach people to question everything, listen to their own internal guidance system, be honest with themselves, become their real authentic self, set themselves free from fears and own their own their own life to the degree that they can fully live it.  My vision is multi generational healing. If people cut ties with their family or friends, it is because they have decided it is in their own best interests to do so. On a personal note, while I will support anything that is authentically in alignment with a person’s highest good, it makes me personally sad when this happens because it means the potential for a family systems change and collective healing obsolete.  If you follow my material, you do not have to cut ties with anyone or radically alter your goals and activities before or after joining the group. You will be asked to re-evaluate your life because re-evaluation (and the changes that naturally occur during a spiritual metamorphosis or healing cycle) may reveal to you personally that making changes to your life is in alignment with your highest good.  Because it is not a requirement in any way, the decision to make changes to one’s life is left entirely to the individuals themselves.
  The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.  People who watch my videos and read my books and attend my seminars are not preoccupied with bringing in new members, they are preoccupied with their own healing and happiness.  Sharing my content with the people in their lives is not done with the intention of recruiting them. There is a big difference with sharing content and trying to recruit people.  Sharing content is done because the person sharing it believes that it will benefit other people too. I would hope that the quality of my work would be reason enough for people to subscribe to my channels and share my videos and connect with each other of their own volition.  There is no need to convert someone to something that feels good and has enough obvious value.
  The group is preoccupied with making money.  My company is a for profit company.   That being said, money is not the central intention of my career, which is why I offer so much free content and also volunteer opportunities and scholarships.  The people who follow my material do not try to make money for the group or myself. They have their own lives; their own jobs, their own bills to pay and their own personal financial concerns just like everyone else in society.  There is no membership. Premium content subscription is not the same thing as paying to be a member of a group and/or tithing. No one is required to give money to be part of what I do. If I put a product or an event on the market, people can decide whether or not to pay for it (just like any other product on the market) based on whether or not it is valuable to them.
  Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities. No one is required to do anything in this group.  People in this group who want to donate their time, come forward as volunteers and volunteer for as long as they feel called to do so.  It is completely up to individuals how much time they agree to dedicate to anything.
  Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members. No one is encouraged to ONLY socialize with people who follow my material.  I find this extremely unhealthy. If people choose to connect with other people who resonate with my material, it is because that is where they feel the most connection and support and understanding and nothing more.  My ultimate vision is that society can change enough that a person who resonates with my material can find just as much connection, support and understanding with someone that does not even know who I am and who does not follow my material as they can with someone who does.
  The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.  There is life anywhere you go whether that is following my material or not.  Relative to Teal Tribe, there are guidelines (like there are on any social media platform) that serve to support a healthy social environment and they apply to anyone who is aligned with the group and also anyone considering leaving.  I cannot (nor should I) control how people are going to feel if someone that was part of the group decides to turn against the group or myself and/or leave it. If someone decides to leave, we would hope they would do so in a way that is authentic to what supports their highest good, a way that is responsible and a way that is respectful and loving to the rest of the community that is deciding to stay.  But our policy is that there is absolutely no reprisal, consequence or punishment for choosing to leave Teal Tribe.  And the Teal Tribe is also open to people returning. Some people choose to take hiatuses for various reasons and therefore come and go at their own discretion. Abraham Lincoln once said that no man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.  And then it must be considered that the giving of consent is an act of free will and therefore the giver of consent is governing himself by giving his power away.
If people are worried about being led astray or joining a cult, the real issue is two things, a lack of self-trust and a fear of influence. If people are worried about someone else being lead astray or joining a cult, the real issue is that they do not trust that person with themselves and they believe that free will can be taken away.  If self trust and belief in one’s own free will did exist, one would trust themselves to keep on the path of what is right for themselves and the world regardless of other people going astray.  The real conversation to be had, which is being highlighted by the topic of cults is about free will and influence.  Therefore, ask yourself, why don’t I trust myself?  Why am I afraid that I can be influenced into losing my free will?  Let this be the real conversation between yourself and those who you think have joined a cult.  Why don’t you trust them with themself?  Why do you think they can be influenced into losing their free will?  It is a very good measure of what you think of them and at the end of the day, it is insulting.  As with anything else, trust your own discernment.  Decide for yourself. The only life worth living is a life that is lived in alignment with your own sense of integrity.  
Power and influence is not bad in and of itself.  It is rather like a tool whose use depends on the intention of the person wielding it.  Part of being in a position of power is to be aware of the right use of that power.  When it comes to influence, the most important thing is the intention behind a person’s desire to influence others.  For example, a politician might have the intention to influence people towards a policy because they have personal financial interests that would benefit by the adoption of that policy.  On the other hand, they might have the intention of influencing people towards that policy because they believe strongly that it is in the best interests of the collective. I have the intention of influencing people towards their own personal truth and authenticity and towards making better decisions in their relationships and lives so that the world becomes an even better place for us all.

Priceless Motivation Tip (Find the Self-Serving Motive)

All of us experience difficulty feeling motivated to do certain things.  When this is the case, doing those things feels like drudgery and we lose energy by doing them.  I have taught a lot about the importance of building a life around the things that you really love doing.  But today, I’m going to teach you another tool. There is a way that you can intentionally stir up inspiration, which can actually make you feel motivated to do the things you are unmotivated to do and fill you with energy instead of deplete you.  
Being incarnated into an individual identity, people are naturally self-interested.  It is very difficult for a person to feel motivated to do something when they perceive that they aren’t experiencing big enough personal benefit by doing that thing.  The way to change this dynamic is to work with your tendency to be self-interested and to intentionally find the self-serving motive that would allow you to feel inspired to do that thing.  Doing this boils down to an intention or a goal.  
So you can understand this concept, here are some examples:  Let’s say that someone hates being a helper. If someone asks this person to help him or her with a problem they are having, this person might feel completely unmotivated.  But perhaps they love problem solving. If their intention is to personally get better at the skill of problem solving, suddenly they will feel motivated to do it. To the outside, it will seem like they are helping.  But really they are focusing on developing and honing their own mastery of problem solving.
Another example is a person might feel totally unmotivated to do errands but they are totally motivated to develop autonomy in the world.  If they choose to go on those errands as an exercise in developing autonomy, suddenly they will feel energy to do it.  
Another example is a person might feel totally unmotivated to cook.  But they love art. If they choose to consider all of the ingredients to be muli-sensory artistic elements and decide to make art with the food, suddenly they are motivated to cook.
Another example is that a person might hate conflict.  When conflict arises, they have absolutely no desire to be involved.  But this same person may really, really care about safety and really be motivated to create and maintain it.  This person might see that avoiding the conflict will only make it fester and increase the chance of emotional injury.  If he or she enters into the conflict with the intention of consciously creating safety, he or she will suddenly be motivated to engage in conversation as long as it takes to resolve the conflict.
Another example is that a person may hate part of playing a sport.  However, they may be totally motivated to be the best at it. If they focus on their desire to be the very best at the sport, they are suddenly motivated to do even the parts of the sport that they dislike. 
Another example is that a person might feel totally unmotivated to do the dishes.  But this person might be dedicated to the spiritual practice of being in the now. If they use the experience of washing the dishes as a meditative experience of being in the now by really feeling the water and the texture of each dish and smelling the various smells and going slowly and watching the way the light refracts off of the suds and soap bubbles, suddenly they will feel more energy and motive to do the dishes.
Another example is that someone might hate the concept of going to work to make money.  But they may love the feeling of abundance. If they go to work focused on creating abundance, they will suddenly feel motivated.
This kind of motive re-framing is something that successful people do naturally and automatically.  To start this habit, make a list of what currently really motivates you, something you are committed to for your own sense of wellbeing and personal benefit.  Then see if any of those things on the list can be found in the things that you don’t like to do. 
Another tip is that if you don’t like something, find a person who loves it.  Study their mindset. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their experience so as to figure out what they see in that thing that you don’t.  You might just grow a whole new appreciation for that thing. 
In every situation that you find yourself unmotivated, see if you can find something inherent in that situation that really does motivate you and really does feel like it is in alignment with your personal best interests.  In other words, find the things that interest you within the things that don’t.
You can find a goal within anything.  It can even be a goal to have no goal in a situation.  When that goal excites you and motivates you, even doing things that you wouldn’t at face value want to do will feel as if they give you something and therefore feed you with energy instead of deplete you.

The Media

We love information.  In order to communicate that information, we need mediums.  In today’s world this means we are dependent on things like newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet.  The word media is simply the plural form of the word medium. These mediums have the power to influence people greatly both positively and negatively. Like it or not, you have a relationship with the mass media and so you need to understand it.
The first thing to understand about the media is that no matter what anyone representing the media may say, the media is not for you and it is not against you.  It is not here to benefit you and it is not here to destroy you.  It is a business. It is a business and everyone has their own personal reasons for being a part of that business and like any other business, everyone has their own personal best interests consider.  The media is focused on one thing, what sells. And the only way to do this is to focus on what gets attention, ratings and subscriptions. Another way of saying this is the media is focused on delivering information or entertainment that matters to people.  But the primary reason you should not immediately swallow and believe anything you see or hear or read in the media is because it is a business. When it comes to business there are always personal interests involved; the question is what interests and whose?
There are several elements that currently capture human attention and determine that something matters.  Elements like conflict, threat, crisis, intrigue, intensity, the bizarre, death, celebrity, impact, timeliness, proximity and human interest (stories about people that evoke heightened emotionality).
We all know that the media is not exempt from corruption.  There are ethics involved in any business. However it is up to individual mediums and the people working for those mediums whether or not they are going to behave ethically.  This is the biggest concern when it comes to the media. I found out just how deep this corruption runs when the first major periodical ran a slander piece about me. When our entertainment lawyer contacted them, it was calmly and explicitly explained by both the media outlet and the entertainment lawyer that once you get ‘big’ enough, this is the ‘unofficial press exchange’.  When you’re a celebrity, you don’t have the same individual privacy rights that a citizen holds. You as a person fall under the same freedom of press laws that were originally enacted to enable the press to write about the government and government officials. This means anyone can do a bad press article about you; after which it is expected that you will pay the media outlet a sizeable amount of money to run a positive one.  After which they will do another negative one, after which it is expected that you will pay them to do another positive one. They consider this a win-win because it keeps you relevant and them getting attention. And the reason that you have to pay for the positive content is because it isn’t going to capture the same attention that a negative one would. No one cares how ‘good’ Teal Swan is. This should really terrify you because it means that if money can dictate what stories are done and published or even which ones are suppressed, the information being shared can be dictated by the corporations that would most benefit by that information being shared or not shared.  This is what is happening right now with pharmaceutical companies for example. Nothing sells more flu vaccines than stories about dangerous outbreaks and doctors testifying that the anti vaccine movement is going to bring back all the deadly diseases of the past and tearful personal interest stories.
Every media outlet and platform is going to be different because it is a different sector of the overall media business.  They are not all created equal any more than any other business is created equal. For example, we all know that certain news channels offer totally biased reporting and others are much more reliable in keeping with the ideal of balanced reporting.  Some entertainment platforms cater only to men and others only to women. Every medium is an individual business that will operate differently. Something that needs to be understood, but that will create lots of resistance especially in the news media, is that it is not possible for a person (including a member of the press) be completely un-biased.  We should all be completely in support of things like the ethics code of journalism. However they often run counter to human psychology itself and any philosopher could successfully win a debate where the argument is that it is impossible to be truly ‘balanced and fair’ when an individual is the one presenting information. This must especially be understood relative to news media because news is a business for journalists and reporters as well.
When people watch the news, they usually project that whatever they are seeing is being shared in the name of truth as if the sharing of the information is a good Samaritan act.  Get this idea out of your head. It is being shared for the sake of drumming up good business. For example, a reporter isn’t a self-sacrificing philanthropist. He or she has a career.  When he or she decides to cover a story, it is for the sake of the advancement of his or her own career. The way they report on a story, the content they decide to report on and the way they conduct an interview is based on one thing, their own success.  When a celebrity or politician sits down for an interview, they are focused on one thing, getting their own message out on that media outlet. Even though it seems like the two are having a conversation and playing the same game of question and answer, their actual game is not in fact to ask questions and to answer questions.  It is a game of mutual use and usually it’s a zero sum game. If the person being interviewed gets emotional or answers in a way that drums up any of the elements of newsworthiness, the reporter has just made a career advancement for themselves so they win and the person they are interviewing loses. If the person being interviewed doesn’t fall into any of those intentionally placed traps and instead manages to convey whatever message they want to convey for the sake of their own advancement, they win and the reporter loses.  This may actually make it make sense to you now why the president seems to evade questions and answers questions the way he does.
When people first become aware of the reality of the media, there is a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There is a tendency to make all media bad and to look at all media professionals as corrupt antagonists. The thing is, we want the media.  We’re tied to it 24 hours a day. And the people who work for the media are people just like you or I. There are always conscious and unconscious reasons why we gravitate towards the careers we choose.  To help you to understand the news media deeper, I’m going to share with you the most common pattern that turns someone into a reporter or journalist. Most journalists and news reporters were wounded in childhood relative to their own sense of personal importance.  Because they couldn’t be important or special enough to the people in their lives to deserve their full attention, the closest they could get was to feel important by being a part of something that those people found to be important. They had to be a part of it all and in the middle of it, or else they were totally alone.  The story that a journalist or reporter will want to tell or choose to tell is the story that will make they, themselves feel or seem the most important. Ironically, because of this, they are prone to ‘shadow importance strategies’. For example, there is a natural envy that exists in them towards people who are seen as important.  This creates a subconscious desire to tear down the people who are important enough for them to report on. They also feel important in the power they hold which is being ‘in the know’ and being ‘in control of the perspective of the viewer’ (public opinion).
All this being said, most media professionals have a moral streak.  Most were conscious enough of being hurt by someone and conscious enough of their need to be included by others that they do not want to be the bad guy.  They don’t want to be important for something bad. This is why they come up with ways to justify and condone their actions. For example, they are justified in pretending to be sympathetic when they aren’t, because it caused the bad guy to expose himself.  The other ‘sister wound’ that drives people to become a journalist or reporter is along these lines of morality. The wound is: Being hurt by un-truths. They have this in common with many scientists as well. This is the wound that makes this profession more enticing than other professions where one could get importance in a round about way.  I have never met a reporter or journalist who wasn’t significantly wounded in their life because of false information, naivety, gas lighting, lying and/or other forms of consequences that specifically involve un-truths.  Because of this, truth and what is real becomes an obsession and they often see themselves as public heroes for seeking out and exposing the truth so that others can be spared that pain that they experienced in their early life.  Truth becomes their definition of safety for themselves and others.
 A journalist or reporter will eventually find themselves in an existential crisis relative to truth itself.  The more they see that truth is difficult to establish, can be spun and influenced with inflection, is much more complicated than meets the eye, involves multiple perspectives and is a philosophical debate in and of itself, the less stable and safe they will feel in the world.   How a journalist copes with this truth crisis determines how good or bad they will be at adhering to the ethics of journalism.
Obviously there are many wounds and motives and beliefs that would negatively tarnish one’s ability to accurately seek and tell the truth.  Obviously when a person’s own importance and career advancement juxtaposes the truth, it presents a conflict of interest for someone who possesses both interests.  But truth seekers and truth tellers are needed. Information is needed. And entertainment holds immense potential.
Media is a business just like any other business and you actually have way more control over the media than you think.  This is my core message for you today… Because the media is a business that operates according to what gets ratings, subscriptions and attention, it is in fact people (you and me) that are in control of what is on the media.  Even though much of what drives attention is biological, you can have conscious awareness of this and therefore be in a place of free will and choice.  The media is primarily a reflection of what interests humans. If people change what they are interested in, the content on the media will change. Every time you watch a show, every time you click on a news story, every time you tune into a podcast, you are voting for what information is important to you.  And each vote you cast adds up to the picture of what is important to the human race. So from this day forward, when it comes to giving your attention to anything, think about your vote. If something is important enough to capture your attention, ask yourself why that thing is important to you.  Everything you click on or watch is an invitation for the media to show you more of that.  For that reason, everything you deem important enough to deserve your attention is shaping the future.

