Preview KEW Episode 59: Are vs Should Challenges

In this Episode I want to take a minute and acknowledge a few things. First, that not everyone has the luxury of pondering the Are vs. Should Problem. In even bringing it up I am letting my white privilege show. I grew up with enough food, enough safety, enough clean water, and enough love to meet my basic human needs. As a result I have LUXURY time to gaze at my naval and ask questions like, ‘Who Am I‘, ‘Who’s Right?’, or ‘Who Tells My Story?”. To hundreds of millions of people, these types of questions are ridiculous and privileged. I just wanted to take a second and point that out – in case it isn’t obvious already.

Secondly, a lot of us are so stuck in our ‘Should’ that we never realize anything is wrong. Many of us accept our anxiety, depression, angst, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness as elements of ‘being human’ that we can’t do anything about. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to ever wonder ‘Who Am I’ or ‘Where did I go wrong?”. Of course some people couldn’t care less about these types of questions, but I wonder why some of us are lucky enough to be curious about it and others are doomed mediocrity or apathy.

This week I talk a little bit about why we struggle with healing and suggest that recognizing the Are vs. Should Problem is key to improving our lives. Though it isn’t easy, it can be fairly simple.

Full Episode, audio and video, coming here this Friday.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 29: Gratitude

After reading James Clears’ ‘Atomic Habits’, I wanted to try and add a new habit and get rid of an ‘bad’ one. Reading the book inspired me to apply Clears’ teachings and I knew I needed to choose some easy habits, or low hanging fruit, if you will.

I had been thinking about quitting drinking beer before reading the book, so that seemed like an obvious ‘bad’ habit to change. And although I consider my drinking habit ‘not unhealthy’, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I had been having 2-3 beers pretty much every day for years and decided to try not having any beer for at least two weeks – just to see if I could break the habit.

Similarly, I wanted to try adding a new habit and gratitude seemed like an easy one. Though I easily stopped drinking beer (for the record, I still have maybe one beer once or twice a week now), adding gratitude was harder, but I continue to try. And, really, the experience of struggling to be practice gratitude every day is teaching me more about myself and habits because it’s hard.

So building a gratitude habit is challenging – and why is that?

To me, it’s because 1) it’s hard to notice the immediate results, and 2) I have been trying to practice gratitude during moments of duress, as if to provide a solution to a bad mood.

To address (1), there are immediate results but they may not be what we expect. It is our error to assume what the benefits of gratitude will be. What I have observed is that gratitude is coupled with mindfulness, or ideally, meditation – even briefly. And one small benefit of meditation/mindfulness/gratitude is slowing your heart rate and becoming more calm. But if we are looking for some sort of epiphany, it is easy to miss the fact that practicing gratitude calmed us down!

As for (2), the problem with starting new habits is the belief that there will be some overwhelming immediate result – and this just isn’t true. Additionally, the building of the habit needs to happen from a place of calmness initially. We can’t build habits to solve a problem ‘in the moment’, or at least I can’t. So I realized I had to practice gratitude when I was in a decent mood, or at least not in a bad mood. Once the habit is built from that attitude, THEN it can be used to benefit us during duress or stress. Hopefully that makes sense. It would be like expecting to see weight loss results after running our first mile. The benefits come later.

You have to trust the process. And a process that works for me is to take 2-3 minutes at least once a day, at a time when you are not feeling particularly stressed or distracted, to breathe deeply, appreciate your breath, and pick one thing you are grateful for in that moment.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=855244945200844

Original full episode post: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5AX61W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Kew Episode 42: Safety

Recently I discovered, or I guess RE-discovered, my 13 year old self around the time I moved from Georgia to Ohio. I figured this was an important time in my life and have always wondered how it might have affected me. By exploring my feelings and thoughts, from my heart instead of my mind, I remembered my bedroom and what it represented.

I realized that I had created this spot, at least partly, in response to some experiences with the outside world. See, I was bullied quite a bit as a kid. And I’m not looking for sympathy about that, I’m trying to illustrate how life-changing being bullied can be and hopefully relate to others that have had similar experiences or know people who have.

I had constructed a safe place where I could be me because sometimes being me in the real world was painful. What’s super cool about this, is realizing what a healthy response to bullying this was! Our reactions to negative experiences can be all kinds of things, good and bad, but creating a safe place seems to be at the top of the good list. Instead of changing who I was, I just protected it – and continued to be myself, but in an environment I could control.

The downside is that I never really dealt with being bullied, and I isolated myself from a lot of outside experiences. Because my room was so safe, I spent a lot of time there while my peers were doing social activities. This, of course, isn’t all bad, but i carried some of those fears into adulthood. I also learned to identify myself as a lone wolf and continued to seek safety by isolating myself.

The universal lesson here is how much we need to feel safe, and that when we aren’t we can create actual safe spaces but also the illusion of safety. On the good side there are things like creating a comfortable home and family environment where people we love know who we are and around whom we can be ourselves. The bad side is turning to alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, or whatever to create the illusion of control or safety. I guess I’m pretty lucky that this 13 year old kid made some pretty decent decisions.

How about you? Do you have safety in your life?

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8020573-kew-episode-42-safety.mp3?blob_id=36014412&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/0APL404G-N4

KEW Curiosity Series Interview 2: Mandy Napier

Mandy Napier resides in Australia where she shares her thirteen years of experience as the ‘mindset alchemist’, a high performance mindset and executive coach (and via zoom, obviously). She has represented Australia in the international Iron Man competition in Hawaii. After being forced to give up her sport, she focused on getting herself unstuck. She now shares how she did it directly with clients, via several books including, “Creating Healthy Life Habits“, and in myriad articles and videos. You can find all of that and more on her website Mindset for Success.

I learned about Mandy when I started Googling people who seemed Curious. I stumbled upon an article she wrote “Why Curiosity is the Essential Skill to Build Right Now“, which I thought was a screaming testimonial to the importance of being curious. She appeared to be well versed in coaching, neuroscience, and psychology. Her writing was convincing, and she quoted Einstein. And upon my invitation she agreed to an interview!

The interview stumbled a bit at first due to internet issues on my end, and I had to relocate to my bathroom, of all places, to get a better connection. Mandy waited and remained unphased, which somehow rubbed off on me. Normally I could have let something like that throw me. This was, after all my first interview with someone I didn’t know. Her energy is intoxicating. Her confidence is obvious. And she is enthusiastic to help people change. The interview was, as you’ll see, pretty amazing.

Full disclosure, I enjoyed Mandy so much that I am now a client. In few weeks she has taken me farther than years of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT, talk therapy). Mandy has a system. A well earned, tested, and authentic set of tools to take control of your life and get unstuck. So far, so good.

You will take something away from what Mandy shares here. Mandy is every bit the ‘Iron Woman’ she always was, but now she can help you change YOUR life. Please check out her links, her articles, her videos, and reach out to her if you are looking for help. Especially if you are currently doing therapy or in a program that doesn’t seem to be helping. Enjoy, and thanks for watching or listening.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7930585-kew-curiosity-interview-series-2-mandy-napier.mp3?blob_id=35470180&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/EBPEPqu71Gw

KEW Episode 40: Get Out of Your Head!

Figures like the one below have been shared many times from many sources. The point is that we, as humans, are comprised of three key components; Head, Heart, and Gut that interact to make up a whole person. When these parts are out of synch, we experience cognitive dissonance, the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. A simpler explanation is just to say we are ‘out of whack’.

Though I understand this concept intellectually, it is only recently that I have learned to connect with my Heart and Gut. I have turned a corner in my therapy and coaching. I am learning to place my awareness on these other parts, to shift it from my mind, and to ‘check in’ with my intuitive and emotional elements. I naively believed that intellectual understanding would result in connectivity and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Though I can’t yet coach you or explain how to do this, I can say that it is fairly easy to shift your awareness (for example, during meditation) to your Heart and Gut, and that simply doing this will prepare you for action when the situation arises. A big chunk of the battle is simply knowing how to be aware of your parts.

We spend so much time in our heads we create, and live in, a state of cognitive dissonance. I would personally like to change that and maybe this episode will help you get on that path.

Full audio podcast here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7660567-kew-episode-40-get-out-of-your-head.mp3?blob_id=33873082&download=true

or via your favorite podcast app (I’ve switched from Stitcher to Spotify as of late)

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/BY_PzOlRfU0

Flashback to Episode 4: Quiet vs Distraction

In KEW Episode 4 I discuss how hard it is for us to be quiet despite how important mindfulness and meditation are in our lives.

We are so easily distracted. For example, I can hardly control my smartphone use and constantly use it as a distraction from being bored. At least I guess that’s what I’m doing.

I will continue to develop the idea that we humans don’t do well with ‘down time’ and continually seek distractions from the quietness.

Even though the quiet is what is likely to heal us. It just doesn’t make sense.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=367682017761194&extid=83xcyiuHBreUXHQy

Full Episode links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/05/15/episode-4-quiet-vs-distraction/