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Loneliness of a Visionary Leader

This week I’m offering an audio version. Let me know if you prefer this. Enjoy!

From a very young age I have always chosen my own path. And when I was young, that meant listening to my own intuition of what was right or wrong. I had help from scriptures, ancient texts, nature. I reverberated truth always. Truth always spoke the loudest in my ear and in my body, and I stood for truth always. I can count on one hand the amount of times I lied in life and it didn’t feel good.

In becoming an adult, I continued to reverberate truth which is quite inconvenient for most. Seriously. At the end of the day, it is more convenient for others to go along with what we are doing. It’s easier for us. In personal relationships, it would be easy for people to do what I say, especially since my moral compass has always pointed north. And yet, my right isn’t always convenient. Often the path of truth is inconvenient.

When living with others, I wanted roommates and spouses to do the dishes like I did dishes because it was water-saving, time-saving and the dishes dried quickly. But, my way of doing dishes isn’t the only way. There are hundreds of ways to do dishes. And we see this in leadership as well. There are hundreds, thousands, millions of ways to lead a group of people. Not all are beneficial for the people, but it’s still possible. What’s killing me, is that when we step back and examine our history, many of our leaders have led in selfish interests. And yet, we continue to choose the same types of leaders. So, it begs to question, who is the guilty party? The selfish leader or the people who elected him (this same character or archetype) over and over?

For me, leadership has always been an individual and often lonely path. I haven’t often subscribed to what others said was right. I grew up being taught that all good women grow up, go to college, find a husband, have kids, and serve in the church. I tried it. It didn’t feel right. I felt more and more guilt doing that.  When I met my ex-husband, I was at a place where I knew how do things well and maintain a house in an easy flow. I expected that when I got married, my husband would eat what I cooked, would workout with me, we would enjoy each other’s company, and all would be good. But that’s not what happened. It brought on more guilt because he didn’t subscribe to the same ideas of relationship that I subscribed to. I thought that if I checked all the boxes I was told to check, I would have a happy life. Conforming was the deepest misery for me. As a visionary, someone who paves my own path, it didn’t fit.

I understand our American systems, all that I have studied anyway, and how they intersect. Now there will always be pieces of the puzzle that no leader can fully understand until they are in a situation. Certainly in American politics, most of the decisions are made behind closed doors, in secret. And yet, we expect politicians to subscribe in a specific way so that we can decide how we feel about them. We want to check those boxes. As if a politician would even make decisions based on the answers! Unfortunately for our past, leaders have made decisions based on who was in the room at the time, based on their core values. What do they stand for? Who do they stand for?

We’ve been convinced that politics is a zero-sum game with a winner and a loser. And this is how politicians operate in Congress and the White House today. This is the truth of how politics works currently. But, just like those dishes, its not the only way to operate. We can choose to do things differently. There does not have to be a winner and loser. Our leaders could have the needs of every American in mind when making decisions.

This non-zero-sum game where there are winners all around hasn’t been seen in politics in my lifetime, and not in America at all. But there have been examples of great leaders throughout history who are thoughtful, compassionate, no-nonsense to ensure that their people are always taken care of. I would argue that we cannot continue forward without a visionary leader today. If we continue to choose a Democrat or Republican who decides that their party politics as usual is just fine, we will continue the path we’ve already paved, with the same dead-end results for one group of Americans or another.

The way forward is not the way we are doing things. And yet, we all want to hear simple stances, simple yes or no votes on an issue. What’s my stance on abortion, on vaccinations, on war? I would ask, what is best for all Americans? Of course, every person in America right now just wants their issue heard because there is no stability. We are used to leaders serving selfishly so we fight among one another for a sliver of support from our elected leaders. A visionary leader doesn’t have all of the answers, but she engages with each issue, with each deep-rooted problem intelligently and with presence of mind. She brings experts to the table to examine the whole of an object before making decisions. She isn’t interested in party politics, she is interested in solving problems for the American people of whom she is sworn to serve and protect.

