Category Archives: Xtra

#noDAPL

My Facebook feed is full of updates from Standing Rock and a number of my friends have even gone to join the water protectors.   If you are unfamiliar with the situation, watch the 1st video.
If you are unaware of the violence the peaceful demonstrators are receiving, watch the second video.  Facebook Life broadcasts last night showed Militarized Police using water cannons in sub-freezing temps, shooting rubber bullets and tear gas.

It must suck to be a grade school teacher this week figuring out a Thanksgiving-themed lesson plan.
“Teacher, aren’t we spraying the peaceful, praying Native Americans with water cannons in sub-freezing temps, shooting tear gas canisters, and shooting them with rubber bullets in Standing Rock RIGHT NOW, in 2016?”

“Shhhhhhhh….just keep tracing that hand. See? It’s a turkey!”

(Detailed coverage of last night’s violence)

MORE Synchro!

Synchronicity continues to pop-up in my life. And more & more I am unsurprised. I am beginning to see it – not as a source of amazement – but as a tool & guide.
I.e. I have a big decision on my horizen…and I have decided that (rather than ask for the advice of friends and colleagues) I will listen to the signs and go with my gut.

 
P.S. 30 seconds after posting, I read this Note from The Universe in my inbox:
***
Owner’s Manual for a Life within Time and Space
 
Package Contents:
1. Thinker (John Halcyon Styn)
2. Magical Universe with unyielding principals
 
Instructions:
1. Think about desired manifestation in its final form (the end result).
2. Physically follow hunches, instincts, and intuition – enabling movement in the direction of final form.
 
Expected Results:
Manifestation will slip into Thinker’s life when least expected, likely via so-called coincidences and accidents, unless contradictory thoughts are entertained.
 
Manufacturer’s Note:
Believing in the necessities of blood, sweat, and tears, OR sacrifice, worthiness, and years may severely impede the manifestation process, as will worrying about the “hows and means” of attaining desired final form. Additionally, as long as Thinker consistently and perpetually physically moves as outlined, contradictory thoughts will be mitigated and weakened. In other words, as long as you keep doing your part, you needn’t worry that you sometimes worry.
 
Guaranteed results,
The Universe
***

Lesser of 2 Evils

To those who have challenged my endorsement of Hillary:

Some people say, “I refuse to pick the lesser of two evils.” To which I would argue: you are getting caught up in a phrase. “The lesser of two evils” is the same thing as “the better of the two.”

Other people are fixated on the foul play that was a part of the primary. I would make the case that politics has always been a dirty game – at every level. There is a reason why Bernie is strongly encouraging everyone to vote Hillary. It isn’t coercion, it is logical game play.

Here is the new way I am looking at it:

Imagine you were pulled over and your 4 friends were framed by a corrupt small town cop. Your lawyer advises, “Innocent or not, you’ve been framed with no good alibi. The system here is corrupt. You could take the plea bargain and do 30 days community service…OR face a jury (which will include people as close minded as the cop) and possibly do 4 years in jail.” THE LESSER OF THOSE 2 EVILS IS MASSIVE. You could refuse to compromise your integrity and face the jury, but the potential downside is just so big. You and all of your friends could pay a huge price. Losing sucks, but losing everything is worse. The time to fight that city’s corruption is before you were arrested and after your trial is over.

(Facebook conversation response to this post: https://www.facebook.com/johnstyn/posts/10157540721295717?comment_id=10157541041280717&reply_comment_id=10157541130415717&notif_t=feed_comment_reply&notif_id=1475258183120476)

***UPDATE:
I am under no illusion that I will change anyone’s mind. I was simply defending my previous statements and addressing some counter arguments.

My reason for speaking out in the realm of politics is this: I do believe that political leadership affects the day to day lives of citizens. (Not just President, of course.) As a person of privilege, it affects me less than many. And perhaps I am out of line by trying to address anyone’s needs (or suffering) other than my own. But I look forward a couple years and have the thought: “If the next President makes decisions/appointments/etc. that eliminate the rights of people I love (i.e. ANYONE) and I did not speak up when I had the chance – I will regret my silence.”
You may disagree with my voting strategy. I’ll agree that the world is a complicated place and there is no black and white. My Hillary endorsement is based on 1) trusting Bernie Sanders 2) Trusting the opinions of people I know who have followed politics & world history MUCH more deeply than I have for decades 3) My intuition.

