KEW Episode 79: Less Struggle, More Calm

Have you ever really thought about what you want? I mean really sat down and asked yourself what you would change if you could?

Maybe you said you want more money.

Less time at work.

More time with family.

Longer vacations.

A bigger house, better car, or fancier smartphone.

If you keep at this long enough, and wish for all the material things, what do you REALLY want?

When I did this sort of iterative practice, I realized one of the main things I really want is more calm.

More calm.

More peace.

More sitting with it.

Less frantic.

Less anxiety.

Less fear and uncertainty.

So, yeah, when I really think about what I want, it is to move more easily through life.

In the sense of buddhism, more calm is less suffering. Less struggle. Less Dis-satisfaction. More calm.

Also, to be more calm as life unfolds before us, as Neil Bjorklund would say.

I wonder to what degree this is something we all want.

Underneath all the material things and the money, there is often a sense of fear or need for safety.

But I still come back to calm. Because life can be scary, fear persists, but in a calm state of mind I feel like I can handle it.

So in this Episode, I talk a bit about how we can find calm and why I think it is fairly universal. I hope you find it helpful.

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I’ll see y’all next week.

KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Gretchen Winterkorn

If you are interested in therapy and coaching. Either for yourself, someone you love, or just because you think it’s cool. Gretchen Winterkorn is a wonderful person for you to meet, and you can check out her short video below.

I am very lucky to see some cool people doing these KEW interviews, and I really enjoyed listening TO and talking WITH Gretchen.

Relevant to the Are vs Should Problem, Gretchen and her family just simplified their lives in a huge way, moving from NYC to a flower farm in upstate NY. Pretty major life shift. Pretty awesome opportunity for simplifying things. For focusing less on the SHOULD and more on the ARE, huh?

And Gretchen is super at sharing her thoughts about this move, and the more general AvS issues in our lives.

You can tell she works with people. She is a natural. I hope you feel the same connection to her listening or watching her talk. It just feels good, and the information is helpful to boot!

Though the material Gretchen shares with us is relevant and helpful to our individual personal growth journeys, it is her relatability (is that a word?) that is going to win you over.

You can find out more about Gretchen, her family, her work, and her flower farm at

Full podcast audio download here:

Or please subscribe to KEW via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video can be found on the KEW channel here:

Thank you for reading, listening, and/or viewing.

Preview KEW Episode 79: Less Struggle, More Calm

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Do you get anxious sometimes?

Is anger part of your normal reaction to unexpected things?

Do tiny little things sometimes irritate the crap out of you?

Most of us struggle to some degree and could use a bit more calm in our lives.

And a lot of this discomfort is normal and unavoidable, but what if we could reduce it a bit? Wouldn’t that be nice?

One of the main goals, one of MY main goals, it to figure out easy ways to do this. Ways to simplify our lives and figure out how to suffer less and be more peaceful.

As KEW moves forward with the Are vs Should Problem, I’m learning a lot about you and what we need in order to live better lives.

This week I expand on Who can benefit from KEW and a bit more about HOW we can find more peace, feel more calm, and reduce the unpleasantness that comes with life.

Full Episode this Friday right here at KEW. Thanks for tuning in.

Preview KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Gretchen Winterkorn

Besides winning the ‘coolest name’ award, Gretchen is a wonderful person and I’m lucky to have met her.

This interview just made me feel good. And I’m fairly sure it was reciprocal. And I’m even more sure you are going to feel the same if you check it out.

Gretchen lives on her flower farm with her partner and child, having left the 60-hour-workweeks of New York City for a simpler life.

She is a psychotherapist and healer. As well as a flower grower. And she really gets the Are vs Should Problem. I can’t wait for you to meet her and listen/watch the wisdom she shares this week.

Here’s a quote from her website:

“Real growth is messy, dirty hard work that results in some of the most beautiful blossoming I’ve ever seen – from humans and plants.”

Full Episode Thursday at KEW.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 59: Are vs Should Challenges


Depending on how you define ‘uncomfortable’, 100-200 million people worldwide can’t meet their basic needs. Folks are born into societies and cultures where they are doomed to fail. Millions of people on this planet will live their entire lives worried about dying, finding food, or having a safe place to sleep. These are enormously huge problems that I truly don’t understand. Nor do I understand how complicated the solutions are.

