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Podcast

#027 Marcus Merlin Hinds: The Power of Forgiveness and Finding Your Why (MoZen Temple)

Mar 1, 2024

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Mozen Temple is an experimentation center and trainging ground for community and personal growth

Welcome to an enlightening conversation with Marcus Merlin, steward of MoZen Temple in the Diamante Valley. We delve deep into personal growth, environmental sustainability, and the much-needed impact of regenerative entrepreneurship.

 

Our discussion begins with Merlin’s personal story of transformation, centered around the pivotal role of forgiveness in unlocking his spiritual beliefs and reshaping his life’s narrative. He shares his insights into the power of forgiveness as a personal practice and a foundation for creating meaningful connections and building communities.

Forgiveness has the power to transform not just individual lives but entire communities. The transformative power of forgiveness can unlock our spiritual beliefs and lead us to rewrite our personal narratives in ways that propel us forward. Marcus’s story reminds us of the profound impact forgiveness can have on our lives, offering us freedom and a new perspective on our purpose.

 

Finding Your Why

 

Together, we explore the concept of ‘Finding Your Why,’ as Merlin discusses the significance of discovering one’s purpose to facilitate freedom from the past and a clear direction forward. This idea serves as a gateway to passion-driven work, where doing what you love transforms the traditional notion of work and productivity. It is also the theme of his annual retreat in Costa Rica.

The significance of finding our ‘why,’ creating passion-driven work, and the magic of vulnerability within dream teams are all worth reflecting deeper on. These elements are crucial for anyone looking to lead a fulfilling life while making a positive impact on the world. They provide us with tools and philosophies to embrace a more holistic and purpose-driven approach to life.

Is it time to call in your Dream Team?

The conversation also highlights the essence of building ‘dream teams’—individuals who share a passion for what they do and support one another in achieving common goals. We discuss the importance of vulnerability and authenticity within these teams, revealing how these qualities can be superpowers in personal and professional development.

We also touch on the role of shamanic and spiritual practices in personal transformation, the importance of selective commitment to stay true to one’s values, and the power of community and forgiveness in action. The role of shamanic and spiritual practices in personal transformation might be a new concept for some, but it’s thankfully becoming more commonplace in our modern-day culture.

Join us as we explore these insights and learn how to apply them in our lives to foster personal growth, build supportive communities, and contribute to a more regenerative and sustainable world.

 

There are many paths to personal growth and fulfillment

 

Whether it’s through embracing forgiveness, aligning our work with our passions, or building communities based on shared values and vulnerabilities, the lessons from this episode have the potential to catalyze change in every aspect of our lives. If you’d like to dive deeper into these concepts, visit www.findyourwhy.info and register for Merlin’s upcoming retreat.

Thank you for joining us on this enlightening journey. May the ideas and stories shared here empower you to step into your purpose, connect deeply with others, and contribute to a more sustainable and regenerative future.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter at https://regenerationnationcr.com to hear more about cultural bridge-building, regenerative-minded events, and future podcast releases.

Until next time, keep exploring, growing, and transforming.

If you know someone who would find this episode helpful, please pass it along to them. If you’re finding the podcast for the first time, be sure to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast player, YouTube, or sign up to our mailing list to stay updated when new episodes are released.

 

To follow more of Merlin’s contributions toward a regenerative world, check out:

 

Episode Transcripts

Jason Thomas:

Hello, and welcome back to Regeneration Nation, Costa Rica. I’m your host, Jason Thomas. And today I’m sitting with a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary, Marcus Merlin Hines. Hey Merlin, how are you doing today?

Marcus Merlin:

I’m doing good. I’m doing really. 

Jason Thomas:

Thanks for joining us. Marcus guides others as a business and dream team creator. He spent his younger years as a home builder, and since 2013, he’s been on a spiritual journey of forgiveness, meditation, and consciousness training. He used to live in a community in Europe before coming here to Costa Rica.

Now, he offers a transformational retreat experience at the Mozen Temple in Diamante Valley called Find Your Why, where he and other co-creators guide groups through a life-changing journey of forgiveness, completion of old energies, and patterns that aren’t serving. He connects people with their purpose, with their why. 

So, Merlin, would you like to share a little bit about your name? Some listeners will be interested to hear the story behind that. And then, yeah, what brought you to Costa Rica and start to, starting to do what you’re doing now?

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah, so I was born Marcus from my mother and named after a stepdad who was not my blood dad. However, stepped in and raised me from a baby, and his name was Mark. They named me Marcus. And it’s beautiful, this journey that some of us have experienced where someone else gave us a name that feels really good, and it feels like home. And then sometimes there’s something else that has more of a resonance when we speak it. As I learned as I got older, there are certain songs. There are certain sounds that have a certain vibration that, when we say it, it lands in our body. And from the youngest age I can remember, we grew up poor, which means we ate really good homemade food, and we had the best costumes ever for Halloween.

We didn’t have the store-bought stuff. So, as far back as I can remember, when mom said, What do you want to be for Halloween? I was Merlin. 

As far back as I can remember, I was able to move energy across the room and calm down arguing, calm things down, calm animals down. I remember practicing with energy and healing with calmness, with more love, with more of a shift to fun from as far back as I can remember. 

It was seed planted, and I was Merlin from a young age on. And it really came back in 2013 when I was at Burning Man, when I chose as a gift to offer the playa was granting wishes, and said to be wizard. And, the name came back Merlin, when I was granting wishes at the playa, and it really landed to own my magic at that time, when people would come back and find me, which if you see somebody one time at Burning Man randomly, great, connection.

If you see somebody a second time at Burning Man, with no plans to meet up with them, and they’re coming to tell you that you’ve granted their wish and it came true, it has some resonance, so the name re-landed and I’ve been using that name since then, since 2013 at Burning Man. 

Jason Thomas:

Right on. Thanks for the story. That’s awesome. 

 

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. Yeah. you had another question?

Jason Thomas:

Yeah. Just what brought you to Costa Rica to build this Temple and to provide these experiences for people? What drew you out of Europe to do this?

Marcus Merlin:

Well, Europe was a short time, just like living with community and checking it out. Most of my background is in California, and then in California also spent a year and a half living in Hawaii. My first community experience was in Kauai in 1994, there was a hurricane, Hurricane Iniki, and it was the first time that Caucasians, Haules, was a surge moving to the island, and we were moving there to help rebuild the island and restore it, because there wasn’t enough help, and about 30-35 percent of the island was demolished.

Every park and beach had people living in it. So we moved over there to help restore the island, and there weren’t enough homes for people. So around 20, 25 people moved to the outskirts and leased some land. And we all pitched in and built a simple cabin. And then two or three people would live in that.

Then, we would all pitch in and build another one until everybody had a home. And we hauled water; we cooked dinners together. So, living in a community back in 1994 was my first experience in Hawaii. I also experienced some communities in Europe. Some in Portugal, and ultimately, what led me here to Costa Rica was… 

Well, the first time I came here, I fell in love with the country in 2004. My best friend growing up was Costa Rican, a Tico, and we came here, I just fell in love with the people, the vibe, the ambiance, and the family connection, especially growing up in California. I grew up with a lot of Chicanos, which is the Mexican California culture. And so, being around Latino culture is what I was most familiar with. That’s who I lived around growing up for most of my life. So, coming to Costa Rica felt very much like home, with very calm energy, very welcoming, and so I always wanted to come here. I’ve always felt every year to come here, ever since 2004. And it was just to come here as a vacation. To come to the place that I love. 

In my journey, in 2008, I had 10 years of experience in real estate and remodeling and fixing up homes for people. At that time, I started my own company in the recession in 2009-2010, Heinz Realty Group, which is a real estate company in the San Francisco Bay Area and Walnut Creek. My first dream, my first goal was to create a million dollar business. And so I took training with the Entrepreneur Organization, I took training with Real Estate Coaching Group, Craig Proctor, Landmark Team Communication, creating uh, teams and communication culture. 

 I took these various educations on and put it together to create a million-dollar business that supported helping people get into homes and sell their homes if that’s what they’re choosing to do. Along that journey, by 2016, I had created a million-dollar business with 17 people working on the team. And I had diversified the team with agents. I had a team in the Philippines. I had virtuals. I had everything set up with a set structure and a really good flow, so I could duplicate the results every year with a 5 percent or 10 percent gain. 

So, I created a very streamlined business in which I could pay more money for advertising, more leads, more clients, and more income, and I found that balance. 

I became really good at it. However, what I realized in earning more money and having a team was that I was also doing healing work with Landmark, with different transformational retreats in Guatemala, one with ISTA, and different forgiveness and healing work with Landmark, with Buddha training since 2014. And so I started my own spiritual journey from not being clear on what my spiritual beliefs were. It started to have me question and check into the world for what was my belief. 

I was really great at business already. I was really great at creating, but I didn’t feel fulfilled in my spiritual path. And learning what there was to get to my core belief and my understanding of what my spiritual beliefs are, I got that forgiveness was the key. Forgiveness of my mom and dad was the key that opened up my spiritual beliefs because I got that the spirit wasn’t pulled into the body based on emotion. And then, when the spirit was free, and I was no longer angry at anyone for anything, I was able to envision what I was going to do, speak it, take notes, take action, and have it. 

And so, vision after vision, I would accomplish every goal with nothing pulling me back. So I knew that for me, the core of spiritual empowerment was mastery over forgiveness and completing anything from the past of other people or stories that we told ourselves about ourselves. Completing all that energy so we can come to a blank slate, free to create a future of anything that I design. 

So then I got that more important than money, it started to be my interest, in transformational work and doing healing and forgiveness with people. In Guatemala was the first Find Your Why, which was a one-day journey I went to a retreat actually for other people, and I was going to be receiving. 

What I got was that there were some arguments that took place, and their communication was not going so well at the retreat. I saw people in the retreat at night arguing with their lovers, and I would talk them through it. I realized, well, I could really make a difference by offering a forgiveness practice to this group. So at the end of the retreat, this is Eagle’s Nest, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, I let Greg, the owner of the retreat, know, I said, Hey, I noticed that this and this is going on, and I have forgiveness exercises that I’ve been teaching in small groups and one on one. I’d be willing to offer it for free for this group. 

And he said I’ll let you use the space for free as long as I can have some of my workers and my partners join. And I said, yeah, that’d be great. And so I thought that there might be three or four people when I spoke it out. A couple of people were like, yeah, that’d be great. I said, the next morning, 9 a.m., we’ll start. It’ll be a one-day experience. 

