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Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Form and Evolution—The Myth of Post-Conventional Development Mapping to Form in Relating


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[This article requires a general understanding of developmental stages in egoic, emotional, or moral developmental models, distinguished by researchers such as Graves, Kohlberg, Gilligan, etc.]

There is often talk in developmental, transformational, and alternative communities about how polyamorous and/or “open” relationships are more “evolved”. More evolved than…say the conventional forms of monogamy and marriage.

This is an easy trap to fall into, as poly- relationship forms are certainly post-conventional. There was a time when I agreed with this thinking. I used to think polyamory [distinct from what I often see which is “poly-sexual”] was the more "evolved" as is it beyond traditional structures [trans-rational and post-conventional] and by its very nature requires, and often demands advanced communication skills, a solid sense of self, a lack of attachment and more spontaneous and flexible structures than monogamy.

Plainly put—it is more challenging. But that is if it is played clean, which is all well and good on paper...but how often are poly- relationships played clean and played well? Well, not often. In my experience, they are sometimes a morass of jealousy, fear, anger, heartbreak, etc.

Additionally, the truth is, monogamy requires other sets of skill development which while different, are equally as challenging. AND monogamy requires all the aforementioned sets of skills and development if it is to be done well and stay alive and thrive. That is to say, high self-esteem and a solid sense of self, advanced communication skills, and agreements between the parties that allow for play and spontaneity as well as growth and evolution within the relationship itself. So...my thinking has since shifted.

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Past, Present, Future; Our Relationship to Time


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"it's okay to lose, so long as you learn from every game you choose..."

“If there is no future, and there is no past; if all we’ve got is right now, then…let’s make it last.”

"Remember your dreams because your dreams become the life you lead..." --Prince Rogers Nelson

Human beings have a strange relationship to time. We sometimes get stuck in moments and replay them over and over again. We often fail to live in the "present"—not hearing the person right in front of us. Some of us are so focused on our goals in the future we often fail to enjoy them when we attain them—rather, setting new, bigger, more impressive or more challenging goals without ever pausing to enjoy the view from this new height.

Then there is this idea that there is only “the now”-- which is certainly one way to think about it. At the same time, while the past and future may only live in our minds, so do so many other things. Does that mean they do not exist? Memories? Fondness for someone? Plans for our future? They are indeed “real” even if they are strictly intra-subjective experiences.

If we declared they were not, we would have to say things like intentionality, compassion, hope, and love, were not “real”. Are you prepared to say compassion is not real? Aside from the most dogmatic of scientific materialists, I know very few who are willing to support that argument.

What then is the most appropriate and useful relationship to time that we could cultivate, such that we accelerating our personal evolution? How can we use our internal representation of time for emotional choice and ultimately, emotional freedom?

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What is N.L.P.


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What is N.L.P.?

NLP--the set of tools titled Neuro-Linguistic Programming--is misunderstood far more often that it is understood. There is nothing new in NLP. There is no magic. It will not revolutionize your life whole-sum in one fowl swoop, contrary to the marketing of some. However, it can produce amazing rapid results in a specific context ...

So what is it?

The co-founder of NLP, John Grinder, says that it is simply a learning tool. Nothing more than a set if filters and tools to give you access to more of your neurology for the purpose of accelerated learning.

Gregory Bateson, the world famous behavioral scientist, said that NLP is the only class 3 learning tool on the planet.