What Every Woman Should Know About Men

I don’t even need to bombard you with the cultural sayings or stories; you already know that there is a rift in understanding between the sexes.  This rift must be bridged for woman and men to have healthy relationships. Therefore, seeing as how I already did a video on what men need to know about women, I am now going to tell you what woman need to understand about men.
What women don’t currently know about men is that men need to feel needed, wanted and useful.  As a woman, you have got to make space in your life for a man to fulfill a purpose in your life and to have a place in your life.  This is in fact what makes a man feel connected and committed to you.  Now I’m going to break down this concept for you.  
The women’s rights movement undeniably benefitted women in many ways.  If you could go back and watch men and women in society before the 1960s you’d understand exactly what I mean.  However, whenever there is a movement of rebellion, the pendulum tends to swing to the opposite extreme and thereby ends up doing as much damage as it did good.  This is what happened with the women’s rights movement and the changes in attitude relative to the sexes that it spearheaded. Because of the pain women experienced at the hands of men, whether they could recognize it in themselves or not, the reality was that there was hatred of men embedded in the movement.  This created a bizarre energy to the movement that publicly professed to seek equality between the sexes but that in fact sought to turn the tables on men. The shadow of the women’s right’s movement was the eradication of masculinity. And I assure you; its ripple effects are still playing out today. 
Though they may at face value seem empowering to someone who has been in a state of powerlessness, sayings like “Women can do everything men can do.” “Women are doing it for themselves.”  “Don’t be a woman that needs a man, be the kind of woman that a man needs”. “ If you want something said, ask a man, if you want something done, ask a woman.” “Whatever women do, they must do twice as good as a man does to be seen as half as good, luckily this isn’t difficult”… They are insanely destructive and they are also not true.  This universe is not redundant. There are things men can do that women cannot and there are things that women can do that men cannot. To generalize, our areas of excellence are different. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: People Are Not All Equal. That scares the crap out of us because it feels like any form of dependency automatically puts us at their mercy.  If you want to look at it this way, men are at the mercy of women to the same degree that women are at the mercy of men. But here’s the thing that women have to swallow, if women approach men or the sexes with this attitude, they are shooting themselves in the foot.  
Women tend to see men as narcissists and they tend to think that this narcissism implies that men are independent.  Men are not independent. They need connection and the social group, just like women do. They thrive when they fit into a social group in a symbiotic way.  They need to feel useful and therefore needed and therefore wanted. In fact, their self-esteem is primarily about this. And men love to take responsibility where it serves their self-esteem to do so.  Men subconsciously define their worth based on the reflection they get about what they do for others.  The message that women are giving to men now a day is the exact opposite of this.  Women mistake a man having a real place and purpose in their lives as a slippery slope onto powerless dependence.  Women mistake a man opening doors for them as an insult about their capability. Women mistake male leadership for control.  And because of this, instead of making space for a man in their lives, women continually remind them that they are not needed.  This becomes a serious mixed message and puts men in a total lose-lose because women don’t let a man make a move to be useful and have a place and purpose in their lives, but then when they become passive as a result, women feel absolutely no attraction to him and don’t respect him at all.  He becomes like another child that a woman has to take care of and manage. 
When men get put into this lose-lose position, they become rebellious.  They do this by ‘stepping out of the picture’ and ‘checking out’. With their non action, they are essentially saying “OK… do everything yourself then and see how well it goes for you.”  Potentially the best example of this behavior can be seen by the character Richard in the movie Blue Lagoon. It is this dynamic that has led to the ‘burnout’ that women experience today.  In the post-feminist era, they now have to do and be all things to all people. This was never how it was supposed to be within the human species. Many women today are questioning what the point of men really is.  And when women begin to take on this attitude, they become the ones that begin to objectify men. This is a terrifying form of turning the tables.
One thing that women need to get is that a man doesn’t want to be needed and used for something that he does not excel at any more than you do.  He needs to be good, wanted, needed and useful for what he actually is.  Intimacy phobia is a genuine problem that acts like a mask over authenticity.  But women who are labeled as “needy” by their male partners or who experience resistance from their male partners when they state their needs are often experiencing this because they are not selecting compatible partners.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships. I’m going to take the risk of using an object in this upcoming metaphor to make this concept make sense. Though you will see traits that are inherent to the masculine polarity (and are therefore present within all men to different degrees) all men are still different, kind of like cars.  If you are a family oriented woman, buying a two-seater sports car is a bad idea. And for some men, demanding that the way they would be needed and valued by you is if they could be a certain way, is no different than telling a sports car that it needs to become a mini van and will only be valued if it does this. When incompatibility exists, women tend to avoid facing it and instead try to criticize a man into changing. 
So what does a woman need to do in order to accommodate for this reality of men?  
Let a man be in his masculine energy. In fact, encourage it.  A man that is fully in his masculine energy is not a threat to you; he is your greatest advocate.
  Make space in your life for a man.  A man has to serve a purpose for you and in your life.  This doesn’t mean boss him around. This means open up room in areas of your life for him to step up and take the lead.  For example, let him open doors for you. Let him open lids on jars that are hard to open. Let him step in and protect you.  Let him fix that problem you’re struggling with. Let him put his jacket around you if you’re cold. Let him pay for the movie.  Together, clearly define the difference between his role and your role in the household. Something that native tribes and the old world understood that the modern world doesn’t is that there is a measure of health in gender roles as long as those roles are something a person is choosing and agreeing to with their free will.
If the energy you give off or the things you say run along the lines of “I got it cause I’m an independent woman”, there is an impenetrable wall around you and your life.  There is no role for him to fill. This is not inviting. Men will gravitate away from this and the only men who will feel like getting anywhere near you are going to fall into two categories.  The first category is men who have been traumatized into needing a mommy so your hyper responsibility is attractive because they want to be taken care of and told what to do. The second category is men who because of early life trauma feed on the challenge of taming a wild horse.  These men love to take a woman who thinks she’s in power and beat her into submission either mentally, emotionally, physically or all three.
  Be very careful with criticism, nagging and manipulation.  What men hear when they are chronically criticized is: You’re a failure at the role I need you fulfill in my life.  They also need to know specifically what you want instead of what they are doing, not just get the message that they aren’t doing something right.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Criticism (How To Give and Take Feedback). And remember that if it feels like you’re constantly criticizing a man in your life and constantly nagging, you may just be ignoring compatibility and trying to turn a sports car into a mini van.
Women tend to manipulate in order to get their needs met as well.  When this is the case, you aren’t opening up space for a man to meet your needs.  You’re forcing it to happen in ways that will destroy your relationship. To the opposite, if you want a good relationship, giving positive feedback for a man’s importance in your life and for the needs and role they are doing a great job fulfilling goes a long way.
  Men are incredibly straightforward compared to women.  Women are trained to not be. Women are trained to manipulate through passive aggression and drop hints and cues and never assert their needs.  They are trained that anything else makes them a bitch. But the thing is, men do not understand this behavior and even though they can practice attunement, they are unlikely to read your mind.  So be straightforward with men. If you need attention, don’t drop hints; simply tell them you need some attention. If you want a better experience in bed, show him what you’d like him to do, don’t just fake an orgasm so it will all be over.  If you don’t like something, don’t get passive aggressive. Tell him exactly what you didn’t like and why and specifically what you want instead. You do not know what a relief it is to men when women are straightforward and direct.    Consider that the reality is that even though there are some traumatized men who are sexist, the majority of men are not trying to control you or imply that you are not capable.  They are saying “I want to be connected to you, I need to be connected just as much as you do.  In order to feel that way, I need to fill a role in your life; a role that holds purpose so that I can clearly tell that you need me and thus want me here in your life.”  And if you want a healthy relationship with a man, you would do best to choose a man who is compatible in that what he naturally does and who he naturally is, does fill a very important role in your life and a needed one.  From there, you would do well to think and speak and act in a way that suggests that this is the case.

