Posts Tagged ‘Boot Camp’

A visionary musician from our March Boot Camp has moved here to Austin from Boston. His story is here:

Returning from a beautiful yoga class today, I was searching for words to express the evolving nature of the work we do inside the VisionForce Boot Camps. And I found myself calling it “spiritual exercise.” Instantly, upon hearing those words, it just felt right.

Indeed, more and more, people are reporting having profound spiritual awakenings inside our Boot Camp, and yet, we have never presented it as spiritual work. We don’t present any religious or spiritual beliefs inside this work, preferring to keep it cleanly open “technology” that any individual from any paradigm or persuasion can use to live more powerfully.

I’ve been reluctant over the years to even use terms common to conversations about spirituality, because for so many people, such terms have predefined meanings. Thus, using those common terms can have people misconstrue what we are offering.

However, it is now feeling right to own this term, “spiritual,” in relation to this work. Having been profoundly influenced by a broad range of thinkers, some of the greatest of whom were skeptic, agnostic, atheistic, etc., such as Ayn Rand, I am sensitive to how people might interpret spiritual references. Everyone can relate, however, to the realm of human experience identified as “the human spirit,” or the realm of our experience that relates to our highest values, our highest sense of self, our deepest connection to others, our heroic endeavors in the face of incredible adversity, etc.

The challenge of introducing work (products, processes, programs, etc.) that is profoundly spiritual in this sense, without calling it such, has been a challenge from a business and marketing experience. I’ve also been reluctant to enter this realm of languaging, because of what that might mean for my life and for the business… everyone, it seems, has an idea of who a “spiritual teacher” should be, and many people will not learn from a “spiritual teacher” who does not match their preexisting values and beliefs. Many spiritual teachers are very authoritarian and positionary, and call for blind faith and obedience from “followers.” Many teach (and preach) from fear with threat of guilt and punishment–externally imposed guilt and fear being two of the most limiting and destructive forces for anyone who aims to be the least bit “visionary” or highly “conscious.” Then, there’s the fear and guilt that sometimes arises for me when I imagine taking on such a serious context for my life. I am called much more to the life of being the laughing Buddha… I’m just a guy who has something to offer, and after seeing the kind of vision I have seen, cannot go about living life without sharing what I have to offer.

You could say that I’ve seen and been called forth onto my path in life by “spiritual vision.” I hesitate to use this term here, because I don’t mean to imply that God gave me a vision… what I can say is that I saw a vision– a vision that spoke to my heart (or spirit) so powerfully that I could not turn away. And so here I am, offering my gifts to anyone willing to receive, FAR before having “arrived.” I’m learning very very fast, but it’s the painful learning experienced by the person who heads out into the unknown without much preparation. So, I’m learning by screwing up, and being criticized from all angles. The “preparation” I could do prior to heading down my path in life is a trap–a trap that in today’s authoritarian paradigm keeps most people from walking their path.

We’ve been so conditioned to compromise the calling of our heart or spirit in order to be accepted and respected in the eyes of authority and majority that we often can’t even FEEL the calling of our heart. So conditioned do we become that we often don’t even notice our deepest suffering, that sense of quiet desperation becomes accepted as a natural part of life. We medicate it, escape it, suppress it–but all of this, too, compromises our spirit and brings more suffering. Escaping or avoiding our suffering and the calling of our heart compromises the “spiritual vision” that we would EACH otherwise SEE and FEEL as human beings–or spiritual beings. Each of us COULD BE experiencing our life’s purpose in the same emotional way that we might experience being on a “Mission From God!” I don’t mean to imply that we should take on an ultra-serious, burdensome, self-sacrificial approach to life, but that we can have the powerful sense of mission that comes from “Spiritual Vision” that would have us naturally actualizing our highest potential and making our visions manifest. What I am referring to as “Spiritual Vision” here is accessible by anyone–the VisionForce work opens up direct and immediate access to that at a deep level.

…just took a moment to chat with a friend and told her that I am inclined to start calling this work spiritual exercise, and how referring to this work as spiritual has at times scared the crap out of me. Her reply was, “All the work we do is spiritual… but only the brave ones call it that.” Interesting. (Jessica, you should put that in your book of quotes!)