Thirteen people showed up. All but four people from the retreat. Two of the workers that were co-creating at Eagle’s Nest. So there are 13 people in a circle for my first workshop around forgiveness, and that’s what really started me on a path that there’s a heavy calling, a strong calling to complete and forgive the same way that it made a difference in my life, it’s been making a difference in others and I had more of an attraction, I got more of a payoff spiritually, and in my body and in my heart, than I did with any other paycheck, no matter how much money came in.

There were large amounts of money that was coming in, in the business and in real estate. And yet, what I got was that I didn’t care about the money in real estate. It was actually making homeowners’ dreams come true. It was helping families get into homes. From my poor background and not having a home, a family home until I was able to help my mom buy a home at 55 years old when she was 55. I realized it wasn’t the money; it was the fulfillment of getting a family and handing them the keys to the home. And the money I had no connection to. And so this transformational work and the transformational journey was really what lit me up.

And so then moving to Costa Rica, it was clear what I was meant to do. So, since 2014, I’ve been manifesting an all-inclusive retreat experience in Costa Rica. A place that I love, doing what I love, and bringing those two together. So that’s what has me here doing these practices. 

Jason Thomas:

Wow. The pieces that you’re talking about around forgiveness and the completion of old stories. it was one of the things that really attracted me to have you on the show because when I rebranded the podcast to Regeneration Nation Costa Rica, I wanted to move beyond what people are doing with their land projects and that business, which continues to be a theme.

I really wanted to anchor into these the overarching topic of regeneration and all of the things that come with that. You know, we’ve got regenerative agriculture projects. Sure, regenerative businesses, definitely, regenerative community projects, and that really leads into the socially regenerative aspects, and there’s this theme of regenerative entrepreneurship, and then there’s also social entrepreneurship within that.

 For me, it’s really drawing a lot of my work in cultural bridge building. Forgiveness. Is this bit about letting go of old stories? Really? They’re tied in with each other, and like you’re saying, it holds people back to be weighed down by all these old stories.

And I also am finding that cultural integration regional resilience, is really being held back oftentimes by stories that are keeping people separate from each other. So, I’m really excited about the work that you’re doing.

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. Thank you, brother. 

Jason Thomas:

So, let’s go a little bit deeper into the forgiveness piece. At these retreats that you have at the Mozen Temple, what are some of the practices that you guide people through in helping to release these old stories and forgive? And with that, you can share some of the tangible, transformational outcomes that people have with that.

Marcus Merlin:

If we look at where we are as human beings, as to where and why these stories are created and held so much in our body, Scientology calls it Engram. Other practices call them stories. The source is our fight or flight mechanism that, on a cellular level, every human is wired in at the core to survive. That’s what every cell is wired to do. Which is why we’re attracted to the sun, or we, hey, I’m calling for water. It’s to survive. So these stories are built in. At a high emotional state, something happens and it’s a super high emotional state, then we record it. We record a visual, and audio, and in our body. And then throughout life, when something reminds us, maybe it’s a person with a loud voice, or a big energy, or a sound, and coming back thousands of years ago, you hear a sound rustling in the jungle and all of a sudden you turn around, your friend’s gone. 

Okay, story, sound in the jungle, I hear this sound, there’s something dangerous coming, I know now, I’ve recorded this, grab your friends and run so we can survive. So, we record these things so that we can relive it and then it builds up our emotions to that same emotional state, so we’re reliving it, and this is what happens in our life. 

In order to remove them, I guide people through practices to bring us to that heightened state of awareness. 

The first day is a very soft day around forgiveness. I guide what I call transmeditation, or transmuting, through meditation. And I use a series of Wim Hof breathing and taking people on a visual journey when they’re at a heightened place in their subconscious. And I take them on a journey with me. To observe who and what we haven’t forgiven. So, everyone’s clear on who and what they haven’t forgiven on the first day. It’s a very soft three and a half days, and it works its way up. 

Then what we do is, start to do work on those first three to five people that we get the most trigger from. That there’s the most incompletion energy with, and we do series of light warrior initiation where we’re actually using healthy energy outlet, and loud music, and drums, and it’s a ceremony to bring us to that heightened state of emotion so we can relive the emotional state when we stored that story. 

Then we introduce shamanic work, where from that heightened emotional state, we’re actually speaking to the story. This is us speaking to the story. We use shamanic work, and then we’re the story speaking to us, and then we go back, and maybe it evolves into a person. 

I’ve done this work at times. When my blood dad passed away, I didn’t realize that I hadn’t forgiven God, and through doing the shamanic practices, I thought it was my dad I was angry at for leaving early. Then, it was a past lover. And then, when I got to the source, it was God that I hadn’t forgiven for taking away my dad. Through this work, I got that what was missing from me was a full trust in God and that rewriting the story was not what got branded in, but by rewriting it. What I got for myself is that, thank you, thank you, God, for taking my dad’s energy and trusting that you need him and his energy now for what’s going on in the planet and thank you for choosing him. 

So, I got to go to that space and rewrite the story so that it serves me. So, I’m in full trust for Creator, and I’m an actual thank you for what was a story that would bring my energy down. 

So, we do a series of some deep work like this, that leads us into a Mayan fire ceremony- a really built-up sacred fire, and we use the Mayan culture by adding in that everybody’s giving gifts and prayers to the fire. We’ve journaled and let go of all the energy that doesn’t serve by using a Native American work, using a red letter, a color of red, and dumping all the anger that doesn’t serve in writing. So we’re actually writing and scribing anything that doesn’t serve, and we’re letting it out. And then the final piece, we do a ceremony, we burn and let it all go. 