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Discolored Vision

Have you ever noticed how some people’s perception of the world seems more accurate than others? How some people’s perception of you seems more accurate than others? Have you ever stepped out and noticed the degree of accuracy of your own perceptions? Have you ever had the experience of badly misjudging someone’s motives, being, intentions, behaviors, or character—thereby noticing your own inaccuracy? How did you account for this discrepancy? Have you ever noticed that you are more accurate about some people than others and how some people or some people’s behaviors trigger you and other’s do not? What would your life be like if you were freed from disproportionate emotional responses and you could see the pure and innocent core of others? It is commonly known in the world of platform skills training that most feedback tells you far more about the giver of the feedback than the recipient. In other words, if I do something in the world, like give a talk, or write something such as this piece you are reading, or even simply tell a joke in a public a small percentage of the feedback I receive will be solid, objective feedback. A larger percentage will be a demonstration of the person’s level of development, prejudices, beliefs, and—at worst—unresolved emotional events form their past and their issues of esteem for themselves. Why? The Buddhists speak of using Vipassana meditation to “clear away the clouds so you can see the sun”. The sun is always there—as it is. But in your perception, it is grayed. It is blocked. It is obscured. The word “vipassana” actually means to clear things away to see them “as they are”. Not as you would have them be, believe them to be, or think they are—but as they are. There is this I.D.E.A. of cleansing your vision. Giving your Self clarity of vision. How is this possible? We are lead to believe in our world of post-modern philosophy that this is not possible. There is only our skewed subjective experience. Yet simultaneously, many of us seek out coaches, gurus, leaders, and friends who have this very clarity. They “see” things—accurately and clearly. And these people are widely respected, valued, and many acquire great wealth in the process. Be it wealth of spirit or community or material wealth—or all of the above. How is this accomplished? How can we clear our vision such that we see things more accurately and can relate with others in a space of clarity and presence? To answer that we need to back up a bit… The first step is noticing. Do I have a preconceived notion about the person/organization/community? Am I dealing with and relating to them right now? Or am I dealing with my internal representations of them? Have I verified my interpretations of them/it? Do I have “disproportionate” emotional responses? Do I experience anger, guilt, shame, blame, fear to a degree that stops me from being fully self expressed in the natural disposition that the spiritual warriors of Shambhala teach, which is the natural disposition of pride, joy, and a general upright posture and attitude? Do the “little things” in life bother me? Do I judge others as bad and wrong rather than experiencing compassion and wisdom for them and if so, to what degree? Disproportionate emotional responses typically have two sources: unresolved past experiences that we have coded as “negative” in our subjective experience. These may come in the form of parental “imprints” or they may come in the form of a “gestalt” of negative emotions rooted in our childhood when we did not have the wisdom to see the positive learning or meaning in the pain. Meaningless pain leads to misery and agony and creates a deep gouge in our emotional consciousness. This can be resolved with any number of technologies and turned into a gift. Self-esteem is the other primary source of a disproportionate emotional response. Using the definition that self-esteem is the knowledge that you are competent to handle life’s challenges and the belief that you deserve to be happy [self efficacy and self-regard] then what happens when one has insufficient self-esteem in any given context? One responds with fear, uncertainty, and this can often appear as anger or some other disproportionate response. A person with high self-esteem can respond with graciousness, clarity, and ease. The higher degree of self-esteem one has, the more gracious one will be. Unresolved events and disproportionate emotional responses can actually “color” or skew our vision—and actually alter our internal representations. We have all heard of the “green monster” of jealousy and “seeing red” when one is angry. An excellent example of this was a client I worked with had their visual sub-modalities colored as red in memories where anger was present beginning at an impact experience when they were 4 years old. In other words, when they visualized the events, there was a red tint to the image. Once we worked with the events using Time Line Therapy™, all of the events had lost the red tint and they were now seen in black and white. Of course, even to get to a place where one would choose to clear their vision requires self-reflexive awareness and a certain degree of personal responsibility; it requires the ability to notice and assess one’s own behavior and an acceptance of the truth that we are all responsible for our own emotional life and a desire to evolve one’s self. This in and of itself is a monumental breakthrough for most who experience it. The next step is to take the necessary action to clear one’s past and begin to build a strong sense of self, a large component of which is healthy self-esteem, and then to begin to generate a new compelling future—one of your own design that will inspire, uplift, and draw one to new heights unburdened of the past habit patterns. From this place of freedom and generative creativity nothing is impossible. It is your natural born right to live a joyous and free life full of love and happiness. All that stands in your way is a choice. The choice of course belongs to you. What will you choose?

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Cult of Classification

We, as a people, seem to love classifications. As humans, it is what we do best: identification. It separates us from primates. We can identify and classify things into systems, genres, classes, subclasses, and so on. This is a great skill; a skill that could even save your life some day as you classify “dangerous, not dangerous – deadly, not deadly”. The ability to identify (what is it?) and then extrapolate accurately (what does it mean?) is indeed a critical skill. A skill no less critical even as we get more and more civilized. In fact, it could be argued that the dangers get ever more complex and demanding of this skill the more complex our society becomes and the more knowledgeable we become. When this gets interesting is when we apply and over apply this skill to other human beings where physical safety is clearly not a concern. We have all sorts of categorizations and systems of classification. We have race, sexual preferences and orientation, political party affiliation, zodiac sign, political orientation or leaning, class separation, high school cliques, enneagram number, etc., etc. These are all tools we use to classify, to categorize, and to put people into some box or drawer. At first, it may seem like we use these tools to gain a better understanding of who they are, really. Is that how we typically use them, in actuality? The way I have seen myself and others use them is as I described above. We put them into a box. We now think we “know” them, or at least that portion of them. They are a democrat or a republican and all of a sudden, we now “know them” politically. They are a 3 on the enneagram, and all of a sudden we “know” what to expect of their behaviors; their light and beautiful side and their darker patterns. We put them into a box and we can then relax, or tense, or whatever, but some part of us relaxes. We know them; we can now relax and move on to putting another part of them into a box. Are they heterosexual or homosexual? Ah, they are bi-sexual. We can now relax (or tense [laugh]) because we now “know” who they are sexually. But do we? (It is fascinating to see someone feed their ego when they think they have “nailed” someone’s zodiac sign or enneagram number by guessing at it; excited about putting someone in a box.) Once we put someone into a box, we then stop relating to who they are as a unique and beautiful being -- we begin to relate to the box. We begin to fit all of their behaviors into that box or view their behaviors through the filter of said box. Sure, we are more comfortable ourselves once we have classified them, but the real relating begins to die a slow (or rapid) death. We now stop relating to who they are in this moment, right now, and begin to relate to what we read about them in a book, or what we see about their “type” on TV, Etc. Then what began as a tool for greater understanding and deeper relating has ended up as a wall or a barrier to greater and truer understanding – a barrier to more intimate relating; a wall around the heart. A wall and a filter we are often not even aware of. And what are human Beings anyway? They are manifestations of the divine. Can we really classify that? Human Beings at their best and most inspirational are creative, spontaneous, dances of improvisation, which is completely unpredictable, and if we get too caught up in who we think they are, we may miss a glimpse of god as it dances right before us, right within our grasp. While these tools for classification are useful to a certain point, they are only useful to a certain point, where if we want true relating, true intimacy, they must then be cast aside. If we truly desire peace on this planet, it will take something like this, from all sides, from all perspectives, from all lands. From the heart, guided by the head, enveloped in Spirit,

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