Discover more from Lion Heart Leadership — by Jordan Bates
Confessions of a Fake Guru
Dear diary... time for some real talk.
I’m sick of being fake.
I’m sick of the internet.
A big part of me hates the internet.
It feels like it gets more poisonous and evil with every passing day.
Harder and harder to use it in a way that is wise and healthful.
The internet feels like it is shitting all over the sanity of future generations.
The almighty dollar-god keeps twisting it into a machine for creating moronic attention-fragmented zombie-addicts who do nothing but doom-scroll the latest TikTok gimmick.
“Entertaining ourselves to death,” as per Aldous Huxley.
I am a broken man.
I carry within me a great depth of heartbreaking sadness.
I am afraid of this sadness.
So I distract myself from it and rarely let myself feel it and fully go into it.
I encourage others to feel their feelings yet often I totally suck at doing this.
I pull up Twitter or Instagram or Substack instead and satisfy my addiction to endlessly creating more ‘content’ for the all-devouring internet-black-hole.
There’s a huge shadow to my prolific creativity.
I create to feel special.
I create for validation.
I create to escape myself.
I create so I don’t have to just fucking STOP everything and BE with my feelings.
I create because it’s something to do, do, do, do, do, do, do and stay busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy.
I’m an addict reaching for the next fix.
Rarely content with the moment just as it is.
Rarely content with the moment minus all forms of artificial stimulation.
Always twitching. Frenetic. Bouncy.
Gotta be going, going, going, moving, moving, moving.
“Mad to live,” if you wanna romanticize it like Kerouac.
These are not the only reasons I create.
I create for so many reasons.
I create because I love it.
It’s therapeutic for me.
It’s a mirror that reveals me to myself.
I create because there’s this immense un-ignore-able ALIVENESS that is very often just wanting to *erupt* through me.
I create because it feels like a calling that is about something bigger than me.
I create because it feels like creating is a huge part of what I am ‘supposed’ to be doing on this Earth.
I create for God.
And I create for me.
I create because few things mean more to me than when someone tells me that something I created touched them deeply in some way.
I’m a stubborn man.
An angry man.
Hard-headed ram bashing his head against life.
Pissed off at this stupid, violent world.
Almost comically stereotypical.
I wear all these masks and roles on the internet.
And sometimes they feel true enough.
And other times they feel so fucking fake.
Sometimes I just wanna scream out:
“I’M JUST A FUCKING BROKEN KID WHO RAN AWAY FROM HOME AND DID A BUNCH OF DRUGS AND PRETENDS TO BE SOME KIND OF WISE PHILOSOPHER ON THE INTERNET. I DON’T KNOW JACK SHIT. I GOT MYSELF STRANDED ON A CONTINENT THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY FROM MY HOME AND MY MOTHER AND FATHER AND SISTER AND BROTHERS AND GRANDPARENTS AND AUNTS AND UNCLES AND COUSINS. WHY THE FUCK WOULD ANYONE WANT TO LISTEN TO ME OR EMULATE ME? I’M A JOKE. I’M A SLIMY, SPAMMY SNAKE-OIL SALESMAN WHO GETS PEOPLE TO PAY HIM A HUNDRED BUCKS AN HOUR FOR SHITTY ZOOM CALLS. I SUCK.”
This is what the voice of my self-doubt and imposter syndrome sounds like.
I know it’s not a balanced appraisal of the man I am.
But there’s something refreshing and real about it.
Something cathartic about actually writing it out in this moment.
‘Cuz I’m sure some people see me this way.
And some parts of my own self see me this way.
And there’s truth in it.
It’s not the full truth.
But there’s truth in it.
It’s a helpful counterpoint to balance out the tens of thousands of words I’ve written over-hyping myself and my life.
“LOOK AT ME!!!! I’M SO FUCKING AWESOME AND COOL AND ADMIRABLE WITH MY FANCY DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE AND MY WORDS OF WISDOM ON THE INTERNET. PEOPLE PAY ME JUST TO BE FREE AND BE ME AND EXPRESS MYSELF. WOWOWOWOW. HOW COOL AM I?!?! LIKE REALLY, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME. DON’T YOU WANT TO BE LIKE ME?!?! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY WANT TO BE LIKE ME. IN FACT YOU SHOULD PAY HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR THIS COURSE SO I CAN TEACH YOU HOW TO BE JUST LIKE ME. YOUR SHITTY SLAVE LIFE SUCKS BUT IT’S OKAY, JUST GIVE ME YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER AND I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO BE FREE.”
Again, this is a caricature.
Perhaps a caricature of the voice of my ego.
Yet caricatures often contain important truths.
I have a giant ego.
My giant ego is amazing at continuously re-inflating itself to an unhealthy size, even as life repeatedly tries to humble me.
I have a deep-seated need to feel special.
I want people to validate me and tell me they want to learn from me.
I like it when people give me money to ‘teach them my ways.’
I’m addicted to the luxury of earning location-independent money from the comfort of my home, via this magic internet portal.
And… to be fair to myself, I feel I also need to say this:
I’m actually fucking good at what I do.
I care about the people who work with me. I show up for them.
I am in many respects an exceptional teacher, facilitator, coach, and space-holder.
I’m ridiculously innovative in the ways I utilize the internet to catalyze transformation for people. I do things in my containers that I haven’t seen elsewhere, fusing and synthesizing combinations of elements to create alchemical harmonies I haven’t experienced anywhere.
I’m a fucking great writer. And a fucking great rapper.
I create amazing in-person retreats that are actual once-in-a-lifetime occurrences for people and change lives in profound ways.
That’s not to say that everyone who works with me or attends a retreat with me always has a 100% positive life-revolutionizing experience.
Of course not. Life is way more complex than that.
No matter how good I am at what I do or how fully I show up, healing and transformation is not an exact science. It’s mystical. It can be messy. It’s non-linear. And it’s not an overnight thing. There are no ‘golden bullets.’
And even though I’m damn good at what I do and I take pride in that, I’m also far from perfect. Sometimes my selfish streak or my stubbornness or my rebellious nature or my neurotic mind or my high risk-tolerance lead me to act in ways that are not the most skillful, or cause me to overlook important details, or fail to sense subtle nuances.
I painstakingly track my own shadow tendencies and relentlessly work toward greater integrity, yet I am ridiculously human. Progress is usually slow and hard-won when we’re talking about changing deep-seated character traits and tendencies that are trauma-rooted or ancestrally coded in the DNA.
Sometimes I feel like ironically, after all the ‘work I’ve done on myself,’ I haven’t changed at all.
Same old JB.
A hopeless case.
I don’t believe this is actually true.
Weirdly though, the idea kinda gives me a strange delight.
Because… I don’t actually want to change, if it means becoming something other than JB.
I love that guy.
He’s a chill cat.
He can be a handful sometimes, but I wouldn’t ever want him to compromise himself.
I want him as God made him.
I want him as he is.
And I do feel like he’s become more of himself over the years.
Primarily through burning away many layers of falseness and fakeness.
It’s been one hell of a ride.
These past couple years, JB has really reconnected to his own heart on a profound level that he didn’t see coming. He’s wept a lot of tears. He’s crying now as he writes this.
Fatherhood guided him back to the heart, more than anything else. It is the best medicine for him. Lila is his greatest healer.
This return to the heart has felt like the realest thing JB has ever experienced. When he feels that warmth from the heart, he knows God is there. He knows Christ is there. He feels a Love and Grace that is beyond understanding. A Love and Grace that is able to purely embrace him exactly as he is, in all his brokenness. A Love and Grace that is able to purely embrace this world exactly as it is, in all its brokenness. A Love and Grace that truly heals. A Love and Grace that simply says, “You’re home now. And it’s all going to be okay.”
I want more people to feel that connection to the heart.
I want them to directly know God’s Grace.
I want them to plug back into that inextinguishable Bonfire of Love that is their essence.
I want them to exist from that place and share from that place.
I want to keep learning how to exist from that place and share from that place.
I’m just a child.
Stumbling my way along.
Overwhelmed by the tragedy and beauty of this good-evil, angelic-demonic world.
Doing what I gotta do.
Trying to be a better father, a better husband, a better son, a better friend, a better man.
In my heart I don’t wanna put myself above or below anyone.
I wanna be friends with everybody and meet everybody at an equal-eye level.
I’m not always able to do that, but it’s something I pray for.
My near-daily prayer for the past ~year has been for humility, groundedness, and heart-opening.
It’s 12:59am here in Germany.
Bout time to go nestle in next to Tanja in our cozy bed, as Lila sleeps next to us on hers.
I plan to go to the sauna tomorrow—this German bathhouse-spa kinda place with a bunch of saunas, cold tanks, relaxing areas, and a great restaurant. I’ve been going there near-weekly, about three times per month, these past few months. I stay there about 8 hours usually. It’s only like $30 to get in for the entire day. (Food costs extra.) I wish every town in the world had a place like this. They’re common in Germany, and that’s something the Germans do oh-so-right. I adore saunas more than anyone I’ve ever met. I have called myself “the sauna king,” lol.
At the sauna, I disconnect from the digital. I slow down. I sweat a lot. I plunge into the cold. I feel. I read good books, usually novels. I meditate. I pray. I give thanks. I journal sometimes. I usually eat a delicious burger and fries. It’s like a mini-retreat. A life-saver. So needed. So restorative. Really helps me ‘hit the reset button’ in the midst of spending 60-70 hours per week on work and fatherhood duties. Helps me clear my backlog and re-expand my carrying capacity.
Highly recommended, if you have access to such a place.
All right, fam, thanks for reading this diary entry.
Real recognize real?
I hope you don’t hate me.
I’m just me, man.
That’s all I can be.