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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: Compatibility, 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.  To understand more about masculinity, watch my video titled: The Divine Masculine.
  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.  

How To Stop Being A Scapegoat and Being Scapegoated

When I say ‘scapegoat’ many of you know exactly what I’m talking about already.  For those of you that don’t, a scapegoat is a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others (despite other people being either entirely or also at fault) especially for reasons of expediency.  The word originates from Judaism. During mass reconciliation, a rabbi would bring a goat to the alter. The idiotic idea was that sins of the people would be absorbed into the goat, and it would then be killed.  When its blood would spill over the alter, those sins were said to be cleansed.
In a human social group, like a family, there are complex interactions that take place and roles that people end up in.  The emotional interdependence in even the most abusive and disconnected homes still makes it so that a change in one person creates reciprocal changes in every other member of the group.  In a dysfunctional social group or a dysfunctional family (and usually on a subconscious level) the strongest member of the family, the one that does not play into the dysfunction, is targeted as “the problem”.  All of the emotional and mental discomfort that is experienced by the group as a whole is deflected and projected into this person, who is expected to bear it so that the other members of the group don’t have to face that discomfort in themselves.  The subconscious goal is in fact disguised catharsis. The scapegoat is someone who is strong enough to suffer so that the other members don’t have to.  
In a family, the person who ends up in the role of the scapegoat is not actually to blame any more than the goat is.  It is that their character, thoughts, feelings, words and actions and also accomplishments causes the unresolved issues of the other family members to surface.  At which point, instead of resolving them, they deflect the unresolved issues onto that person and label them ‘the cause of their distress’.  
Here is an example: A mother doesn’t actually want a child.  But she has been led by society to believe that this is the only acceptable role for her in life.  So she has a child. This child has her own desires and needs. When the mother has to cater to the needs and desires of the child, it brings up her fury and pain and resentment that she has to dedicate herself to someone else’s needs.  It brings up the reality that she doesn’t want a child. This makes her feel shame. To avoid that wound and that shame, this mother will make the child the problem. “You’re so selfish” she will say when the child asks for something. She will be constantly exasperated and tell the story that her life ended when her daughter’s began.  She has made the problem the child and projected her own sins so to speak onto the child in order to avoid the discomfort of accepting that she does not want a child and that she is selfish in that she wants to do what she wants to do, not dedicate her life to another person’s care. This child is now the scapegoat.       
Of course it is difficult for a scapegoat in a social group to believe that he or she isn’t somehow guilty or to blame because it doesn’t make sense that if he or she wasn’t to blame that he or she would be treated that way.  The scapegoat spends years in complete confusion, searching for what is wrong with them in order to try to fix it, but can’t ever genuinely find anything that makes sense given the severity of the treatment. And no matter what they do, the behavior of the other members of the social group never seem to change towards them.  What the scapegoat doesn’t understand is that there was never any motive in the other members of the group for them to not be a problem.  That is part of the gas light.  It is actually serving the other members of the group to keep them the problem so as to avoid facing and resolving their own wounds.   
The scapegoat can pay a lifelong price for sins that he or she did not ever commit.  And because of the way that this universe functions, this pattern of being scapegoated comes back in the life of the scapegoat over and over again.  Even if they do exit the original family group, they are likely to be turned into a scapegoat again in their lives. Aside from not recognizing this entire dynamic in the first place (and thus realizing that they didn’t actually do anything wrong, they were simply the family scapegoat) there are some factors that act like emotional super glue that actually keep people who were scapegoated in this cycle of continuously being scapegoated.  And it is this emotional super glue that I am going to help you to undo today.  
The top four things that act like emotional super glue to being a scapegoat are the following:
Accepting this role was literally the only way to stay safe in the social group.  And so this is now your pattern of fitting in. Accepting responsibility made you not like the people who hurt you. You love people who take responsibility, you find them safe and so you do not want to entertain the idea of letting any of that responsibility go.  Plus, you are only in control if you take 100% of it.  No one else in the social group was taking any responsibility and so you were forced to be the one to do it for all of them.  This is now a habit. To address the first super glue, in a social group that turns you into the scapegoat, you have two options:  Conform immediately so they turn someone else into the scapegoat or suffer the wrath of being the outcast and blamed and suffer the consequences.  In some cases, for one reason or another, you cannot conform. Even when you can, you know that conforming doesn’t get you love; it simply gives you a different kind of safety in exchange for a different form of danger.  It guarantees you closeness and rapport in exchange for the loss of self. You have to completely buy into the group dysfunction and let go of your true feelings, needs, desires and anything else that could threaten to trigger their unresolved issues.  The role of the scapegoat and the role of the golden child in a social group are both not actually safe. They are simply polar opposite forms of un-safety. But, in many case, accepting the role of the scapegoat may have been the only way for someone to not end up completely alone, which is the single biggest threat to survival for a member of a socially dependent species, which is what humans are.  
The way this works is that once you accept the role of scapegoat, you begin to buy into the idea that you are the problem.  The minute you do this, you are no longer resisting them saying that you’re the problem. You’re agreeing. Due to your non-resistance to the blame you are being given and the horrible identity you are being accused of, the people making you the scapegoat are now free to switch up their game and avoid their own issues further.  They do this by seeing themselves as the healer and fixer of you. It is at this point that the scapegoat becomes the identified patient in the social group. They use the idea of themselves as a good person for focusing on helping and fixing you to further avoid their own pain. The thing is, they are creating the very pain in you that they say is your personality defect and flipping it so as to heal it.  This is disgusting when you really get it. It is one of the most insidious forms of gas lighting. Imagine I was to walk up and hit you as hard as I can and then, when you fall to the floor, get down on the floor with you and say “I just don’t know why you’re in pain all the time. It’s making all of our lives really, really hard because by being down on the floor all the time, you’re taking all the attention away from everyone.  But I love you, so I’m going to take you to a doctor to figure out why you’re in pain like this.” That is life for a scapegoat in a family unit. The vast majority of children who are brought to psychologists and psychiatrists are in fact family scapegoats in this exact situation. But the sad thing is that playing into this pattern by accepting themselves as the problem, saves the scapegoat from abandonment, annihilation and further wounding by the people in their lives.      
The problem is that because of this extreme gas-lighting, you learn to ignore the punch and only feel the connection inherent in the person trying to fix you.  Your only reference for feeling loved is when people who see you as the problem, are putting energy into helping you to get better or change or be fixed. This exchange is the safest feeling because it was the closest you could get to the people who mattered to you.  Because this is your reference for love and safety, blaming yourself, seeing yourself as the problem and having people help fix you is a pattern you repeat and repeat in order to get your emotional and even physical needs met, feel close to people and feel safe socially.  You pick people who do this to you and do not end relationships with people who do this to you.
To address the second super glue, if only at a subconscious level, you actually did see what was going on.  Too many times, especially if your strength is your mind, you have seen the truth in these interactions. For example, you know mom doesn’t really want a kid and so you see that it is her being mean to you and yet blaming you for being a ‘bad kid’ for the reaction you have to it.  And so, even when you begin to doubt your own character and actions, you know that there is extreme deflection and projection going on. To understand more about deflection and projection, watch my videos titled: Deflection (the coping mechanism from hell) and Projection (understanding the psychology of projection).
You see that them not taking responsibility for their wrong doings and badness and actual truth is destroying your life.  You clearly see that doing this makes them bad. Because of a life of being treated as if you are evil, you are on a life long quest to become good.  So, clearly seeing this ‘badness’ in them, you make a subconscious vow to never, never do to someone what they are doing to you. You make a vow to at the very least make sure that you are never, ever going to be like them in this way.  Your wires become a bit crossed. Now, your only way of being good is to seek out how you are at fault and to take the blame and blame yourself. The problem is that this is a universe based on the law of mirroring. If you do this, it makes you a match to being blamed, even when something isn’t your fault.  Thus the cycle of being scapegoated repeats.
To address the third superglue, having been so hurt by being blamed wrongly and suffered the consequences of being labeled the wrong/bad one; you have now developed a complete love affair with the characteristic of doing the opposite of what they did to you.  You LOVE people who take responsibility. This is profoundly healing for you. But this complete adoration you have for people taking responsibility and this glorification of the trait itself has caused you to adopt the trait of hyper responsibility. It has caused you to swing the pendulum completely to the far end of the scale, where you take responsibility and blame for anything and everything.  By taking 100% of the responsibility and blame, you feel superior in that goodness and also you feel in control and thus safe. If something is someone else’s responsibility or fault, you are inherently not in control. And you don’t trust them to do it. You can’t do anything to change the situation or rectify it. But if it is all in your hands, you can.  
To address the fourth superglue, because you were conditioned that no one will take responsibility, especially for their own issues, you were also conditioned to be the one to automatically do it.  It is pure habit. You do this naturally. You do not believe that anyone will take responsibility and so you believe you have no other choice but to do it yourself. You take responsibility for what is and isn’t yours to take responsibility for, thinking that there is no other option.  Take a look at your life for what might be someone else’s responsibility. Ask yourself, if I didn’t take responsibility for X what would happen?  For example, it is another person’s responsibility to come resolve an issue with you when they have one.  Ask yourself, if I didn’t take responsibility for noticing when another person has an issue with me and bringing up the issue to resolve it, what would happen?  This level of hyper responsibility for others will incapacitate you one day and guarantee that no one around you will take responsibility. You will be a magnet for people who don’t want to take responsibility. 
 I find it helpful to imagine that people in the world are a part of you.  Would you want yourself to continue not facing your unresolved issues, owning your personal truth and not taking responsibility?  If the answer is no, then don’t enable them to do that.
The bottom line is that because of the way you adapted to being the scapegoat, you are a perfect vibrational match to repeated scapegoating.  You need to look at what truly is and what truly isn’t yours in any situation. What is keeping you from doing this is that anytime you look at how something isn’t your fault, you feel like you’re headed straight towards becoming like those people who you hate because they hurt you so badly.  You think you are the good guy for taking all the blame. You can only be good for taking responsibility for what is yours. Otherwise, you have turned into an enabler. You enable people to be like those people who hurt you. You enable their dysfunction as well as pattern of deflecting and projecting and allow them to avoid the unresolved issues and pain, which means they will continue to hurt and hurt other people.
You’ve got to see that now, the consequences that you were so afraid of, like abandonment or annihilation would actually be better than being seen and treated as the bad guy forever.  There are so many consequences of being in that role. So it actually isn’t safe. It also isn’t love. First of all, they are causing the very issues they are saying are inherent to you and that they now want to help you to fix about yourself.  It isn’t because of love that people try to fix you. It is because they want to feel good about themselves so they can avoid looking at their own unresolved issues and painful authentic truths. They feed their self-concept with pieces they sacrifice from you, completely to your detriment.  They do not love you, even if they use those words.
In a universe based on the law of mirroring, people who blame themselves are blamed.  You need to see how much trouble you could get in being blamed for things you have no fault in if you are determined to blame yourself to maintain a sense of goodness.  You do not need to worry about becoming like these people who hurt you. You are more than willing to see what you did wrong and to see things that are negative about yourself.  You’ve been practicing this bravery all your life. You do need to swing the pendulum back towards what’s healthy. It is inauthentic and not in reality to adhere to one extreme like that.  The way to swing the pendulum back towards healthy is to own up to your authentic truth and own up to reality and be responsible for it.
People scapegoat when they aren’t being authentic about their personal truths, feelings, thoughts, desires and needs etc.  So, staying authentic to exactly what the brutal and honest truth of your feelings, thoughts and desires and needs are, is the best way to not become like them.  OWN your truth to not be like them, don’t blame yourself to not be like them. The time has come to learnt to discern what is yours and what is someone else’s. Chose to be in a relationship with people who take responsibility for what is theirs.  When two people each look at what is theirs, this is a healthy relationship. Being around people who take responsibility will help you to see what is and isn’t yours. It will help you to feel safe in the relationship while still changing things that don’t benefit you and expanding.  If you continue to blame yourself to stay good, you will be a magnet for people who love to get away with blaming others and never looking at themselves.
If you suffer from this pattern of being scapegoated, I have too many videos that target the mental and emotional aftermath you are experiencing to list.  But I highly suggest you watch my following videos: The Defective Doll (Dysfunctional Relationships). Responsibility, Why, When and How to Take It. How To Call Bull S#!t On Denial.  How To Let Go of a Coping Mechanism. The Hidden Truth About Dysfunctional Relationships. The Victim Control Dynamic. Why You Can’t Feel Loved For Who You Are. Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening and Self Hate, The Most Dangerous Coping Mechanism.
As a recovering scapegoat, you’ve got to un-gaslight yourself.  Because the other members of the social group have all bought into the dysfunction, no one else in the social group is going to have the same estimation of reality that you do.  Make reality your secret obsession. Most scapegoats end up truth seeker and truth tellers because of this. Gas-lighting makes you feel and even go insane. So, restoring your sense of reality and getting grounded in it is critical.  Part of this is seeing the impact of being scapegoated on the various aspects of your life.
Get realistic expectations.  If you are genuinely being scapegoated, really see your dysfunctional family or social group accurately.  The reality is that by expecting them to accept your reality and accept the fact that things aren’t your fault and you aren’t bad/wrong, you are actually expecting them to face their unresolved issues and painful personal truths and own up to them.  Are they really going to do it? Everyone has the potential to do it, but having the potential to do it does not mean that they will choose to. For the most part, you can expect them to not change at all. And to be clear, this does not mean that you should enable it by playing into the dysfunction any more than it means you should expect that they will change.
Because of the complex trauma and anxiety that have come out of this social pattern, I highly suggest that you pick up a copy of my book titled: The Completion Process and begin to use the process to resolve the unresolved wounds that have occurred because of having been scapegoated.
If you watch my video tiled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease, you will learn about fragmentation.  Know that if you are a scapegoat, you have a part or fragment within you that is scapegoating you. It is an internalized pattern.  Come to recognize and know this part of yourself deeply so that you can shift some of the patterns inherent within it.
Shame is the bedrock of the self-concept of someone who is scapegoated.  But shame is one of the most poorly understood things on the planet. The way that most experts advise people to overcome shame actually makes it worse.  Shame is a biological affective reaction that arises as a result of pushing a part of yourself away. In order to overcome shame, we need to reverse this process.  For a thorough understanding of how to do this, pick up a copy of my book titled The Anatomy Of Loneliness. Even though every page of the book will help you if you’ve been scapegoated, you can flip to the entire section of the book that is specifically about shame.
Healing from the pattern of being scapegoated is going to be a grief process, especially if you are clinging to fantasies about having better relationships with abusive people if you could only make them “get it”.  But hopefully seeing some of the main things that keep you reinforcing the pattern will help you to get yourself out of it.

