Posts Tagged ‘LOA’

Below is the document that I read in court to present my side of the story. The lawyer I consulted before-hand told me that nine times out of ten, the courts accepted the trustee’s recommendations. My trustee was recommending an additional 12 months in bankruptcy. Based on those odds, the lawyer felt that taking money to represent me was an expensive exercise in futility. So I delved into the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and wrote my story. The document was submitted to the courts a few days prior to my court appearance; the conclusion, which is below, was read in person by myself in court.

Here it is. Read the rest of this entry »

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I was recently challenged by a friend, who made it clear to me that she bases the control of her life on accepting that everything revolves around the choices she makes.

I’ve heard that a lot in Law of Attraction circles, and it smacks to me of blaming the victim. You wouldn’t have been raped if you didn’t wear that dress and didn’t go to that bar. Your father wouldn’t have touched you if you didn’t let it happen.

Yes, life is twisted and shaped because of our decisions. And I’m the last one to advocate blame. In fact, one-third of my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman, is dedicated to accountability. Accountability, summed up, means “owning your own shit.”

Yet, there is a time in one’s life that a line must be drawn in the sand, a line that separates my choices from your actions.

Yes, I wore that dress to the bar. Yet, he’s the one who raped me.

What you did and who’s at fault are two completely different things.

Yes, I let my father continue to touch me. I was stunned into submission and since he was the authority figure in my life, I didn’t know where else to turn. Yet, he’s the one who acted out his fantasy.

What you did and who’s at fault, again, two completely different things.

I think it’s an oversimplification to say that you are responsible for everything that has happened to you as a result of your choices. It’s an easy way out for the perpetrator. It’s a camouflaged deflection of responsibility using counter-blame.

The sweet thing (and the equally frustrating thing) about human beings is our complexity. And when you hear a gross over-simplification, examine it. You might be surprised at what you find underneath.

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So if it turns out and I’m horribly wrong, and the Law of Attraction can be used to magically manifest things, perhaps we should turn our attention to the human race at large instead of the personal acquisition of so-called wealth.

Here’s my personal list of “fascinating” things gone horribly awry:

  • That we can keep on borrowing money from banks knowing that they are the biggest laundering scheme of all
  • That the health of the overall world economy depends on a lottery system called The Stock Exchange
  • That very few people realize that it’s not “things” that are taxed but the movement of money. Which is why “spending” our way out of recession is encouraged … to the benefit of government coffers (who give most of it back to banks).
  • That we keep on buying stuff made with child/slave labour in developing countries
  • That no one seems to give a shit about about carbon, which will be the ultimate death of humankind (US and esp Canada are the worst offenders, Canada having even signed on to Kyoto)
  • That men who are born of women, married to them, and father them, don’t seem horribly interested in stopping the machismo that leads to (and endorses) rape
  • That male-violence is considered a feminist issue (shouldn’t men be looking after male-violence, and women looking after women-violence?)
  • That most of the foods sold in grocery stores are processed (meat aside, the non-meat products are horribly horribly bad for you)
  • That feminists are considered anti-men
  • That corporations are dedicated to an increasing food consumption that humans are incapable of, which is why packaging gets smaller and food gets more addictive every year
  • That we have to pay MORE for chemical-free food
  • That world hunger is even an issue given the incredible surplus we have in the western world
  • That water is not considered a fundamental basic human right, but a bank-able a commodity
  • That the uprising in Bahrain was not supported world-wide
  • That we continually kill in the name of some pie-in-the-sky gods
  • That children are sold as sex commodities for the Western (dick) hunger for sex tourism
  • That the (respected) physical representation of women in media is so goddamn restrictive whereas the (respected) physical representation of men includes the mean, the fat and the ugly
  • That some people still think what others do in their bedrooms with consenting adults is any of their freakin business
  • That vibrators are still illegal in some states and guns are promoted
  • That some people think that end-of-life issues (eg euthanasia) must be dictated by some religious right
  • That women in Arabia still don’t have the right to vote
  • That date-rape drugs exist
  • That pot is illegal whereas cigarettes are legal
  • That there’s too much money in disease management, which truly prevents (by de-incentive-fying) the pharmaceuticals from find the cure
and the list goes on and on. Really, as a species, the human race is incredibly stupid. It’s rather surprising that we’ve lasted this long. Anything to add? Knock your socks off. And then think and think and think and think really freakin hard about it.

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1
Sep

The biggest hoax of our time

   Posted by: Britt    in On Positive Thinking, On Seekers

The “Law of Attraction” has, um, attracted many famous mouthpieces. The most famous by far would be Empress O Herself, whose lips have launched the careers of many of those famous gurus featured in The Secret. Including James Arthur Ray, Jack Canfield, Reverend Michael Beckwith and the like. And, of course, Rhonda Byrne, author of this finely lifted work.

I think this is the most horrific actualization of the Emperor’s New Clothes. We’re all so darned busy nodding our heads and softly murmuring about Her fine philosophies of God, pasting thin smiles on our faces lest we be struck by the mainstays of life (like suffering and death), that no one dares to point out that she is naked.

In the American Declaration of Independence it is written that man (sic) has the inalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This line is actually lifted from the British John Locke’s 1690 document, the  “Second Treaty of Civil Government” where he claimed that every man (sic) was entitled to “life, liberty and property.”

