I’m undergoing some transitions right now. I’m writing this for my own clarity and because there are certain things I’m seeing that I feel almost constipated not voicing. This isn’t comfortable but as we all know, the sooner I get real with myself the sooner I get comfortable. I welcome shares but I’m not looking for advice since the path is clearly revealing itself as I go and I know this is just the contraction before the expansion.

First let me tell you a story of how magick gives us exactly what we ask for and never quite in the way we expect it.

In spring of 2018, when The Re-Patterning Project was just a name and a couple of logos I had made on WordSwag, I cast a spell for career success. I had just released Arden & The Wolves‘ EP Who Can You Trust and I was burned out both energetically and financially. I had hustled myself to the bone to make that record and I knew I couldn’t sustain making music at that same pace, that I had to bring in more wealth to create at the level of ease and magnitude that I want to play in.

So I cast for something along the lines of “I bring in more career success and financial abundance than I can even imagine possible!”

Immediately, and I mean within the hour, I was shown a new way forward. Within hours I was exposed to new experts. Within days I was shown a peer who had had success via these methods that was, indeed, far more than I had even imagined possible.

Over the next year and a half, I followed the path and I surrendered. I watched all the free content I could get my hands on and used it to launch the very first baby round of TRPP. I hired and/or followed coaches to learn how to create/post content, make a Facebook group, get clear on my messaging (still overwhelming tbh, how do you explain creative freedom and infinite possibility to someone who still feels trapped in their trauma imprints), create and clarify my offers… etc etc.

An important thing about going down a spiritual path is that you surrender to it fully before applying any judgments. You accept what is given and you immerse yourself in it because of course resistance is natural, if you didn’t have resistance then you would already be doing the thing you had been casting for, so if resistance comes up you generally assume that it’s you, and you examine it and release it so you can transform. You agree to “play full out,” if you want the magick to work. (This is what Crowley and the chaos magicians refer to as the Undivided Will.)

I have been exhausted with resistance this entire year.

And it finally occurred to me that I think I cast the wrong spell.

I want to be super clear about something – and this is why this is so hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to be an asshole to anybody (I know some may find that hard to believe, but I don’t enjoy being at odds with people, and I will only do a call-out if I see harm happening and if there are people hurting who will benefit from seeing that harm named so they can better understand and release their emotional response to it, because ultimately those are the people I cape for):

I have met great people in the coaching world. I have made friends who are kind. I have seen people utterly transform their lives and go on to inspire others. I have seen people laser-focus on money, then wake up one day and realize they have a shit ton of it and start giving it back. I have met coaches who seem to have sustainable practices. I have met coaches whose successful expansions have created fulfilling employment for others. I have even met coaches whom I found to be way out of integrity who have still been extremely helpful to me on this journey and I’m still grateful to them even as I feel extraordinary amounts of shade.

But the model feels broken to me.

Here’s some things I see, that I don’t like, and that I can’t unsee, no matter how much I wish I didn’t see them so I could just cast my giant financial abundance spell and get on with it:

• I see people charging tens of thousands of dollars to teach other people how to charge other people tens of thousands of dollars, and it looks like one giant pyramid scheme to me and feels no better to my body than your Aunt Karen pitching me an MLM.

• I see people using the same Mad Libs copy across multiple fields and platforms and I often feel like I can trace their coaching lineage back based on their verbage. I hear their mentors’ voices, not theirs.

• I see people focusing more on learning high-pressure sales tactics than on finding people who are already authentically aligned with their work and don’t need to be scared or guilted into it.

• I see people running 3-day events who use sensory stimulation to amp up the energy in the room and get people high on emotional conversion so that they make giant 5-figure decisions on the spot, aided by a loan company with a table where they can apply to receive those five figures right away so they don’t change their minds later.

• I see people putting large containers of people into the vulnerability of an emotional high and then not knowing how to take care of those people in that state. I see attendees fainting at the mic and I see facilitators exposing participants in this vulnerable state to secondary violence as a misguided sales tactic; I see participants banding together sherpa-ing each other through their trauma responses while their leaders take lunch. I see leaders ignore this problem because they’re still making money off the people who have no problem with this behavior.

• I see people who have hacked their beliefs that this is helpful behavior so hard that they really believe it, I mean they truly believe that charging large amounts of money is a favor to their clients because it gets their clients to invest emotionally in the process and not back out of the action steps, and they’re actually really not wrong about that, but I see them choosing that belief over the understanding that it doesn’t exactly work that way for everyone and that money is not the way you measure transformation.

• I see people serving the almighty dollar before considering their large-scale impact and creating every rationalization they need to believe they’re doing the right thing. They will justify this by saying that money helps them do more, create more, achieve more, bring more joy to their loved ones – and they will be right about that. But they will be missing a big part of the picture too.

Recently I brought some of this confusion to my alchemist Katherine, and she asked me a question that has echoed in my mind ever since:

“Arden, do you measure your worth by how much money you make?”

“No!” I said emphatically. “I don’t! Except when I’m in that world! When I’m in that world I’m constantly being compared to the person who just made $10k off a 3-sentence post that my followers would laugh at if they ever saw it on my feed. I’m constantly being shown how there’s a person who took out a giant loan and now they’re raking in multiple 6-figures and I’m not because I’m still ‘playing small’ by refusing to give more money than I’ve ever had at once in my lifetime to a person who can’t even hold their container together.”

