Shame versus Tough Love

Artwork by Bryce Widom

Artwork by Bryce Widom

In my last post, I spoke of a new insight. Using more discipline to support my ongoing surrender.

Many of you asked, “yeah, but how do you not shame yourself or should yourself into doing stuff ‘cause that doesn’t work?”

Let me start by saying this is a very delicate dance. It requires me to know myself very deeply internally. It requires keen presence and awareness.

In 8th grade I was being ungrateful, entitled and in general, a spoiled brat around the subject of friends. This went on for many months. At one point, my Dad lost it and shamed the shit out of me and screamed at me for being an entitled brat. I don’t remember the words, but it set me straight, period. I was different from that day forward.

Looking back it was his “tough love” (yes, with plenty of shame and blame) that set me straight. He cared enough to get in my face and break through my bullshit. Sure, he could have done it way more skillfully, but at the time, it didn’t matter. The message got (more…)

Top Personal Development and Spiritual Growth Books for Newbies

The other day on Facebook, I posted this question:

what is your favorite intro personal/spiritual growth book you recommend to a person fresh on the path?

The responses where a wide range from Dr Suess to Ken Wilber. And, there’s some great suggestions in here. I numbered the responses so that you can recommend a number or two to a person and refer them to this list.I also left the comments there as some folks had helpful things to say.

Here’s the list:

  1.  Zen mind, beginner’s mind.
  2. or something from alan watts.
  3. or even siddhartha by herman hesse.
  4. zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.
  5. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.
  6. Chop Wood, Carry Water…
  7. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
  8. Fresh on the path? I would say something by Dr. Suess
  9. The Book. Alan Watts.
  10. When love meets fear” by David Richo
  11. Books by Pema Chodron or Cheri Huber
  12. “loving what is” by Byron Katie,
  13. Diamond Heart Series by A.H. Almaas
  14. The Alchemist
  15. ‎”The Work,” Byron Katie. (more…)

Discipline Supports Surrender

Recently I received a major insight that is profound and simple.

I have been wanting to find the “flow” more in my life. To write from ease and grace. To have work feel more effortless. I have been wanting to surrender even further to Life.

The guidance that came was discipline. Discipline facilitates the surrender and ease I claim I want. At first it didn’t make sense.

Then it did. I saw it in the main area of my life, parenting.

For example, as a parent I can’t let it all go and “just be.” I have to maintain exuberant discipline. If I have clear and firm boundaries as a parent, my kids feel safe to explore who they are. If I’m wishy-washy or lazy, they don’t know what is what or where the edges are, thus their healthy ego development is compromised.

I choose to exert a tremendous amount of disciplined energy to be (more…)

My Inner Spiritual Poser

I wrote this piece for recovering yogi recently. I like their site and the real, raw, earthy talk below the clouds of spiritual jargon.

Here’s an excerpt.

For a few years, I ran a men’s personal development blog (this one) where I basically coached men how to step up. After the first year, instead of gaining momentum as a great resource for men, it kinda turned into my personal story. I shared very openly my process, my meltdowns, and my insights about the spiritual path.

Recently, I had a guy comment on my blog in a way that was reminiscent of my own view a couple of years ago.

He wrote:

“Jayson I’m an infrequent visitor to your site. Not that the content is not worthwhile, just that I’ve been on a bit of a quest myself. What I’ve found is much more than peace. Much more than ‘emptiness’. It’s filling, completeness and deep understanding of how things work. It didn’t require a special tea, any type of penitence, or whatever ‘painful’ rites you’d like to perform.

It’s Kabbalah and it’s the most freeing and complete system to achieve understanding you’ll ever find. Look into it and save yourself and your family the pain and uncertainty of imitation spirituality. Peace and good luck.”

In other words, “My path is better than your path.”

Deeper translation? “I’m better than you.” Even deeper translation? “I feel inadequate and worthless and I need to prove to you that I’m really not.”

Read more here.