The Board of
Private Enemy #1

Board of Mis-Directors

These are the guys you don't want running your life - but all too often, they do. More...

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.

Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille (American dancers and choreographers)

The Board of Mis-Directors PrimerBoard of Mis-Directors Primer
The Board of Mis-Directors - our internal dialogue, inner critic, etc. - takes us in all sorts of unproductive directions.  And they're just plain mean!  Yet, they are surprisingly, disturbingly effective at directing the course of our lives.

What to do about these guys?

BoM Primer e-book
More info...

$9.99. Get It Now

"I read your e-book. It's great! It's wise, funny, encouraging, and very real.  You two have done a terrific piece of work with this. Congratulations!"

Rev. Barbara T. Cheney


Board of Mis-Directors Tactic: Take It Personally!

On The Relationship between the Board of Mis-Directors and Distractions and Seductions

Just What Is a Raging Magma Life?

Distractions? Seductions?

See our
PhenomeNEWS articles:
on Dreaming Together
on Internal Dialogue
on Distractions and Seductions


About Our Workshops

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson,
A Return to Love


Books to Perk You Up and Give You Something to Think About (For Those Occasions When You Need That - We All Do Sometimes)


The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl

the hilarious and heartwarming tale of a real-life superhero who got happy from the outside in
by Shauna Reid

In our work on the Board of Mis-Directors, we've often wondered what  to call the opposite Board - those voices of power and inspiration and command inside that will get us through anything, the ones that know  just incredible we are and are determined that we know this, too.  After reading this book, I'm ready to call it the Board of Superheroes  and elect Dietgirl to sit at the head of the table.  Shauna Reid  turned and faced her Board with a "bring it on!" attitude that  transformed not only her body but the world around her.  Read more at

Memoirs of a C Student
by Don White

I heard Don read out loud from this book on the radio and became an instant fan.  He is funny, insightful, direct, and wry - and he writes beautifully.  What's more, whether he knows it or not, Don writes exactly about living a raging magma life.  He speaks to the ways life has taught him the humility, fortitude, discipline, joy, resilience, and laugh-out-loud appreciation of what it takes to be who you are, love the way you love, and do what matters to you.  Put simply, this book is a gift.

Want to see for yourself?  Here's an excerpt.


A Perfect Mess:  The Hidden Benefits of Disorder--How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place
by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freeman

Tired of feeling guilty for the straightening up that never seems to get done?  Here is a convincing argument that we tend to be just a little too obsessed the with the cult of order.  Blending research, philosophy, and story, the authors demonstrate how offices, homes, cities, organizations, scientific experiments, relationships, and more are at their best when we strive for the balance point between pattern and chaos.


Eat, Pray, Love:
One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Go to new places with no expectations - or the willingness to confront and undo any expectations you may have brought along - and immerse yourself there in the details of living and all it can teach you.  Gilbert lives this in an unusual way, spending a year traveling to three very different locales (Italy, India, and Indonesia), but she writes about it in a way that illuminates how any choices or circumstances can be lived in this way.  An inspiring, funny, an interesting read to be savored. 


Creating a Life Worth Living
by Carol Lloyd

"I have found that most people struggling with creating their careers either have cramped dream muscles or weak action muscles."  With that insightful summary, Lloyd lays the groundwork for a book designed to give a good workout to dreaming and action muscles alike.  Through interviews, exercises, theory and metaphor, she creates a roadmap for the process of creating a satisfying career. And Lloyd doesn't shy away from direct confrontation either - instead of self-pity (over things like how hard it is to make money as an artist), she suggests meeting road blocks simply as further opportunity to exercise your creativity:  how many ways can you find around this one?


The Book of Qualities
by J. Ruth Gendler

This book is one of my early influences, leading me to deeply appreciate the power of personification (as reflected now in Karen's and my work with the Board of Mis-Directors).  But Gendler's scope is much wider than the Board's, bringing to life the full range of qualities that make us human, from whimsy, ecstasy, devotion, and integrity to loneliness, panic, urgency, and pain.  A few brief excerpts: 

  • Intensity's shirts are burgundy, and deep brown, and indigo.  It's easy for him to forget about the paler tones…He may be celibate for years at a time or spend weeks in bed with his beloved.  He is very sensitive, and when he was younger, he worried about getting too close to people and driving them away.
  • Discipline does not disappear forever, but she does take vacations from time to time.  By nature she is a conservative person, and yet she lives a radical life.  Guided by a sense of inner necessity, she works hard and takes many risks.  When Discipline was a teenager too poor to afford dance classes, she skipped lunch to pay for her lessons.
  • Honesty is the most vulnerable man I have ever met.  He is simple and loving.  He lives in a small town on a cliff near the beach.  I had forgotten how many stars there are in the midnight sky until I spent a week with him at his house by the sea.

The Art of War -- Spirituality for Conflict: Annotated & Explained
by Sun Tzu, annotated and explained by Thomas Huynh

Sun Tzu's work is all about a raging magma life.  First, it really does take a willingness to do battle in order to achieve and create from our passionate core - that's why we call it a raging magma life rather than just a magma life.  We need to honestly assess and confront the constraints - especially the ones we place on ourselves - in order to break through and accomplish what we've come here to be and do.  Sun Tzu was a master at doing this effectively and with mindfulness, and there's lots to learn from him about how to deal with any enemy, including the enemy within.  On the other side of the coin, Sun Tzu is perhaps even more powerful in his unwillingness to go to war unless absolutely necessary.  He assesses the requirements and costs of war with startling clarity, thus becoming an ally in choosing our battles and understanding how to prevent conflicts. Sun Tzu takes us out of the reactive inflamed response to life that fritters away our time, energy, and attention and into a conscious and present engagement with the world as we choose to make it.


The Fountainhead
by Ayn Rand

This is the only piece of fiction I have ever encountered which features a character with absolutely no Board of Mis-Directors (internal voices). Howard Roark never questions his own internal compass. Never. But that is not because he is stupid, amoral or unaware - on the contrary. This is worthwhile reading for that alone - one author's perspective on what a life lived totally true to one's internal knowing looks like.

However, the book also has a lot (about 700 pages' worth) to say about the nature of good and evil, the individual and the collective, creativity, morality, and relationships. Whether you agree or disagree, it is profoundly thought-provoking.


Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration
by Keith Sawyer

All of us involved in creative ventures have wondered how to maximize our creativity, how to spark it, how to expand it. This book presents a different perspective from the usual creativity-as-individual-endeavor: creativity as a group process. Even inventions normally attributed to one or two individuals, such as the Wright brothers and the first flight, are actually just the culmination of a series of sparks—never a single flash of insight, Dr. Sawyer argues. This book has a lot to say to those who work in environments requiring innovation, as well as to those in any artistic or otherwise creative endeavor.