Disruptor Syndrome IV — Twice-Born Souls

This article is an excerpt from Disruptor Syndrome by Jessica Carson. Read more about Disruptor Syndrome and find other excerpts at the end of this article.

Twice-Born Souls — Restlessness v. Rootedness

Everyone has something to be restless about these days.

There are tidal waves of change-makers and vocal influencers flooding the world’s stage. From technology to social impact, the insurgence of advocates bubbling to the surface is deafening.

Countless voices on their soapboxes shouting about the things they don’t like. The things they wish were different.

There is a collective trend of waking up. Of being “woke.” Lights blinking on above heads across the planet. Waking to the truth of what you believe. Clamoring to take a stand.

But those changing the status quo are often of a similar constitution. They are not happy-go-lucky. Not easy-going. They are hungry for change — with themselves and the world.

They don’t like what they see or experience. And they want to fix it. Now.

Psychologist and philosopher William James believed there are two kinds of people: “once-born souls” and “twice-born souls.”

Once-born souls are the Labrador Retrievers of life.

Their feathers are rarely ruffled, complaints rarely voiced, fears rarely explored. They don’t go that next level deeper with themselves or the world. Acceptance is the name of the game.

And then there are twice-born souls.

They are itchy, raw, and restless. They swing between highs and lows. They fidget in a chronic state of wanting better. They live a life colored by questioning, resisting, and changing.

You can guess where the disruptors fall.

Twice-born souls need something to fix. To cure. To disrupt. Willpower must be transformed into purpose. Meaning must be found. Restlessness must be channeled into productivity.

And in the disruptor, the twice-born nature is supercharged, amplified, and exacerbated. But this impulse can come back to bite if left unsupervised.

First, disruptors are energetic powerhouses. Second, they are restless by nature. It’s a self-selecting kind of deal. Combine potent energy with a restless twice-born inclination, and you have a nuclear reactor on your hands.

If this restlessness is unreleased or misdirected, it can infect the source. If disruptive energy is not channeled into productive endeavors, it can shape-shift into anxiety, depression, illness, and all varieties of identity-deforming pathology.

The qualities that make a twice-born soul disruptive are the same that cause their suffering. Their restless constitution, if pointed in the wrong direction, can become psychologically, physically, and spiritually toxic.

Disruptors have an open ear to the shouting of their inner voices. It’s why they’re so often intuitive. But this access to their inner world facilitates networking with demons that others never meet. A mind open to life’s murky corners is susceptible to contamination.

But the twice-born soul knows no other way.

Now for the good news, disruptor. You are in an inimitable position to use adversity for growth. To face crisis for the purpose of awakening.

In fact, James believed twice-born souls have the greatest potential for self-realization, “The process is one of redemption, not of mere reversion to natural health, and the sufferer, when saved, is saved by what seems to him a second birth, a deeper kind of conscious being than he could enjoy before. ”

The cure for the twice-born disruptor is not to “fix” their constitution. You can’t declaw this beast. The twice-born soul is too damn stubborn. Its tendencies are too deeply rooted.

The solution is to ground and channel the restless energy before it poisons the well. To ensure the powerful energy isn’t stuck, leaving it to mutate into pathology.

Don’t fight with your restlessness, disruptor. You need it. Just put it on a leash and show it where to go.

Rooting the Restlessness — Recognize, Ritualize, Redirect

There are four big things I’ve learned about restless energy & disruptor identity:

Disruptors have a tremendous amount of restless energy
Restless energy likes to be directed externally into productive endeavors
If the disruptor doesn’t expel restless energy, it can lead to psychological and physical pathology
-Disruptors can release restless energy through ritualization and redirection

Here is my three step recipe to calm your disruptive restlessness:

1. Name the Restlessness – Recognize
2. Ground the Restlessness – Ritualize
3. Channel the Restlessness – Redirect

1. Name the Restlessness – Recognize

The first step in nearly all recovery programs is to name your demons. And don’t be fooled. This is a recovery process.

Give your demons a name. Give them a personality. Know them like you know yourself. Perhaps you have one big demon. Or lots of little gargoyles. Name as many as you can conjure.

