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How can we fly if we are continually grounded by crisis events in our lives? Snake teaches us how to use the heat of crisis to burn away restrictive coping mechanisms so we may see what's true and grow. We begin in this space by learning the transformative practice of "Antagonistic Mentoring". 


Snake: Antagonistic MentorLori Wallace
00:00 / 15:18


Let's take a moment here to experience first hand what it feels like to grow conscious in the heat of danger.


Below is a clip of a triggered King Rattle Snake. Watch this and try to resist the temptation to distract, deny, or turn away. Instead, feel the feels and admire the snake for its integrity and fair warning that keeps everyone safe.


This rattler is actively communicating boundaries. The person behind the camera is as close as the snake will allow. Notice how the snake does not strike. Its rattle serves as a clear and helpful signal. The snake is communicating and acting as an antagonistic mentor before our very eyes.


Compare this to scenarios in your own life where you have felt triggered. Do you rattle before you strike, giving people a chance to respect your boundary? Is there someone you know who you wish would learn the art of the rattle?


When my husband and I argue, we practice rattling in order to avoid the bite. If either bites first, the other will either strike back or flee. Either way, we both lose. There is valuable information in the shake of a rattle. Let's have a look!


by Dr. Gabor Mate


To awaken the practice of transforming triggers into actual teachers in our lives (aka antagonistic mentors), it helps to understand the ecology of triggers and the unconscious effects trauma and festering wounds have on our minds and bodies.


Here is a seventeen minute chat with Dr. Gabor Mate (author of "The Myth of Normal") where he speaks of the universal nature of childhood suffering. It's normal to suffer and develop coping mechanisms, he says. We all do it. The key to a healthy psyche, he shares however, is to in adulthood shed the coping mechanisms we built so that we may relate authentically to self and the world around us.  Here is Dr. Mate:


When people speak of "mentors", they usually are referring to the helpful and supportive kind. 


But, snake teaches us that the people and events that rattle us to the core are life's most power teachers and mentors. And if we listen, they help us accelerate growth. 

Okay, let's practice this. 


So far in your life you've experienced large and small antagonistic mentoring moments that likely lay scattered as lost opportunities for growth. Like most of us, past crisis events were swiftly defended against, but rarely digested as teachings that grow us emotionally and spiritually. Let's change that today.


  • Download the 'Antagonistic Mentoring Worksheet' below

  • A sample is also provided as reference.


Let's Begin

Name it.  Within your journal or in the worksheet, make a list of all the people and/or events that are causing you the most pain and turmoil in your life right now. That may include a family member, a health issue, a boss, work stress, etc. Choose the most potent issue to practice with – perhaps even the one that led you to take up this journey with me here today


Feel it. Now, think of this person or event - and let it burn. Don't turn away from the heat. Feel the feels. This may be difficult because we naturally try to avoid pain. But, remember, pain and emotion are key catalysts to shedding the old, uncovering the guidance, and liberating the new. If we can lean in and endure the heat, we may in turn develop emotional resilience and receive the gift behind the wound.


Open to it. Once you begin to feel that the heat is slightly leveling out, close your eyes and take several full deep breaths in and out. Then, mentally reframe this person or event in your mind as your antagonistic teacher or mentor. It has something to teach you. It's communicating with you. Say this, "I am open to the guidance."


Receive it. In the silence, hold neutral space for questions, thoughts, ideas to rise and fall. The guidance may be simple or it may be multi-dimensional. Let the heat burn away the distraction of the ego so you may discern what's true. Note in your journal or in the worksheet what comes to mind. If nothing rises in this first attempt, sleep on it. Give it time. Do not rush it. Depending on the depth of the lesson to be learned, it could take minutes or even months for the guidance to surface. Be patient. Hold space for all to become known. It will come, if you remain open to it.


Live it. Make this a regular practice in your everyday life. Anything and everything that causes you distress is an antagonistic mentor. Everything – no exceptions. A lost iPhone, a tyrannical boss, all of it – listen for the guidance. Our crisis events, barriers, and bullies are especially strong mentors. They touch the center of our original trauma. They challenge us to shed and grow. They remind us where are still coping rather than living authentically.


Moving from resistor to receptor is HUGE. We live in a highly defensive world, so reclaiming your power in this area takes practice – and once mastered, it will change your life forever. This is an evolutionary art for humanity. It is a super power. You can do this. You can shed the old and claim what's true. Practice opening. Trust the process.

Here is a personal example from my own life:


Name it. During a CEO search for a hospital, I had a frightening experience with an executive level candidate. He was powerful, extremely wealthy, and a lawyer.  Deep into the process, this individual began threatening me when he was not chosen to advance in the search process. He felt it was due to ageism. It was actually due to his deep insecurity and related hostility. Regardless, he threatened to sue me and my client. His threats were vicisious and I became acutely frightened of him. For day my whole body shook in terror. 

Feel it. I felt debilitating fear that this person would destroy me and ruin my business. I felt deep shame – had I done something catastrophically wrong? I felt worry about my future and the security of my family. My body shook, my palms sweat, and I was sleepless.

Open to it.  After about twenty minutes of "feeling the feels", I asked for the guidance and the answer (much to my surprise) was immediate! I heard this, as if the candidate was speaking directly to me: "My xecutive class of candidate can be powerful and dangerous. It's time to strengthen your masculine business instincts and keep people like me at arm's length. We are powerful and can do you harm if you're too trusting."  Wow! This was timely guidance I really needed as I entered a whole new level of executive search. In an instant, my body shakes ended and I moved from fearful to grateful.

Receive it. This individual taught me a valuable lesson that has helped me grow and mature as an executive recruiter. I am forever thankful to my antagonistic mentor.

NOW YOU . . .

What burns you?

What powerful trigger are you focused on transforming?  How will this free you to move forward?

Nice work – I know it's not easy. Practice what you've learned and let this all germinate before advancing next weekend to Distractions.

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