My commentary on Anthony Lemme’s post on caring about what other people think about us

A great post from my friend Anthony Lemme below.

My commentary with an exercise to step into this State of Being, below that.

Do yourself and humanity a solid and let people have their experience of you.

Let them have their assessments, assumptions, judgments and opinions.

Especially the ridiculous or less than favorable ones.

Oftentimes, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track.

As much as it may hurt, piss you off or seem unfair and unreasonable, I promise you won’t die if someone doesn’t approve of you or is thinking or saying things about you that are inaccurate.

In fact, one of the greatest load-lightening practices one can undertake in life is to be OK with being misinterpreted, misunderstood or having a less than perfect approval rating.

For many of us this is quite challenging.

Especially in a world where being self-preoccupied, overly image-conscious and fixated on external approval and validation is often reinforced and rewarded.

Another invaluable load-lightning practice is to be curious rather than defensive or reactive.

If you’re having trouble with someone’s assessment of or commentary on you (or anything for that matter) and can’t seem to let it go, rather than getting your metaphorical panties in a bunch or knickers in a knot, try being curious.

And if you’re not wearing panties or knickers, metaphorical or real, congratulations, you’re ahead of the game!

But I digress.

Back to being curious…

Try moving your attention inward toward yourself before turning it outward toward others, making them wrong or turning them into an enemy.

What’s happening for me?
What am I feeling?
What’s my reaction to this really about?
What am I defending?

Is my actual safety or well-being being compromised or am I merely protecting my identity and image of myself?
Am I projecting or adding something onto this situation or person that’s not really there?
Is transference or countertransference occurring?

Is this something that, like it or not, comes with the territory of an activity I’m engaging in or a role I’m playing that I’m going to have to grow some thicker skin around?
What would have them say or think that?
Is there something I’m not seeing or getting about myself?
Is there any truth in it, even a small percentage, that might be useful to take in?

There may be no logical reason for someone to dislike or disparage you other than their own “fuckedupness” running amok (I say this playfully and with a lot love, as we all have our particular flavors of mischief-causing fuckedupness that runs amok at times).

And there might be a reason that makes total sense.
It might be a beautiful opportunity to cultivate more understanding and shared reality with another.
It might be an opportunity to create a new connection or deepen an existing one.

It might be an opportunity to be less attached to, sensitive about and protective of your image.
It might be an opportunity to see where you’re jammed up or where you’re too easily blown around by the winds of life.

It might be an opportunity to speak up, set some much needed boundaries or clean some house.
It’ll definitely be an opportunity to cultivate more awareness and improve resiliency.

At the end of the day, including resource depleting campaigns and efforts to influence and manipulate, we have next to no control over what others think and say about us.

Best to accept this, move forward and enjoy the gift of being alive rather than contracting and resisting.

It’ll free up a lot of energy that can be used for things much more beneficial and productive than being upset and looping in uncomfortable feelings, engaging in a victim narrative or taking a defensive posture when there’s no real need to.

That doesn’t mean you have to like it and it does mean you have to get over it, get over yourself and get on with your life and the tasks at hand.

For the sake of clarity, I’m not talking about extreme situations.

If someone is saying wildly untrue things about you that are legitimately compromising your safety, freedom, relationships, reputation or work in the world, by all means do what you need to do within the law to put an end to it or set the record straight.

Same goes if you’re seeing it happen to someone else.
That sort of thing is not OK and should never be tolerated.
Life is way too short and way too precious to spend worrying about or trying to manage the experience and behavior of others.

Let others be themselves and have their own experience of things.

If you’re a solid, kind, considerate person living a life of integrity and paying deep attention, staying open to feedback, cleaning up your messes and course correcting as you go, those around you and those who truly know and love you will know the truth.

And although everybody matters and should be considered, when all is said and done, our relationship with and experience of ourselves and those nearest and dearest are the ones that matter most.

End of random, unsolicited, long-winded public service announcement.