Spirituality and the Information Age (The Upsides and The Downsides)

We are in the Information Age, also known as the Digital Age, where a rapid shift has taken place from traditional industry to an economy based on information technology.  The driving force behind this information revolution was the internet. In the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was created.  We all know the story from there. There is no doubt whatsoever that the information age has changed nearly every part of society and this includes spirituality.  Evolution, progress and expansion carry the seeds of contrast. This means that both upsides and downsides come with the territory. Today, I’m going to tell you what the major upsides and downsides are to spirituality in the Information Age.
First, let’s start with the upsides:
It is the spread of information since the beginning of time that has secured mankind’s rapid evolution and world dominance.  We can debate about whether or not that is objectively a good thing at another time. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the consciousness of mankind is expanding and expanding due to the fact that anything that anyone wants to know is just one click away.  So many people have access to spiritual information that they would never have had access to before. And as a spiritual teacher, you can get your information to people who would never have been able to access your information before. If someone is desperate and in pain, information about how to get out of it can be one click away.  It can be an incredible tool for good.
       People used to be locked into just their own culture and just the spiritual beliefs of those people around them.  This inhibited awareness. It led to extreme ignorance and also made it so people could not make up their own mind because they had no choices in terms of perspective to choose from.  In the information age, people are more likely to be exposed to different ways of thinking, different beliefs and more choices. It might just be possible to take the best of what all spiritual paths have to offer.
  We are able to connect with people whom we would never have connected to or met without the internet.  This brings us closer and closer to unification. You could in fact see the information age as a bridge to a ‘group mind’.
Which is where a collective species develops unified telepathy.  One function of this is where each individual knows what every other member of the species knows.
  It used to be that gurus, shamans and religious leaders were the venue through which people gained access to the universe at large and/or God.   The information age has removed gurus from their social pedestals. This has removed the intermediary between people’s physical and non-physical lives.
  Anyone from the highest class to the lowest class of society as well as all races, and abilities and sexes has access to the same information, information that can transform their lives.
  Business is much better and easier for people who deal in creating religious and spiritual products.  They can be found from the comfort and convenience of home and shipped straight to your door. In other words, in the information age, there much more abundance in the spiritual way of life.
  Spiritual teachers have to up their game.  With the constant inundation of new teachers and different ideologies and conflicting opinions, spiritual teachers are constantly having to question themselves and evolve their teachings and hone them and get better and better at what they do.
  People are exposed to good information coming from lots of different people and places, which is forcing them to expand their minds enough to see that good info can come from anywhere, even where you least expect it.  People used to only accept information when it came in a certain package and from a person who looked a certain way. Because of this shift, the polarization and then integration process within humanity is happening at an exponential rate.
  There are so many positive implications for globally organized and synchronized events from meditations to prayers to movements to alerts.      
Now for the downsides:
There is an idea that the more teachers the better because we are all spreading great ideas and creating awakening more and more.  This isn’t actually the case. The information age has flooded the market with teachers and everyone imagines themselves to have something relevant to teach.  And everyone imagines themselves to be an influencer. This has created some serious problems.
First and foremost, anyone and everyone thinks it is their place to be a spiritual teacher.  So many people suffer from the illusion that they are an expert simply because of all the information that they have ingested.  And there is zero recognition of or respect for the authority of genuine spiritual teachers and leaders.
Second, competition in the spiritual field has become 100 times more intense than in the world of professional sports.  Unless you want to work a day job and keep spirituality as a hobby, spirituality is also a business for healers and teachers etc.  In a market that is flooded, competition is fierce. It is not the “positively changing the world together” type of atmosphere. It is “there is one expo and three book contracts from publishers this year and the only one getting booked or whose book is getting picked up is the one who can prove they have the biggest following”.  This also opens the door for people who have terrible information but who are simply the best at marketing becoming the most influential spiritual figures. Did you know that Oprah is now more spiritually influential than almost every religious leader around the world except the catholic pope?
Third, it has created diffusion of teachings and movements instead of empowering existing ones.  Today, many followers of spiritual teachers learn everything they can from a teacher and then at a certain point, imagine themselves to be good enough to teach.  Back in the day, in order to amass a following, you had to be truly great at what you did and also a very strong leader. Today, people believe that all you need is a computer.  So, often once followers of a spiritual teacher have learned everything they want to from a teacher, they then strike out on their own. They begin to compete with the original teacher by positing themselves as ‘the new teacher’, but using all of the same content. This would be like each of the twelve disciples of Christ learning all they could from Christ and deciding that they too are ‘Christs’ and claiming his teachings as their own and Matthew trying to make as big a name for himself as Jesus.  This not only takes from Jesus instead of lends energy to his movement, it diffuses his teachings and allows disciples to skew them. As a result, the atmosphere between teachers and disciples has grown tense and distrustful.
Fourth, it has lent itself massively to the human ego.  In a market that is saturated by not only many more genuine teachers, but also people who are not aware and not genuine teachers at all, seekers are now free to “teacher hop”.  The spirituality of today, is a fast track to avoidance.  The spiritual path is not an easy path. The path of awakening burns away the layers of the human ego…  It separates you from it so that you can then integrate it. Many seekers have decided that they want awakening because they think it will lead them to comfort.  This means, the second they get to a place of discomfort with a particular teacher or path, instead of face the parts of themselves that are in need of integration, they will simply avoid the discomfort and abandon the teacher or path for whatever teacher and path enables their comfort.  They will go for one that feels the best. For example, lets say someone needs to become aware of what they are doing and why in order to make actual changes to their life. Their current teacher says that they have to do shadow work to discover this but this person afraid of seeing and feeling those things.  In the past, this person would have heeded that advice and faced it. Today, they listen to another person on the internet say “you just need to focus only on what feels good and then your reality will become exactly that”. This is a much more appealing concept to the ego, which would like to stay comfortable.  So, they abandon their teacher and path and join up with whatever challenges their ego the least. Now, more than ever the message spiritual teachers and leaders get is: Make me feel good or else I’m not a follower or supporter anymore and in fact, I might turn on you.
  The spiritual field is wrought with confusion.  Seekers now find themselves in an ocean of ‘professional opinions,’ many of which are completely and totally contradictory.  And while this forces people to have to gain their free will and find their own personal truth, it has also created a kind of non-commitment, futility and disillusionment in the seekers.
  No one is going to go to the top of a hill or a cave in a distant country anymore to find a teacher when they are already swimming in an ocean of teachers.  People have become quite lazy in terms of spiritual practice. They have a “you come to me’ attitude as well as zero loyalty to a certain spiritual path and certain teacher.
  In the information age, the spiritual field has a distinct split.  The practice of spirituality and the business of spirituality. All teachers are forced in the modern era to have one foot in both.  And what the business of spirituality requires is often a contradiction to spiritual practice itself.
  The biggest spiritual teachers are now social media stars as well.  The only way they get big anymore and create a following is a massive online presence.  If you have no online presence, you don’t exist in the modern world. As a social media star, a spiritual teacher fades out of relevance if they are not constantly feeding into their online presence like every other social media star.  This means, no more disappearing into a cave to meditate. And no matter what you do, you look like a narcissist because social media implies keeping your image and your information in front of people all day long.
  Every spiritual teacher and leader throughout history has had people against them.  Many have ended up dead. It comes with the territory. But in the information age, people opposing spiritual figures have as big a stage as the spiritual figures have.  If you want to gain significance and get famous, you can do so. All you have to do is publicly go up against someone that other people care about. The press thrives on sensation and controversy.  This means that slander campaigns against spiritual figures are enormous and can ruin lives. Positive information is not the only thing being spread on the internet. Also, there is no need for hate groups to put effort into meeting up in one location and they can connect from all over the world.  They can be organized at a distance and constantly fueled. This has made the spiritual field even more dangerous. Security detail is now required for spiritual figures as if they were political figures or pop stars.
  The downside of religious information spreading and religious groups gathering is evident.  Extremist racist, sexist and dogmatic religious groups can now grow larger, spread more information and pose more of a threat.
  In the information age, attention spans have decreased and decreased.  People want spirituality and the incredibly complex practice and nature of awareness compressed into a two-minute sound bite.  This is not possible. It is not real learning or personal transformation. This is not commitment to awareness. This is entertainment.  This is the momentary drug like hit of inspiration.
  Spirituality has become a trend, not a genuine committed path.  In the information age, everyone wants to be ‘in the know’ and wants to be part of what the collective says in ‘in’.  Spirituality is considered to be ‘in’. But this is surface spirituality. It is a façade. This is completely incompatible to the actuality of the path of awakening. The information age can polarize, isolate and lead people further into ignorance.  It can also unite, empower and lead people into awakening. I am sure that I (and even you) could find many more upsides and downsides to the impact of the information age on spirituality.  But if you made it past the standard two-minute attention span, hopefully seeing these most beneficial and most detrimental aspects helped you to gain at least some awareness.