Each day has a journey of bringing more stuff up so we can scribe and let it go into a letter. And the very last piece of the Mayan fire ceremony, where we just let it go.

And then to retrain our minds since we know that we’re going to hold on to stories. So, let’s be conscious of what food. A story that we’re putting into our essence, our aura. So after letting it go and going through this work, we then, on the open fire, we’re cooking sweet foods of bananas and pineapple with cinnamon and a little honey. And after we’ve done that work, we’re all eating something sweet and succulent to put something sweet into our aura so we can retrain ourselves that it’s fun. 

It’s fun and light and free to do those journeys whenever it comes up as a lifestyle. Three months later. Wow, this is there. Let it go. Wow, something sweet and make a journey of letting things go and taking on and rewriting new stories and bringing sweetness in and giving ourselves a sweet treat for taking on this kind of work as a lifestyle. 

Jason Thomas:

Okay. Hey, you know. Merlin, for any listeners who aren’t familiar with shamanic work, or even people who are familiar with shamanic work of one tradition or another, can you describe a base for what you mean by bringing in shamanic principles and practices? 

Marcus Merlin:

I’m just going to speak from my opinion based on the word, right? Mozen is the Temple where we guide this work. Mozen stands for Magi of Zen. Magi is the original, astronomers and energy magicians from the East. So, as magicians, shamanism is a tool. 

The ability to move our spirit and guide other people’s spirits through different places in time. Shamanic work is the ability to move your spirit. Or, a shaman would be guiding other people’s spirits through different places in the past or in the future. So if we’re practicing shamanism, then we can move our spirit. 

For example, if anybody’s had the experience of going back and reliving a memory where it feels so real, like hugging someone we love and giving them love. Or moving into the future And seeing something so clear, a lover that’s coming into our life and embracing them and holding their hand, and we move Spirit, and we saw that, and then later on it happened. So there’s shamanism, which is to be able to move Spirit to different places and times. 

Jason Thomas:

A lot of what you were describing in the process of your retreat also reminds me of the Buddha’s four noble truths of acknowledging that pain exists. Let’s not hide it. Let’s bring it up. Let’s talk about it. It’s okay. It exists. And then, recognizing that clinging to those stories is the root of suffering or those pains, you know, identifying with that pain.

And then the fact that it can be released. That liberation is possible. And it really is as simple, not to say that it’s easy, but it’s as simple as being committed to releasing the attachment with those stories, and those sensations, and those identifications. 

Bringing in the sweetness part brings up other traditions that I’ve seen. That’s fairly common in some of the more ancient traditions or shamanic traditions that I’ve learned about in South America and so forth. And even in India, that’s pretty common in that part of the world, also, after having the ceremony to bring the sweetness into to ground and celebrate.

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah, and where else did we get the sweetness when we did something really good to celebrate? Your parents ever give you an ice cream, or a treat when you were doing good? Yeah. And so the big part of the journey is the final piece of what you said. I love that you brought in Buddhism, as I bring a lot of that in taking responsibility that we made this stuff up and owning it.

Like you started to smile when you said that like, yeah, like it’s there, if you can make fun of your stories, they don’t have any power over you. It’s like, whoa, I feel a little insecure. Sometimes, oh, am I good enough to be on this call and share what I’ve done? Like, there are people who have more experience than me. Are you good enough? These things come up. What do we do with it? I don’t really care if I’m good enough. I’m going to be present with this call, and I’m going to have more fun. That’s it. 

So, we can start to make fun of these stories so they have no power over us because some of the stuff we’re going to forgive and let it go – but we’re not going to forget these things. And when they start to creep up, if we just make fun of it, we’d be so transparent and so real, they’d have no power over us. 

Jason Thomas:

Yeah, and even circumstances that trigger those insecurities and discomforts and even fears. The circumstances that trigger these things in us, they’re just always going to keep being there. Like you were saying before our call, a hundred percent responsibility for the way that we are and how we relate to it is really what we have. How we put our focus, what aspect of that reality, what perception of that relative, what version of the story that we’re going to put our focus on and our attention on is the only thing that we can really control, and it makes all the difference.

Marcus Merlin:

And only when we take full responsibility for what we made up. Which also could be, I’m sorry, Mom for how I spoke to you growing up. I’m sorry, Dad, for these things I did. I’m sorry, past lover, for not keeping my word. Whatever is there, we take full responsibility, and only when we’re ready to take 100% responsibility, especially in the retreat.

And this is how I ran. This is how it came up in my life. So, the retreat is a mirror of my life in the last 10 years. Only when I took 100% responsibility for everything I did in my life, everything that I said that I have the power to get, that I’m now responsible for making up and creating how the rest of my life will go.

 We don’t start the next part of the retreat until everybody feels that they’ve taken full responsibility for everything they’ve said or done in their life. And we start the circle for who’s complete, who’s taken 100 percent responsibility, and we wait. And I won’t go to the next part of the retreat until everyone has taken 100 percent responsibility. 

Sometimes, it’s people taking responsibility for how they’ve shown up at the retreat. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that. And owning that was their breakthrough. So yeah, there’s the journey. 

And once we’ve taken full responsibility, the lightness, we connect with the inner child. We spend a whole day in an inner child ceremony. And we connect to that inner child, that thing that we said we would do, that we always wanted to do. Some people are connecting to their inner pirate. Some people remember that they love just to climb trees and sit high in a tree. Like, there’s those little passions as a kid, because I believe that if we can reignite those passions, and this is where we can flow into regenerating people’s projects, from the inner child space, the next day, we connect with our why.

