Navigating Life Dimensions with Eric Turnnessen

Episode 045
Duration 50 min
Eric Turnnessen - Coach, Entrepreneur & Creator
Eric Turnnessen

Eric is a man of depth and creativity. He recently experienced a profound transition after exiting his software company of 14 years. Now he’s focused on coaching entrepreneurs and creatives, producing music, and surrendering to what life presents.

This episode blends some deep insights around identity, facing uncertainty, taking action, learning to surrender, and Eric’s amazing metaphors for navigating life transitions. He shares fascinating ideas around the decisions we encounter, how we experience them, and unique perspective on realizing actual transformation.

I appreciate Eric for the way he shows up in the world. He brings a warm and powerful energy, filled with wisdom, and I always learn something from my conversations with him.


[00:00:00] Ali: Welcome back folks to The Power of SPACE. I have a longtime friend, Mr. Eric Turnnessen. Also, this is a special first repeat guest. So as I was preparing for this, I got really excited, Eric, because you were the second episode. An episode that I love, that I've listened to more than once. We cover a lot of cool things, and that was almost two years ago.

And here you are again, the first repeat guest. A lot of life has happened since then. You and I have had several conversations since then. And you're one of the few people in my world where almost every conversation we have is record worthy.

So I'm already happy. What's that?

[00:00:50] Eric: No pressure.

[00:00:51] Ali: No pressure. Yeah.

So I have to start with the intro, which I thought about not starting with because it's our second time, but I actually think it'd be interesting to see how you answer it. So who is Eric Turnnessen today?

[00:01:08] Eric: Oh, Lordy. Well, it's not as straightforward as it was the last time, I believe.

And someone asked me this recently, like, "what do you do?" That kind of question when you're meeting somebody new? And they say, Oh, what do you do? Right. And I answered in a particular way. And then after I was done answering it, I wasn't really satisfied with it. And I came up with a better answer or more accurate answer, which is that I'm listening.

Um. Because I do a lot of different things. Kind of whatever fancies my attention. You know, I do some coaching, I do some music composition, I do a lot of meditation and things in that realm, but I wouldn't necessarily define myself by any one of those things in terms of like saying, Oh, this is who I am.

At a high level, I'm endeavoring to not be so goal oriented in terms of where I think I'm going. And as a result, I have to live with a lot of patience, live with a lot of surrender, and have a lot of discernment in terms of when to take action, and do something, or when not to.

And I think that that's a generic enough overview of me to at least maybe interest some people, but it certainly doesn't say anything about who I am.

[00:02:35] Ali: Hmm. Maybe it does. Maybe it does. Because as I was listening to you, I agree with everything you've just said. And my mind quickly wanted to honor and congratulate you in ways where I'm like, yes, you do. As of late, especially, you've always spent time feeling into things. And the point you made at the end, the discernment around when to take action.

I've admired that, since I've known you, when you feel it and you know it, you go. You don't wait around. Whereas I, myself, and a lot of humans, I think we get in a lot of trouble when we feel something, we know it in our gut and we just wait. And we play with it or we let it linger on, which from my own personal journey has created all kinds of weird hassles and even issues sometimes.

Where I'm like, I knew right away. Body told me, my body quickly had that initial reaction. It's something I've been sort of sharing with my children at five and seven years old. I'm like, your body knows right away. So listen to that, be with that.

[00:03:46] Eric: Yeah. And I think that's really critical and an important skill to develop. And of course, that plays a part in what I'm doing.

And I think that waiting is also a fundamental ingredient, especially with complex situations like say the ending of a relationship, whether that's with a person or whether that's with a job or something like that. There can be multiple things happening in the body at the same time and they can contradict each other.

So in that situation, you can't just be like, okay, I'm going to go with what my body feels. Because in that situation where there's a lot of conflicting things like maybe part of me is a yes. I want to do this. And part of me is a no. And then you have to discern, okay, what's the percentage? What's the bigger part of me?

And that does take time to sit with that and let things settle. Because if in that situation, there's a knee jerk decision, then it's probably going to be reactive as opposed to responsive. And that will end up probably having regrets as a result.

[00:04:56] Ali: I'm with you. It reminds me of this model I took from conscious leadership, which is the whole body, yes.

Some people call it the hell yes, the full body yes. The idea is that when you have those, you know, it's certain. And there's a lot more decisions where we get a ratio like you described, where like, there's a chunk of me that's a yes, there's a chunk of me that's no. And so going back to what you shared, I think that's where the awareness comes in.

