What We Believe

What is natural?
“There is no supernatural. There are simply things that are easily understood and/or controlled by almost everyone, and those things that are understood and/or controlled only by specialists.

Those things need to be dealt with using different techniques, just as building a bridge needs to use different techniques and specialists than roasting a pig. People in these societies usually accept and believe in what we call magic, which refers to the technology they use to manipulate what we call the supernatural. – Cara Richards

Are you ready to start a journey of your own becoming,
to be more tomorrow than you are today?

NextStage Principles

Here’s a guide to help you decide if what we offer is right for you.
See how many of our Principles you can accept, how many you already own, how many you’re ready to learn and put into practice on a daily basis.
Remember, Awareness is the goal, not perfection.
    1. Do unto others as if they were you.
      In other words, cut out the middle man. Treat others the way you treat yourself. People do this anyway. All we do is suggest you become aware of it.
    2. Trust yourself.
      Until you do this, you’ll never be able to trust others and you’ll put what trust you have in people who will hurt you.
    3. Be Honest.
      With yourself first because it makes it easier to be honest with others. Honesty will cost you and what it returns is worth it. Tell tall tales, lie with the best of them and exaggerate all you want when people know that’s what you’re doing. The rest of the time, be honest.
    4. Respect people’s boundaries and limits.
      There’s a difference between being selfish and being selfless. Realize what this means for you and you’ll realize what it means for others.
    5. Keep it Simple.
      Because it’s so much easier that way.
    6. Take responsibility for your actions.
      When you make a mistake and before anybody else knows the mistake has been made, raise your hand and say loud enough for others to hear you, “That one’s mine. I did that.” If the people around you are more interested in pointing their fingers at you and distancing themselves from you than helping you clean things up, you’re standing around the wrong people. Let them distance themselves. They won’t be around you when you succeed, and you will, because you’ll have learned how to stand up tall, proud and free by recognizing, owning up to and cleaning up your own mistakes. From this you’ll also learn compassion and dignity and how to help others clean up their mistakes, as well. Along with this…
    7. Mistakes are just that; You can reach again.
      So learn to stretch when you have to and to recognize when what you’re reaching for isn’t something you’d want to hold in your hands. You’ll be better for it and so will those who love you.
    8. Innocence is not Naivety and vice-versa.
      Think of this as a self-recognition of “…wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
    9. Your rights end where your willingness to harm and hurt begin.
      If you need this one explained, you won’t get along here. If you needed a moment to put this into a context you could get comfortable with, you won’t get along here.
    10. Language is a tool, like Maslow’s Hammer.
      Some people think everything’s a nail. Be neither. This is part 1.
    11. Language is a tool, and can be Eliadeian.
      Some people are or can become 2nd order thinkers. Be both. This is part 2.
    12. Faith is with the heart, but the confession of faith is with the lips.
      So until you can say it to at least two others, it ain’t true and you and others will know it.
    13. Everything is that simple.
      As soon as you begin saying things are not quite that simple or that things aren’t that easy, you’ve demonstrated you don’t understand the true nature of the problem.
    14. Be wary of those who only tell you of their successes.
      They do not have a full view of life.
    15. It is not easier to get forgiveness than permission.
      Attempting to do so demonstrates a lack of concern and consideration for others.
    16. Be thee not a respecter of men (or women).
      Respect is earned through actions that are closely aligned with words, and both are externalizations of thoughts, beliefs and ideas, which brings us back to what you get when you squeeze an orange.
    17. Do not go where you are not invited.
      This, in all things, because being unwelcome can be a painful experience in more ways than one, and the corollary is that you’ll always find your way to where you’re wanted and loved.
    18. Do not do what you are not asked to do.
      Because until you are asked, you’re doing it for yourself, not for them, and it may not be what they wanted in the first place.
    19. People who don’t ask for what they want deserve what they get.
      So go ahead and ask. All a “no” means is that there must be other avenues you haven’t explored yet.
    20. Never, via your direct action or intentional inaction, allow others to come to harm.
      And the minute you begin debating what “harm” is, you’ve already allowed it to happen.
    21. If someone is drowning don’t ask them “How wet is the water?”
      And if you need this explained, you won’t fit in here.
    22. You are not your brother’s (or your sister’s) keeper.
      Show people enough respect to let them make their own mistakes. That way they’ll be able to appreciate their own successes.
    23. If you can’t think outside the box then you’ll spend your life as someone else’s package.
      And maybe you’re comfortable with that. We’re not.
    24. Don’t feed someone when you’re hungry.
      You’ll be jealous of what they eat and there’s no guarantee there’ll be any left for you when they’re done.
    25. In the Game of Life, let the other person win once in a while.
      You’ll learn to be humble, they’ll learn to be gracious. At some point in time they’ll figure out what you did, then they’ll learn to be humble and you’ll learn to be gracious.
    26. What is a Dark Mystery to you is Perfectly Obvious to someone else (and vice versa).
      So when you explain something to somebody, explain the obvious. When you leave something out and they don’t get it, you’re the fool, not them.
    27. Everybody knows there are classes in society, any society.
      Wise people don’t speak of it. The wisest people don’t show it.
    28. Respect people who know the name of their waiter or waitress.
      It shows they value people.
    29. Everything is possible.
      When you decide something is impossible all you’ve done is demonstrate the limitations of your resources.
    30. To each of us is given a measure, to some great and to some so small as not to be noticed in the light of day.
      How can we know that the greatest measure, without the efforts of those barely noticed as foundation or support or crown, will be enough? Therefore never slight nor be jealous of those whose measure is greater or less than yours, because to each of us is given a measure. It’s not the measure that makes us great, it’s what we do with our measure that gives us greatness.
    31. You don’t always need a reason to get something done.
      Sometimes things just have to be done, and that is reason enough.
    32. Own your history. Don’t be owned by it.
      You are the only one who has the power to change the universe you live in.
    33. Sometimes you just have to let the fool be slapped.
      People know when they’re not being upfront, honest, above board, …, and nine times out of ten they want to be caught because it gives shape, form and substance to the world around them. You honor them and yourself by catching them. Regarding that one out of ten that doesn’t want to be caught? Put up walls between yourself and them. They will be a danger to both themselves and to you.
    34. Never be afraid to appear a fool when asking a question.
      It’s the ones who won’t ask questions who are truly the fools.
    35. Be wary of people who enjoy casting large shadows.
      It is better to be the light that allows shadows to exist, that lights the way for others, than to be in someone else’s darkness.
    36. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is what you do when you’re afraid.
      Be Courageous. It will cost you relationships, no doubt, but you’ll be able to sleep at night.
    37. When someone is hanging onto a cliff by their fingernails, don’t ask them if they want to play catch.
      And again, if you need this one explained, you won’t fit in here.
    38. Let your dreams create your capabilities.
      Never believe that what you are now is all you ever shall be.
    39. Some will ask, “What do you want?” Others with, “Who are you?” To answer either, you must first answer “Am I who I want to be?”
      Whether known or not, spoken or not, it is the first question that must be answered.
    40. Laws are the boundaries societies place upon the spirit.
      Be boundless. You may be in a society of one, but being alone is often the price of freedom.
    41. Never allow yourself to be blinded by those who lack vision.
      Surround yourself with those who encourage you to see, even if they can not. It is much to be preferred than to be around those who won’t allow you to see because they themselves can not.
    42. Shame is a gift given by someone who fears you.
      This can be a hard lesson to learn. The only reason for someone to make you feel ashamed is to control you, and love has no need for control.
    43. If you follow your path long enough, eventually you’ll discover your dreams.
      Therefore it is up to you to make sure your dreams are something you want to discover.
    44. and in keeping with the above, Paths reveal themselves to you if you let them.
      They are not always straight and often not obvious, therefore it’s up to you to follow or not as you decide.
    45. Acceptance is not Understanding.
      Keep separate the things you accept and the things you understand. A few items will be in both camps, a lot of items won’t. Knowing the difference means knowing what you’re willing to change versus what you’re willing to let change you, and the world of difference is there.
    46. As with most things, if you’re willing to go just a little bit further than you’ve ever gone before, an entirely new world is opened onto you.
      Explore to the limits of your abilities and willingness. It’s the only way to know how big you really are.
    47. Is it better to see the end, to hear its answer when you call its name, or to be there?
      Answer these and you’ll know what eternity means to you.
    48. True Authority becomes such by acknowledging, understanding and incorporating all points of view, especially those that disagree.
      Authority can not exist without growth and change, and authority that can’t include or disprove disagreement is no authority at all.
    49. Success is not synonymous with Achievement.
      People can have successful careers and have achieved nothing in their life, while people who’ve achieved but one thing are successful beyond measure. Success means you’ve grown (no small achievement, that). Achievement means you’ve helped someone else grow (and to be willing just to take on that task indicates you’re a success).
    50. “Chaos, once defined, can be the most organized system there is.” and “Don’t burn your bridges before they hatch.” are two orthogonal statements and their intersection is you.
      Take the time to realize that these two statements are equations of existence and that they define a universe of possibilities. Recognize that if they intersect you are the intersection and that if they don’t intersect you’re denying yourself a universe of possibilities.
    51. Always be willing to share your story and always be respectful of the stories of others.
      Tell people “I will tell you as much of my story as you wish to know, but I will never share your story with others nor will I share another’s story with you.” Understand this and you’ll understand your own and other’s boundaries, where you begin and end and how your words can heal and hurt others.
    52. If you can’t clearly say “No” then nobody will know when you’re saying “Yes”.
      So be clear and concise in all your communications when a “No” or a “Yes” will do. People will appreciate it and confusions will quickly melt away.
    53. Handing over control is not giving up responsibility.
      Hand over control of something to someone else and they become your responsibility as well as whatever you have control of. Consider this an opportunity to teach, yourself and them.
    54. Never let your limitations be someone else’s limitations.
      You’ve probably worked long and hard to get the ones you have. Don’t share them. Similarly, honor the ones others have that you don’t. They worked just as hard to get theirs as you did to get yours.
    55. Sometimes the best lesson is recognizing that someone is not your teacher.
      It can save both of you a lot of pain and sorrow.
    56. Paddle Plato’s Life Boat with Ockham’s Razor.
      Find a theoretical structure that supports all data, even conflicting data, and find a theoretical structure that supports it all without resorting to unnecessary entities. This is where The Principle of Rich Observation meets The Principle of Parsimony. Live there. Be there. Be it.
    57. You must be dancing yourself if you want to dance with somebody.
      You can not find what you’re looking for until and unless you’re willing to first be it yourself.
    58. Eliminate Variables, Remove Ambiguities.
      You are going to make mistakes in life (see Principles 6,7 and 22). It’s possible to minimize those mistakes by eliminating as many unknowns as possible from the situation before you act. You can further minimize mistakes by removing all ambiguous information before you act. It isn’t possible to ignore ambiguous information and it’s usually possible to act in a way that doesn’t require making use of the ambiguous data. Be patient. Ambiguous situations tend to resolve themselves given enough time. How do they resolve? By eliminating unknowns.
    59. Be An Enemy of the People, point out the naked Emperor, protect The Old Man and tell people about The Rock.
      You may be the only one who knows the truth and in truth, you’re the only one who can know you’re own truth. However, that doesn’t make the truth incorrect and your sharing it can possibly save lives. Even if it costs you yours.
    60. It is perfectly useless to know the answer to the wrong question.
      So before you answer another’s question ask yourself if the question is worth answering at all.
    61. Never cure a singer of their voice.
      Sometimes people’s gifts can frighten or disturb us, hence their gifts go unappreciated. Take a moment to make sure your goal is to be just and that your pursuit isn’t just for yourself at the expense of others.
    62. Choice is better than no choice.
      This isn’t Free Will versus Predestination, this is right here, right now, do you want to be in control of your life or give up control? The latter leads to victimization and can’t be healthy for anyone involved. The former leads to opportunity and possible sacrifice, but it’ll be your choice to sacrifice if you do.
    63. Don’t label people (for both your sakes).
      It’s sometimes helpful to assign labels to people so long as you remember that people are not objects, labels are like boxes and boxes can become coffins. For both of you.
    64. Work honestly, accurately and unbiasedly.
      Doing so will be your testimony. And while some may dispise you, the majority will recognize that you honor them through your work and return that honor a hundred-fold.
    65. A worker is worthy of their wages.
      Recognize that nothing is free. That’s first. Somebody is paying some where at some time any time some thing is done. Directly paying the worker for work done demonstrates you value them and their work, that you recognize them as equals in a fair-exchange, and (perhaps most importantly) that you respect yourself enough to know your own value is not in question. That last one throw you? Then go elsewhere. The only time people want something for free is when they’re not sure of the value of their own efforts because the price people are willing to pay is a measure of the value they place on their request. Want something for free? Then it has little value to you. Willing to pay? Then it’s important to you. It’s as simple as that.
      The other side of this is that the worker can ask for wages in other than coin of the realm (and barter doesn’t count. Barter is mutually agreed to coin of the realm). Recognize that the only commerce besides coin of the realm is with a piece of yourself — your time, your strength, your thoughts, your word, your knowledge, your wisdom, your friendship, your oath. Be careful with these. Coin is far cheaper than heart.
    66. Act with kindness even though you don’t know the outcome.
      Never doubt that something you said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do, etc., changed the universe in some incredible way. The Universe’s concept of the Butterfly Effect is “You said hello to someone walking down the street whom you didn’t know therefore a lifeless planet is starting to form oceans.”
    67. Until you’ve gathered all the data available and understood its significance in the situation under study, you’re decisions regarding the situation are inherently flawed.
      Even if they’re the correct decisions, the decision process is flawed and outcomes are reproducible due more to luck than knowledge because you never know if the lacking data is contributing 1 or 99% to a complete solution. Explaining observed outcomes without complete knowledge of what’s causing them is a fool’s goal.
    68. Forgive others so that you can be released from their grasp.
      Forgiveness isn’t done for others, it’s done for yourself, to help you let go of the emotions that bind you to someone who wronged you. This does not mean you must love them, only that you may let them go.
    69. Faith, until it is tested, is just an opinion.
      It doesn’t matter if faith takes the form of fealty to a friend, a place, a country, a product, an idea, a life-partner or a diety, until that faith is tested it is just opinion about your relationship to a friend, a place, et cetera. Tested, you know the limits of your faith and limits are just that, neither failure nor triumph, only today’s boundaries and limits, only how far you’ll go today in this particular test.
    70. Technology is not how we make and keep relationships. We make and keep relationships because of who we are, not what tools we use to stay in touch.
      Everybody’s lives are hectic. If you can’t get everything done you want to do and are missing appointments/meetings/friends/what-have-you, getting more technology won’t organize your day because time isn’t your problem, you are. You have as much time in your day as Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Buddha, Socrates, …