Why is it that some healers--people who do good things for other people--are afraid of spreading the word about the good they do? Why do they sometimes stick to the status quo, afraid of innovating even when their gut says there's a better way to serve? Why are they afraid to stick out?
Shouldn't these people be out there, dancing in the spotlight, so that everyone who needs their goodness can see them, know them, and benefit?
Greg Wieiting is an innovative healer, teacher & mentor who's come up against his fair share of battles with the Big F:
Greg's a former copywriting client whose story I now turn to personally when I'm feeling stuck, hopeless, or fearful. When we first met in May this year, he had just moved to San Francisco and was developing his first website.
He had this vision for his first signature program: a one-of-a-kind integration of Reiki, Meditation, Yoga and BodyTalk that he called The Resilience Project.
I could tell he was passionate about it. He had a lot to say about Resilience, and I could hear the magic in his voice when he described the program to me.
He was also afraid. Not sure that people would "get it." Not sure that people would accept it, or him. Not sure that anyone would even sign up--and he didn't have a Plan B.
Fast forward to the excitement of today: The Resilience Project starts this Friday with its first cohort of students signed up, paid, and ready to go!
How did he get here? I invited Greg to interview so I could find out for myself. There is some WISDOM below, folks. :) Some really provocative nuggets that include Greg's thoughts on:
- What it means to be "resilient"
- Believing in what you're offering, even if it goes against the status quo
- Noticing our "habitual ways of being" that keep us stuck
- The importance of taking action
- How we need community to help us develop courage.
Nicole Bonsol: When did you first start thinking about the Resilience Project? When was the idea born?
Greg Wieiting: I had the idea for the program towards the end of 2013, and the name [The Resilience Project] came early this year in February.
When I lived in Montana I’d been pretty busy seeing clients full-time for BodyTalk and Reiki, teaching up to 13 yoga classes a week, teaching Reiki trainings and meditation workshops. And when I left Montana in November 2012 I realized, “Wow, I kind of fulfilled this path.” I knew that something needed to shift. That wherever I settled down next, I couldn’t just recreate my same practice.
I didn’t want to just keep teaching everything separate. I knew there needed to be a synthesis, but all the details of how it would come together eluded me.
But it felt like a leap of faith. I thought, “Some people will come because they’re into yoga, and some people will come because they’re into Reiki, but if I ask people to come for all of it maybe it’ll turn some people away.” And so I had a fear of alienating people for so long.
I’d built a name for BodyTalk in Montana, but here in San Francisco not everybody knows what BodyTalk is, not everyone knows Reiki. When you’re building a name for a healthcare practice that’s culturally kind of a paradigm shift…you kind of want to be as inclusive as possible, to touch the lives of anyone and everyone. But I knew that that would dilute the potency of what I had to offer.
NB: What has been the hardest thing about bringing The Resilience Project to fruition?
GW: That ties into a lot of what I’ve mentioned in my own Story of Resilience. [Writer's note: Greg is referring to his own Story of Resilience on his website. You can find it here.] I’ve spoken about healing from scoliosis, chronic pain, and depression, but it’s like, “What’s underneath all that?” A lot of the pain body I still carry is tied into my sexuality and childhood. If I was always sticking my neck out, if I was always doing things differently than everyone else…I shamed myself for that. As a young child I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be like everyone else.
Part of my path, then is continuing to take practical steps to support the growth of this program, even in the face of doubt. Not being paralyzed by fear. Paying attention to it, being with it, and then seeing the bigger picture.
To me the bigger picture was a prayer: “How may I be of greatest service to the world?” I’ve been echoing that prayer and continuing to take practical steps each day. I have some goals in mind yet I’m also open to an unfolding intelligence that helps inform further steps and further actions.
In offering the Resilience Project it continues to test my own capacity to be resilient. I think it’s really coming back to taking all of these practices that I’m sharing with the world, taking them back and using them to support and nurture my own rhythm and my sense of connection and sense of purpose. Taking it to heart. That’s what the program is: sharing what has been a lifesaver in my world, and paying it forward.
The beautiful process of resilience is you own [your uniqueness] and then you butt up against life experiences that demand that you continue to own it. [Greg laughs].
NB: What are you proud of today?
GW: I’m proud of really going for it and taking risks when taking risks felt like I was going against the current. Sticking my neck out when I felt like sticking my neck out was not in line with how everyone else is living. And trusting [and continuing to take action] even when it felt really awkward, and uncomfortable, and unsafe. Even when I didn’t always understand the wisdom in my need to take those steps.
Now, in hindsight, I see the wisdom in all those steps I took. [I’m proud of my] persistence and trust and taking risks. I’m grateful for taking risks and tending to them with faith and prayer and practical steps to tend to that calling.
NB: Can you give me an example of taking a risk that felt really unsafe, and how you overcame that?
GW: Part of who I am is a yoga teacher, and it felt really counterintuitive to pull back and teach hardly any yoga in the public yoga scene. And yet I knew that with the full synthesis of what I’m here to offer to the world, I had to create a new container to present the full expression of what I’m here to share.
I guess we’re used to sharing/offering/living in a world that’s already been created for us. But the whole Resilience Project is creating a whole new level of offering. It would have been safe to continue to teach yoga in a regular studio—but I wouldn’t have been able to fully share what I’m here to share.
And then even this whole new format of teaching the six month program: it’s very different than when I was teaching Reiki in separate modules. It’s really demanding a lot more of a commitment from the students who want to learn and study with me. So that was like another leap of recognizing the value and owning it and putting it out there.
So I guess [I’m proud of] not diluting who I am to fit into the status quo. [I’m proud of] actually distilling the full essence of who I am and what I have to offer, and when that no longer fits into existing structures…creating new ones.
I worked in a non-profit for years working for forest protection in Washington state. It was beautiful to work in activism, and yet it was like fighting existing structures and working within the limitations of existing structures. There’s value in that, and I feel like I pushed boundaries within existing structures, but certain structures are only gonna bend so much. Do I continue to stay within the confines or do I create a new one?
NB: I’d love to ask you more about keeping moving and not being paralyzed because of fear, but you stoked up your resilience—or you harnessed your bravery—and took action instead.
GW: [That would be when] my Early Bird Registration [for the Resilience Project] was coming to an end, and I was holding out for people to join the program.
In yoga there’s this concept called samskara. Samskara means “our habitual ways of being”, kind of like a groove. We can get stuck in grooves to the point where we don’t even know that we’re stuck in that groove because it’s just how we function. It’s our main operating system.
The path of a yogi or a Reiki practitioner is a path of awareness. All of a sudden we can become aware that “Wow, I’ve been stepping in that same footprint for all these years and, you know, maybe it doesn’t serve me that well. Maybe there’s other places that I can step with more awareness that can help me fulfill my destiny and help me to stay in an optimal flow with my life force and with nature.”
So, like I already mentioned, one of my habitual ways of being from growing up was this deep shaming and not owning the value of who I am. Believing that I was wrong for being me and giving up when the tough got going.
There was a day right before early bird registration ended where I was like “Ok, I don’t know what’s going to happen if people don’t register…”
I could feel myself almost spiraling into all these old patterns of doubt and wanting to run away. In the past that could’ve destroyed me energetically, emotionally, mentally for a few days. I could have just wanted to use drugs or alcohol, or mope around and not get out of bed, or just get really stuck and hung up in it. And I could feel that energy, that heaviness, that suppressed state. I was feeling totally engulfed by this fear taking over.
But over the last fifteen years of embodying these practices, I now have a little more space so I can see that pattern for what it is. I can see the magnetic pull draw me back into that old footprint, and yet I ask myself, “What can I do even if I feel like I’m in that energy?” Let’s honor that energy because it’s here, but there are practical steps I can take.
It’s almost like in that contracted state—if we choose not to succumb to it—it’s almost like it demands a new kind of creative expression to come through. Sometimes I feel like if I just sit down and explore and come back to that big picture—that this program is me fulfilling a greater destiny, a greater calling.
And that’s not something to take lightly. That’s something I truly believe in. That helps to anchor me back into the heart space, so I’m not spinning out with my thoughts that can take me very much outside of myself. Then my mind can start to function in service of me and not in service of my fear and doubt and my old habitual way of being.
NB: What advice do you have for others who are on a similar journey?
GW: I would say striking a balance between living on a prayer and really showing up and engaging in life…taking the practical steps needed. Like, “Ok, show me some inspiration and show me some steps that bring that inspiration to fruition”. I can chant all I want, but if I don’t get off of my meditation cushion to engage in the world there’s some limitation to that.
I guess the advice is…listen to your heart, and tend to that heart, but that’s not just your spiritual practices. In fact, life is our practice. Our spiritual practices are reflective of the practice of life. So how we show up on our yoga mat or in our Reiki sessions or in our meditation is really preparation for us to fully engage in our relationships and responsibilities. Getting rid of the disconnect was part of my path. I felt like I kept my day-to-day Greg separate from my high and mighty teacher Greg and that was incongruent. And now..this is just me.
Just be real, and I think the spiritual practices help us to know ourselves so we can show up in the world from a more authentic place. Let’s not take any of it too seriously.
NB: One last question: What are you grateful for today—in business and in life in general?
GW: It’s almost gonna sound cliché, like I’m trying to pitch the Resilience Project, [he laughs] but what really comes to me though is I feel like coming up against those old edges of wanting to run and question the value of what I’m putting out to the world has helped me take inventory of a lot of the challenging parts of my past.
I’m really grateful for the support, the strength, and the resilience I’ve found for myself, even when that wasn’t always nurtured in my life. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to now share that with others. I’m just in this in-between, I really feel like there’s this beautiful melding where I’m coming to fully own the hardships of my past and I’m launching off of them into something that’s really nurturing and sustaining and liberating. As a path of my own creative expression and as a path of my own service to the world, and open to how that continues to unfold and present itself.
I feel like the resilience project is just one stepping stone of many, and I already have a lot of ideas percolating as to different creative expressions and outlets to get this work out to the world.
I’m grateful for process. And I’m grateful for being in process without being fixed to one end. Talking with another friend and mentor today, well there’s this fulfillment of this program and I said yes, it’s the first time this program is being birthed, so there’s actually so much to come from it.
I know exactly what I’m offering, and yet something new will come out of this expression. So just a curiosity and a wonder. I’m grateful for wonder. And I’m grateful for community—community is a huge part of it.
More thoughts from Greg on…
…asking for help:
GW: I had a phone conversation with my mentor and I told him “I don’t actually have a Plan B, what if this program doesn’t get off the ground,” and he said, “Well, I know you have lots of people that love you and support you and I’m sure they can help you shift gears and do what you got to do.”
And in that challenged afternoon where I was pulling myself out of doubt and fear that I thought, “Well, why wait until I need a Plan B to reach out for more support”. How can I reach out for support now? And that created an energetic opening within me.
…the power of community in developing courage:
GW: A core piece around The Resilience Project is around community. We can’t develop that sense of courage solely on our own, it’s something that’s nurtured through community and through connection. That’s been an underlying theme throughout this.
Another samskara I have is to go it alone. “If you want it done right do it yourself” Those are old school beliefs that are falling away. And that’s a beautiful process to become more vulnerable and open up and ask for support.
…on “teaching a man to fish”:
GW: I feel like that’s why I have integrated this physical practice of Prana Flow™ Yoga with more of the subtle energetic practice of Reiki and why I’m less and less interested in offering sessions to people if they’re not interested in embodying these practices and learning them for their own sake because it’s a bit of a disconnect. It’s like “Well this guy can do something FOR me.” But, what can you do for yourself?
And even resisting who I am as a Reiki teacher. I feel like in Reiki there is a lot of “woo woo” out there and my job is to demystify that. I feel like there’s a lot of people who do similar work who really find a place of power and intrigue by playing up the mystery of it all. I think that can be dangerous and I think that it’s not honoring when we can actually demystify these subtle energetic practices and make them very practical and relevant. So people can actually create sustaining and meaningful change in their lives.