The Wonder Dome

#37 Imagining New Ways to Live Together (with Chris Herndon)

December 22, 2020 Andy Cahill / Chris Herndon Episode 37
The Wonder Dome
#37 Imagining New Ways to Live Together (with Chris Herndon)
Chapters
The Wonder Dome
#37 Imagining New Ways to Live Together (with Chris Herndon)
Dec 22, 2020 Episode 37
Andy Cahill / Chris Herndon

My first guest to kick off 2021 is Chris Herndon, founder of Growth Mindset Coach and director of coaching for Lucidly, a company working to democratize coaching for all. But as you’ll quickly hear in this conversation, Chris is someone who lives outside labels. And he invites his clients, his peers, and his community members to step outside those labels with him to create new, more expansive and inclusive ways of living together in this world of ours.

This conversation dives deep into what it is to live in community with other people, to truly be with one another in a way that turns all of life into a journey of discovery, growth, service, impact, and commitment. This is about making sense of all the ways in which our society asks us to hide who we really are, and moving towards a newer society that invites us to be who we're meant to be. One that invites us to activate every part of ourselves.

Chris is an enthusiastic, intelligent, deeply thoughtful, and heartfelt human being. And I have no doubt that over the next hour you're going feel that energy from him. We're already kind of cooking on how we might have at least one more conversation on this topic. So if at the end of this conversation you want even more, keep your eyes and your ears peeled. We'll be sure to let you know :-)

The Wonder Dome Newsletter http://bit.ly/3dTfdPi
Follow Andy on Twitter http://twitter.com/cahillaguerilla
Like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/mindfulcreative.coach

EPISODE #37 NOTES
growthmindsetcoach.co
lucidly.org
Shadow work
cassandraferrera.net
Intentional communities
Ecstatic dance

facebook.com/cherndon85
linkedin.com/in/chrisherndongrowthmindsetcoach

Show Notes Transcript

My first guest to kick off 2021 is Chris Herndon, founder of Growth Mindset Coach and director of coaching for Lucidly, a company working to democratize coaching for all. But as you’ll quickly hear in this conversation, Chris is someone who lives outside labels. And he invites his clients, his peers, and his community members to step outside those labels with him to create new, more expansive and inclusive ways of living together in this world of ours.

This conversation dives deep into what it is to live in community with other people, to truly be with one another in a way that turns all of life into a journey of discovery, growth, service, impact, and commitment. This is about making sense of all the ways in which our society asks us to hide who we really are, and moving towards a newer society that invites us to be who we're meant to be. One that invites us to activate every part of ourselves.

Chris is an enthusiastic, intelligent, deeply thoughtful, and heartfelt human being. And I have no doubt that over the next hour you're going feel that energy from him. We're already kind of cooking on how we might have at least one more conversation on this topic. So if at the end of this conversation you want even more, keep your eyes and your ears peeled. We'll be sure to let you know :-)

The Wonder Dome Newsletter http://bit.ly/3dTfdPi
Follow Andy on Twitter http://twitter.com/cahillaguerilla
Like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/mindfulcreative.coach

EPISODE #37 NOTES
growthmindsetcoach.co
lucidly.org
Shadow work
cassandraferrera.net
Intentional communities
Ecstatic dance

facebook.com/cherndon85
linkedin.com/in/chrisherndongrowthmindsetcoach

Andy:

My name is Andy. I help people live life on purpose. This podcast explores the mystery, beauty and complexity of life through conversations with an array of incredible practitioners, all of them working at the edge of what's possible. This is a place for big dreams, bold creativity, and fierce hope. Welcome to the Wonder Dome. If you're inspired by this conversation, and you'd like to see it reach more people, you can help the Wonder Dome take flight by sharing it with friends and colleagues, subscribing, giving us a high star rating, and best of all, leaving a glowing review. If you'd like to go even further, consider becoming a monthly supporter. You'll help me keep the lights on and support a wide range of charitable causes. You can learn more at MindfulCreative.coach. Thanks in advance for helping us inspire the world. My guest today is Chris Herndon. Chris is the founder of Growth Mindset Coach and the director of coaching for a company called Lucidly, which is working to democratize coaching for all. So that's the headline. That's Chris's job title or his job titles. But as you quickly hear in this conversation, Chris is someone who lives outside labels and invites his clients, and his peers, and his community members, which is where we spend the bulk of our conversation, to step outside those labels themselves, or perhaps maybe, to create new, more expansive, more inclusive, and more accurate labels about who we are, and what's really real in life, and what really matters in life. So Chris and I got connected through our mutual coach, Richard Eaton. And Dick knew what he was up to when he said that the two of us should talk. This conversation dives deep into what it is to live in community with other people, to truly be with other people in a way that turns all of life into a journey of discovery, growth, service, impact, and commitment. This is about making sense of all the ways in which our society represses, or asks us to hide who we really are, and moving towards a newer society, even if only on the micro level, that invites us to be who we're meant to be. That invites us to activate every part of ourselves. Chris is an enthusiastic, energetic, intelligent, deeply thoughtful, and heartfelt human being. And I have no doubt that over the next hour you're going to get a lot of that from him. We're already kind of cooking on how we might have at least one more conversation on this topic. So if at the end of this conversation you want even more, keep your eyes and your ears peeled. We'll let you know. This is something that he and I both care a lot about. So let's get settled in and hear what Chris has for us. Chris, welcome to the Wonder Dome.

