It is time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F word here. Freedom. We'll share straight from the trenches what we've learned from leaving our own addictions behind and coaching hundreds of others to do the same. And since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it.
(00:35): All right. Welcome back to the Alive and Free podcast today guys. It's time to get concrete, man. I want to hopefully unveil for you all as much as possible. One of the secrets to, if you can call what I do, success then to my success. But one of the secrets or one of the keys that has enabled me to communicate well, to create really deep personal connections, not just with Jasmine and my children, but with other people and even with strangers who will come up to me and within a very short amount of time, many of them will share things about their life that they don't share with other people. And while there may be some quality about me that is unique in some ways, a lot of this comes down to something that I practiced and that is learning to speak in actual real detail and not getting caught in vague talk a while ago a friend of mine who himself is a consultant, a coach who's out there innovating in so many different ways.
(01:37): And he takes people on treks and challenges their worldview in many ways and gets them to really hone in on their dreams and the things that they feel like their life's mission and their ambition and their purpose and all of these different things. He put together a website and then reached out to other people in a very, very public way saying, Hey, do you want some feedback? And I looked at the website because he is a good friend and what I saw there read a horoscope. And I didn't actually reach out to him and be like, Hey, I have some feedback, but you probably aren't going to like any of it. But he and I have had conversations for well over a decade at this stage in the game about ways of communicating. The man has a PhD in communication. I do not. The man has studied all the books, I have not studied all of them.
(02:21): I have been in the trenches doing my own thing. And as a result, there's a lot of theories around good communication and all that other stuff that show up. And he loves to validate people by saying, oh, I just wanna validate what you said there. And of course, I'm like in my brain, I'm not a parking ticket. I don't need validation. Quit validating. You can just go on to the next co. If you're listening to the conversation, let's just talk about something. Please stop validating me. And he's really a genuine father. And no, I'm not going to sit there and pick out any flaws or faults or say there's anything wrong with him. And yet when it comes down to communication, what I've seen in him, somebody who's highly educated in it, is something that I see in almost everybody. And it doesn't escape the elite.
(03:07): And that is vagueness. That website read like a horoscope. You could go in and you could look at it and if you had a problem with innovation in your team or something, you could possibly read your problem into it. But if you just read the words as they were, it didn't actually say anything. The person like reading it would go in there and see catchphrases and jargon from buzzwords from social media and different topics of conversation that are out there around wanting innovation and teams, team building things and all that other stuff. And at the end of the day, it didn't look like there was any concrete promise made. There were any concrete results that would happen any concrete timeframe. It was just that by the time that they would be done, and it was just an ebook. So it's not like he was promising some massive coaching program or anything, but it was just a simple book and it was just like innovation hacks and things that kill innovation.
(04:05): And now that you know about it that you know can change it. And a lot of those things might be useful in some way, shape, or form. But what I see is a lot of people have the same breakthrough over and over again at the various events and that they attend and books that they read, they go, oh my gosh, I should love myself all over again. Or oh my gosh, if you really listen to people, then they actually get that you're listening. And instead of trying to show them you're listening with active listening skills, just listen to them. And I've seen this happen over and over again. So there's this vague language there now, that same vague language I've seen show up in a lot of coaching programs and a lot of posts online where it sounds like people are actually going to get down nitty gritty and talk about a very real circumstance.
(04:48): And because we don't want our social status challenged or we want to feel like we're on top of the world and we're pontificating from the summit of the mountain, we end up not going into the details that would make another person cringe. Now, there are parts in the book that I wrote that made you cringe, Lee, tell me about those. So when I talked about what I squeezing my kids when they were younger or cringing, like I'm sharing with this, and you would say, oh, I just don't want people to discount you or discount what you're doing because you're sharing these things. And if you could, I'm putting him on the spot here, but I think it's important.
(05:29): Well, there's so much going on with the book and it's so great and the subject of the book really is so important. And as I've had my, I've done about 30 years in nonprofit worlds and worked around addiction and homelessness and all of that stuff. And so there's this real desire of me for those people to get this book. And there were some of the things along the way that you've already mentioned that I was concerned of, wow, we're going to lose some people right there. Like addiction not being real or trauma not being real. And I'm imagining people that do this work in and out every day and they're like, well, what am I experiencing then? And so, yeah, was concerned that some of those things would Turn people off, Turn people off.
(06:25): And that boiled down to, and he and I had a few conversations cuz he was reading the book along the way and I was asking him specifically to be aware of where people might be turned off. Cuz I care a lot about the message getting out in the right way, trauma not being real, addiction not being real. You'll have to read the book to know what we're talking about, that we're not talking about the fact that people, there are people that are stuck in behaviors, they continue to do the same behavior over and over and that's happening. There are people that are having experiences of trauma or experiences of pain that they've carried for a long period of time that also is happening. But what seems to be the source of it, that's something that gets to be called into question now. But along the way I've had him ask questions and challenge it because I do care that the message gets out. And at the same time, I've kind of had to go to bat for if I'm not able to be really concrete and really real, I know exactly how that felt on my end when I seemed to get an answer. But then by the time I really dug into what the answer was, when it was given in this sort of meme format and life coachy format, that it ended up being all fluff and no substance,
(07:37): You didn't allow me to read that post the other day. And at the end of it you're like, well, what did you feel? I'm like, I'm ready to go. And like, where are you going? I had no idea the post was from this guy. It was kinda like being in the middle of a battle or let's go get 'em and then running out and you're like, who are we getting? What are we doing? Where are we going? I had no idea. And there's something, there's an element and certainly I, I've benefited of being in this circle to become more awake, for lack of a better word. But this stuff just happens all the time. We're just fed it all the time. And it's like I had, for me personally, I have one foot in the matrix and one foot in this other reality. And it's been good to be challenged to come out of it. But I didn't realize it till you pointed it out. I had no idea, but I was ready to go.
(08:37): And I think there's something to be said for that salesman thrive on motivation. There was one life coach that I really appreciated. His name was Steve Chandler. He's a coach's coach or business coach or something down in Arizona. And he used to talk in total monotone, zero inflection whatsoever because his job was to not be Tony Robbins. He doesn't want you operating on motivation. He wants you operating on intention and intelligence and deliberate consistent action. So I I'm do it. And he would have storytelling nights and I'm like, I wonder how those stories go . Like does everybody asleep by the end? Does he select out the drama? I don't know. But it's very, very common that you get a lot of posts that paint a fantastical sort of storybook picture about what's happening. And as a result, and we talked about this with the Himalayan podcast a couple episodes back, as a result of that, people think they're going into something and they don't realize that they're going a lot of what they're going into, they made up in their own head that wasn't actually communicated.
(09:56): And there's a lot of motivation that it's great. I mean it's very powerful and people can get super excited, but it doesn't last. And especially when there's not concrete detail on the other end, all of a sudden you wake up one day and you realize, where am I? Why did we go out to battle again? Who are we fighting? Where are we going? And the fact that you didn't catch that, you didn't catch that there was literally no place that you were going. I think that speaks to the fact that I'm, it's so ubiquitous and it's that easy to be sucked in by motivation, which is what advertising is trying to get you to do. Instead of sitting there going, do I actually need this? What does that thing actually do? Why am I paying attention to this in the first place? What is being promised?
(10:44): And the reason I wanted to pick this topic particularly is because vague talk when it comes down to dealing with addiction, dealing with anxiety, dealing with depression, the word depression is vague. Everybody experiences it differently. The word anxiety is vague, everybody experiences it differently. And if we were not allowed to speak to our own concrete experience of it, we end up dealing with a phantom and we're not actually dealing with the real thing. And so while I started this talking about a post about innovation and some invitation there, when it boils down to the real things that people deal with, the reason they come to us with these retreats, they're dealing with deep, dark, heavy things, very specific events, concrete feelings in their body that are gut pains and tightness in the throat and a heart that just palpitates at times a mind that won't shut off.
(11:38): They deal with tension in their shoulders and anger that they can't get out. They deal with complete confusion at times and they don't know how to deal with it. They deal with body shutdowns and all of these different things and then when they turn around and talk to somebody else, they talk in vague terms. They're like, how was life going? Oh, it's okay. That's vague. Now, not to say that everybody on the street you're going to want to talk to that way, but if you don't have a practice of demanding just transparency about what's happening and you feel instead you have to dress up everything that's there, your whole life becomes a euphemism for something else. Your whole life becomes a lie farce in many ways. And then things crack. And that's where we start to see people getting sent into facilities. We start to see people shutting down. We start to see marriages falling apart for no other reason that they didn't have the opportunity or the permission to finally just say what was real in direct terms. And to also say what they don't understand.
(12:45): We were going to talk about this at another time, but I think this might be a good opportunity to just, even if I were to look at my own story and how there's so much vagueness around my understanding of what happened and just learning to question what am I reading? What am I seeing, what do I remember, all of that, the intentionality of you talked about it before being present to actually what happened. And there's been many times that we've talked about the stories that I've said to you and you're asking the question, what are you saying? What actually happened? And I've appreciated that because there's been some significant freedom that have come out of that understanding because I've even told myself vague stories around those things. I can mention that there was some sexual abuse that I grew up with my mother. And because of what was happening there, I made up stories that weren't specific at all, but in my mind made me a bad kid or a bad man or on some level that I deserved it. But I never ever questioned those things. And they were saying a lot without any specifics. And so the very simple process of you even questioning at one point, you're like, would that have happened to any child that was in that spot? And for me to recognize that there was nothing really specifically about me that made me open to that abuse. And then when I realized that then all the stories, the really vague stories about my value and worth had to fall away because they're being questioned. And I was actually seeing what was,
(14:36): If you or someone is looking to drop the F-bomb of freedom in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or want some help doing it, head on over to the freedom specialist.com/feel better now and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. So let's get down nitty gritty, right? Here's a general example. People say, how was your day, man, I had a really bad day. That's a vague story. It's shorthand and it's intelligent to use it when you don't actually wanna talk about your day. But you could also just say, I don't really wanna talk about it right now. I'm not in a great place to talk about it. I feel kind of miserable at the moment, but is it actually true that you had a bad day? What does it mean to have a bad day? Can a day be bad? Or can certain things that happen in the middle of that day be something that you decide that you want to call bad because of whatever expectations or whatever else? And automatically we go, okay, cool. If the day itself, how is it possible for a day to be good or bad?
(15:51): A day can only be a day. Cool. So then that means there's things that happened. Well then the whole day, all of that time spent was not bad. Did you smile at all? Did you eat food and enjoy swallowing? Did you take a few breaths of fresh air? Did sunlight stream through your window at one point? Did you zone out? The good feeling that comes when you zone out guys where you're just like, someone connects you later, but your brain has stopped thinking for a moment and you're just like, oh wow, this feels really good. That feeling. Did that happen in the middle of the day? There are so many things that could happen in the middle of a day and telling the vague story I had a bad day is doing nobody of service other than it's preventing you from talking about it. But then that's also not honest. You could just say, I don't wanna talk about it. So the other day you had somebody abuse your hospitality cuz you were outta town. And if you wanna give as much of the story as you're comfortable with, but then at the end of that you had a reaction where you were like, I'm just going to tell the guy thank you for coming. And I was like, but are you really grateful that he came? And there was that kind of response and what did that do?
(17:01): Yeah, it's just, I don't know. It's so crazy to me sometimes at how simple some of this is and how I miss it all the time. And yet how we all, I'll speak first myself, I feel so comfortable with these little ambiguity, lies, whatever that we tell ourselves and tell each other in some ways, being in that position, especially with this story, and maybe I'll fill in some of the details, I was gone and a buddy of mine was going to be in town. He is like, could you ever place to stay? I'm like, I'm not going to be there. He's like that. He was fine with that. And in the process he invited someone else to my house while I was gone and not a situation where I was comfortable at all and still don't know all the ramifications of that. And just like were there bedbugs or whatever he, he was helping this guy off the street and I'm also trying to sell my house.
(17:58): And so there's just a lot going on. And rather than maybe have the courage to deal with that straightforward, I was like, I'm just going to get him outta my house. I'm just going to say nice to see you and whenever you need something let me know or whatever. And when you challenge me on that, I'm like, I wasn't happy to see him. I don't want him to come back. But I wasn't walking in the truth of that. And what impact does that vagueness and not walking in the truth have on me or my body? And what happens next when he comes back and needs to stay at my house again and I'm in a place where I have set myself up for my own lack of courage to have to deal with that again. And what would be better for me as far as an expensive energy? Where would that better be spent? Is it on the side of being truthful or dealing with the ramifications of not being truthful
(18:58): After the Himalayas? And if you guys haven't listened to that hour and a half long episode or however long it is, it's worth it I think is a conversation to really get a sense of where I've come from and what's been going on. But since then, there's a segment of that where I talked about really getting honest and transparent because of some of the way things were handled there. What's transpired at home has been a level of honesty and transparency with Jasmine in particular that was never present before. And we were very honest with each other before, but there was always this notion of protecting the other person from our feelings instead of just owning them as our own feelings. And not even the vagueness of you made me mad. That's not actually what happens. In order for another person to make you mad, they would have to inject whatever chemistry of madness is in there.
(19:49): They would have to infuse it in the air and you'd force you to breathe it in. Which if we're talking about farts, then maybe that counts. But it's impossible for another person to make you mad unless they're doing those things. What is possible is for you to take what they are doing in internalize it in such a way that you make yourself mad and then blame them for it. And so even that that's gone in our house, what came up for me was this, that's a powerful phrase, guys. Please use it. Wow, this happened. And then all of a sudden this feeling came up for me and that gives you something to look at it, but it's no longer that is to blame for my feeling. So Jasmine and I have been able to talk about things where she comes in the room and I'm, I've said things like, wow, just then I was really nervous to ask you how you were doing cuz I felt like I didn't pay enough attention to you during the day and that you were upset with that.
(20:50): And that's possibly back from before years ago. And I would just own that. And what that does is it alleviates this huge burden of having to carry all these tiny little ticks that slowly, slowly twists the body up. Something that is a fascinating factoid, and I may have shared this a few episodes ago, but the Hebrew word for sin is [inaudible]. And it literally comes from the verb meaning to make crooked or to distort. And so if you figure tension patterns in the body, which are things we work with a lot freedom specialist, tension patterns in the body, they distort a natural frame into a frame that is for one function or another or in some form of variation from what it's naturally there for. And so a person who sins is a person who basically carries the distortion and they carry that in their system in form of some tension.
(21:48): Well, that can be guilt. Guilt creates tension and heartbeat problems and all these other things. Shame can do a similar thing. Depression can do something, anxiety can do something and whatnot. And so when you cease to carry the crookedness, you cease to be the crook, so to speak. And to alleviate that well bit by bit, as we're dishonest, as we're not real, as we are in insincere or a little less concrete as we're vaguely waving our hand over the situation, hoping to magically make it something other than what it is, then all of a sudden we're bit by bit, we're twisting our bodies and our minds up around ideas that are not actually the truth. And then what happens is that some, at some point in time, resentment C creeps up and then there's explosions that happen and then there's amends that have to be made or behaviors that are done that you can't come back from.
(22:40): And all kinds of things happen. And so as Jasmine and I have been able to, and it's been a process, it's not like it happened instantaneously, obviously it's taken a lot of years of me being willing to just, oh, be open about what I'm feeling and to step in and be like, Hey, this is what's going on with me. And in a future episode here in the next week or two, we're going to talk about a specific example of that with Jasmine and I will break it down for you so that you can get the blow by blow and Lee watches the whole thing go down so you can get the outsider's view as well coming soon to a podcast near you. But the point is, as I've been able to simply be transparent and open and honest and real with what actually is happening and only that not blowing it out of proportion, not making it bigger or smaller than it is not turning it into a Shakespearean ode or some kind of catastrophe or calamity that happened because of politics or saying anything like that.
(23:43): If I'm just real with what's there, then those little tight, those little tiny twistings and crookedness that show up from one lie here, one little hand wave there and so on. I just get alleviated from that. I don't go to bed carrying it. And as a result, there is a sense of freedom and openness in this house that wasn't even there before I went to the Himalayas. And it was really good before then. And you've seen Lee, I mean you've been around in this house for a while. Have you noticed a change and do you wanna speak to any of this? Yeah, I, I'd say there's definitely more openness. There's a lighter atmosphere and more playfulness. And ultimately and that's been really refreshing to watch. I want say that some of the stuff that we're talking about, they're not intentional lies.
(24:38): No, no, Not at all. No, it's not. And it is just almost, I don't know if it's American victorianism or something like that, that has a certain amount of appropriateness. You don't say certain things, you treat people a certain way. You're always pleasant, you're not contradictory, all that stuff. And it is just, it's so innate in so many different ways. And as you've pointed it out, it's, I've seen it more and more. And so it is also for me, been refreshing on this side to almost have permission to say it's okay to say what's actually true. A and that's not always safe. So if you're around people where if you say what's actually true and then it blows up into a family affair, Then don't talk about politics.
(25:21): Yeah. And so yeah, be wise with who and where you start practicing this. But if you don't have anybody in your life that you can be real with, boy, that's the gift that you need to give yourself. Whether that's for the Christmas is over by now, but whether that's for your birthday or Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day or Independence Day or all of them, the gift of having a person where you don't have to hide, where there is no mask that has to be worn and you actually get to just be you with all of the fears, all the worries, all the concerns, all the places where you don't have answers, where you just get to be a human being who's trying to figure stuff out, then that's it. If you don't have that in your life, that's the first order of business. And if you need us to stand in that role for a bit, then by all means, let us help you in that regard.
(26:13): I have paid people to do that for me many times in the past because I couldn't find anybody else. That's one reason that people hire counselors and therapists and just cuz there's somebody there that they can go talk to on the regular basis that allows them to just say what's real, at least as far as they can. And then we'll listen to them. And so there's that possibility as well. I'm not against therapy if it works for you, but that is really, really kind of at the heart of so much of what we do is getting people to see what's really there. To get real, to get past all the stories and to see what's actually happening. And what you'll find is all the problems that you think you have, even if it's 50 years of trauma, you've had Lee, all the problems that you think you've had, they're not actually that big.
(27:02): I mean, if your arm's falling off and you've, cuz you've got in a car accident, so let's get to the emergency room, , get some intervention happening and then we can talk. But all of the stuff that you think is really, really a huge deal comes from not being able to be a hundred percent honest with what's there. And you're right, I don't think it's malicious at all in most people. It's trained. We learned from our parents just not say what was actually real. We learned to say, be nice. Instead of stop hitting, we learned to say, be charitable instead of can you please smile at the person when they smile at you. And so we have these vague, abstract terms thanks to our Greek heritage and language and thanks to so many other things. And because we live in these world of abstractions more and more and bigger and bigger abstractions, we failed to have concreteness in our language.
(27:58): We failed to have reality in our minds. And as a result, it's like wandering through the world with a VR headset. It looks real. We wander around with it, but then we wonder why we keep bumping into walls that we can't see. It's because we're stuck in our heads and not actually in reality. And so as we close out today the topic being getting concrete with everything, the challenge for you this week, at least with yourself in a journal, if not with another person in your life, to be honest about what you actually feel and then to question it because I can guarantee you that you'll be honest. And then if you go back and be like, what if that's, is that actually what I feel? And you just ask that question a second time, am I a hundred? Is that a hundred percent accurate?
(28:46): Am I being totally honest? Is it as big or as small? For some things we go, oh, that's not a big deal. And it really is a big deal with your house guests. And for other people they go, that's a huge deal. And it's really nothing tiny. I mean, nothing big, it's just a tiny thing. And if they had given it another hour, then it wouldn't be a big deal. But because they blew up about it in the moment, all of a sudden it feels like it's a huge thing and they'll never, ever, ever be able to get past it. So at least with yourself, what do you actually feel? And it's okay to admit you don't know what's happening. You're confused about everything. And that's just the way that things are at the moment. That's okay. Where do you feel that in your body? Where do you not feel it? What are the places that don't feel those things? And don't think those things, how much time of your day is actually not involved in it? If you can start to get honest, you might start to get a glimpse at how small your problems are or how big they are. And that clarity is what will enable you then to move forward into a future that you're choosing consciously instead of being thrown into because you still have the VR headset on.
And that's it for today's Alive and Free podcast. If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom Bombs landing in your earbuds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcast from. And while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus it's just nice to be nice.
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