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The Noticing Game – (moving, fun, profound)

This little game had us both in tears the last time I played it…

And the time before that, we were both smiling so much our cheeks hurt…

It’s simple, easy, in-the-moment, and you can play it with your lover, a friend, on a date, or with someone you’ve just met.

Below is a description of the game, an excerpt from our Games Night Manual.
The full version, with lots of other connection-building games, is included for everyone who signs up for the ACL training.

Here it is:


The Noticing Game

Requirements: 2 people

Warning:  You will both likely feel more present, playful, connected, and
perhaps even turned-on after playing this game.

Two people stand directly across from each other, standing or sitting, making
eye contact. One person is A and the other is B.   A goes first.

A: What I notice when I’m with you is…<fill in the blank>

B: Hearing that, what I’m noticing is…<fill in the blank>

A: Hearing that, what I’m noticing is…<fill in the blank>

B: Hearing that, what I’m noticing is…<fill in the blank>

…and so on, alternating back and forth…

…until you’re incapacitated with laughter, tears, or
find yourselves passionately making out…

…or, whenever seems like a good time to stop.  It could be
2 minutes or 20 minutes…  it’s up to you.


You can share ANYTHING you’re noticing inside this structure
of “A” and “B” going back and forth…

The other person’s physical appearance:

     *  ”…the smoothness of your skin”
     *  ”…the way your earrings jingle when you laugh”
     *  “…that you seem to be looking away a lot”
     *  ”…the gap between your front teeth when you smiled just then”

Sensations in your own body:

     *  ”…I’m feeling nervous tension in my chest”
     *  ”…I felt my shoulders relax when you smiled just now”
     *  ”…I’m feeling uncomfortable with this intense eye contact”
     *  ”…I felt giddy and turned-on when you said that”

Thoughts you’re having:

     *  ”…I’m thinking about when we first met”
     *  ”…I’m curious about how you got that scar on your forehead“
     *  ”…I’m wanting to reassure you that I don’t feel offended by your comment”

Emotions you’re feeling:

     *  ”…I’m scared that you’re upset that I pointed out the gap in your teeth”
     *  ”…I’m grateful that we’re getting to have this experience together”
     *  ”…I’m feeling frustrated that you keep breaking eye contact with me”
     *  ”…I’m excited that you noticed my earrings because I made them myself”
     *  ”…I’m feeling warmth in my chest and gratitude for you and for this moment”
     *  ”…I’m having fun playing this game!”


     *  Be willing to take risks.  The more vulnerable, edgy and unfiltered, the more exhilarating and engaging this game becomes.  This includes sharing your nervousness, attraction and even frustration!

     *  Keep it in-the-moment.  Don’t prepare what you might say – let it unfold organically, allow yourself to be surprised by what comes out of your mouth!


Last week I was at a birthday party where each attendee was asked to perform or share something (like a variety show).  I facilitated this game for everyone there…and they loved it.  Some people were deeply moved while others were laughing hysterically…  it’s a great ice breaker!

Make sure to demo it in front of everyone first, then have them all pair up, choose an A and a B, and then run the game.

This is an excerpt of the full-length “Authentic Relating Games Night Manual” —
previously unreleased, and only available for those in the ACL training.

Last day to register, the training has already started!  Register now, here.

Ok, so that’s the game.  Keep this one in your back pocket to spice up a date, a dinner party, or when hanging out with a friend.   Give it a try!

Let me know what you thought of this game in your comments below…

Who Have I Been to My Community?

The Authentic Community Leadership 2013 has kicked off.

AND, it’s not too late to join. We’re keeping the doors open for one more week, so you haven’t missed the boat yet!

You can find more details, and sign up, here: Details of the Training

Doors close at 5pm PST this Thursday 24th.

To give you a taste of what goes on during the course, we have a short clip from the first call, detailing an assignment we’ve given to everyone in the course.

Below is the text of the assignment as well, but be sure to listen to the audio as well for extra context.

Whether you decide to join the course or not, we hope you try out this assignment, and that it serves to deepen your relationships and your community.


Robbie, and the Authentic World Team

“Who have I been to my community” Assignment mp3 (right-click to download)

The “Who’ve I Been For My Communities?” assignment

You’re going to interview at least three people, preferably from different groups in your life, and ask them the following questions:

* How do you imagine our group seeing me?

* What do you count on me for?

* What do you not count on me for?

* What do you see me distinctly offering people?

* What do you see me distinctly failing to bring to people?

* Tell me about a specific instance I contributed to you personally. What was the impact of that?

