Every person has a virtuous quality, a unique vibrational signature. As our actual identity, it describes us more accurately than a name, job or social status. Tapping into this quality can be challenging when living in our dualistic (right/wrong), often polarized world.

When I was a child, my mother, God bless her soul, described me as “a bull in a china closet,” referring to my considerable willfulness. Growing up, I felt different and separate from others, and so I reacted angrily and retaliated aggressively to win and prove my value. I relied on my will to overpower any perceived obstacle, challenge or threat.  As prisoner of this conditioning, with will as my only reliable “go to” power tool, I often left much broken in my wake.

At forty-two, all my attempts to willfully power through life’s challenges began failing me. Frustrated and unsatisfied after scouring the external world for a new way of being, I was driven inward. I studied ancient wisdom: in a dualistic world (such as ours), the opposite is also true and archetypal in dualism, masculine and feminine qualities reside within each of us. 

Confused and conflicted at first. Some advocated for my incorporating more feminine qualities for balance. But wouldn’t that diminish my manhood? In questioning, I discovered that this new way is not the opposite of my masculinity as I had first thought. It is the opposite of my conditioning, my ego’s limited definition of me and manhood. This was something I could embrace and learn to apply.

Knowing that the starting point for all change is first, within myself, I applied this new way of being to forgiving my previous transgressions. I had discovered my Essence. Applying it to real life problems dissolved many of the harsh dualities at the core of challenges in my business and personal relationships. My heart opened. My anger and competitiveness diminished. Unforeseen solutions emerged. Combining my Essence with that of others helped establish powerfully unifying bonds while maintaining our unique individualities. Like a new tool, applying my Essence proved tangibly valuable. Life became much easier when I applied it.

The greatest gift of my journey inward is knowing that I am capable of transcending my ego’s conditioning. Having contrasting experiences and results, I am now equipped with foresight and wisdom to guide me. I am no longer a one trick pony, reacting to others according to the dictates of my conditioning. Most importantly, I am now aware that I have choices about how and when to apply my Essence to achieve results that benefit all concerned.   

When I first discovered that I had an Essence, I felt compelled to name it in order to claim this quality as my own. Tenderness, I found belongs to no one gender. With tenderness as my real identity, I am a multi-dimensional human being, now more graceful in my maleness, creating new wonders each day.



In my twenties, I proudly wore a black T-shirt with Question Authority plastered across my chest. As an angry young man, this phrase was indicative of my attitude toward life and all things I judged to be unjust. A run-in with the police and judicial system at twenty-six added fuel to justifying my anger. I believed it was my duty to right the wrongs of the world. Through activism and protest I was determined to change others.

Later in life, on one of my frequent hikes in the Santa Fe National Forest, I sat in contemplation on the banks of a stream, just listening. I observed the graceful water easily traversing all obstacles. I want to live fluidly like this water! I exclaimed. An inner voice immediately answered my cry. The obstacles in the stream are much like your treasured beliefs about yourself, others and the world. It continued by saying, Practice applying the Essence of your being to all perceived obstacles. It will bring much fluidity into your life. Like the water, resist nothing. Trust in that which unifies you with all things. The unity of all things is the one simple truth you can always rely upon. All things are unified by a common origin.

Returning to my car from this extraordinary experience I recalled a Bucky Fuller-ism: “Rather than fighting an old system, invent a new system that makes the old one obsolete.” I also remembered that after witnessing an outburst of my anger, a wonderful teacher once reminded me that, “I have an equal and opposite capacity to respond to others and all circumstances with tenderness, as I do react in anger.” Considering the connections between these aphorisms, I set about opening my thoughts, feelings and actions to the deepest yearning of my heart: to trust my capacity for tenderness to design for myself, a new way of being in the world, making obsolete all beliefs in my separateness.

Exhausted by all manner of discord in my life from my belief that anger and self-righteousness is justifiable, I found a new way of being. With daily practice, I get better at applying unity principles in my life situations. A self-empowering side effect is the freedom I feel from the repetitive and depleting dictates of my ego’s conditioned belief in my separateness. At peace with myself and aligned with my heart and Essence, I’ve also recovered my sense of humor. I consider my ventures into beliefs in my separateness as laughable lessons learned in the world of illusion. I am now fulfilling my life’s purpose: designing experiences of interconnectedness. My life is filled with child-like wonder once again.

It is also my nature to apply what I’ve learned to many scales, from small to large. Today, rather than outward activism, I am infusing my thoughts, feelings and actions with unity. Then I infuse tenderness and the vibration of Order (honoring all thing) into events I encounter involving the illusion of separateness. I follow Pablo Neruda’s pearl of wisdom, “Changing the world is an inside job.”