The Trading Tribe
(c) Ed Seykota 2003-2011 - Write for permission to reprint.
Ed Seykota's FAQ
Readers Say Ed Says
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On System Trading

Ed,

"Others had greater minds than me, but they accomplished less because their method was not as good."
Thank you for the quote.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Horses as a Mirror of the Soul

Mr. Seykota,

Although I have never met you, but only have read interviews about you, I for some reason thought this may be of interest to you since its another way we are able to learn about ourselves. Looks pretty good, comes out June 17th. Nate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=DCMm5uoZtXw&NR=1&feature=fvwp  (The trailer)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Ylvxo6LPzdY  (Meet the artist)
Thank you for the clips.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Trading Tribe World Tour

Hi Ed,

Would you consider making a stop in India? We'd love to have you come over. Maybe you could also visit some Gurus and chant a little while you're here :)
Thank you for the ideal.  India is on my ininerary.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Copyright Information

Hi Ed,

I was going through the website and I noticed that on

http://www.seykota.com/tt/

http://www.seykota.com/tt/default.htm

http://www.seykota.com/tt/mail/default.html

http://www.seykota.com/tt/ground_rules/default.htm

you've listed, (c) Ed Seykota 2003-2010 - Write for permission to reprint at the top of the page

whereas on

http://www.seykota.com/tt/Resources/default.html

http://www.seykota.com/tt/FAQ_Index/default.html

you've listed, (c) Ed Seykota 2003-2011 - Write for permission to reprint at the top of the page

I figure you could update the other pages to also show 2011?

Thanks.
Thank you for the catch.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Mini-Workshop: Trading System Design

Dear Austin Tribe Members,

I am supporting a number of you who currently are in the process of designing trading systems. If you have an interest, I am willing to host a mini-workshop before our next tribe meeting to go over the essentials of system design.

[Name] is generously offering to co-host the workshop. If any of you have experience designing trading systems and trading profitably, I encourage you to co-host as well.

Please let me know if you plan to attend the mini-workshop. It is to take place at Ed's at 3:00 pm. on Thursday.

Best regards,
Thank you for the invitation.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Basic Question

Hi Ed,

I'm sorry to trouble you with such a basic question.
Do you have recommendations for a platform that I could use for backtesting and strategy formation? I figure you must be intricately aware of most of them and know the pros/cons/watch-out-fors. I'm looking to start with equities and equity options and then move on to Futures.

Thanks very much!
The essential platform has a dual processor - your logical mind and your feelings.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Acceptance or Resignation

Hi Ed,

Like I mentioned to you when we met, I feel like I have been one step off the market. This year, there have been so many instances where I would be in a trade and would get stopped out (or in once case consciously got out) at a loss whereas the trade would have been profitable had I only waited a few days. The difference is in the order of days. It has been bizarre.

Recently I had another few loss making trades. I reached a point where I laughed when it happened. Saying, here we go again. It wasn't the same feeling as it usually is of hurt/pain/this feeling of coldness around the heart.

This time it was more like - "Cool ... here we go again. I'll have to look at this later to find out what I could have done differently.". But I'm not sure whether that means that I've completely accepted the feelings or whether I've reached a point of resignation.

How can I tell? How can I tell when I've reached a healthy spot?
Thank you for sharing your process.

One indication of the "healthy spot" is commitment to the system and non-attachment to short-term results.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Sharing Feelings with Parents

Hi Ed,

Hope you are well. How is your weight loss program progressing?

My effort to effectively, diligently experience and express my feelings continues. With friends, mentors the results continue to be stellar. I can see that its making a difference in the way they relate and in the way we communicate. People seem far more understanding and open. It seems to take care of "issues" then and there. No baggage. Real time dispensation.

I was recently talking to someone I've considered a mentor (since the time I was a child). I've known him for almost three decades. Yet, the way he opened up to me after I expressed my feelings was deeper than its ever been.

With parents though, its been hard. Maybe its something I'm not bringing to the table? I recently struggled with my father shutting me out. Maybe I invited that? Or maybe I let him do that?

I find that awareness does not naturally lead to conscious choice. I could be aware that I'm reacting in a pre-programmed way but that does not automatically bring with it the power of conscious choice. I've only gotten as far as being an observer of pre-programmed actions. When I failed with my father, I turned to my mother to express my feelings but this time, she too shut me out. Normally she is more receptive. I expressed that I didn't feel like I was allowed to express my feelings and left it at that. But I can feel the baggage that even this small incident has created. Its a weight that I have to (am choosing to?) carry around now.
Thank you for sharing your process.

Your parents have a lifetime of using the control-centric model with you.

You may find the path to intimacy proceeding in small steps.

Force is generally counter-productive in establishing intimacy.  The business of moving from control to intimacy is often quite subtle.

If you would catch a rabbit, the intimacy-centric way, you might hide behind a tree and make a noise like a carrot.
Sunday, May 8, 2011

GDP Model

Hi Ed,

I send you a very simple forecast of GDP as function of Unemployment using solve in Excel. May be it will be interesting for your EcoNowMics.

Have a good days,
I wonder if you can send me a back-test, showing how to use the forecast in trading.
Sunday, May 8, 2011

From Control to Intimacy
Adjusting the Relationship

Dear Ed,

I went into my hotseat wanting to work on fear. During the hotseat you talked to me about my habit of getting people all excited about projects then not following through on my commitments and manufacturing a repeating drama where the woman closest to me does not support me.

