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Michael Ellsberg

#30DaysofSignalBoosting

Guys-I propose a learning exercise for us. For the next 30 days, each day, read an article about gender/sexual politics written by a woman. Then, write down a few sentences about what you learned reading it (and perhaps some quotes you found valuable from the article), and share the article on your Facebook and other social media. 30 days. 30 articles.

This is called “Signal Boosting.” (I learned about it in the reading I’ve been doing since #MeToo started.) The idea is, for too long, the public sphere has been dominated by the voices of men, mostly talking to other men. So, one of the simplest things we men can do to change male-dominated society is to listen and learn from women, and then–giving full credit–provide a “signal boost” to the women’s voices we’ve learned from. And use our influence with other men to encourage them to listen and learn from women as well.

I’ll start. My next post on my social media feeds will be my first of #30DaysofSignalBoosting

Guys, at the end of your 30 days, create a final post with all 30 links of articles by women on the #MeToo movement that you read, and email/message me the list or tag me. I’ll start compiling all the articles on a site so that other men who want to participate can find a wealth of articles to start reading.

And, pssst… pass the word of this on to other men.

Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell #2: “The Daughter of Swords and the Son of Cups”

While many people are wearing plastic witch costumes today that they bought from Walmart… Here’s REAL-LIFE witch Adey Bell, in Episode 2 of my web series, “Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell.”

In this episode, entitled “The Daughter of Swords and the Son of Cups,” Adey reads cards from the audience at her recent gig at Jackson Wellsprings, interspersed with candid behind-the-scenes clips- then blesses us with a gorgeous rendition of her song “The Light.” Get your Wishcraft on… Happy Halloween everyone!

You’ll see in this video that her song choice matched the message she gave in her reading right before the song. She was doing this all night. I thought she was adjusting the readings to fit her preconceived setlist, but it turns out, no, she didn’t have a setlist. She was choosing her songs in the moment based on the readings. That just blew me away. A real-life live divination jukebox. Adey, you never cease to amaze….

For free music, tour dates, and new album updates, get on Adey’s list here

#IWasThatGuy

#IWasThatGuy – More times than I care to admit, in my long and tortured path of exploring my own sexuality. And I’m ashamed of it. And I’m terrified of admitting it in public. But nearly all the women I know are taking the courage to share in public their experiences of being on the receiving end of “that guy’s” inexcusable behavior (actually, dozens of “that guy’s” for each woman, reading the harrowing accounts that have been crossing my feed.) So guys, it’s time we develop the balls (or ball, in my case, ‘cuz I’ve only got one), step up and admit to and apologize for being that guy, however scary it is to do so, and whatever comes our way for doing it.

Here’s just one example, of many I could write about. Continue Reading

Douche Reform School*, Lesson 1: When She Says She Wants to Be “Just Friends”

Scenario:

You’ve brought a woman back to your place a after a date or a social gathering. You lean in for a kiss. She turns her head to the side, pulls back, and says, “Let’s just be friends.”

Douche moves:

  1. Assume it’s “token resistance,” that she really does want to hook up with you and she’s “playing hard to get,” and “she’s just saying that” (so as not to seem “easy” or “slutty.”
    1. Say, “No problem, I totally get it.” Wait five minutes. Then move in for another kiss.
    2. If she brushes you away again, and/or says, “I’m really not feeling that way about you,” wait another five minutes. Then move in again, and again, in five-minute intervals, until she has pushes you away, and asks you to leave.
  2. Try to convince her otherwise. Ask her a bunch of questions like, “Why aren’t you into me?” “What do the other guys have that I don’t have.” “What’s so wrong with me?” These are especially effective for the purposes of doucheness if said in a mopey, sorry-for-yourself tone.
  3. Lie (to her, to yourself, or both) and say, “OK, that’s cool, we can just be friends,” as if you actually wanted that. But then immediately let any enthusiasm you had about her vanish, fade away and stop returning her calls or calling her, and let the “friendship” die on the vine. Extra douche points if you’re super awkward and evasive when you see her or talk to her.
  4. Act/feel like she’s done something wrong and unfair to you, and blame her for your hurt. “You’ve been flirting with me all night. . .” “You’ve been giving me mixed signals for months. . .” “You led me on.” These might even be true to some degree (though you should be aware that science has proven guys are way overly-optimistic about even minor supposed “signals.” But even if these statements are true to some degree, it doesn’t mean she that just because she flirted or gave you any signals, she is obliged to take it further.) Worse: “You’re such a tease.”
  5. Say, in an upset, accusatory tone, “Fine, I should just go then,” and storm out. (This is especially douchey if it wasn’t a date or some other clear romantic context to begin with.)
  6. Worse, get angry at her. Reject her back, as if you were the one who rejected her first. As you storm out and slam the door, say “You’re not that hot anyways.”

Continue Reading

Guys: How Not to Be a Douche When Commenting on Threads About Feminism/Women’s Issues/Men’s Transgressions

Guys… we need to get something. Most of the time, when we comment on threads on Facebook and elsewhere about feminism, “women’s/trans/queer issues” (which should be EVERYONE’s issues), and/or men’s transgressions, we completely fuck it up. Then we get called “douches.” Then we get defensive, angry, and menacing for being called douches, and/or we get mopey and sad. Then we commit all the douchey things women are asking us not to do again in response, digging ourselves deeper. Then the dialogue (or more commonly, debate or flame war) ends when everyone involves gets too sick of continuing it. Then everyone leaves the encounter feeling even more shitty and like nothing was resolved.

