I’m aware of Tony Robbins, but not a huge fan…not because I specifically don’t like. I really just haven’t spent that much time with him and his teachings. A trusted mentor of mine loves him. Which says a lot.
But the other night, my husband flipped his new doc on (he didn’t even know who Tony was, I think he just liked the title: “I Am Not Your Guru”) and we watched about half before our internet got too slow to watch it without worming in the utter agony of sluggish wifi.
From what I saw, a lot of the principles he uses are very familiar to me and in alignment with what I do as a coach and healer. Ultimately: understand the root of the pattern; get clear on what it’s costing you; acknowledge the pain and find a place of power you can stand in to take a step forward…all the beginnings of creating a new pattern. A pattern where you intentionally choose (as in every minute of every day, not just in a session or in the room with Tony or wherever you are at your breakthrough moment) not to be crushed.
I don’t deny the oppressive power of patriarchy and systemic racism. There’s no point. They are real. But our relationship to them is the only thing that defines them. Without us, they don’t exist. How ’bout that? More on that in a later post, obviously.
In this article, I get the author’s point…and being a coach myself, I understand the cynicism and disbelief. But I also know the power of declaring what choices you will make, in the face of the violent childhoods, the overwhelming present moment, the rampant racism, the saddling weight of sexism. (I’m a white woman, so I have some understanding about systemic oppression…but make no pretense to understand all or speak for all.)
What I do know is that there’s not a magic bullet for transformation. What I think Tony does is provide an intervention. I know that’s part of what I do too. It’s not a cure-all. It’s a bold step. It requires attention and intention and action and upkeep and maintenance and re-visioning and love and love and tenderness and accountability and a dozen other things to keep it alive.
In this review of Robbins’ Netflix doc, I think the author overstates the human experience of clarity mixed with action when she says that, “Finding a “personal breakthrough,” as Tony calls them, won’t give you a raise, or make your job better, or pay off your student loans or credit card debt.”
If that really wasn’t true, I wouldn’t do what I do. A breakthrough doesn’t immediately abolish your debt, but it sure as shit can rearrange the way you understand what is possibly for yourself and your community. Including your relationship to money, scarcity, earning, spending, receiving, giving, thriving vs surviving. You get the picture.
Spiritual breakthroughs aren’t commodities and they can’t all be measured (though my teachers David and Gail are pioneering a project that will, in fact, measure empowerment and it’s fucking rad). And yes, they will make you feel better…briefly if you let the power flit away, and sustainably if you treat it like the catalyst it has the potential to be.
I’m not a mom, but I imagine it like this…sometimes a much needed breakthrough is painful AF. Like you gotta strip yourself down to the core. In concept, perhaps a bit like birth. Raw feelings and action. And then you have the baby and you’re blissed, in love beyond your wildest dreams, pain forgotten and you’re off! Wheeee! Now, you wouldn’t ditch the baby after the first week of not sleeping or the 10th diaper in a 24 hour period. You double-down.
That’s how breakdown to breakthrough to alignment works.
Catharsis and emotional release are essential, but they’re the tip of the iceberg. A piece of the puzzle. The work continues when you get home and all the old records start playing. Where the rubber meets the road. That’s where support system and tools become key. That’s where you have to look at your commitment, your discipline, your connection to your inner guide.
There’s so much beyond the breakthrough. And goddess bless those who disrupt. It’s a necessary art form these days.