I guide a trance meditation that connects everybody to their why, their purpose, or what makes their heartbeat. They’re the driving force. That thing that answers all the questions as to why, Why did we do that project? Why am I doing retreats here? if I’m doing a retreat and I’m in the world of how much work it is, then I’m not underneath the why because I’m not doing the healing work for the money, or for the extra space, or for the free time. It’s seeing people’s faces after they’ve done the journey and let things go. And when I connect to the why, it lights me up, and my energy is infinite. 

So, we connect to that why- why we did it in the first place, why we said we were going to do that regeneration, that project, that build, whatever that is. And the project is just a what. That’s just the passion game. And sometimes, when it’s not, we don’t have the passion behind it. It’s because we forgot why we made that game up in the first place. 

Jason Thomas:

Okay. So then, yeah, let’s use that transition because I think there’s a lot of people that they know why they’ve started their dream project, you know, and we can frame it a little bit of around regenerative focused businesses or initiative organizations that are developed. And people know they want to do good work in the world.

They want to affect change. They’re willing to take that entrepreneurial spirit and invest money, invest time, invest their identity, and go all in, and many times, especially with these altruistic aims that aren’t designed around selling a thneed, right? Selling some product just to make money to sell a product when there’s all this dream and benefit to others in the world behind it.

It seems like the financially regenerative piece can escape some people. And so that’s something else that you wanted to bring up is making these dream projects financially regenerative because that’s what the world really needs right now is for more of these projects to thrive so that we can have others to connect with confidently and continue to have the personal power to lift each other up collectively.

 So, what kind of guidance or process would you bring someone through to get to that place?

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. Perfect. I love it. So, how do we stand in a future fulfilled so that we’re walking in our dreams? 

 Once we connect with the why, it’s really crystal clear as to why we created that game. Everyone’s clear on their why. Why they’re here and what their purpose is. 

From there, we’re creating a passion game because we don’t need these businesses. All we need is food, water, and love, and some shelter. The rest is a game. It’s a game to play until we’re plant food. And as long as that passion game is in alignment with our purpose, then in my life, it’s in our sage path. So one thing to check into is if somebody is starting a regenerative business, and they’re not connected to their why, if it’s for money, it’s not going to align. 

That passion game, in my opinion, must align with their purpose. Because when our passion game is aligned with our purpose, then it’s in our sage path. There’s nothing stopping it except for us and what we made up. 

If our passion game lights us up and it is in alignment with our why… for example, if we’re looking to bring regenerative practices- organic fruits that don’t have any pesticides, and we want to bring that to the market so people have a choice, then that’s our purpose because we want people to be able to eat things that are fully organic with no pesticides, and we want to be profitable, for example. 

If our why is so people can eat healthy things without having any chemicals in their bodies, and it’s fully aligned with their purpose, then that’s the game. 

For it to be profitable and thrive, number one, does it align with our why? And if that’s a yes, then there are two things that I’ve seen get in the way. Number one is fun. Children love fun. Are we keeping it fun? Okay. Are we having fun doing what we’re doing? If we’re cleaning stuff up and we’re pruning and we’re getting things up, are we bringing music? Are we huddling up and having a river swim in the morning and putting some ritual mud on our faces?

Are we having fun doing it? If it’s not fun, our inner child is not going to be content. Fun is the background. It’s what gets underneath and tickles the purpose to keep playing. 

Jason Thomas:

And it’s magnetizing! 

Marcus Merlin:

It’s magnetizing. People want to play with fun. If you’re at a gathering and you look over and there’s a bunch of people laughing and having fun, you’re like, Uh, I’m really appreciating this conversation, but I want to go over there.

 So if we are anchored in fun, it’s going to attract. It’s going to, when we talk about it, it’s going to be fun. Now, for it to be profitable, we want to look at What is profit to us?

Sometimes, we confuse that profit with what we need to make this kind of money, but that might not be what our core is. So we want to look at what profit is. And then, from that space, create how we’re going to get there. 

So what we do is we sit down. I got some work from the Entrepreneur Organization of San Francisco, which was only offered to million-dollar businesses. And it costs a lot of money. And I like to bring that to the retreat. We spent a day and a half doing that work, and that’s the how.

At your gathering, you touched on some of these what’s and how’s, so I really aligned with the practices. Now, we go into bringing that into a spiritual practice where once we’ve done shamanic work at the retreat, we’re meditating and we bring, I bring a meditation that has us manifest and bring our spirit 10 years in the future, seven, five, three, one year in the future. Where are we going to be? Who do we see ourselves as around as a dream team? 

Where is our passion project going to be one year from now? And then we unfold from the future. I have everybody practicing standing in the future. So, twelve months from now, where is that going to be? Okay, here’s the income. I’m going to have two team members. I’m going to have two ferias to be selling fruits. And I’m going to have an online produce. And I’m going to be selling some juices for people doing juicing for detoxes for all the leftover stuff. And that’s what it’s going to look like one year from now. 

That’s what I visualize because we’ve manifested, we’ve seen it, and we scribe it, and we write it out. And then, nine months, six months, three months, where are we going to be? 

And then, at the retreat, we’re right here in the now. We know where we’re going to be a year from now, nine months, six months, so how do we get from where we’re at now?

