Let this New Year begin today. Let the world hear the cry of our souls. Let 2018 be on our terms, the expression of our souls' purpose in the world!
Wait?! New Year's Day isn't for another 10 days, right? Wrong. New Year's Day is not January 1st of the Julian calendar. New Year's Day is today, December 22nd, 2017. Yesterday was Winter Solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. Between today and June 21, 2018 (Summer Solstice), our days get longer. But what's the purpose of this distinction? Who cares if we celebrate New Year's day today or January 1st? I do, and here's why.
First, we are grown ass adults. What this means is that as adults we get to say what meaning we ascribe to our lives and the world. We get to choose whether we believe society's many lies, most of which diminish our soul's expression and experience of life, or we soberly embrace reality and imbue it with no meaning at all or the meaning revealed by our soul's purpose. Marking today as New Year's is a revolutionary act, a bold declaration signalling to the world, that the gloves are off, and that we are the captain of our ships and masters of our domains.
With our souls' online, our careers become our opus, the world our canvas, and we step into our captaincy. As poet David Whyte wrote, "... captaincy is... an inhabitation, the boat a second skin... preternaturally alert and omnipresent..." What this means is that we no longer suffer fools, we turn over all the rocks, be with what is and shepherd reality with the dictates of soul and the sovereignty of our intellect.
Secondly, the world is in a political, economic and ecological freefall (as articulated in the Ensouled Life Manifesto). Many the of old stories (free market fundamentalism, the American Dream, scientific materialism) and institutions (Democracy, the media, the Church) are failing. It's going to take guts to pull us out of this mess, to cast off all the meaning that no longer serves us or is not intuitively recognized by our souls as true. It's time to take the helm.
Let this New Year begin today. Let the world hear the cry of our souls. Let 2018 be on our terms, the expression of our souls in the world. And this means we have to cut the shit, and aligning our souls with the world as it is, not as the Church, culture or the misinformed say it is. The world is aching for our fierce love, sovereign discernment, our warrior stand and creative leadership. Let it begin today, with me, with you, and with all soul-awakened leaders. Let us take out our broad swords and clear the field of false idols, false stories and false futures. Let us welcome their death and take a deep drink from their skulls. In this space we have a wide berth to create and lead.
So now what? If you want to deepen your connection to soul, please check out the free Ensouled Life Starter Kit, or do a deeper dive with one of our programs or Guides. If your soul is already online, it's time to make some bold declarations, to mark this New Year through new promises and creating structures to fulfill on them, such as via a men's circle (MKP), women's circle (WW), accountability partner or leadership coach.
I believe 2017 will be regarded as the year that humanity began to deal with the power and potential of living soulfully. This year has revealed what poet, David Whyte, forecasted, as the year in which humanity's "...foundations not ... built on the realities of human relationship are being swept away by the forces of time." (Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea, 2001, p. 24)
2017 will go down as the year that many of us, a few sovereign nations and the global community began to earnestly deal with the contours of soul, with the way we express ourselves individually and collectively, and how aligned our behaviors and outcomes are with who we really are at a soul level.
As I explored in the article "What is Donald Trump's Purpose? What is the Purpose of the United States?", we have had the opportunity this year to truly see how deeply misaligned we are with our souls. We have been gifted a President and Administration that have graciously revealed what has been true for far too long. We have come face to face with America's default purpose, the effects of America's political economy (and to a large extent the political economy of much of the Western world). We have been gifted a high-definition view of our racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamaphobia, inequality, wanton disregard for the rule of law, electoral integrity and the health of the environment, the well-being of humanity and future generations.
And this is not just an American phenomenon as social and political unrest has swept through the EU (Brexit, Catalonia), China, North Korea and the Middle East, as well as the continued rise of extreme weather and climate change casualties. This is indeed a gift and precipice, as we are thrust now upon a horizon in which we either evolve, step into our soul's identity, and create lives, careers, families, communities, a culture, political economy and ecology that expresses it, or perish.
Fortunately, my colleagues and I have been laying the track for this new soulful emergence of humanity to arise. Over the last few years, we've amassed a compelling body of research suggesting that connecting with your soul's purpose is the most efficacious means to create a life you love (higher levels of income, wealth, leadership, engagement, productivity, impact, vitality, intelligence, attraction and love), as well as "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible" (Charles Eisenstein) via greater levels of learning, tolerance, charity, philanthropy, sustainability, entrepreneurship, activism, and a reduced reliance upon the state for healthcare and social services.
Moreover, we've developed powerful and highly effective means of awakening soul purpose, and 2018 will be the year that this soul awakening scales.
Lastly, we've been making lots of noise, to bring the power of this exciting evolution of our species into the mainstream.
What a year!!!
Among many other things, here's what you can expect in 2018:
Author, Planet on Purpose
by Brandon Peele, Founder of Ensouled Life, Author of Planet on Purpose
You might be thinking that the words "purpose" and "Donald Trump" should not be used in the same sentence. You might be thinking that purpose and politics are entirely separate domains. It is my intention to demonstrate that purpose and politics are exactly the same domain. It is my intention to illuminate the gift that Donald Trump is, in showing us what purpose is, and how we as a nation may discover, cultivate and express our national purpose.
First, let me just say that this isn't a partisan tear down of President Trump. Although there is a great difference in my values and understanding of the world and that of President Trump, this article is an exploration into what his purpose is and what he is illuminating about the purpose of the United States.
Perspective #1: The Four Stages of Purpose
Donald J. Trump is the poster boy of Stage 2: Declared Purpose (the same could be said of most politicians from every party on the planet, as well as most high achievers). Stage 1 is having no purpose and existing on the pleasure / pain spectrum, work / consume frequency. Stage 2 is having a Declared Purpose, which is a purpose based on your own internal filters (put there by unmet childhood needs, parental wounding, and parental, societal and economic mores), wherein you simply declare that your life is going to be about something other than survival. This purpose could be rooted in traditional values, e.g. be the world's best dad, a lay minister or the hosting a family reunion. It could be rooted in modern values, e.g. be the best in your field, have the most car dealerships, be considered the prettiest, wittiest, funniest, wealthiest or most accomplished in your peer group. It could also be rooted in post-modern values, e.g. be the most altruistic, most humble, most introverted or hardest working activist in your peer group.
Stage 3 is having access to your unique soul's purpose and some or all ten aspects of it (call, vision, craft, mission, powers, flow, virtues, core, story and worldview). Stage 3 is where you seek to serve and self-express from soul.
Stage 4 is the progressive realization that your soul's purpose is one and the same as the purpose of humanity, the Earth and the Cosmos, wherein you move effortlessly through the Cosmos, as, by and for the greatest expression of the Cosmos. While definitely breaching mystical or Enlightened awareness, Stage 4 also includes Stages 3, 2 and 1, meaning there is an acceptance of one's own desires for pleasure, for esteem and authenticity, as well as those desires in every human, while serving the whole in every situation and context.
I believe President Trump is firmly rooted in his Stage 2 declared purpose of personal fame, and uses virtually every opportunity to edify his image (with greatly mixed results) and tear down those who diminish his fame and popularity. It's what drives his relentless self-promotion and headline grabbing ventures (casinos, steaks, ghost-written books, truthing, university, fashion shows, beauty pageants, media coverage, resorts, etc.), statements (mysogyny, racism, tragic ignorance), actions (fraud, bankruptcies, admitted sexual assault and alleged rape and pedophilia), and impulsive and tragically transparent tweets. He is not solely responsible for operating from his declared purpose (which is not to excuse the spiritual, moral and legal consequences of his actions), however his declared purpose tragically [Have I used the word "tragically" yet?] illuminates the perils of being stuck in a declared purpose for decades.
Were it not for a great portion of society whose values he represents (wealth, fame, full self-expression), and were it not for his childhood wounding that drove him to seek publicity at every turn, and for our culture that has steered him away from deep learning, personal growth, reflection or personal responsibility, Trump might very well have had a different declared purpose. Perhaps he would have even heard the call to awaken his soul's purpose (Stage 3) and dedicate his life to creative self-expression and generative service. Perhaps, after many years of soulful leadership, he would embody Stage 4 purpose and collaborate with other Stage 4 purpose beacons like the Pope, Lynn Twist, Jimmy Carter, Joanna Macy, H.H. Dalai Lama and Oprah, to create a more just, sustainable, abundant and peaceful world.
Perspective #2: What Trump is Revealing About the Default Purpose of the United States
While we are far from having enough time and distance from the Trump era to concisely express the historical, cultural and spiritual significance of his influence, within only 2 years of him declaring his candidacy and winning the Presidency, we can say that he has already served a powerful and catalytic purpose in illuminating the default purpose of America, and to some extent, humanity. A default purpose is comprised of the effects of any individual's or group's actions, versus an explicit purpose, which is the stated and intended purpose, e.g. Stages 2, 3 and 4. Through his way of being, words and policies, Americans have had to confront some unsettling truths about our nation's default purpose. Never before in American history has one man embodied so many aspects of our default purpose - some very unsettling truths that heretofor were much easier to ignore.
Although our founding documents largely speak to our better angels, articulating an intent to be truthful, equal, just and happy (with notable exceptions around the value and rights of indigenous peoples, women, GLBTQ, children, the elderly, minorities and future generations), our institutions and cultural values reveal a different national purpose, our default purpose.
Now this is not to say that any of these reflect America's true soul purpose (Stage 3), which likely includes many other aspirations and potentials, like mysticism (Transcendentalism, John Muir, Tom Robbins), creativity (Jazz, Blues, Burning Man), innovation (Silicon Valley, B Corps, teal / tribal / deliberately developmental management and leadership), reform (labor riots, Monkey Wrench Gang, Suffrage, Civil Rights) and democracy (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, United Nations). However, never before in American history has one person (and to a great extent, his Administration) embodied and personified the shadowy end of the spectrum, America's default purpose. All these things were true before the Trump era, and many will still be true after it.
From these two perspectives, I believe we can begin to heal as a nation, and reveal our deepest values and soul identity, and to even express gratitude for the pain wrought by Trump's ascent to the Presidency. This man has given our country and species a great gift by living his declared purpose with such pride and wild abandon. He has shown us the tragic consequence of an individual being developmentally stagnated at a Stage 2 Declared Purpose, as a nation whose default purpose is quite different that our founding documents. He has shown us the great work that lies ahead for us as a nation to heal our wounds and remedy injustice, as well as explore, reveal and express our true national Stage 3 Soul Purpose.
He has made it powerfully clear that America can no longer assume that we are the leader of the free world. He has, with great fanfare and drama, alerted us to the existential, economic, ecological, political and cultural peril our country and species face. Before the Trump Era, the fullness of America's default purpose was largely obscured and unattended to in mainstream culture and media (although felt deeply and painfully by numerous marginalized communities). Previously, the consequences were too subtle, too complex and/or too far removed from mainstream culture. Now we have one man, who's path it is to embody this reality, to force us to do our own work to cultivate our individual and national purpose.
He is a gift. He has given us this powerful choice. It is now abundantly clear that each American and the American public must now choose to awaken soul purpose, and deal with the ways in which our lives, careers, political economy and culture are unaligned with it. Or we will continue to live out our fate as the global example of how not to run a country and exist as a society.
Thank you, President Trump. May your path be less painful. May your soul quickly come online and show us what is possible through your awakening, healing, humility and atonement. May you one day serve as an example of true purpose, reconciliation and soulful leadership. May your transformation inspire billions. May the discussion you empowered ignite a revolution of national purpose in America and throughout the world.
What We Can do
Yes, we must continue to do the good work we have already begun, work I believe is more aligned with our soul-level purpose. We must continue to #RESIST and speak truth to power, embodying and expressing our sacred activism via #OCCUPY, #BLACKLIVESMATTER, #NODAPL, #METOO / #IHAVE / #IAMRESPONSIBLE. However, there is a greater opportunity than merely resisting. There is the opportunity to awaken and unleash your soul's purpose and participate in the awakening of America's true purpose. Here's how you can start:
A Note to Politicians
If you are Donald Trump or another politician governing at the state or federal level and are intrigued by this conversation, I am here for you. If you are curious about what the power of your soul's purpose could unleash in your career and for your constituents, I have one opening in Q1 for a pro bono client, and would gladly offer you my services as a Certified Purpose GuideTM for free. If you are already functioning at Stage 3 Soul Purpose, I'd be happy to empower you to realize the collective purpose of your town, county, state or administration and connect you with my colleagues at Amoveo Mundi who specialize in group purpose. They are currently engaged with the States of Israel and Colombia to find their national purpose.
About the Author
(12 minute read)
Hello Family, Friends, Colleagues and Clients!
I’d love to hear from each of you about your 2017! What shifted? What is on the horizon in 2018? What support, resources, relationship and tools do you need to make it happen?
For me, 2017 was a powerful year filled with business growth, travel, breaking my word, restoring integrity, repairing relationships, health progress, love and new business connections. I’ll begin this year-in-review with the basics, then a deeper cut exploring my breakdowns and what I’m learning, and finally a selection of photos from this really fun year of purpose, impact and joy!
LOVE, TRAVEL + FAMILY
This year’s BIG NEWS is that I got engaged to the amazing Stephanie Staidle in February on her birthday weekend, on the beach in Mendocino, CA. After yoga and breakfast, we went on a horseback ride on the beach. On queue, our guide asked us to dismount to readjust the harnesses and told us to go for a walk. On that walk, I pretended to pick up a shell, then took a shell I brought with me with the ring inside and said, “Hey honey, check this shell out!” She screamed and started crying. I got down on a knee and asked her to marry me. We savored the moment with a bottle of Prosecco.
Steph and our cat, Kizzy, moved in to my place in Berkeley in June and we are set to be married July 7, 2018 in Connecticut. We’ve had a really fun time homemaking with paint, plants and art. (Thanks for your help, Mom!) We love entertaining in our home, and have had numerous house guests and impromptu gatherings. We continue to enjoy our monthly date nights which this year included interactive theater in Berkeley, going to Ellis Island and a filming of the Daily Show in NYC, going on a safari in Sonoma, circus training in San Francisco, an Oakland A’s game, a sunset cruise in Maui and a blues bar in Chicago.
Additionally, we traveled to Jacksonville, FL for a friend's wedding, Los Angeles for Steph's grandmother's 75th birthday, Champaign, IL for U of I’s homecoming, my 20th reunion, Mariposa, CA for the Go West Festival, and to Tuscon, AZ to celebrate the wedding of my cousin Justin and his wife, Alison. I had two great guys trips, one weekend in the Poconos skiing and hiking the Appalachian Trail, and a weekend in San Diego with my Dad, Uncle John and my cousin, Elliott, reigniting our Peele Boys Stag tradition - there was much merriment, music and ball-breaking.
I had a huge shift in my business this year. Through some great business coaching from Tracey Thompson (as well as Steph), I refined my messaging and sales process and quickly built a full practice. While I serve folks from all backgrounds in my online courses, in my 1-on-1 work, I exclusively work with executives who want to make their highest contribution and create a career of impact, abundance and joy. Through this shift, I developed a sweet spot working with female executives - who comprise about 80% of my 1-on-1 clientele. My business accountability partner, Hilary Hendershott, also played a pivotal role in helping me grow my business.
A great deal of this shift had to do with these business tweaks, but I believe an equal portion was due to a concerted effort to embody my own purpose in every area of my life (a never-ending task). My participation in Landmark’s Introduction Leader Program last year and coaching it this year was foundational to this integration and embodiment work. I thank my coaches, Jeffrey Chin, Piper Davies and Jae Yee for challenging and empowering me to walk my talk. I continued to deepen my own purpose with my friend and colleague, Cynthia Hendricks, and in 2018 I will have a number of new purposeful projects to share. More on this below.
More broadly, I’ve enjoyed working with 70+ colleagues on developing the Global Purpose Movement, to create a shift in human culture and political economy towards one that values, cultivates and rewards every human’s gifts. Since February, we’ve initiated a series of fun projects to add greater coherence to the movement, learn from each other’s practices, connect with each other and raise the profile of purpose work in the world.
My highlights include building a team of 4 colleagues (Jon Darrall-Rew, Spencer Honeyman, Michael Stern and Kara Hess) to run a 10-week online purpose course and publish a white paper on best practices for online purpose discovery, hosting the On Purpose Gathering in November for 15 of us up in the mountains for two days to explore the deeper themes and issues of our work and growing the movement, and participating in the first Purpose Summit, a 2-day conference in San Francisco. I was a speaker, workshop facilitator and panelist, along with 30+ other colleagues and 300+ attendees.
On Black Friday, a group of us launched the Soul Care Package, a free, no-strings-attached non-profit gift to the world to have a more soulful holiday season. It includes a 12-song playlist, an inspiring 6-speaker series, a Soulful Holiday Cheat Sheet and 2 powerful exercises. Thus far, we’ve delivered over 3,000 Soul Care Packages. Please check it out here and share it with your family and online communities.
