Spiritual awakening and transformational practices

“What wants to happen? I love that question—that it can be asked in any moment if we just let go of the busyness of the mind, and we ask: What’s emerging here?”

- Leon Vanderpol

What wants to happen?

There is an act of faith woven into the question—a surrender to the spirit and life force that moves through us. It is an act of faith because, in asking, we must trust that something deep within us will respond in a way that will ultimately serve us.

The work of transformation is learning to become intimate with that deep voice of inner knowing, the innermost self and soul. Transformational work is not something most of us have been taught—in truth, much of our education in life has conditioned us to feel alienated from the innermost parts of ourselves.

Living from our inner knowing, rather than the ordinary, strategic mind, is a source of vitality and exhilaration. Our inner compass is our most precious navigational tool.

While most of us have never been taught this way of being, we all have the capacity to learn if we are willing to relinquish what we think we know and listen to this new voice.

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In this episode of On Living with Brooke Sprowl, we invited Leon Vanderpol, founder of the Center of Transformational Coaching and author of A Shift in Being: The Art and Practices of Deep Transformational Coaching, to sit with us and share his insight into non-religious transformational practices.

His presence and work offer a grounded approach to spirituality rooted in the everyday experience. This conversation was a reminder that every task, moment, and relationship can open up a new kind of consciousness and soulfulness when we move slow enough to listen to our inner wisdom and allow life to lead us.

During the interview, Leon and I discuss a variety of transformative practices, but we’ve highlighted a few here as a cheat sheet to get you started.

One important element of transformation is questioning your beliefs, deprogramming your conditioned habits of mind, and allowing the parts of you that are not serving you to fall away.

Often, many of the beliefs that we’ve built our identities around are not our own—they are inherited beliefs passed onto us through our families, religions, and cultures.

Some of these beliefs can house the wisdom we need to thrive or protect ourselves, and some of these beliefs can separate us from our perception of our own values and experiences, making it difficult for us to stay connected with our own bodily wisdom and intuitive knowing.

We question these conditioned beliefs, not because they are wrong, but because doing so allows us to approach life in a way that is more vast than what we have known previously—to access a deeper, richer, and more vital consciousness.

Questioning our conditioned beliefs and adopting this new mindset empowers us to reclaim our choice, step into new ways of being, and allow us to access infinitely more information than the conscious mind can process on its own. (The conscious mind processed 40 bits of information per second. The unconscious mind? 11 million).

After close examination, we can choose which beliefs to hold close and which to let go. There is choice, and there is also something autonomous unfolding within us whose truth will organically break down all of the conditioned beliefs that do not also have truth woven deeply into their composition.

Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and present moment awareness.

Begin your journey -placeholder

To begin the transformational work of deprogramming your conditioned beliefs, start by determining what some of your beliefs are and reflecting on them. Generate a list: What do you believe about how you work? How others work? How life works?

Then, think critically about each one: In what ways does each belief move through you as you interact in the world? How do these beliefs support you and how do they limit you? What feelings do they generate in you? How do they impact other people who live in your sphere of influence?

Transformational work does not happen in a silo. So much of it happens through our relationships. Discuss your reflections with a trusted person in your life and, as you do, notice what naturally emerges in that conversation.

In the episode, Leon and I discuss how difficult it can be to recognize the voice of soul amongst the cacophony of voices that play themselves out in our minds. Leon suggests a facilitative technique he learned from Genpo Roshi, a Buddhist teacher and philosopher, that allows an individual or group of people to differentiate amongst the voices, called Finding Your Big Mind.

Start by calling forth the voices that live in a lower dimension, such as Critic, Skeptic, Doubt, etc. and follow with a statement that each specific voice would say in your mind.

Notice that you can discern these voices from each other and that each one has its own sound or texture. Then, move to voices of a higher dimension: Joy, Love, Harmony, Fairness, Responsibility, Peace. Learning to discern amongst the voices in our head allows each voice to evolve and allows us to better choose which to give authority to.

Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and present moment awareness.

Shadow work

Another important element of transformative practice is Shadow Work. Shadow work is relating to the parts of ourselves that we would prefer to keep tucked away into the shadows—the parts of us that are ugly, that we repress, or that we hide from ourselves and others.

But to transform our relationship with life, we must love all of who we are, and our shadows are an important aspect of that wholeness. By working with our shadows, we uncover deep truths that allow us to see ourselves wholly and to have a more grounded understanding of the parts of us that are light.

Transformation often happens in the lessons we learn when we relate with our shadows. Shadow work cannot be bypassed. To engage with it is an act of spiritual integrity: when we look at ourselves honestly, we honor all of existence, and we can do so without judgment or shame.

Journaling and meditation are great tools for beginning to relate with your shadows. Ask yourself: What can I be honest about with myself today? What is bringing me to life? What is limiting or draining me? Where is my energy drawn?

When exploring a response, bring in a sense of neutrality and forgiveness. Notice any judgements that arise, breathe through them, and let them go.

Reclaiming Soulful Living Retreat

Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and presence.

Tulum, Mexico - April 10-15

The art of letting go -placeholder

Though it may be difficult to hold onto in the moment, remember that there is beauty even in the mess. There is humanity in it. We are all shadow and light together. When you integrate your shadow, you actually expand your capacity for light, compassion, and kindness by becoming acquainted with what makes us all collectively and intimately human.

Slowness is another essential practice for transformation. The soul has an agenda of its own, and for it to emerge, it needs vast expanses of time and space distant from our own agendas.

Most of soul-work happens far beneath the surface. Slowness allows us to redistribute our energy to the soul-work that is happening underground. When we slow down, our soul has the time it needs to deconstruct what isn’t working and reconstruct something new. It allows us the chance to practice discernment and deep listening.

Carve intentional moments of your day where your life can be unplanned. In those moments, ask what wants to happen? And then listen to the guidance.

Slow down the daily rituals of your life, such as eating, walking, or washing the dishes so that you may participate consciously. As Yeats said:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

This requires slowness. Without it, you don’t even realize how much you miss.

Notice the voice in your head that tells you that you don’t have enough time. Learn to discern that voice. Then, find the one that tells you that you have all the time you need.

Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and present moment awareness.

Trust is #1 -placeholder

Of all these tools, trust is foundational. Transformational work is an act of faith. Even in the moments when it becomes hard to feel as if we are transforming, we can trust that the underground self is working in ways we can’t always see. We can trust that there is something unfolding deep within us and that we are worthy of it doing so.

While on our spiritual journey, we experience times where we break down. The breakdown is an important part of the journey, if engaged with properly, because it inevitably catalyzes our breakthrough.


But there are also times that the breakdown becomes overwhelming, and it can become difficult to see how to transform it. This is why transformational work does not happen alone. We all need someone in these moments to help us be guided through.


And that’s why My LA Therapy exists: to support you in doing just that.

Join Our Transformational Retreat

Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and present moment awareness.

Tulum, Mexico - April 10-15

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Reclaiming Soulful Living Retreat


Reclaiming Soulful Living:
Cultivating Awe, Beauty, and Present Moment Awareness


Tulum, Mexico - April 10-15​


On this week’s episode of Waking Up with Brooke Sprowl, Leon Vanderpol and I dive into an exploration of soul-work through a variety of transformative practices.

Listen by clicking the link below:

Listen to this podcast on:

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Reclaiming Soulful Living:
Cultivating Awe, Beauty, and Present Moment Awareness


Tulum, Mexico - April 10-15​



well thank you for this invitation  very much looking forward to what   this conversation will bring for all those listening mm-hmm yeah so leon and i before the  


call just did a little grounding breathing and for me just kind of checking in with you know  


what wants to happen in leon’s  words you know as we surrender to  some of the the deep transformational work  um we begin to invite what wants to happen 


rather than our predetermined ideas and  so you know as we explore this liam and 


i spoke about being sort of experiential  and and playing around with that so 


we we are starting there  yeah a good place to start 


what wants to happen i love that question  right that it can be asked in any moment 


if we just let go of the busyness of the mind  for a moment and just rest and we ask okay so 


in this moment what wants to happen in me  what’s that experience i may be desiring 


or in the situation around me what’s emerging  here there feels like there’s an act of faith 


in that question right like there’s this  surrender um to what is rather than the coercive 


imposition of our will onto what is and  for me that’s really a big part of the 


essence of faith which feels a lot like a free  fall is you know just that that what wants to 


happen not what i want to happen what wants  to happen in this other person in relation   to me in life and spirit kind of all of these forces together  


you know how do i just tune into that rather  than imposing my narrow-minded ideas about 


what should be yeah that’s exactly it  i mean i could not have said it better 


that’s the way it is it’s about my will  i want this to happen i have this goal 


or this desire or this need or this want  and i go for it and it’s sometimes at 


the expense or of whatever is  happening around me because i’m 


focused on making that happen and just loosening  that a bit letting that drop so that we can 


i use the word attune attune to so what  is happening around me of which i’m a part 


that is trying to emerge through me  so there’s this sense of partnership 


with life that happens where i’m no longer  as you said imposing but partnering with 


yes that changes the whole game  yes and i like to think of it as   a conversation like when you start to tune into spirit you start to feel like the world  


is speaking to you and everything  is speaking to you and there’s this  dynamic relationship with the world and  with spirit and sometimes i use the word  


god it’s i don’t mean it with any religious you know connotations   it’s just sort of a placeholder for spirit or different words that we might use the universe you  


know sometimes i use these words interchangeably um but for me it’s like oh that’s really  


interesting this dynamic relationship with the universe in which it no longer  


feels like this sort of desold you know material empty meaningless place and i’m this  


lonely isolated you know consciousness trapped in a body  


all of a sudden it’s like there’s this  non-dual consciousness that emerges as 


we engage in this surrender and at the essence  of that for me leon and this is where you know i 


have you know participated in the um  deep transformational coaching intensive   and it was so eye-opening for me it felt like this crystallization of work that i’ve  


done over my lifetime of learning which voice to listen to and   your emphasis on trusting your inner knowing um really crystallized lessons from 


many years and what i’ve found is that  this act of self-trust is also an act of 


faith and it’s all or it’s the  essence of faith and it’s also an   act of self-healing when i trust myself i’m actually healing myself at the same time  


because i’m saying i’m not sure why that  is but i believe it to be true so i’ll  let you jump in there yeah it’s perfect  and i’ve noticed from that self-trust 


space there’s an extension to  what we could call trust in life 


yes do i trust in life life has you know this is  the thought life has let me down so many times 


life continues to let me down there  have been things inflicted upon me   harms disappointments traumas life lets me down what is to trust in life  


and so when we end up there of course there’s a guarding   and that’s very much then when it’s  easier to just say well i might as well 


just i i know that okay i can trust myself to  some degree but i don’t really trust other people 


so i can count on me but i can’t  count on others i can’t count on life   but there is actually not that much self-trust that’s the illusion  


it might seem like well i’m the only one i  can count on but it’s actually not a truth 


the truth is that they’re in there  somewhere is a trust a lack of trust   in self a really deep profound lack of trust in self and that extends  


into a lack of trust in life exactly when that melts then   then the whole thing becomes kind of unified  i begin to trust in myself truly deeply in my 


knowing as you said and that extends then  into okay this thing called life how does   it work to support me how do i work to support it and we begin to kind of  


reflect into that unified way of living and the and then we start to experience it  


and then the trust grows yes  internal and external trust in itself 


like others yeah there’s this reciprocity  this mutual kind of these feedback loops  


that start to develop as we do this kind of work   and uh oh gosh that was just thinking  as you were speaking about that oh the 


the reflection principle is uh an  idea that i’ve been playing around   with and it’s it’s sort of similar to that old saying as within so without as above so below  


and it’s kind of what you’re hearkening  to here it’s like the things that we  project onto the outside world are  really just a reflection of what’s  


happening internally so if we can start to see life i sometimes like to think   of it as a little bit of a video game if  we can start to see life as this game the 


the series of obstacles and  tests that are actually for our   our growth for our edification for our development for our ability to transcend  


and become greater than we can possibly imagine um there’s this there there’s  


this dynamic like reflection principle is what i call it there’s this way in which  


everything outside of us is reflecting  what’s inside of us and if we can engage  with it that way there’s these rich  opportunities and our challenges  


rather than life’s out to get me i need to protect myself that guarding thing that   you were talking about that distrust  itself distrust another and then that 


becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy  yeah and it’s also extremely draining 


yes as a way to live right your energy  your vital life energy just gets lost 


in the process life becomes hard heavy exhausting  there’s stress anxiety worry fear all of 


that just kind of compiles within when all  that trust and that unity feeling is is gone  


and then it has to be regained to what you’re calling   the reflection principle as you said beginning  with the thought okay maybe all of this has 


a greater meaning for me maybe this is all some  kind of a lesson that is here for me to learn 


about myself about the nature of  life about the way it actually   functions beyond my very narrow understanding of it or what i’ve been taught by others to believe  


is true or not true about life and  if we can lean in just a little bit  and yeah as you said look for that well what is  that that lesson what is it that this is here to 


teach me about me or about my relationship  with others just in that moment there’s a gap 


a gap of potential and if we can go into  that gap we’ll notice it really opens up 


a whole new world of possibility that  we may not ever see where we’re kind   of locked into that framework of the matrix this is hard this is  


heavy this is yeah the matrix that matrix yeah it reminds me of a line of poetry i  


wrote recently offer your heart to the  unknown it is just stating within you a  life larger than you can dream um i’ve just i’ve  just begun to cultivate a relationship to my own 


limitations and what i can’t see and to find home in that because i can rely  


on my own inner knowing but this brings me to an interesting point where there’s   some divergence in our expertise and  skill sets that comes up for me because 


you know i wasn’t prepared for this  work i don’t think i don’t think that i   if i had you know even found you a year previously i don’t think i could have  


i don’t know that this is true but i’m not  sure i could have engaged with your work  in the same way i had a lot of shadow  integration to do i had a lot of  


and your work really allows the space for that actually so i’m not sure that this is  


entirely true but there was a way in which   i needed a lot of permission and reassurance that and i think that i personally needed a lot  


of scaffolding to understand kind of  the shadow elements of my experience  before i was really ready to engage with  your work in such a transformational way 


and i think it would have been transformational  at any point in my journey but perhaps it’s just 


at the particular moment that i you know  began the deep coaching intensive and read   your book it was i was so ready for it it was just like pow it felt like  


this very you know what’s interesting for me is that one of the practices that’s been most helpful   for me is slowness but it felt like such a quick i didn’t expect it it’s like it felt like such a  


wow i’ve been i’ve been seeking like you know what’s the modality for what’s the   spiritual community what’s the peak  experience what’s the mystic how do i 


what are the practices and i’ve  like experimented and dabbled with   hundreds of different transformational and uh you know different kind of religious and spiritual  


practices and none of it felt  authentic to me until i read your book  and i was like this is so simple and i still  get this it’s like the same experience of an 


altered state but an altered state is  like a compressed compacted version 


and this is like a slow grounded like  it’s the same experience without the 


being out of your kind of ordinary consciousness  you you’re out of ordinary consciousness 


but you’re still grounded in your work in a  way that a lot of the mystical and spiritual 


practices that allow you to glimpse that just  they don’t keep you on the ground a lot of the  


time that’s like the opposite of what they’re designed for   and they’re sort of i think designed as as  like a compass like hey there’s this thing over 


here have this experience and then go  find out how to actually get this into 


your daily life but i think a lot of  people become like peak experience   seekers in a way and that’s sort of kind of what i was grappling with it’s like  


how do i find a sustainable version  of this i know this is real i’m having  these experiences they’re quite  profound and yet it’s not sustainable to  


be altered all the time right no no and you hear about the mystics   that have had such enlightening experiences  and they’re basically dysfunctional for 


a couple of years as they learn to  integrate that enlightened state   of awareness into just daily doings because so much can fall away like the desire to care  


for the body or eat drink so i’ve never myself chased those experiences they never  


maybe it was that they did they seemed  out of reach they seemed greatly  impractical and i never went about thinking  maybe i should travel to india and go to an 


ashram and sit there for nine months  until i have that experience yeah there   must be some guru that can take me there i never had that i was always much more  


attracted to the idea of well you called  it an altered state yeah an altered  state by this functional altered state  yes where i am maintaining in this lived 


material reality a very functional way of being  yeah but one that is it is let’s call it the 


altered state i like to use sometimes the term the  the 5d world it’s this altered dimension yes which 


functions very differently than  that more we’ll call it 3d world   it’s actually our 4d world time in space but that world where everything seems very solid  


and immutable where laws seem very entrenched and then we move to this new paradigm  


and recognize that a lot of what we’ve  been taught is just of that world and  not of a greater more expansive reality and  if we can tap into that not really is the  


exciting journey for people is realizing i can tap into that   that there is more that is possible in and  through me i don’t necessarily understand it but 


i can go about finding it but  keeping our feet really on the ground   deeply grounded in the world as it is and that’s been my issue as i i was the  


person kind of looking for the guru and  looking for the you know magical thing  that was gonna you know help me become enlightened  and what was so refreshing about finding you 


as i shared with you when we first met is i  wasn’t getting any of the weird narcissistic   cult leader vibes which is rare  


okay that’s a good that’s a good first start   and then your work is just so ground  it’s not like i have a real objection to 


the kind of new age culture that is very  head in the clouds without feet on the ground 


it feels wishy-washy and it’s not that  they’re not hearkening to some truth or   or grasping and you know expressing an element of truth but there’s something  


missing from the picture that makes me  feel really unsafe in those communities  because it’s so love and light and there’s  no room for the shadow and it’s also it’s  


almost like it’s your fault if your life isn’t going i don’t know there’s like this there’s a lot   of weirdness to that culture and then there’s that  guru thing that like there’s this guru echolite 


sort of dynamic that’s the the  narcissism thing i was talking to   so in any case i’ve i was so struck when i read your work it was like this is so  


this is feet on the ground this is so deeply grounded and practical there’s no  


weird i have to do this breath work and  i have to say this mantra or whatever  like focus yeah the magic is there that’s  what’s so striking because that’s what i’ve been 


longing for for so long it’s like  okay i know i can get an altered state   but that’s not i don’t want a temporary altered state i want to enter into this  


non-ordinary reality as the shamans call it um in a way that i can actually  


you know function as you say in the world and so many spiritual people  


you know it’s hard it’s a hard balance because i do notice when i’m spiritually inspired   it is difficult to stay grounded  sometimes because it’s very you know 


it’s intense it can be overwhelming it can also  be very calm but sometimes it can be activating 


because it’s you know it’s a lot of energy  well just noticing that a lot of people are  


they’re called to serve the world in some way there’s a desire to help the   world many like i was saying people on  the spiritual path or people who are at 


least into personal growth and development  there’s a there’s a desire to really be 


in the world and to help the world through  whatever work talent passion they have 


and they can get very disheartened by what they  see on the news and so what i find about this   let’s just call it the feet on the ground  


reality where we’re still operating  in this altered state of of being an  awareness where we’re beginning to understand  the this this thing called the unified field 


where life and us are not separate but one  how do we support and work with is that it 


allows us to be much more of support  in the world like we begin to 


not just want to do it but because  it’s such a practical way of existence 


it is happening it just begins to  happen our work starts to take on 


meaning and matter it becomes in itself  very fulfilling and satisfying no matter 


what work we do that’s the beauty  of it we start to find that   the form of the work matters a bit less because i’m now able to recognize that  


i am here to partner with life and  this is what life has in this moment  brought me to this is the circumstance there’s  part of me that might say i don’t like it 


but when we can let go of that just a  little enough to like okay so but what   wants to happen here i move back into partnership i recognize that where i am  


is the perfect place for me to be there’s a lesson here for me to learn   there’s a way for me to begin to serve  yes to find meaning and fulfillment in 


my work and that doesn’t again mean that you  love every aspect of your life whether it’s all   perfect there’s going to be a journey of reshaping  


the world around you to reflect more of  that emerging inner experience and the  more that inner experience  becomes joyful meaningful lightful 


so by almost magic does the world  around you when you’re in partnership   with it but as you said earlier there is that shadow side piece we have to attend to  


if we’re not actively seeking to look at   all of that which keeps us from these more  expansive let’s call them enlightened states of 


awareness i mean really do the work no bypassing  do the work then the movement into these other 


experiential states is far more  natural but also accelerated yes but if 


we’re just bypassing it like if i just sit here  long enough i’ll be enlightened and somehow   i just hold that today magically disappears right  


my ego is magically healed yeah i don’t  actually have to look at myself or take any  responsibility or feel anything i’ll  just be yeah no i just got to get there 


yeah exactly so this brings us to the  concept of the perfect functionality of 


dysfunction which is very similar to something  that i’ve written about which or and thought 


about that i call transformative destruction  so why don’t you share how you define um the  


perfect functionality of dysfunction and   the transformative dysfunction or destruction transformative destruction you said  


yeah that sounds about right the perfect functionality of   dysfunction simply means that when  people do decide to really lean into 


the work of personal transformation  which is to really go in and look at that   way that we’ve been conditioned really conditioned we  


we just underestimate the scale of the  conditioning that we’ve taken in but if  we’re really willing to look at that condition  part of ourselves that said this is the way the  


world is and this is what you should believe this is what you should value this is how it should   be structured if you do that you’ll  be safe and secure you’ll make it 


you’ll be successful whatever if you’re willing  to look at that really question it as valid 


and begin to entertain perhaps some  other ways of perceiving and thinking 


there is naturally going to be a kind of  inner conflict between these two worlds   these two value sets these two ways of perceiving and that conflict is going to  


create a breakdown because you will start to say i’m not valuing this anymore this is something  


i was taught i never chose it  in fact i think it’s a bunch of  baloney but i don’t yet know what i’m  choosing either i don’t really know  


what i’m saying yes to i just say oh i’m saying no to that so this is the beginning of a kind of   breakdown which can feel internally confusing disorienting there’s trepidation there  


and that feels dysfunctional because the known world the   world that i’ve known my whole life within  me is now cracking and breaking and falling 


into pieces that can’t be right this  can’t be right there’s something wrong 


so we try to cobble it together in  some kind of way but some way we   know that cobbling it back together is not the way forward but we don’t really know  


the way forward so we’re in that dysfunction  but i see that’s the functional part is that  that’s that’s the function of it that’s the  function of transformation there’s a breakdown 


emergence of something that’s more  authentic and real exactly i think   of it as you know we have to wreck the old you know structure to build something new that’s  


you know can hold more that can that can go higher um and it’s an iterative it’s an iterative process  


right it’s it’s something that keeps emerging in different forms throughout our lives and we can  


sort of learn to have faith in the  process even in those moments and  you know of the dysfunction or the destruction  


and i think it’s you know it’s a really  old mythological idea death and rebirth  the phoenix from the ashes um jesus on  the cross you know all of these are you 


know mythological representations of  this age-old process of refining our 


character and finding transcendence  that’s what all of those images represent   and yet i feel like we’ve sort of lost the language of the spirit in our  


modern culture in the post-scientific  revolution we’ve been taught to think of  our ourselves as lonely consciousness  you know trapped in a body you know 


separate from the world and throughout  history that’s not the way that people   experience themselves that’s actually a framing that we’ve adopted and we’ve  


we’ve created this operating system that is actually we don’t even realize it’s  


not our own because it’s it’s so deeply  ingrained and so i think your work you  know for me personally has allowed me  which i’ve longed for for so long and 


like i said i’m just like you know i’ve  been in the transformation space for   a long time so it’s not like i haven’t  tried stuff before and things have been 


helpful it’s not just this is what is it stage  four is it stage three or stage four in the um 


the stages is it i can’t remember  the stages the six six stages of real   real power or personal power yes yes yeah the stage of real transformative work seems to be  


what we call stage four power by  reflection which simply means that  there’s going to be a period where  we move from the known world into the  


unknown world where we have to go in and do that reflective work in ourselves and  


that’s the part that is deeply transformative but also   the part that feels deeply dysfunctional  until we’ve started to learn the ways of 


this new paradigm this altered state of  reality which has its own dynamics and 


patterns and ways of existing in it but  it’s not something that’s taught to us up   front we didn’t go to school and get taught patterns of transformation  


you get taught patterns of you know the  5d world so to speak we were just taught  to live in this 3d world to  succeed to get the grades to  


whatever so we don’t know this so this feels that dysfunction again you mentioned the destruction  


of it because it is a kind of destruction and i and i just want to say for me it’s not that we   have to go about with a sledgehammer and tear down everything we’ve been taught it it’s more  


organic than that it’s kind of  happening of its own volition as a  natural part of transformative yeah  yeah life just will naturally present us 


with the lessons the precise lessons  that we need you know in order to 


transform and become the best  versions of ourselves and that’s   the idea of the reflection principle you know eckhart tolle says rock oh  


no this is jk rowling rock bottom  became the solid ground on which  i built my life um and eckhart tolle says every  challenge is a disguised opportunity for salvation 


it’s kind of the idea behind the  obstacle is the way isn’t it yeah   even eckhart tolle wrote i think at the beginning of power of now  


something about the night of his well let’s  call it enlightened transcendent experience 


was a night of suicidal thoughts  wow of wanting to end his life 


so you know at that moment he was rock  bottom now it’s hard to know what was the 


catalyst for that extraordinary shift  most of us don’t go through such great   evolutionary leaps within the span of an evening and those who do he spent two years  


on a park bench apparently just trying  to integrate the what just happened  so you can see it’s a little disorienting but  frankly most of us it’s a more gradual journey 


but we have to really pay attention to the journey  we we and we still have to live our lives like 


it’s kind of like this everyday awakening kind of  thing like how do i awaken how do i live into this 


when i’ve got bills to pay food  to buy cook yeah all of the the 


things of life weighing on me why do i have to  eat it’s like a lot of time and energy it’s really 


exactly oh i got to do the dishes  again you know these things exist 


for all of us and so how do we attend  to this deep you know inner movement 


at the same time as we have all of this  worldly stuff that we’re responsible for 


to continue so that we you know we honor  that because it’s part of our life so again 


this is why feet on the ground feels so  right for me and it is right for so many   because it’s not about having the luxury to just pick up and  


you know travel to some ashrams  somewhere and do the work there  yes it has to happen here and  this brings me to something that  


you know it’ll be hard to talk about on this call because it’s a very visual model but something   i’ve been working on for a while and i’d  love to have you look at at some point 


is what i call coherence theory and the  idea is that integrity is fractal right 


like integrity the smallest moment  of our day is reflective of you know 


the largest kind of like this few of our lives are  refl are reflected in each moment of our day and 


kind of at every scale in between and  so you know there’s this way in which   we try to bypass we try to skip steps we try to get out of jail free so to speak  


and it always comes to bite us in one  way or another and that’s these lessons  that life keeps presenting us is like  no no you’re still not in integrity  


gotta gotta look at this gotta integrate that gotta you know you can dodge that here but  


it’s coming back over here and so you  know my sense and this goes back to  what you said about kind of the acceleration  which is you know a word i’ve used around it  


it’s almost like there’s a gravitational pull to integrity and as we bring each element of our   lives into greater integrity there’s  this like self optimizing it’s 


almost like an algorithm that teaches  itself you know things that we don’t   even know how like we we start to like learn and experience things that we don’t  


feel like we’re do like the ordinary  strategic mind isn’t doing it’s  more like that spirit that life moving  through us and you know like when i  


write poetry for example i don’t it almost doesn’t feel there’s no effort   it just feels like it’s flowing through  me and there’s more and more as i engage 


with you know your work and your practices and  and like live into this this experience that 


we’re talking about more and more  elements of life just feel like   i’m simultaneously falling and flying it’s quite a remarkable experience and all the old  


cliches about faith and you know what’s the uh the all the you know falling flying  


i don’t know jumping off a cliff and then finding the net a leap in the net will appear all   these sayings that i’m forgetting right now you  know all of them just like you’re like oh that’s 


what they were talking about and that’s  what’s been so powerful for me is i knew   all of these things were possible but  until i read your book i didn’t know how 


to live them out and until i you know  and it was also your book and it was also   really working with you know you and i had a session monica and  


i had a session carolina as my coach  through dci really through the it was the  combination of the the book and the  you know the actual practical sessions 


that really just crystallized all of  this for me of i can really trust that   inner knowing i don’t have to keep yes i’ll i have the metacognitive  


skills to reflect step outside  of myself look at myself honestly  but that doesn’t mean i have to constantly  put the voice of the strategic ordinary 


consciousness on the same footing with  my inner knowing because the only things   i’ve ever regretted in life are things that i’ve done from up here david white  


uh who as i said is a mentor of mine someone who’s really inspired and helped me  


in in crystallizing this work and um kind of living out his unique destiny   in the world has really helped me feel  permission to do the same myself so 


he’s a poet and a speaker and just  uh really really admire his work and   he says you know whether the soul fails or succeeds it doesn’t care it only cares that  


it did in its own way that it you know the soul only cares that it it it was living  


its own unique journey it doesn’t you  know the outcome isn’t relevant and that 


you know is really what i feel i don’t  i’m no longer i used to be so like   this has to go this way and you’re just always trying to force an outcome  


whenever we’re coercive about things  it’s it never actually it it serves the  opposite purpose of what we intend typically  right so there’s this you know as i kind of 


realized how much that wasn’t working in  the perfect functionality of dysfunction and   transformative destruction you know it was like oh this isn’t working let me  


you know let me reevaluate this and the more i started to just surrender to   and listen to the inner knowing however  crazy and irrational it seemed you know 


while still you know again reflecting  it’s not like we we lose all reason or   anything but just learning which voice to listen to has been one of the most  


healing and transformative experiences of my life because i used to just not know which one’s the  


right one so one of the things that i learned some years about which was an interesting way of   hearing kind of all those voices in  our head that we have competing for our 


attention you know you’re talking  about hearing the voice of the soul   and i’ve noticed that many people really can’t discern that voice  


amidst the endless cacophony of voices  that play out in their minds and so this 


technique from gempo roshi he’s  a buddhist teacher philosopher 


brought forth an old buddhist technique  i think his book is called big   big mind big heart but it’s a facilitative technique you can do with an individual or  


you can do it with a group and  so basically the idea is that  you start with the kind of what he calls the  lower mind voices where you just call it forth  


so let’s say for example the voice of the critic   so you invite everybody in the room  to speak from the voice of the critic 


within them and sure enough everybody can  quite readily access the voice of the critic 


and speak from it nobody in the room is not  speaking everybody’s speaking and we all 


see not only do i have that voice but so does  everybody hear they’ve all got a critic voice 


he then can call forth the voice of  the skeptic or the voice of the doubter 


or the voice of anger whatever it  might be and just keep inviting   people to speak from that voice speak from that voice so we’re being consciously invited to find  


that voice give it voice and to notice it’s different from say that voice or that voice  


you can even invite in say the voice  of your father the voice of your mother  anyone that had an influence upon you as  a child whose thoughts perhaps are still 


underlining the way that you  live and think about life   and to speak from that voice i  think oh that that’s the voice 


of my father coming through right that’s  the voice of my mother and them saying this   this this and this about me so you can access these different voices  


this is a really valuable technique  because again we’re learning to discern  and i noticed one day i was sitting in my car  and just thinking about whatever and then it was 


that’s that voice that’s the voice of that  part of me and now i see it it wasn’t just 


autopilot anymore just a thought passing through  that i’m now feeling tense around something 


that i was automatically criticizing or  judging that’s the voice of that okay   that helped then he calls forth the bigger mind voices which are say the  


voice of the higher self the voice of  spirit the voice of great joy the voice  of great love and invites us to begin to speak  from those voices so let’s call forth the 


voice of great joy speak from that it takes a  moment for people to access it sometimes but then 


they finally access it it’s like yeah  i too in me have the voice of great joy   i have the voice of harmony the voice of great love so these are the big mind big  


heart voices that we have in us but often get buried amongst let’s call   them the more egoic uh lower mind voices that can dominate and so ultimately it comes to  


this point well how do we access  the voice of the soul and live  more from that because as you were  saying when you live in relationship to 


and in harmony with the soul it  doesn’t matter what you were doing   so much it was i was there with it and whether i was doing something  


mundane and routine like cleaning the  toilet or whether i was serving a client 


in my practice i was with that part of me because  i know that part of me and that part of me 


is allowed to shine forth at any moment  in my day but if you’re not connected   to the voice of the soul or great joy or great love and we don’t recognize it as an  


endless potential that’s always there we just get trapped in the regular flow of thought  


so let’s call fourth great joy what  does great joy sound like a great  love great soul i love giving force yeah  that’s so interesting the parallels between 


traditional psychology and  these old psycho-spiritual   you know psychotechnologies as they are called sometimes because i mean really modern-day  


psychology is an extension of these  old spiritual traditions and the  more it evolves it just comes right back  to the where it started right and so you  


know so much of what you’re talking about is work that i do with clients   in terms of discerning whose voice is  that but more recently i’ve been studying 


internal family systems therapy which is also  you know parts work and it’s almost identical  


to the process that you talked about with big mind big heart   you know calling forth different aspects  of the self speaking with them asking them 


questions getting to know them understanding each  of our parts has a positive intention even if they   sometimes have negative consequences but there’s always a positive intent between  


all of our quality of parts that it’s  normal to have different parts and then  they call self-energy like the soul  you know what you and i might call soul  


and and um sometimes you know my clients and i call it like soul self you know kind of   this merger of like the higher self  and the soul um but you know it’s 


different language sometimes but it’s  a lot of just the same truths and the   same processes um and that self energy is the playful creative you know just joy it’s it’s the  


real authentic the true self right is is the way that us frames it and uh so  


yeah what you said i also was struck by um you know you said it’s always   there that great joy or that harmony that’s  always there you know it’s kind of like all the 


parts of ourselves are always there i  just created a little video that i call   the symphony of selves and it’s like when we can hold kind of all of the  


plurality of our parts you know the  symphony of selves as one great you know 


piece of music as opposed to this is bad  this is good you know this is the face i   show this is the face i hide you know um you start to see that there’s beauty kind  


of in all of your different faces  even though you know some are not  pleasant and some are painful but they they  all have some kind of constructive purpose  


when we really take the time to listen to them and there’s a real transmutation   when we engage with ourselves in ways that are you know invite  


understanding and curiosity of our  different parts rather than this is bad  i need to make it go away what’s  paradoxical right like the more we  


try to shun those parts the more they sort of get locked in a closet and   become funeral you know and then when  we invite them and come into the living 


room have some tea let’s let me get to know  you it’s like they they grow they can grow 


up but they can’t actually get their needs  met they become you know like developmentally   stunted when we when we keep them aside and so this  


this invitation this communication  this welcome of all of the shadow is a  necessary aspect of this you know ability  to engage spiritually in the process of  


faith and orchestration that we’ve been talking about   and that’s what’s challenging sometimes  in these conversations we sometimes just 


have this tendency to emphasize oh how  great it is to have this experience   of this five-dimensional reality and you know and it is it’s all beautiful and also  


you know sometimes i’m paralyzed like sometimes i mean i’m in the destruction sometimes i’m in  


the death part of the rebirth so it’s  easy to talk about it sort of from  the mountaintop and to kind of not that we not  that we have but i i don’t want to gloss over how 


um ugly it is sometimes how pain really  painful it is and then people don’t need to see 


themselves as broken because they’re  in pain that actually as you say it’s   perfectly functional it’s a necessary part of transformation transformation  


cannot happen without certain aspects of  us dying so that they can be reimagined  reconstructed optimized it’s like  it’s like an operating system on  


your computer if we keep the same operating system forever you know things are gradually   going to become obsolete we have to be constantly updating our internal operating systems and  


that process is really from my  perspective the a process that  is defines our character am i willing  to face life and be changed by it am i 


willing to you know engage with  life and such in this relational way 


um that allows me to be constantly upgrading so  that i am you know more and more equipped to face 


my own terror to face my own limitations  to face my own weakness to face my   shadow to face my paralysis to face all of these parts you know if i engage with  


them in a you know in this way they have this transmutative power and yet at the end of  


that transmutation it can be easy to go oh yeah you   know now i’m over here and that yes it’s very easy to forget what what it took  


to get there very easy to forget right all the struggle and challenge and heartache and  


frustration disappointment that it can  take to move beyond all of that into  that place where those pieces no  longer have much of a grip and not  


much of life’s energy is is lost to them but a tremendous amount of time and energy is given  


to them to arrive there and there’s nothing wrong with that like as you said that’s the  


functionality of it it’s the nature of the journey and if we can really accept it and as you said  


the symphony of selves comes into  that except that full kaleidoscope  of selves that we are then that eases the path  it doesn’t make it easy it doesn’t make it 


straightforward but it eases things  because there’s less resistance built   into the system to a natural process of change yes it just reminds me of i i’ve  


hiked half dome three times and it’s almost like you you look back on it’s like a 20   mile hike in northern california you  look back on hiking halftime you go oh 


the view and it was so amazing and you laugh  at all the moments that were hard and you   you know you tell stories and it’s all like rosy in retrospect  


and then but like and then you’re on it  again and you’re like what the hell was  i thinking like getting on this yeah before like how did i forget this part yeah yeah  


you know and that’s where the  cultivation with you know of trust and  faith you trust in life trust and  self trust in others and and the faith  


that emerges from that is a result of like okay i’ve been here before i know i can you   know i know i’ll be on the other side where i’m  telling the story that it was you know not so bad 


um but in this moment it’s really okay  and this is i think the thing that you 


know is important to pause on and just  remind ourselves and remind others of like   it’s really okay when you’re in the breakdown the breakdown is a vital  


element of the breakthrough it’s like  whenever i think i’m stuck and i it 


never feels this way i mean it rarely  feels this way again i’m cultivating   more faith in it but in the moment it’s like i’m just stuck these are my only  


options none of them are working there’s  no other way to do it i’m hopeless i’m  powerless right and then inevitably in  those experiences in which i feel like 


there’s no options this other way emerges  because it’s necessity is the mother of 


invention right like if i feel like there’s  no possible way to move through this 


um except for the options i’ve used and  they’re not working inevitably if i’m 


committed to my own work i somehow you  know or i life spirit whatever something 


you know allows me to change in such a  way that i find new possibilities that i 


didn’t imagine and that ultimately empower  me and equip me to face future challenges  


in ways that allow me to be more resilient more balanced   and um and just to feel stronger and to feel that trust even in the in the difficulties yeah as i  


was always i like to say don’t let the breakdown break you down   because if you can see it as  that natural functional part 


of a journey into a more resilient  resourceful connected alive aware self 


then it’s all going to be worth it but if  it breaks you down if the breakdown breaks 


you down it can be very very difficult  because now it feels like there really   is no light there is no meaning to this there’s no purpose here there’s no value  


in it it’s just hard and painful  so i love that we’re having this  conversation because i do feel that again  we’re not taught this stuff in school  


this is like the most valuable information that we could ever impart to   humanity right and we’re not taught that in school but we were taught you know which  


how to read a map you know we  weren’t the map of ourselves  we were not taught so here we are teaching  that there is this extraordinary process to 


be had that can be hard  and heavy it is a breakdown   that we don’t need to let it break us down and sometimes we do need to turn to support  


to get support for that this is why  i do the deep coaching work this is  why you do the work you do because people need to  understand that there are those who can support 


the breakdown so you don’t get broken  down but you used it as a way to allow   this emergence of that higher reality that higher selfhood that greater way  


of knowing and living to come through  because in that in you know in the old  metaphor the butterfly which i love  so much the butterfly breaks or  


the caterpillar breaks down into kind of a death goo and that death you is the nutrient  


by which the butterflies cells can begin to emerge again so the butterflies  


emerging cells are born of the death of the caterpillar  


they’re born within that primordial goo  again we don’t see that in our lives  that that breakdown is what is needed it’s  a necessary kind of soil for the emergence 


of these new ways so they’re there  they’re kind of little lights that pop up 


and for a while they can be almost invisible until  they get enough strength to kind of connect and   turn into something and that’s why we have support for that process so we can sit and say okay  


here is here’s the breakdown here’s what i’m leaning into here’s the shadow   work that i know i need to do here’s  where my ego dominates my life here’s 


where things are hard and yet here’s the  light here’s the other light here’s that 


emerging piece of me how do i connect  those two so they become stronger and we   can do that work through conversation in held spaces yeah with others yes and i  


love that because that was another sort of illusion that i had or false belief that i   had around spirituality it was like i  need to go be in a meditate in a cave 


for three years three months and three  days and then i’ll you know that’s the   only way and and really to become enlightened right and really what i you know part of what i  


took from your program was you know spirituality authentic spirituality emerges so  


organically from a certain way of being in relationship with others and you know it’s  


something i i sort of know and  have experienced in different  ways but there’s a way in which your  coaching style really crystallized  


that for me in my experience uh you know working with my coach and working with you   know many of the coaches at the center that i  mentioned earlier yourself included of course 


um it was like oh you know this different  kind of consciousness is happening and it 


doesn’t feel like it’s something  i’m doing it feels outside of me   it just feels like when the con and this is you know brings us to one of the most important  


concepts in your book to for me and  the most important questions you  ask which is you know what are the conditions  that allow for transformation to occur naturally  


and with the greatest amount of joy and ease   because for me i always felt like there was  this effort i got to work so hard and i got to 


meditate this many days today and  i’ll figure it all out in my head or 


whatever and it was like oh this doesn’t  have to be work actually this is the   opposite of work it’s just an allowance and allowance is a helpful concept for  


me because the buddhists say acceptance  and i think they mean the same thing but 


for me personally what acceptance  connotes is effort i have to accept   this i have to like it that means a positive feeling about but i don’t have a positive feeling  


and it creates this tension in this  inner war in the experience of like  trying to accept myself and i’m mad at  myself because i can’t accept but then  


i’m like but i don’t accept you know  like there’s this whole thing that  happens but allowance there’s not i  have no baggage of allowance like oh 


this is what i’m feeling cool it’s  like the opposite of the bypass that   can happen with words like acceptance or even compassion like yes of course you know  


we want to you know compassion is a natural kind of emergent property of you know  


arranging our lives in certain ways as we do this work but to force yourself   to be compassionate with yourself before  you’ve actually integrated the work can 


actually be across purposes with  what you’re trying to achieve yeah 


yeah that’s just it the conditions within the  self that allow this journey to unfold with the   greatest amount of ease and joy and what are those conditions that’s the question people ask well  


what are those conditions that i can  foster for myself that allow this  journey to unfold and as you said as  it unfolds of its own volition there  


is a natural orientation to understand the way of life the way of spirit the way of   the dynamics of the world beyond the  world that we’ve known before that 


naturally comes into it either through  learning from others from personal   experience but it naturally shows up so always just can we come back to what those  


conditions are because if we create the  conditions then we are naturally going to  facilitate allowance it’s going to come with  greater ease there’s going to be more joy in the 


process more trust we started our  conversation with trust there’s   going to be more of that attuning to what is trying to emerge here what is life calling  


forth from me what is my role in this as a partner of life with that person with  


that person rather than fighting them  how do we partner together to create  the life that we desire or the world that  we desire and one of those conditions  


you mentioned early on about slowing down right and you said how hard that was that’s just   that’s the first of our conditions  if you will those optimal 


conditions it’s like how do we even  slow down life enough to allow more 


reflection time more alone time more time for that  inner work because as we talked about that’s that 


fourth stage powered by reflection is often  when people start to withdraw from the world   they’ve known to create that time and space  


but the imposition of the world they’ve known  the responsibilities the duties the busyness  the go go go get in the way so slowing  down just creating spaciousness in your 


life spaciousness in your mind  and your activities is so hard   for people but so life-changing like you get so much more done with so much less time  


when you’re not spread so thin i mean  this is also an aspect of my peak  performance and flow neuroscience  training it’s like the way that we  


orchestrate our lives in this scatter plot sort of orientation to everything  


is not only you know unpleasant but it’s also inefficient and we’re trying to get   more done you know we’re spending more  energy doing less and there’s this 


incredible thing that’s happened for me  that that i was trying to cram everything in   i was trying to get so much  done and achieve all these goals 


and then all of a sudden when i start  i you know before i engage with your   program and started reading your book i just knew like when i read your book i  


was like i this is what i’m called to  right now this has to be more important  than everything else and i made that  the priority and then when i did and i  


slowed down all of the things like i’ve been wanting to start a podcast for two   years and now and here we are yeah that  would have been possible you know if i 


hadn’t slowed down because things were  out of alignment for me and so they   they weren’t sustainable they couldn’t just creatively emerge organically it’s authentic  


and i don’t do you know i don’t  like to do things that don’t feel  authentic and integrity so it’s like  i couldn’t get anything off the ground  


because that piece of my life was not an integrity and even though you know it’s   not like i i’m sitting around doing  nothing all day but there was a way in 


which the next steps that i knew i was  called to i couldn’t actually live into 


because that that piece was missing missing  excuse me so i have you to thank for that  


and um it’s been a great joy and honor and privilege to   speak with you today leon and i i see that  we’re running out on time but just really 


appreciate you your time and i hope  we can do it again sometime excellent   it’s been really good really good and i am available anytime people can reach out to me  


center for transformational coaching if  they’d like to contact or learn about  our programs at the center everything  this book is called a shift in being 


you you you’d say it i want it i don’t want to  get a shift in being correct a shift in being   available on all online book retailers 


and a really powerful book really  transformative for me personally and   as someone who’s been in personal psycho spiritual development for 20 years  


it has probably been the most influential  book that i have read that has had a  lasting influence on my life and  


and that’s saying a lot because i’ve read  a lot and i’ve been working in this space  for a long time so i’m just really  really grateful to speak to you and i  


hope we can do it again sometime anytime i am here thank you [Music]

Writer Bio

My LA Therapy - Brooke Sprowl (slider)

Brooke Sprowl is the Founder of My LA Therapy, a concierge therapy practice. With 15 years of clinical experience as an individual, couples, and family therapist, she is trained in a wide-range of approaches, from evidence-based therapy practices to peak performance and flow neuroscience techniques. Brooke is also the host of the podcast, Waking Up with Brooke Sprowl. She is passionate about writing, cognitive science, philosophy, integrity, spirituality, effective altruism, personal and collective healing, and curating luxury, transformational retreat experiences for people who are committed to self-discovery and using their unique gifts in service of the world.

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