What is Wife Worship?

Today, May 12th, is my 36th birthday. Today marks the beginning of a new journey for me and my wife. It’s the beginning of our career teaching together.

Above is the first video we’ve ever shared of us teaching together. We’ve been waiting for this step for a long time, and we’re finally ready.

This captures the first time we taught together in public, in April 2012–on the topic of “What is Wife Worship?”. We taught this at Annie Lalla and Eben Pagan’s Intimacy Intensive, at the Palms, Las Vegas.

We’re really excited to begin our journey of teaching together.

What I want for my birthday is for you to watch this video!

And, after watching this, if you think others would appreciate it or benefit from it, please do share. Thank you!

[Below is an edited transcript. A downloadable audio podcast is available at the very bottom.]

MICHAEL: My name is Michael Ellsberg, and I want to talk to you about wife worship.

JENA: My name is Jena la Flamme, and I’m here to talk to you about receiving wife worship

MICHAEL: I see countless couples out there having one flavor or another of relationship problem. And always I trace it back to a lack of wife worship.Read More

The Meme of the Earth: Ayahuasca and the Future of Humanity – A Conversation With Daniel Pinchbeck

I recorded the inaugural episode of The Michael Ellsberg Show while sitting at home talking about ayahuasca—the visionary indigenous plant hallucinogen—with my friend Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Ayahuasca and the 2nd Reformation (Direct access to visionary experience, without religious authorities as intermediaries)
  • Could ayahuasca be co-opted and neutralized in the same way that yoga has been commercialized in the West?
  • What happens when celebrities, financiers, and other influencers and powerful people experience this shamanic medicine?
  • Will ayahuasca become a recreational drug and/or a drug of abuse? (Probably not!) Why not?
  • Will “the business of ayahuasca” endanger its medicinal/spiritual potential as unqualified charlatans and hucksters sell the experience to the masses in unsafe ways?
  • Is ayahuasca always benevolent?
  • Is ayahuasca a meme for spreading Earth consciousness?
  • Ayahuasca as a bullshit-remover and ego-reducer – how Italian playboys and narcissistic millionaire cokeheads are transformed by the experience into a life of service

P.S. For those interested in learning more about ayahuasca, I recommend reading Daniel’s book (linked above) and also reading Javier Regueiro’s excellent site Ayaruna.

Are You Resisting Marketing Yourself? If So, This is Why…

Are you resisting marketing/selling yourself or your business?

If the answer is yes, ask yourself this: “Do I feel nourished (financially and emotionally) by my transactions with my clients/customers?”

If the answer is no–if your interactions with your clients are leaving you drained, wiped out, or overwhelmed, without adequate nourishment coming back in return (in the form of payment which values the energy you’re putting out)…

Then OF COURSE you’re not going to market or sell yourself… why would you want to go out and get more business for yourself which ends up leaving you feeling even more drained, spent, and undernourished?

In this case, your resistance to marketing yourself more is *self-protection* from more enervation and frustration. Honor that self-protective mechanism within yourself. It is keeping you sane.

And… if this applies to you… then it is time to raise your rates. So that they reflect the energy you are putting out, and you feel *excited* to get more work, because you are being properly honored and respected in your work.

And, if there is no way to raise your rates to a point where you will feel nourished and supported by your work and clients… and/or if no amount of higher rates help you feel nourished in your current line of work or by your current clients…

Then it’s time to find new work.


You have no one to blame for your burnout but yourself.

So step up and stop burning yourself out. You can get yourself out of this.

Charge an amount that won’t burn you out–for burnout is not sustainable.

The White-Pages Test of Your Hourly Fee

While I don’t advocate quoting your freelance services by the hour (project-based or monthly retainer are much better models), it is still useful to know your “hourly rate”–roughly what you want to get paid per hour of client work.

Even if you’re an entrepreneur, this is also useful to know, so you can make decisions about how to use your time, what tasks to outsource to freelancers, etc.

So how do you figure out your “hourly rate”?

It’s simple.

Pretend I called you and said, “Hey, I want to pay you X dollars to sit in front of the white pages for an hour and read it aloud to me. I’ll PayPal you the money immediately after you’re done.”

What would X have to be, so that you’re response would be, “Wow, that sounds great. Let’s start now.” That’s your hourly rate.Read More

The The Law of Diminishing Returns of Hanging Out With the Same Kind of People

If you hang out with a bunch of hippie freaks or New Age spiritual people most of the time, you’ll learn more about life by going and hanging out with some hard-core rationalists sometime.

If you’re a hard-core rationalist, you’ll learn more about life if you go hang out with some New Age woo woo people sometime.

We don’t need to travel to foreign countries and cultures to have our minds expanded.

All we have to do is travel to the outskirts of our social circles.

How to Not Be a Victim of Your Own Success

The more I hang around people who are successful in various ways, and the more of the success I dreamed about in my 20s comes into my life now, the more I am convinced of the reality of “victim of one’s own success”

Before I say any more on this topic, let me assure you I’m not seeking any sympathy with this post- (First World problem, right?)

And yet, precisely because people are afraid of looking as sympathy-seekers, or just plain arrogant, for writing about this topic, I think it’s one of the most under-reported areas of the human experience.

Take any kind of success you could imagine… financial, business, artstic, fame, romantic, sexual, social…

Now, take a person who is at a certain level of success in each of these areas in life… and rapidly add a large increase in success, in one or more of these areas, as if “overnight”…

The system easily gets overwhelmed and things start frying.

