KEW Episode 64: The Forest for the Trees

I’m using the Forest for the Trees metaphor to suggest that humans have become exceptionally myopic. The only reason I know what myopic means is because after defending my Master’s Thesis a professor proclaimed that I was very myopic – meaning I had a terribly narrow view of the question I had asked and answered. I thought I was being pretty broad and was a bit hurt by his statement, but I also understood his point. I could have taken a ‘bigger picture’ approach, but by the time I realized that I was too far along to expand my view.

Anyway, I realized recently that myopia was again affecting my life.

During the decade I spent in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I didn’t really change. And I knew I wasn’t changing, but couldn’t understand why. Sure, I learned a lot, but my problems stayed the same. At some point I realized that I understood what I was doing, and how to fix it, but only in an analytical way. My mind understood the logic, but my behaviors, attitudes, and habits weren’t changing.

I was still anxious although I understood how irrational many of my fears were.

I still believed I wasn’t good enough despite understanding where those beliefs came from.

I was still angry about many things, though I knew that energy didn’t solve any problems.

I understood why I was the way I was, but I’ll be damned if I learned anything about changing.

Until I realized I was looking at the trees.

In my metaphor, and maybe in yours, my logical, analytical brain was a tree. And it’s all I saw.

Recently, I came to understand I was not only a physical body and an analytical mind, but also an emotional and feeling body with equivalent mental and spiritual elements.

And my anxiety, depression, feeling not good enough, and angry parts were spread across all of these different trees – and together formed my forest.

In order to heal, I had to form a real forest, and not just a bunch of trees.

Paul Gadola calls this Integrity – and I needed some.

A stand of trees does not a forest make. They must integrate. Together. With all parts having meaning. And seeing and feeling each other.

In the context of the Are vs. Should Problem, the analytical mind and the physical body are where a lot of the Shoulds are aimed. The Shoulds bully us into forgetting about the Ares, which lie within our other parts. Our Ares are whole. We used to be whole. We are becoming quite splintered. Myopia is stealing our wholeness.

But we can get it back. We can resist.

Download podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9221504-kew-episode-64-the-forest-for-the-trees.mp3?download=true

or subscribe to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, etc.

Youtube video here: https://youtu.be/a08lb5Wol_M

Preview KEW Episode 58: Fix the Broken System

Twenty years of training and working as an Ecologist and Evolutionary Biologist means I see everything as a system of interacting parts. I really can’t see the trees for the forest. When I look at a part, I see the system to which it belongs. It’s a curse.

An example is when I worked for a state environmental agency. I absolutely needed my manager to explain to me how my position fit in to the larger system (the agency). I needed to understand how the system worked, at least on a cursory level, to really understand what my job was. Even at one of my first jobs delivering pizza, it wasn’t until I had participated in the whole life cycle of phone order to ticket to cooking to delivery to balancing the drawer at the end of the night that the whole thing made sense and that I had a sense of purpose.

In the context of the Are vs. Should problem, the ‘system’ (and this could be many things, but here I mean American capitalism as an example) is waaaay to skewed toward the Should to the point that the Ares are steadily losing value. In this scenario, it becomes extra difficult to develop our Ares when the deck is stacked against it.

But more than that, the global system leaves too many people unable to even ponder the Are vs Should Problem. If you don’t have enough food, shelter, and medicine to keep you safe and healthy, you have no need to ponder life’s more philosophical problems. You care not for the Should nor the Are, as you are too busy trying not to die. This, I suggest, is a problem with the system that can potentially be solved by getting everyone more in their Are.

In other words, we need to look upstream at how the larger system works, and how it impedes our progress, to make it possible for us to change.

Full Episode this Friday right here at KEW http://www.chrisburcher.com

KEW Episode 51: Personal Inventory

On our journey to define the ARE vs SHOULD problem (Episode 50), we must first define the ‘existing conditions’. Like many scientific endeavors (and I’m NOT saying this is a scientific endeavor, rather, that I will take a scientific APPROACH), the Are vs Should investigation needs to know where it’s coming from to understand where it’s going.

And, really, the personal inventory is just that – it defines where we are at the beginning of our adventure. Doesn’t every good movie do the same thing? Isn’t this really just a classic ‘set the scene’ device we use to tell stories and keep them interesting?

And so on the path to personal growth and figuring out the Are vs. Should problem, we will first lay everything out on the table and start from there. Carlos Castaneda, in the books he wrote about Don Juan Matus, talked a lot about the table, and the tonal, as being the field of the ‘known’ or the ‘earthly’ possessions humans carry around with them.

But the personal inventory is about much more than just physical objects. It’s the feelings we have, the people we know, the relationships we build, the cars we drive, the foods we eat, and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.

Truly, the personal inventory is the story of everything that has happened to us in our lives up to the point at which we build the personal inventory. And, yes, it’s a huge job and no, I don’t expect you to nail every last thing.

The idea is that, if someone asked you about the ‘basics’ of the inventory: your likes, dislikes, wants, needs, desires, values, etc. you’d probably be able to come up with a handful of things quickly. And you might even think that those things ‘pretty much’ described who you are. And that’s the problem. We don’t see ourselves as being all that complex. Or maybe not AS complex as we truly are.

We are ourselves and our experiences. So TIME is a huge factor here. Our personal inventory is also our personal HISTORY. Much of the personal inventory is things we haven’t done, or thought about, in a long time. It’s our past and our present. It’s who we ARE and who we WERE. It’s physical and it’s metaphysical.

And, again, the idea is not to be complete nor obsessive. The idea is to think about this as much as we can, to establish a ‘who am I’ table full of things, and then to move forward.

Building your personal inventory can be fun. You will be surprised how interesting you are if you push yourself beyond your comfort zone and tolerate the pain of a thorough investigation of your self.

And, truly, if you don’t put forth an earnest effort (and you must define what that is for yourself), you will not make much progress on the Are vs. Should problem. The more you reveal about yourself, the more material you will have to work with.

While I’m not entirely sure what will come next, it will very likely focus on an ASSESSMENT of the personal inventory to think about where and how these pieces of you came to be. And whether they need to stay. Or go. And whether there are things missing that you wish were there. Please comment below with thoughts you might have about what comes next. More next week in Episode 52.

Direct podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8746218-kew-episode-51-personal-inventory.mp3?download=true

or subscribe on Stitcher, Apple podcast, Spotify, etc.

Direct link to YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/psgP9inkpRQ

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow my blog if you’d like to keep up with the progress toward the Are vs. Should problem.

KEW Curiosity series interview: Paul Gadola

One of my greatest character flaws is being resistant to people. When I meet new people I often assume they won’t like the ‘real me’ and this often prevents me from developing deep relationships. Sometimes this is protective, because some people might ridicule you or react negatively to who you really are. But the worst result from this type of approach is not giving people a chance. I’m not sure I did that with Paul, but when we first met I didn’t see the potential friendship because I was in my protective bubble – and that’s on me.

Fortunately for me, Paul reached out to me and we have developed a friendship which has grown easily and effortlessly. And I owe him a debt of gratitude for initiating that and sort of pushing through any walls I might have had up. This is the first lesson Paul taught me. I guess the lesson there is to be open to the world rather than closed off. To believe that the world wants and needs your unique vision and that it’s your responsibility to share it.

Paul Gadola owns a CrossFit gym (www.ironmountain.fitness) and his wife owns a healthy meals business (www.sunmealprep.com) so they literally embody the mind/body/spirit mantra, living it every day. Paul’s messages are so well informed, well thought out, and COMPLETE that it’s hard not to learn something from his videos and messages. His instagram offers so much to the spiritual thinker you will have plenty to chew on for weeks. And it’s hard to argue with how he has compiled so many viewpoints, so many belief systems, and so much diversity in his messages. He seems to have filtered out all the junk and come up with a holistic, all-inclusive organization of a way to approach enlightenment for our species.

Though I had a few issues during recording, we were able to capture a lot of Paul’s wisdom in this Episode and there is a lot here to help us all grow and understand ourselves better. I strongly urge you to check out his instagram series or his facebook page to go deeper into what he is offering. And maybe send him some encouragement to package all of this into a book or something;)

Full Podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7514887-kew-curiosity-one-paul-gadola-interview.mp3?blob_id=33018568&download=true or via your favorite podcast listening app.

Full Video here: https://youtu.be/WkEuFewSmM4

Preview: KEW Curiosity Series: Paul Gadola

This week I’ll release the first in a series of interviews about Curiosity starting with my buddy and spiritual confidante, Paul Gadola. Paul lives in my hometown, and though we didn’t really know each other well for several years, we have bonded over our similar paths. Paul has a wealth of Knowledge (and Experience and Wisdom) about all things spiritual and is currently writing a book to share his unique vision. Fortunately he also shares his messages on instagram and facebook and following him will inspire you. There is much to learn from his inclusive approach to spirituality and I’m honored he was open to sharing with us in this series debut.

If you have listened to any of my solo episodes, you already know how Paul has influenced my thinking. One of my favorites is, ‘We all think we’re right’. Just hearing Paul verbalize this statement has softened the way I look at other people in my life – which has been especially helpful during these divisive times. Paul just has that way about him. He is the most peaceful, kind, and ‘chilled out’ dude I’ve met in my adult life and we all can learn a lot from him. Here’s a preview of what’s coming this Friday.

Episode preview here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=572120573746640

Paul owns Iron Mountain Crossfit gym and his wife, Shelley, runs Sunmeal Prep offering healthy prepared meals. Together they truly embody the mind/body/spirit holistic approach to living a good life – something for us all to aspire to.