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  • 12 Jul 2011
    Have you ever fallen off track while trying to install or maintain a not-quite-daily habit such as exercising 3-4 days a week or getting up at 5am on weekdays? This article will share some simple ideas to help you maintain such habits more easily. If you perform a certain task every day for weeks on end, it’s usually pretty easy to maintain. However, once you take a day or two off, it can be harder to start up again on your next “on” day. For example, if you get up early every weekday and then sleep in late on Saturday and Sunday, waking up Monday morning often feels harder, and you’re more likely to oversleep. Before you know it, you’ve blown your positive habit completely, and somehow every day has become an off day. 1. Make it daily anyway. The first solution is to turn almost-daily habits into daily habits. Sometimes it’s no big deal to continue the habit even when it isn’t necessary, and the upside is that you’ll have a stronger habit with less risk of losing ground. For example, I like to get up early 7 days a week. I find this much easier to maintain than getting up early 5-6 days per week. If I get up at 5am every single morning, it’s really no big deal. But if I stay out late one night and sleep in until 7am, it’s always harder to get up at 5am the following morning. Every once in a while I’ll stay out past midnight and sleep in late, but my default is to get up with the alarm at the same time every morning. Even though I don’t need to get up early every day, the habit is beneficial for me every day, so there’s no reason to limit it to weekdays. Although it might seem harder to do it 7 days instead of 5-6 days, it’s actually easier to be consistent. With close to 100% daily consistency, a habit will typically maintain itself on autopilot, so you don’t even have to think about it anymore. But with 80-90% consistency, the contrast between your on and off days is always in the back of your mind. Do I have to get up early tomorrow, or can I sleep in late? Do I need to exercise tomorrow, or can I skip it? If you have a lot of almost-daily habits, this can be a big cognitive burden and quite a distraction. Maintaining good habits becomes much more difficult than necessary. 2. Use placeholder habits. Another option is to create an alternative, placeholder habit for your off days. Suppose you want to exercise 5 days a week, and you really want to keep those off days. Instead of doing your regular exercise, you could schedule an an alternative activity for the same time. Instead of doing your usual workout, you could use your off days to go for a walk, read, meditate, write in your journal, etc. I recommend that you use placeholder habits that are similar in some way to the original habit. For example, on your off days for exercise, you could still do something physical like walking, stretching, or yoga. This turns your physical development into an everyday practice, even though you’re doing different activities each day. 3. Chain Habits. When you chain a series of habits together, they become easier to maintain. As soon as you begin the first habit in the chain, the rest of the sequence will tend to take care of itself. My usual morning routine involves getting up, hitting the gym, showering, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc. It’s a pretty stable pattern. But sometimes when I feel I’m at risk of overtraining, I’ll skip my workout without substituting anything. When this happens I can just jump to the next link in my morning habit chain, which means I’ll get up and then shower. I find that when I occasionally skip habits that are part of a longer daily chain, it’s fairly easy to put them back in again as long as I continue to maintain the first and last links in the chain. As long as I get up early and go to the gym or get up early and then shower, my not-quite-daily exercise habit remains pretty solid. But if I mess with the first link in the chain and don’t get up at my usual time, the whole sequence is more likely to be blown. So the idea is to put your not-quite-daily habits in the middle of a chain of daily habits. If you maintain the overall chain, you’ll probably find it easier to maintain the middle links as well, even though you sometimes skip them. 4. Make specific commitments. If there are certain habits you won’t perform every day, decide exactly when you will perform them. “I’m going to exercise 3-4 days per week” is too vague and wishy-washy. “I’ll do a 30-minute workout at the gym every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday morning at 6:30am, alternating between weight training and aerobic conditioning” is much better. The more specific your commitment, the better. Block out time on your schedule, and add these commitments to your calendar. Be sure not to schedule anything else for those times. It’s very easy to fail when you give yourself too many outs and don’t really commit. On any given day, there should be no question as to whether you will or won’t perform your habitual activity. Ditch the mights, maybes, and shoulds. Either you will or you won’t. Decide in advance what it will be. 5. Turn habits into appointments. If you have a hard time maintaining irregular habits, find a way to turn them into appointments that involve someone else. It’s easier to ditch a habit if you’re only accountable to yourself, but most people are less willing to skip appointments that would leave someone else hanging. Get a workout buddy. Schedule early AM phone calls with another early riser. Plan home organizing time with your roommate(s) at the same time every week. Schedule regular babysitting for date nights with your spouse. Your accountability will be greater when you involve others in your not-quite-daily habits. Theses are just some of the tactics you can use to improve your ability to maintain irregular habits. For a list of specific habits that will give you some ideas, see the article 10 Ways to Optimize Your Normal Days.
    115428 Posted by UniqueThis
  • 12 Jul 2011
    Let’s say you’ve set some goals for yourself, and now you want to map out a basic plan for how you’ll achieve them.  How do you do this? Obviously there are many ways to plan your action steps, but as a generalization it seems intelligent to aim for a plan that you estimate will consume the least time and resources.  All else being equal, if Plan A takes three months and Plan B takes six months, you’ll go with Plan A.  This is just common sense, right?  You essentially look for the shortest path from your current position to your goal. It’s OK if your estimates aren’t accurate — the point is simply that most of us would consider a shorter path to be more intelligent than a longer path.  This is particularly true in business.  A direct path to an objective is considered more intelligent than a circuitous route.  Time is money, and delays can be costly. The myth of the shortest path As intelligent as this logic may seem, I happen to disagree with it (go figure!).  While I think such an approach to optimization is fine for machines, it’s suboptimal for human beings. Why? The problem appears during implementation of the plan.  What do you actually experience during the action phase?  Do you implement your plan like a machine, completing task after task in order?  Or does something entirely different occur? Personally I’ve never met a human being who worked like this, and I’ve never seen a business do it either.  Plans often fall by the wayside during the implementation stage.  Some would say it’s because people are bad at implementation, but is that really true?  Or was the plan flawed from the beginning because it failed to accurately account for human nature? I’ve produced some beautiful step-by-step plans on paper.  But my implementation has usually been less than stellar.  I’ll get off to an OK start for a little while, maybe a day or two.  Then I stumble.  Sometimes I get distracted.  Other times I feel the actions are just too tedious, and I find subtle ways to procrastinate.  And other times I feel lazy and unmotivated to work on them.  Even though I really want the results, I usually reach a point where I just don’t want to complete the next action.  Sometimes I find a way to push through my resistance.  Other times I rework the plan or move onto something else that seems more interesting (often repeating the cycle once again). Have you ever experienced this pattern yourself? Planning vs. implementation At first I figured I just needed to keep working on my self-discipline.  That did help, but it only encouraged me to set bigger goals, so I still eventually ran into the same problems on a larger scale.  After failing to get the results I wanted, I considered that the problem might be upstream.  Maybe my implementation was poor because my plans were flawed to begin with. That wasn’t an easy conclusion for me because planning is supposed to be one of my key psychological strengths.  According to the Myers-Briggs test, I’m an ENTJ, aka the Field Marshall (a good tactical and strategic thinker).  And the test from the book Now, Discover Your Strengths (which I highly recommend) showed that my #1 strength is strategic thinking.  So the last thing I would have suspected was that my planning was flawed.  But I wasn’t getting results by pushing myself to become better at implementing, so I figured I had nothing to lose by honing my planning skills. I bought fancy project management software, studied various planning methods, and learned how to break everything down into intelligently prioritized actionable steps.  But to my chagrin this investment didn’t pay off the way I wanted.  My plans looked better than ever, but I was still no better at implementing them. Of course some people are better doers while some people are better thinkers, and I definitely enjoy creating plans more than implementing them myself, but I’m not presently surrounded by a team of willing doers, and there are some projects that can’t be delegated easily, particularly in the realm of personal development.  I’m certainly capable of taking massive action under the right conditions — I just needed a way to create those conditions more frequently. Planning for optimal enjoyment I put this problem aside for a while, and one day when I was journaling, a different approach came to me.  Instead of trying to plan the most efficient path to my goal, what would happen if I tried to plan the most enjoyable path? My initial reaction was, “Nah, that wouldn’t work.  It would consume too much time and too many resources.  The most enjoyable path would probably be terribly slow.”  But as I gave it more thought, I had to admit my current approach was taking way longer than I’d planned anyway, so maybe an approach that appeared longer would actually take less time than the seemingly optimal one.  Hmmm…. This “most enjoyable path” began to reveal some interesting possibilities.  If I planned a very lengthy and resource-intensive route to my goal, a tediously slow path wouldn’t likely be the most enjoyable one.  So I figured the most enjoyable path couldn’t be too suboptimal. I wondered what such a plan would look like in comparison to its supposedly more efficient cousin.  I thought about some of the changes I’d make to craft a thoroughly enjoyable plan: Select interesting projects.  Favor projects I enjoy implementing vs. only looking to the end result. Add variety.  Break up long stretches of repetitive work.  Work in different locations.  Take field trips. Improve balance.  Blend solo time with social time.  Balance physical work with mental work. Create a pleasing work environment.  Relaxify my workspace so I enjoy spending time there. Involve others.  Find a way to get friends involved.  Form a mastermind group.  Involve my wife. Solve problems creatively.  Favor creative off-the-wall methods when the obvious solution is too dull or tedious. Enjoy plenty of downtime.  Keep motivation high by avoiding overwork.  Take vacations.  Enjoy rewards for achieving mini-milestones. Avoid the unpleasant.  If a step can’t be done enjoyably, find a way to delegate, outsource, or eliminate it. Use intention-manifestation.  Focus intentions to gain assistance from the Law of Attraction. Design for flexibility.  Allow daily choice making where order of task completion isn’t critical. As I began to understand what an enjoyable plan would look like in comparison with an efficient one, I realized it was a very different way of working.  It’s congruent with the Emotional Guidance System concept from the book Ask and It Is Given because the idea is to remain in a state of joy throughout the entire project.  So you still have a specific goal in mind, but along the way your focus is on enjoying the journey rather than reaching the destination quickly.  Instead of planning the steps that will allow you to achieve your goal as efficiently as possible, you plan the route that you’ll enjoy the most. Technically I began working with this paradigm in 2004 when I retired from the computer gaming industry and started this personal development site.  That immediately enabled me to begin selecting projects I enjoyed more.  Although I liked running my games business, I enjoy this personal development business a great deal more.  After working so long with the efficiency-based model, it’s been a real challenge to let it go.  I am getting there though because I find that the enjoyment-based model produces better results for me, both in terms of enjoyment and efficiency.  At least for me, the most enjoyable path may well be the most optimal one. Consider testing this planning model to see what results you get with it.  You spend your entire life in the present moment, so it makes sense to ensure that in this very moment, you’re in a state of joy.  Clearly you won’t accomplish that by planning to spend your life completing tasks that you find tedious, painful, boring, or pointless.  The switch to an enjoyment-based paradigm can fill your daily reality with creativity, joy, and fulfillment.  Ultimately all those present moments add up to your entire life.  If you enjoy your present moments, you’ll enjoy your life as a whole.
    5051 Posted by UniqueThis
  • 27 Jul 2011
    Some people mentioned that I seem to be doing two overlapping trials here. First, I’m doing 30 days of acting promptly on inspiration whenever it strikes. Second, I’m also delving more deeply into the subjective reality frame. So what’s that all about? I honestly don’t know, but I’ll try to make sense of it as I write. Could I separate these two trials? On the surface it sure seems like I could. My initial idea for this trial was just going to be the inspiration part. I wasn’t planning to do a subjective reality trial. But these two aspects got tied together in a strange way, and now they’re inextricably intertwined. I can no longer separate them out. Planning vs. Inspiration The subjective reality aspect actually started first. This goes back to Sunday, July 18th, the final day of the July Conscious Growth Workshop. The final segment on spirituality was from 2pm to 4pm. Dana, a local friend and one of our CGW staff, asked me during lunch what I was going to talk about during that final segment. I said, “I have no idea.” He laughed. I repeated, “No, really. I honestly don’t know.” For each CGW I’ve always gone in well-prepared. I live and breathe the topics I talk about, so I could seriously do the entire workshop off the cuff if I had to, and I’m sure it would still turn out well. But my mental side always likes to plan everything out, so I can know in advance how everything will fit together. I also like to create a good balance of different teaching modalities, including lecture, demonstration, interactive exercises, games, fieldwork, one-on-one sharing, group work, written exercises, Q&A, and more. Good planning is important for pacing too, so I don’t spend too much or too little time on any particular segment. That said, I’ve noticed that as I was delivering this past CGW, I was breaking from my plan a lot. For most segments I felt inspired in the moment to do things differently than what I’d originally planned. I’d change up the order of certain elements, tell different stories than I expected to, and swap in different exercises. And overall it worked really well when I went with the inspiration of the moment. I’m comfortable in front of an audience, so I don’t have to deal with nervousness or anything like that. I’m fine being in the moment, and I trust that I can speak well off the cuff, even for hours at a time. But I know that people come from far and wide to attend CGW, and I want to deliver the best value I can. I’d find it dishonorable to go into a CGW not feeling well-prepared with a solid plan for each segment. When I do a CGW, I commit to doing my best. I always assumed that careful planning and structure were necessary for me to deliver my best and for attendees to receive good value. Now I’m not so sure. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve reached the point where I may be able to deliver an even better experience if I set that plan aside and allow myself to be fully in the moment and go with the flow of inspiration. Can I Trust Inspiration When the Stakes Are High? This last CGW experience was beginning to challenge my notions of the best way to deliver value. Do I truly deliver more value when everything is pre-planned, or am I somehow able to do an even better job when I’m just being there in the moment, and I don’t know what I’ll say in advance? Well, at the end of that Saturday (Day 2 of CGW), I went home to plan out the final two hours of the workshop. I had delayed planning this part of the workshop because I wanted to see how this particular audience handled the first two days. I’d made a lot of changes for this CGW, and there were good reasons why it made sense to apply just-in-time planning for the final closing segment. I’d already delivered this segment three times before at previous workshops, so I had old templates I could have fallen back on, and I also figured it would only take about an hour to make the plan. That night, however, I couldn’t seem to bring myself to create the plan. I wrote something out that seemed reasonable, but it felt hollow to me… heartless. I didn’t understand why my intuition said, “This is stupid.” As I tuned into my intuition for more guidance, the message was loud and clear. Let go and forget the plan. Just get up and speak your truth. It’s already inside you. You don’t need a plan. It will only hold you back and cause you to get stuck in your head. So I left the plan behind and decided I was ready to allow inspiration to flow through me when I delivered that final segment. The morning segment that Sunday had already been planned out, but I broke from the plan a lot. The resulting mixture was probably 70% inspiration of the moment and 30% pre-planned. And it seemed to go really well. I noticed that my energy was shifting to a different place the more I was able to let go. More passion and enthusiasm — and fun — were flowing through me. I normally have a handout for each day of CGW, but for this final day I decided not to use one. That wasn’t due to laziness. The Day 3 handout was already designed since I’d used it for previous CGWs. But I felt we’d be better off without the written exercises that day, so we could do more interactive exercises and fieldwork that morning instead. I thought that worked well. Some people actually liked the fact that there were no written exercises that day. As we got closer to the afternoon segment, I had enough evidence to believe it would work out okay. I could say that I had to push myself with a bit of courage here, but it didn’t play out that way. I was at peace with the decision. The workshop had been going so well up to that point that I felt that even if I semi-flubbed that final segment, people had already received so much value, so I felt I had enough social capital to take a small risk without it being a big deal either way. I also believed that I could share plenty of insights and ideas without a structured plan, so I really wasn’t worried about screwing up. I felt competent and confident to do this segment without a plan. My main concern was that I’d open too many threads, and I’d have a hard time wrapping everything up on time. How was I going to pace myself? I felt it was okay to let go and trust in that area as well. If I opened a loop that I wasn’t able to close, I could always blog about it later. Speaking from Inspiration When I got up to speak, I didn’t even know what the first words out of my mouth would be. But the words were there. I ended up talking mainly about the question, “What is the true nature of this reality?” That led into a discussion of subjective reality vs. objective reality. I shared the details and results of some experiments I’d already done, going back to 2006. We didn’t do any special exercises, but the segment became very interactive. Lots of people asked questions and shared their own stories, and instead of holding Q&A till the end, I integrated all of that on the fly. It was like a dance where neither partner is trying to lead, but somehow they still synchronize their movements. The segment didn’t feel like a presentation. It was more like a conversation, almost like I was talking to myself. Would you pre-plan a conversation? Would that even make sense? I felt like I was listening a lot more. I was tuned in to what people in the audience were thinking and feeling. As I spoke, I was mainly addressing the energy I perceived in the room. I was constantly looking for eddies in the audience’s energy and seeking to smooth them out. If I sensed confusion, I simplified by offering up analogies people were already familiar with. If I sensed mental overwhelm, I shifted into story-telling mode. If I sensed curiosity, I shifted to Q&A. If I sense the pressure build-up of people wanting to say something, I invited them to share their experiences. If I sensed eagerness to hear more, I went back to exposition. These are the things we naturally do when we’re engaged in a compelling one-on-one conversation. The flow of that segment was very different from the previous times I’ve done it. So was the content. I felt that the audience was really with me. People were much more present — leaning forward, nodding in reaction to certain segments, asking questions, sharing their own insights. I loved every minute of it. It was such a wonderful experience to be fully present and to enjoy such a cool dialog with like-minded people. Of course we’re like-mindedsince we’re all projections of the same mind! I didn’t seem to be sharing answers or advice or solutions, not really. Mostly I was sharing questions, observations, experiments, and stories. It was like having a conversation with myself. Even as I spoke about subjective reality, I began to slip into a subjective mindset. If you want to have a really strange experience, try believing that you’re actually dreaming while you’re speaking in front of a live audience.  Subjective Blogging This is the same manner in which I’ve been blogging this past week. I’m sharing my observations as a fellow explorer, not as a teacher with answers to share. But perhaps that’s the best form of teaching anyway — to explore and share along the way. That’s what got me started with blogging in the first place, and it’s why my website’s URL is my own name instead of something more generic. This website is a chronicle of my personal journey. My best writing comes through when I’m writing for myself, fully living my life and using blogging to deepen my understanding along the way. I feel that, and others notice it too. What really fascinates me is that I’ve been getting tons of positive feedback about my blogging this week. It’s a major brain-pretzelizer to try to understand why subjective blogging generates more positive objective feedback than objective blogging does. Why the heck do you like it better when I blog just for myself and not for you? Perhaps it’s because the idea that you and I are separate is truly a delusion. When I blog for myself, I am in fact blogging for you because we’re the same self. When I try to blog for you as a separate person (or group of people), then I’m actually splintering myself, and my writing reflects that. I wonder if your experience of reading my articles is the same. When I blog for myself, do you feel like you’re reading your own thoughts and feelings? When I blog objectively, do you feel more distanced from me, like we’re just not on the same wavelength? Do you feel closer and more connected with me now than you did a month ago? If subjective reality is false, then why does it generate results that are objectively better than an objective mindset? In 2006 I increased my financial results dramatically through subjective experimentation, and I’ve always enjoyed an abundant flow in that area ever since. Now I’m seeing huge positive shifts in my relationships too, results that are way beyond what I was able to achieve with an objective lens. If subjective reality is bunk, then I’d expect a decline in my results. But I’m seeing the opposite. That gives me good cause to go further down this path, since I’m seeing more and more evidence that subjective reality is the more accurate lens of the two. When you realize that you’re dreaming, you have much more power to change the dream vs. when you’re unaware (or in denial) that you’re dreaming. You can’t launch a satellite into orbit if you believe the earth is flat. Perhaps we’re both projections of the same consciousness after all. Perhaps you’re also awakening to the possibility — no, the likelihood — that this is a dream world. This dream world blog you’re reading is reflecting back to you your own shifts in consciousness. As you awaken to the notion that you’re really dreaming, this blog is manifesting those shifts. I’m here to reflect back to you the truth that yes, you are indeed dreaming, and I’m a projection within your dream world. In the weeks ahead, many of your own thoughts and feelings are going to show up here in written form, in such synchronous ways that it will be harder and harder for you to deny what’s happening. You’ll be pushed further down the rabbit hole. But you’re ready to take that leap, aren’t you? It will take courage to leave your objective comfort zone, but by now you’ve already concluded that the old path is a dead end. You can’t go back. You can only press on. Silly Rabbit After that CGW, I began feeling it was time to go deeper down that rabbit hole myself. I almost couldn’t help it. After speaking about it for nearly two hours, my mind was already shifting into subjective mode. One thing I really like about CGW is that it’s such a flexible workshop, so as I learn and grow, the workshop and how I present it can continue to evolve. The core principles of Truth, Love, and Power all make sense whether you view them through the objective lens or the subjective one. For example, we can talk about objective Truth (science) or subjective Truth (awareness). We can talk about love objectively (relationships and social support) or subjectively (joy and sorrow). We can talk about power objectively (cause and effect) or subjectively (intention and manifestation). I think it would be an amazing experience to deliver CGW #5 in October from the subjective frame. Just thinking about that excites me and freaks me out at the same time. What the heck would it be like to deliver a 3-day workshop while believing I’m actually in a dream world the entire time? That would mean I’m actually doing an entirely internal workshop, talking to various parts of myself and seeking to elevate, expand, and integrate them into a more complete whole. It’s still 3 months away, but this does feel like an inspired idea to me. If people like my subjective blogging better, would they also prefer a subjective workshop? On one level, I regard this sort of thing as risky. What if it just turns out to be too strange for people? What if I don’t seem to be delivering enough value? What if people get upset with me because I don’t deliver the kind of experience they expected? On another level, what if it works? What if it delivers more value than I previously thought possible? What if it creates a much deeper level of connection and raises the energy of the room to higher highs? What if it leads me into a whole new experience of communicating? And what if every CGW afterwards benefits from this? What does value even mean in a subjective dream world? I can only be delivering value within myself. In that regard, value equals healing and re-integration. I think these risks are manageable, even in an objective sense. For starters, not many people have signed up for CGW #5 yet because it’s still 3 months away. I think we’re at 8 registrations so far, which is actually really good to see this far in advance. If any of those people think CGW #5 may turn out to be too strange after reading these recent blog posts, I’m happy to offer them a refund. However, one of those people already shared with me how excited she is about this new direction, so that’s a good sign. Objectively speaking, I have a solid structure for CGW already worked out, as it has evolved over the previous three workshops. So I know I always have that game plan to fall back on if I feel it’s wise to do so. I don’t have to take the risk of going into a 3-day workshop with no plan at all. I can actually play it safe in this case since the fallback plan is already there. I’m pretty good at gauging the audience’s experience, so if I start out delivering CGW #5 this way, and I see that by the morning break on Day 1, it isn’t quite working, I can always back off and switch modes. It’s a 3-day workshop, and there’s plenty of room to experiment without risking a serious degradation in the overall experience and the value people receive from it. I can solicit advanced feedback as well. So if you like this idea — if some aspect of it resonates with you and makes you more likely to attend CGW #5 — please tell me. If you don’t like it and you feel it would make you less likely to attend CGW #5, please let me know that too. If there’s a lot of support for this idea, I may update the CGW page to reflect that. If I’m really honest with myself, I have to admit to myself (and to you — what’s the difference anyway?) that deep down, I already know that this is the path I must take. But some part of me fears it, and so I project those fears onto you. I assume that you probably won’t like it, or you’ll think it’s crazy. At least that’s what I tell myself, so I can reject the idea in advance. After all, I have to give you what you want, and if you don’t want this, then who am I to argue with you? But I haven’t even asked you yet, so how can I really know? And what if the answer comes back that you’d really love to experience such a thing? And what if we do it that way and it works amazingly well? Will we ever be able to come back out of the rabbit hole again? Will we lose ourselves in that world for good? Will we finally swallow the red pill instead of just tucking it away in our cheek? The Connection Between Inspiration and Subjective Reality My inspiration trial is entangled with subjective reality because they both hit me at the same time. By following my inspiration at the previous CGW, at the point where I finally let go, I was inspired to talk about subjective reality. Then as I moved forward with a subjective perspective for the next few days, I began to receive an even greater flow of inspired ideas. I started seeing inspiration itself as a form of communication with the true dreamer of this world. That led to some intense curiosity, and by the middle of that week, I began thinking about doing a 30-day trial of acting on inspiration 24/7. I couldn’t escape the subjective lens though. By that time I was becoming too immersed in it. I don’t fully understand the link between subjective reality and inspiration, but I can see and feel that there’s definitely a connection, and it isn’t a trivial one. The more I act on inspiration, the more it’s shifting me to view reality subjectively. These inspired actions and their consequences make a lot more sense to me when viewed through the subjective lens. I can’t objectively explain where these inspirations are coming from. But subjectively something quite beautiful and amazing is unfolding. The dreamer and the dream world are becoming one. Likewise, the more I shift into the subjective reality mindset, the easier it is for me to receive and act on inspiration without hesitation. If I were on the objective side, I’d be too worried about the consequences. It would be much harder to let go and trust the flow of what’s happening. But if I know this is a dream world, I’m less freaked out by the strangeness of it all. If this is a dream, then anything is possible. If I know that reality is a dream, I’m inclined to give more weight to certain aspects of the dream world. For example, I consider the inhabitants of the world and my relationships with them to be of greater importance because they all represent parts of me. Interacting with the characters of this world becomes utterly wondrous and fascinating because it’s like I’m delving deeper into the contents of my own subconscious. I’m deeply invested in creating positive, loving relationships with the other characters in this dream world because to me, it is all self-love and inner harmony. If I see conflict anywhere, I’m motivated to gush love all over it to resolve it, since otherwise I’m neglecting an internal conflict within my own being, and it can’t be healthy to let that fester. Consequently, I’ve been spending a great deal of time on communication. Whenever a problem or conflict arises, I do my best to act immediately. I can’t ignore it and hope someone else will handle it. If I’m the dreamer, then I must be 100% responsible for it. Everything I see in the world… is me. My role then becomes that of a healer. By healing damaged relationships within the dream world, I’m healing myself. I’m becoming whole again. This is a huge shift in thinking, and very quickly I developed a backlog of relationships that I feel need to be cleansed and healed with love and forgiveness. I’m tending to them as best I can. I may not be able to heal everything overnight, but the progress within just this past week has been stunning. Money and possessions, on the other hand, become almost inconsequential. What does it mean to own something in a dream? You can still acquire dream stuff if you want, and most dream characters will respect your claims to dream property, but it’s still a bit silly to think of dream objects as something you can own. Even if you buy something with dream money, is it really yours? It’s just a dream object you associate with your avatar’s dream inventory. You can just as easily enjoy the physical aspects of the dream world without having to own any of it. You can use up your dream money or spend it too fast I suppose, but it can’t be all that hard to replenish it either. When you view reality through the subjective lens, your focus shifts a great deal, especially with regard to what you define as important. If your life isn’t quite working, if you aren’t happy or if you aren’t getting the results you desire, could it be that you’re focusing on the wrong things? Could it be that the objective lens has led you astray? Are you still asleep, unaware or unwilling to accept that you’re dreaming? What would your life be like if you did your own 30-day trial of inspired, subjective living? Is that part of your path with a heart? At present I’m feeling more inspired than ever. And I’m also viewing reality as a subjective experience more than ever. That cannot be a coincidence. You’re feeling more inspired too, aren’t you? 
    3262 Posted by UniqueThis
  • 12 Jul 2011
    Yesterday I returned home from a 23-day road trip. It was an incredible experience, and I’m really glad I took the time to do it. I drove 4100 miles (6600 km) through 9 U.S. states (Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona) and 2 Canadian provinces (British Columbia and Alberta). Beginning in Las Vegas, I traveled through Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Ashland, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver (BC), Kelowna, Banff, and Calgary with Rachelle. Then Rachelle flew from Calgary to Winnipeg, and I drove solo from Calgary through Glacier Park, Columbia Falls & Kalispell (MT), Flathead Forest, Yellowstone Park, Grand Teton Park, Salt Lake City, and finally back to Vegas. Day 21 was the most memorable for me because I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. On that day I got up at 4:45am in Columbia Falls, a small Montana mountain town west of Glacier Park. I packed up and hit the road at 5:50am and drove 400 miles to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, visiting Earthquake Lake along the way (this lake was formed in 1959 when a 7.5 earthquake caused a massive landslide that buried a campground and choked a river). During the first hour of the drive while I was driving through Flathead Forest in the dark before dawn, a large deer sprang out of the dense woods at full speed and darted in front of my car. I instinctively swerved to avoid it and missed it by a split second. It was fortunate that I didn’t lose control of the car or crash into a tree. My heart was racing for several minutes after that. Later on that same drive, another small deer ran onto the highway as well, although with enough distance that it was easy to avoid. I later learned that in Yellowstone Park, about 100 animals are killed each year by motorists. I don’t think they’re counting small rodents like squirrels and chipmunks. I made it to Yellowstone Park just before noon. I explored the west side of the park for 4 hours, visiting many interesting sites along the way including rivers, geysers (including witnessing a timely Old Faithful eruption), various hot springs, Yellowstone Lake, and seeing gorgeous terrain all around. I saw many deer and bison as well as a wolf and a small bear. At 4pm I drove south through Grand Teton Park, enjoying its amazing sights, especially the snowy mountains near the Snake River. Then I continued driving for several more hours down many single-lane Wyoming roads until I reached Salt Lake City at 10:30pm. I didn’t know where I was going to stay in advance, so I used my phone to find a hotel and booked a room at the counter when I got there. Fortunately there was a 24-hour grocery store across the street where I was able to procure a late dinner. I drove 790 miles that day, much of it on winding mountain roads at 45 mph. I probably spent 13-14 hours behind the wheel. That’s more than I’ve ever driven on a single day in my life. It was an amazing experience seeing all the magical natural beauty from Montana to Utah. When I finally collapsed into bed and closed my eyes, I still felt like I was speeding down the highway. I kept dreaming that I was driving. I can’t condense 23 days of travel into a single blog post, but I can say that this physical journey helped me see my life from a new perspective. It gave me more clarity about what’s important to me and what isn’t. In some ways I was reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert’s experiences in Eat Pray Love, although a more accurate descriptor for this trip would be Eat Play Drive. One realization I had is that I need to change the way I manage incoming communication. My current approach isn’t working for me, so as of today, I’m changing it. Years ago I realized that I can’t possibly respond to all of the feedback I get, but on this trip I had a further realization. People shouldn’t even be sending me so much email in the first place. I don’t even want to look at it anymore. I’m referring mainly to messages people send me through my contact form, but this applies to some other communication channels as well. For example, the last time I checked my voicemail, I had 22 messages: 2 were hang ups, 2 were fan feedback messages (both from the same person), and 18 were spam calls from solicitors. What was the point in listening to it? And how much of my life should I continue to devote to this? When I first started blogging in 2004, some of the feedback I received was useful and actionable. But somewhere along the way, after tens of thousands of messages, it became too much of the same — a “been there, done that” sort of thing. To the individual senders, it may seem like their messages are unique, but to me it has become nothing but re-runs. The routine of processing email has become pointless — and extremely boring. I think the road trip highlighted these feelings because I was away from my daily routine for so long. Set against the backdrop of adventurous travel, I was able to clearly grasp a waste of life it is to spend my time reading messages that I don’t need to read, regardless of how well-intentioned they may be from the sender’s perspective. I still value quality feedback, but these days the actionable items come from people who know me really well — normally people I see in person. People who only communicate with me via the Internet seldom provide actionable feedback; they’re almost always projecting some aspect of their psyches onto me, as a way of asking me to solve the problem within themselves that they aren’t ready to face yet. They don’t understand the details of my situation well enough to be of help. Another aspect is that many of the messages I receive are very needy. At one time I was glad to help anyone who requested it, but it’s become clear that the people who email me so casually are almost always seeking quick fixes rather than real growth. They contact me because it’s easy and because I’m accessible, but when I give them an honest reply, they take no direct action because they aren’t ready to change yet. A person who is ready to change will do a lot more than send a casual email to someone they’ve never met; by and large these people simply aren’t serious. They’re doing what’s easy because they’re hoping to avoid having to do what’s hard, such as quitting the meaningless job or leaving the unfulfilling relationship. They don’t like being told that the path of conscious growth requires them to face their fears, not hide from them. It’s a mistake for them to contact me. I don’t sell Band Aids. So I’m shutting the door on that kind of communication. I could hire an assistant to process all of this communication for me, but what would be the point? Most of those messages are directed to me personally, and they don’t serve any essential business purpose, so there’s no real basis for outsourcing to an assistant. Consequently, I realized the best solution is to simply put a brick in my mailbox, so to speak. Turn off the pathways that invite so many casual messages from being sent in the first place. So I’ve done exactly that. This morning I removed the contact formfrom my website. In its place is a message explaining that I’m no longer available to be contacted through this site. There are plenty of what-if scenarios that could make this seem like a bad idea. But in weighing the pros and cons, I feel that overall this is the right decision for me. It probably wouldn’t make sense for most other online businesses, but it’s a reasonable solution for my particular situation. It’s also easy enough to go back to the previous approach if I don’t like the results, but I doubt I will. I may tweak the solution over time, however, so that I can keep high-value, low-volume communication channels open while closing low-value, high-volume channels. I also unfollowed the 300+ people I’d been following on Twitter. It’s not because I don’t like them. It’s because when I follow someone, they can send me direct messages there, which creates yet another inbox for me. Twitter doesn’t seem to provide a way to disable DMs, so this is the only viable solution I can see. The small number of people who connected with me via DMs can contact me in other ways anyway, so all this really does is simplify my communication pathways. As for other channels like Facebook and the forums, I’m not sure what, if any, changes I may make there. Those are less problematic though because people have to be friends/members in order to send personal messages, so the direct communication volume is much lower. For now I’ll just maintain the status quo unless it becomes an issue. Does this mean I’m becoming anti-social and hiding behind a virtual wall? It’s really the opposite of that. I’d rather connect with interesting people face to face instead of receive messages via the Internet. And I’d rather spend more time traveling since I find it beneficial for my own path of growth. So if you’re reading this website, and you feel the urge to contact me with your feedback, question, proposal, etc., don’t do it. If that bothers you, well… I suppose you’ll have to get used to disappointment. I don’t even care to receive typo reports — people will still be able to figure out the message, despite the Typo Gremlin’s mischief. I could offer up an explanation for why this is a good thing for everyone, but it will save us all time if I fess up that I’m doing this purely for selfish reasons. That may not be entirely accurate, but the simplicity of this assumption will save me some typing. So what’s the growth lesson here? Perhaps it would be wise for you to do your own soul-searching. Are your communication channels adding tremendous value to your life, or are they simply wasting your precious life? What would happen if you bricked up some of those inboxes and made yourself less available? What if you did it as an experiment for a week or so? Would your whole world come crashing down? Or would it free up more time to do some of those crazy, adventurous things you’ve always wanted to do… like take a monstrous road trip to places you’ve said you’ll visitsomeday. Is all of that emailing and forum posting and Facebooking really helping, or would you rather be smooching someone beside a beautiful waterfall? You decide. There’s no right or wrong answer here per se — just decisions and consequences. In my case I’m willing to accept the consequences of being less accessible, so that I can direct more time, attention, and energy towards other pursuits. Here’s an extra travel tip: Do NOT eat the nachos made with 10 different kinds of beans in Banff an hour before driving to Calgary!
    2995 Posted by UniqueThis
Consciousness & Awareness 1,300 views Jul 27, 2011
Subjective Relationships

