This is a bundle of several Insight Salon classes that I've led between 2020-2023 (over 7 hours total):
- Radical Responsibility
- This or Something Better
- Aligning with Your Desires
- Sustainable Change
- Creating from Nothing
- Beyond Drama
- Imperfect Action
Insight Salons are what I consider to be some of the fundamental consciousness teachings that I wish everyone had but that even few people within my transformational communities are familiar with. The architecture of these events includes a mix of teaching, direct experience, and group inquiry. These topics come from a synthesis of my explorations within coaching, Three Principles, Process Work, Luminous Awareness Institute, Dzogchen-based awareness, the Work of Byron Katie, Relational Alchemy, and shamanism.
About Michael McDonald
Michael is an Integrity Coach, writer, facilitator, and speaker. He’s devoted to bringing more consciousness into leadership and more integrity into transformational work. As a transformational coach he works with entrepreneurs and executives in many areas including leadership, life optimization, intimacy, and enlightenment. He is the creator of Relational Alchemy and Leadership from the Inside Out.
“Something awesome is trying to happen, and your job is to allow it.”
Responsibility is, in its purest sense, the ability to respond. But we have intertwined responsibility with a mess of victim thinking, of equating it with obligation, and the placing of blame, and control, and shame.
It’s time to dispel some myths and reclaim the good intentions and wisdom behind responsibility, how it works vs the judgmental stories we’ve made up about it. Responsibility is about possibility and interconnectivity.
“Radical” responsibility is an exploration of possibility and interconnectivity. It is taking personal responsibility for everything in your experience. And it is the key to becoming a force of good and healing in this world, without unwittingly becoming part of the system you wish to heal.
This or Something Better
Don’t let goals get in the way of your potential.
It’s around this time of year that a lot of people are investing a short heroic burst of willpower into making themselves do some things that they think they should be doing, most of which are pretty much guaranteed to fail. This isn’t so much a deficiency in them, but rather a result of misunderstanding the nature of goals: what they’re good for, and what they suck at.
Goals are useful, but not meaningful. There’s a lot to be said about having a simple target to orient our attention and actions around, but the way that most people use goals comes from a mindset where they view themselves as inherently lazy, evil, and dumb, where they must punish themselves into making progress. Not surprisingly, goals created from that mindset tend to be unhelpful as we seek to become more of whom we can be.
There is another way! When we combine the good intentions behind goals with a recognition of our infinite potential, then our quest becomes more of a matter of removing interference, a subtractive approach instead of an additive approach. We humbly and hopefully let go of false certainty, embracing both the surprise challenges and opportunities along the way.
Aligning with Your Desires
What do you want? It’s a simple question… that many people have a complicated relationship to.
We seek out things that we think will lead to something better, but get lost in the weeds because we forgot what the ‘something better’ was.
We play small, only allowing ourselves to want what we think we can get.
We distrust our desires, since we can’t tell the difference between desire and impulsivity, between what is authentic and what is reactive.
In truth, authentic desire is a rich source of inspiration, guidance, and clarity. One of the keys to living a fulfilling life is cultivating a healthy relationship with your desires. Desire is an integral part of our creativity and living in harmony with both ourselves and the world around us.
In this class we’ll be exploring:
The real difference between desire and attachment.
How to identify, cultivate, and relate with our desires, instead of competing with them.
How to shift from a world of expectation and effort to a world of getting lucky.
Change is hard… until it isn’t.
For over a decade I’ve been exploring the nature of personal change and helping clients change their lives in ways they previously thought impossible, or at least with much more ease and greater impact than they expected.
While there is often some hard work and uncomfortable experience involved in walking the path, I’ve uncovered three game-changing strategies for highly leveraged, sustainable change. Highly leveraged in the sense that you get more juice to the squeeze – where it might look too simple, too easy to be real, or it might even look like cheating. Sustainable in the sense that it’s a change that both lasts and continues to deepen – not springing back to your default after that high-energy weekend workshop.
These keys to change lie at the intersection of coaching, behavioral science, spiritual realization, and common sense. They are, in brief:
- Gentle Discipline, and
In this class I’ll be introducing these simple keys to change, when and why they’re useful, and the paradoxical reason so few people take advantage of them.
Creating from Nothing
As you learn, grow, and acquire more throughout your life wouldn’t it make sense that this would lead to a bigger, more expansive life? But for many they feel as if their life is getting smaller and more limited…
There is a freedom available to you in any moment to break out of this:
An opportunity to step back into inspiration, wonder, and creativity.
Back into beginner’s mind.
Back into dreaming big.
Back into being the predominant creative force in your life.
We are CREATORS – it’s in our very nature to dream things into being. But we innocently become attached to what we create. We become afraid of losing it, and we forget that we created it in the first place, and we retreat from being the creators of our lives to being the defenders of our ideas.
In this class we’ll be exploring this dynamic and its alternative: instead of creating from what’s already been created, you can create from ‘nothing’:
- How creation works
- How our imagination can either be used for or against us
- Holding goals, plans, and certainty lightly
- Practical miracles vs magical thinking
Drama can be subtle and sticky, because when we’re in it it just looks like the way things are, and we will fight (others, the world, even ourselves) to defend our drama. Metaphors like the Karpman drama triangle are useful not so much for getting out of the drama, but for getting better at how drama shapeshifts to avoid detection and continue causing problems.
And what’s really going on is that we get caught up in drama because we still believe at some level it’s a good idea: that at least in some cases getting dramatic makes us smarter and more empowered. Tempting, and popular, but unhelpful and untrue.
There is a world beyond drama. In fact it is the *the* world is what’s beyond drama. Instead of denial or dissociation, moving beyond drama is a move into presence, creativity, compassion, possibility, and action. Not dragging yourself down with drama is like a super-power.
In this class we’ll be exploring:
- Spotting drama in yourself and others
- Why it looks like a good idea, and what’s really going on
- What’s ‘beyond’ drama, how to get there, and getting your bearing in this weird new world
- The art of not getting dramatic about drama, and how to help others from here
We’re really well made. We’re designed to grow and adapt, to think on our feet, and to learn from experience. But we’ve been taught otherwise: that we need to get it right. That we need to be original, special, popular, and perfect. And we become paralyzed, not just wasting opportunities but strangling our potential.
It’s time to take action.
It’s okay that you don’t feel ready.
It’s okay that you don’t know if it will work.
The way is revealed by following the way, not predicting the way.
And this doesn’t mean rushing or reacting or overworking. Imperfect action is mindful, creative action. It's messy and occasionally confusing, and it's alive with potential. It’s demoting your ego to employee and letting something greater come through you.
In this class we’ll be exploring:
- The innocence and pervasiveness of perfectionism
- How wrong action becomes right action
- How to get into action when you don’t want to or don’t know how to
- Why being willing to make a mess creates a more miraculous life