* Tell me about a specific instance I had an unpleasant impact on you. What was the most troubling part of that for you?

Decker & Ken: Taboos, Communes & Machine Guns

An interview between Ken Wilber and Decker Cunov
on the role of Community in evolving consciousness:

ken and decker

Download it here

You’ll learn about:

– 60’s communes, and why so few of them lasted…

– The role of shame as “Social glue” (Decker gets chills from this discovery)

– Re-examining cultural taboos (incest, murder, teacher/student relationships)

– How we replaced shame with machine guns

– The 3 ways community can accelerate consciousness – sangha, subtle energy, and Circling


This 8-week program will challenge you to step into your full potential
as a Community Leader, and support you in building a community
around you that will accelerate the evolution of your consciousness,
just as indicated in the Ken & Decker recording.

Plus, it includes a full 3-day training with me, Decker, and the
Authentic World team at the Boulder Integral Center in Colorado!

Register now and reserve your spot, here

13 Community Role Archetypes (Which One Are You?)

Decker and I had a blast putting this together —

It’s a breakdown of some archetypical roles in community we’ve noticed over the years, along with the specific people in our community who fill those roles. More on this below.
(Download a larger-font, editable version here)

(Download a larger-font, editable version here)


Assertion #1 – Everyone has essential gifts to bring to a community.
Assertion #2 – Recognizing and Celebrating each person’s gifts is an essential aspect of Community Leadership.

And, while the Art of Deeply Seeing people ultimately defies any nice neat categories we can come up with, these possibilities can definitely get your wheels turning.

Question: What combination of these types do you see in yourself?
And beyond that…Who are the people in your life who do, or could, bring the gifts you see here?

You may look at these roles and be struck by how little of ANY of these roles are actually being filled by the people in your social circles. This is a sign of rich opportunities for deeper contribution for everyone involved.

And, if you find someone that doesn’t fit into these categories, GREAT — this is an opportunity to distinguish and celebrate the unique gift THAT person brings!

Leave us a comment below telling us what archetypical role(s) YOU play in your social circles/community… (whether it’s in this matrix or not!)

And once you’ve left your comment, check out our new training here: Authentic Community Leadership

The first call is THIS Thursday, 17th January!


*** The 5 Levels of Conversation ***

Here’s a roadmap to identify what kinds of conversations you tend to have in your community and social circles, and clarify what kinds of conversations you’d like more of…

We originally released this a couple of years ago, and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people about the power of these simple distinctions to actually shift your conversations into deeper, richer places.

Check it out, and leave a comment below– enjoy!

– Bryan

Download this guide

The 5 Levels of Conversation:
A Roadmap for Connection 


I used to walk up to people I’d never met on the BART train station platform in San Francisco and ask them, “So, what are YOU passionate about?”

I was tired of mundane, superficial conversations, and I wanted to cut to the chase – to the Good stuff!

Well, as you can imagine… they’d look at me like I was crazy.And there was a reason why.It’s because I wasn’t dialed into what I’m calling the “Levels of Conversation”.There’s a natural unfolding to a conversation, and when we follow that, it makes way for new levels of connection to emerge.


We’ve all had that intuition that we could be having a juicier, more rewarding conversation, but like a combination lock, we aren’t quite sure what the code is to unlock that deeper level of connection, intimacy, excitement…whatever it is that we’re looking for.


Since that time on the BART train station platform, I’ve become more aware of these levels, and I’ve put them together in this guide for you to use. It will help you distinguish where you tend to get stuck, and where you can take an interaction deeper.

And that’s what the 5 Levels of Conversation are all about.

By getting clear about what level of conversation we’re operating at, and being aware of other types of conversations we COULD be having, new possibilities open up, and we can see other places that we could go, other adventures to explore… The first place to start is to first acknowledge Where You’re At. Which level of conversation do you typically find yourself in?


There are probably infinite types of conversations, and multiple levels operating at any moment, given the nature of subcommunication, nonverbals, and body language that are all happening simultaneously…

For example, banter and flirting are other types of conversation that aren’t covered in this guide.

Maybe this guide should be called, “5 Levels of Deep Connection”, since the real focus of this particular guide is on specifically that: Deep Connection. That said, it should be noted that…


Great conversation isn’t about “going as deep as possible”. It’s about celebrating EVERY stage of the conversation for exactly what it is (APPRECIATION), while OWNING your desire (INTEGRITY) to take it deeper, if, in fact that is the case for you!

I, for one, am often just as content to enjoy casual silly banter, than have some deep, eye-gazing Tantric connection. Enjoy all the flavors for what they are!


