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Bear Hebert talks capitalism, anti-capitalism, and space for imagination

Welcome to a surprisingly joyful talk about how to run a business that both meets your needs and subverts capitalism at every turn.

Bear Hebert is a life coach for liberation, radical business consultant, and social justice educator. They’re also brilliant and wise, which is why I invited them to the That’s What She Said podcast for a second time!  (First interview with Bear lives here!)

In this conversation, we’ll explore ways to:

+ Use imagination as an anti-capitalist tool (with a shoutout to adrienne maree brown)
+ Reframe business advice to determine whether it applies to YOU
+ Commit to both accessibility AND getting what you need within the confines of capitalism
+ Introduce anti-capitalist practices into your business in simple ways
+ Push back against ‘that’s just the way it is’ portions of capitalism
+ Be UNprofessional and enjoy the hell of it within your business
+ Show up generously — for yourself, and for those you serve

“A business is a world. We get to make the world we want to make.” — Bear Hebert

As we make our own business worlds, may this conversation help you find simple and clear ways to tame and subvert capitalism. May you hear words that speak to your soul, affirm your life experience, and give you a clear-eyed glimpse of hope on the horizon.

If you’d like to work with Bear Hebert, they can help you include more anti-capitalist practices in your business; undo patriarchy; or sort through thorny places in your existence with life coaching. You can also follow Bear on Insta for regularly mind-blowing insights. 😉

Two quotes that Bear mentioned but wanted to share for the sake of accuracy!

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” -Ursula K LeGuin

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” -Karl Marx

P.S. The roots of being able to subvert capitalism lie in defining what is ‘enough’ for you and your business at this moment.  Find your enough number with the help of this podcast episode!

Secret Tool Alert! Meet…Scope of Work.

In this episode of That’s What She Said, let’s walk through how feelings of overwhelm (and dealing with all things ‘unprecedented!’) can be tamed for your business by managing one simple concept: your scope of work. 

Listen in below or keep reading for a transcript(ish) version!

Your scope of work allows you to determine exactly how much capacity you have to work in the coming months.

It also means you don’t have to despair when you notice person after person roll out their ‘this is exactly what I’m doing this year’ emails full of compelling copy and amazing offers.

You don’t have to know what your work year will look like eleven to fifteen months into the future.

The most brilliant and amazing things I’ve ever made weren’t plotted out like points on a graph years in advance. They were simply the next right thing that wanted to be made, so I made them. If you’re beating yourself up for your inability to know what 2021 and 2022 and even 2023 will look like, you’re not alone. Also! If there’s anything the past year has taught us, it’s that your plans may be interrupted or eliminated by forces beyond your control. (Like how the thing I love MOST IN THE WORLD about my job is teaching in person, and that’s gone until vaccinations are widely distributed at herd immunity saturation levels across the globe.)

There’s a number at the heart of your business that will help you move through overwhelm and whatever the year holds with greater ease.

It’s your scope of work: your current capacity to take care of your business without losing your sanity.

It’s okay if:

Your scope of work today is not the same as it was in 2019. (Mine is way smaller in scope.)

You have less capacity for work today than you did at some point in the past. (Post Covid, my brain takes about twice as long to write and to shape teaching materials as it did in 2019.)

Today’s version of you is overwhelmed more easily by thinking about your scope of work than you would have been at age 19, or 24, or whatever you’ve mentally tabbed as your glory days.

The pandemic has shaped and is shaping each of us as it moves through.

You might find diminished capacity in some areas.

That’s okay. You’re a human.

I’m here to help you stop throwing your hands up in angst when you try to look to the future of your business and instead you sink into the pit of despair. We’re trying to get to that spot where we’re not judging ourselves for our capacity, nor are we beating ourselves up for having failed to predict a global pandemic.

Okay? Okay.

Your scope of work is a function of time, money, and energy. It’s about working toward a place where you’ve hit ‘enough’ with all three.

Let’s start with time.

For the purposes of keeping this scope from being overwhelming, let’s imagine the next three months.

How much time do you have to work in and on your business on a weekly basis?

Multiply that number by 12, and voila! You’ve got precisely the amount of time on your plate for tackling the next question.

