By Sarah Taub & Michael Rios
Being “At Choice:” In New Culture, you are always AT CHOICE about your participation in any workshop or activity. Honor your sacred intuition and follow your joy and excitement.
Ask for What You Want: It’s always OK to ask, if it’s OK for the answer to be “no.”
Boundaries: “No” is as welcome as “Yes”, maybe even more so. In many ways, “no” is the most intimate communication you can give another human being. If others can trust you to say “no”, they can believe you wholeheartedly when you say “yes”. Being clear about what you want in the moment creates more freedom for others– it is always OK to say “no” or “stop;” it is always OK to change your mind from “yes” to “no” and from “no” to “yes. We flit like butterflies; we flow like a river; we go back and forth like ocean waves. Learn to know yourself in every moment.
Curiosity: Wow! Why did that happen? Why did she react that way? Why am I feeling these feelings? A curious person is an empowered person. You are not your feelings; your feelings visit you, like houseguests that can be entertaining or difficult. When your feelings become your masters, you have lost your freedom and autonomy.
Flexibility and Non-Attachment: Attachment to a specific outcome – needing to have things a certain way – is often rooted in old hurts and can cause new ones. In New Culture, we are learning to stay light on our feet and to adapt flexibly to new situations. “Huh – I didn’t get my needs met the way I wanted. How else could I do it? What new amazing thing could happen next?”
Transparency and Openness: How do we live well together and co-create joy? How do we maximize our opportunities for getting what we want? When people have healthy boundaries and take responsibility for their own feelings, relationships become easy and joyful. I can honestly share my thoughts and feelings without fear of hurting you, because I know that you will set a boundary if you do not want to participate further. If painful emotions come up, I know that you are not to blame for my pain, and I am not to blame for yours. Instead of keeping silent for fear of hurting each other, we are both freed to explore what would bring us joy.
Karma Yoga: We work together to serve our community’s physical needs (for beauty and order, good food, healthy spaces) as well as our emotional and spiritual needs. Notice how you feel as you serve – are you joyous? Tired? Happy? Frustrated? What is it like working with others? All feelings are welcome.
Personal Power and Responsibility: Part of New Culture is learning to take 100% responsibility for one’s feelings. A key insight is that difficult emotional issues that arise in everyday life are opportunities for personal growth. The internal conflicts must be resolved before the external stresses can be dealt with. This means that the person with the feelings is the person with the power – the power to look inside, learn and grow. Intimate relationships are a crucible in which people can heal themselves, find joy with each other, and look outward with hope and energy to transforming the larger world. So if feelings are coming up for you, take this as an opportunity to practice what we are learning.