Transcript of The Bigger Picture Podcast:

Unlocking Consciousness Agility Episode with Trish Blain and Alexander Beiner

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The Bigger Picture Podcast: Unlocking Consciousness Agility Episode with Trish Blain and Alexander Beiner TRANSCRIPT

Ali: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Bigger Picture Podcast. Today I’m in conversation with Trish Blain. Trish is a facilitator and entrepreneur, and she is one of my favorite people. She runs a platform called NonOrdinary which offers a community and training for paradigm shifters. I’ve also been collaborating with her for the last four years or so.

Ali: Trish helped me train for my DMT extended state experiences. I found her frameworks incredibly useful for navigating different states of consciousness, whether they’re mystical or mundane. In this conversation, we cover a lot of ground, including Trish’s concept of Consciousness Agility and why it can help us move into new territory in our lives.

Ali: We also talk about what it takes to turn wisdom into action– why that process is difficult sometimes, how to make it easier. Also, why collaborating with other people can be so difficult and how to make that easier by approaching it in a completely different way. And we also cover creativity, and especially why creativity is about more than just drawing or writing or singing, but can be seen as a force that lies at the heart of reality.

Ali: Trish and I are also running a new course called NonOrdinary Impact, which is designed to help you make the shift from thinking about a project or a new step in life to actually bringing it into the world, with your unique expression and with the support of others. We’re running a free taster session for that on Monday, the 20th of May, and you can find details for it in the Substack post containing this episode.

Ali: So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Trish.


Ali: So Trish, we, we speak a lot. And it’s fun, and a little bit odd, to speak while being recorded. But this is something we wanted to do to capture some of the conversations we’ve been having recently, which have felt very alive and really interesting and full of energy.

Ali: So why don’t we maybe take people through what those conversations have been, I think that would be cool. So I’ll switch over to you for that, maybe with the keyword of creativity, which is the word that got us all excited.

Trish: We do talk quite frequently, and you’ve shared that you do private sessions, that I work as a facilitator/coach with you and support you and in your work in the world.

Trish: And, and you’ve certainly helped me refine and put language to my project and NonOrdinary and the Four Forces.  There’s been a lot of collaboration about the overlap of ideas and also how we bring a different perspective to it. And one of the things that kind of sparked between us, actually, how I’m remembering it, was sort of being bored with the usual format of courses, that there was an element of, “Do we want to keep redoing the same sort of signature courses over and over again?”

Trish: You and I had done NonOrdinary Sensemaking last year, and we were looking at doing that again.  And we were exploring, “Well, can we get creative about the format?” But it was also this desire to shake things up. Both you and I  are very much on that edge. That’s where we live. We want to be in the ‘what’s new’, and revamping the same old-same old was lacking excitement.

Trish: And even though we love what we do, we love it with people, there’s that novelty piece. And we ended up sparking a conversation about creativity and and thinking outside the box, and how very much that’s needed on the edge. You and I are always coming up with new ways of viewing things, new ways of framing things.

Trish: So I know you put out that article, I’ll kind of toss it to you. You put out that article about the novelty famine, right? So that sort of sparked off the idea of, “Well, can we do something that’s creativity-based?” Maybe you could share a little bit about your take on that article, because that was definitely part of the process that we’ve been in.

Ali: Yeah. I wrote an article a few weeks ago called The Novelty Famine, which was really a bit of an edge for me because it wasn’t like I normally write. Because basically I didn’t know what to write because I’ve been experiencing, and I think like a lot of people have this sense, that culture and particularly the internet is dead in some ways, that it’s empty and feels stripped out, and that TV shows, movies, just all the content we’re subsumed by just feels repetitive.

Ali: It’s interesting because Peter Lindberg and Rachel Haywire and Jonathan Rowson all published articles at the same time, almost at the same time, in some way talking about this exhaustion, particularly with the internet. And I wrote that article as a somatic inquiry, which is a practice I do, which is a kind of talking meditation, and which comes from the Ridwan tradition originally. And I’ve tweaked it a little bit for processes I run, and my own practice, and I thought, “Well, let’s just see what happens if I start writing, journaling in a sense,” which is a real edge for me, because as a writer I like to craft things – and I did.

Trish: I remember talking about the article with you.

Ali: Yeah, exactly. I did edit it some, a little bit, but 95 percent of it was just as it came out. And it was really quite enjoyable and liberating in a lot of ways, but where I got to in that inquiry was a feeling that we’re in this kind of novelty famine, and that what we need is the new.

Ali: And, you know, as we’re talking about it now, what’s coming up for me is when we’re stuck in general, especially stuck with not coming up with new ideas, new directions in our life. We can be stuck in relationships. We can be stuck at work. We can be stuck with a project we’re trying to get off the ground, whatever it is, and something has to shift, and some old, smaller frame has to break, and a new, bigger frame has to come in.

Ali: And so there’s this idea of breaking frame and making frame and in some ways we could sit around waiting for that to happen, or we can develop the skills to break our own frames. That is something that really excites me. There’s so much untapped potential in the world and people, and definitely the sensemaking, change-making, liminal web, whatever you want to call it, space, right?

Ali: Maybe a lot of people listening to this will be interested in, or see themselves as part of whatever it might be, and I think often there’s some kind of gap.  I think actually you call it sometimes the desire gap, right? There’s some kind of gap between all this potential and impact in the world.

Ali: And that’s the thing that I’m really, really interested in at the moment, because the Rebel Wisdom journey was very much around diagnosing the problem, and to some degree figuring out what are the skills we need in order to be in the world more effectively.

Ali: And I think we did a good job of that. And that was really meaningful. And then the incompletion in it is, “How do we take all of that and have impact in the world? How do we take that step to actually make an impact?” And that doesn’t have to be some world-shattering new invention or idea, but it can impact within our spheres of agency.  That’s the question that I’m most interested in right now. I think it’s the most important for me. It’s the most important question to be asked right now.  

Trish: I think one of the conversations I have a lot in the world in general is people having a sense of urgency, right? “Oh, the world, the meta crisis.” Right?  And it’s real. We are at the tipping point in a lot of ways, things could go really well or really horribly. But one of the things around that sense of urgency for a lot of people is when you start to do a project, or you see a vision for something, it can be very easy to get stuck in the feeling that this is the linear path, that we, in our current paradigm, have to convince a bunch of people to do this with us.

Trish: And how do I change their mind? And I have to push through and fight against, or there are a lot assumptions made that we don’t realize, that are coming from a very particular state of consciousness. We’re coming from a certain paradigm, and when we’re in that paradigm, there are only certain options open to us.

Trish: So one of the things around in being in the new reality is we need to create differently, and there are options that open up that aren’t there without these other ways of viewing and ways of navigating. So even what you brought up about, well, what does the project want? What does the relationship want?

Trish: What does the group field want, that in itself opens up options that aren’t there otherwise? And we don’t realize that. So whenever I get that sense of urgency, of how do we do this– when we drop in and we’re in that other state, these other options open; it doesn’t have to be linear and things can happen really quickly and in ways that are totally unexpected. But we have to be willing to be on that emergent edge. 

Trish: And you mentioned earlier, there’s the both/and process of being in the unknown emergent edge, of being open to what wants to happen.  What does the music want? If you’re thinking of jazz improv, what does the music want? It’s not just, “What’s my solo?” or, “How do I get people to follow me?”  You have to be willing to lean in. But there’s also the fact that what I call the shifting edge, not just the emerging edge, but the shifting edge of updating our beliefs, catching ourselves, “Oh, I’m back in a limited frame.”

Trish: And that, again, is where the consciousness agility comes in, being able to navigate and untangle. What are the beliefs that need updating? What are the things that we can’t actually get– because the truth is there’s a tangle there. And you can think of those tangles as having this deep desire and then something, whether we’re kids or you could look at it from a bigger soul story, but shit happens, right? And then we get thrown for a loop, and then that eventually turns into a tangle or trauma or strategy. But I believe that underneath, all of that tangle is us learning how to get what we’re actually wanting. So we can reconnect to that deep desire and now harvest what we’ve learned, apply it in this new state.

Trish: Now we have a whole arsenal of new ways of being able to create new ways of collaborating. So it’s a both/and process of harvesting from the current paradigm, from what we’ve been learning about what doesn’t work and what works, but then this new state opens up options and choices that are completely new.

Trish: And I think that’s the hard part to wrap your brain around sometimes is, well, what do you mean by “new state, blah, blah, blah, new reality.” There are so many more options available to us than certain paradigms allow. But if you don’t know that channel’s there, then you’re never going to access it.

Trish: I think psychedelics is one of the things that’s opening up people so much to, “Oh shit, there’s a whole other realm that we have access to,” for example. So yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s an important piece.

Ali:  Yeah. There’s something in that I think it’s probably worth unpacking a bit, which is desire.  And a word I really like is ‘longing’. I was just reading– John O’Donohue, Irish poet, has a book, sort of about post-modernity, and in the beginning of it he’s talking about the link between longing and belonging, which seems really obvious when you see both the words together.  But it’s kind of like the deep longing we have for whatever might be in our hearts is also really closely linked to belonging.

Ali: And if we don’t have a sense of connectedness to the world and belonging, then the longing is kind of empty, which feels like the novelty famine, this sense that all of our desires feel kind of untethered, especially online.  It’s like you can have anything you want, you want a million TV shows.

Ali: You want a TV show about this, a TV show about that; you want this content, that content, but there’s no sense of belonging. This is disconnected, untethered. And there’s something about…well, in my experiences I have struggled with with my own longing and my own desire often, and this is an interesting point, right?

Ali: Now we both have a lot of experience getting successful projects off the ground in different ways. And yet, desire is so complicated, it seems. Is it complicated? I mean, I’m now going to pose this question to you: is desire complicated or not?

Trish: I think we have a love hate relationship with desire, right?  There’s a way that a lot of spiritual traditions really tamp down and get rid of individual desire in some ways. Here’s a case where I feel the Four Forces is a really helpful way of thinking about desire. The idea of the Four Forces, I created it based on asking the question, “How do we create a better world?” And realizing that, wow, we have 8 billion different versions of a better world!

Trish: And that prompted the question, “What are the common denominators?” And so talking about belonging, we all want belonging. Part of that connection desire is one of the Forces, right? One of the common desires is we want to belong and be loved and fit in, but also equal and often portrayed as opposite, is that we want to be unique and individual and express ourselves and be seen and recognized for our uniqueness.

Trish: So often those are at odds with each other, and we feel like we have to choose. I can either fit in or be myself. Or I can either get what I want or the other person has to get what they want. And we don’t realize we’re doing it. Even when you’ve done a lot of consciousness work and you’ve got those states, you still catch yourself in this either/or kind of position.

Trish: And it’s dangerous, even putting stuff out into the world these days with all the polarity and fragmentation out there. It can be scary to post something and then get canceled, right? There’s a lot of “go along” or else “pick your camp”. You can’t be in both and straddle both. And I think that’s one of the things that Rebel Wisdom and you have been so brilliant at in all of your endeavors that you’ve done is being that bridge, and saying, “No, wait, there’s other options,” right?

Trish: So, but one of the things about desire is I think of desire as related to the  third force growth  — as life force, as the animating force; it’s that impulse, it’s creativity, it’s sexuality, it’s eros, it’s aliveness. So there’s a movement to growth. The surface desire is we want tomorrow to be better than today.

Trish: But if you think about it, that creative force requires that gap. I’m dreaming, envisioning something– growth is something that doesn’t yet exist and we’re calling it in. But one of the things when life force starts to move through your unique sense of self is we feel desire. If we don’t have any movement, there’s no desire.

Trish: So I see it as the animating force. So as life force moves through, you, Alexander Beiner, right? You’re going to feel more of your Alexander-ness. You’re going to feel more of yourself because there’s more animation, there’s more fuel available to you. And desire happens there.

Trish: Now the hard part is when we start to feel that desire and feel ourselves more, it’s automatically harder to feel others. So connection, and the other force that we haven’t talked about is purpose, and the idea of wanting to contribute and have meaning and impact.

Trish: If you’re feeling yourself more, it becomes harder to be in coherence and in sameness, because you’re feeling your uniqueness. So, what I’m proposing is that the new state of consciousness agility is, “How do you do both? How do you be in coherence and in your individuality expression? How do you add connection and purpose to expression and growth?”

Trish: Because right now what ends up happening is the connection purpose people are doing a lot of we-spaces, but there can be often not a lot of aliveness or individual desire, which also impacts money and fuel and the creation process.  There’s a lot of being, which is wonderful, but not a lot of action. And then you’ve got all these action camps and growth mindset and get shit done people, but a lot of times there’s a lack of coherence. So what can we create when we do all four of these at the same time, when we can be in full coherence?

Trish: It’s being fully broken open in connection and alive, fully bringing our full selves to it, our full expression to it. To me, that just is a whole other level of fun. And I think that’s where the creativity came in. You have to have that life force moving for you to activate your genius, for your desires to then create something new, that gap of, “Oh, I want something and I’m calling it into existence.”

Trish: We were originally talking about the journey here. We originally were thinking about doing a creative impact class, just a creativity class where we were training, where we were just going to have different forms, whether it was writing, or we were going to go through all the different arts and offer a smorgasbord, and we still might be offering something around that in a playful way, but this was also bringing in that purpose of what’s meaningful, what’s our desire that we want to call in.

Trish: That also has that sense of coherence. And art is certainly meaningful. I don’t want to say that it’s not, but it needs that frame of what’s that deep desire that you’re wanting to call in. And maybe it is a writing piece, maybe it is an art piece, but having that sense that it’s not just individual expression, it’s got all four of those elements.

Trish: It’s also got connection and purpose in it. Yeah. So what could we create from that place of full, unique, individual expression? Of aliveness, genius, and broken open we-space, broken open connection at the same time?

Ali: I think that’s something that your work brings a lot, that there’s actually this idea that you started developing called consciousness agility, which I think played into it as well.  We started getting excited about creativity and then there was, there’s this other piece.

Trish: Yeah. You know, one of the challenges, when you’re in new territory, it’s finding language for things, and finding ways of conveying the new states of consciousness, for example, can be really challenging. And with NonOrdinary, I’ve been struggling to find a way to describe what it is that I’m teaching and why this framework is so valuable. And it’s only a couple of weeks old, but recognizing that what I’m really offering is a way to cultivate consciousness agility. And that with consciousness agility– I feel really strongly that in order for us to create this new world/new reality that we are sensing and feeling into…  we’re in new territory already. We’re already there, but now what do we do? Now what? And a lot of us talk about game B and second tier and metamodern, we have all these names for it and we’re pointing to something, but what does it actually mean to live there?

Trish: And to me, it’s this ability to have consciousness agility in multiple ways. So I think of consciousness agility as sort of the overarching umbrella of a few different agilities that we need. And I think a really important part of this is when we’re stepping into new territory, and we’re creating in this new reality, so to speak, I think we need three things.

Trish: We need this new state of consciousness, and I feel like this consciousness agility is actually a new way of navigating. It’s not just, “Oh, I’m going to get around more easily in my current states.” I know it’s a different way of engaging with the world and with each other. But that needs that foundation of being about deep desire.

Trish: What is it that you want to bring into the world? And the recognition that we can’t actually get what we want without other people, that we actually need to be in a collaborative state, which is part of that agility. How do you work with anybody? One of the big questions that’s been happening in the sensemaking world is “How do we deal with polarity and fragmentation?”

Trish: And there’s a way of being able to, no matter who shows up, engage with that person. How do you allow the emergent to happen? I think some of the agility that we’re needing is paradigm agility. We need to be able to understand other people’s point of view, not just from a place of developing an argument so that I can get them to believe what I believe, but actually understand where they’re coming from.

Trish: And that’s where the Four Forces is just a helpful frame. But that idea, too, that we’re not just moving from one paradigm, paradigm A to paradigm B, but this agility is about being able to understand, navigate, create any paradigm, to understand what the levers are of the way that we’re experiencing the world around us.

Trish: And collaborative agility– no matter who shows up, can you work with them? Can you lean into what wants to happen with that person and be impacted by them and impact each other and what wants to happen from there? Non ordinary agility or the idea of intuition, nonphysical, those have often in the past been put into this woowoo category, but people are having alternate experiences much more frequently now through medicines and through tantra and meditation.

Trish: And how do we incorporate and navigate those states into our creation process, into what we’re bringing into the world? We need to be able to navigate those and choose what’s best for us, which state we’re in, at will. So state agility. Naming one more that I really think of as an agility is the nervous system, being in emotions, being able to get triggered and understand that there’s information there and be able to work with it and get to the other side of it.

Trish: I think that’s getting in the way of a lot of our creativity, as groups and even in individual relationships, people are hitting these places where they’re getting triggered. And I’m imagining everybody listening has had that experience where you’re really excited about a project and then somebody gets triggered, and it’s really hard in the past to kind of recover from that.

Trish: So all these different aspects, if you think of that as a new state, where you’re able to navigate more like a helicopter (rather than a plane trying to get from point A to point B), now bring that to our projects, learning what we create from that state. That’s where I get really excited.

Ali: I’ve been speaking to people recently who are involved in or have started intentional communities trying figure out the new paradigm of living together and working together.  And something that they seem to run up against is everything that happens when people try and build something together, which means that everyone needs to have particular skills of regulating your nervous system, understanding, I think you mentioned it, state agility, which you just talked about.

Ali: You know, I had an experience just a few days ago talking to my wife about something where I was in kind of a mood state. I was sulking. I was just shut, I was feeling super negative about loads of things.  And then we had a conversation, and then there was one thing she said which cracked an opening.

Ali: And then I was like, “Oh!” and then suddenly it was like a drug experience, and I was really sober, but it was like a drug experience. I was like, “Oh, that’s cracked. It’s broken that frame.” And then after that, I felt positive. I felt like, “Oh, this is all possible.” And it was really interesting because I was thinking about it in terms of state agility.

Ali: And I was like, “Oh, I was in a particular mood state.” Right? Everything I interpreted was going through that state and depression would be that state, as well, or joy, ecstatic joy would also be that state.  As someone who is a big believer in the power of psychedelics, practices breathwork and meditation, all these different practices, inquiry, it just struck me that I wasn’t doing a practice at that time. It was just a conversation. What happened in the conversation was a moment where I was able to practice some state agility and get out of the funk. And then the rest of the day was wonderful. It was really, really nice. So I think that’s really important because that was a relational conversation.

Ali: But what we’ve been talking about is how do people take all these ideas from what’s sometimes called the what-next space, the change-maker space… so many people want to bring about some kind of new paradigm in the world or in their area, whether it’s education or economics, or there’s a million different versions of it.  But I think without being able to move between states in ourselves, it’s really, really difficult to do that, because then we also get totally tangled with each other’s states of being, and that affects everything that’s perceived and everything that’s possible.

Trish: Yeah, that’s a great, a great example.  And I would say my experience is that there’s a lot more states than we realize that are available to us, and that these states are choices, and there are skills to them. So in that case, you’ve been able to notice this one reframe or this one comment or this one experience shifted things for you.  Being able to identify and do that. for yourself or in the moment, and go, “Oh, wow, our group is in this state, what’s happening here? How do we lean in and feel into what’s going on and not just feel in from a sensing, but really being able to actively work with what’s in the room or what’s in the space?  What is wanting to happen? What is the state that we’re in? What is it trying to tell us? What’s the state we want to be in?”

Trish: I think a really important conversation that we’ve had, too, where we’ve been aligned is, and we talked about this in your book as well, is that it’s not just a higher vibration or a state of oneness.  We have all these different states available to us. Even everyday states, there’s ways of being able to bring new (what I call) levers to them, or new skills, or new awarenesses that give you much more choice about how you experience even your everyday life. So it’s not just a state of oneness.

Trish: It’s not just a state of beingness. It’s– can you be in a state of oneness at the same time that you’re fully in your human, alive and on fire? One of the things about the states agility as a new state of consciousness, as I see it, is we need to learn how to pat our head and rub our tummy at the same time.  We need to be able to be in a superposition of both of those.

Trish: We’re both unique points of consciousness and we’re also in the collective and able to be in coherence at the same time. And right now, a lot of the ways that we’re functioning is it’s either/or. I can either be in coherence with the group or I can be my individual self, and that really limits what can happen in the group and what can get created because we need our full genius, we need our individual desires.

Trish: I think of desire as creating this gap that then invites life and others to come in and create something with you. So if we’re constantly going into these states of union and coherence without the individual, the individuality and the expression piece and the desire piece, it’s really hard for something new to emerge in those spaces in the same way as when you bring that aliveness and that life force and that individuality.

Trish: So I think both of us are really longing also for, at least I’ll speak for myself here, my own desire for wanting to work in that state with people more often and what can we create together? It’s one of the things I think I enjoy about working with you so much is because I feel like the way we do collaboration is just really fun.

Trish: And when we do hit– we hit moments, right? We hit moments where we’re realize, “Oh, something’s up.” But having the skills to be able to navigate that and trust that those places actually have the opportunity to have something even greater come through on the other side. I love that you and I, I feel really strong, we’ve developed that nervous system reality.

Ali: And it’s so valuable as well. It’s so nourishing, in a lot of ways, having that back and forth about flow, and it just strikes me that everything we’re talking about is quite a relational process. For example, me getting out of my mood state funk would have been very difficult just by myself, without relationship to someone or something; perhaps deep relationship with nature can do that for us sometimes.

Ali: And I think what was also just coming up for me is that when we want to bring our unique genius, as you put it, or our unique expression into the world, I think something we often forget, certainly something I’m prone to forgetting, is that that’s also a relational process, that’s about coming into relationship with the world.

Ali: And it’s so easy to forget that because it feels like, “Oh, I’m going to do this thing to the object, which is the world.”  And that’s part of the Western mindset. It’s like, “Oh, you’re the subject, all the other people and the things and the trees and the sky, they’re all objects.” And you’re the subject, and that is really a very limited way of thinking about things and gets us, I think, into all sorts of tangles, I think especially with new projects, or projects we’re already working on, or maybe running a company or in the middle of a creative process, we can easily forget about the relationship to it.

Ali: It’s asking the question, “What does this artwork want from me, or from the world, or what is this company asking from me, as well as what I want to bring into it?”  All those questions are fundamentally different; basically asking those questions puts us into a different state than before we asked them, and I love doing something where my edge is the edge that the project or the course or the initiative is surfing. It’s almost like being in relationship with the emergence in some ways.

Ali: And I think when we were first talking about this, these topics… I’m trying to feel into, as I always am trying to, what does culture need right now? What does the world need? What do we need? And the word creativity is a tricky one, right? This is a whole other piece, right? There’s this force, which I suppose is maybe all the four forces really, but there is a kind of force of energy in the universe, let’s say, without sounding too woo, but I’m just going to use that phrase, right?

Ali: This is a kind of energy that we can tap into. And that energy is– I think aliveness is the best word I’ve found for it. You know, it’s alive, conscious, moving through us. And I was just writing something earlier today and it came to me that people say “God is love,” right? This is a common phrase.

Ali: And it always leaves me feeling really flat when I hear that. And I think it might be because the word ‘love’ is so diffuse, but it’s also because I don’t think it captures what my own personal experiences have been with tapping into life force, having a mystical experience is touching the divine.

Ali: ‘Love’ could capture, but there’s something more like an incredible aliveness and creativity and meaning and outflowing and purpose. It’s all of it. It’s like an all-at-onceness, and that all-at-onceness is what I feel is missing right now from our wider culture. I think we’re in this sort of decline of empty space, which makes a lot of sense, because I think we’re just running up against the limits of a scientific materialist consumerist paradigm.

Ali: It’s just the internet has turned it up to 11, and I think many of us are feeling completely exhausted by it. And what feels like the remedy for that is tapping into that aliveness. That means bringing in the expression piece; I think it means doing it in our own lives in a meaningful way.

Ali: And that’s what really excites me about this idea of if we have something we want to bring into the world, and we’re either in the process of doing it, or we have not even started yet because we feel like, “I can’t do that,” or there’s all these angles– that’s the place to look.

Ali: If we want to talk about impact, it’s that personal place to look and begin there. And if enough people do that, then a really interesting dance starts to happen, that I think then also generates new collaborations, new ideas, new possibilities. So I can feel it as I talk about it, like the most exciting thing to me right now.

Trish: Yeah, absolutely. I think what’s coming to mind is how much creativity is about being in unknown territory. We’re building off of what is known, but we’re also inviting something that’s new, right? Something novel that’s moving through us. And we automatically, I think, get it; we automatically get into this place of, “Well, I should know what that is,” or, “I should already know how to do that.”

Trish: But the creative process is also learning. We haven’t done it yet. So anytime we have a desire for something that doesn’t exist yet, it doesn’t exist yet and we don’t actually know how to do it yet because we haven’t done it yet. Once we’ve done it, it’s like, “Okay, now that’s known territory.”

Trish: But I think we can get caught in the, “I have to already know how to do it,” or, “I have to learn,” versus the desire itself is the propellant of the learning, of the iteration.  We need feedback, we need to take a step, and then new options open when we’ve taken a step.  But you know, when I think of the way that the world is functioning right now, people have picked one or two of the forces and they’ve double down on them.

Trish: And it’s like, “I’m going to do oneness and love as much as I can.” And that’s the solution to everything: love and oneness. But after a while, you can sit in meditation, you can be up on a mountain meditating and be all blissed out, but then you have to come down and deal with people in traffic, and there’s a different set of skills, or a different set of states, to be able to navigate with others than meditating and being in oneness, for example.

Trish: So I see it that we already know all the known territory. If we look at what’s happening in the world right now, we know how to do extreme connection. We know how to do extreme expression. We have all of these polarities for a reason, but what we’re needing to break through is to do them at the same time, to what happens when we actually put them together.

Trish: And that’s that new state. Aliveness has to be there, but then it’s just true that when you feel a lot of aliveness, it can be harder to hold coherence with others, because you’re all excited about your ideas and you want to do what you see as the vision.  But when you can do both, there’s a different feel, and there’s,  I believe in my experiences, even more pleasure in it.

Trish: You still get the pleasure of your individual desire, but you also get these other layers and these other flavors. And the outcome is always, I’ve found, more surprising or even more than you could have imagined, or just something different emerges that you can’t know ahead of time.

Trish: It’s an interesting new place to be in, but we can’t know the full journey ahead of time. And yet we are building it on what we already know, too. But how do we put those together in different, new, novel ways?

Ali: Beautiful. Yeah. And that makes me think of any creative process I’ve ever been engaged with.  I’m regularly engaged through writing in that process where I have a blank page and I’m like, “Okay, how does this essay begin? What’s the first line?” for example. And that’s a little metaphor for anything. How does this company begin? How does this new phase of my project begin?

Ali: Whatever it might be. And what I’ve noticed is that the first step is not the last step, right? The first step, it can be unrecognizable six months in, or by the end in a shorter scale, the end of the writing, or the end of the painting. The first stroke, the first word, it, it might’ve completely disappeared by that point.

Ali: It might be like you’ve started the essay somewhere completely different, or the painting is not an elephant. It’s an ocean now, right? But you have to make that first step in order to get to that place. And that first step into something is stepping into an emergent flow, and the skill, or one of the skills is being able to dance with that and surf it and move with it and have faith.

Ali: And I think there’s also something about non-attachment, about not needing it to be exactly the way you think it should be, like an overexpression, right? It has to be this way. It’s the quickest way to kill something new or something you want to bring into the world. I think there’s this dance where you’re not ditching it entirely, this is how I want it to be, but you’re holding it, in your terms, with the other forces. And I think that’s such a skill and so fun– actually, it’s such a fun thing to do because there’s always something new in that there’s always, “Okay, now I’m done, I’m way too much of my expression.  I’m going to move into this area, or what have I forgotten? I’ve forgotten about the other people and what’s coming through them, and what’s wanting to emerge there.”

Ali: I think for me, that’s the nature of creativity. And it’s always an edge for me as well, collaborating with people, because doing it yourself, me sitting down to write an essay or an article is one thing.  And even then I am really collaborating with a lot of other people, even if they’re not in the room with me because I’m reading other people’s research and whatever it might be. But that dance of doing it together, that’s where there’s a huge amount of life force, aliveness, possibility.

Trish: Yeah. And it’s bringing up, too, our conversation about the impact piece, why we shifted from creativity to more of, coming up with the title, NonOrdinary Impact, because it’s when we let go of the form, the specific nature of the form, and we’re really anchored in and holding the feeling and the essence of the desire that we’re bringing to the world, that in itself starts having waves and ripples.

Trish: It’s in the world, that is where it’s calling it in, and also having an impact just by our nature of how we’re holding it and what we’re calling in. So it’s not so much that, “Oh, it’s this new system or this new thing, this new project…,” it’s, “What is the energetic, what is the essence of it?”

Trish: What is it that you’re calling in, that has a feeling to it, that leading and following that, then the form can change, and it does take on a kind of a life of its own with you as the impetus and the desire, but you then become this tuning fork that attracts people to your space and your project.

Trish: So I often think, and we’ve talked about this a lot, actually, around how as a leader, or as somebody who’s calling something in at the edge, what is the space? What is the reality you’re inviting people into? What is the feeling that you’re inviting people into? What is it that you’re wanting?  What is the reality and the experience that you’re wanting people to have? That is in itself impacting and sending ripples out into the world.

Trish: And that’s also what’s calling in what’s needed for that to come into form. But we do have to hold lightly. Exactly what it’s going to look like, sometimes it does look exactly like we’ve envisioned and sometimes it’s very different, but the essence of it is what we’re inviting people to, it’s our own reality, our own utopia that we’re inviting people to come into and have an experience with us, whatever the project is.

Ali: I love that. What comes up for me with that is how any endeavor, any new relationship, new project, whatever it might be, it always brings us up against our tangles, our own personal barriers, tangles, and invites us to move through them. If you want to bring your full expression into the world, you’re going to have to figure out this particular tangle that you have.

Ali: And that’s why I think we need other people with it. That’s why it’s useful to have a process that you go on. You have other people, you have peer support. Facilitation, whatever it might be, that’s one of the reasons it matters so much. And if I think about every time I’ve done something new, my book or Rebel Wisdom or new projects I’m working on now, collaborating, collaborations with you and others, it always brings me up against where I’m stuck in myself and my pattern.  One of my patterns, definitely, is not bringing my own desire clearly into the field, to this is what I’m inviting people into, and in a way going between that and matching other people, trying to figure out, “Okay, what’s good for them?” Being overly connection-focused on what’s better, what wants to happen, what’s better for the field, falling into the we-space. 

Ali: Yeah, what excites me is learning slowly, learning and definitely getting better at this, which is great. And in no small part, thanks to the work we’ve done, is getting better at holding both. It’s not about either swinging from being focused on others and the field and the world to just me and my own expression or vice versa. It’s about holding them both at the same time. And I think that that all-at-onceness is the unique part of this, of what we’re talking about, and the unique part of what’s needed right now, because I don’t really see it anywhere else. I don’t really see anyone talking about this in this way, that we need to be doing this really advanced but possible version of a yes/and within ourselves and with each other, and it is a different way of relating and a different way of building something.

Trish: Yeah, and if you think about it like that helicopter analogy, you don’t have to be in just one state but it’s having the both/and and the ability to navigate and know where you are at any moment, and what you want to create and where do you want to move.

Trish: And how do you?  There’s new options that just aren’t there when you’re doing one or the other, when you’re doing just expression or just connection. And I think an important piece here, we have one of the modules in the training, is around untangling, and also another that we call Show-and-Tell, where we’re putting something out.

Trish: And I think there’s truth that right now, because of the polarity, because people are kind of doubling down on their strategies in the world, it can be really risky to put out new ideas. And I know for myself, I’ve struggled, I’ve been ahead of the curve a lot in, in the businesses I’ve had, and it can be challenging to be bringing something that’s novel, something that really is a paradigm shifte to the world.

Trish: And at the same time, there is a reality that we also need to retrain our nervous systems and that there is truth that in the past when we’ve stepped out, you know, maybe we’ve gotten negative feedback … right now there’s a lot of cancel culture if you don’t say the right word or you don’t do the right thing, right?

Trish: So having that knowing that right now at this time in the world there is a need for being on that edge, and it has some risks to it, but it’s okay, and knowing that there’s other people that are also saying, “Yeah, I’m on this edge with you and we’re experimenting and we’re trying and there is no right way, there’s learning and navigating and experimenting and iteration.”  It is a courageous act and our nervous systems need evidence that we’re not going to die.

Trish: So one of the things is, we can sit around and try not to be afraid about it. But our nervous system has to have an experience where, “Okay, we did this and we didn’t die,” and then our nervous system is like, “Okay, you know, maybe I’ll reset my predictive algorithm that this is how the world works.”

Trish: So being there with each other in a field on the edge saying, “Yeah, there is no right or wrong in this space. This is about learning and experimenting and learning the skills together and then seeing what happens.”  It’s super valuable to the world right now, because right now people are in nervous system hypervigilance and overreaction.  So we need that we need a space where we can also say, “Hey, I’m scared and I’m going to do it anyway,” and hold each other in that. 

Ali: A big part of stepping into impact, doing something, making something, doing something new, shifting something in your life, it is about the mystery. It is about just being in that, on that edge and surfing it.

Ali: As a thought experiment, say you have an idea, or something you want to create in the world or bring into the world. If someone were to sit you down and go, “Okay, here’s exactly what’s going to happen over the next two years as you do this,” and tell you precisely what was going to happen, I think immediately your desire would disappear.

Ali: You’d be like, “Oh, I don’t want to do that. I know exactly what’s going to happen. You sort of ruined it for me, even if the rewards were great.” I think what it’s about is bringing our own uniqueness, our own energy to, to kind of meet that process and meet the mystery.

Ali: And then from that, something new happens. And so we should probably also talk about NonOrdinary Impact and what it actually is that we’re going to be doing. You described it really nicely as a quick start guide.

Ali: We’re not going to completely get a project finished, obviously, in six weeks, but what we thought would be very valuable is to be with a group of people all on the same journey, with us facilitating a process with different elements that we know show up when we’re trying to have an impact and trying to bring something into the world.

Ali: Yeah. That really excites me because even as I think about it now, there’s the mystery of what’s going to show up, what people are going to discover, someone is going to come in with, “Hey, I want to do this thing.” And then by the end of it, they’re like, “No, no, no, but it’s something completely different I need to do.  But I just realized I needed to go through the process of starting with something else.”  There’s all this different possibility, and that’s just really juicy and exciting.

Trish: Yeah. I think both of us have the desire to have a more consistent place where we can gather and be doing this and having momentum building.  Both of us have the desire to say, “Hey, let’s call each other to this new possibility and keep that momentum going.”  So what’s the experience or the quick start or the taster, that it’s more than a taster. It’s an intensive for six weeks, but what’s that spark where you can really feel into the possibilities of this new way, a different way of working?

Trish: And it might be that something really glorious comes out in the first week or two, but the process itself is going to reveal a whole bunch of information. So being able to say, “Okay, for the six weeks, I’m going to really lean in and see what’s there.”  We’re asking people to have a project that they’re working with during that.

Trish: And it can be something that you’re already doing or it can be a big project, or a little desire that you have to have a habit built or something, but working with it, being open to what it informs, in multiple levels, in different contexts besides even that project.  What is it?