Chris:

Thanks, brother, man.

Andy:

Yeah, it's great to have you here. So I have to give, I have to give love to our mutual friend and mentor Richard Eaton who brought us together. I've been working with Rich now for I guess about six months. And he's just an amazing coach and an amazing guy. And when I shared with him some of the things I was excited about in the world, he immediately said you got to talk to Chris. So it took us a little while to make that happen. But we had a chance to meet about two weeks ago, just had an awesome conversation. I knew from the moment we started talking. I was like I got to bring Chris on the Wonder dome. So I'm super pumped that you said yes.

Chris:

It's funny how connections get made.

Andy:

I know. I know. It really is. It really is. As you say that, it makes me think of a past version of myself who- How can I put this? It was sort of like because I was in the wrong, quote unquote, the wrong place or the wrong job. My survival strategy was without consciously realizing it actually to kind of build up walls around myself so that I could kind of just get through it in a way. But what I only realized in retrospect, is an inadvertent result of that kind of armor that I was building up to survive, think I was cutting myself from these spontaneous connections. And there's a way in which like, you know, we might have connected in and, you know, Dick might have said, Hey, talk to Chris, and we might talk and just not really felt a chemistry, you know. Alright, well, you know, so be it. But on the flip side, if I had been too armored up to listen to Dick's advice, then we wouldn't have connected. So there's sort of some, there's something about, I guess, as you say, as you speak about connections that comes alive for me. This way in which we have to be open to the connection for it to really happen, we have to be willing to take a risk, that it won't be amazing, that it won't be the person, you know. It's sort of like there's just something about leaning into the unknown a bit that is part of that, that magic, and I wonder if that sparks anything in you.

Chris:

It does. Actually, it did spark something in me, and because like, if we're, if we're doing something that like, we're excited about, and we're passionate about, right. And we're sharing that with people, we're sharing our visions with other people. Like, they get excited, right, just from that energy, and then like, they come alive, and it's like, it's like this fun dance that happens. And then all of a sudden, you might spark something in them. And they're like, Oh, you should meet so and so. And that energy, like, connects to that person. And so it's like, I don't know, I just. It's happened on my journey, where I'm just sharing what I'm excited about what I'm working on, and someone's like, you should talk to so and so. You should meet this person. Oh, this person could maybe help you out with this thing. So that energy is contagious. And it ripples out. It ripples out.

Andy:

Yeah. Yeah, what I hear you, what I'm hearing in what you're saying is like the sort of the energy, whatever enthusiasm, or excitement, or clarity you're bringing to what excites you, that allows other people to see you and see possibilities in ways that they otherwise wouldn't if you two hadn't connected. So it's not only the connection, but it's like, how you show up in the connection, which what I hear is, like an excitement and vision. And I might also add, at least for me, one thing I've sort of, I've seen really powerful is excitement and vision, and then also kind of I don't know what the right word is, like to be of service or to be kind of non attached to needing anything from them. But just being kind of generous. Like there's a sort of generous, being generous with your energy is maybe the thing. And like that, then that sparks a creative way of seeing or a expanded vision in them that then opens up all sorts of other doors that would have been invisible or hidden, had you not had that conversation, right?

Chris:

The word the word that comes up for me there is, there's an authenticity. There's a genuineness that comes through. It's not like oh yeah, who do you know that I can, you know, that I can talk to? It's like, you're just sharing what you're, you know, what you're working on, what you're passionate about, what you feel, what's coming alive, what wants to work through you, and this things happen. Well, when you're like, following that thread and sharing that thread, pretty cool things happen.

Andy:

Yeah. Yeah. And, and the authenticity then also allows you to authentically listen to what's coming through them, or what's alive for them. And so there's this sort of wonderful mutuality, which I totally experienced in our last conversation, and I hope we can maybe dive deeper into today. And, I think it really connects to what I sense you're trying to do in the world, writ large, like with your coaching work, with your entrepreneurial work, with your work in community, and kind of developing community that it seems to me there's a way in which actually, you are making a stand for that mutuality, a stand for that sharing of energy across larger and larger groups of people. Is that right?

Chris:

100% Nailed it.

Andy:

So the thing that brought us together, the reason that Dick said, Oh, you know, Andy, you got to reach out to Chris and vice versa, was we both kind of have stumbled or maybe not stumbled, but sort of followed these trails to a place where, like- I think more and more people in general, but perhaps in a more focused way than most people, we've entered into this space of thinking about what it means to build places for people to live and learn and share their lives together. Right, and there's words like cohousing that have been around for a while, and intentional communities that have been around for a while. So it's like, it's not like we made this stuff up, but there's sort of just this for at least- I'll speak for myself, I feel like I'm meeting that body of work with a receptivity and creativity that had you talked to me about it even two years ago or five years ago, like it just wouldn't have sparked me the way it sparking me now. And what I get from you is like, you're thinking a lot about like, how do we make this work? You've lived in community before. How do you make it sustainable? How do you, how do you make it accessible? Like what does it mean to actually build, develop and build a community where people live, learn and share their lives together? And I want to just hear you like riff on that as a place for us to start.