During my hotseat I have to admit I was thinking "what is he talking about I have a problem with fear." I decided to let go of trying to control or steer things and just go with the flow even if I thought things were going in the wrong direction. After my hotseat was over and the tribe ended I went to sleep still thinking that I did not understand what happened and I just don't get it.

I woke up at about 3am with a start. When I woke up I could tell that something was strange because I was very alert and I felt like I was watching a high speed video. At first the video showed me many situations where I was excited and fired up about something at the beginning of the process and made big commitments and after some time passed I quit. It was always the same process and it occurred in both the personal and professional realms alike.

After this visual ended my mind abruptly shifted to the incident when I was twelve years old. I had a chance to enlist my mothers support when she said "WHAT DID YOU DO? GO TO YOUR ROOM!", but I didn't take my chance and my mother ended up not supporting me.

Basically I admitted to guilt by staying silent.

After this scene ended others flashed in front of my mind with other women playing out the same role, not supporting me when I need them most.


The mental video ended with my current drama of my wife not supporting me in regards to my mother in-law. But this time when I thought about my current predicament I realized that it is not my wife that has created this situation at all, but instead its my own intention. I have been repeating this intention of being abandon by the most important woman in my life since that incident when I was twelve years old. I have been living with this for 25 years and the worst part is, it has been my own creation all along.

Needless to say this was a big realization and my hotseat work became clear to me. What I find amazing is the delayed reaction of the realization.

I just didn't get it until many hours later and when I was fast asleep. How does this work? How could I come out of a fast sleep and in that instant my unconscious and conscious mind connect somehow, I have no idea. Perhaps I'm just a bit slower then average and it takes me more time who knows. What I do know is that I'm very happy I understand this drama is of my own creation because it has caused much pain in my life and I want to make a change to sharing feelings and receiving support from my wife.

My silence has cost me a lot of pain in the past. So I talked to my wife about the situation. I explained what was going on and how I created it by doing certain things to her to elicit the behavior of abandonment.

I told her about my fear of being alone. She mostly stayed quiet for along time and then told me she feels a lot of resentment toward me for the way I have treated her. I feel frozen and I all can do is nod my head and say yes. It goes silent and we don't talk for a hour. I feel like there is a lot of deep thinking going on both sides and we both need a little time to reconcile this new information. I hope to continue to the conversation in about 1 week.

Sincerely,
Thank you for sharing your process.
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Setting Boundaries

Dear Ed:

My wife got upset at me for something that happened in the kitchen. My normal way of handling this is to apologize and to assume that I am guilty and avoid further conflict. However this is a way of avoiding my feelings. It also leads to friction in the marriage because we do not work on the issues.

I did not feel guilty. Nor did I feel I should apologize.

So I tried to explain to my wife what had happened.

She got mad and said that I should just apologize instead of a long explanation. I said that I do not feel apologetic and that I did my best given the situation.

I held my ground instead of apologizing and feeling guilty.

My wife changed her attitude and said that she felt bad about getting upset and it had to do with something in the past. She said that she was sorry for getting upset.

In asserting my boundary I got respect and understanding.
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider accurately cloning your wife's point of view before you launch your explanation.
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trying to Make a Decision

Dear Trading Tribe,

I’m 28/29 years old and have been involved with investing for the past 5 years and have been interested in it some form or another since I was 12. I just read Reminiscences of a Stock Operator and found the concluding remarks quiet tough, where in the end after decades of investing Livermore concludes that no man can beat the market successfully.

A bit of background, I became a broker at 24, and worked in the industry for 4 years and worked through the Global Financial Crises, where I saw everything and all models turned on its head, post the crises I stopped listening to our in-house research team and experts and decided to educate myself in learning everything I could about the market.

Now at 28/29, I rather work for myself and trade for myself, however from academic works I have read mainly research that’s published in popular academic journals such as Journal of Finance and so forth, and I’m at crossroads on whether I should devote my time in understanding technical & quant driven investing mechanism ? or, Should I devote my time & life to Value investing, propagated by Graham and Bruce Greenwalds?

As I’m currently also enrolled in my Masters of Finance, where majority of academic seem to hammer in efficient markets to me, and also much of work and research tends to supports that you can’t beat markets?

Any recommendations on further books that I should read? Or any advise will be helpful?
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider noticing you have an issue committing to whether you are 28 or 29.
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Evolution of Attitudes on Pot

Ed,

Was a pretty interesting movie, if you don't have 58 minutes to kill just watch mins 26-29.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/
2011/05/07/medical-marijuana-becoming-
blockbuster-drug.aspx
Thank you for the link.
Friday, May 6, 2011

Cultural Misandry? –
A Minor Rant on The “Men are Stupid” Commercials.

Ed,

Funny how we were talking about this very subject (see the link) at lunch today (I guess I was also ranting a bit about it.) The author focuses on the advertising angle, giving several examples from YouTube, without mentioning the ubiquitous TV show prototypes like Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, Peter from Family Guy, the men of Two And A Half Men, etc. which were on my mind:

http://blog.adw.org/2011/05/cultural-misandry-
a-minor-rant-on-the-men-are-stupid-commericals/

The question for us as men, husbands and fathers is how do we reclaim and promote in our own families, and in our communities, and society generally, the role of authentic male leadership to which we were born?

On another somewhat related note, the work at tribe regarding [Name's] issue with his wife, and not wanting to get a divorce, reminded me of this pivotal and engaging scene from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXBcuGHh9zk

As I watch it I also realize how much it relates to our tribe session work last night. Note how effectively Jimmy (Tarantino) is willing to express his fear and anger without hesitation to Jules in the sticky situation, and how the normally intimidating hit man respects Jimmy's boundaries and needs. It reminds me of[Name's] situation in trouble trying to get his mother to help him. It also reminds me of [Name 2's] "Get off my territory" stand with [Name 3]. Jules also is willing to feel and express his anger to resolve the situation with his boss.

I enjoyed hanging with you all today!

Cheers,
Thank you for sharing your observations.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Portfolio Selection

Hello Mr. Seykota,

I am a college student. I am in the process of selecting a group of currencies to trade. Trying to adhere to strict money management rules, I have been trying to develop a systematic way of diversifying by quantitatively determining the optimal asset class to carry for my portfolio so I can trade. I have went on to try and understand portfolio theory but then found the disadvantages to be contradicting the fundamentals of my systematic philosophy.

My main question is how do you determine which asset goes into your portfolio? Since I have capital to dabble only in currencies, I cannot trade all pairs, since most of them are highly correlated.

Ideas I have been playing around with but am stuck are....

To reduce risk and improve returns you will want an asset combination where each one are as lowly correlated as possible so that our systems do not double-bet in a direction. (ie longing both aud/usd and gold) Given multiple assets, how can I quantitatively compute an asset mix where the correlation combination between each asset is as lowest as possible?

I was only taught to compute correlation based on 2 variables. How do you minimize correlation of a group of variables (assets)?

Thanks so much.
You might consider taking your feelings about <having to get the right answer> to Tribe.
Friday, May 6, 2011

Impulse Control

Dear Ed:

Thank you very much for your time and candid communication during our phone call.

I have much to work on. Most specifically I have boundary and impulse control issues. If there is any other feedback or observations that you would like to make please do so even if they are cruel or hard to swallow - please do not hold anything back.

I appreciate the time I spent being part of the Tribe and will report regularly to FAQ.

Best Regards,
You might consider the difference between controlling your impulses and coming into an intimate relationship with them.
Friday, May 6, 2011

Workshop Venues in Netherlands

Ed,

Below various links that I hope you find helpful : please let me know if you would like us to scout any particular location or make further investigations with the information I ask about in my email dated 29 April .

This is the Dutch Rail route planner page:

http://ns.nl/cs/Satellite/ns2007/en/mainmenu/include/
1193053691834/travelers?p=1193053691834
  .

This shows me for example that it's a simple 41 minute train trip from Schiphol Airport to Zandvoort.

The retreat centre at Venwoude that I previously mention

http://www.venwoude.nl/overvenwoude_landgoed.htm 

is accessible by train in 49 minutes from Schiphol to Baarn, then 10 - 15 mins by "regiotaxi" (this kind of taxi is low cost : about €6, but must be booked in advance, rather like I book my shuttle taxi from Austin airport out to Lost Pines).


Best,
Thank you for your research.
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Workshop in Europe

Dear Ed,

I notice your intention to hold a workshop in Europe. I would like to attend. I have no location preference. I notice I feel considerable reluctance and anxiety and already think of reasons why I should not attend the conference as I write this email. I hope you are well and thank you for your work on FAQ.

Best regards,
Thank you for sharing your process.
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Optimal Bet Size

Mr. Seykota,

I have been going through your Risk Management section very carefully. I was curious about your optimal bet size formula: S = (1 + b*P) * (1 - b) * S0. It seems like this is for simple bets with two outcomes, one involving losing the entire amount bet, and the other involving winning the bet amount multiplied by the payoff.

How would you form the equation for trading? Trading involves the average loss for a losing trade, the average loss for a winning trade, and your odds of winning a trade or losing a trade which would most likely require more than "two flips" to get a true affect for your S. Looking forward to hearing your response.

Best regards,
The two-outcome model is a pretty good approximation to trading results for purposes of demonstrating the principle of optimal bet size.

If you extend the math to include a series of outcomes, say from your actual trading, you can, perhaps, notice other things, such as the importance of the biggest losing trade.
Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:55 AM

Donchian 6 Month System

Dear Ed,

I am a student from Germany and wanted to thank you for your great website. This is my first systematic contact to the world of trading.

You write that the Donchian 6 Month System is particularly difficult to follow. What do you mean with difficult and what should be done to make it less volatile?

Best regards,
I don't recall saying that. You might consider checking your source.

FAQ does not tell you what you "should" do. 

The easiest way to reduce volatility is to stop trading.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dear Ed:

When you let me know that I was no longer in the Austin tribe, I was shook up. After I spoke to you, I saw my wife and she immediately became very supportive. I also saw that she was more emotionally affected by this event than me.

Today after I spoke with you, I expressed to my wife that I would like to receive her feelings. She said that its hard to share feelings with me because she has a fear that it will result in a long drawn out conversation.

I see clearly that I have been responding to the content and my ability to receive feelings is weak. I feel like a blind man groping in this area unsure of myself and at the same time I look forward to exploring this area.

Best Regards,
Thank you for sharing your process and for indicating you are now actually doing the work.
Wednesday, May 4, 201

Intentions = Results

Hi Ed,

I have been thinking a lot about intentions=results. I have noticed that i don't get the results i "intend". I make a resolution (for e.g, as simple as going to bed early, or starting research on my system) and i almost catch myself wandering off or not staying on task, or ending up going to bed much later than i would otherwise.

It just struck me that the intentions that i make are my conscious intentions, but Fred has other plans for me. Fred's intention seems to be to WANT to stay up late, to WANT to wander from task. I guess i have to explore the feelings that Fred brings up as i take on my conscious intentions, but it has been very hard on my own. There is plenty of inertia simply at the thought of setting time aside for a self-hotseat.

