I spent the weekend at Esalen at a Byron Katie workshop.
It was an amazing trip, even though I have to say I found Esalen to be a bit of a shithole. I’ve been wanting to go ever since Sofia Manning urged me to go in early 2011, but I didn’t make it until just now. My excitement and expectations were sky-high. And let down.
The food was crap, and I realized about a day in, that the entire place is literally amateur hour. Most people I talked to who work there come from some other background, and ended up doing some job with no particular training in, or love for, the particular work they’re doing.
It seems the place comes from some really great intentions, and if you go into it expecting great nature, and impotent but well-intentioned service, you’ll be in right at home. It wasn’t where I was coming from.
Oh, well. As always, I took the experience as fodder for my own businesses. I’m working on building a retreat center slash hotel slash resort in California, and the only thing about Esalen I’d want to copy is the nature. I learned a ton about how I want my place to be. Thank you, Esalen!
That’s not what I wanted to talk about, though. I wanted to talk about comparison. Something I’ve been very good at, to my own detriment, all of my life.
At some point, this sweet red-haired guy stood up and grabbed the mic and told about how he would frequently compare himself to others and he’d feel bad.
Katie responded, mapping out the uselessness of comparison. No matter how good you get, you can always find someone else to campare yourself to that’s better. And even if you really felt like you needed to be like someone else, where does it stop? The gender? The hair? The name? The mannerisms?
But then came the kicker: Imagine that you simply weren’t capable of comparing yourself to others. That thought simply couldn’t ever arise within you. How would that feel?
When she asked that question, the floor fell out from under me. I could suddenly feel that world. It felt so free. So peaceful. So present, right here. It was like a big chunk of my brain was freed up, ready to pursue something more meaningful, more important, more fun and exciting.
I didn’t even realize how much energy I was still spending comparing myself to others. I used to compare myself all the time and find myself fall short. These days, I tend to find myself doing pretty well most of the time, but apparently I was still comparing. The thought of letting go of all of that and just never compare myself to anyone or anything felt so liberating.
It shifts the perspective completely. From “is this too much? too little? am I good enough? am I being weird? what are they thinking? am I ahead or behind? at this age, how far should I really be?” and on and on and on. To just having my awareness occupy all of the space my body is occupying. Just being here.
It’s hard to describe with words, but if you do the thought experiment with me, I’m sure you’ll feel your own version of this.
So that’s my invitation to you this week: What would life be like if you just weren’t able to compare yourself to anyone?
Hit reply and let me know.
Calvin's Fresh Interviews
Check out my latest interview with Michael of Intuitive Leadership Mastery as we discuss my intuitive naming for profits in business, how I picked my business name and product name using intuition and more about my spiritual journey these past few years! (iTunes)
Calvin's Random Links from around the Interwebs
The most amazing, gorgeous aerial photographs.
New York has a new Office of Night Life. I love that. New York has changed a lot since I first moved here in 1999. It's gotten a lot more prudish. Great to see that this trend might be reversing a bit. As much as I can get enough of the noise in this city, I love that there's so much stuff going on. It's what makes New York. What gets to me is more the traffic and the constructions and the emergency vehicles, not the night life. And I even live on the Lower East Side, possibly one of the busiest night spots in town.
"The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism" Journalism is in deep trouble these days. It's one of the most important things we need to fix as a society if we are to avoid falling apart completely. Are we up for the task? We'll see.