Anthony is spot on.

Here’s an exercise for people to work on this:

1. Write down 3 things you believe with high conviction that some of your friends will find controversial or vehemently disagree with.

2. Write a post on Facebook about one of these things.

3. Stand in the storm of outrage and meditate on Anthony’s post about not worrying about what other people think of you.

4.Watch how once the storm has passed everything is mostly the same. You may have lost some friends, but you’ll also have gained some. The net benefit will be that you attracted people you are truly aligned with and repelled people you aren’t. That’s a win.

5. You will most likely feel very liberated and feel a significant increase in your capacity for self-expression and find a new level of personal creativity that was shut off for fear of getting kicked out of the tribe.

6. As you ponder partaking in this exercise what is your resistance? What are your reasons for not doing this? What are you afraid will happen?

*And if you’re not built or ready to take this kind of risk (yet) that’s okay, too.

Taking Responsibility For Your Partner’s Emotional State As The Gateway to Relationship Success and Spiritual Oneness

Tara and I were talking about our partnership and one of the biggest reasons why it is working so well.

And that reason is that we both take responsibility for each other’s emotional state.

We don’t tell each other to go deal with anything on their own.

We don’t say, “what you’re feeling, that’s yours to deal with, that’s not mine. That’s for you to process on your own”.

We believe that whatever is arising for one of us, is the responsibility of both of us.

We take attachment theory seriously, and its recommendation that the best way to create a flourishing relationship is to cultivate the qualities of a ‘secure functioning relationship’.

And this is a central quality of a secure functioning relationship: making taking care of each other’s emotional state a top priority, and recognizing that we have a duty to hold each other through pain and discomfort, even when we don’t feel like it; even when we are at our own limits, that means the situation is demanding us to grow and expand our capacity.

A secure relationship is NOT about two individuals just coexisting, sleeping together and trying to tiptoe around their partners’ weakness, hidden feelings or triggers, because one person feels like they can’t handle them if they came out…

A secure relationship is about embracing EVERYTHING about your partner, recognizing that for the partnership to truly work, two people must MERGE their identities, and create a new Whole that is greater than the sum of its Parts.

A secure relationship is about two people coming together and birthing a new third entity — a new identity that envelopes them both, where the individual identity is still there but the new identity of the Relationship is more Significant than the individual’s separate autonomous identities — like a a large sphere with two smaller spheres inside of it. You are both the small sphere and the large sphere, but the large sphere becomes more important.

[[And for my polyamorous friends this model is just as relevant, if not more relevant, only instead of 2 small spheres inside the large sphere there are now 3 or more small spheres inside the large sphere.  But there has to be a large sphere, *securely containing* all the small spheres otherwise it won’t work. (Analysis of Why and a description of all the failure states is a different post).]]

From this vantage point, of course you prioritize taking care of your partner’s emotional state, whatever it is, because you have a MERGED identity state, and their emotional state IS your emotional state. They are you and you are them.

And this points to a deeper timeless, spiritual truth:

Identity isn’t a tangible, solid thing. Identity is just a construction. It’s just a software program. It’s just a map we have about “what is us” and “what is not us”. And that map can change and be re-written.

Phantom Limb experiments by V.S. Ramachandran are one the anomalies that evidence this profound truth. Some amputee patients would feel like their removed limb was hurting them even though it was no longer there. Why? Their identity pattern still believed the limb was a part of them, even though it was not, but they felt pain in their non-existent limb nonetheless. In other words their software dictated their reality and felt experience of pain more than their hardware. To remedy this ailment, Ramachandran came up with a therapy using a box and two mirrors that would give the appearance of re-animating the cut off limb that would enable the patient to interact with the limb, get rid of the chronic pain by re-patterning this faulty software program.

So the first order of this deep spiritual truth is that Identity is changeable. The second order is that Identity can evolve to include you and your partner, so that you and your partner are One. The third order spiritual truth is that there is no limit to how far you can expand your identity, once you’ve realized it’s changeable. You can expand your identity to include the entire world and kosmos, so that it is all You.

