Ep.61 - Dancer Boy: Betrayal, Loss, & In Real Time Recovery | Mark Frossard - Part 2 of 2 ― We’re back with Part 2 of our convo with former ‘Org’ studio owner, Mark Frossard. If you missed part one, you'll definitely wanna start there. This conversation was recorded during Pride month and we pick things back up just as Mark is sharing about annual Pride events he led during his tenure as a studio owner. He and his former business partner didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and this leads into a discussion of how social movements are very often appropriated and commodified by corporations. And how the experiences and perspectives of those who are supposedly being represented get erased entirely. Mark then continues with his story, sharing about rising tensions at the studio, as well as painful realizations he began having around his business partnership. When he finally chooses to use ‘the a-word’ and name aloud the abuse he and others are experiencing, chaos ensues and Mark is emotionally isolated from his community - and from speaking his truth. He shares details around attempts at business mediation and how it came to be that - despite being the general manager and the majority owner of the studio - he eventually surrendered to a $0 buyout. Mark reveals why he believes the Org founder was in many ways instrumental to these failed negotiations, supporting his claims with details surrounding her communications with him directly. He speaks with vulnerability about his exit and the sorrow and humiliation that he felt during his last days at the studio. Then, he opens up about his healing process - what it’s been like to experience trauma triggers for the first time, and why continuing to dance has been such a pivotal part of his healing journey. Finally, Mark speaks directly to his community for the first time since leaving, reminding us all why the compassion and humility he was once shamed for is, in fact, his superpower.

Mark Frossard is a creative, multi-faceted artist living in Santa Fe, NM. He joined The Org in 2010 and eventually became majority owner of a successful dance-fitness studio. Mark left The Org and his studio in 2021 after experiencing the effects of cult-dynamics and narcissistic abuse. Since then, Mark, his husband, and a group of friends continue to dance together without the confines of any particular organization or style. Currently, Mark is an Adventure Coordinator at a luxury resort. He guides hikes, art classes, and creates memorable experiences!

Ep.61 - Dancer Boy: Betrayal, Loss, & In Real Time Recovery | Mark Frossard - Part 2 of 2

Candice Schutter: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Deeper Pulse and the 'cult'ure series.
Today I'm back with the second half of a two-part deep dive with former 'Org' studio owner Mark Frossard.
If you skipped the last week's episode, please press pause and circle back now because it lays the foundation for today's conversation. And as always, the stories and opinions shared in this episode are based on personal experience and are not intended to malign any individual, group, or organization.
 The response to last week's episode and the first part of our conversation with Mark [00:01:00] Frossard was and continues to be unprecedented. And on behalf of Mark, David, Tracy, and myself, I wanna thank the listeners out there for all of your support. We deeply appreciate your encouraging and thoughtful comments, your text messages, emails, and DMs. Please keep them coming, because we love hearing from you.
We're gonna dive back into Mark's story straight away, but here's a super quick recap.
Last week, Mark shared about how he first discovered the Org practice and how, a few years later, he came to be the majority owner of a movement studio and an international mind body fitness hub. Mark retrospectively shared about the red flags that were present from the get-go and how, as he and his regional colleagues rose through the ranks, the culty nature of the Org's teachings and its business practices were becoming more and more apparent.
In the wrap up to part [00:02:00] one, Mark shared about growing tensions in the studio, as well as his own confusion around legacy meetings that he was being excluded from even though he had the majority stake in the business and a daily devotion to the studio's operations, its students, and its teachers.
In the second half of Mark's story, you're gonna hear a firsthand account of a dynamic that I speak about in great detail in episode 59. A pattern of behavior that long ago became a mainstay of hierarchical cultures wherein power players at the top deflect accountability by flipping the narrative, so to speak. Hyperbolizing their own vulnerabilities and vilifying those they victimize, using it all as a justification for further cruelty.
I can't help but think of this as I listen to Mark's story.
Now of course, my read on the situation is my own opinion. So I leave you to listen in and formulate your own.
[00:03:00] Quick side note, we recorded this episode in early June just as Pride month was kicking off. So this, the second half of our conversation opens as Mark shares how he and his community would celebrate Pride at the studio back in the day, as well as how things evolved and shifted over the years.
And then Mark, Tracy, and I dig back into the events surrounding what led to his painful separation from the studio and the practice for good.
Once again to protect Mark, David, and their larger community, aliases have been used in the sharing of these stories.
Here's the final half of our conversation with Mark Frossard.
Mark Frossard: Only about six months into me and Micki's business partnership, like official ownership. I said, you know, you know, I'm looking for all the different ways we can promote ourselves in the studio. [00:04:00] And I said, what if we do performance or like, you know, do a dance or something, get people dancing at Pride.
And so in 2013 we did our first dance and we opened the main stage. That's actually when I first met David. He was performing right after us with a different group. Um, and it was a great success. People loved it. People were dancing and the whole intention was not necessarily to do a performance, but to just get people moving and groove and lead simple choreography that they could follow.
And so we did this up until the pandemic. So for seven years. And it would be different iterations. Usually I was the one leading it, so I would have a microphone.
 And then came the year of 2018. And Micki decided that what we're doing needs to be more polished. It needs to be a performance, not a class. So she aligns with [00:05:00] a drag queen who happened to be an instructor with the Org. And it becomes completely a different thing than what a class with the Org would be. Now it was, you're watching us perform for you. And from me and David's perspective, were like, no, no, no, no, no. This is Pride and this is what I had planted the seeds of.
And you can't take ownership of this. I became very protective of what was created. And I gave in, we did it. And did people love it? Of course they did. Did it invite people into dance? No. It didn't represent anything that I had, hoped for with the mission of the studio.
And we didn't do anything during 2020 or 2021 just due to the pandemic. But then last year, in 2022, our new group that we dance with, just, it's pretty casual. And it's just so fun and celebrational. And it's [00:06:00] not being policed. It's not a performance. It's literally us just leading movement that's very simple.
And what was so exciting last year is that we're like, we don't wanna be on a stage. We want to be on the ground floor where people are. And so we're on the ground floor. You know, the audience is facing us, and then they just start joining us. And then all of a sudden it becomes like this, like nobody's on a pedestal above anybody else.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. There it is.
Mark Frossard: And it's like, even though I'm leading the movement just to give people guidance. It's not like, you gotta do it this way. You have to do it that way. It's just like, these are options. Take it or leave it. Some people are just like bopping around in their chair. Or some people are just standing and watching. Or some people are totally engaged. And for me that's the ideal is that it's just about listening to the music and moving your body and being with each other. What's, what's wrong with that? Why does it have to be more complicated?