Wow, I’m angry sometimes.

I brought this to a friend who’s been coaching the past decade, longer than the coach boom and before every Facebook profile bio turned into “I help people who help people help people.”

“Fuck,” he said. “They’re ruining the model. This destroyed Russ Ruffino’s business. It’s terrible. What they’re doing is so bad. They’re all selling to each other.”

Here’s the problem, my friends:

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you coaches do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.

(Ok, so that’s Agent Smith’s speech from The Matrix, minus the coaches part. It applies.)

One of the key values I have integrated on my spiritual path is sustainability, the ability to create a closed loop, win-win, omniconsiderate ecology in all facets (thanks Daniel Schmachtenberger and David Hrostoski and Douglas Rushkoff). This is the key issue we face globally as we renegotiate how to keep the planet inhabitable beyond the next hundred years: how do we create a sustainable economy without an ever-growing wealth gap, how do we create a sustainable environment without depleting resources and accumulating waste, how do we, in the ecology of our own bodies, create sustainability so that we might process and release our trauma instead of stockpiling our unprocessed emotions and living in the resulting dissociated survival mode? (This last one is the issue The Re-Patterning Project tackles. Basically, I help people create sustainability in their own lives and emotional bodies so that they can create the inner peace and resulting bandwidth needed to tap into their own unique soul mission and join me as a fellow soldier of the apocalypse on the quest to save the planet. How’s that for a Facebook bio, huh??)

Exponentialism is a disease born of a too short-sighted vision. It may start innocently enough, with wanting to help people bring in income by using their natural skill sets to help others in a fair exchange that feels beneficial to all involved, but you get a bunch of people in a room together amplifying the value of money and success and scaling and scaling and scaling… Just like the human condition that created the circumstances that humanity is now trying to fight its way out of in order for our species to survive. The prizing of individual success at the expense of the impact to the collective.

I can’t subscribe to the coaching model for the same reason I believe that it is unethical to be a billionaire and that single-use plastics are bad.

I rescinded my spell. I had gotten exactly what I asked for, which was the path to make more money in my career than I had even imagined possible, and it led me to a place that I did not like, and to a method I feel out of alignment using unexamined. Thank you universe for delivering to me exactly what I asked for, I am now complete with this. Thank you thank you thank you.

I recast last month for “I scale The Re-Patterning Project to its highest impact, success, and lucrativeness with ease, joy, and acclaim.”

I don’t know what turn my work will take from here out, because my job after casting is to trust and surrender, because if I already knew what the result looked like I’d already be doing it. I do know that TRPP isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, because it works and people like it. I know that I want to add a more affordable self-study model for those who lack the financial investment but can put in the work on their own time, and I know that I want to add a more pricey 1-1 option for people who have the financial investment and want more personalized attention and hand-holding in their process. I learned how to create these tiers through my time in the coaching world and I am so, so grateful for that teaching and clarity.

All of this is to say that I’m tired right now, I’ve been tired all year. I’m trying to figure out how to make money – lots of money! – fairly in late capitalism. I’m trying to figure out what it looks like for me to serve at my highest capacity and be sustained and supported accordingly. I’m trying to figure out how to be Brene Brown in a world of Shark Tank.

Something else shifted for me recently. As I said in the beginning of this post, my main reason for wanting financial abundance to begin with was to be able to afford to create and perform my music and videos with ease, and just a couple months ago, a producer came into my life – replete with all the requisite astounding synchronicities – who has begun to work with me on music without charging me anything up front. I am hesitant to say much because it is a new relationship and I don’t like to talk about things until I feel sure they’re working, but this development is super relevant here because if it does work then it potentially relieves a large portion of the reason I needed so much financial abundance in the first place. Hell, in an ideal world, I’d be a famous millionaire rockstar off my music and I’d do this work for funsies to engage with my fans. That might still happen, as my musical success is clearly expanding too.

I’m more of a leader now than I have ever been before at any point in my life. The Re-Patterning Parlor has over 400 members in it, and while that number sounds small to the business guy whose internet marketing group has 30k members, for me it is more expansion than I’m used to. I know I’m not personally responsible for everyone’s repatterning, but I hear everyone’s questions and struggles, and I feel the pressure to make this work accessible, which also means making my role in it sustainable, and learning how to serve my community without burning out.And the best way I know how to lead is by being transparent about my process.

So that’s where I’m at, yall, and that’s why I’m tired. It’s all cool and I have faith and trust in my path forward. I’m clearly creating my reality as I go, surrendering and discerning in turn. But if I need yall to either search my free content, get your questions answered by asking them in the video topics requests threads (and I’m scheduled out on video content through the end of 2019 now so it’ll be a while), or commit to the investment of the group program when you need my help, it’s because I am in the process of figuring out how I can best show up for you and for the greater good of the collective, and that work is on a scale larger than everyone’s individual questions right now. (I make SO MUCH free content you guys. Please, please use it.)

I trust that who I’ll be on the other side of this expansion will be worth it.

To any coaches I’m friends with, sorry for being a Call-Out Cassandra. I like you and it’s not personal.