“We’re going to build connections, we’re going to build community. We’re going to build common care into the fabric of our lives. And I know this sounds like more work. But this is the nourishment we need.”

Sometimes we need stiffening, resistance. Sometimes we need to move with the energy of whatever it is that’s challenging us. Always, we need community to connect with and share our ideas with.

Transcript and link:


Recorded 24 August 2023.


Hey, everyone, thanks for tuning in.

So there's this terrifying statistic that often in a DUI involved crash, the person least harmed is the person who is drunk. It's a pretty morbid place to start. But I think about that a lot. A lot. A lot. And the reason I think about that is the reason that that's true, which is that the person who is resisting least is the person who is harmed least.

That is an idea with two forks. On the one hand, we have things like martial arts, tai chi, Aikido, things that tell us that if something comes at you, and you can move with it instead of against it, or even use the energy that it is giving you and redirect it, then you are in the better position. And that in order to do that, you have to have some deep practice and training. Some deep sense of how not to react from your instinct.

Because without training, your instinct is going to be bad for you. Without training, your instinct is going to be resistance, tightness, refusal.

So Okay, fine. Softness is actually protective, and often the better strategic choice. Often in the end, the person who is able to maintain their equanimity is also the person who wins. If there is winning to do. We always hope there is not winning to do. We always hope that there is collaboration to do, and that effectively everyone wins together. But if, if we are not so lucky, in the moments where we are not so lucky, softness helps.

On the other hand, I think of Chamberlain, and World War Two. I think of strategies of appeasement. I think of years, decades, generations of people being quiet, wanting to make nice, not speaking up. And where that has gotten our culture today. Which is: in a right mess. That hasn't actually helped us. Softness like that did not actually help.

So as we face so many challenges, and as we wish to not harm ourselves and not burnout, and also not die and not create a terrible society- how, how do we blend all of this as intensives? As intensives, whose intuitive instinctive way of being in this world is big and loud? And sometimes people tell us it's pushy. We're pretty sure we're just right.

How, how do we bring ourselves- our true selves- to this space, this time? this work? This becoming? Well, first, what we're not going to do is try to become expansives in the middle of all of this. Because that is the biggest resistance of all.

And it is an internalized resistance, an internalized battle that we absolutely cannot win. So we're not going to do that to ourselves or to anyone around us, because it's not good. We are going to collaborate with expansives because sometimes they're the right ones to lead. Sometimes they're the right ones to figure something out or to carry something forward, or to maintain that momentum while we go up and down and up and down as we do. Up and down, and up and down, is our natural motion.

Have you ever watched a video of somebody on one of those new fin boards? It's like a surfboard. But the person is, I don't know, eighteen inches, two feet above the water. And deep underneath the water, there's this fin thing sort of looks like a rudder, sort of looks like a smaller surfboard under the bigger surfboard.

But the way that you get momentum on one of those things, is by bouncing up and down. By like pushing down into the water and it pushes you back up and pushing down into the water and it pushes you back up. I am fascinated, although I am sure that I do not have the skill to do that thing. And I probably never will. But I've always going to be fascinated. Because it's using ideas of physics, that don't make sense until you really stare at them for a second.

But that up and down movement is how they proceed forward. Our up and down movement is how we proceed forward. That's how we go. So we can't not up and down, we can't decide we're going to be this smooth, consistent stream of energy. We're just not that person. That's what the expansives are, that's who they are in our world. That's who they are in our energetic ecosystem. And that's what we need them for. We don't want them to be like us, and we don't want to be like them, we need each other.

So first, we are going to collaborate with expansives, we are not going to try to become expansives. We are going to think about the situations that we're going into long before we do those imaginations, the things that keep us up at night, that keep us tossing and turning, that wake us up at four in the morning to tell us that if we don't do something right away about this thing in the world, everything is going to burn down. And yes, it has to be exactly us it can't be anyone else.

That thing, we're going to use that thing instead to imagine ourselves through scenario.

So what we know about the human brain, and what I learned over and over in my hypnosis course, a number of years ago with Melissa Tiers, is that if we imagine something, our brains don't really know the difference between imagining it and doing it. There's a lot of emotional and energetic experience that twins in. Our brains feel it very similarly.

That's why athletes spend so much time in visualization. That is, I believe, why visualization and things that people call the Law of Attraction, I think that's why it works. Because our brains think we've already done it. Our brains are on board, they have the feelings. They imagine that it's possible. And once we imagine ourselves into that possibility, we're much less likely to think it's impossible. And so we're much more likely to be able to do it. Which is important and fantastic and good.

