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Expanding Your Continuum

Apr 12, 2021

Video Blog Transcription: Expanding Your Continuum

(00:00):

Welcome to the Natural Way of Being Video Blog. This video is titled expanding your continuum. Now, by the word continuum, I'm talking about kind of our range of human experience between two opposite poles or possibilities, if you will. So the example I'm going to use for most of this video is the range between being passive and being aggressive, and then there's every nuance or gradient in between those two things. 

(01:06):

Another example of this which is kind of been made famous by the Myers-Briggs is to have introversion and extroversion on either side of the scale. And then there are levels between the poles. So some people say I'm balanced, they might be they're balanced between introversion and extroversion. They may be in the middle or I'm mostly slightly introverted, or I'm really introverted.

Other examples would be masculine and feminine, gentleness and strength, or yin and yang. These are examples of what I'm calling continuums. 

And so my premise for this video is we tend to get stuck in certain parts- usually on one side of the continuum or the other, or sometimes in the middle. It might benefit us to expand our continuum and encompass more of the possibilities of life. 

And for our journey today, I have my first ever video blog visual aid, we'll call it or prop. And it just shows a continuum or a scale between zero and ten- zero being down here, ten being up here.

(02:16):

So the example that I'm going to use is as I'm going to have passive be over here, so totally passive is going to be zero, and totally aggressive would be ten. Now some of you say assertive is in the middle, but we're just going to call this an aggressiveness scale- zero aggression here, total aggression here. So it's a scale of aggression. 

And so what we tend to do, I'll use myself as an example. I'm going to use myself as an example, quite a bit in this video. We tend to get stuck. So when I was, I was conditioned as a kid, I was conditioned to be passive. So I hung out between, let's say just about between zero and three, I think three is about here and that's where it was safe for me to be, it was only safe for me to between zero and three.

(03:19):

It was not safe to be four or five, let alone eight. Actually, these numbers were reserved for my father, who was not passive. He was more aggressive. And so I was conditioned to not be like my father, mostly from my mother, but that's a whole other story. And so this was my range. He got the other seven. So anyway, that's a little more psychology than maybe we needed to go, but just so you know, that's where these things come from. 

So I was conditioned to be between zero and three. So as I started dating and I went to college, I started seeing that this was limiting. I saw my friends going out here and I wasn't. And so what I started doing is I started expanding myself and expanding my continuum. And that’s my premise is that there may be a benefit from expanding that.

(04:20):

So there are two primary ways that I benefit by expanding my continuum. The first is as I mentioned earlier, is I get more possibilities. I get a more dynamic range of possibilities. And while I only get 30% of my possibilities between zero and three, I get a hundred percent if I have the whole thing. 

Now, you may say, well, do you really want to be hanging out as total aggression? Probably not, but every now and then it might not be the worst thing to be a 10, if I'm needing to defend my child or if I'm defending my life, it might not be bad to be a 10, 

But anyway the idea is that we get more options, more possibilities if we expand. And in each one of these, each number or each phase along the way, each gradation, as I'm getting more aggression, has a different energy.

(05:29):

So if I experience four, say I push myself and I get out of my comfort zone and I experience four, I get to experience the energy of four. If I get really rowdy and experience seven, I get to experience the energy of seven. And then I awaken that energy inside of me. And then people can feel that. When I express myself as a seven, it feels different than expressing myself as a three.

And so then I get to be more dynamic. I have a larger dynamic range of energy and possibilities and behaviors. And so that's the one benefit of expanding more possibilities. 

Let me give you an example, another self-example here. So I don't know, I think I was a freshman in college, 18 years old, and I went to a concert by The Who, which was really cool- an awesome band to see.

(06:32):

It was a treat to see The Who, and it was in this huge venue, like a hundred thousand people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And Philly, if you've seen Philly, like Philadelphia Eagles, or if you've ever been to Philly or, you know, it can be a pretty rowdy town. They don't hang out between zero and three in Philadelphia. I'll just say that. 

So I'm in Philadelphia. I'm with my girlfriend. I was like, it seems like a cool thing. I'm taking my girlfriend to The Who concert. Right. And so what happens is in the middle of the concert, my girlfriend kind of whispers in my ear and tells me that the guy behind her just grabbed her butt. And she's looking at me like, I'd like you to do something about this. You're the guy here.