Trish: A lot of times when we come together in groups, too, we’re great by ourselves, and then we’re in groups and then all sorts of new stuff comes up. So I get really excited about what those things are that we don’t even know yet in ourselves that are going to be revealed. I think another piece, too, that’s important, is you’ve had a very diverse background.

Trish: I’ve had an entrepreneurial background. I’ve had nine different companies. I’ve had a TV show. I’ve had a publishing company. I’ve had a retail store. There’s been a lot of background that we both bring, and you also have had very much an entrepreneurial– we think about it as a social mission, but you’ve built… why don’t you speak a bit about your background, because you have quite a diverse background as well as what you’re bringing to this course also.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, it is quite diverse. It’s quite funny. My mom called me earlier and she had met some old family friend and she was trying to explain what me and my sister and my brother are all up to now. And then she was like, “How do I describe what you do, Ali?” Ahe was really funny.

Ali: And she’s right. I struggle with it, but my first thing I created with my now wife, Ashleigh, was a meditation school, open meditation, in London. We taught stressed Londoners, and anyone else who wanted to come, and companies and organizations, and specifically had a training called Mindfulness-Based Ideation Training, which is about coming up with new ideas, how to use mindfulness techniques to increase the chances of coming up with useful new ideas in creativity. I also at that time was working in marketing and creative agencies and also event agencies.

Ali: So I have that whole side of production as well, and strategy, which I love, I love strategy. So that was a big part of my life, obviously writing books as well. And starting up Rebel Wisdom with David. That was the first, that was the biggest entrepreneurial, at that time, my biggest entrepreneurial endeavor, and probably the most successful to date.

Ali: And then now I’m in the process of doing another one, which I’m not quite ready to talk about yet, but will perhaps be the biggest so far. And then lots and lots of different collaborations as well. But, this is something that people don’t know about you as well. I know a lot about this, but it’s really fascinating, you have this really rich background, like you mentioned, in all these different areas — might be cool to hear a bit about that, too.

Trish: Yeah. I’d say that there’s been sort of three main paths. One has been sort of the nonordinary spiritual path. And then there was also a lot of learning in my life around relationships and sexuality, which was another interesting journey. And then the third has been entrepreneurism and social, specifically social mission businesses.

Trish: So I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1989. I was doing planet parties in people’s home because I had no money and they were kind of like Tupperware parties, but for weird environmental products back then that nobody had heard of.  I had a big events company with 3 to 5, 000 people that would come in attendance, and a hundred speakers, 150 vendors.

Trish: My story: I had a television show for two years on the ABC network, and I did a lot of consulting and business turnaround stuff. There was a meeting space, I’ve had investors, I’ve raised money, I had a hotel deal that got shut down by the mafia, actually. So there’s been a lot of stuff, stories, but one of the things on that path though, of being a social mission entrepreneur, is really incredible, valuable, complimentary skills and throughout all of it was also the Four Forces.  And in that context, and looking at a lot of the business turnarounds, I had to look at what was going on.

Trish: It wasn’t just about logical steps. It was, “Oh, people are tangled and that’s why the business is failing.” And so there ended up being a lot of crossover with the way that I was coaching and bringing these skills and ideas to businesses as well. And a lot of my private coaches are leaders in the world that have a hard time finding people that understand them because they’re on the edges and they’re bringing something new in.

Trish: And that business aspect, I actually really love the entrepreneurial aspect of things. And I kind of put it on the back burner because people were saying “Trish, stop with the projects and offer your teachings, teach what’s underneath it all.”  I was doing a meeting space, and a big part of the meeting space was I wanted to create an experience for people of these Four Forces at the same time in the meeting space.

Trish: But people kept saying “Why don’t you just lead with that?” So a lot of my clients ask, “Why aren’t you teaching?” But it’s been a journey to shift then into figuring out how to teach it and how to offer it and what do I call it.. and it’s a whole different kind of business. So I’m excited to bring some of that back; if the opportunity shows up between the two of us, I feel like there’s a lot of real world experience that we can also bring in support of people that are doing this quick start, doing the NonOrdinary Impact training.

Ali: Absolutely. And there’ll also be a wealth of experience within the cohort as well, which I think is really valuable, to people having worked in different areas, have different perspectives, there’s something really valuable about that.  You know if someone’s trying to get something off the ground or develop something in, say, economics, that somebody from the education world has a perspective, which at first glance is like, “Oh, how do those things relate?”  But then you realize, “Oh, wow, this is a new angle on a similar problem that is incredibly valuable.”

Trish: Yeah. And it’s not, it’s not for, it’s not just for beginners. If you’re starting out and you have a project, it’s a great place to do that, but also, if you already have something that’s working and you’re an expert in your field, there’s still the possibility of a whole new level, or a new opportunity for adding and enhancing that through others, and through this approach that we’re offering. So to not frame it as both.

Ali: Yeah. There’s always going to be deeper levels of growth that you could be finding and deeper levels of insight, and there’s going to be tangles with people, almost guaranteed, unless there’s some kind of incredible, incredible sage.

Trish: Yeah. So thank you. Thank you so much for having the conversation with me and doing this course with me. And I just feel a lot of gratitude because it’s fun and my happy place to be in this collaboration with you. So thank you, Ali.

Ali: Same here. It’s, it’s always really… exciting is the best word I could find for it really. So yeah. Thank you.