We take baby steps. From now on, for the next three months, what does each week look like? That’s our how. I create a road map of how we’re going to get to the fulfillment of our passion game. We start with the first three months at a quarter to get us 30 percent of the way, 25 percent of the way of where we’re going to be one year from now that’s in alignment with the 10-year goal. 

Jason Thomas:

So, it starts with the why, but the path on how to get there requires design. Some people find difficulty stopping themselves from just doing the next exciting thing. Like no, actually we need to take sufficient time to really design this intelligently.

For me and the people I work with, the permaculture design principles and the permaculture design process are applicable to the business realms, and all of the different elements have applications within the digital and person-to-person interactions that come with business.

 Definitely,, that’s one of the often missing ingredients. And it was for me when we first started our project. It took us years of trial and error and scrambling before we stopped, closed the doors, wrote our community living agreements, wrote our shareholding guidelines, and wrote our standards of operations. So that we could even have a fruition center manager come in and run the place and take those off our hands because we actually took the time to write all that out and be able to effectively communicate it to other people that we wanted to help. 

We wanted people to help, and they’re like, Cool, I’m here. What do you do? Or what do I do? And then it’s like, ah, and then you just grab the like first burning fire and put it in their hands. And be like, here, put this out or whatever. 

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. Yeah. 

Jason Thomas:

We’ve been wanting to do this obvious thing that’s right in front of us. Let’s just get that done instead of…

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s exactly it. So, I call it a written manifesto- a map like the road map. Because we manifest it, we see it, and we’re capturing what we saw. I don’t tell anybody anything. I guide them to see what they’re seeing in their passion game. Have people keep having fun with their inner child. Then, we do some work around the dream team because this project takes a team to be fulfilled. This is my belief. If you can do it on your own, it’s not a big enough game. We typically need a team.

Marcus Merlin:

So, that team must have clear roles. So, put that dream team together and have really clear roles as to who they are and what role they play in the game. And so putting together a dream team, we transform the energy at the first part of the retreat. So that no matter what takes place in our life, we’re an honest to God thank you. 

Maybe I’ve triggered you. Maybe you’ve triggered me. Can we be a thank you because that showed us something that, whoa, I’m putting too much meaning to this? And this person is actually really amazing and I put other meaning behind what they said or who I thought they were. So accountability is a big underlying force inside of a dream team.

It’s a powerful accountability buddy who is not the person that you want to say that you didn’t do something that you said you would. It’s going to be that person that’s going to be like, no, wait, hold on. So, we make a strong accountability partner inside the dream team. 

Jason Thomas:

Yeah. Yeah. The team. And, like I said, when we created our shareholding member guidelines, that was a big thing. We had people come in to be part of it, even like that, wanted to buy into the project or whatever, and be part of the land cooperative. Again, they had questions, and we’re like, ah, we think like this, but we didn’t want to make all the decisions on the roles and what’s expected of everyone because we wanted to co-create that together.

And that’s a fairly common approach for a lot of people because it’s a lot of work to map out all that stuff. And once we started mapping that out and started identifying the organizational structure, it gave people something to land on, something to even start the conversation with.

 It’s the same for any business venture that wants a team.

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah, and then clarifying those rules, which it’s also a part of manifesting, some people get stopped on creating that dream team because they’re like, I don’t know. I don’t know. 

The way that I learned it is if you got this passion game and you’re like, you’re really excited about it, but all the “what if” that is stopping energy to list those- What if I don’t have all the money for this. I don’t know how actually to reinvent soil. I don’t know how to create a website. Then group those together, and that becomes your dream team.

Call out to the world. I’m looking for these what-ifs. Cause all the things that I don’t know, and even if you know how to do them, and you’ve got a lot of experience, Jason, so I know you’re going to like this one. Even if you know how to do them, those things that you don’t love to do become your dream team to take away the things that you don’t love to do. Even though you know how to do them, you’re not excited about it. It doesn’t light you up because somebody’s going to be super excited like, Oh, I’ve been waiting for someone that needs me because I love these things. Give them that. And let me do what I love. And then everyone’s doing what they love, earning abundance, doing what they love. And it shifts the energy of our passion game. Because if we’re doing what we love, we never work a day in our life. 

Jason Thomas:

Yeah, and it goes back to the permaculture principles of designing from patterns to details. Looking at those patterns of what you’re not good at, what’s not getting done, what’s consuming your time that anybody or other people could do to free you up from doing your zone of genius.

Those are patterns that we see in our lives that are keeping us from the next step of our evolution or our contribution, and from those patterns, we can design the details.

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. That’s exactly it. Here’s another piece that’s coming up is we can have this forgiveness, this completion, and once we have a clear path, I think you can relate to this because no matter how powerful we get, no matter how great we get at fulfilling dreams, fulfilling goals and doing what we said, every one of us is going to get stopped at times. 

The magic is to be so vulnerable with ourselves and vulnerable with our team that it’s our superpower behind it all. Everything that I teach and everything that I learned. To be able to master, to be a space of nothing, was where all guidance took me to Buddhism, ista, Landmark, and certain spiritual books. I did my own journeys.

Native American work, when you’re burning and letting things go, you don’t come out of the sweat until you’re in a space of nothing, whatever there is to let go. And to stay in that energy space of nothing when things do come up, what I’ve found is to be so vulnerable and so honest. 

If there’s an insecurity as to why you’re not playing a game, or a fear to call investors because, well, I don’t know, my project isn’t big enough, or this and that. Whatever it is, to be so pure and so vulnerable and so honest with your accountability buddy or somebody starts with yourself, and then someone else to guide you to push through it. Because that’s what I see stopping most games, is people putting this mask on, acting like they have it all worked out. 

However, if we’re not willing to be vulnerable about what is stopping us, and we’re gonna act like nobody can tell what the universe is listening for, I’m gonna create this game.

But we have a thought of, like, I don’t know if it’s gonna work because I don’t know how to pull in a dream team. It stops. Your game is stopped. The future is not fulfilled because you weren’t willing to address, “I have a fear that I don’t know how to put in a dream team because my game is not big enough and I’ve never done this before.” 

And be so honest, even when you’re building your team, I don’t know how to do it. I love that I’ve talked to some people, and they’re so humble, and I tell myself I want to pick this up. I actually do sometimes. It’s like, I don’t know how to build an 80-foot greenhouse. I’ve never done it. We had a 20 by 20 in California with my mom a little garden. I don’t know how to build a greenhouse, but I bring in people that show me how to do it, and I’ve got something thriving right now, and I don’t know what I’m doing. 

I’m learning every day, and there are so many people who know so much more than me. But I’m having fun, and I’m digging in the dirt who wants to play in the dirt? You know? And just be so honest and so real and it allows people to connect with our humanity. 

Jason Thomas:

Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing to be passionate about. And with that passion, this is another one of those fine-line pieces, right? You mentioned the strength of consistent action as a path toward manifesting your dream with power. You wanna manifest this thing, you just gotta keep going.

You gotta stay consistent. Perseverance is one side of that coin. So maybe you want to talk a little bit about that balance between consistent action as a path toward manifesting with clarity and where taking time to get that clarity is so we don’t go too far in a direction that’s not serving us.

Marcus Merlin:

Two things come up. Number one, the consistency is key. Like I love that you, and I see that in you, I see like the people that I planted here in Costa Rica you’re consistent. You might let go of certain projects, but I get that you’re choosing it. So you can be consistent and really show up in the ones that you’re passionate about. And I think that cycle is so important for us to get that sometimes we might choose not to give up or quit. It’s a big difference. 

Choose to let go of certain things and be a sacred no for now so we can be fully free and show up consistently and powerfully for the things that were heaven yes for and be consistent at that. 

And look, if we’re not being consistent at things, we gotta ask ourselves, are we scared? Or are we just not passionate about it? Are we lazy? Scared? Or are we just not passionate about it? Why is it not happening? And be so honest with ourselves. And be willing to choose to let go of things that we’re not passionate about as long as we’re not quitting on ourselves.

It’s just not passionate. We let it go. Be a no for now. So we can connect with the thing that we are passionate about and give our all to. 

When we’re a heaven yes for something, it’s like Christmas day. When you wake up for Christmas day, you’re not like, hit the snooze button, I’m just going to relax today. You’re like, wait a minute, the day is starting, it’s Christmas!

What do we want to do for our passion game that we’re committed to? How do we make them more fun so that we do want to be consistent? Right? 

Is it reading this project and doing this detailed stuff that’s stopping us? Well, maybe, Ooh, I like cacao and sitting on a hammock and the beach. Okay, three times a week, I’m going to sit in a hammock and have a cacao, and I’m going to spend 90 minutes of focus time doing that thing that I was stopped, but I’m going to shift the energy into fun. 

 I’ve mastered getting people clear and letting go of what’s stopping them. Crystallizing their purpose and a well-written out passion game of how they’re going to get there. A clear vision of the 10-year, seven, and five, and how they’re going to get to the one year when they leave the retreat. 

Marcus Merlin:

There was a book, I think, called Psycho Cybernetics. It’s a really beautiful book for mindset shifting, for anybody looking to read a mindset shift. The new Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. He spoke about how humans have the snapback effect. We’re in this expanded space of, like, I’m so ready to play, and people leave the retreat literally flying.

They’re so light, a glow in their eyes. They’re lit up. And then a month or two later, the snapback, we go back to those things. That’s why I believe in this work of forgiveness, of being honest about the stories, burning and letting it go, letting the energy go, making fun of the stories, being vulnerable about it, and getting back in the game and playing. Well, having a powerful accountability partner, being a part of a group, I think you have a group where people are, you have calls that light people up consistently and bring focus to what lights us up. Well, what could we let go of? And that consistency is everything. That accountability. If we can bring vulnerability to that accountability of being vulnerable to what is stopping us, then we know what to let go of and give it no power. While taking consistent action into what does serve us. 

Jason Thomas:

Yeah. You brought up the group calls and this accountability, and I think you’re referring to the Land Stewards Mastermind that we were doing at the beginning of the year. That season has closed, but what I really learned in doing that mastermind, and others before it that I’ve participated in, is that we can get very stuck in our own patterns in our own limited viewpoints, our own limited perspectives, and we often will continue creating from there, even as a small team. Sometimes, we can be locked in the identification dynamic of that small group. 

But, when we open up to be vulnerable like you’re saying, with a committed group of individuals that really are there for the purpose of supporting each other- reflecting to each other on expanding perspective. These mastermind groups are tremendously beneficial because you get this commitment of, say, 11 others that are there when it’s your turn to share what you’re working on and get reflections. Getting 11 other peers to honestly give reflection as to what they see, what gaps, and what patterns of languaging are immensely beneficial. 

Just sitting in one session and getting 11 peers to really reflect back to you their version of what they hear you say and what might be missing or what might be helpful is something you almost can’t get by yourself. Or, if you could, it’ll take a decade or two to gather all those perspectives through life experiences different from the one that you’re embodying at that moment.

So yeah, there’s a lot of power in that.

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah. 

Jason Thomas:

Well, I think we touched on a lot of the pieces we came together to talk about, Merlin. I really appreciate, sharing what your retreats are about and this passion. I personally have taken a lot of what you’ve talked about and been kind of translating into my head around the cultural bridging piece and how so many connections are just potently available in all of our regions between neighbors who simply haven’t explored the potency, the potential of being in proximity to each other because of stories. Because of limiting perceptions of those people of a different culture are like this, and I don’t identify with that, so therefore we have less to talk about. 

Or even identifying we both have the same desire or goal, but your way of doing it is so much different than mine, then I don’t even know how to show up to a conversation with you. Right? And it’s a veil. It’s illusory. Once it’s put down, once it’s forgiven and released, it’s not there anymore. 

I went to the association of development meeting here in the pueblo with that openness, and it brought so many gems and gifts of openness. 

 I got invited into a conversation about how to create a regenerative enterprise in the pueblo. The topic came up like, yeah, we in our village have been here for so long amidst each other that we’ve only got so many ideas, but then there’s all of you foreigners that have so many ideas that are so different than ours.

We don’t even know how to connect, but then the window opened of me just being present for their meeting, letting go of the thoughts of like, oh my gosh, I’m going to sit here and listen to them talk about a bunch of stuff that I find unimportant because it’s not relative to me. 

I showed up anyhow with curiosity and playfulness, and it welcomed these amazing connections that now I’m being invited to have conversations that, while aren’t on the pretense of being progressively focused, inherently because of who I am when those conversation moments come, progressive ideas are going to flow, but not in a place of being like, “Hey, let me have a meeting with you so I can tell you my progressive things.”

It was me being curious and open and engaging that got me invited, with whatever package I come with to be included. So, that inclusiveness came with that curiosity and playfulness, and they no longer saw me as somebody who has different ideas. They saw me as someone who showed up and didn’t resist showing up because I thought I was different.

Marcus Merlin:

That’s beautiful, man. That’s the beautiful thing about this country. I love the people right here in Costa Rica. They’re so warm and open to newness. They embrace it like a thank you. They’re an honest thank you for coming, like, we’re glad you’re here. 

Yeah, beautiful, man. I’d love to hear more later on what you’re doing with Bridging Cultures and if I can help out. Now you know a little more about my background on those. I’m very much interested in that and giving back time to help regenerative villages and pueblos and then whatever I can sprinkle. That’s a fun conversation for me.

 The Find Your Why, for me, is the gateway to giving everyone freedom from the past and a clear path for where they want to go. So the way I see this is bringing in families doing this work. People start a business and bring it in the whole team.

 If we don’t spend 25 percent of our time working on that thing, and we’re just working in it, we’re in that hamster wheel, there’ll be no change. And you said this earlier, what shifted your businesses in the past was stopping, closing the doors, and working on it. 

So, where I see it is people with a very big project, a very big game, maybe it’s multi-world and different countries. To bring the team together and do this retreat would give everybody on the same page and everybody a really clear game. 

There’s a big game that everybody would have, and each person’s role would be what role they play in the big game to get to the finish line. To get to the end game at the same time. So, I see bringing this to groups to practice these exercises, to practice being in community. And when it works out, and we have the right team and the right culture strong, then what we’re doing is, some people are coming back a second time and a third time this year. 

 We’re putting together partners to actually accumulate a larger piece of land that people can live together, who walk a walk of forgiveness, taking responsibility for what they said and did, connecting to their inner child, playing their passion game, being a thank you for being held accountable and doing what they love. 

Just imagine a village and a community of people owning that mindset and practicing that. And so that’s the vision of where I see this going and giving it away more and more. as it grows. 

Jason Thomas:

Beautiful vision. Let’s make it happen. So I think we’ve got at least a few people convinced to know more about Find Your Why and, other stuff you’re into. Where can people find you? How can they learn more?

Marcus Merlin:

Yeah, the easiest is www.findyourwhy.info. 

 The next one is here in Costa Rica. We have three other amazing co creators, very balanced, too feminine, too masculine. 

We’re going to hike up into the Diamante Cave and connect with our purpose in the waterfall. While we’re blessed with the water going over us. We have an inner child ceremony. Sacred fire. The next one is going to be very powerful, putting in more time for people to just kind of process and learn and self discover what’s coming up.

This next Find Your Why is going to be March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day here in Costa Rica.

Oh, also, for single parents, single mothers, and single fathers, I do have a 50 percent scholarship that I offer. And for Ticos, Costa Ricans, it’s a 12 day experience. Whatever you’re earning per day, that’s what you pay for the 12 day experience. So, I have one scholarship there, equal exchange of what you are earning to what you pay. And then, single parent, a 50 percent scholarship that I would love to offer to a single mom, a single dad raising a child. I would love to offer that. 

Jason Thomas:

Beautiful offering. Thanks so much, buddy. We will be in touch on many more levels and projects to come. For now, thank you for coming to the call, and we’ll sign off.

Marcus Merlin:

Thank you, brother. Have a beautiful day. Ciao. 

Jason Thomas:

Ciao. 

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