______ hours per week x 12 weeks = _________ (exactly how much time you’ve got to work in the next 3 months)

Next up: energy.

This is an overlooked aspect of business planning! Everything your make or offer takes not only time, but energy. You may be dragging yourself from day to day, or your may have FANTASTICALLY WOW WOW levels of energy. You’ll need to be honest about your energy level patterns in order to create a scope of work that doesn’t completely suck you dry.

Which programs, products, or services are you actively offering at the moment?

How much energy/capacity do you have to fulfill those active programs, products, or services?

HINT: THE ANSWER IS NOT INFINITE.

Marketing gurus the world over will talk about evergreen products, passive income, and making bajillions of dollars in 3.7 seconds using only click funnels and Facebook ads. But the answer to how much you can sell in the coming months is NOT infinite.

There’s a cap on how much follow-up, customer service, tech help, and individual attention you (and your employees/subcontractors) can provide at any one time.

What’s your capacity for fulfilling your services in 2021?

If, for example, you’re a wedding photographer, you can’t suddenly book and fulfill 317 weddings this calendar year. Your body, mind, and spirit can only support X clients. What is X? ‘Cause that’s your scope of work.

Likewise, how many sales can your business handle before overwhelm wins or the wheels come off? How much energy do you have for your business in THIS moment of 2021?

Selling evergreen products isn’t without its headaches and energy drains, so nope, you can’t sell 34,000 of that item without any hiccups this year. What’s your capacity for marketing and selling products and programs in the coming months?

Compare that against how much time you’ve got, and you’re closer to defining your scope of work in a way that’s actually doable. It’s easy to say you’ll write 4 books and 2 programs and take on 45 new clients! That looks fucking MAGNIFICENT written as a goal on your wall, doesn’t it?

But when you figure out that you’ve got 20 hours per week to work, times 12 weeks…meaning you’ve got 240 hours to work in the next three months…you can see how utterly unrealistic it is to ask yourself to write 4 books and 2 programs and take on 45 new clients.

This is NOTHING to feel bad about or beat yourself up for, okay? Capitalism skews toward goals being simple and MORE-based. I’ve seen this play out for clients who are looking for ‘more’ clients or ‘more’ sales. When they fail to define what ‘more’ is, it quickly becomes infinite and unreachable. You will NEVER feel like you’ve successfully gotten ‘more’ clients, ’cause the answer to getting more clients is…getting MORE clients.

Based on your physical, mental, and emotional energy — as well as the time you’ve got — what can you realistically handle creating, offering, and marketing in 2021?

Finally: money.

I’ve covered determining your enough number in this podcast episode in detail, so you can determine your ‘enough’ number and then come back here if your finances aren’t crystal clear at the moment!

A clearly defined scope of work helps you turn your current time and energy levels into what you deem ‘enough’ money.

How does your time and energy measure up to the earnings you’d like to bring in for the next three months?

When you’ve got the capacity to market and fulfill X products/services/programs, how does that alter your pricing?

Maybe nothing has to happen and your capacity matches your offerings.

Maybe your work is underpriced and so you need to raise some prices.

Maybe earnings aren’t the issue and acknowledging your current capacity instead of getting (more) burned out could help you feel less overwhelmed right now.

Maybe you’re totally burned out and need to take a break, so your usual numbers or estimates no longer apply.

I don’t know what your specific circumstances happen to be! I only know that nailing down your scope of work is helpful and stress-reducing.

Nailing down your scope of work leads to radical clarity.

Let’s say you need 6 clients per month. You talk with potential clients on calls before they purchase your services and about half of inquiries book. Fantastic! Then your scope of work is to have 6 clients, which means hosting 12 discovery calls per month.

I’ve seen KK on Tap clients go from swimming in ‘I JUST NEED MORE CLIENTS!!!!’ to ‘I need to book X discovery calls in order to get Y new clients.’ Can you feel the CALM that comes with that sentence? It’s finite. It’s not MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE. It’s a clear and precise number that’s actually doable.

Suddenly, most marketing efforts are reduced to one clear goal.

In this example, it’s getting discovery calls booked. I’ll talk about my clear goals ’cause that’s easier than making up hypotheticals about yours.

My scope of work this year includes the capacity to take good care of 20 year-long KK on Tap coaching clients, to create twice monthly That’s What She Said podcasts, and to host ongoing live breathwork meetups and a secret podcast for Together.

That means all my marketing efforts are geared toward one of two options. Instead of being like, ‘WHAT DO I SAY OH GOD WHAT DO I SAY…?’ I know that I’ve got to talk about either KK on Tap or Together, since those are my active programs at the moment.  (There are *3* spots left in KK on Tap, so reach out and talk to me if you’d like business coaching for the next year!)

What is it that you need to talk about, focus on, or spread the word about in order to fulfill your scope of work this year?

What’s a reasonable amount of work that takes into account all of 2021’s nonsense while keeping you active and challenged in your business?

Where can you let go of services, products, or programs that you resent, are no longer excited about, or actively hate — so that your scope of work is more fulfilling?

Where can you forgive yourself for your inability to perform, make, or market at pre-pandemic levels?

Where can you give yourself room to make, market, and enjoy your work without falling into the infinite ‘I NEED MOOOOOOOORE’ pit of capitalism?

When you’ve got a clear sense of what you’re capable of doing, as well as a hold on the ways asshole brain will try to trip you up (like yelling “You need mooooore!!!!” no matter what), you’re closer to defining your scope of work. Because your scope of work is grounded in the present moment and keeps an eye toward having enough time, money, AND energy, you’re free to do your truest work in the world without making outrageously impossible goals! (Oh, you’re going to write 14 books and singlehandedly stop the pandemic — while losing 34 pounds and eating only organic greens?  TOTALLY DOABLE, says asshole brain.)

I’d love to hear about your scope of work for the next three months!

What are you doing, making, dreaming up, marketing, or bringing to the world right now? Email me via k@kristenkalp.com, or shoot me a DM on Insta via @kkalp — FOR REAL FOR REAL.

P.S. How to overcome perfectionism and just keep shipping.

Let’s talk Bunker Mode.

inauguration painting by Kristen Kalp

Now that the threat of Trumpism has been beaten back enough for science to once again matter in these United States, I have enough energy to talk to you about 2021! Hello, hi, we did it! We made it!

In some ways, it feels like the year of 2021 didn’t start until January 20th — when we saw a new President safely and peacefully installed in the United States government.

I wept when Kamala Harris was sworn in.
I wept when Joe Biden was sworn in.
I wept for the duration of Amanda Gorman’s poem. Her words are a living reminder that poetry can help us reach for and name our deepest struggles, as well as frame hope in such a way that we can feel it returning to us after being hidden for a loooooong time.

Today, I want to share a metaphor that helped me to weather the past year. A metaphor is a small thing — just a string of words — but also an enormous thing.

Naming what we’re feeling has tremendous power.
Feeling less alone has tremendous power.
Being able to articulate an experience has tremendous power.

So, let’s get into some tremendous power.

Psst! This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said! You can find all 260+ episodes here.

Let’s talk Bunker Mode.

I first heard this term at a workshop with Rob Bell and Liz Gilbert. An attendee said that she wrote a script for Hollywood and sold the rights to it! A film was made! The thrill of having her work made into a feature length film was amazing! And then, the reviews. The reviews were so bad — so mocking, so derisive, and so lacking in positive critique — that this woman stopped writing. For years. She wanted to know how to start writing again. (If I read the room correctly, she also wanted to know if she could start writing again.)

That’s when Rob introduced this concept.

Bunker mode is exactly as it sounds: some vital and essential part of you goes into a bunker of the soul and refuses to come out.

Circa 2021, most people I see are in some form of bunker mode.

You’re wildly disoriented (WHUT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???? times ALL THE THINGS).
You’re exhausted from trying to live up to new challenges.
You cringe at the word ‘unprecedented.’
You’re trying to adapt to new policies and norms.
At a fundamental level, you’re scared. Your sense of security in the world has been threatened.

You retreat internally to that place where no other human can reach you, then hunker down and hang out, hoping no one will notice that you’re gone.

In bunker mode, we’re surviving. Not dreaming, not planning, not processing our experiences, not dealing with what is happening at any level.

Just. Surviving.

The trouble is, our society doesn’t allow for bunker mode. We point to those we perceive to be less fortunate and say THOSE people are allowed to be upset. THOSE people are allowed to be freaking out. THOSE people are given permission to shut down.

But you? NO BUNKER MODE FOR YOU.

We expect ourselves to Just Keep Swimming — no matter what.

So what if we’re facing a global pandemic and economic collapse, heightened calls for a white supremacist uprising, an ACTUAL FUCKING INSURRECTION, and a few million lives lost around the planet?

‘Just BE NORMAL,’ our asshole brain says.

‘Stop having FEELINGS. DEAL WITH IT,’ our asshole brain chides.

So we push it down. We do our best to stop having feelings. We wring our hands in private. We want to talk about ANYTHING but reality. We eat to stop having feelings. We refresh the news with increasing regularity. We doomscroll. (Or at least, I did!)

Objectively speaking, any one of the events of the past year is enough to trigger bunker mode. We go down deep into ourselves and/or our screens, and we don’t come out until the threat is perceived to be over.

Personally, bunker mode was cemented when I saw a police drone the size of my VW Beetle hovering above the house in Portland last June. I shook for days. D-A-Y-S. I couldn’t concentrate. I had obsessive thoughts about living in a dystopian novel. I panicked. I cried. I withdrew and did breathwork as much as possible. I started doing yoga to be able to cope with being alive. Which brings me to the big question…

Are you in bunker mode at the moment?

If yes, you’re in good company. Most every one of my clients is dealing with some form of bunker mode or another! Some industries no longer exist. Other industries are on their knees, barely surviving. Not one client has reported that homeschooling children in addition to owning a business is The Most Fun Ever.

Bunker. Mode. Is. Normal.

Since part of my job is to share my deeply personal experiences and shine a light on the ‘hey this is a universal human experience!’ parts of my life, please allow me to share what I currently know about this phenomenon.

When you find yourself in bunker mode, LOWER YOUR STANDARDS.

Maybe in 2019 you could bang out some portion of your work in 23 minutes, but now that same task takes more like an hour and a half. That’s normal. That’s everyone. Most people I talk to say they feel like they worked twice as hard to get half as much done in 2020.

It’s hard to concentrate.
It’s hard to plan for the future.
It’s hard to know what’s going to happen, at any level, in the coming year.

Instead of trying to hustle like it’s 2019, beating yourself up for being unable to weather a global catastrophe unscathed…what if you acknowledge that 2021 is different?

What if you don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards of perfection — just for this year?

What if you don’t decide to quintuple your income by working 3x harder — just for this year?

What if you let yourself rest and take breaks instead of doubling down on time at your desk — just for this year?

Screaming TRY HARDER at yourself in bunker mode doesn’t help.

I can confirm for you that screaming TRY HARDER at myself internally each day didn’t help much. Neither did forcing myself to sit at my desk and work. Dreaming about holding workshops at various event locales around the world when travel is banned made it worse. Beating myself up for failing to bang out podcasts and other forms of communication at my standard 2019 rate made me feel like I had even less to say.

What if you could be kind to your being and your body for weathering this ‘unprecedented’ storm by going into bunker mode?

What if you could find ways to be kind to your spirit and your body each day?

What if you’re not WRONG for being freaked out?

What if it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and anxious, grief-stricken and hopeful — all in the course of a few minutes?

What if your thriving in 2021 could be measured by ANYTHING but the traditional trappings of success — minutes meditated versus dollars made, paintings painted versus followers gained, words written versus sales created?

What if you set your own standards for your time in bunker mode — and you let those standards be entirely joy-based?

Regardless of where you’re existing at this moment, I hope this podcast helps you frame your experiences within the context of normalcy.

You’re behind on email? Obviously.
You’re overwhelmed by all the changes to the world as you knew it? Of course.
Afraid of contracting Corona but unable to stay inside for every moment of every day or you’ll lose your sanity? ME FRIGGIN TOO.

You’re not alone.
You’re not broken.
And you are, whether you like it or not, deeply loved.

If you’d like my support for weathering 2021 in your business — bunker mode or not — KK on Tap coaching spots are open!

You’ll work with me and about 20 fellow Tappers for a full year. If you’d like to make more money and meaning in your business, keep yourself accountable for doing your work, or deepen your experience of being alive on this planet, I’m ready to help! Head to kristenkalp.com/tap and check it out, or shoot me an email by filling out the form below!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

May you find the resources you need to survive in bunker mode. May you be kind to yourself when you’re unable to do what was easy for you in The Before. May you rest when you need to rest; eat when you need to eat; and work when you need to work. May you feel 47% less alone when you hear these words. And may you know that bunker mode can’t and won’t last forever, even when asshole brain says it will.

I love you, keep going.

Last week, I recorded this podcast episode to encourage you to keep going through the dumpster fire-y parts of life.  I published the episode and within hours the Capital Riot started.  For the record: I denounce the January 6th insurrection, as well as Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s remaining followers, and white supremacy in all its forms.  Here’s hoping this podcast episode is a bit of balm for your soul.  (Here are hundreds more episodes of the That’s What She Said podcast.)

We’re in class and she half mumbles: “I think I have hysteria.”

This lovely human clearly believes she’s handling this pandemic FAR worse than anyone else on earth. And because she’s handling everything SO poorly, there must be something wrong with her. And when something is wrong in America, a diagnosis is in order.

My sense is that this is common among the peeps I work with, since being a deeply feeling human is generally mocked, discouraged, or ignored. So, for the record:

You do not have hysteria.

For hundreds of years, women have been diagnosed with hysteria for symptoms as wide-ranging as having emotions, seizures, fainting, living at the edge of town, refusing to marry, infertility, anxiety, pain, deafness, and the inability to speak. Hysterical women were ‘treated’ with a wide range of techniques: amulets, exorcisms, orgasms, torture, interrogations, and executions are the stand-outs over the centuries.

If you identify as female in this lifetime, you carry this pathological heritage in your bones. We are actively cultivated as girls to be quiet, content, and small. The smaller the needs you have, the more likely adults are to like you. (Take it from the quietest, silentest, shrinking-est girl child that ever walked the earth: adults LOVE THAT SHIT.)

Eventually, we enter adulthood afraid to be too loud, too needy, or too emotional.

The only trouble is, hysteria was a sham.

“Social deviances, such as deciding not to wed, are no longer considered symptoms of psychological disorders such as hysteria. … During the 20th century, as psychiatry advanced in the West, anxiety and depression diagnoses began to replace hysteria diagnoses in Western countries.” [source]

So basically, hysteria was a bum diagnosis that helped to consolidate power into the hands of the patriarchy, and its popularity among doctors has decreased significantly since the mid 1900’s.

If you think you’re too sensitive and that 2020 has been freaking you out too much; if your asshole brain has been telling you need to ‘stop crying and get your shit together;’ if your mental and emotional bandwidth are no longer what they were in The Before…

You do not have hysteria.

You are not ‘broken.’

You are not feeling ‘too much.’

You are not lost.

You are not useless.

You don’t need to ‘get your shit together.’

That’s asshole brain reacting to a perfectly horrific year in a way that blames and shames you. (Classic asshole brain!)

It’s perfectly reasonable to be upset by a global pandemic that upends the world economy and that has killed more than 1 in 1000 Americans. That’s over 365,000 deaths at the time of writing. Further, the politicization of wearing masks and the debate about the existence of Covid-19 itself is deeply troubling. You’ve witnessed an all-out assault on public safety practices and on science as a whole.

You are surviving a slaughter of the American people led by its sitting President.

It’s normal to be freaked out by that reality.

Further! It’s normal to experience depression and/or anxiety when your ability to interact with other humans has been ripped away. We have all experienced tremendous loss since the pandemic hit, and we’ve done it largely alone. Where there would normally be gatherings and get-togethers — particularly to mourn and grieve the loss of life — we have another day of pandemic to endure in relative isolation. We are, as Brene Brown says, hardwired for connection. Without connection, we experience real pain. Not made-up or imaginary pain. Real. Pain.

You’re not ‘crazy’ because your brain isn’t functioning like it did in 2019.

You’re not doing it wrong because you’re asking questions like

What is a life?

and Why am I here?

and What is my work?

and How will I survive another year of this shit?

You don’t need to be treated for a nervous condition because your views of life, of society, of the human race, of politics, and systemic oppression have shifted in the past year.

If you’re disoriented and don’t know what’s true.

If you feel like you used to know things and now nothing is for certain.

If you’ve never been this tired and you know there are many months to go.

If the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t nearly bright enough or close enough to matter at this moment.

If your nervous system regularly shifts into freakout and panic mode.

Yes.

Of course.

Exactly.

I’m with you.

There’s The Really Hard Thing that’s happening: Covid-19 continues to mutate and circulate around the earth.

And then there’s beating yourself up for the ways you’re failing to handle The Really Hard Thing that’s happening.

It’s okay to feel lots of things right now.

It’s also okay to be a little numb.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve seen more of my own shadow and malice and hatred than I knew existed. I’ve gone to darker places than ever before, and I’ve also been tempted to give up on everyone and everything in all of existence. Multiple times a day, but particularly when I check in on what the remaining Trump supporters are up to right now.

If full and specific disclosure helps (WARNING: VULNERABILITY AHEAD), I’ve cried so hard I thought my organs were going to leak out my eyeballs.

I’ve considered walking into the street and yelling “Fuuuckkkkk!!!” at the top of my lungs every single day, just to break up the silence and make sure my voice still exists.

I’ve been hideously mean and angry and stomped around demanding to be left alone, then been done with being alone a few minutes later.

I have been moody, I have been frail.

I have freaked out.

I’ve given up on figuring anything out and smoked weed. So much weed. (Here’s The Cannabis Episode if you’re curious!)

I’ve spent hours brainstorming ways to humiliate and shame Donald Trump for his crimes against humanity.

Those feelings are normal human emotional reactions to chaos, fear, uncertainty, grief, dread, ennui, isolation, and genocide.

You do not have hysteria.

You are a human being

having profound reactions

to circumstances

that have shattered

the way the world operates.

 

We are all human beings

having profound reactions

to circumstances

that have shattered

the way the world operates.

Where you can laugh, laugh.

Where you need to grieve, grieve.

But please, don’t box yourself into a tiny corner in which your only option is to smile silently and endure.

You don’t have hysteria. You’re not broken. You’re not crazy. And you’re not alone.

I love you, keep going.

USEFUL THINGS ALERT!  A few things I’ve made that might help you handle those big feelings:

How to Breathe Through Panic with Josh Solar — this podcast episode will walk you through DEAD SIMPLE ways to root into your body when you’re experiencing intense feelings of any kind. Josh is a reiki master, breathwork practitioner, and musician, and you’ll meet him if you ever attend a Together breathwork class.

If you need a simple way to release unfelt emotions and process all the yuck that lives within you — nonverbally! — breathwork can help. YUP you can still sign up for monthly breathwork with Together! It’s $22 a month through August, and includes a library of past classes, secret podcast episodes by yours truly, and live breathwork classes each month!

Here’s what peeps had to say about breathwork:

Thank you, for offering up breathwork. It’s a tool I have loved having access to, that has surely helped me beyond what I can consciously recognize, and I am laughing even now at the fact that yes, somehow, with a global pandemic and all the injustice happening in this country and the dissolution of my marriage (the practical part, if not the legal part) and the whiplash of my employment situation (steady-ish, now)… somehow, I have arrived at such a loved and loving space. My sincerest gratitude. — Kerilee H.

I am a hard analyser and often get analysis paralysis and perfectionism issues. Dissociating from my body is normal. YOUR CLASS ALLOWED ME TO GET BACK INTO MY BODY and out of my head. — Noelle W.

The day I did my first breathwork session with you, was the first day in my life I felt that I broke through to real, fresh, tangible air. — Marissa H.

If you’re like, “Yah but I want to try that shit out before I buy anything,” head to breathehealrepeat.com and grab the free breathwork class. It’s simple, and you’ll feel lighter by the end of our time together, guaranteed!

Try breathing through panic.

Try breathwork for free.

Try breathwork in community for 2021.

No matter what: I love you, keep going.

And happy 2021!

P.S. No really — give breathwork a try now!  Here’s your free breathwork class, Lighter.

An Invitation to Let Your Deep Knowing Drive the Bus

deep knowing

I lost the future for a bit, there. The past four years got me so tangled up in Trump’s antics and generally FREAKING OUT that when the pandemic hit, I burned my plans and sat down for A Very Long Time.

Every human interaction outside of the people I live with: canceled.
Every workshop or class or retreat I wanted to make or attend or hold this year: canceled.
My sense of knowing what tomorrow might hold: ABSOLUTELY GONE.

If you’ve lost the ability to plan for or sense the future: hi, hello, welcome. Me, too.

Between American politics and the pandemic, I’ve never had more trouble connecting to my own depths, desires, and needs.

In fact, I’m tempted to spend every waking moment flailing like Kermit and/or freaking out like Moira Rose.

pop tv omg GIF by Schitt's Creek

This podcast episode is here to help you connect with your interior continent, ask deep-ass questions, and maybe even make some plans for your life and business in the coming months.

Before we dive in! One of the things that might help to keep you from drowning in your own life is actively creating structure, which is something I’ve taught extensively about on the podcast. Structure, rhythms, and routines are something we creative peeps fight against AND ALSO DESPERATELY NEED. These five podcast episodes are a highly condensed version of most everything I know about creating gorgeous, stable structures for your time and attention.

Listen to the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series now. 

Now, let’s talk money fruits!

If you suspect that you’d like to do something in your business differently in a year or two, start planting the seeds for the new thing now.

Take the class, get the certification, scope out the cost of renting a studio; write down the workshop curriculum, start a wait list, ask past clients to do a dry run with you; schedule time to write the sales page, shoot the video, make the course, or get the images you’ll need to accompany the project.

I read somewhere that we overestimate what we can do in a single year and underestimate what we can do in five. Go with that, holding everything that may happen as loosely as possible.

What would you like to have made, in five years?

Who would you like to have worked with, interacted with, or made something with?

What would you be heartbroken to tell people you HAVEN’T done in five years?

To reach the ripening of the money fruits, plan for constant experimentation. Adjust accordingly.

Most people treat plans and planning as a once-and-done activity best suited for the start of the new year, not an exercise in continuous canceling, crossing out, and readjusting the sails.

That promotion didn’t work? Adjust.

You thought you’d be having a glorious day of sex, but instead you ended up holding your best friend in the vet’s ‘comfort room’ while a vet named Dr. Stark put her cat to sleep? Adjust.

You figured you’d have budgets, credit cards, and all things financial figured out by now? Adjust.

There’s no shame in adjusting.

If and when you really, truly believe that, you’ll move through your life far more swiftly and with much less guilt than ever before.

As you get used to both looking forward and adjusting the sails for today’s weather, you get more of a sense of spirit, intuition, deep knowing, or whatever you choose to call this phenomena.

You beat yourself up less for being human or for letting life happen to you.

You also let the reins go a bit more, since you’ll never be in charge of things like whether today is rainy, whether a pet is sick, whether your client will show up to that meeting, or whether you’re going to get food poisoning from that new restaurant.

As you adjust, with ever more subtle listening and precision, you’ll find the way through life that is distinctly yours.

Here’s a diary entry from 18 months ago, and it’s profoundly vulnerable to help you see the wrestling as it happens:

“It feels like the river is flowing in a different direction and that direction is away from California, at least for now. It feels fuzzy to think about — no longer OBVIOUSLY CALIFORNIA YES — since I looked at Portland and discovered that Philly has had both the same amount of rainy days and more rain than Portland in 2018. So, myth that I cannot live there: busted.

Also Portland is the same price as here, and 90 minutes from the ocean like here, and otherwise my people’s home, since you can drop shrooms and smoke weed and read books and make art and have fantastic food and go outside every minute that it’s not raining, minus the Philly attitude and general East-Coast go go go go go-ness.

