For the last seven years, I’ve been focused on my own development, immersed in learning about change, transformation, consciousness, mindfulness, coaching, psychology, human development, philosophy, spirituality, and writing. Though I’m regularly writing longer essays about many of these themes, much of what I learn, think about, and write never sees the light of day. A while back, I realized I could be sharing more of what I’m learning, be more open about my own transformation, and to help those who want to change along with me.
Welcome to the first issue of Lightwaves, a bi-weekly newsletter exploring conscious and compassionate change.
Lightwaves will examine how we can navigate career and life transitions, develop an expansive understanding of ourselves, build new habits, and sunset old ones. Change is a fundamental feature of the universe—we're all in transition just by being here, as we age, as we experience new things, and as we travel on this living planet. Change pervades the multidimensionality of our lives—home, work, health, spirituality, technology, relationships, leisure, rest, learning, and love—every single day. Lightwaves will share learnings from my own change journey, my coaching, and findings, perspectives, and ideas from my continued research into the fields I mentioned above, to illuminate and nudge us towards new paths, ideas, beliefs, and states of mind. The goal is the same as with my essays, and all of my work: to help you learn about yourself and create a life that’s in deep alignment with who you truly are.
Lightwaves are “the movement of light conceptualized as a wave, defined by such properties as reflection, refraction and dispersion” (Collins). To undergo any change process—such as building a new habit or completely redesigning our lives—we need to shine a light on ourselves and our circumstances, and begin to reflect on what we see, revealing values, patterns, triggers, desires, parts, and inner wisdom. From this place, we can begin to gently step away from our current reality towards a new one that is self authored and authentic. Change doesn’t need to be a tidal wave that happens in one fell swoop and destroys everything in its wake. Change can and should be gradual and patient—this is how nature works, like waves gently rolling over the shoreline tide after tide, day after day, year after year. As time passes, the shoreline is eroded by this gentle waving, new layers of sediment are exposed, and new rock formations are born, a completely new landscape unearthed by the slightest touch.
I've come to realize that focusing on how we change and helping others through transitions is truly my life's work: I've gone through major transitions myself, both in my career from VC to coaching, and personally, coming to sobriety seven years ago. I’ve also logged thousands of hours training and developing myself as a coach. In that capacity, I’ve supported dozens of founders, investors and leaders on their own growth journeys. I’ve also mentored and sponsored a half dozen men in sobriety over the years. I know from experience that change can be hard and scary at times, but it doesn’t need to be so heavy, dark, and lonely. There is a better, kinder, longer-term, and more gentle way to approach our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Lightwaves is about illuminating and celebrating this approach with lightness and levity, to welcome change in consciousness and action.
I hope Lightwaves and the essays I’ll continue to publish inspire you to cultivate self-awareness, make conscious changes in life and work, and foster compassion for yourself and where you are in your journey. If we’re successful in our mission, you’ll know yourself more intimately, create a life that aligns with your deepest values and desires, and appreciate your innate capabilities and wisdom.
In the spirit of change, the format, content and medium of this newsletter will likely evolve, and I genuinely hope you play a part in shaping it alongside me—it’s Lightwaves, not Lightwave, after all! If I’ve learned anything during my own transformation and transitions, it’s nearly impossible to change alone. We are change, individually and collectively. All of you, your ideas and feedback are always welcome here.
Without further ado, welcome to Lightwaves!
🌥️ Alan Watts on Clouds and Mistakes
“Regard yourself as a cloud, in the flesh, because you see, clouds never make mistakes. Did you ever see a cloud that was misshapen? Did you ever see a badly designed wave? No, they always do the right thing. But if you will treat yourself for a while as a cloud or a wave, and realize that you can’t make a mistake whatever you do. Because even if you do something that appears totally disastrous, it will all come out in the wash somehow or another. Then through this capacity you will develop a kind of confidence. And through confidence you will be able to trust your own intuition.”
🍂 The Wisdom of Impermanence
In this phenomenal dharma talk Joseph Goldstein, legendary American Buddhist teacher and author of Mindfulness, explores how seeing impermanence more clearly can reduce our suffering and increase our freedom. The Waking Up App (1 hour)
🎭 We Are Multiple: Discovering The Many Parts of Yourself
Ever feel like you can’t get along with yourself or that you get in your own way? Though not everyone experiences consciousness the same way, it’s very common to hear commentary in your head, feel seemingly contradictory impulses, even like there’s a war going on inside you. Each of us has an internal community of many parts that make us who we are. These parts have specific roles within the system, such as protector, comforter, and motivator—none are “bad,” even the ones you don’t like, and they all serve a purpose. Every part contributes to the whole—our identity. Schlaf.co (23 minutes)
🤔 Embodiment for Thinkers
First, let it be known: it is impossible to not be embodied. You were born naked into this world in a body, gasping for air, crying beneath the glory of the new light. Your body is the vehicle through which you interact and experience life. As you read these words on your phone, laptop, or tablet, you engage your body.My intention is not to portray embodiment as yet another chore that you must add to your morning routine. Furthermore, it’s also not another practice that you don’t have time for—You are already it. Deep Fix (5 minutes)
🔻 The Change Formula
(V X D) + F.S. > R = C. This is a transformational formula originally created by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher, refined by Kathie Dannemiller. Learn about how vision, dissatisfaction and resistance play into your relationship with change. Conscious Leadership Group (15 minutes)
As always, I love to hear from you and get your feedback. Feel free to email me or send me a DM on Twitter to share anything on your mind. What in today’s issue resonated with you? What do you want to see more or less of? Any other suggestions?
Schlaf | Conscious & Compassionate Change
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