“What is the primary goal?” “You should know, Professor. You programmed me.” – War Games

Well… this 30-day trial of inspiration is absolutely amazing. I’m so far down the rabbit hole of subjective reality that I can perceive little else but rabbits now. And there sure are a LOT of rabbits down here!

Today is technically Day 12 of this experiment. That seems ridiculous to me. How could so much have changed in only 12 days? The pacing of life has become almost unfathomable compared to what it was like before. I feel like I’ve lived through the mental and emotional equivalent of about 3 months in less than 2 weeks. Each day is like a week in terms of the density of its intensity.

I know this is a long update (over 7400 words), but it still barely scratches the surface of what’s been happening. Fortunately you don’t actually have to read it. I’ll simply dream that I get to read and digest your reactions to this as if you’d read it. But they won’t even be your reactions because there’s no you. I’ll be hearing the echoing projections of my own inner reactions to what I’m sharing with myself. I can accept that. I still need to write all of this down for my own processing reasons. My mind needs some time to digest the events of the past week.

Fragile Tension

For some reason I now own an iPad. Why do I have an iPad? I’m not really sure. I wouldn’t have gotten one for objective reasons, but I had to get one in order to stick to the rules of this experiment.

l feel like Riker in the ST:TNG episode “Frame of Mind” saying, “I still have a phaser… why do I have a phaser?” (If you don’t get that reference, go download the Star Trek files to your character’s database.)

I went out Friday night to run some usual errands. At least I thought they were usual. It was the first time I went out since I dreamt that I flew back from Santa Fe last Monday. By Friday I was more immersed in my experiment than ever. I even felt inspired to do these errands at the time. I was also nearly out of dream food, so I was going to hit Costco and Whole Foods to do a typical food shop.

The errands may have been typical, but I wasn’t my usual self. I’d been holding the subjective reality perspective for days on end. As I went to my garage to get in my car, I reminded myself that this was a dream world. It’s funny that my dream car is a 2010 Hyundai Sonata. Perhaps I need to upgrade my imagination. Then again, I like the car, and it runs great, so as far as dream cars go, it’s not bad.

Something was very different. Driving my car wasn’t the same, nor was shopping. I’d normally find such experiences rather boring, but now I was filled with child-like wonder. Everything was fresh and new and exciting. In a dream world, anything can happen, so I was keeping myself energetically open and receptive, not knowing what to expect.

I bought mostly fresh produce, but then on impulse I randomly grabbed a few bottles of wine — three of them. That’s very odd behavior for me. In the past I’d typically drink wine once or twice a year. But now it was just dream wine, and it seemed like a fun thing to buy at the time, especially since I’d be paying with dream money. I didn’t even look at what I was buying. I just randomly grabbed some bottles and placed them into my cart. I barely noticed what kind or color. I just pulled whatever I felt drawn to.

The wine ranged in price from $7 to $13 per bottle. One was a 2005 Spanish red wine. I don’t think I’ve ever had Spanish wine before, and the type wasn’t something I’d ever heard of. When I had some later, it turned out it was really good, just the right blend of mild sweetness and tartness and not too acidic. Dream wine apparently tastes better than the real stuff. But given that my dream alcohol tolerance is so low, I felt tipsy even after one glass. Why? Because I believed it would affect me like that, and so it did. If you dream that a substance affects you, your mind creates the effect you expect.

When I checked out at Costco, the female dream clerk and her helper were extra friendly and flirtatious — and hot — so I flirted back. It got a bit silly. That’s unusual for Costco, but I shrugged it off and left the store. Hot people working at Costco? Hmmm… unusual but not unheard of. Even so, it got my attention.

After Costco, I had a strong urge to pop over to the dream Best Buy, which was nearby in the same shopping center. I felt I was supposed to go buy an iPad. Why? No idea. It seemed like a cool device, but logically I didn’t perceive a strong need for one, although I do feel it would be cool to travel with one, so I can leave my heavier Macbook Pro at home. I went to the Apple section of the store. It was around 9:00pm dream time, and no one was there. I said, “Ok, inspiration, which model should I get?” It said to get the best, so I presumed that meant the 64GB model with WiFi and 3G. There were no boxes sitting out, so I went to hunt for a dream character employee. The store was mostly deserted, so I went to the front of the store and found the guy by the exit. I asked if they had any iPads in stock. He grimaced and said, “Not sure… let me check.”

He uses a small microphone to ask someone else if they have any iPads in stock. Then he looks at me disappointed and says, “He says we only have the 64GB/3G model in stock,” as if no one would ever want that one. I said, “Great! That’s the one I want. Tell him to bring me one, and I’ll meet him at the register.”

I buy it, and I’m extra chatty with the male clerk. I know I’m looking at him strangely because I don’t think he’s a real person separate from me. He’s a character in this dream world. The interaction is so easy and smooth that afterwards I feel like I could have hit on him and gotten his phone number if I wanted to, and that he’d happily give it to me. I’m totally straight, but I think it would have been fun to try. Instead I settle for a $10 discount on the iPad keyboard and another discount on the total order. I didn’t ask for either discount — he just gave them to me. Apparently dream shopping is a little cheaper than regular shopping.

Next I go to Whole Foods. I buy almost all raw food there aside from two cans of organic veggie soup. Overall I buy the foods I believe are healthiest and that I’ll enjoy, knowing that my dream body will simulate the best reactions to those foods.

While I’m in the produce section bagging up some organic apples, an older guy comes up to me and asks me if I work there. When I tell him no, he apologizes and gives me a very strange look. I felt like he was asking me something other than the surface question though, more like, “Are you the guy in charge of this dream?” It did not feel like a normal human interaction the way it played out. I continue my shop with the suspicious feeling that he’s on to me.

As I’m about to leave Whole Foods, I get the impulse to see if they have any vegan pizza slices left in the food service section. I haven’t had dinner yet, and I figure a couple slices would go down nicely. But then I have the inspired thought that I’d love to get a whole pizza to take home with me, so I can have leftovers the next day as well, but I don’t want to wait 20-25 minutes for them to make one since I’m ready to check out and go home. I walk over to that area to take a look, and the guy had just put out a whole fresh vegan pizza with red onion, green and yellow peppers, mushrooms, and black olives. Too perfect — and very strange since the store seemed deserted, and it was only 30 minutes till closing. Did they expect to sell that many slices of vegan pizza in the final 30 minutes on a Friday night? I don’t see how they’d even come close.

I ask the guy if I can have the whole pizza, and he happily consents and boxes it up for me. Nice timing, I think to myself.

I go to the only register that’s still open. The female clerk is gorgeous, friendly, and flirty, and our interaction is fun and playful. Those kinds of interactions aren’t unusual for me, but this one was smoother and more flowing than usual. I felt like I was interacting with a dream character, a projection of my own subconscious, and that changed the nature of the interaction. It’s very hard to describe how it was different, but it just wasn’t the same as before. The interaction was completely frictionless. There was no sense of any expectation, judgment, or concern with what the other person was thinking. Communicating from a place of such emptiness is very simple and easy. It’s just like talking to a character in a lucid dream.

I went home with a feeling that something had shifted. But that was only the beginning.

The pizza was really good too. I made Rachelle envious by eating it while I video-Skyped with her later that night, occasionally offering her a virtual bite. She got me back big time though… by teasingly offering me virtual bites of her. And I know just how delicious she is. ;)

Perfect

All across my reality, people seem different now. It’s as if the world has been injected with happiness. I notice more people laughing, smiling, having fun, and being flirtatious.

If you’re active in the forums, you may have perceived an energetic shift there within the past week or two. I’ve certainly noticed it. The place seems more fun and playful and optimistic than usual. And it’s overflowing with synchronicities too, at least for me.

In terms of online feedback, during this trial I’ve been getting significantly more than usual, but virtually none of it is negative. Where did all the harsh critics go? It’s like they suddenly vanished. The feedback I’m getting now is overwhelmingly loving and supportive and compassionate. Some of it also slides towards the seductive and sexy. Apparently something I’m doing is making certain women find me more attractive and reach out to me with a desire to connect. Can’t say I mind that. :)

I don’t recall getting any personal insults via email in more than a week. The closest thing to negative feedback was some emails urging caution with this experiment, but I can’t call any of them critical. The messages are more like, “Be careful. I’ve tried what you’re trying, and there are some risks to watch out for. So here are some suggestions…”

Easy Tiger

These social shifts were very rapid, practically overnight. It’s been taking me a while to mentally and emotionally catch up to them.

At first I was really excited about it. I was enthralled by all these positive changes. I was in a place of amazement and wonder. So I began to step on the accelerator, so to speak, trying to push things ahead faster and faster. But as I did that, I lost the flow of inspiration. I was trying to go too fast, being too impatient. I soon felt overwhelmed by the rapidly accumulating consequences of my actions. These consequences were overwhelmingly positive, but they were coming in too hard and fast for me to keep up. I ended up with a backlog of communication that I’m still trying to catch up with.

Then I began to almost panic. For a couple days earlier this week, I felt nervous, anxious, and insecure. Things were shifting so quickly that I was constantly out of my comfort zone. I needed to slow down, be patient, and get back in the flow of inspiration. This isn’t something I should be trying to force.

I slowed down and gradually synched back up again with the flow of inspiration. I took a break from blogging for a few days. I tried to write a new post now and then, but it felt forced and uninspired, so I stopped within minutes. I was getting the signal to slow down and relax and let my mind and emotions catch up.

For much of this week, I’ve been taking it easy. I played with the kids, learned to use my iPad and installed some apps, and tended to some errands like getting an oil change and a car wash. My dream car is nice and clean now.

I also did some tax forms for my business that were due on Monday. It was very easy to do this. I would even say it was inspired, but in a low intensity sort of way.

I found it interesting that the inspiration to get my tax forms done on time still arrived. Even though it’s a dream world, it makes sense to tend to the basics of living within the constraints of the dream storyline so as to avoid creating unwanted dream world consequences. I may be running a dream business, but it still matters to me. It’s part of the story.

Think of it like watching a movie or reading a novel — or better yet, playing an interactive video game. You may know in the back of your mind that it isn’t real, but you can still get sucked in by the plot and feel like you’re right there with the characters. That’s how my life feels. I can pull back and know that I’m dreaming, but I can also allow myself to get sucked into the story.

I took some time to meditate for an hour. That helped me release much of the stress associated with these shifts and to be more accepting of this new reality.

I’m feeling much better today, more peaceful and calm. But I’m still very excited about what’s happening. This is an absolutely amazing adventure. Pacing myself has been a challenge, but I’m getting better at surfing the waves of inspiration without overdoing it. I suspect it may take me a few more weeks to feel good about my calibration though. I’m gradually learning how to surf.

The Sweetest Condition

The biggest shifts by far have been in the area of personal relationships. Things have improved so rapidly in this area that my mind and emotions are still playing catch up. It’s like the kind of reaction you might have if your whole family suddenly died in an accident, a complete derailment of your previous expectations. The intensity of the experience is roughly at that level, but in this case, the changes are extremely positive.

For starters, my relationship with Rachelle has shifted enormously. We’ve gone a lot deeper into our connection with each other, and it’s safe to say that we’re more in love than ever. I’m overflowing with gratitude for her. Even though she’s in Saskatoon right now and still has 3 more weeks on her Canadian tour for her play, we keep in touch by video Skype nearly every day. We connect so deliciously in all four quadrants — body, mind, heart, and spirit. I swear she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.

I can attribute this shift directly to this experiment. It may seem counterintuitive as to why it works, so let me explain that.

I stopped seeing Rachelle as a separate individual, and I began to interact with her as a dream character, a projection of the dreamer’s subconscious. This had the effect of allowing me to release all judgments and expectations of her. I began to see her through different eyes, with a sense of child-like wonder, amazement, and curiosity.

When I communicate with her, I do my best to interpret what she says much like it’s a part of my own subconscious talking to me. It’s impossible for me to disagree with her about anything in that state, so I have to “yes, and” everything she says. After all, it’s coming from me.

When Rachelle raises a concern, I treat it as my own. I look within myself to see why I’m now expressing that concern through the character of Rachelle. By dialoging with her about it, I listen carefully to understand that aspect of myself. Then if I perceive a problem to be solved, I solve it within. And almost magically, Rachelle herself releases that concern and expresses a positive shift. I don’t even have to tell her how I worked it out. She just starts behaving differently.

I’ve done the same with many of my other relationships, and it’s been incredibly healing. I can’t possibly share all of it, as the details would require literally days of typing. But I can say it’s been absolutely magical.

In Sympathy

It starts when I feel the urge to contact someone with whom I feel there’s some unresolved or blocked energy. I notice I keep thinking about certain people, sometimes people with whom I haven’t directly communicated in months. I sense there’s still some kind of karmic connection between us that requires resolution.

I turn within and do my best to identify what that person means to me. This is basic dream interpretation 101. What does the dream character represent? What part of my subconscious is being expressed through him/her? Then I seek to heal my relationship with that part of myself. The primary vehicles for that are acceptance and forgiveness and unconditional love.

So this isn’t about transcending parts of myself. It’s about re-integrating parts of myself that I previously tried to deny, judge, or reject.

When I heal that part of myself, the relationship with the other person automatically improves.

Usually there is some direct contact with the other person as this plays out. As part of this healing process, I typically contact them. Sometimes things are resolved with a few emails; other times it’s a phone call. I could also do it face to face.

This weekend I had a phone call with a friend that lasted for 3 hours. We had previously disconnected on a bad note that turned out to be a misunderstanding. By the end of the call, I felt we had healed the rift, and I think she felt the same. Or to be more accurate, I projected those feelings onto her because I had healed this disconnect with a part of myself. I had to reintegrate what she meant to me.

Sometimes the other person senses me working on our relationship and contacts me, or so it seems. Synchronicities are off the scale right now, let’s just say.

I guess this is almost like going through a 12-step program, but I didn’t make a list of past transgressions to remedy. Instead I’m just noticing what’s arising in the present moment. If my thoughts keep going towards a certain person, I know there’s a karmic connection that needs to be looked at and healed. Then it feels like there’s a powerful release of trapped energy.

I know I’m not done with this process. I can feel more of this work flowing towards me. But it has been incredible and amazing and beautiful thus far. My relationship life has been magically transformed so quickly that it makes my head spin. I am still trying to catch up both mentally and emotionally. It’s hard to keep my own memory in sync with all the shifts.

I think the best way to describe it is that all the friction that got in the way of unconditional love is finally evaporating.

Even if I were to stop now, I’d be stunned at how wonderful this part of my life has become. But I know there’s more to come. It’s hard for me to even fathom where I’ll be in this area of my life at the end of this 30-day trial. I have no doubt that Day 30 will be radically different from Day 1, so much so that it’s going to seem like I’ve gone through some kind of dimensional portal into an alternate universe.

Comatose

But wait, there’s more — a lot more.

Rachelle and I have been, by default, monogamous with each other for the 6+ months we’ve been involved. Well, there was a fun threesome along the way, but other than that, we focused our energy primarily on each other. This actually required some blocking on our part. We both had other opportunities along the way, but we chose not to pursue them. It just seemed inappropriate. We were falling so much in love with each other that it wouldn’t have felt right to introduce other energies. Neither of us wanted to risk derailing what we were creating together. We recognized that something beautiful and magical was unfolding between us, and we wanted to go with the flow of it and soak up that experience as fully as possible.

This has been an amazing journey for us. When we talked last night, we acknowledged that this has been the best year of our lives — filled with adventure, excitement, passion, and wonderful growth experiences.

In the beginning, we were subjected to some judgment about our D/s explorations together, but if that judgment is still there, I no longer perceive it, perhaps because I made peace with that part of myself along the way. D/s play has been an amazing and wonderful part of our connection… and incredibly healing for us both. For me it has been a journey of learning how to receive love and letting go of all the guilt and shame I previously associated with it. I’ve had to work on myself a lot in this area, and I still do.

Imagine being able to command a woman to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and you know that she’ll lovingly obey you and that she’ll also enjoy it immensely. But then notice that you hesitate to do so because you feel guilty and ashamed about it. You can’t bring yourself to ask her for what you want. You don’t feel worthy of that kind of love. It’s too much — too intense — too selfish. So instead, you stay in your comfort zone and ask for less than what you really want. You compromise. What you ask for is lovingly given. But how can you bring yourself to ask for what you really want and feel good about receiving it?

That’s my situation, and healing this part of me is what I personally gain from exploring D/s. Maybe it sounds like a stupid problem to have, and I can understand why people would initially see it as a very shallow pursuit, but for me it has been a very deep and emotional part of my self-development.

I grew up in a home where the words “I love you” were never spoken (or at least I don’t recall hearing them). Hugs didn’t happen except on special occasions, and only with visiting relatives. My physical needs were abundantly satisfied, but as a child, I didn’t feel loved or cared for. The closest thing to love that I felt was when I was praised by my teachers for doing well on school assignments. That’s probably why I became such a good student and had such positive relationships with my teachers.

If I expressed any emotional neediness as a child, such needs were seldom fulfilled. I didn’t know how to get those needs met, so essentially I gave up. I have vague memories of being sensitive, loving, and compassionate as a young child, but by the time I was six years old, I had picked up too many emotional scars… and a physical scar as well from when I was stabbed. That scar on my right arm is still visible today, nearly 35 years later, a perpetual reminder of what remains to be healed within.

After that time, my heart was filled with mostly darkness – anger, hatred, despair, and a deep-seated distrust of others. I wondered why God had made me such a bad person. Why was I always screwing up? Why couldn’t I be good and follow the rules? I’d pray every night that I might somehow summon the strength to always be good, so that I might one day become worthy of love.

I would feel such intense hatred at times, mostly directed towards myself, that I began to grind my teeth, a habit that continued even while I slept. The unconscious nighttime habit stuck well into adulthood, and as a result my molars are nearly flat, with much of their enamel gone.

Years passed, and I eventually forgot that I had a heart at all. I retreated almost completely into my mind.

I learned computer programming at age 10, and the computer became my best friend and loyal companion. I had human friends along the way, but there was little emotional intimacy in those connections. For the most part, I was emotionally alone well into adulthood. I wouldn’t say that anyone really knew me. I didn’t feel I could trust anyone, least of all myself.

I met Erin when I was 22, and she somehow got inside. Perhaps it was her nature to do so. I tried to break up with her shortly after we connected, confessing that I didn’t know how to love. Yet that was the seed that became my own undoing since the reason I wanted to break up with her was that I began to care about her, and I didn’t want to see her hurt. My heart was beginning to break out of its crusty shell.

Through our 15-year relationship, a lot of healing took place. I learned how to express love. Or perhaps I remembered how. Along the way, my life path shifted towards giving and service. I came to genuinely care about people. I liked expressing that part of myself. And my life improved tremendously as a result.

I began to adopt the mindset of a lightworker. I focused on giving, giving, and more giving. I noticed that when I did that, good stuff would always flow back to me. But ultimately, that was only half of the healing process.

I Feel Loved

I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but I knew that it was time for Erin and me to separate. She had guided me far enough down the path of giving love that it was clear I’d never slip back. I could keep advancing down that path on my own. I understood how important it was.

Erin, however, wasn’t the right person to help me heal the other half of myself, the part that was unable to receive love. It wasn’t her role to perform. I needed a different teacher to help me with that.

As I learned to give more, a lot of good stuff would flow back to me. But it was very difficult for me to receive it. People would thank me and praise me for my help, but I felt uncomfortable with such expressions of appreciation. So I put up blocks and barriers to receiving, mostly unconsciously. I discouraged people from emailing me. I declined invites from people who wanted to meet with me in person. I hid behind a computer much of the time. I implemented a variety of strategies that made it possible for me to give a lot without allowing myself to receive much.

I couldn’t completely stop the flow of receiving though, so I redirected it in other ways, such as growing my business. I reached the point of allowing financial abundance to flow through me, but I couldn’t accept expressions of love and appreciation that were too emotional in nature, nor could I ask for such love. It would have disgusted me to act like I cared about such things — I couldn’t possibly be so emotionally needy.

But little by little, the emotional side began to get through. Sometimes I’d cry after receiving certain pieces of feedback, such as learning that I’d prevented a suicide.

Eventually some part of me triggered a major shift in this area, like a spiritual subroutine that suddenly became active. At first it hit me intuitively, then later on, logically. I began to realize that if I could become happier and more fulfilled, I could do a better job of serving others.

After Erin and I separated last year, I felt a strong intuitive urging to explore D/s with a female partner. Shortly thereafter, Rachelle came into my life. She has been a true gift in that regard, and I am intensely grateful for her.

When I think I’m pushing myself to ask for what I want, she gives of herself lovingly and then encourages me to ask for more. After months of this, I came to realize just how much I’m still holding back. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I know there are still some blocks to work through. I find it very difficult to ask for things that I would love… without feeling any shame or guilt for asking. And so I manifested a dream world in which selfishness is shunned and pleasure is regarded as sin. It’s okay to give to others, but we can’t give too much to ourselves; if we do that, we’re bad people.

Of course Rachelle and I have talked through all of this, but I still find it a challenge.

Rachelle has been the ideal partner for me in this regard. The ways I most want/need to receive love are symmetrically the ways in which she most enjoys expressing love. The more I’m able to open up and ask for what I want, the more she enjoys it too. When I hold back too much, I see my own hesitation reflected through her reactions.

If there are boundaries in our connection, they’re my own. To my best recollection, she has never found it necessary to decline anything I’ve asked her for, and she’s never used our safe word. Whatever I ask for, she lovingly grants.

I feel a bit foolish to have such a problem. After all, what kind of guy would hold back in a situation such as mine? And yet, it’s a huge challenge for me nonetheless. It’s hard enough for me to come to terms with all the love she’s poured onto me already, let alone to seek further expansion of it.

Freelove

But wait… there’s more. It gets better.

As I applied the subjective perspective to my relationship with Rachelle, and to myself as well, I finally began seeing the big picture. Up to this point, I didn’t identify my challenges with D/s as a problem with receiving love. I knew there were some internal shifts happening, but I didn’t quite understand them.

Now I can see what’s really been happening, so I can work with the process more consciously.

I can’t share all the details without typing for many more hours (and my wrists are beginning to get sore as it is), but the short version is that after much discussion, Rachelle and I decided to open our relationship and explore polyamory together.

We both knew we’d eventually turn this corner, and the time just seemed right. Energetically we’re still processing what this means to us, but we’ve already taken steps to move forward, and at this point, there’s sufficient momentum to carry us through to getting involved with other partners. That is already unfolding.

Yes, I’m being intentionally vague about it. It feels premature to share more details, especially since exploring polyamory by definition involves other people… or other dream projections, depending on your perspective.

I can say that something very interesting began to happen when we made this shift. A number of women began opening themselves to one or both of us, either suggestively hinting or outright stating they’d like to explore D/s with us… or try a threesome… or explore some kind of similar sharing of love and connection with us… or potentially get involved long-term. There was such a surge in a short period of time that we couldn’t help but notice.

But yet, we hadn’t gone public about it yet. Somehow those people must have picked up on the shift we were going through, and they felt safe enough to let us know of their interest. Of course that makes perfect sense in a dream world.

We’re entering into this part of our journey together very consciously and with a lot of communication. We check in with each other each day, often multiple times per day, and go deeper into our thoughts and feelings about it. At first we each had to work through some blocks and strong emotions, even though we knew it was what we wanted to experience. Now we seem to have reached a point of acceptance and also excitement about the idea. There’s such a strong bond of love and trust between us that we feel we can make this work. We want to be able to open up more and share the tremendous love we have between us with others.

This isn’t primarily about sex, although we each want that to be a part of our exploration together. The primary intentions are to increase our alignment with Oneness, to open our hearts even more, and to shed all negative associations to sharing love openly, including shame, guilt, fear, jealousy, envy, and attachment. Sex is a yummy icing on the cake, but in truth it’s one of many healing modalities, albeit a potent one.

I Am You

Previously my favorite analogy for explaining the principle of Oneness was the cells-in-the-body model. We’re all cells in the larger body of humanity. We have both an individual identity and a collective one. The health of the body and the health of the cells are one.

This was a powerful analogy, and it helped me make great strides forward in this part of my life. I was able to open up and connect socially with much greater ease and comfort when I recognized that other people were cells in the same body as me.

I’ve been sharing this analogy for years — in my blog, in my book, and at CGW.

But now I’m letting that analogy go because I’ve found a much more powerful replacement to help me align with Oneness.

That new analogy is that we’re all projections of the same dreamer in a dream world.

With this analogy there’s no longer a cell wall between us. There’s no separation at all. We aren’t just individual parts of the same whole — we’re different windows into the same being.

Now when I see another person, I don’t think that we’re two cells in the same body. I see us as different viewports into the same being. In fact, we are the same being. You are me, and I am you.

At one point instead of saying “I love you,” Rachelle and I said to each other, “I am you.” That had a whole different feel to it energetically. It felt like our connection suddenly went much deeper.

I realized that Rachelle and I aren’t two separate individual beings. We’re in fact the same singular being, the same consciousness. Separation is a complete illusion. We are two different images of the same thing.

And the same goes for everyone else.

I’ve been walking around for days in a daze, seeing myself in everyone and everything. It’s so obvious that I can scarcely believe I didn’t notice it before.

All love is self-love. All conflict is inner conflict.

The experience of Oneness within and harmonious relationships without are the same pursuit.

Dream On

I can no longer accept the premise of objective reality. I’ve gone too far down this rabbit hole and encountered too many amazing rabbits to expect that I’ll ever surface topside again. I’m now virtually certain that reality is in fact a dream world. If there’s a better analogy for the true nature of this existence, I haven’t come across one yet.

I say “virtually certain” because I still have some doubts and fears to work through. But one by one, they appear to be collapsing in a cascading fashion. I think their days are numbered and that it’s only a matter of time before I shed them all.

So many things that confused me before have now become clear.

Take quantum mechanics for instance. This is a real brain-pretzelizer from an objective standpoint. Why would consciousness affect physical matter? But if this is a dream world, then the existence of quantum mechanics is a rather obvious projection of the underlying nature of the dream. Quantum physical events don’t get resolved until they’re observed because the dreamer has to perceive them in order to resolve them, in order to give them form and substance. If the dreamer doesn’t perceive something, then the dream mind doesn’t bother to resolve it. This is precisely the behavior you’d expect from a dream.

This simulated reality only manifests what we can perceive. Until the dreamer perceives something, that something is stuck in non-created limbo. It would make no sense for the simulation to generate something that would never be perceived. Hence this dream reality, should you attempt to study it through an objective lens, must reflect something back to you that is for all intents and purposes what we’ve identified as quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics is nothing but a fancy label for dream world physics. In fact, all of science is the study of the inner workings of the dream world.

What about the Law of Attraction? This too is a side effect of being in a dream world. When you hook yourself into dreamer-level consciousness, you gain some ability to alter the dream by planting suggestions within the subconscious of the dreamer. The dream world then shifts accordingly. And of course the dream world must be consistent with your beliefs. So thoughts and beliefs of financial scarcity will manifest scarcity, and thoughts of abundance will manifest abundance, just as you’d expect in accordance with the Law of Attraction.

Perhaps a more accurate name for the LoA would be the Law of Subconscious Suggestion. The dream world manifests the most powerful suggestions that you plant within the subconscious of the dreamer. By accessing the dream program, you can reprogram the dream. The more self-aware you are — i.e. the more lucid you become — the greater your ability to apply this ability. But the more asleep you are — i.e. the more you succumb to the false belief that you’re in an objective world — the more you must live out your days as an NPC, unable to reprogram the dream.

What about psychic abilities? That makes sense from a dream perspective too. It suggests, however, that there may be some inherent limits to psychic abilities. In a dream world, your psychic abilities are limited by your beliefs. If you don’t subconsciously believe you can do it, you probably can’t manifest it.

All psychic readings are actually self readings. Top psychics can pick up seemingly astounding info about people they’ve never met because the underlying truth is that they are in fact the same being they’re reading for, so the psychic is simply reading his/her own subconscious, and the client is nothing but a projection and doesn’t exist as a separate individual anyway. Consequently, a psychic should be able to create a powerful boost in their abilities by recognizing the fact that they’re always reading themselves and that there really is no client “out there.”

A psychic’s ability to predict the future of some aspect of the dream is limited to the psychic’s degree of lucidity. You aren’t really predicting anything because dreams are largely unpredictable. But you can implant suggestions into the dreamer’s subconscious. So psychic prediction is really subconscious creation, i.e. self-fulfilling prophecy.

In a dream world, everything is a projection of the subconscious of the dreamer. Consequently, the dream world is absolutely overflowing with clues that you’re dreaming right now. You just can’t see them until you look for them. Such is the nature of being asleep.

Try this. Look up the lyrics to any of your favorite songs, or go play a song or two, and listen to the words.

As you hear the words, imagine that you’re dreaming right now and that the song is a message from your own subconscious. You will see that the song’s lyrics are trying to reveal to you that you’re dreaming right now. Notice the real meaning behind the song’s metaphors.

Many songs are about reintegration. Love the different parts of yourself. Stop all violence and conflict. You’re only fighting with yourself.

Some songs point out that you’re asleep and in denial about it. Even a song with seemingly crazy lyrics will begin to make sense if you regard it as communication from your own dream world. What are the last echoing words of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” for instance? “A Denial!” And what’s the meaning of the line, “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous”? It’s telling you that you’re afraid to wake up. What would it mean to turn on the lights?

Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself. Try it with any song that inspires you. The reason a song moves you emotionally is that it’s causing the dreamer within to resonate with a deeper level truth.

You can do the same thing with any TV show or movie that you find inspiring to watch. Did you like The Matrix just a little too much? Any idea why? Because you’re in one right now.

Shine

Being in a dream world has some powerful implications. I’ve found that my ability to create my reality has increased massively these past 12 days. My focus has largely been on healing and expanding the relationship part of my life, and that makes perfect sense to me. The most exciting element of such an immersive and persistent dream, at least for me, is the experience of interacting with the other dream characters. The more love and harmony I can create with those characters, the better the dream becomes.

I’m currently excited but also trepidatious about what this might mean. As I have some skill with nighttime lucid dreaming, I’m beginning to wonder if I can bring those abilities to bear in this dream world too. Part of me wants to dive into that, but another part of me knows I should learn to walk in this dream world before trying to fly.

Nevertheless, I did a small test this afternoon, trying to move a pen across the counter with my mind. I tried for about a minute. The pen didn’t budge. However, during those 60 seconds, I noticed all sorts of thoughts and feelings arising within me. There was fear and paranoia over what might happen if the pen actually moved. I felt a ripping sensation as a terrified part of myself began to surface. I sensed that if that pen actually moved, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. It would mean the end of my life as I know it.

It was obvious that I’m not ready to see that pen move. Part of me won’t allow us to go there yet. It would be too terrifying if it actually happened.

But another part of me knows that the pen is eventually going to move. However, I have a lot more growth ahead of me before I’m ready to see that.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to deal with the challenges and growth experiences that are right in front of me as I follow the flow of inspiration moment by moment. Those lessons have to do with relationships, giving and receiving unconditional love, and releasing some shame and guilt.

You can call me crazy for going this far down the rabbit hole, but it won’t stop me from moving forward. I’d simply interpret you as a projection of my own fear and doubt, which I acknowledge are still present within me. As you raise your voice in protest, I’ll accept your objections as if they’re my own, and I’ll forgive myself for those delusions and re-integrate those skeptical parts of myself, honoring them for their commitment to keeping me safe and protected.

You are beautiful and amazing, my favorite figment. :)