Spirit Plants (What is a Spirit Plant and How To Find Your Spirit Plant)

Because we live in a vibrational universe, you can find your vibrational equivalent in just about anything in existence.  In the article I wrote on spirit animals, I explained that as it applies to spiritual growth, we don’t only have spirit animals; we also have spirit minerals and spirit plants.  These tend to be the special ‘relationships’ that the path of earth-based shamanism is most concerned with because it applies to three distinct elemental kingdoms on earth. All this being said, today, we’re going to discuss spirit plants.
You probably clicked on this article expecting it to be about plant medicines, most especially those plants that are psychoactive in nature and have been used by indigenous cultures to access the spiritual dimensions for thousands of years.  Things like like tobacco, cannabis, peyote and Ayahuasca. But that isn’t what this episode is specifically about.
If something is said to be your spirit plant, it is your plant equivalent.  It is the plant whose vibration is the most identical to your own unique and authentic essence.  This plant possesses traits and qualities that mirror your innate and inborn traits, qualities, needs, desires, purpose, strengths and weaknesses etc.  Very rarely, especially if there is a distinct split between someone’s physical self and non physical self for some reason, a person can have two spirit equivalents.  I have to say this because when it comes to spirit plants, I actually have two. The first is Datura Stramonium. The second is the red climbing rose.
This being said, having two spirit plants doesn’t necessarily make you more special.  Nor does having a spirit plant which humans value above others. For example, the fact that one person has the oak tree for a spirit plant and another has celery for a spirit plant doesn’t inherently mean anything less special about the person whose spirit plant is celery.  But inherent in this example, you can already see where the shadow relative to finding your spirit plant will be. It is very hard for people to accept what their spirit plant is, as opposed to what they want it to be.
Over the course of human existence, people have had a very special relationship to plants.  The vast majority of our actual medicines are derived from plants still to this day. Humans ascribe more value to some plants than others.  For example, we value things like cannabis or roses, but not as much dyer’s woad weed or rye grass. This, on top of a seriously limited knowledge of the sheer amount of different plants there are on the planet, makes it hard for people to accurately identify their spirit plant.
People also have plant totems.  A totem plant is a friend, a balancer, protector, helper, partner and/or guide for a person.  Most people confuse one of their totem plants for their spirit plant. Of all totems, people seem to have the most plant totems.  Usually, a person’s favorite plant is in fact one of that person’s totem plants. For example, my principal totem plant is corkscrew willow.  Some others of mine are pennyroyal, pomegranate, chamomile, sumac, huckleberry, golden daylily, milkweed and fox tail grass. No one has just one plant totem.  In fact plant totems are the things that people tend to have the most of and tend to be the most benefitted by in terms of physical health.
There is also another plant that is significant to all people.  This is a person’s shadow totem plant. A shadow plant is a plant that vibrates at the frequency of what is the most denied, disowned and rejected within a person’s own self and consciousness.  For example, I’m very tempted to tell you that my shadow plant is cilantro. But my shadow plant is in fact bindweed.
In the indigenous cultures, everything in existence, including you, is said to possess ‘medicine’.  That is to say that its being contributes and assists in this world in critical ways. All plants have “medicine”.  This medicine they hold, may also extend to the physical plane of existence. For example, willow holds medicine of peace, tranquility, non-resistance and pain relief.  Even on a physical level, willow is used to create aspirin which is an actual pain reliever.
On the other hand, even though one does not grind up and eat beech trees, the frequency of beech teaches tolerance and non-reactivity to criticism.  This is said to be its ‘medicine’. For this reason beech and its medicine is revered as sacred. If you suffer from limitation to the physical dimensional perspective and narrow thinking, you could benefit by salvia medicine.  If you are clairvoyant, you may possess salvia medicine within you. Again, all plants have ‘medicine’.  All plants have a spirit and that spirit is their strongest medicine.  Many plant spirits, like animal spirits and mineral spirits are teachers and healers and leaders.  This medicine they possess can include physical elements that even scientifically minded people already recognize as medicinal.
When people ingest psychoactive plants, doing so often enables a person to move far enough beyond the limits of their physically oriented perspective to see other planes of existence.  They often meet the spirit/consciousness of the plant itself that they ingested. It is not that only these plants have medicine and only these plants have a consciousness.  It is that these plants have teacher spirits in general which are oriented towards teaching human consciousness and are interested in teaching very specific things.  In this non-physical plane of awareness, you could just as easily meet the spirit of raspberry as you could meet the spirit of yagé.
The plant element of consciousness carries the frequency of growth, need, desire, yearning, transformation, improvement, expansion, change, learning, attraction, healing, germination, nourishment, progression, evolution, new manifestation and harmonization.  Many aspects of life test our growth, our capacity to harmonize, our desires and needs and our transformation. Your spirit plant can be used in order to master this level of existence and personal progression.
Even though we are in the practice of complete integration (which is to recognize that all that exists, also exists within us) and therefore to master all medicine, by integrating your spirit plant and shadow plant you can re-own your unique inborn medicine.  It is self-actualization and expression as opposed to lack of self-awareness and self-suppression. And integrating the medicine of your totem plant means you can master and make use of the medicine that you are in need of in your life in general, or at a specific time in your life.
Your spirit plant is the expression of your own essence.  It is your plant of authenticity. It holds the specific medicine you came here to share with the world.  Inherent in its blueprint is the blueprint for your own life path as well as how you are meant to help others to grow, expand, heal, transform, improve, be nourished and harmonize.  Studying your spirit plant will help you to know yourself and your life path. You can use it to amplify yourself as well.
Because a person’s personality may not be an accurate reflection of their essence, a person may have a difficult time identifying their spirit plant.  Also, if a person has patterns of self-hate within them, they may in fact feel resistant to their own spirit plant. Because of the sheer amount of plants in this world both on land and in the water, the spirit plant tends to be the very hardest for people to identify.  Assuming they comprehend a great deal of plants, someone who sees and/or hears vibration can tell you what your spirit plant is because they can visually see or actually hear the vibrational “match” between your frequency and the plant’s in the same way that a conductor can tell if the exact pitch, key and tone between two instruments is the same.  That being said, I don’t want you to run out and find someone, like myself, to tell you. People tend to not really own the truth if it is handed to them by someone else, as opposed to discovering it for themselves.  Because of this (assuming you aren’t going to let your ego choose according to what you want it to be for the sake of your own self concept) it is often much more powerful to find your spirit plant in journeywork ceremonies, rituals, meditations and/or dream states.
It would be beneficial to operate with the perspective that you cannot choose your spirit plant.  It chooses you. It is simply a perfect vibrational match to your unique essence. Because your spirit plant is a vibrational match to you, it will often show up in your life, whether you take notice of it or not.  Therefore, be in the state of observation. But you do not have to take a passive approach. You can open yourself to becoming aware and ask to become aware of what this plant is (as long as you are also taking care to not let the ego tell you it is a plant that suits your ego… or confusing a totem plant for your spirit plant).
Once you have found your spirit plant, learn all you can about it.  What traits do you associate with this plant? Discover the perspectives of other people and cultures about the “medicine” that this plant possesses.  Spend time around that plant. See into this plant, feel into it and listen to it. Come to understand it. Meditate with this plant in mind. Take note of this plant’s weaknesses.  See them in yourself. Take note of its strengths and find and express them in yourself. Surround yourself with things that remind you of this plant and proudly represent this plant.  Do this same thing with your totem and shadow plants. Call the energy of this plant to awaken within you. Feel it inside you and with you always. Own the medicine you came in with and share it with the world…  The medicine that is reflected in your spirit plant.

Spirit Minerals (What is Your Spirit Mineral and How to Find Your Spirit Mineral?)