Thanks for the process and for the website. I hope you can see good entry points from my writing above.
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider taking your feelings about <authority> to Tribe.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Daughter is Out of Control

Dear Ed,

I am having great difficulty with my 6 yr old daughter.
I notice that almost everyone seems to have a difficulty with her.

I realise that structure = behaviour or intentions = results.

It follows that it is my intention, and everyone else's intention that we are having difficulty. I accept this, but I am at a loss as to what is really going on here. I ask her to share her feelings, out of all my children, she is the least willing to do so.

Every minor interaction seems to be a constant battle where she outright refuses to co-operate and or just does not bother.

I try to use the intimacy model and tell her my feelings when she is not co-operating.

"I am feeling annoyed that you are not getting ready" "I am angry because we are late" "Do you want me to be annoyed" "Do you want me to be angry"

I see now that this might be using my feelings as a way to extort the correct behavior out of her.

I genuinely am annoyed or angry when I say these things, she has no willingness to receive my feelings and still we don't get any co-operation. I ask her feelings and she is unwilling to share them, often she will throw enormous tantrums about the most minor things when she doesn't get her way.

An examples of a situation is:

If her brothers sit down to watch TV she wants to do the same but nothing less than the prime spot will do. She also demands that she choose what everyone has to watch. She demands the blankets and pillows that others are using.
She is unreasonable in that she will not go and get her own or use the other available ones that are just as good.

We are always late for school because she doesn't co-operate to get dressed, eat breakfast etc. I love her more than anything and I let her know this often. I know she loves me. I am starting to get really resentful as things seem to be getting steadily worse.

I try to receive her tantrum and celebrate her by saying "you are very good at throwing tantrums, carry on"
It has the effect of ramping up the intensity which gets me into hot water with my wife who says I must stop antagonizing the child, and just lock her in the naughty spot.

We have had a very serious argument over this which is a drama for another day.


We have two main forms of discipline. We have a chart that incurs a black mark for bad behaviour and it also incurs a smiley face for good behaviour. We also have a time out "naughty spot" where children can go to cool off and think about things.

This also gives my wife and I a way to extract ourselves when the situation gets too hot.

Even when I lock her in the naughty, spot she kicks the door and screams, and this can go on for up to an hour, sometimes she falls asleep and wakes up as if nothing has ever happened and she is her usual bubbly cheerful self.

Other times she comes out unrepentant but more co-operative and after a while she gets over it and then she is her usual bubbly cheerful self. A black mark usually results in a naughty spot visit as she goes berserk if she gets a black mark on her chart.

I don't know of any other child with such a strong will. Nothing seems to be working very well and I am not sure what to do but I am becoming really desperate.

I am contemplating going back to just simply asking her, telling her, ordering her and then punishing her to get co-operation. That didn't work any better but it's much easier in the short term.

I sense that perhaps she feels excluded because she is the only girl and she has her twin brother and an older brother. I have asked her if she feels left out and she says no.

One time she said she feels lonely. I thanked her and explained that a positive intention of loneliness is to help us to maintain good relationships with those around us, she didn't seem to get it.

We treat her exactly the same as the boys, there is no favouritism, if anything she manages to extort or negotiate better deals than the boys when we are too weak to fight a minor battle.

I really feel like I need help and that there is something I can't see in this situation. I know I am responsible and hold the key to change this behaviour but I don't know what to do am desperate. I don't seem to be able to make any headway.

I am getting really confused as to how to control my daughter using the intimacy model alone, without the need for the control model.
Thank  you for sharing your process.

Your daughter gets all her behavior from you.

You might also consider aligning with you wife on parental practices - so your daughter does not have to mediate your marital differences.

Then you might, with your wife, set some house rules.

House rules are rarely for the benefit of the children.  They are to protect the parents.  You might consider clarifying what you want and the laying down the ground rules.

Punishment is part of the control model. If you want a lot of drama, use black marks and naughty spots.

Instead, you can simply say something like, "You are interfering with [my TV program] so I want you to go somewhere else until I finish.

These ideas might not make much sense to you while you are operating from the control model.  You might consider taking your feelings about <wanting to control your daughter> to Tribe.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trading Tribe Visit in Singapore

Dear Edward Seykota,

I was just @ your website and I read you were going a World Tour is there any chance you could be organizing a course in Sunny Singapore?

With the Best of Wishes,
Yes, I am planning to visit Singapore.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Breathwork Follow-Up

Hi Ed,

I wonder how you are progressing with your weight / health goal.

I also wonder if your relationship with your banjo is in a "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", or are you "Side by Side"?

Sincerely,
Thank you for inquiring about my process.

My weight is down and my agility and strength are up.

A lot of this has to do with doing less with computers and more with hammers, crowbars, and paint rollers.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TT World Tour - Mumbai

Hi Ed -

I trust you are well.

Greetings from the Mumbai Trading Tribe.

I am delighted to read about your forthcoming World Tour.

Please include the Mumbai Tribe on your itinerary.

I recall a brief conversation we have at Cambridge in July 2006. You are not very enthusiastic about hosting a Workshop in Mumbai, but express a lot more enthusiasm at the idea of hosting one in Goa instead. If you prefer to meet the Mumbai Tribe in Goa (instead of Mumbai), I can arrange that too.

The 6 of us at the Mumbai Tribe enthusiastically look forward to hosting you in our country!!

I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.

Warm wishes.
Thank you for your invitation.

I can attend your Tribe and visit with you.  Setting up a full-on Workshop requires a lot of planning and logistics as well as lots of participants.
Monday, May 2, 2011

34 Inch Waist Commitment Update

Hi All,

I feel a sense of surprise with my progress. I’m down 25 pounds and my 38 inch waist clothing is pretty loose and requires a belt. My 36 inch waist clothing fits, though it is a bit snug.