The reflection, like, is this fear speaking? Is this something else? And being with that ... I like what you said, because it's not always that easy. I love to be like, Hey, I only say yes, if it's a whole body yes. But then it'd be a very binary lifestyle. I still honor the whole body, yes, but I can't make every single decision like that.

[00:05:48] Eric: Yeah, and, and also I think, from my experience, I've learned that especially if it's a decision that's like maybe a departure from a path that I was on.

There's usually a part of my body that feels uncertain about it. It's kind of like if you're the monkey swinging in the trees. And you're going from one branch to another. Like if you have a branch in hand before you let go of the other one, there's some comfort there. But if you have a leap of faith where you let go one branch, but it's kind of like, you have to travel through some air to get to the next branch...

Yeah, there's a full body. There's a partly a full body. Yes. Like, Oh, I'm going for that branch. But then also there's like, "Oh shit," you know, am I going to make it kind of feeling, which I think is something to pay attention to because that very sensation can be the thing that people micro focus on and then choose that to be an obstacle as to not take that step.

Because he'll get the yes. But then, like, the fears will crop up, and the unknowns, and then the mind will fixate on that, and then before you know it, the power of attention magnifies those fears. And so now you've lost the awareness of that yes that was originally there, because you've chosen to focus on this smaller part, which then, because of your attention, ends up being magnified.

And then you just don't do it.

[00:07:16] Ali: Yes. Well said. I was smiling as you started talking about the monkeys swinging because I was just waiting for how fast we'd get to one of your awesome metaphors. You have the best metaphors. You always combine nature with them and they're clear, they're simple, like the monkey swinging from the tree.

Like that's easy to comprehend.

[00:07:36] Eric: Monkeys are great.

[00:07:37] Ali: So that is a beautiful path into something I want to talk to you about where I have high curiosity, because I know your story, and it's around the topic of transition. So, you are... focusing on your music. Now you're focusing on coaching, like you said.

But this came about from you know, kind of opening up some space recently in having an exit from the business where you and I met a decade ago. Now that we're here, what comes up for you in reflecting on that transition?

[00:08:12] Eric: So, it was a transition. That's what I can say about it. There are certain parts that are too far in the future for me to, like, kind of feel in my body anymore and, like, live it or retell it. But kind of being where I am now, it's clear that it was the right decision for me. And also the other branch hasn't shown up.

Right. So it was very clear to me that this wasn't just a decision about letting go of a company or moving away from a job. It was more about a closing of a chapter of life and in closing that chapter at the simultaneous, we was an invitation and a preparation for whatever the next chapter is.

And this goes back to what I said about me in the beginning about the listening. I don't know what that next chapter is. I have some senses about it, but, it's still not clear. What's happened though is like puzzle pieces show up. Like, different pieces seem to appear.

Actually, before I get into that, I'll reflect that it reminds me of... how MemberMouse started in the first place. Like I was working at a consulting job and I was looking around me at people who have been doing it for 25 years and we're super successful. And I was like, that's not a goal that I want to spend 25 years.

Like, even if I get there, that wouldn't be success for me. So I left my job, but I didn't have any plan for what. I just knew I couldn't do that. And ultimately like two years later, MemberMouse kind of emerged from the mists, you know. Like there was no plan for that. It was really a lot of happenstance that made MemberMouse come about. And then MemberMouse became clear. And then I made that 14 year journey.

So it feels very analogous to that. I can use and reflect on how that felt for me then to help guide me through this experience. One thing I'm very aware of is like if the puzzle of the consulting job was like a one dimensional world, leaving that was basically preparing me for a two dimensional world.

And so it's not just a leaving of something. It's an opening up to new perspective of seeing things. So as puzzle pieces showed up in that transition, I would be perceiving them with the old mindset of one dimensional and trying to fit it together. But it wasn't until there was some like, aha moments, realizations that showed me, oh, actually, they go together like this in a two dimensional way.

So, the same is happening now. Puzzle pieces are showing up, 2D puzzle pieces are showing up now. But I know from experiences that they're not going to make a 2D puzzle, there's going to be a three dimensional puzzle that comes out of this. So it's going to be a completely different way of being that I can't perceive right now and I think that's where the trust and surrender comes in.

Because if the fear of not knowing took hold, and I can sense myself doing this on a nearly weekly basis, like, "Oh, let me find the thing that I'm used to and comfortable like, what do I need to do?" And it's always looking for the thing that I know, and I did before and I was comfortable with.