There is a game that people play and the game goes like this: If I was a (fill in the blank) then I’d be a (fill in the blank).  For example, if I were a model of car, I’d be a red Ferrari.  Or if I were a candy, I’d be pop rocks. This game can be played where a person guesses for themselves and it can be played where other people guess for a specific person.  If you’ve played this game, you know how wrong people can be about themselves. They tend to pick what they have an affinity for or would like to be rather than making an accurate assessment of themselves.  For example, a person might say that if they were a breakfast food, they would be French toast. When the truth is, they would be coffee, coffee and more coffee. When it comes to finding your own spirit equivalents, it works very much the same way that this game does.  Because we live in a vibrational universe, you can find your vibrational equivalent in just about anything in existence. Yes, this means you can have a spirit car for example. In the video I did on spirit animals, I explained that we don’t only have spirit animals; we also have spirit minerals and spirit plants.  These tend to be the special relationships that the path of earth-based shamanism is most concerned with.
If something is said to be your spirit animal, it is your animal equivalent.  It is the animal whose vibration is the most identical to your unique and authentic essence.  This animal possesses traits and qualities that mirror your innate and inborn traits, qualities, needs, desires, purpose, strengths and weaknesses etc.  It works the exact same way with your spirit mineral. Your spirit mineral is the mineral whose vibration is the most identical to your unique and authentic essence.  This mineral possesses traits and qualities that mirror your innate and inborn traits, qualities, needs, desires, purpose, strengths and weaknesses etc. For example, my spirit mineral is Veszelyite.
Over the course of human existence, people have had a very special relationship to rocks and gems, some obviously more than others.  For example, we value and put monetary value on things like emerald and amethyst, but not as much on granite or pumice. This, on top of a seriously limited knowledge of minerals, makes it hard for people to accurately identify their spirit mineral.  Just like totem animals, people also have mineral totems. A totem mineral is a friend, balancer, protector, helper, partner and/or guide for a person. Most people confuse one of their totem minerals for their spirit mineral. Usually, a person’s favorite mineral is in fact a person’s totem mineral.  For example, mine is blue flash moonstone.
There is also another mineral that is significant to all people.  This is a person’s shadow totem mineral. A shadow totem mineral is a mineral that vibrates at the frequency of what is the most denied disowned and rejected within a person’s own self and consciousness.  For example, mine is pink rhodochrosite.
Human science has a very limited definition and understanding of both consciousness and life.  This is why some people of earth will hear what I am about to say and think I am insane. The definition of life is so narrow that most people on earth do not know that minerals are in fact living beings with their own consciousness.  Each rock is different. Some individual rocks have singular consciousness. Others are simply a consciousness fragment of the large vein or mountain or cluster they were separated from. Some are happy to be separated from their place of origin and others are not and experience a great deal of distress being taken from their place of belonging.  Some enjoy the process of faceting and some hate it. Most hate being dyed. They want to be near certain stones and not near others.
Minerals are VERY particular, especially about where they are placed and what they are placed near.  They are very particular about how they want to be wrapped or if they want to be wrapped and worn at all.  They are extremely communicative and if you can hear and see and feel beyond the normal human range of perception, they are VERY loud about being put somewhere they don’t like to be.  Their penchant for communication is why most of my mineral friends are located in one room in my house. And yes, it is vibrationally by far the loudest room in the house. Because they have no capacity for locomotion, they have to master frequency so as to use the vibrational laws that govern this universe to get from place to place.  Some, especially Lemurian crystals for example, are excellent at manifesting themselves to be exactly where they want to be and with who they want to be with. Do not be surprised if you can’t hold on to a specific crystal and keep losing it if one is in this process of trying to go elsewhere.
Because minerals are living beings, there are serious ethics to be considered when it comes to harvesting rocks and doing just about anything with rocks, such as grinding them to a powder or placing them somewhere where they are isolated.    And the more aware you become, the more you need to be attuned to this. Many spiritual people who are in fact disconnected from mineral consciousness do not perceive the suffering in stones that are taken from the places they belong. For example, some stones are meant to be left in the earth and in the caves where they formed.  Many are playing a critical role for earth itself and we deny them and the earth this role by taking them. Another example is Hawaii. I have never seen a single mineral that wants to leave the island of Hawaii and if one did, it would have to be for a very specific purpose.
Another example is that many spiritual people love stones like Angel Aura, Aqua Aura, Tangerine Aura and so forth.  They are undeniably beautiful. The way these stones are created however is perceived by the stones to be an abusive process.  The stones are put in a vacuum chamber.  They are heated to 871 °C (1600 °F) in this vacuum, and then metal vapor is added to the chamber. The metal atoms fuse to the crystal's surface, which gives the crystal an iridescent metallic sheen.  Contrary to the popular opinion that this enhances a stone, this process can actually kill a crystal and most have to be rehabilitated afterwards. I have never purchased one for this reason, all of the ones I have are ones that I have adopted in order to rehabilitate.
The gap between what people call spiritual and modern science is closing slowly.  This is lucky because it will allow for the gifts and medicine of the mineral world to be accepted and accommodated in human society.  It is pure science that each mineral contains a very specific crystalline structure and composition. Every mineral has a characteristic vibrational frequency, many of which are already measureable today on spectrophotometers.  What you call the ‘metaphysical properties’ of a given mineral are in fact a translation of the vibrational frequency of the specific mineral. Because of this, different minerals have different properties and different medicine to offer to those who are near it.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Crystals.  
The mineral element carries the frequency of personal truth, gravity, foundation, solidity, durability, the unchanging, the manifested, personal power, steadiness, strength, personal energy, structure, and personal value to the larger system.  It is this level of existence that is the mineral aspect of our personal evolution and development. Many aspects of life test our perseverance, solidity, personal truth, strength, value and foundation. Your spirit mineral can be used in order to master this level of existence and personal growth.  
Your spirit mineral is the expression of your own essence.  It is your stone of authenticity as it were. It is the specific medicine you came here to share with the world.  Your spirit mineral will strengthen your particular core. Studying it will help you to know yourself. You can use it to amplify yourself as well.  It holds the most similar frequency to your personal truth, your foundation, your core, your personal power, your structure, your durability and your strength.  It holds the most similar frequency to that which is unchanging about you, your singular physical manifested existence and purpose for being along with that. It is the stone that holds the most similar frequency to your value to others, including the greater universe.
In the indigenous cultures, everything in existence, including you, is said to possess ‘medicine’.  That is to say that its being contributes and assists in this world in critical ways. For this reason, its medicine (and this mineral because of its medicine) is to be revered as sacred.  For example, if you suffer from pessimism, you could benefit by citrine medicine. If you possess optimism, you may possess citrine medicine within you.
Even though we are in the practice of complete integration (which is to recognize that all that exists, also exists within us) and therefore to master all medicine, by integrating your spirit mineral and shadow totem mineral you can re-own your unique inborn medicine.  It is self-actualization and expression as opposed to lack of self-awareness and self-suppression. And integrating the medicine of your totem minerals means you can master and make use of the medicine that you are in need of in your life in general, or at a specific time in your life.
Because a person’s personality may not be an accurate reflection of their essence, a person may have a difficult time identifying their spirit mineral.  Also, if a person has patterns of self-hate within them, they may in fact feel resistant to their own spirit mineral. Someone who sees and/or hears vibration can tell you what your spirit mineral is because they can visually see or actually hear the vibrational “match” between your frequency and the mineral in the same way that a conductor can tell if the exact pitch, key and tone between two instruments is the same.  That being said, I don’t want you to run out and find someone, like myself, to tell you. People tend to not really own the truth if it is handed to them by someone else, as opposed to discovering it for themselves.  Because of this (assuming you aren’t going to let your ego choose according to what you want it to be for the sake of your own self concept) it is often much more powerful to find your spirit mineral in journeywork ceremonies, rituals, meditations and/or dream states.  
It would be beneficial to operate with the perspective that you cannot choose your spirit mineral.  It chooses you. It is simply a perfect vibrational match to your unique essence. Because your spirit mineral is a vibrational match to you, it will often show up in your life, whether you take notice of it or not.  Therefore, be in the state of observation. But you do not have to take a passive approach. You can open yourself to becoming aware and ask to become aware of what this mineral is (as long as you are also taking care to not let the ego tell you it is a mineral that suits your ego or confusing a totem mineral for your spirit mineral).    
 Once you have found your spirit mineral, learn all you can about it.  What traits do you associate with this mineral? Discover the perspectives of other people and cultures about the “medicine” that this mineral possesses.  Spend time around that mineral. See into this mineral, feel into it and listen to it. Come to understand it. Meditate with this mineral in mind. Take note of this mineral’s weaknesses.  See them in yourself. Take note of its strengths and find and express them in yourself. Surround yourself with things that remind you of this mineral and proudly represent this mineral. Do this same thing with your totem and shadow totem minerals.  Call on this mineral for support. Feel it inside you and with you always. Own the medicine you came in with and share it with the world… The medicine that is reflected in your spirit mineral.