So we're doing it again in a couple weeks.
Candice Schutter: [00:07:00] Yeah.
Tracy Stamper: Cool.
Mark Frossard: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: Well, and speaking of representation, if we're talking about pride and representation, wasn't there an incident involving Photoshop as it relates to this?
Mark Frossard: Three weeks after I had left, uh, was Pride. And Micki did some promotion for the studio about how they're gonna be doing Pride classes. And David and I were photoshopped out of a photograph that was taken, two years before when it was the big performance thing.
Candice Schutter: So the two gay men in the group were photoshopped out of the photo that was a promotion for Pride.
Mark Frossard: Yes. I did message one of the teachers who I trusted and I said, what is this? And she said, oh, don't, don't overthink it. It's just that you guys are gone.
Tracy Stamper: Don't overthink being erased. Don't let that bother you.
Candice Schutter: Right?
Mark Frossard: I, I, I did say to her, I said, well, none [00:08:00] of you in the picture identify as anywhere on the spectrum of LGBTQ+. Like none of you. I, I just, it, it's, it insults me as a person who is part of that community.
Candice Schutter: Absolutely.
And I just wanna speak to, when I first decided to do this series, this was maybe the month before Tracy, you and I recorded our conversations. And just as a reminder to folks who haven't followed the series, Tracy and I recorded our conversations five for six months before we released them. Because there was a whole grappling with whether or not we were going to. And so this would've been a month before we even pressed record. I went online and it was the first time in years had looked for the Org and just to see what are they doing, like, what's going on?
And, and it happened to be February. It happened to be Black History Month. And I went to the Org page on Facebook. And I was just [00:09:00] scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. There was photo after photo after photo after photo of what for the sake of appearances, looked like Black teachers and trainers. And I thought to myself like, who are all these people? Where did all of these people come from? And, and I couldn't help but wonder and feel just based on what I knew, my assumption was this is performative activism. Like it seemed as though there was an overrepresentation in the photos based on what I had actually seen in the community.
And I'm speaking to this here because it feels like a piece that's really important. Cause I think it's just happening with Pride as well, where it's becomes like a PR tool. And it's not really about representing that community, that culture. It's not really about anti-racism. It's not really about, you know, trans rights or LGBTQ rights. It's woke for us to feature this.
And I just think it needs to be named that just because you see an image of [00:10:00] something, it doesn't mean that what's actually happening within the culture itself is representative of that image that's being put out there.
Do you have any thoughts on this in terms of what you've witnessed and experienced?
Mark Frossard: I have a lot of thoughts and I'm just not sure how to properly express 'em at this point, and that I feel like it's a very delicate subject.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: I had to deal with at my studio with Crystal. And Crystal is a big advocate for representation of people of color, which I respect very much. And yet, we both had different opinions on how do we, approach that with it, not feeling inauthentic with it. Like what you're saying with it, not feeling like, oh, this is the poster child of the month kind of thing.
Candice Schutter: Exactly.
Mark Frossard: And it's very tricky and I honestly, I don't have the answers to it. Um, when it comes to anything as far as diversity, um. [00:11:00] I just speaking from my own standpoint of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community. It's like, it's awesome that Target is selling rainbow stuff, but it's Target selling rainbow stuff.
So it's like corporations are celebrating Pride, but are they? I, you know, it's like,
Candice Schutter: Are they?
Mark Frossard: It's very complicated.
Candice Schutter: It is.
Mark Frossard: And that's why it's difficult for me to speak on that in that I don't know how different people of different cultures feel. Um, what I would say is that I think the people who should be leading these conversations are the people of those cultures.
Candice Schutter: That's right. Yeah.
Mark Frossard: So the Org put out an email that said, you know, they are gonna create this cultural initiative and this diversity panel and take a survey and we will choose you. And so my husband, who is Hispanic was interested. And it's like, you'll be chosen. And he's [00:12:00] like, I'm gonna be chosen? Like chosen by white people for my race. Like, what? What does this mean?
Um, so it's a, it's a bigger conversation. That I'm not sure is really actually part of this podcast or not. But it's, um, it's a tricky one,
Candice Schutter: It is. And I mean, I would like it to be at some point. And like you say, it's so tricky in that I don't wanna tokenize anyone and reach out to a person of color and be like, Hey, come on here and do this service for me, white lady with a podcast and let's talk about this.
Like, that's part of the issue, right? So these conversations emerging organically is important to me so that I'm not doing the very thing I was just speaking out against.
And at the same time though, what you said, Mark, is so critical. The people who should be leading these conversations are the people who we're talking about representing.
I think that is so key. And I'm here for that.
So when did you start to feel [00:13:00] the severance happening, if that's the right word?
Mark Frossard: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: During the pandemic, one of the things that was happening behind the scenes is that, you know, the teachers of course, needed support for the technology. I mean, we are all learning how to hook up microphones and computers and lights and, you know, the whole spiel to make it look professional and look good, and the sound works and the music works. And Micki was barely ever there for that.
And there was one particular teacher, she's still near and dear. We're close friends. We teach together still. Micki starts vacuuming during her class. Vacuuming while this person is teaching on Zoom.
Candice Schutter: I thought you did all the vacuuming.
Mark Frossard: Exactly. Mm-hmm.
Yes. First time Micki's picked up a vacuum in 10 years, and it has to be during this person's class apparently, while they're [00:14:00] live on Zoom.
Candice Schutter: Wow.
Mark Frossard: So I'm not sure what to do. And I'm like, okay, Mark, don't explode. Let's let this sit for a couple days. Let's settle in. How am I gonna approach this situation? This situation is not right.
So a couple days later, Micki comes in to teach her class, and it's about 20 minutes before her class begins. And I said, please don't vacuum while another teacher is teaching on Zoom.
And she's like, well, the studio was dirty. You hadn't kept it clean.
I said, I've been cleaning the studio for 10 years. I've never seen you pick up a vacuum before. And you're going to do it during a teacher's class? You couldn't have waited 20 minutes?
