The Commune Blog

Interdependence Day

commusings Jul 05, 2020

I am in my happy place, snug in the middle lane of the 101 coasting at a modest 60 miles per hour, listening to The Daily, driving to Topanga with Micah. Schuyler thinks I drive too slowly. I prefer “cautious.” It might be genetic.
My beloved Nana, barely 5 feet in heels, seldom broke 25 on the speedometer. As a young boy, I would often accompany her to her sacred weekly hairdresser appointment. There was a soda fountain there in which I enthusiastically indulged, creating madcap papercup cocktails of Mr. Pibb and Fanta. Eventually, she’d emerge from the chair, grip my hand, her long glossy red nails digging at my forearm skin, and lead me out to the mini-mall parking lot.
Automobiles did not spare steel in the 1970’s. Nana would board her colossal Cadillac, often unwittingly parked askew across two spots, like a mouse saddling an elephant. She didn’t drive it as much as it drove her. She’d crawl out of the lot into traffic like a cruise...

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EVRYMAN with Ashanti Branch, Touré, and Sascha Lewis

podcast Jul 02, 2020

It's time we changed the paradigm of what it means to be a man in our society. For so long, the ideal man was someone who suppressed his emotions. Being stoic was being strong. But what has perpetuating these lessons led to? A loneliness epidemic, addiction, grief, and suffering. In this podcast episode, we explore the archetypal characteristics of maleness, mass incarceration, and how the Black Lives Matter movement is different from past civil rights movements. Listen in to learn how EVRYMAN is bringing men together and giving them permission to be vulnerable.

Ashanti: So Ashanti Branch from Oakland, California. I was raised by a single mother. And the journey of fatherlessness adds a lot of flavor to my life. I think the journey of trying to figure out what it means to be a man when there was no man there helping you to figure those things out, has always been one of those things I constantly reflect back to in my life.

Ashanti: I went off to ... I'm trying to think...

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Pandemic of Love with Shelly Tygielski

podcast Jun 26, 2020

When COVID-19 swept through her community, Shelly Tygielski had a simple idea: Connect people who can give directly with those in need. Within days her Pandemic of Love went viral, resulting in more than 187,000 matches and over $25.1 million in direct transactions. And as she reveals, these one-to-one acts of charity offer so much more than financial support — they re-instill our faith in each other.

Jeff: Around the idea of working closely with communities in need, and particularly going through acute periods of collective grief like in Parkland, can you talk a little bit about that experience of what it is like to work in communities that are experiencing that level of acute grief? And to what degree is meditation and other kinds of forms of I suppose wellness, modalities... Are they welcome? How do you actually administer them? What are some of the impacts of them? How do you work with the local community and other clinicians to provide consistency? How does that...

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Finding Fatherhood

commusings Jun 21, 2020

My father raised my brother and me through our teenage years as a single dad. It was not a course we chose, but one we maplessly navigated. Our relationship was hardly traditional, swinging between a pizza-for-breakfast kind of bromance and a deep loving co-dependency. As I stumbled into manhood and he, sometimes adolescently, rebuilt his life, we leaned into each other. We relished each other’s company and shared a passion for the cocktail of music, politics and parties. Oh … the parties.

Eventually, somewhat against our will, adulthood beckoned. Time has a father as well. I sailed off into the wide berth of life as if I was the first one to attempt to distill it into meaning. When we’re young, we don’t know that God, that celestial Father, is right where we are.

Last year, my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. In the aftermath of his surgery, he lost 35 pounds and became very weak. He remained astonishingly sanguine through the ordeal but his voice,...

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Dying with Dignity with Ann Grant

podcast Jun 19, 2020

Our approach to dying is a reflection of how we think about so many other different parts of our life, which for many of us is based on fear. Though death is the only thing we are guaranteed in this life, the associated grief, loss, and loneliness are human emotions we often tend to avoid. At times, these thoughts cause us to have a fear of life, we stop living because we're so afraid of dying. In today's episode, Ann Grant shares her thoughts on death, reflecting on how the death of her mother shaped her views on dying and how our thoughts on death have changed.

Anne GrantI am Jeff's mother-in-law. My daughter, beloved daughter is married to Jeff. So-

Jeff: That's right. We've known each other for maybe 32 years. Well, I've known Schuyler for 32 years. So maybe 30 years, at least.

Anne Grant: We've known each other a long time. I've seen you over a long time and through a lot.

Jeff: That's true. You've seen, probably a number of different renditions of me.

Anne Grant:...

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commusings Jun 19, 2020

Each week Jeff has been writing a Sunday article called Commusings where we take a moment to think deeply on the topics of spirituality, philosophy, and culture. Today, he shares his thoughts after attending a recent Black Lives Matter march in Hollywood with his family.

To receive the Commusings newsletter, you can go to and sign up at the bottom of the page.

It’s hot.

Schuyler, my three daughters and I walk east on DeLongpre to the protest.

Others are clamoring down the street, placards in hand, engaged in various forms of spirited horseplay. A sort of nervous energy pervades, like one that precedes performance. It is Hollywood after all.

I am tuned out, lost in thought, moated in the subjective experience of what it is to be me. My mind chatters on incessantly, as it has for weeks, commentating on my blundering internal investigation into where and how I am complicit in the oppression of a people who have so deeply shaped who I am.

I have never been blind...

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On Set with Bhagavan Nityananda

the lab Jun 15, 2020

Where does wisdom come from? Who teaches the teachers who appear in Commune courses? And what is the root source of their insights? 

This week we are filming a new breathwork course with Scott Schwenk and he showed up on set with an extra special guest…

“I bring him wherever I teach to remind me that I don’t own the energy of the work. It’s not my work. I am a steward of the work. And to remind me also that if I get lost or confused in a moment of teaching to come back to the focus of surrendering to the energy of wakefulness that moves through the lineage.”  ~ Scott 

Who have been your teachers? How do you remind yourself of where your own knowledge comes from?

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Healing Through Sound with Jeralyn Glass

podcast Jun 12, 2020

Jeralyn Glass has dedicated her life to healing through sound and plays her crystal singing bowls in a wide range of venues, from concert halls to cancer centers. However, this is not remotely where Jeralyn’s career started. Today’s podcast is her story.

To learn more about Jeralyn's practice, you can check out her website here:

Jeralyn: I grew up in Los Angeles and studied here. And I started studying singing when I was 11. I sang a solo in the sixth grade, and people said to my parents, "Well, what are you going to do? She's talented." And my mom took me to a neighbor who was the voice of Ava Gardner in Show Boat, Annette Warren, and she dubbed all of Lucille Ball's movies, and she is 97. And if you heard her sing today, you would never guess her age. It's incredible.

Jeralyn: And so, I started studying with her and she taught me a very natural, holistic technique of [inaudible 00:02:00]. And my dream was to be on...

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Sacred Space with India.Arie

podcast Jun 12, 2020

India.Arie is a prolific singer-songwriter and the winner of 4 Grammy awards, but today on the show we talk about a different dimension of her life that has always been quietly present — her spirituality. What turns a simple object into a meangingful heirloom? How can we tap into the power of ritual to create transcendent art? Check out India.Arie's new music video, shot right here at Commune:

India: I have a album that I've put out last February called, Worthy and the first single from that album was called, That Magic. There was That Magic, Steady Love, Crazy and Sacred Space. We had the idea of just telling the story of a relationship arc. In That Magic, they meet and that's when everything's all sparkly and fresh and sparks and everything. Then Steady Love, they move in together and you see them fight and makeup and work on their relationship and get engaged and stuff. It's not exactly linear because I had different leading men...

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Urban Coliving with Robert O'Neill

podcast Jun 12, 2020

When you fly over a city and see all those backyard swimming pools and barbecues, do you ever wonder: What if we shared more resources? What if we had passionate conversations with people next door rather than someone on social media a thousand miles away? In this episode, Robert O'Neill, founder of Haven Coliving, shares his vision for small urban communities and a return to real human interaction.

Robert O'NeillThe real vision behind Haven was to create a place for people that want to dedicate their lives to the health and wellness industry to gather together and learn and grow. So one of the things that we've noticed over the years is that the typical path that a lot of people take is maybe you go to high school, you go to college, and then you get out of college and you don't really know what you want to do. Well, health and wellness is one of those industries that people are just passionate about from the very beginning. But there's really no good track to meet peers,...

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