The Single Biggest Barrier To Awareness

If you are on the path of awakening, you have committed to the path of awareness.  It is inevitable that at some point on this path you will have times where you say, “how the hell did I not see this?”  And you will have even more times where you say, “how the hell do they not see this?”  Today, I’m going to explain the single biggest barrier to awareness and therefore the most likely answer to those two questions.  
People don’t see things when the seeing of them means feeling pain.  Most especially, they don’t see things when the seeing of them means that they would have to make changes to their life that they think would be painful.  This is the real reason why people resist being in reality or perceiving reality.  Instead of a conscious creation, illusion serves as an avoidance strategy.  
Here are some examples of what I mean:
A woman with an alcoholic husband refuses to see that he is addicted and is abusive to their kids and continues to make excuses for it because seeing that would mean they are not the perfect family and she has been enabling her husband to abuse the kids and she would have to face the terror of conflict and potentially losing her connection to him all together if she stands up against it. A man does not see that the reason he hasn’t been paid in a business start up is because he is being used by his partner and will never be paid.  He continues to make excuses for the other man because seeing the reality means he was duped, wasted years and tons of money that he will never get back and now is at ground zero or worse.  He will have to get a different job, potentially a way less desirable one just to make ends meet. And this time, having lost trust for people completely.     A man in a partnership does not see that his partner loves him because seeing that would invalidate all the things his parents said about him and all the ways his parents treated him.  In order to stay close to his parents, he has to believe he is unlovable and deserved the treatment rather than to see that his parents never did truly love him or treat him right. So to avoid breaking his family up and potentially lose his place in it, he will continue to stay in the role of the scapegoat and refuse to see what real love is and the love that he does have from his partner.  A woman is triangulating everyone in her social group against another woman in her social group because she is super threatened by and jealous of the other woman.  She does not see that this is what she is doing because to see her own jealousy and feelings of inferiority and to see that she is triangulating would make her feel shame and see herself as the bad one and thus amplify the very painful feeling she has relative to the other woman. As well as make her feel like crap about herself.           Reality, as it applies to this practical level, is in fact your only axis of power and it is critical in terms of awakening.  Many of the spiritual practices people engage in today are a mechanism of reality avoidance instead of practices that create an expansion of subjective reality.  For example, if one cannot face the fact that they are in a bad marriage, it feels much better to avoid that reality by attaching to the idea that twin flame relationships should feel that way because they are ‘intense growth relationships’.  It is only by seeing the reality that the gas gauge on your car is empty that you can take the step to fill the tank up again. It is only by seeing the reality of how someone else feels that we can say and do the right thing to create repair in the relationship.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Reality.  
When we become aware of something, it implies change.  We could call awareness the first mechanism for change.  The thing is, as your awareness increases, perception of reality becomes more solid but what the perception of that reality means becomes mutable.  This is what I mean… There are two blanks the reality of a situation and what that reality means.  In the beginning of the awakening process, people are VERY solid about both.  For example, that person is an addict and addiction is a lifetime disorder and so you should not be in a relationship with them.  When your awareness begins to increase, you start to see the solid nature of both perception and meaning weaken.  And the first to weaken is the perception of reality. So using the previous analogy, it becomes that person is an addict but maybe addiction is something we all have and do and maybe it isn’t a lifelong disorder but rather a way of coping with what you feel you can’t change but you shouldn’t be in a relationship with an addict.  And this eventually develops again so you can see the reality clearly, but there is great mutability in the meaning.  So using the previous analogy, it becomes no one is an addict but everyone is addicted and this is the strategy that he or she is using to try to mitigate pain that they feel they can’t resolve any other way.  But perhaps being in a relationship with them is what that person needed to resolve the very wound that they are covering over with that substance. Perhaps the addiction will make the relationship miserable.  Perhaps the first person’s addiction is the necessary pattern that will get the second person to recognize their own addiction and resolve it.  For people who are more conscious, they begin to perceive objective reality, which is the amalgamation of all subjective perspective much clearer.  But what that awareness means and implies you should do, becomes mutable and flexible.  
People add meaning to experiences.  That is what they do. But I can promise you that questioning that meaning will greatly help you to be willing to see reality.  For example, you may decide to not really see and admit that you hate your job because you automatically make it mean that you will need to quit and then find yourself in a world of financial pain and terror.  Seeing reality will sometimes mean a very specific change needs to take place. But seeing reality doesn’t intrinsically and automatically mean that a certain and specific change needs to take place, life is more complex and dynamic that that.  And if you remember this, your mind will be more willing to see and accept certain things. If you want to learn more about doing this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button.              
Speaking of meaning, when it comes to assigning painful meaning to something and therefore not being able to see it, look no further than self-concept.  When the meaning that we assign to something is negative, we refuse to see that thing within ourselves because it destroys our self-concept. People can’t see things about themselves if seeing those things about themselves would mean they would see themselves as bad and wrong and have to make painful changes to their personality and behavior.  To understand this lack of self-awareness and personal awakening fully, watch my video titled: Self Concept The Enemy of Awakening.  
Because we are raised relationally dependent in a society in which our survival depends upon each other and has for thousands of years, the only way for our self to survive is if we are in the good favor of the rest of the social group.  The rest of the social group, beginning with our parents when we were young, have to approve of us.  They only approve of us if we are “good”. That is if we are being in a way and doing things in a way that is deemed good by the specific individuals around us.  There is no real clear distinction amongst humans between doing bad and being bad. Therefore, the single most important thing to the human ego or sense of self is to believe itself to be good.  Shame is the #1 enemy to the human ego.  And so when shame is a consequence, people will be likely to not see something about themselves.  
Not seeing something is denial.  Not seeing is a coping mechanism and a coping mechanism is an adaptation we make that enables us to deal with a difficult environmental stress that we feel we cannot change or eliminate. Sometimes, when we can’t deal with, change or eliminate something painful, in order to avoid despair, we simply deny whatever is painful.  We refuse to perceive it. We don’t feel it, don’t hear it and don’t see it. But denial as a state of lack of awareness also comes in other forms. Denial is not just about denying that something is.  Some people see that something exists, but their denial comes in the form of minimizing the impact it has on their life or someone else’s life, excusing it, forgetting it or rationalizing it.  For more information about denial, you can watch my video titled: How To Call Bulls#!t on Denial.     
 At the end of the day, the bottom line in all of this is that awakening is all about expanded awareness.  It is the ability to hold space within your consciousness for all truth, not only the controlled focus on what you want to have be true.  Any methodology that is being used to fuel denial is by definition an enemy to awakening, enlightenment, awareness and expansion.  
Become aware of what pain or painful changes you are trying to avoid by not seeing, feeling, hearing and accepting certain things.  Become aware of the painful meaning you are adding to those certain realities that you don’t want to see. The more willing you are to consciously face that pain you are wanting to avoid, the more open and less avoidant you will be of awareness and ultimately the closer and closer you will be to fully awakening.  So ask yourself these questions: 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 would I be avoiding by refusing to see and accept that? And remember, People don’t see things when the seeing of them means feeling pain.  Most especially, they don’t see things when the seeing of them means that they would have to make changes to their life that they think would be painful.


Reality is a hot topic that is debated extensively in spiritual, religious, psychological and philosophical circles.  Keep in mind that just like the concept of truth, people have dedicated their entire lives to the study of just the concept of reality.  Therefore, a video like this one could never do justice to the entire truth about reality. That being said, that has never deterred me from the challenge of un-packing a complex concept, so lets dive into reality and into why it is so important to have a grasp on reality.  
Reality is defined as the universe or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.  Something that is real is something that actually exists as a thing or occurring in fact, not imagined or supposed.  Here we run into several roadblocks already. The people who agreed upon the definition of ‘real’ were heavily locked into the perception of the world as separate to them and also the difference between thought and what is real.  They were also under the impression that the only thing that truly exists is the physical dimension of existence. If reality exists both at the physical and non-physical level of existence, then thoughts are real and therefore one cannot define reality as being a thing separate from thoughts or notions.     
We would love to think that our senses of perception such as sight, sense of smell, hearing and felt perception can perceive objective reality.  But actually, this couldn’t be further fro the truth. Radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays are passing through your bodies all the time, but you are not aware of this reality.  And take touch for example. Particles are attracted to particles with an opposite charge.  They repel other similarly charged particles. This prevents electrons from ever coming in direct contact with each other.  You are made of particles. When you pick up a pen, the electrons within your body are repelling the electrons that make up the pen. Because of your nerve cells, when you feel this repulsion in the electro magnetic field, you perceive yourself to be touching it, but actually, you aren’t.  Unless an organism is doing a lot of philosophical exploration, it does not stop to imagine that there is more to reality than it can perceive. I will never forget an interaction I had with a little crayfish in a stream in the desert. I watched him explore my leg for a half an hour. With no notion of a world outside the stream, I was an extraterrestrial to him.  It may have been the closest a crustacean has ever come to an existential crisis. People love to believe that they are the ones with their finger on the pulse of reality. But so did that crayfish before I got into the water with it. We must stop to consider that relative to objective reality, we are that crayfish!         
Objective reality is the amalgamation of every subjective reality, which added together forms the objective reality relative to any given subject.  It is not possible to be able therefore to grasp objective reality unless you are #1 dis-identified and #2 can expand your perception to accommodate for all perspectives involved in the truth of a subject.  This is what “source mind” ultimately is, assuming the definition of Source is all energy and therefore consciousness in existence. Even though every subjective perspective is a part of it, this objective reality exists independently from subjective perspective of it.  When one is identified, perceiving objective reality is impossible because if you are identified, you will still be observing something through your individual and subjective perspective. 
Subjective reality is something being perceived as real that is the direct result of one’s own perspective, including individual experiences, feelings, thoughts, needs, desires, preferences and opinions.  If you are identified, the only reality you can perceive is subjective reality. You have to transcend “I” and accommodate for other perspectives (by recognizing the other as part of you, not separate to you) in order to perceive beyond subjective reality.  As identified human beings, we have the ability to perceive just enough to get by in our limited physical environments, but not the capacity to perceive the full picture. A consensus reality is actually a subjective reality, not an objective one. It just means that a group of beings agrees upon a subjective reality.  Religion is a good example of a subjective consensus reality. When someone says you have to accept reality, what they are saying is that you are operating from your own subjective reality and are therefore not perceiving objective reality because you are not accommodating their subjective reality.
The first thing that we must address when it comes to reality is whether or not it exists.  There are many people that teach that there is no such thing as reality or that reality is in the eyes of the perceiver.  People who support the idea of non-reality, including many quantum scientists, argue that there is no such thing as objective reality because every possible observation or interpretation is tainted by subjectivity and therefore does not constitute truth.  Many of them teach that nothing is real, because nothing exists until it is observed or measured. This concept is supported by things like the double slit experiment. To simplify this concept insanely, until we observe reality, it exists as a wave of potentials and probabilities.  The funny thing is that even these non-reality concepts prove the existence of an objective reality. Even the concept that nothing exists because it exists as potentials would constitute in and of itself as an objective reality.
An objective reality exists, regardless of whether an individual that is a part of that reality perceives that reality or not.  There are many constraints when it comes to perceiving objective reality, constraints like biology, awareness, belief patterns, coping mechanisms etc.  We must consider whether or not it is even possible to conceive of objective reality as a singularity. To understand more about these concepts, I urge you to watch my video titled: Objective Truth (Do We Create Our Own Reality?).  It is critical to decide if we are talking about subjective reality or objective reality when we are discussing reality with someone because both are valid and extremely important.  For example, a person’s personal truth, which is critical for them to get in touch with, relates to subjective reality. A truth that can set someone free from his or her own limited perceptions, which is also critical, could relate to objective reality.  
To say “I create my own reality” is true in terms of subjective reality.  However, relative to objective reality, it is ignorance. It is to use the spiritual truth of creation and perception to deny objective reality for the sake of individual preferences. 
Reality also accommodates contradictory truths because it includes multiple dimensions.  Because all things in existence are part of Source and therefore are imbued with the innate capacity to create, you can create reality.  So can everyone else. Because Source is currently fragmented, objective reality is therefore a co-creation. This means you are not the only one creating objective reality. 
The main goal of awakening is to become more and more aware…  In other words, to become more and more able to expand so as to perceive objective reality.  In fact, free will is only possible with true awareness. This means your perception must become more and more accommodating and you must always consider that you don’t know what you don’t know.  But perceiving both subjective and objective reality, just like perceiving objective truth, is one of the most important practices you can dedicate your life to.  
On a much more practical level, a shadow that many people in the world and even spiritual community have and that many people in the world unfortunately enable, is the denial of reality.  If we have grown up in particularly powerless situations as a child, we may have the tendency of not wanting to face reality if it is painful because we don’t think we can do anything about it.  We begin to engage in the creation of overlays. To understand overlays in depth, watch my video titled: Overlay, What Prevents You From Having a Real Relationship.  
Reality, as it applies to this practical level, is in fact your only axis of power.  Many of the spiritual practices people engage in today are a mechanism of reality avoidance instead of practices that create an expansion of subjective reality.  For example, if one cannot face the fact that they are in a bad marriage, it feels much better to avoid that reality by attaching to the idea that twin flame relationships should feel that way because they are ‘intense growth relationships’.  It is only by seeing the reality that the gas gauge on your car is empty that you can take the step to fill the tank up again. It is only by seeing the reality of how someone else feels that we can say and do the right thing to create repair in the relationship.                   
Imagine that you are in love with a person who has died.  But you will not accept that the reality is that they have died.  Instead, you decide that you create your own reality and so, despite rigamortis, you prop them up at the dinner table and keep talking to them and set a dinner plate in front of them.  It is easy to see that this is not going to work well for you. Perhaps you stay in denial of reality because you want to avoid the pain of accepting that they are dead and being powerless to bring them to life again.  The thing is, ALL of your power to do anything that can be done is within reality. It is only by accepting the reality that they are dead that you can do something about it. If it were possible in reality to bring people back from the dead, you would have to accept the reality that they are dead first.  If it were not, the only way to make the next most empowered choice for yourself would be to actually accept they are dead and plan your next best move according to that truth. 
For another analogy, imagine that you are in a boat in a river headed towards a waterfall.  It is obvious that your only access to power is to accept the reality that you are headed towards a waterfall and to act accordingly by getting your boat out of the water.  If you refuse to see this reality, you’re going over! This is part of why it is so important to get closer to objective reality by accommodating other people’s subjective realities.  If the reality of how a person thinks and feels is a certain way, refusing to accept that it is their reality means you are in fact not in objective reality and therefore cannot respond accordingly.  You can only make a genuine change from inside reality. Therefore, as opposed to rejecting the idea of reality in general, we should commit ourselves to the perceiving of it… Both our subjective reality and objective reality.   
As far as subjective reality is concerned, different perceptions lead to completely different experiences of the reality that we individually interpret and accept as truth.  Thankfully, subjective reality is mutable as hell. It is constantly amending and evolving and should be. A single change in a belief or experience can cause a complete shift to subjective reality.  This is good because the current aim that the universe has relative to becoming conscious itself is to expand each subjective consciousness split within itself wide enough to accommodate all realities within itself, which allows the objective truth of the universe at large (itself) to be perceived.  It is a bit like consciously putting puzzle pieces together to see the overall picture. Creating your subjective reality consciously is super healthy as long as it is not done to the exclusion of other subjective perspectives, which is the exact opposite of awareness.  
To expand your grasp of reality, you must expand your perception as much as you can and even if it sucks to do sometimes, because you have absolutely no personal power from outside reality.  It just so happens that in a universe with multiple dimensions and therefore layers of truth, reality is often multi layered. At one level of reality, since everything in existence is created, all reality is as much of an illusion as it is real.  At one level of reality, since everything is just energy and beyond that atoms, it isn’t very dangerous for atoms to swim around with other atoms. At another level of reality, perceiving that you are swimming with fish, because it feels scary to admit to the reality that you are swimming with sharks, is a really bad idea if you are in fact swimming with sharks.

The Mandela Effect Explained

The mandela effect is essentially memories that do not match our current reality or the actual history of our reality.  Some examples of this are a painting of King Henry the 8th with a turkey leg in his hand that many people recall seeing in history books, but literally does not exist in any record now.  The Berenstain bears being spelled Berenstein previously. Memories of a man being run over by a tank in Tiananmen square. Agatha Christie never being found after her disappearance. Sinbad starring as a genie in a movie called Shazaam.  C3PO is remembered as being all gold, when in fact he always had one silver leg. Carmen Sandiego the cartoon character having a yellow trench coat long before the red one. The Fred Rogers song going “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” when in fact it’s “this neighborhood”.  That Martin Luther King was shot with a handgun at close range in front of a crowd.  In fact, he was shot by a sniper with a rifle while he was on a balcony of his hotel.  People also collectively have different recollections of the location of countries relative to one another.  They remember movies before they are even released. They remember different dates and numbers for things. You get the picture.
The reason why we call it the Mandela effect is that one of the earliest recorded occurrences of this is the apparently not accurate way that several people remembered Nelson Mandela’s death and funeral coverage.  People all over the world remembered identical details, including that he had died in prison and in the 80s. This is surprising seeing as how he died in 2013 of a respiratory infection at home.
People usually hate when answers are not as straightforward as one single explanation.  But when it comes to the mandela effect, there is not one explanation. The term is used to describe any discrepancy between a memory that many people share and the apparent truth of the reality they perceived.  Many things can and do cause this. Some things attributed to the mandela effect are media manipulation, government cover-ups and even societal gas-lighting. Some things attributed to the mandela effect are collective false memories based on the way that the human mind works in terms of perception.  Some things attributed to the mandela effect are the result of the human being’s capacity to perceive beyond the limitation of their current reality and timeline.
An example of the collective human mind creating false memory as a result of bias, association, misinformation and imagination is the popular children’s book and later TV series, the Berenstain bears.  It was always spelled Berenstain. But so many people, most especially parents reading to their children, pronounced it Berenstein that the mind itself adjusted its perception of the spelling of the name of the bear family.
Because history is almost always written by the victor, millions of things people remember throughout history that were in fact true, have become part of the vast array of re-written history.  In today’s world of government cover-ups and media pay offs and lobbying, this has only gotten worse instead of better.
Perhaps the most esoteric cause of the Mandela effect can be seen in the example of Martin Luther King.  Many people seek to explain the Mandela effect as being the result of humanity slipping in and out of parallel or alternate realities.  The universe is a multiverse. It is multi-dimensional and timelines within the universe are not linear. Our brain is designed only to perceive one of these dimensions and to focus and construct reality in a linear way.  Even though this is the case, consciousness itself is far beyond the brain. The brain is more like a computer, which is translating consciousness rather than it is the generator of consciousness. Because of this, we do have the capacity to perceive collective consciousness as opposed to our individual consciousness and we do have the capacity to perceive other dimensions as well as other life path potentials.
When media manipulation and cover-ups are not the cause, the perception of life path potentials accounts for a lot of the memories surrounding the less that accurate recollection of historical events.  The collective memory of Martin Luther King’s death was the perception of his most dominant life path potential. His pre-birth intention was to be assassinated. All of his life paths led to this same end.  However, there was variability regarding the assassination. The most dominant life path potential was to die in the exact way that most people remember him dying. He would have been in a crowd. He would have been killed at close range by a handgun and by a black woman.  On the day he would have died in this way, the woman did manage to stab him through the chest with a letter opener, but never removed the gun she was also carrying the day she stabbed him. However, the awareness he gained of the corruption of the government relative to civil rights caused him to abandon this life path potential as well as his second most likely life path potential.  His second most dominant life path potential was to be killed by a grenade thrown through the window by white men while he was at his home. The reason his soul stream chose the death he did end up choosing was to attempt to highlight the corruption of the government specifically. Sadly, that focus did not get placed where he had intended and instead was placed on James Earl Ray. Perhaps the best way to perceive this mentally is to watch a movie called Sliding Doors.     
Memory is both fallible and infallible because perception is.  You will experience conflicts between your memory and the reality you live in.  In a universe that is a multiverse with multiple dimensions and therefore parallel realities, where time and space is only a construction of some of those realities, it would take several books to explore the tip of the iceberg of the ways that this reality of the universe can effect the rather limited and linear, time space perception of a physical human.  Let’s say the “bleed throughs”, “glitches” or “paranormal situations” that can occur. When you desire to ponder parallel realities, simply remember that the universe has no interest in redundancy, which is why it does not tend to make multiple copies of a thing. But a thing can very well be multi dimensional in its nature.
As scary as it is, perception is much more complicated than we would like, for the sake of our sense of stability, to perceive.

React Positively Or Else!

Chances are you’ve read a million things about the importance of responding instead of reacting.  Chances are, especially if you listen to my material, you’ve also heard about the importance of validating people’s emotions and perspectives.  We’re not here today to talk about those things. We’re here to talk about a shadow that has piggybacked on these teachings that you’d do best to have your eye on.
So you can understand this shadow, let’s imagine that a man is in a marriage but has fallen in love with another woman.  He decided to tell his wife, who has been trying to encourage him to authentically share himself and his truth with her. When he tells her that he is in love with another woman, she gets really angry and also cries.  This man says to her “see… this is why I can’t be truthful or honest with you. I can’t be myself because this is how you react to my truth”. Though we can always get better at making this world a safe place to accommodate each other’s truths, it must be understood that there are two glaring issues with what happened in this scenario.  The first is, the man is making the owning and expression of his truth in the relationship dependent upon getting a positive reaction. The second is he is not making any space for her negative reaction. This means, he is still operating from a “your truth OR mine” perspective where there is not enough room in the relationship for both of them to feel how they feel and think what they think.
Can you imagine how painful and abusive it would feel to have your partner tell you that they have decided they don’t want to be married any more.  But if you get angry or start crying about it, you are the one shamed for reacting negatively and you are told that your negative reaction is the reason they had to cheat instead of be open that they fell in love with someone else months ago?  I actually watched this happen to a client of mine this week with my own eyes.
The shadow here is that a person’s basic message is: React positively or else.  React positively or you’re the asshole. React positively or you’re the narcissist.  React positively to the painful truth I’m telling you or I wont tell you the truth. React positively to a truth which hurts you, or you’re the reason I can’t be me.  React positively to any truth I share, or you are the one who doesn’t see things from an enlightened enough perspective.
We have an impossible time understanding unconditional love.  We misinterpret unconditional love as unconditional positivity.  Therefore, if we tell someone a truth about ourselves that hurts him or her, and they react negatively, we decide they don’t unconditionally love us.  We decide they don’t love us as we are. This is ridiculous when you really think about it. It is to make unconditional love about a person being able to be positive towards us no matter how hurt they are by us.  
For example, I knew a man whose wife decided that her truth was that she didn’t want to be a mother and instead wanted to be an actress, despite having two kids already.  When she told him this and that she had decided to move to LA alone for half the year, obviously he was extremely upset. But when he got upset about it, she told him that this is the reason she couldn’t be herself, because he would get upset about it.  Suddenly, the entire thing was deflected away from the fact that she had lied to him about wanting kids and wanting to be a housewife and instead the whole thing was put on him because by reacting negatively to the idea, he was discouraging her from being her true self.
It is totally understandable why people learn to be inauthentic and lie and be fake and act like chameleons.  The reason is that in our childhoods, we receive serious consequences for being ourselves and expressing our truths and trying to meet our needs directly.  Our survival depended on the people dolling out those consequences. So, we abandoned ourselves for the sake of survival. It’s terrifying to consider doing the opposite.  But we cannot make doing the opposite conditional upon every person reacting positively to us. We cannot require them to be inauthentic and be positive so we can be honest.          
There are many times in our adult life that we will find ourselves in scenarios where some truth we need to share about ourselves or some best interest we need to stand by, will negatively impact others.  This is especially true if we’ve committed to the path of authenticity. We may have built a life of lies and people may have based their lives around those lies we told ourselves and them. We cannot require them to react well or even respond well when we tell them these truths.  We cannot make them wrong for having a negative reaction and we cannot make the telling of our truth conditional upon them reacting positively towards it. This is a really bad game of leverage. With this shadow, we put people in a muzzle. You’re unconsciously saying “don’t be authentic so that I can be authentic”.  This is especially the case with anger. A lot of people have such a trigger around anger that they require no one to ever be angry for them to share their truth.
There is a common misunderstanding in the spiritual field and that is that when people are responding; it will always be positive.  In other words, any time someone does or says something negative, it is a reaction. This is not the case. Even after a person has had time to digest a situation, be mindful and conscious about it, and is empowered in terms of choosing their response, the response may be a negative one from the perspective of the person on the other end.      
Though it is perfectly understandable why a negative reaction or response from others makes it harder to be yourself, from universal perspective, it is no one’s fault if you can’t be authentic but your own because it is considered to be a choice you are making to not be authentic so as to avoid whatever consequence.  People are going to react to things. Those reactions will not always be positive. To expect them to not react is to be in illusion and to make them responsible for you being able to be you.
It may not be easy to do and we may all find ourselves in situations where we don’t own or express a truth because we have consciously decided authenticity is not worth the consequence.  But we must also be aware that owning our truth is a decision we can make regardless of negative reactions. Throughout history, people have figured this out and have even chosen to be put to death rather than to abandon their truth.  It’s tempting to believe that it’s not worth it in this kind of scenario. But there may be certain personal truths that are worth dying for because living out of alignment with them is not a life at all.
A person is a programmable being.  We are susceptible to negative and positive reinforcement patterns.  But consciousness is capable of transcending these patterns. It is also capable of intrinsic motivation, which is much deeper than extrinsic punishment or reward.  Expecting a person to dance on the table for us and clap their hands when we tell them something that opposes their best interests is cruelty.
If we show or tell someone a truth about ourselves, it will cause them to become more clear about their truth.  We have to develop the capacity to make room for both truths.  If you have difficulty feeling safe enough to share your truth, practice doing it with people who are not going to be negatively impacted by that truth first.  This is one of the main reasons that a good therapist is worth their weight in gold. If your truth is that you are gay, that isn’t going to effect their life at all, they can respond well to it.  If your parents on the other hand are convinced you’re going to hell because of it, they will not react well and expecting them to react well is a set up for yourself and them.
If you need to express a truth that is going to negatively impact people, expect them to react negatively.  Don’t make them responsible for you being able or not able to speak your truth or be yourself. Accommodate their negative truth about whatever you have expressed in the same way that you are expecting them to accommodate the truth that you are sharing with them, which they perceive to be a negative one.  In a relationship, there has to be enough space for both people’s truths, this includes negative emotion as well. Don’t muzzle them by expecting them to react positively to truths that negatively impact them in the same way that you should not muzzle yourself by only telling truths that will be met with positive reaction.

OWN Your Best Interests

Chances are, you have been socialized to believe that to be included and valued and loved by other people you have to be a good person.  Basically, you have to be a good person to get your needs met in human society. The worst thing in the world is to be selfish. Because of this, you have been taught to abandon your best interests for other people’s best interests.  The thing is, this is a huge crossing of your wires and as a result, though you see yourself as a good guy for abandoning your best interests, abandoning your best interests makes you a covert bad guy.
You have heard me talk a lot about the zero sum game in relationships.  A zero sum game being “I win and you lose”. It is not possible to create a relationship that will work if there is a zero sum game being played.  The reason is that trust cannot exist within a zero sum game. To trust someone is to rely upon someone to capitalize on your best interests. So obviously in a zero sum game, the opposite is occurring.  An example of a zero sum game is a couple where one person has decided that they want an open relationship and the other wants a monogamous relationship. If the person who wants an open relationship simply goes and sleeps with other people, he or she is playing a zero sum game.  If the person who wants a monogamous relationship says “tough, you committed to me so we’re in a monogamous relationship” he or she is also playing a zero sum game. There is no win-win in the scenario. To understand trust, which is the most important part of a relationship, watch my video titled: What is Trust and How To Build Trust in Relationships.     
Parents and caregivers are the ones who teach children to play zero sum games in relationships.  This is because a child is treated as sub-human. An adult has more power and tends not to accommodate a child’s best interests, especially when that parent is convinced that they know what is best for the child.  For example, if child is miserable in a certain situation, a parent will usually say, “You’re going anyway” and invalidate the child’s perspective in some way. But many parents take it one step further. When their child expressed his or her best interests, they shame their child for it.  They call their child selfish for it. They teach their child that to be good and to have a chance at meeting any of their needs and to show their parents love, they should abandon their best interests. The child is literally systematically programmed to disown his or her best interests.
When we have disowned our best interests, we have swung to the opposite side of the pendulum from people who are so attached to their own best interests that they refuse to accommodate other people’s best interests.  The funny thing is, this opposite pendulum swing also creates a zero sum game. We have created a set up. The set up is that when we disown our best interests, we force other people around us to enter into a zero sum game that they never knew they were playing and never intended to play and none the less, we punish them for it.  
In a business situation, it is expected that whatever other business you are doing business with, will acknowledge your best interests and if there is now way to accommodate them, then there is no business deal.  The best interests of the two companies would then be considered incompatible. Therefore the conversation is no longer about how to create a business deal. It is about what to do in light of the incompatibility so that both parties feel resolved about there being no business deal.   Seems straightforward right? But we have a hard time realizing that for a relationship to be good, the relationship has to run the same way.  We don’t commit to creating win-wins in our relationships.  We don’t change or end relationships with people who play zero sum games.  Instead, we bank on the fact that the other person’s best interest is to stay with us and so we give ourselves room to play zero sum games with them.  We keep people as partners and friends even though they play zero sum games because we think not being alone is in our best interests. We don’t want to face incompatibility in relationships.  For this reason, I highly suggest you watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships.
Something most people don’t get is that facing incompatibility is part of accommodating both your and other people’s best interests.  A fish can’t be in the air and a bird can’t be underwater. If a third option can’t be found, it is in the best interests of both to face that incompatibility rather than to demand that a fish fly or a bird swims.                 
In a relationship, just like in good business, you need to really know what your best interests are and really own them.  When you own them, you are taking responsibility for caretaking those best interests. A big part of this is clearly communicating what your best interests are to people in your life.  Not doing this sets a person up to be a bad guy even when they aren’t.
I often say that all it takes to become a narcissist around a person who is really codependent is to have an opinion, take the lead, be honest or ask for something.  The reason is that a person who adapts this codependent style of relationship interaction, disowns themselves in order to meet their needs covertly. This includes their best interests.  The person who disowns their best interests, does not take any responsibility for caretaking their best interests or communicating them. Instead, they expect the people in their lives to be psychic.  They expect them to not only be psychic so as to know what their best interests are, but also for people to own and therefore take the full responsibility of their best interests for them.
Underneath this behavior, is the programmed belief/expectation that if this other person loved them, he or she would sacrifice their own best interests for them.  This is after all how they have been trained to show their love to mom and dad and everyone else in their life. It only makes sense that other people would reciprocate.  But the thing is, they don’t. And then they get to see those people as total self centered, narcissistic ass holes. This moral judgment about what people should do (and especially should know to do) relative to the best interests that were never even communicated, demolishes relationships.     
This is a big reason why some people feel like they are constantly self-sacrificing to all the selfish people in their lives.  The thing is, the people in their lives have been expected to be psychic about their best interests and know when yes means no.  And they have been expected to own best interests that were never even communicated, keep transactions they never knew they were getting into and sacrifice their own best interests to prove their love.  
It’s tempting to see these self sacrificing people who are always conforming to the best interests of others as the good guys… As the ones who are saintly and used by everyone.  Don’t jump to this conclusion so fast. Have you noticed that everyone around them are bad guys? Perhaps that isn’t because they actually are bad guys. Everyone around them seems to be playing a zero sum game with them.  Perhaps it’s because are they setting everyone around them up to play a zero sum game that those people don’t even know they are playing.
I’ll give you an example of this dynamic.  Someone I know started a business. She figured that it would be a good opportunity for a friend of hers (who hated his job) to offer for him to come work with her and start the company with her instead.  She paid him a salary. When the articles of incorporation were written, 100 percent ownership of the company was written to the name of the woman who started the business. The man who had quit his job to work with her to start the business knew this and said nothing about it.  Years later, this friend wanted to move into a different house with his girlfriend. Because it cost more money than he had, he approached her to ask for twenty thousand dollars. She was totally shocked during that conversation to find out that without ever communicating the expectation, he had not seen the opportunity she gave him as an opportunity to work as an employee, but instead saw himself as a business partner and instead expected that because he started the business with her, regardless of what the articles of incorporation said, that she would simply give him a portion of the company or buy him a house when he needed it or at the very least give him a lump sum of money that a partner in a company would be entitled to, incase he ever ask for it.  It was a transaction that she never knew she was getting into. A debt she never knew she was accruing. It was one she would have said no to from the beginning. But nonetheless, her refusal to agree with his estimation of the situation and her refusal to conform to his vision of what being a good person in the situation would mean, she got to be branded as the narcissistic bad guy and their relationship still has not recovered from it. She wasn’t actually playing a zero sum game, but the man in this scenario thought she was. Really, it was him that did not own his best interests or communicate them from the get go, so they could never be accommodated in the first place.
If I had a quarter for every time I’ve been sitting with a woman who is complaining about how selfish her husband is and how he never takes the best interests of the kids or her into consideration because he never spends time with them, only to watch him call and say he’s gonna be home late; to which she says “Ok sweetheart, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow” and then hangs up the phone and rolls her eyes as if the call was a validation of what she’s been saying, I’d be a rich as hell.  
By not owning your best interests, you make it impossible to consider you or accommodate those best interests.  You make it impossible to find a win win. You also make it impossible to figure out that there is incompatibility that needs to be faced in the relationship until it’s so late that the incompatibility will create serious pain to you both.  If you don’t own your best interests, you are very dangerous to be in a relationship with because you unconsciously frame people.
Whether you directly own your best interests or not, you can’t get rid of them like you think you can.  They are essentially needs. If you try to disown your needs, all that happens is that you will manipulate to get them met.  To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: Meet Your Needs. If the pattern of disowning your best interests runs deep enough, the way you will covertly meet your needs and unconsciously manipulate to meet your best interests is through the pity you get for being the victim.  You will turn everyone around you into the bad guy so that you see yourself as good and so that other people see you as good and you get the kickbacks of being the underdog, even when you actually aren’t.
The nicest person in the world could be forced by you into a zero sum game they never knew they were playing and definitely never wanted to win, if you disown your best interests.  So, even if it is terrifying and runs totally counter to everything you’ve been taught, the time had come to re-own them. The time has come to really become conscious of what your best interests are in any scenario and to clearly communicate them.  Love is not about self-sacrifice. Love is about finding the win-win. Love is about mutual accommodation of each other’s best interests and consciously facing incompatibility if no win-win exists.

Are you a Friend or a Foe under the Guise of a Friend?

As you probably already know by now, people can have all kinds of things that they, themselves are totally unconscious of.  In fact, our conscious mind may completely contradict our subconscious mind. For example, we may consciously think and say that we love helping people, but the deeper truth is that we hate it and we only do it so that we get appreciation and guaranteed alliance with people.  We may have suppressed our anger long ago and as a result, even though we are very angry, we don’t notice that we feel angry and think of ourselves instead as a super peaceful person. One of these unconscious patterns plays out in our friendships and partnerships, and if not seen and resolved, can ruin relationships entirely.
The pattern that is unconscious and that makes you (who consciously sees yourself as a friend and ally) actually a foe on a subconscious level, is the need to be the person who ‘reflects their shadow to them’.  In less spiritual circles, this is the need to be the one who can ‘call them on their shit’. This is a position where you can feel a lot of pride in your relationships. But the identification you have with being able to do this for someone does not come from a healthy place.  It is not the loving position that you tell yourself it is.             
People in the awareness community use the word “shadow” to mean two different things.  1. Something that a person is unaware of and is therefore unconscious of and 2. Something about them that is either bad, wrong or out of alignment.  If I had my way, we would stop using the word shadow for both things. A shadow is something that a person is unconscious of. When they become conscious of it, it is no longer a shadow.  Some of the things that we become aware of about ourselves, we and/or others judge to be bad and wrong. Any time we have this judgment, we need to question it. That being said, sometimes we can accurately feel the “offness” of certain patterns within ourselves or others.  Meaning that something a person is thinking, saying or doing, is not in alignment with their desires, wellbeing and perhaps the wellbeing of others. This pattern of being out of alignment in some way is often what people call someone’s “shadow”. I would rather this be called someone’s misalignment.  
What you have to consider is that there is a potential that you might be projecting that something is “off” about someone when it is you that is off.  It is quite common for us to perceive someone as misaligned any time something they are thinking, saying or doing is out of alignment with our desires for them.  And our desires for them are usually because of what we want for ourselves.  A better way of putting this is that we run the risk of thinking someone is out of alignment with their desires, wellbeing and the wellbeing of others when what they are out of alignment with is our overlay.  To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: Overlay, What Prevents You From Having a Real Relationship.
When it comes to this particular pattern we are talking about today, it is you that is misaligned.  It is obvious that if people are close to us, they may perceive things about us that we are not aware of.  They may see when we are misaligned. When a person in our life really loves us, the energy behind them making us aware of these things is an assist.  It feels pure because there is no subconscious strategy on their end.  But if there is a subconscious strategy behind this “reflection”, no matter how much the person thinks they are telling us what they are telling us for our own good, it will feel like they are taking something away from us, instead of adding to our wellbeing by assisting us.  
Taking pride in (or being identified with) being the one who reflects someone’s shadows to them (or who calls them on their shit) feels bad because it is a power play.  It has the energy inherent within it of “I challenge you and I oppose you” not “I assist you”. If you have this shadow, you distrust people at the core. You have slipped into the illusion of self vs. other.  You are not practicing love because you do not actually see other people as a part of yourself. Therefore, what you can’t see about yourself is that you call people on their shadows out of fear. It is all about your sense of wellbeing rather than it is about the wellbeing of the person you are trying to reflect something to.  
The reality is that if you have this shadow, you already see the person you are needing to ‘call on their shadows’ as the bad guy whether you admit to it or not.  You therefore distrust their capacity to see themselves and distrust their internal compass and distrust them with yourself and distrust them with others. And so, on a subconscious level, you try to use their vulnerability against them for the sake of your own safety.  When you are able to show them something that they don’t see about themselves or call them on their shit, it feels like a win for you. In that moment, you get to feel the boost of a sense of safety and self-confidence that comes with superiority. You have one-upped them.  
When this pattern becomes even unhealthier is when you try to endear yourself to someone with this pattern.  You see yourself as indispensable to them and try to convince them you are indispensable and they must defer to your judgment specifically because no one else is as good at seeing their shadow and therefore no one can really see them as clearly as you can.  This isolates them. Therefore their health and wellbeing depends on keeping you around to see the bad and wrong things about them that they cannot see about themselves.  The underlying message being conveyed is “I am the only one who sees the truth of you, it just so happens that truth isn’t good”. The reality is that you don’t actually see them.  You only think you do. You see only those things about them that might pose a threat to you in some way.
This subconscious pattern is much easier to see in people when they are around someone who is in a position of power.  If people perceive themselves to be powerless and being powerless to someone in the past has hurt them, they will be immediately triggered by people who they perceive to be more powerful than they are.  They tend to associate nothing good with power, only badness. This means all a person has to do to trigger this dynamic is to be a leader or an achiever or an authority or an expert or more wealthy or more beautiful or more famous or anything else which seems to give them the upper hand.  For the sake of their own safety, they either want to be the one who is always in the position of power with the upper hand, or for society to be completely egalitarian where hierarchy does not exist and everyone is equal at all times. In other words, they are either concerned with being the one in absolute power or they are in a crusade against power in general so no one ever has power over anyone else.
I can personally attest to this one.  People with this shadow LOVE to think of themselves as the ones who can see things about me that I can’t.  After all, my life purpose has put me in the position of authority and therefore power relative to awareness and seeing shadows.  So there is hardly a more superior position in the world than being the one who sees the shadows of the shadow seer and who is more aware than the awareness leader.           
People with this shadow often use two excuses to maintain this misalignment within themselves.  This first is “Not everyone can see their own shadows”. This is a truth that is being exploited to justify harmful behavior.  The second is “look at history”. History is full of plenty of examples of people (especially people in power) who became perpetrators because of what they did not see about themselves.  People with this shadow hate “yes people” and perceive these historical tyrants to have been surrounded by yes people. Yes people being people who never oppose the tyrant and therefore enable horrible things.  This hatred of yes people is simply their own unresolved hurt about someone in their life who enabled the person in power to hurt them in the past. Again, this is a truth that is being exploited to justify harmful behavior.  
Due to all this, people with this shadow tend to play the devil’s advocate all the time.  Playing the devil’s advocate in this scenario is an attempt to get someone they already see as the bad guy in a position of power to consider the other, which they perceive to be the underdog.  Because they are identified with the underdog, what they are defending through devil’s advocacy is really the disempowered part of themselves. Essentially, they try to keep you both good and safe by knocking you down so you never have power.
It may be interesting to note that when people play devil’s advocate, they usually have a subconscious perception that if a person is upset at someone else, that person they are upset at is going to get hurt.  This perception that they are about to get hurt, triggers their need to defend. Basically, the minute someone could get hurt, they become the underdog to the one that could hurt them and thus the one this person identifies with and will argue on behalf of.  Again, they will subconsciously be defending themselves in their position of perceived powerlessness vicariously.      
There is a deeper layer here that needs to be mentioned.  When children are made to feel powerless by people in power and hurt because of that imbalance of power, children tend to stay safe by letting go of their identity so as to please the person in a position of power.  Instead of being themselves, they be whatever the person in power wants them to be. This hurts. They secretly hate the person in power for this. When they begin to heal out of this pattern, instead of simply figuring out who they are and what they want and becoming free and empowered themselves, they rebel.  Rebellion is in fact a disempowered state. Essentially, they can only feel a sense of themselves by feeling opposition. Antagonism is the way they feel defined.
If you can recognize this shadow in yourself, don’t worry about whether or not someone can see their shadows in general or not.  If you are concerned with this, realize you don’t trust the person and the focus needs to be placed on that distrust you have for them (or people in general) instead.  The real thing you need is not for them to see their shadow; it is for you to have more power. And in this situation, you are powerless to your own shadow.
You need to see that power is not the problem.  It never was. Power does not corrupt; it simply magnifies someone’s character.  This means, it would suit you to see power as a tool, more like fire. Someone can have lots of fire.  If that person with the fire wants to hurt people, they will do something different with it than someone who wants to make people feel good will.
Focus on developing a strong sense of self.  For you specifically, I have three videos, which will help you immensely.  The first is: Personal Boundaries Vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries). The second is: How To Be Authentic. And the third is: People Are Not All Equal.
Try to understand something that someone is doing and face your own resistance to it BEFORE you make something wrong.  It is only by really creating resolution for our own resistance to something that we can arrive at the truth about something.  For example, someone might think dressing sexy is wrong. But it is only by facing their own resistance to people dressing sexy and seeing where that resistance came from and questioning it that they can separate resistance from truth relative to dressing sexy, whatever that truth may be.  
Also, practice love.  To love something is to consider it to be part of yourself.  This is a serious concept when you really get it. It demolishes power dynamics.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: What Is Love? When you are able to practice love, the reflections you give someone will be for them, not against them.  And remember, we can be in total denial about something being for someone when it is really against them.  We can also be in total denial that we are doing something for someone else’s benefit, when we are really doing it for our own benefit alone.
When someone does present an opposing opinion or show someone their shadows from outside this shadow, the flavor of it changes from a challenge to an assist.  It doesn’t register as a rebellion, as antagonism or as a power play.  Resolve this shadow in you or else you will be a foe, not a friend. And remember… at this rather psychological level of conversation, the devil doesn’t need any more advocates.


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