The American Dream born from this concept where property, or more broadly, the possession of stuff, is the path to happiness. We’ve become so frenzied with that notion of happiness that it’s become almost like a new religion (actually, it’s two newish-old ones, the Church of New Thought merged with Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science).

And what do all it’s Preachers preach?

That good thoughts lead to money which in turn brings you happiness which is your God-given right as a human being. And yes, God lurks heavily in their gospel, but as a by-product of wealth.

And so we’re all busy paying the gurus, I mean Preachers, so that we can learn how to “think the right thoughts” so that we can earn our money and find our way to God Himself (sic). Meanwhile, we’re doing nothing to make the world a better place to live.

We’re smiling ourselves to death, kidding ourselves about the stylish mantle of success they have us believe they are wearing (isn’t it a little suspicious that each of them teaches the cornerstone of deception by encouraging everyone to walk the walk and talk the talk, to act “as if” even before they’ve achieved their goal? doesn’t that smack of a lack of integrity?). And when we find ourselves thinking critically — I mean negatively — we silent smack our souls back into place and smile. Stupidly.

I for one am stepping away from the admiring masses throwing money at the gurus as they parade naked down the street. I am in good company (see the blogroll). We’re a small group, but we’re wise.

James Arthur Ray is showing his true colours these days. Accountability? None, it’s the poisonous fumes in the sand.

But we don’t need the deaths of people to reveal the truth here folks. Just an open eye and a child that points out that the Emperor is indeed naked.

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The Train

Imagine this. It’s 1:34 am. A moonless night. For whatever reason (every story needs to start with an unknown trauma behind you), you are beside a railway track, just a foot or two to the side.

You have infamously fallen and you can’t get up.

In the ghostly distance you hear the ghastly hoot-hoot of an oncoming train. You struggle to get unstuck. No luck. A brief minute passes and you no longer just hear it: you see its ominously-deadly headlight doggedly lurching toward you. Chugachuga chugachuga choo-choo. This is it. Your big moment. The grand finale.

Admittedly, you’re being dramatic. For you are not square on the railroad track. You’re off to the side. You are also somewhat smart: you also know that trains are typically wider than the  track they run on. But visions of your own demise dance in your head. You are the train wreck. Soon to be the wreckage.

So you do the only thing any normal human being would do. You pray. Your life flashes before your eyes. You do a quick-and-nasty inventory of what you can do without and offer it up.

And, here’s the fun bit, you get to chose your own ending.

Option 1

Miracle of miracles happen. Before the train can hit you, it rumbles to a stop. Why? probably because you prayed to your god. A hobo comes along, gets you unstuck and helps you up. And you live happily ever after.

Option 2

Miracle of miracle happens. The train passes you by and you don’t get a scratch. You get a bruise. A big black-and-blue, ache-to-the-bone nasty bruise on your right upper arm. Because something happened, something incredible. Someone threw a bagful of freshly bundled unmarked bills out the window and it smacked you right there. Why? probably because you prayed to your god. A hobo comes along, gets you unstuck and helps you up. And you live happily ever after.

The End

All fairy tales end with that promise, aka Happily Ever After. It’s a lie, by the way. It gets a lot more complicated. But that’s for another tale. Let’s (ominously) stay on track.

Here’s what really happened. You think you discovered the secret. It’s called god. But now elevated to God. Intermingled with the glory of self wallowing and the new realization that this entire Universe is all about you. Thoughts are things, you realize. You control the Universe, as evidenced by the recent near miss. As evidenced by your very own life.

You set out to share the news with others. You know everyone is seeking this secret. This Secret. You know that people generally undervalue what comes to them freely (after all, you too payed the ultimate price of adrenaline). And so you charge them for this information. And you write books on how to think the right thoughts and have the right mindset. And you give seminars. Oh sure your seminars are free to start, but you give no real secrets away on these freebies. Just incentive. Motivation to move up to the next level (for $1,000). And the next (for $5,000). And the next (for $30,000). And you capture it all onto audio. So that you can continue to spread the word. At a significant cost of course.

Why gosh! you have become a guru. A Guru.

And in the shadows of Truth, with the layers peeled back, here’s what really happened.

Option 1

There was a train station. You were so wrapped in the drama of your own demise that you failed to make out its unlit shape in the shadows. Your sweet God actually had nothing to do with it. The train station, on the other hand, had everything to do with it.

Option 2

A  bank robber’s sleeper car was just about to be searched. He was tipped off by the bus boy (do trains have bus boys? No idea. Hey, it’s MY story about you. I’m the one telling it here), who has had a long standing crush on this swarthy and dangerous frequent flyer. Or rider rather. The bank robber made the split-second decision to trash the loot and live to steal another day, so he opened the window and tossed out his single (but incredibly valuable) bag of bills.

You were so wrapped up in the drama of your own demise that you failed to realize that this was a perfect example of opportunity, where luck meets preparedness. Preparedness had everything to do with where you were physically located in that moment. It had nothing to do with who you were or how hard you worked to get there (because face it, you didn’t).

Your sweet God actually had nothing to do with it. Another person’s story, which had nothing to do with you, had everything to do with it.