The conversations happening inside a community are what determines the level of depth of that community. If the community you hang out with tends to talk about technology and politics, and share very little of their personal experience, that’s an “Informational” Community.

If they tend to share personally about what’s up for them in their lives, this is more of a “Personal/Emotional” Community…

If they tend to explore the moment-to-moment dynamics of what’s arising Right Now, this is more of a “Relational/Transformational” community… and so on…

As you read about each level, ask yourself which levels most closely match the “center of gravity” of the communities & social circles you currently find yourself in. And, is this the type of relating that most inspires you? Or, are you looking to bring other types of conversations into those communities…?

Ok, without further ado, the 5 Levels…


At this level, it’s just the facts, ma’am. Great for a police report, not so great for deep connection. Also known as “wide rapport”, because at this level the conversation is flat and wide.


The weather:

“Nice weather we’re having. Yes, It’s going to be up to 60 degrees today, but I heard it’s going to snow tomorrow.”

Where you grew up:

“I grew up in Georgia, but I’ve lived most of my adult life in New York.”

Your family:

“I’m the eldest of 3 kids.”

Your daily schedule:

“I like watching the Simpsons on Thursdays.”

Your job:

“I’m an aerospace engineer with JetBlue.”

This is the way most people talk, most of the time.


Communicating at this level lays the groundwork for a deeper and richer conversation later. It’s also good for “getting a feel” for someone, because even as we may be having a conversation about the weather, we’re picking up all other kinds of information about that person through their nonverbals, their voice tonality, eye contact, etc…

In other words, even if the content of the conversation is informational, there are still WORLDS happening that you can tune into for more richness at any point…


At this level, we’re sharing our interior, subjective experience… emotions and personal preferences. Even if it happens to be about the weather…


“Which season is your favorite?….. Oh, the winter? Me too, actually… I feel a thrill whenever I see the first snow of the year.”

“What’s something that your heart can’t help but open to?  For me?  Babies, definitely.  I just feel a blast of gratitude for being alive every time I get to hold a baby.”

What’s something you appreciate about your brother?”

“I totally relax when I’m around him — ever since we were kids, he protected me.”

“I feel so tense at work — I’m scared I’ll lose my job any day now.”  
At this level, potentially sensitive topics can come up, and strong listening skills are important here to take it deeper.


A community that tends to communicate at level 2 is a great place to confide in each other, with deep personal shares. Healing and clearing away shame as we reveal these vulnerable things in a safe place is one of the greatest gifts a community like this can offer.


Genuine Curiosity, Offer Reflection, Share Vulnerably
(Covered in our “Getting Her World” Authentic Relating Program)


This is the stage at which you move from talking ABOUT stuff, and focusing more on what’s happening between the two of you, right now, in the moment.   Often about what we’re feeling or noticing.

This is Authentic World’s sweet spot – usually the biggest jump from being a nice conversation to being arewarding experience, is the jump from the Informational or Personal level…to RELATIONAL. YES!!

This is also where the feedback and reflection essential for transformation and growth happens.


“I’m noticing I’m feeling giddy talking to you right now – I’m so excited to be connecting with you.”

I just felt confused and hurt when you said that my mom was never friendly to you.”

“When you laughed just then, I could hear your “Southern Belle” coming through…I feel drawn to you when you do that.”

“As you were talking, I just had a flash of us taking a trip to go showshoeing in the Rockies to one of those ski cabins for the weekend…”

“Hearing how you’ve finagled your way into management, I’m getting how crafty you are. I’m gonna have to watch myself around you!”

I notice I feel myself tighten every time you complain about your boss. It seems like you have no intention of actually addressing the situation with him. Is that true?”

“I notice my heart’s swelling and I’m feeling a lot closer to you when you talk about how supportive your brother has been for you over the years.”

Sharing at this level can be intensely vulnerable, but it’s also where a conversation goes from being an exchange of ideas or experiences, to CREATING an experience, in the moment…


Sharing at the relational level is THE shift towards creating Authentic Community.

This is the type of community that dramatically evolved me personally and relationally.

Personal development and transformation of consciousness accelerates DRAMATICALLY, as we offer feedback and reflection to each other, in the moment, about how we’re experiencing and impacting each other. When this is woven into the culture of a community, this is a true transformational Sangha.

That said, this is also the level where things get tricky. As we put attention on serving each other through feedback and reflection, it becomes a rich breeding ground for projecting our disowned aspects (aka shadow) onto each other in service of “being real”, etc…

Example of projection vs owning your experience:

“I feel like you’re suppressing your anger right now” vs

“When you say you’re not upset, I notice tension in me, and I don’t fully believe you.”