(07:21):

And so now remember, I'm operating from zero to three. And so I say, “Excuse me, like, dude, excuse me. But it just came to my attention that like, you know, you may have grabbed my girlfriend's butt and that's really making her uncomfortable. So I'd appreciate it if maybe you wouldn't do that.”  I don't know if I used those exact words, but it was almost like using nonviolent communication or whatever. 

But fortunately, the guy was just really drunk and he ended up saying, “Oh, sorry, man.” So, it worked out. And he ended up shaking my hand, which was bad because my girlfriend looked over and saw me shaking the hand of the guy that just grabbed her butt, which was bad. But anyway the thing is, if that guy wasn't as nice of a guy as he ended up being, that three energy of, “Excuse me…” that passive approach might not have worked.

(08:19):

I might've needed a seven or an eight. And I could just say, “Really! Don't go there! My girlfriend says you just grabbed her butt- don't go there, like leave her alone, leave her the fuck alone.” That might be eight, nine. Right? And then, he's going to feel that energy. 

Now, some people would say, that's going to get you in a fight. Often, this is not the case.  Because feeling that energy, it's like a show of force. And he's like, “Okay, better leave this guy alone. It's not worth it.”  And so that's an example of how having a bigger range might be of benefit. 

The second benefit of expanding your continuum is you get to be more balanced. And what I mean by that is if I'm only operating between zero and three, my mid-point balance is going to be one and a half.

(09:20):

Okay. And then also when I'm at three, to me, it feels like 10. To me, three feels like uber aggressive, but the reality is in real life, it's still somewhat passive. And so if I allow myself to, say, I stood up at that concert, and I allow myself to tell that guy, you know, "what are you doing?" And I'm an eight. If I embody eight, then that means I now have expanded, and not just this one experience is going to do it, but then I allow myself to have other more aggressive experiences. And I'm now operating between zero and eight. My balance is now going to be like four, I think that's four. And so anyway, then I'm more balanced. And the other thing is that by experiencing the whole continuum, I can kind of feel where my natural place to be is, I don't, we don't, have to be at five.

(10:25):

In fact, I've experienced most, like I would say most all of the continuum and I probably am still choosing to hang out around four. It would be my balance. I'm still more on the chill side. But you know, but then I get to choose that. See, but when I'm conditioned, I don't get a choice. I'm just conditioned to be here. And I don't even know that I'm locked here. But if I experienced the whole thing that I can choose where I want to mostly hang out and then I can pull up different energies, say I'm mostly four, but then if I need eight or I need six it's there, sometimes I might need six to get through to a client and just really have a strong example. And then I have that I have more possibilities and more balance.

(11:09):

So an example of this balance thing that I'm talking about would be where this kind of teaching came from. My teacher was trying to help me, you know, get out of zero to three as I was dating and interacting with women and all things, not just that, but the way I live life. And so, but as far as dating goes, what he said is ideally what you would have done in adolescence is you would have allowed yourself to experience everything from being, you know, the wimp to the total chauvinist, you know, kind of the jerk or the chauvinist with women. Not that you want to be chauvinistic as a person, but if I experienced those two extremes, then I can find balance in the middle.

(12:05):

Unfortunately, I didn't allow myself to experience all those things. And I spent most of my twenties broadening that out and having different experiences with women. But still, I ended up having to do that, to expand that out and find my balance of being a four or wherever I choose to hang out. But now I choose because I can be chauvinistic,  I can be wimpy. I can be gentle. I can be strong. You know, where do I want to hang out? And then it's like, “I feel this feels right to me, and I'm now choosing that balance. 

So there are two basic ways I'm going to talk about of how we can, how we can expand our continuum if you will. And I'm the first one of those is, we can kind of do what I talk about a lot and expand our comfort zone.

(12:55):

So when we find ourselves kind of hitting our comfort zone, say like when I was a kid that would be three and later on, maybe in my early twenties, it might've been six. It's like when I find myself hitting my edge if you will. And I see a possibility to step outside of that edge, I can take a risk and allow myself to go from three to four. 

