“the bottom line is I want to give you everything all at once. All at once, all at once, all at once. Which is such an intensive thing to do, right? Like I’m so into all these different things that I’m learning and exploring and getting deeper in. And I want to share them with everybody. The impulse to everything all at once has a reason. And it needs to be celebrated.”

Celebrating intensiveness, and intensiveness in community.

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Transcript and notes:


Recorded 16 April 2023.


Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in.

I just recorded a really long podcast, the members podcast. If you're a member of the Institute, you get access to longer form podcasts that I try to put out about once a month. Sometimes I don't quite hit that goal. But I also try not to create content, just for the sake of creating content. I try to create meaningful, useful content. So sometimes it takes a minute.

But I just created this really long hour long podcast, talking about struggle and ease. And the idea that we can forget to struggle, which is something that I probably would have scoffed at until I studied hypnosis. And now I believe in it.

Not around things like survival issues, you know, if you're struggling to eat, you're struggling to eat. Like, that's not something that you can necessarily change by changing your brain. But there's so much that we do create for ourselves, that struggle that we don't have to create for ourselves. And that's, that's the kind of thing that I'm talking about with absolute acknowledgement for the realities of the functioning of our brains and our bodies and the world.

It was inspired because I saw this, this reel, I think it was on Facebook, of a guy doing a parkour course. Kind of like he was just sprinting down a regular running track. Like, it just looks like he's gone out for a run. It just happens that his foot keeps falling on these irregularly spaced, oddly shaped objects of various kinds as he goes. And there was a caption on it that said, "bro forgot to struggle."

And I was like, Huh, that's interesting. Yes. And where have I forgotten that? So I wanted to talk about it, obviously, and I talked about it at length. So if you're a member, definitely look for that. It's coming. As soon as Bill can get it, edited and put up. But we definitely have some great member podcast content coming. And that really solidified my decision to make the member salon for this month.

So leadership members get four salons a year. And these are gatherings, live gatherings only, we don't record them- where we can talk about a particular topic. And I tried to bring in a special guests who knows something about it. I've got a couple feelers out the deadlines coming, but I've got some feelers out. So I'm hoping that I can have at least one amazing special guest for talking about struggle. And I'm really looking forward to it.

And I was thinking about the way in which I kind of want to give everything to everyone, right? Like, I have set my my membership and my company up so that there are various levels, levels of access to the basic training information and levels of access to the more advanced content and levels of access to me personally.

Which is capitalism at work, basically. I need to eat. And so I have to create ways that people can pay me to get access to the things that I know, and the things I can do. And yet, I think this stuff is so valuable and so important that I want it out there for free, which is why I make this podcast free. Which is why I want to try to try to distribute it across as many channels as possible. In a variety of ways. I talked about it on Facebook, I talked about it on LinkedIn, I talked about it on the podcast. I try to spread the podcast itself on social media.

I'm thinking about getting into Substack. Haven't done that yet. But what I'll probably be doing is taking edited or slightly cleaned up versions of of the transcripts that I already produced here and making them available on Substack. For people who know they don't want to subscribe to a podcast, but also know that they would like to regularly see what what I'm working on. And then maybe we'll get into conversations in notes. I'm not sure.

But the bottom line is I want to give you everything all at once, all at once all at once all at once, which is such an intensive thing to do, right? Like I'm so into all these different things that I'm learning and exploring and getting deeper in. And I want to share them with everybody.

My poor mother, she calls me to be like, "Hi, it's Sunday morning, how are you doing?" And I'm like, "Well, I've just been thinking about indigenous land use."

And my mom is like, you can almost hear her eyes roll.

I mean, she's into this stuff, right? She's the person that I learned to be into biology and ecology from. She was a biology major in the 60s. As a woman. Like I come by this rightly and yet- And yet. There is a "too much level" for my mother whose special interest does not seem to include indigenous land use.

So yeah, but I want to, right, I want everyone to have everything that's in my head, which is part of why the membership is shaped the way it is. Because I was reaching a point where I wanted to have a conversation where I wanted to engage someone around something. And I had read four articles on the topic. And of course, this other person hasn't been reading all the things on the internet that I've been reading. So the gallery is set up to make it possible for me to share some of those things.

And I probably over shared in the beginning, and now I might be under sharing, I need to kind of come to a balance in terms of how I put stuff into the gallery. But but we're at a point where, now, there's a lot of stuff in the gallery. It's like a little peek into the way that I build the context for my thinking.

And I would say that that is training from- probably it's who I am anyway, but it was enhanced by training in seminary. Because when you're a minister, that has to write a sermon every week, which I don't. But now, of course, I record podcasts every week.

When you're a minister, you have to have a lot of input, you need to have things that stimulate your thinking that challenge your thinking that enlarge your thinking, that make you feel things that bring you into closer contact with ideas and people in ways that you wouldn't otherwise have encountered. So that you can be sufficiently enriched and stimulated to create interesting content with depth on a regular basis. In some ways, writing sermons is the original, like content production.

Maybe not the original, one of the older content production situations where people show up on Sunday morning, or whenever they do, and you have to have something engaging and useful and thoughtful to say. So I think I, I was like that already, I honed it in seminary. And now of course, I have a much wider breadth of things that I can say. Because I'm not speaking in as particularized a context, I have a more generalized context. And so I can do a little bit more, whatever moves me.

But I want to share all of it all the time all at once. And I love doing that.

One time years ago, I was invited to I think it was a Seder. Almost certainly a Seder. At a friend's house, and about eight of us crammed ourselves into a little side room after the ceremony and the food and just talked. For like five hours, as I recall it. Without stopping.

And usually that kind of social environment wears me out. And after about an hour, I have to go home. But I was engaged. I was loving it, I was having so much fun. And I came out of that conversation with more energy. I came out of that kind of conversation hyped up, that never happens. I'm an introvert.

But you know, what had happened is that all eight of us, maybe seven of the eight people in the room, were intensives. And so we were all just sharing one thing and another thing and things we knew stuff about. And comparing and contrasting and plugging things into each other until you wouldn't have recognized the blanket that we wove out of all of the different threads if you hadn't seen it happen. Because those things did not look related.

And I think I just, I just want to celebrate that about us as intensives. That we can take a pile of unrelated things, ideas, objects, whatever, and turn them into not just a cohesive whole, but at least in the case of that group of people, a cohesive whole conversation that had like four ideas for how the world could be a better place worked right into it.

And the importance of-- you know it's important to act. Absolutely. But the importance of thinking like that and doing it sometimes communally is that when we do that, we formulate so much richness.

We think of ourselves as humans as consumers. Not in the purchasing things way, but in the "we are not photosynthetic sort of way." Right? We humans rely on the photosynthesis of plants to produce food that either we eat directly or that gets fed to other animals and then we eat that directly. And that comes into our bodies and nourishes us.

We can't just stick our feet in the stream and raise our hands toward the sky and be fed.

We are not autotrophs. And Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about this beautifully in the chapter of Braiding Sweetgrass, where she talks about leeks. She talks about sometimes how she wishes she could be, she could be an autotroph. But then she wouldn't get to eat leeks. Because eating leeks is particular to needing to consume.

And I sometimes wonder what it would be like if we could- if we could do both. Right? If we could photosynthesize, and also... and also eat delicious bread and butter. I think that would be the best. But that's not where we are, we haven't evolved that way, we've evolved to need each other, all of the beings on this planet.

And so we think of ourselves as consumers. But when you get a bunch of intensives in the same room, and you get them going, they are producing. We are producing. We produce ideas, concepts, revolutions. We take one of the most fascinating parts of being human, which is our particular kind of brain. And we turn that particularity of brain-ness- we turn that particularity of brain-ness into something. We turn it into possibility.

We turn it into saving lives, we turn it into feeding and caring for people. We turn it into how to meet people's needs, and wants and desires. We turn it into pleasure. We can use our power for evil. That kind of invention is also creation, although I don't particularly favor it. At all. But we can use it for good. We can use it for good and we can use it for good together.

I have never quite been as entranced as many of my friends by tabletop role playing games of which D&D is the most well known. But I absolutely, absolutely adore collaborative storytelling. The threads on Tumblr, where people start with a story prompt, and then you end up with an entire story that makes people cry all across the internet for years and years and years afterwards. Like the one about the grandma who adopts the demon. Genius, it's a work of genius. And it is almost certainly the work of intensives.

And that's beautiful. And we need to celebrate that.

The impulse to everything all at once has a reason. And it needs to be celebrated. And also, we don't have to do everything all at once all the time. Sometimes it's okay to take a break. Sometimes it's okay to go another direction. Sometimes it's okay to just rest in what you've done.

I read- I listened to- a couple of chapters of Braiding Sweetgrass in a row. And I realized by the third one that I was no longer absorbing it at the same level, because I was already full. There was so much there. So I'm going back to one chapter at a time, because one chapter is so rich. And I notice that having read many, many, many other kinds of books, I am quoting Braiding Sweetgrass, all over the place, I think, partially because I'm reading it as slowly as I am. I am a fast reader, and I enjoy it.

I delight in reading fast. And also, as I get older, as an intensive, I'm recognizing that there's more than one way to be intensive about reading and one of them is to go fast. And one of them is to go deep, and I'm really enjoying this exploration of depth.

So I just wanted to celebrate us. I want to celebrate us and the ways in which we are autotrophic. As intensives, especially as intensives in community. We generate ideas, possibilities, unthinkable things come out of our heads because we think them together. And we love having things overlap and intersect. And then we need time to go deep.

We also need time to go deep. Close the door, tell everyone to go away. I'm busy. I'll come out in three days. I will need a bath. All of this is part of who we are and how we are. And I love that. I love us for it. We all get to love it.

If you're a leadership member, please come to the salon April 20, four to 6pm. Pacific time. The information should be in the portal but if you need it, just keep watching the membership site because I will, I will repost how to get in to the event itself.

If you're not a member, please consider joining. It's a small crew but it's a great crew and I am having so much fun dreaming up more stuff for us, including matching people up with other people that I think would be just fun to talk to. This isn't romantic matching. This is just oh gosh, you guys should know each other.

I'm really looking forward to all of this.

Take good care. I'll see you soon.