Epilogue

The Law of Attraction is taken to these same ridiculous extents. Oprah did not pray her way into her career. God did not reward her for her visions. She happened to be the right person with the right attitude, at the right place, at the right time. Dastardly end of sentence. Strike me down now or for ever hold your peace.

Well what do you know… I’m still typing.

When they (the ominous They) tell you that if you can conceive it you can achieve it, they mislead you. What they really mean is that if you can see it you may achieve it.

Think of yourself as an Olympic athlete running the hundred yard dash. In the moment that marks the beginning of the race, when that gun goes off and each of you pushes off, you are all the same. An athlete with a goal. You can all see it. You can all conceive it. But only one of you will achieve it.

Will it ever be you?

I don’t know. Are you persistent? Are you will to accept a personal best as a win? Or must must the entire universe revolve only around just you? Perhaps you didn’t think enough happy thoughts then. Or not in the right sequence. Or the smile on your face was actually fake. Never mind that the winning runner was faster….

In these times of extreme financial hardship, it’s only natural that we turn to those who have succeeded. Financially. Only you need to realize that the entire financial success of many (most?) of these Gurus depends not on the god they chose to pray to, not on their prior dramas, but on the fact that you are willing to dish up the dough that sustains them. They depend on your financial struggles to fill their coffers.

So give your head a shake. Get clear on what you want. Seek the council that directly addresses your path. (HINT: Getting rich is not it. That’s a dream, not a goal.) If you want to write a book, for goodness sake speak to authors. If you want to open a store that sells shoes for the hard to fit, for goodness sake talk to other niche store owners. If you want to work in a German deli, talk to the boss. Stop throwing good money away on gurus teaching you something as stupid as how to win the lottery.

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19
Aug

Fear the teacher with nothing left to learn

   Posted by: Britt    in On The Secret

Rhonda Byrne has written a follow up to The Secret, called The Power. In it she claims to have discovered “the most powerful force in the universe” and that her readers will develop the ability and skills to manipulate this “Power” to make all their dreams materialize. The power she is talking about is “the power […]

Above is an excerpt from Yakaru, blogger of the site aptly named, “Spirituality is No Excuse.” As usual, he hits the nail on the head. Read, and follow.

One of the biggest commonalities among LOA “teachers” (term used incredibly loosely here) is the LACK of accountability. Their positioning is that they know everything and you know nothing, and all you have to do is open your mind to their right-ness.

Socrates once said, “All I know is that I know nothing.” The sign of a becoming a philosopher was the deep knowledge that you know nothing. A debate was in fact an exercise in listening and learning, not an exercise of positioning and proving.

When looking for a REAL teacher, it’s vital that your teacher is constantly learning. When someone claims ultimate KNOWING, let that be your first indication to turn and run (as fast as your little legs will carry you) into the opposite direction.

Rhonda Byrne immediately positions herself as all-knowing. Good marketing says to talk from the perspective of the buyer, which, as this blog shows, has been done with incredible effectiveness.

So from a business perspective, great marketing; from a mentor perspective, run baby run.

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Like many others, I’m avidly following the case of James Arthur Ray. Whatever the courts find will have an impact on the billions of dollars currently being “earned” by the Law of Attraction gurus. Okay, so it might just make a tiny dent in the big picture. While I think the likes of Canfield, Robbins and Katie are avidly glued to their sets, I don’t think the typical student is even aware.

When I “fell” down my rabbit hole and landed in state of bankruptcy, my “teacher” (earlier referred to as Missus) made it clear that I was fully accountable for my own outcome. On the surface, I agreed with her as no one held a gun to my head and forced me to make the bad investments that I did. But something underneath bothered me. And slowly it boiled up and now it’s spilling over.

I’m now of the mind that education is a two-way street: The student agrees to be open (hence vulnerable) and the teacher agrees to contribute genuine knowledge delivered in the best interest of the student. The very nature of learning, after all, is suspending your disbelief and trusting your teacher.

Back in the day, I was a motorcycle instructor, and those two aspects (genuine knowledge and student safety) were embedded in our teaching philosophy. For example, some students were terrified of revving their engines. As teachers, we had genuine knowledge to the contrary, and consequently required the student to suspend her disbelief. Trusting us was imperative to her learning.  And we had to respect that trust and ensure safety, so we taught in in a safe environment — the parking lot — at relatively slow speeds. We had to minimize the potential for harm. (And should harm befall them, we were all trained in first aid.)

When a student could not perform effectively as a student (ie he couldn’t suspend his disbelief and rev his engines), we as teachers were then required to act in that student’s best interest and discontinued him from the course. It was our job as good teachers to monitor their safety. It was not their job as a student to choose their own situation. If we let them do that, we’d loose our job. They did not yet know what they didn’t know (to state the obvious) so they couldn’t make a sound decision in their best interest.

When CBC’s Marketplace found the Robert Kiyosak course practicing questionable teachings, it was because the contracted instructors were claiming false experiential expertise (claimed a tract of land was earning them passive income when in fact it was a dead investment) and consequently were not acting in the best interest of the student. Following their teachings could land them in the same dire straights as their teachers (who were, it seemed, using teaching as the tool to dig themselves out of financial despair).

I do agree that it was a tragic accident. It was never a planned event. However, categorizing it as an accident does not eradicate accountability (and landing it in the laps of the dead students is a travesty — and a slippery escape from accountability). I hope true accountability lands in the lap of James Arthur Ray (JAR). The students job is to be open; the teacher’s job was to protect their safety (this usually goes without saying) while imparting genuine knowledge.

Becoming a teacher is serious business. It can’t just be a money-making factory. It can’t just be loaded with “good intentions” (which, BTW I think JAR had). It also requires a tremendous amount of expertise that goes beyond the experiential background of just the teacher her/himself. And it comes with a very high degree of responsibility.

So while my “financial” teacher, Missus and her snake-oiled partner were teaching with good intentions, they lacked the expertise in BOTH their own experiential background and in light of the entire financial industry. I am responsible for signing the document, and they are responsible for putting the option in front of me in the first place, and for guiding me to the “learned” belief that these were good investments (they all failed, one by one by one).

The awful reality comes down to this. When it comes to dealing with the results, that lands squarely on the shoulders of the student. It is only me who can step forward with my current financial reality. The teacher remains untouched. Untouchable. I think the James Arthur Ray case is an attempt to make an ethically bad teacher (ie he failed to keep his students safe, and he failed in being genuinely knowledgable) be responsible for the outcome.

I wonder how many people, like me, sit in financial despair because of the teachings of the gurus. I don’t think that litigation is the answer. And I also don’t think regulation is either (since when is the government truly representative of the people?). I think  the real answer lies in awareness and education.

And this blog is my small kick at that big can.

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Well, today is my birthday. Today is the day that I turn 46. Today will also mark the beginning of my blogging about my own process.

For anyone following this blog regularly, you will know that I too was taken in (“scammed” is another great word for it) by the Law of Attraction. My husband and I were “students” of what I now call quasi-gurus (those who had learned from the gurus and decided to make their own little fist-full of money teaching their watered down version of it … subconsciously perhaps having come to the realization that what made these gurus wealthy in the first place was not their own entrepreneurial ventures but their teachings).

The thing is, the whole reason why I fell for these quasi-gurus was anchored in the fact that I had known the husband of the woman teacher for about ten years. I trusted him implicitly — indeed I looked up to him — and through him I trusted his wife. The wife who I’ll refer to as Missus, had taken seminars from Robert Allen (Real Estate guru). She teamed up with another gleaming-toothed salesman (who I’ll call Snake) who had taken a number of T. Harv Eker courses (I’m assuming the one on teaching seminars as well). The two, I now know, were armed with their little success, which they puffily expanded in their free introductory course.

Selling us on a myriad of products, ranging from tax strategies to paper investments, the pressure was on to “start now,” as nothing was worse than financial gains delayed — nay lost — due to failure to act NOW, in the moment when an opportunity presented itself.

Before this, I had a pretty good financial situation in life. I had a credit rating of 825, which is in the top 15 percentile. Me and my husband had bought a condominium (mostly using my funds that I have saved for the down payment) that had doubled in value over three years. And thanks to a private contribution from my father given in perpetuity against my inheritance, our mortgage was pretty much paid off.

So I really thought I had a good foundational understanding of how money worked. And what the quasi gurus taught us made sense. And I’m one to shoot from the hip if it feels right. And their information felt right. They were very convincing. And even though I had little voices sounding off in the back of my head, we wanted the future they promised us. For us, but also for our newborn daughter. We wanted to secure a future for her. So on the “good” counsel from Missus and Snake, me and my husband tapped out our credit (their mantra is getting rich on OPM — Other People’s Money — which in this case meant the bank’s). We tapped into the “cheap money” available in our home (took out a second mortgage). And we purchased a range of “products” from their snake-oil business (which btw promised intentional wealth).

For about a year, we were held in the high esteem of these quasi-gurus, featured as star students for the other classes that came behind us (my husband was in their first seminar group, and I was in their second). They even went so far as to have me as a guest speaker on one of their many free seminars they held for bootcamp grads.

Fast forward a few years. One by one, slowly and painfully, each and every “product” or investment purchased from this “wealthy by intention” group flailed, then failed. They stopped touting our success as it was essentially a recognition of their profound failure. At first, Missus told me to stay the course. I just needed to stay strong, keep my mind on course. I could let a few failures make me stop investing (and of course the ultimate sales pitch is the frenzied cry, “If you stop, you’ll never get rich”), or I could stay the course. Believe it, and I will conceive it.

I got poorer and increasingly bitter. The relationship between me and my husband became strained. The quasi-gurus changed their tactics and started moving away from third party products and towards real-estate. And they definitely stopped looking in our general direction. We went from being their star students to being dust bunnies, frantically covered over least anyone should see us.

In our final consultation with these quasi-gurus, I distinctly recall Missus not-so-gently reminding me and my husband that no one forced us to make our decisions, that it was us, not them, who signed on the dotted line. And note that the Law of Attraction gurus are all notoriously good at this one: Failure can never be attributed to the teacher but rests solely on the shoulders of the student. (I am keenly following the James Arthur Ray trial to see which way this goes.)