I have no desire to debate or argue. I speak up to be heard by those on the fence (or ambivalent) who value my opinion. Far deeper than my political views is my love for everyone. I love Trump. I love Hillary. I love Bernie. I love you. I will love every single citizen of this country and the world no matter what the election outcome. I will seek to increase love and reduce suffering on a personal level every day, regardless of the election cycle.

If voicing my opinion has reduced your respect of me, I have no control of that. I wish you well.

*/END UPDATE**

Truth(?) In a Bottle

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I was sick and overheated most of the weekend, but I could still deeply appreciate Lightning in a Bottle. The grounds were sprawling and magnificent. The stages were gorgeous and awe-inspiring art was everywhere. People were happy, friendly and beautiful.

Even the shopping, the “oh-so-insidious” presence of commerce — was inspiring. The food & clothing vendors were all examples of people & companies trying to practice conscious capitalism. Much more than mere money-centric traditional transactions, it actually felt good to purchase from a leather craftsperson or to buy an organic meal from a fair trade food truck.

And there was so much to learn, as well. So much yoga, cooking classes, workshops and lectures that it took significant effort to sort through the schedule. As impressed as I was with everything, there was one critical suggestion I wanted to make. (NOTE: This is a personal observation influenced by my own preference in learning formats. It could also just be sour grapes from my desire to speak at LiB and repeatedly rejected applications.)

An example of ONE stage on ONE day

I wish there was a little more context surrounding the more fringe workshops and lectures. Some of the subject matter was rather extreme, delving into the far-edges of spiritual and pseudo-scientific beliefs. I admire that LiB gives a venue to topics like Flat Earth and Alien Abduction, even if those ideas do not resonate with my current worldview. But I worry when these ideas are presented without criticism.

I imagined a young person in their early 20’s (as the majority of the crowd seemed to be.) I pictured them discovering LiB and how liberating the experience would be. How amazing to experience the deep community love and connection — perhaps for the first time. I pictured someone experiencing psychedelics for the first time and having their head cracked open. It would feel like they were finally experiencing what life is all about. Meeting people and experiencing art & music within the safe container of LiB would be a life changing gift. But I also pictured those young minds listening to a lecture filled with ideas that some would argue were conspiracy theories. Since the teacher on stage was vetted by and endorsed by the Do-Lab, critical thought and discernment would be turned way down within the safe container of LiB.

I am not saying that a cracked-open mind should not be exposed to alternative perspectives, only that it should be clear that they ARE alternative perspectives.To accept these ideas without critique could cause damage to a person’s psyche. And I wish the very concept of critical thinking was a bigger focus of the educational tracts. Alien abduction/brainwashing presented as truth is no less troublesome than Mormonism or Scientology presented as truth.

My Senior year of college, I got some wonderful advice from my advisor Fred Rabinowitz. He saw that I was becoming interested in Humanistic Psychology and was investigating some paranormal and alternative spirituality programs of study. He encouraged me to continue, but warned me that once you cross the line into counter-culture thinking, not everyone is to be trusted. There is powerful truth in the modalities yet to be embraced by the mainstream, but not everyone who is spreading “truth” outside the realm of science is doing so with clarity or good intentions. I watched one packed presentation of alien abduction, reptiles among us, chemtrail manipulation and DNA alteration. I found it disturbing and the speaker fascinating. But in the end it did not resonate fully with me. I am not denying the speaker’s experience. But with a world filled with hundreds of spiritual frameworks and countless gods, angels, demons and deities — it is clear to me that the limitations of a human mind requires us to use mythology and stories to make sense of the unknowable.

I have friends who talk to angels. I have friends who talk to Jesus. I have friends who talk to the spirits of plant medicines. I believe them all. And I question them all. I have no doubt their experiences are real. And deep confidence that our mental stories and sensory limitations shape the way we perceive reality.

Amazing work by Miles Toland by the Temple Stage https://www.facebook.com/miles.toland

I became unsettled as I listened to the narrative of a sinister plot by aliens and illuminati. I am a 45 year old life-long seeker. I have read countless books and heard hundreds of hours of spiritual talks. I was grateful that I had such a strong foundation so that I could process the dark ideas without being overwhelmed. But I was worried about the young minds, naive and open. Like fertile petri dishes susceptible to any new idea that might take hold.

I do not mean to discourage alternate thought or breaking down the status quo worldview. Heck, my life purpose is about doing inquiry on our external scripts and questioning established realities. But the important compliment to that process is tuning in to one’s inner truth. One’s inner truth can be informed by alternate teachers and ideas, but it is not progress to go from blindly accepting a status quo idea to blindly accepting an alternative idea.

One of the huge errors of a beginner seeker is to make the mistake of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” If I tell you that US History is filled with lies and manipulation, that doesn’t mean that the next information that I tell you is true.

It is healthy to process all ideas through a filter of doubt…or at least a recognition of the source’s perspective. Truth is personal understanding, not a concrete absolute. At best, we have a temporary understanding of the currently accessible data. It can be soothing to hear a charismatic teacher define right and wrong with confidence. But the deepest danger of any belief is in unquestioning fanaticism.

Charles Eisenstein began his talk with the Maori quote: “There are no facts, only stories.” I wish every talk began that way.

Spiritual Corruption

spiritual

I have no issue with spending money on a spiritual practice. On the contrary, for years I’ve had a monthly “Joy” budget to purchase books, lectures, and classes. And I expect other people to spend money on my spiritual teaching/speaking/writing/whatever.

But it is important to remember that the core elements of a spiritual practice cannot be purchased. They are priceless and personal. That being said, there are all sorts of tools, trainings, teachers and venues that can be helpful and definitely have value.

Capitalism is a communication system. Every dollar spent is a vote saying, “More of this, please.” So spending money on spiritual tools and teachers is a great thing. And it is reasonable for a spiritual expert to charge for their time and skills just like an expert craftsman or lawyer would.

But the commodifying of a spiritual path is a delicate thing.

Due to the vulnerable and trusting nature of a teacher/student relationship, the commercial aspect needs to be scrutinized to ensure there is no exploitation. If a student trusts a teacher to give advice and guidance, is it ethical for the teacher to suggest products and services that the teacher makes money from?

(I’ll use the terms “teacher” and “student.” But it could be “devotee” and “guru,” “client” and “coach,” “seeker” and “guide,” “budding entrepreneur” and “mastermind leader,” etc.)

Consumer Reports (The magazine) knows that keeping a distinct line between advice and commerce is critical for them to maintain integrity. Unfortunately, this line is not as clean in many teacher/student relationships. Is it ethical for a teacher to recommend a training when that teacher gets a commission for every sale? I think so, if it is disclosed that the teacher is an affiliate. I have no doubt that Marie Forleos’s B School is a valuable training. And I know several happy graduates. But when I see so many respected leaders encouraging their fans and students to sign up for the $2000 program, I wonder why they don’t disclose that they are affiliates? If you make $1000 by me signing up from your link, how can that NOT affect your review or endorsement? At the very least, disclose you are getting a commission. I would think that a fan/follower would *want* to support a teacher.

And to their credit, many leaders make a point to disclose their affiliate relationships. In a recent newsletter from Tim Ferris, he recommended 10 products. At the end of every product review it had a link to the product with his affiliate link attached, and then next to it a “non-affiliate link.” The reader could choose if they wanted to support Tim when they purchased and make their own judgement if Tim was being influenced by his desire to sell. (And in being transparent, he earned my trust.)

A different example is Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Exec. I love Bulletproof Coffee and find value in tons of Dave’s articles. But he is an expert who recommends products that he also sells. Maybe they all work as well as he says, but it is difficult to ignore the inherent motivation. It is like a drug dealer saying, “This stuff is pure, man.”

The influence of financial benefit is pretty obvious. The book “Freakonomics” is full of examples of how, even with our best intentions, people are influenced by incentives. Who hasn’t had the experience of a car mechanic or dentist recommending questionable (and expensive) work?

(I know there are tons of people who sell their own products because they truly believe in what they sell. But I also know there are tons of people who are caught in the BS of a Multi Level Marketing Program.)

It is essentially the same core issue with our political system right now. How can a politician not be influenced by the money they receive? Maybe they recommend a bridge be built in a specific district or support a change in legal wording that benefits certain types of corporations. Those may actually be good actions…but the system’s inherent incentives cause inevitable corruption.

And I fear that there is corruption in the world of coaches, entrepreneurs, and spiritual teachers, too.

Not everywhere. Not everyone. And not even with ill-intent. But without transparency, I find it difficult to trust.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, maybe it is my own issues about charging for my services that is fueling my mistrust. Hmmm…can anyone recommend a good coach? (Affiliate links accepted.)

For related writing that inspired this post, Jesse Gros has been posting brave essays about the coaching industry on his Facebook page

Review of MOPS 2016

“Listening to John Halcyon talk. In addition to flow arts madness, there were speakers at the event, a memorable one being John Halcyon Styn, an 18-year Burning Man veteran who founded HugNation and outreach programs in San Diego, among other ventures. John’s talk on giving, gifting, finding purpose, and facing our deepest emotions truly resonated with the MOPS community. His powerful words gave meaning to our fun-filled weekend, drawing the focus in this tight-knit community towards how we can extend this positivity to the world around us. I was impressed by his ability to connect his stories and wisdom with the experiences of the crowd, and thankful that festival organizers had spiced up the program with an interesting speaker as the sun set Friday evening.”

from Review of MOPS 2016

Truth on Stage

Medium Post: “Truth On Stage”

Feeling so grateful for all my teachers.
From the grade school ones who made me write cursive on the blackboard .
To the ones long-dead who live on through published words.
To the inspiring role models I’m lucky to call friends.
I have been reflecting on the powerful role that we all play for one another in our healing. And feeling grateful for everyone who teaches me.
After experiencing Destin Gerek’s seminar I was blown open and wrote about my my mental hangups on being taught and shared some gushing words about a couple of my greatest teachers, Jacob Glass and Grandpa Caleb.

The Teacosy Era

A lifetime ago, I explored the frontier of webcam technology and “digital intimacy”.

I dealt with my adolescent insecurity by cultivating a beefcake following.

teacosy_beefcake

There was even a website dedicated to posting images captured from my webcam. Teacosy.net. (I often wore my long hair bunched up under a hat – that some said looked like a teacosy.)
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last

The “Teacosy” community was full of pretty amazing people and lead to CitizenX.com.

But sometimes it was ridiculous.
(actual transcript, names changed):

[NewbieOne] DON’T YOU ALL THINK HE IS HOT?!
[NewbieTwo] is that him for real
[NewbieTwo] i thought the pic was sooooooooooo sexy
[NewbieOne] YEAH, I GUESS
[NewbieTwo] damn
[NewbieThree] i don’t see anything happening
[NewbieOne] HE IS SO SEXY
[NewbieTwo] can i get some
[NewbieTwo] lol
[NewbieOne] ME TOO!
[NewbieTwo] me first
[NewbieTwo] lol
[NewbieOne] WE’LL TAG TEAM HIM
[NewbieOne] 🙂
[NewbieTwo] alright
[NewbieOne] I BET HE WOULD LIKE THAT
[NewbieTwo] i don’t see anything right now
[NewbieTwo] he would love it
[NewbieOne] HE’S JUST SITTING THERE
[NewbieOne] LOOKIN ALL GOOD 🙂
[NewbieThree] he sees what we say, right?
[NewbieTwo] looking sexy
[NewbieTwo] not sure
[NewbieOne] HEY HALCYON! CAN YOU SEE WHAT WE ARE WRITING?
[NewbieTwo] lol
[NewbieTwo] your soooooooooo crazy
[NewbieOne] 🙂
[NewbieOne] I LOVE IT!
[NewbieOne] I GUESS HE CAN…I DON’T KNOW
[NewbieTwo] me either
[NewbieTwo] i would rape him….*(grins)*
[NewbieOne] NOW, HOW MANY GUYS DO YOU KNOW THAT COULD LOOK GOOD IN A PINK HAT!?
[NewbieOne] HE’S HOT!
[NewbieThree] hehehe
[NewbieOne] YUMMY YUM YUM
[NewbieTwo] you betta believe it
[NewbieTwo] so where is this sexy man’s lady….if he don’t have one i will be that for him….*(grins)*
[NewbieTwo] alright
[NewbieThree] he looks like he’s in class or something!
[NewbieTwo] it don’t even matter i would sex him up in class lol