Well, you just need to keep the studio cleaner. And I feel like you're threatening me right now. I said, I'm not threatening you. I'm just asking you to be respectful when another teacher is teaching. And if you think the studio is dirty, then come talk to [00:15:00] me. Or if you want to keep it cleaner, do it at another time.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: That was another beginning of the end situations where she suddenly felt that I was, a aggressive. And so from there on out, she would not come into the studio when I was there, so we could not physically be near each other. When we would do our Zoom meetings, she would turn off her camera. So for about five months, whenever we did our business meetings, her camera would be off. Because she felt I was too threatening to look at. And that I was threatening her through Zoom.
Candice Schutter: Oh.
Mark Frossard: I did not see her in person for about seven months. So that was part of the non-disclosure agreement, is that we were not to be in the studio at the same time. That was per her request. Because she felt as a result of that vacuum story, that I was a physical threat to her. Which I was not. I [00:16:00] was sitting down. She was standing. And I just said, please don't vacuum.
We're still going through these coaching sessions, Micki and I with Blair. And it reaches a point where Micki gets really aggressive and bangs the table and just yells at me and is yelling. And I just like stepped back and I'm like, what is happening here? What is actually happening?
She's like, you're holding me back. You're holding me back. This is everything I want to do. I want to take you with me, but you won't do what I want you to do.
There's another meeting later that we have, which is the final one that we had where Blair was asking us to be open about some different situations and share our versions. And everything I said, Micki said, you misunderstand me. You misunderstand me over and over.
And I said, I don't misunderstand you. I'm listening to you. But you're not telling the truth. You're misconstruing what [00:17:00] actually happened.
It got to the point where I was broken down in tears, and I had to leave the meeting. And I called my parents immediately and I said, I gotta get out. And I called Blair after I had calmed down and told her, I said, Micki is abusive. And once I used that word, that's when everything went nuts.
Candice Schutter: Hmm.
Mark Frossard: And she said, are you sure you wanna say that? And I said, yeah, I do. This is abuse. And I'm no longer gonna stand up for it. I'm not going to do this anymore.
Mark Frossard: So I've had friends and people close to me who have been through abuse of varying kinds, whether it be physical or emotional or mental. And I personally had never experienced that. Maybe little mild cases, but I never really labeled it that.
It turns out that when I was going through these coaching sessions with Micki and [00:18:00] Blair. It was Crystal actually actually who was the first person who said that Micki was abusive. That was a, that was a private conversation. And I thought, huh.
And this was right when we finished filming our routine, and they had their own relationship that had a lot of challenges to it. And I never thought of my relationship with Micki in quite those terms before. And then I was like, it became crystal clear once I heard that word. And I was like, oh my gosh, I'm being abused. And here, you know, over years I've been supporting friends through their abusive situations and never saw myself in that light.
And it was like a mirror. I was like, oh my gosh. And it is a strong word. It is absolutely a very, very strong word. And once I said it, I felt liberated. In [00:19:00] that it's like, wow, I actually named it, for what it really actually is. And I'm not standing back from this.
And I got questioned and asked, Mark, is it really abuse? Come on. It's not. It's conflict. It's just simply conflict. It's not abuse. I said, no, it is abuse. If you've got the time, I will give you the last 10 years of abuse. If you wanna listen to it. Let me tell you all the instances
And just to clarify, we're not talking about physical abuse or sexual abuse. We're talking about mental and emotional abuse, and I just want to make that very clear. You know, it's important to acknowledge that. Because abuse is a very powerful word.
Candice Schutter: Yes.
Tracy Stamper: Mm-hmm.
Candice Schutter: It is a powerful word, especially in these communities, the charge that it has. Especially when you're still steeped in that world where you just don't say that because you're never a victim.
Mark Frossard: And honestly, I don't, I really don't come from a place of victimhood around all of [00:20:00] this. Even though I feel like I have been a victim of it, I am not gonna give into victimhood, like as far as it taking away my power. If anything, from this experience, I've learned how to be stronger and how not to be a victim.
The reason for sharing my story is not to be a victim and be like, oh, woe is me.
It's to say I'm taking back my power. I'm using my voice.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. I'm so glad you said that cuz that's the key piece around folks not understanding why walking through the label, it's a passage that we have to take in order to get our power back. Like if we're not able to say I was harmed. We're not able to heal that harm. It's part of the process.
It's not about clinging to the label of victim. It's about passing through it so that we can a different experience on the other side and so that we can share our story so that other people can, too. And they can, they can see these red flags.
[00:21:00] Which is sort of how I would just, it's my words not yours, Mark. I don't wanna put words in your mouth, but for me, another reason why I feel like your story's so important, the larger culture where these cult dynamics are happening and the way that infiltrates into interpersonal relationships and happens in one-on-one relationships as well.
And we'll never know if Micki would have engaged in this behavior had she not been influenced by HQ or not. We don't know. Like I can't comment on that and probably none of us can. But your ability to actually call it what it is, is what set you free.
Does that resonate with you?
Mark Frossard: Oh, absolutely.
 So I shared with the business coach, Blair, that, um, I felt like this was abusive and that was October 31st, 2020. Um, I wake up on the next day, November 1st, and [00:22:00] my inbox is blowing up. My phone is blowing up. And I'm getting messages from Marissa and voicemails and text messages from people. And I'm like, what's going on? Essentially, within like 12 hours, Micki has created an alliance of teachers, students, including Marissa and Seth against me.
And some of these students are lawyers. And yes, what I said was absolutely shocking, but there was no conversation between Micki and I about this. But I did know I just needed out. But I didn't realize that all of a sudden Marissa was gonna get involved and that students and teachers were gonna be involved.
So then it became a thing where Blair was saying let's control this. We can't let this get out into the community. [00:23:00] And from my perspective, I'm like, well, it already is? And I said, you know, Micki has already called Marissa. And so then Marissa is the one who called the students who were lawyers that were behind closed doors when we were talking about like, the whole legacy conversation. Same people.
Tracy Stamper: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: So all of a sudden they're building up this whole, you know, kind of mutiny thing. And I'm like, what I, what is happening right now?
So the lawyers that have been enlisted, it's a husband and wife duo, which I do trust. I really did at that point. I trusted them. And I felt like they were going to be good mediators. And that's what they told me they were coming in to do, was to be mediators and to tell us, you know, lawfully what we can and cannot do as far as business partners. And I believe that.
I [00:24:00] think I'm a sucker. I believe people when I probably shouldn't.
What I didn't know is that they had been brought in by Marissa.
Micki had contacted Marissa immediately when I used the a word abuse. And Marissa had contacted lawyers that were in our community as they started forming this kind of alliance to figure out what to do. So Marissa became very, very involved.
 So I believe them. I believe Blair, the business coach to, you know, move forward with this to find a resolution. In that I know I don't wanna be a business partner with Micki anymore.
So we start talking about negotiations as far as like, you know, I could buy you out. You could buy me out. I had the majority ownership of 60%. Micki had 40%. You know, so what would that be worth? So it's about Christmas time of 2020, and we just can't come to an [00:25:00] agreement. So then we're like, okay, what do we do from here?
And so the lawyers suggest that we come to a non-disclosure agreement to protect the community. don't want any of this to steep into the community and poison it. Keep in mind everything is on Zoom. So we're not even seeing anybody in person. So the reason I say that is that no one can really pick up on the in-person energy happening.
Does that make sense?
Candice Schutter: Right, of course. Yeah.
Mark Frossard: So like, we're not dancing in person together. We can't, I'm a big believer of like sensing people's physical energy. And so since this is all Zoom, you can't really pick up on that. So everything looks like it's great.
Candice Schutter: Right.
Mark Frossard: We're performing. Everything's happy.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: Meanwhile, all the teachers are of course stressed out.
I'm not telling them anything. Micki's not telling them anything. Well, she is. [00:26:00] But I'm really doing my best to not tell people things and keep it professional and support this whole Zoom thing happening with all the technical difficulties. And so I agree to sign this non-disclosure agreement where I won't speak about it.
Candice Schutter: Did Micki have to sign one as well?
Mark Frossard: Yes.
Candice Schutter: Okay.
Mark Frossard: The thing is, is that what I didn't know at the time, but I suspected, is that she's got Marissa in her corner. So Marissa knows all of this is happening. Seth knows all of this is happening. Crystal is involved in all of this. As is the lawyers, Blair, many community members are already behind her. So there's a lot of people who are saying that they are in the middle and neutral, but they're not.
And I trusted that they were neutral.
Tracy Stamper: Oh, of course you would. Of course you would trust that.
Mark Frossard: [00:27:00] And I do feel like there were some community members and teachers that were absolutely trying to be neutral. But they just did not know what was going on. And I wasn't telling them. I was afraid to, I I, I didn't know what the hell was happening. And I, I was doing my best to nurture the teachers and the students from a professional standpoint and as their friend. And yet this whole other shit show was happening. And it was like a new bombshell every day.
 This might be a tangent, but I do wanna recognize that my husband, David, was going through all this at the same time. And when we talk about where did things shift, that's another element to it, is that when him and I became together, I do feel like Micki felt threatened by him. He's a very strong personality and he was excited. He was excited to teach. And then all of a sudden it's like [00:28:00] Mark's got a new partner and it's not me.
And so there was a big, like almost every teacher and student just turned on him and didn't give him a chance. It was like Micki was being replaced. Like Micki and I were seen as partners and now Mark's got a new partner. And Mark's gonna bring his partner into this and it's nepotism and this whole thing. And it's like,
Candice Schutter: Right.
Mark Frossard: It. That's not what it is. And so I just wanna acknowledge that, um, his journey on this has been very, very challenging. And he was very personally attacked, unfairly, very unfairly.
In that he came and vote to this to support me in my business and also to celebrate his own love of music and dance. And sadly, was not treated fairly at all. And I think that's really where Micki started getting very [00:29:00] protective of me and very, uh, territorial. Not protective, but territorial.
It was January 1st, 2021 New Year's Day. And I wake up to a voicemail from Marissa saying to call her and she wanted to talk. I said, okay. So I called her. And she told me I stand with Micki and the studio and the community. And that you and your husband are poisoning. And that your husband is like Yoko Ono breaking up the Beatles. And that Micki does not feel safe and her office. And that's how Raul made me feel. And what you're doing is how Raul made me feel.
Candice Schutter: Wow.
Mark Frossard: Yeah. And I've never met Raul.
Candice Schutter: Talk about rewriting history. Well I was fucking there.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: I mean, I don't know how she felt [00:30:00] privately with him. I can't speak to that, but I'm just saying like, yeah, go ahead. Sorry. That got me fired up.
Mark Frossard: Yeah. Well, as it should in that, like you said, it's rewriting history. And I don't even, I've never met Raul. Like, so to compare my husband to Raul or whatever, I'm just like. It's not even in context that I understand. Cuz I wasn't there. So I'm like, what baggage are you bringing to this? what stories are you bringing to this?
Candice Schutter: Well, and let me just say, she didn't ask you what your read on the situation was. She didn't ask you what your and David's experience had been and to get a measured sense of both sides of the story. She told you based on what she had been told by Micki, what was real.
Tracy Stamper: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: Correct.
Candice Schutter: And who you were. And the role that you were playing.
Mark Frossard: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Tracy Stamper: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: And that I had destroyed an opportunity, kind of the same thing of I was gonna take you all the way kind of languaging of, you know, [00:31:00] you just choreographed a routine. And I was hoping you could do more routines for us. And, you know, that whole thing of, and you just threw it all away.
And I just told her, I said, you know what? I never wanted to be a superstar. I just wanted to dance, share movement with people. I loved being a choreographer. I loved to choreograph, but it's not out of personal gain. It's just to share and to have fun.
Like really, I'm a simple person. I don't need a spotlight.
Candice Schutter: At this point, when you're in the midst of this, like what's your, what are you thinking? This is what I would love to see happen here. Even if you can't see exactly how it could happen, what was your vision for what the outcome would be?
Mark Frossard: So we did have conversations with Blair about that. Micki and I did. And was recommended was that we each come up with like, what our visions are to protect the community that loved both of us so much[00:32:00] to, you know, create a clear path forward and to make it like a, a nice split to where people felt supported. Which was why I bought into it.
I was like, yeah. I mean, ultimately, despite feeling abused by Micki, ultimately I just wanted to have peace. I wanted there to be forgiveness. I didn't wanna hold onto that stuff. And even, like, as we're talking now, I want to have compassion for her and what she's experienced and not hold onto the anger, even though it's still there a little bit.
 And so I created a whole new business plan that would involve movement, art, and like, uh, kind of a cafe thing and live music. And so I said, all right, we're not able to come to an agreement at this point, but I feel like we should at least say what we're thinking of. Or, We need to have a conversation so that the community knows what's happening here.
[00:33:00] And I said, well, what is Micki's plan? Well, you don't need to know that. I'm like, well, if Micki and I are going to address our divorce from the community, we need to be able to both clearly state what we're doing or what we're hoping to do. Well, you can't know what she's doing.
if this sounds confusing, it's because it was. If this sounds like it makes no sense, it's because it didn't.
Candice Schutter: Uhhuh.
Mark Frossard: And I felt like I was trying to keep afloat with like 200 pound anchors on my ankles, you know,
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: What was the decision that was made and how did you come to it?
Was it through the work with the lawyers.
Mark Frossard: So these lawyers weren't actually practicing in our state. So it wasn't official lawyers.
Candice Schutter: Okay.
Mark Frossard: um, Micki brought another offer [00:34:00] to the table, which I was willing to take. It wasn't for much at all, but I was just willing to take it just to get out. Unfortunately, this is end of April of 2021. I'm about ready to say yes. And then I find out that my name is on the lease, not the business. And I did not realize that. I thought the LLC was on the lease.
Candice Schutter: Yeah,
Mark Frossard: So being a young novice business owner back in 2012, I didn't realize that. That's on me.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: So essentially what that means is that I would be personally responsible for the business for the next year and a half. So if it were to close or fail, I would be person responsible, not the business.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And here I am wanting to get out of the [00:35:00] business.
So that gets brought to the table and Micki says, well, I'll take it on, but I'm not gonna pay you anymore. So different agreement than what she offered me. You don't get my offer. My offer is now that I take personally take on the lease and you get nothing. It doesn't make any sense.
at this point. I was, I just needed to escape. So I said yes.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: So I got nothing. I mean, I took the offer. I took the offer of $0, just so that my name would not be on a lease for another year and a half. I mean, I couldn't do anything for another year and a half where things were.
 So we're talking about May 1st right now of 2021. And I said, I would like to write a letter to [00:36:00] the community that I've been nurturing for 10 years. And I said, I will not, you know, put anybody's names through the dirt or anything like that.
That's not who I am. I just want to have my way of saying goodbye. And she said, not unless I edit it first. And I chose not to say goodbye in the way I wanted to, in that I was not gonna let her edit it. I wasn't gonna let her speak for me.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: So that's where I think there's a lot of confusion in the community, locally and globally of like what the f, what happened to Mark?
Mark Frossard: My last official owner day is May 15th, but my last teaching class is May 31st. I have not seen her in person in six months. I've not seen her on Zoom for six months. She asked me, I want to dance with you. I wanna be at the studio with you in your class.[00:37:00]
And I'm like, what? You said I'm a threat to you. You said you don't feel physically safe with me. And then Blair asked me, and Crystal asked me, Mark, we want to be there in person for your class on Zoom. Because at that time things were still closed to the public, but we were filming in the studio on Zoom. And we would have like three backup dancers or something, you know, kind of thing to make it look a little full. And Crystal was like, can I be there in person? And Blair was like, can I be there in person?
I said, no, I've invited my friends. People I trust that I feel safe with. And so then I had my final class on Zoom, May 31st. And all of them appeared online. And Micki turned her camera on. Crystal turned her camera on. And they're all smiling and saying, oh, we love you, in front of all the [00:38:00] students. It was humiliating. I wish they would've just left me alone and let me step out without their presence there. In that they had shut themselves off from me. So I'm like, just let me be.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And uh, Micki was the last person to speak. And I'm just sitting there looking at her blankly like, I, I, this is a public display of abuse happening right in front of all these people. And she's saying, I was gonna take you with me. I was gonna do this. You were my partner. All this stuff just.
And I'm sitting there just staring at the screen frozen. What do I do? Do I, do I call her out? Or, you know, what? What do you do in that situation? When you're literally being publicly shamed?
Now, I didn't know what to do, so I just said, I really love and appreciate this community, goodbye. Like, I just didn't address any of her [00:39:00] comments. I didn't know what to do.
Candice Schutter: Well, you've also signed an NDA. T hat can't be overlooked.
Mark Frossard: Yeah.
Well, at that point, the NDA was broken. But still, I just, I was paralyzed in fear and just not sure what to do in that. I felt like anything I would've said to question her would've been used against me, and it would've just created an ugly exit.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: you know, like, and I was like, I, I don't need that. I'm just gonna say thank you, goodbye.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: Although I did not get a buyout agreement and did not get any money, Micki did reach out to the community to send me cards and money to purchase a gift certificate to a local spa. And that was gonna be my, you know, going away present from the community. She also had those sent to her personal home address. Micki had [00:40:00] taken all the money out of these letters to purchase this gift certificate.
So on my last day, I received all of these letters from community members. So essentially I had a pile of opened mail, uh, with personal messages from students that were very sweet and endearing. It was months later that I realized, oh my gosh, Micki opened every single one of these, read every single message. Like it was a, it felt very personally invasive.
 She was reading their personal messages directed towards me. They weren't for her to see. You know, you don't open up someone else's mail.
Candice Schutter: That's right.
Mark Frossard: And so it really did feel like a final act of abuse, truthfully.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And not just to me, but to those people who and written those messages to me, you know, I felt like that was not being valuable of their privacy [00:41:00] as well.
Candice Schutter: I agree.
Mark Frossard: But it was, um, a couple months later, after everything got settled and I, me and Micki came to our agreement that I would step away.
I hadn't heard from Marissa in quite a while. And she sends me a text message. This is in early May. And she said, I hope you're happy.
And I wrote her back. I said, no, I'm not happy. I just lost everything.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. Yeah.
Mark Frossard: It was the most bizarre thing.
And I show David, I'm like, what the f, what does this mean? I hope you're happy? How could anybody be happy in a situation like this?
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And that pretty sums up my relationship with Marissa. She was absolutely involved in every step of, me being removed from the studio.
May 15th was my last [00:42:00] official day as an owner. And on that day, they decided that their new slogan was, we're going for the gold. We're gonna change things. Things are gonna be better and different than they were. And a lot of teachers and community members celebrated my exit. And I never got to say how much I actually loved and appreciated them.
Tracy Stamper: You can say that now.
Candice Schutter: That's right. What, what would you like to say to your community?
Mark Frossard: Just that I appreciate, um, the times that we spent moving together. And there were many intimate moments where students would come into the office and talk to me about some very personal stories. And that I still hold those stories close to my heart. and, I'm not gonna share those stories with other people, that they are still safe. And I appreciate the opportunity to [00:43:00] share my stories and be safe with them, too.
And that I want to apologize for not having the bravery to speak up earlier for some of those, when I should have. That I could have stood up for them, and I didn't.
Candice Schutter: One of the things that really struck me when we first started communicating, Mark, is the palpable nature of your grief. Like, I mean, at this moment even I feel moved to tears walking with you through this part of the story, and can you talk for a minute about what it was like for you? Not just the moment of crossing the threshold [00:44:00] and walking away, but what did you lose, really? Like the, the depth of that.
Mark Frossard: Well, I'm an all in kind of guy, so when I commit to something, I'm all in. And I saw this studio and this practice. I mean, I saw me doing it until I was on my deathbed I loved it so much. Um.
You know, I told you I'm a visual artist, but the first thing I told people when I was a little kid is that I want to be a dancer boy when I grow up.
Tracy Stamper: Oh
Mark Frossard: So when I found this practice, I was like, it came full circle. I'm a dancer boy.
And I really believed in a lot of things that the practice offered. I, I, there was a lot that resonated, that really woke me up to things. It helped me lose weight. It helped me get more, mental clarity, emotional clarity, uh, create [00:45:00] friendships. And it really helped me expand my creativity.
And so having to leave that. And not even being able to say goodbye to that destroyed me. I'm very thankful. I have an incredibly amazing partner and David to help me through that. And great friends like the two of you.
Um, thankfully I had a really good support group. And people that I didn't expect coming out of the woodwork to be like, whoa, what is happening? And then losing a lot of friendships that I did trust in. That was, that was pretty crazy.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: To see where people, you know, fit into that. And, it's just what it is. I'm working on healing those relationships and healing my feelings about those relationships.
It's very strange, like where people draw lines and boundaries. And [00:46:00] where all of a sudden you feel like you don't exist anymore, even though you live five miles away. And, um, I shared with someone, uh, recently, that was one of the teachers that I was friends with. And she said, oh, I miss you. I miss you. I wanna celebrate your birthday. And I said, we live five miles away from each other.
Like, I didn't leave. I just left the practice. But I didn't leave planet Earth. I didn't leave this city. And she said, well, every time I go into this coffee shop, I think of you. I'm like, that coffee shop is 10 minutes from my house. Not even. So why don't you just pick up the phone and call me and say, Hey, I'm at the coffee shop.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Tracy Stamper: I'm thinking of you.
Mark Frossard: thinking of you. I'm free.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: But it's, I'm not in the practice anymore. I'm not part of the Org anymore, so I don't exist.
And so that's been a big part of my healing process, is that I don't exist for a lot of these people. [00:47:00] And, you know, honestly, I will speak for David and myself. It creates a lot of anger and frustration and sadness.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: A lot of grief.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And so when I get messages from people, I miss you. I'm like, I'm right here. I didn't go anywhere.
And what I would've wanna say to those people is that like, let's have a conversation. Like If I was that important to you and you were that important to me, then our dealings with the Org shouldn't matter.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: We can talk about kids and pets and plants and go on a hike and, you know, nine million other things. And so that's why it's like when people ask me like, you were part of a cult? I'm like, yeah.
I've, I've had trouble even reconciling with that. Like the word cult. And I'm like, well, yeah, in that all the people [00:48:00] over 10 plus years that I nurtured and facilitated and was in relationship with have completely erased me from their memories over this one thing when there's so much other stuff we could talk about.
So it's like, were those friendships even real? Or was it all just based around the Org?
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: And sadly, a lot of it was. And thankfully some of it wasn't. And that's what I do for my healing process, is to hold onto those that, um, we build relationships outside of what that was.
Tracy Stamper: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: There was a point where I felt like I had been stabbed in the back about 5,000 times. And me and David still joke sometimes when I'm cutting up vegetables.
He's like, oh, did you get that knife outta your back? I'm like, yeah, I did. We're cutting up carrots now.
Tracy Stamper: Using it as intended this time.[00:49:00]
Mark Frossard: So we had a student who actually I was very close with that shortly after I left the studio, uh, this student me a link to a book that was called, it's Not Abuse, it's Conflict. And she went on to say how everything I experienced was merely conflict and not abuse
Tracy Stamper: Question. Was she there and present for all of it?
Mark Frossard: if I were to be completely honest. , She knows it's true and that she's experienced it herself.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And I've seen it happen.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: Through routine shoots. Um, when someone is put on a pedestal, a lot of times people will continue to keep that person on the pedestal. They don't want to know the truth, even though they've experienced the truth themselves.
Candice Schutter: That's right.
Tracy Stamper: Over and over and over again sometimes.[00:50:00]
Mark Frossard: And this person absolutely experienced it and is probably still experiencing it now. And as a result, although I'm compassionate for this person, I had to cut ties. I couldn't anymore. And that's really difficult. But it, how it was stated to me was very aggressive. And I was at a place in my healing process where I was like, I can't have people questioning me all the time.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: I felt that was really diminishing what the truth was, and it was scapegoating and it was not taking ownership for what actually happened.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: Anybody who has actually legitimately gone through abuse, it is abuse. It's not just a conflict. It's not just a petty disagreement. No, it's, it gets into your system and it takes years and years to recover from.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And that's why I still stand by the word abuse.[00:51:00]
I don't want to use that word. I don't want it to be that. But it's what it is.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: Yeah, so, you know, David and I decided that the Org doesn't own movement. The Org doesn't own dance. And we still want to dance. And we're still in the middle of a pandemic. So let's, let's just invite people to come to a local park and let's see if we can just create something. Whether it be just the two of us, or five people, or 10 people, or 50 people, whatever. Let's just dance.
And it was just surprising, um, you know, just emailing people who came. And it's like, they didn't know anything that happened. They're like, we just miss you and we don't know where you are. But all of a sudden you're at a park, so we're gonna come.
A lot of studios were still closed, as well as the studio itself that I [00:52:00] was a part of. It was still closed And, um, what we've created in our park is anybody can lead anything. So even if Candice, you came out and you're like, Hey, I wanna share a poem. Awesome. Or Tracy, if you came out and you said, I want to do a song where we do cartwheels, whatever, you know, whatever.
It's like, cool. So, you know, I mean, we do have some structure. But it is really just open to all expressions. And for me it feels like, it's not in competition with the Org. It's not in competition with Micki or Crystal. We're doing our thing.
It really does feel like a group of friends that are just getting together to move together. And, you know, we don't have a microphone. We're not queuing. We're not directing. We're just moving together. And that feels like a rebirth in a sense, as far as being a dancer boy.
Tracy Stamper: That is so beautiful. And I do remember earlier on you and I [00:53:00] exchanging text messages and you shared that one of the keys was that you kept moving. I just was really marveling at, how that continuing to move has served you.
Mark Frossard: I couldn't let them take that away from me. They took everything else away from me. They tried to break up my marriage with my husband. I was not gonna let them take my husband or my movement practice away.
Candice Schutter: Hmm.
Tracy Stamper: Right on.
Mark Frossard: And it, it's not been easy. I mean, there were so many times, and still where I'm choreographing a song and I think, oh, this is one of their moves. And it's like, no, this isn't one of the Org's moves. They don't have ownership to this.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: That's right.
Mark Frossard: For fuck's sake. They stole from nine different movement forms. They didn't even create anything original.
Candice Schutter: All, Right.
Tracy Stamper: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: So it, it's a process. There's good [00:54:00] days, there's bad days. There's times where I'm moving and I feel elated and wonderful. And there's times where I don't. And I think for anybody who is listening to this, it is a personal journey. Mine is my journey. Yours is your journey. And there are moments that have been triggering.
Where in our group wonderful people, you know, we have conversations about, do we use a song that the Org used? Or do we not, you know, how do we feel about this? How do you feel about it? How do I feel about it?
And, um, I think it's important just to have clear communication and just to really stand by what you're feeling and be in the moment. And realize that your healing journey will take as long as it needs to. There's no rush. And there's no one who needs to tell you how to do it.
Mark Frossard: You know, I, I've had friends and loved ones go through very traumatic experiences. And I personally [00:55:00] had never understood what it meant to be triggered by something. You know, whether it be a sound or a smell or a whatever it be, you know, a movie or. And I was just like, what is that? You know, when you don't understand something, and you wanna be compassionate, but you can't relate.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: And so after all of this went down, and I left the studio, all of a sudden it's like, oh my gosh, a song would play. So this is a funny thing. So the first job that I took after the studio, they're playing music that the Org used in routines.
And I was like, oh, this is what a trigger is. It's like, I've, I've, I've moved on. I've got my new job. And here's a song by Thievery Corporation. Great.
And it's like, all of a sudden my throat closed. My heart clenched up. My stomach was in knots. And I'm like, what the hell is this sensation?
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: Oh, [00:56:00] this is what people talk about when they talk about PTSD or being triggered. I was like.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: Who knew a song could do that?
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: But it's all the emotional baggage and attachment that goes with it
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: Of teaching to that song for 10 years. And then leaving that and not doing it anymore. It sounds trivial, but until you actually experience it.
Candice Schutter: It's huge.
Mark Frossard: And songs will come on the radio, and I would start crying. I'm like, why am I crying right now? What is this? I'm not a big crier. I ugly cry once a year. But ugly crying once a week. And I'm like, what is this?
Candice Schutter: Hmm.
Mark Frossard: I and I, I didn't understand it. So it was like a whole new part of the healing process that I am still learning about.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And I've been told by a lot of people how to do things and how I should feel. And, oh, you're a victim. And this and that. And um, there's a lot to [00:57:00] learn. And my hope for this, uh, conversation, is that wherever a person is at, that they get to discover their own journey on it. That sounds kind of vague, but.
Candice Schutter: That's the point, right? It's self-determined. If you got specific, then you wouldn't be following your own advice.
Tracy Stamper: Good point.
Mark Frossard: Yeah, all I can tell is my story. I can't tell somebody else their story.
Candice Schutter: And when it comes to your story, is there anything you want people to take away or learn from your experience?
Mark Frossard: I hope that people listening to this are able to find their own voice. Find where they're at on their own journey, to keep their ears and eyes open to what's going on around them. And to recognize if that actually aligns with who they are as people. And that there are situations like we talk about cult dynamics that are at play. And [00:58:00] just keep checking in with yourself and seeing what aligns with you and what doesn't. And to not let your voice be silenced. If you dare to disagree with what is being told to you. To trust your intuition and to take a stand for yourself even when no one else wants to support you. Take a stand for yourself. And find those people who will support you. Cuz they are out there. There are absolutely people out there that will support you.
Candice Schutter: Beautiful.
Mark Frossard: It's not over yet. And I don't know if it ever will be, but it's getting better.
I'll say that. And I'm learning to see the red flags earlier.
Um, with that first job that I took since leaving the studio, my boss was an exact replica of Micki. And I saw it right away.
Tracy Stamper: Oh.
Mark Frossard: And I will say I learned a lot. I just spoke my voice and [00:59:00] left that job as soon as I could, and that I was like, I will not work for another Micki.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And thankfully, where I'm at right now, it's, um, incredible. I, I'm able to be heard and respected and, do the things that I want to do.
And they're even thinking of inviting me to do some movement there. I'm working at a resort right now. And I'm able to lead art experiences, take people out on hikes. And I've expressed my interest in leading some movement, and they said, we're gonna see if we can make that happen.
Candice Schutter: Lucky them.
Tracy Stamper: Seriously, that is so exciting and cool.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: So I, I would say that, you know, through this experience of being told, find your voice. Find your voice. I think I needed to get away from them to actually find it. Like I, it's, it's bittersweet. I'm glad I was told that I'm glad that they actually said that to me. In that I [01:00:00] do tend to, be quiet or be too much of a mediator and not stand up for myself.
So if I were to say thank you to Micki, it would be thank you for telling me I needed to find my voice, cuz now I have.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm. Yeah. That's the real mind fuck of these cultures and especially in this, in these wellness spheres. It's like the advice that we're being given is gold often. And it's, it is life changing when it is embodied. And though when it's not embodied by the people giving the advice.
Cuz you know, that was something I experienced a lot working at HQ of, I think if I got any advice more than any other, it was that I needed to stand in my power and I needed to speak up.
Stand in your power, speak up. Stand in your power, speak up. Stand in your power, speak up. And then I would look to them as leaders, Marissa and Raul specifically, and I'd be, wow, look at them using their voice. [01:01:00] Look at them standing in their power. Wow. If only, if only I could.
But when those two things would collide. When them being in their power would collide with me being in my power, there wasn't room for me. So that's the real mind fuck. Cuz you're like, yeah, I wanna take your advice, but there's no space for me. Here. My voice doesn't have a landing pad.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: And so yeah, it is the bittersweet thing on the other side, you just to say, I really relate with what you're saying of being like, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me.
And some would say, you know, a thing that we were taught at the Org was like, strength is having something to push against. That was a thing. Yeah, I had something to push against to build that power. Does it justify that I had to build the power that way? I don't think so.
Mark Frossard: So that's a very key thing that I wanted to touch upon [01:02:00] actually, is that Micki told me that my biggest weakness was humility. And I said, actually, I think that's my biggest strength. And so when you talk about the way you find your voice or what is your power, that's what I was saying to her is that, you know, actually having humility is my power.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Tracy Stamper: Hmm.
Mark Frossard: And so what I would like to offer to everyone who is listening to this is that, finding your voice or finding your power isn't just one way. Maybe your power is being quiet and you know, on the outskirts. Maybe your power is being center stage. Maybe your power is somewhere in the middle. I was told it's always one way, and I feel like that's what was displayed to us. And I don't think that's the truth.
Tracy Stamper: Wow.
Candice Schutter: That's right.
Tracy Stamper: Wow.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Tracy Stamper: That's a powerful takeaway.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. And that's taking back the word [01:03:00] power.
You know, power has been abused since probably the of humanity. And it's been defined a certain way. And now we get to refine. First deconstruct and dismantle. We can't skip that step unfortunately. And then redefine what power is. And I just think you spoke to, it's so beautifully. Thank you for that.
Tracy Stamper: Yeah.
Mark Frossard: And power doesn't mean that you are standing over people. I mean, for me it, it means I feel comfortable and I coexist with people. But I'm not ruling over them like a dictator.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: You know, when I was writing the studio, that was my goal with the teachers was to each of them to express what their unique talents were. I really did my best to, uh, cater to that and to support them in that. And to me, that's the magic of movement and community is that we [01:04:00] each get to be in our power and coexist. And that our power doesn't have to conflict with each other. That we can be like, oh wow, that person really has this gift, and that person has that gift.
And that's my ideal utopia. That's what I attempted to create at the studio. And I, um, that's why I wanted to stick with it till the end, is that I really held fast to that belief.
And I still do with what I'm doing now with my friends at the park.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Tracy Stamper: I am so struck, Mark, by how many times during this conversation and previous conversations you have mentioned that a huge part of your role and passion and mission was supporting your teachers. That's a thread that that has run through everything that you've said.
And my hope, [01:05:00] for you, after having spent so many years supporting your teachers, is that now that your story is being shared, that you receive support. It's your turn.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Mark Frossard: Well, thankfully I am. I absolutely am. From both of you and the whole community of people that are on this kind of journey of being on the other side together or in the middle together. And, it's really, really wonderful for you to listen and, you know, hold this stuff and, thank you. Just thank you.
Candice Schutter: Mark, I just wanna thank you on behalf of all of us for your courage, for your gorgeous humility, and for your [01:06:00] willingness to risk exposure so that you and we can all finally heal out loud and together in real time.
 And to you and David, I just wanna say on the record, I love your love and celebrate the way you walk alongside one another in both gentle grace and fierce integrity. It sets an example for us all.
As Tracy so eloquently said, it is also my hope that you are both less isolated on the other side of sharing this story. That you are surrounded by support and connected to a community that sees, hears, and appreciates each of you for exactly who you are. You will have an ally in me always.
Speaking of allies, special thanks to Tracy for always bringing a depth of compassion and love to these dialogues. What would I do without a wing woman to deconstruct dogma with and to text at all hours of the day and night?[01:07:00]
The point really is this. Mark, David, Tracy, you, me, we don't have to do any of this alone. And it is because we are no longer alone that we no longer have to silence ourselves.
One of the bittersweet hallmarks of culty culture is that we feel like we finally belong to something, when at the same time we are becoming more and more psychologically isolated from ourselves and from one another.
The company, the brand, the movement becomes more important than everything else. And as a result, we sacrifice our needs, our uniqueness, and the permission to voice our dissent.
When mission matters most, and please see Robert Jay Lifton's eight criteria of thought reform for more on that, we are much more likely to inflict intimate harm, ironically, in the name of doing more [01:08:00] good, far and wide.
And herein lies the moral injury at the heart of it all. What if it's not the mission that we are supporting so much as a dysfunctional capitalist system of power-over control that exploits our loyalty, robs us of resources, and profits off of our good intentions.
As I said in part one, and many, many times before, the Org practice has and continues to help a lot of people. I'm not here to argue that.
But I do think it's a mistake to think that all that good has to happen and can only happen under the Org umbrella. This is the big lie.
Mark, myself, and many, many others are finding ways to move on, quite literally, to keep moving ourselves and others without pledging allegiance to individuals that refuse to [01:09:00] accept accountability for decades of shady, and in some cases, really shitty treatment of people they claim to serve.
Many of us have stepped away. We're trading stories, healing together, and creating our own umbrellas. Keeping the good while kicking free from all the culty bs.
If you are a current or former Org affiliate, and you think you might be interested in joining our private Facebook group, reach out. Whether you are in or out, we wanna hear your story. You can share privately and directly with me or with Tracy, or with both of us via private DM or by visiting thedeeperpulse.com/share.
And if you're curious about learning more, but After The Org doesn't speak to you because you're maybe a little gun shy about group affiliations, which trust me, I get. Consider doing some exploration on your own. We've got you covered when it comes to useful resources.
If [01:10:00] you just started listening to the pod, you can circle back to early episodes in this series. Episode 32 is an intro into why around all of this. 33 is where I share my personal journey with the Org, as well as a variety of other culty new age wellness circles. Episodes 34 through 37, that's when Tracy joins me. We dive into more of the nuances at the Org and her personal expulsion from the practice. And then of course number 44 and 45 with Yamuna Benedict where she offers a peek behind the curtain and inside the Org HQ just as Raul was stepping away from the practice.
If you listen in on that and you want more, consider joining us over on Patreon, and become a part of a small and growing community of listeners that listen in as Tracy and I invite our friends and colleagues to deconstruct dogma in real time through personal stories and interviews.
When you join Patreon, you gain immediate access to over two dozen bonus episodes, and there's zero pressure for you to actively participate or be [01:11:00] visible in community discussions. It's just a way for you to gain access to these extras. Extras, like my two years in the making cult education resource list with 50 plus listings, videos dissecting cult dynamics in general, bonus interviews galore, and early releases of the pod. You can even sign up for a seven day trial if you'd prefer to just feel it out first. And of course, you can leave at any time. No questions asked.
Learn more at patreon.com/thedeeperpulse.
If you enjoyed this episode or any other, please consider taking a moment to rate or review The Deeper Pulse on your favorite streaming app.
Once again, huge thanks to Mark and to all of you for listening. I'll see you back here next week.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter