KEW Episode 56: Domestication

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of many books including ‘The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)‘ uses the term “Domestication” to describe the process by which humans are taught how to live. I have been fascinated by this process, whatever you wish to call it, for as long as I can remember. In fact, I still wonder, often out loud, why no one ever asked whether or not I was agreeing to this social contract. See, we are born into a world that teaches us many things before we even know what’s happening to us.

And a social contract is very much what domestication is like. We are taught so many things. How to eat, how to walk, how to speak, what to believe in, where Santa Claus lives, which religion is best, whether or not skin color matters. . . . The list is infinite. We are TAUGHT these things. Many of these things are opinions, some of them are factual, and very few of them are valuable.

Because some rules are totally important. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t spit at people. Don’t eat raw kittens. So, sure, some of the domestication process is good and even fundamentally necessary to a healthy society.

The PROBLEM IS, that much of the domestication process is not only unnecessary, it’s unfair. And in the context of the Are vs. Should Problem, domestication becomes the Should Bully by teaching us what to think, how to act, and what or whom to believe in.

And the WORST part is, much of this domestication occurs before we can consent. We are, in fact, brainwashed at very early ages to follow the rules. Again, some of this is good, but a lot of it is NOT. But it’s ok, IF we understand this and can go back and edit ourselves, or update what we believe, feel, and do as we grow and change.

The lucky ones, usually in our teenage years but often again in mid life, realize we have learned some weird shit. At certain times in our lives we QUESTION our own beliefs. We get CURIOUS about our thoughts. We WONDER who is really making our decisions. If we’re lucky something encourages us to question WHO WE ARE. It is at these times we have a chance to take back our lives, our minds, and our DNA.

This week I share my thoughts about the Domestication process, discuss the damages caused, and provide a warning about our future. Solutions are necessary and urgent. Please follow this series and help me find some.

Link to podcast download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8947786-kew-episode-56-domestication.mp3?download=true

or, please subscribe to the KEW podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.

Link to YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/kVRRKf2zh6k

FLASHBACK! KEW Curiosity Interview Series 3: DJ Doran

DJ Doran is a leader in the LGBTQ community. He’s a publisher and leader. He is retired from the military and can fly planes. He has lived aboard a sailboat. He’s pretty amazing.

More than anything, DJ drives home one of the most important messages a person can hear:

You have to love yourself first.

I hope you will listen to this interview so this message is further cemented in your psyche.

Link to original post with full links to audio and video: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/03/05/kew-curiosity-series-interview-3-dj-doran/

FLASHBACK! KEW Curiosity Interview Series 1: Paul Gadola

In this first of ten Curiosity interviews I introduce you to Paul Gadola. As I told Paul a few days ago, he is someone who has climbed the mountain, attainted Wisdom, and come back down the mountain to share the Wisdom with us. He has not only put a lot of energy into figuring some things out, he is putting a lot of energy into explaining what he has learned. Chief among his tenets is to Love yourself first. I think you get a pretty good glimpse at that person in the hour that we talked.

I’m proud to share this experience with you, and grateful to have come to know Paul as a colleague and buddy. We talk about Curiosity, but also about self discipline, integrity, and Love. If I never shared this interview with the world I would still be a better person for having experienced it. I truly hope you take the time to watch and to listen to what Paul shares. There is much to learn and more to think about.

I am also fortunate to be reading a draft of book Paul is working on. I will be sure to keep you posted as that evolves.

Original post with links to podcast audio and YouTube video here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/01/29/kew-curiosity-series-interview-paul-gadola/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 40: Get Out of Your Head!

I am learning that our brain, mind, head, is not who we ARE. We are not the VOICE in our heads, we are the one LISTENING to the voice in our heads. What we call ‘our head’ is largely our analytical mind, and it’s just a part of the larger ‘us’ or ‘self’.

Yeah, that’s a lot to ingest. And it’s a lot for me to type out and mean. It’s a compilation of things I’ve learned over the last decade. In traditional talk therapy. Through the myriad self help, neuroscience, and personal growth books I’ve read. And, more recently, through some somatic healing work I’ve been doing. But the more I learn, the more I realize – at the VERY LEAST – our ‘head’ is only one part of us.

I think many of us have lived the majority of our lives in our heads. And it makes sense. Our heads communicate in the same language we speak. Our heads offer us company and advice. Our heads seem like ‘us’. And, I guess, they are. But our head does not have to be our boss. In fact, our head doesn’t always have the right answers. Our head isn’t always the best source of advice. Our head is comprised of multiple parts that might actually be less helpful as advisors than our body, our heart, or ‘gut’. Certainly, it is worth getting to know the multiple parts that comprise our selves, and ‘getting out of our heads’ is an entry point to that pathway.

Getting out of our heads can begin by simply not listening to the voices that arise there. Meditation is a great method to learn how to not listen. Rather than reinventing the wheel, following a meditation plan to stop the ‘monkey mind’, ‘self talk’, ‘chatter’, and other noise that goes on in our heads is an excellent primer on this process.

And once you can stop listening to your analytical mind, the doors open up to listen to all the other parts of you. For me, the discovery that I am more than just my analytical mind has been absolutely life changing. It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve ever experienced. It’s why I tried psychedelic drugs in my youth. It’s what I have longed for my whole life – and it was there all along. Now that I have learned to listen to my body instead of my mind, I have truly started to change.

Original post with links to podcast audio and YouTube video here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/02/05/kew-episode-40-get-out-of-your-head/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

We are taught that money is the currency of our lives. Really, everything we learn comes back to earning money so we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones. I’m not omniscient and definitely come from a privileged background, but it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where getting money isn’t the primary goal. Because money buys all the other stuff we need. Our needs are met using money.

Certainly I’m generalizing and there are exceptions to the rules – there always are. And the exceptions are very interesting because they often represent alternative strategies and systems. In the case of money, the system is to have a currency that ‘goes between’ all the other goods and services necessary to life. Imagine if we still bartered for everything.

“I’ll trade you two quilts I knitted for four of your chickens so we can eat.”

Kind of sounds like an ideal life to me, actually. But imagine how difficult it would get with all of the STUFF there is to need and want.

“How many silicon chips is that x-box 360 worth for a trade?”

Once we passed the ‘getting our basic needs met’ stage of human evolution, trading, bartering, and general commerce got so complicated we needed a ‘go between’. Enter money. Cash. Dinero. Moolah.

And so it goes. Money replaced the barter system as a standardized value indicator providing a ‘worth’ for everything of possible trade interest.

And so the obsession with money began.

The point of this episode is not to beat up money or people interested in money. I really just wanted to think about what other forms of currency might also be important in the world. Or to ponder other systems of value that provide meaning to our lives. Or. . . . really, things that money can’t buy.

Money can’t buy love and money can’t buy time.

And I can’t think of more valuable (and limiting) resources than those.

So this begs the question, “Did the acceptance of a system of commerce centered around money necessarily lead us to DEVALUE those resources not measurable or quantifiable using this system?”.

I hope you enjoy the episode and continue to wonder whether or not money is as important as we make it out to be, or whether Time and Love obey an entirely different system altogether.

Original blog post with podcast and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/01/08/kew-episode-37-currency-of-life/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 33: Soul

In this Episode I tried to get at what our ‘soul’ is. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I think we all can agree that there’s a part of us that can’t really be identified. The soul is not our mind, it’s not our brain, it’s not our ‘self’ (whatever that is, see Episode 34 for my attempt at defining Self), it’s . . . something else.

Sometimes I think the soul is real, other times I doubt it’s existence. Most of the time I know there is SOMETHING going on inside us that defines us. Our, personality? or something? It’s beyond our appearance, or attitude, or how we refer to a group of people (I use y’all and you guys interchangeably because I was born in the south but grew up in the midwest). It’s . . . . much more than any of those things.

So the concept of soul probably lies in the unknowable. It might be something we just don’t have words for or something we can’t quite define.

And none of this even addresses whether the soul is immortal, which many religions suggest. My point in this episode is really just to explore the idea of soul – that which we can speak about but not truly understand. It’s ok with me if the soul is something we’ll never define or truly know about. But most of the time, I feel like I do:)

Episode preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1110768896079673

Original post with podcast and YouTube links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/11/kew-episode-33-soul/

KEW Episode 45: Career vs. Family

In Episode 32: Work/Life Balance I shared my thoughts about how to find time to meet all the various needs we have. In this episode I want to focus specifically on balancing time spent working toward our careers with time spent with our families. And for those of you without spouses or kids, your family can be your parents, siblings, friends, coworkers or any other people you value and spend time with.

The main career/family issue I see in nearly all of the Americans I know is the stress associated with spending too much time ‘working’ and not enough time with ‘family’. Now these categories are pretty broad and can be broken down into the values associated with each. ‘Career’ generally means earning enough money to ‘be happy’ or to pay our bills, not have to worry about having food on the table, and making sure all family members have most of what they need within reason. The ‘Family’ category usually means being able to spend time with loved ones so that we don’t miss out on important moments (first steps, birthdays, sunsets) nor feel guilty about missing these moments. So work is really full of other values like safety, protection, health, wealth, and feeling valued. Similar, family is comprised of things like love, safety, comfort, and joy.

I think the problem arises from two basic issues: 1) work, or career, demands too much of our time, and 2) we feel guilty, sad, or devalued when we feel like we don’t have enough time for love. I have talked at length about both of these issues in other episodes, but in short the American career ideal does, indeed, demand too much of our time which I think is most of the problem. Couple that with the idea that, the higher your salary the higher the expectations of time dedicated to work then we have a huge problem for those earning a comfortable living. The wealthier you are, the more likely that the working member of the household will miss out on family time.

The good news is, by identifying your values – especially those associated with career and family – you can identify mechanisms for adjustment. Something as simple as reexamining your budget can reveal how much money your family really needs to be content. And maybe you don’t need to earn $200k a year and work 70 hours a week. Maybe changing careers is a viable solution.Similarly, maybe your spouse feels unsafe without a large retirement savings. Maybe you agree to work as hard as possible for a few years and THEN make a change.

The hardest thing to change with respect to all of these values (money, safety, time spent with family, love, etc.) is your job. Your employer will almost always dictate how much time you will spend working both in the office and at home on your phone or computer. This is hard to change because you could lose your job. BUT, you could become an entrepreneur and work for yourself (although sometimes this is worse with respect to time). You could change careers. You could split time with your spouse and both work part time, though sometimes insurance is difficult in this situation. The point is, your employer will largely dictate your work situation, though there is some flexibility if you are willing to take risks.

The rest of the values can be manipulated. If you work too much and are missing family time, you can develop and schedule time to spend together and make this a CRITICAL secondary priority. You can learn to accept your career time commitments and ‘work with what you have’. You can thoroughly examine the time you spend working at home and think about creative ways to minimize this. Do you really need to answer emails at 9 PM? Can some things wait until the morning or office time?

I don’t think we spend enough time micro-managing our time and looking at the small ways to shift career time to family time. We believe we are helpless victims of our employers. I believe career constraints can be boiled down to a list of absolutes, maybes, and potential nos. This processes can free up small bits of time that add up to being able to have lunch with your spouse once a week to check in, to take your kids to school, or other opportunities. We just forget we have more control than we think.

I hope this episode reminds you of the power you have to control your time and to find small ways to improve your career/family balance. Please share your ideas below.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8295306-kew-episode-45-career-vs-family.mp3?blob_id=37637385&download=true

or please subscribe to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom via your favorite podcast app

KEW Curiosity Interview Series 5: Dana Humphrey

I hope you are enjoying this interview series as much as I am. Dana reached out to me because talking about curiosity sounded interesting to her. And she has some new and interesting points to make about the importance of curiosity in our lives. It’s so much fun to listen to other peoples thoughts about how being curious is important to them. We are all unique, and even a simple topic like curiosity can be very diverse.

Danas’ specialty is helping people realize their self worth and to learn better self love practices. She offers several coaching and learning programs to help you move away from imposter syndrome or feeling ‘not good enough’ toward a happier and more relaxed life. She embodies creativity and has some really cool stories about her interests in art and magic. I can totally picture her leading a self love meditation at burning man.

What I find fascinating about Dana is she is leaving behind a successful pet business to follow her purpose. In helping people understand their relationships with their pets (you can find her book, EmBARKing Down the Lease of Codependency here) she realized her role was much bigger. Now she provides guidance and leadership to help us find peace and contentment in all aspects of our lives.

As someone who struggled with codependency, I appreciate Danas’ elegant approach. As she says, we don’t really need much to exist in this world as humans, but without believing in ourselves our lives are not as full. And, moreover, by accepting ourselves for who we are we can reach the highest level of contentment and joy.

You can find out about Danas’ programs and background on her website, but this interview gives you a real look into who she is, how she operates, and what she finds to be most important with respect to self love. I found myself terrifically relaxed listening to her talk. She is not rushed and you can almost see her calmness – and it’s contagious. It is obvious she is good at what she does and I have no doubt a person can find great wisdom in her teachings.

I was extremely fortunate to have our paths cross and know you will learn something from our chat.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8202613-kew-curiosity-interview-series-5-dana-humphrey.mp3?blob_id=37071637&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/l3J5lzbBUM8

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.