“You need to tell the truth to the people in your life” vs

“I feel frustrated that you haven’t had a conversation with that person yet.”

The antidote to this, and the opportunity here– is to build the capacity to fully own our experience – taking full responsibility for our perceptions, asserting no authority on anyone’s experience other than our own. We go into much more detail about this in our 8-Week Authentic Community Leadership training –, including practices and exercises to strengthen this capacity.


Speak the Moment, Own a Desire, Share Impact, Offer Reflection, Set Context, Offer Direction
(Covered in our “Getting Her World” Authentic Relating Program)


This level of conversation can come straight from the Personal or Relational Levels, and it’s not necessarily deeper than the Relational Level, even though we’re calling it Level 4.

I’m mainly including this one to highlight that conversations can happen on levels besides the Verbal… nonverbal conversations can express the full range of the human experience just as verbal conversations can…

The reason we call it level 4 is that there are connections deeper than the Relational Level, that don’t require words.


Often found in: dance and movement communities — Contact Improv, Partner Dancing (Blues, Tango, Salsa), AcroYoga, and Acrobatics, Martial Arts.



This level is a little more uncharted, but essentially this is the “tantric” level, where it’s not clear where I end and you begin…where the boundaries of a separate sense of self tend to blur…

This level is not as common as the other levels, and often is simply by the Grace of the moment that it happens.

Situations where it is likely to appear, however, are during sexual union, a period of eye-gazing and breathing together, or under the influence of psychedelic drugs 😉


Not really even a conversation, because words are unnecessary… but if there are words, it’s almost as if what’s being said could have come out the mouth of either one of you.


The only place I’ve heard this level has shown up in community is in meditation / guru-devotee communities, and even then only second-hand… Sounds like a rich experience, however!!!

That said, even if the center of gravity of a community is at a level other than Transpersonal, any group of people in that community may at some time peak into this level of relating.


A few points:


There are certainly other ways to look at or organize these “levels” – they could also be considered as “channels” of connection, for example. and it’s debatable whether noverbal connection is a “higher level” than Relational, etc…

I put this together because I’ve found these distinctions really useful for helping people have more rewarding connections, and for seeing the “water their community swims in”.

Feedback on making it more useful welcome!


I find that this level is where most people can take their interactions deeper.

From my personal experience, I’ve found that Relational Conversations can accelerate self-awareness, evolve our consciousness, and rapidly deepen connection and intimacy. Props for the Relational !!!

That said, a couple of disclaimers:


One of the surest ways to kill a great conversation or rewarding connection is to keep checking in the moment, “What level of conversation are we at? Ok, how about…now?”

Allow this to be a roadmap to get you where you want to go, if you find yourself having a conversation where you have a hunch that you could be having more fun, more connection, or more depth…


Great conversation often isn’t about “going as deep as possible.”  It’s about celebrating EVERY stage of the conversation for exactly what it is (APPRECIATION), while OWNING your desire (INTEGRITY) to take it deeper, if, in fact that is the case for you!

Even if you’re in a community that values deep connection, it actually SERVES that deeper connection when both of you feel free to CHOOSE deep relating as easily as having a shallower conversation about sports or the weather.

When we get fixated on only having “meaningful conversations”, I’ve found things get over-processy and sticky. Give your deep, personal conversations and “relational experiences” some breathing room!

Finally, thanks for reading.

If you’re ready to step up and take active leadership in SHAPING the communities you’re a part of into being more authentic, and accelerating your personal evolution and that of those around you, then enroll in AuthenticWorld’s new program, the 8-Week Authentic Community Leadership training.

Check it out and reserve your spot now.

To thriving community & rewarding connection,




Download this guide

What did you think of this? Leave a comment below with your feedback about what you learned, how you see this relating to you personally, or how this could be improved!

And make sure to check out & register for our new training designed to take your communications to the next level and create community wherever you choose — Authentic Community Leadership.


Community is the Missing Piece

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Checkout this video of Robert MacNaughton, director of the Integral Center, talking about the importance of community on personal growth.

Put in your email below, and over the next few weeks we’re going to be sharing tools, distinctions and practices to help you create conscious, loving community in your own life. We’ll also be letting you know details of our upcoming Authentic Community Leadership program.

To start, we’ll send you “The 5 stages of Authentic Community” video an interview with Decker Cunov and Robert MacNaughton. They talk about the 5 stages of natural community building, how relationships can organically come together and form the heart of a community.