But, you know, after acknowledging that is going on with me and sitting with it and letting it pass, it all comes back to waiting to see what's going to come my way. And really just like, being playful with the world in a sense. Like I have enough experience to know that even in MemberMouse, so much of the success depended on seemingly random events happening. Like a significant person coming in with an opportunity or a particular client, you know, that led to more things.

Like there are things that are completely out of my control. I know enough and have enough experience with that to be patient and wait. Because on the MemberMouse journey, I wasn't patient. I was working, I was firing all six cylinders. Where in retrospect, I realized I really only need to be running on two because it's not all about effort.

So yeah, I mean, this time is like a new classroom. It's like showing up. I've learned all these skills and the teacher's like, okay, well, we're going to test that and see what you've learned. So I do feel like I'm being tested and, you know, a lot of that shows up.

The tests happen in an internal way in terms of thoughts, emotions, in that realm. And so that's also why I spend a lot of time and a big amount of my focus on meditation and other kind of introspective practices to show up to that battlefield for lack of a better word.

[00:13:03] Ali: Wow, that's interesting.

There's so much that's interesting in what you said. The first is that like I expected even more awesome metaphors came in. So we started with the monkey swinging on trees. Then you brought this cool puzzle, and I was there with you, I was seeing you, like, put the puzzle together, and then advancing to the next chapter, the next puzzle.

And then you brought in the classroom, right? Which is its own metaphor, it's beautiful. Oh, man. And then at the end, you drop the battlefield. We'll see if that goes anywhere.

But, what I think's really cool, I want to reflect back to you, Eric, is that, in some ways, I feel like, watching your transition from my lens and being your friend and supporting you, it was just like the monkey. You saw the branch, you didn't really hesitate, which might go against your pattern, because you explained how one of your deeper patterns that got you into MemberMouse was kind of blindly going. But I think there's a part of you that perhaps saw the branch, and you swung to it, and you went, because you're like, this is the new branch that I'm going to, I want to see what it opens up.

It would have been really easy for you to stay, and not swing there, which I've done, in my journey. And so I know what that feels like and what you shared about like staying from fear is so real. So I love that part. I also think that the Eric I know today, especially compared with Eric five years ago or ten years ago when I first met you, is very patient, is very still.

And these are two moves that I think are so impressive. I'm laughing because there's, these are like the two things I'm trying to teach my kids, even though I try not to teach them a whole lot. I'm like, hey guys, sometimes you just need to be patient. We just need to be still and surrender.

Because the point I want to make there is that I found that life becomes so much more beautiful for me when I let go and let things happen instead of trying to be the composer and control things and architect them and do all this stuff for this crystal clear future projections, instead of being just kind of sitting back and saying, well, let's just let the music play.

These are some random thoughts I have. It also transitions into what I want to talk to you about, which is music, which is some of the stuff.

[00:15:23] Eric: Before you do that, can I comment on the branch thing, please? I think that that's what intuition is. And maybe like the full body, yes, or whatever we want to call it. It's basically something non logical, non mental that is indicating to us that there's something.

So there is part of us that can see the next thing, but it's not a part that is mental or intellectual or logical, right? So that's where the rub comes in. Can you be somebody who can trust in things other than what's seen and known?

Um, and that is, I think, a really important practice to do to be human. Like it's important to grant the mind its realm and what it's good at and the things that it's good at. But ultimately, it's something that requires a lot to function. It requires a lot of information and data gathered over time from past sources from other people. Maybe indirect or direct. It all depends.

But there are other ways of navigation that don't require information and data. And they are equally, if not more important than the mental ones, depending on what one's trying to cultivate, of course. But I'll just say for me, more and more, the non mental logical areas are much more important than mental.

[00:16:54] Ali: I'm really glad you came back to that because I'm going to double down and share that something that happened in my world a little over a year ago was an experience that came through a means of breathwork, very intentional, deep breathwork. And... The exercise showed me something that I'm literally going to do next week in terms of leading a retreat, being in nature. It showed me a glimpse. It didn't even show me the whole picture.

But the reason that I think it's so profound and it connects right back to what you just shared is that, I could have only quote unquote, "seen that" by feeling it. In other words, I didn't know how to intellectualize that. It wasn't something I could mentally navigate to, to use your words.

But I saw this brief picture. And at the time, this is well over a year ago, almost two years ago. I didn't even know what it really meant. I just knew to your point, it was something calling me. So that's why I say I could quote unquote, "see it." And it's amazing because that would have never happened if I didn't kind of surrender to the fear, let go of some things.