Guys, we need to do better, and we can do better. Which is why I’m writing this post. To help us, at the very least, be less douchey starting right now, and ideally, not douchey at all and even constructive and supportive, if/when we choose to participate in the online dialogues and threads that are (understandably) becoming both more frequent, and more heated, now that we have a narcissistic, openly misogynist, paleo-patriarchal asshole in the White House

(Douchey being defined as, some combination of: arrogant, defensive, entitled, ignorant, willfully ignorant, tone-deaf, explicitly or implicitly sexist or misogynist, disrespectful, and/or condescending.) Continue Reading

Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell #1: “Moon Blood”

“Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell” – the new web series I’m creating. This episode is entitled “Moon Blood,” and it’s very… um… witchy. In the episode, we cover earth magic based on menstrual cycles, the suppressed role of Mary Magdalene in the Jesus story, the proper role of men in a matriarchy, and you also get to see a smoking-hot rendition of Adey Bell‘s song “Power,” live at Orcas Center, WA, 8/26/17.

This web series is a fan’s backstage perspective, replete with plenty of concert footage I’ve filmed over the years, documenting the journey of a masterful musician, and infinitely colorful character, who is gearing up for 2018 to be her breakout year. Continue Reading

6 Annoying Cliches of “Conscious Sexuality” and How to Move Past Them

Here is my second in a series of audio interviews with Michaela Boehm, one of the most subtle, advanced and wise teachers about sexuality, spirituality, and the intersection of the two, currently teaching.

Today’s interview gets controversial- it is entitled “6 Annoying Cliches About ‘Conscious Sexuality,’ and How to Move Past Them”

In this interview, we analyze several ideas about “masculine” and “feminine” that have become dogma within teaching about conscious sexuality.

Specifically, we examine the cliches that men are supposed to be “present, deep, and on purpose” in order to be masculine, whereas women are supposed to be a “wild storm of emotions, radiant, and surrendered” in order to be feminine.

These concepts have become so ingrained in the west coast workshop and personal development culture that we rarely step back to examine where the concepts might be leading us astray.

We discuss where these ideas came from, how they are misunderstood and misapplied, and ways to think about these concepts that don’t lock people into rigid pre-defined gender roles.

In this interview (linked from the comments section), Michaela teaches us about: Continue Reading

My Toast at My Ex-Wife Jena’s Wedding

Last week, I had the pleasure of giving a toast at the beautiful wedding of my ex-wife (and current soul-sister) Jena la Flamme and her new beloved Sacha Nielsen (officiated by my mother, and Jena’s “mother-in-love,” Patricia Ellsberg!)

Here’s what I said:

Jena, your happiness was, and still is, one of the most important things in my life.

And so, Sacha, I’m grateful to you for bringing so much happiness into Jena’s life. She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her, and that means the world to me.

Jena, our deepest vow was always to support each other in joy and flourishing. And we have remained true to that vow, even as our relationship has changed. Our journey together–both the joyful parts and the difficult parts–forged me into the man I am today. I will always be grateful to you for that. And I’m proud to have supported you in flourishing into the woman ready to dive into the love of your life, with Sacha.

I know that you want to have children together–and as the soul-brother to *both* of you now, I can’t wait to be the *soul-uncle* to your future children.

Long live Jena and Sacha!

Interview with Peter Thiel on Self-Investment

In 2013, in the process of writing The Last Safe Investment, I interviewed Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and first outside investor in Facebook, on the topic of investing in yourself.

This audio, now posted on my Soundcloud, has never been available before.

The text is available exclusively on SteemIt.

Here are some topics we covered:

–> The value of investing in relationships for the long-haul
–> Investing in your health and longevity as a way to increase your lifetime earnings
–> Why longer life expectancies should change the way you think about investing
–> The shockingly low rate of personal savings and investment in the US
–> My favorite part of the interview: whether we can reasonably expect the US markets to keep going up at their long-term average 7% per year after inflation, or whether that was a unique period of US expansion which won’t be repeated again.
–> The over-financialization of personal investing
–> How subjective types of value that are hard to measure, like relationships, health, and well-being, are priced inefficiently because they’re hard to value, and therefore may be an area for exceptional investments.

(Cover photo by Dan Taylor – www.heisenbergmedia.com – CC BY 2.0 – tinyurl.com/z2zjfla)

Here’s Why a Judge Thinks Prop 60 Would Be a Horrifying Legal Precedent – Vote NO

no-on-prop-60At an event I attended last weekend, I happened to meet an actual, currently-working judge (the first judge I’ve ever met in person.) I asked her for her opinion on Prop 60, and she’d never heard of it, and she had no opinion on condoms in porn. But the more I started telling her the legal details, the more she literally started to both laugh and gasp at the outrageousness and legal absurdity of what she was hearing.

She said laws that encourage so-called “taxpayer lawsuits” initiated by citizens to sue alleged violators of regulations were common. But she had never heard of a law or proposed law that offers large financial bounties to citizens to initiate these lawsuits. She said this was an incredibly dangerous and ominous prospect, because once it passes it becomes standing legal precedent. Continue Reading