So we're going to imagine it. We're going to imagine ourselves into scenarios, we're not going to think it through in the usual way, we're going to imagine our way into those scenarios, those moments where we might choose to soften, or we might choose to harden. And we're going to decide. We're going to try it out. Maybe we imagined softening, maybe we imagine hardening. Maybe we imagine a couple of different outcomes in each case.

And then we're going to figure out ahead of time, what we're going to do and then we're going to practice we're going to rehearse that in our imaginations. So that when that moment comes up, we have practiced it enough to do it without having to get that thinking part of our brain online in the middle of fight flight freeze fawn.

We're going to think our way through it by imagining our way through it. Vividly, deeply. And we're going to study. We're good at studying, we're good at learning. Sometimes we like to set aside doing for studying. Sometimes it feels safer to go back to the books that are familiar, back to the learning environments that are familiar.

Every time I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, my first thought is, I should go back to school. I should get a PhD or a D. Min. I should get another piece of paper that proves that somebody else thinks that my ideas are worthwhile. And then I take a deep breath and remind myself that I don't need any more pieces of paper that tell people that other people think that my ideas are worthwhile.

I know my ideas are worthwhile because they're field tested. Because learning about intensiveness and expansiveness has changed people's lives. It makes people's personal relationships better. It makes people's work relationships better. It makes people better leaders. We know this because, because it has happened. It's field tested. I don't I don't need an academic to tell me that it's worthwhile. I know it's worthwhile because it helps.

And I know that that's not how academia does things, and that our society likes to privilege, particular ways of knowing and being and doing and figuring out. And also, we need to stop limiting the ways that we can find out that something is good. And I can live into that. I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to validate my work with academia, if academia wanted to work with me. But that is not my experience of academia these days. And nobody has offered me a free ride.

Back to the subject at hand, we're going to figure out what we think the most likely, best response is. We're going to rehearse it. We're going to share it. We're going to talk in community. We're going to validate it by discussing it with people who live lives that are impacted by the things that we're thinking about. And we're going to study history. How has this worked out in the past? What did people do last time?

It still astonishes me that there was an accidental computer modeling of human behavior in a pandemic, in a massive online computer game. And what they saw in that computer game, was actually exactly what happened with COVID, and the vaccine and human behavior. And perhaps if we had looked at the model ahead of time, we would have better been able to change our expectations, and our choices, as a culture as a community as a government to get better outcomes. But we didn't. We didn't.

So we're not going to do that. We're not going to ignore the models that exist, we're going to go look them up. We're going to study them. And we're going to listen to people who have been studying this stuff for a long time because, well, academic validation is not the only kind of validation. There is something to be learned from studying what has gone before. So we're gonna learn.

But the world is a wide open place, we don't have to go to school to learn, we can find great things on YouTube, and podcasts, magazines, and newspapers and libraries and books. Conversations at the park. If you have one of those chess-playing parks, go play chess there and talk to someone about it. See what they think. Strike up a conversation with somebody at the grocery store. If you go to the grocery store these days. Journal about it, make art about it. Talk to other artists. Write songs, see what people say when they hear your songs.

We're going to take our ideas out into the world. What we're also not going to do his bottle ourselves up. We are not meant to be bottled, we will explode. We know this from experience. From tons of anecdotal evidence. Intensives do not do well in a bottle, or a box, or really with any kind of constraint. So we're not going to limit ourselves. We're not going to compress our experiences and thoughts and feelings and reactions. We're not going to try to make them small.

We're going to find ways to get them out. And we're going to trust that human history has given us so many ways to do it. We're going to start telling stories fictional, and nonfictional. And we're going to be clear about which ones are fiction. We're going to start singing songs about this, about the world the way it is. About the way the world has been. About what we hope, what we dream, what we grieve.

We're going to plant gardens about it. We're going to talk to our neighbors about it. We're going to pick up that line from Ray Bradbury's 451 about front porches. And we're gonna front porch it up, even if our architecture doesn't support it. We're gonna sit and talk.

We're going to make cookies for the neighbors. Doesn't really matter if we've never met them before, or whether they can eat the cookies. We're going to make cookies as a gesture of friendliness and we're going to share them with the neighbors. And if they can't eat cookies after we've had a conversation with them, we'll find out what they can eat.

We're going to build connections, we're going to build community. We're going to build common care into the fabric of our lives. And I know this sounds like more work. But this is the nourishment we need. This is amending the soil with fish waste and eggshells and coffee grounds. This is water. This is sun. If we want to avoid burning out. We're not going to spin our wheels.

We're going to make every action matter. And we're going to work together.

Thanks for tuning in.