So I 100 percent agree with that, and what I'm going to filter on that note is that there's only so much we can mentally navigate that we can intellectualize, especially as it relates to what this feels like our calling or what we're getting pulled to the energy that wants to come through us.

And like you said, I couldn't think my way through it. I had to feel it to see it, which sounds kind of crazy. And here we are, next week, I'm going to step into this thing that I felt back then.

[00:18:43] Eric: Well, there's actually a simple exercise that can help the mind actually see how this isn't so crazy. And it shows the limitation of perception.

Basically, like, if you imagine a circle of people sitting around a tree and you go around the circle and each one describes what they're seeing. Everybody's gonna have something slightly different that from their perspective that they're seeing about that tree, but they're all 100% correct. They, it's their truth, right?

It's their truth, but it's also not just their truth. It's everybody's truth, mm-hmm. But the people on the opposite side can't see with their physical eyes what the person on the opposite side is seeing. So, just like with a physical object, when we take it into a more etheric world of ideas and goals and whatever, it's the same thing. Like, whatever we think that we perceive is only part of it.

And so it's very fallible to believe that we know, even if it feels like very strongly that we can see something. It's always, I think, healthy to allow for a certain amount of like, okay, "I don't have the full picture, I don't know." And it keeps one's mind open. Because something else I've learned from taking journeys of different kinds is sometimes the motivation that gets us up out of the chair to walk out the door that's palatable to mind, like maybe a trip like, okay, my desire tells me I want to go to Santa Fe.

Okay, so I get up. I drive. I'm heading out to Santa Fe. But then Something happens, like some UFO flies across the road and is like, "Oh, crap, like there's a UFO going that way." Like that seems intriguing and it's calling me that direction. Now, the stubborn mind will be like, "Well, I was going to Santa Fe and that was the original plan," right? And we'll ignore the thing that just happened.

But the open mind will be like, "Oh, well that must be why I'm here, right?" And I think that happens a lot where what we're given to get us into motion isn't necessarily always going to be the end result.

[00:21:00] Ali: I like that. Yeah, that's real.

Okay. Uh, something I want to talk to you about is music. Music is in focus for you now. I love seeing some of the stuff that you share. I believe you just did a contest of sorts. Tell me about that. What's going on with music in your life?

[00:21:24] Eric: So I've been recording with orchestras for the past few years, which is essentially like the culmination of a lifelong dream. Like I started composing when I was 14 and very early on I had these visions and desires to have my stuff recorded with an orchestra. Never could see how it would happen, and pretty much gave up hope on it happening at at different times.

But yeah, three years ago certain things were shown to me that I took action on and ultimately ended up recording once, thought that would be the end of it, did it again, figured that would be the end, and then I did it again this year.

And also this year I did the contest because, and I'm going to say because and there's going to be a reason, but the reason isn't the only reason why it happened. Again, it was a listening thing. And there was there was a lot of... like an iceberg, there was a lot of stuff under the water that was happening. But I can tell you about what's above the water, which is the quote unquote "reason."

And the reason is that, I know how powerful it was for me to have that experience and I wanted to pass it along to other people who might have been in my same situation. Composers who had never had their stuff recorded by orchestra before.

And so the contest was basically to put out to everybody, no entrance fee, to all ages from 12 to 70, any level of experience, submit a piece of music for a particular ensemble, orchestral ensemble, and then I would choose a winner. And that winner I would pay for that to get recorded by the orchestra.

And yeah, it was just a really amazing experience on a number of levels to kind of be the one shepherding somebody else through the process, but also getting to meet people, the community of musicians and seeing how large the community was and engaged. And yeah, there was a lot of interest in that particular endeavor.

And It's probably one of the most successful campaigns of sorts that I've done, even including anything for MemberMouse in terms of level of engagement and excitement, you know? So to me, I take that as a sign that it was aligned. Like I don't take ownership of that, but I look at it as like, okay, like I took these actions and I was definitely meant to do this just based on how it felt as a result of going through doing it and seeing what came out of it.

And, um, I also recorded three more of my pieces with a 60 piece orchestra. I'm currently in post production for all of that stuff right now, like editing a lot of behind the scenes footage together to release more videos on my YouTube channel.

But again, like it's interesting with the music stuff, like I go through waves, like the beginning of the year, I was preparing for preparing all the music. There's a lot of pre production that goes into this to get 60 people all to do the same thing. At the same time, within a very short period of time with zero to minimal error because it's so expensive. So there's a lot of prep that happens.

And so my level of engagement and everything was really involved from the beginning of the year all the way up to the recording session, which was in May. And then the May experience of having it all come to this culmination point was a peak experience.

And then after that, it's almost like, ah I never freaking want to listen to that music again. Why did I even do that? And it's interesting because this happened last time, and it's kind of like this cycle where you have these peaks and valleys that come, even though I know I love it so much. You know, when you've listened to something like literally thousands of times and you have to do it with a critical ear and, you know, it's work.

So, at the end of it, I still feel like I'm just coming out of that kind of aftermath or postpartum feeling of having gone through the whole creative effort. And so, again, I'm in the situation where like, "okay, well, maybe that's all that was meant to happen with music." And if I never do it again, I'll be fine.

But I'm still listening, and if I get the message to do it again, then I'll do it again. But there's no plan.

[00:25:40] Ali: Yeah, that's cool.

I remember the first time you did it and when I tuned in on YouTube LIVE when you were sharing it publicly for the first time. One, the piece is beautiful. So you have a real gift. But more importantly, I was like, "Oh, shit. I see Eric." Like, I see him, even though I couldn't physically see you, right. But I was watching.

And that's what was so extraordinary about it. There was the music and then there was this visual piece that you kind of put together. And even though I saw you as a buddy for years, and we worked together, we were in a very technical, uh, professional world until we started having these conversations.

And we're like, Oh, so we could talk about more than just coding and memberships. And then when I watched that, I was like, "Oh my goodness, this is his art." Not that I don't believe it's your only art by any means, but I was like, this is definitely part of your art. And as a creator, I was blown away. I was proud as your friend. I had all these sensations, even though I was watching it digitally.

I can only imagine if I was sitting next to you in like a live orchestra, the energy that would happen with that, which would be awesome to do at some point if that presents itself. But I really admired that you've swung to that branch because that's a big branch. It's a scary branch.

And then now you're giving the gift to someone else. When are they expected to start their process?

[00:27:14] Eric: Well, we already did it.

[00:27:15] Ali: Oh, it's done. Wow.

[00:27:16] Eric: Well, we recorded it. And you know, all these videos are on YouTube, but I still have yet to produce like the final, final video that basically culminates the whole thing.

Cause it's still in post production, the mixing and mastering of the piece. And then I have to take that and edit it to the video footage and produce, you know, the YouTube content. But all the pieces are almost done. The recording already happened. So the winner, you know, had a great life changing experience and super thrilled about it.

So yeah, it's just waiting for everything to get in front of me, all the pieces, and then for me to have the motivation to actually like produce that content. Which you know, I definitely identify with as a creative and producing things is definitely different than sharing them.

Right. You know, I get a lot of inspiration for production and creation, but then when it comes to like putting it out in the world, like I definitely dragged my feet a lot on that front. And I'll do better this year than I've done in the past year, but last year when I released, it took me like a year to release the stuff that I recorded. And the first year was even different.

Because it's about being seen at that point, you know, it's like, okay, I produced it and it was great for my experience, but now like putting it out in the world is, um, a different experience...

[00:28:37] Ali: Okay, so this is important.

Do you think the, let's just call it the resistance to share comes from a relationship with an identity?

[00:28:51] Eric: I don't think so.

[00:28:55] Ali: So then tell me more when you say it's about being seen.

[00:29:01] Eric: Oh, I think coming back to the body, right? There's just like different levels of comfort that we all have. And so, meeting with resistance simply is identifying that there is something within us that doesn't feel safe doing that. And maybe that can be because of some past experience where it was done and there wasn't a good experience and there wasn't proper healing from that. So it's basically a trauma response.

Like I know I've done a lot of performing in my life. I was in a boy choir in middle school and I sang in college and I know for me, I've always kind of had stage fright. I'm fine with groups. Like I sing in groups fine but anytime I had a solo, or on the spot like with the attention on me like that felt really intense and I couldn't get my breath and often I couldn't do the solo.

Sometimes I've done it but it's always like a nerve wracking experience that, you know, similar to like public speaking, like I've had to do some live things for MemberMouse sometimes and it always like filled me with dread.

So I think it's the same thing. It's like, basically fear of rejection, I think is part of it. And, uh, it's a vulnerable experience. So ultimately to knowingly go into a vulnerable experience takes courage.

And so through whatever work that I've done through spiritual practices and other modalities, and through just doing things like my own podcast and MemberMouse. Basically going from the behind the scenes in the dark corner software engineer to the person at the end of my time with MemberMouse, where I was more just doing all the public things, you know, YouTube videos, live things. Just by doing there was comfort, you know, gained from that.

So I think all these experiences build on top of each other and in preparation for, things like this. Because music, like you said, is like art, there's not much filter between that and me as a person, like that is an expression of me.

Whereas, like software, you know, it is an expression, but there's a little bit more of a mental barrier.

[00:31:17] Ali: It's not as subjective as art.

[00:31:20] Eric: Yeah. So, yeah. So releasing music is definitely more, uh, a different exercise.

[00:31:29] Ali: So it's very interesting that you said that. And the reason that I quickly poked at the identity, which as you answered that it doesn't feel like that had much to do with this. Where your answer was, was very felt very authentic to just kind of the fear as it relates to bringing your art to the world. And clearly art that you care about. So when you start using the words vulnerable, and as I know, you know, your path, that makes so much sense to me.

And why this is so interesting is that just the other day, like literally earlier this week, I was having a conversation with Gabrielle about the act of promotion, of sharing things, especially in social media, or just in public, like just in passing and communication with people, and specifically as it relates to SPACE.

So the podcast, the coaching, the retreats, the work that lights me up that I am passionate about right now. And it's funny, Eric, I was telling her, I was like, " I feel so much resistance," which is why I shared that word with you. Like, I don't want to post this on social media. I don't want to do marketing.

I was I complaining like a five year old, right. Just getting out of my body. Like, I don't want to do this. And she looked at me and smiled. And she's like, "it sure is easy for you to share your pictures when you're traveling with your family. It sure is easy for you to share a picture of a little zucchini that comes out of the garden you've created."

And she started giving me this reflection back that, "Oh, I do like to be seen" to your point, especially in some of those ways where it's artistic. But for me, there is a little bit of this fear, this resistance in mapping the work I'm doing, and broadcasting that.

And so it's this really weird mind game that I got some clarity on just this week and being like, wow, I sure am good at marketing the things that are fun and authentic. But when it comes to more serious things that relate to the work I'm doing in the world, now I get more resistant in marketing myself, you know.

[00:33:43] Eric: That makes a lot of sense. And I'm sure everybody can relate. To that I can relate to that.

But I think it reminds me of this quote from shadow work. That's like your greatest gift lies next to your greatest shadow, something like that. Right. And it's a hero's journey, essentially, right? So when we've committed to doing the hero's journey, which is basically to do some work that does create resistance and does take effort and does take soul searching.

Then, yeah, the piece of like putting that out in the world and being seen to be doing that is also another component of that journey. And I think for me, the message is, not that to share myself to be seen is about me continuing to write music and getting large orchestras to perform it. Because in a way even that is kind of like a delaying tactic because there's so much production involved, you know, right?

And it's like, it's not as immediate. You know, so this is something that just happened actually two days ago. I was attending a Kirtan event here in Asheville. Kirtan is essentially just call and response chanting of sacred mantras.

It's a musical experience, but it's it's a lot about energy and creating a space, and being together in community singing. And I have had the experience of attending some kirtans here in Nashville that they don't go particularly the way that I would like them to. Where I'm like, I have these feelings of like, "oh, that's, that's not how it should be done" or "that didn't work." Like you had the energy and then you dropped it. You need to keep the energy going.

And so, like, after having those complaints internally, I approached the person afterwards to ask, " would there be an appetite to do more of these? Because I'd be willing to lead one." You know, and he said, yes, and there's something emotion that may lead to me doing these here in Nashville on my own.

And so it's like. Oh, great. Well, now there'll be some Kirtans that I appreciate. "I'm like, oh, crap. Like, I might have to, like, lead Kirtans now." Which is a very much more immediate way of being seen and sharing. Yes. Right.

And so it definitely feels in line with the kind of work that I'm showing up to do. And it's something I'm excited about. And it's something that combines the work with tea that I did, like holding space and doing building energy arcs with groups of people and meditation.

So it brings together a lot of pieces, you know, the experience of doing music and sharing that, but it's getting closer and closer and there's less things to hide behind as I move forward in the journey. So, that's something else that might happen soon.

[00:36:39] Ali: That's cool. That's courageous.

Okay. It's perfect for the last topic that I've been very intentional to get people's perspective on the word transformation. Particularly self transformation. And I don't think we talked about this much in our first episode.

So, what does that mean to you right now? Like if you were to identify with some personal transformation that's taken place recently or even transformation you've experienced through others, like what comes to mind?

[00:37:22] Eric: I think seeking transformation is dangerous. Because it goes back to my kind of like puzzle metaphor hmm.

If you're in the 2D world, you're going to plan your transformation according to what you know, which is 2D. And so you'll orient to whether you're going the right way or not mentally based on if things look according to the map that you see in your head. But transformation, like if you're truly transformed, then what you are now is different than what you were before, and therefore there is no relationship in a way between the two.

Something has transformed. Therefore, whatever is transformed can't relate to what it was before. It's different. It's a new world. Kind of like the caterpillar and a butterfly. Like a caterpillar and a butterfly meeting won't know that they were the same thing necessarily. I don't know what they think, but metaphorically speaking, they don't know.

And that's to me is true transformation. And actually that's a good metaphor because the caterpillar goes into transformation and they completely dissolve, essentially die, get liquefied into like this death liquid, and then are reborn as a butterfly. So if you want true transformation, you have to be willing to die.

So if you're planning what that's going to look like, you're creating safety for yourself, right? You're basically saying, "Oh, I'm just going to do this a little bit." Um, but to me, if transformation is a process of letting go and trusting, like watering a seed. Well, the way that transformation is revealed is when nature takes its course and ultimately it's a flower or something else you see at the end, but you don't know at the beginning. You commit to the process.

So I think that that's complete.

[00:39:18] Ali: Wow. That's so fascinating because right here, right now, you've given me a healthy reason to challenge using that word as something that people would want. Meaning I have it on the SPACE website. And I never even thought about that, Eric.

So first, thank you for that gift. As you said that I wasn't resistant to it. I was very open. I was like, "Oh dang, there's some truth in that for me." Like seeking it is dangerous because you just don't know. Whereas I totally agree, it's something that has to be realized. It has to be felt. It has to be almost surrendered to, to tie back into other themes we've talked about today.

Whereas if you go into it being like, well, "I'm going to transform. I know I am." Then that defeats the whole point.

[00:40:09] Eric: And there's a certain component of grace involved.

[00:40:11] Ali: Ah, yes.

[00:40:12] Eric: Because if it's completely egotistical, the ego can only operate from what it knows, which is essentially stale because it's all based on past memory. So it's limiting. It's self limiting to operate solely from the ego, literally.

[00:40:35] Ali: Totally. Yeah, that feels complete.

[00:40:38] Eric: But, you know, words... With regards to changing a website or whatever. I mean, that's always the, the kind of like crappy part. Like the words that we use, isn't just about what we're trying to communicate, but the way that our audience speaks. So it's like, that's why before we started recording, I gave you the disclaimer of like, "I'm just going to have a conversation with you. And if you don't want to use it, or if it doesn't fit, like don't use it, but I'm not going to try to speak to an audience."

Because as soon as that happens, there's a filtering process going on like, yep. And that has to happen in kind of like a sales page sense or like a presentation sense, so that you're not so beyond...

Like you have to create a transformational bridge through your communication. You can't just be on the other side of the bridge.

[00:41:26] Ali: That's a good point.

[00:41:26] Eric: Expect people to, you know, to meet you there. They're not there yet. That's the whole point of you trying to offer them a service or something.

[00:41:34] Ali: A hundred percent.

[00:41:35] Eric: Yeah. So I wouldn't go tear the website down necessarily.

[00:41:42] Ali: Change everything! Yeah. That's so real though, because it is, it's like, I think there's people in the world, and I'm in this bucket where I've reached a place where I don't really want to play a whole lot of games. I just want to speak my truth and be in relation with people that give me energy or that I have a connection to that I care about.

And then honestly follow things that peek my curiosity. That challenge me in healthy ways. And there's a lot of authenticity wrapped up in knowing that doing things like website copy and marketing doesn't always feel easy because I'm like, well, I just want to say this, but to your point, I'm like, that's not going to land with anyone. Cause it's almost like a different language to them.

And I'm like, who is this dude? What the hell is he talking about? So there's this whole filtering, deciphering, almost wordsmithing for sure, to say, this is what I'm trying to explain at a low level. It might land with you, hopefully, and then at some point, I love that you said there's this bridge, it's the beautiful path, the process, the journey, to getting to what I want to share with you.

[00:42:53] Eric: Right.

[00:42:53] Ali: Because yeah, if I just said what I initially thought.

[00:42:56] Eric: But, to contradict the thing that I just said, um.

[00:43:02] Ali: It's like, why do we do that?

[00:43:03] Eric: Well, I think that it depends on what your intention is. Like if your intention is you want to be a part of the majority of the online world that's kind of playing by a certain rule set, then what I just said makes complete sense, right?

But if you're clear in your intention, like you just stated, " this is what I want, and these are the people I want to work with," then say whatever comes to your heart. Because ultimately, words aren't the thing. Like energy transformation, transmission is what is going to attract people to you.

And if you're trying to do the mass market thing, then yeah, what I said makes a lot of sense. But if you're going for a specific audience, then you being intentional and clear on who you are and who you want to work with. Use whatever language feels comfortable to you because you're being true to yourself.

And basically attracting your audience is about clarifying your relationship with yourself. It's not about vice versa. Like, let me cast a wide net and see how many fish I can catch or trick to come into the net. That's traditional marketing.

But the other side is like, if we can be clear about who we are and be willing to transform our things as we transform. Like the copy that I wrote two weeks ago may not feel right anymore because something has transformed, something has changed. So that needs to be updated.

You know, and I think over time if you're doing that, people see this kind of trail that you've left of how you've transformed and that becomes in and of itself a selling point.

[00:44:43] Ali: That's it. Right. That's it. Oh, that's so good.

That's so good. So yes, then there will probably be no website changes from, let's see.

Eric, this has been a treat as usual. I have a few fun questions though, before we wrap, is that cool?

[00:45:02] Eric: Okay. Yeah.

[00:45:03] Ali: The first one, which I don't think I've ever asked you in 10 plus years of friendship. What's your favorite food?

[00:45:10] Eric: Well, the one that came into mind was pizza, but I actually, yeah. Well, I'll just say that, pizza is my favorite.

[00:45:18] Ali: What would be on the pizza?

[00:45:21] Eric: Um, it's just margarita. My thing is like, minimalistic because that way you can know if you've had the best. If there's too many things going on, there's distraction and you don't know that this one is better than the last one.

And my relationship with pizza now is such that like I'm gluten free, dairy free now. So, I don't eat pizza the way it used to. But basically the pizza that I had at Ken's Artisan Pizza in Portland has the current ranking of the top pizza I've ever had.

And to me, like, I'm willing to eat like a gluten dairy pizza again. But the only way I would do that if it's as good or better than that pizza that I've experienced.

[00:46:01] Ali: Now that is an answer, a pizza answer. Yeah. I love that. I did not expect to say pizza. All right.

Number two, who is a dead person you'd like to meet in person?

[00:46:13] Eric: Paramahansa yogananda.

[00:46:20] Ali: Oh, okay. Do you know what you would ask them?

[00:46:27] Eric: I wouldn't ask anything.

[00:46:29] Ali: That might just be...

[00:46:33] Eric: Just being in the presence would be significant enough.

[00:46:36] Ali: That's what I was just gonna say. I was gonna say it might be enough to just be with them Hmm. Yeah, that's a cool answer

Okay, brother, last question. What's one of your favorite childhood memories?

[00:46:48] Eric: Climbing trees. There was this really nice white pine in my yard. And by the time I was like three years old, I was climbing trees. Wow! Yeah. This white pine, it was like really tall and at the top, the branches... worked themselves such that it wasn't like just one single trunk going on.

It kind of like was like a seat. Like if you hold your palm out and your fingers up, it was kind of like that. So I could climb all the way to the top and just sit there. And like, look out.

[00:47:22] Ali: It's very nostalgic for me because that's an activity I did. Not quite at three, but we were up in trees by age five or six. And just remember how scared our parents would get, and my buddy's parents. Cause we'd go up there just like monkeys. We'd swing from the trees. We'd climb just fearless.

And now I'd love to get in a tree, but it's interesting. I don't see a whole lot of kids in trees when I look out in the neighborhood.

[00:47:50] Eric: Well. Yeah, they're not outside as much as we were.

[00:47:57] Ali: Eric, this was beautiful, man. Thank you. I'm honored to have you as the first repeat guest. This is going to be a beautiful episode to share.

[00:48:07] Eric: Yeah, I'm really happy with how the conversation turned out. So I appreciate you holding the space.

[00:48:13] Ali: Thanks, brother.

And I hope to see you in Asheville, in the flesh sometime soon.

[00:48:18] Eric: Yeah, that'd be great.

Ali Jafarian

Ali is a creator who's passionate about guiding people to their truth. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people realize their most authentic life. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.