This is what all the great sages and mystics point to, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, when they say, “We’re All One. Love your self. Love your neighbor as yourself. Because your neighbor is yourself. It’s all Love.”

You can have a taste of that identity expansion through merging your identity with your partner. This begins with taking full responsibility for their emotional state.

…And then maybe sometime, in many years or lifetimes, you’ll be ready to take responsibility for the emotional state of all sentient beings.

On Tolerating Shit In Your Life

A post on Community, Integrity, and Calling Out People who Cross Your Threshold Of Shit.

On Christmas an article in the NYTimes was published entitled, “A Spiritual Leader Gains Stature, Trailed by a Troubled Past”, that is essentially an exposé on Marc Gafni, rehashing old transgressions of his because he and his organizations are gaining significant power again.

The article served as a lightning rod for a large amount of latent energy to come rushing to the surface, desiring to take Marc Gafni down.

I read a fair amount of the commentary and posts being written because I know Marc, the Integral community he is a part of, and many people who are both strong supporters and detractors of him.

I am also very interested and invested in the concepts and constructs of Community, Integrity, Forgiveness, Standards and Morality.

One of the most insightful statements I read written about Marc’s past and path was that the “systematic vulnerability he is exposing is preying on those who live by the ‘benefit of the doubt’”.

The idea that “benefit of the doubt’ is a systemic vulnerability that is regularly being exploited really hit home for me.

And I began pondering a related concept I’m calling the Threshold of Shit.

What is the Threshold of Shit we’re willing to tolerate from people in our lives before we’re willing to do something about it?

I believe many people’s and their community’s Thresholds of Shit are way too high.

Thus, their life and community is interspersed and surrounded by lots of Shit.

I see people doing shitty things do other people all the time with impunity and almost zero accountability, because 1) it is not illegal and 2) the community of people close to them is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

This includes Very Shitty things like: Treating Romantic Partners Terribly in Breaking up. Fucking over Business Partners. Exploiting Customers with Borderline Immoral Marketing.

And less Shitty, but still Shitty things like: Narcissistically ignoring anyone else’s Reality, Unwittingly Projecting Negative Emotional States Onto Other People. Not Taking Responsibility for One’s Own Actions and Energy.

I want to live in a world and community where people get called on their SHIT.

And not when it becomes a Pile of Shit…Right When They Shit. Redhanded.

1) It keeps places beautiful, smelling nice, growing, healthy and clean.

2) It actually serves the Shitter. Once they know they can’t get away with their shit, the incentives of the system are such that there are no more shitty shortcuts to get what they want. The only way to get what they want is to BECOME A BETTER PERSON.

I’m annoyed and angered by how many shitty things people get away with because the Threshold of Shit most people are willing to Tolerate is just way too high.

I won’t stand for Shitheads in my life nor shitheads in the community I’m growing.

If you shit on me or my community members you will be called out and…

Then given the opportunity to atone, improve and enter right relationship with right action.

Or if not, Taken Down by a White Hot Sword of Truth. (h/t to Adam Gordon for inspiration for the imagery wink emoticon )

Most of this post isn’t about Marc, it’s about what reading about Marc brought up for me.

I haven’t read enough or talked to enough people to have a position I’m confidently willing to get behind. But for now what I’d say is, I like much of Marc’s writing and his vision for an Integral Spiritual World, but given his past abuses of power, and the amount of mistrust that clearly surrounds him I don’t see how he can be the Leader of an Organization without betraying his own values. For if he stands for a Movement that envisions a new kind of Wise, Loving and Trustable World…but the Movement and World he wants to see come into Reality loses trust, credibility and momentum as a result of him leading it, I don’t see how he can put himself in a leadership role unless he values his own personal power and expression more than the movement and ideals he stands for.

TLDR: Don’t Tolerate Shit in Your Life. Call out the Shitheads. Enjoy Peace, Serenity, and Mutual Accelerated Growth.

Reading My Poem: Triggers

Reading my Poem: Triggers

Experimenting with new Creative Expression:

Here’s a recording of me reading a poem I wrote this morning.

I was channeling some of my fast tongued rap idols, so I recommend reading along with the lyrics below.


Learn to love your Triggers.
Frequently originating from Incomplete Parental Figures.
For they are the keys to the doors of your Shadow Side.
The taming of the Horse, giving your Mind a Wild Ride.
Open the doors wide and let the Light Shine In.
Let the Love Flow In.
And your Higher Self will be Awakening.
Your Self-Contraction Forsakening.
Grabbing life by the horns now.
All of life for the Takening.
Heart Blown Open.
Giving birth to a new you, Laboring.
Savoring, Reality’s Wholeness Radiating into your skin like Sun Rays.
Baking in.
Sitting on the Throne of your Life, Reigning In.
Showering the World with your Presence.
You came to Win.


Why Falling out of Love Feels like Death

I wrote a comment on a friend’s wall a few days ago that had a lot of resonance, thought I’d re-share it here:


I wonder
how biology
can explain
the physical pain
you feel
in your chest
you long
to be
with someone.


I can get you close.

When you break up with someone you Love it is experientially similar to Death, because a Death is happening. Your Identities merged and now a part of that Identity is Dying.

So whatever is the Biological correlate to the Psycho-Spiritual pain experienced during the Death of a Loved one, is similar during a break up.

The longing for Love is almost the inverse of that.

You feel the Unrealized Potential of Identity Merging Love and that Unrealized Potential feels like death.

What is Dying is the Vision in your mind and heart not (yet) coming Alive.

Death, Destruction and the Systemic Viewpoint

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I only had [80 minutes]” – Blaise Pascal

My Facebook feed today is overrun with messages of loss, grief, and hope for the recovery and renewal of Harbin Springs in the wake of the Lake County fire that rapidly and unexpectedly destroyed its physical manifestation.

I have only been to Harbin once in January 2015, and feel fortunate I was to get a brief taste of its magical energy before its current incarnation passed yesterday from this world.

Due to my limited personal experience with Harbin I don’t have much to say in terms of what it meant to me, but as I awoke from my evening power nap, I realized I have some thoughts I would like to share on Loss, Relationship (with people or places), Recovery and Restorative Responsibility.

In processing loss some of the most important questions we can ask are:

What was good, true, and beautiful about this experience?
What can learn from this experience which is now over?
What do we want to take with us? What do we want to let go of?
How can we best honor this experience, letting it indelibly permeate our being?

Then some of the most important questions are about responsibility, first in the past up to the present.

In the ending of this experience what was due chance? What was mine? What was theirs? What was projection? What was innate structural misalignment? Was there anything I could have done differently to have reached a different outcome? Would any of those other outcomes have been better for me or for them?

Then feeling into the future, potent questions to ask yourself are:

Given what I’ve now processed about the past and present, what do I want for the future?
And given what I’ve now processed about the past and present how will my plans, actions and energy be different now going forward, so that I learn from my mistakes, trials and challenges rather than repeat them?
Am I ready to let some part of me die so that I may become a person capable of holding this bigger future?
Am I ready to give up being a victim, give up being powerless, give up being right, give up being small and do my very best to take the vision of my best future self into my own hands, and commit to stepping into that version of myself, right now and always…developing the meta-cognitive awareness to recognize when I’m out alignment and coming back to my higher self, continuously, faster and faster…. just like the breath in concentration meditative practice?

There are some right answers to these questions and some wrong ones. Some things are objectively true, and something are objectively not. But most of the potent territory lies in the realm of the subjective, and in the union of multiple subjective experiences into a dynamic intersubjective.

There are no wrong answers in the subjective realm. Nobody can invalidate your subjective truth. There are no facts here either. Only your story. Only your interpretation of what happened. And interpretations can change. Through personal reflection. Through wise reflection from friends. Through truly hearing another person and seeing what happened through their eyes and their perspective. And there is no time limit to updating our interpretation of our lives. They can happen anytime and in an instant.

Over the years, I have found myself leading many friends through various forms of Relationship transitions, and while these questions are more related to human to human relationships, they are still quite relevant to our relationships to spiritual refuges like Harbin Hot Springs.

So what is my essential interpretation of what happened in my community’s tragic *break up* with Harbin Hot Springs?

Much of what needs to be said is already being said by the community, beautifully, poetically, and with ripped open hearts. So with my global systematic strategic orientation, this is what I feel most called to add the conversation:

I believe the destruction of Harbin Hot Springs is a tragedy that did not need to happen. It was always probabilistically possible for Harbin to physically die in a fire. But its chances of occurring have been drastically and significantly increased by Global Warming and the increase of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere.

Professor George Lakoff said Global Warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy. And by extension it is relatively easy to claim that Global Warming systematically caused the destruction of Harbin Hot Springs.

Global Warming dramatically increases the probability and frequency of Extreme Weather events like massive fires, massive droughts and massive hurricanes.

So when you feel the pain of Harbin Hot Springs, feel into the pain of what was lost. But then feel fully into what it represents.

Perhaps the biggest lesson in Harbin’s death is right there in its name.


A HARBINger of what’s to come if humanity does not step in take responsibility for how our global energy system since the Dawn of the Industrial Revolution has externalized harm to the environment, and now threatens so much of what we hold dear and love about this beautiful world.

Let the pain of the loss of Harbin wash over you and then feel into the potential loss of hundreds of places like Harbin all over the world, with hundreds of millions of people losing their homes, and their livelihoods.

The pain and suffering you feel in the loss of Harbin will be amplified 100 fold if we do not transition to a fully Renewable Global Energy System and safely Geoengineer the planet back down to Pre-Industrialized levels of Greenhouse Gases.

Then let that pain be your fuel, your motivation to prevent this suffering from occurring in the future.

Commit to building a sustainable world where tragedies like this do not become a regular occurrence.

I wish I had an organization or a metastrategic plan of action to direct people to who could use the pain of this tragedy to contribute to successful systemic remediation of Global Warming.

Unfortunately I have not seen any person, plan or organization adequate to the the complexity and immensity of the task.

An adequate plan requires a deep understanding of theory and praxis of at least:
– Integral systematic thinking
– The developmental nature of consciousness and and the differing motivational drives at each level,
– Political and economic power
– The cutting edge of Atmospheric Science
– Geoengineering
– Exponential technological progress and what new technology tools we will have available in the next 50 years
-An executive team worthy of Bill Torbert’s Ironist Leadership stage, capable of directing a massive human movement without self-destructing in ego or simple ineffectiveness.

The solution probably requires at least:
– A global cap and trade system
– A global political governing body capable of reigning India and China
– The removal of oil subsidies
– Properly priced externalities
– Use of cutting edge biotechnology and nanotechnology to drop greenhouse gases down 350 parts per million

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.
– Paul Romer

Unfortunately, my soul says Global Warming is not my War to be a leading General in for at least 5-10 years, as I am entrenched in a different war, for now. But I am here to provide guidance to friends whose war it is.

So in the coming days as you are processing the loss of Harbin, feel into the wise words of my friend Marc Gafni:

“We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.”

And not just any love. A love that is so big it is capable of actually preventing immense potential future suffering of this beautiful world and all of its beautiful inhabitants.

A love so deep, and so strong it calls you into a version of yourself you never knew was possible. A love that calls you into a version of yourself so big, you become the type of person who is capable of turning the massive tides of Global Warming and preventing the pain and suffering of the loss of millions of Harbin Hot Springs.

Best wishes to you on your healing journey.

May the darkness reveal the true power of our collective love and light.