FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 56: Domestication

Have you read anything by Don Miguel Ruiz? His most famous book is, ‘The Four Agreements: The Practical Guide to Personal Freedom‘, but he has several more. And both of his sons, Don Miguel, Jr. and Don Jose Ruiz have multiple books about Toltec wisdom.

Don Miguel just released a new book, ‘The Mastery of Life: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom‘ and it is incredible.

These guys Toltec ‘men of knowledge’ from a long lineage of people living in Mexico. You can learn more about the Toltecs here: https://www.historycrunch.com/toltec.html#/.

The key tenet of the Toltec/Ruiz family legacy that I talk about in this episode is Domestication. The Toltecs use this term to describe the ways humans are changed by the people around them as they grow up. Domestication starts immediately upon birth and continues throughout our lives.

During Domestication we learn how to do many helpful things like walk and talk but we also learn things like what religion we believe in or whether or not we live with our parents our whole lives.

In short, Domestication are the norms, rules, and laws we are taught that teach us what to believe and how to behave. Some of these things are incredibly helpful whereas others are not.

To varying degrees humans will question their beliefs as our lives unfold. We wonder why we feel a certain way about this or that. And often we have no answer. We can’t remember ever even thinking about whether we like eating animals, for example, and may realize we didn’t even know we had a choice. Or we sit in church one day and ask why we worship a God who doesn’t approve of our sexuality.

The Toltecs, and the Ruiz’s, teach us how to become aware of the ways we have been Domesticated and even demonstrate how we can change the beliefs we may no longer need or agree with.

I hope you enjoy this Episode. The original post with full audio and video is here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/07/30/kew-episode-56-domestication/

Please enjoy the snippet below and consider subscribing to my blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. I appreciate your attention.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 47: Changing Behavior Changes Beliefs

For years I was stuck trying to THINK my way into changing my behaviors, beliefs, habits, actions.

Not that I was all that bad or needed massive changes, but there were things I wanted to be different.

I would get anxious a lot.

I would get defensive sometimes.

I would say no to social invitations.

I would be afraid to try some new things.

You know, just some things I wanted to change. So, I would say things like, ‘next time I’m going to remind myself to do that differently’.

But I wouldn’t. Or, I would remember to remind myself, but be so overwhelmed I would end up doing the same things.

I would end up doing the same things. Out of habit.

And to change habits, we have to change our brains. It’s funny, but we can’t think our way into changing our brains.

We can’t change our brains WITH our brains.

We change the way we think by changing what we do.

Original post with full audio and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/05/07/kew-episode-47-changing-behavior-changes-beliefs/

KEW Episode 55: The Bully and your DNA: Part 2

In this second part of the Bully vs your DNA miniseries I describe the DNA part. I will make the argument here, which is a fundamental element of my future work on the Are vs Should Problem, that it is our birthright to express our DNA as fully as possible. I hope you enjoy.

For many years I have heard things like, ‘Follow your passion!’ or, ‘if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life!’. And while I want to love these sentiments, I can’t get passed the ‘woo-woo’ or idealistic nature of the message. Can we really just do what we want? Is that somehow the secret to life? Is being happy really a function of having a job you love?

Now, the old Chris was incredibly cynical (see Episode 28: Doubt and Episode 25: I Suck At. . ) but I am trying very hard to be less so. In fact, I’m starting to see my cynicism as an opportunity for growth. And one of the obstacles I am tackling is this idea that following your passion (or following your ARE) is a worthwhile endeavor that isn’t necessarily sprinkled with rainbows OR unicorns.

So I asked the question as to whether there was any evidence that supports the basic human need of ‘being ourselves’ or ‘following our dreams’ or ‘being our Are’. I came up with what I consider to be hard evidence supporting a ‘follow your dream’ approach to life rather than a ‘put your head down and grind it out’ methodology. An Are vs a Should approach, if you will.

See, as an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, I studied a lot about DNA, evolution, natural selection, and the basic machinery available to all animals through time. I believe we understand how these things work inasmuch DNA is a genotypic (i.e., small scale internal biology) expression of sexual reproduction in a species that is expressed phenotypically (i.e., the outside appearance of that animal offspring) AND provides the basic instructions for living out that individuals’ life. So that individuals’ DNA is a result of reproduction, which rearranges the DNA of each parent to form a new ‘set of instructions’ for the individual offspring. THEN, that offspring, with their unique DNA instructions, lives in its’ environment. During the individuals life, it will express the DNA physically, emotionally, sexually, and all the other ways DNA can be expressed as it is translated from a script to a tissue or action or skill.

That’s a lot, and could be a book in itself, but the key here is that the DNA inside our cells is EXPRESSED outside in the world. This is the ARE. When we are in our Are, we are expressing our unique instructions into the world. We are reading the instruction manual the came with us, and only us, and to whatever degree we are then embracing, in the case of the Are, or denying, in the case of the Should, that uniqueness.

In short, I see the complete and total phenotypic expression, the realization, of our unique DNA as a fundamental goal of life. I’m not saying this is a requirement of being human, more like an opportunity. I see this as sort of a challenge that needs to be examined for evidence rather than an edict or, God forbid, rule.

I think it would be totally cool to take a subset of humans and prescribe to them three sets of treatments in an experiment. One group listens to everything they’re told. They embrace a lifestyle of the Should. They follow all the rules their parents, families, and politicians tell them to. They get the right job, the right partner, etc. The second group ‘follows their hearts’. Members in this treatment group ask themselves what they want and feel when making important life decisions, and try to stick to their inner voice when navigating their lives. The last group is the control, and they just sort of do whatever works without thought about Should vs Are. In fact, they should be sequestered from any talk about the Are vs Should problem.

And then we’d check in with these folks at maybe 18, 30, 45, and 65 to see how they feel about their lives and decisions. My hypothesis would be that the Are group is more fulfilled, calmer, less anxious, and more satisfied with their lives. I would also posit that the control and Should groups are not that different from each other as we seem to be on a trajectory where our knee jerk decision-making is more Should than Are nowadays.

Regardless of ever completing said experiment, I think it is entirely worthwhile to consider the amazing history of your unique DNA. Your DNA exists because your ancestors survived all of the natural selection filters to reproduce and create offspring. Those are all huge evolutionary wins. Each of those transactions, and all of the isolated behaviors during those individuals’ lifetimes, multiply to become what is now you. Part of me wonders to what degree we owe it to our ancestors to fully express the DNA they subconsciously worked so hard to guarantee.

To me, the idea that our DNA contains an historic message about how we can live our individual lives is encouraging. I am encouraged to listen more to my Are and try to suppress my Should. The idea that this may be biologically important reduces my fear that listening to my Are is going to cause me discomfort. The DNA is the Are idea gives me courage to resist the Shoulds in my life and more openly express my Are. If these ideas can help others do that then it is a good tool.

Full podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8868604-kew-episode-55-the-bully-and-the-dna-part-2.mp3?download=true

Or please subscribe to KEW via your favorite podcast app.

Full YouTube video here on my KEW YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/N0YRFtQx9Us

KEW Curiosity Interview Series 9: Marcas Hemmila

Marcas Hemmila has lived a pretty full life. He was a leader in the military. He trained for the Mr. Universe competition series. He is/was a computer programmer in the fast paced IT world. And now, he aims to help us discover and ignite our lives.

The thing that struck me about Marcas was his authenticity. It’s like I tell him in the video, he has a cool combination of vulnerability and ‘I think this guy could kick my ass’. Something about that combo makes me trust him.

Marcas also has an incredible internet presence. His TikTok and Instagram videos come out at least every day, and he always has a message. He has a podcast and growing YouTube video series; sometimes solo, sometimes with interviews. His message is about helping yourself live the best life you can, and it comes from the heart.

You can find all of Marcas’ stuff via ‘Discover Ignite’ and at https://discoverignite.com.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Full podcast audio at Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, and all the other podcast hosts or download directly here:


YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/PDmGP1CB-xQ

KEW Curiosity Interview Series 8: Bernhard Kutzler

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Bernhard Kutzler (www.bernhardkutzler/en/). After a lifelong career in mathematics, Bernhard went off the grid in a very huge way. He spent nearly 3.5 years in total isolation: away from his phone, tv, people, and all interactions. He forced himself to face his mind in an effort to ask the ‘big questions’ about being human.

Who am I? Why are we here? What is consciousness? Why do I do the things I do?

Everyone reading this has wrestled with one or all of these questions, or similar questions about the meaning of life. Well, Bernhard is just like you. Except he spent THREE AND A HALF YEARS thinking about nothing BUT questions like these.

So, the man has my admiration. That’s freaking devotion. That’s giving it your all. 

And it makes me exceptionally CURIOUS about what he figured out. 

Fortunately, he gave me almost two hours of his time to explain all that. As you can imagine, even two hours is not enough time to answer all of life’s question, but we hit on many of the biggest elements. 

Also fortunately, Bernhard has written three books about his experience that you can find links to on his website. 

Curiosity: The Mental Hunger of Humans

Consciousness: Its Nature, Purpose, and How to Use it

Being Free: Get Out of the Box. The Method with 99 Exercises

He also has a blog on his website and a video series on YouTube. The first place to start is with Bernhard’s explanation of the Chicken Problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XMZa_8lAVQ&t=334s

Seriously. Click that link.

I hope you take the time to work your way through that video, this interview, and more of Bernhard’s work. You might not agree with it all, but then again you didn’t spend 3.5 years in isolation thinking about it:)

Full audio podcast download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8499860-kew-curiosity-interview-series-8-bernhard-kitzler.mp3?download=true

Or subscribe to KEW on your favorite podcast app.

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/atiDEgGPO48

Preview KEW Curiosity Interview Series 8: Bernhard Kutzler

Bernhard Kutzler (www.bernhardkutzler.com/en) has figured stuff out. And it’s no wonder because he spent 3.5 years trying. During this time he isolated himself from all outside influences so that he could figure out the meaning of life. I’m not kidding.

If nothing else, someone who has sacrificed so much of his life to ponder life’s biggest questions deserves our attention. Can you imagine? I can see myself doing a ten day silent meditation retreat, but three and a half years!? And what do you think you would learn during that time? Well, you can find out in this interview, by visiting Bernhard’s website and blog, and by reading his books.

You will likely disagree with a lot of what he found out – I’d say that’s normal. But what an opportunity to glimpse beyond our normal lives to see what comes up after an extended period of isolated reflection.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=160328099278424

Full interview episode this Friday, right here on KEW.

Preview KEW Episode 47: Changing Behavior Changes Beliefs

It literally took me ten years to figure this one out. After nearly a decade of Cognitive Behavioral and psychological therapies, I had figured out my brain, my issues, and what I needed with respect to personal growth and mastering my limiting beliefs. The problem was, I wasn’t seeing the changes I wanted.

Sure, learning about and understanding myself and other people had it’s benefits and made me feel better. But nothing about ME was really changing except for my knowledge. My equation was unbalanced. All K, no E.

So the Experience has to come in somewhere.

And what I’ve learned – over the past ten years but mores recently – is that our minds don’t really change as a result of thinking.

Our minds change because of our actions.

Preview video here: https://fb.watch/5fROVEZiGN/

Full episode this Friday at http://www.chrisburcher.com

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 27: The NEW American Dream

After WWII Americans made some major advances in the pursuit of happiness. The 40-hour workweek. Worker protections via unions. Inexpensive plastic goods and TVs in every room. We purchased homes, went to college, and earned pensions for healthy retirements. We had picket fences, 2.3 kids, and stayed married (but not always happily). Our grandparents passed these ideals on to their children, and to each successive generation, changing very little with respect to goals and ideals. Depending on your age, you are the second, third, or fourth generation to come after that era that started nearly 80 years ago.

That dream worked out well for our ancestors, and maybe for their kids. But things have changed. Guaranteed pensions became incredibly volatile 401ks. Health care became more expensive and less helpful. College expenses multiplied by a factor of 10 or more, far outpacing inflation. We had kids later, and though we spent more time with them, they learned less about life because we protected them from it. The jobs our parents had changed dramatically for the worse, and by the time we got our degrees the jobs we wanted looked nothing like what we expected.

In short, living our ancestors’ dreams didn’t work out so well.

When we are born we make these and other silent agreements with our families, societies, religions, peers, employers, and other people and groups we may never meet. We obey the rules, norms, and laws of the countries we live in. We accept our familial beliefs. We learn the rules from the schools we attend. A lot of these rules are good. They keep us safe and peaceful. But some of these rules are just plain dumb, and it’s time we pushed back on the things that aren’t working out for most of us. It’s time for a NEW dream.

This episode is related to a bigger project I’m currently working on starting with Episode 43: Diversity and Uniqueness and Episode 44: Unnatural Selection.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2782869541968025

Original post with audio and video links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/10/30/kew-episode-27-the-new-american-dream/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 26: Habits – Why Are They So Hard To Change?

Since recording this episode I have read and implemented James Clear’s ‘Atomic Habits’ and HIGHLY recommend it. Clear eloquently describes how to break old habits and create new ones.

My take on habits contains many elements from ‘Atomic Habits’ as there are several universal themes.

Bad habits are easy to maintain. Good habits are hard to build.

After reading Clear’s book I have been able to add several new habits to my daily routine following his methods.

I hope you enjoy my episode.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1359796631064326

Link to original post: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/10/23/kew-episode-26-habits-why-are-they-so-hard-to-break/

Preview KEW Episode 41: State of the Podcast

I figured I’d take a little time to check in about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. A little over a year ago KEW was just an idea. I felt compelled to learn how to podcast and embrace the digital age. I was missing teaching and wanted to share my experience with an audience. I knew nothing about podcasting, websites, or YouTube. In fact, though I have been an avid podcast listener, I sort of shunned YouTube because it seemed to be so ubiquitous with the young and I’m pushing 50. But I decided instead to see what all the fuss was about.

I was pretty unclear about my audience and mission, but it is revealing itself over time. I think 40 Episodes is long enough to realize I am committed and will continue to put out content on a regular basis. I came to understand 50 minutes may be a bit long so I’ve shortened my episodes to 20. I have also added interviews to broaden my reach.

In fact, I now see that part of my original mission, to build a discourse and community, was a bit naive. I have learned that community already exists and doesn’t need to be built. As such, I am not making a concerted effort to network with the existing community of like-minded-thinkers and have added Linkedin and am considering Medium as networking outlets.

My content continues to follow my inspiration, and as I am now receiving healing and training from TWO mindset and somatic healers (call them coaches if you must), I have more material to work with than ever.

I have several Curiosity interviews edited and ready for release. I will likely release an interview episode about once a month or every three weeks, with regular episodes on other weeks.

I hope you are enjoying the content and I am very much open to criticism and feedback, as always feel free to email me at kpluseiswise@gmail.com any time!

Thanks for reading, listening, and being curious.


Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=533622710944681