Integrating a Transformative Experience

December 11, 2020
If you do much Art of Accomplishment work, chances are good that you will have a transformational experience. When you return to your life after a profound breakthrough, you may experience feelings of confusion, being lost, or even being unmoored from everything that once grounded you. That’s why integration is so important when doing this work.

Episode intro:

As you're moving forward, it isn't a straight line, so what you think to be moving backwards might just be the way humans learn. Kids go from walking to crawling. To be easy on yourself about your learning process and be appreciative of those moments that you are learning, this helps integration out more than anything else.

Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment, where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease.

My name is Brett Kistler.  I am an adventurer, entrepreneur and a self exploration enthusiast.  I am here with my co-host, Joe Hudson. Joe is a business coach who has  spent decades working with some of the world´s top executives and teams developing a unique model of human patterns that underpin how we operate with ourselves, each other and the world. A good entry point into this model is a mindset called VIEW, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder.  

Through understanding and cultivation we learn to easefully drop into the VIEW state of mind, deepening self awareness and increasing our connection with the world around us. To learn more about this podcast or courses, visit

Brett: If you do much of Joe's work, chances are good that you will have a transformational experience. You may suddenly recognize some pattern you have played out over and over again in your life and find the ability to step out of it. These types of experiences have changed lives, but we know the moment of epiphany is not the end of the story.

When you return to your life after a profound breakthrough, you may experience feelings of confusion, being lost or even being unmoored from everything that once grounded you. That's why integration is so important when doing this work. Joe, what is a transformative experience?

Joe: Yeah, that's a great question. The funny thing is, when I was listening to your introduction, you talked about an epiphany. It's really important to distinguish between epiphany and transformation.

With epiphany, epiphany is a recognition of a belief system that offers you relief. It is like you understand something. There's this click in your system, and there's this relief that occurs.

Transformation is distinct from that in the fact that transformation actually changes the way that you act. It changes how you do things. The epiphany, it's a really important part of some transformations, not all transformations. It's a really important part, but the thing to recognize about an epiphany is, it is dead almost as soon as it arrives. You have this epiphany, and you are unburdened from a thought, but pretty soon that epiphany can become your next burden.

Maybe in some part of the development, you're hanging out and you have this epiphany. I have will. I have free will. I can choose. That's a really important thing to get out of a victim mentality, or to see where you can be more empowered in your life. Then you're like choice, choice, choice. Then that becomes the next rut because, being completely in choice, which was very important, prevents you from seeing grace. It prevents you from seeing the fact that, maybe you’ve never really been able to control any thought you have had. They have all been gifts. Every emotional experience you have isn't something you can control. You can repress it or not, but you can't control it. Maybe you can't even decide to repress it or not. Maybe it's just instinctual.

Each one of these epiphanies is like the tender beginning of a rut, and I think it's really important to see that, because the important part is lifting away. The important part is the freedom from a constrictive thought by seeing through it. It's not to attach yourself to the epiphany. It's to recognize that moment of freedom that is created, and to step into that moment of freedom more and more often.

Transformation is a little bit different than that. Transformation is I now can't do things the same way. It's not will power. You can will yourself into some transformations potentially. It's not an effective way to do it, but you can do it. But it's especially transformation that gets especially confusing, when you can't choose the same way anymore. We have people in our work that all of a sudden, they go into a grocery store and they just can't buy the same things they have always bought. I know that seems weird, but it has happened more than once where people are all of a sudden more in tune with their system, where they just can't eat the same old crap they have been eating.

Those are the ones that are a little bit more scary. It's why transformation can be a pain in the ass sometimes, because there are some moments of feeling out of control because you don't have the experience you have relied on, that habit you have relied on for years. Sometimes it happens in the weirdest ways, so transformation is just the change of what you do. Intellectually, the change is what you get done and how it gets done, but emotionally it is changing your decisions, because you are allowing more fluidity of emotions. You want to feel more emotional things instead of repressing them.

Brett: That it's changing the emotional context within which all of your decisions are made.

Joe: That's right. Because neurologically speaking, you make decisions based on emotions, as what you are willing to feel and what you are willing not to feel, what you are excited to feel, what you are excited to feel, that you used to be horrified at feeling. That will really change a lot of the decisions you make.

Then there's another transformation that is created, not from the intellect or the emotion but from the sense of self. When that sense of self changes, those can be some of the biggest shifts that happen. It's an experience of deep freedom because usually when the sense of self transforms, it widens, it grows. It becomes less of a small thing, more of a big thing. So there's less to defend.

Brett: What's an example of that sense of self changing? What's a common example in  one of your courses that someone might experience?

Joe: What would be somewhat common is, let's say there's a feeling of an abyss, a place in their life or their psyche that they don't want to look, a person doesn't want to look. Every time they kind of glance over it, they are like, “I don't want to look there.” Then all of a sudden they see it for what it is, and they see it as a direct path to freedom. They jump into it. They are like, “Oh, that's actually where I want to go.” It's very much the allegory of the cave, or Luke Skywalker going into the cave where they are just like okay, I am going to go and face that thing.

Oftentimes when that happens, the sense of self collapses in on itself in some way, particularly because we define ourselves in contrast to other things. The sense of self becomes more universal. If you were to think about yourself in this moment and say, “What am I? But I can't think of it in terms of what I am not. Therefore, I am a soul, but what that means is you're not material.” Or, “I am my thoughts.”, but that means you're not your body. If you think of yourself not in terms of a not, everytime one of things you think you're not, goes away and you find out you are that, too, then the sense of self changes.

Oftentimes, people avoid these big abysses, and when they don't, when they go into them, that sense of self completely shifts. Then there are some really shifts of sense of self that can happen, and those are the most disorienting transformations.

Brett: What kinds of situations can trigger these breakthroughs?

Joe: Almost anything. Deep depression often transforms people. Times of transition, stress, where the sense of self or your ideas or your emotional frameworks are not working, and so they have to change. Stress can change things. Sometimes just the truth smacking you in the face. You just have that moment where you are like fuck, that is not working. You can also just change people's contexts, like take a wealthy high falutin person and stick them in a ghetto with no money. They are going to have transformation, or vice versa. There's going to be a switch.

Brett: A change in perspective.

Joe: The change in perspective. It also changes who you think you are, because so much of who you think you are is based on context and what people tell you you are. If all of a sudden you aren't around people who tell you you are that, it starts to shift. Also, emotional fluidity is a big part of how transition changes. To have big emotional experiences, neurologically speaking, it allows you to reprogram some of the behavioral learnings you have. Big emotional experiences can do that. All of those things can trigger breakthroughs and transformation.

Brett: What does transformation look like deep in the process? What different ways can it show up?

Joe: Literally, almost any way you can imagine. For instance, if we talk about the awakening sense in the Zen, Buddhist sense of awakening. Everybody says awakening, and it can mean so many different things. But we are talking about that moment when the sense of self dissolves into universal, where you see that you are everything and everything is you. That moment of awakening particularly is what I am talking about here.

For some people, they don't even notice it. It is such a gradual thing. It is like months after it happened, they look back and they are like oh, holy crap. For some people, people like Byron Katie or Eckhart Tolle, it is like they are in the deepest depression and the next day they have this utter freedom. For some people, it looks like Zen sickness where they have that epiphany. The Zen have a word for it called Zen sickness, where the sense of self shifts out of you, so you aren't you anymore. Everything is you. You feel depersonalized.

I was talking to a psychologist who was a mediator and had some awakening experiences. He was saying a good percentage of what people call depersonalization disorder is like a Zen sickness of awakening, where you get that feeling of not being just you, but you don't like it so you try to stop it. You are like, “Er!” That tension creates a tremendous amount of dis-ease in your system. If you go on to the depersonalization disorder websites, and you look at people talking about when it happened and how it happened. It is like exactly awakening experiences that you read in religious texts. It is unbelievable. I mean to the letter kind of stuff.

So it can happen every way. It can be like a dark night of the soul. It can feel like the bottom fell out from underneath you, like you have no place to stand anymore. It can feel like absolute bliss and love.

Brett: It sounds like transformation isn't always a good thing then.

Joe: For sure. Is it a good thing to get into shape? Yes, I would say. Are there going to be uncomfortable moments of getting into shape? Absolutely I would say. There's freedom on the other side of it. The question is, how much resistance and fear is there between the integration or how it looks. They are exactly correlated. If you get Zen sickness and you say, “Oh, okay, this is normal, this is Zen sickness, this passes, no big deal.”, you have a very different experience than if you are like, “What the hell is happening, how do I get it to stop?”

Brett: It is again putting it into context.

Joe: Yeah, exactly. There are moments that can be uncomfortable. Those moments can be seen through in an instant. I think a large part of my work when I work with people is, when they meet these states just to let them know it's common, to let them know I have seen it many, many times before. Almost that often can transform everything, because they just get scared. What they knew isn't available to them anymore.

The thing about integration is when it is integrated, you have complete availability to where you were before, and you have availability to a new thing. It increases your flexibility. It doesn't decrease it. If you want to go be angry, prejudiced, hateful or if you want to go be in the bad habit again, or the habit you felt was uncomfortable, you can. You have that choice. You can go back and eat the stuff. It's just going to hurt more.

Brett: So then let's talk about integration and how to support the smoothest integration from these experiences. What does integration mean to you? What makes it important?

Joe: I think it is the integral people who talk about it as transcend and integrate. I think about it on those terms a lot. There's a way in which if you go from walking to crawling, you don't lose your capacity to crawl. You just walk most of the time. It is like that. There's a new flexibility. There's a new way of doing things. That's what I think about when I think about integration.

It's that time of moving from the unknown of a new epiphany or a new skill set into the known. If you look at really early stage child development, there's a primary reaction, the tertiary reaction. It's basically a little kid, a baby, they have a hand, and they don't know that hand is part of them. The hand hits them, scratches them, and wacks them in the face, and the baby is surprised. What the hell is that thing? Then all of a sudden, they see that that hand is theirs, and they know it. But they don't particularly know how to control it. Then they learn how to control it.

These are the ways that we develop in everything. There's the original epiphany that happens, and it leaves us in this unknown, like what the hell is going on. Then the second stage is oh, I see it but I haven't completely mastered it. Then there's the mastery of it. This can take many years for some epiphanies and it can take minutes for other transformation, other experiences.

That's how I think of it, but there's almost always those three stages that go on. The integration is getting from that first moment of, “Aha, oh woah!”, to, “Oh this is normal.” The amazing thing is, oftentimes when it is normalized when you have mastered it, you forget it is there. The reason you forget it is there is because you've confused the skill with the feeling of euphoria or epiphany that you get when you first get the realization. Watching an infant for the first time, they walk and they are like, “Ah!” They get super excited. Then they are not excited when they are walking at three years old. It is just normal. They are hardly conscious that they are walking, but they don't confuse walking with the elation.

But as you get into other stages of development, you confuse the elation with the new perspective, because it's all happening internally. It's not physical. You can't measure it or see it outside of yourself.

Brett: What does it look like when this process is healthy? It sounds like that story with the baby is what healthy integration looks like. You have the epiphany. You see yourself in a way that you hadn't seen yourself before. You're not immediately sure what to do about this, but you start to find that your actions change, your words change and you start to develop this relationship with your fuller self. Eventually, it becomes second nature, and then you stumble into a new epiphany.

Joe: I would say the choices you can make in the integration that I think are really important and that help with that healthy integration, are things like not trying to find the answers. After a good integration, you have less answers, not new answers. It's not going from like this is the right answer to this is the right answer. It's going from I know less in a way, and I am more comfortable with it. There's more of a mystery out there. I am more comfortable with it.

At the same time, I know more of my own truth. I know more of my own self. There's a deeper knowing of self and truth, but less of a knowing of having solid answers to things. It's also choosing the sensitivity side instead of the less sensitive. Often, with transformation, we become sensitive to new things because we are not repressing stuff anymore. Embracing that new sensitivity and not trying to block that sensitivity.

Those are some of the choices that you can make. Also, to see, as you are moving forward, it isn't a straight line, so what you think to be moving backwards might just be the way humans learn. Kids go from walking to crawling. Be easy on yourself about your learning process and be appreciative of those moments you are learning, this helps integration out more than anything else, these things.

Brett: The first you draw a boundary of a particular kind or speak your truth in a particular way, it might be messy.

Joe: Most likely it will be messy. That's right.

Brett: It sounds like a lot of what you have just been describing is, as we transform and start to see ourselves more clearly, we let go of some of our deeply patterned behaviors so that they may just become a little bit more ambiguous. We don't assume to know what's going on in the world, and we have more space for curiosity, wonder and to see the subtlety in things. That leads to the not knowing what's going to happen.

Joe: So there's more flexibility in life. It's a less patterned response. I think if you are saying, if you know the integration is going well, if you want to look, it's not short term. You can't monitor every minute and say is this happening, but over weeks or months the question is, “Do I have more emotional fluidity? Do emotions move through my body more smoothly? Do I take things less personally? Am I more aware of physical sensations? Am I experiencing that world differently? Are patterns losing their grip?” And pendulation, going back and forth between the old behavior and the new behavior, these are the marks of integration happening.

Brett: Let's talk a little bit more about what can go wrong. You talked a little bit about the Zen sickness type thing. What else can happen?

Joe: Almost all of it, I wouldn't say all of it, but almost all of what can go wrong is resistance to what is. Oftentimes when transformation is happening, we have a deeper acceptance and love of ourselves. The next thing that needs to be loved, the next thing that's been rejected shows up to be loved. We don't see it as showing up to be loved. We see it as showing up and fucking with us. “Er, I was just in this bliss state and now there's anger!” instead of, “Ah, there's the anger.” It needs to be loved now, too. It needs to be integrated now, too.

When we start resisting the movement or start fearing the movement in particular, that's when things can go really sideways. I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to have emotions this often. I don't want to be this sensitive. I don't want to see the world in a non personal way. Instead of saying, “Ah, this is it and this is the natural flow of things. It must be, because I am experiencing it and being settled with it.” That lack of resistance is what makes everything go very smoothly.

Usually most of the stuff that goes wrong is really just people in fear of the transformation that's happening, that particular stage of transformation that's happening. When I work with people, as soon as they find out it's normal and they see I am not bothered by it. It kind of feels like you are walking, but it is not entirely you walking. That could be an experience. Your visual field changed. Oh yeah, you go to the grocery store. That's happened before. Then they can get curious about it, and everything shifts.

Some exceptions to this are things like some Kundalini energy awakening stuff, it's definitely impacted by how much you allow it but you can push transformation through your energetic channels. I don't really speak about this very much. I think the idea of energy is misinterpreted by a lot of people. I think as soon as you say it, anybody who defines themselves as rational can say energy, rah rah. There's no such thing, or whatever they want to do.

Brett: I think one way to bridge that for anybody listening to this and looking for a rational bridge to this stuff would be to think of it as nervous system activity. There are a lot of different ways you can produce a lot of different nervous system type responses, that can be described metaphorically with energy.

Joe: That's exactly right. Somebody who I learnt a lot from around it called them close cousins. They are almost identical, hard to see the difference between the nervous system and the energetic system. I absolutely agree. That's the best way to think about it.

I think the other way to think about it that can be very helpful is bodily sensations, non muscular bodily sensations. That's another way to think about it. Anyways, those things can shift in such a way that maybe they keep you up all night or you are excited too much or something can go out of whack there. That's far more of a physical thing that's happening. It can be really exaggerated by certain breath work or certain yoga practices. If that's happening, and you've confused that Kundalini thing is going to set you free, then I really suggest going to see a professional, a really good acupuncturist or somebody like that that can rebalance that energetic system or nervous system.

Then the other thing that can happen is, people can go into traumas and relive a deep trauma and not be held in a deeply loving container for enough time for them to integrate that trauma, and see that they are not living anymore. It was something that was in the past, and so that's another place where it can go wrong. Somebody goes into a trauma, and it's like they can't be held in love. They can't be held in unconditional acceptance. Therefore, it gets stuck again. It will move, but it's just not the skillful way to move through it, and it's definitely not the most gentle way to move through it or the most efficient.

Those are some of the places where it can go wrong, where one person who is not very skilled at holding trauma. They have just processed their own and they decide they really know about trauma, and somebody moves some trauma because they know some of the exercises or things that can move that trauma, but they don't know actually how to hold it. That's another place where it can go wrong. I really recommend if you are moving trauma to move it with somebody who has some experience in that place, to really dive into those places.

Brett: Along those lines, I am curious about a pattern I've seen before in this type of work, and this happens in all kinds of student teacher relationships, where there is a mentor in the role of transmitting the wisdom of some practice or facilitating a trauma release of some kind. The student walks away from an experience feeling transformed, but also increasingly feeling dependent on their teacher or some other projected gatekeeper of wisdom. What do you have to say about that?

Joe: In general, avoid teachers who do that is what I would say, but it can get a little confusing there too. The kind of teacher I would recommend is a teacher who is constantly pointing you back to your own truth, who is teaching you the skills you need to be independent, to be more successful and more self aware, more skillful in your means so to speak. The way to get there most efficiently is to really teach you how to listen to yourself and follow your own truth and encourage you to not take their word as solid gold or even wisdom, but to take their words and experiment with it and find out what's working for you.

That's the relationship. The relationship is where the teacher doesn't see themselves as better than, worse than or equal to you, but they see what can best be described as you. That's the best relationship, the most effective relationship. Maybe you need something else, and maybe you need to explore the depth of a dysfunctional teaching relationship or one where you decide somebody else knows better for you than you do. But it's definitely not anything I would recommend.

If you are doing that, go into it consciously. The confusion is that if I was teaching you physics, you wouldn't assume that you understand physics after I taught you two workshops. Okay, we spent four hours together learning physics, and you are like okay, I got it. There are things the teacher should know, because they have more experience in the work that you might not know. You might not have spent the time on the landscape. You might not have been in the terrain as long. The teacher should hold some value, but it shouldn't look like dependency. It should constantly look like it is increasing your capacity as a person.

For the most part, pretty consistently, there might be some strays, some backwaters you get caught in, but sometimes you have students who are just like okay, now I have spent 16 hours with you. I am ready to teach. They always find out the hard way teaching isn't as sexy as they think it is.

Brett: There's the contrast between the pre transformation self and the post transformation self, where all of a sudden you feel like you see the world so clearly, and there's a part of you that immediately comes in. The ego comes in. Now I see the world completely. I'm ready.

Joe: That's where the idea of a tradition holds power. I mean it holds some things back, and it gives really good things. Since we are talking about Zen today, let's talk about it. Somebody has a big awakening in Zen, and a master will smack them on the back of the back with a cane. It really hurts. They are like who felt that then, where they are basically challenging that part of you that thinks now, “I get it!” The part of you thinks that there's a finish line and it's not a constant evolution and there's some place where transformation stops.

That's one of the really beautiful things about a tradition. There are other things that limit you in a tradition as well. You start thinking that the tradition is truth or the writings are truth or the teacher is truth, instead of what's happening internally being the truth.

Brett: I think something that happens that contributes to the starry eyed teacher worship thing is having a transformative experience where what you have described is, you have been de-patterned a little bit. You feel like there's sort of 404 like you have described. You are sort of sitting in the unknown. I think that can lead to a fear of being in that unknown and a desire to collapse that unknown down onto something, like a teacher or some particular belief that gives us that sense of knowing again.

Joe: Absolutely. We are constantly trying to find some way that we feel like we are in control. I know this is real. The truth is it's just the opposite. The more you go, the more you realize it's not real. At the same time, interestingly, almost paradoxically, you are far more grounded. It's far less likely you are going to be swayed from your love, your freedom and your truth.

Brett: I think this speaks to the importance of community. The courses of yours I have taken, it has been really, really helpful to have other people who have been through the same experience and be able to cross reference with them how they are doing with their lives and not just be dropped back into my previous life and having a hard time contextualizing.

Joe: Community is far more important than the teacher, I would say. They really help each other out hopefully. There's so much more wisdom to be gotten from a community of practice with a similar intention than there is from a teacher. If I am teaching someone how to access their anger, my capacity to do that is not as good as the person who just learnt or at least they have some capacity that I do not have, someone who has just learnt to release their anger in a safe way. It's like it's electric.

A community can do that, because there are people at different stages learning different things. They can teach each other. We see this in learning math with 3rd graders. That community is incredibly important. I think that's really important. It's also really important because there's a relatableness that people going through the journey together can have, and so less fear can interrupt the transformation and maintain the pattern. I think that's another reason that community is just so critical, and to allow yourself to be a part of that community and be vulnerable in that community is tremendous.

The weakness of a community is a whole community can decide the teacher is special.

Brett: And the teacher can buy into that, and the whole system locks into something. It becomes a cult.

Joe: That agreement between a community and a teacher, facilitator or leader. There's something natural in us that wants sex. There's something natural in us that wants somebody to know what the hell is going on, to have the answer, to know which way to go so that we can feel safe. It's why when we do longer term courses, one of the things we learn is that that wisdom is best found in the community. It's found in group intelligence, which is really tricky to access. You need a lot of skills to get there, but I mean that's the far deeper wisdom.

I teach that, because I like to access that wisdom. I can sit here and talk. I can play the role of the person who knows something, but one of the places I get the most insight, I learn the most is to watch a community access it's deeper intelligence. I love that. I love working that way in business. I love working that way with people. It's where I learn and grow the most and I find everybody learns and grows the most.

Brett: For people who are coming out of courses and going back into their world and trying to create or be a part of a community or be doing this work with the people in their lives, I have experienced it can be really difficult to present the work. How do we present what we are doing to people in our lives? I just did this course. It was really great. It was transformational for me. What is the best way to describe this to people?

Joe: Don't. I would say don't try to describe it to people. Describe your experience to people. Don't describe the work, meaning just show up with more unconditional love for the people around you. Show up with more self awareness. Show up with less patterned responses. Show up in a way that inspires them to join you and meet you. But I don't recommend missionary work or using the tools on people who are not in agreement to do it. It's a form of like better than-ness. You have to think you have just discovered something.

There's a very natural part of it where you just discovered something that gave you freedom and you want to share it with everybody. If you can even own that, like, “Okay, I just experienced something I really want to share, because it is giving me so much happiness, and I realize that I do not want to push anything on you. How do you want to deal with that?” I think that's a beautiful thing to say to somebody and see where they are with it, but to do it without permission, to do it without consciousness, just don't. Just be in your new world. Enjoy it. Enjoy them just as they are. That's what I suggest.

Brett: What would be a good line to draw between the tools that are meant to be brought into the world, having a VIEW conversation and questions, and some of the tools that are perhaps not ready to be brought to people who haven't been exposed to the work, projection reclamation or something like that?

Joe: If you are asking them to do anything, then don't do it. In VIEW, you don't have to ask them to do anything or be any way. You just ask questions and speak from a vulnerable, impartial, empathetic and a space of wonder. You are not requiring anything from them, but as soon as you are asking them to do something or you are telling them about their experience or you are trying to cajole them into a new way of being or trying to have power over them or feel in control or not feel the helplessness that you have being their friend. Anything like that, then don't do that.

Brett: It sounds like that comes straight back to being in VIEW, not being partial, not trying to change them.

Joe: That's exactly it.

Brett: Do you have any more tips for those of us who have just come from a course and are ready to present our new, transformed selves to the world and to the other people in our lives?

Joe: I think the main thing there is, there is natural pressure from society or a group or a marriage to have you be who you were. It's hard for people to see the new you. It's hard for you to see the new version of a person across from you. There are behaviors that you have agreed upon. You have an agreement. “I am going to save you. You are going to be a victim. You are going to bully me. I get to be resentful.” No matter how healthy or unhealthy those agreements are, there's a pressure to stay in those relationships.

I think about the 3 to 5 rule in this, which is when you have a new behavior, you are drawing a new boundary, you should expect that the person is going to treat you like your old self 3 to 5 times. Each time they are going to up the ante on the behavior. Let's say you have got a husband who is a yeller, and you are like, “Okay, I don't want to be with your yelling, but I really want to be with you. When you are yelling, I am going to leave the house and I will come back in 30 minutes. If we can talk, great, and if we can't, I will leave the house again for 30 minutes.” It's going to take 3 to 5 times of doing that before the husband gets it and is like, “Okay. I got it.” Yelling doesn't work anymore.

Most likely, they are going to use a whole bunch of other tricks to keep you in. They are going to up the ante 3 to 5 times, and then the behavior falls apart. So that's the expectation. I am really grateful that it's built this way and that humanity tends to act in this way, because it really forces us to learn to keep that boundary. It forces us to really learn what's necessary to change this behavior even under stressful circumstances.

It's actually quite a gift, but it's good to keep it in mind that you are not going to go back into your world and everybody is going to be like, “Oh, hey, he's different. Now I am going to treat him like the new person he is.”

Brett: There will be resistance, and it's an opportunity to double down on doing the world.

Joe: That's exactly it. Well said. I think the other thing to know is, some people are going to go away. If you transform, some people are going to be like, “I don't like the new agreement.” That only happens I find, like 70% to 80% of the time people stay and 20 to 30 people leave. Everybody is very scared of it. Whenever somebody transforms, one of the ways they try to revert is to go, “I am going to lose so and so.” They are scared of the result, but it doesn't happen as frequently as you would think. Only 20 or 30% of the time, and it's basically like, “Hey, this is the way I want to live and this isn't the way I want to live.”

If you can see it that way, it's really beautiful. It's not personal. It's just choices people are making. It's great to see it that way, because it can just be really transparent that way, too. It's like, “I have decided I want to live in a world where we show up and love, instead of showing up in shame with each other. Do you want to join me? Do you want to support each other in that transformation?” The more transparent that articulation of your vision is, then the easier it is for people to meet you. The less likely it is that they are going to decide to leave. Some people are going to leave. Some people are just not going to want to inhabit the world you want to create for yourself, but it's nothing to fear, because better people show up. Not better, but people who want to live in those agreements, they always show up.

Brett: Those who stay are getting a more self aware version of you.

Joe: That's right, and not only do they show up, you also start inviting people in who are also transforming. That propels your own transformation. It really works out well. Oftentimes, those people can't show up if the space is filled by someone who is abusive or doesn't have the same agreements.

Brett: We touched on this a little bit earlier. You often highlight the importance of staying in the not knowing after a breakthrough or seeing through some habitual way of perceiving things, but integration necessarily seems to involve some kind of collapse of the unknowing state into some new identity, which becomes a new rut. How do we stay the most in that unknowing without collapsing it but still staying grounded in our lives?

Joe: That's a great question. I think it's not about trying to stay in the not knowing. It's more about not trying to get into the knowing, I think. Some big thing happens, and your mind is like, “Let me figure that out. I've got to figure that out.” Your mind always figures it out. I guarantee it. If your mind at this moment hasn't figured it out, I guarantee it will. Have a little patience with it. It might take a couple months.

I was talking about those three stages of development as far as the baby's hand, not knowing it is the hand hitting and scratching its face, and then there's I know it's my hand and then there's the I can control my hand. Those three stages are really important. If you cut any of them short, the full integration doesn't happen. Babies need to crawl for a while for them to get solid left right brain cohesion. It's just a really important thing to allow the not knowing to be there as long as it wants to be there, meaning not forcing it.

Then the knowing shows up, like oh, I get it. It's not figured out. It's like I get it, and then all of a sudden you can articulate it. That process is the smoothest, and it creates the deepest integration. If you strive to put words on it and strive to understand it, then you are limiting it. You are containing it in a way that doesn't allow it to fully transform you.

Brett: Thanks a lot, Joe. This has been a great episode. Thanks for talking to us about integration.

Joe: Pleasure, good to talk to you as always, Brett. Love you, man.

Brett: Take care.

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