MGU 107 | Mental Food

 

“You are what you eat,” so the old adage goes. How well does this wisdom apply to the mental food that we feed our minds with? Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen share their thoughts on this in relation to our seemingly universal fascination with death and violence. How does our consumption of violent content affect the way that we think and behave? Should it be any cause of concern? This conversation wrestles with these questions and more. Speaking of food, Jason and Whitney also talk about real food in this episode. Learn about the amazing work done by Pets of the Homeless, a nonprofit organization that channels donations from the community for pet food and supplies for homeless people. Stick to the end for Jason and Whitney’s latest food product recommendation plus answers to some interesting questions from their community.

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Food For Thought: Are We What We Eat, Mentally?

I’m laughing to myself awkwardly because right before we started, you asked if I had something related to a national day.

I’m a little traumatized. I find myself doing the classic Jason head shake where I’m like, “Another one?” It’s not that those episodes haven’t been fun or valuable. They have, especially dear reader, if you have been with us for a while now. It’s almost like PTSD in a way where I’m like, “Is she going to bring up National Eggplant Baking Day? What the fuck? Are we going to talk about eggplants?” Yet we did talk about eggplants in relation to penis euphemisms with emojis. You and I do find a way to segue pretty much near everything.

The reason that I have so many these days is because I was looking at the year ahead and trying to make sure we always had something interesting to talk about. It turns out that we didn’t need any prompts because we naturally find lots of topics to talk about. I know you have something that you’re excited to dive into, but I do have something that’s related to a timeframe that we’re in. This is a lovely thing. What’s also interesting is I initially came up with a lot of the schedule based on this list of national holidays, yet sometimes I look them up and it turns out that they’re not happening. I don’t know if that’s because of COVID or maybe I got some misinformation.

For instance, this was part of Feeding Pets of The Homeless, which I thought was sweet, but when I looked it up, I couldn’t find any information about that happening in 2020. However, I did find a wonderful organization that does a lot of work with Pets of the Homeless. That’s the name of their nonprofit. They have something called, Give A Dog A Bone, and that’s from August 10th through the 16th, and it’s an annual nationwide pet food drive. I thought this was so lovely. I know, Jason, you’re very passionate about feeding the homeless, but we also need to remember that the homeless often have companion animals and many times their dogs. It’s crucial that we have the awareness and we encourage our local communities to donate pet food and supplies to these people so that the dogs or other animals are well taken care of.

Occasionally, you’ll see cats or other types of critters with the homeless. I often wonder when I see these animals, A, are they being taken care of? B, where do these animals come from? C, how did the homeless get the means to take care of these animals properly? How well are they being fed? Do they have the right type of shelter? Do they have a bed to lay in at night? A lot of us take for granted those things with our animals. I wanted to bring this up as a subject matter. Along with that, there was a lovely article.

This nonprofit welfare is based in Carson City. They received a grant from the Humane Society as of July 2020, and this organization has been going on since 2008. They provide free pet food supplies, emergency vet care, and wellness clinics to companion animals of the homeless across the nation. I thought it was important for us to touch upon this because during COVID when things are already tense and scary, raising our knowledge about what’s going on with the homeless in general, but knowing that these animals are being more taken care of because of funds like this. They’re able to provide assistance to more people because of this grant that they were given, and you can go and donate directly if you’d like.

If you go to PetsOfTheHomeless.org, you can learn more about this. They have a lovely newsletter, which is where I found some of this information as well. They have tax-deductible gifts that you can purchase if you’d like. They also will share success stories. It’s so incredibly sweet because, in this newsletter for August 2020, they shared about two dogs, Tika and Pickles. They’re both live in San Diego and Tika is with a woman who’s been homeless for two years. She receives food stamps and lives in the shelter. She has this twelve-year-old Chihuahua named Tika. She fell off her bunk bed at the shelter and broke her jaw. This woman called this organization and they approved an examination for free at a vet clinic.

Pickles is with a companion who’s been homeless for nine months living on the streets of San Diego. They’re on a list waiting for housing and receiving food stamps. This person called this organization and was able to help out this dog who had been limping and they gave her some emergency care. They’re heartwarming stories. I thought they were a lovely thing to start off this episode with something positive and something actionable for each of us to do and opening up our worldview on what’s happening outside of our lives. This is an ongoing piece of our conversation here on the show.

It’s also something I’ve referenced in relation to my history with my father, Andres, that the last eight years of his life, he was homeless. My father being on the streets and the volunteering that I have been doing, especially here in 2020, a lot with our good friend, Nicole Derseweh, who is a previous guest. Nicole started a wonderful organization here in Los Angeles, where Whitney and I reside, called The Martha Project LA, which is a dedication to her grandmother, Martha, who was an amazing chef that inspired Chef Nicole’s culinary career. I’ve gone about 3 or 4 times now. It happens once or twice a month where we prepare plant-based and vegan meals and distribute them to the homeless.

We at times have done several hundred of these bagged lunches. We’ve done stir fry, burritos and we’ve done a whole variety of meals. To me, it’s not only the gift of being of service to the humans out there. To your point, there are so many of them that I sit and have small conversations with, and in some cases, lengthier conversations. Quite often, the remark that I get from people who have companion animals, houseless people, is that they’re grateful for the food because many of them if they get money or they receive donations, they feed their dogs or their companion animals first. That’s something that I hear more frequently. It’s that, “When I have the money or I have food, I let my dog,” or my in rare cases, cats, but mostly dogs. I love this organization.

MGU 107 | Mental Food

Mental Food: We need to encourage our local communities to donate pet food and supplies to homeless people.

 

It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart because as I go on this mini-rant about my dad’s history and my dedication to doing this volunteer work is, there is a lot of misconceptions around homeless people and houseless people automatically being derelicts or drug addicts or having a mental illness. There are some people like that, but the stereotype is unfounded because knowing what my father went through and sitting down and having conversations, one of the places that I frequently go to volunteer is Echo Park, and it’s about a twelve-minute drive from my here in LA. I’ve talked to people that are newly homeless, that through a series of obviously downturn in the COVID economy, combined with not being able to get unemployment benefits or access to adequate healthcare or whatever the case is. It’s not surprising to me, but it may be surprising to the reader to know that there are people who have laptop computers and they have iPads and they have the things that we probably take for granted on a day-to-day basis of our ordinary lives.

Through a series of circumstances, these people are houseless and they’re living in tents and you realize that they are not addicts or they don’t have a mental illness, or they’re not alcoholics. They simply have been recipients of not the kind of support of the system that some of us get. I’m saying that to encourage us, to examine our judgments and our stereotypes around houseless people because a lot of them are not true. I don’t know if there’s an interesting or slick way for me to transition into what’s been on my mind, but I was laying down and I couldn’t go to sleep because there were these thoughts racing through my mind. On a larger scope, I’m having some difficulty with insomnia. I’m feeling anxious. I’m feeling a lot of subconscious stress around the uncertainty with COVID. We’ve covered this in many episodes, but there were some nights I find it difficult to sleep. One time, I was tossing and turning and I was thinking about something that I used to do frequently in childhood that I don’t do as an adult anymore.

There are these things that when we’re children or young adults that were obsessed with. You and I have talked about certain musical artists or phases of our childhood, things we were into that we’re not into anymore. This one thing had me reflecting on an aspect of my childhood. I want to give a little bit of context before we go into it. I know you’ll have some things to say about this Whitney. I’ve mentioned my mentor, Michael, here on the show, which you’ve known Michael for many years. He’s like a father figure to me. I’ve done so much meditation, spiritual transformational work with him.

One of the concepts he taught me many years ago was that when we think about food, we often think about what’s on the end of our fork or spoon. He was encouraging me in the cosmology of his work, which is called Transformational Anthropology, to think about food as the impressions we take in. The books we read, the movies we watched, the music we listen to, the company we keep. Mental and spiritual food is sometimes even more profound and has an even greater effect sometimes than the physical food that we ingest. All of this is to say, I’m in bed. I’m thinking about something very specific. I’m like, “I don’t do this anymore.” The thing that I was thinking about, when I was a child, I was obsessed with horror movies. I was a huge horror movie fan. I think back to some of the stuff I watched when I was little and it’s crazy. I don’t even want to say my mom let me watch those. I think in a lot of cases, my mom being a single mom and working 3 and 4 jobs at a time to make ends meet, I henceforth spent a lot of time on my own.

I was with my grandma and grandpa, my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have a lot of family members that would care for me while my mom was away working to make ends meet. As a result, I got obsessed with horror movies. I was into The Evil Dead movies directed by the great Sam Raimi. I got into all of the George Romero Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, all the zombie films. At a very young age, I remember one of my first horror movie memories. I was way too young to watch this. It was the original Alien movie. You remember the classic chest-bursting scene. It was so gory and there were so much bloodshed and guts and gore. I’m 5 or 6 years old, fucking watching Alien.

It’s an interesting conversation because I realized that I’ve grown into a mental space where I can’t consume or watch that level of gore and violence anymore. I have a palpable reaction to my body and it makes me think about as a child watching extremely violent movies and playing super-violent video games and listening to gangster rap music and all that stuff. I remember in the ‘80s and ‘90s, they had all these trials with the US government talking about satanic messages, violent messages in music and movies, and so many actors and musicians were on trial. I remember in the Reagan administration, they were saying, “If kids listen to this and watch this stuff, they’re going to grow up to be killers, gang members, and rapists.” I was watching all that crazy violent stuff and I didn’t grow up to be a serial killer or a gang member or any of that stuff. I reflect on all that and think, “I don’t want to watch that stuff anymore.” As a kid, I had some obsession with that kind of violence. I don’t know that this is leading to anything other than I want to hear your feedback on it.

I remember when Columbine happened, there was a lot of discussion around video games and their impact on young minds. There was this idea that if you played video games that were violent, then you would become violent. It is interesting because I don’t remember exactly what I thought back then, but I do remember around that time, I would dabble in video games that were pretty harmless, but there was this James Bond game for Nintendo 64 that was popular. I would play that from time to time. It’s like a first-person shooter game when you’re walking around and killing people and it’s this competition. That’s the first thing that came to mind for me. I’ve played a few of those video games. I never got that into that type. Violent games haven’t appealed to me as much as I’ve been more of a Mario type of game player. I like the cuter cartoon experiences like Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m more drawn to those fun, innocent games or strategy games that didn’t involve killing others.

Every once in a while, even those games can feel violent because there will be competition. There are versions of the Mario games that are about tossing somebody off an island and you’re the last man standing. What’s it called? Mario Party or something that. It is interesting when you think about video games and that appeal. It’s almost we use them as an outlet in a way to do things that aren’t in our reality. We’re very drawn to things like that. I also love to play things like The Sims and it was building houses or creating these characters. You’re playing God. There’s this big appeal, especially when you’re younger and maybe you feel you don’t have much control over your life. Things like that can feel satisfying.

I talked about this in a few episodes, how at the early days of COVID back in March and April of 2020, I was playing this game called Animal Crossing a lot. That game is often described as so innocent because there is no death involved. It’s sweet. A lot of people were playing that game because it was allowing them to escape from the harsh realities of life. The opposite can be true too, where whether any type of media, whether you’re playing a game or you’re watching something, it’s often used as a form of escapism. Sometimes we look for the opposite of our lives, not necessarily something that we can relate to. When it comes to movies and TV shows, a lot of it is a fascination. I get very uncomfortable with certain types of violence and then other types of violence, I feel very numb to. Sometimes I step back and think it’s a little weird how easy it is for me to watch this. I’m not that disturbed by it. This is a little meta, but I was watching a great show on Netflix called Love on the Spectrum. One of the episodes, one of the people on the show mentioned how she couldn’t watch Jurassic Park because it was too violent. Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies. I was like, “I hadn’t thought of Jurassic Park as being too violent,” even though it’s about dinosaurs killing people and going crazy and people literally running for their lives.

The thought of Jurassic Park, I don’t associate that with violence. That’s an interesting thing to reflect upon, how I can watch somebody get eaten by a dinosaur and be unfazed by it, even by a shark or whatever else. For some reason, that type of content doesn’t disturb me. What tends to is torture. Movies like Saw disturbed me. Also, the movie that even bringing it up is making me a little sick to my stomach. This is a super disturbing one. I’m curious if you ever watched it or at least know of it, The Human Centipede. Do you know that movie? I’m having this flashback to a conversation and where you told me you had not seen it. Is that correct?

Mental and spiritual food is sometimes even more profound than the physical food that we ingest. Click To Tweet

I still haven’t seen that movie. I don’t know if I could though now because the whole point was that my younger self would have been like, “Oh, yes,” but now everything that I’ve heard about it, I don’t.

It’s awful. It is interesting though because they made a sequel to it and I’m laughing because I can’t believe that a sequel is made to a movie like that. At the same time, a lot of people watch content like that. It’s so gross and disturbing, in my opinion. Everybody’s going to have their different perspectives on it. It was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact why would you ever want to watch something that again? There are people that find that pleasurable to watch. Even the Saw movies, there’s a whole franchise. I don’t even know how many they made of that. There was that director, Eli Roth, who did a lot of those types of torture films. Those do not appeal to me. Thinking about those comes back to this of two things.

One is, does watching content like that make you violent? What does that say about you? How does it affect your psyche? It’s very complicated because I’m not sure that in my life the type of content like let’s say, Jurassic Park. That’s a type of violent movie I can easily watch and not be affected by it. Perhaps because it is so fantastical. We’re not living with dinosaurs. We don’t have real Jurassic Park. The appeal to me was that I was fascinated by dinosaurs like you are, Jason. It was like, “This magical fantasy world that they’ve created.” Those are usually easier for me to watch then anything that feels it’s hitting too close to home like it could be possible to watch for it to happen to me or somebody else I know. That stuff tends to be a little harder.

To me, it’s interesting that I’ve been having random thoughts on these sleepless nights of content that I haven’t watched in years. It’s made me curious about the long-lasting psychological effects. Here’s what I mean by that. I’m an anecdotal piece of evidence. Going back to what you were talking about with Columbine was a mirror image of some of the conversations that were happening in the ‘80s during the Reagan administration of, does heavy metal music and these pseudo satanic images and horror movies and music contribute to violent delinquency in youth? Of course, when Columbine came out, I remember a lot of news outlets interviewing Marilyn Manson because the Columbine shooters were discovered to be Marilyn Manson fans.

It was very reminiscent of that era of they were grilling Marilyn Manson about his level of responsibility in that. If I look at myself as an archetype, growing up with a single mom, absentee dad, growing up lower income in Detroit, moving from house to house, being looked after by family members. Also being bullied, which we covered in a previous episode. If I look at the elements of my life, me listening to, again, heavy metal, gangster rap music, playing violent video games, watching disturbing gory horror movies growing up. I could look at that independently and say with my upbringing, the context of it, the bullying, and all that, I could have been a person maybe who got desensitized to the point where I could have done some violent things.

I didn’t. I can’t say why. I can’t say why other kids who maybe have challenging family situations, bullied, or have mental health issues. I don’t know. It’s a very complicated subject. The fascinating thing for me though, is that I’m a 43-year-old man. I have thoughts about stuff that I haven’t watched since childhood. To me, it’s amazing the capacity of memory in the brain and how complex our neurological structures are, but how that shit still haunts me. I was thinking about some movie from the ‘80s called Night of the Demons. The stuff that I think about now, I even cringe about it, but somehow as a kid, I was like, “This is amazing. Let’s go watch Freddy Krueger. Let’s watch Friday the 13th.” To me, it even got to the point, and I don’t know if this was something that you grew up with. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, there was a series of videos that came out. This was VHS days. You couldn’t get these at Blockbuster, but you could find these at super indie movie stores. It was a series of home videos called Faces of Death. Do you remember this?

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

There was a production company called Gorgon Video.

Not to be confused with the nickname for your dog.

I got to the point where I was so into horror movies that some friends in high school said, “Have you ever watched Faces of Death?” I was like, “What the hell is Faces of Death?” It was a compilation video that this production company. There were 12, 15 or 20. There were a lot of these comp videos and they were horrible. It was like a home movie filmed, actual footage of people getting their arms torn off, their legs cut off, accidents, torture scenes. It was fucked up shit. Somehow as a kid, as a teenager, I wanted to push the envelope of seeing how much capacity I had for taking in this stuff. To me, that was my limit. I found that psychologically watching actual scenes of dismemberment, torture, pain, real-life violence. That was my limit. I only watched a couple of them and I was like, “I can’t do this.” That moved beyond fantasy and scripted content, which in some cases, some of the movies, like I mentioned the zombie movies with guts, blood, and crazy shit. When you see it, this is actual stuff that’s happening in life. I couldn’t go further than that.

MGU 107 | Mental Food

Mental Food: Every once in a while, even games that don’t involve killing other people can feel violent because there will be competition.

 

To me at that time, I remember reading articles about snuff films. People that would film the killing of other people. Somehow that got out on the black market and you could get videotapes of this stuff, but I could never take it that far. The reason I’m saying all this is what was it in my child’s mind that felt so fascinated by consuming that level of violence? I had to go even beyond Hollywood, video games, and music to watch. I haven’t thought about this year, Whitney. I’m having this in real-time with you. I’m uncomfortable discussing it that what in my young, adolescent teenage mind was like, “I want to see people getting their arms ripped off and seeing people getting tortured.” I’m still trying to figure out what that was about. I don’t have an answer in this moment. I’m trying to figure it out in real-time with you on this show. I have no desire to watch that stuff right now. I feel like I would be absolutely sick to my stomach. Back then I was like, “Give me more,” until I found my boundary, which was actual life torture, dismemberment, and pain. I couldn’t go past that.

It’s interesting. It makes me uncomfortable thinking about that stuff. It also reminds me of another movie I saw that I wish that I hadn’t. I don’t even remember the name of it. It was a sequel and it was about the dark web. It had the title Dark Web in it. It came out probably in 2018 or so. It was a fantasy story about these teenagers going on the dark web and their webcams got hacked. These people were able to come and kill them or something as a result. It was like a cautionary tale because it caused me to want to be more careful. Also, like you’re saying, Jason, create these boundaries. What makes me uncomfortable is that thanks to platforms like TikTok, I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion around what might be hidden and what’s happening like human trafficking.

I feel like my awareness is growing around that. I also don’t feel I fully know what’s happening. Maybe nobody does. Part of the reason that we don’t know that much in general is because it is so hard to comprehend the fact that this is horrific stuff. You’re explaining that it isn’t real life. It almost feels like in my head, this can’t possibly be true. I’ll hear the statistics about human trafficking. It’s almost like I block it out because I can’t even imagine that this happens to some people. We do need to pay attention to this because it is happening. If we keep ignoring it, then it will continue to happen. We have to take action around it. Tiktok is interesting because as of now, it seems like there are a lot of people talking about these things more than I’ve seen anywhere else on the web that I’ve looked for.

I have not sought out this information. What’s interesting about TikTok is you stumble upon a lot of different things and there are a lot of people talking about human trafficking. There’s this one video I saw of a guy on a shipping container transportation boat. You always have to cross-reference this, but then sometimes I feel how easy is it to cross-reference this stuff. There’s a little tangent before I get back to this guy. There was a lot of information about Wayfair, the company, and how people are speculating that they were involved with human trafficking. You can go and find articles trying to back it up with evidence and then articles debunking it. In my head, I’m like, “I don’t know what to believe.” If there’s a powerful company doing these things, of course with all their money, power, and connections, they’ll find ways to make it seem like it’s not happening.

I feel like that is being brought to our attention a lot, especially there’s a lot going on about Jeffrey Epstein, and the people that were involved with him and Wayfair also ties into that. Almost every single day, I’m seeing people talk about this stuff. It makes me question all of these public figures and their involvement. I start to feel like, “What can I trust?” One of these pieces of information I saw was the guy on this big boat. He was saying how a very small percentage of shipping containers are checked, scanned or anything. He said 5% of them and these boats hold a crazy amount of shipping containers. He was wondering if there were people being human trafficked in these shipping containers and here he is on this boat.

He was basically trying to let people know, he’s like, “There could be people in this boat with me right now in these shipping containers. I would never know because in order to keep this business operating, we don’t have enough time to check every container.” It started to make me wonder how many things are being slipped under the radar because there’s not enough time to justify spending time looking for things like this. It’s almost like, “We can’t check everything. Some things you’re never going to know what’s in a container.” There’s a lot happening that isn’t stopped because we don’t have the resources to check for everything. This goes back to this dark web ideas. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

There are a lot of people out there who are so deeply fascinated with things like this. Psychologically, if you can, at some stage in your life, relate to that desire to see something disturbing, there’s got to be a lot of people that are doing that in their adulthood. They’ve never gotten to a point of realizing their own boundaries or maybe there’s something psychologically that makes horrible things appealing to them. This also reminds me of a documentary series I watched, which I will not name because this is a little bit of a spoiler. In the final episode, they were talking about the motivation that this one person had for doing horrible things. They were researching this person’s history and discovering all of these disturbing things about this man’s childhood that may have led him to do horrible things to other people.

It got me thinking how many people out there have gone through their own versions of torture or have witnessed it or something happened that made this appealing to them to either do or to watch and to participate in some ways. It becomes this obsession for violent things. It also makes me wonder what you’re saying here. You might not have been quite at that extreme and neither am I, but there’s still, for a lot of us, this core desire to observe the horrific. Without studying it, I can only speculate. There’s this idea of, I don’t know if it’s escapism, but it’s a fascination because you’re in such disbelief, you have to see it for yourself. Can this be happening?

The other thing I can relate to with this is when 9/11 happened, I had this wish that I had been there to see 9/11 in person because I was having such a hard time cognitively dealing with it. I kept thinking, “If only I could have seen it happen in person, maybe this would make more sense to me. Maybe I would be able to process this better if I had been there in New York City and saw the towers collapsing.” It goes back to this idea as do we watch horrible things as a way to cognitively understand them? Do you think that’s part of the appeal? Would you say that it purely was fascination or entertainment or was it an outlet for you in some sense? What do you think was the appeal for you when you used to watch those things?

It’s hard for me to recall what my hormone-laden adolescent brain was thinking. To paraphrase Joe Rogan, I was listening to a podcast of his and he said, “Do you know what’s the most dangerous group of people on the planet? It’s teenage boys. They’re so full of adrenaline, hormones, sexuality, and violence. You add in lack of direction or lack of parental supervision.” This is not me trying to circumvent my individual behavior. Part of it was like, “I’m a teenage guy who is getting in fights and getting beat up and getting bullied. Maybe it was a psychological outlet. Maybe it was a way for me to feel more powerful in the sense that if I’m able to subject myself to witnessing this violence, somehow maybe I’ll have a higher resilience for it when I’m being punched and beat up and the subject of violence in real life. Maybe that was something psychologically for me, Whitney. I think spiritually it’s almost like I lacked any sense of initiation and here’s what I mean by it. If I look at a lot of ancient, tribal, and native cultures, when it was an adolescent time for a young man to be welcomed into adulthood, in many cases, the elder men in the tribe would take them and do some death initiation by covering them with bugs and covering them in dirt.

Do we watch horrible things as a way to cognitively understand them? Is it part of our fascination with violent things? What do you think? Click To Tweet

Not to kill them, but it’s in the ancient Toltec cultures. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about this in his book Beyond Fear. I love Don Miguel Ruiz. Part of our obsession with death, violence, extreme risk-taking, and adrenaline junkies in our culture is that, in particular, men specifically do not have any initiation rituals involving dying before you die. In the book, he talks about a lot of the rituals in his Toltec tradition of taking young men out into the woods or the jungle and leaving them behind to defend for themselves and find your way back to the village. Also, burying them in dirt covered in bugs and dirt, or in some cases, filling the young men with hallucinogenic drugs and taking them on a vision quest. The whole point is to build a sense of a larger context that we don’t have to be afraid of death.

We don’t have to treat death as a taboo because we’re a little bit fucked up in this culture in the sense that we have all this violence in video games, music, TV, movies, the media, but then we’re afraid to talk about dying. Real death is still such a taboo subject that we’re afraid to discuss. We want to put off our own mortality, hence plastic surgery and longevity aids and blood transfusions. People aren’t comfortable talking about death. I do think it’s a lack of initiation, tradition and ceremony in our culture. I didn’t have that. My dad wasn’t around. I didn’t have a male figure in my life that was testing me or strengthening my sense of independence or my sense of resilience. Certainly, there was no sense of tradition or ritual in my family. It was like, “You figure out what it means to be a man. Go ahead.” Maybe, in my long-winded answer, it was me trying to initiate myself. Skateboarding, getting in fights. I mentioned this in a previous episode, in my twenties, doing the 150 miles an hour on a motorcycle like, “Can I do this without killing myself?” I was trying to ritualize myself, if that makes any sense at all.

On a cognitive understanding level, there might be some differences for women coming of age. There’s more of a supportive environment because girls will talk to each other about these things. It feels easier to talk to your mom about these things. I had both male and female parental figures, unlike what you’re describing, Jason. I’m not sure that I can relate to that, but it is certainly interesting. I wonder how true that is for others though. Even when they have those parental figures in their life if it’s about part of growing up. To me, it feels more of an outlet, a curiosity, and maybe it goes back to what you’re saying how a lot of these things feel too taboo and we are naturally curious and drawn to things that we’re told not to talk about, not to do, or not to say. If we don’t have somebody explaining something to us, we’ll seek out the answers for ourselves.

This is part of where conspiracy theories are appealing too. It’s like, “How do I explain this? How do I process this? How do I make sense of something? Here’s something that makes sense to me. Since nobody else is talking about it, this is what I’m going to believe.” This is part of our shared passion is discussing things even when they’re uncomfortable. A lot of people simply don’t talk about things like death or violence because it feels too hard and it also can feel scary. As parents or parental figures, it might feel challenging to figure out how do you discuss these horrible elements of life? Maybe we’ll let the kids not worry about that right now. Let’s not tell them about it when they don’t need to know.

On the other hand, a lot of children benefit from straight talk and learning. It might be better for them to learn from you than from elsewhere because as a parental figure, you can’t control where they’re getting information and have someone sharing it and all of that. It would benefit parents and parental figures to learn how to have these discussions in a psychologically healthy way. Also, simultaneously talk with children about what they’re consuming. A lot of parents tend to restrict their children so much. When I think about growing up and not being able to see Rated R movies, that made me want to see them more. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t supposed to see something. I remember sex was so taboo, yet I was so curious about sex growing up. I was pretty young. Before I even turned ten years old, I was so interested in it.

It was always this whisper, hush-hush. You would talk to your friends about it. Sex is very uncomfortable to talk about with your parents, but my parents found ways to discuss it here and there. My school system also did a little bit like the sex education stuff. For the most part, a lot of it is discovering it through your friends or self-exploration physically and emotionally. Especially now with all the access we have to the internet, you can find pretty much anything, which is crazy because there’s a lot of creepy stuff online that you could stumble upon as a little kid that might not be great. You have to find that balance where if you try not to let your kid do anything without you watching, then the kid is going to find a way to sneak something.

That’s an interesting thing with Rated R because part of your point is the psychological effects of these things. How it is stuck in our brains and how we have a lot of muscle memory. When we experience fear or deep discomfort, we have a physical memory of that. I bring up a movie like The Human Centipede, it makes me feel physically uncomfortable because that’s how I felt when I was watching the movie. It does live in our bodies and that’s part of how we need to address these things. Also going back to one of your points, as kids, we don’t think it’s going to have those long-term effects on us. We think that we can watch this.

Maybe you have peer pressure to watch something and all your friends are doing it. “I’m going to watch this movie, even though I might not be comfortable with it.” You getting that suggestion from your friend to find that compilation, maybe it’s because somebody recommended it to you and you were super curious. I have tons of memories of those types of things growing up and the way that you would push yourself to do something because of pressure or curiosity, and then you regret it. I bet you there are all sorts of emotions that are buried deep down that don’t come up until late at night, like you experienced, Jason. That’s part of life. What’s interesting to me is it seems life is a combination of unraveling the past and yet still learning new information.

It’s trying to figure out how old things affected us and simultaneously taking in something new to grow as human beings. It’s a two-step process. The more conscious we are of ourselves, and also the openness that we have to get uncomfortable because a lot of this exploration is uncomfortable. Speaking of TikTok, I did see another video that somebody making a very simple point. If we try to suppress things too much, it doesn’t work to our benefit to try to avoid uncomfortable feelings because they’re going to be there whether we want to address them or not and make things worse. Maybe it does bring up anxiety. I don’t want to address this. It feels too much for us, but that doesn’t mean that we get to skip over it. It’s going to be there no matter what. It could make us feel worse if we don’t address things head-on as soon as possible. I wonder with your anxiety, Jason, this is part of that unraveling for you as you’re finally addressing things from your past.

It also brings up an important question, Whitney, which is choosing to intentionally consume certain kinds of violent content, is it beneficial? I want to blow this out because something came up when I was first making the transition to go from a standard American diet to eating more plants and then vegetarian and vegan. That was about a three-year process for me between eighteen and right before I turned 21. At that time, there certainly isn’t the amount of footage there is now. I remember watching slaughterhouse videos for the first time and watching circus torture videos and animals being horrifically abused. For a lot of people, their first exposure to some of this footage was earthlings that our friend, Sean Monson and Joaquin Phoenix came out. That was 2005.

MGU 107 | Mental Food

Mental Food: We have all this violence in video games, music, TV, movies and the media, but we are afraid to actually talk about dying.

 

I’ve seen stuff too that, that I’ve mentioned him a few times. One of my first allies or colleagues in the animal rights movement, Gary Yourofsky, who is still a good friend of mine. He’s shown me footage that was never released to the public. Stuff that you have a somatic experience of discomfort or pain in your body. When I think about some of the stuff that I’ve seen over the years, it’s horrifying. To use this as a jumping-off point, the video of George Floyd being murdered, eight minutes and 46 seconds of this man having the life taken from him, his body literally you see this man dying in front of you in real-time. It’s a conversation of, how much of this do I consume and subject myself to and intentionally take in?

If we look at impressions as food, what are they doing to us on a psychological level? What are they doing to us on a spiritual level? I’m still trying to discern for myself as I go on in life and not only acknowledge, but honor my sensitivity that would be watching more of those videos, not only people of color being murdered. That’s something that is important for us to realize it’s happening. I’m at a point between having watched those videos and the slaughterhouse videos and things that have happened in the world. After I watched them, it’s difficult for me to find my psychological balance where for some reason, when I was younger and I was watching a lot more of this content, it’s hard for me to describe.

As an example, I was on Instagram and an animal rights organization posted a video and I kept going. I couldn’t watch it. During this COVID period, some guy paid $50,000 to fly to Africa and, on a closed game reserve, shoot an elephant in the head and murder this elephant. I don’t need to see that. I could flick through and go, “Some guy pays $50,000 to murder an endangered elephant.” I know this kind of horrific shit is happening, but I almost feel what’s the line between me consuming that stuff versus the impact that’s going to have on me psychologically, if any of this makes sense. What is the good in it and how long is it going to take for me to find my balance? Is it going to feed more of my anxiety and dread and pain, or is it going to help me foster an even deeper sense of empathy, compassion, and action? Some days, I don’t know the answer. I couldn’t watch that video. I can’t psychologically take watching some guys shoot an elephant in the head. I couldn’t do it.

It’s hard to want to choose to watch. People have different reasons for watching that. I also haven’t watched much of the George Floyd footage of seeing clips. I remember my first reaction was similar to what you’re describing. I don’t want to watch this. I’ve had mixed feelings about this over the years. There have been times where I feel passionate about bearing witness. It’s this idea that this person or animal doesn’t have a choice to be tortured or killed. If we want to change things, there’s one the energetic level. Can we bear witness to what they went through as a way to shifting the energy into something more positive perhaps? Sometimes that can motivate us to make a change. If we ignore something for our own reasons, I’m not going to do that. I’ve had periods of my life where I felt that was selfish.

These are two different things too, by the way. What you started talking about with the entertainment side of things. Now we’re talking about reality content that’s happening. There’s a big difference in our brains. Part of that is also the same because our brains can’t tell the difference between real and fake images. If we see something, we believe it. What’s interesting to me is some people might be able to see violent, real content and be so numb to it because of all of the fake violence that they’ve seen. That’s part of the issue here and maybe part of the point back during Columbine when they were thinking in a way kids are practicing to be numb themselves.

I could be wrong about this, but I read that the military will often use video games to train people to become more numb. There’s a Black Mirror episode about this. They would develop special VR glasses for the military so that they wouldn’t fully be able to comprehend who they were killing. There is some training that’s done. That’s very realistic. If we can convince ourselves to be numb to something and think of another human being or an animal as not important or it’s no big deal. I wonder if that’s what happened with the man that killed George Floyd and the men that were around him. Are they so numb to it because that’s part of how they cope? That’s how they do their jobs.

They can’t have that much empathy and compassion. Maybe part of it is racism, but part of this is also the manipulation that they go through in their training, which is also disturbing. That was one of the big points with Columbine. Are these kids basically training themselves to be violent in real life because they’re seeing it so often, they’re playing it, their bodies are getting that physical memory of holding a gun? Now holding a real gun is no big deal. It’s a very complex issue. For me, I haven’t held that many guns fake or real. A real gun to me, it feels like a huge deal. I feel incredibly uncomfortable with it, but at the same time I’ve played video games, let’s say, at the arcade where they have a plastic gun or even water guns. All of these things that we are nonchalant about, they’re still designed based on the real thing and they’re still mimicking that. In a way, it doesn’t feel that foreign the few times I have felt an actual gun in my hand. It’s that I have mentally still this difference in my brain and not everybody will process it that way.

Some people do feel numb to it and it is very interesting. Setting boundaries is incredibly important and being aware of how it’s affecting you. The process of discussing it with other people of researching it, of journaling about these things is therapeutic. If you keep it to yourself so much, it’s hard to deal with things like this. It makes me think a lot about the different extremes and how some people refuse to watch any violence at all. That to me feels very extreme. When I step back and examine it, I think, “Maybe they have a point. Why is it that I want to watch something violent for entertainment? Why do I need to see content an elephant being killed?” What is the purpose of that aside from the kind perspective of thinking, “I’m going to bear witness to this creature or this person that’s killed?” That’s a selfless thing to do in a lot of ways. There is also the side of like, “Am I watching this to get angry? Is this helping me? Do I need that anger to take action?”

I do find that anger does motivate me to take action, but I don’t feel I need anger to feel motivated and get passionate about things. The idea of something makes it clear to me what feels right or wrong. I don’t need to get fired up. A lot of people do. Especially if you look online, a lot of our conversations online seem to be fueled by anger. People debating one another and trying to get their points across and sharing content online is often like, “Can you believe this?” Let’s all watch something together to get riled up and angry about it. Maybe take some action or maybe allow ourselves to get angry for the sake of being angry.

As we probably come closer to the home stretch of this episode, there’s an interesting article that was published in 2018 by a PhD doctor named Vanessa LoBue called Violent Media and Aggressive Behavior in Children. It’s talking about, does watching violent things on TV movies or video games promote more aggression? A lot of sub-studies that are referenced in this article. It’s a very long article, so I’m not going to say too much of it. As we get closer to the bottom of the article, it references several studies that says, “There are multiple research studies suggesting that violent media can cause aggressive behavior in children and incredibly problematic for the violent media includes guns,” specifically guns.

Life is a combination of unraveling the past and yet still learning new information. Click To Tweet

There’s a study from 2017 that references that children have difficulty understanding the difference between real and toy guns, which is what you were talking about, Whitney, like, “Am I holding a toy gun or a real gun?” Interestingly, as it goes on, it talks about that guns don’t even need to be featured in the media to cause aggression. The mere presence of a gun can elicit more aggressive behavior. For example, a 1967 study talks about how having a gun sitting on your table in front of you can make you more aggressive. More study from 2017 also talked about how having a gun in the car makes people more aggressive drivers. It’s interesting stuff. It’s a longer article. From a psychological, spiritual, and anthropological perspective, there’s probably a lot of work and research being done and has been done on this.

To me, it goes on a deeper level to the core of when we talk about having a peaceful society or an equitable society, or I suppose healing a lot of the deep fractures in human society. The year 2020 has brought up a lot of deep, painful fissures and fractures from healthcare to racism, to the financial system, to social justice. There are many issues that are laid bare now that we can’t ignore and we can’t run from, and I ultimately believe that’s good. Since the dawn of any agrarian organized human society spending thousands and thousands of years, it seems to me with the research I’ve done, even going back to Egypt, Sumeria and early cultural structures, violence, aggression and war has been a part of human society since the dawn of time.

I don’t know if it’s possible for us to exist in a container of an organized human society, especially with nearly eight billion people on the planet to not have a violent world. Maybe if we understand why we feel so violent and why people feel aggressive and hateful, and maybe some of these social issues with healthcare financial, racial, we can start to maybe understand our psychopathy a little bit more and why we’re so violent, angry toward each other. I certainly hope that we can live in a less brutal world, a less violent world, a less hateful world, but some days it’s hard. We go on social media, we see the comments, we see the aggression. Almost every day, I’m looking at a common thread from people and there are so much anger and hatred in these comment threads. I try not to lose my faith in humanity is what I’m trying to say. I try not to.

It’s important that we don’t and having discussions like this can be a positive thing because it’s certainly shifting my thoughts. It’s bringing more awareness and I can talk to other people about this too. I can feel inspired. We have the readers and maybe they have conversations and they reflect on it. Each of us can start to contribute to a more conscious world where we’re paying attention to these things and the roles that we play. Finding the balance that works for us and doing our best based on what we know. We all go through different phases of our life where we have awareness about why we’re doing something. Sometimes we want to be able to do something to do it, to watch a movie or watch a video. Sometimes we accidentally see these things.

You go on a platform like TikTok, for example, and you’re scrolling through. You stumble upon something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Social media platforms have done nice jobs about warning you and they’ll sometimes tell you that there’s something graphic going on and you can choose to watch it or not. That’s helpful. Even movie ratings, they’re often a little flawed in terms of their purposes and how they get their ratings and that whole thing, which is a whole other story. The ratings are in place to give you a heads up. Even our show has the explicit rating and that’s to let people know that we swear on here and that we talk about uncomfortable things like this so that you’re prepared when you read.

If you don’t want to read anything explicit, you don’t have to read our blog at all. Maybe you have a setting where you don’t ever read this, and I’ve thought like, “I wonder if that limits our audience,” but in a way, we want to speak freely about this and be able to explore a lot of different things and naturally discuss it without being so worried. We can also have awareness about the violence in our words too. Some people are very adamant about not swearing and listening to swear words for a lot of the similar reasons that we’ve been exploring here with physical violence, visual violence. Words can make you feel something uncomfortable as well. Some people have very strong boundaries about that.

The way to better understand this is to discuss it and pay attention to tune into how you’re feeling about something and what your motivations are. Also, having discussions with other people to understand their boundaries. Are they okay with watching what you want to watch? Are they okay with you sharing something with them? How do they feel about something after it happened? Giving somebody that space to be able to verbalize their feelings is also very important. To have those dialogues instead of debates about things and paying attention to when we feel angry, uncomfortable, scared, or sad and anxious. I’m grateful that you brought this up, Jason, based on your experiences with this.

It’s a good discussion to have because again, it’s a deeper conversation of what in the human consciousness is drawn to violence, to be violent, or consume violence. It’s certainly an ongoing conversation. There have been moments. I know you and I have briefly discussed this where I’ve contemplated going back to school to study to be a psychotherapist. This stuff fascinates me, the human psyche, and how many dimensions and layers there are to our identities, our psychopathy, our conditioning and our belief systems. Psychology is interesting.

I’m glad that we were able to dive into this because there have been a lot of thoughts of childhood, a lot of old thoughts, things I haven’t thought about in years or even decades that have been coming to me in these late-night insomniac stick musings. I’m sure there will be more and I’m sure we’ll never be starving for content or topics here on the show. I suppose as we throttled toward the end, as we do, we want to bring you, dear reader, a recommendation from products we are excited about. Also, get into the tradition of our Frequently Asked Query. Whitney, is there a new product or a brand shout out something you’re stoked about that you want to share with the reader?

First, I want to acknowledge The Bitter Housewife that drink that you brought me. It’s great. I tried it. I loved all the different flavors. I don’t know if they have different flavors, but the one that you gave me had a lot of flavors that I associate with Thanksgiving, like cloves and nutmeg. There was cinnamon in there and it was lovely. You mentioned that it’s not sweet. I was prepared for it to be bitter, but it was more that it was the simplicity of all those different ingredients that were in there. I’m curious what you have learned about the company and their mission and why they formulate their products the way they do, Jason. I want to learn more about them myself.

MGU 107 | Mental Food

Mental Food: Some people might be able to see real violent content and be so numb to it because of all of the fake violence that they have seen.

 

I haven’t dug too deep into that, to be honest with you. It’s a gift that my girlfriend, Laura, got from her mom. She’s a friend of the owners and I know that they handcraft these in Portland. I may be moving there at some point. Apparently, they have a ton of incredible bitters. They have aromatic bitters, orange bitters, cardamom bitters. That sounds so good. These are all an offshoot of cocktail bitters. They have glass bottled cocktail bitters.

Can you explain what bitters are for anybody who doesn’t know?

Bitters, from what I understand, are nonalcoholic aperitifs. They’re things that are made from plant extracts, citruses or spices that you can either combine with alcohol or liquor to add different flavor elements, or you can drink them straight up. The sparkling one that I gave you is literally these concentrated herbs and plant elements that you can consume outright. For me, I’ve had bitters in small doses, almost like a shot, but I’ve also had the mixed with liquor. According to her website, bitters have been around since 1806. A bottle of cocktail bitters are usually 35% to 45% alcohol. They’re infused with barks, roots, herbs, and sages. It apparently seems to be a cool chemical process. There’s more about it on their website, which is TheBitterHousewife.com. They have a lot of different flavored bitters. They have recipes on here. If anybody is into being a barista or a cocktail maker, they have some cool recipes on their website.

I’ll have to check that out because I do love playing barista. This also leads into the other brand I wanted to give a shout out to which we’ve mentioned a few times on our show and our website, which is called Pique Tea and they have a special sale going on and we have a discount code for them. We’re an affiliate of theirs, full transparency, which means that if you purchase them based on our recommendation and this discount code we have, then we will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can get 15% off and free shipping on their back to school bundles, which is neat because they’re all about building the immune system. Going back to school is a big debate point. A lot of people are trying to determine how they’ll go back to school, or if they’ll go back to school, whether that’s college, elementary, high school or kindergarten. It’s a complicated subject matter.

Even if you are not going back to school, you can still use this. We love Pique Tea because they are 100% organic, triple toxin screened for the highest possible purity. Most importantly, for us, they’re super convenient. They’re also sugar-free, so nothing added. They’re pure crystals, which means that they’re crystallized tea. We often think about tea leaves and tea bags. The leaves are within some bag that you dip into hot water to make your tea. That can be lovely, but there are some environmental sides to that. Usually, you have the package. There’s a box and then there’s a bunch of teabags contained in other bags.

There are a lot of different layers to get to the tea. Teabags are not always made from great materials. Sometimes they’re even made from materials that you do not want to consume like glues or sometimes plastics. You always have to be mindful about how you’re drinking your tea. If you’re not using a loose leaf tea and putting it in some strainer of your own, which I prefer to do. Pique Tea is powder inside the little bag that you get. They’re super convenient for two reasons. One is that you can pour it into hot water, but some of them you can put into cold water too. My favorite Pique Tea is the Jasmine green tea.

I was about to say, it’s my favorite as well.

It’s probably one of the best Jasmine green teas I’ve ever had, and that can go into cold water. You can have instantaneous iced Jasmine green tea, but also the flavor blows my mind every time I have it. It’s nice for giving you a quick boost of energy. They do have some caffeine-free teas that you can choose from. They have a lovely hibiscus herbal tea. A number of their teas are designed specifically to support your immune system, which I love. They’re a company we can rave about. You might as well save some money. You can get that 15% off and free shipping. There are two links that you can use if you want to type it in. One of them is Podcast.Wellevatr.com/piquetea, which I know is a little long.

The other one is PiqueTea.com/wellevatr. We’ll give you 15% off and free shipping on these bundles, which are going through August. It is a little time-sensitive and we would love your feedback. If you drink Pique Tea, we would love to know if you enjoy it as much as we do. We want to know what flavors you enjoy. That’ll be a good little conversation starter for us to have. There’s a bunch of flavors I’ve never tried before that I want to have. They also have a good Earl Grey. Are there any other flavors I didn’t mention, Jason, that you like?

I think my top two, definitely the Jasmine and the hibiscus.

If we can understand where our aggression comes from, then maybe we can live in a less violent, less hateful world. Click To Tweet

The hibiscus has a little sweetener in it like Stevia or something.

I think it does. I’ve combined those two together. I want to be an alchemist too. Jasmine has a little bit of bitterness to it. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but green teas generally do, but the light sweetness of the hibiscus goes well with the Jasmine. I will bust open a couple of those packets and do a combo and it’s outstanding.

The other flavor I want to try is called white peony. That’s a new flavor for them. I’m super curious what that tastes like. That’s also cold and hot water-soluble and the website’s lovely. They do a great job of educating you. You can learn so much on there. PiqueTea.com/wellevatr will not only get you the discount, but it will show you all of the amazing information they have about how tea can support your immune system, your gut health, help you feel more calm. We’ve talked a lot about violence. Sometimes you need a cup of tea to help ease your mind and your body. That’s why they felt like the perfect brand to bring up. As Jason mentioned, we do the Frequently Asked Queries section. I have two to share one. I felt was a great tie into this. Both of them are, so you choose the order, Jason. Do you want the interesting one or the serious one first?

Do serious and then interesting.

The query was if the hurt comes, so will the happiness. Do you think that’s true?

If we choose it, that if we sit with our pain and we sit with our trauma, we sit with our hurt and we don’t run from it. We don’t try and bypass it. We don’t try to stay in victim consciousness and not acknowledge that it’s happened. Through sitting with acknowledging, processing, and transmuting our pain, that we can get to a state of release, openness, trust and happiness. I do believe that. If we somehow subvert our pain, trauma, our wounds, or bypass it, or act it’s not there, we will be carrying that with us throughout our entire lives like a very heavy sack of old potatoes that are the growing the roots in the eyes and the potatoes that you can’t save. The ones in the back of the cabinet.

The ones that you’re like, “I want mashed potatoes. Shit, I left those potatoes too long.” Your trauma, your pain, all those things are going to become rotten old potatoes in the back of your cabinet that you’ve got to lug around the rest of your life. There’s something to be said about doing the work on ourselves. Not because there’s a reward at the end of it, but because we want to liberate ourselves. If we’re dedicated to liberation, growth, and lightening the load, we’ve got to address our pain. There’s no getting around it. That’s one of the main reasons we want to do this show. We continue to do it. We talk about painful things. We talk about traumatic things. We talk about difficult things because we don’t want to bypass that stuff. We’re dedicated to not bypassing it when we’re aware of it.

That was a very thoughtful response to that query. The second query is a question, and I’m curious if you’ve heard of this before because I don’t think I have. The query is, does apple juice make you lucid dream?

I’ve never heard this in my life.

Neither have I, but I looked it up and it seems there’s a lot of discussion around this. One article says that it can increase levels of acetylcholine. It can lead to vivid dreams, but there’s no conclusive evidence on this according to Amerisleep.com. I do not know the answer, but I guess there’s a whole phenomenon around apple juice dreams. There’s research that shows the benefit of apple juice and neurotransmitters. This is fascinating. I don’t know. I guess it’s worth a try. Why don’t you give it a shot and see what happens? Lucid dreaming is certainly a whole art form or a practice that you can explore. It’s a lovely thing. You might be able to address some things that are deep in your consciousness if you do some lucid dreaming. Why not? We did talk about lucid dreaming in at least one other episode.

MGU 107 | Mental Food

Mental Food: If the hurt comes, so will the happiness.

 

I’d never heard about the apple juice thing. My experience with substances for lucid dreaming are more centered around certain adaptogenic herbs and tonic herbs ashwagandha, passionflower, skullcap, things like that that are said to slow down the central nervous system and somehow have a more calmative effect on our neurochemistry, but I never heard apple juice. We are heading ever closer to fall, Whitney. One of my favorite things to drink in the fall is apple cider that you go and go to the apple orchard and get. I wonder if apple cider has the same effect. I’m down to try it.

I wish you had been with me the last time I went back East, which was October 2019, because I went to the coolest apple orchard. It was in New York state where my sister lives and you’re giving me a flashback to it because there were two farms across the street from one another. This is of course before COVID. It was a different world, but there was this huge apple festival happening on one side of the street where rides and apple cider donuts and apple pies, and of course, apple cider. There were cool flavored popcorns that you could have. Across the street, there was another farm up on a hillside that had a corn maze that you could go through.

It was so much fun celebrating fall. There were all these people around and having all of this delicious food. I do miss being on the East Coast for that reason because apple cider has become a little bit more common in Southern California specifically. I remember there were times out here where I would crave apple cider and had a hard time finding it because it’s not like it is on the Northeast where there are lots of apple orchards. Jason, it makes me equally eager to go back to the East Coast. I know it’s a big bummer that you and I don’t have that trip planned. We certainly could go back to the East Coast. It does require a lot more planning and I don’t know how much that experience will be the same during COVID. It’s hard to plan trips right now, which is frustrating,

It’s hard to plan a lot of stuff right now, which is to go back to the conversation about anxiety, insomnia and maybe horrible thoughts that I’ve been having. I’m certainly still so used to forecasting my year that this time is so much uncertainty. It’s hard to make plans. It’s a good time to breathe, meditate and let go. To go back as we wrap this episode up, one of my favorite tenets that my mentor Michael shares with me and reminds me, especially in times of anxiety during COVID, what is, is good and to my advantage, whether or not I can see it or feel it in the moment.

I anchor in that in moments of anxiety that I may not know why all this is happening. Who knows why all this is happening? We try and have theories and musings about all of this, but ultimately, I have to believe that we live in a friendly universe. We live in a reality that ultimately is for our benefit, even in times of darkness, pain, grief, sadness, violence. I keep getting brought back to either through someone I trust like Michael or my own spiritual beliefs, Whitney, that through all of that, through all of this craziness we’re going through, there is some semblance of faith and trust that I have in the goodness of life. I’d be worried if I lost that. If that left my being fully, I’d be worried about myself, but it hasn’t.

In that sense, dear reader, we appreciate you getting uncomfortable with us as we do here. For all of the links to the articles about psychology, any of the references to books, movies, any additional reading materials, you will find those as you do with all of the episodes. If there’s one thing we want you to take away from this episode, it’s that we’d love to hear from you, whether that’s through DM, an email, a comment of what impact has disturbing or violent content had on your life. Has it affected you? Can you watch it? Do you stop watching it?

What effect does it have on your spiritual life or your mental health? We would love your input. We always love to hear from you and what your perspectives are on these topics. If there’s one takeaway, we want to hear from you and what your perspectives are on the content we shared here. With that, if you want to reach out, we are on social media on all of the major platforms. We’re at @Wellevatr. Thanks for being with us, digging into the deep end as we do as we go down the well. We will catch you again for another episode. Thanks so much.

One more shout out, speaking of ways to interact with us, we are on this platform called Good Pods, which is a newish app where you can follow each other and see what podcasts you’re listening to. This is a great way to not only listen to our show and connect with us, but we can share episodes with each other and have more interactions. I’ve been using that app a little bit more, and if you’ve never used it before, I recommend that you check it out. You can use the link to go directly to our show or go to a Good Pods on the App Store for whatever platform you use to download apps. Look up that, and then you can look up This Might Get Uncomfortable and connect with us, and we’d love to see what else you’re listening to because we like podcasts too.

You know how to get at us. Let us know what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, what you’re using because we’re in this together ultimately. We love you. We appreciate you. Thanks for sharing the goodness.

I, on the other hand, finished watching a documentary series about a serial killer. Lots of things to reflect on these days, Jason. Thank you for giving me all this food for thought.

Thanks, Whitney!

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