And while this may seem scary to step in a direction that leaves behind the corruption and self-serving party politics, it’s the only way we will survive as a nation. Different is good and different is the only path that will bring us different results. We complain; we argue; we cry; some are violent because this corrupted way of politicking is hurting the very essence of who we are as humans.

We have lost the art of conversation, of community, of valuing humanity in the name of fighting for our individual security. As a visionary, I know that individual efforts have gotten us nowhere. We must come together as a nation, trust that our leader is valuing every American, and we must individually take actions that support the United States of America. This path forward recognizes that not one cause will solve our issues. Not one piece of legislation will solve our deep-rooted issues in this country. This path forward requires all of us to link arms and to walk the path forward together.

My lonely path of leadership has been one of choice and sometimes necessity. To travel our 48 continental states, I couldn’t be held to another. To value education above all, I couldn’t stay tied to one location. To learn all the qualities necessary of a visionary and conscious leader, I couldn’t remain in one community. Yet, through it all, the time for loneliness and solitude has passed. The time to lock arms and ask others to walk forward with me has come. I am a woman who stands on my pillars of truth, justice, responsibility to the people. As you get to know me, you will find that I am one to trust, one to lock arms with.

For those other visionaries, those out doing the work in our communities, I am here to lock arms and lift you up. Reach out and let’s talk. I want to learn from you about the very specific issues you are solving. Remember, a great leader of all 330 million Americans cannot be an expert in one specific cause. She must be a leader that recognizes the necessity of all causes. Teach me, walk with me. Let’s lift one another up.

And for those living the American life and struggling for security in your home, at your job, and in your mind, I am asking you to believe. Believe that different is possible. Believe that your choices, your conformity also maintain the direction we are heading. Believe in the desires of one woman who wants the best for all Americans. Say yes to be my friend. Say yes to curiosity. Say yes to pondering your part in paving a new path that values you and your family. Because what we are experiencing currently is not it. It will always be, “Just the way it is.” until we decide that we want something different and act on it. The beauty of the foundation of our country, is that we have the choice to choose the path forward. Find a vision for yourself and believe its possible. Why do you matter? Why do your children matter? Why does the United States matter to you?

Raising a glass to our collective rising as a United States of America. I will continue to hold my vision of our greatest angels within and I will continue to do the work daily to embody my vision for us all. Will you join me?

Send me a line and let me know you hear me.

Love from your sister,

Crystal Bergfield

Just a woman with a dream

Over the last several weeks, I have found myself carrying extra stress. I’m sure you can imagine, and I’m sure you can relate. Here’s the thing, as a woman with a degree in psychology and as a yogi, I have figured out how to manage and eliminate the side effects of stress quite well. I understand that when we put expectations on ourselves or others, it builds our stress output.

Think about this: You are a young woman who enjoys playing basketball with the guys; you love the competition and have fun. All is good, no stress. Well, then some of the girlfriends of the guys show up and they start rumors and attack you for trying to take their men. Or, conversely, the guys start picking you last when their girlfriends are around. When this happens, one can build stress in a few different ways. We can stick our middle finger up, keep playing or even find a new place to play. We can also begin to judge ourselves because of the judgement from others. Is what I’m wearing a problem? Maybe I shouldn’t talk to the guys. Maybe I shouldn’t play with the guys. How do I get the girlfriends to like me? All of these new thoughts are not part of who this young woman is, but she began allowing the judgements of others to define her and to shape how she speaks and acts.

This is one way that we take on stress, often unknowingly. Well, in the last month or so, I started getting in my own head. I started thinking that I wasn’t enough because others have been on the judgement piece. I started editing my words and actions so that I could manage how others would react to me. And of course, that began to physically manifest in nausea and sleepiness. Yikes! What a trail to travel. I DO NOT recommend it. *The only way out is to remind yourself daily of your worth. And if you don’t know your worth, reach out. I’ll help you see it!

One beauty I have realized is that we as humans are potential energy. As we stand today, we have all of the energy and drive inside to become whatever it is that we want to become, if we decide that we can actually become it and we do the work to achieve it. Often the greatest battle is not with others, but with our own inner demons. As a woman on the growth path, I have been slaying dragons this week! When I have to address my own doubt, I take a break to breathe, to come back to center and find my truth once again.