So put in your email below, and we’ll be in touch!


Announcing Authentic Community Leadership 2013

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Check out this video of Robert MacNaughton from the Integral Center talking about the next Authentic Community Leadership course.

The course begins on January 17th, and in preparation, we’re going to be sending out a bunch of free tools, distinctions and practices around creating authentic community in your life. If you’d like to receive these, please put your email in the box below.

The first one, which you’ll receive immediately, is a video interview between Decker Cunov and Robert on the 5 stages of Authentic Community. This is our latest material on what the evolution of Authentic Community actually looks like in practice.

So put in your email below, and we’ll be in touch!


How To Give An Acknowledgement

People love to be seen!

The gift of feeling seen can be incredibly powerful.

This acknowledgement practice is a way for you to contact your love and appreciation for someone in your life, and share it in a way that will have them feel it deeply, and also feel seen by you.

Here are the steps:

1. Choose the Person
2. Name the Moment;
3. Express the Impact (and FEEL it);
4. Share your Impression.

1)CHOOSE THE PERSON in your life you’d like to share love & appreciation with.

This can be anyone in your life. Acknowledgements are a great way for you to share with someone appreciation you’re already feeling, and they can ALSO be a powerful way to ACCESS more appreciation for someone you find it difficult to appreciate.



Your Girlfriend

A co-worker

2) NAME THE MOMENT & EXPRESS THE IMPACT: Pick a moment when you were impacted by this person and distinguish the impact

Put your attention on this person. Find a moment when you were impacted by them — when you felt or experienced something in relationship to them. You should be able to fill in the blanks in this sentence:

“When you / we / I _______, I felt/experienced ___________”

This step is vital! By zeroing in on a specific moment, you ground your acknowledgement in your experience, and it helps you both FEEL what you’re sharing while you share it. It often takes a little searching to find a specific moment, but it is well worth it!

Also, a note about the “I felt/experienced” part. The more you are able to own your experience in this part, the more clear the acknowledgment.

What do I mean by “own your experience”? Simply, to describe the truth of that moment in a way that can’t be argued.So not “You were kind”, but “I felt contributed to”; not “You’re strong” but “I felt safe.”

This part, sharing the impact, is where you can have them feel your love and appreciation for them.


Dad, when you told me you wish I’d visit more, I felt wanted and loved.

Suzie, when I came home and you stood in the doorway, bouncing on your feet like a little kid, I felt joyous and playful.

John, when you said that you would stay late in the office to finish that report, I felt supported and relived.

3) SHARE YOUR IMPRESSION: Put your attention on the person you want to acknowledge, imagine them doing the thing you’re acknowledging them for. Ask yourself the question, “What kind of being would do that?” What is it about them in particular that would have them do this thing?

It might help to imagine what other possible responses could have happened in that situation. What would someone else have done? Or, actually put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re acknowledging. Imagine being them. What do you get?

Now fill in the sentence stem:

“From that, what I get about you is _________”

This is your opportunity to have them feel seen. Now, when you’re sharing what you get about someone, you are always in the realm of projection. You are no longer sharing your unarguable truth. But don’t let that stop you! Just know that what you’re sharing is an offering, and that it may fit for them or it may not.


What I get about you from that is that family and history are important to you.

What I get about you from that is that you can get totally filled up with excitement.

What I get about you from that is that you are committed to our shared vision, and I can count on you.

4) The final part, is to put those two parts together, and deliver it to that person in your life. The special sauce when you’re delivering an acknowledgement, is to actually be feeling what you’re saying as you share it. This is why dialing into a specific moment is so powerful.
So, those steps once again:

1. Choose the Person
2. Name the Moment;
3. Express the Impact (and FEEL it as you share it);
4. Share your Impression.

That’s it. Go forth and acknowledge the people in your life — both with those you find it easy to love, and those you sometimes struggle with.

Then let us know how it went in the comments below!

Happy Holidays,



Acknowledging someone requires attention on your experience to yield the most potent fruits. To support and encourage you in doing this, we’re launching a contest.

Prize: Free entry to any one of our 2012 trainings tuition up to $1000.

Rules: Craft an acknowledgement for someone in your life, write it down and post it in the comments, or record it as video or audio and post a link. NOTE: Multiple entries encouraged!! The winner will be the person who really goes for it — acknowledgement(s) that we are most touched and impacted by. Remember to share the acknowledgement with the person in your life as well!

Details of the Training, Here

Ok, details of the new training available now, here:


Doors open for Enrollment on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

Questions? Comments? Leave them here: