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79 minutes | 5 days ago
#12 – Human Paradoxes, with Samantha Faulhaber
Today, I’m having another conversation with my friend Samantha Faulhaber. Sam teaches jiu-jitsu and communication, and she does coaching and all kinds of cool things. She was the guest in the last episode, and she requested we have another conversation, because there were some things she wanted to ask me. What could they be? Let’s find out. 0:01:35 – Why Sam requested this talk. 0:04:07 – Michael’s accomplishments for 2020, and how he’s changed. 0:07:12 – Internal and external perspective shifts over the past few years. 0:10:33 – Seeing oneself from a narrow internal lense vs. an external perspective. 0:11:51 – Michael’s experience walking out of an opera because everyone hated him. 0:14:20 – Having choices. 0:20:20 – Having regrets about the past. 0:24:07 – How to grow and improve, specifically. Mind-body connections. 0:26:02 – There’s no such thing as “thinking.” 0:30:12 – Anchoring everything into the body. 0:34:50 – Sensation, emotion, thought 0:38:38 – Holding yourself responsible for who you were in the past, running for political office. 0:40:07 – Where’s the Michael Korman train going? 0:41:18 – The power of symbolism. 0:44:17 – How much should coaches focus on clients’ autonomy? 0:50:08 – Should you answer the phone when it rings? 0:53:00 – The grip of time. 0:54:38 – How useful are scientific explanations? 0:55:49 – I hope this is useful to somebody. 1:01:51 – Do people need scientific proof that good things are good? 1:05:06 – Human beings are paradoxes. 1:06:28 – How people misunderstand the Four Noble Truths. 1:08:10 – Where do thoughts come from? 1:10:00 – Leaning in vs. resisting. 1:13:16 – Michael’s goals for the podcast, the difficulties of publishing content online.
98 minutes | 19 days ago
#11 – Universe Walks, with Samantha Faulhaber
Today’s guest is Samantha Faulhaber. Sam teaches mobility, jiu-jitsu, communication, and all sorts of other things. In this episode, we talk about meditation, spiritual entities, trauma, what it’s like to live in a flow state, baking, and why I started a podcast. 0:02:24 – Why Sam moved to North Carolina, universe walks. 0:08:12 – Living in a flow state. 0:13:22 – Why Michael doesn’t like to sound like a fortune cookie. 0:14:07 – What Sam was like in the past, and how she got started with jiu-jitsu. 0:19:44 – Being honest with yourself and others. 0:24:14 – How to force people to become friends. 0:29:41 – Ideological possession. 0:36:09 – Conflict on social media vs real life. 0:42:52 – Spiritual entities. 0:46:49 – Sankharas in vipassana meditation. 0:51:08 – Safe communities for children. 0:52:50 – What makes a good podcast conversation? 0:55:04 – Trauma and gaslighting. 1:02:16 – Why did I start a podcast? 1:03:51 – Meditation exercises, music exercises, both regimented and not. 1:08:57 – Masculine and feminine energies. 1:12:50 – An awkward pause. 1:19:43 – Sam’s gift to the world. 1:22:33 – Some baking advice. 1:24:25 – What Michael likes about Sam. 1:27:02 – Sam makes a demand of Michael.
127 minutes | 2 months ago
#10 – What Music Teachers Are Getting Wrong, with David Servias
My guest is David Servias, a piano teacher and fellow Instagrammer (@stuff.david.does). Listen in as we chat about piano teaching, music practice, social media videos, theoretical computer science, and the eventual robot takeover of humankind. (0:01:55) Trying something new during a pandemic.(0:07:48) Videos are a type of practice.(0:10:35) Don’t want to see ourselves on camera.(0:13:44) People don’t care as much about us as we do.(0:15:47) Recording ourselves playing the piano.(0:17:05) Avoiding things you’re afraid of.(0:18:01) Improvements happen automatically when you record.(0:20:28) You can’t teach piano.(0:24:10) Punishing students for making mistakes.(0:25:20) Being aware of mistakes or not being aware.(0:32:44) Correcting students’ mistakes based on intuition.(0:36:19) Teaching students not to trust their own instincts.(0:40:19) Was Michael angry at his teachers as a student?(0:54:27) Michael’s minimalistic way of teaching piano.(0:59:56) High standards, competitions.(1:05:49) Teachers claiming to be able to teach everything.(1:12:16) Juries in music school.(1:20:40) Yoga challenges.(1:24:12) Meditation.(1:31:57) Musicians should learn from actors.(1:38:51) Improvisation, screwups, groups.(1:46:02) Playing from memory.(1:51:54) Harmony and chords and analysis.(1:55:26) Theory and practice, grammar.(1:58:31) Theoretical computer science.(2:01:23) Computers vs humans, neural networks, social media algorithms.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
#9 – Videos are Awesome
Question: I’m nervous to post videos on social media. You should be nervous about it, because people might not be happy with what you’re doing. I have a bunch of videos where I talk about things, experiences I’ve had, or sometimes just calling out people. I’m nervous to post that stuff. That does not make me comfortable to post those things. I have one video where I talk about a fantasy I have about going back to school and just confronting the teacher when the teacher asks me if I did my homework, and just getting all up in the teacher’s face about it. I wasn’t necessarily really comfortable posting that video. But, I did it. That’s one of these rules that I had. I guess I still have that rule. But at first, that was a rule I had to really follow. The rule of: if I make a video, and if I’m a little uncomfortable about posting it, then I have to post it. The discomfort is a sign that I must post this thing. Nowadays, I will refrain from posting things for other reasons, but if I have the discomfort, then no. I have to post it. Because, you’re training something here. You’re trying to build something. You have to transform yourself, and that means it’s not comfortable. It can’t be comfortable. Timeline 1:00 How I got started with social media videos.2:00 Brief detour to talk about how closed-minded piano teachers are.3:45 The stress of making videos for my online piano course.6:10 Why I (reluctantly) started on Instagram.9:45 Making 58 videos in one single day.11:10 The power of the 60-second video.15:00 What videos have in common with meditation, drawing and piano.17:10 Benefits of posting videos publicly.18:30 How my videos made people angry.20:00 Why you must be doing this in 2020.21:45 I get nervous to post some of my videos.27:00 Why videos need to be entertaining.28:30 My course, Let’s Hear It.29:45 How videos changed my writing and communication in general.31:15 We all have stuff to say.33:40 Some more Jewish guilt.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
#8 – Meditation for Musicians
Meditation is the only way to fix your music technique. Too bad music teachers don’t care and only want to screw you over. Oh, and I found some great new freedom while recording this episode. Hope you enjoy. Don’t tell your teacher!
86 minutes | 3 months ago
#7 – When Meditators Get Cancelled, with Blake Shields Abramovitz
Blake Shields Abramovitz is a meditation and yoga teacher in Los Angeles, as well as an actor. Today, we’ll be talking about the dark side of the meditation world, how Blake was canceled, the role of authenticity in meditation, the first 2020 US Presidential Debate, and many other topics. Timeline (0:02:35) Teaching meditation and yoga in progressive LA. (0:07:29) People want to know what team you’re on. (0:08:59) Well-worn, old neural circuitry of tribalism. (0:10:38) Human reproduction strategies. (0:14:11) How Blake was cancelled.. (0:17:41) What’s the deal with the woke stuff in meditation communities? (0:19:21) Meditators aren’t interested in meditation. (0:26:04) People are innocent about what’s in the woke box. (0:27:19) The Jordan Peterson impression. (0:31:28) Authenticity in meditation. (0:40:56) Is it possible to have meditation communities that allow for radical authenticity? (0:44:01) Economics, foreign policy. (0:47:25) The first 2020 US Presidential Debate. (0:52:47) Is the news bad for your nervous system? (0:57:09) Talking about meditation and psychology. (1:02:05) Why you can’t say “devil’s advocate” anymore. (1:08:34) Is comedy permissible or needlessly cruel? (1:15:52) Being mean to people vs ideas. (1:21:26) Acting and meditation.
115 minutes | 4 months ago
#6 – F*** Yoga, with Fabienne Egger
What “f*** yoga” means. (0:01:57) What’s wrong with yoga teachers. (0:09:26) Why Fabi did teacher training. (0:17:30) What you learn in a 200 hour teacher training. (0:22:35) Why music classes are hard to teach. (0:26:43) When Fabi decided to teach yoga. (0:28:24) Teacher training for non-teachers. (0:31:15) Random talking videos. (0:36:06) Toxic positivity (0:39:34) Positive affirmations (0:40:43) Why language and culture suck. (0:46:20) Got rid of negativity (0:48:03) Fabi’s childhood. (0:50:14) Visualizing death. (0:55:38) Paragliding, slacklining (0:58:51) Michael’s fear of heights (1:07:52) Why yoga is the way it is (1:09:42) AcroYoga (1:14:58) Pianists and singers (1:18:19) Bullying in schools (1:20:46) Why do we have to feel sad when somebody dies? (1:25:14) Black Lives Matter (1:27:40) How to fix school (1:32:31) AcroYoga, intimacy (1:33:45) Students want to please the teacher (1:42:07) Thai yoga massage (1:46:57) Different kinds of AcroYoga (1:49:35) Music and yoga – people are different (1:52:11)
36 minutes | 4 months ago
#5 – This Podcast is a MIstake
Let’s talk about mistakes. Those awful, horrible, rotten things. You know you’re not supposed to make them. Are you allowed to at least talk about them? Let’s find out. If you give me a hard time about something, I’ll give you a free ticket to the fun house. The name is misleading. It’s more fun for me than it is for you. Sorry about that. I’ll give you a refund if you ask. Your teachers were not interested in your development. They were interested in proving they were good teachers, competent people, worthy in the eyes of their parents, so that they could rest assured that they weren’t going to be left alone in the wilderness to die of starvation, or to be eaten by wild animals.
31 minutes | 5 months ago
#4 – Why I Hate Piano Teachers
When you are suffering, when you are in pain, when you’re unhappy about something, you should be allowed to say something. That’s just how it should be. In this episode, I want to talk about piano teachers. Specifically, I want to talk about something that’s been happening recently. I’m not going to go into too many specific details about this, because I don’t want to get sued or anything like that. This is about radical acceptance. This is about toxic positivity. So, what do I have against piano teachers? Well, I have a lot against them. You think, little harmless old ladies. What’s the problem? What’s the big deal? There’s a big deal. People should be allowed to speak up when there’s a problem, when there’s something they don’t like. When you are suffering, when you are in pain, when you’re unhappy about something, you should be allowed to say something. That’s just how it should be. And, if the group doesn’t like that, if society doesn’t like it, tough luck. It’s their issue. They should be able to deal with that. Why not? But, that’s not the way it is. That’s not how we do things here. In our society, you cannot speak up against the group. It’s just not allowed. So, these people are trying to silence me. I posted something in a group on Facebook, and they banned me from the group. They mocked me a little bit, just to make it very clear how worthless my life is to them. Then, just kicked me out. No warning, no notice. Just suddenly “wait, I thought there were comments. Weren’t there just notifications a second ago?” And then, gone. Everything’s gone. All record of the group ever having existed, gone. No idea what happened. Did I make up the whole thing? Was it a dream? Who knows. Well, I know. Of course. I know what’s going on. Look, they can do whatever they want. It’s their group, whatever. who cares? This is horrible. Absolutely horrible. Either you agree with me, or you don’t agree with me. if you don’t agree with me, I don’t care. I don’t want to talk to you about it. I don’t. I don’t even know why you’re listening to this if you don’t agree with me. So, I’m just assuming you agree. Why not? This is toxic positivity. It’s more than that, right? This is groupthink. I don’t know. The thing is, I do know. I know. Why do I say I don’t know? I say I don’t know because I don’t want to say what’s on my mind. I don’t want to just come out with it. I know that could have potentially more serious consequences, because I know how the rules are. You’re not allowed to complain. If the group thinks something, if there’s a way of thinking that’s just how the group is, as an individual you cannot speak against that. It’s not permitted. Everybody thinks, “Michael, you’re so confrontational, you’re so negative, you’re so provocative, you’re being so unfair to us, you’re triggering us, you’re being mean to us…” No, stop for two seconds. Look what’s actually happening here. all of you think one way. You believe one thing. I, an individual, is showing up and saying something different. And what happens? Who’s the one with the power here? I have zero power. Nothing. I have this keyboard, I have this microphone. What power do I have? I can’t do anything to you guys. I can’t do anything to anybody. The only thing I can do is just speak and write. That’s it. But, they can do anything they want. They are society. They’re a huge group of people. So, I don’t take their suffering really seriously here. It’s not real suffering. They’re not scared of me. Nothing like that. I’m just a concept to them. I have no actual power. and yet, at the same time, I’m threatening them. They’re feeling threatened. Okay, that’s how it is. I don’t want anything to do with this. So I’m going to talk about it. It’s the only power I have. I can just talk about it. I can vent about it. I can whine about it. So, that’s what I’m going to do. What are they going to do about it? I don’t know. I’m a little afraid of it because I know how crazy they are. I know how really I would have control they are. I know how seriously they take everything. See, I don’t take it seriously. I’m going to tell you what I do take seriously. This is a personal issue for me. This is a psychological issue for me. I’m not concerned about anything other than my own issues here. So, I asked myself, “am I afraid that these people are going to hurt me?” Now, am I afraid that they’re going to destroy my reputation? Look, I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, sure, destroy my reputation. I don’t need a reputation, okay? My reputation is only something that holds me back. I would venture to guess that that’s why they’re so bothered by this. I’m threatening their reputation. They cling so tightly to it. please destroy my reputation. Nothing would make me happier than that. I have no use for that kind of thing. That is just a cage. It’s nothing else. You know, I didn’t even have a podcast a couple of weeks ago. There was nothing. And now, I do. So, I just created a new reputation, just like that. Out of thin air. Now I’m a podcaster. Okay, great. Totally new reputation. Born again. But yeah, that doesn’t work for them, because if I show up and I say, “piano teachers suck”, wouldn’t want to be me in that situation, that’s for sure. of course, this is just on Facebook. What are they going to do? Are they going to show up at my door with torches and pitchforks? I don’t know. I hope not. I wouldn’t put it past them. Yeah, that’s not legal. they’re going to get in trouble if they do that. Maybe. Are the police in on it? I don’t know. I don’t really have a great fear of that happening. I do believe that if they have the opportunity, they would. I do. I think that Jesus was killed by the piano teachers of the day. Let that go on record. But, They don’t have that power, because we have laws. There are certain protections that I have, Which I guess I’m thankful for. We’ll see if they come in handy. We’ll see. I’m not too scared of them. The thing that scares me is myself. This is fun for me. This is fun for me. I love torturing these people. I love torturing them. I don’t love it when they react. I don’t love it when they fight back, when they try to hurt me in return. It’s painful for me. You’ve got to keep this in mind: I’m a human being. And what I’m experiencing is that the entire society around me is rejecting me. That’s happening. So, you can say, “well Michael, you’re bringing it on yourself” or “you’re triggering them”, or “you should Have expected this to happen. “ So what? It’s still happening. I don’t know why people say these things to me. Did you say those to me? are you one of the ones who say that kind of thing to me? If you are, think about why you’re saying it. So, why do I hate piano teachers so much? Here’s why. This is it. It is a mystery? The moment they feel threatened, the moment something is threatening something your status, when they don’t know what to do… They’re living in constant fear, and this is what they do. They lash out like this. If you’ve ever taken piano lessons, you probably experienced this. Maybe you had a good piano teacher. Great. I’ve had good piano teachers too. Sure. I’m not talking about them. Come on. I’m talking about the idiots out there. I’m talking about the vicious, vindictive crazies. That’s who I’m talking about. You guys know who you are. I don’t need to name names here. Chances are, if you’re getting offended by what I’m saying, and you are a piano teacher, you’re probably one of them. You’re probably one of those people who, I believe, if you have the power, you’d be lynching me right now. I’d be dead right now, because of you and your friends. I’m just going to put that out there. You guys. The ones who are getting offended by what I’m saying. The one’s who say, “someone’s gotta shut this guy up.” All I did was say “piano teacher suck.” What what does that mean? Does that mean anything to you? It doesn’t mean anything to me. If you said, “all podcasters suck”, OK…? What? Who cares? If you said “all men suck”…OK…I don’t know. Whatever. “Everybody named Michael sucks…” What are you going to say to me that’s going to offend me like that? I don’t care. “ All Americans suck. “ I don’t care. These are just words, and they’re vacuous. There’s no meaning at all to these words. I don’t understand anything about you if you say something like that to me. I only have questions in my mind. I wonder, “I wonder what he means by that. “That’s it. I’m not going to try to shut you up before I even know what you’re trying to say. But, that’s what they do. Well, I’m not going to stand for it. When you’re sitting in a piano lesson, everything that they say is about how you have to fit the mold, You have to fit exactly into the template that they’re comfortable with. It’s not the template that they’ve established for you. They don’t have your best interests at heart when they’re teaching piano. They’re not concerned about teaching piano, they’re not concerned about piano, they’re not concerned about music, they’re not concerned about you as an individual. They don’t care about any of that kind of thing. They’re concerned only about their own reputation, their own status, their own role that they have to play in this tradition, this culture that they are so attached to, that is such an important part of their identity, that makes them feel so safe. I’m telling you why I don’t like piano teachers, just so you understand that. I can hear the objections already: “Michael, why do you have to pick on them? Why do you have to be so petty? Why can’t you just live and let live? Just let them do their thing.” Does it look like I’m stopping them from doing their thing? Are you serious? Is that a serious question? You think I’m not letting them do their thing? you’ve got to be kidding me. I’m not even going to entertain that. That line of discussion ends right here. This has to come out. I’m sick of it. There was a time when I liked the piano. It was fun. I liked studying it, learning about it, talking about it, figuring things out, talking about it, reading about it, figuring things out, experimenting, practicing, all of that. It was fun. I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. Didn’t realize the hornet’s nest that I was provoking. I didn’t realize anything like that. I thought that if somebody called themselves a “piano teacher,” they’d have some interest in the piano, have some interest in teaching. They don’t. They’re bullies. That’s all it is. I love the language that I’m using here, because I love taking out my aggression on these morons. At the same time, I’m getting a little bored by it, because I feel the pull to go to the next level somehow. I’m trying to find where that next level is. I spent a long time in fear of these people, honestly. Not wanting to upset them, trigger them, speak up against them, be rejected by them, be ostracized by them, because I was one of them. I was part of this community. Boy, that was a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake. It’s fine. You can call it a “learning experience.” You should check out Daryl Davis. He’s a black musician who goes to KKK rallies. He befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan. He talks to them, understands their point of view, develops relationships with them. Many of them have left because of him. They make a connection, and then you see the other person as a human being, and not simply as this “conceptual enemy”. The hate disappears, because this is another human being now. The only reason we hate other people is that we don’t see them as humans. We see them only conceptually. We see them just as concepts, as ideas that are in opposition to our own ideas. And, we’re so attached to our own ideas, because it makes us feel comfortable. So, when somebody says something that threatens our ideals, they must be destroyed. What’s the alternative? We let those ideas be threatened. And, then what? We have no solid ground on which to stand, and that’s threatening. Nobody likes that. Fine, whatever. But, that’s how it is with these people. So, I feel like I’m a former KKK member. Like, I was part of that group (not the KKK…don’t be ridiculous). Part of the piano teacher group. It’s a hate group. That’s what it is. It’s based on hate. It’s based on hate of the individual, of individual expression, Of individual creativity. Fundamentally, it’s based on the idea of hating the individual. I’m talking about classical music here. Classical music. Makes me sick. They should call it sickening music. I used to like classical music. That’s back when I was into the music. That’s all I knew. I’ve always been an outsider. I didn’t grow up in that environment. I didn’t even really start playing the piano until I was 14. Once I graduated high school, I stopped for a while. I did other stuff for years, then came back to it. The whole time, I was so naive. I was just interested in the music, that’s it. I didn’t know anything else. It was only about music for me. And other stuff, About practicing, physicality, the movement of the body, All of that stuff was fascinating to me. I had no idea what was motivating the whole thing, the whole industry, the whole field. so, you should understand that, because that’s what it is. that’s what the whole thing is. There’s nothing other than that. You have to be a total loner, if you want to focus just on the music oh, on the piano, on classical music. or any instrument. It’s all the same. I think pianists might be worse, because piano lessons are such a common thing for kids to do, even kids who don’t care about music. They still take piano lessons. So, piano teachers have this idea that they lost their power. That they should have more power than they do. Well, that’s a scary thought. Can you imagine if they had more power than they do? I can’t even imagine that. That’s the stuff of nightmares. I am so happy that they are limited in their power. I’m so happy that it’s just a bunch of little old ladies whining on Facebook. “Oh Michael, that’s sexist! And ageist.” That’s what they said to me. That’s literally what they said to me. They don’t care about piano, they don’t care about teaching. They only care about their own status and their own image. What do you care if Michael Korman stereotypes piano teachers as female and old? Like, what? What is with your priorities? So, here we are. Here I am in a room by myself, talking into a microphone. Maybe somebody will hear this. I can’t talk about this with piano teachers, because they don’t care. They don’t care. Thousands of them. Tens of thousands of them, in these groups. these are the biggest group that I’ve ever been in on Facebook. somebody asks a question, and hundreds of replies. Can you imagine asking a question and getting more than 100 answers to your question? Within a few minutes. It’s not like it takes a year to get a hundred replies. 20 minutes. why? Why does that happen? They take it for granted, I think. They don’t even know there’s anything weird about that. They join the groups because it’s a continuation of middle school. They want to impress their friends, impress the teacher, put down their friends so they can have higher status. It’s this “frenemy” thing. This is toxic. So, this is what happens when you put Michael in that environment. I can’t play along with that. That’s not going to happen. I can’t speak against it. They’ll kick me out. Or worse. They would do it, I know they would. They would do it, with a smile on their face. Do I sound paranoid? Yeah, I’m paranoid. I’m terrified of these people. What I’m really terrified about is myself. To me, there’s a void. I love doing this. I love torturing them. I’ll sit there on my phone, typing out a comment. I don’t know what I’m saying. I just let the energy of the moment flow through me, and just type whatever comes out. So it’s fun. I’m a little bit scared of that, because I know that it’s not fun for them. I know that for them, it’s terrifying. Or, maybe I could say it’s fun for them to, because if they find murder and Mayhem and destruction and Terror to be fun, then sure, it’s fun. I don’t find those things to be fun. That’s not something I would ever do, because I don’t take myself that seriously. So, that’s what I’m afraid of. I’m going to be having fun with them, playing a game with them, and they’re going to be getting more and more upset, and I’m going to continue having more and more fun, and not even realize that they are at the door, with their torches, and with their pitchforks, ready to string me up. that’s what I’m afraid of. I’ve been doing an exercise with this. What I’m really afraid of here is the void. I’m afraid of the non – knowing. not knowing what’s going to happen. I’ve never been down this path before and most people don’t go down that path. The path of just responding to what’s in the moment. But, there’s fear, in those times when I have responded to what’s in the moment, people have gotten really pissed off at me. So, there’s an aversion to that freedom, an aversion to the void, to the non-knowing, to the infinite potential of just allowing the universe to do its thing without interference from me. That’s a little bit scary to me. See, I’m not scared of them. I’m not really scared of myself. I’m scared of the not knowing. So, I’ve been challenging myself, as an exercise. Set a timer for 2 minutes. During those two minutes, total free fall. It’s just the energy, it’s just the flow, during that time. Just allow the universe to do its thing, totally. When the timer goes off, I can be scared, hesitant, cautious, whatever. I’m not trying to do anything other than renegotiating my relationship with the void. Right now, there’s a fear of a little bit of void. Like, When somebody writes a comment and I think I’d like to reply a certain way, then I think, “oh no, I can’t say that.” so that’s quick. 2 seconds. 2 seconds of void is sometimes intolerable for me. So, let’s see if we can expand that. That’s the direction it has to go in, the direction of just allowing things to happen. That’s what it is. Things are happening whether I like it or not. That’s the reality of it. The only question is, am I interfering with that? Am I able to accept it? So, we’ll see where it goes. I hope to torture them. I’m sick and tired of my friends too, because they’re not helping me with this. they’re just arguing with me about it. I don’t feel like arguing about this. What I feel like doing is getting it into the flow. Maybe next time, I’ll talk about how murderous my friends are. I don’t know. If you’re one of my friends, you can help me with this by…I don’t know. You figure it out. I’m sick and tired of this.
1 minutes | 5 months ago
#3 – Seventy Minus Nineteen
Some numbers just have that sound that make you want to say "YES, THAT'S THE ONE!"
28 minutes | 5 months ago
#2 – Stop Setting Boundaries
Transcript When you’re in the Victim mentality, you might be tempted to use boundaries as weapons against your friends. Bad idea. Today, I’m going to talk about boundaries. Psychological boundaries. This is a continuation of what I was talking about in the last episode, dealing with the Drama Triangle and the Empowerment Dynamic. How do we protect ourselves against Persecutors? This is the thing with Victims, right? Victims have to set boundaries. I should warn you first. This episode might trigger you. It might trigger a lot of you. I hope it does. And, I hope you tell me about it, because I’m in the mood for a fight. It’s going to. I’m telling you. I hear this all the time. It’s such a common meme, the idea that the reason you’re being Victimized is because you’re not enforcing your boundaries. You’re not being clear and consistent with that. You have to have these rules that you’ve set. You’ve written them down, you’ve carved them in stone, you carry them around with you, and you’ve tattooed them on the inside of your eyelids, and they’re always there and you know what they are, and you’re just ready. Ready to pull them out any time anybody starts to attack you. You’ve got those boundaries, and you’d better make sure that they know about it. You better make sure that you tell them about those boundaries. Because, at the end of the day, it’s their responsibility to make sure that they don’t violate those boundaries. I hear this all the time. And that’s the expression: people violate your boundaries. When your friends do this, you’ll say to them “hey, you violated a boundary., You crossed a boundary. “ People have said this to me. They say it all the time. Well, I’ve had enough of it. Now, it ‘s my turn to violate some boundaries. This is all about Victim-blaming. Let’s get that clear. I don’t think it’s clear enough. Hopefully, it is now. Hopefully, you understand that I don’t respect your boundaries. That’s not what this is about. This is not about respecting your boundaries. I view myself as a Challenger. When I’m a challenger, my job is not to make you feel comfortable. Your boundaries are not there to make you feel comfortable. I don’t care about that. I’m not going to put that responsibility on you, with my boundaries. My boundaries are not for that purpose. It’s not a weapon I use against. you. It’s not a test that I put my friends through. That’s not the idea. See, it’s all tied up in the idea of the challenger. A boundary is a rule that you have for yourself. This is why you do it. It’s why you should do it. It’s a test that you apply to yourself. So, if I say I have a boundary, like “you’re not allowed to talk to me that way.” That’s not your responsibility. That’s my responsibility. If you start talking to me that way, now I have a responsibility to do something about it. I’m not going to put that on you. What’s the point of that? You don’t have control over what other people do. Stop control trying to control it. You have control over what you do. So, that’s what you want to do. Take those boundaries and use them to help you. This is the way that you’re going to respond to CHallengers. If you’re viewing them as Persecutors, then it’s a different game you’re playing. Why even have boundaries in that case? So that when they cross the boundary, you’re justified in fighting back? If they’re a Persecutor, why do you need a boundary? But, people in the Victim mentality don’t look at it that way. They’re very reluctant to call people Persecutors. Why, because then you’re a Victim? Is that what it is? Very reluctant to call people Persecutors outright. And yet, still somehow that’s how you look at everything. But, you won’t say it. “My friends would never talk to me that way.” “You crossed a line.” Give it a rest, come on. Obviously, your friends are talking to you that way. Why else would I talk to you that way? This is your responsibility. You do something about it. Do you want to be my friend, or not? If you do, deal with it. Have your boundary. It’s your responsibility to enforce it, not mine. This has to be said. I can’t stand this anymore. You’ve all crossed a boundary, you know that? You’ve all violated my boundaries. Now, I’m holding you accountable. I’m not going to tolerate this anymore. I’m going to speak my mind. This is your problem now. Not my problem. I made my boundaries very clear! I’ve said this over and over again. And still, you continue to do it. You refuse to listen. Even though I’ve said it. Not my responsibility to teach you. Not mine. Come on, a real friend wouldn’t treat me that way. Well that’s it. I’m just going to have to set a boundary now. Once and for all, I’m just going to have to stand up for myself. Enough is enough. I’ve been putting up with this for far too long. And it’s not just you. Everybody treats me this way. Enough is enough. So, what do you do, when somebody’s giving you a hard time? Do you view yourself as a Victim, or a Creator? I’m going to assume that you view yourself as a Creator. That’s how I’m going to look at it. I just won’t look at it as if you’re a Victim. That’s not of any interest to me. I refuse to look at it that way. That’s my boundary. When you start acting like a Victim, and talking to me as if you’re a Victim, I’m going to set a boundary right there. I will not go there with you. I will not treat you as a Victim, no matter how much you’re insisting that you are. I’m just going to treat you as a Creator. THat’s it. Very simple. If you call other people Persecutors, I’m not going to go there with you. I’ll listen to it, sure. You can talk to me about those things. But, I’m not going to play along with that. When you tell me someone else is being a Persecutor, I’m going to hear it as if they’re a Challenger. As if they’re the good guy in the story. Because this is your adventure. This is your Creation. That’s how I look at it. You should look at it that way, too. When you do, things are going to be a bit different, because the concept of a boundary is going to change. You’re going to see that what the Challenger is doing to me is a good thing. Like, this is why I’m on this trip, is to face these things. This is what a boundary can do for you. It can help train you. I can teach you something. That’s the exercise you’re doing. You want that. You want those opportunities to enforce boundaries. I was talking to a friend the other day, and the story that I was hearing was how her mother is somewhat controlling, and my friend hears from other people about the mother’s behavior, and she feels some responsibility to protect those people from her mother. That causes a lot of stress. A ton of stress, because when someone is annoyed with you, it’s like you suddenly have to drop everything you’re doing and tend to that problem. So her response has been that when somebody talks to her about this, she says “don’t talk to me about this. Talk to my mom. She’s a grown adult. Don’t bother me about her behavior”. Obviously, she sees a need for some kind of boundary there. People just can’t say these things, and her mother can’t be imposing on her. It’s a huge distraction. How do you live your life that way? But, let’s go a little bit deeper into that. In that mentality, you’re viewing people as Persecutors. Viewing your mother as a Persecutor, you’re viewing the people who are getting on your case about her behavior as Persecutors. Let’s turn the whole thing around, and look at it from the Empowerment Dynamic. You want to view everyone as Challengers, because you’re the Creator. It’s all about what you’re trying to create here. You can use these things as opportunities. They’re exercises, they’re challenges, they’re things you can push against to help you move in the direction you’re trying to move in. So, if someone says to you, “can’t you control your mother?” You say: “you’re the one who feels uncomfortable because of my mother’s behavior. Don’t make that my problem. It’s not my responsibility to take care of your feelings right now.” That’s what’s happening right here, in the moment. It’s very different from putting the responsibility on the mother and saying “it’s not my problem.” No, put it on the person saying it to you. “But Michael, isn’t that the drama triangle? Aren’t you viewing yourself as a Victim, and you’re viewing the other person as a Persecutor?” No, that’s not what it is. I’m seeing myself as a Creator here. I am learning how to talk back to people. I’m learning how to create boundaries. That’s the creation. Every time that somebody brings it up to me, every time that somebody gets on my case because of my mother’s behavior, is another opportunity for me to practice. It’s another opportunity for me to build that creation. These are good things, and you want to seek out these opportunities. It’s not about the language. It’s not about the form of it. It’s not about whether you’re calling yourself a Victim or whether you’re calling yourself a Persecutor. Those are just words. The difference between a Victim and a Creator is not about the language you use. It’s about the function of it. It’s about how it actually works in practice. See, it’s totally different. The Creator is totally intentional about the creation. You deliberately decide what you’re going to create, and as things come up, you use them to help you, because you’re the one who decided what the mission is. You decided where you’re going to go. You decided that, ahead of time. You will use these things, every one of them, as an opportunity. But the Victim doesn’t look at it that way, because the Victim says “I’m just sitting here trying to do my own thing , and all of you people keep messing it up for me.” That’s the Victim mentality. It’s the exact opposite. The Victim is inherently about the idea that we don’t want to change. We don’t want to adapt to circumstances. But the Creator is about change, and about adapting to circumstances. It’s not about whether you’re reacting to people. The object of the Creator is not to be a statue, totally motionless, totally oblivious to anything. That’s just another form of Victim. You see, the environment changes. This is a total fantasy, this notion that you’re going to develop the suit of armor when nothing is ever going to get to you. This is totally unrealistic, it can’t happen. The environment you live in is too volatile for that. It just can’t happen. You don’t even want to go there. Your object is always to be flexible, and flexibility means you’re able to adapt to your environment as your environment changes. From one perspective, this is going to look like reactivity. Like you’re just reacting to what people do, like you’re just letting them control you. Sure, let them control you. You can’t stop that from happening. They’re going to control you. They just are. The question is not, “are they controlling your behavior? “, but “are they pulling you away from your mission?” Your creation, the thing you are trying to make. Now, if your creation is, I hope, some behavior patterns where you are an independent human being who is capable of pursuing the things that you care about, and that you are trying to create good in the world, and not simply try to avoid evil. If that’s what you’re trying to do, great. And there’s a certain type of boundaries that are going to help you with that. You have to understand the distinction here, because from the naive point of view, they look so similar to each other. They really do. Go look at my Facebook account. You have to be my friend I guess, but yeah. You may say, “Michael you certainly are acting like a Victim . “ Yeah, okay. I act like a Victim. I mean, that’s your perspective. That’s the way you’re telling the story. If you want to be a Rescuer, you’re going to tell the story that way, as if I’m acting like a Victim, because you want me to be a Victim. Rescuers love Victims. It gives you meaning and it gives you purpose in your life. You get to help me fight. And, if you’re particularly enlightened, you might say “I’m going to help you become a Creator. I’m going to help you get out of this Victim mindset.” Uh huh. Okay. I hope you’re doing that as a coach, and not as a Rescuer because if your Rescuer, it’s going to be stressful for you too. I’m being a Creator. No matter how many horrible things I say about other people, I’m a creator. I’m not trying to create peace and quiet. That’s what the Victim does. The Victim is an anti-creator. The Victim wants to create nothingness. But the Creator wants to create something. What I’m creating are Behavior patterns in my nervous system that are deliberately chosen. I choose them very deliberately, because these are the kinds of responses I want to have. When somebody is acting this way, when somebody is bullying me, whatever they’re doing, I want to create something. I want to have a response to that that works for me. That’s going to involve diving right into these things. Because that’s what they’re doing. They’re bullying me. They’re acting like a Persecutor. That’s the frame that has been created. I have to dive right into it and deal with it. That’s where you have to deal with the mess. It can’t be anywhere else. You can’t just detach yourself from the situation. Just not going to work. So, triggering is good. You have to trigger. You have to go right into it. You can’t avoid it. Everybody wants to avoid it. I get it. But, it’s not going to work. It’s just going to cause more problems for you, because that’s the agenda that you have to begin with: to avoid these things. But, don’t avoid it. Go into it. When my friend is trying to set a boundary here, when these people are getting on her case about this, anything she says trying to get these people to go away, bad idea. She wants to learn how to stand there like a tree in the wind. You’re not letting it blow you over. You have to wave back and forth. You have to go into it like “yeah, this is going to happen. these people are going to say these things, and I’m going to respond this way. It’s fine. I’m not going to resist it. I’m just going to respond.” That’s going to feel challenging. It’s not going to feel easy. These are patterns that go back a long time. You’re fighting against your own conditioning, But that’s what you have to do. That becomes the game. That’s the adventure you’re on. These things come up in life, and you say “here’s a conditioned pattern. Let’s see if I can just roll with it. Let’s see if I can not go with that particular response, but pick something else.” That’s different from saying we’re going to avoid the situation altogether. It’s good when people say these things. So, I hope that she will willingly go into these situations, and not view them as something that needs to be avoided. Because, they don’t. Every single one of them is good. Every one of them is a new opportunity for practice not allowing other people to pull you into their strange Victim world, where they get to say things like, “your mother is misbehaving. I don’t want to have to deal with that. “ Well, tough luck. You have to deal with it, because it’s not my problem. You’re the one who’s feeling uncomfortable right now. Don’t make that my problem. “Stop acting like a Victim!” If you aren’t comfortable that I’m acting like a Victim, again, not my problem. You deal with that. You need a therapist. Don’t put that on me. I’m not the one responsible for that. I’m doing my own thing here. I’m creating something. You see the difference between that and the actual Victim mentality? No, you don’t see the difference, and you shouldn’t see the difference, because the difference only exists in my own mind. It’s an internal, subjective experience. The words may sound just the same. That’s the way our language works. The whole language that we speak is based on the idea of Victims and Persecutors. It’s really hard to find another way to talk. You know the difference, inside. You should know. If you don’t know the difference, then that’s where you need to put your attention. Are you trying to create something, or are you trying to avoid something? You’ve got to practice this. You can’t just listen to me talk about it. It’s not going to do anything for you. It’s all just intellectual. Do it. Live your life. Figure it out.
21 minutes | 5 months ago
#1 – The Drama Triangle
This is the first episode of my podcast, Self-Defined Human. Let’s see where we go from here. Stop being a Victim. Be a Creator instead. Learn about the Drama Triangle vs. the Empowerment Dynamic. Two radically different paradigms for viewing your role in the world. The Drama Triangle comes from Stephen Karpman. The Empowerment Dynamic is from David Emerald. Transcript The first episode is about the Drama Triangle and the Empowerment Dynamic. The drama triangle is invented by the psychologist Stephen Karpman, and the Empowerment Dynamic comes from David Emerald. Most of us look at life in terms of the drama triangle. every interaction you have with other people, you put yourself and other people into one of three roles. You’re either the Victim, the Persecutor or the Rescuer. You could think of this like you’re either a Victim, a Villain, or Hero. We’re taught to do this. This is the way the culture is, this is the way we are. All the time. We take it for granted. We don’t even notice that we’re doing this. It’s a specific way of thinking about things. A specific way of structuring our reality. And we take it for granted. It’s not a good thing or bad thing. It’s just a thing. It’s just how we do it. the whole structure of our society is based on this concept. You have a Victim and yellow Persecutor, and the Persecutor is doing something bad to the Victim , and The Rescuer has to save the Victim from the Persecutor. We take it for granted. Everything we do. You go to school and this is how it is. All these Notions about fairness, about Justice, all these ideas are based on this concept that there are good guys and there are bad guys. There are Victims and there are Villains. And, either we are a Victim, or we are a Villain, or we need to rescue the Victims from the Villains. You may say, “well, obviously.” it seems so obvious that this is just how it has to be. Because, if someone is suffering, then it means that someone else has caused it. And, and if you can see that someone is causing it… what is the conclusion that you draw from this, when you see that somebody is suffering as a result of something that someone else did? The way that you link these two events together, it’s up to you. It’s not obvious. It’s not just a foregone conclusion that this is just how it’s going to be. It’s not. You think it is, right? Why do you do that? You have to ask yourself this. You have to take yourself to task here. Don’t just take this for granted. That’s a big mistake, come on. Huge mistake. Don’t take these things for granted. You know, you’re the one who’s responsible for this, You’re the one who’s telling the story. Nobody wants to be a Victim. Nobody wants to be called a Victim. If I call you a Victim, what happens? I become a Persecutor. Immediately. If I tell you that you’re letting someone else take advantage of you, if I tell you that you are the one who’s responsible, that you are the one who is responsible for your own suffering, you see me as a Persecutor. Why is that? Why don’t you want to hear that? I mean, I don’t like hearing that either. I don’t like hearing it. Nobody seems to like hearing this. Sometimes I’ll say something, and somebody else will think I’m saying that. Because, we know that it’s not good to be a Victim. We know that. But, why is that the story you’re telling? Why is the drama triangle the story that you’re telling? Why do you put everything into that framework, into that little triangle? Why? Why is that the way it has to be? You know, the way that you interpret events is that you take the things that happen, the things that you could observe objectively, and you string them together. You connect the dots and you make a story out of it. You find some interpretation on it. Your mind does this automatically. You don’t even know that you’re doing it. Most people don’t even think about this kind of thing. It just happens. This is how you’ve been conditioned. this is how you heard people talk around you. These are the stories you’ve heard, this is what you’ve seen on TV, this is the behavior that’s been modeled for you. Since you were a little kid, this is what has happened. These are the roles that people play, and these are the rules that people follow, that they have to follow. And, when something happens, these are the consequences that must follow. We blame people for things, when something bad happens. We say that it’s somebody’s fault. we say, they deserve something. I didn’t invent these words. I didn’t. Not me. You’re the one who invented these words. I didn’t. You. Not me. It has nothing to do with me, because I don’t speak that language. That’s my choice. But, you do, right? Why? Because you want to be a Rescuer? you obviously don’t want to be a Victim, but sometimes you’re forced to. If somebody does something to you. somebody says something to you that you don’t like. “Oh, no no no, Michael. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s an offensive thing. It’s inherently offensive.” Yep. Uh huh. Inherently offensive. No, the problem is that you don’t like it. You. Why? Because it’s your preference. You would prefer that those things weren’t said to you. Yeah, okay. That’s not even true. You prefer that these things are said to you. That’s why you get so excited when somebody says it. When somebody offends you. You love that. Why? Because now you get to be The Rescuer, and now you get to save the world from that person, from that evildoer. you get to jump to the rescue. you want me to offend you. You’re just waiting for it. You’re just itching for it. That’s great. So, you want to be a Victim, and you want to be a Rescuer. But, you don’t want anybody to call you that. You don’t want to be called a Victim. Do you want to be called a Rescuer? I don’t know. You tell me. What about a Persecutor? Do you want to be called that? Do you want to be a Persecutor? of course not. Nobody wants to be a Persecutor. You see that as an evil thing. Right? When you’re a Persecutor, that means that you are bad. That means that you deserve punishment. You did something wrong, because you made somebody else suffer. Think of all the ways that you spend all your day, that you spent all your time and energy, trying to avoid being the Persecutor. How much time do you spend on that? And when you do something accidentally that causes suffering, what happens? You beat yourself up about that, you feel guilty about that, you feel ashamed about that, you try to fix it. You’re spending all your time doing this, because you don’t want to be a Persecutor. That’s a bad thing too. Is this fun for you, to live your life that way? In that drama triangle? I doubt it very much. There’s an alternative. The alternative is the empowerment dynamic. This is invented by David emerald. You should check out this book he’s got, The Power of TED*. In the empowerment Dynamic, we’ve got three roles as well. We’ve got the Creator, the Challenger, and the Coach. Instead of the Victim, we’ve got the Creator. Instead of the Persecutor, we’ve got the Challenger. And instead of The Rescuer, we have the Coach. These are three roles which are much more productive. Because, you see, you are a creator. You are the creator of the universe. The whole universe. Everything. You may as well accept it, may as well own it, may as well claim it. “I am the Creator. I am God “ Does that offend you? of course it offends you. you don’t want to be a Creator. Why is that? Because creators have a lot of responsibility. Calling you a Creator, if you’re stuck in the drama triangle, is equivalent to calling you a Victim. now, I’m calling you to task and I’m asking you, “hey, why haven’t you been created? Why have you been spending all your time running away from Persecutors? Why has that been occupying all of your time? “ when I call you a Creator, you’re forced to confront that. you’re forced to ask yourself, “hey, why haven’t I been making the universe that I want to make? Why haven’t I been making the world into the world that I want to live in?” And because you’re stuck in the drama triangle, this is a horrible thing. It’s a horrible thing to be called out like that. See, I don’t see it that way. You know, sometimes I’m a Victim. You can call me a Victim, that’s okay. You can ask me, “hey Michael, why haven’t you been creating? “ yeah, I don’t know. Sometimes I’m lazy, sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m scared of something, sometimes I’m hungry. That’s fine. That’s fine for me, because when I notice that I’m in the drama triangle, I step outside of it. I don’t see myself as a Victim, I don’t see other people as Persecutors , and I don’t believe that anybody needs to be rescued. I don’t. The whole thing’s a game. I always think about Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication, who says, “don’t do anything that isn’t play.” See, it’s not that serious. But, you want it to be so serious. Remember, when you were a kid, you created a lot. Kids are very creative. All day long, creating things. That’s how I was. I don’t need to give you examples, you know it’s true. But then, we become adults, and what happens? It’s not even when we’re adults. This happens, maybe 9 years old or so? We get fearful. We get really scared, and we see that the purpose of life is to follow rules and not break the rules. And not be in the wrong. To not be the ones who are to blame for anything, because we want to be right. So, we invent these religions where we learn how to be saved, Because we have this compulsive need to be in the right. We have to be the ones where the teacher can’t look at us And say, “You’re the one. You’re the one who broke the rule. You’re the one who needs to stay after class. You’re the one who needs to clean up this mess, because you did it. you caused it. You’re responsible for all this pain and suffering. And if you don’t fix it, there’s going to be consequences later on. There’s going to be consequences after you’re dead. you’re going to be stuck in eternal damnation, forever. That’s how bad it’s going to get.” That’s how future-fixated you are. you imagine this infinite future where you’re going to be suffering the whole time. That’s what it’s like for you, because you’re so obsessed with this idea that you need to follow the rules. That’s your thing, Because you don’t see it as a game. You see it as something that has dire consequences. See, in a game, when the game’s over, game over. Put it away, go do something else, and come back to it when you want to play again. You know it’s just a game. that’s fine. No problem. But, when you make things serious, you can’t do that. You’re attached to it. You have to stay in it. You have to stay in the game, even after it’s over. When you die in the game, you’re dead in real life, so you better not let that happen. That’s how you look at it. Big mistake. So, you can be a Creator. Just be a Creator. You’re the one who gets to decide what happened. See, this changes everything. This changes how you look at everything else. A Victim doesn’t look at it that way. A Victim doesn’t have choices about what the Victim is going to create. A Victim is only responding to what happens. As a Victim, I need to keep everyone else at bay. The Victim is only concerned with maintaining stability. That’s it. The whole story the Victim tells is, “I was just trying to go about my business, just trying to do my own thing, just trying to relax, just trying to have a good time, and then you came along and messed everything up for me.” That’s the story the Victim tells. ” I was just doing nothing, and then you messed it up. “ What’s so great about nothing? Why is that the story? Like, that’s the ideal state: “I’m just doing nothing I’m just minding my own business.” You’re going to be spending a lot of time after you’re dead doing nothing. See, this is the chance you have right here to do something. These few years, where you could potentially do something. But no, you’re just complaining about how no one’s letting you do nothing. I mean, come on, that’s ridiculous. You can do whatever you want. But now, you have some responsibility, because if you’re the Creator, you can’t look at other people as Persecutors. Or, as Rescuers. You can’t, because that doesn’t have any importance anymore. When you look at somebody as a Persecutor, that’s what they’re doing. They’re messing you up. But, you’re the one who’s deciding what happens, because you are the Creator. So, the Persecutor becomes the Challenger. The Persecutor becomes the task. That’s what you’re doing. You are confronting Challengers. See, there’s no Adventure otherwise. think of any great adventure story. Just imagine there were no obstacles on the path. What is that? It’s nothing. The only reason that the story means anything is because of the obstacles. if you just stay at home, you have nothing. There’s no story. You don’t grow, you don’t change, you don’t learn anything. The Challengers are good things. They’re good guys. They’re not bad guys. The Victim is the bad guy. The Victim is the one who says no, we’re not going to go on an adventure, we’re not going to learn, we’re not going to grow, we’re not going to change. And, it’s good to be a Challenger. You don’t want to be a Persecutor, because you don’t want to hurt other people. But, the Challenger doesn’t mind hurting other people, because the Challenger knows that by hurting other people that you’re helping them grow. They might not see it that way, because if they’re stuck in the drama triangle, they’re not going to appreciate that, but so what? You are a Creator. They are a Creator. When you’re in the empowerment Dynamic, you just see it that way. If they don’t want to be a creator, you don’t even hear it. You treat them as creators whether they know it or not. Whether they admit to it or not. You can’t have Rescuers either. No one needs to be rescued. See, the Challenger is a good guy. When the Creator is hurt by the Challenger, that’s a good thing. So, The Rescuer becomes the Coach. The Coach’s job is to help the Creator create. it’s not to save the Creator from anything. The creator doesn’t need to be saved. The Creator is God. You don’t need to save God from anything. You need to help God do God’s work.
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