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The concept of “healing” might sound appealing, but it’s actually a dangerous trick in disguise. Why? Well, it means you have to believe something is wrong with you in the first place, otherwise healing would never interest you.

And when you let healing lure you in like a worm on a fishing rod it can actually create more misery, shame, and suffering.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to “fix” or “heal” anything. Instead, you could just be done with that “masterpiece” of your life, and start painting a brand-new canvas, free from your past mistakes and trauma.

How do you do this?

In this episode, I reveal the counterintuitive way to stop judging yourself for your past, and how this unveils a new beauty in life.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include

  • How diving deep into art forces you to see the hidden beauty in life (1:29)
  • The insidious “fix me” trap you can fall into on your healing journey which actually heightens your misery (6:53)
  • The “Masterpiece” mindset shift for becoming oddly grateful for your past traumas, addictions, and suffering (9:04)
  • How writing your own eulogy can help you set down the worst things from your past and start a new life (16:27)
  • Do you shame yourself for your mistakes? Here’s why celebrating them instead frees you from them instead of imprisoning you to them (24:32)

Need help unlocking mental, emotional, and physical freedom in your life? Grab my new book, Built for Freedom: Adventures Through Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, Trauma, Pain, and Our Body’s Innate Ability to Leave Them All Behind on Amazon (or Audible) here: https://www.amazon.com/Built-Freedom-Adventures-Depression-Addiction/dp/B0BS79GMYN

Or 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.

Read Full Transcript

It's 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, wheelchair 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.

(0:35) And welcome back after last week's long parasitic journey, we are now back in action, and we're going to talk about something totally different. I couldn't eat out to that podcast, I picked up an orange and had like this black spot on it. I'm like, I'll just cut around it might know. I couldn't do it. How many of you have been OCD this week? So today, let's dive into artwork. So I many maybe I've mentioned this before. I know I've mentioned it before, but I spent a large portion of my childhood and all through my college career and graduate career in the study of the formal study of and also playing around with painting and drawing. And Lee also has done a bunch of artwork on his own and has that sort of mentality, in some way, shape, or form as well. And so in the process of that, like, I'm super grateful for that experience, because all it did was in one level, it was like meditation, you know, I just got to sit and look at the world. But on another level, what was fascinating about it was it It forced me to get really clear on what it was I was seeing. And so people would say like, well, what color is the sky? And then I'd have to go look, and I would see that everything above the ground was like, okay, often the distance like, okay, sometimes it's green, and sometimes it's pink, and sometimes it's yellow. And sometimes there's orange. And sometimes it's some weird gray color. And sometimes it's like, looks like it's from another planet. And then it's purple and is and then it's not black, but kind of black. But then this deep blue, but then this, like, you know, what's the color of pollution and light pollution? Yeah, and to be honest, and more honest about what exactly my eyes were seeing, like it was the first practice I had about challenging the assumptions I had about what I was seeing, then I would look at the grass and be like the grass is green, or the yellow and it's dying. But if you look at any patch of grass, how many different shades of green are there, green is actually the most varied color on the planet, there are more shades of green, from what I understand, from what I've read, there are more shades of green available to the human eye than there are any other color, meaning humans can somehow discern between them more readily, or green can blend into other colors in a different way. And that there are more different possibilities within green than any other color. And most people just paint the grass green and they don't recognize how light diffuses and scatters through the atmosphere over time and space to the point that the yellows disappear first and then the reds. And then finally you're left with the blues. And like why is it that the mountains look more blue in the background, and all of these different things that because of light and proximity, and then you have different types of plants. And all of those things then produce this, this awareness and this penchant for or drive for or desire to perceive. So when I was in graduate school, like I just liked painting things, and all my professors wanted me to like be all conceptual about it. So I found a way around that by painting a metal can that just reflected things? Lee has one of those in his possession, I was gonna say in your offense, but no, no, it's done. Yeah. And so like this has led me recently to some of the stuff that we prepare people for with the retreat, are to prepare them to have the greatest experience that they possibly can, so that their mind and their body are open and ready for what is to come. And like we mentioned a few weeks ago, with the sacred sacraments that these these different religious traditions would do, whether they were like in Africa using Iboga, or in the South America using ayahuasca, or if they're in Greece using aromatized beer, or if they're in sacred communions using spiked wines, or if they're in China using some form of sakeI, or like Wagas, such as Japanese, but some form of like, they would do a lot of spiced wines, they're in China, or wherever they were, you know, they they speak of these things like, don't take these away from people. Because if you took away these mystical experiences, from these things, from these people where they could meet God, you know, and really have this deep communion with Him, then life would become unbearable, which it has for many people for sure. But in order to prepare them for this experience, there was months of preparation, sometimes there was diet, and there was there were physical regimes or there were like meditation practices or things people would have to do to prepare themselves for an initiation right, so to speak. Like, and so I've thought long and hard about that. And from the beginning of the retreats, everything that we've had people do in preparation for and even the journey from the airport to the venue is thought out very, very unlike a lot of detailed Lee can tell you how much I've tweaked and adjusted and changed over the lead. You want to speak to that? No, you're good. It's good. Yeah, over the last couple of years. And, and so one of the pieces is how you frame the life that you live before. In the beginning, so many people wanted to come to us because they wanted to change their life. Right? Well, that's typical. They haven't been stuck in addiction, depression, anxiety, they've been traumatized for however many decades or PTSD from war or, you know, overstressed and or they don't know how to connect to a partner and they're struggling, or they have low self esteem or, or bipolar, or their OCD, or all of these things that like combined to form a life experience that isn't so stellar for them. And they've come with the idea that I need to fix me. And if I can just fix me, then everything will be okay. And in their mind fixing me equals, I just take away the bad parts, and then I keep all the good stuff. Right, instead of realizing that the bad parts balance out the good parts. And that was the mentality I had for a long time. I'm sure that was your mentality quite a bit. And most of the people we've seen Yeah,

(6:22) yeah, I think so. I mean, as you're talking, I kept thinking, you know, the, the retreats have changed a lot in the sense that, as you learn things, and expose the things that you bring those things off to the retreat, I think this subject today is one of those things, like no one ever attends the same retreat. That not one time, because every time there's more information, and more help.

(6:44) Yeah. And you know, I've dialed some things in and eliminated some things that I found better ways of doing and so on. So here like, from, from my mentality for a long time was like, I just have to fix me. But can you see the problem with that? This is the problem with healing in general, the idea of healing for you to be able to heal something, you have to hold the idea within your consciousness that it's broken. And I'm not talking about broken bones and stuff like I'm talking about like your you yourself as a being and only you holding yourself at in your mind, the idea and belief that you are broken, will make you seek out healing, and will make you prize and value healing and will make you cherish it when it shows up. And we'll give you the experience but you can't experience healing if you don't feel yourself to be broken. Now, sometimes that can happen in terms of like, you don't realize something's down and then all of a sudden life changes and you feel better. And so then you turn around and say, Well, I must have been broken back then. But that's not actually true, you were just living a different life back then. And so as I've thought long and hard about this, one of the things that changed with jasmine and I recently that I kind of alluded to was this idea of death, and that, that the old person has really kind of died out. So then I started thinking about paintings. Now there's a point in every painting, that when you're moving along or in like when you're cooking or something that it's done that no amount of fussing, fussing, fussing or fiddling with it, fiddling that no amount of fussing with it. After that we'll ever fix it in a painting. There's a certain point at which do adding more paint, adding more paint strokes, sanding it down, trying to fix stuff only ends up making it worse, like the energy of the painting everything it was driving toward its composition, everything. There's a point at which it culminates. And at that point, it's done.

(8:37) I've been having does Mark myself I have many times over done it. Yes. And then you start to get in this anxiety. Like you try to go back and repair it and try to cover it up. And then it just it gets worse. You know, like, like, there's a scar, you're trying to cover the scar and then you don't do that well. And then yeah, it's just then you end up having to rework the whole painting. Exactly. It's not as good as the first one anyway, I should have just left it alone and walked away. And that is so often when I see people what happened with people when they're seeking healing, is they believe themselves to be broken one so then they start looking for something to fix themselves. And as they're fussing with it, they get to a point that Oh, no, no, I gotta fix this. Now I gotta fit that in their whole life becomes a career of healing. Instead of seeing it like wow, I lived that masterpiece fully. My masterpiece, for instance of my life. I've made many of them. But they were masterpieces of misery. They were they were utterly brilliant compositions of, like so much learning and growth and epic fails and like I failed 100% of the time of being anything that anyone expected me to be. Because I could never be anything other than it was. But I didn't that wasn't for lack of trying. I gave I really live that life on mean, I flew all over the world seeking to, to find the apex of being the guy that had the answers and was perfect and did all the things right. And, and I it was, it was, that was a beautiful life. And rather than sit there and try to fix that life, what happened was there was a moment where Jasmine and I were talking quite intimately. And it just sort of happened where she started speaking of me as her first husband, and I started speaking of her as my first wife. And we began to talk rather candidly about, man, she was so good, but I always wish to achieve this. And I always wish that she that, but it was over right. And why didn't it work out and so we were there with each other speaking of the other as if dead, and then pretty soon it became this. Who was Bob if I could discard him so easily and speak about him as if he's dead. And that started to open up the floodgates to work to the point where we ended up with different names for each other that we call each other. And, but what was fascinating about it was that that started a line of thinking to me about these these masterpieces. What I used to do when I would finish a painting is that I would sit back and sometimes for an hour or two, even in the middle of it when I'd finished like the day's work, I would sit back and I would just look at it and I would be like man, that piece is so cool. And I would celebrate it and it was absolutely phenomenal. And then when I was done with a painting I would sit and just look at it for admire it for myself. And then what happened the next piece that needed to happen was not fix it. But like hang it up to dry or get it out for selling. If anybody wanted to buy it, and then clean my brushes. Or if you're a baker clean the the kitchen utensils, right? If you've ever cut a lemon and then tried to cut something else, the lemon kind of gets or onions. Yeah, those go everywhere. And like to clean the utensils to clean the tools so that I could go make another masterpiece. And not every artistic masterpiece on the planet is a beautiful refreshing landscape. There is like the fifth of May by Goya, which is the depiction of this heinous massacre, huge painting. There is another one like Picasso's Guernica, which is about atrocities of war. There are huge royal paintings that are just portraits of people showing off wealth. There are the bucolic landscapes, there are the abstract, just purely like throwing paint on a canvas and things on a canvas. And like exploring ideas with it, there are the people that are playing with reality and perception and illusion and whatnot. There's every kind of painting imaginable. And when you're done with a painting, you can move on, Picasso had his blue period and his rose period. And all of these, he made different bodies of work, he explored different things. And he didn't have to go back and fix his previous paintings in order to make his current painting legitimate. And that's what I wanted to do with people is to really so before, what we had been having him do was reflect on all of the stuff that they were struggling with, and trying to see if they could see a pattern inside of it that we could really look at. And as I start as these changes started to happen with me, I really, really wanted to explore this, this notion of masterpieces. And of making another masterpiece, which is the idea that I've had from the beginning, that you don't get in the ring and you fight the bad guy, you just leave the arena, you forfeit the fight and you go have a picnic and you you don't engage with the other one anymore. And then the only thing is left that's left is to clean the paint brushes. If you or someone you know 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 specialists.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.

(14:19) This one reminded me at that last retreat, I overheard a conversation you were having with one of the attendees and you had said something to the effect of the problem of looking at life as though you're surviving is that everything that you interact is a threat. Yes. I'm thinking about this with the painting. Like if if your painting is always as the addict or the bad guy or whatever, and that's all you'll ever see. But if at some point you can set that aside. Then you have you have a fresh palate, fresh palate, fresh canvas. And there's new opportunities.

(14:58) Yeah. 100% And so what this, what this did is create a way for us to get people to reflect on their life experience, I literally have them reflect on life experience with regard to that, what their experience has been of relationships with other people that could be loved ones, like parents and children. That could be lovers or romantic interests, that could be friends, it could be bosses, it could be anybody, what has been your experience in relationship with other people. And then I have them right on that for a period of time, I don't ask them to judge their experience or to focus on the bad experience, just what has been your experience, just look at that. And then what has been their experience with their attempts to succeed in the world, the things that they strive for, whether those are hobbies, or careers or big goals or, or little things like every everywhere they've had to strive to succeed or become, what has been their experience of that hasn't been expiring? Has it been? Has it been devastating? Has it been some mixture of both of those, what has been their experience with regard to their body, and what it feels like to be in their body? And some people have a great experience many, many people, even the people that you'd be surprised how many people you'd look at and be like, Why does he think his body is weird? Or why does she feel like that, so many people have this fetish kind of thing with their body, because they're still trying to fix it, because they have this negative experience with it. And then what has been their experience with feeling with their place in the world. And those are four kind of major broad stroke categories, I give people and I give them I have a journal for three hours, just delineating their experience. And then after that, to write a sort of eulogy for that person to celebrate the totality of that person's life, all of their failures, and their epic attempts. And all of their major wins and all of everything, because that being that masterpiece, has enabled them to have now the thought processes and wisdom and whatnot, that they now that they have, so that they can go make a different masterpiece. And so that kind of preparation, is something that is really, really profound, you know, and it's changed, it is radically altered in ways that I didn't expect a lot of my own experience, even looking at my own life and with, with jasmine, and I, instead of having to fix a marriage, or to like resolve all kinds of stuff. It just became like, oh, yeah, that those people, it was not for lack of love, and not for lack of trying, they did everything. And they failed miserably. And they succeeded wonderfully. And it just didn't work in the end. And now these other two have a chance. And so that's kind of the mentality behind it. I want those of you listening, I want you to consider that. Like, what if you could look at your life, as if it were a painting. Because you're not the events of your life, we've said this so many times, you're not your memories, obviously, just even a couple of weeks ago, we hit that one, the past that you think you remember is all BS, pretty much. And, and so what you're having now is an experience and all of the memory that you've put together, you don't have to fix it, you don't have to carry it into the next painting, you get to be like, Wow, let's celebrate that masterpiece. And when you go make a new painting, you can continue the same line of thought. So if you love your life, but for one piece, be like cool, the next painting, I'm gonna go address it this way. And you can see painters that they all they only paint the same kind of landscape over the course of life because they love it. It's a beautiful exploration for them. Other people, they dive into all kinds of different areas and try all kinds of different paintings because they're not sure what they love most. And none of that is wrong. Because you're the being that's having the experience, you're not the experience itself. And you're not defined by the experience.

(18:46) I think when we were talking on the phone about this introduce the concept to me. And it's felt very much funeral funeral asked in the sense of like, this is over. I was like, but there's parts of that masterpiece that I really loved. You know, I was like, what happens to those parts? Because I like looking at those parts. I liked seeing those parts. And you know, and you kind of just said, just now like you bring the beautiful parts forward, or I have how many paintings do I have in my house that I made it how many years ago? Yeah, the Pete the ones that I like we never sold? Yeah, because I liked those, right. And you can keep a memory book of those. And I feel like it's just an apt metaphor whether baking is a little bit different. Obviously you make it a part of you by eating it. And so it's a little bit different in that sense, instead of American metaphor, and every metaphor breaks down but this is the reality, the wisdom that you've gained from every painting you've ever done. There's a story about Picasso that because it was an interesting fellow like he he owned huge he is so wealthy. He owned all these like big castles and stuff but he was like paranoid about money and he like they found like, rooms full of like cash. She just like stuffed in drawers and stuffed in socks and like, boxes everywhere and all kinds of other things. And so he was extremely wealthy, but like still kind of paranoid about it. Van Gogh, everybody thinks he was just like destitute artists. But his brother was exceedingly wealthy and just supported him his whole life. And so whenever he wanted, he had as much money as he needed. And he had a weird relationship with money, but he was taking care of, well, Picasso at one point was sitting in a restaurant and some waiter came up to him and like, gave him the cheque. And Picasso just signed his name. On the cheque. Oh, no, he did like a drawing on the cheque or something. And I don't remember the details of the story. It may be two stories all completed. But the idea was like, like, this is worth a lot of money. And he's like, he's like, it took me like 10 seconds to draw it. And because it said, it took me my entire life to draw that. Because it took him in a lifetime of exploration to be able to do the things that he could do. Like, if you think about it, like every PhD candidate, they can't they could not think the way they they think now they could not you impose the hypotheses and the questions and the theories they pose now, if they hadn't been through all the failed ones before. And I think that that's there's something to be said, for painting my painting professors used to always say, like, just go make paintings. And I never managed to because I was trying to make them perfect. And then I was all precious about them. And then, and but like the people that went and just did painting after painting after painting, their skill sets improved. Their way of thinking about painting improved, like some and it's not that that's the only thing that's required. But there was something to be said for you just move on to the next painting. And the ones that you absolutely love you keep and the rest of them you give away or sell or whatever.

(21:43) Yeah. Thinking about the metaphor, like how long? How long? How much time do you spent looking at the old masterpiece? Yeah, I mean, metaphorically. Yeah. Like, I think there is a moment, just like, I think there's a moment that everybody needs to do not to mourn the life right, but to do, nor to celebrate it necessarily, though both happen, but kind of to just see it in its entirety, to see it done. And I think that's a place that most people you can't see the past life done if you're busy still trying to fix it. And so those of you listening right now, like, just yesterday's done, right, you're driving in the car, you're listening over the course of your headphones or going on a walk, something's happening. You're you're totally disregarding your boss, and you're listening to this in the background. You wake up, folks. Anyway. But yesterday's done, right? There is nothing that you can do today that will ever fix yesterday. There's some finality to it, right? There are some people, though, that continue to complain about what happened yesterday. But there are other people that like get to the end of the day, they journal about it, they process it, they see it as much as they can, in its entirety. And then they move on to another day. Those are the people that are making able to make a masterpiece out of each day, instead of trying to drag every day into one masterpiece. And trying to fix the past all the time. And it's those moments of seeing it in its entirety, not mourning, not celebration, not sadness, not hope, not joy, though, those emotions may come. But just sitting with it and being like, wow, that happened. That was that experience. Wow. And I may also be wrong about that experience. My memory, sir. But wow. Okay. And you don't even have to sit there unconsciously, like, what do I learn from this? What's my takeaway, because you don't have to take anything away from life, you will naturally move in a different direction, to the extent that you become aware and conscious of the things that you've already done.

(23:42) So just into that, as your skills develop the the way you paint the way you live, and what you produce will also change. You know, like you don't, and you may have already said this, but you don't paint the way you did when you're eight years old. Yeah, and there's a certain amount of comfort in that as well. You know, because you're not a child anymore. Yeah. And you can live a different life. And you can make the image that you want. So the benefit of this kind of approach is that you don't actually have to denigrate or say that everything that you've ever done is bad, right? You don't have to judge the past. Those were all masterpieces. Every single one of them the time that I spent compulsively binging on pornography an epic masterpiece of the kind that nobody there are movies right now that I would never watch again, like seven pounds by with Will Smith in it. Oh my gosh, an incredibly impactful movie. For me. It's one that I'm like, Man, that's profound. And I just have no it was too much. Like I don't want to go there again. And I just don't see myself ever watching it again. Collateral Beauty is another one. I think I watched that one twice. But then that's kind of it like it's there's so much in there just raw that those movies tapped into that. I'm like, Yeah, I don't want that again. But what a beautiful movie, I can still speak to that about those movies. And the same thing with my with my own past life, it feels like a finished completed thing. It doesn't feel like it's me. And yet, I can, like, enjoy them and celebrate them instead of having to judge them as negative. So this approach allows you to stop judging your your being by what has passed, and to stop judging your past by what has passed. And instead to see it for what it was to celebrate it as experience, and then to say, than to like shut off the lights in the studio, and go home and open up, like open up a new piece of paper or, you know, turn the page, you start a blank canvas, and a sketch something different. And that's what I kind of wish for people is to be able to be separate from that experience, so that they can actually make a different masterpiece. And because when the key is when you live well, all the stuff that you think are problems kind of go away on their own because you just end up making the the paintings that you'd like to paint. Instead of being stuck making paintings that feel like they've been assigned by society, AKA your painting professor may exist one in the style of Henri Matisse go, dang it, I'm going to get an F if I don't live my life this way. Right? When all the professors are gone, and you're just left with your love of creating things in the world, whether that's poetry or art or life, and you get to do it on your own terms, you will naturally end up starting to engage with the things that really lift you up. And all the problems that were in the other masterpieces. they cease to show up. Because they're not in your consciousness anymore. You're too busy painting a new masterpiece. And that's what I want you to kind of go home with today is like, yeah, you've had a chance to live an incredible life. It is not you. Nothing that you've ever experienced is you. It has been your experience. But it is not you. And it was a beautiful masterpiece. deserving to be seen and witnessed and celebrated and, and cried over and Ella things all the masterpieces you made. Will you continue to try and fix those? Or will you do what it takes to go paint another one. You just have to learn to clean the brushes. That's all and that's basically what we help people with, with the processes are developed and at the retreat. So this week, celebrate the life that's been enjoy your masterpieces. Clean the brushes.

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 and wherever you get your podcasts 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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