This is analogous to businesses which grow too rapidly, and then have problems delivering, managing, and executing- and implode. Think Friendster (before the time of a lot of these young’uns, I know…) which before its bust was having 1 minute load times per page, because it couldn’t handle its bursting user growth.

The success in demand the company experienced, was beyond the capacity of the leadership, capital, business structures, processes, company culture, etc., to stretch, and the system simply got overwhelmed and failed.

Just as businesses can grow too rapidly, now that so many people are self-employed in one way or another, it’s important to note that “the business of you” can grow too rapidly as well.Read More

The Hello App from Evernote: A Lifesaver for an Obsessive Connector Like Me

Huge props to Makena Sage for turning me on to the Evernote Hello App, a business card scanning app for iPhone and Android,

I just breezed through a pile of business cards that had been sitting under my desk for months… The thought of entering all those contacts manually was daunting to me, and this made it a snap.

The Hello App takes a pic, automatically recognizes/scans the phone and email, allows you to merge the contact into iPhone address book, and looks up their LinkedIn and Facebook for social connecting if you want. Then syncs it all up to Evernote for backup. Amazing!

You can also enter contextual and follow-up notes about the person, which is very useful if you’re meeting lots of people at once, say at a conference.

And you can also enter people’s info in manually (and snap a photo) quite easily, if they don’t have a card. This is better than entering their info into your address book directly because you can put in the contextual notes about who they are and what kind of follow up you want to make–otherwise, a new contact might just get eaten alive and swallowed in your address book before you remember to follow up.

This one will make the life of any obsessive networker/connector like me MUCH EASIER. Highly recommended. Thank you Makena!

Liberate Yourself From Junk Food Consciousness

Pro-Junk-Food Activism- brought to you by Pepsi

Pro-Junk-Food Activism- brought to you by Pepsi

Here’s the crazy thing. On a surface level, I actually agree with the sentiment the sign above expresses. I *don’t* believe bureaucrats should be able to tell you that you can’t buy and drink a 32oz soda, if you want to do with your life and your body.

(If you don’t know the context- Mayor Bloomberg has created a ban in NYC on sale of soda drinks larger than 16oz, going into effect next week.)

But here’s the deeper problem. The fact that we already have a culture in which it is viewed as normal and acceptable to intake that much refined sugar in one sitting or day–and that the majority of people in our world now view that as normal (whether by soda or corn syrup in food or whatever)–already puts us all into the zone of true collective cultural insanity.

There is a complex of consciousness that arises from consuming lots of refined sugar, which I call “Junk Food Consciousness”.

The main features of Junk Food Consciousness are: foggy thinking; irritability; low, depressed mood; low energy; pessimistic thoughts; and inability to escape ANTs (automatic negative thoughts).

All of this is so depressing, that people caught in Junk Food Consciousness then drink lots of coffee (or a 24oz sugar-laden Red Bull!) to wake up and get some energy. And then they’re so wired and stressed by the end of the day, they need to go out and drink a few beers with their friends to “blow off steam.” And then they wake up groggy and hung over, so they go to the psychopharmacologist (or just their general practitioner) and pop some Prozac or Zoloft for their low mood…

And pretty soon, they’re not just in Junk Food Consciousness, they’re in Junk Food-Coffee-Red Bull-Beer-Prozac-Zoloft Consciousness…Read More

How I Proposed to Jena

A couple of years back, AOL filmed a clip about how I proposed to Jena. They just posted it recently. Makes me misty eyed, remembering that beautiful day on the Brooklyn Bridge when we declared our eternal love…

How to Hack Your Education: A Conversation With Dale Stephens

imgres-1These days, the “cool kids” at school don’t cut class and smoke weed in the back alley behind the school, like they did back when I was in school…

These days, the cool kids drop out, say F.U! to tens or hundreds of thousands in student debt and bloated tuition bills, start companies, and build lives for themselves, on their own terms, long before parents and professors tell them they now have “permission” to be adults.

Listen here to a special call I did with Dale Stephens, author of the new book from Penguin, Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will

Dale Stephens is a Thiel Fellow, has been featured in every media outlet you could imagine, and is the founder of UnCollege.org. He and I were both featured in the New York Times Sunday Styles article “Saying No to College,” and we shared the stage at TEDxSF on the failure of the higher education system.

Dale is an expert on the new youth-led alternatives that are now popping up like flowers amidst the college loan wasteland that parents have made of their children’s lives (parents have done this by foisting on children outmoded, out-of-touch, retrograde notions of education.)

Screw debt and five-figure tuition bills: get educated on your own, says Dale. Listen as we take this issue head on, and teach you real-world skills for educating yourself, the secret methods that out-of-touch parents, teachers, and professors don’t want you to know about, because they fly in the face of every bureaucratic notion that the older generations still rally around like lemmings jumping off the Titanic.

This recorded call is for you if:

  • You are a parent or prospective parent (Listening to this call may save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in college tuition that you won’t need to save for- and it may save your child from becoming a victim of indentured student-hood, via our nation’s broken and bloated perpetual student debt fiasco.)
  • You are thinking of plunking down hundreds of thousands of dollars on a graduate education. (HEAVEN’S NO! THIS CALL MAY SAVE YOU!!!)
  • You are currently a college student and want to learn how to get the most out of your student years, for the least amount of money.
  • You are currently a student and are thinking of getting the hell out of dodge, and joining all the other cool kids, by saying “No thanks” to your parents’ antediluvian ideas about education.

Listen to the call below. 

And, while you’re at it, order a copy of Dale’s great new book Hacking Your Education.