How To Break Up With Someone and Stay Friends

Breakups are arguably one of the worst parts of life as a physical human.  We associate them with incredible pain and loss. They threaten our sense of connection, which is the number one need we have.  But a big part of this is that we have an idea about how ‘breakups’ should look and to be honest, that expectation we have is based on watching unconscious people separate and destroy each other specifically in order to avoid their own shame.  But there is another way. There is a way to end one type of relationship with someone that feels bad and maintain another type of relationship with him or her that feels good.  
Before we get any deeper into HOW to go about doing this, I must tell you that I have had many breakups over the course of my life with friends and colleagues and family members and employees and also romantic partners.  Some of those breakups went terribly. They went exactly how you would expect the worst kind of break up to go. And others went incredibly. I have many people who no longer work with me or for me that I am very close to.  My former fiancé’ has now lived with me in the same intentional community for sixteen years and through many ups and downs, we are closer than we have ever been. My former husband and the father of my son is also still an intentional community member of mine.  We spend time together every single week and are strong advocates for each other’s wellbeing as well as our son’s. And believe it or not, the two of them are super close to each other as well. Because of all of this experience, I have worked out the variables regarding how and why it works and how and why it doesn’t.  And I’m going to tell you in this episode how to make it work. Though all the following points apply to whatever kind of relationship you have, I am going to tailor them towards break ups of a romantic relationship.
Make sure that you actually want to be friends and that this is a genuine commitment.  Genuine friendship is based on love. It is a love where you take the other person as a part of yourself and you genuinely are committed to their wellbeing and love for who they really are.  So many people say they want to be friends, when what they really want is to buffer themselves against the consequences of ending a relationship. When this is the case, it’s totally self-serving.  It is done for self-preservation sake alone. This is the opposite of true friendship as it is a guarantee that the minute you find another way to feel good and safe, you will simply abandon your commitment to relating to this person as if they were a part of you and you will start to play zero sum games.
  Get it out of your head that success in relationships means longevity.  Even if most people would wish that their relationships would last happily ever after, some relationships are not meant to.  So we need to keep this as a desire, not a fixed expectation. So much of the pain of breakups is about how we thought it was supposed to go vs. how it did go.  There are all kinds of reasons for someone to enter your life or play a role in your life for a time. Longevity is not the definition of a good relationship. Plenty of people are able to maintain perfectly miserable marriages and friendships and business partnerships for years upon years and even until they die.  The definition of a successful relationship is a relationship that enhances the wellbeing and growth and happiness and fulfillment of both people involved. It feels like a win-win. A healthy relationship is positively interdependent. All relationships at this current time in human evolution face conflict and challenges and are better at some times than others.  But maintaining a relationship that does not enhance your wellbeing because you are holding on to the idea that relationship success is about longevity is not relationship success.
Also it is possible for two people to really love each other and for the relationship and love to be very real and for the relationship to come to a point where it must transition. So we need to also get rid of the idea that if a relationship or love is real, it will last and so if it doesn’t, it isn’t.  There is no good reason to devalue a relationship if it ends or to consider it a mistake if it ends. The fact that we base the value of our relationships on how long they last is not reflective of the reality of their value. Instead, it is merely reflective of our desire for them to last. Some of the most valuable relationships we may encounter in our lifetime may just be with someone we sat next to once on a train.
  Do not expect a transition to be without pain.  People often get interested in conscious break ups or un-coupling because they imagine that doing so will make the break up painless.  I have never found this to be the case. Human beings are predisposed to bond and connect. An attachment with another being is akin to an emotional home.  It is our greatest source of safety as physical humans. Any transition of a bond will at least initially cause insecurity about it. Consciously transitioning a relationship does prevent relationship rupture and it does significantly reduce pain, but it does not eliminate it.  Prepare instead to face whatever pain does come up; most especially painful patterns within yourself, and to consciously face it together. After all, if there were no pain inherent in the situation, breaking up wouldn’t be a consideration in the first place. That being said, a break up is an opportunity to completely re-write your life.  It is an opportunity to start new and create a new life that is in alignment with your highest personal truth and desires.
  Relationships do not end.  They simply change. For example, if you break up with someone and it goes horribly and you decide you want nothing to do with each other, that other person doesn’t cease to exist.  They may have simply shifted from a partner to an enemy. That’s still a relationship. This is why people who choose to do this tend to not call it a break up and instead call it a transition or a passage or a shift or an un-coupling.  It’s important to get that any time you break up with someone, a relationship isn’t ending. It is changing. The question is into what? Your goal should be to get very clear about specifically what you want it to turn into instead. And if possible to get on the same page with the other person about that vision so you can work towards it together.
  It is not always possible to do this process of consciously breaking up so as to stay close and aligned in a different way with all people.  There are ways that you can behave that will increase your odds exponentially, but a relationship still takes two. This means that for example, if someone unconsciously decides that it serves their sense of self to make you the enemy, they have stronger motive to create a typical ‘lovers to enemies’ break up than to transition the relationship lovingly.
  A relationships can look however two people decide they want it to look.  We live in a world where there are very fixed and rigid rules about how things need to look.  This of course changes from culture to culture. For example, we have an idea that a sexual relationship should be between two people (maybe even a man and a woman) and that’s it.  We have the idea that we need to live in single-family households with only immediate blood family members and anything else is dysfunctional. We have an idea that if two people break up, they need to get away from each other and stop talking.  The time has come to really question and potentially break these fixed and rigid rules about how things should look. Our wellbeing as a species depends on it. In order to decide what is right for you specifically when you are re-structuring any relationship, you need to get out of these boxes and realize that the way you are going to restructure a relationship and what you are going to transition it to should be unique to both of you.  It should be whatever enhances your wellbeing. For example, my ex husband and I decided that we would stay living together. Another couple may decide that both of their wellbeing would be better served by moving into separate houses. One couple may decide to maintain a sexual relationship and simply open the relationship to other people. Another may decide to both not be sexual with anyone, including each other, for a defined period of time.  One couple may decide to take a break from each other where they don’t have contact with the intention of coming back into contact in the future; another may decide to call or text each other every day at least in the beginning. There is no ‘one way’ it should or must look in order to have the un-coupling process go well.
  Transition slowly and carefully.  Nothing is worse for conscious transitioning than sudden, immediate and non-mutually consented to change.  For example, if the break up is happening because one person wants to be free to explore the world without having to answer to anyone and the other one wants a committed, available partner, that first person cannot get on a plane to climb Everest the next day and expect it to be ok.  Sudden loss and sudden change creates a ‘severing’. It is this severing that creates shock and makes it so we can’t cope with the adjustment. Do what is necessary for both of you to feel ready and take each step that needs to be taken.
That being said, you also can’t use this as an excuse to stall and avoid the parts of you that are resisting that change.  In other words, transitioning slowly and in steps is not a way of keeping the other person locked into the relationship the way it was.  It is a way to ensure that there will not be rupture in the relationship, only change. The process of a butterfly coming out of a cocoon must be careful and deliberate.  If you just rip it off, it will damage the butterfly. The same goes for transitioning relationships.
  Breaking up or transitioning the relationship is usually scary for people, therefore it is a process that is likely to call up all of your vulnerabilities and therefore defenses.  These defenses are what makes maintaining a positive relationship with the person hard or impossible. Usually, a break up causes us to feel like something is bad or wrong about us.  It causes us to feel shame. We reason that if we were not bad or wrong, a person wouldn’t be breaking up with us. So, to save our own self-concept, we deflect that shame and begin a kind of ping pong match over whose fault the break up is and who the bad guy is.  To understand more about this, I want you to watch my video titled: Deflection (The Coping Mechanism From Hell). We have to avoid doing this if we want to stay close while transitioning the relationship.
Take a look at your defenses.  What are they? Some of us may shut down and withdraw.  Some of us may get angry. Some of us might bypass. If we want to transition well, the key is to stay in the vulnerability instead of in the defense of that vulnerability and share that vulnerability with each other.  You would benefit greatly by having additional support from someone who is going to be an advocate for what you are trying to do and who can help you with your process relative to the transition. But I actually disagree with most experts who say that this should be a time to take care of your own feelings, not each other’s.  The couples that I see do this process the very best are polite, thoughtful, generous and respectful of each other and take care of their own feelings, but they do this with the other person as well.  In other words, they share and support each other’s vulnerabilities through the transition.  For example, if you hit a wave of grief and you defensively say “you lied to me about having an affair” the person will probably say something defensive back like “you were always gone.”  This isn’t vulnerability. Vulnerability is, “when you had an affair, I felt like I am never going to be good enough for anyone. That’s what I’m scared of right now… that every person I get with will think there is something greener on the other side.”  This opens a window for the other person to support the vulnerability and even offer their own vulnerability so you can reassure them, instead of defend themselves and cause a rupture in the relationship.
The bottom line is, you need to support each other’s vulnerabilities through the break up instead of fight for your own sense of rightness or goodness vs. their wrongness or badness.  A big part of these vulnerabilities is the meaning we are assigning to the breakup. We need to bring this meaning we are assigning to what is happening to the other person instead of simply making those assumptions.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button.
  We must take loving care of our feelings of rage, resentment and hatred so that they do not unconsciously orient towards the other person.  These emotional states arise from feeling hurt. Any time we feel pain, we feel hurt by something. When we feel hurt, we tend to fall into hatred and resentment as a kind of coping mechanism.  We use hate to stay connected to a person, it simply becomes a negative bond instead of a positive one. We also use it to attempt to justify disconnecting and maintain our positive self-concept.  But doing so actually causes heartache to root itself deeper instead of resolve. For this reason, I strongly encourage you to watch my videos titled: Hatred (The Secret Cause of Hate), Why Love Turns To Hate, Resentment (How To Let Go Of Resentment) and Forgiveness (Radical New Approach To Forgiveness).
Also, in a break up we may find ourselves slipping into self-hate.  If this is the case, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Self Hate (The Most Dangerous Coping Mechanism).  Rage, whish is also a common emotion in breakups is an emotion that can be changed into personal transformation energy.  If you want to consciously transition a relationship and you feel rage, instead of directing that rage towards the other person, channel it towards creating change in your life.  It can be like fuel for determination. Another way of putting this is, put it toward, “I’m not going to put up with this pattern in my life, this is never going to happen again” and use that energy to transform your beliefs, thought patterns and behaviors that contributed to the pain in the relationship that led to the breakup in the first place.
  In most breakups, each partner feels that the breakup is the other person’s fault.  I have to say that it does actually only take one person to ruin a relationship. The idea that it takes two to ruin a relationship is false.  It takes two to make it work because each party has free will. But because each party has free will, it only takes one to decide to disconnect or compromise the ‘link’ that is relationship.  But this ‘fault finding’ process will lead you nowhere because even if a single person does compromise the relationship, it is usually because incompatibility is at the root of it all. What would make you enter into a relationship like this in the first place?  A good way to stay away from finding fault in a breakup is to recognize this incompatibility that is at the root of the conflict. For this reason, it would greatly benefit you to watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships. Incompatibility is not about someone being right or wrong.  It is about the differences in who we are and what we want. As long as you can avoid making the other person (or yourself for that matter) wrong for being who they are and wanting what they want, you can consciously face your incompatibilities with each other and decide what to do with them and it doesn’t have to be someone’s fault.  This is what the irreconcilable differences clause is all about.
Speaking of all this, taking responsibility for our part in the pain of the relationship is a critical part of the transition process.  If we take responsibility, it will trigger the other person to do the same. It also empowers us because as much as it may suck to see, we can see the ways that we have been the source of our own suffering and therefore, how we can change that so as to not repeat the same pattern again.  No matter how badly the other person behaved, focusing on what you do have control over, which is the ways you are responsible for any of the situation you find yourself in, is empowering as long as you don’t confuse doing this with sliding into fault or blame or shame. Even if the other person is 98 percent to blame, find and own that other two percent.  Put your attention on that so that you can change, empower yourself and feel able to move forward in a different way. Become infinitely more committed to developing yourself than to defending yourself.
  Stay as far away from zero sum games as possible.  A zero sum game will kill any relationship dead in its tracks and make the relationship completely and totally unsafe.  Because it is so critical to never play a zero sum game if you want to maintain a positive relationship with someone post break up, I strongly encourage you to watch my video titled: The Zero Sum Game (What is a Zero Sum Game and How to End One).  You must take the other person’s best interests as a part of your own best interests. What makes a relationship safe post break up is deciding together what to do given the incompatibility inherent in the current arrangement so that you can find what is the highest and best option for both of you.  Communication is absolutely critical for this to actually work out. Most people are not psychic. They can’t just intuitively know what your best interests and needs and desires are. This means, you must communicate them and the other person must also communicate them so that even if it doesn’t feel like a win to break up, you can arrive at the next best win-win scenario for the both of you.  Any agreements you make during this process such as promises and expectations and changes that are made must be focused around the best interests of both of you. A new relationship implies a new set of agreements.
  Surround yourselves with people who can be and will be on board with what you are trying to do.  Try to get your social circle on board a well. Relationships are part of a larger network of relationships.  When a relationship needs to transition, it impacts everyone in that social network. This means, do not begin to triangulate against the person.  While it is tempting to cushion the impact of a breakup with other people’s validation for how bad the other person is, it makes it almost impossible to transition the relationship to something different and to keep your intertwined social groups intact.  People do not need to turn against the other person to demonstrate their loyalty to you. Ask them to join you in your intention to transition the relationship instead of become enemies. Tell them they don’t need to take sides.
There are plenty of people who will put more pressure on your relationship and help turn you against the other person and who, because of their own expectations about how a break up should look, will not be advocates for a new and different kind of arrangement.  Though their intention may be good, fanning the flames of hatred and blame is not an effective way of helping someone to transition a relationship. Often, it can provide temporary relief and validation for separating, only to create long-term scars and pain. Really limit your exposure to these people until you feel strong enough to not be effected by them or their opinions.  Choose to be around people who will be advocates for holding that space where both of you are still close, just in a different way. Choose people who will help you to choose the right arrangement for you both, no matter how un-orthodox that arrangement may be. Yes, this means surround yourself with conscious people who really care about maintaining connection and creating genuine peace.
  Make amends and generous, loving gestures that will clear the bad blood and mend the damage done however possible.
Have the clear intention of resolving what is unresolved so that you can move forward into a different kind of relationship.  The feeling you are going for with this one is to try to establish a feeling of “completion” with regards to what is still in turmoil and what tensions are still churning between you.  What would actually help to repair the damage they did to you or you did to them? You can’t un-do the past, but you can learn from and correct mistakes, take steps to clean up what has happened and establish a totally different way of doing things moving forward.
  Figure out where you DO align and make that the foundation of your new relationship.  To make this process work, it has to be about the future, not about going back to what was before.  It must form around a mutual intention. Craft this intention. When we break up with someone, we are totally focused on where we don’t align.  Knowing that, to build a new relationship, we need to build it around where the alignment does exist.  For example, alignment may be wanting to be family members still.  Or it may be the shared goal of being lovingly united co-parents. Or it may be a specific hobby.  Or it may be a common world vision. Then you focus on and build your relationship and make decisions and agreements with this area of alignment as your focus.  Your new relationship will begin to mutate around that. To give you one example, a couple I know both love sailing more than anything and they have a daughter. When they decided to transition, they decided their areas of alignment were their mutual goal of raising their daughter as well as sailing.  They moved into their own apartments, but they kept their island house and boat together and they decided to take their daughter out sailing all together every month at least once and to spend holidays together still at the island house, which they alternate staying at on the weekends.
  Create a conscious transition or un-coupling ceremony with the person.  You may choose to involve other people in this as well if you want to. These ceremonies can be beautiful.  Rituals are important, especially for transitions. We have them for weddings and funerals and coming of age and promotions and significant holidays.  This should be no exception. This paves the way for healthy closure and a new beginning. Let it be emotional. Do this ceremony when you both feel ready and make this ceremony personalized to you both. Our long held assumptions about breakups and divorce are false.  Even though it is difficult for us to hold space for the good and the bad at the same time, we need to learn to hold the complexity of valuing the beauty and gains in a relationship along side recognizing the pain and need for the relationship to change.  If we can do this and we are committed to the pursuit of a more evolved, more conscious, peaceful and safe human society, conscious transitioning of relationships is the wave of the future. I, personally commend you for your commitment to this culturally creative change.  It is possible to face heartbreak in a way where your heart is broken open to more love, greater authenticity and a life you are really meant to live. And I can personally tell you that if you manage to transition your relationships consciously, they will be stronger and bring you both more security and pleasure than you could ever currently imagine.  If your relationship has broken, think of the broken pieces as a soon to be mosaic. You can put those pieces back together into a new relationship, which may just be more beautiful than the original work of art it was to begin with.

How To Open Your Root Chakra

At the most basic level, your body is made up of energy.  That energy organizes itself into the physical body you are looking at in the mirror every day.  But before that energy organizes itself into physical body parts, it organizes itself into meridians and chakras.  These chakras are centers of energy that lie along energy channels and each one holds a very specific vibration and has a specific purpose.  Each chakra is a specific expression of Prana (otherwise known as life force or source energy). The chakras look a bit like funnels of energy or vortices.  They both absorb and emit energy.    
When a chakra is out of alignment, meaning it is not letting life force in or is out of alignment for any number of reasons, it starts to affect your equilibrium.  It becomes a serious imbalance within the system. When chakras are out of alignment, they appear small and do not absorb or emit much energy. They also change in their color, patterning, texture and sound. 
The root chakra, also known as Muladhara, is the first chakra relative to the body in the energy system.  It is located more or less at your pelvic floor and the base of the spine. It is associated with the element of earth and with the color red.  
The root chakra governs the parasympathetic nervous system, legs, feet, spine, bones, blood, sciatic nerves, colon as well as most of the male sexual organs and some of the female sex organs.  It also plays a key role in the health of your adrenal glands, bladder, hips and teeth. Ailments involving any of these bodily systems suggest an out of alignment root chakra. Because survival for a physical human is tied so closely to the relationship between personal power and our need for other people and human relationships, there is considerable overlap between the root and sacral chakras, especially in terms of the parts of the body they govern. 
The root chakra is the ‘survival’ chakra.  It is the chakra that is related to your needs whether those needs be basic or complex, physical or non-physical. It is also related to physicality in and of itself.  Security is the primary concern for the root chakra, as is stability. This is the chakra that people are concerned with when they talk about ‘grounding’. The root chakra is related to your sense of safety, trust, belonging, courage, instinct, primal energy, resourcefulness, the now, generational patterns and tribe (both positive and negative).
What causes the root chakra to go out of alignment is when your sense of safety and trust in the world is threatened, especially when your best interests are not considered and your personal needs are not met.  Also, when you feel you do not belong within the physical world or within a specific social group. The way to imagine the way this chakra functions is to imagine that when conception and then implantation occurs, we take root in the physical dimension and remain rooted throughout our physical life.  We take and keep root as a physical being in a physical life. If anything disrupts this taking root or keeping root process (such as our most basic physical or emotional needs being inconsistently met or not met at all, our sense of belonging in the world or with our family being threatened, our best interests not being considered or feeling or being unsafe) then our root chakra closes and we begin to un-root.  When this occurs, we feel disconnected to the physical and to other people, ungrounded, lost, disillusioned, like we don’t belong, deeply unsafe, insecure, distrustful, unmotivated, depleted, aggressive, defensive, stuck, weak or frail, stagnant, desperately lonely, pessimistic, not focused, disorganized, compromised, anxiety or panic, depression, lack of abundance or scarcity, resentment, disinterest, PTSD and nightmares.  It is only when we have our needs met that we can grow and change and evolve. Therefore, an out of alignment or closed root chakra, prohibits forward movement immensely. It also forces the other chakras to try to overcompensate. The root chakra is the chakra that is most related to time and lineage. The health of your root chakra is the most influenced by intergenerational trauma and its health or lack thereof is directly related to your childhood experience.  
To be entirely honest with you, it is the root chakra that is the most out of alignment for most individuals who consider themselves spiritual.  I am going to go one step further. Though almost no one has an in alignment root chakra, there are shades of grey here relative to lack of root chakra health.  I have never met a Caucasian (white person) with a healthy root chakra. To the opposite, aside from ‘shadow tribe’ it is the native and the African and African American (black race) that have the most in-alignment root chakras.          
 Contrary to popular opinion, do away with the idea of balance being the key to a healthy chakra system.  It is not possible for a chakra to be “too open”. If all of the chakras are as open as they possibly can be, you will see a natural state of health and equilibrium establish itself in the form of an actualized human being.  This is especially important to get when it comes to this chakra because the root chakra is so out of alignment in physical humans at this time on earth. Also, it is tempting to believe that people who are ‘too rooted’ in the physical or too tied to their tribe have overly strong root chakras when in fact, the truth is the opposite.  They cling to the physical and to the patterns of their people because they too have insecure belonging and safety. Their belonging and safety and their needs being met was made conditional upon not evolving. This is what ‘shadow tribe’ is all about. 
The root chakra is one of the most frustrating chakras to bring into alignment. The reason for this is that anything you do to open your root chakra or bring it into alignment will most likely trigger you.  In other words, in most cases it will make you feel vulnerable instead of good. This can be the most confusing aspect of root chakra healing. Most people close off their root chakras for a good reason… Because the physical feels unsafe.  Therefore, helping it to open, will give rise to a similar feeling to being asked to wade into shark infested waters. You can use the resistance you feel or the fearful emotions that arise to do the completion process, which will not only cause healing but will also help this chakra to come into alignment.  To learn how to do this, pick up a copy of my book titled: The Completion Process.
All this being said, how do we open and bring the root chakra into alignment?
Accept that as a physical being, you have needs.  Many of these needs are physical like food, shelter, water, rest, affection etc.  Many of them are non-physical such as a sense of safety, a feeling of belonging, connection and companionship, understanding and significance etc.  No matter what you have been told by people who make your needs wrong because they don’t want to meet those needs, you cannot un-need what you need.  Don’t even try. This is the dysfunction of spiritual people and spiritual communities, which like I said before, have the most out of alignment root chakras of all.  Therefore, become an expert on meeting these needs directly instead. To help with this step, watch my video titled: Meet Your Needs. To start, ask yourself in any given situation, what do I need to feel __________.  Fill in the blank with whatever felt based need you have. For example, what do I need to feel secure? What do I need to feel rested? What do I need to feel safe? What do I need in order to feel supported? What do I need to feel stable?  What do I need to feel I belong? etc. To further understand the importance of doing this, watch my video titled: You Can’t Heal Yourself Out Of a Desire.
It is important to note that self-reliance is usually something people associate with the root chakra.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. The personal empowerment to be found in the root chakra is the empowerment of knowing you can find the people, places and things where your needs will be met.  But people who struggle with the root chakra do not need to learn independence. They need to learn that they do need people and to find those people who are compatible to them and with whom they can build symbiotic, mutually nourishing and mutually empowering relationships with.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that “meet your need” means you are all alone to fend for yourself and need to learn to be ok with it. To understand more, watch my video titled: Dependence vs. Independence. 
In order to bring our root chakra into alignment, we need to accept that our sense of security and safety within the world is directly related to our needs and whether they are being reliably met or not.  
  If you have an issue with your root chakra, secure and safe relationships is your point of trauma.  For this reason, you must begin to develop those safe and secure relationships where you do belong in your current life and in the here and now and in reality.  To help with this step, watch my videos titled: How To Have A Safe Relationship. What is Love. The Hidden Truth About Dysfunctional Relationships and Trust (What is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships). Every relationship video I’ve ever done will help you with this step.  The more you understand relationships, the more secure your relationships will become and the more you will gravitate towards situations and relationships that will be safe to ground yourself in.
  Don’t… I repeat, don’t try to get rid of your fear or bulldoze your fear or deny your fear by affirming that you are fearless.  Instead, take loving care of your fear any time it arises. Fear is an instinctual energy. In direct opposition to what most spiritual people say or teach, we need to integrate our fear and instinctual energies, not disown them or transcend them.  In order to learn what to do with fear and these more instinctual energies, read my book titled: The Anatomy of Loneliness (How To Find Your Way Back To Connection). And pay special attention to the entire section on fear. You may also benefit by watching my videos titled: How To Stop Worrying and How To Stop Expecting The Worst (Catastrophizing).
  The root chakra is influenced by the color red, brown, grey and black.  Ironically, when people have out of alignment root chakras, they tend to gravitate towards the color blue because of the soothing effect it has and green because of the connecting and belonging feeling it gives.  Definitely increase your exposure to red as well as brown, grey and black. But surround yourself with whatever colors cause you to feel nourished, secure, safe and soothed. Wear these colors and decorate with these colors.
  Stimulate it with sounds.  You can find binaural beats on the internet designed specifically for the root chakra.  You can expose yourself to crystal singing bowls designed for the root chakra. You can also stick with thousands of years worth of toning tradition.  To do this, sit in meditation and stimulate your root chakra by chanting Lam or UH. Find a tone that resonates in your pelvic floor area the most. Play around with the tonality of these sounds to find the one that causes your solar plexus area to vibrate the most.  Listen to music that stimulates the root chakra. This is actually one of the reasons I love rap and hip-hop so much. Aside from sounds created specifically to stimulate this chakra, rap (especially with heavy bass) is the most stimulating music I’ve ever found for this chakra.
  Get into your body and connect with your body.  Exercise. The more physical you are, the more this chakra opens.  It responds to all forms of movement. Strength exercises and vigorous exercise that gets the blood flowing effects it the very most.  Also, the root chakra is incredibly responsive to movement meditation, including disciplines like yoga and qigong and Tai Chi. And incase you’re in the mood for some therapy, the therapy that is perhaps the very most effective for the root chakra is somatic therapy.
  Learn how to receive.  And alter your perspective about abundance.  Abundance resistant perspectives and trauma always cause an out of alignment root chakra.  Remember that the root chakra is about one’s needs being met. If we experience scarcity in the world, or operate from a scarcity perspective of the world, the root chakra will go out of alignment.  We will tend to go to the wrong places and people to get our needs met and when people do try to meet our needs, we don’t receive well. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Receive.
  Do Breath Work and breathing exercises.  Breath work is interesting in that because it is a bridge between the physical and non physical, it has as much capacity to bring a person stuck in the physical into the non physical and it does to bring a person who is dissociated from the physical (and identified with the non-physical) into the physical.  When people are not connected to physicality and feel insecure and unsafe, they stop breathing deeply and instead breath very shallow in a subconscious rejection of life itself.
  Ground yourself.  Do things like walking barefoot, listening to grounding music, salt baths, breathing exercises, spending time around grounded individuals etc.  For more information about how to do this, you can watch my video titled: How To Ground Yourself (All About Grounding).
  Connect to the earth and to your physical body while you are doing that.  Spend time in nature. Stand barefoot on the earth. Spend time really feeling the sensations in your body and taking in the sensory experiences to be found on this earth.  The textures, smells, sights and sounds.
  Use herbs and essential oils to help your root chakra to align.  My top picks for effect on this chakra are burdock, redwood, cedar, spruce tree, sandalwood, clove, peppercorn, vetiver, lotus flower, cinnamon, chamomile, St. John’s Wort, paprika, lavender, patchouli, myrrh, benzoin, cypress and juniper.
  Eat foods that assist the root chakra.  The ones that I notice effect the root chakra the most are beets, rhubarb, tomato, red potato, red cabbage, root vegetables, radish, red peppers, protein rich foods, pepper, cinnamon, nuts, cherries, pomegranates, red apples, watermelon and beans.
  Bring certain mineral spirits into your life.  In fact the root chakra is so easily influenced by mineral frequencies that it would be remiss to not use them.  In my opinion, perhaps the best for the root chakra are red jasper and bloodstone. Other amazing ones are rhodonite, brown aragonite, black tourmaline, turquoise, smoky quartz, petrified wood, fossils, hematite, staurolite (fairy cross), garnet, red beryl, ruby, red coral and agate (especially crazy lace agate, brown agate and Laguna agate.  But don’t forget that just like colors, even though certain stones may be associated with the root chakra, any stone that causes you to feel safe, secure, stable or soothed may have a greater effect on your root chakra.        By intentionally doing things that enable your root chakra to come into alignment and to open, you will be opening up to your physical existence itself.  You will be settling into the purpose of your physical incarnation and your place within the world along with it. You will be integrating your physical body with your non-physical essence.  You will plant your roots on the earth and in social groups where you truly belong and are truly wanted. Along with healing the patterns of ancestral trauma, you will be developing safe relationships and establish a life where your needs are reliably met.  Opening your root chakra enables you to build a foundation on which your other energy centers can function. This is what will allow you to expand and progress further than you ever imagined you could.

How To Win at Lose-Lose Scenarios

Everyone has been in more than one lose-lose scenario.  Many of us are in a lose-lose scenario now, or many of them.  At this juncture in time, they are a staple of the construct of our time space reality.  So you can get an idea about what I mean by a lose-lose scenario, I’ve got a small list of examples:
It’s the 1700s and Great Britain has decided that Scotland belongs to the crown.  The Scottish are now in a lose-lose. They rebel and are in war and die or they submit and they lose their country and they are taxed and oppressed and lose the highlander way of life.
A mother dies.  Her son is gay. The family disapproves of him being gay and says he can’t bring his husband.  He doesn’t go to the funeral and now he’s the family scapegoat who is blamed for increasing the family’s pain.  He does and he has to deny his own authenticity as well as his support system during his time of grief and damage the partnership he has with his husband.  
A son is born to a sports oriented father.  When this boy is sensitive and wants to read, he is shamed for it and punished.  He only receives approval when he plays sports. He plays sports, which he hates and he’s terrible at and he’s bullied by the team because he plays poorly.  He doesn’t play and his father rejects him and wont spend any time with him at all.
A woman is married to a man who expects her to take responsibility for the kids and be a mom 24 hours a day.  She does this and is completely depleted and feels like a terrible mom because she resents the kids because she’s self sacrificing.  She takes time for herself and he tells her she’s a terrible mother and person, withdraws from connection with her and sleeps on the couch.
A friend puts you into a zero sum game.  If you don’t fight for your own best interests, you lose.  If you do, you might win but even if you win, you will get hurt in the process and lose the relationship with that friend.
Lose-lose scenarios also called no-win scenarios, catch 22s, double binds or damned if you do damned if you don’t scenarios, make us feel powerless.  They also make us feel stuck. What we aren’t aware of is that we are choosing not to move and choosing to stay stuck because we perceive that movement in either direction will cause us pain.  
Universal consciousness in and of itself is concerned with self-awareness.  This is what expansion within the universe actually is. To use terms that you might understand better, expansion is the increase in Source or God’s self awareness.  The thing is, Source or God, what I’m calling universal consciousness is in a state of fragmentation. This means that the overall self-awareness of itself is created by the self awareness of each of its parts.  Universal consciousness is inherently imbued with free will. In a state of fragmentation (where the whole is segmented) free will belongs to each segment. A win-lose and a lose-lose can only happen when freewill is segmented because it is only when it is in a state of fragmentation that there can be multiple free wills and the potential for the opposition or alignment of those wills.
The lose-lose scenario is currently one of the best designs for the increase of self-awareness and therefore expansion within the universe.  It is in essence an authenticity construct. At first this may seem strange because a lose-lose scenario tends to make people choose to not move and stay stuck instead.  But that is only temporary. Because the rest of the universe does not choose to stop with you, the negative on both sides of the lose-lose will escalate until a person is forced to choose between two consequences.  And nothing whatsoever tells you more about yourself and your desires and your needs and your priorities better than being forced to choose between two unwanted things. It is easy to choose between a wanted and unwanted thing.  That tells you less about yourself. Therefore, what a lose-lose scenario is doing universally speaking, is forcing you into your personal authenticity and therefore your personal expansion; which is what causes universal expansion.  This is why nothing will reveal someone’s true colors more precisely than a lose-lose scenario.    
The way that a lose-lose scenario looks from universal perspective is like a trap that is meant to teach true freedom to the person that is caught in it. It is perceived as the pressure that creates transformation. The best visual for this is the pressure that turns coal into a diamond.  And there is currently a belief within universal consciousness that beings would not move or evolve without pressure.      
When we find ourselves in a lose-lose scenario, we waste a lot of time resisting the lose-lose itself.  We don’t accept the situation at hand. We focus on getting it to change into a different scenario or the person creating the lose-lose to change, instead of turning inwards towards ourself and finding our highest and best option and our personal choice given the external circumstance.  In other words, if the lose-lose is like rock, we become like rock too and crash up against it in a dead lock, instead of becoming like water or willow and bending in response to it. When you find yourself in a lose-lose situation, you have three options:
Find a creative way out of the lose-lose scenario Choose to not move and to stay stuck between the options Consciously choose the consequence that is the lesser of the two options.    The first option, to find a creative way out of the lose-lose scenario is not always available in every lose-lose scenario.  But it is the best option by far. For example, people often manipulate in order to get their needs met by putting you in a lose-lose scenario so that you will make a choice that suits their need.  Sometimes if you figure out what that need is, you can figure out another way to meet it other than making the choice they are trying to force you to make. This also works for you. If you are in a lose-lose, both options suggest that a need wont be met.  If you figure out what this need is, you may be able to meet that need directly and in an alternative way so the situation on either side doesn’t feel like a loss or as painful to choose. This is usually the path of least resistance.    
A great many times, our black or white thinking and narrow mindedness causes us to think we must choose between black or white when in fact there is a blue option or a red option or a whole range of grey.  Essentially anywhere from one to a plethora of alternative and better choices we could make in the situation at hand. The other alternative is to put the person who is putting us in a lose-lose scenario in a lose-lose scenario in return, hoping that under the pressure, they will remove the trap they have put us in.  This is still war and therefore will not improve the overall emotional conditions of the world, yet it is a creative strategy nonetheless.  
The second option, to choose to not move and to stay stuck between the options is healthy only for a short period of time and only if that time is a conscious evaluation period.  The healthy form of this is a pause. Some scenarios, such as emergency situations don’t allow for this. But if the situation does allow for this, we need to pause long enough to consciously evaluate the situation and whether there are alternatives.  We need to not make a decision until we know which decision to make and commit to. However people often choose this option as a method of avoidance, not conscious evaluation.  They simply go into denial or refuse to make a choice so someone else will make it for them because they imagine that this absolves them of responsibility or accountability for that choice.  It also allows them to stay in the lesser discomfort than making either choice. This will not last long because choosing this option in a lose-lose is like choosing to stay in a pot of water that is slowly being brought to boil.  Because of universal expansion, there will be a point where the heat is so extreme; it will no longer be less uncomfortable than making a choice between the two unwanted options in front of you.  The universe will continue to expand and move and therefore escalate until the choice that is the most in alignment with your authentic truth will present itself as obvious.
The third option, consciously choosing the consequence that is the lesser evil of the two options, is the choice that will tell you the very most about yourself.  We have to become consciously aware of specifically what the lose-lose is. Then, what we have to avoid is falling into the trap of powerlessness in this scenario.  The fact that a lose-lose scenario makes you feel powerless and victimized is perfectly understandable and normal. But if you chose an unsatisfactory option, you still have ways to ‘gain’ in doing so.  The first gain is awareness of your free will. Part of taking your power back in a lose-lose scenario is to consciously see your free will within the scenario. When most people are caught in a lose-lose scenario, they say they have no choice.  If they make a decision, they say they made it because they had no choice but to make it.  This is especially true if they are being manipulated by someone into making a choice that benefits that person.  But if you are in a lose-lose situation, you still have choice. It’s just between two unwanted things. Or a choice to let other people make the choice for you.  This awareness of your free will is going to give you a sense of autonomy and agency, which will decrease the pain of making that choice.  
You can also change the way you are thinking about the choice.  A lot of the pain we experience is the result of the perspective we hold about the choice we are making.  Any change in how we perceive something, will change the way we feel about it. Some examples of this are: We can alter the meaning that we assign to the experience.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button. We can focus on the lesson inherent in the situation. This will help us to feel as if the experience will add to our future success and wellbeing as well as help us to avoid the circumstances that put the cause and effect into action, which ultimately led us to the situation we are in.  We can find ways to think about the consequence that makes us feel good or at least better about it. We can also recognize that all pain is in fact separation. If I perceive two options as both being painful, it means that both options imply I will be separated from something. The question is what is that something. When I discover what that something is, I can question whether making that choice does in fact separate me from that thing.  I can also find alternative ways to keep that thing or get that thing.
One way to change the way you are thinking about lose-lose scenarios is to realize that in every loss scenario is the seed of a win.  The ‘win’ within the loss is usually only obvious in retrospect. For example, the world lost when Hitler came into power. But if you look from objective perspective at what contributed the very most to the collective desire within humanity for peace over the course of the entire human history, it was in fact Hitler.  Perhaps the most obvious example of this ‘win within the loss’ scenario is when someone chooses to end a relationship and years down the line (once they have found another partner that is more compatible) they now see the ending of that relationship as the greatest choice they made and the reason why they are now so much happier.  
Now I’m going to tell you something that will change your level of pain and powerlessness in lose-lose scenarios forever.  When you are stuck in a lose-lose scenario, the severity of the pain of the decision is actually being caused by the parts of yourself that are caught in a needs conflict.  If you resolve the needs conflict between those two parts of yourself, you will find alignment and be able to either see different options than you originally saw or make a clear choice between two unwanted options without suffering.  
For example, I am in a lose-lose scenario as a spiritual teacher.  If I only show people my ‘spiritual master side’ and never show them anything human like my emotions or needs or day-to-day life or eat or use the bathroom in front of them, they don’t see my physical needs or limitations as well as reject their own humanity and do not integrate their divinity with their humanity.  If I do show them my humanity, they discredit my ‘spiritual master side’ and use my humanity as proof to demolish their perception of my divinity and as a result, do not recognize hierarchy and do not seriously consider what I am teaching. The reason this puts me in pain is there is a part of me that wants to make the choice to show my humanity and a part that doesn’t want to so that people will listen to and value what I am saying.  These two parts are at odds. If I can find alignment with these two parts of myself, the situation will not cause me so much pain and I will be able to make a decision about what to do about the situation in a way where both parts that are now currently opposed, will instead be in alignment. If you make a choice from an in-alignment state of being instead of an opposed state of being, it doesn’t feel like a lose-lose. To understand more about this idea, watch my video titled:  Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.   
People often do not consciously recognize their needs.  This makes them very, very vulnerable to lose-lose scenarios.  Everyone has an Achilles heel. What most people don’t know is that the flip side of that Achilles heel is a desperate need.  For example, if someone’s Achilles heel is isolation, their deep need might be for secure/available connection or closeness. This desperate need is what people will capitalize on if they are putting you in a lose-lose scenario.  They will use your point of greatest weakness and therefore greatest need. If you are in a lose-lose scenario with someone, you need to become aware of this need and find ways to meet that need so that the deprivation of this need is not something the person can use against you.  For example, Person A will use Person B’s Achilles heel for belonging to force him to be there so person A can lean on him. Person B’s option is to find other places and ways to belong so that it is no longer a point of pain that Person A can use so that Person B will meet his needs. 
Face your Achilles’ heel and the needs inherent in that Achilles heel. If you don’t recognize the need you have so you can find more direct ways of meeting it, all alternative options you can come up with will feel like losses because it will seem like all of them don’t lead to getting that need met.  As a result, you will be forced to turn to manipulation to get it instead of meeting that need directly. For this reason, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Meet Your Needs.
The universe is currently on a path back towards oneness, but oneness as a conscious choice.  This means integration is its desire. This can only be accomplished through a commitment to the win-win instead of the win-lose or lose-lose scenario.  It may be of interest to note that as far as species evolution goes within universal consciousness, predators will all go extinct eventually. And scavengers (those beings that most people ascribe the lowest status to) are in fact an evolutionary step beyond predators and are more in-alignment with universal desire itself.
The people who end up in big lose-lose scenarios are those who refuse their authenticity.  They make choices and thus build lives that are the most out of alignment with their authenticity.  They don’t notice the small universal promptings into their personal truth and so it escalates. These are the people who for example suppress and deny their internal guidance system and external signs and continue forward and now years later it is clear that their truth is they are incompatible to their partner, but they have kids with him or her so they are stuck together for life.  This is a lose-lose because they stay in the relationship and are miserable or don’t and the kids now have a broken home. The way to avoid a big lose-lose is to make changes in response to a little bit of discomfort. Notice the heat and make changes before the universe turns up the heat. For more information about this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic.
A lose-lose scenario shows you what really matters to you.  It shows you what you really need and want. It is prodding you into personal truth and integrity.  But the best thing you can do to stop being put in lose-lose situations is to commit to internal integration, and with this, external integration.  The time space reality that you operate in, is managed by the law of mirroring (what many call the law of attraction) and as such if you stop putting yourself and putting other people in lose-lose scenarios, you will stop finding yourself in them.

The Zero Sum Game

You’ve most likely heard me talk about the zero sum game as being the most dangerous social strategy and the best way to ruin relationships.  But you may not know what a zero sum game actually is. In this episode I’m going to un-pack the concept for you and also tell you what the alternative is.   
A zero sum game is essentially when one person’s gain is another person’s loss.  It is an ‘I win and you lose’ scenario. Looking at this definition, you can see that it creates a social relationship that is antagonistic by its very nature.  Also, it implies a conviction to the idea that resources are finite and limited. When people think in terms of the zero sum game, they begin to interact with the world competitively instead of cooperatively.  They function selfishly instead of taking people’s best interests as a part of their own best interests. In fact people’s best interests (such as desires and needs and preferences) are viewed as a competitive threat. 
So you can get a better idea of zero sum games, I will give you a list of a few examples:
A toddler is sitting in a highchair.  He says, “I’m not hungry”. His mom will not accept that his best interest is to not eat and thus rejects his truth and shoves a spoon of food in his mouth or makes him sit there until he finishes it all.  If he does, she wins and he loses. An employee demands a certain salary even though this is not in the best interests of the company at all.  He says, “pay me this or I quit”. A father decides he is uninterested in facing his personal insecurities and therefore begins to focus on one of his sons being his problem.  He turns his son into the scapegoat of the family. He designates his other son as the one who he loves and identifies with. This son has to let go of his identity to stay on his father’s good side.  He turns this son into the golden child of the family. He is in fact playing a zero sum game with both of his sons. A couple is having problems with their sex life.  The man wants more sex and the wife isn’t interested in it.  If the man demands more or else he will cheat, he is playing a zero sum game with her.  If the wife says no and he’ll just have to deal with it, she is playing a zero sum game with him. A conversation takes place between two politicians who are in conflict.  They enter the conversation completely focused on debating to win the argument and win support of the observers.  They are not interested in considering each other’s perspective. They are both interested only in their own best interests, which is why they are interested in winning the debate.  They are playing a zero sum game with each other. A person is hungry and therefore hunts and shoots an animal for food. Two opponents square off at a sports game.  There will be one winner and one loser. This is a zero sum game.  But what sets this zero sum game apart is that both have consented to potentially losing.  Neither person has been forced into a situation where they have to fight to win. Both are consciously engaging in this zero sum game for mutual best interests, such as the improvement/expansion of their craft or the mutual opportunity to add to one’s personal achievement record. The Zero Sum Game is the hallmark of dysfunctional relationships, including dysfunctional social groups, like families.  In a dysfunctional relationship or family, the underlying emotional condition is “every man for himself.” Everyone becomes narcissistic.  But the reason that it is often hard to recognize this is that people in this kind of environment develop all kinds of different narcissistic strategies in order to get their individual needs met in this kind of environment.  For example, one person may turn into a dictator and start punishing people when they don’t cater to his or her every whim. Another might begin to self-sacrifice entirely as an attempt to see themselves and be seen as saintly.  But the strategies that people pick in order to get their individual needs met, become a lose-lose. For example if the person becomes a dictator, they win by getting their needs met but the people around them lose by having to conform or face consequences.  The person who becomes a self-sacrificer will get their self esteem, but will have to set someone in the household up as the “bad one” in order to keep that identity.  
In situations where a zero sum game is played, there is usually poor understanding and development of boundaries. To understand boundaries in depth, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries Vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries).  Part of what comes along with boundaries is personal best interests. Why should be concerned with best interests? Because the best definition of trust is to rely upon someone to capitalize on your best interests. Essentially trust happens when someone takes your best interests as a part of their own best interests.  By definition, this gives rise to a commitment to a win-win. Therefore, a zero sum game by definition destroys trust.  
Trust and love are the most important things in a relationship.  In a zero sum game, neither trust nor love is actually present, regardless of whether people are saying, “I love you and you can trust me.”  It is by definition an unsafe relationship. To understand more about trust and love, watch my videos titled: What is Love and How To Have a Safe Relationship.  There may be situations in life where it is not possible to find a win-win. In these cases, the issue is incompatibility. What makes a relationship safe when there is incompatibility is for both people or both sides to decide together about what to do with that incompatibility.  They still take the other’s best interests as a part of their own, but both look for the closest win-win scenario they can find given the incompatibility.  For example, if there is no win-win for a couple staying together, the win-win becomes about the highest and best way to part ways for both of them.  
People who have learned to play zero sum games in relationships often do not recognize or accept incompatibility.  They want to stay in a relationship regardless of whether the relationship is bad for the other person or not. Incompatibility is a critical thing to understand if you wish to end zero sum games.  For this reason, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships.                             
 In order to end the zero sum games in any relationship, your need for ‘peace’ and ‘connection’ and ‘mutual happiness’ have to be stronger than whatever other need you are fighting for.  The one exception to this rule is seen with triangulation. When people triangulate, they get their need for connection and closeness with someone met by playing a zero sum game against someone else.  
The worst thing about a zero sum game is that the minute someone begins to play one, it puts you in a lose-lose.  If you don’t fight for your own best interest, you lose. If you do, you’re now in a war where both of you will get hurt even if you are the one who wins.  
Integration is the end of the zero sum game.  The way to end zero sum games is to take another being’s best interests as a part of your own.  If you do this, you will see that hurting them will be hurting yourself and hurting yourself will be hurting them.  It is to commit yourself to finding the highest and best win-win scenario in any situation. Hold both love and trust (what love and trust actually are) as the two pillars you build your relationships between.  There is a space in between two entities called “us”. This space is where the relationship is and it is like a third entity in relationships in and of itself. It must be cared for like a child if it is to thrive.  Win-win is what strengthens this child. Win-lose and lose-lose begins to kill it off. And I must remind you that even if you ‘end’ a relationship, because that person still exists, you’re still in a relationship. It’s simply a differently configured relationship.  For example, you are now ex-partners instead of partners. And so there is still a third entity to take care of. A zero sum game should not begin if you ‘break up’ so to speak. The commitment still needs to be to the highest and best win-win that can be found.
The win-win scenario is a Third Element or third option in the situation between two opposing extremes.  If you want a life that feels good, commit in all situations to finding this Third Element.  This is very different than compromise. Compromise is a dirty word in the world of healthy relationships.  A compromise is by definition an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.  Concessions implies giving something up that you don’t want to give up. Therefore what people are really saying when they are compromising is “I’ll take a little pain and you take a little pain.”  People can’t actually do this without it leading to resentment and other bad feelings towards the other person. In a true win-win, even if you end up giving something up, the giving up of that thing wont cause you pain.  In fact it won’t feel like you’re making a concession. It will feel like you’ve found something that is also a “yes that alternative is also good for me”!
 The zero sum game is not a relationship. It is I, me and mine.  Therefore, any time you play one; you must accept that the result of winning could be losing the relationship.  So many marriages end because of this. So many business partnerships dissolve because of this. So many parents lose their relationships with their children once they become adults because of this.  These parents spent those formative parenting years playing zero sum games with their child and calling it ‘parenting’. They spent those formative years subconsciously putting their children in the position to lose but gas-lighting them by saying “it’s good discipline”. “I’m doing this for your own good”.  “Everything I’ve ever done was for you.” And “I love you.”
In any relationship, there can be no true ‘winner’ when there is a ‘loser’.  There is only strength in a relationship if there is mutual benefit in it. As so many people who have lost relationships have found out the hard way, in a relationship if one person wins and another loses, they both lose.  Our great history of wars on this planet are perhaps the best teacher of this truth.

Alcoholism and How To Overcome Alcohol Addiction

For thousands of years, people have been brewing and fermenting alcoholic drinks.  Alcohol has been a staple of human civilization. But there are people who cannot regulate their desire and therefore intake of alcohol regardless of the plethora of negative ways it is affecting their life.  It is at this point that someone is said to have Alcohol Use Disorder. Many people now consider it to be insulting and unhelpful to call someone an alcoholic, mostly because of the stigma and shame of being given a label.  But because I do not agree with calling alcoholism a disease and for the sake of your understanding of a condition that is already engrained into your current awareness, I am going to use the word alcoholic instead of being politically correct.  It must be said that I could write a book on alcoholism, so consider this video the condensed version of the information that I want you to know about it.    
An addiction is a coping mechanism.  It is in essence, self-administered pain medication.  It may benefit you before you watch this video to understand addiction in and of itself.  You can do this by watching my video titled: Addiction and How to Overcome Addiction. Alcohol use is no exception.  The thing is, we can become so accustomed to pain and tension that often we don’t even consciously realize it anymore.  And this pain and tension that we have become accustomed to is part of why people are not aware that they are using alcohol because they are in a state of pain and/or tension.  In fact many people would look you straight in the face and say that they don’t have a drinking problem, drinking just takes the edge off, without realizing that the statement implies there was some discomfort or pain present when the alcohol wasn’t in their system.  The fact that alcohol is a staple of human social functions and is considered a normal accessory to meals makes this lack of awareness around the true motives for alcohol use even worse.     
All addiction is a modality of ‘rescue’ from a specific pain that someone is experiencing.  And specific types of pain cause people to gravitate towards specific addictions. You could consider this type of pain, the ‘root’ of any addiction.  I am going to explain the root of alcoholism for you today.  
The pain that fuels alcoholism is unsafety in relationships. This means unsafety with other people.  Alcoholics have a high degree of social anxiety, whether they recognize and admit to this or not is another thing.  It is really hard for alcoholics, especially men to admit that safety is their issue. It makes them feel weak and in many cases emasculated.  The other really hard thing to face is that this unsafety originates from the trauma they experienced in a dysfunctional home. It is not possible to develop alcoholism unless you came from a background of dysfunctional relationships, beginning with the people in your childhood environment.  Very few people know they were traumatized or know there is a real reason for why they are like they are. Instead, most people just think that if they are addicted, they have a character defect or a genetic predisposition or a brain problem. On top of this, most people would prefer to avoid facing the dysfunctional patterns present in their own family and social group.  But doing so ensures you will not recover. At best, you will find another addiction or become a dry drunk. A dry drunk is someone who does not drink, but whom carries on with all of the dysfunctional actions and attitudes that characterized them before recovery. The sad thing is that coming from a dysfunctional home, you will unconsciously repeat those dysfunctional patterns in your adult life.  It is often easier for people to recognize the dysfunction in their current relationships than it is to realize that the current dysfunction is a mirror reflection of the dysfunction of their childhood relationships.  
The pain that unites alcoholics is the feeling that relationships are not safe, especially emotionally.  Even though on a physiological level, alcohol depresses the central nervous system and therefore delivers some form of physical pain relief, the reason that men who return from war with PTSD end up alcoholic is also unsafety in human relationships.  If you never know who to trust and you’re always on high alert, waiting to be shot by someone, you feel unsafe in terms of your relationship to people.  
People who are alcoholic feel that there is no way to predictably create relationships that feel good and stay good over time.  And this is one of the key factors that determines the partners they choose. The people they choose for partners will also feel this exact same way and will most likely have a specific dysfunctional strategy for ensuring security in the relationship.  This is the co-dependent, narcissist relationship that is so often seen in conjunction with alcoholism. When unsafety in relationships causes people to decide that the law of the land is ‘every man out for himself’, people tend to retreat into a bubble of self-concern.  This is the real reason why there is so much focus in codependency anonymous groups on the alcoholic being a narcissist. Which implies a moral issue that doesn’t actually exist. To understand more about narcissism, watch my video titled: Narcissism.         
To an alcoholic, a feel good relationship feels impossible.  There is no way to ensure that one’s vulnerability is safe and protected from harm.  Many people who are alcoholic unconsciously feel as if they are tiptoeing on broken glass with people and as if their entire life has to be lived with the tension of pretense.  In fact pretense is the reason most people like to get buzzed or drunk. If you are constantly living in this tense state of carefully planned words and actions, you end up feeling uptight.  Alcohol becomes a way of letting down that pretense and feeling free and loose and authentic and uninhibited. But you don’t have to worry because even if you are more authentic to what you really think and feel and really want to do, you can always blame it on the alcohol so there are less social repercussions.  What we have to get is that inhibition comes from feelings of unsafety.       
To an alcoholic, security in relationships and tenderness feels impossible because the plethora of dysfunctional relationship patterns they experienced in their life boiled down to one main thing: Everyone being out for his or her best interests.  For this reason, transaction is often the very closest that a person with this addiction can get to a safe feeling relationship. In a world where everyone is out for themselves, you are fundamentally alone, even when you’re with people. An alcoholic is mostly focused on what poses a danger in relationships and on trying to control the relationship so that those dangers don’t come to fruition.  Being so unsafe that they try to control everything, creates a tension and an inauthenticity that is almost unbearable which then leads to the desire to “take the edge off of that constant tension”.  This compels them to drink. In essence, they drink to relieve the tension of the constant control they are trying to exert over everything and everyone so as to try to avoid the many dangers they associate with other people and human relationships.         
The thing is, an alcoholic has never been in a truly safe relationship where two people genuinely take each other’s best interests as a part of their own best interests.  Therefore, he or she has no idea what is missing and therefore does not have a solution to the pain. This is what leads to that futile feeling of having to cope with the pain because there is no awareness that anything else exists.  But there is a second layer here as well. Alcoholics have made an unconscious decision that there is no such thing as a safe relationship. 
Many people who are focused on addiction recovery point to genetics or the brain itself for why some people suffer from addiction.  The thing that most people miss is that genetic expression is altered by experience and the environment shapes the human body, including the brain.  This includes the interpersonal experiences that a person has. For this reason, it can be said that brain development is a reaction to the environment.  If one has healthy, safe relationships in childhood, the brain will form differently than it will if the necessary conditions for healthy brain development, (most especially emotional conditions) are not available.  This distortion of brain development is what many researchers point to as the cause of addiction, when in fact that is like saying the light came from a light bulb. We all know the story of light began long before the light bulb.  The way genes express themselves and the way the brain forms is another symptom, not the original cause.               
Many of you know that Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve-Step Program is the most common and widely attended program that exists for recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder.  Its chokehold on addiction society is a bit like the Catholic Church in the middle ages.  Many people are viciously defensive of AA and the Twelve-Step Program. But at the risk of upsetting people, I’m going to give you a more objective perspective on the program itself. 
The real core reason that AA works for many people is that those AA meetings are the very closest they have ever gotten to safe relationships and the closest they have ever gotten to feeling connection as opposed to loneliness.  Especially because of the way that other people relate to them and the rules of conduct laid down by the organization and supervised by the group leader. Given the wounding that compels someone to drink, this is healing because it is the ‘opposite experience’.  Many of the elements of a safe relationship, such as being able to expose your vulnerabilities and them never being used against you, someone being available to you if you need them, being able to express yourself and be heard, seen and felt, and being able to make mistakes without experiencing the loss of connection, are core features of this program.
The sad reality is that as a human culture, we ascribe the lowest possible social value to an addict.  The addict is one of the scapegoats and outcasts of society. It is no wonder then why they flock to a fellowship like AA…  A group of equally socially alienated individuals with common feelings, thoughts, experiences and pain.
On top of this, AA is free.  It is a support network that is available around the globe and around the clock, which is not something that many other addiction program models offer.  That being said, AA and 12 Step Programs are addiction resources and should not be confused with addiction treatment.   
AA meetings and 12 step groups are not inherently full of people who are safe.  In fact, they may be on the lower end of the scale in terms of places to meet safe people.  Because the court often mandates attendance to AA groups, there is a higher likelihood than many other places to run into someone with a pattern of crime and other behavioral problems there.  People who are alcoholic have a pattern of unsafety in relationships. When we feel unsafe, we begin to operate narcissistically and not take other people’s best interests into account. Because of this, we become unsafe to be in relationship with.  The reality is that everyone in that room, even the sweetest people are in need of relationship rehabilitation and therefore could potentially carry out very painful relationship patterns with you. The very sad reality is that many people meet their perpetrators at AA.        
Many of the methods used by twelve step programs are outdated methods whose features are not grounded in reality.  The assumption back when Twelve Steps was created was that moral defect or moral weakness was to blame for addiction and that the recovery from addiction was a moral one. Because the question of morality was thought to be at the heart of addiction treatment, there are explicitly Christian overtones in AA.  This is a problem. But I am not going to go into that because several AA groups have changed those elements to reflect a more agnostic atmosphere. Even so, many of these agnostic groups still focus on addiction recovery as if it is a moral issue. Morality has absolutely nothing to do with addiction. Addiction is the result of unresolved trauma.  More over, focusing at the issue as if it is a moral one only enhances the shame that is the bedrock of the self-concept of the alcoholic. This is part of why most alcoholics don’t want to admit they have a problem. More over, it isn’t safe in dysfunctional relationships to admit you have a problem. 
The other big problem with the Twelve-Step Program is that it encourages people to admit they are powerless to their problem and to place their healing and faith in a power higher than themselves.  This in fact increases the risk for relapse as well as the severity of those relapses. It is important to accept reality. Reality would be, “I cannot control everything in life”. Reality would be “I am abusing alcohol to cope with my life and it is creating huge problems for myself and the people around me”.  But reality is that you are not powerless and you do not have to (nor should you) place your faith regarding healing in a higher power than yourself.  Besides the fact that this is total BS on a universal level, it is also reinforcing the alcoholic’s feelings that they are powerless in general.  Remember that the original wound underneath alcoholism involves powerlessness relative to relationships and creating what one genuinely wants in order to feel good?  These features reinforce the wound. They don’t fix it. 
Many AA groups hold and reinforce a belief of ‘once an addict always an addict’.  This is also BS universally speaking. It is to take on the identity of an alcoholic or addict.  It is to deny the universal law of healing. Addiction is simply a tendency someone has as a coping mechanism to deal with distress.  To self pathologize in this way and to believe yourself to be forever defective in this way is detrimental, especially when one has to maintain this self concept in order to belong somewhere.  Many alcoholics feel their only place to fit in, belong and be socially safe is within AA and therefore feel they must maintain this detrimental self-concept.   
AA groups that do not understand the need to face and resolve the trauma underneath the addiction, seem to think that willpower alone will enable someone to triumph over addiction and abstain.  Addiction recovery is also not a matter of willpower alone.
The Twelve Step Approach is a one size fits all approach.  It is difficult of course to create a group program that is individualized.  But the specific trauma that took place in each person’s life that drives them to cope with alcohol, needs specific and personally tailored awareness and solutions.  It is not people that fail the program. It is the program that fails the people because it is used as a treatment program instead of a support program that can be an accessory to treatment for specific people.
All this being said, what should you do if you struggle with alcoholism?
Your first step away from alcoholism begins with deciding that you don’t want to drink.  Alcohol is not what rules your addiction, the desire to drink is. People who are denying they have a problem or who do not feel that the detriments outweigh the benefits, still want to drink.  Your willpower is a problem when you are trying to force yourself to not do something that you really badly want to do. Therefore, a huge shift takes place when you can honestly say that you do not want to drink anymore.  If you can’t say this, really ask yourself why. Recovery begins with this empowering choice to not drink because you don’t want to.
What might help with this is to realize that as much as people might resist what I am about to say, the human body is not designed to be able to handle alcohol.  No amount is good for you because alcohol is not good for you.  It is an intoxicant.  It is a drug. And it is a toxin to the human body, no matter how much people want the truth to be the opposite.  The benefits that some studies attribute to alcohol and especially heart health owe themselves to the fact that drinking tends to decrease a person’s emotional tension, which takes a huge toll on heart health.  It also owes itself to the antioxidants that are contained in the fruits that the alcohol is made from. But that’s like saying that chocolate cake is good for you because of the medicinal properties of the cacao bean.  On top of that, the fact that most of the studies done to come up with these facts were done with people who sip red wine doesn’t help. People who have access to red wine to sip have higher incomes, which usually implies more education and greater access to healthier foods. This means attributing the heart health to the red wine they drink is a serious stretch.  Don’t forget that smoking was once a staple of human society and that ‘doctors’ and ‘studies’ once said smoking was healthy too.
  Accept that you are not powerless at all.  You are responsible for your own actions and choices, however they are being driven by unconscious trauma that is unresolved within you, which is why so much of what you do in your life feels like determinism instead of like conscious choice.
  The only true way to heal alcoholism is to face and resolve the specific mental and emotional wounding as well as loneliness that you are trying to alleviate through the alcohol.  This is distinctly different than focusing towards Alcoholism as if it were a disease. And this is far more important than addressing the alcohol use itself.  The Twelve Step Program encourages abstinence because it believes you are powerless and thus must completely avoid alcohol. What if I told you that if you resolve the pain you are using alcohol to dull out, there will no longer be a craving for it?   In other words, the alcoholism itself should be treated like a symptom, not a cause. For this reason, though spirituality can serve a role in healing, it should not be central to the treatment of alcoholism.  Given that I, a spiritual teacher, am saying this, means it is very important to heed this advice. Spirituality, when it is viewed as a way of treating alcoholism, can have many detrimental effects. Chief among them avoidance of the original wounding that needs resolution  as well as the substitution of non physical relationships for human relationships.
  In order to heal the pain you must go straight into it instead.  And this is most successfully done if it is done with someone else.  This can be when it is useful to abstain from alcohol.  If you do not engage in drinking, those wounds that you are trying to avoid with the alcohol will begin to howl.  This makes them easier to directly become aware of and resolve.  Prepare yourself for this process. I have created a process to do specifically this; it is called The Completion Process.  If you’re interested in learning how to do this process, pick up a copy of my book that is quite literally titled: The Completion Process or to find a practitioner that can lead you through the process, visit www.thecompletionprocess.com.  It is the failure to focus on resolving these deep wounds that underlie addiction that is to blame for the horrifically poor success rate of rehab centers and 12 step programs.
The root of alcoholism is unsafety in relationships.  This means unsafety with people! In order to overcome alcoholism, you must dedicate yourself to the mastery of safe relationships.  You must heal this pattern of relationship unsafety. To understand healing, watch my video titled: What is Healing? This means your obsession should be learning about how to create safe relationships and actually creating them.  This means that you have to become safe for other people too. If we perceive relationships to be unsafe, we will begin to play a zero sum game and only be concerned with our own best interests, which makes us by definition unsafe to be in relationship with.  You also need to be prepared that some of the people who are around you in your life will be unable to have safe relationships and so you may have to make changes to your social life. To get you started on this journey of mastering safe relationships, watch my video titled: How To Create a Safe Relationship.  In many ways, you use alcohol to escape the tension and discomfort and pain you feel you cannot change about your relationships. But from a universal level, it is critical not to escape from relationships and to have relief from relationships that hurt (which is what you’re using alcohol to do), but to create healthy and safe relationships instead.
  The unconscious perception you have that you can’t change things in terms of making people safe or having safe relationships is not actually true.
You come from a background of no one ever working with your emotions and so you try to suppress them.  Chances are if you look at your childhood, you will see that you were not allowed to feel a certain way if it didn’t suit your adult caregivers for you to feel that way.  Many of them made decisions that were not in your best interests at all, but when you reacted negatively to it, you were reprimanded. This led to a feeling of being totally out of control of feeling good when you were around other people.  It was as if their actions were conveying the message “I’m going to punch you now. But you don’t get to have a problem with it, in fact thank me for it.” For this reason I ask you to watch my video titled: The Emotional Wakeup Call. You need to learn how to deal with emotions in yourself and others.  The most important question to ask yourself is, what am I trying to suppress or numb out? What are the actual thoughts and emotions underneath the action I am taking or the specific behavior that I am exhibiting and where do those thoughts and emotions come from? What does the alcohol give me that I can’t seem to experience without it?
  Loneliness is a factor that all alcoholics share, whether they recognize and admit to it or not.  Alcohol is often used to sedate this feeling of emptiness. Also, the core self-concept that alcoholics have is that of shame, which is a central pillar of loneliness.  For this reason, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book titled: The Anatomy of Loneliness, in which I explain the exact makeup of loneliness, including separation, shame and fear.  In the book, I show you how to resolve these things that create loneliness so that you can feel true connection in your life instead.
  Approach the pain underneath the addiction as well as the problems created by alcoholism with a holistic approach.  You can approach healing on the mental, emotional and physical level. There are so many tools to use to support your healing process.  Tools you should try so as to see what works for you. Things like meditation, liver cleanses, changes regarding nutrition, exercise, community projects, energy work, financial changes, yoga, changes to your living environment and relationship workshops just to name a few.  Your goal should be to try things so as to discover what the necessary ingredients for your wellbeing really look and feel like.       And remember, just like every other addiction, alcoholism is not a defect of morality and it is not a defect of character.  It is not something that makes you bad and wrong and so it is not something to be ashamed of.

Addiction and How To Overcome Addiction

Addiction is one of the most poorly understood things on the planet.  We tend to point to the thing a person is addicted to as the cause of the addiction itself when that couldn’t be any further from the truth.  That is like noticing there are flies on a pile of garbage and thinking that they created the garbage. Every single addiction is in fact a coping mechanism that people are compelled to repeat because it brings some form of specific relief. 
To cope is to make a specific alteration mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you distress.  A coping mechanism is a specific procedure, process or technique, which manages or creates adaptation to distress. Stress is serious business. A human being cannot thrive in an atmosphere of stress.  When a human being goes into a state of distress, wellbeing immediately declines. And so, it is only natural that we should want to make a change to the situation as fast as we possibly can. But often the situation that is causing us distress cannot be eradicated.  It is out of our control to eradicate the stressor. Or at least we think it is. So we feel we are forced to manage with it, deal with it and adapt to it. This is especially true in childhood, when we did not call the shots about our own life. The people around us did.  To learn more about this, watch my video titled: How To Let Go of a Coping Mechanism.
To understand addiction, imagine that someone has a deep wound, but there is either no way to directly address the wound so as to heal it or the person believes there is no way to do so.  The person therefore has to alleviate the pain of the wound so they can live with it.  This is addiction. Another analogy is to imagine that there is a deep hole in the ground that a person has fallen into.  There is either no way to reliably get out of this hole or the person believes there isn’t.  Every time the person engages in a certain substance or behavior, it acts as temporary wings that can lift them up, but not sideways beyond the rim, essentially it allows them to hover out of that hole.  It is in essence, self-administered pain medication.  
We will be looking for a physiological variable for addiction for what seems like forever to explain why one person becomes addicted and another doesn’t.  What we are missing is that the variable is the type of mental and emotional wounding a person received or the type of distress they are in.
Specific variables in terms of the type of pain often dictate what substance or behavior a person will develop an addiction to.  So you can get an idea of what I mean, here are a few examples. People who experienced a serious rejection and whom internalized the negativity projected at them from the person who rejected them, tend to become hyper-critical of themselves.  They experience self-hate. They might have more of a tendency to become addicted to cutting or bulimia. A person who feels empty and powerless to getting the kind of emotional needs they need from others might have more of a tendency to become addicted to S&M porn.  A person who is terrified of their own emotions because those emotions have never been validated or resolved and who has been taught that the only acceptable behavior is emotional suppression might have more of a tendency to become addicted to meditation. A person who feels unsafe to be themselves in relationships and therefore feels they constantly have to live in a state of pretense, might have more of a tendency to become addicted to alcohol.  A person whose nervous system is always on alert and whom potentially suffers from anxiety might have more of a tendency to become addicted to opiates. A person who feels severe powerlessness and whom potentially is prone to depression might have more of a tendency to become addicted to “uppers” like cocaine or amphetamines. The specific kind of relief that the addictive substance or behavior offers is an indication of the kind of pain that specific addictive substance or behavior offers relief from.
There is one study that I find illustrates the fact that mental and emotional distress is the root of addiction particularly well.  In this experiment, rats were placed in a cage containing a feeder bottle of water laced with cocaine. The rats consumed the cocaine in enormous quantities until they died. This experiment was thought to display that even simply trying an illicit substance could definitely get you addicted.  But then the researcher, Bruce Alexander, changed a variable in the experiment, the cage itself. In the original experiment, the rats were in a small cage by themselves with no company, no space, and no toys to play with. In Bruce’s new experiment, he constructed a rat park with tunnels and turn wheels and most importantly, other rats to play with. This time around, none of the rats got hooked on the drug-laced water.  The conclusion was that it wasn’t the drug that created addicts, but the cage and isolation they were trapped in that drove them to become addicts.  If the necessary elements of a person’s wellbeing are met, they will not develop an addiction.
Loneliness is something that is unanimous amongst all addicts.  While specific variables in terms of the type of pain often dictate what substance or behavior a person will develop an addiction to, all addicts suffer from loneliness, whether they realize it or not.  Most of them feel in pain in some way and alone with that pain. And the ‘tough love’ strategies that most people will encourage you to carry out in order to try to stop someone else’s addiction, will only exacerbate this sense of loneliness and emotional pain and thus, will give the addict even more reason to engage in their addiction or switch to a different one.  For this reason, if you are suffering from an addiction or know someone who is, I encourage you to watch my video titled: The Most Dangerous Parallel Reality. I also encourage you to pick up a copy of my book titled: The Anatomy of Loneliness, in which I explain the exact makeup of loneliness as well as what causes it and also how to solve it so you can feel connection instead.
All this being said, I am going to make a bold statement.  Loneliness, as well as the specific mental and emotional wounding that the person is trying to alleviate through the addiction, are the most important things to directly address and resolve when someone is addicted.  They are far more important than addressing the specific substance or behavior itself. The addiction itself should be treated like a symptom. The only successful addiction programs are those that understand this. They deal with the addiction itself as a side note to the wounding or distress that the person is using the addiction to alleviate.  They do this because they know that if there is resolve to that wounding or distress, there is no longer a reason to use. A person does not need pain medication if they are not in pain. It will no longer even register as relief, especially if there are negative side effects.
Now that I have said that, you need to know that not even many, but most addiction programs and centers are total BS.  Most addiction centers are run with completely outdated ideas and by people who are not even educated about addiction.  Instead, many of these centers are started by businessmen looking to make lots of money off of the astronomical prices they charge individuals or can get from insurance companies.  Most also do not understand that social and family dynamics outside the center are the single biggest factor for reinforcement of the addiction. This is why people relapse when they are released from the supportive environment of an addiction center.  And so they fail to recognize addiction recovery as a process that must include family members and friends or a complete change to a person’s post-release social setting, otherwise it is pointless. But that there is another issue, there is little incentive for them for people to truly recover.  In fact, for many addiction centers, there is financial incentive for failure. Less than half of the people who enter into rehab programs actually complete rehab. And most who do, relapse again. The centers actually benefit financially by blaming this failure on the patent and telling them that they have to come back again.  At that point, they can then charge them exorbitant admission fees again and charge them to be there in rehab all over again. All this creates a cycle of extortion. Addiction treatment is a bit like the neglected orphan in the overall healthcare system.
When we make an enemy of the substance someone is using or the behavior someone is using as an addiction, we fail to see that the substance or behavior is their ‘rescue’.  It is their self-medication. It is their rescue whether or not it will only lead them to more pain. And you will never understand addiction well enough until you understand that there are levels of mental, emotional and physical pain that make selling your soul to the devil so to speak, feel completely worth it.
When we try to stop a person’s addiction to a substance or behavior by making it about stopping the substance or behavior itself without directly addressing the wound they are trying to get relief from through the addiction, we are in fact doing more damage to them and they will relapse or switch to another addiction.
In order to overcome an addiction of any kind, one has to be willing to go in the exact opposite direction from where they want to go.  People naturally want to go away from the pain; they are trying to do so with the addiction. In order to heal the pain you must go straight into it instead.  Metaphorically speaking, if a drug or behavior is the attempt to stay away from a tornado, in order to make it so that there is no more tornado chasing you in your life, you need to be willing to run straight into the tornado instead and this is most successfully done if it is done with someone else.  This can be when it is useful to restrict the addictive substance or behavior.  If a person does not engage in the specific addiction, those wounds that a person is trying to avoid with the addiction will begin to howl so to speak.  This makes them easier to directly become aware of and resolve.  Prepare yourself for this process. I have created a process to do specifically this; it is called The Completion Process.  If you’re interested in learning how to do this process, pick up a copy of my book that is quite literally titled: The Completion Process or to find a practitioner that can lead you through the process, visit www.thecompletionprocess.com.
So you can understand what heals an addiction, I will give you a real life example.  Pat was a professional athlete. In his early life, he had to try desperately to be seen as a success in his father’s eyes.  Nothing was ever good enough. He had to win and he had to be the best. He never felt significant enough to be valued without achievement.  He poured himself into sports to try to win his father’s approval. But he didn’t love the sport itself. He ended up making the Olympic team, but began panicking about what might happen if he lost instead of won.  One month before the Olympic games, he came down with a case of Mono. Due to the illness, he had no chances compared to the other athletes at the Olympic games and did not even come close to making the podium. Knowing that in four years, he would be too old to compete, he realized that he would never be able to be a gold medalist.  This revived his feelings of never being good enough, being insignificant and being unloved.
When he was at a party one night, someone crushed up some Oxycontin.  When he tried it, he felt relief from those painful emotional feelings for the first time.  Soon, he had quit sports and as the circumstances of his life as an ex-athlete continued to put even more pressure on those wounds, he used Oxy more and more.  He became more and more addicted, developing more and more tolerance until he had spent all of his money and became a dealer himself just to be able to get his hands on prescription pain meds.  When Pat was found stealing from his mother’s purse, his family kicked him out. They later put him into two in patient rehab clinics. He relapsed each time because nothing was done to resolve the pain causing him to use in the first place.  And every time he went back home, he would become the family scapegoat, which simply reinforced the feelings he was trying to erase with the Oxy in the first place.
Eventually Pat was persuaded that the focus needed to be on the feelings and thoughts that led him to using rather than on the Oxy itself.  He realized that the real thing plaguing him was the trauma of the emotional environment of his childhood home. With a therapist, he was brave enough to face the thoughts and emotions of never being good enough, feeling like a failure, feeling insignificant and not being valued and loved as he is.  He was able to recognize and change social patterns as well make deliberate changes to his social group so that he lived with and had people in his life that valued him just for his company instead of achievement. He was able to experience appreciation for himself instead of shame by clearly seeing that much of what he went through was a projection of his father’s, who never actually wanted a child and whom only liked the personal ego boost of being able to say he had a successful son.  Because he had that unconditional connection in other relationships, he was able to let go of needing his father to approve of him. He found a part of himself that loved to succeed because challenging himself to succeed was fun and no longer simply tried to succeed in order to earn love. Pat now has a family of his own and has been sober for 11 years as a result of facing and resolving the wound underneath the addiction.
If we want to find the cause and also the solution to addiction you should not be looking to genetic or chemical explanations.  You should not be looking at the addictive substance or behavior itself. You should be looking primarily at the trauma and emotional pain of a person’s childhood environment.  You should be looking at changing the painful patterns that originated from that childhood environment but that continue to play out in their adult life. If you are looking back at your childhood and current life and cannot specifically identify any trauma or emotional pain, you would benefit by watching my video tiled: Today’s Great Epidemic and How To Solve It.  You should be looking at and resolving the painful patterns that originated from that childhood environment but that continue to play out in their adult life with the utmost compassion. In order to understand compassion, you can watch my video titled: Compassion and How to Cultivate Compassion.
I will give you the first thought-step towards that compassion now.  Addiction is not a moral issue. That a person can be jailed for an addiction as if addiction implies some kind of character flaw or lack of morals is something that in the future, we will look back at with complete embarrassment.
Most people walking the earth today use compulsive coping mechanisms which create more harm than good in their lives.  For this reason, it is important to see that we are all addicts. There is no stigma for a condition we all share. The question is what are we addicted to?  Many of us have simply found much more societally acceptable means of addiction than others.

Should We Accept Hierarchy?

At this point in history, hierarchy is a concept that has been thrown into the bin of ‘bad things’ because of how much abuse it can and has open the door for.  But as you know, if we throw something in the ‘bad thing’ category, we resist it and refuse to look at it, swing to the opposite extreme and thus cannot gain awareness.  For this reason, I am asking that you consider what I will share here and use the triggers that will arise in order to notice and face the wounds around hierarchy and authority.  Should any of these wounds become triggered during this conversation, I highly suggest that you use The Completion Process on any painful emotions and sensations that arise.
I am going to use some “dirty words” in this episode.  Words like superiority and authority. These are words that have been thrown into the ‘bad’ category by many spiritual traditions and philosophies.  But just because we may see them as bad does not mean they are bad and what’s more than that, just because we may see them as bad does not mean they aren’t the reality.      
Hierarchy is a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to superiority or authority.  Hierarchy is a way of viewing and categorizing the world in terms of things being above, below or at the same level.  Given this definition, power and also authority are an obvious element of hierarchy.         
I personally get a front row seat to how deep this wound within people actually is because I cannot go to a workshop and greet people without people offering to give me healings or telling me they want to be my friend because they think they’d be great at pointing out my shadows, both of which they do so they can feel equal or superior to me.  Not a day goes by without someone telling me that they are not a fan, but that they love my work in order to let me know they do not want me to consider myself above them. Not a day goes by that I don’t get an e-mail or message that says, “you’re not my god, I see you are a person just like the rest of us” so as to pull me off my pedestal. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t show up late or leave early in order to send the message that they have higher priorities than me, so I get the message that they do not regard me as a bigger deal than they are.  And these comments and actions are all from people that like me, not even from people who dislike me. If you are in the position that I am in, you get to see this wound in people every day because not a day goes by that someone isn’t carrying out an unconscious power struggle with you.  
We all already know the dangers of ‘out of alignment’ hierarchy and authority, things like Hitler’s Reich, abusive parents, a law enforcement officer threatening to arrest a woman if she wont have sex with him or a catholic priest holding so much authority that he performs repetitive exorcisms on a child that is actually poisoned as opposed to giving the child an antidote.  But there are also times where hierarchy needs to be acknowledged or it’s dangerous for everyone. Imagine an operating room where the nurses refuse to acknowledge the superiority of the surgeon. Or imagine a tour guide is taking a group of people on a path through dangerous terrain and they don’t listen to the authority of the guide’s warnings. Or imagine a child who defies the parents by feeding the family dog chocolate.  Or imagine a person who does not respect the authority of shamans, learning a lot about spirituality from the Internet and then buying and administering shamanic medicines. There are dangers in hierarchy. But there are also dangers currently in no hierarchy. People are often conscious of the first and unconscious of the second.           
Because power is an obvious element of hierarchy, superiority and authority, almost nothing gets people more upset that hierarchy.  Why do people hate the idea of hierarchy and refuse to respect authority? Because they have been so hurt by it. The abuse of hierarchy and authority has destroyed lives.  Take a serious look at your own childhood. What happened to you when someone was in a superior position? What happened when someone had more power than you? What happened when they had more authority?  Chances are that two things happened. The first is, you were not taken into consideration.  Because your thoughts, feelings, needs, desires, perspectives and best interests were not taken into consideration; you felt the extreme pain of insignificance and powerlessness.  And the second is that because of this, you felt you lost your free will.  
Because of the pain you endured relative to hierarchy and superiority and authority, freedom and free will has become an obsession.  So has demanding equality. You have decided that you will not be “beneath” anyone ever again. But what you don’t see is that even if you are doing this on a subconscious level, this creates a serious problem for you and for the people around you.  
First, it means that you are subconsciously in a constant power struggle with people who you perceive to be above yourself in any way.  Many people with this pattern cannot keep a job where they have a boss and can only maintain friendships with people who need their help for example.  So the first thing to realize here is that the people who are the most resistant to hierarchy and authority are the ones that are subconsciously the most obsessed with it.  They are the ones subconsciously playing the most competitive power games and they are doing it for power’s sake, specifically in order to try to stay safe.  
The second, problem is that you refuse to accept hierarchy and authority to the degree that you often don’t even see superiority it when it is right in front of your face.  In many situations, this makes you look like an idiot to everyone but yourself. It can also put you in serious danger. On earth, it is very dangerous to refuse to recognize superiority and authority.  This is something that male animals vying for mates have to learn the hard way every day. Imagine that a fish swimming in a pond with a shark refuses to accept that it is inferior to anything. Therefore, this fish refuses to see that it is a fish and the shark is a shark.  This fish is going to get itself killed. In the human world, there are many painful consequences that will come as a result of refusing to see and acknowledge hierarchy. These consequences must be consciously chosen, not unconsciously chosen simply because of one’s resistance to anyone or anything being ‘above them’.  
On top of this, if you have decided that you will not be “beneath” anyone ever again and so you refuse to see and acknowledge superiority and authority, you will challenge people who you perceive to be above you and whom you don’t believe should be above you in very manipulative, covert and unfair ways.  If you are being conscious about challenging someone’s position of superiority and authority in this world, there are very clear ways to do it. This could be considered direct and fair play.        
The third problem is that it is impossible to be successful, conscious or find your own purpose if you do not recognize hierarchy, including superiority and authority.  People have the tendency to swing the pendulum whenever they are hurt. For example, when we are so hurt by people not being there for us, we adopt the belief that everything we need, must come from within.  Or when we are punished for our vulnerability, we develop rough and armored personalities. The dictatorships of the past that have done so much damage to people have made a great many people swing the pendulum and desire and believe in anarchy and unconditional equality.  The human being is not conscious enough for this type of social structure. Consciousness itself must be increased greatly before the idea of doing away with a power system can come into play. Swinging the pendulum is a reaction that gives rise to rebellion. Rebellion is not empowerment and it is not free will.  When people have been hurt badly by hierarchy, their dream of a world of equality is a pendulum swing.      
In the spiritual field especially, we want to transcend all that is animal, instinctual and temporal about ourselves.  Part of what is animal, instinctual and temporal about ourselves is power structures… Things like hierarchy. But the goal of awakening is not transcendence.  It is integration. And don’t be fooled by spiritual teachers or practitioners who say otherwise. I have never met someone who has actually escaped from power structures like hierarchy and superiority.  Instead, they have found their superiority in ‘not being concerned with superiority’. They have been consumed with the ego of being egoless. They have become a dictator by demanding equality.
When it comes to your refusal to recognize or accept hierarchy, superiority and authority, ask yourself why?  Are you refusing to recognize or accept it because doing so makes you feel inferior and powerless and unsafe?  Are you in reality that you are equal or superior to someone in the way that you are thinking you are? Are you demanding to be seen as equal or to be seen as superior for power’s sake?  Keep in mind that to say “no one has any authority or power over me!” is by definition, a power struggle. When it comes to your desire to challenge hierarchy and authority, ask yourself why?  Are you challenging it in order to simply not be on the bottom?  Are you challenging it to avoid the pain of feeling powerless, inferior and unsafe?  Or are you challenging it because you are in reality that you belong in that superior position?  Are you challenging it because you have a good reason to be in that superior position… A better reason than simply not wanting anyone else to be above you?    
Once you see and acknowledge hierarchy, including authority and superiority, it puts you squarely in reality and therefore it changes the rules of the game.  Seeing hierarchy, including superiority and authority doesn’t mean you will never challenge it. It means that if for some (hopefully conscious and very good) reason you do decide to challenge it, you will pick the correct strategy for doing so.  It means you are only going to challenge someone’s hierarchy or authority or superiority in conscious ways. To challenge it consciously, means you will challenge it in very specific situations and in very specific ways. Your communication and actions will change.  And perhaps most importantly, you will no longer fight to be on equal ground with everyone simply to avoid the terror of being beneath anyone. 
What you do not see is that if you do not want anyone else to be on a pedestal, you are the one who is the most concerned with power and hierarchy.  In resisting it, you are playing the game of who is above, below or equal. What you do not see is that everyone on earth has a pedestal waiting for them.  Everyone’s pedestal looks different. For example, I may be on the highest pedestal in the consciousness field, but if I walked into the world of motor sports, I have no pedestal; someone else is on a pedestal there.  The pedestals themselves are not the problem. Nor do you actually want to do away with them. All people actually want one! You just don’t want anyone else to be on one because you blamed people being higher or above you for why you got hurt or lost freedom and were treated as insignificant in the first place.  The pedestal is not the problem. People’s degree of consciousness or lack there of on those pedestals and therefore what they do with their position on those pedestals is the problem.    
With superiority and authority comes power. You can change your life today if you will just accept that there is nothing wrong with power.  Power simply needs to be in service of something. The problem within human consciousness is the need for power for power’s sake. The problem isn’t hierarchy, it is that people in positions of authority or superiority did and do not take you as a part of themselves and thus did and do not consider you and thus did and do not capitalize on your best interests.   
You need to recognize and accept authority and superiority in order to decide what to do with it. Seeing and acknowledging and accepting hierarchy does something very interesting.  Not only does it make you aware, it shows you your place in the world and your purpose along with it. People, who refuse to see superiority in others, cannot actually consciously see their own superiority.  Your purpose will be something where you are superior to others. With a more clear vision about what your areas of superiority are, you will no longer vie for power for the sake of power in and of itself. Because your purpose will naturally be something where you are superior, if you refuse to accept superiority in the world, you run the very real risk of never finding your life purpose.      
People, who cannot clearly see their own areas of superiority and who fight hierarchy and authority simply so as to never have anyone be higher than them, never make the right life choices for themselves.  For example, if a person accepted that they think they are superior at running things and making executive decisions, they would never get themselves into a position where they ever had a boss in the first place.  Thus, they would never get into the constant conflicts at the office that lead them to getting fired.  
On that note, people with more authority and who are in a superior position, will only trust you when they clearly see that you see and recognize superiority and authority both upward and downward from yourself.  The first reason for this is that it means you are in reality. The second is, a person who does not recognize superiority and authority does not see you if you are in that position.  They are in a relationship only with what they want to see.  The third is that it is very, very dangerous for a person who has authority and who is in a superior position to have someone not recognize and accept their superiority and authority.  It means that they will end up hurt. Again, in the animal world, animals have to endure this every day. If a rival male does not recognize the superiority or authority of a superior male, he will challenge it and this leads to both of them getting injured, regardless of who wins that fight.                        
I’ll give you a hint when it comes to your desire to be the best or to be in the top position of a power structure.  If your reason for wanting to be in the top position is to stay safe from the potential pain of anyone else being above you in that position, that is simply a power struggle for power struggle’s sake and indicates that you actually do not belong in that position.         
 One of the hardest things about being a spiritual teacher is that teaching about the universe entails teaching contradictory truths.  This is because we live in a multidimensional universe. At the highest dimensional level of existence, a table and a person and a plant and a dog are all made up of the same energy and the same consciousness.  All is one and all is imbued with both consciousness and free will. This is a kind of ultimate equality. But as this consciousness becomes a part of the physical dimension, this consciousness chooses to become separated and defined and polarized.  Because of this, as much as our ego does not like it, the reality of physical life is that we are not all equal. To learn more about this, I encourage you to watch my equally triggering video titled: People Are Not All Equal.  
Many people believe the universal perspective to be opposed to hierarchy.  This is not the case. The way the universal consciousness sees hierarchy is that it can be a tool for progression.  It is a system that is not bad in and of itself any more than organization or prioritization is. The way the universal consciousness sees it is that this organization should happen according to love.  To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: What Is Love. If you take something as a part of yourself, you would put it somewhere in a system where it was best suited based on its areas of excellence or superiority.  
The best way to see how the universal consciousness sees hierarchy is to imagine a car engine.  All beings are a part of the engine. People who do not accept hierarchy or who set up an ‘out of alignment hierarchy’ are those who either refuse to be a part of the engine even though they are, or those who wish to be the best at being all parts of the engine.  The problem with mankind is that because of human values and societal beliefs, a fuel pump wants to beat the piston at being a superior piston. And the reality is that no matter how hard a fuel pump tries, it will always be inferior at being a piston to the actual piston.  Authority is constantly in flux. It changes according to needs. If an engine needs fuel, the fuel pump may be in the top position on the totem pole in that moment. If the car needs to turn, the steering wheel is instead. Therefore, what is most in alignment is to own your authentic place within each system and within the greater system. 
Notice the word authentic?  This is where everything goes awry.  We live in a society where the socialization that takes place makes it very hard to preserve our authenticity.  Using the previous analogy, if you are a fuel pump and society seems to value pistons more, you will turn against your own nature and authentic truth.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic. Do not confuse the universe telling you to find your authentic place within the greater system for a parent trying to fit you into a box you don’t want to be in.  Ultimately, if you get beyond your inauthenticity and ingrained patterns of self-rejection, your ‘place’ will be doing something that comes naturally to you and that you love.
There is such a thing as out of alignment hierarchy and there is such a thing as in alignment hierarchy.  To be in a superior position in a power structure, implies great pressure as well as the requirement for great levels of both consciousness and awareness.  It means that your shadows are the most dangerous shadows in the room. Equality is not a reality in the realm of physicality. We do not need to be fighting against hierarchy and authority in general.  Instead, we need to be focused on developing three things: 
Love.  To love is to take something as part of yourself.  For example, if whites took blacks to be a part of themselves, they could not have enslaved them without feeling the negative impact of doing so themselves.  Slavery would not have happened. When we love something, we root FOR that thing to get what it wants instead of prevent it from getting what it wants. Knowing this, hierarchy does not inherently mean that you will not be considered.  Awareness.  Question everything and consider every perspective so as to become aware of everything and arrive at a higher truth.  If we could do this, we would transcend our unconsciousness, prejudices and ignorance. For each individual to start to recognize his/her unique intrinsic value that for the sake of this conversation we could call superiorities. If you resist hierarchy in general, it means that you are laboring under the illusion that everyone is equal or you see yourself as above it all and this mentality implies hierarchy in and of itself.  


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