It is so strange to look back at those moments. Those first digital connections. Reaching out through the brand new world wide web for affirmation and connection.

Tonight I am thinking of Jan. Jan created teacost.net, was a longtime supporter (and sometimes critic), and a beautiful person. I used to wonder if we would ever meet, but she died. I hope that those digital connections brought some love and smiles to her when she was alive. As long as there is archive.org, I will forever be dancing late at night, in a towel, for Jan.

New Job. New City. New Flow.

Six months ago I was living off savings, while launching a Joy Coaching practice and working on an outline for a book. (Read: LOTS of hours on Facebook)
Everything was going according to the leisurely plan I had worked out with my Coach, Karpo.

But the direction of my Flow changed overnight.

I was recruited to come work for FreshRealm – an ambitious startup in Ventura backed by a NASDAQ publicly traded fresh food company.
Caption
(This logo is one of the first things I was responsible for.)

By “recruited” I mean that the CEO, who went to Burning Man for the first time in 2012, sought me out after seeing my “Playa Tips & Tricks,” 1st Saturdays & TEDx videos. When he learned that I went to high school with one of the co-founders, it seemed meant-to-be.
I wasn’t looking for a job. But when I met Mike, I felt a connection. There was a series of synchronicities that made me feel called to work with the team. The co-founders all had genuine, heart-centered agendas -and impressive backgrounds, too.

Mike & Me

I originally agreed to a 6 week contract job. It has now been 6 months and I have the title, “Co-founder.” How serious is it? I just gave 30 days notice to my San Diego landlord. (Although I am still spending most weekends in San Diego with Brandi.)

In the last 6 months I have worked harder than I ever have before. I have pushed myself past my limits. I have learned a ton. I love my work.

I am in charge of Branding & Company Culture. They value my Burning Man roots, honor my Hug Nation commitment, and I get to use the word “Love” in the office. A lot.

Wait…”Love?” What does FreshRealm do?
A: We have invented a Shipping System & Vessel that allows fresh food to be distributed nationally.
But the better question is the one that made me feel called to work with this team in the first place.
Q: WHY do they do it?
A: To demonstrate that the world works better with Love: Love of self, Love of the planet, and Love for one another.

Love is not a finite resource. It doesn’t have to be preserved or rationed out. We believe that, even in business, more efficiency can be achieved with more Love.

Everyone at FreshRealm is on a path to be more loving, connected, & authentic people in the world. My job is to make sure that is reflected in our culture and communicated through our brand. Hopefully it will resonate with you.
Because, if you’re reading this, YOU are one of those people opening you heart and striving to be more loving, connected, & authentic. Thank you. It matters. You matter.

Whether or not you ever order from a company that uses the FreshRealm Vessel, I would still love to have you connected to what I’m doing with the team there. (Like the gratitude circle during Goodness Fridays!)
I feel like I am channeling my book writing & coaching energies into a corporate adventure. Super challenging – but I am considering it research for the final chapters of that future book. I am learning SO much. And I think significant change can come through the transformation of corporate consciousness.

This hectic schedule has meant being online much less. But I still do Hug Nation every week (Now on Mondays.) Once FreshRealm launches, I plan to spend more time in Social Media again via the Goodness Friday & FreshRealm pages.
I’d love it if you rode along with me and “Liked” either or both of those pages. (Of course, feel comfortable hitting “Unlike” at any time if I post things that don’t interest you.)

So grateful for this adventure. So grateful for YOU.
Love,
John
Wearing my Big Boy pants