I’ve given this a lot of consideration over the years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the teacher also holds a portion of responsibility. By virtue of being a teacher, you step into a trusted position of authority. If a teacher abuses her or his trust (say by teaching unethical concepts or practices), that teacher is also responsible for the outcome. If I as a teacher teach my students to hate a certain category of humans, and then one of my students goes out and kills someone, I might not have pulled the trigger but I am guilty of directly contributing to the death of another person.

Likewise, this particular agency presented their success under false premises. Missus and Snake each proclaimed they were financially free and were teaching this course from the goodness of their hearts. We later find out that that proclamation might have been true for a month or two, but not as a perpetual state of living. They also taught us the “five pillars” upon which all successful investments were based, and then showed us how each of their products lived up to at least four of the five (and they always had a great way of spinning the fifth). And then they’d backed it with the claim that their financial successes were all based on previous versions of these products. (In some cases, the revisioned versions were to salvage the first iteration. So essentially they were selling products in the hopes of salvaging their own original investments. Aka a ponzi scheme. Again, something we found out at a later date, when it was much to late for us.)

So, yes, we did sign on the dotted line. Not that accountability is an issue, as every single day I am confronted with the results of my signing on the dotted line. I have to live with my decisions, and I have to try to move forward each and every day. But without their “goodly” (snake-oil) guidance, we never would have made the decisions we did.

Fast forward to today. I’m working with a bankruptcy consultant. Our monthly cost of living is upward to $13,000 a month. It is unsustainable.

In an attempt to protect the money my father contributed toward my mortgage, I explored putting up their loan as a lien against our house. I consulted a lawyer. (Two emails cost me $180!!) In wanting to at least protect his investment, I  finally had to tell them, him and his wife, about my financial outlook. Not the details, because I’m still incredibly embarrassed and ashamed about having gone from almost mortgage-free with a credit rating of 825 at age 41 to bankrupt at age 46. But I did state that I wanted them to register a lien against our house so that they would be paid back should we have to go that route.

Turns out, the money came from his wife, so my dad turned it over to her. And she laid into me today, telling me how disappointed and troubled she is, that I’m trying to get them to register a lien on an already fully mortgaged house. She seems to have spun this around into me further taking advantage of them. And she’s laying it on thick and heavy.

Sadly, there’s nothing she can say or do to make feel worse than I’m already feeling. She cannot rake me over the coals anymore than I’ve already raked myself. I’ve lived in the depths of utter despair. Suicide had been a serious contemplation for months.

The money was given by them against my future inheritance, and it was given without a repayment plan. As the house increased in value, so to did their share. And whatever the value of the house was at the time of their demise, that was to be taken from my inheritance. We all signed papers to that effect, without lawyers.

And now my step-mother feels cheated, hurt and angry, and deserving an explanation. And I stand here in my midlife knowing that I’ve screwed up beyond repair. I’ve squandered my future, and I’ve also damaged my daughter’s financial future. My relationship with my husband is strained. And while the money was given with an initial intention of being permanent and without payment, it turns out there are tremendously thick strings attached. So when all this is said and done and put squarely behind me, when I can finally laugh about, “Oh, and remember the time where I got screwed over by … hahaha oh wasn’t that something,” I am determined to get this last financial monkey of my back. No idea how I’m going to do it yet, but I am going to pay that woman back and free myself from the burden of her disappointment. And firmly close that door behind me.

So the disintegration of family begins. Bankruptcy is truly just the beginning. And as far as the first day of my 47th year in life goes, it truly sucks.

I’ll keep you posted, because the only thing I have left is my story. And maybe it can help someone else travelling this same path beside me. Or prevent someone from going down that path in the first place.

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Violence against [name-your-cause, mine is women] happens because there is a cluster of so-called “thinkers” out there who believe that [women] are inferior, objects to be owned and controlled.

According to the extremist Law of Attraction advocate, a woman gets raped because there is something innately within her that desires to get raped.

Some might soften the blow a little, and say (as they do about violent acts against children) that the thoughts that the child/woman was emanating to the universe was of smaller significance than that of the perp. (Other’s might blame it on the mother’s inability to protect the child because her thoughts are all wrong.)

When the h#ll did we get so f*cked up with our thinking??

As a feminist years back, I jumped on the bandwagaon that made violence against [women] a woman’s issue. We’d build our little victim recovery centres and pat each other’s hands and say there there dear, it’s all over now but tell me again about your pain. You need to let it go, little sister.

As a feminist today, I am jumping on a different bandwagon that is making violence against women a man’s issue. No more hand-holding, just a straight-up acknowledgement that, yes, you’ve been physically assaulted, but honey, you will heal; the person who’s psychologically bent is the frigger who did this to you. Now there’s one soul who seriously and immediately needs a good therapist.

Interestingly, I’m not alone. There are other groups out there who advocate it. Other men’s groups. Watch Tony Porter, a speaker at a TED-Women event. Here what “vibes” this guy is putting out into the universe.

Now, here’s the interesting question (or more accurately series of questions) that I’ll put out there to the LOA extremists who dare to read this blog (and other’s like it): If we can agree that the bulk of all men are not rapists (even though the bulk of all women experience sexual interruption), why is it that rape still happens in epidemic proportions? Whose thoughts are manifesting it? Are the women manifesting it? Or are womanly vibes not “strong” enough for the universe to register, and it’s actually the men’s thinking that brings it about? Can we say that when rape is used as a very specific war tactic (as it was in Bosnia), that when rape is conceived by men as a strategy, that the women have caused it to happen specifically to them? to her? to that one?