That decision also feels a bit logical, though, like: how easy and relieving is it to give up on California, when clearly it’s something I’ve wanted since the moment I visited? But when I consider bigger things, like will I like the people of Laguna/Orange County? No. Do I like the traffic? No. Is there public transport? No. Does it cost 3-5 times more than here? Yes. BUT WILL I HAVE THE OCEAN? Yes.

We could very easily live in the most magical place on earth but spend every minute trying to earn enough to live there, which would defeat the purpose.

It feels like it’s all up in the air right now. And that’s hard. Like, weeping hard. Giving up on a dream is hard. Switching dreams is hard. Not knowing is hard.”

Letting your deep knowing drive the bus often boils down to paying constant attention to your energetic and emotional weather.

I could have pretended that California was still the dream — “Yah, we’re saving, just a few more years!” — and used it as a reason to stay in Pennsylvania for a lot longer. But instead, Bear and I had conversation after conversation about what it might mean to move to Portland, including how that would look on the job front, the mental health front, the friend front, the financial front, and the business front. We had lots and lots of discussions, and lots and lots of enjoying of the current home we’ve made together. Portland might not be the most magical thing that’s ever happened to us, or it might; all we know is that it’s the next step, and we’re taking it together.

Letting your deep knowing drive the bus means noticing when energy for a person, place, or project drops significantly, as well as noticing when you can’t wait to work on something new.

Sitting here 18 months in the future, I can assure you that Portland was NOT the best thing that ever happened to us.

Making the decision to move away from Portland was predicated upon a number of factors. These included the daily sightings of police drones, military transport, and police helicopters over our home; the increased presence of Proud Boys and other alt-right groups in the city; increasing isolation due to extended lockdown and my own fear of walking alone in the city for any reason; and mounting costs to remain in an overpriced, under-resourced shoebox of a home thousands of miles from those we held dear. (TL; DR, it fucking sucked.)

AND being in Portland helped us trust each other more deeply, rely on each other more heavily, see ourselves more clearly, and take in the scope of the personal and political work before us with absolutely outstanding clarity.

Sometimes you make two cross-country moves in a year, ’cause you’re following the deep knowing where it leads. Bear and I can both see that with the way 2020 went, we wouldn’t have survived the outside forces pressing on us in Philadelphia. His job would have crushed him, and I would have spiraled out of control because there wasn’t a money-making imperative to keep my feet on the earth.

In some ways Portland completely crushed us;
and in other ways it completely saved us.

That’s the bullshit of following your deep knowing:
It might crush you.
It might save you.

And it might do both simultaneously,
just so you remember you’re alive.

Some questions to help you follow your deep knowing:

Does that dream apply like it did yesterday?

Am I actively letting myself dream a different life than the one I imagined at age 8 (I drew a Kmart in my house so I’d never have to leave it for silly things like groceries or sunscreen), the one I imagined at 18 (I shall be a poet — in a houseboat — who lives on sunshine), or the one I imagined at 28 (I will be married…to this one dude…forever…and life will always suck…)?

Are there any places where my attitude has shifted, my energy has dropped, or my emotional landscape has changed dramatically? What might that mean?

Is there anywhere that my reality conflicts with that of my family, parents, partner, or peers? Am I willing to step into the wilderness that our differing beliefs will cause?

Are there any plans that should be put on hold for the sake of preserving my own health or maintaining my inner landscape?

Is there anywhere that I just have to be patient? (THIS IS THE WORST. WHY THE PATIENCE? WHYYYYYYY?)

If I would let spirit/intuition/deep knowing drive the bus — truly, all the way — what would I stop doing immediately?

Likewise, what would I start doing immediately?

I don’t have any easy answers, which is mostly why I try and help you listen — by asking good questions, by pushing breathwork on you at every turn (a free class awaits you here, give it a try!), and by reflecting your truest desires back to you when I see them dart past, like a bright fish flashing past in murky water.

You’re perfectly capable of listening closely, adjusting accordingly, and then giving up the control of your life’s big picture to what wants to be made.

The life you’ll end up with is probably not precisely what you planned at age 8, but I’ll wager that it’s a damn sight more fulfilling than having a Kmart in your basement. 😉

P.S. Nourishing or numbing? A simple question to shift it all.