TC Podcast Ep. 9 - Practice, Hope, and Scarcity with Victoria Castle

"If struggling were the way, we'd all be there by now."

Yes, it's like a splash of cold water in the face.  In the best possible way.  Victoria Castle reveals for us a deep root of one of the main causes of difficulty in our lives as individuals and as a society.  It is deceptively simple to understand cognitively, but a true master key in changing our lives and our happiness for the better.  She makes very clear the difference between facts/reality and the stories, interpretations, perspectives, lenses, and assumptions we bring to those circumstances.  She shares warmth, clarity, and humor in describing a phenomenon that easily goes unnoticed -- the Trance of Scarcity. 

The Trance of Scarcity is the prevailing norm in how we see the world in terms of survival, struggle, stress--that there isn't enough, we aren't good enough, that we don't have enough.  It has become so commonplace to our way of thinking that we rarely challenge those thoughts and stories. 

Our immensely enjoyable and insightful conversation touches on the following:

  • The limitations of struggle

  • The simplicity of using breathing consciously and centering to make positive change moment-to-moment

  • The power of daily practices to come from our best selves

  • How the stories I am not good enough, competent enough, wealthy enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, old or young enough, "I am only lovable if…"etc—how that is a story, an interpretation, an assessment, a lens on reality which produces our experience

  • The surprising downside of thinking in terms of right/wrong or good/bad instead of what is practical and useful in terms of our higher aims

  • The power we have in what we think to align with greater possibility, without devolving into affirmations or positive thinking

  • How struggling and striving externally won’t fix the things that feel off inside us

  • Pitfalls once we see scarcity of measuring ourselves by perfection

  • Life-changing power of gratitude

  • The Trim Tab insight: Finding the best leverage points for change

  • And more

    Thanks as always for listening and for doing your thing in the world.

     

TC Podcast - Special Episode 1: On Freedom. With Nita Baum of B*Free.

What then is freedom? The power to live as one wishes. ~Marcus Cicero

The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage. ~Thucydides

For my regular listeners, you may remember that Nita and I spoke in Episode 5 about the possibility of exploring a special series based on the 5 values of her work in the world, B*Free.  This includes being Free, Gifted, In Power, Equal, and Grounded.  This is the first of that series.

Nita and I took an idea, a word, a concept...that hints at an experience, a universal human ideal, and a universal longing -- and played with it.  We had a free-flowing conversation, riffing off each other.  We played off each other in the moment, and we both enjoyed it immensely.  I found myself more passionate and animate and playful at times, and enjoyed being with my dear friend to explore something so meaningful to all of us.

We speak about how freedom is intimately connected to:

  • being present
  • an inner state rather than dependent on circumstances
  • a matter of practice
  • about moving from judgment to discovery
  • a paradox of experiencing it now as well as building towards ever more expansive states
  • creation and growth through creative expression
  • our relationship to pain and what we typically consider negative or difficult
  • vulnerability, honesty, transparency, authenticity--being able to see our experience is valid as long as we are able to own it, but otherwise contributes to the feeling of not being good enough
  • and much more. 

We often assume we're free.  But how free do we really feel in our everyday lives to be what we want, say what we want, do what want?  Can we be ourselves?  What gets in the way?

As always, I hope you enjoy it.  As always, thanks for listening.

TC Podcast - Ep. 8: Change, Authenticity, and Fear with Peter Matthies of the Conscious Business Institute

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"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson

This conversation starts with Peter's take on the modern corporate world and how and why it is in need of change and in the midst of change.  As he says, not merely rearranging chairs on the Titanic, but fundamental change. 

And from there the conversation continues through the lens of his work and personal story of deep transformation into human and universal questions.   Especially touching is his authenticity and vulnerability around the struggles and challenges he faced around the phenomenon of "not good enough" earlier in his outwardly super-successful career.  I feel we all struggle with this in some way, that it's part of being human. 

Scarcity is the root of our challenges in fact.  It's good to hear Peter's experiences with this.  He never had issues with money externally which helps reveal that scarcity is an inner phenomenon, not an outer one.  All-too-often we look for answers outside ourselves which cannot be found there, unfortunately.  As Peter indicates, the outdated notion of success is at the root of many of our problems. 

Peter reminds us that human transformation is incredibly possible for any of us and he even outlines an archetypal framework of 5 steps of how this happens.  Many of us simply don't have references for how this can happen on an inner level because prevailing norms don't provide these indications.  But fortunately that is being shaken up day by day. 

I notice that many of my conversations deepen as they go.  My guests and I get to know each other and feel each other in these conversations and we open up to each other and learn a lot.  I am struck by the depth of the learning I am taking away through connection with my guests.  I pray that it is the same for my audience.  I hope something of the seeker in me represents something of the questions they too would like to ask.  I also learn that the surface level differences and semantic differences of opinion matter less and less inside this space when we are talking about human values and motivations and behavior.  Because we are united in this.  I am grateful for the warmth my guests exhibit and Peter certainly is no exception.  

