Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom helps people realize their unique importance. Using my knowledge of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, my experience with therapy, coaching, somatic healing, and personal growth I create products to help you discover, develop, and express the elements of your identity critical to your health and your contribution to our world. My goal is to research, develop, and disseminate these materials so that every individual can reconnect with their uniqueness, realize their passion and purpose, and live the life they were born to live.
To compensate for the complexity (and length) of last weeks’ Episode title (Episode 65) I am coming out small this week.
Simple enough, right? But is it? Do we ever really get clarity? Or, is clarity a regular part of our lives, or are we more often stuck in a state of wondering what the hell is really going on?
I say it often that it amazes me we ever walk away from conversations knowing what transpired. Between what we think, what we actually say, the words we use, the way we’re perceived, the way the other person or people define these words, the various subjectivities. . . . .again, it’s a wonder we can even understand each other.
But we do. . . . generally. Of course, in couples or relationship therapy we learn ways to ensure we are heard correctly and that both parties fully understand one another. And this is critical in marriages or close relationships. But it’s probably important in general. But what does it look like, and what do we have to do to communicate better? To get clarity?
Full Episode this Friday, right here at KEW.
I’d also like to add a special shout out to one of my favorite sailing YouTube and Podcast channels The O’Kelly’s, who named their boat Clarity. Their homepage is here www.sailclarity.com. I’ve invited them on to interview but I think the logistics of recording video and audio remotely are quite challenging.
Many KEW episodes and posts refer to things I learned in the past that maybe don’t help us any more, are outdated, or were simply wrong to begin with. From thinking Competition actually regulates our markets (Episode 6), wondering how Old Beliefs (Episode 9) hold us back, to the idea that we all feel different, but that actually makes us the same (Episode 21). Under all of this there is a theme of having to learn new things.
But before we can learn new things, we have to Unlearn the old things. And this may seem like a silly thing to say, but it is often a critical step that can prevent us from growing. See, these old beliefs, the old ideas, the old information that is stored in our biological hard drive gets in the way of new learning.
It’s almost like your old ways resist the new ways. Like a stodgy old neighbor that wants you to stay off his lawn, our old strategies, the old knowledge, the past approaches to life stand in our way of the new. Until we address what we were wrong about, it’s hard to be right.
Or, in a better way, until we shed the old information and address why it doesn’t serve us we can’t possibly hope to truly understand and integrate the new.
This Episode originally aired in May of this year, or about six months ago. You can find the entire post here with links to the full podcast and YouTube episode. Note the second sentence is the Title of this weeks upcoming episode. At least my ideas are consistent:)
To some, this is a ridiculous question steeped in pointless naval gazing. To others, it’s a comedic take on people who ask the ‘big questions’. To others this is a reasonable assessment of what we want to understand. To me, it’s all three at the same time. And maybe that’s the point.
And like most rhetorical questions, I don’t really want to KNOW if I really know what I think I know. Rather, I’m curious about how this questions makes one think a few steps ahead. It’s not about what we know. It’s about the idea that we think we know in the first place. Like, what makes us think we are so awesome that we can understand the very nature of a thing? What makes us think we are so special? Why are we the only living thing on the planet that can ‘know’? Or is that even a logical thought in the first place?
So, yeah, wondering whether we can even really know things is interesting in and of itself. Perhaps even more interesting than the simple question of whether we are right or wrong. Because that’s the nature of knowing, I think. Knowing implies we are correct. And like my buddy Paul Gadola says, we all think we are correct. So knowing is a bit biased to say the least. We ALL think we know. And we often disagree. And modernity has brought, if nothing else, an ever increasing number of potential explanations to things which means the options of knowing what is right are becoming more and more infinite.
In other words, knowing, or being right, is increasingly more impossible. And, more importantly, does it even matter? If there are ‘subjective truths’ (which I believe are really subjective realities, and not truths at all) then REALLY what does it matter? Can’t we all be right? Doesn’t everyone get a trophy?
What follows, then, is my curiosity in the knowing itself. Not whether or not I know. And how did I arrive at that knowing? One of the major assumptions of the Are vs Should Problem is that much of what we think and believe was simply inherited, so why do we connect so much of our identity with this inherited ‘knowledge’?
Moreover, isn’t it the capacity to think we know stuff far more interesting than actually knowing the stuff? Were the ancient Greeks correct to ‘know thyself’? Isn’t that the first step, anyway? How can we know ANYTHING without first understanding how we would even begin to know in the first place?
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.
At the risk of being cheesy I present the final interview in KEW’s Curiosity series with myself. Really, this is just a chance to reflect on the nine interviewees and what they had to say about curiosity. This was a really fun series and I learned that curiosity has an extremely broad definition and plays a much larger role in the whole ‘the meaning of life’ construct.
From Paul Gadola’s ‘curiosity demands that we live with integrity’ to Marcas Hemmila’s ‘being curious despite what other people think’, there is a ton of wisdom in these interviews.
It was truly my pleasure to get to talk to these great folks, and to learn from them as well.
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.
Many people try to define and argue about what a ‘self’ is, or even whether or not we have one. I’m not too worried about getting it right, but I do think it’s worthwhile to ponder the concept of self.
Basically, it’s a ‘Who Am I’ question, or part of that thought process.
Some people spend a lot of time on that question, others don’t understand why anyone would waste their time asking it.
I think it’s neat to wonder. To be curious. And the ‘Who Am I’ question is stimulating.
And more than that, it’s HELPFUL to ponder such questions – because though the questions might not provide definitive definitions, it does provide INSIGHT. And this insight helps me live my life as well as I can. It helps me understand my wants and needs. Knowing ABOUT my SELF is beneficial to me and those around me.
Moreover, I can’t imagine living a life where I would have questions but not be allowed to pursue answers. Or to have curiosity but not have the wherewithal (is that even a word?) to TRY to answer my questions.
So this episode is a bit about exploring what the self is, and not at all about trying to find a definition:)
I met DJ Doran when he reached out to interview me about my podcast. We hit it off rather quickly, and of course I had to have him on to discuss Curiosity.
In fact, the whole Curiosity interview series was inspired by DJ!
See, DJ told me my podcast made him curious, and he’s a very curious guy as you’ll see. And I realized that I am driven, in large part, by curiosity. It’s in my daily life, it’s in my music, and it’s in KEW. But I had never thought about it, and certainly hadn’t realized it.
DJ is an amazing guy. After a successful career as a pilot in the Air Force Reserves, he has become a leader and visionary in the LGBTQ community. He has lived on a sailboat. He has a daughter. He’s the model of professionalism, yet super laid back. He’s knowledgeable as hell, but maintains a natural curiosity about the world around us.
Curiosity is funny like that. It isn’t obvious. Some people have it and others don’t seem to care. For people like DJ and me, we sort of automatically bring curiosity into our daily endeavors. We can’t help it. It’s natural. And, as DJ will explain, curiosity can be very nuanced.
Curiosity can be brave. It can be scary. And it carries with it a certain responsibility to grow.
Curiosity can reveal who your real friends are. It is our ally.
But I’m letting my curiosity be too verbose.
To maintain the organic nature of our chat, I include the entire conversation here. I apologize for my audio, which is distorted, but DJ sounds great.
Please explore DJ’s work. You can find links to most of what he does on his facebook site(his podcast) and at Aequalitas media (his media company).
I hope you enjoy listening to or watching the interview as much as we did doing it.