I firmly believe that our personal truth is the pillar that we stand on. And when we step off the pillar of our truth because others don’t see it, it is vital to our drive and path to stop and re-center. So what is my truth that I had to come back to?

I am a woman with a simple dream. My dream is that all my neighbors, friends and family can live in a society that is supportive and intelligently governed. (I did say simple, not easy) I grew up studying other cultures, learning about ancient civilizations, and finding the greater truths offered by those great ones who came before. I learned about Einstein, Tesla, Curie, Earhart, Lincoln, King, and more. All of the people I admire have used their intellect and their heart’s desire to serve humanity. And frankly, there is nothing more I desire than to serve humanity.

I’ve never been excited about flashy new things or brand name clothing. Instead, I’ve always been driven through life by service to others. Along the way, I studied and observed. I took in the world around me, building the pillar under me as I learned with each lesson.

For example, I worked in many underserved communities and found that justice is part of my pillar on which I stand. By experiencing the difficulties of having to jump through hoops to get grant money just to serve lunch to children, I found that the systems were not always just. That really bothered me. And while I didn’t stick around and continue serving in that particular community, I did take the lesson with me. I took that injustice I saw and I stood on the truth that justice is vital to community survival.

As I witness the media and all the unhappy people attacking really wonderful human beings for every little mistake they make, it’s disappointing and it’s stressful. It’s disappointing to see who we have become as a society when we no longer value kindness, generosity and community. Instead we value fame, fortune and pain.

And in my last few weeks of coming back to center, I have found new value. What I know is that when the world is darkest, it is important for people like myself to shine our light to the world. I am an example of a flawed human being who has a dream and is willing to do the very hard work to achieve it. Will I be president? I think so, but that’s not the point. The point is that by shining my light and being my authentic self, I am lighting the flame for others around me. For all of those who do not feel comfortable with the way things are in our country, for all of my brothers and sisters who are afraid to wave your flag of difference because it hurts to be attacked, and for all of those with a bright light within, I am here to spark your flame.

May my dream spark your dream. May my light guide you toward your inner light. You are here for a reason. You have purpose. And I ask you to hold on. Keep working toward your dream. Keep your light alive. Cheers to learning, growing and becoming all that we are meant to be.

WE CAN HEAL OUR DIVISION AND I’M READY TO BEGIN

As I continue to follow my path, take steps toward becoming president, the world evolves around me. What was once impossible (social media) is now a regular communication habit. Deep inadequacies are confronted and healed. As I work internally on becoming, our country continues to show symptoms of disease. As a scientist and a healer, I see our state of being as a collection of symptoms. Gun violence is a symptom of instability, mentally and physically. When our lives are threatened, many react by threatening the lives of others. The division among us is also a symptom of instability. When we do not have our basic human needs being met and our leaders are telling us to blame a particular group, we do. Politicians are like parents in this instance, where their direction is heeded regardless of the outcome. The lack of clean water, clean air and the degradation of our planet is a symptom that we are unattached and unaware of the needs of the planet. We don’t see the value in our planet, which means that we don’t know our own value. We cannot survive without it. These are just a few symptoms, but the point is that when we see the symptoms, we can begin to search out the roots and address them holistically.

When I took a course to learn Ayurveda, the oldest holistic healing system known to man, the teacher broke down disease. We often think of it as something uncurable, a disorder of structure or function according to the dictionary. This teacher made it super simple: dis-ease. Disease is simply dis   ease within the body, mind or spirit. The goal of Ayurveda and of the individual then is to find ease, evenness, balance. When we approach disease with this simplicity, we can more clearly see the necessary actions needed to support finding balance.

When I decided to heal my acid reflux disease, I approached it with this method of finding balance. The pills never felt right for me, and honestly I find it an assault when I watch the commercials that show someone popping a heartburn pill and then eating a chili cheese dog. The Chili Cheese dog is the problem, not your body! Anyway, I began to do research on what causes acid reflux and found that red meat was a big cause. So I did an experiment: I cut red meat out of my diet and observed the results. Holy shit it worked! It wasn’t me, it was the meat. Well, it wasn’t just the meat. After cutting meat and feeling much better, I happened upon another cause. In addressing my PTSD, I found a lot of anger and rage stored away which caused many physical responses in my body. As I began to systematically address each of these issues, my digestion improved and I was feeling lighter, more balanced and freer. Of course, there is always balance to be found in an unstable world, so my work continues.