The first step is to name your restlessness. What keeps you up at night? What do you wish you could change? What feels out of control? What do you want to manifest and fear you wont?

-Your path (feeling useless? don’t know your purpose?)
-Social impact (homelessness? hunger? natural disasters?)
-Future (children? move to a new city?)
-Health (chronic condition? undiagnosable issue?)
-Relationships (want to get married? want to no longer be married?)
-Job (stagnated growth? hate your boss?)
-Just about anything

Write a sentence about your source of restlessness. How does it make you feel, act, and think?


I want to help people and make a meaningful impact. When I’m not, it makes me feel like I’m wasting my life and not living up to my potential.

2. Ground the Restlessness – Ritualize

Plant that restlessness in the ground, disruptor.

Rituals are a fast track way to ease restlessness. It’s why the world’s most successful people have religiously held rituals — a morning run, an afternoon walk, an evening meditation.

Rituals are a powerful way to ground excess restless energy. To firmly root the energy in something solid. When your energy is grounded, it won’t leak into undesirable places or transform into unwanted manifestations.

Grounding prevents restless energy from spilling over. Think of it like a overflow pipe in a bathtub. Grounding doesn’t mean you can’t have water in the bathtub, but it’s a safety to keep water from pouring over the sides.

But disruptors can’t just do grounding activities. To be curative, grounding must be ritualized.

Rituals displace energy in a way that is calming to the nervous system. The predictability and structure of a ritual helps ground energy in a way that feels safe and controlled.

Which is very important if you are learning to corral your restless energy, which has likely done a job on your nervous system.

The second step is to ground your energy through rituals. What activities give you a release? Calm you down? What could you do with regularity and consistency?

Your ritual doesn’t have to be related to your source of restless. You can ground your energy through exercise, nature, meditation, sex, writing, or anything that displaces and stores potential energy until you’re ready to channel it into productivity.


To ground my restlessness, I will meditate, do yoga, and write in my journal every day.

3. Channel the Restlessness – Redirect

You have your demons. You have your rituals. Now you can find your channel.

You can redirect your restless energy into identity-forming pursuits. You can move confidently with a solid foundation under you.

The third step is to channel your restlessness into a productive endeavor. Don’t rush. It may take time to figure this out. Use the other excerpts from Disruptor Syndrome to learn where to point your energy.


I will redirect my energy by teaching  yoga and meditation, writing a book, and learning healing modalities.


Name the Restlessness: Recognize Ground the Restlessness: Ritualize Channel the Restlessness: Redirect
I want to help people and make a meaningful impact. When I’m not, it makes me feel like I’m wasting my life and not living up to my potential.
To ground my restlessness, I will meditate, do yoga, and write in my journal every day.
I will redirect my energy by teaching  yoga and meditation, writing a book, and learning healing modalities.



Disruptor Syndrome

Don’t be fooled: Breakdowns aren’t reserved for your burnout roommate. In fact, the most spectacular freak-outs, funks, and crises are saved for disruptors, innovators, influencers, trend-setters, and go-getters. It’s basically a right of passage. Welcome to the club.
Disruptor Syndrome explores the crisis of meaning plaguing modern day success stories. The disruptor is a powerhouse of psychological and energetic strength — but these rarified abilities make them uniquely vulnerable to funks. Add to this our current work and play climate, and we have an epidemic in the making. But disruptors can capitalize on their crisis unlike any other. They can disrupt themselves.

Check out other excerpts from Disruptor Syndrome:

I.  #FOMO — Novelty v. Commitment
II. Competitive Advantage —
Withholding v. Giving
III. Give Me Your Elevator Pitch — Duality v. Fluidity
IV. Twice-Born Souls — Restlessness v. Rootedness
V. Impression Manager — Perfectionism v. Vulnerability
VI. Era of the Personal Brand —
Permanence v. Experimentation
VII. Connecting Your WiFi — Separation v. Resonance
VIII. “I Can’t Feel My Face” — Dissociation v. Embodiment

I hope this taste of Disruptor Syndrome serves you. Share you thoughts with me — I can’t wait to hear from you, disruptor.


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