Some people like to walk the well trodden path, where the next ten steps are visible and the chances of getting lost are slim.

They follow the map, the signs or the guide posts and enjoy the safety and security of knowing where they’re going.

They say yes to things they don’t really want to do so they can avoid “ruffling any feathers,”and they avoid conflict like the plague.

Others, myself included, prefer the path “less traveled.”

We like to stray from the herd and blaze our own trail. Not only are we willing to make a path if we can’t find one, but we thrive on it.

People like us aren’t built to do what everyone else is doing. We’re different, we’re unique, and we’re a bit extreme.

We don’t just prefer to take chances and risks, it’s the only thing that really lights us up. We grow when we face challenges, and we prosper when we overcome them.

For people like us, surface level connections and conversations just don’t cut it. We don’t want to talk about the weather, politics or the latest gossip. We want to talk about what scares us, what excites us and what drives us.

We want to discuss things that move us to tears or send chills down our spines, because we believe that’s what life is really about.

We’re willing to get uncomfortable and awkward in our conversations if it means we get to expand and grow as a result, and we’re not willing to live a life of saying no when we mean yes, or yes when we mean no.

We’re the leaders, the change-makers and the heretics.

We’re the ones who don’t just talk about a different world, we’re the ones who take the action to create one, and for that reason, we’re not always accepted by the masses.

In fact, people like us didn’t survive all that long in the past.

We were the warriors who were killed in battle, the blasphemers who were burned at the stake or the heretics who were hung for going against the status quo.

We were exiled from the tribe and kicked out of the community for daring to think differently, speak openly and act courageously.

We were trouble makers, and although we knew being different could get us into more trouble we didn’t let it stop us, because it’s who we are.

We aren’t just the ones who desire change, we’re the ones who have the grit and conviction to actually create it.

I’ve recognized that although there is no shortage of warriors, leaders and heretics in the world, there is a lack of community that brings them together.

We grow exponentially when we surround ourselves with others of like-mind, but most of us are finding ourselves lonely in our social circles, and often disconnected from the inner fire that drives us forward.

We need a field to play in together and a place where we can remember that not only is it ok for us to be different, but that the world needs us to be.

We need a place where we can express ourselves authentically, and where we can be who we really are without holding back. We need somewhere we can practice connecting more deeply to ourselves and others, and where we’re encouraged to speak up and take a stand for what we believe in.

Because at the end of the day, it’s the heretics and blasphemers who make a difference in the world, and when we work together we can achieve anything.

While spending some time in Venice Beach, California I got to experience the power of a like-minded community.

I learned some powerful techniques like Authentic Relating Games which are designed for the leaders and heretics who desire more depth from their relationships.

In these games, an individual will work in a group or with a partner to playfully connect in ways they may never have before.

They’ll ask strangers questions they may have never asked, and will express themselves in ways they may have never imagined they would. They’ll enter the games feeling nervous and apprehensive, and will leave feeling joyful, empowered and inspired.

These games, along with other techniques and practices I’ve learned are what I refer to as the “extreme sport of authentic socializing.” They’re deep, emotional and in some cases uncomfortable, but the result is a feeling of freedom and self-love that is second to none.

When I returned home from Venice Beach in mid October I quickly went from excited and inspired to sad and depressed, and I wasn’t sure why.

How could I be sad after the incredible trip I just had?

How could I go from socializing with amazing people everyday to feeling withdrawn, reserved and anti-social?

The answer was simple: I desired more depth from my relationships, and I wasn’t feeling that in Nova Scotia.

I love our province and I’m proud to be from here. Our people are incredible, thoughtful and loving, but we’ve been through a lot.

We all have someone in our family who’s struggled with addiction, trauma and/or mental illness, and we’ve all experienced pain in our lives.

We desire to connect more deeply to our friends and family members, but as a collective society we just don’t have the skills or habits to do so.

Frankly speaking, most of us have built our social abilities using crutches like alcohol, drugs, gossip, drama or surface level conversations, which has left many of us without any real social skills when we don’t have the above there to save us.

That’s exactly why my colleague Alain Cormier and I decided to open The Authenticity Dojo, an urban academy and retreat centre in Bedford, Nova Scotia dedicated to helping powerful people connect more deeply to themselves and others so they can live happier, more fulfilling lives.

One of our flagship programs is The Authenticity Circle, a twice-weekly program where brave people will together to socialize and play authentic relating games with like-minded people.

We’ve been testing these games for the past month and have had huge success. Almost everyone has returned for more games and we’ve started to build a real community of people who get it.

Our mission with this organization is to offer the community what it needs most, which we believe is new social software.

Not only do we need to learn how to socialize properly, but we also need a place where we can practice it regularly.

True mastery requires both education and practice, and unless we take the time to learn and practice new social skills, then we’ll always suffer. I recently realized that most of all, my time in martial arts has taught me the value of education and practice, as well as how powerful it can be to be connected to a community of like-minded people.

The dojo was where I became a better person. It was where I could train and learn from others who were further ahead than me, and where I could support those who weren’t.

That’s why Alain and I are opening The Authenticity Dojo. We believe that only education combined with regular practice can create true mastery, and we want to offer something that we wish we had in the beginning of our journey.

If you’re in Nova Scotia and would like to join us for The Authenticity Circle we have games happening every Saturday from 3-6pm starting January 4, 2020. Email theauthenticitydojo@gmail.com to reserve your spot, and feel free to bring a friend or two.

Authenticity is the new sexy, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to be the sexy mofo outside that I know I am inside.

Are you in?

See you at the dojo.

Love,

-Ricky

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