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MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

 

For the US, election day felt very different this year, mainly because there was really no indication or clear-cut signs of who was going to win the presidency. People have been holding their breaths no matter who they’re hoping and voting to win. In the end, Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris wins the race. With all the uncertainty and disruption the year 2020 has brought, many are hoping that this leads to a good start for the US in 2021. Not knowing what the next few weeks or months hold for us can be very stressful. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk about how we can all overcome fear and believe in yourself during times of doubt, stress, or negativity.

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Overcome Fear And Believe In Yourself During Times Of Doubt, Stress Or Negativity

This is a unique episode. It’s not to say that none of our episodes are unique. They all are in their own way, but there’s a lot going on as of the day that we’re recording this. We’re recording this episode on Saturday, November 7th, 2020. It has been a big day and a week. It’s also been a big year. I can’t believe it’s November 2020. Somebody mentioned December 2020 to me and in my head, I thought, “That’s months away,” and then it occurred to me that December 2020 is next month, which is crazy.

This is day is a big day for us in the United States. Most of our readers are based in the US as well. Joe Biden was announced as president-elect and Kamala Harris was announced as vice president-elect, which is huge. It has been an intense year and an intense four years. If you are Democratic like Jason and I are, then it feels like a big celebration. I certainly wish sometimes I knew more Republicans because I feel out of touch with how they’re feeling. If you are reading as a Republican, first of all want to thank you for reading because it’s easy for us to feel like we’re choosing sides and we can relate to each other more if we have the same political beliefs and we vote for the same people. We did a whole episode about the election and at the end of it, we talked about who we are voting for.

It feels like yesterday. I was prepping for voting and sending in my mail-in ballot from Massachusetts where I was at the time. Technically, I dropped it off in Connecticut and it got safely to Los Angeles within a few days and that was a relief. We were on this rollercoaster and Election Day felt different this year, mainly because we didn’t have any clear path in front of us in terms of who was going to win. It felt like we’ve all been holding our breath no matter who you were hoping to win. It’s a little bit of a relief, no matter what. It’s a big relief for those of us who were rooting for Biden because our beliefs are tied into that.

I also wasn’t expecting to be most moved by Kamala’s win. It’s huge. I don’t think I took enough time to step back and focus on her and being the first female vice president in our country is huge. She’s also a person of color and we’ve had few of them at the top of our government in this way. It’s a big deal this year given everything that this country has gone through. I hope that this leads to a good start for us in 2021. Although as Jason and I were talking about, we don’t know what the next few weeks or months hold for us and it could get rocky. We’ve also made it through an intense year and a lot of things that we weren’t expecting and that’s been uncomfortable. It’s a good theme for our show.

This episode is about how to overcome fear and believe in yourself during times of doubt, stress or negativity. I believe it’s World Kindness Week. It started on Friday, November 13th, 2020. At the time that you are reading this, it is either World Kindness Week or you’re reading after that happened because we never know when you’re reading these blogs. That is an incredible topic for us for many reasons. One, it’s been a stressful time. This week has been stressful. It’s been a stressful year. It’s been a stressful four years for some of us but there’s also a lot of personal doubt, stress and negativity that we’ve experienced.

It’s timely given what Jason has gone through. I’m going to pass the mic over to him virtually because if you have not subscribed to our newsletter, you may not know this yet. I’m not even sure how much you’ve talked about this on social media, Jason, because I know you were planning on taking time off social media as of November 1st. You had a big surprise on November 1st that you certainly weren’t expecting at all. I’d love for you to give a little summary of what you’ve been through and that can lead us into this discussion because what you experienced on November 1st was something scary. You’ve expressed a lot of stress negativity and perhaps even some doubt. Let’s begin by talking about what happened to you.

It’s funny how we play this game as human beings of we think we know what’s going to happen. We’ve talked about themes of uncertainty around the show many times and how for all of our best-laid plans and our attempts to predict things or manipulate outcomes, we ultimately have, in my opinion, little control and some people may disagree with that. Some people are on the manifestation train in that we’re always creating our own reality. My beliefs in this regard are a little more acquiesce and fluid in the sense that the more that I have control over outcomes in life, the more I realize that in my personal experience, life is showing me I don’t. I have control over my attitude and whether I’m going to react or respond to a situation, but the outcome, not so much. That’s my current personal belief system.

At the time of this recording, the past Sunday on November 1st, I was out for a motorcycle ride with my friend, Kevin, who’s a medical doctor. It was a beautiful crisp fall day. It was about 73 degrees. It’s blue skies as one can hope for an LA, considering the recent wildfires, but it was a beautiful day. We went to Highland Park, which is a neighborhood in East Los Angeles. We picked up some tea and hojicha lattes at this great little cafe in Highland Park. We’re riding around leisurely. I got a vegan bagel sandwich down the street and I was going to go to Melrose Place Farmer’s Market to visit my girlfriend, Laura. We were taking a detour after we had our coffee and tea and breakfast sandwiches.

Have you ever been riding up to Montecito Heights? That’s another small suburb Eastside neighborhood in Los Angeles, which for anyone who has never been to LA, if you imagine the Hollywood Hills that are tight, smaller roads, windy and hilly with houses that are overlooking the city, that’s Montecito Heights. It’s a different part than the Hollywood Hills. If you have the archetype of that neighborhood in your mind, you have a good feel or flavor for what Montecito Heights looks like. I’d never ridden up there before Whitney. It was a new road for me. We were up there and going through the hills and the curves and whatnot. There was this open space where to the right of me was a bunch of dirt and clearing in between houses on my right-hand side.

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why

It is a residential neighborhood. This is not a freeway. This is not the main road, to paint the picture in everyone’s mind. The street is curving left. It’s not a hairpin but it’s a semi-tight or sweeper to the left, but nothing I haven’t done hundreds of times. A little bit of backstory, I’ve been riding motorcycles for many years. I got my original certification in May of the year 2000. I’ve had seven motorcycles over the year. I’m an experienced rider. I’m confident on the motorcycle. I feel good on the motorcycle. I don’t take chances on it.

Keep all this in mind that as I’m riding, I’m feeling chill. This is the left-hand curve or turn that I’ve done hundreds of times, Whitney, over the years. Maybe thousands, I don’t know. I’m going into it and I’m looking at the road and I’m seeing the left turn. I start to lean the bike to the left because whenever you’re making a turn on a motorcycle, you lean your body weight a little bit to the left. I realized that as I was going into the bottom of the turn and starting to go left, I hit the brakes too late. Much like if you’re doing a car or you’re doing a motorcycle, you want to hit the brakes before you enter a curve so your speed is lower so you can go through the turn slower whether that’s any motorized vehicle.

What happened for me was I hit the brakes too late in the sense that I was still going too fast as I was starting to enter the turn. I had a moment where I tried to course-correct and my bike ended up getting out of the turn and going straight. I hit the curb and my bike went over the curb. I flew off the bike and landed on my right-hand side. The bike is tipped over on the ground next to the road. It’s off the road. I’m off-road and my body is slumped over on my right side. It’s an interesting feeling. First of all, this is the first time I’ve ever crashed a motorcycle. I’ve never had a motorcycle down. I’ve never crashed in years. I never even had a close call of like, “Oh my God.”

I’m on the ground. I’m watching the bike. The bike is still going, in terms of the engine still going. I have this moment of like, “Oh God.” Immediately, Kevin turns the bike around. He comes back. He’s like, “What happened?” He stops his bike, comes over and he’s like, “Don’t move.” He’s a medical doctor, so what better person to have on a motorcycle ride than a medical doctor? He’s trying to stabilize my head. He’s like, “Can you get up?” He’s getting me up slow. He’s like, “What’s your name? When were you born? What year is it?” He’s asking me all these basic cognition questions.

I’m checking for blood at this point. I’m feeling my face, my body. I’m like, “Is there any blood coming out? Am I okay?” I realize that my basic cognition skills are there. I’m not bleeding, but I know something’s wrong because my right side is in incredible pain. I start feeling my body and I was okay until I felt my right shoulder and clavicle area and felt my bones popping out of my skin. At that point, I started hyperventilating. I start freaking out. Kevin was such a godsend. He’s like, “You’ve got to stay calm. You’ve got to breathe with me.” He’s literally doing long, slow, rhythmic breaths with me because I can feel my bone protruding from my skin at this point, which sent me over the edge.

At this point, he’s calling me down. I’m on the ground and he’s like, “Do you need me to call you an ambulance?” I’m evaluating like, “I don’t have a head injury. I’m not bleeding. I don’t think that I need an ambulance.” He’s like, “We have three options. Ambulance, I can put you on the back of my motorcycle and take you to the hospital or we can call you an Uber.” I don’t think I need an ambulance because I’m not bleeding. My shoulder and my clavicle hit the ground first and the right side of my body and then my head hit after. My head did hit the ground, but I was wearing a helmet. I also was wearing full body armor pants, riding boots, a riding jacket, gloves and the whole thing. Thank God I didn’t have any road rash. My skin wasn’t torn up or anything like that.

I’m on the ground. I feel that my bone is clearly broken and displaced because it’s popping out of my skin, but I’m not bleeding. I’m not falling unconscious. I’m hyperventilating from the shock. Kevin helps calm me down and I’m realizing I don’t want to call an ambulance. I do not want to get on the back of that motorcycle because my body is broken. We ended up calling an Uber. Uber gets there in about seven minutes and takes me to Kaiser, which is a big hospital network here in Los Angeles. I’m waiting in the emergency room for an uncomfortable amount of time because I’m in an extreme amount of pain.

They finally get me into the ER and the nurse comes in and says, “On a scale of 1 to 10, what kind of pain are you in?” I said, “An 8.5. It’s ripples and shockwaves of pain on my right side.” He gives me a shot of morphine and that helped, but makes me nauseous like I have to throw up all over myself. Eventually, they get me in for X-rays. They had to do a concussion protocol. I’ve had a concussion before from a previous bicycling accident but I knew I wasn’t concussed because I wasn’t experiencing any of the symptoms. They get me in for X-rays and about 1 to 1.5 hours later, the whole thing is done.

The ER doctor comes in and he said, “I’ve got bad news for you.” He said, “If your clavicle was broken in one place, generally our protocol is to let the bone mend itself. The bone will knit itself in about 6 to 8 weeks. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Your clavicle is in pieces. It’s in about four different pieces. You’ve got some floating debris and one of the pieces almost punctured your lung.” He said it didn’t, but it almost did. He said, “You’re going to need some reconstructive surgery. We don’t know what kind. Here are some painkillers and we’re going to refer you to an orthopedic surgeon to figure out what’s next.”

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

Take Charge: Tips from Health and Wellness Thought Leaders

That was my Sunday. Sunday night was no sleep. Even though they gave me painkillers, I was writhing in pain in bed. That was the start of November, Whitney. That was like, “Homestretch, mercury retrograde, election craziness. Here you go, bud. Have this one on for size.” I don’t want to keep rambling. I prefer to pass the baton back to you, Whitney, because there are a lot more layers to it. This whole week has been a personal hell, but that was the start of the personal hell.

It’s fascinating because the theme of this episode being about overcoming fear and believing in yourself during those tough times and it certainly had a ripple effect on me because when you texted me to let me know what happened, I felt some shock. I was taken aback because you certainly don’t expect to get news like that. There was this moment of thinking that it could have been much worse. Thank goodness it wasn’t but that feeling of what if certainly has crossed my mind a lot. Did that come up in your head as well? I’d love to hear more about the fear that you experienced Jason and what it was like because you go through different stages of it. You talked about hyperventilating so that’s one big part of fear and it reminds me a lot of this amazing audiobook I listened to on my road trip called The Unthinkable.

I mentioned this in a previous episode, but I want to bring it up a lot because it was phenomenal. It’s one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to because the narrator is fantastic. I would have thought she wrote the book, but she didn’t. She was perfect and I was captivated by every word she said. It’s called The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley. The book is about who survives when disaster strikes and why. It’s interesting because she goes into all of these different disasters that have happened around the world and how people respond to them. For example, she talked about 9/11. She’s not getting into what caused 9/11, but she does talk about how people respond to it and that’s super fascinating. She also talks about plane crashes and how people survived them and why some people might not have.

One of the sections of the book talks about the fear responses such as getting or feeling paralysis and how some people, when something shocking happens to them, they freeze and how animals do this as well. This is an incredibly fascinating section of the book because she gets into all the history and the studies that have been done based on this whole sometimes the uncontrollable response we have to these moments. I’m curious to go back to that, Jason. For you at that moment, you’re hyperventilating, which by the way is completely normal. A lot of people will go through training to teach their bodies not to panic. One of the examples I remember in that book, she was talking about people that were trapped in an elevator.

It might’ve been in a bombing of a building like the World Trade Center bombing or something back in the ‘90s or whenever that was and how some people were trapped in an elevator and the smoke started pouring in. How they had to be conscious to not hyperventilate because they would run out of air. They had to control their breathing in those moments and how a lot of militaries are trained through these things or people in those high-stakes scenarios where they have to learn how to control their breath. I’m curious for you at that moment, Jason, did you start to think of that or did your mind go blank? That’s another common fear response where you’re shocked by it that you can’t even tune back into any of your training. You’ve done a lot of breathwork training and meditation. Did you panic so much that you felt out of control with it or were you able to reconnect to yourself and control? Did you feel like any of your mindfulness practices came into play with this accident?

It’s the smattering of a lot of things. I didn’t start to hyperventilate or freak out until I felt my body because I knew I hurt myself, but I was able to walk under my own power. I wasn’t dizzy or falling over again. There was no blood that I could see. Once Kevin helped me remove my helmet, there was no bruising. Also, I have to give myself a little bit of credit here in the sense that when I bought my motorcycle gear, my helmet, my jacket and all of that, I did a lot of research into which ones were the highest in safety ratings and talking to people who had been in accidents with that gear and how it protected them. For anyone who is a bicyclist, BMX, scooter, off-road motorcyclist, spend the money to buy the best gear you can afford. Do that and always wear it.

The interesting thing about this too, and there are many tangents, but that’s what this show is. It’s one big spiritual tangent. I was back home visiting my mom prior to this accident. I was commenting to her how many people in Michigan don’t wear helmets because they repealed the helmet law in the state of Michigan where I’m from. Almost every single motorcyclist when I was there was wearing no helmet. I can’t imagine because I did hit my head. My shoulder and my collarbone took the brunt of this and I found out that I broke a rib as well. My head hit second. My shoulder crumpled, my collarbone snapped and then my head hit the ground.

If I was not wearing a helmet, I don’t even want to imagine what I might be dealing with. People can do what they will, but if I’m going to get on another machine, an open cockpit machine, whether that’s a scooter motorcycle, I’m never doing so without a helmet. That’s a non-negotiable, but the moment it was happening, I was able to walk and stand under my own power and evaluated my body. When I started to freak out though was when I felt my shoulder and my collarbone and felt bones sticking out. It was then like, “Fuck.” I’m spiraling, then and I’m like, “Oh geez.”

Because until I felt that and felt the pain welling up, I was like, “I might be okay.” I was pissed that I crashed. I was pissed that I fucked up my motorcycle, but when I felt my body broken, it was that nauseated feeling of like, “What did I do to myself?” I started to hyperventilate. Kevin had to come over. He was like, “You’ve got to slow your breath down. You know how to do this. You got to breathe with me.” Kevin was great at reminding me. He’s like, “Breathe, look in my eyes. We’re going to breathe together.” We were taking deep, slow, rhythmic breaths. “Be with you. Don’t worry about the bike. You’re not going to die. You’re here. You’re okay.”

For all of our best-laid plans and our attempts to predict things or manipulate outcomes, we ultimately have so little control. Click To Tweet

Kevin was a wonderful reminder and great friend reminding me, “You know how to do presence practices. You know how to connect your breath. Slow it down.” After maybe a minute or three of hyperventilating, he helped me. I was crying. I was angry at myself at that moment. I was like, “That was a turn you’ve taken hundreds of times, you motherfucker. Why did you crash?” I was pissed. I’m like, “How could you do this?” I’ve been a chef also for many years and as confident as I feel with a chef’s knife, have I cut myself? Absolutely. Have I cut myself doing cuts? I’ve done hundreds or thousands of times julienning bok choy, dicing carrots, chiffonading basil or whatever it is.

We can do something hundreds, thousands of times and feel a level of mastery at them but there are some times we have accidents and there are some times we fuck up. This was one of those things like cutting myself in the kitchen. I’ve taken that simple left turn on a hill many times on a motorcycle ride but for some reason this time, I misjudged it and I hit the brakes too late and lost control. The initial emotion was after I calm myself down, I was crying because I was angry with myself. One of the biggest things for me this week and the thing that I’m still dealing with is not angry at God, not angry at the universe, I’m angry with me. I’m like, “Why did you this? It is weeks of healing and thousands of dollars for surgery. You have to fix the fucking bike now.” The feeling I’m still dealing with is frustration and anger. I know there’s a higher reason for all of this and maybe one of the higher reasons as I talked about in our newsletter is like learning to love myself and be loved and not beat myself up so much. It’s been a hard pill to swallow.

I bet, and I am grateful that you are open to sharing this. When I initially planned this episode, it was inspired by our eBook, Take Charge. For anyone who has been reading our blogs, we’ve been in a series based around that eBook. It is about taking charge of your life during challenging circumstances. We’ve been going through this book during the show, but also off the show and examining it to see what we can shift as it was written in 2019 before the pandemic and before the selection was happening. All of these changes that we’ve been through as a country and as a world. For us to have this episode about fear and believing in yourself during tough times, it’s remarkable that this is the first time we’ve talked about your accident and the timing lines up in such a fascinating way.

One of the tips in this Take Charge eBook, which if you haven’t yet, you can download for free at our website, Wellevatr.com. If you click on the Free Resources section, you will find this eBook and a few others. That will sign you up for our newsletter. If you are a little sad that you didn’t get our newsletter about Jason’s accident, once you get this free eBook, you’ll have a chance to read the future newsletters. The first tip in this section about overcoming fear and believing in yourself is to know yourself and your why. We talked about the why in other episodes because this comes up. When it comes to taking charge of your life, it’s important to have a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for.

In this section, our friend emphasizes that when you know who you are and what you stand for, this enables you to push through doubt, fear or negativity, because you will always have a firm ground on which to stand. With that said Jason, in these times where you felt angry, there was a day where we were speaking on the phone and you were in a dark place and the next day, you weren’t. I’m curious how you moved from that dark place into this more positive place.

Perhaps, it’s always fluctuating. That’s an important thing for us to remember that well-being is not consistent in one way or another. Sometimes, our well-being is suffering and sometimes our well-being is thriving and joyful and it’s normal and natural for us to go through these ups and downs. During these times of more fear, doubt, stress and negativity, it is tough. For you, Jason, do you feel like coming back to who you are and what you stand for has played a role during these beginning stages of your recovery?

I don’t know if it’s about who I am and what I stand for as much as it is acknowledging the nature of things. I suppose that is what I stand for is trying to align how I live my life with the principles of nature, as much as I can. I’m in pain, and to be blunt, I’m extremely uncomfortable in my body. It’s broken, it’s shattered. I’m waiting for this surgery. I have emotions of anger and frustration, rage, sadness, gratitude for the wonderful humans who are caring for me. My girlfriend, Laura, my mentor, Michael, my mom, you, Ellie and Jan. I have many people sending me messages. I could name a million people like Dotsie Ross, Daniel, Adam and Pamela. There are many people that are checking in and either giving me love. My girlfriend, Laura, has been my nurse. I can’t bathe myself. I can’t lift my right arm. That’s how badly it’s broken. I’m down to one arm.

I realized that pain and discomfort as visceral as those feelings have been the past week for me. It’s visceral writhing in pain and yes, I’ve taken painkillers, but they constipate me so I’m trying to regulate how to manage this pain. The nature of reality is nothing lasts and everything is temporary. I know this pain is temporary. My body being broken is temporary. The discomfort, the anger, the rage, the frustration are temporary. Everything is temporary. If I remember that this won’t last forever, even though the pain is powerful and the discomfort is strong in moments, Whitney, I have to remind myself of my belief, which is that part of the nature of this reality is nothing lasts. Everything is changing. Everything is always moving.

I know that my body is healing itself. Even though I’m in physical pain and I’m in emotional anguish, I know that underneath that healing is taking place. If I trust that and I trust in the higher wisdom of nature, spirit, God and universe, I also know that I have to assign meaning to the suffering that I’m in. If this suffering is without meaning, it feels empty and life starts to feel extremely hopeless and macabre. I don’t want my life to feel hopeless and macabre. I want my life to have meaning. As I was detailing again in our newsletter, I don’t know what the higher meaning of this suffering is yet. Is it to slow down? Is it to pay more attention to my body and honor it in a different way?

Is it to abandon a riskier activity like a motorcycle? Is it to finally become ambidextrous and be fucking awesome with my left hand at things? Maybe it’s a chance to look at how angry I get with myself and how much I beat myself up over perceived mistakes. Maybe it’s looking at how frustrated I was getting with Laura and my mom and people in the life that loved me. How hard it is for me to accept help like, “I feel I can do everything and I need to do everything.” Now, I can’t use an arm and I have to have help bathing. I have to have help being fed. I have to have help with basic shit that I’m used to doing that I can’t do.

It’s been an ego check for me to be like, “You have to accept help. You have no choice. To get out of bed, which you can’t do under your own power, you have to have help with that.” To go back to your original question, Whitney, I’m getting to re-examine my belief systems and also align with some of them deeper. If I don’t assign a deeper meaning or if I’m not open to whatever lessons are from the suffering, then the suffering feels useless. The suffering feels empty and I don’t want to live a life like that.

That reminds me of one of the final tips in this section which is to get some perspective and Robby Barbaro, who was one of the contributors to this Take Charge eBook said that he thinks about how small we are. When we see life from that perspective of things not being such a big deal, if we can have a little bit more fun with it, we can take things less seriously. Similarly, Matt Frazier said that he’s found stoicism and Seneca’s advice helpful in giving him a new way of thinking about life death and meaning. One that ultimately places less importance on the day-to-day happenings and emotions we experienced. He’s learned a lot about Buddhism and consciousness and what has come of that is a sense of detachment and letting go for him when he’s worried or stressed.

It comes down to reminding himself how small we are and how unimportant in the grand scheme of the universe everything we’re dealing with is. It’s always interesting when you reflect on life that way because It’s a balance. We want to experience life and joy. We don’t want to throw up our hands and say, “Nothing even matters. Everything’s meaningless anyway.” That can lead us down a path of getting cynical. To your point, Jason, it’s like you get more perspective through these challenging times and sometimes realizing that you don’t need to take things seriously and you realize what’s important helps you move through those challenging times a little bit easier.

I also think that there’s an element of acceptance and surrender that plays a massive part in all of this. I was talking to one of my dearest friends, Adam Yasmin, who we’ve had on the show. His younger brother, Daniel, got into a bad accident where basically both of his legs were shattered. He has had an entire year of rebuilding his body. I had a chance to speak with him for almost two hours about his emotions, his spiritual approach to it, feeling confined to a hospital bed for weeks and weeks and weeks and the process of relearning how to walk, how to go upstairs, how to go in and take a shower.

It’s not about comparing or saying that his journey of healing and rebuilding himself mentally and physically and psychologically was greater or less than mine but I needed to have that perspective from him as someone who has suffered similarly and rebuilt himself. He was saying like, whenever he takes a shower now, it’s not an innocuous thing. He’s like, “Remember when you couldn’t do this or when you could not physically walk and get yourself into the shower. Remember when to get out of the bed into a wheelchair and put into a bathtub was a two-hour process.” There is a power in remembering these moments that I’m unable to use my right arm. I’m unable to raise it. I can’t bathe myself. I can’t chop vegetables because I can’t hold something on the cutting board and even use my left hand to cut anything.

I want to remember this because it’s a sense of deeper appreciation and gratitude for doing something that I was taking for granted such as bathing myself, getting myself out of bed, chopping vegetables on my own or playing the guitar. All of these day-to-day things that one would probably not reflect on with a sense of gratitude and appreciation each day. It’s like, “I’m walking under my own power. I can get out of bed. I can bathe myself. I can make food. I can play guitar. I can do whatever.” Now that I’m not able to, it’s shining such a powerful light on the things that I can’t do anymore and that I was taking for granted each day that they are innocuous. I’m not saying taking for granted to beat myself up, but how many of us think about, “I’m grateful I can shop vegetables myself, I’m grateful I can bathe myself?” It’s rare that we have those thoughts.

To Daniel’s point about that moment of gratitude whenever he steps into the shower of, “Remember when you couldn’t do this.” I want to retain some of this in the sense of having a deeper appreciation for life. To be honest, I’ve been carried away at points in my life of always focusing on the next thing, go for the brass ring, more, better, faster and different. The American way of like, “It’s always got to be bigger and more and better and crazier.” What about the appreciation of chopping a carrot? When I can chop again or the first time I pick up a guitar again, I’m going to savor those moments. I hope to be able to savor that moment forward too. There’s tremendous power in that.

That’s a great gift and you’ve come a long way, Jason, because I remember at the beginning, you didn’t want to think about these things. It sounded like you wanted to feel your anger, which I also think is brilliant. It came in another wonderful audiobook I was listening to on my road trip and have not finished yet because I want to save her this book. I’m planning on reading the physical version as well now that I’m done with my drive for now, at least. It is Untamed by Glennon Doyle. We saw her speak in 2018 at this amazing event called Wellspring. Was it 2018 and not 2019?

We create our own reality. Click To Tweet

That was the last weekend of October 2018, which honestly feels like a lifetime ago at this point for me.

It does and it was such a bummer. We were supposed to speak at that event either the following year. It must have been in 2019 and it didn’t happen. 2020 happened and everything has changed and who knows what events will be like in the future. We saw Glennon Doyle speak there and that was before her newer book Untamed came out and it is phenomenal. She reads the audiobook so it’s great too. She’s got a great voice and you can follow along with this story. One of the things that resonated with me there is when she talks about being a mother and how she’s trying to honor her children for who they are and where they’re at. The whole book has got this theme of breaking free from what other people want you to be, and whether that’s society or your parents or your family members and getting into the core of who you are. Even coming back to that point in the section about overcoming fear is when you know yourself and your why, it helps you move forward.

There’s another quote in this eBook, Take Charge, from Samantha Shorkey who said, “I find the courage to be vulnerable and let the world see the real me. I find the courage to get out of my comfort zone and accept new opportunities and situations that scare the shit out of me.” Coming back to untamed, she has a few sections where she’s talking about her children and allowing them to be upset. Instead of comforting them with words that might not be true or appropriate for that moment, she’s been working on being real with her children and allowing them to feel angry and not trying to change them or get them out of the anger. That’s something that I’ve come across occasionally through my fascination with the personal development world that I wish I would see more often. That has been a helpful tool and perspective for me, Jason, because I have that tendency to want to help pull somebody out of a bad mood.

Sometimes people like yourself a few days ago are not ready to be out of that. I could sense that at that moment when we were speaking where you said like, “I don’t want to hear any positivity.” I don’t want that perspective of, “There’s probably something to learn from this.” You remember that vividly and you’ve made a shift because you do seem to be looking for the lessons. You didn’t want to focus on the lessons. It felt to me that you were trying to acknowledge the anger that was filling up your body, even though you also were acknowledging that it was putting you on the verge of a bad mental health state. You had a lot of awareness about where you were at because you knew this wasn’t a good place to be, but you were also honoring the fact that you weren’t ready to move out of that place yet.

There are a lot of layers to this and I appreciate you acknowledging it. I want to talk about why was in the dark place in a little bit because there are more layers to this story. The story is not over about my week. There are moments where we need to hear it’s going to be okay. At the same time, I know it’s going to be okay, so I don’t need to hear that. In a lot of moments this week, I needed to have someone witness my emotions and not judge them or try and change them. That has been some of the most potent medicine, whether it was you or Laura or my mom, Michael and Adam. The amazing and wonderful people in my life who’ve connected, called and FaceTimed.

I know that it’s going to be okay. I don’t need to be reminded. It’s like, “I need to rage now. I need to have my rage witnessed, not directing it at anyone. That’s different. Not being angry or vitriolic or spiteful or putting poison at anyone. The general sense of rage, upset, frustration, anger and allowing the energy to move. It’s different, but it’s similar to when I have sobbed, like convulsing sobbing because for me to feel peace again, to feel a sense of acceptance and surrender to what is, if I don’t allow the rage, sadness, anger and frustration to move through my body, it will congeal. It will store itself in there and I do not want it.

In some ways it’s almost like my body and soul’s wisdom to say like, “You need to move this energy.” Because if you don’t move the sadness, rage, anger, frustration and sorrow, it’s going to stick in your body and we need the space for healing. Let it flow. Let yourself feel it and release it when it wants to be released. There’s higher wisdom and it flies in the face of a lot of the love and light, high vibes only bullshit we’ve talked about in the spiritual and wellness community of, “Don’t yell. Don’t be angry. High vibes only.” There is so much spiritual bypassing and many iterations. It’s almost like the head of the Hydra where you cut one off and three more grow.

It’s still endemic in many ways to this social media culture of wellness and spirituality and “self-help” of people not dealing with their darkness. Did I want to be angry? Probably on some level because I wanted my rage and my sadness and my frustration to be acknowledged. To me, it didn’t feel authentic to immediately go like, “You’re in massive pain. Your body’s broken. You have to wait all these days for the surgery. You don’t feel like you’re getting the acknowledgment from the healthcare system you want. Where do you funnel this energy?” I’m not going to store it. It has to be released. There’s higher wisdom again to what I’m saying to reiterate. Rage, anger, frustration, sadness and sorrow serves a purpose to move energy out of our body.

We have to experience it fully and move energy. That is healthy. I appreciate you bearing witness to it and honoring the fact that I didn’t want to be “shaken” out of it. I know it’s going to move and I’ll return to a place of peace, but I have to experience what I have to experience. You talked about the Stoics, Matt Frazier and Seneca and Marcus Aurelius and a lot of the stoic wisdom that Ryan Holiday’s reintroducing to popular culture now. One of my favorite ones that I read a few years ago was from Ryan Holiday. It’s in his book, The Obstacle Is The Way. He talks about the stoic phrase, amor fati, which is a Latin phrase that means love of fate.

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear: When you know who you are and what you stand for, you can push through doubt, fear, or negativity because you will always have a firm ground on which to stand.

I am coming into a place of greater acceptance for what is, that I’m in pain. I am suffering. My body is broken and there are lessons in this life that the Universe, God, spaghetti monster, whoever or whatever you believe in is giving me. No matter what comes, can I love it? Can I embrace it? Can I say yes to it? Finally, after days of frustration, anger and pain, I’m finally getting to a place of like, “It is what it is. This is what it is.” You either fight reality. Reality is going to win. The other phrase that keeps coming into my mind is Winston Churchill’s quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

It’s like, “I can’t change this. I can’t automatically heal my body. I can’t spiritually bypass my way through this. I have to sit on it. I have to be still. I have to be quiet. I have to allow whatever emotions come up and receive hopefully whatever greater lessons are going to arise from this.” Rather than thrashing around and denying that it’s happening. I can’t run from this. I can’t run from a broken rib and shattered collarbone. There’s nowhere to run. I’m in my body and it hurts and I’m uncomfortable and it’s broken. There’s nowhere to go. I can either accept what is or resist it and that’s the only two choices.

This is such an incredible thing to hear. I feel grateful that we have this discussion and your input with your new perspective is wonderful. It’s one of those great examples of turning a challenging situation into something lovely. In fact, it even reminds me of something I was thinking about, which is called Kintsugi where you fill in the cracks of something broken with gold. I was thinking about it because I have a cracked piece of Rose quartz and it was beautiful because it cracked evenly into two pieces. Part of me doesn’t mind that it cracked because it’s still beautiful to me, but then I wondered like, “I wonder if I can glue a stone back together with Kintsugi kits.” Have you ever done that before, Jason?

No, but I’ve always thought it’s such a gorgeous thing to do. In a way, I wish they could do that with my clavicle. I wish they could infuse it with gold. It’s going to be titanium technically, but it’d be cool if it could be a precious metal like gold or platinum or something cool like that. I love that Japanese aesthetic for many reasons because it acknowledges that because something may be “temporarily” broken doesn’t mean it’s useless. They don’t throw things away in that sense. It’s, “How can we glorify the journey of this object and still see its usefulness and not be wasteful about it.”

I love that you brought that up because the analogy in my body is like, “It’s never going to be the same. It’s going to heal wrong. I’m going to look fucking disfigured now.” It is gruesome. There’s a bone popping out my skin. I don’t want to look at it. It’s gruesome to me, but the fear that comes up into my mind, I’m glad you brought this up. It’s like, “What if I’m never the same? What if I’m this ogre now with this weird fucking bone popping out of my skin?” Those weird irrational thoughts are popping out of my mind, but maybe it’s like this. Maybe it’s okay to be broken

That’s always an interesting thing to ponder. There’s another section in the Take Charge eBook about how we begin to watch the thinker, which is something that Eckhart Tolle said. This is a section added by Luke Jones who said finding periods of stillness throughout the day, whether that’s meditation, breathwork, walking in nature, or sitting in silence is ideal for practicing. Over time, you get a little better at noticing those thoughts pop up and now and then, you find you’re able to pause before reacting unconsciously. That was another thing I wondered. I don’t think I brought this up to you, Jason, but on that day that you are struggling with a lot of anger and pain, I was wondering if it might be a nice opportunity for you to spend more moments and stillness and watching your thoughts.

Because sometimes when we feel disabled in some way, we don’t have much of a choice. All we can do is sit there. You could either sit there and let yourself spiral and get into some low emotions and/ or you can watch those emotions and let them pass by and breathe through them and maybe take that time to listen to yourself more, which is not something a lot of us give ourselves an opportunity to do. Sometimes we’re forced into it. Have you found during any of these moments that you’ve been forced into more stillness? Have they been helpful and healing for you in some ways?

This is related but tangential to what you’re asking me in the sense that I have had moments of stillness of closing my eyes and breathing. Observing my thoughts, not reacting or responding to them and letting them be. I’ll try and describe this as best I can. In terms of living with pain and pain management. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night every night and it is what it is. I am accepting that it’s a thing that’s happening. The other night I woke up and was in so much pain. The pain is almost like it comes in waves. It’s not acute level 8.5 pain the entire time. It’s like, “I feel okay. I can sleep,” then I’m like, “It’s fucking painful.” I get woken up by it.

I tried something in terms of this mindfulness. You’re asking about mindfulness. I was breathing with the pain and what I mean by that is I noticed that there were moments that I wasn’t in pain. Instead of focusing on the moments I was in pain, it’s hard to describe. I was focusing more of my energy on breathing with the moments of painlessness than the rapid breathing and like, “Oh God.” The kind of thing when we feel pain and we moan and it’s like, “We were trying to bear it.” I was like, “What if I move more of my energy and focus on the moments that I’m pain-free than the moments I am in pain?”

We have control over our attitude and whether we’re going to react or respond to a situation, but not so much with the outcome. Click To Tweet

Interestingly, I have found when I’m able to do that and it requires a lot of energy to focus on the painless moments. I find that the pain subsides not completely, but if I’m able to focus on almost noticing there’s another pain-free moment, “Breathe. Are you in pain?” “No.” “Breathe into it,” that I’m able to manage my pain better when I shift my focus and my mindfulness to the moments I’m not in pain. Does that make sense? It’s hard to describe this technique. I’m experiencing it for the first time and it’s interesting. I’m almost trying to put words to it, but I feel like I’m not doing it dexterously enough yet.

This is another thing that passed through my mind during one of our calls because I was reflecting on what I felt pain. It’s interesting because our brains are wired to forget the pain. We remember the experience more than the actual feeling if that makes sense. I’m sure Jason, if you look back and to other times when you’ve cut yourself when you were cheffing and experienced that type of pain. I remember spraining my ankle, but I don’t remember what that pain felt like at all. I’m sitting here thinking, “How painful that?” I remember the experience and how it happened and that’s it.

I do remember for me most vividly is I get menstrual cramps. I’ve had menstrual cramps the entire time I’ve been menstruating and they’re unpredictable. There are a few times where they have been intense. In fact, one of them was with you, Jason, when we were at the Stanford Inn. It’s funny in a way because one of the people in the Take Charge eBook is Sid who we met at the Stanford Inn. During that time, I had debilitating menstrual cramps for hours and I had to stay in the hotel room while you, Jason, were off doing some things to enjoy yourself, which was fine with me because I wanted to be alone. I remember literally writhing in pain and nothing I attempted to do was making my body feel any better.

At a certain point, you start to surrender and you’re describing, anytime I have menstrual pains, they sometimes come in waves and there’ll be a moment where I don’t feel the pain and it’ll be brief and then they’ll come back again. I’ve heard women describing childbirth similarly where many of us know the classic breathing methods that women will do to try to make it through the intense pain during childbirth. I think about that too sometimes when I’m having menstrual cramps. It’s something that is more in my head and more familiar because I’ve experienced it frequently. I stopped taking pain killers after maybe I was in my twenties or something.

I don’t remember where I got this in my head, but something convinced me to ease off the ibuprofen. I used to take ibuprofen every month and there’s nothing wrong with painkillers, in my opinion, in general. It depends on the circumstances and your body. For me, I wondered if I needed them. I’ve learned to cope with the pain without taking drugs. It’s rare. Maybe I’ve taken a pain killer a few times in my adult life. There’s part of me that feels proud of that. Part of it was I’m committed to not putting things in my body unless I truly need them or deeply want them. I learned over time with that type of pain that Sometimes pain is helpful to us. It teaches us a lot about ourselves. It helps us recognize where we go to try to cope. It helps us examine ourselves and our mental thoughts in a lot of ways. I have learned to embrace it.

Every month when I suspect that I might be having a tough day hormonally, I allow myself to honor that pain. A few months ago, I started putting it on my calendar because as a woman, you can track your cycle and mine is regular. I’m able to see approximately what days I may experience those menstrual cramps. I’ll put that on my calendar. I’ll block it off and I try to give myself a day of openness so that I can listen to my body. The other times when I haven’t done that, I’ve been in circumstances where it’s been incredibly painful that I can’t push through it. That’s why I was thinking of this, Jason, when you were talking about your pain, even though it’s a different type of pain. Knock on wood, I’ve never broken a bone so I don’t know what that feels like. You don’t know what menstrual cramps feel like. They’re awful.

There are times where they’ve been intense that I feel like I could lose consciousness. I want to be out of my body so bad and it’s extreme. There’s a Stanford Inn time I remember clearly and another one came to mind sometime in the past year. It was definitely before COVID. I might’ve even been with you, Jason, at the beginning. I was with our friend, Allison, who has her podcast Food Heals. I was recording with her. I can’t remember if you were there as well, but you were. We might’ve been on Food Heals promoting this show. It must’ve been maybe earlier this year. It was sometime in the past year. I felt the cramps coming on and I asked Allison if she had anything holistic I could take. I tried a few things, but whatever I tried didn’t work. I thought, “Maybe I’ll make it through, maybe they’ll go away.”

I went to dinner and then a comedy show because we already had tickets for this comedy show. I remember I went into this restaurant called M Cafe in Los Angeles, and I could not even think about ordering. My brain was not functioning. I was in so much pain. I was trying to eat, hoping that the food would make me feel better and that it would go away. As you’re describing, it was coming in waves. I was trying to function. I was slumped over the table. It was extreme that I didn’t even care if other people were looking at me. I don’t know if anybody even noticed, but I was literally slumped over my head on the table, breathing deeply, trying to make it through this. I was hoping that it would go away soon.

It started to go away at some point during the comedy show, but my big point is that in hindsight, and this is why I changed things and put it on my calendar is I don’t know why I put myself in those positions. Why did I try to ignore that I was going through pain? Pain is a message to us and a lot of the time that message is that we need to stop what we’re doing and rest and recover. Sometimes that pain is trying to get our attention. Especially for those of us who will get caught up in this world of hustle, and this comes back to what I’ve been thinking about for you, Jason, is maybe that is an opportunity. It might not necessarily be a lesson. It depends on your perspective. Maybe the universe isn’t trying to teach you something, but that doesn’t matter because you can still learn from it. You can still find gratitude in slowing down.

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear: Well-being is not consistent in one way or another. Sometimes our well-being is suffering, and sometimes our well-being is thriving and joyful.

For me, my monthly practice is to set aside two full days and either do nothing or lightly schedule myself with flexibility. Anything that goes on my calendar during those days has to be flexible. I have to remind myself every month that this is my time to slow down and rest and get sleep and take baths. Honor myself and maybe shift up the way that I’m eating. It’s a whole other story. You can eat differently during different stages of your cycle, which changes your body’s reactions. There are all these different things that you can do and learn, and that leads me to another question for you, Jason. Have you found any soothing practices, foods or herbs? Has there been anything that you’ve taken or done to help you ease the pain or give you some more comfort?

First of all, I want to acknowledge you for intentionally taking days out of your month, which for us, a remedy to rage against the hustle culture of a capitalist society is important. In terms of comfort or things that I’m taking, number one, I’m taking a bunch of bone-building supplements because I have the clavicle, which needs to get surgically rebuilt, but then I also have a broken rib, which is painful if I cough, if I sneeze, if I laugh or if I move the wrong way. There’s nothing they can do for a broken rib. It has to knit itself. It has to regrow and fuse. I’ve been taking a host of bone-builder supplements that have additional K2, K1, boron, silica, magnesium, calcium and a bunch of herbs that are designed to heal and mend the bone. I’ve been doing extra vitamin C and B complex, so my body can heal quicker. I definitely upped the supplement game for sure.

In terms of foods, I’ve been eating more mineral-dense foods. I’ve been eating more root vegetables. I’ve been eating things like nut butter and pumpkin seeds, which are high in trace minerals like magnesium and zinc because I want to feed my bones. I want to get strong so that when I have my surgery and I go into physical therapy, my body’s already like, “We got this.” I have my supplement game on point. I’ve been eating clean. I have not been eating a lot of sugar, barely any sugar and no sweets. I don’t want to contribute to any inflammatory effects in my body. I’ve been doing a ton of turmeric and black pepper.

I’ve also been taking Oxy-mag, which is a stool softener/natural laxative. You talked about painkillers. I’ve been doing Tylenol with codeine and also cannabis. The cannabis is fine. My body responds great to cannabis, but I have been on and off doing Tylenol with codeine and constipates me too much. I’m trying to find a balance of when to take the pain killers and when to ease off of them because they’re wreaking havoc on my digestion. I’m trying not to rely too heavily on them, only when I’m in intense pain. I’ve been doing soups, simple like tofu and vegetable and rice bowls. Laura made probably the top five grilled cheese I’ve ever had in my life. It was like, “Damn, woman, this grilled cheese is going for the Guinness World Record.” It was an insane grilled cheese.

You now need to tell me what bread and cheese she used.

She will have to tell you. I was on the couch. She got some special gluten-free loaf because she’s been gluten-free for many years. She did a combo mozzarella shred. She did Daiya slices, violife feta and Flora’s plant butter. She put an arugula garlic spread on the inside of the bread and it was psycho. It was so good.

That leads me to think that you may have also received the samples of Flora and Daiya that I got.

I did indeed.

Once you said Daiya, I was like, “I wonder if he got the sampler pack that I got.” When you said Flora, I was like, “He did.” How is Flora butter? I have some waiting at another LA location. It sounds mysterious, but I got back to Los Angeles. I’m quarantining. How is that butter?

When it comes to taking charge of your life, it's important to have a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for. Click To Tweet

I like it. I like the flavor of it. I like the way it melts. It’s super spreadable, even refrigerated, right out of the fridge. I’m digging it.

Could that be more of a brand shout-out of this episode perhaps?

Sure, it probably will be. I want to get back to some of the spiritual aspects of this whole conversation because some friends have sent me some interesting texts and reflections on all this. My good friend, Jera Fairchild, is a wonderful energy healer. She was my first publicist all many years ago, but she’s doing energy work now. She said, “It sounds like a rebirth for you.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “The highest injury rate for newborns when they come out of the birth canal is they break their collarbones.” I said, “I didn’t know that.” I looked it up Whitney and sure enough, the number one injury that newborn babies in the world have is that they break their clavicle. They break their collarbones when they come out of the birth canal.

The symbolism on that is not lost on me. The symbolism is powerful in that sense of the shifts in my career and what I value in life and what I want to focus my creative energy on. What I feel is the energy of leaving Los Angeles soon. I feel there is a rebirth in my life. When she said that, I had never heard about babies. That was Greek to me. I’ve never heard that babies break collarbones when they’re born. I thought that it was fascinating. Our dear friend, Ellie, her mother Jan texted me, which I thought was also an interesting spiritual lesson. Jan is into meditation, yoga and mindfulness.

She has a lineage that she aligns herself with. Jan is a spiritual person. She was thinking of a story she read years ago about the great master, which is how her master, guru is referred to and he had broken his leg. This was in India in the 1800s, for you to get a picture of the time and the place here. He was in huge pain and when he consulted his guru, his master, his instructions that this was an opportunity from the universe to focus on the word and to be still for six weeks, which is the time it takes for a bone to knit.

He was told that God was blessing him with a time of stillness, acceptance and contemplation. These little messages that I get from friends about, “This is a rebirth time for you. This is a time of stillness. This is the time to slow down. This is the time to contemplate pain, love, acceptance and surrender.” The life lessons I’m sure are going to unfold as I go on through this, Whitney, but it’s almost like these different perspectives are giving me pause to reflect on the deeper spiritual implications of what I may be going through. That provides a little bit of comfort to me in a way.

All of this also reminds me of one other point in the Take Charge book, which is to find trusted support. That is one of the key things whenever you’re going through a challenging time and preparing for that is important. Not all of us are fortunate to have a great support system. We do want to remind you that we consider ourselves part of your support system. Even if you’ve never interacted with us, we are here for you. You can always email us. You can direct message us on Instagram or Facebook. It’s always under @Wellevatr. We each have our own social media though.

Jason, I do want to come back around to my question about how you’re feeling about social media after this accident. You were intentional and set on pausing your personal social media. We don’t intend on pausing the Wellevatr social media, but we also don’t spend a ton of time on there. We post on Wellevatr when we feel called to and we go through seasons of wanting to spend more time on it than others. Regardless, you can still re-reach us there on that platform. You can leave us an audio message or a text-based message. You can email us. We read it all. Sometimes we go through phases of it taking a little longer than usual for us to respond. I’m saying all of this because if you feel alone, we want you to know that we’re here for you at the least.

If you can find more support including us and beyond us, that’s helpful because everything that you’ve shared Jason is rooted in your support system. You have said that before and it’s a huge Testament to the people that are surrounding you and the people that you’ve brought into your life and kept in your life. The relationships that you’ve nurtured over time have come through for you in a lot of incredible ways. That is not lost on us and that is certainly an element within the Take Charge eBook that we should even emphasize more because it seems to me that you’ve learned how important that support system is in your life.

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

We assign meanings to our sufferings because if it is without meaning, it Overcoming Fear: feels empty, and life starts to feel extremely hopeless.

 

It’s a literal thing now in the sense that I can’t physically do things at this moment. Even if my ego did want to get in the way and be like, “I don’t need your help. I can do it on my own.” Does it sound familiar to any listeners out there? For me, it’s definitely familiar with like, “I can do it. I can prove to everybody I can do everything.” I have a lack of self-worth so if I prove I can do everything, then I don’t need anyone. I won’t be codependent. This situation has been like, “You need people. You can’t operate on yourself. You can’t bathe your body or make anything other than a smoothie. It’s been surrender and any part of my ego that’s like, “I got this,” it’s like, “You’re going to sit down and shut up and let yourself be loved and supported.”

The gratitude of the people in my life, it’s at moments overwhelming of like, “Not do I deserve this but thank God that I have magnetized these humans into my life and they love me enough that when I am at one of my most vulnerable moments, physically and emotionally, they’re there for me, no matter what.” If we talk about what matters in life, at the core, these are the things that are at the highest on our list of the things that matter most in the life of. We have relationships we cultivate and nurture of when someone we love is suffering or struggling, we are there for them. That is a power. I don’t mean power as in strength. I mean power as in depth of connection. Nothing can buy that connection.

I’m blown away by the good fortune that I have these people in my life that have been caring for me in many different ways. It’s been tough, Whitney, why I was angry. I feel like the story has another layer that we haven’t shared, which is I was already scheduled for surgery. A little bit of a timeline, I had the accident on Sunday. I saw the orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday. The orthopedic surgeon had scheduled me the next day for a titanium plate and screws to rebuild my clavicle. He said, “You need to get a COVID test first. It’s what’s required by the hospital.”

Laura drives me to the hospital. The next morning, we leave at 5:30 AM. I get to the hospital and there’s somebody waiting outside. They’re like, “Are you, Jason?” I’m like, “How did you know?” They said, “You’ve got to wait here.” They sent a hospital representative down and said, “Did you get the message from the surgeon?” I said, “No, it’s 5:30 AM. I haven’t turned my phone on.” They said, “You tested positive for COVID.” Do you want to see a meltdown? I had a motherfucking meltdown outside of that hospital because I’m not sleeping. I have insomnia. I’m in an intense amount of pain. It’s 6:00 AM. I’m thinking I’m going to get surgery that day. They’re like, “You have COVID. We can’t do the surgery.”

Fast forward, I’m calling and texting everyone I’ve seen. I had a COVID test ten days prior when I arrived back from Detroit and it was negative. I had hung out with Laura, my girlfriend, my mentor, Michael, my friend, Alex, and four other friends. I’d seen ten people total since I’d gotten back, socially distanced and being responsible, but nonetheless, I saw ten people. It was like, “The surgery got canceled. I had a COVID test. You need to get tested.” The interesting thing and as the German says, “The plot thickens.” Everyone’s test started to come back negative,

Whitney. I went and I got two tests from two different facilities and guess what? Both of the tests were negative. Now, I’m thinking that the test I had Wednesday that the surgery got canceled was a false positive. Now, I’m angry because this feels like negligence to me. If you canceled my surgery, which was potentially out of a false positive, if I went yesterday and got, first of all, ten days ago, a negative test and two negative tests, but yours on Wednesday was positive. Something is fishy here.

I’m not saying anyone’s doing anything intentionally, but the rage I was feeling when I talked to you was having my surgery canceled as I showed up and being like, “What do you mean? I have no symptoms.” The reason I went to get these two tests was I need the evidence stacked in my favor that was a false positive. I’m doing all of this because I want to have all my bases covered. Unfortunately, I’m sitting here in pain, waiting for surgery because they don’t have any openings in the operating room until next Thursday. I still have six more days to wait for surgery, which psychologically, I don’t even want to think about it. I have to go again for another COVID test because the operating room won’t accept a COVID test that is more than 72 hours prior to the scheduled surgery.

I have to go to another one. This whole thing has added another layer of complexity and frustration and challenge to me getting my body healed because they won’t operate on me until I have a negative COVID test. The negative COVID test I took yesterday, the two that I did are not going to count because it’s more than 72 hours prior to the surgery. That is the reason why I was raging the other day because I’m like, “This is absolute bullshit. I know I don’t fucking have COVID. This is a false positive.” I’m confident it was a false positive at this point.

It’s been a roller coaster for you, Jason, and an interesting one. It’s going to be an interesting story and to come to the other side of it and have that perspective of noticing how crazy it’s all been as what we can do when we’re out of a situation versus in the situation. Granted, you’re still in it because you haven’t had the surgery yet. That’ll certainly add to the story and I look forward to hearing about how that went and hope that it does go smoothly. Hopefully, talking about all of these things keeps you in your strength because you are going to need that. The surgery might not be easy. Hopefully, it’ll go smoothly but that doesn’t mean that it will be easy. It might be uncomfortable and you’ve never had anesthesia. I know it is one thing. It’s going to be another part of the journey. The roller coaster has not pulled into the station and you’ve not unbuckled and walked away yet.

Nothing lasts. Everything is always moving and changing. Click To Tweet

At least we have some positivity in the world as we started off with this episode. COVID is a complicated thing and we’re certainly not out of the woods with that either. We’ve got a lot to do and things are like your personal situation, Jason. It seems like they might be getting worse before they get better and it’s tough. I’ve had a hard time because there’s this desire within me to want to celebrate publicly. A lot of us have experienced the urge to socialize more and to go back to the way things were. I saw some footage of a friend at a celebratory outing in a part of Los Angeles. You’ve been seeing this on the news too. There are a lot of people out in the streets that are celebrating and it’s exciting. This footage I saw was of these two celebrities. It was a Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. John and Chrissy are up on a car or something that’s moving slowly through West Hollywood shaking people’s hands without masks on. I’m sitting there thinking, “Did everyone forget that we’re still in a pandemic?”

I don’t know why this activates me you sharing that, Whitney, but it does. The reason that triggers me is that you don’t know the ripple effect of your actions. What I mean by that is l I believe I had a false positive because it was book-ended by one negative test, the positive test and then two negatives. It was 4 tests, 3 were negative and 1 was, which leads me to believe, I can’t conclude, I’m sure it was a false positive, but the reality is I got a positive test. I had to call all of these people and be like, “I’m sorry. I’ve got a COVID test. I can’t believe this is happening. What fucking hell are we in? Can you please go get tested?”

Not only the people I’ve been in contact with, them texting their friends and who they have been in contact with to encourage them to get tested. My one and again, what I believe is a false positive, because I tested negative in every single person I texted has also tested negative. It was the ripple effect of texting them, worrying about their safety, worrying about their health and then their extended circles of friends and family having to get tested. Whether you believe this is “real” or 5G or media or whatever, there are a trillion different interpretations. Be mindful of the ripple effect of the action that is happening because what you may believe or how you’re affected by this thing may not be how other people are affected by it.

I saw the chaos that ensued from my positive test. Thank God everyone is negative, including myself but that one false positive, the ripple effect was all I know is I’m battening down the hatches on what I am doing even more so now. Not because I’m afraid of “getting” it okay but I don’t want to negatively psychologically impact the people in my life by thinking that I’m putting them at risk.

It’s a tricky thing. It’s interesting because I remember during the Black Lives Matter protests, rallies and marches and all of the positive things that were happening, it felt important for us to go out to the streets and participate in that despite the pandemic. I certainly felt uncomfortable being around that many people. I made some decisions that I wondered might have a negative effect on me or others. We never know for sure, but it doesn’t seem like there were any major cases attributed to those marches and rallies, and everything else that was happening, which is remarkable.

We then saw that super spreader event that happened during the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. That super spreader event was such a big deal and a lot of those people were being mocked for their decisions. If we look within our own lives, like a lot of us have made those decisions. Not all of us. Some people are still full-on quarantining and haven’t seen anyone. Some people have barely left their homes since March, which is truly remarkable. Certainly for me traveling was a lot of daily reflection on my actions. There were moments where I questioned what I was doing especially this past week because a family member of mine has COVID. He has symptoms. He was tested positive. People around him were tested positive. It is full-on no doubt COVID that he’s experiencing. Another person I know tested positive and I believe has some symptoms and then you tested positive.

Three people in the same week, although your negative results negate that, it was a wake-up call for me. I definitely hesitated and who knows? The day’s not over. I feel that draw. I feel that FOMO. I feel like, “I should be out in the street celebrating. This is a historical day.” I don’t need to do that and seeing this video footage of crowds of people that are shoulder to shoulder, somewhere in masks, some not and celebrities up there. It’s not meant to shame them. I’m surprised. I don’t know why Chrissy and John felt comfortable going through a sea of hundreds, if not thousands of people. They’re not just up there, Jason, in this footage I saw, which came directly from a friend of mine.

It’s not on the media, it’s not fake news. This is real. They’re shaking hands with people and not wearing masks. I know a lot of people have their own strong opinions about masks. I’m personally a big fan of wearing masks, but I’m shocked that they’re touching strangers and who knows how many people they’re touching. That doesn’t make any sense to me. The reason it triggers me is that when we see things like that, we begin to feel more comfortable. That’s how our brains work and I noticed this a lot on my travels that I would feel a certain way of like, “I’m going to wear my mask. I’m going to keep the 6-foot distance. I’m going to be careful about washing my hands and sanitizing and all that stuff.”

I would then interact with some people, friends or family members and I would slowly start to let my guard down and then I would catch myself and I’d be a little bit more mindful, but then I’d let my guard down again. That happened time and time again. I’m waiting for my COVID results. Hopefully, they’re negative. I don’t have any symptoms and I feel that relatively, I’ve been careful. To your point, Jason, we don’t know. In hindsight, there’s part of me that feels like I was semi on the reckless side and not only could that have put people at risk or myself at risk, but also I wonder about the example I’m setting. That’s one of the reasons this feels important is I believe that Joe Biden has set a positive example.

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear: Going through difficult times gives us a sense of deeper appreciation and gratitude for being able to do something that we were taking for granted.

 

I appreciate that he has been mindful of wearing his mask and his family has. Seeing that makes me feel like we are going to go in a positive direction, but it is interesting to see people that are supportive of Biden. We start to associate Republicans with being anti-mask and that’s not always true. We can’t make that generalization, but certainly a lot of Trump supporters have been framed as not wearing masks and refusing to wear masks and all of that.

It’s interesting that even some of the Democrats, they’re not wearing masks and they’re going into the crowds. They’re shaking hands with people and they’re doing things because it feels good at that moment. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to be at risk. I hope that Chrissy and John and anyone else at the events in Los Angeles and around the country in the world is going to be fine and resilient and they won’t get it. We also need to remember that this is truly risky and cases are on the rise. I’m not an expert in this, so we’re all trying to figure it out and do our best and stay up with the information and take it day by day, I suppose.

That’s the thing too. I love what you said about setting an example. This is maybe a different show because This is an interesting subject we could dig into maybe for a future episode. The phrase that I’ve been seeing popping up a lot is character matters. That’s an important thing to meditate on and consider in the sense of a person’s actions and their statements and the consistency in which they do or reiterate their beliefs or viewpoints or policies creates and reflects their character. Whether we’re talking about the election with, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning the new presidential and vice-presidential term or we contrast that with the previous administration. I have to put aside in my mind any of the tangential conspiracy theories we’ve discussed here on the show.

We have talked ad nauseum about our perspectives on those things in depth. To me, it’s difficult if you don’t know a person personally, but I value character. I value if a person and we’ll see what happens in this next term. We don’t know exactly how much of his word he will keep, but in examining what I’ve examined, Character does matter. I’m glad to see that phrase being passed around. One of the biggest things that brought tears to me was Van Jones had an amazing two-minute segment that was moving where he talked about that. He talked about setting examples and character. He talked about setting examples for his children. To me, is anyone going to be perfect? Hell, no. No leaders, no CEOs, no senators, no one’s going to be perfect.

If we choose to vote for and support people, CEOs, corporations, individuals, leaders, artists or whoever we’re supporting, do we align with their character? This is an important question. It resonates. As I always say, we vote with our vote. We vote with our dollars and we vote with our energy every single day we are alive. Instead of this one election, the next step is where are we voting with our energy, our focus, our attention, our money? How are we voting with that? That’s the other layer we need to be mindful of moving forward. I certainly want to be more mindful of it.

The keyword is mindfulness. We’re all figuring this out and Evie apparently is ready to be a part of the conversation and I want to be mindful of her. That’s my cue to wrap things up. That mindfulness is incredibly key. We’re all trying to figure this out. We’re all doing our best. We’re all taking it day by day and noticing our judgments and our reactions to things is the way to take charge, in my opinion.

As we wrap this episode up, I did want to read something quickly. Whether it’s been the discomfort of waiting for the election results, whether it’s been the pain of the last four years, the oppression, the sadness, the rage, the anger, any of the things we have been experiencing collectively as humans. One thing I always returned to is some of the books and the teachings that have grounded me and led me throughout my entire life. The book that I hold in the highest regard was given to me as a teenager by my mom. We’ve mentioned it here on the show, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I always returned to this book every year and reread it because it resonates in a different way, depending on how I’ve grown and evolved as a person. He has a short passage on pain in this book and I want to read it as we wrap this.

The passage starts and it says, “And a woman spoke saying, ‘Tell us of Pain.’ And he said, ‘Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy. And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility. For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the unseen and the cup he brings, though it burns your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the potter has moistened with his own sacred tears.’”

I get chills when I read that because it is what it is. I want to leave it there. There is much to come. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being with us through this episode. Thank you for sending whatever energy to me for my healing. We have our brand shout outs. We teased it from before, which was the Flora brand that I’ve been enjoying that I briefly teased. They sent me a whole package of plant butter that I’m loving because I’ve been eating some good food here, including grilled cheese and some amazing banana muffins that lore bake the other day. We’ve been using the heck out of this plant butter. It’s been baking well. It’s been doing awesome in terms of stir-fries and cooking, even on an amazing loaf sourdough she got from the Farmer’s Market. Shout out to Flora, your amazing new plant butter. If you all have not tried it yet, it’s probably in stores. I haven’t checked yet. That’s my shout out for the week. What have you got in the office?

If you’re not open to whatever lessons are from the suffering, then the suffering feels useless. Click To Tweet

I have a few brands. I have a ton. I still want to address my road trip back to Los Angeles, but we have a bunch of episodes planned for the next few weeks. I’ll dip in and out whenever it makes sense to bring it up and maybe we can do a full episode as I did on my way back East. Certainly, my trip from East to West was a whole different experience, especially during this time of not only COVID but the election and what that felt like around the country. Stay tuned. That’s a good reason for you to subscribe to the show if you haven’t yet because we have a lot coming for you.

We have a special announcement coming up. We have our one-year anniversary coming up and wonderful guests. Some of the next guests that we’re recording with for upcoming episodes are incredible. I’m thrilled to have them on. For now, I’m going to give a brief shout out because I tried it. I’m probably going to give a more in-depth shout out later on if I’ve had more experience with it. That is Nutiva’s Vegan Ghee, which I saw in Deborah’s Natural Market in Massachusetts. It is one of my favorite markets in the country and now I can confidently say that because I’ve driven so much. I’ve traveled a lot. It’s rare to find a good natural market. I went to a few on this trip, but Debra still stands out as being one of the best.

I saw new Nutiva’s Vegan Ghee on the shelf and someone from the Nutiva team reached out. They also sent me their new squeezable coconut oil packets, meaning it’s in great packaging. I’m going to play around with that but I tried some of the ghee and I don’t think I’ve ever consciously had ghee because I didn’t even know what ghee was until after I went vegan, but I must’ve had it in some Indian dishes or something like that. I’m curious about ghee for a while and it was interesting to see that Nutiva came out with this. It’s a blend of a few different oils, I believe again. I’m experiencing it for the first time, but I put it into a soup.

I had some of Amy’s Soup, which I’ve been eating a lot of because they’ve also sent me some. I’ve been blessed to receive a lot of these samples. We’re often sent these from brands. I got into Amy’s Soup during the pandemic and on my road trip. It’s wonderful this time of year. I had a kale quinoa soup of theirs and I thought, “I wonder what this would taste like with this ghee in it? I didn’t have anything else to put the ghee on yet. It was good. It has a distinct flavor and I’m looking forward to spreading that onto some bread when I get some soon. More on that ghee to come.

The big brand I wanted to shout out, my main shout out is to Clevr who makes this wonderful superfood, adaptogen, probiotic and boosted lattes. They sent me their coffee superfood latte because I wanted a convenient way to have coffee on my road trip. I have a few different types of coffee. I have some instant coffees that were mediocre, but Clevr’s blend is awesome. Not only does it have superfoods in it, which includes ashwagandha, lion’s mane and reishi. Those are good for reducing the stress that ties in this episode. It’s for boosting your mood and sharpening your focus. There are probiotics in it. I’m curious to read more about how that works because it seems contradictory that you would have probiotics in hot water that you need to use to make this blend. I’m interested to see how do those probiotics survive that temperature? I’m not sure.

What sold me on this blend from Clevr is that it has coffee as well as powdered oat milk and powdered coconut cream. They use monkfruit to sweeten it and that’s it. They don’t add any other sugar. The coconut cream and the oat milk have natural sugars and sweetness, but it’s light. It’s 100% vegan. It’s delicious. I had it a ton on my road trip and I also had some so that I didn’t need to go get some fresh coffee elsewhere after my long trip. It’s wonderful for travel. It’s wonderful to have at home to make something quickly. You can turn it into that hot latte. You can put it on ice. You can also blend it with milk of your choice to make it taste extra decadent. Honestly, as it is, it’s lovely. It was wonderful to have on my road trip. Jason, since you’re not a big coffee fan, I should mention that they don’t just make coffee lattes. They have a matcha latte, a chai latte and a golden milk latte. You can choose your beverage of choice and still get all the amazing other ingredients that they have and the convenience of it all.

I need to get hooked up with some of those other versions then because that sounds right up my alley. I’m mostly drinking liquids during this healing phase. I’m drinking a lot of tea and smoothies and broths. The more superfood beverages I can get my body, the better.

I have to share the behind the scenes. This is too amusing not to share. We used a text-based chat to communicate because we’re not in the same place. We haven’t been since COVID and we’ve been using this amazing platform called Zencastr to record virtually, which has been incredible. I wonder if we will go back ever to recording in person because it’s been wonderful, easy. The quality sounds great. I enjoy doing shows in person especially with our guests because they feel more connected, but I’ve also been amazed at how easy it’s been through this platform and our whole system. In addition to recording audio, we also have this chat where Jason and I communicate every once in a while. Somebody forgot to mention something or we want to be more intentional. We were having a little chat debate about who was going to wrap up the episode, both of us got quiet waiting for the other person to do that.

I’m going to pass the baton to you because I’m going to use the “I don’t feel good” card.

MGU 148 | Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear: If you don’t move the sadness, rage, anger, frustration, sorrow, it’s going to stick in your body. Let it flow and release it when it wants to be released.

 

I don’t buy it because here you are laughing.

I am exhausted though energetically from talking. That’s why I was like, “Please just wrap.” Full disclosure, my energy’s low because I’m dealing with this thing.

You hit your breaking point and I get it. We were supposed to record with a guest and that got rescheduled and I was grateful for that because I’m still recovering from my trip and noticing my energy and trying to honor that. You’re recovering and all sorts of different ways, Jason. It’s a heavy day and conversation we had. There’s a lot. It’s tough sometimes to end these episodes because it feels like work to end them, yet we can carry on in joyful moments but when it comes to do getting down to business, it feels like more work. Let’s make this easy. We’ve talked about Take Charge a lot during this episode and that’s the big thing that we want to end with here is to encourage you to download a copy of it. We’re going to be editing it.

Once the newer version is done, we’ll send that out to you, but you can download the 2019 version as of now. Maybe by the time you read this, the 2021 version will be complete. We want to remind you that we have a lot coming towards you soon. As I said, we have great guests. We have some announcements coming up. We’re always trying to work on some new things. We have something special we want to do during the holidays and to celebrate our one-year anniversary with the show. We are always trying to entice you to stay tuned and be part of this community because we are grateful for you. We want to fill your lives up with value.

You can hit the subscribe button. If you’re on iTunes, you can also leave us a review and we love reading those. We are grateful to them. They help other people find our show because it works in the podcast algorithm to boost us up and help us reach more listeners all simply by submitting a few lines and clicking on the stars and letting other people know what you think of the show, which in turn shows us what you think. We love getting your feedback.

However you’d like to connect with us and spread the word, we are grateful. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being part of this conversation even if we haven’t heard your voice yet energetically. Being here with us is contributing in wonderful ways, and we want to acknowledge you for that. We look forward to chatting with you. We have new episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Friday is our guest episodes. We’ll continue on with this Take Charge series for a few more episodes and then we have something special at the end of that. Stay tuned and we’ll be back real soon. Bye for now!

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