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How do we wake up the We? Mutual Awakening!

Can you imagine for a second, if the relationship between two people were actually a person itself?? That the relationship had its own personality and style, its own thoughts and moods, that it made its own decisions, and grew up like an actual person and learned new things? Imagine!

And if we were to continue on this fun thought train -- that relationship, in order to exist and thrive, in order to be happy, in order to express itself in the world and become what it is meant to become, would be dependent on both people staying in the relationship, giving/receiving something of themselves, and staying present to what the relationship wanted. An interesting thought train, no? 😉

We've spent the last 50 years really waking up our inner senses of self. We've pondered the questions of, "Who am I?" "Why am I here?" and "Why am I like this?" But curiously, we haven't put as much thought into the questions of, "Who are We?" "Why are We here?" and "Why are We like this?"

Our planet is in peril, and in the age of crisis mode to come, cooperation and collaboration will be paramount to address some of the big issues. However, if we are to navigate 7.7 billion "I"s -- eeks, good luck! I'm going back to bed.

But if we were to navigate One Big Beautiful We... hmmm, now that I'm interested in. So how do we wake up the We?? How do we become orchestrated by Unity, instead of by crisis, divisiveness, and small concessions?

Good news! We've developed a practice to do just this -- it is called Mutual Awakening. It is a mindfulness practice that develops our inner capacities (focus, care, eye contact, words, willingness) to consciously be with other people and discover the We that arises. A practice that helps us let go of our agendas to control or be controlled by other people and allow for the shared awakened love that is us to naturally emerge and bring us into alignment with one another.

More good news! There are some special Bay Area events (if you're local to me, else I have other opportunities below**) that are coming up for you and a friend to come and get a taste of true "awakened We" with another person. You really have to try it to understand the power and beauty of the practice. This practice has the potential of enhancing all relationships in your life -- no joke, it did mine -- so really you have to check it out.

 

Mutual Awakening in San Francisco - Open Intro Nights  (FREE, donations welcome)

  • Friday, July 19th, 7pm-8:30pm
  • Wednesday, July 31st, 7pm-8:30pm

Come to one or both of the nights! There will be some snacks, laughter, Castro city delight, and of course, togetherness. Check out the Facebook event for more info.
Location: Celebratelife Spiritualist Community, 4530 18th Street, San Francisco, California 94114

 

Mutual Awakening in San Francisco - 2-Day Workshop

  • Saturdays, August 10th & August 24th, 10am-1pm

For those of you who are pumped to dive in deep into the realms of Intersubjectivity already (I don't blame you...), registration is now open to reserve your spot in our upcoming, local Mutual Awakening workshop! This 2-day, 5-module course is designed to fully instruct and equip you to enter into shared reality fields with others. Visit the website to learn more and sign up.
Location: Celebratelife Spiritualist Community, 4530 18th Street, San Francisco, California 94114

 

I can imagine a Bay Area future that is awakened, intelligent, and filled with satisfied, connected people. We birthed the internet in this area, it is time to birth the "innernet" to match it. Can't wait to get started.

**For those who are not local or are local but can't make these events -- I can tell that you are reading this far because something is tickling you. If you'd like to read more about mutual awakening, check out the Evolutionary Collective's Starter Kit which will walk you through some of the intro and basics of this new world of relating. AND OF COURSE, you can always contact me with questions or set up a private coaching of the practice! I'd be happy to explore that option with you.

Please reach out if you're confused or have any questions, I have all the love for you.

No relational integrity is like driving without a seat-belt

In the last 36 hours I’ve been really caught on a concept… or perhaps the concept is caught on me. Like a song that keeps repeating in your brain. Or when you see blue cars everywhere. It’s the idea of “relational integrity”.

It’s the idea of a workable relationship, friendship, or bond. It’s the idea that a relationship exists and is functional. And it is so functional that if the relationship is meant to thrive, it THRIVES. And if it is meant to dissolve, it peacefully dissolves. But you decide that together, not just one person deciding for the both of you. Let me break this down.

First off, can we agree that relationships can be the most awesome thing ever?? Instantly I remember as a little girl, I was over at my neighbor’s house who was another little girl, and we were laughing so hard that milk literally spewed out of my mouth all over the kitchen table. Instead of cleaning it up, we laughed even harder. Then I time travel to my college Cartography professor who spelled out map projections so profoundly, clearly, and beautifully, my butt literally felt glued to the chair and I couldn’t blink for one second lest I miss any of it, any of him. Then I swoosh to 7 years later, where I got to work with someone who basically completed my sentences, and it was so exciting to work with them, I JUMPED out of bed in the morning just to prepare for work.

AND… we can agree that relationships can be the most awful thing ever. My brother for example was my closest friend when we were growing up one minute (when it was just he and I in the room), and then a minute later, when his friends were around, I was the laughing stock of the town. I’m sure he/they meant it in some kind of no harm, but I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t have any male friends until I was 20 years old. Another example is I had a super close friend at work, and then suddenly it was like she hated me. No explanation, no discussion. It was devastating and baffling. Another example is a friendship that was so sweet, but when I moved away, she tried to keep in touch and I didn’t really know how to do that. And even as I felt her heart break that I didn’t seem to care, again I didn’t really know what to do and so it was easier to just ignore her.

So it’s like these relationships have the potential to be magic and sometimes that magic happens whether we do anything or not, and other times these relationships seem to actually take something more than just passively having them. That they require something extra or different to establish them, to maintain them, and to deepen them. They also take something to end them without one or both persons feeling terrible.

So what is that something extra? Tell me, Gen! TELL ME.

THIS is where “relational integrity” comes in, are you excited? I believe that relationships take 2 things. The first thing is more important than the second thing, but the second thing honors the first thing. And if both things are present, I believe you have relational integrity.

1. Understanding a Commitment is Present

When you have a relationship (this can be a friendship, work partnership, love relationship, or whatever it is), you have a commitment to the other person and to the relationship (regardless if that was stated or not). You have an agreement to be together. Like, “you’re my person” and “we’re a thing”. A relationship means, “there is something that is happening between us here” and you are both responsible for it. I.e. There is some type of connection present and is establishing itself here. And whether we like it or not, or it was said out loud or not, a relationship is like a contract and there are terms of that contract called expectations. Some relationships have more terms than others. And some terms are more explicit than others (like a partnership agreement, rules of a gym membership or getting married). Other terms are implicit (like what being a good “friend” “neighbor” “teammate” “girlfriend” “spouse” means). Also in a relationship, you affect and influence each other. Your actions and behavior with them, towards them, around them, or away from them but about them (<-- important one) have an affect on them and on the relationship.

This reality isn’t meant to be argued against — it’s like the “nature” or “physics” of relationships. A relationship is a tie to each other whether you like it or not or whether you are aware to it yet or not. Even if you hide in a closet (believe me, I’ve tried), I bet you still have relationships like a mother out there or some long-lost friend and there are probably still terms and agreements in play.

2. Cleaning up the Commitment if it Goes Wonky

So WHEN things happen that affect the relationship or WHEN you do something that affects the other person in a possibly negative way (it’s not an “if”, it’s a “when” because we’re messy humans), it is your responsibility to check in with the person to see how they are and how the relationship is. Yes, I know, this sounds crazy in our hyper-individualist society. Having relational integrity actually means that we need to try to explain ourselves for any harmful, confusing, or inconsiderate actions we may have done (intentionally or not) and wait to receive any verbal or emotional feedback that is there from our actions. It doesn’t matter as much why you did those behaviors (though you could ask if the other person wants to hear this information), it more matters that you acknowledge you affected the other person and are open to seeing what that means for the other person and for the relationship.

This is the crucial note –> all you must do is:

  1. admit to the truth of what YOUR actions were (you had negative thoughts about the other person and talked about them behind their back, you felt jealous and turned spiteful towards them, you believed they didn’t care about you and made up a story or judgement about them, you forgot about their birthday, you canceled plans last minute, you didn’t do what you said you were going to do, on and on),

    • (Common question — but wait, I was super justified to doing those actions, shouldn’t that be stated anywhere? Shouldn’t they need to apologize too?? That’s not the focus. The focus is that you get clear on what YOUR part was and own that. Now, usually, when you sincerely own your part, it softens their heart and then they feel inclined to own theirs… but this isn’t the goal. The goal is for you to make amends for your side of the street.)
  2. admit to the affect that might of had on the other person (they might have felt sad or lonely that you were suddenly distant and unavailable, they might have felt hurt and angry you disrespected their time by canceling last minute, etc.),
  3. be open to any feedback from them on how your actions affected them,
  4. and finally, be clear on what your intentions, commitment, or feelings are about the relationship currently (maybe open to change, but nice to mention for them to know so they can make an accurate response to how they feel now).

AND THEN WAIT (like literally wait, pause, stop talking). BECAUSE HERE’S THE KICKER — at this point in the conversation, you discover TOGETHER where the relationship stands. What?? I get that maybe you have differing viewpoints about where the relationship stands, but then go ahead and explore the difference in viewpoints! I promise, when you get clear (and are honest) about your connection TOGETHER, it’ll be clear what is meant to happen going forward to ensure the least amount of harm (or maybe the most amount of joy) for all parties and decide that TOGETHER.

// end instructions

Why should I do this, Gen? This sounds heavy and a lot and blah. Because going towards conflict for the sake of your relationship will either strengthen your relationship tremendously or it will end it as it should be ended for the growth and betterment of both. Going towards conflict involves BOTH people to be part of that conversation. You deciding what it’s like and how the relationship is, isn’t actually mutual and doesn’t make for functional relationships. Maybe it makes for a functional you… and that’s cool. But doesn’t make for a functional We.

(Also I promise making this ritual more of a normal habit than an onerous chore, will limit the amount of times you actually have to do this in your relationships. It’s pretty cool that way.)

Get it?

Do you know what alcohol is like?

Do you know what alcohol is like? It’s like reaping the benefits without doing any of the work. Even social drinking, 1-glass a day drinking, once in a while drinking — a person drinking alcohol is redeeming the rewards of relaxation, joy, freedom, truth, ease, carefree-ness, charisma, bliss, creativity, connection, etc. without actually doing any of the work. It’s a shortcut… well more than that, it’s cheating.

Sure, life is hard and “we all need to cheat and eat dessert first sometimes”. But we shouldn’t equate the benefits we get from alcohol to the actual thing. Let me explain:

People are not courageous and “speaking their truth” after they’ve had a glass of alcohol. Because to be courageous requires feeling the tight, raw fear and doing it anyway, even through shaky words and sweaty palms.

People are not connecting and showing their true affection with others under the influence of alcohol. Because true connection comes from when both people really open themselves up in vulnerability (which cannot be done with alcohol) and see each other and accept each other from there.

Alcohol is falsehood. It’s not-truth, not authentic, not really showing what they are really experiencing. And I’m a believer that we want the real thing! We actually want to witness courage and witness true connection! Not some cheap version of it!

I’ve been on both ends. I’ve used alcohol to rid my anxiety and boredom. I’ve used it to make friends. I’ve used it just because. I’ve used it without even really thinking much about it. But I stopped drinking when I finally turned towards my emotions (usually with another person or counselor – or at the very least a journal) and began to find the languaging and tools to process those emotions without needing alcohol. I stopped drinking when I found other real things to bring me joy and fun (like music, meditation, painting, board games, and other people) rather than cheating and turning to alcohol.

I’ve also been on the other end of alcohol. I’ve been dosed with bubbly affection only to find avoiding stiffness the next day. I’ve heard stories five times because they don’t remember telling me. I’ve made plans with someone under the influence, only to have them forget the next day and forget me. I’ve cheered on success in creativity and revelation, only to find out that it was shallow and not long-lasting because it was achieved through alcohol.

You may find this a remarkable statement, but I can understand why there were some people that actually wanted prohibition a hundred years ago. Making alcohol harder to get and not as accessible, sounds sane to me. It’s hard to be there for each other, when one person takes it in their own hands to separate and escape the situation with alcohol, consequences be damned. And the consequences are sadly usually on the people around them who feel just as (or more) helpless than the person who is drinking.

But what can you do when it is the other person using or abusing alcohol? Certainly shaming and guilt-trips aren’t the way to go. Instead it’s a tricky dance of compassion, letting them be, letting it go, speaking the truth how the alcohol is affecting you, getting upset, speaking the truth again about how the alcohol is affecting you, letting it go, letting them be, and compassion. For me, I’ve really focused on my own connection to a higher power and embraced the practice of turning over my worries and concerns to that higher power — believing that they have the power to heal and perfect ALL things… even if it takes days, months, or years to do so.

So to finish, I’d love to share this prayer, that was given to me in a time of need and really helped. You can read it any time you need it. Keep being faithful and keep longing for that future that doesn’t need alcohol anymore, I trust so much that it will come.

Dear God, I come to you in anguish over the hold alcohol has over people. Relationships have been rocked by it, destroyed by it, abusive behavior has been fueled by it, and people die because they are a slave to it. I stand against alcohol through faith and prayer and claim freedom from it! I pray that the shackles that ensnare people with alcohol would be broken. I pray for their protection from it and self-control to flee temptation. I pray that you would meet them where they are right now and fill them with your Holy Spirit grace. Open their eyes and let them see the destruction that it brings to their lives. Please send encouragement to those who need help, give them strength to help them fight it, and send peace to overcome any changes in their bodies and release restoration in Jesus holy name. Amen.