If there are men out there like Tony Porter who advocate that men step up to the thinking part of their brain, and women like me out there who subscribe to the belief that violence is a man’s issue (not a woman’s), why in the hell aren’t our thoughts significant enough to change the way things are?

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So there’s this company out there called Butterfly Global. The actual website has come and gone, and the only thing still in existence seems to be a Facebook fan page.

It’s somewhat obscured, but the main driver behind it is a fellow by the name of Bret Treadwell.

When I first started down this “rabbit hole” in 2007, I was introduced to LOA, financial wealth “education” and Bret Treadwell (at the time, known under the ABF–or autobiographical feedback– banner). It was all new to me. I hadn’t heard of Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, James Arthur Ray, Jack Canfield or any other of their ilk. (In hindsight, I was better off NOT knowing about them. Oy, the tuition of life….)

Bret Treadwell was introduced to me by the people running the “Financial Wealth Seminars” I was attending.

In his intro (which as in all LOA Guru cases is free), Mr. Treadwell tells the story of being inspired by God. He was taken (up) by God who told him many a secrets, and told him the ultimate way that people can hypnotize themselves into a state of permanent happiness.

It was a secret method used by the monks, the mere human was told. And then God whispered in his ear and told him this:

The monks had a secret. The monks had a system of anchoring all positive messages into everything they saw. When I am done with you, you too will know this system. And it will become incumbent on you to pass this along to all other plebes who deign to give you thousands of dollars for the secret.

The secret, God went on to say, is to anchor you messages into numbers. For numbers are all around you. And whenever you see a number you will recall a particular message.

The number-system you need to know, God concluded, goes thus:

# Sound Example
1 S, Z, C, X city, xylophone
2 N, KN, GN know no gnome
3 SH, CH, J, G shame change john’s giant
4 B, P better pay
5 R run
6 T, D to do
7 M money
8 K, C, X, Q, G kissing cats exist quit God
9 F, V, Ph for various pharmaceuticals
0 L, Th love that
Vowels, YHW and ING are free

This system is then further anchored into body and into a total of seven different places. For each additional layer of depth, another tuition must be paid.

I admit it. I fell for it. Hook, line and sinker. I paid something like $10,000 to attend this fellow’s “university.” In hindsight, I now know he is essentially teaching a re-packaged version of Tony Robbin’s NLP (neurolinguistic programming) melded together with Deepak Chopra’s enlightenment spiel, using T. Harv Eker’s train the trainer style. This fellow has done the circuit as a student and now figures that he too can teach it. Any why not? Really, Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, Byron Katie, they’re all knock-offs from the same system, just each brings in her or his own twist.

Here’s the kicker though. Years after I paid this fellow (and he consequently fizzled and died and is nowhere to be found on the Internet), I find what’s called the Mnemonic Major System, which has been around for about 500 years now. I stumbled upon it quite by accident. You see, I had paid Treadwell Technologies several thousands of dollars for a wide range of courses. I had taken the free one, and a second was eventually offered a few years later. So I set out to find him on the Internet. And I did it by plugging in his trademarked system, using the numbers 0-9 to copy all the constant sounds in our alphabet.

You can image my shock (and yes, dismay that I’d been had) when I stumbled across this Mnemonic Major System (MMS).

It goes something like this:

Numeral Associated Consonants Mnemonic
0 s, z, soft c “z” is the first letter of zero. The other letters have a similar sound.
1 d, t d & t have one downstroke and sound similar (some variant systems include “th”)
2 n n has two downstrokes
3 m M has three downstrokes and looks like a “3” on its side
4 r last letter of four, also 4 and R are almost mirror images of each other
5 l L is the Roman Numeral for 50
6 j, sh, soft “ch”,
dg, zh, soft “g”
a script j has a lower loop / g is almost a 6 flipped over
7 k, hard c, hard g,
hard “ch”, q, qu
capital K “contains” two sevens
8 f, v script f resembles a figure-8. V sounds similar. (some variant systems include th)
9 b, p p is a mirror-image 9. b sounds similar and resembles a 9 rolled around
Unassigned Vowel sounds, w,h,y These can be used anywhere without changing a word’s number value

So really, this one fellow’s “divine intervention” and subsequent conversation with God turns out to be a re-organization of a 5 century old system that I can only assume he found and thought he’d tweak, and sell back to the hungry masses.

MMS

Numeral

Associated

Consonants

Treadwell’s # X-ref

with MMS

0 s, z, soft c l, th (#5)
1 d, t s, z, soft c (#0)
2 n n, kn, gn (#2)
3 m sh, ch, j, g (#6)
4 r b, p (#9)
5 l r (#4)
6 j, sh, soft “ch”,

dg, zh, soft “g”

t, d (#1)
7 k, hard c, hard g,

hard “ch”, q, qu

m (#3)
8 f, v x, c, x, q, g (#7)
9 b, p f, v, ph (#8)
Unassigned: Vowels, w,h,y Free: Vowels, w,h,y

In trying to find out why Butterfly Global had dropped out of the Internet Universe (okay, so I could find cached bits, but nothing current), I came across this posting (which is also copied here and here), which reads:

This is a response to this question: (1) Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and Tony Robbins are all great. So is Michael Beckwith. However there is a “new guy” on the scene that I should warn anyone about…he name is Bret Treadwell and he is the founder of a website named Butterfly Global. This is a guy you should be aware of and be careful with, unless getting sucked into paying a ton of money to a guy with right wing political apsirations is your thing. See below:

As someone who knew Bret Treadwell (and this whole Butterfly Global project/website – AKA Treadwell Technologies) for many years I can honestly say that despite the outward appearance of th Butterfly Global website, there is another agenda. Bret Treadwell told me personally when he was working in landscaping and housesitting on Whidbey Island in 2001 that he seeks to “become a multi-millionaire within 5 years”. Well, that clearly didn’t happen. He told me then that his ultimate goal was to “never work again”. Back then he kep living in other people’s homes, suriving on his charisma and ability to charm others. He rarely “worked” and in fact bragged to me that it was amazing that he could get pretty much everything he needed without actually have a job.

Although I was his friend, it was clear to me then that his aim was to re-package Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and others and “re-sell it”. What is more disturbing is that he also has a political agenda that is far right of the Tea Party activists, although he will rarely admit this publicly. I used to be his close friend. When I questioned his agenda and methods on Facebook, he quite aggressively attempted to silence me by sicking his “followers” on me, and when that didn’t work, he blocked me. Open debate was not invited, au contraire, it was discouraged, but in the must cunning of ways. “I invite debate” he would say – all the while enticing his loyal lemmings to verbally assault every quesiton I posed…and over time the effect of my questions was interferring with his attempt to bring in new followers, so I was blocked.

I never thought I would ever find myself warning anyone in the world about another person I know. However one of his ex-students wrote to me recently on Facebook and said, and I quote “I just spent a buttload of money on this guy, and discovered sadly that he simply reconditioned a bunch of other people’s work, sold it as “revolutionary” and when all was said and done, I was like “oh my god, what a con artists”. I wish I knew in advance, but self-help people are like boxed surprised, you never know if you are getting the real deal or a bunch of repeats at a premium cost. Only afterwards do you really see what just happened. I am sure some people like his “stuff” because Bret Treadwell is like any con artist, charismatic, talkative, controlling and he never lets you see it. He makes you think he is on your side, as his hand is in your pocket. Oh well, lesson learned!”

…So beware folks. As they say in the used car business, “buyer beware”. I used to be a close friend of this guy, and if he was simply reselling other people’s stuff and making money, I would probably not say a word. It is his life, his karma. But when he uses that money to then support right wing politicians, the outrageous tea party folks and crazy Ron Paul – all in the guise of being a self-help expert, then I think he is doing more harm than good.

Bret Treadwell and (his Butterfly Global project) is nowhere resembling “guru-status”, but is instead a salesman operation, a very charismatic, self-absorbed, very deceptive salesman operation. As I said above, “buyer beware”.

Noah Levine

I have a few concerns with the posting. First, I disagree that Chopra and Robbins are “good” gurus. It’s all snake oil as far as I’m concerned. Second, I’m not too sure that “Noah Levine” is the actual name associated with the writings.  But having said that, it echoes my own findings, that he is a copy-cat guru, selling a system loosely wrapped into a garb that’s over 500 years old.

Here’s the cached information from “Butterfly Global”

Hailed as the “Darwin of Personal Development” Bret Treadwell is best known for his contributions to the fields of human potential, peak performance and spiritual development with his proprietary integration processes of Autobiographical Feedback™ (ABF) and the Language of Enlightenment™ (LOE). Both of these integration systems are designed to create ‘instant’ as well as ‘sustainable’ change for individuals and the collective consciousness of people worldwide.

Bret’s work comes from a deep desire to significantly contribute to humanity through the fields of cellular biology, body-mind communication and conditioning, self healing, social engineering, psychoneuroimmunology, theoretical physics, the neural linguistic sciences and cell regeneration. In addition to his breakthrough ‘integration processes’ Bret also works diligently to create community support systems designed to assist his clients, himself and society as a whole through the emotional, physical and psychological challenges of personal growth.

At age 25 Bret was inspired to sell his first business and begin putting attention on his life purpose and hearts passion when he was told he had softball-sized tumor in his back. For the next 10 years Bret focused on the study of self-healing, peak performance and the creation of Autobiographical Feedback™ and the Language of Enlightenment™ in order to address what he saw as a ‘soft spot’ in the personal development industry and a way to contribute to humanity as a whole.

Bret recognized an undeniable abundance of great information that had the ‘potential’ to affect a more common experience of personal and global empowerment, yet he also witnessed that the ability to realistically and sustainably integrate that knowledge was leaving clients and instructors in the industry with results far beneath the potential of what was offered.

In 2002 Bret set out to BETA test Autobiographical Feedback™ and the Language of Enlightenment™ in order to see if what he had created could be a contribution to what he saw as the ‘soft spot’ in the industry and a benefit to peoples lives. In 2007, after 5 years of BETA testing across the US and Canada Bret saw that what he had created had the potential to do everything he had hoped for and more. Bret took the next few years off in order to refine and improve the support systems within ABF™ and LOE™, launch his new business Butterfly Global and spend time with his young boys Percival and Cincinnatus Treadwell.

For over 2 decades Bret has had the honor and privilege of working with organizations and individuals from all walks of life, including investment banking, indigenous peoples, military and police leadership academies, “at risk” and youth leadership programs, Fortune 500 companies and rehabilitation facilities across the board.

Bret has shared the stage with many peak performance leaders including Dr. Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hansen and John Assaraf. In addition to working from the platform Bret has also co-stared in the educational movie “Pass It On!” with Dr. Denis Waitley, Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen and is included in the best selling anthology “Seizing Your Success!” with Greg Reid, Wayne Dyer, and John Assaraf.

Certified in a wide variety of change technologies and recognized as an expert in how the human body-mind interacts with the biological and cosmological rhythms. Bret lives a lifestyle that is congruent with the message that he shares. His idealistic intentions, willingness to fail, steadfast commitment to excellence and consistent action both on and off the stage are what separate him from the pack, draw attention to his message and set a standard for humanities potential.

Bret has dedicated his life to the betterment of his fellow man.

Behind the Scenes at Butterfly Global

It takes a tribe and Butterfly Global is no exception. Along with Bret  the visionary and creator, Tanja Diamond and Max Bellasys are in the background of Butterfly Global.

The technology behind Butterfly Global is so immense and pioneering that it has taken many starts and stops and different people’s input to will it into existence.

After many years of attempting to get Butterfly Global to fly Bret met Tanja and Max.

Tanja Diamond is Bret Treadwells’ right hand woman at Butterfly Global. Tanja is the Project Manager, marketing director and confidant.  Tanja brings a very unique skill set to the project as a life strategist and business/marketing consultant. She is the creator of Tantra for Business ™ www.tantraforbusiness.com and Modern Tantra ™ and is a co-owner with Max of www.Diamota.com

Max Bellasys owner of StarLogic Systems www.starlogicsystems.com, and Head Above Code www.headabovecode.com is a  technology systems architect. Max is the  needed brilliance to bring Bret’s dreams of the Geronimo system into action.

You will be seeing more and more of the amazing technology ButterflyGlobal has to offer in the future. Stay tuned as we bring you one of the most amazing systems for human transformation there is on the planet.

The makings of a false god. Watch for the trappings. Fought immortality and won. Selfless, though charges copious amounts for redundant information. Stolen wares. Heightened claims (not too sure who calls him the Darwin of Self-Development!).

I guess my point here is really do your research before spending money stupidly in pursuit of wealth. Much of the crap out there is repackaged stuff, and if you look into what it is that the so-called originators are preaching, you can find a ton of cracks in their logic.

Or, you can do what I did. Spend like an idiot. Then look on stupidly afterwards and wonder how in the hell you’re going to explain it. And look to see if you can find a cheap saddle in a second hand store so that you can actually afford to get back on to your horse — your own goddamn horse — and move just one step forward today.

Addendum

Mr. Treadwell was also a small contributor to a virally-intentioned book called Seizing Your Success[1]. You can read his two page auto-biographical story here. Note the shared attributes of all the other gurus: childhood suffering, severe adolescent rebellion, extreme “street smart” (this becomes the official “degree” for many, see Bill Bartmann), despair, whispers of suicide (aka wandering on the cliffs, contemplating one’s future) and the intervention of God saying something divinely beautiful, finding the one true path to happiness, and teaching it to others.

Note that I do not think Mr. Treadwell is an evil monster. I don’t think that of any of the gurus. I honestly think that each believes they are doing good for others, and have no issue with reaping the financial rewards. And there’s nothing wrong with reaping financial rewards either. But I do think that each is susceptible to mis-interpreting their own existence with that of God, or at the very least, a divine messenger of God’s. A critical self-analysis might turn up a success rate of less than 5%.[2] These gurus typically blame it on the student.

The reason why I am posting this really is so that those contemplating this path of self-development, and those deigning to do an ounce of research before they spend wads of money, don’t get sucked in as I did. Bret Treadwell is one name among many. I can’t blame a person for pursuing wealth on easy street because if we were all honest with ourselves, we too would be beating down that door. What I can do, though, is to put out a warning flag for the consumer.

If you brought a book written in ink that only 5% of the population could see, you’d demand your money back. If you purchased a product that worked only for 5% of those who bought it, or went on a cruise that could only house 5% of those who paid … well, you get the picture. Yet, for some reason we think this is different.

It’s not.

There is a gem in what each of these gurus offer. And these gems are readily available everywhere. These fellows (and ladies) know how to hide it behind a veil of secrecy and then charge $2,000 to $10,000 to $sky’s-the-limit for the unveiling of these secrets.

And let them. That’s the nature of capitalism. They have that right.

But you don’t need to buy it. You can surf the Web, you can buy a $20 book, you can go to the free information seminars. Just leave your credit cards at home…

NOTES

1. Throughout the Web you’ll find notes claiming that he “co-authored” this book, but really, his is a two-page essay inclusion. Co-authoring, in my books, is about sharing the writing of an entire book, not contributing two pages.

2. Apparently, Tony Robbins still “winces” that only 5% of his students get it.

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