Consider these next several paragraphs from SAW’s founder, Jake Clark.
First things first, Gentleman: GRATITUDE
Gratitude - by way of acknowledgment (the 4th Pillar in The 5 Pillars of Servant Leadership (attached)) is the act of purposefully appreciating people, events, things and creatures in our lives. It means practicing to notice what is in our life and who is in our life, and articulating, either to them or to ourselves, what we value about them and how they contribute to our lives. Acknowledgment fosters an attitude of gratitude, and gratitude is the magical fuel that makes everything “flow” more beautifully.
That being said, PLEASE (!!!) send a note of thanks to Mr. Stephen Gray of GRAY Construction. Mr. Gray and his company's generosity is going a long way in covering SAW operations through the end of 2019. Mr. Gray can be contacted at:
Mr. Stephen Gray
c/o GRAY Construction
10 Quality Street
Lexington, KY 40507
Please know that Mr. Gray really enjoys hearing about your experience at SAW and is fascinated by the idea of The Hero's Journey, the available healing inside of same.... just an FYI and for what it's worth. Thank you in advance for thanking this gentleman whose company has committed a great deal of resources in support for SAW Cohorts !!!
Secondly... Don't Be a Bliss Junkie (excerpted from "Stealing Fire" by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal (these two Cats are wicked smart):
This relates to the feelings of being let down as the effects of the Project slowly begin to wax and wane....
(For purposes of this part of the excerpted portion of the book Stealing Fire, "effortlessness" speaks to the ecstatic states - known as "ecstasis" - we all experience while at SAW, also known as Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness (NOSC)):
With "effortlessness", we see a different downside: the combination of all those reward neurochemicals and overflowing inspiration can be intoxicating. Once people taste the fleeting effortlessness of "ecstasis", some decide that's how life is always supposed to be: a state of perpetual ease. (Note: THIS is why so many SAW Alum ask to come back and Shepherd right away; we want to get back to that "high" we feel at SAW… read on). We become bliss junkies, "state chasers", refusing to do anything unless we can, to borrow a phrase, "go with the flow".
Gentlemen, this is not the purpose or promise of the work you just completed. Rather, this is we are selfish. Remember that the purpose of initiation is to return back to the KNOWN world - what happens at SAW happens within the UNKNOWN world - with the power and the wisdom to serve OTHERS. There's a time to come back and pay it forward. It's just not as soon as we think it is. I went out and honed a “Daily Practice” for more than ten years, learned other ways to live life on life’s terms, before assembling the SAW container. It's important that you know that. You should also know that SAW staff and Providers have more than a half a century of combined recovery in various 12 Step programs. That’s a WHOLE lot of bucket work.
Anyway, when you leave SAW, think of yourself as a colander - a bowl with holes. When you experience a "peak state" (SAW), it's like turning on the kitchen faucet and flooding that colander with water. If there's enough volume, the colander fills up despite the leaks. As long as water keeps flooding in, you will, for a moment, experience what it's like to be a cup. You'll feel whole; if you're really inspired (like you were during SAW), you'll feel holy.
Then... the faucet turns off, the peak experiences end, and all that water leaks back out. In a matter of moments, days, weeks, we settle back to where we started (UNLESS WE CONTINUE A DAILY PRACTICE AND PAY IT FORWARD IN THE KNOWN WORLD WITH NO EXPECTATION OF REWARD!!!) The information recedes. The inspiration that was so easy to grasp moments, days, weeks, months ago slips away. And now we have a decision to make: Do we engage the dull and repetitive work of plugging the leaks (BUCKET (REPAIR) WORK), or do you go hunting for the next ecstatic faucet to tap???
The notion that hard work and persistence in the face of struggle might have a role in all of this often gets lost.
In 2014, Ryan Holiday released a bestselling book on exactly this subject, The Obstacle Is the Way. It offered an update to the Roman Stoic Marcus Aurelius's claim that "the impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way... becomes the way". The SAME can be said for "story" insomuch the fact that "conflict" drives story, etc. The hero (you, us, we) always - and only - grows through conflict, etc. And this is certainly true of the ecstatic way (SAW's way). All that "effortless effort" takes a lot of hard fucking work !!!
Recall some words from Michael “Doctor Mike” Hofrath:
“I fully support transparency and addressing the “bliss junkie syndrome”. SAW alum can sometimes have unrealistic expectations, which eventually can lead to self-implosion versus being realistic regarding the self-realization process and evolution of such. SAW turns on the faucet, but to keep that faucet flowing it is IMPERATIVE SAW ALUM understand they have to do the bucket work! There is no other way and a part of that bucket work is being of service to support others. Doing so facilitates an inner-self relationship of selflessness versus selfishness, which in and of itself perpetuates and supports the healing process. From a “soul” perspective, this is the path to feeling full. We can’t keep it unless we give it away.”
So, please... do the hard thing, Gentlemen and the rest becomes much easier: Enjoy the "state" while it lasts, but be sure to do the bucket work. And now matter how tempting it is: Don't become a Bliss Junkie.
We acknowledge each of you for your courage, vulnerability and commitment to complete the Project and take home your stone and receive your Project Treasure.
We further and respectfully encourage you to remain in relationship with one another, as well as this ever-growing community of active duty / returning Warriors, First Responders and family members of same. ONLY you -- and others like YOU -- will save this latest generation at risk for PTS-related suicide... and other tragic endings.
ONLY YOU !!! Never forget that... please.
You learned and experienced a great deal together, and had the opportunity to share in and support one another's transformation; one another's journey out of hell and “off the island”; to be there for each other; to serve as another's witness. Thank you -- especially -- for the way you took care and looked after one another. You are an incredible group of exceptional and irreplaceable Warriors.
To Sum Up:
Know that the final aim of our quest... is returning with the power AND the wisdom to serve OTHERS.
Humility = knowing your limitations & asking for support - when needed.
Solution = You + Humility + FAITH + Daily Meditation + The Five Pillars of Servant Leadership + The SAW Reading List
Do stay in touch and please read all the way through. There are some people to thank.
We hope all of you will find a way to be a part of what you just experienced; that you'll know that it was real; that you'll seek to bring others to -- and through -- the Project; that you'll find a way to make this work part of your lives. Note that there are many names listed on your Contact Roster.... much more on the CC line of the email that brought you to this page, too; that's a WHOLE lotta love to reach out and give thanks to ;-)
If you made it your personal mission to call just ONE other Warrior in your Cohort once a week, over the course of a year you would have contacted each of them a minimum of four (5) times; this could mean all the difference in the world to someone who is isolating and under the false belief that no one cares.
Pick up the phone. Make the call. ASK them how they are doing and LISTEN. Listen for and stay in the SOLUTION.
If they are agitated, ask them if they have been meditating. If they haven’t, we suggest you invite them to do so and call you back in 25 minutes, or so. Get into and accept the idea that you stand for their "cure", not relief; relief is temporary and WILL NOT solve our common problem. Hold one another accountable to the solution.
Do not sell out your brother’s journey out of hell and “off the island” !!!
We are beyond grateful that the Shepherds were on hand to Direct, Facilitate, and Shepherd your Cohort.
We encourage you to connect with them, thank them personally for taking time away from their families to be with and support you; and maybe ask what it is like to Shepherd a Cohort, bell-to-bell. Ask them how fulfilled they feel, afterwards. By the way, they do that for you for fun and for free..
Some things meant to be shared with you Friday afternoon before we completed the Project:
- Each day when you read a book, listen to a CD or watch a DVD, attend a performance, play a video game, read a magazine, etc....you are making someone else's dream come true. But what about YOUR dream? Ask yourself: what have I consciously done today to make my own dream come true. Working with y'all is my dream come true. Period. Endeavor each morning to take one action, or step, towards making your dream a reality and perhaps one day you will find yourself amazed.
- We invite you to consider the possibility -- as a suggestion -- of doing two (2) things everyday you do not want to do -- just for practice. It could be as simple as taking back your shopping cart all the way back to where it should go, attending to a lingering errand that's been hanging out there, handwriting someone a "thank you" note and mailing it, or simply going out of your way to greet a stranger and saying "hello"; doesn't have to be anything extravagant. We are amazed how this simple spiritual practice has enriched my own life. We really believe it ultimately led us to all of you.
- Meditate every day for the rest of your life… in more ways than you can imagine, it is one of the best ways to 'pay it forward'.
- Please email EVERY Facilitator/Shepherd and thank them for showing you another way to consider approaching your life. Acknowledgment (read Gratitude) is one of our Five Pillars of Servant Leadership (attached), and a huge part of any personal program of recovery and the great news...it's free. Do the right thing ;-).
- If you struggle to stay sober, are fresh out of rehab, or have other addiction / process addiction issues as discussed during your week with us, or are finding your life disrupted by the drinking / drugging of someone close to you...we strongly suggest you check out no fewer than six (6) meetings of either Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous or Al-Anon, as applicable to your particular challenge(s). These 12-Step programs form the background of SAW's follow-on footwork. These Community Resiliency Models are in every community in this country, and they are free. Do the work...
Google any of the below-listed programs for meetings in your local areas. You may also reach out to us for support in finding meetings and sponsors in your local area. We'd be happy to support and assist your journey through recovery.
These links below may one day prove helpful to you, or someone you care about, and save your - or their - life.
Keep in mind that meditation... is part and parcel of Step 11 of any 12 Step program. SAW may have already given you a huge head start in your personal recovery program!
PS… and don't forget to make your bed...everyday, for the rest of your life...even in hotels ;-)
PPS… Please do not mention Project Treasure to any Warrior you refer to SAW; it's the best damn secret we endeavor to keep !!!
Much love to each and every one of you,
The Entire SAW Community