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Have you seen the Netflix documentary, My Octopus Teacher? Lee and I recently watched it—and it blew us away.


Because it puts this thing we call life into perspective. It shows you how to overcome trauma and pain without letting it consume you—and without forgetting the lessons that can help you avoid traumatic situations today.

In this episode, you’ll discover how acting like an octopus may be the key to leaving your decades of trauma in the past for good. And how this helps you embrace the animalistic freedom we all secretly crave.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include

  • The “Octopus Tentacle” secret for incinerating your negative thoughts (2:12)
  • The insidious way your lack of self-worth manifests as Shiny Object Syndrome (and how to be completely at peace where you are right this second) (8:07)
  • How watching this breathtaking documentary about an octopus can help you jettison your trauma for good (10:31)
  • The trick for learning from your trauma without letting it consume your mind and burden you with negative thoughts (13:17)
  • How narrating your history of trauma can both help you and retraumatize you (and how to know when it’s time to ditch the story) (19:04)
  • Why well-meaning counselors and therapists can accidentally riddle you with post-traumatic stress (24:23)
  • How recognizing you’re an animal frees you from every “human problem” you have (28:51)

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041

Read Full Transcript

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): Okay folks, it's time to take a different tack today. If you haven't yet seen the Netflix documentary, my Octopus Teacher, we're going to go in a slightly roundabout way to talk about the same things that we always care about, right? Talking about freedom, talking about living a life where you get to taste the fullness of the life around you without also losing your ability to function. I guess in that sense, and without getting lost in the stories, but also being able to chase stories if you want to chase stories and so on. And it's going to start today around this documentary. Now, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend going and watching it. It's basically the story of some guy from, where is it? New Zealand, South Africa, South Africa, South Africa, some guy from South Africa who was a filmmaker and like National Geographic type stuff around all these indigenous peoples that felt so connected to the land where he didn't, he had some kind of life crisis, something going on that he didn't really go deeply into and ended up back home going back to the ocean that he grew up in and diving down into the same area every day.

(01:39): And he happens upon this octopus and a relationship ensues. And he's there for basically what he would suggest is 80% or so of that octopus's life, they have physical interactions. He catches it all on camera in some incredible cinematography that is just absolutely fantastic. Obviously his previous skills with filming were came to bear, but man, and something about his transformation inside of that felt made me start to connect us with some of the things that are going on. Why? One of the things that they mentioned was that some two-thirds of an octopus's cognition exist in its tentacles, meaning two-thirds of its thinking are with essentially its fingers. And I've talked about this a lot with people. Obviously we have a lot more billions of neurons in the cerebral cortex, maybe necessarily housed in other areas of the body, and yet there is intelligence in every cell, even if that cell isn't operating with as a neuron, there's intelligence in every cell and there's action happening and life happening and all kinds of things happening in every cell.

(02:47): And every cell has memory and learns things and so on. So I started a while back as I was training with martial arts, thinking about octopuses in general because it feels like some of the people that are the absolute best, they feel like an octopus. It's like they don't have bones attached. Their Vladimir would hit me from every witch angle, and I didn't understand how or Martin would knock me to the ground and it felt like he only tapped me three times and my whole body would just collapse. And it's almost like we have these muscles and they're snaked around bones. And what made me think of it was this octopus grabbing all these shells. And so there's hard structural things and it's wrapped around them as a way of protection. And I thought about the human body in the same way. We have a tongue, which is all muscle, and that would be our muscle, M U S S E L . And it has no structure to it, it has no skeleton to it, and that is basically one we're part octopus guys.

(03:47): But on top of that, as I started thinking about it and watching and responding to what happened in this documentary, the parallels between that and what could happen inside of a human life started to show up in such a way that I really wanted to talk about it. Because in a sense, our body is the mind. And basically in this documentary, you get a chance to watch this octopus learn, grow, and develop habits and patterns and hunting habits and all kinds of other stuff on top of getting to see its relationship to other parts of the kelp forest that is swimming in and a relationship developed between the guy and the octopus so that you actually feel in some sense, his loss at her death eventually and everything that entails, you see her get attacked by sharks at one point, all kinds of stuff. And so I thought we'd take a minute because there are a number of parallels that easily present themselves. And as a starting point, it has a beautiful experience in its own. This documentary offers a way to start to talk about various things in human life that maybe we don't always remember to talk about on the podcast. So do you want to start with some of the things that stood out dearly?

(04:58): Yeah, if you haven't seen it, you should probably stop this podcast and go see it if you can because it'll provide a lot of context for what we're talking about just on the outset. It feels like I am in a constant state of learning here lately, and I just recognize on after watching this that I have kind of discounted maybe sea creatures in the sense of this octopus was almost like a little dog and mean this man built a relationship with her. And it's even kind of weird to say, like you said in your introduction that they got physical. I was like, not that kind of physical, but there was points where she seemed to embrace him and find comfort in being close to him. And it was more than a matter of safety because she wasn't in danger at that point. But to be able to recognize and give credibility to the consciousness on whatever level that sea creature had, that octopus had to play with the fish or to play with him or to be near him or to learn and to cope, was really fascinating. And I don't know that I, there's any shame around it, but I'm like, oh, I've been missing out. There's something more there.

(06:31): Yeah, there's this question for me. I've had a terror of the water since my dad tried to teach us how to swim in the event. Just take us out there and be like, float Bob. And I'm like, his call sign in the air force was guppy. He was on the swim team as a kid and all kinds of good stuff. And so that is an interesting phen. I don't think any of his kids swim very well. I can swim, but not very well. And I think what's fascinating is there's a point in there where he talks about, people would ask him, why do you go back to the same place and dive in the same place every day? And his response was something along the lines of that's really when nature and everything there starts to come alive when it's the same thing he's going back to.

(07:22): And yet it continues to reveal itself in deeper and deeper manner. And most of us spend our lives running around chasing the next new thing and the next new thing. And the notion of staying put and sitting only with what's in our arena and not chasing something new and not seeking the next highest mountain to climb, but actually just being where we're at and allowing the depth and the amenity of life that is teaming in every facet of just the area that we live right now could take a lifetime. I mean, it could be a lifetime study where even now this guy is, he's created a nonprofit sort of sea change project and they're going out and diving and looking at this kelp forest and all this stuff day in and day out. And it's inexhaustible. The amount of life is there. And I think on one level that's something that I really was chasing early on was at first I wanted the big sort of apotheosis.

(08:20): I wanted light to come down from heaven and glory surrounding me and giving me special gifts of the spirit, a superpowers, let's be honest. And some sort of proof that life was worth paying attention to, that I was worth paying attention to it. In other words, I didn't even value my own life as is I was seeking some big thing in order to make my life valuable. And so many people do this, they feel like they have to have a purpose, a mission, a dream something, and they don't consider the possibility. What if, I'm not saying that this is the absolute way to talk about it, but what if just being born and being handed your life was the gift, then that's all it was. Like here's this thing, go play and explore. And I know what people that have been born in really abusive situations wouldn't want to a address it that way and that do, I'm not trying to take away from that, but at the same time, exploring it from that vantage point once you're out of that sort of trauma can be a beautiful thing. What are all the things that you got to learn? What are all the things that are there? How much memory do you have that you can mine for? Any number of different things? How many other kinds of experiences are open to you when we pay attention to what's there and get past our labels and assumptions about them and be like, wow, hold on. I could sit here and study my own finger for a long time as long as I'm not busy telling myself, oh no, I know what this finger is. Give yourself the finger.

(09:54): . Speaking of fingers tentacles, I know there's a funny family story I'll share really quick, but wait, What does it take to get an OC octopus to laugh? I don't know Jen Tickles , but bump, my brother walked in the kitchen one time and everybody's kind of being goofy. And my brother was pretending to be an octopus, and he is coming up behind my mom waving his arms in there and goes, let me wrap my testicles around you. And quick, very quickly realizing what he had done. Sorry, Steve, I didn't know if I should share that. But anyway, there is a point in the documentary, I guess this is the octopus is cornered and a dog, not a dog shark, a pajama shark with a stripes or something. Anyway, a shark.

(10:46): Some kind of shark, Yeah, comes in and tries to eat it. And in some ways I felt like she sacrificed the tentacle. There seemed to be a purposeness around it, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. So the filmmaker is watching in horror and terror wondering what happened then realizes that she lost a tentacle, not a testicle. And it was interesting as he observed her and was concerned about her, and as she recovered from it, the recovery probably took a matter of a month or so, I would say from when she lost the testicle tentacle, oh my gosh, darned

(11:30): It balls. But at some point the octopus was just moving along, nothing had ever happened. And I mean, if there's something that I think my own freedom experience has taught me is that a trauma like that, although it did happen, that there is a time and a place where you can move away. And I had a moment like that probably six or eight weeks ago when it was still warm out sitting on my front porch and my mom came to mind and I was like, whoa, I'm thinking about my mom. And the significance about that was there was a time in my life with counseling, with everything that I had gone through with the trauma certification, with the suicide prevention training and just all this stuff that I constantly thought about her. I constantly thought about the trauma and the things that had happened, but I was sitting on my front porch and she came to mind and I was like, I don't remember the last time I had thought about her. I don't know if it had been over a year. And for the experiences that I had with her as a child, the abuse and everything to be all consuming and even the pursuit of healing was off consuming. I wasn't in the pursuit of healing. I wasn't even living, but I was thinking about trauma and I was thinking about healing and overcoming it but the fact that I hadn't thought about her in over a year was significant.

(13:09): I think that that brings up two things in my mind as I listened to you talk about that feel pertinent. One, it developed the octopus itself. The tentacle gets ripped off and all of its attention was devoted to healing at first. And so it was weak. It couldn't produce all of the colors and camouflage and all that stuff. It just stayed in its den and it just sat there. And then about a week later, it had a full tentacle, not just a tiny one, but a tentacle in the place of the one that had been ripped off. Now it was a fully functional tentacle. So the octopus, well, not necessarily all the way back on its feet, was no longer suffering from pain. It it just had, okay, cool, well let me just grow this one back. And that only took a week and then within a hundred days, so that's like a little over three months, it had a full-sized tend tole back.

(14:04): So we have massive trauma, a whole thing that's been ripped off the body. And yes, there is time where there is some kind of healing that needs to take place, but within three months it had a fully functional prehensile tentacle. Whereas humans spent decades, you yourself know very well because it's not the body that's the issue. It's the mind that keeps rehashing the stories that are going on in the body that keeps it there and keeps the body reenacting that trauma over and over and over again. That octopus was attacked by sharks later on and outwitted it to the point where it got up on top of the shark's back and was taking it for a ride and the shark could do nothing about it. And so it learned from the past, it didn't forget any of that stuff, and yet it wasn't traumatized by it at all there. It was playing, it was doing all those kinds of things That, that's a very interesting point. I hadn't thought about that until you mentioned it. What I had thought about is if there was a octopus support group ,

(15:12): Like all the octopus that have been endangered by dog sharks over here and all the octopus that had bed, their parents abandoned them when they were little. Come over here every octopus, which is every octopus, but there was no 4 million Of my sisters got Eaten . All my siblings died in the horrible, anyway, not making fun of your trauma by any means, but there was an essence of this octopus lived for a year and there wasn't any time to sit and sit in the trauma. There was a process of healing that happened, yes, but life went on and she didn't get stuck hiding in that den, never coming out again. And she did learn the next weather was the next time. But at some point another shark came along and like you said, it was in hot pursuit of her, but she had learned she was made stronger in that and wasn't traumatized again,

(16:23): Nor was she identified by it. not running around going, I'm a shark survivor. There's no clinging to an identity humans want to do because we have the capacity to think about these things. I remember Sadd Guu one time said that with every other animal, when its stomach is full, all of its problems are over. But with humans, once their stomach is full, all their problems begin because we have time to think about social situations and the future and the meaning of life and all the other stuff because we have the neurological capacity to do it. We're this octopus not saying we need to devolve to becoming like them, but there's a lot that we can learn because a lot of our bodies have similar characteristics in terms of, look, it's not your identity, it's just something that happened in your life. And most of the time it isn't even about you. Shark was hungry, smelled something, went and took a bite. That's kind of the nature of that one. It wasn't like, well, this Octa, everyone picks on me and none of that stuff. What it also brings to mind though, and the second point that I felt what was valid of what you said was you're sitting on the porch, you haven't thought about your mom for over a year. You think,

(17:36): Does a person actually know when they're free? Can a person actually know when they're free? Can you be free of something if you're thinking about it? And I tried to instill this with people over and over and over again in the early on when they wanted to proof that they were free of pornography, proof that they're free of drugs, proof that they're free of depression by having some metric that they can go look at and then constantly have to prove to themselves, see, look, I'm free of it. And that's what labels like survival drew, and those are useful. They're useful in the beginning to have some sort of measurement of I am making progress, but in the end, real freedom is that it doesn't even enter your consciousness. In the case of the octopus, a shark comes by, oh yeah, let me draw on all that past information and let me go with it and let me use that for my benefit and my advantage. But beyond that, there's no thought of, oh no, is there a shark in the area? Oh no, this just things learned in order to continue moving on with life without becoming identified by that and without it entering your own consciousness. If you are free of anything that you're struggling with, you may not actually get that satisfaction of being able to declare your free, it just, you'll simply leave your consciousness.

(18:57): I do some work with another organization and we mentor college-aged men, 18 and 25 years old. And a lot of that program is set up around narrative theory and narrative theory is a form of counseling where you tell a story or you look at the story and the idea is that you'll learn from it the more you tell it. And I know in my own experience, at some point it was helpful, but then at another point I was re-traumatizing myself and telling that story. I was making this thing that had happened and there's no question that had happened. There'd be a lot of questions on what actually happened as I get into it. But there were opportunities because that organization works in narrative theory, which again has usefulness. But I had to tell my story as a way to model what we're trying to help the guys to do.

(19:54): And I remember calling you because after getting teary-eyed about this, because I didn't know what story to tell. I didn't know anymore enough had changed. And enough, I had asked enough questions and I was like, what actually happened? Cause I didn't know. But what I had always accepted as what was the truth was no longer true because I had seen through it as Anthony Dam would say, embrace your demons. But he said to see through what's there. And I saw through it and I didn't know what the story was anymore. And with the octopus, there was a point where there was no material or anything, any mark on her that showed that there was any trauma whatsoever. And in fact, if you would have seen this octopus next to a hundred others, to my knowledge, there was no way to tell that any trauma had happened.

(20:55): Yeah, there wasn't any scar tissue that could be seen. And it makes you wonder if an octopus can do that. Can a human do this? Can, I mean, tadpoles do this, frogs do this. There is this regenerative capacity and lizard tales and stuff, and is that something that's available to all humans? Who knows? So maybe even physical scars and stuff not can actually depart except for our pension for remembering them. And by remembering them, I mean remembering them, making them again, a member of who we are instead of dismembering them and moving on with life. It reminds me of what you said just reminded me of when I was driving down the freeway all those years ago, back in 2012 or whenever it was, and having that initial final realization go through my head, oh my gosh, you're, I'm not an addict anymore. And at the time I connected that with the name ge.

(21:50): It was a thought that went through my head, Bob, you're not an addict anymore. Never introduce yourself as one again. I had this glorious feeling of like, wow, holy cow. That's the truth. I mentally connected that with Jesus and that the words came from Jesus, whether or not that's the truth or not, that was an add-on for me, that it was an interpretation that it came from Jesus and it may very well have who I don't don't know but it was a really powerful experience. But then I was left with the question, how do I tell my story at the 12 step meeting? Hi, my name's Bob and I have a lot of experience with addiction. Hi, my name's Bob and addiction sucked, but it really felt like there was a severance and that no longer actually was me. And to this day, all of this stuff feels like something happened in a life that is not my life, that's not my life because my life is this moment.

(22:45): It's not anything beyond that. And so it's like I have access to to the vaults, not the Disney vault, but the Bobby Vault of all this past history, the good, the bad, the ugly, the everything. But that isn't me. It's just something I can access when I need to. And I feel like that that's a really powerful statement around what I'm talking about when I'm talking about real freedom. Real freedom is that it's as if it never happened both for you, both for the people in your life that real freedom is legitimately that it's as if it never happened, that you have still that much capacity and possibility in your life as if it never happened. And that's what I was after. And that seems to be what I found in this particular approach that I've found is to handle not just the cognitive story, but all of the bodily aspect of it. Because your body wants to not get stuck in those things. It's only the mind rehashing it that keeps the body in that place until it develops a muscle memory and forgets that it can do something different. 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.

(24:23): There was a time in the middle of all of our conversations that I was looking at some of the abuse that happened, and I'm sure it was out of our conversations, but I had this moment of I don't actually really truly know what happened and the recognition that I was a child and I had child understanding, I didn't even have the words that I have now. And I was in whatever state I was in, I was in whatever space I was in, and my mother or whomever it was in their space doing their thing and just recognizing how suspect memory is and just knowing I was a child and how suspect memory was and just all those factors, I was like, I don't know what actually happened. And yet I had built my life around this story of what I thought I knew. And then I was just like, I'm done.

(25:21): I'm done doing that. How foolish was it of me innocently to base my life, my value, my purpose, my identity on a story that was very suspect? I'm like, I've wasted a lot of time doing that. Again, innocently again, doing what counselors told me to do and all that stuff. But there was a lot of time and effort and energy from the past that is no longer real, that was impacting my today, and it made no sense to me whatsoever. And there were things along the way and you told me that this would happen. I mean, I initially came to freedom because of the trauma and trying to deal with the trauma and really being, I've said this before, I wasn't in a place where I was hopeless, but I also wasn't hopeful. And there was a time after the retreat things started to drop away and food was one of the first things.

(26:22): I was self soothing and I could bless that process because it helped me survive and I'm grateful that I had food there, but there was a point where I didn't need it anymore. I had gained a different way and you told me, like I said, trauma was the reason I came, but pornography was a part of that as well. At some points, it wasn't the theme, but at some points and I was just like, when am I going to be done with this? And I'm done with it and I don't even want to think about it at this point because I don't want to put a timetable on it or whatever and say, I've been free for this long or whatever, because it just doesn't matter. It's something that's done that stopped on its own. It wasn't about me grunting it out. I'm not going to do this. There are points at this point in my life where I think about it, I'm like, ah, no, but it's not this huge effort. But there are things in my process of freedom, which you've alluded to in regards to this story that just did fall away, including the victimization around seeing my mother as the perpetrator and all that, the food, pornography, all of those things.

(27:33): Yeah, I think in my life that's been the best way to do it, is to allow the things to fall away as I continue to just take care of the life that is here, the body that I have, the way that I breathe, the way that I move. And it sounds absolutely stupid. It sounds absolutely a name. Why do we have all these fancy therapies with all these fancy names? People ask me like, well, what's your method? And I've actually resisted, I trademarked the name that I was going to call the method, and then I just didn't go out there and say it because I don't want there to be a brand. I don't want people to get hung up on the method is the answer because it's really just about being human. It's just about being alive. And one facet in the film that I also think that I want to touch on is toward the end, one of the things he said that he learned from the octopus from her was that he belonged, that he wasn't separate from the natural world, separate from life's as an observer outside of it and feeling like there was some level of antagonism there.

(28:44): But that all of that interaction with her over the course of that year, essentially just because he kept going back to the same spot, kept looking with his own eyes, getting involved with the life that was right in front of him. There came this moment of realization that he's actually a piece of this life. He's a piece of the planet, an integral part of it. And it was funny for me to watch that in the movie the second time that I watched it going back because I had know that he had mentioned that. But then I'm watching how much he doesn't want to interfere, which on a conservationist level is like wisdom. We don't want to interfere with the natural world, but we forget that humans are part of the natural world. We do so much to separate ourselves from it. We make clothing to shelter our shelves, and then sometimes we end up making clothing that doesn't shelter anything and reveals everything, but is there to create this other sense of identity.

(29:38): We have cars, we have houses and big office buildings, and we're all this insulation from the natural world and we forget that we belong. And there's so many people that struggle with a sense of belonging. I remember when I went on the my first long sabbatical where I was just like, I'm going to not do anything for seven days, and I haven't undone any of that long since. But it was seven days where I wasn't taking a program, I wasn't doing a mastermind. And I've talked about this on the podcast before, but I basically, it took me a couple days to wind down and to actually stop doing stuff. But for the last several days, I was just walk, go on a walk on the countryside, and I sat in the field and I remember at one point in time I was sitting in the field, it was like sunset ish, and I was watching the cars driving by on the freeway because it was somewhere near the freeway.

(30:32): And there was this just a feeling that rose up, I'm a part of this life in some way. Of course I belong there. Why would I not belong if I were just a life and had just sprung up here? All of a sudden there wouldn't be the question of who am I? Where do I belong, all this stuff. There would be no sense of that. There would just be this wonder of the world in this absolute wonder about everything going on and a curiosity and all of that, which is how babies are interacting. And I'm not saying we have to go back to being exactly infants, but the sense of belonging is one that's lost because of how much we're insulating ourselves from the natural world. And that's a huge thing that Tucker and I as we're guiding people on this stuff, we're trying more and more to get them off of their separation and back connected to their own senses, their own capacity to interact with the world around them, whether that's in the city, in the country, anywhere else. But I think beyond that, on a metaphorical level, the notion of belonging, there is such a sense of alienation, and at least for him, the alienation went away by him just getting involved in the life that he had instead of dreaming about or worrying about or judging the life that he had and wanting a different life.

(31:53): He really doesn't, you mentioned this earlier, he really doesn't go into what had happened, but you kind of get the idea that he was kind of at the top of his game during these documentaries and he has talent. It's interesting that you say alien nation, if I can borrow your methodology, he's an alien from another place and he, he's not belong where he actually is. In my history of nonprofit work, I've done some work with addiction and we would talk about the four Fs that you can fight this addiction, you can flee from it or you can follow it. Those are some of the options. But then I was, I felt like there was the fourth one is that you can actually face it and facing it to me is actually looking at it and looking at what's happening and not giving it more credibility than it is or whatever, but seeing it for what it is or what it isn't.

(32:52): Because in his life it sounds felt like he was running, there was something chasing him. He had to stay 10 steps ahead of it. And there came a point where evidently his health was impacted and he recognized that he was disconnected from his family and stuff like that. But I think the octopus gave him an opportunity to face what was real and what was actually happening, which is the gift. He talks about what he had learned from her, and in essence, he says about how short life is and recognizing that and to be present to what is. But for me, that looks like facing it and looking at it and looking actually what is there.

(33:38): What's fascinating is that if you look at just pure outside observance, sea creatures kind of are the aliens on the planet , right? Yeah. And basically it was him engaging with something that was alien, that the downstream effects of it, the dominoes that began to fall is, yeah, he felt like a sense of belonging. But then as you watch, and part of the narrative is his relationship with his son and his wife and his own life started to become rebuilt as sort of the aftermath of him engaging with life in it in one point, consciously just that single focused engagement with this is, I'm going to touch, be in touch with life where it touches me and I'm going to engage with it there. That is the thing that enabled him from then forward to experience what it was like to have a rebuild connection with his sons and whatnot.

(34:35): And when he watched the octopus now with missing a tentacle and he started thinking about dismemberment and all of these other thoughts started to happen, and he started to face some concerns that he had sort of shelved in some way and was fleeing even by going into the ocean and was just like, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to go into the ocean every day. And even his engagement with that brought him back around to face the things that he hadn't really been able to be honest and transparent with. And that just came from just engaging with his life where he was at and not feeling like he had to go chase it somewhere else. All of a sudden, belonging shows up, all of a sudden being a part of something shows up real care for another being, shows up. His family life starts to improve, and there's this greater sense of care that's shown up throughout his life. And there's a gentleness about his persona in many ways that you can feel on the screen in a huge way.

(35:28): And we're going back to the beginning at this point now, but he talks about at the very beginning of being in the ocean and saying it took about 15 minutes for him to be fully present to what was there, but then his body did something in that environment that was so invigorating that was changing things for him. And I think that we see that as men walk into freedom and the get the environment where, especially at the retreats where they're eating good food and they're engaging their body physically, and it's not all mind work, but more of the body work and the transformation that they see there. He says in the documentary that he began to crave that. And I think that's true as well for a lot of our participants, that once they experience freedom and health and wholeness, that they begin to pursue that in a way that's life giving. And we've talked about this in previous podcasts, that like this man and his son, our people go back to their families and it changes their relationships. And it's a whole new world to borrow something from little All New World. No, there's a, oh, is it? Oh, sorry. I don't have children.

(36:44): Yeah, but my wife is Jasmine. I need to know Aladdin. Yeah, . Right. So I want to read this poem. This is a segment of a poem that was in the New Yorker on October 4th, 1947. You can go purchase the entirety of the poem, and the poem ranges over a lot of different topics. The part that you'll find on blog posts and whatnot of the poem is this smaller part. And the whole poem's kind of fascinating in some ways, but this smaller part really kind of cuts to the quick of many things. And there's, I think a stanza missing in the middle of it and stuff. It's called The Little Duck. It's by Donald c Ba Babcock. And I think it touches on this idea of meeting reality where it touches you. And then there's just a hint of what goes further. And I love this. This is one of the few poems that I really kind of think back on from time to time.

(37:38): It says, now we are ready to look at something pretty special. It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf. No, it isn't a gull. A gull always has a raucous touch about him. This is some sort of duck. And he cuddles in the swells. He isn't cold and he is thinking things over. There is a great heaving in the Atlantic and he is part of it. He looks like a little mandarin or the Lord Buddha meditating under the bow tree. But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher. He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have. He can rest while the Atlantic heaves because he rests in the Atlantic probably. He doesn't know how large the ocean is and neither do you, but he realizes it. And what does he do? I ask you. He sits down in it.

(38:29): He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity, which it is, that is religion. And the duck has it. He has made himself a part of the boundless by easing himself into it, just where it touches him. I like the little duck. He doesn't know much, but he has religion. And I think that this particular poem has some level of real potency for me because of this notion that you don't know everything. We don't know everything. There's no way to know everything. There's no way to be in touch with infinity. And a lot of people spend their time trying to know everything, to see everything, to control everything. And as a result, we probably end up like this videographer ended up doing all of these documentaries. I mean, you think about what's a documentary? It's acquiring information. So that more and his description was like he was following these native peoples and they seemed to be in touch with something that he was missing and likely in touch with the other internal senses that humans have that we talked about a little bit last week.

(39:36): I mean the week before when we were talking about the heart and changing the heart. And he was missing that because it was so much in his head being led by his head gathering information instead, a recognition of how little he knew and wondering around and being confused by what was happening and having to start to think an octopus and having to try and figure out what was going on. And all the things that invited him into was because he stepped into the unknown, recognized he didn't know anything, and stop trying to control it. Even stop trying to control the fact that the octopus was, had its tentacle pulled off. And in some sense, there's like a level of wisdom in that what is happening is simply happening. And that doesn't make it right. That doesn't mean it wrong. It doesn't mean it should or should not have happened. All of that argument misses the point. He was just easing himself right down in it and resting in whatever swells of water came his way. And I think that that's a really profound thing to consider that I reflect back on both with this documentary and this particular poem.

(40:39): There's an element, as you're talking about, it feels like a lot of freedom is just letting go of the baggage. If you can set the baggage down, then you can actually move quicker. And every metaphor breaks apart. But what if you can just set the baggage down? What if just doing that frees you up? Yeah, I mean, I think what I've brought up, and I love that metaphor and I really like what I've mentioned with people several times in a similar vein, is that a lot of people think that there's this miraculous thing when somebody gets healed or somebody becomes healthy after a long illness or something like that. And we've seen this miracle, and I've said many times that every cell in your body is programmed to crave life, to make it self survive, or to get rid of and die off when it's no longer a healthy thing. It's designed to live life in the most optimal way. So it shouldn't be considered a miracle when that happens. The real miracle is that we manage to override all of that and make ourselves unhealthy, ill depressed, anxious and suicidal and all the other things. That is a miraculous amount of ability that humans have that we get to do to ourselves.

(42:01): And so it's not a question of is there something to be healed? There's nothing that needs to be healed. Life functions perfectly. We just got to stop getting in the way of it doing that. And that is putting down the baggage that is setting down the stories. It's just quitting the habit of killing ourselves early in many ways. So as we wrap up today talking about my octopus teacher, the documentary, and I don't, don't often do book reviews or film reviews or things like that, but anytime I find something that's pertinent this one I think has a depth to it that I have rarely seen in documentaries and in films in general, it they're, because it goes beyond the words that are being spoken. Here's a guy just being honest about the relationship that happened. Very factual, very concrete, not vague, not like sweeping memes.

(42:54): He's not trying to make overarching teachings about the way life should be or anything else like that. It's literally you're just essentially getting a chronicle, an autobiography of a man and a biography of an octopus. And inside of that, that allows you and me and anybody who washes it to kind of interact and look and see what parallels or what might be useful to take from that observation into life. In the end, the invitation today is to consider just how quickly things can be let go of. Even if an octopus can regrow a full sized, fully functional tentacle in three months time and a fully functional one within a week, even if it's small, then who, it doesn't really matter how much pain you've gone through, the amount of pain that the octopus went through to get its tentacle torn off, that lasted a few minutes.

(43:46): It wasn't just like it happened instantly. So let's say it happened a few years, or you've gone through 20, 30, 40, 50 years of pain and struggle to get to this point where the tentacle has been ripped off and you're in deep wound. What if that could turn around in a week, in a month, in a year? Lee could talk about how quickly things turned around for him in just four days at the retreats that we run. It's not about giving you hope because hope is a sort of belief that you don't see. It's about helping you see that there are other facts and reality that contradict the idea that any of this will go on forever. And it doesn't matter if it's been 20 or 40 years. The fact that it's been that long does not mean it will last another 10 minutes. It doesn't. And is there enough data and enough people, at least that I've worked with personally and in my own life and Lee's life and all the other people that you can use as evidence to be like, okay, well this has happened before.

(44:37): So now it's just a question of what do I need to do in order to get out of the way so that my body can make things happen for me? And then your life, your body becomes your teacher, just like the octopus was the teacher for the guy. Just life as a process becomes your teacher. Your environment becomes your teacher. Life all around you becomes something that enables you to come back around to all the bits of yourself that you're still kind of making misery out of, and to see them afresh and get a chance to drop those as well.

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 review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus it's just nice to be nice.

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