I had the privilege of delivering a number of talks and workshops at companies this year and was the first male speaker at the Morgan Stanley Women’s Leadership Speaker Series, the Illumina Women’s Leadership Network and the Young Women Social Entrepreneurs. Additionally, I facilitated workshops at the Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City, the Greenerminds Summit in Mendocino, CA, Start Up Week in Chattanooga, TN and for the United States Coast Guard in San Francisco, CA.
I’m in the final design phase with my publisher and will launch my book, audiobook and ebook, along with a self-paced purpose discovery course in Q1 of 2018. Stay tuned! I’ve received some advanced praise from Tim Kelley (author of True Purpose), Chip Conley (Founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality), Pat Sandone (Founder of Net Driven and Rebel Capitalism) and Aaron Hurst (author of The Purpose Economy). Check it out here and listen to the first few chapters.
I was honored to be asked to contribute to another purpose book, Purpose Rising, that launched in November. This book is an anthology of essays from leaders in the purpose and consciousness space such as Bill Plotkin, Ervin Laszlo, Terry Patten, Ken Wilber, Dustin DiPerna, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Susan Lucci, Jonathan Gustin and Duane Elgin. You can get your copy here.
PURPOSE + INTEGRITY
As I mentioned, in late 2015, I began participating in Landmark’s leadership development offerings. In 2016, while I was in the Introduction Leaders Program, I had a chance to deal with many areas of my life where I was out of integrity - my finances, my career, my relationships, and my health. 2017 had me clean things up even further with my Dad, as well as look more deeply at my integrity as a function of alignment with my soul’s purpose. I’ve been making shifts in my expression across multiple mediums - my book, Facebook, with my clients, and in my relationships with Steph, my Mom, my Dad and my Stepdad.
In May of 2017, I joined two friends and colleagues, Cynthia Hendricks and Sam Clayton, in Maui. We did an archetypal purpose discovery process and ceremony. In this process, I discovered that the next phase of my purpose journey will be to embody the King archetype, a heart-opened, world-wizened steward of the human condition. How this actually unfolds, time will tell, but for now, I merely ask the question, “What would a king do?” I’ve been using this question to purposefully reformat every area of my life, beginning with my home, my relationship, my appearance, and in my coaching.
In August, I prematurely left the Landmark Introduction Leader Body and the ILP Coaching Body, breaking my word with both bodies. It took me two months to make this very difficult decision, as integrity is one of my most cherished virtues, but I was being called to serve in another capacity and in deeper integrity with my soul’s purpose - launching my 10-week purpose course, shepherd the purpose movement and complete the editing of my book. I got complete with all my Landmark friends, fellow coaches and participants who were negatively impacted by my decision. And there were many impacts. Although it was the right decision for me, breaking my word with these people deeply impacted me and negatively affected my performance and leadership. As Steph says, “Integrity always catches up with you.”
Late last year, I made the decision to stop doing yoga every day and adopt a more diverse physical fitness regimen. I joined the YMCA and have been exercising 6-7 days a week, mixing weights, kettlebells, ropes, yoga and HIIT training. I’m loving it and have had a number of personal records. I’ve put on about 10 pounds of muscle, but have lost some flexibility and added 5 pounds of fat. Still working on the formula to become more lean, but that will require cutting back on the scotch and giving up bread I suspect. Kings do like their feasts:)
Lastly, I have two requests:
Thank you in advance! I look forward to receiving your updates and helping you create the best year of your life!
Author, Planet on Purpose
15 minutes after getting engaged on the beach in Mendocino, CA.
At the Women's March in Oakland, CA.
At the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, CA.
At the Go West Festival in Mariposa, CA.
Speaking at the Illumina Women's Leadership Network in San Diego, CA.
In the Poconos skiing and hiking with my best friends from graduate school.
At the Daily Show - I got to ask Trevor Noah a question during one of the breaks!
Playing rugby on my 41st birthday in Berkeley, CA.
With my cousin, Elliott Peele, in San Diego, CA for our Peele Boys Stag.
At U of I Homecoming in Champaign, IL.
Delivering a purpose workshop for the US Coast Guard in San Francisco, CA.
Exploring group purpose with the Young Women's Social Entrepreneurs Board of Directors in San Francisco, CA.
The ensouled life is purposeful, creative, vulnerable, connected, loving, inclusive, curious, courageous, sustainable, entrepreneurial and fiercely political.
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