Psychologically I feel myself preparing myself to accept myself at my new weight. It sounds kind of weird and that it “should” be easy. I wonder what my payoff is for being overweight. Maybe I like the heaviness of it. As feelings come up I will report them.

I do not make progress every day. My body weight, which I measure daily, does fluctuate up a few pounds every so often though my eating and exercise haven’t varied prior to the fluctuation. I do not understand this. When it happens I notice a feeling of “ugghh.” It passes. I stick to my system.

When I experience feelings of hunger but it’s not time to eat I take a moment to notice these feelings then I shift my focus back to whatever I’m doing at the time. This seems to be effective for me.

Thank you for your support. I hope all of you continue to see “less” of me in future.

Sincerely,
Thank you for sharing your process.
Monday, May 2, 2011

Epiphany

Ed,

The last Trading Tribe meeting was for me part of the setup for the Breathwork Weekend, so this report will cover them both.

I arrive at the Tribe meeting ready to work, feeling a bit nervous about it because it has been several years since I have been on the hot seat at a tribe meeting, but overall relatively calm because I have been in that position before. As we go around checking in, Ed focuses on my issue which is my lack of progress, and procrastination on the project to test a trading system.

Ed says he is not getting an indication that I need anything out of the process, that he doesn't get that I have any tension about anything, or project any feeling. I say that my current intentions are producing results which I don't like and I would like to change the system to get better results.

Ed says he doesn't get that. He polls the tribe, and they concur. I get the last word on that and say that while I may appear calm and collected on the outside, I'm seething inside. Ed says well let's see that - where are you feeling that?

I feel it in my stomach - that nervousness I mentioned at the start, and my hands begin to shake and flail about in front of me. The tribe's encouragement to get into that feeling brings on a full release, shaking of my body, bouncing in my chair and nearly out of my chair. Ed says to freeze it right there, and I do - with my two feet on the floor, and the only thing resting on the chair being my right shoulder. I stay in that position while Ed questions me for a time in my life when I felt that way before. I mention an event about twenty years prior, but he asks me to go further back.

I recall my little brother who was born when I was four or five, and survived for two days after being born but died because he had been born before coming to full term.

Throughout my childhood after that I always wanted a brother, and my mom, who had had my eldest sister before my brother died, had three more girls, each one making me want a brother all the more.

The issue revolved around pushing down the feelings of grief over that loss, which was not dwelt upon in the aftermath of the incident, and the contract I had made with my mother not to discuss my feelings. I had an intimacy building role playing session with my "father", which worked very well, and I made a new contract with my mother about being able to feel and share my feelings.

(I realize now, in hindsight) that this grief over the loss of my brother is related to the grief I am feeling now at seeing my sister battling an incurable form of sarcoma which is attacking her bone and connective tissue. It won't kill her by interfering with a vital organ's function, but it attacks her mobility, and it causes so much extreme pain that they are having trouble getting the medication right. It is very difficult to see such a young beautiful mother in such extreme agony all the time, and I feel so sad when I realize that she is fighting a battle that the doctors have never been able to win.)

It was an exhausting session, but I felt relieved of a burden of grief that I've been carrying around for many years. If felt so good to be able to grieve for my brother.

I realized, from the setup for the hot seat, how closely I keep my emotions in check, not letting them show in my interactions with others, and I realize that changing that aspect of myself would be an important thing to bring to the Breathwork Weekend which was going to start the following afternoon.

I realized that for a variety of reasons, I kept myself in an analytical mode where I think before I react or act with others. When I am in this mode I am not spontaneous. I don't react to jokes immediately because I have to understand why they are funny before I can react, and once that analytical knife is taken to a joke, it kills the laugh. This "filter" which I put on my interactions with others also prevents my initial emotional reactions from showing on my face - I have to will a reaction when I understand what the "proper" reaction is after an analysis of the situation. Because the reaction is not spontaneous, it probably comes off as being insincere, which, in a sense, it is.

So, I decide that the issue I need to take to the Breathwork weekend is: "to be more present in the moment of now in my interactions with other people." I want to reduce the time lag on the trend-following system of my emotional life, reduce the capacitance on the filter, use a smaller bucket, in order to have a faster reaction time, and so that that reaction is more genuine, and less deliberative.

The second hot seat participant goes through a process where he is dealing with feelings of hatred towards members of his family. He grew up in an abusive relationship and learns to deal out the abuse as well as it is given to him. He makes great progress through the role playing in learning to use the tools of receiving and sharing feelings from them to build a more intimate relationship which seems to defuse the movement to abuse in their role-playing interactions, and build a genuine bond.

A recursive process pops up within the context of that hot seat, where a tribe member goes into a process of his own, dealing with the abuse he is witnessing in the role playing. I find it amazing how effectively his process is set off, and how deeply he is affected by participating, by spectating, in the hot seat process of someone else.

* * *

The Breathwork Weekend starts out very much like a tribe meeting, with check ins, with participants focusing on issues, doing exercises to understand those issues better, and to clarify them. Saturday morning starts with physical exercise in the form of clearing Ed's ranch house yard of lawn litter and deadfall from the trees, and demolishing and clearing an outbuilding.

It is a warm day and the demolition requires a lot of teamwork. Many bugs are discovered in the process - a huge black widow spider among them. I get into using the leverage of a long crowbar to pull apart the outbuilding, and hauling the material to the dumpster.

After the building was done we took a break for food and water, and then set out for an hours hike around Ed's ranch. We made it down to the confluence of Cedar Creek and the Colorado River, which Ed has dubbed "Banjo Point". Across the creek just below the point is a beautiful multi-colored bluff of reds and yellows clays and stone. It is a beautiful piece of land with some magnificent old-growth oaks, and a herd of cows to enjoy it. We return to the house and get ready for the Breathwork.

After a break where Ed encourages us not to eat much, we set up the Breathwork stations. I will be breathing in the first group of six. I am set up on my shooting mat with my sleeping bag laid on top, and a pillow behind my head. I have a stack of clean handkerchiefs nearby in case I have a repeat of an experience I had in San Francisco Breathwork where I expelled a lot of snot. My bottle of water is nearby.

I said a prayer silently to Jesus to let the session bring me closer to Him, to never let me be separated from Him and his teachings, and to protect me from the enemy. I also asked Mary to lead me to her Son through this work. I think I prayed an Our Father and a Hail Mary. On a few occasions during the session I pray the Jesus Prayer.

Ed calls for the breathers to relax, and be aware of our bodies as the music starts and we begin to breathe along with the beat of the music and the drumming of the sitters.

I experience the familiar tingling in my extremities as I go into the process, and I cannot remember the early stages of the session, but at some point I begin laughing uncontrollably. I am not laughing at anything in particular that I can recall, I just recall an experience of joy and happiness - the laughter of great satisfaction with the world and my situation and being supremely glad. I laugh so hard I begin to consider that I usually get asthma when I laugh so hard. I hear a voice that says It's Ok to laugh, and I laugh harder than I think possible. I don't get asthma, I just feel the feeling of laughter flowing over me, and just going with it and enjoying the feeling.

I cannot remember if this came before the laughter - it may have, but as I was laying on my back breathing, my arms, which were at my side, with my hands laying across my chest, began to move with the music in a motion, like a dance. They were moving along with the beat, but with my elbows still at my side, with limited movement. Later my arms raised up and were fully extended vertically, and were much more fluid in their motion. I began to imagine they were like kelp plants in a green and blue kelp forest like the one at the Monterrey aquarium, moving with the tide and the waves, in an easy, gentle flowing motion, with fish and otters swimming about them. They moved easily with the movements of the water, but were still anchored to the sea bed. I began to connect this with my goal for the session - of being able to flow with the tide and waves of conversations with others, yet remaining anchored.

The thought of being anchored made me think of my life being anchored by Jesus Christ. The anchor is a common symbol of Christ, though I'm not sure I thought of that then. My arms fell away from my body, extended straight out from me like I was stretched out on the cross. I then experienced identification with Christ on the cross, and felt the pain of crucifixion - shallowness of breath - inability to breath in deeply. I felt pain in my joints and I think I was screaming in pain. I tried to make an ally of these feelings, and was willing to feel the pain, willing to endure the suffering on his behalf, in union with his suffering for us.

I don't know how long this lasted but there was a transition where my legs began to splay out as well, and I felt that I was being pulled apart by each of my limbs. I had an idea that I was experiencing what some of the English martyrs experienced when they were drawn and quartered during the persecutions under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I was experiencing the passion of those saints, and in particular I identified with Robert Southwell, who was a priest and a poet who was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. My right leg began to cramp in the thigh muscles - it was excruciating pain, and I was screaming in agony from it. I was willing to die - I said silently, "Lord if it is your will, take me now. I only want to be with you." I had no fear of dying.

I'm not sure if this came directly afterwards, but I was back at Calvary, but this time instead of being on the cross, I experienced being a Roman soldier given the task of piercing Jesus on the cross with a lance to make certain he was dead. I think his name was Longinus. The sword pierced Jesus' body in the right ribcage, and from the wound sprayed a shower of blood and water, and I was baptized in that blood and water, and felt relieved and healed.

I also imagined being in the arms of Mary at the foot of the cross after being taken down. She wore a deep blue mantle, and I felt, as I lay in her arms on her lap, in the classic Pieta pose, her sorrow, but also her total acceptance of God's will. I could hear the people gathered around weeping. The look on her face was consoling and beautiful. At this point I am sobbing in sympathy with her sorrow and that of the others. I cried for a long time, and the sorrow was intermixed with great joy at the vision I had been granted, and joy in being given the privilege of tasting some of the suffering Jesus endured for our sake. I felt complete identification with God - in total communion with Him to such an extent that I didn't want that joy to end.

I went into another phase of laughing again - and the joke this time was a fart. I laughed so hard at the idea of fart jokes, something I usually looked down on in movies because it was such a cheap laugh. I got the sense that God was trying to tell me that life was full of fart jokes, and that that was part of the joy of being alive, and I needed to go along with the flow and the laughter of the moment.

Life is an extended fart joke. I experienced an understanding that in order to be able to go with the flow, to be close to God, I needed to let my ego be crucified, and let Christ shine from within me. That God was in the moment of now and that my attempts to analyze and understand the moment of now was always pulling me away from it, away from God. My desire to be in control of the now, rather than just going with the flow of now, was keeping me away from the life source and energy of God's presence in my life. I had no reason to fear being in the now - I wasn't going to die from asthma, and besides, I came to a point where I felt willing to die anyway, so what's the point of fear? If I was willing to die to stay in union with God in the session, why not be willing to die to my ego in ordinary life and thereby be with God in the moment of now, giving myself completely to him in that way? It made perfect sense to me that being attuned to the moment of now was a way of being in union with God. And being focused on the moment of now when I was relating to others would allow me to see God's face in them.

When I was coming out of the process, there is a stained glass light hanging in the center of the room, with six sides colored in green and blue, like the kelp forest from earlier in the session. It first appears to me as I am coming down out of my trance, to be a beautiful flower, with six petals, and the three bulbs are the pistil and stamens. Then, as I am meditating on its beauty, it becomes a symbol of the Trinity - with the three light bulbs representing the three persons of the one God.

I have a vision of my wife and three children, and realize that my time to die has not come, but that I have a vocation as a husband and a father to these people whom I love dearly.

The music, which has been rhythmic and tribal chant, changes tone with a beautiful Kyrie Eleison setting from a Mass with polyphonic harmony. It is beautiful, and transporting. The first time I am still in process and the words don't register, but the beauty of the music brings waves of joy and tears at the beauty of the sound. Later, during the second session, I come back into the room when the piece is on again and I realize it is the Kyrie Eleison, which is the part of the mass where we pray, in Greek "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy." I realize that this is the Jesus prayer which I was praying during the session "Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." He gave me plenty of His divine mercy during the session.

Ed brings me some paper and crayons to start coloring and I immediately start drawing images of my experience. As I draw the scene at Calvary, it brings up fresh tears of joy and sadness intermixed. The process has been so full of joy and it just keeps going - I don't want to get up and end the feeling of bliss. I am exhausted from the experience, but completely at peace, and happy.

I feel more engaged afterwards, and I feel like the results of the work has helped me to stay in the moment, and to focus more clearly on tasks at hand, and on others when I am in conversations with them. My feelings have been more alive, and I have felt more willingness to express them as they came up. This Easter season has been a very powerful one, and I have felt especially close to God, and the Easter services have been filled with joys and many consolations, including those of tears. I feel more connected to my children, and have simply felt more engaged in life. I still don't get all the jokes people make in the immediate moment, but I think I do much better than before.
Thank you for sharing your process,
Monday, May 2, 2011

Better in the Bedroom

Ed,

We are excited to hear about your "World Tour". You are invited to visit the Seattle Trading Tribe (in Kirkland, WA). We are a tribe of seven and have been meeting regularly since January of 2010.

You have met two of us. I look forward to coordinating your visit. Please let me know if you would like any other information.

I am continuing to digest the Breathwork weekend. THANK YOU. I do not have issues in the bedroom. It is strange. It is hard to understand or experience my old bedroom habits. My experience with my wife keeps getting better.

Enjoy,
Thank you for sharing your process.

Seattle is now on the itinerary.
Monday, May 2, 2011

Extending the Essential Tribe

Dear Tribe Members,

It is with great joy that I announce the birth of our son. He is 7 lbs 3 ounces, and has a full head of curly blonde hair. His big sister (age 7), and older brother  (age 3), are excited about the new addition to the family. Sparkles, the family dog, is noticeably less enthusiastic. Both Mom and the baby are doing great.

I hope all of you are doing well, and would love to hear from those of you with whom I've been out of touch!

All the best,

Bringing Forth a Being

Congratulations !
Monday, May 2, 2011

Prague Czechs In

Dear Mr. Seykota,

I would like to attend the European workshop.

My preference for a location is Prague, Czech republic.

Best wishes
Thank you for your interest.
Monday, May 2, 2011

Limits of Abreactive therapy

Dear Ed,

a patient consults due to severe fatigue, lasting for 2 years. She is so tired that sometimes she is not able to cross a street without a break. She looks overwhelmed by the situation.

Therefore, before ordering the routine blood samples, I explain her the role of emotions in disease. She agrees to explore her emotions related to <fatigue>. Her first form is "I want it to go away!" while she makes a sudden, hectic movement with her right arm. I suggest her to repeat it; it is like breaking a dam.

She starts a cathartic crying and feels <overwhelmed> and <insufficient>. I then suggest her to flow to an earlier time, when she experiences this feeling for the first time. She opens her eyes and says "this is very interesting!

Now, I see!". She reflects for some instants, mentions something about "guilt" and "parents" and is confused. I figure out a traumatic incident where she is punished by her parents and suggest "but who acted wrongly? Was it the child, where it the adults?"

This prompts an intense emotional respones. She re-starts crying, but this time it is not cathartic, it is an expression of deepest sorrow. She realizes that her feelings of <guilt> are misplaced and that her parents are wrong as they beat her. During this part of the process, I hold her hand and offer my compassion. The whole issue is very emotive for both of us (I also start crying) and lasts some 30 minutes.

I see her 10 days later. Her fatigue is gone, her blood pressure (which was elevated for years) is normal, her sleep quality hugely improved. She mentions that the issue was related to her parents, beating her severely when she delivers a less-than-perfect job, and how she punishes herself for not being perfect.

I am used to report spectacular results after a single hotseat. However, I also want to report three opportunities in which participants felt worse or had increased trouble after a hot seat. Curiously, all three were people coming from another city and who knew that they most likely would not see me again.

Two of them even damaged themselves after the hotseat (one had a car accident, the other got a deep cut in his face "unintentionally" while working in his garden).


Myself and some Tribesmen report feeling really troubled for some days after a hot seat, until observing a huge improvement / reduction of drama. But it seems to me that some people cannot handle the opened can of worms. I wonder if it is possible to find it out...

Best regards,
Thank you for sharing your process.

Your use of one-time abreactive-emotive therapy, is consistent with people hurting themselves afterword.

If you open someone up, and ignite their deep emotions - and them send them home without a pro-active response to their feelings, they may invent a drama on the spot that leads to injury.

You can achieve similarly risky results by administering a psycho-active substance such as LSD-25 and sending the patient home during a "bad trip" or "bummer."

In the TTP rocks process, we use abreaction very sparingly, mainly to identify a critical incident. Thereafter we use lots of role playing. Tribe members take turns learning and practicing the new resources.  The work also depends on a group of people who learn to work together over several sessions.

You might consider taking your feelings about <controlling others> and <hurting others> to Tribe.

Once You Open A Can of Worms

you may need a bigger can
to contain them.
http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/members/images/
95927/Gallery/can-of-worms.jpg

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Law of Constant Shoes

Hi Ed.

I hope you are doing well. I left tennis shoes at your ranch house after Breathwork.

I have more and my wife just won another pair so you are welcome to keep them if they fit or donate them,
throw them away or what ever you wish to do with the shoes. Have fun on your world wide trip and I wish
you success with your weight and fitness.
Thank you for sharing your process and for your support on getting and staying healthy.

I'm learning that a ranch is the best exercise machine yet.
Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dealing with Pain

Dear Ed,

since February I experience a feeling that I dislike a lot. It manifests as pressure within my chest and on my forehead. I sleep badly, wake up in the middle of the night covered with sweat. It is "fear-anxiety". I take the feeling several times to the hotseat with no advances or resolution. I cannot identify an early event related to the feeling. My life turns more and more complicated and dramatic, a lot of problems arouse at work, I start medicating my feelings (drinking coffee, watching TV until late at night). I am irritable, even abusive to my little son for the first time... I feel the way I recall feeling three years ago, before starting my Tribe. I don´t know what Fred is trying to express.

F***! I know how life feels when I accept my feelings, when I am one with the flow and in the Zone. But now, it sucks, and I don´t know how to proceed further.

And then, I read that you plan a world tour and a visit to my Tribe...

Most of the time I don´t know who is offering and who is accepting...

Best regards!
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider taking your feelings about <feelings you dislike> to Tribe to find out what they are trying to tell you.

Thereafter, you can learn to listen to the pain early on, as your ally, before it decides it has to yell at you.
Sunday, May 1, 2011

Housekeeping and Parenting

Hi Ed,

Here are some housekeeping items I would like to suggest.

1) The links to the roadmaps website in the EcoNowMics project no longer work. Roadmaps can now be found at:
http://www.clexchange.org/curriculum/roadmaps.asp

2) Attach a link to the Principles page from either the welcome page http://www.seykota.com/tt/  or the resources page http://www.seykota.com/tt/Resources/default.html .

3) Include the EcoNowMics link with an inviting picture such as you have done with various other links such as TSP for example. The EcoNowMics link is way down in "Other Resources" and has such a wealth of learning I feel it should be more prominent.

4) New Zealand has been spelt the Dutch way, New "Zeeland", change to more commonly accepted English spelling.

I am trying to live with the intimacy model.

I notice my feelings, I accept all feelings and try not to hide from them, even the ones I don't like.

I look for the positive intentions in all my feelings.

I look out for the feelings behind the words of others, share my feelings and test others for both willingness to both share and receive feelings.

Sometimes I find myself slipping back into the control model even as I try to practice the intimacy model, during times of heightened stress I get angry and tell my children to "stop doing x", "please separate and go to your rooms", "please go to bed right now"

My eldest son and my daughter fight a lot. My daughter generally doesn't want to feel left out, she tries to take control of the games they all play when she joins in, as her demands become more and more unreasonable eventually my eldest son snaps and shouts at her or they physically fight.

I have suggested they share feelings and I keep suggesting it. I cringe when I hear my children telling each other what to do. I don't know what to do when they are unwilling to share feelings. I ask them what they are feeling and I thank them for telling me.

I learn a lot from the reports of others and from your comments, for example:

FAQ Saturday, April 16, 2011 - Weary Daughter / Sad Dad
I learn not to use the sharing of my feeling to invoke guilt trip leverage on my children.

I also learn to receive their feelings and celebrate them.
I feel very confused about how I should be instructing and controlling my children in the right behaviors by using the intimacy model.

On a slightly more positive note, the other day I as I was driving in a part of town I don't often go I had a minor traffic incident.

As I go around a two lane traffic circle, I am in the outside lane, I don't take the first exit, I want to take the second. A driver on the inside lane wants to take the first exit and can't because I continue around the circle, he hoots and gestures at me. I don't react much but I'm feeling very stressed and under pressure.

My wife hears the hoot and sees the gestures and immediately jumps to the conclusion I have done something wrong, this is too much for me, I obviously have a rejection k-not and explode shouting something like why are you defending that ass#~le etc. etc.

My eldest son says "Dad, share your feelings Dad"
I immediately stop shouting, thank him, tell him he is correct and I agree I should share my feelings, I say sorry for shouting and share that I am very angry. I am very glad, as this is the first time I have some proof, that my suggestion to share feelings is having an effect.

I am wondering if "I am sorry" has a place in the intimacy model or it seems to mostly belong in the control model. I realize that a lot of the time I exit conflict and stressful situations by shutting down and use I'm sorry as way to avoid the conflict.

Thank you Ed

Kind Regards
Thank you for your sharing your process and for your suggestions.

People, including kids, may be unwilling to share feelings.  Insisting they share feelings is part of the control model, and may shut them down even more.

As you develop your receiving skills, people naturally open to you.


Kids Sometimes Fight

to fulfil their parents.

If you really want to stop the fighting,
tell the kids to go somewhere
where you can't hear them
and to fight it out to the death.
http://www.hercafe.net/wp-content/uploads/
2010/08/two-kids-fighting.jpg