Chris:

Yeah. It's interesting, I was just, I was just listening to a podcast. I went back up to the Bay Area to visit my old community, and pick up some things and have some solo time to reflect. Community is a really interesting thing. Like, what does it actually mean? You know, and I think I'm exploring what that actually means. Because there's like, there's like virtual community, there's like church communities, there's our work community. Like really like what like, what is it? I don't know. It's like I'm exploring this myself. Like, is, are those really communities? And can we- Are we really able to let our hair down and like, truly be seen and to see others? Do we even know how to do that? Do we even know how to be with people, when their best friend passed away? Do we know how to be with people when they're experiencing some transition, and like, they're feeling anxious and afraid, but also excited? Right, do we know? Like, do we know how to be with people? And the being a part of community feels different than like, let's do community. I think both are really important, right? And it can look a lot of different ways. But I think for me, man, I'm excited about creating something that's real. Like truly, like truly, truly real, and I'm even still working with like, what is that for me? And so I'm going down this path, and with a core group of people right now that I've met in different areas of my life and met through, you know, the co-living movement, the co-living experience up in Oakland. Yeah. And it's a lot to go down the path of like, creating land based, intentional community. It's a labyrinth. And I know that we've talked a little bit about that. But it seems like a worthy thing to do.

Andy:

Yeah. Man, that evokes so much for me. I want to make sure we go to this question of what's really real, but I want to maybe underline something. Let me see if I can get my my words around it. Like the world that we live in today, which for most of us, most of the time doesn't involve the kind of intentional designed, co living communities, or even that level of realness that you're kind of trying to articulate, is in it itself a labyrinth. Like the first, the first tribe that decided to stop being nomadic and put down roots because they realized they could grow food season after season. There's no way they could have seen who their great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great descendants would like look at what they created for us, right? There's a sort of way in which wherever we are in this complex civilization, it's a labyrinth that got us here. And so when you sort of acknowledge, like, well getting, quote, unquote, out of the labyrinth, which of course is maybe not the right way to frame it, but perhaps to get it actually maybe to get deeper in to the labyrinth, to get closer to the best of what those tribes people had 10,000 years ago, and also learn from and build on and solve for some of the sacrifices they had to make, going from nomadic to stationary. Like how can we, how can we weave those together even more deeply? And maybe Actually, that's part of the question of what does it mean to get to that level of realness. Because it's both doing. It's a structural. It's like, how do we cultivate land? How do we build buildings? How do we have laws, or policies. or whatever the heck you want to call them that, that increase the odds of that realness. But then also, how do we as individuals, just show up differently? Yeah, so I don't know about you. But even in a place like church, which is supposedly, you know, is arguably, the closest a lot of people get to that kind of sacredness, or that kind of exploration of mystery. My experience is that a lot of people still stay pretty far away from those questions you asked about how do you really help someone? How do you really be with someone when they've lost someone they love or when they're going through a big transition? So I just yeah, I'm riffing here. But I want to hear what comes through for you as I share that possibility, that maybe we need to go deeper into this labyrinth and just embrace that as part of our work.

Chris:

Yeah. Oh, I got goosebumps right now. So, this is what was coming up right now. So there's- we live in a society that essentially trains us on how to be. And it's not necessarily bad or wrong. It's not necessarily right or good. It's just what happened. It's like we grew up here, I didn't really have a choice. Like, I'm just here, this is I go to school, get good grades, you know, you go to college, you get a good job, you find a spouse, you have kid, like you're going down this sort of path. And what I found, I guess, in my journey is that a lot of people don't question it. Question it at all. But it's like, Okay, this is what I do. Like, that's totally okay. Like, if they want to do that, that is great. I've always been questioning, why do we do it that way? Is this like, the end all, be all? Is this like, as good as it gets? And I want to like, essentially, my own journey of self discovery and learning what matters to me. And how do I want to live life? Like if I- okay, for a second, like, put aside what society wants for me. And like, think about what is it that I really want? Maybe it's some of those things that society says I should do. But maybe it's something completely different. And I sort of, that's been my guide in life is like, going towards what feels true for me, even though I don't know. This is where it's like, I don't know where this path goes. Like, I actually don't know. And I'm learning as I go, I'm like, yeah, community. Intentional community, that feels good. Like, who I become in that process and what I remember about myself, what I remember about maybe how our ancestors used to live, like, I don't know that I'm going to learn that going the traditional sort of path. But the path that I'm going down now, like it feels, it feels worthwhile. It feels more sustainable, it feels more grounded in who I am and I keep learning. And like I want that for other people too. My hope is always like, and this is like part of my work when people are like, this seems fishy. Like they're raising their hand going, why am I doing what I'm doing? Right? Can't really give themselves a deep answer. And then they start to question. And then they're like, Oh, my gosh, like, I've been doing this thing and start to reorient to who they are. And like, okay, I want to go in this direction now. But I don't even know where that goes. Right. That's like scary. that can feel scary. And like, because I've been there, I know what it feels like. And also it's enlivening. And I want to, I want to live with those people. I want to go, what do we want to create now? Like, what? Like, what's possible? Yeah, that's what I get excited about.

Andy:

I can feel that. I feel some excitement too when you said like, those are the people I want to live with. What can we create, now what's possible. That's, and maybe even some of the excitement I'm feeling is this recognition that there are more of us. It's almost like our society, whether intentionally or not, and I think in some ways, it's intentional and other ways I think it's accidental. It seems perfectly built to help us forget. You talked about remembering yourself and remembering where we came from. It seems like our society is great at helping us forget those things. But there's this possibility of as you start to remember who you are- And I want to hear more about what that's been like for you- Other people are totally capable of that, too. Like the only distinction between the people I want to quote unquote, live with and the people I don't is people who have woken up to the fact that they are more than what society has said they can be. And just that waking up to that possibility, is something that I really truly believe all of us have access to. And that doesn't mean you have to then burn the whole thing now. And some people that response is like, Alright, burn it all down. It's like, well, maybe. Maybe a lot of it needs to burn. But actually, maybe there's another path. And it seems to me like you're walking that. You're sort of saying it's in that direction. And I can tell because I'm enlivened by it, and maybe a little scared, too. But that's my clue. Is that right?

Chris:

Yeah. I think there was a point where I was like, we need to burn this down.

Andy:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yes.

Chris:

I feel like if you're on that, you know, if you're on that path, and kind of waking up to that realization, like, there might be some of that, but now it feels more like an untangling. Keeping what like works and what makes sense. And like, the beauty of the world, the society that we live in, and like what it's taught me, and also like, you just having discernment and going, Okay, that doesn't work for me. What are other ways of being? What are other ways of doing?

Andy:

Mm Hmm.

Chris:

Yeah.

Andy:

You said earlier, as you were sharing, like what enlivens you, you said that work or experiences that help you remember yourself, or that help you remember who your ancestors were and how they lived. And that just really, that really sparked something in me. I'm wondering if you could talk more about that idea what it means to remember yourself.

Chris:

Yeah. Well, the thought that's coming to me right now is- I think you can learn more from people. And I'll speak from my experience, like I learned more living in community about who I am, like my values than I did when I was just my partner and I living in our apartment. There was like, all of a sudden, you're living with people. And they're reflecting back to you all the time. Like, oh, yeah, like, they do this thing where it triggers me. Right? And I feel like, Oh, it's not really them. I'm like, what's going on with me? Where I'm feeling triggered? Like, what value has been compromised? Or is it an opportunity for me to like grow, to heal myself to learn, yeah to learn more about myself? I mean, knowing and then also going down the path of community, like, having lived with people, like the idea of, you know, getting a house living by myself or with my partner, and it's just us like, it just doesn't. I just don't see that being the way anymore.

Andy:

Mm hmm.

Chris:

Like, I don't I don't see going back. I see deeper into community.

Andy:

Hmm. Yeah. I was struck recently, in another conversation around the idea that we use the word remember in the context of memory, like memory. So we sort of zoom in on the like memory as the root word. But if you think about the word dismember, which is to take apart, forgetting is sort of an act of dismemberment in the way our study asks us to forget. And what I hear you talking about is actually like an act, you just kind of becoming whole or healing. It's like an act of literally re-membering ourselves, an act of really noticing what we already have, that maybe has been hidden, but also noticing the ways in which we've forgotten, dismembered, or left behind parts that really matter, and that we want to bring forward into that community.

Chris:

Absolutely.

Andy:

It's a way like the community then becomes sort of a prism that helps us see ourselves from many more angles, and therefore helps us remember ourselves from any more angles and is possible. And the sort of, quote unquote, traditional nuclear family, which of course is a tradition of like, you know, the past, whatever, 50 years or something like that, right. Like two people by themselves. And then maybe they have a kid or two or two and a half, and like that's it, that's the unit. And you're saying, No, there's a different unit here that I want to I want to explore more. Is that right?

Chris:

Yeah. Yeah. And it's not even that the nuclear family is bad. Like, totally do that, like, do it. Right. It's just, it's a different path, living in like intentional community with people. And I like the idea of that prism. That like that it's just reflecting and mirroring back for everybody. And I would say like, it's not. It's not for the faint of heart, right like and, like, you're going to learn a lot, or you're going to resist that learning. And remember, you're either going to remember a lot, or you're going to resist remembering. And it's oftentimes we want to stay safe, because it's comfortable. And so we resist, we avoid, we ignore, or we numb, we do all the things to sort of avoid becoming who we're meant to become. And that that, to me in community is the fast track to remembering like, and I love this idea that you mentioned around wholeness, like that- I do shadow work with people and shadow is like, all the things that we think that we're not. So the most recent thing for me is I moved from the Bay temporarily down here to Southern California and feeling like fear and anxiety. And I'm like, this is not normal for me. This is not normal, like this is, I'm the person that has their shit together. Like I, you know, like, I don't feel fear, like, I usually go right into it. And it's not something that's overwhelming. And all of a sudden, here I am, like, work myself into a panic attack, like to that degree. Wow, yeah. Like, what is this, this isn't me. And so essentially, what I've done is I've repressed this part of myself. Yeah. And so when we do that, in some way, shape, or form, it's going to rear its, it's going to rear its head. Because it wants you to be whole at once you to experience the whole human experience. Like, if, if I only want to be happy and joyful, and that's it, like there's a lot that's going to rear its head at some point or another. And, to me, like, one of the reasons why we're here is to experience like, the whole breadth of what it means to be human. And now I'm so grateful that like, I gotta remember that I have that part of me that's afraid. That worries about things. Because especially in my in my work, and I know, you know, this, like this is a normal thing. This is a normal thing that people experience. There's nothing wrong with it. Some people experience anxiety every day. And I was like, I'm experiencing this just for a short period of time. Like, I can't even imagine. And I gotta have an understanding. And so I feel more, I feel more whole, essentially.

Andy:

Hmm. That's beautiful, man. Thank you. Yeah, I'm struck by the way you describing our, willingness to say yes to all of it, as best we can, within whatever life is offering us at the moment that we're in. And I noticed, even as I say it out loud, how almost sort of Cavalier that sounds. Like I really honor, that probably was deeply discomforting and painful and challenging to do for yourself, what you try and do for your clients, for instance. To actually really meet the fullness of this part of you, that was showing anxiety and fear. Like it's not easy. And to your point for people who live with that every day. It's not easy times, however much that is, exponentially not easy. And as much as we're able to be with the fuller range. It seems to me that a lot of the resistance you were talking about earlier, the question of like, what, what am I doing here? What's life about? That some people are waking up to, like answering that question for yourself in part is about really seeing how you show up in all of these different contexts. Right? Does that resonate with you?

Chris:

So when you say like, all these different contexts, like would you mean, what do you mean by that?

Andy:

I think I mean, yeah, thanks for looking for clarity, I think I mean, like, I think I mean, emotional, like the emotional context as much as the actual. And so like the dot I'm kind of connecting is that community. You call it the fast track, right? It's sort of the, it's the way in which you're going to- if you feel called to live in community, and that's an intentional one where people have aligned around a mission or a purpose or a set of values or a set of practices for living maybe it's around environmental sustainability or, social justice or whatever the kind of common value set is- That you will like sort of physically, relationally be exposed to lots of aspects of life. And as a result of that exposure, you'll also be exposed to the ways in which these parts of you respond with fear or anger or joy or excitement. And so it's sort of that range of both physical lived experiences, but also range of emotional responses to experiences that helps us get clear on who we are when we're whole. And who we are when we've remembered as much of ourselves as we can.

Chris:

Yeah, oh, yeah. That's it. Like so the word I like to use is full spectrum human.

Andy:

Yes, right.

Chris:

It's not even linear. It's like this- It's like this three dimension. It's like a ball, right? It's like, I am whole from all angles. I am, like, so passionate about that, like, I love when my shit comes up. I can feel it, I get to be with it. And like, I get to talk about it with people. And so I think also, one thing I want to mention about community is like it's work. Like, it is straight up work. So I'm about to start, join a cohort for intentional community builders. I think I've mentioned this to you before. And one of the facilitators, Cassandra Ferrara, when she talks about community, she talks about it being like, it is the most- like if you've ever been to a retreat or some like day long intensive, it is like a lifelong intensive for personal and spiritual growth. It's like unending Are you ready for that? Like, are you truly ready for that? Like not just in your the way that you relate to other people, but who you're going to become and what you're going to evolve into. Like, are you ready for that? That level of growth. And not everybody is like, that's just the facts, right. But if you're passionate about that, and growth and learning and sort of passionate about creating something, or remembering a way that we used to relate to each other, that sort of is the compost for the New World, like, let's do this thing. Let's all in our own way, experiment with finding ways to build community and see what happens. Like I have no idea where it goes, but I want to figure it out.

Andy:

Man, so I have been on those kind of retreats before and one thing that strikes me is Oh, man, so funny. Like, there's lots I want to pull on here. One is like, a lot of times my family, my extended family will be like, so like, what's happening on those weekends? You know, like, there's a sort of, kind of combined curiosity and skepticism, right? Like, what exactly did you do for three days? I guess you did some meditation and you like, talked about some stuff? Like, like, why? Right. And so there's sort of a way in which all of us at some point in our modern society, maybe not all of us, but most of us who are at the edge of this question that Cassandra Ferrera is asking, like, are you ready? Like, in a way, the answer is always No. Because the first time I went on one of these retreats, sure, I had all sorts of ideas about what I thought I was going to do. And maybe it was like, enough that I had some anticipatory imagination, about what it could be that that was a sign of my readiness. But of course, then you get there. And, you're not ready at all, I wasn't ready at all. It's like, Oh, this is going to be outrageously inspiring, outrageously uncomfortable. Like, it's just sort of like, again, it's this full spectrum. In a way what you're saying to someone, do you want to go on retreat? It's like, do you want to have a full spectrum experience? Or do you want to have at least something that hints at what a full spectrum experience could be? And if the answer is yes, then that's probably the best sign of readiness that you can get, because until you have an experience on that particular part of the spectrum, which of course is like, and then on that part of the spectrum, you could like zoom infinitely in like, you're just not going to know what it's like to have that experience. Yeah. And so like, I wonder how as Cassandra kind of drops this challenge for you and your cohort, it seems to me there's sort of a both and. It's like both we're as ready as anyone in this modern world of ours might be, and talk to me in 40 years once we've just we've lived our life. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris:

Like, the word I was coming up was- Like, it's like, are you ready to let go of not knowing?

Andy:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Chris:

Right. Like, I don't know, that's just what came up. I feel like because I want to know, I want to know where this goes. I want to know what it creates beyond my lifetime, and I want it, but I'm not going to know those things until I just keep going down that path. Like, and that's what I mean. What I'm passionate about is like, stoking the fire and like nudging people in like that direction. Like when they come to me, it's like, cool. I know, you want to go in a direction, you have some idea, but you have no idea what's actually going to happen. Or maybe you want to go back to school, or you want to learn something new, or go on that retreat that you've always, you've been thinking about lately, but you're just like, I don't know how I'm gonna make it work. And it's like, you just start that step. And like, it leads to something else. I mean, just how you talking about the evolution of your podcast and started off with sort of 10, 15 conversations lined up, and all of a sudden, at this point, people are reaching out to you. And it starts to, you start to attract different things into your life that weren't otherwise there. And so I'm, I just trust it at this point. I've done it enough in my life, where it's like, I'm just gonna go where my heart is, like, go and I have no idea where that's gonna take me. My mind wants to know, but like, let's go find out.

Andy:

Yeah, yeah. Love that, man. It's so well put. I'm finding myself really curious. And maybe this is sort of, maybe this is sort of the voice of a listener who's kind of like, Alright, guys, you've piqued my interest. But I want to like, still my mind wants to know a little bit more. Can you give me a like, can get a little more concrete here? You know? And, so you have, you spent time in Oakland living in a house? Is that right?

Chris:

Yeah.

Andy:

With how many other people were in that house?

Chris:

A range from, like, 12 to 13 people? Yeah. 11 to 13 people just over time,

Andy:

Right. And I know that what you're moving towards is sourced in that experience, but also, like, the vision I've heard from you is evolved quite a bit. But maybe before we look at the vision, we can just get anchored in a bit more about like, what was that like, man? Like, you shared a house with 13 people. Like my family, like, what did you all do? Did you get dinner together all the time, I guess? Like, why? Like tell me more.

Chris:

Yeah, yeah. So, um, I want to go back a little bit further too, so just like-

Andy:

Yeah, yeah, start wherever you feel called to.

Chris:

In college, I lived in a fraternity, like I went straight into the fraternity. I was in there for you know, part of that community for four years. I guess technically, I'm still part of that community. And it was cool to be with people that- It was like, the, like attracts like kind of thing. If you could tell, like, our group was, people were really smart. People were really athletic. Like, it was a really balanced group, my fraternity brothers. That experience, I think, in some ways, planted seeds for you know, what I've been working on now. Obviously, it's a different culture. And, you know, it was college. There was a lot of partying, and there was a lot of really- a lot of fun, a lot of really good times. And there was conflict that we had to navigate. Right. So I wish I would have known the things that I know now back then, right, like, how to resolve conflicts, like how to process emotions, like how to get to the truth of the situation. But I know those things now, and that's part of the evolution. We're not going to know those things when they first arise. So, I live in an intentional community in Oakland. My partner and I moved in and sort of the process of that was interviewing at multiple houses, which is kind of like, like, got rejected at a couple of them. Like it was like rejected or just like not a good fit kind of thing. Or we didn't like the place and so like going through that process of trying to find your people, like where you feel like you align most. We'd go to the wooden spoon, we go to a dinner there, they call them dinner views, where you break bread together, and then you kind of pop off into these different smaller groups. And there are a couple of the housemates that are, you know, talking to you about a certain topic or subject and you go to the next one, and it's very intentional. The most intentional that Alyssa and I had been to- Alyssa is my partner- out of all the other communities. And I remember going home that night, and I was like, we're gonna live there. Like, literally, I could see it. It was so cool. Like if you've ever had that, like, clear vision of something like it's happening. So we Yeah, we got invited to join the community. And it was a big house, or probably, I think there were 11 bedroom. Alyssa and I took the biggest bedroom with the bathroom. It was kind of like the one of the last rooms left. And I mean, I could talk about a lot of things. But what I'll say is that there's something around pooling resources. Like one of the grounding- One of the things that we were grounded in was like a shared meal plan. So everybody paid into this meal plan, and access to more food types that you could have ever imagined. Like the things that I didn't even know existed, right, that I all of a sudden had access to. To buying things for the house that we could all use from something as simple as like a massage gun. Right? Like-

Andy:

Wait, hold on. What's a massage gun?

Chris:

Well, it's shaped like a gun, but it's like this battery powered machine. And when you pull the trigger, it has like this ball that vibrates and like-

Andy: Yeah, all right. Yeah, got a headline. Intentional communities:

massage guns for everyone.

Chris:

Sponsor for-

Andy:

Yeah.

Chris:

That's silly. So but things as little as that, to what do we want the space to feel and look like? What kind of art we want to have, to plants to, What do we want the feel to be like? You know, we would have regular meetings. We would we meet on, Mondays, were like, the kind of all house meetings where we talk about policy stuff, like what's working, what's not working well. We'd review any proposals that need to be made, like somebody wants to, you know, have this event in the house. It was a lot more active in many ways before COVID.

Andy:

Mm hm.

Chris:

We'd have parties and not parties in like, ragers. But just like, think ecstatic dance. If you've ever heard of ecstatic dance, music, dancing. It can be cathartic. It's connecting, there's some depth, there's no talking, right until like, afterwards, like it's a very special place. Very special experience. We would, we've had circling events at the house. We would do breath work, meditation. I know after I left, they did TED Talks. Where like, people could do like 15, 20 minute talks on a subject. Family Health, where it's like we're doing clearing conversations and like getting to the truth, right? If there's some tension in the house, or you've been feeling disconnected, like we would talk through those things. We would to create, you know, again, that like realness, like what is it that where we get separated and feel like we're disconnected to what brings us together? And like, there was there was so much richness in it. Yeah, that's a little bit. I could go off on a lot of a lot of different directions. But that's a little bit.

Andy:

That's beautiful. Yeah, the the sort of two headlines I'm taking away one is massage guns are awesome. And two is that there's, no there's a way in which stepping into a community where everyone in the house or the wherever it is, have all said we this is what we're about. That that comes with a lot of work and complexity. You know, there's there's regular meetings and conversations and working through conflict and like there's stuff that a lot of people and to some extent myself include myself in that, like, that's not those are not common experiences in our everyday life. Right. And so there's I can hear there's kind of like a learning curve and a desire curve. Some people just be like, No, I don't, I want my own business. Stay out of my business, right and so probably shouldn't live in a house like, that's what you want. But on the upside that really amazing upside I'm hearing that I actually hadn't thought about until you articulated it so beautifully is you get access To a diversity of resources and experiences, that that would almost be impossible for you on your own to, to imagine and program out in your life, sort of like you just, you just like on any given day you you wake up and someone's like, Hey, we're having ecstatic dance downstairs, that was ecstatic dance, come down and find out. Yeah, it's like, amazing, right, there's a sort of a range of what's possible in the human experience suddenly is now more at your fingertips, and maybe otherwise might have been an effort. That sounds really fucking cool.

Chris:

That is exactly it. That is exactly it. Because, yeah, you get exposed. You get exposed to these other human beings that are like, they're like unique, and they got their own jams that they that they follow, right? And it's like, Whoa, like, and they teach you. It's like, when you admire something in somebody else, right, like, they're just showing you the part of you that you want to cultivate more of.

Andy:

Hmm, that's sort of like the inverse of the shadow piece you were talking about earlier.

Chris:

Exactly. So like, there's a lot of that happening. There's also a lot of shadow stuff happening too. So there's no way about it, like you're gonna learn, you're gonna learn, you're going to grow, you're going to expand. I would say that there's some learnings, right? So I think I want to, you know, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. People leave the community, there's tension that if two people have tension, and they don't resolve it, it affects everybody in the house. Right? So it affects the community, like it's felt. It's known. And people process at different times and rates and what I mean process like, work through conflict, or work through emotional turmoil differently. People have different traumas, big trauma, like to little trauma, which I'm not going to get into, but like, and so how does that show up? And how do you be with people, when they're in a response to trauma response? In Do we have the skills within the house to actually be with that person? Hmm. Right? Are we kind of just like, that's your own stuff, like figure it out? Like, that doesn't work, because that creates disconnection. So you like it's a it's like a gym for life. And living? Yeah, a lot of reps. I'm just saying, yeah. And I think there's so in the community. So one, like one of my learnings is, I don't want to live in a big house of people, like I want to have like, like tiny living spaces where you can, we can be in and then have common spaces that we share. So it could be like Tiny Homes, tiny home village, we have sort of that bigger, bigger spaces, we can come together, offices, to, to libraries, to meditation spaces, yoga, yoga space to, you know, kind of where we have events, so and those be shared. So that's one thing that I learned, because when you're in a big house with a lot of people, I am very empathic and I can feel what's happening, like all the time, so it's my own space.

Andy:

Yeah.

Chris:

Also, what I learned is the importance of having clarity around real like crystal clear clarity around your vision and your mission. Because we attracted a lot. It's like, oh, it sounds really good. But our vision and mission for kind of general, like, it would resonate with most people. And so the idea is that if people are joining, and they're like, Oh, this isn't what I thought it was, I mean, that happened. That's why people left. Right, this isn't what I thought it was. And so the more clear we can be on that, those things that actually, is it clear enough that it actually drives some people away? That's the level of clarity that you want, and it attracts the right people. That's what we're, I think we were missing a lot of and so there's a lot of learnings around that. And then what do you do now that people are here and we don't have necessarily that alignment? And then how do we get realigned? So there was a lot of learning.

Andy:

Yeah, yeah. My instinct though, is that to certain extent, and tell me, totally push back here, but like to a certain extent, no matter how like the map of the territory is not the territory right and so your vision which we might also call a map, no matter how clear it is how how much it sort of helps people self select in or out there's still going to be an element of I guess this gets at what we were talking earlier like adjust will still be this dojo for life, this gym for life, and there will always be these challenges and opportunities. Like a tension that fills the community is either a problem to be eradicated or an opportunity for the community to actually become even more intimate and connected with each other.

Chris:

Exactly. Exactly. And it's not, and even if people come and they're like, this isn't a good fit. That's actually good, because they have more clarity, right, on what they actually want. Yeah, right and more of who they are. Yeah, or what resonates and they understand their values more. And I think that's so important. Like, it's good no matter what

Andy:

Such good insight. Yeah, it's good no matter what.

Chris:

And the other thing that came up, Andy, was like thinking about sort of our work communities, and like living with people community, and like, how different they are. And I think the difference is that at work, people wear masks, they're not actually showing up how they want to show up, because they're worried about what their boss might think what their colleagues might think, they find out, this will get fired. So they don't actually bring their full self. And so that's why I feel like the work communities oftentimes struggle as much as like, I mean, I've worked with a lot of director of people, or people operations and you know, they want to cultivate culture, and we want to bring authenticity and vulnerability into the workplace. But before, like, I am afraid to bring my full self there.

Andy:

Yeah, there's a lot of implicit and explicit messaging over and that part of our lives that you're not safe to do that, right. You know, and I, and maybe it's funny, because we always talk before I start recording, but I think I said this while we were recording, like the armor that I built, right, like that's an example of when you're in, in a place that no matter how much they say they want to create culture, if everyone is is secretly on their own, building up armor to protect themselves, that armor is also inadvertently making it a lot harder for that very culture that they want to happen.

Chris:

Exactly. The thing is, is we yearn for that connection. Yeah, we actually yearn for it. But then, you know, the majority of the population will go home back to their nuclear family and then like, they're not really getting it met. They're not really getting a met at work. So to meet like, living an intentional community, it's a vehicle for that.

Andy:

Yeah.

Chris:

It really is a vehicle because you're, like now you're exposed. It's like, and sure like new people come in, kind of like feeling it out. I remember for me, it took probably like two and a half months before I was like, Okay, I belong here. Like my actual my nervous system, calm down a room finally got like, settled how we wanted to decorate it. I wanted to I was like, Okay. In, we all kind of have to go through that. I know, we go through like this tunnel, or it's like, safe. But when it when you feel that way, Oh, my gosh, like so much as possible with people.

Andy:

There's another, maybe we'll have to have another conversation, either recorded or not. But there is a whole frontier in the workspace that relates to the insight that you're having, which I'm sure you're well clued into. Right? Like, there's a recognition that the ways that we work and live, have have inadvertently what's the word have inadvertently repressed or, or forced into hiding the very capacities that we have as humans that we almost need, and those capacities for creativity and bravery and compassion. They all rest on top of what you're describing this sense that you can be safe and be seen. And that once you have that permission, the paradox is, that's when you start taking risks. And that's when you start trying out new things and trying on new possibilities. And just like, yeah, just unleashes so much, unleashes so much. And so sort of the tragedy of all of this is that, you know, that the tragedy that our ancestors 10,000 years ago, couldn't have predicted when they sit down roots for the first time and started saying like this is our home, is we have inadvertently created systems of living together and working together that repress the very, very parts of us that are the most beautiful and the most essential, if we're going to get to wherever we need to get to next as a species. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah, well, yeah, that's a great. I think that's a great summation of like, What's happened? Yeah. And so this is where I get really excited about community, like intentional community because sure we can work at it in the work context. I don't say I don't think we should not do anything. They're like there's something also about living with people in an intentional way that like, it feels like the dial can like it gets dialed up much sooner, like there's not as many sort of structural barriers in place.

Andy:

You can crank it to 11 pretty quickly.

Chris:

Yeah.

Andy:

Oh man, Chris, this has been- to our earlier point, this is both exactly in a way the conversation I hoped it would be. But also like, I couldn't have predicted it until it happened. It was just really beautiful and inspiring. And I can't believe we're already at time, but yet here we are coming up against the time boundary. And, and I guess I want to give you the last word, as you sit with everything we've talked about today, and, and maybe also you sit with this journey that you've been on. I wonder if there's an invitation or question or an observation that feels meaningful for you to share with anyone who might be listening in this moment. And take some time with that. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. The word that comes up is experiment.

Andy:

Hmm. Nice.

Chris:

Yeah. Like something happens when we- A lot can happen when we look at life as like, an opportunity to experiment. Experimenting with a new mindfulness practice, a new way to communicatel learning something that you have no idea like where it goes. Just try it on. See what happens.

Andy:

Lovely. That's feels like the perfect place to end. Chris, this is really awesome. I'm so excited for you to go deeper into this journey with your cohort. I can't wait to see how this takes shape in in the world around you write like how everything that's happening inside of you and in your partner's life and in your communities. Life is gonna start to shape the world around you. And and I hope one day when it's safe to do so I can come visit your tiny house community and like hang out in the shared space. And yeah, this sounds really inspiring.

Chris:

Yeah.

Andy:

If people want to find, find your work, find find out more about what you're up to in the world, where's the best place for them to go?

Chris:

Hmm. So I have a website, but I'm going to be going through a rebranding, but the website is www.growthmindset.co. You could also go to, that's like my personal coaching website. There's also www.lucidly.org. That's the virtual coaching app that I'm building with a group of people. I'm sure there's other stuff, but that's what comes to mind though.

Andy:

Nice. Is there a headline like, Is there a word or two you want to say about the rebranding or is that like, wait until it's ready before you unveil it?

Chris:

We'll wait until that's ready.

Andy:

Yeah. Okay. All right. I had to ask. I couldn't resist.

Chris:

Fair question.

Andy:

Yeah. Nice, man. Well, we'll make sure to share all that info in the show notes. But it's been a real pleasure and a real treat, and I'm wishing you all the best on this journey you're on.

Chris:

Yeah. Thanks, Andy.

Andy:

Thanks, Chris. Thanks, everyone for listening. Thanks for tuning in to the Wonder Dome. This podcast was produced by me, Andy Cahill, with support from Kaleigh Cerqua, and audio editing services from John Nolan at Middle Mountain studios. The theme song was written and performed by Todd Marston. You can find the Wonder Dome wherever pods are casted. If you dig what we're doing here, please share widely, subscribe, and give us some love on the review boards. And if you feel called to support this humble offering to the worlds, while also making an even greater impact in the lives of others, consider becoming a monthly supporter. Not only will you help me keep the lights on, and keep the show going for as long as I'm able, but 30% of all member contributions go directly in support of causes, like the Black Lives Matter Movement, United Nations Refugee Agency, and the National Resources Defense Council. You can find out more at my website, mindfulcreative.coach, where you can also sign up for my newsletter. Learn about my transformational coaching work and get plugged into exclusive offers and community happenings. In the meantime, I'm wishing you a life of purpose, power, and presence. We need you now more than ever.