And usually, when I do this, I'm going to feel really vulnerable and just horrified that I actually acted like a four, because remember three to me felt aggressive. So four felt over the top. And, so it's, it's a lot, it takes a lot of courage to allow yourself to expand your comfort zone. And by doing that, you're allowing yourself, and I had a teacher. iI's really good to have a coach that tells you, “I know four felt like twelve to you, but actually it was just four.”

(13:50):

“And that was actually kind of cool that you had the strength to do that.” And then it's like, okay, maybe next time I'll try five. And so that's the one way is we can challenge ourselves to expand. 

So a second way to expand the continuum is to expose myself to people, into experiences that are outside of my comfort zone. So before I was just expanding it, now I'm exposing myself. So if I'm here, I can hang out with assertive people and people that even have the ability to be aggressive. And, then they model that. And I get to realize that those spaces are even possibilities because when I was here in my sheltered little world, I didn't even know that these were options. So if I hang out with someone that's like out here, then I was like, Oh, this guy was a seven...

(14:46):

… And it seemed to work for him. It wasn't bad. It actually was cool being a seven for him in that experience. Maybe it opens the door for me to try that. 

So another example is that same time that I went to the concert, I'm a freshman in college. And I grew up in a little town called Emmaus, Pennsylvania. It was like the suburbs. It was pretty sheltered. I didn't have to worry about my life very much, or I was never in danger. It was a pretty sheltered existence and kind of a middle-class you know, 'burbs neighborhood that I grew up.  And so when I went to college,  the people I hung out with, I had a double room that we actually moved around and I got to be with the people I wanted to be with. And there were four of us.

(15:37):

I had three roommates, and two of them were from inner-city, Philadelphia. And one of them was from inner-city, Pittsburgh. I was at Penn State, you know, in the middle of the state. And so there were people from all over Pennsylvania. And so I exposed myself to these people and I started seeing, wow, I was pretty naive. There's a whole world out here. And they would talk about the different things that they did.

And I remember Jim, we used to call him "Jimi" as his nickname. And we had this person in our dorms that was stealing stuff. We kind of had this person that was stealing stuff and we couldn't figure out who it was. And so a lot of our things were getting stolen and it was, it was maddening.

(16:23):

And really, we didn't have a lot of things and the little things we had were getting stolen in college. And so one day Jimi comes up to me and he's like, “Dude, I helped you out.” He said, “We found the thief." Okay. And I'm like, “Well, that's cool.” He goes, “And I took care of it for you." And I'm like, “Oh, okay. How did you do that, Jimi?” And he goes, “Well, we took him out back or whatever, out in the woods. And we just totally beat the shit out of him.” And I was kind of mortified. It's like, Oh my God. And he goes, “But you know what, I even gave him a punch for you.”

(17:04):

And I was  like, “Thanks?” Here was Jim. He was doing this out of love for me, but it was like, oh my God, I was mortified. Now, I'm not saying that I condone the behavior of him beating someone up that way. But what it did was, it showed me as I'm zero to three. It showed me nine, ten. Okay. And, his intention was good and he just grew up that way. That's what people in inner Philly did when someone broke the moral code or the ethic of the town, that's what they did. They took them out and they taught him a lesson. I mean, they didn't hurt him permanently, but they were gonna sure that he never stole again.

(17:52):

And so by hanging out with these guys, I got to see four, five, six, seven, eight. They showed me that these were possibilities. And see, I didn't even know that was possible. You know, I was sheltered. I didn't even know that people beat each other up that way to teach him a lesson. And so now I'm broader and then I can have a bigger range of possibilities, and I can find my balance more. 

And I wanted to talk about one other example, if you will, I guess it's not a total example, but it's a conceptual example. In Buddhism, they talk about the "middle path". And that might mean different things to different people. I can't be totally sure how the Buddha intended it, but my truth of it is, is finding that balance. And so my question is if we don't have a broad continuum and we haven't experienced introversion and extroversion, passivity and aggression, how can we find a middle path? 

So anyway, that's my video blog for this week. I hope you enjoy your week and that you have a broad range of experiences this week. And I will see you in a week.

(19:21):

Hope you guys liked my visual aid. I think it's pretty cool. Anyway, thank you so much.

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