Door #3: Beyond patriarchy into co-creativity

As we’ve collectively whirled through the latest political battle, we stand back and assess the winners and losers.

The winners chortle and celebrate their spoils, the losers become embittered and vow to fight harder. It’s been epic, a true drama of victims and villains and heroes going head to head like gladiators in the ring.

As each side cheers our people on, we fall into the same timeworn patterns of war: dehumanizing the other, suspending our values in order to do whatever it takes for the good of the win. The classic story that we’ve lived out for millennia.

I feel exhausted by it all. As I step back, I see how I’ve allowed that trickster, adrenaline, to capture me once again. I’ve believed myself and my inclinations to fight to be right and to give up my wisdom for some temporary illusory hope of not losing. An old pattern from way back when.

I’m ready for something different. Are you?

For many years I’ve learned, taught, and written about what I think of as “Door #3.” That’s the space beyond my conditioned mind that wants to divide the world into Doors #1 and #2, that is, good versus bad, right versus wrong. Something versus something else, always conflict, endless struggle. Meanwhile, there are my happiness, creativity, joy, and connection with others, all sitting right there waiting behind door #3.

Recently I saw a young woman with a shirt on that read “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!” As an old feminist from way back in the “70s (I carried the book “Sisterhood is Powerful!” around on top of my high school texts) I swelled with the thought of the next generations picking up the baton. Then, with some breath,  I realize for the umpteenth time how that impulse to destroy is, of course, part of the same old hierarchical pattern: to scorch the earth, pound on our chests and glory in our one-sided victory.

As I regain my balance, I go back to my true values.

What I’m actually interested in is humanity’s next evolutionary step, what is beyond the patriarchy, that is, a world of co-creativity and collaboration, where it is possible for everyone to be heard and valued, everyone to get everything they want.

And–where everyone can be their own authority, not dependent any judges or laws or presidents to keep them in line. However, as I’ve immersed myself over the decades in understanding Reactive Brain and Creative Brain, I now understand the depth and utility of hierarchy. Hierarchy keeps order (all those lines we wait patiently in; all the times we activate ourselves to take the lead, or immobilize ourselves to follow). I appreciate hierarchy in emergencies, and all the places where it creates clarity. I’m glad parents guide their kids, controlling them so they learn control; I’m happy to follow traffic signs and learn the laws of the land. All of this up and down structure keeps life moving.

And yet. Now that we don’t have to rely on men’s brute force to farm the fields and lift heavy objects, it’s time to make way for a new paradigm. Hierarchy has its place, but it is vastly limited in supporting full human expression. We’re missing out on so much potential, all the creativity and genius hidden away in all the folks who end up submitting to the domination necessary to sustain hierarchy.

Here’s what I’m recommitting to, post-hearings. Would you like to join me?



  1. Every human shifts into hierarchy when in Reactive Brain. THE ONLY ACTION WHEN IN REACTIVE BRAIN IS TO COME BACK INTO CREATIVE BRAIN.
  2. Hierarchy is very effective in keeping order (eg, standing in line, responding to direction in emergencies, rules of driving, etc.). Use it wisely and consciously.
  3. There are vast numbers of signals that we are in hierarchy. Here are some:
    • DOMINATION (ie, Power-Over):
      • Blame
      • Contempt
      • Humiliation
      • Proving one is “right”
      • Aggression
      • Taking up extra space (physically, verbally, psychologically)
      • Entitlement
      • Setting rules but not following them
      • Independence
      • Anger
      • Competition
      • Belief in scarcity
      • Belief that one is “better” than
      • Reaction
      • Protection of resources
      • Struggle
    • SUBMISSION (ie, Power-Under):
      • Blame
      • Collapse
      • Going “frozen”
      • Passive aggression
      • Resistance
      • Going along with rules
      • Self-aggression
      • Deciding one is “wrong”
      • Dependence
      • Fear
      • Comparison
      • Belief in scarcity
      • Belief that one is “worse” than
      • Reaction
      • Struggle
  1. Full co-creativity relies on being in full integrity. That includes:
    • Speaking the truth unarguably*
    • Feeling and expressing feelings fully
    • Taking 100% responsibility, ie, viewing self as the source of one’s life
      • Giving up blame
      • Giving up power struggle
    • Making and keeping impeccable agreements
    • One is aligned in feeling, thought, expression and action
    • Clearing withholds and moving out of projection
  1. Co-creativity requires a commitment to Living Above the Line**, NO MATTER WHAT IS GOING ON.
    • Facing, accepting and appreciating what is (vs. blaming and criticizing)
    • Moving out of contraction and into expansion
    • Asking: What can I learn from this?
  1. There are many signals that we are in CO-CREATIVITY (Power With). Here are some:
    • Flow
    • Spaciousness
    • Connection
    • Open-heartedness
    • Collaboration
    • Abundance
    • All feel valued
    • Everyone gets to live from essence and express their genius
    • Finding the path where everyone gets everything they want
    • Ongoing creative expression
    • Play
  1. While in Co-creativity, narratives about life are of appreciation and possibility
    • Stories are anchored Above the Line** (in Neutrality, Acceptance, Appreciation, Love, Joy, Peace)
    • Stories from Below the Line (Pride, Anger, Fear, Sadness, Despair, Guilt, Shame) are released, and the feelings anchoring them there are fully experienced and expressed, allowing the shift back Above the Line.
  1. The potential of every human can be expressed in this new framework of co-creativity. People can relax, allowing their full cognitive skills to come online. Individual genius has room to be uncovered and expressed. Collaboration and connection support innovation. And–in our best aspiration as a nation–true equality is possible.



*Find out more about the Four Pillars of Integrity at

**On the Inner Map. Download the Inner Map here


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