My ethos for years has been to help people feel more comfortable in their own skin.
I’m making a commitment to bring that into my writing.
Rather than adding to the stress inducing hysteria all over the internet, I would like to bring some calming energy to your inbox each week. Hopefully to help you let go of some stress and anxiety.
Like a nice long exhale.
I will do that by providing some new perspectives, some humor, and some self-care practices and philosophies.
My intention is not to “spiritually bypass” and avoid dealing with life’s challenges.
Quite the opposite.
As I wrote to you a few weeks ago, my word this year is responsibility. I want to protect my family and community by taking radical responsibility for every aspect of my life.
There’s a way I could do that with a clenched butthole and tension in my chest, and there’s a way I could do that like a rock – Unshakeable by the chaos around.
I’ll try my best to bring that perspective to your inbox each week.
So here goes The Friday Exhale. 💨
Addiction and Urgency
Addiction feels like an urgent, unstoppable desire for something.
As a kid, when planning to go to a party or just about any social event, it was an urgent need for a xanax or oxy contin. Then it turned into an urgent need for the drug to avoid withdrawals.
In recovery it became an urgent need for coffee or a cigarette.
Today it still sometimes shows up as an urgent need for sugar.
Urgency shows up in other areas of my life too such as the feeling that I MUST get a certain work task done as quickly as possible even if it doesn’t have a deadline.
I’ve been working with a coach for the past few months that has pointed out that urgency is typically a part of what he calls “child-consciousness.” It is part of the instant gratification mindset we develop as children.
“Adult consciousness” he says, is more patient and can discern what is a need and a want.
He has encouraged me to
a. Simply notice the feeling of urgency – this has allowed me to overcome that feeling in the moment.
It has also started to help me let go of a lot of my instant gratification tendencies and develop the healthiest relationship with substances, food, and anything potentially addictive that I’ve ever had in my life (I’ve got a long way to go but moving in a great direction).
b. Investigate it. He says that urgency is a clue that there is an unmet need somewhere.
As a kid it was an unmet need for belonging and self-acceptance. Today it can be a mask for a need for more space, or more social connection, or a need to exercise and move my body more.
This week, notice when you feel a sense of urgency and ask yourself what’s underneath that feeling.
Trying to be a better husband
He also pointed out that when I feel urgency I am probably undernourished in some way.
And if I’m not nourished then Adee is probably doubly so (we have an 8 month old and she takes on way more with him).
He challenged me: Every time you notice yourself being undernourished, go to Adee and ask her how she’s doing. Ask what you can do to help fill her cup.
This is in line with the principle of giving to others first what you desire.
This has worked for us for years rather than the typical “I’ll be kind to her when she’s kind to me” mentality. I’m excited to try this out.
“Ejaculation is like a sneeze in your balls.”
On a recent Tim Ferriss Show episode, Tim says that trying to explain a psychedelic or plant medicine experience to someone that hasn’t done them before is like trying to describe ejaculation to someone that hasn’t experienced it. “It’s like… a sneeze in your balls.”
The guest was Josh Waitzkin (who is my favorite guest of his of all time). Josh said one thing that jumped out and grabbed me.
“An obsession with security breeds insecurity.“
This feels so relevant right now. A year ago I had never heard of a “prepper.” Now I’ve probably been a part of dozens of conversations about it, and after our Texas Ice Storm I’ve heard it even more.
This quote hit home for me hard because one thing I’ve noticed about the hard core prepper community is that they seem to be a little more insecure than others that aren’t… which seems counterintuitive.
I would add that especially unconscious obsession with security leads to insecurity.
Those most obsessed with financial insecurity tend to think about it constantly and feel insecure
Those most obsessed with security in their relationships are often the ones snooping through their partners phones.
I believe in this whole “prepping” thing because I think it’s just another insurance policy.
What I’m trying to do, though, is to take some precautions while remaining present to the fact that currently, the sky has not fallen, and my tripping out about possible future events does no good to me or anyone else.
Working with “negative emotions”
Growing up I thought I should avoid and aggressively cast out painful emotions as quickly as possible.
Even after I’d recovered from addiction and spent years in therapy, I still labeled those feelings as “bad” and would try to solve them as quickly as possible.
One concept that has been extremely helpful for me in working with these emotions is that of Meta States.
My mentor Annie Lalla taught me that creating a meta state is like wrapping a challenging emotion, like fear, sadness, or grief, with something like gratitude.
For instance, the thing that has made me cry most often in the past 10 years is my grief over not living near my family.
I feel a mixture of loss, sadness, and even guilt for choosing to live so far from them.
In the past, I would tell myself that this meant something was wrong.
I would try to get rid of the feelings so quickly that they would just linger there for much longer, and they would often come out in other harmful ways like withdrawing from Adee or draining my physical energy.
Now I am grateful for my grief because it reminds me how much I care about them. It reminds me to check in with them more and to share more with them.
By allowing myself to feel them more fully, challenging emotions have become a guiding light for me as to what matters and sometimes what needs more attention in my life.
A couple other things I’m into
I have learned more about and gotten into deeper states of meditation with this app than anything I’ve tried in 10 years. It’s great. He also has a ton of great content on the app including a poetry series by poet David Whyte where David reads his own poems and riffs on them.
These are absolute fire. Some of your favorite artists, playing in a really intimate setting for 3-4 songs.
A big COVID filled exhale to you dear friend,