Yesterday I participated in Market Wizard Ed Seykota’s Trading Tribe Meeting at Lake Tahoe. Ed is a renowned commodities trader who works from his home on the lake shore. He is the driving force behind the Trading Tribe — a worldwide community of traders who meet in small groups in their own cities to help each other grow as traders and as human beings. The main idea is that psychology is the critical success factor in trading and the tribe uses specific processes to help members access their feelings, gain deep insights, and take action toward living a full and balanced life including right livelihood.
I meet regularly with my local Trading Tribe. This week though, I am at the Tribe meeting at Ed Seykota’s house. We gather in his living room overlooking the lake. A drumming circle leads off the meeting and I enjoy the rhythms and variations as the tribe plays together. My initial nervousness dissipates and I become present in the moment. Ed takes the hot seat first. A tribe member does a masterful job of leading the process and the rest of us provide support and encouragement. Ed gets into his feelings by showing their forms, starting in the chair and then moving to the middle of the living room floor. The process manager leads him to stay with and repeat the feelings that Ed doesn’t like until he becomes comfortable with them. As Ed begins to enjoy it, he gains insight – the message of his feelings. He identifies and practices new behaviors to help him move forward.
I take my turn on the hotseat as dusk descends on the lake. My issue is that IN SEEKING RIGHT LIVELIHOOD, I JUMP FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER, and I WANT MORE FOCUS. Before I think I’m finished talking, Ed catches me making broad sweeping gestures with my arms and tells me to get into that feeling, make it bigger. Mid-sentence, I just get into the form, repeating the gesture as the tribe shouts encouragement. Then I smack my palms together, enjoying the sound of it reverberating through the room.
Ed asks if I remember a time when someone hits my hands as a kid. I do – an organ teacher. The teacher started out smacking my mother’s right hand during her lesson. I ran out of the house into the snow. When my lesson came, the teacher smacked my right hand also. <digression on whether I lack musical talent or was any hope of it smacked out of me?>
I clap a little longer, but the real thing I want to do is a sweeping “ta-da” gesture. So I do that, repeatedly. Ed asks “what it’s about?” and I say that I want a large audience clapping and cheering. “Who’s approval do you want?” My father’s. “How do you get your father’s approval?” I TRY TO PLEASE MY FATHER BY LEARNING SOMETHING NEW. Ed points out that trying to please him by learning means I have to keep switching areas to keep having new stuff to learn.
I can’t seem to show what it feels like to try to please my (deceased) father.
“How does it feel if you stick with something beyond the point of new learning?” Ed asks. I say I feel bored, empty, could fall off my chair
“So fall off”, the tribe encourages. I do it in slow motion so I get a gentle landing on the hardwood floor.
Once on the floor, I find my way to show striving for my dad’s approval. I reach out from the floor up the hardwood steps to Ed’s dining room. I grab the top of the steps with my fingertips, fake-try to pull myself up, but the floor is smooth and my hands perspire, and eventually my hand slips away. I tell myself a familiar story of adventure: hanging from a cliff, my hands slipping, how will I climb? What fun drama! The tribe shouts encouraging me to crank up the intensity. I do, grabbing…slipping….grabbing…slipping, faster, faster, faster. I am fully into it – reaching and slipping away as fast and hard as I can. It feels really good in my shoulders but THE HARDER I GRAB, THE MORE I SLIP AWAY. No matter, I repeat over and over with different hands.
Bam! My right hand hits the lower step and I feel a blood vessel pop at the base of my thumb. Ouch! The swelling is almost immediate. I want to continue the process but don’t want to do myself lasting harm so I ask for ice. Ed checks my hand and brings me an ice pack.
While I nurse the thumb I recall playing as a child, making blanket forts, pretending to be a soldier or explorer coming back alone to camp injured for rest. Ed has me get into the feeling and I curl up in a ball around the ice pack and rock myself back in forth.
Ed shouts for me to really get into it, and to help me he stands over me beating a drum. I feel the pain intensely, exquisitely. Ed shouts at me “This is your real livelihood, enjoy it. That stuff on my website about Right Livelihood, that’s for other people. That’s not for you. This is what you do – enjoy it!”
This then is my real livelihood: CHASE A DRAMA IN WHICH I GET HURT, then set it up so I AM ALONE TO ROCK MY WOUNDED SELF. Rinse and repeat.
Eventually I tire and stop rocking. I’m still on the floor, and the tribe helps me get comfortable with my feelings via lighthearted discussion. I don’t know much time has passed but its fully dark outside. I don’t exactly know what I’ll do next but I think I’ve made enough good progress tonight to digest over time.
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