👨🎓 NSM Learning Outcomes for This Week
- Giving ourselves permission to feel emotions – without shame or labelling emotions as wrong.
- Seeing the value in exploring the emotional landscape and learning how to express in an unkinked way.
✔️ Live Call Checklist
- Hit record
- Music playing when people arrive
- Share how you’re feeling in three words — and a question that is alive for you this morning.
👪 Who is Attending
- Parents (~40%)
- Coaches + therapists (~15%)
- Founders + tech execs at varying stages of burnout ~15%
- Generally highly curious + open humans
💡 Possible Themes
❓ My Questions for Joe
- What conditions have generally led to the most impactful and meaningful live sessions?
- What would feel like a home run win in your system for these 90 minutes? Or what might be most interesting for you?
- What is alive for you right now?
- Ideas for break-out group sessions or exercises?
⏳ Possible Flow for the Session
- Welcome everyone ± we’re lucky to have Joe with us today
- I’ve learnt more practical ideas and embodied wisdom from listening to The Art of Accomplishment podcast than perhaps any book or study that I’ve read on emotions — I’ve listened to every single podcast episode — and it’s radically shifted my perspective on so many important themes.
- So thank you Joe for being here.
- As a jumping off point — there’s a distinction that you and Brett talk about in the podcast and that’s ‘Feel over Figure’ ~ and the clarity that arises on the other side of fully feeling an emotion.
- Part of what we’ve been learning in this course is what I’ve been calling RISE out of reactivity — let’s say that you notice that you’re what are some of the tools that you like to share or use for working with reactivity when it arises.
- Using ‘how what’ questions to move through a trigger
- Briefly — what is VIEW and where did it arise?
- The difference between a ‘decision’ vs a ‘choice’
- Exploring ‘How does it feel to be managed by another?’
- A: Share one challenge or question that you’re wrestling with in your life or work — and the mental stories that are associated. Connect to what emotion or feeling might be underneath this (e.g. uncertainty, fear, sadness) (4 minutes)
- B: Listen with VIEW and ask questions from that place. In particular ask about sensations that might be arising during the share.
- At the end B reflects back — I welcome your [EMOTION] and I’m not here to change you.
- Come back — reflect in the chat — swap roles.
👪 Vulnerable Questions from the NSM Community
One I’ve been mulling on lately relates to seeing the world in binary black and white versus full of grays, colors, subtleties, and nuance. (Wait, is that also a binary distinction? Ha!)
My early education in a Chinese school in Malaysia was heavy on the binary (e.g. this is Right and that is Wrong) and I’ve been thinking that that worldview is much more deeply embedded in me than I’d like.
Part of that might just be a very human desire for things to be understandable and categorizable.
But there are also little signals that suggest to me that at my root I’m still operating from a black and white framework, eg how much I recoil from people with very binary opinions (‘the thing we hate most in others is what we hate most in ourselves’ and all). I suspect tied into this is shame at being wrong / in the wrong (something also picked up in that early education).
I’d really love to be able to rest in the unknown / the uncategorizable / the seemingly contradictory with more ease and grace. But… how?
Procrastination has been one of my go to's, when I feel I am about to do something that scares me. It is a pattern that I really need to learn how to tackle
Since this is a call about working with intense emotions and triggers, I would be willing to unpack a traumatic event of 15 years, that I have pushed from memory, and have not been able to process.
It was about an assault I received. It traumatised me to the degree that I deveopoed PTSD and intense social anxiety. I am much more aware now, and I know that there is a lot of emotional debt; and the sensations feel so overwhelming, that I have trouble working with it alone.
The triggers from that event still remain to this day, and require deep work on my part every time
I was hoping that Joe could help me on the hot seat to start unpacking and navigating the intense emotions and triggers that are still alive from this event.
My intention would be on how to work with traumatic memories that you haven't been able to release.
I think it would be really useful for the group as well.
Would you be unwilling to suggest that to Joe, even though you've alredy had your prep call?
I struggle with time anxiety. Even though I know and have experienced how the best things happen when I’m present and not desiring for them, I keep finding myself in the trap of doing rather than being. Of being stressed that I’m somehow not using every precious second of the day moving toward some goal or improving. I’d be curious what Joe thinks about this.
- I am employed by someone who is very dysregulated - not at all aware of their emotions nor how contagious they can be. The role is one which is very emotionally involved, where work/leisure boundaries are often blurry, as it involves educating/looking after this person's children.
- I have asked myself for a while now whether I am stable/solid enough to 'stay in my power', act with integrity and continue to grow and develop as a person in the role, or whether I would be best to cut my losses and find other employment.
Of course, the flip-side is that I can play a positive role in offering them a relatively well-emotionally regulated nervous system to support their own regulation. This is important, not only for my employer, but for the children involved in our 'co-regulatory system', who I really care about and want to support.
The broader question here I suppose is: How does one decide whether to protect oneself or offer support to someone suffering/struggling?
Something that has come alive for me is this extremely persistent trigger that I found.
I never realised it was a trigger until recently. Goes to show how much a part of me it has become during my (whole?) life.
I just can't seem to find a way to pause the trigger.
It has to do with vengeance (for the lack of a better word).
Whenever I feel wronged or feel treated unfairly I just can't stop the immediate feeling of the need for some form of retribution.
It might sound extreme, but it might be something fairly small and "in proportion" (I would say, haha).
recently, I was introduced to a group of people online (on a discord server) and I was asked to voice some questions I had.
I had my hopes up that I was talking to a very intelligent group of people. But, they appeared to be downright dismissive towards my questions.
I felt treated unfairly. I was convinced that they didn't even understand the questions nor the depth of them.
I really wanted to learn from their knowledge, but my ego had only one mode. Retaliate by demonstrating how wrong their approach was.
A tense conversation followed and I left it feeling angry.
This situation and my reaction are similar in all my vengeance triggers.
Intellectually I am approaching the situation by trying to see how "ridiculous" it is that from my egocentric viewpoint I can never deliver any "justice", in a broader sense, by "evening the score".
But my nervous system has other plans and I can't help but be triggered.
Looking back at my life I feel some sadness. Knowing that I have probably done more harm than good with acting on that trigger. And I wish I could find a transformative insight or experience that rids me of it.
I'm looking forward to the session with Joe and maybe i missed the boat for questions but here goes:
I am a sampler, not a doer. The process looks like this:
1) I discover people/ideas/systems that I should know about and/or implement
2) I get really excited at the potential for these things to change my life
3) I fall down the rabbit hole of that idea/system/person and discover a bunch of other shiny ideas/persons/systems that are connected to the original one that I also get excited about
4) I sample all of these things: watch videos, lectures, read books listen to episodes etc.
5) Now I have lots of things I want to do but I don't end up
any of them with the level of consistency required for them to "change my life."
This course is a great example of that for me. I'm listening to the materials each week and implementing some of the protocols but I'm not active in the circle, I'm not noticing my awareness rising in any measurable way, I'm not measuring! etc. I feel like I am in this perpetual grazing phase and never sitting down to a meal. My sense is that it's because I'm afraid to commit to anything in fear that it won't "work" and I'll hate myself for investing attention on something that didn't pay dividends. But that also feels like a real but surface level fear which belies the real tumbleweed of fears that goes something like:
It's too late to become a more present person, a better writer, a better dad, husband, entrepreneur...you missed the boat on xyz...you squandered first mover advantage on abc...you can't form habits...nothing is going to "transform" your internal landscape because even a thorough search won't turn up anything because there's no there there...you're doomed to the middle...you'll talk big and act small forever etc.
So I guess my question is...I feel like I've been waiting to truly start my entire life but I never do. So, where and how do I actually start?
My dad is visiting from Thailand. He moved there 20 years ago after his career and marriage imploded. I was 15 when my parents divorced and I discovered he was cheating on my mom while my sister was dying in the hospital.
At the time I tried my best to have him and shut him out. I thought I needed to protect my mom and sister. But I could not hold onto my anger.
I let him back in. Not thst be tried particularly hard to regain my trust but I just caved because I didn’t want to be unloved. I didn’t want to carry the shame or guilt I felt from imposing a boundary. I did not grow up with boundaries. One of my dads most formative lessons for me was how you could bend the world to your will and you’ll never get what you want in life if you don’t ask.
I saw this edict serve him over and over even as it made me uncomfortable to witness. I have adopted a version of it myself. The key to the tactic working I’ve learned is good intentions. If you have good intentions you can never be wrong. Even if you hurt someone it’s excusable because your intentions are mostly of perceptibly pure. If someone is hurt it’s mostly their fault for misinterpreting your actions. This way of being came full force in his latest visit over thanksgiving.
It doesn’t work for my wife. She has a better relationship to boundaries than I have. She expects them to be observed and she does not interpret his breaking of them as generously as I do. I have learned to purposefully interpret his actions in the most generous way possible because I don’t want to accept that he’s a selfish person. I want to be loved. How can I be loved by someone who does not respect my boundaries?
If he doesn’t respect my boundaries then is what I feel and crave from him real love? The trip has been fraught. He doesn’t show up to see me or my kids everyday. When he does he shows up unannounced. He asks my kids for physical affection even though I told him we don’t force them to do that.
He asks me to go run errands for him he is capable of doing himself. My wife sees this as named self interest and expresses her frustration with it openly. I am then caught in the uncormfotbsoe position of trying to resonate with her feelings while doing my best to preserve this more generous interpretation of him thst i need in order to love him and feel loved by him.
Every time these conversations happen I am left with feelings I can’t express to her or to him and it’s built up this emotional debt that came to a head this weekend when my kinked emotions came out as passive aggression. We were having dinner with her sister and the subject of my dad came up. The conversation came to a head when her sister asked if se would welcome follow up visits from him.
I answered thst this would probably be his last visit for two reasons
1) my dad won’t want to come back because I’m his kind he’s now made the effort and it’s my turn to visit and because I’m a bad son who did not fulfill his every request with a smile and
2) my wife will not welcome him back into our home because she’s frustrated with me for not standing up to him and holding boundaries. So basically, I’m blaming both of them for something that I fear coming true: abandonment. It’s been tense at home since. And there’s another as yet unplanned visit coming tomorrow for my dad to say goodbye.
I am not sure how to prepare for the visit. I want to just get it over with but that would mean asking my wife to grin snd bear it which is not fair. I also don’t want to address this head on with my dad because it feels like trying to teach a bear to fish with a pole, or even convincing the bear thst the fish has feelings too and you can’t just grab them whenever you want. I feel like I have learned to accept the limited love my dad can provide and have had to accept all thst comes with it. But maybe there’s s better way that can get me more of what I want and not set off my wife’s alarm bells that I have not learned to protect myself and hold boundaries even with those closest to me.
- Open to suggestions
https://info.artofaccomplishment.com/ << the connection course (use the code CURIOUS to save 10%)
https://info.artofaccomplishment.com/the-podcast/ << the Art of Accomplishment Podcast
https://info.artofaccomplishment.com/master-class/ << starting next Spring 2023