I am a rare bird who loves to learn, grow, heal and lead. I’ve found that by healing my own stuff I can teach others to do the same. And it just so happens that I’ve also studied our systems and their roots. Our country needs healing right now. It needs stability. But until we the people are educated on these systems and how they affect us, we will never start addressing the dis-ease in our country. As long as we can conveniently blame someone else for our problems, it stops us from addressing our contributions. And let’s face it, as humans, we are communal beings. We are meant to live together and learn from one another. If we weren’t, we’d develop in a shell, without the need of shelter, food, or security and come out as full grown warriors.

We need one another. We need one another. We need one another. We are all Americans and we have to solve our toughest issues together. If our leadership is not willing to set aside party politics for the greater good, women (and men) like myself will step forward. Leaders, healers, researchers, humanitarians, teachers, we all just want to help.

I am using my unique experiences and skill set to do everything I can from an Ayurvedic approach, because I want to. I have experienced so many things in my young life and at this point in history, nothing seems more important than addressing our collective good. We have hit a fork in the road. We can face our problems head on and use teamwork to solve them, or we can turn our backs and pretend to be surprised when the world no longer supports our life or the lives of our future generations. It’s a choice we all have to make together.

Now, since I’m all about balance and systematic approaches, I’ve created a curriculum that I’m excited to share with you all! I will be launching it next week. Remember, I’m a teacher, a healer, a scientist. I have taken hundreds of courses on our society, our government, the human body and mind, and everything in between. I am offering my teachings, all of my knowledge and wisdom to my American sisters and brothers for free. I see the urgency. I recognize how important it is for us to 1st see the symptoms before we can address the roots and solve problems. I’m excited to share with you all and cannot wait for the journey to unfold. If you didn’t go to college, if you didn’t have economics or civics class, if you didn’t give a shit before now, join me! Come learn, share and grow. I promise that if we all show up and learn, we can swiftly eradicate the bullshit swirling around in our country and create foundations that are just, equitable and responsible. Knowledge is power my friends and my heart’s greatest desire (besides serving) is to share my power with you all!

Let’s do this!

P.S. I’m thinking about creating a Justice League to join with those other superheroes who are among us, ready to lead. What do you think?

Running for President as a Working Class Woman

Our founding fathers set forth a vision for our country. Flawed as they may have been, their intentions were clear: to set forth a new path, free of tyranny. A government of the people, for the people and by the people. The Constitution set forth only 3 rules for running for president: must be 35 years old, a natural born citizen and a resident for 14 years or more. They did not say the president must be a politician, must be of a political party, must have a huge bank account. In fact, our founding fathers wrote our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with the intention of freeing themselves and our country from corruption and greed. They were in the same situation we find ourselves in today.

And it is this situation that we find ourselves in, being governed by corruption and greed; money making decisions that continue to weaken our basic human rights. It is this situation that awakens the better angels within us; these times awaken patriots like myself to stand and speak for justice and liberty for all. Those like myself, like the hundreds of first-time candidates who ran in 2018, like our forefathers and mothers who stood up when our nation beckoned, without political experience, paving a way for humanity to govern in this land. And yet, today we find ourselves voting for a president based on their bank account and their connections to other bank accounts. We haven’t had a president who has lived the life of Americans in over 100 years. We’ve been sold a lie that financially successful people are the best leaders.

For as long as I can remember we have determined success by one’s bank account. Those with the most money in this country have been deemed the most successful. In fact, our current president gained his following because of his perceived financial success. People think, ‘oh he’s made money, he will know how to fix our country’.