Peter offers precious insight about the possibilities of True Change and, as I said, even a step-by-step understanding of important milestones on the journey.  I think anybody sitting in an office somewhere who is bored and tired could receive inspiration from Peter's story.  Anybody outside an office too.  Especially those who are tired of a one-size-fits-all definition of success and trying to answer the longing that rages in their hearts. 

I want to comment further on the corporate aspect because of my personal relationship to it.  Because I know many seekers inside and outside corporations have become disillusioned with their dominant role.  My own take is that every sector of human endeavor and society itself is in the midst of major change right now.  No matter where we stand in this, it's good to be knowledgeable about trends in areas of society which impact us all.  As someone formerly corporate myself, and who has held onto some resentment towards that aspect of the world, Peter's words are like opening some curtains and letting in sunshine in a dark, dusty room of my past.  I know others hold this kind of resentment as well and as Peter guides us that those beliefs doesn't serve us.  It's ultimately human beings we are talking about.  I remind myself to be careful here about the all-too-easy trap of othering and using enmity to project my own shadows. 

Peter reminds me that it's great to recognize those of us looking to build a new paradigm.  We can be so grateful for each one of us that is doing the challenging and rewarding work of stepping into our power--and are at service of a better world through the expression of our unique gifts and talents.  In sanskrit, the exclamation for victory is Jai ho!  (I named my external hard drive that incidentally.)  As I re-listened to our conversation, I enjoyed it as much as the first time.  Sometimes I can enjoy it in other ways even more.  I felt gratitude all over again for Peter's generosity.   

From my perspective, he brings the clarity, warmth and respect of someone who has faced and overcome many challenges. 

TC Podcast - Ep. 7: Awakening, Success, and Courage with Eric Klein of WisdomHeart

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination." ~Nelson Mandela

This conversation with Eric Klein is full of depth, humor, and insight.  It was a pleasure to speak with him.  As a spiritual practitioner with a steady practice for over 45 years, and as someone who has also wrote a best-selling business book, he has a lot to share.  He remains relevant to seekers and corporate audiences alike because of his emphasis on our deeper shared humanity and steady presence.

He shares some touching anecdotes with personability, meaning, and wit.  He has touched thousands of people around the world with his work and it is easy to see why.  There's much I could say about the conversation, but this time around I feel more compelled to let it speak for itself. 

TC Podcast - Ep. 6: Truth, Song, and Home with Hylke Faber

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As a former hard-charging consultant burdened with insomnia, Hylke was surprised to find that exploring meditation on a trip to Vietnam allowed him to sleep more restfully than he had in quite some time.  From there, a great exploration of life unfolded...

Hylke has found, and I agree, that What is True? is a very practical question to guide him in his life.  He also relies on the feeling of being Home, in his center.  It's something he can rely on.  It's a north star on his journey through life.  As we all navigate with uncertainty, having a compass is precious. 

Hylke is through and through a Truth-seeker who places primacy on awakening to deeper levels of reality, while making a positive contribution to the world at a high level.  As somebody who works with well-known, "name brand" institutions while being someone who pursued monkhood at one point, our conversation helps me to remember my own values.  He touches on many resonant points in this wide-ranging conversation. 

A great synchronicity arrives towards the end and Hylke's love for music brings us to a nice close.  This conversation was a real pleasure for me.  It also challenged me to reflect a lot afterwards.  I am grateful for it.

I find Hylke to be kind, thoughtful, deep, and brilliant.  For those on a path of dharma in the modern world, this will be an enjoyable conversation.

I would also like to share a bit personally here.  What's amazing for me is how much I am learning through this process of podcasting and having these exploratory conversations.  Hylke is no exception and helps me highlight this for myself even more.  It brings up deep questions of human nature and it's blowing me away as I get a chance to share myself and learn with my guests.

Here's a few things I am learning:

1) I am learning slowly what it is to just be vulnerable in these conversations and not put up a mask simply because I have impressive guests and other people may be listening.  It's not always easy, but it is a great growing experience. 

2) I am also learning the most basic things--like genuinely respecting the other's point of view while sometimes holding a different opinion, and then choosing to focus on where our common ground is.

3) While I have an audience and I respect them, I think I do them fewer favors if I am constantly thinking about them.  I am learning to explore the curiosities that arrive for me in the moment and trust that that is where the conversation is best suited to go for all interested parties.  To think with my own mind rather than try to think with many other people's minds, which of course is impossible anyway.    

You can find out more about Hylke's work at Constancee.com and growthleadersnetwork.com.

 

TC Podcast - Episode 5: Utopia, Death, and the Modern Freelance Movement with Nita Baum of B*Free

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“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi

This conversation with Nita Baum was an exciting chance to dig deep into powerful social trends that are shaping the modern world of work.  With the awareness that 50% of the US workforce will be freelance/entrepreneur by 2020, we have yet another confirmation that we live in an era of great change. 

It was a little bit longer conversation than I have had with my guests until now, but worth every uplifting minute of it. 

Like every conversation which has come before on the TC Podcast, it was a wide-ranging one.  We go deep into the interdependence between individual and collective change, as well as B*Free's 5 values, and Nita's experience with the recent death of both parents and how their legacies live on through her.  It ends as a wish and a prayer for humanity and even a vision for perhaps how utopia can be realized.

Regardless of how proximate or possible utopia may actually be, it's hard to deny that it's worth working in that direction.  And similarly any vision of realizing our collective potential must consider the participation and inclusion of each one of us.  When you have been through what Nita's been through in the last few years, and had your heart break open, there is a thoughtfulness, clarity, and tenderness which grants a beautiful sense of perspective.  When that outlook is backed up by action in the world in service of others, wonderful things can happen.

I look forward to witnessing and participating in the evolution of B*Free, which is part of a much bigger movement than we currently comprehend. 

 

TC Podcast - Episode 4: High Performance Creative Business, Leadership, And Heart with Niraj German Heller

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”— Nelson Mandela

I think we all intuitively know that good leadership is heart-driven and service-based--that it empowers other instead of aggrandizing ego.  He shares that looking inward is an important key to good business practice. 

It's impossible to listen to Niraj's insights and not see how he has aligned his and his company's goals and achievements with the heart.  He shares a theme of what it is to mature past rebellion and morality to finding systems that are practical and have real-world applicability.   It's an impressive accomplishment to have a team of 40 creatives, delivering projects all around the world with well-known companies, and do it with great integrity and without selling out.

I couldn't help but be impressed.  And if you are the type who is interested in business, or in spirituality and want to see a strong example of how these intersect, this conversation with Niraj will open you to new horizons.

Niraj is a dear friend and I was very glad and inspired to get to know even more about his professional side.  He shares only a fraction of his amazing sense of humor in this conversation, but it's enough for a couple of chuckles. :)

TC Podcast - Episode 3: Music, Trust, Love, and Spiritual Transformation with Prem Moham

'A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.' ~Leopold Stokowski

Speaking with Prem Moham is a treat of thoughtfulness, kindness, vulnerability, and courage.  Behind music of value is the heart of an artist.  Exploring Moham's path of dharma and hearing his stunning voice is an inspiration.  Another wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from Jesus, homosexuality, creativity, mantra, and devotion to a Guru.  Moham owns who he is with a refreshing authenticity that can't help but gently challenge people to open their minds. 

Moham is indeed an artist of silence.  Along with his wonderfully talented partner Surya, they have created a spiritual triumph of a cd. I encourage all but especially yogis to do themselves the favor of downloading.  http://premmohamsurya.com/  I sometimes half-jokingly call this album the anthem of the (non-new-agey) new age.  I predict it will be a favorite and classic in spiritual communities very soon.  You can catch Prem Moham and Surya in the Western US this summer with their tour culminating at Bhaktifest in California this September.  

 

True Change Podcast - Episode 2: Grace, Gifts, and Renewal

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I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Speaking with Julian Lunt about his path of transformation, and commitment to his heart project was a reassurance and confirmation.  When one is connected to higher purpose, and takes on the challenge of fear and resistance to realize that higher purpose, good things happen. 

Julian is a great example of what it can look like to follow one's heart.  I am grateful for the conversation and confident that Julian's project with flotation tanks/sensory deprivation chambers will continue to grow in beauty and impact.  It's something that has helped him come more and more alive, sharing his love with the world in a very tangible way.  Quite a difference from his old Oil & Gas days of seeking fulfillment in a fast and wild lifestyle...

Thanks for listening.   

True Change Podcast - Episode 1: Fernando Belatto of ODGI

Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” ~ Heraclitus

This quote arrived in my inbox in the moments I was preparing to publish this very first podcast episode with Fernando Belatto.  This is about as suitable a quote to fit Fernando as I could imagine.

Fernando is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu who is innovating in the Martial Arts world, especially regarding the importance of self-knowledge.  While Fernando appreciates competition and traveled that path himself, he understands Martial Arts as something fundamentally about self-development and spirituality.

Fernando touches people not traditionally interested in Martial Arts and black belts alike. His interest crosses these types of boundaries because his work is fundamentally human--his students work to awaken their inner warrior so that they can navigate everyday life challenges with greater harmony and ease. 

I was struck once again by my friend Fernando's depth of knowledge.  Indeed this was a wide-ranging conversation that touched on many deep! and meaningful themes including following one's heart on the path of Dharma (higher purpose), the relevance of warrior spirit to our everyday challenges, how martial arts and having an army can be at service of peace, yin/yang (masculine/feminine within each one of us), reactivity and presence, the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, and money.  Whew! 

Fernando's purpose is Martial Arts at Service of Love.  He is a beautiful man who has helped many, many people.  I felt energized the whole time speaking to him and I hope you enjoy listening to it. 

Visit Fernando at ODGI.com.br and follow him along with many fans on his Facebook page also at ODGI.