So, I’d like to begin to present the VisionForce work from a spiritual context here, starting with this blog post. In fact, I am going to speak with pretty universal language, so for those of you who usually speak from a more “advanced” lexicon for spirituality, I invite you to listen for how the VisionForce tools could help you take your own spiritual practices to a deeper level. Especially listen from the universal human dilemma of how we live true to our highest values in a world where everywhere we turn, we face the judgments and demands of people who have differing conclusions about what’s right and wrong. I invite you to listen for something NEW here, even though much of the language I am using to communicate this is not new.

More over the coming days… (stay tuned! and leave your Comments!)

P.S. Registration is open for the November 2007 Boot Camp. Learn more here.

News, Visionaries, Visionary Culture | No Comments | September 18th, 2007

Thanks to Antonio, we have more bootleg footage from the Dinner of Honor at the March 2007 VisionForce Boot Camp!

Keith’s impromptu lyrics were his way of honoring everyone with whom he had shared the Boot Camp. He starts singing to individuals towards the end of this first video. (Oh, and those are bottles of sparkling cider on the tables, as this is an alcohol-free event!) We seem to have some incredible, visionary musicians at every Boot Camp. Of course, artists are, after all, visionaries.

Keith, we’ll cherish this memory forever, and we hope to have you on our Training Assistant team for November… bring the guitar! ;)

Listen in as OT, a good friend of mine, and I engage in a wild conversation about living as free, visionary, entrepreneurial visionary beings… and how can we birth a new, visionary culture in these times where authoritarian structures are conflicting with rapid change. If you follow along with the conversation for about 45 minutes, you’ll get a pretty wild, interesting introduction into our heads (and the VisionForce work).

Click here to download the MP3 File

News, Visionaries, Visionary Culture | No Comments | September 10th, 2007

Boot leg footage from the Dinner of Honor at the March 2007 VisionForce Boot Camp, here is Audrey singing a heart-riveting rendition of I Hope You Dance (Sung much better than by the author, Lee Ann Womack, in my opinion):

Michael's Journal, News, Visionaries | No Comments | September 5th, 2007

OK, so you’re a visionary in the 21st century. You have a new idea or see a new way to make the world a better place. You see what others don’t see in a way that inspires you to action, and you know that if others could only see what you see, they’d be inspired to new courses of action that would make an incredible difference.

I find myself in this predicament currently, and I’d like to speak to two fundamental challenges that someone in such a position faces. I invite you think about these challenges for your own situation.

2 Challenges for the 21st Century World-Changer:

1) How do you share your idea or vision in a way that has people understanding it, without oversimplifying such that they don’t see it’s novelty and genius? Many people are often all too eager to file your idea away into the category of something they already know.

2) How do you share your new idea or vision in a way that does not offend those who are attached to the way they currently view the world? Many people are often all too eager to erect a wall between you and them, if your idea somehow threatens their current reality–or more specifically, their image. From behind their wall, they cannot see what you are saying.

The first challenge is similar to the prospect of sharing a complex theory with someone who barely understands your language. Sure, you can describe it with very simplistic vocabulary and grammar, so that they think they “get it;” but you know that they don’t. Certainly, they don’t “get it” on a level that would inspire them into heroic action in the service of your vision.

I find this to be a growing challenge in my blogging and newsletter/autoresponder writing. Am I speaking to those who share a deep, rich context, or am I speaking to those who are finding this site for the first time? Sometimes I find myself writing in a very simplistic manner, so as to reach people emotionally. Readers will then have the experience of “getting it” or “getting me;” however what I am sharing can easily sound like it’s nothing new to them, because I am using such familiar language.

At other times, I start writing on a more intellectual level, only to realize that a lot of groundwork needs to be laid in my article or blog post, before people would grasp what I was intending to communicate. I begin laying the groundwork in the blog or article, and then before I know it, I am out of time. The article, blog or email does not get produced that day, and it sits awaiting a future completion date.

While there may be many simple approaches to resolve this dilemma, what I’d like to point out is how this problem lies in the domain of BUSINESS. What is business? A business is a system that comes into existence by virtue of solving problems–or of creating value for people. Business, can then be said to be the range of activities that a person or organization (the “business”) engages in for the purpose of ongoingly providing more and more value to others. A business, at least in a free environment, only exists to the extent that it provides greater value by virtue of it’s existence. Marketing is the realm of activities through which the system communicates with it’s environment, such that value exchanges take place.

Thus, my dilemma in communicating my vision with the world is a marketing problem. As I find solutions to this problem, our organization can more easily and ongoingly (profitably) solve more and more of the world’s problems. I invite you, if you self-identify as a world-changer, to self-identify also as an entrepreneur–if you haven’t already. Whether you are up to creating a better marriage, family, life, community, organization, country, ecosystem, world, etc.–you are an entrepreneur. You are an entrepreneur, and the range of activities you engage in to bring about change are your BUSINESS. So, from a business perspective, how well are you succeeding in bringing about the positive change you seek?

Most of us, who self-identify as “world-changers,” have hobbies at best.

Volunteering some of our time, donating to causes we care about, signing petitions, writing our political leaders and voting on election day are mostly the failing busy-ness priorities of YESTERDAY’s “world-changers.” Those who want to bring about great positive change in today’s world, yet who are engaging in the largely impotent strategies of yesterday’s world-changers are becoming less and less relevant.

Those of us who want to bring about serious change in today’s world, will embrace entrepreneurship as not just a vehicle for great and lasting change, but as a paradigm to operate from. You want to own your power to change the world? Look around you at the world out there… your laptop computer screen, your blackberry, the coffee shop you’re sitting in, the buildings outside and the cars traveling down the street… where did they come from? The power of big government, big religion or big business? NO. They came from the new ideas and visions of individuals such as yourself–from entrepreneurs who owned their entrepreneurial power.

More and more so, the power to bring about change in today’s world is in the hands of the individual. More and more technology only means more and more freedom and power for YOU to change the world.

Political Force? Military Force? Measure these against the natural force of your own vision. Vision is the power of the creator, the one who creates what did not exist before. Own your power to change the world around you. Own your Vision Force. Claim the title of entrepreneur.

Stay at home mother of six? Starving artist? Student activist? Employee? OWN that your power to change the world lies in *your* systems for keeping your vision alive, for sharing it with others, for inspiring the world to stand with you, for marketing your ideas, for implementing your solutions, for creating the better world you envision!

Own that whatever your current methods of thinking, communicating, creating and resolving conflicts are–they are generating the results you see in your life and organizations now. The world around you is a result of your business.

That’s where VisionForce comes in.

Only to the extent that you fully own your current and potential freedom, power and responsibility to create a better world will you see cause to invest in next-level methods for manifesting the world you envision. If you’re ready to learn new methods for bringing about the world you envision, check out our Boot Camps for visionaries here.

It’s not training to follow someone else’s vision… just the opposite. Consider it Navy Seal training to follow your own vision to the ends of the earth, standing for a better world in the face of all the inner and outer obstacles that arise in such an “impossible” yet worthwhile journey!

News, Visionaries | No Comments | July 5th, 2007

Here is a CNN news story that speaks to the crises of widows in India, whose tradition shuns women of all ages once their husband dies, and a visionary widow named Dr. Mohini Giri, who is working for change.

An excerpt:

Bent over by osteoporosis, 85-year-old Promita Das meticulously and slowly sweeps the floor just outside her door and then carefully cleans her dishes. “I came here when I couldn’t work anymore. I used to clean houses,” she says. “Nobody looked after me, nobody loved me. I survived on my own.” She married at 12 and was widowed at 15. Seventy years later, she finds herself at Amar Bari. “I used to live in front of a temple, but then I came here,” she says. She carries with her not only the pain of a life without love, but also the loss of her only child. She gave birth at 14; her baby lived a year.

Another visionary woman, Deepa Mehta has taken a bold stand to draw attention to this issue with her incredibly inspiring movie, Water. Films such as this one are recommended preparation material for our 5-day VisionForce intensive, the iStand Experience (also, VisionForce Boot Camp). The world is in need of visionaries–people who can stand for a better world in a way that calls even their adversaries to stand with them. That’s why VisionForce exists.