Money makes the world go round, right?? Certainly we are taught to believe this from a very young age. I grew up on a farm and as all farmers will tell you, there is no money in farming. Because of this, and my parents’ ethic, I was taught to be a steward of money early on. When I was 8, I joined 4-H, a program to teach kids skills, rewarding them for a job well done. At the end of the summer, we would all show up at the county fair with our projects and get graded and ranked. If we did better than others, we got money (and a ribbon, but who cares about the ribbon). The first year, my parents helped me sign up for a few projects. I showed my goats, I did a sewing project, and that was about it. At the fair, I raked in the money. I was ready to roll in my profits…until my mom burst my bubble and told me I had to buy all of my school clothes and supplies with the money I earned. I believe I had around $150 that first year. And as I started shopping for my 3rd grade school supplies I found out how quickly the money goes. By the time I had picked out a backpack and new lunch box along with all the supplies on my list, I was barely able to buy clothes.

I’m not sure how I made it work, and my parents probably paid for a little of my clothing. But I’ll tell you what I did learn, I BETTER WORK! The following year, I signed up for sewing, cake decorating, goats, dog obedience, floral arrangement, flower production, I think I even tried to draw a picture to make money. At the end of the following summer, I made it rain!!!!! I had enough money to get all of my school supplies, new clothes and shoes, and even saved money away for Christmas gifts.

I have always enjoyed making money, and enjoy the budgeting of money. Any time there was a fundraiser at school, I was on my grind, walking the streets of our small town, hitting up relatives, and finding creative ways to make a dime. My grandma likes to tell the story of my store/museum I set up in her house. I created all of these attractions in the family room and then charged admission for the adults to come see all of it. The highlight was smelling pink toilet paper. I can’t make this stuff up.

Fast forward to my time in the military. Not only have I always been conscious of money and habits around money, but I’ve always taken care of my family when I could. The military doesn’t pay well and I was buying clothes and game systems for my little brother and washer/dryer for my grandparents. I needed a side hustle so I started selling Mary Kay. At 20, I saw the struggles of people trying to pay bills and have a little something for themselves. Throughout the years, I have had side hustles like Mary Kay to build a little cash and every time I ended up giving the product away. I realized that my working class friends couldn’t afford the dream I was selling them and I have always just wanted to help people. Fast forward to 2019 and I see the struggle so clearly and I’m tired of selling. In fact, I would argue that selling is going to kill our economy. It’s time that we give back. I’m not saying give people a hand out, I’m saying we need to look at the set up and face it head on…with a machete in hand. Slash through the ignorance and create equitable solutions for Americans.

A recent Pew Research Center report, based on data from the Census Bureau, found that in 2016 Americans in the top tenth of the income distribution earned 8.7 times as much as Americans in the bottom tenth ($109,578 versus $12,523). This is an average. According to a report on CEO pay from the Economic Policy Institute, chief executives at 350 companies made $15.6 million on average in 2016—271 times what the typical worker earns. Are you understanding it yet? Those doing the most work in our country are making a fraction of what executives are making. If we want to sustain our country and our people, we have to address the inequities across this country.

After I began to see my working class and poverty-stricken friends struggle to pay bills after working 50 hours in a week, my heart opened and my mind started turning. I remembered my dad tell me about how he was able to pay for college by working a job during the summer and helping his dad farming back in 1977. That is not possible today, and actually, money is the greatest barrier to higher education.

As I told you, I am led by a higher calling, to serve people and to speak Truth. When I saw the writing on the wall about our economic situation, I also saw the way out. WE MUST ADDRESS WAGE INEQUALITY IN OUR NATION. We must address the systems that are keeping us from progressing as individuals and families.

There has always been this carrot dangling in front of us, driving us to do better: a hope of reaching the American Dream. Well, if you haven’t figured out by now, I’m here to tell you that the carrot will continue to move further and further out in front of you and you will never get that carrot. It’s a set up. It is no coincidence that the wealthy are creating our laws and the poor keep getting poorer.

And, back to me…a working class woman running for president. I’m doing it for us. I’m tired of trying to sell peace and happiness to my friends when the systems are broken and need fixed. This working class chick has found the gaps, sees the bullshit and is taking a stand for all of us. We must realize that no one with money will stand and speak for us. In 2015, Pew Research concluded that 8 out of 10 Americans were in debt. We are all in the same boat, and regardless of whether you like the others in the boat, we have a clear opportunity to create a better future for ourselves and our children by coming together and fighting greed rather than each other. Our education system needs attention, our health care system needs attention, our natural resources including the air we breathe and the water we drink need addressed, the criminal justice system that is profiting off of the poor and people of color needs addressed, and frankly our government leaders need to be held accountable. Until we the people hold them accountable, they will keep up the shit show, shitting on us. Government leaders should not be in a position of power without accountability to the people. PERIOD.

So, yes, I’m running for president in 2020. I will not be silenced by those with power saying I cannot do it. I will not be distracted by the dangling carrot. I am focused because I see that there are few ways out of our mess. One of them is for a working class woman to run for president and win in 2020. I have always created my own reality by doing the hard work and sticking to the vision. This vision is achievable if others see it as well and stand with me. Only together can we rise above the greed and step into an era that values life, values humanity and seeks prosperity for Americans. You really do have a choice. I chose my path, will you choose yours?

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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For all of you, my journey has just begun.

For me, this journey began a long time ago. I have been collecting my carefully-chosen bricks and laying them on my path one by one, ensuring the foundation is sound to step into the light and run for President in 2020. I am not niave, I do not live in a cave. Part of my conviction is having traveled our great country, seeing the diversity of nature, culture and of us. I know and love our country and our people more than anyone. It is my one desire, my single focus, to unite our country, knowing our greatness.

I have a very strong voice and running for any other political position would be a disservice to our country. I remember in 2005, when I was visiting my grandma on leave from Fort Bragg – we were watching the news and something came on about the Iraq war. My grandma said to me, “If they would just put you in charge, you would end the war.” I agreed with her then and I believe it today. My younger brother is strong, rowdy and loyal – and he writes letters to those he loves. (side note-more men should do this) He wrote me a letter 5 years ago when I was struggling with PTSD – it was a letter of motivation. In it he said, “If you want to be the first female president, you can. You can do anything.” Their words ring in my ear, reminding me of my strong voice and my character…and they are bricks that have laid the foundation of my journey.

As a kid on the farm, there is never a day’s rest. The animals and the land always require attention. I loved being my dad’s sidekick and helping him get the work done. My dad is a loving and compassionate man and I think the only time he yelled at me was to say, “Can’t isn’t a word.” He wouldn’t let me give up on things and always pushed me to achieve what I set out to achieve. His words are my truth. I can do anything I set out to achieve. My favorite Bible verse has always been Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ (consciousness) within.”

Those words, a mental fortitude, have allowed me to take control of my life. I know that I can achieve anything as long as I am willing to put in the work and believe in myself 100%. Belief is one of our greatest obstacles, certainly as women. Without my grandfather, dad, and brothers believing in me, I might have listened to the 100s of other boys and men throughout my life who sprinkled self-doubt and jealousy in my mind. In my day, strong girls like myself were called tomboys. I was called man-hands Bergfield out of jealousy of the boys…I could palm a basketball and they couldn’t. 😉 Even the magazines targeted us to be thin with long, straight hair and wear makeup. This was all before graduating high school. The control of young girls and women has been a part of our culture since the beginning. Luckily I didn’t buy into the bullshit.

I’ve always been guided by something deep within my heart – a desire to be authentically me. After much inner work, I’ve found what’s authentically me: I’m a lover of all beings, an eternal student, a teacher, a healer, a leader; playful and courageous, one of a kind, standing on the pillars of truth. My authenticity are the bricks, paving my path.

I’ve laid a lot of bricks along the path and not all held strong; some I could not stand on and so I learned to let those go.

As you see me step into the public eye to run for President, I remind you that this is not the beginning of my journey, this is my authentic path. If I were to ignore my authenticity and not step forward to lead, it would be giving in to the control of others’ idea of what is proper or right for a “woman my age”.

I know my character, I know my heart and I know who I am. Today I am so excited for you to get to know me too. #watchmework

In love and deep gratitude for you being here with me,