But I do believe one thing: if we wanted to solve these problems, we could. We could at least make them better. And I truly believe that the solutions begin within each one of us.

To solve these problems we need to fix ourselves first. We each need to put on the proverbial oxygen mask so that we can take care of ourselves so that we can take care of each other. And right now there’s a lot missing from that equation.

  • First, many of us don’t care about ourselves. Some of us are so sad, stressed, malnourished, hungry, or whatever to take the luxury time necessary to change our beliefs, habits, and behaviors. And I’m not judging, that’s understandable.
  • Second, many of us who DO have the luxury of pondering our existence just don’t think it’s important to do so. Many of us are too wrapped up in our jobs, iPhones, addictions, or whatever.
  • And last, most of us wouldn’t know what to do if we DID figure out how to change ourselves because the rest of the world is out there running on autopilot. Once we figure things out, we need to share it with our community – and many of those communities just don’t exist any more.

What I’m trying to say is that I truly believe the Are vs Should Problem is the CAUSE OF and SOLUTION TO, all of our problems. That might be a stretch but let’s just go with the idea that this concept might help us solve some of our problems.

See, I think if we can figure out how to reduce our time spend doing things we feel like we SHOULD be doing then we would have more time to ponder who we really ARE. And if I think we can make that shift in how we spend our time, we will find out that we actually crave connections to our brothers and sisters. I think we actually are inspired to do good. I think we do actually want to share resources instead of horde them. I think we do actually want to take care of our planet. I think we do want to spend our lives finding solutions to issues like world hunger instead of becoming investment bankers and stockpiling financial wealth.

But I’m a naive naval gazer. Or I used to be. And now I want to be again.

I want all those things to be true so I’m believing all those things to be true.

And if you follow the assumptions I’ve made thus far:

DNA is the precursor to human magic and MUST be fully expressed.

Expressing our individual uniqueness is our human purpose.

Reducing the things we feel like we SHOULD do frees up time and space for us to do the last thing.

By becoming the people we are destined to be we will realize, as a species, the way things used to be.

Peace and happiness result from more ARE and less SHOULD.

The CHALLENGES we face as humans can be solved.

Then maybe you’re interested in learning more? That’s what I’m here for.

Please take the time and let me know how you feel.

Full audio podcast download here:

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Full YouTube video here:

KEW Episode 78: Assumptions and Core Principles

Are you an analytical person? Do you think science is a good way of answering questions? Do you also believe there are things science CAN’T answer?

Do you struggle from a mix of pragmatic and spiritual beliefs? Do you consider yourself to be pretty smart?

Do you have a strong distrust for the status quo? Have you ever felt like a non-conformist, whether by choice or just because?

If you answered any of those questions I think you’ll enjoy this episode and KEW in general.

My goal is to share a pathway toward reducing struggle, suffering, dissatisfaction, and restlessness to improve our lives.

Like any good ‘scientist’, I am stating my assumptions and baseline beliefs prior to establishing a set of techniques to bring more peace, calm, and satisfaction to our lives.

This will serve as a partial foundation to future episodes that will focus on things we can do to improve our time on Earth, make sure our voices are heard, influence each other, and start to solve the bigger problems.

Please follow me here on the blog, subscribe to the podcast, and follow the YouTube channel. There’s a lot coming up you won’t want to miss.

Full podcast audio of Episode 78:

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Full YouTube video on the KEW YouTube channel:

KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Neil Bjorklund

I am extremely excited for you to meet Neil Bjorklund in this week’s Are vs Should Interview Series. Unlike most KEW interviews, I knew Neil prior to having him on KEW. But probably not as well as he knows me, as he is my coach.

I have worked with Neil for a little over a year, doing somatic healing work using the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model. Neil has all sorts of other training in healing past trauma, improving one’s life, and personal growth, but we focus primarily on IFS.

I ‘discovered’ Neil through a haphazard path. As a teenager I read a series of books by Carlos Castaneda and a quasi fictional character named Don Juan Matus. This was my introduction to the Toltec lineage of central American people, but I was mostly interested in the psychedelic drugs. Later I realized that other folks were interested in actual Toltec history and wisdom, and I found work by Gary van Warmerdam, who was a student of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the Four Agreements. I finally arrived at Neil because Gary endorsed Neil on his webpage.

Though I have always been interested in personal growth, I always considered it to exist only in the world of licensed psychologists and therapists. I didn’t think coaches, healers, helpers, aids, assistants or persons acting outside the realm of the ‘American credentials system’ would be helpful. I had a lot of suspicions and worries about being sold snake oil.

Prior to Neil I had experimented with online coaching, receiving instruction from Mandy Napier whom I interviewed early in 2021. The experienced opened my mind to ‘non-traditional’ lines of healing. My interest in Toltec wisdom coupled with the circuitous path toward Neil led me to seek his help. And I’m glad I did.

Neil’s pathway, however, makes mine look fairly linear. But I’ll let him tell you about that. I’m pretty sure Neil has done and experienced all sorts of things I know nothing about. But this interview gives you a pretty good glimpse in to how he lives his life, the kinds of things he thinks about, and what it means to have a high degree of self mastery.

I’ll stop there and let Neil tell his story. I hope you listen, watch, and enjoy.

Podcast audio download here:

or please subscribe via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video here:

You can follow me there and here. I appreciate the comments, likes, and follows. It helps me keep going to know you are picking up what I’m laying down.

Preview KEW Episode 78: Assumptions and Core Principles

As we figure out exactly what is happening at KEW, which is mostly coming up with workable strategies to help analytical, empathic, and intelligent folks live calmer and more relaxed lives, it’s necessary to state our assumptions and identifying elements.

In any good scientific endeavor (and this ISN’T science, but I’m trying to take a standardized and similar APPROACH) it’s nice to state your assumptions up front. It tells the reader/listener/viewer/colleague where your head was when you began.

Usually assumptions are peer-reviewed, or at least things you’ve discussed with other people so you know they aren’t ridiculous – and that most people will not have trouble accepting them so they can move forward with the rest of your material.

For example, if you were trying to illustrate that COVID is a conspiracy, and you stated the assumption up front that ‘all liberals are stupid’, that would not be sound. Half your audience would not believe you, and part of the other half would be suspicious. Sure, some folks would be all in, but you get the point.

In this Episode I’ll lay out as much as I can about things I believe to be true and necessary before we move forward to the ‘how-to’ Episodes related to the Are vs Should Problem.

Full podcast audio and YouTube video this Friday.

Humans, much less Earth, are not the center of the universe.

Preview KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Neil Bjorklund

Neil Bjorklund shares his mind with us this week. Neil works with folks using the ‘Internal Family Systems’ model that I talk about a lot. I am personally working with Neil on my own spiritual journey, as many of you may know.

Neil shares a ton of insight ranging from Ecological metaphors about IFS and ‘multiple selves’, to why we think the way we do, to (most importantly) what we can do about it.

You have probably never met anyone quite like Neil and I truly think you will benefit from listening or watching this interview. And it’s really fun to see him riff from topic to topic. It’s a free-form mind fest and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

You can learn a little more about Neil while you wait for the full Episode (coming this Thursday on KEW).

Below is a brief snippet from our interview where Neil compares Ecosystems to our Selves:

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 58: Fix the Broken System

Do you ever feel like shiz is just too effed up?

Like it’s too late, or it’s too hard to do anything about the problems that surround you?

I think we all feel like that. And if there’s one message I want you to hear above all others is that it simply isn’t true.

The system is broken, but it is NOT beyond repair.

There ARE solutions to many of our problems. But the system itself doesn’t want to do anything about it.

The ‘system’ is designed to perpetuate itself. Like a monster.

Which means, of course the system is broken – it’s supposed to be.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. Quite the contrary. If we do nothing about it, then we are just enablers. We are giving the alcoholic system a drink.

This episode isn’t going to change the world, but I do want to spread the idea that we can make changes in the world.

We start by changing ourselves.

We continue by understanding that together we can change the system.

It’s time we tried to fix what’s wrong.

Rather than shrugging our shoulders or avoiding responsibility.

Or enabling.

Original blog post with full Episode links here: