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In this episode we discuss the next element: Fire – Connecting to Heart. We explore living at peace in your relationships, living in an emotionally unavailable state and the affect that has, dialing down toxic emotions and dialing up feelings of love, joy, gratitude, and peace.

You’ll hear about the challenges these guys have faced and how they’ve worked through them. It’s a good one.

You can watch the videos of all of the Living Richly Podcast episodes on the Living Richly YouTube Channel.

Show Notes for Episode 13

Here are a few of the tools, resources, and links we discussed in this episode:

  • Ask yourself, What is it that I’m feeling? It’s important to identify the emotion. Need a hand? Use the handy-dandy Feeling Wheel!
  • Remind yourself, you are not your feelings. They’re just something that you’re experiencing right now.
  • Explore a little, what’s this feeling trying to tell me?
  • Give a gentle challenge, and ask yourself is that message true? or just something I say to myself? There are two great resources that can help you do this!

Episode 13: Fire – Connecting to Heart

Developing the mental and emotional acquity and literacy to feel the right emotion at the right moment. That’s what we mean by living richly.     

Rob Dale, Eric Deschamps, Trefor Munn-Venn


Hi, and welcome to the Living Richly Podcast. My name is Rob Dale, and I am with a couple of acquaintances. We’ve been down, we’ve been downgraded, we’ve been, we used to be great friends. Sorry about that last episode. It’s Eric Deschamps and Trefor Munn-Venn. I’ve been downgraded. And I am emotionally disconnected from the two of you.

And as a result of that, I’d like to talk about heart. Heart. Uh, we are actually, uh, talking about the, uh, the four elements, uh, as we continue to explore, uh, living richly and want to thank all of you that have, uh, Taken this journey with us. Uh, we began to talk about a couple of episodes ago, and I wanna encourage you if you haven’t, to, uh, listen to, uh, EPIs that episode, episode 11, uh, where we kind of give a, an overview of the four elements and why they are part of the Living Richly journey.

Why they matter, right? Uh, the, the role that they play. Uh, then we began to talk about mindset in our last, uh, episode. And, uh, now we’re going to be looking at the notion of fire. and, uh, the connection there to heart. Mm-hmm. . Uh, and so maybe we’ll start the same way that we did with the last episode and just take a few minutes to talk about what do me, we mean by heart.

Uh, what don’t we mean? Uh, how do we really understand that, uh, as we, as we start to explore what that looks like. So, who wants to jump in and give us a little bit of an idea of. What does heart today, Trefor? Oh, that was, that was so hard a question. You are, who, who wants to jump in, in the, who wants to jump in?

Traverse got voluntold since you are such a master of this area, and this has, has been the area, let me tell you about all my emotions. Let’s talk about heart. Yeah. . So what is heart? All right. It’s, uh, it, it’s our emotional state. Mm. And it’s our relationships, right? Oh, so a small, like a small topic. Small topic.

So this will be a short episode topic, maybe 10 minutes . Yeah. Right. And, and this is, we spend so much of our lives in this space trying to navigate what it is we are feeling or think we’re feeling, uh, and what to do about. and then we’re also trying constantly to find some sense of connection. Right. It’s a core human need is connection.

Yeah. Whether that’s love or peer groups or teams or clubs or whatever. We’re looking for that sense of connection with other people through friendship, uh, through a host of things. And so like, this is so central. Yeah. This is so, so central. And. The, and there’s so much struggle associated with it, as well as we’re trying to figure out what am I feeling right?

Uh, what does that mean and what do I do next? Right. Right. Mm-hmm. , and, and what does that, what effect is that having on the relationship I’m having with others? What’s that connection I have? Is it an insecure attachment or is it secure? Like do I. I can say uncomfortable, difficult things from a good, healthy place and still know with that person, with you guys, with my kids, my wife, my family, my whoever.

I’m still good. Yeah. It doesn’t mean the relationship’s at risk every time I open my mouth or express a view around it and, and so that requires some accountability on our side in terms. , do we actually understand what’s going on? Ideally, it involves some accountability with the other person as well.

Their ability to catch what we’re throwing, so to speak. Um, but to be able to do that from a very healthy place instead of a reactive, defensive, uh, sometimes offensive, uh, way as well. as we’re learning to, to actually navigate these things and use these, you know, Eric, when you think, uh, when you talk about heart, uh, you, um, you use a phrase loving well, right.

Talk to me a little bit about that. Yeah. Well, to Trevor’s point, we, it, it really does talk about our relationships when we think of matters of the heart. Uh, I remember writing this in my journal, um, months ago, uh, as I sort of discovered the, for myself, the four elements as a model. To define what does my best self look like on these different fronts?

Um, and I wrote, I wrote the phrase, I’d never heard this phrase before. And if somebody else has coined it somewhere else, then uh, that, that’s awesome. But for me it was brand new. Uh, it was becoming a master, um, uh, hardest. Mm-hmm. , uh, A masterful hardest. Yeah, A hardest in terms of becoming more skilled in matters of the heart, both in managing my emotional life and, and ex not just managing.

Bad emotions, but learning to increase that emotional range in a he healthier way. Yeah. To experience more of life, to to live more richly is gonna tap into that more meaningfully. And, and then the other dimension of how does that look and how am I doing in my relationships? Um, and for me, loving well is being in these life giving, loving.

Relationships that are mutually nurturing, mutually beneficial, where we’re, we’re loving and being loved. Right? Uh, um, and, and what does that look like for me? The third dimension that I would add to it, and we, we may not have time in today’s episode to cover, but I think fire, the fire element also speaks to matters of the heart in terms of passion.

What are we passionate about in life, about purpose and what we give ourselves to and what we do not, again, as an escape from. Dealing with some of this stuff or addressing some of these issues, but as an expression of our most authentic self. So, and absolutely if we can get into the, the, all three of these aspects of it, I think it would be great for us to, to be able to have that opportunity.

Maybe let’s start with emotions. Mm-hmm. And then we can talk about relations, uh, relationships, and then if we have time, uh, to look into passion and, and how that is expressed. Yes. Let’s three guys talk about our emotions, shall we? But let’s, let’s talk about our emotions. Uh, we are, We are emotional beings.

We are. And yet we brought Steve, Steve, our producer with us, cuz he’s actually going to do it today. . He’s, oh, look, there’s an emotion. He’s having a, I think he’s having a panic attack over there. There, there’s an emotion that’s happening right now. Yeah. Uh, you know, I, and. At the risk of stereotype or the reality is that certainly this is an area that, uh, women seem to be able to express in a more healthy way than men.

Uh, we’re conditioned, whether it’s through childhood or whatever, uh, that we just simply don’t know how to even have a conversation around emotions. Let. Experience or express them. Right. And I think this is where, uh, range is really important as a topic. You, you saw me react to that when you mentioned that as well.

And, and actually being able to identify what we’re actually feeling, um, is so, so critical. I know one of the things I look back through my life and I’m like, ah, like it bugs me is that I became that. Middle-aged, narrow range, narrow emotionally ranged individually that, that I thought I would never be right.

I would never be right. And I found myself there. I was like, ah. Right. It was frustrating. Um, and so a lot of the path for me over the last while has been around. Expanding that range again. Right. And we, we joke that that, you know, Trump’s one emotion is rage. the, uh, and it, it’s, it’s more than that. But the , we joking joke.

Oh, he still thinks we’re joking, right guys? Oh, you just felt another one. That’s another one. Vulnerability. The, uh, I think, um, you know, it’s interesting to hear people talk about emotions. People say, oh, you know that person, they’re not very emotional. No. , that’s not it. I’m not sure there’s anything that calibrates to say this person’s more or less emotional than someone They’re not, not feeling things right.

Yeah. And it’s said in a negative way, but it’s expressive. It’s, it’s, but it’s even like that person’s being emotional, uh, the message that’s received. Is, uh, and we, we get that sometimes that’s used to describe someone who’s perhaps being overly emotional in a given context, or, or that perhaps the, the, the audio on the video is not quite lighting up right.

Or the reaction may be more than what the situation calls for, but the message that’s received. Is that emotions are bad. Emotions are bad. Uh, that especially what we would consider negative emotion, I think, uh, uh, laughter and joy. I mean, that would be seen as a good thing only to a certain level. And then it’s like you laugh too loud, you’re too joyful, you’re too happy, , you’re, you’re laughing too loud at the funeral.

Right? Right. The, uh, right. Timing’s everything. Right. So it’s timing and context. It’s, it’s to be able to recognize that there’s a difference between, you know, people claiming people are not emotional or not expressive in their emotions. Right. Because that’s a different thing. Right? Right. It’s the behavioral representation of what’s going on inside of those feelings.

Um, I, I think especially for. Right. They’re told, don’t cry, don’t this, don’t that. It’s always what you shouldn’t do, ra rather than what you do. And then how we respond to it in those moments is incredibly important. I know with with, with my kids, the first thing, if I see them having an emotion, if I, or if I see an emotion going through them, which is how I like to think about it, the I like.

To get them to say, what’s the feeling you have? Right. Right. It, it seems like a big feeling is with you right now. Well, you’re teaching them, you’re teaching them in that moment. And unfortunately, most of us growing up did not get this kind of instruction or coaching or, or support. Uh, so as, as a result, we have very limited language to describe what we’re feeling.

Right? Yeah. Our emotion, we’re like, uh, e emotionally, uh, illiterate. Uh, we, we, you know, ask people how they’re feeling and you’re typically gonna get. I’m feeling good. Yeah. Or I’m feeling bad. Not very specific. Yeah. Uh, so, you know, to your point, when you’re helping your kids name it, you’re actually teaching them some emotional literacy to understand what’s passing through them.

Yeah. And then what to do with that. Yeah. It’s like, what’s the sticker that goes with that feeling? Right. What, what label would you put on that? Yeah. Right. And then I think the second piece, which is so important is to understand the dynamic of feelings. Mm. Right. Functional as everything else they’re necessary.

That makes us human. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Like, let’s, let’s talk about this because I think again, uh, I know a lot of really successful people, uh, who, uh, are great thinkers. Mm-hmm. , uh, super smart, really brilliant. Um, uh, who I might say are, have other elements that we, in the four elements well developed or on their way, uh, and.

Are like, it’s almost again that emotions are seen as weakness. Yeah. Emotions are seen as a liability and not an asset, and they describe being strong and resilient as almost. I would say, well, I don’t know. You’re, to me, you might be borderline just cut off or shut off down. Right. Or shut down. Uh, so, so talk to us about the function of emotion.

Yeah. I mean, they’re, they’re, they’re so purposeful. They’re so purposeful cuz they’re there to help us put our attention on things that matter. Right. That, that’s really their job. Right. Right. They’re like a early warning to touch early warning or messengers slash I like them as messengers cuz it’s not always a warning.

Right, right. It’s always like, Hey, more of this. Yeah. Right. Think of them as messengers. And very often I think we get so hung up with the messenger, we skip the message. Right. Right. And so we get so obsessed with the feeling that shows up physically, which is the arrival of the messenger. Right. Right. It could be sudden fear, well that’s a message.

Right. Or it could be frustration. Let’s use frustration cuz we all get it, I think like, which is, uh, it’s actually a form of anger. Frustration is the kind of, anger is, it’s an anger emotion. So when, when we get. Feeling of frustration in our body. The first thing we need to do do when we get, when we feel something is go, what is that?

And you go, I’m frustrated. Okay, good leg. We got a sticker. We know. We know what that is. So frustration is the feeling you get when you’re not getting what you want, right? So in, so suddenly, the moment you can do that, if you say, what’s the feeling? It’s frustration. Why am I frustrated? I’m not getting something I want, right?

The moment you can say that you’ve changed your relationship with the feeling, right, because people say you have to process your, your emotions. I’m like, okay. Like I, I still don’t know what to do so I can hear him say, right. So this is, this is my version of like, well, I, I’ve been process and emotionally I’ve read that when you’re able to name it, you actually dial it down, right?

So when you’re able to say, oh, I’m feeling frustrated, the level of frustration almost doesn’t mean it goes away, but because you’re able to identify, you’re able to regulate it more readily. Yeah, I’m feeling anger, I’m feeling angry about this right now. And you find that the degree of anger. Diminishes cuz you’re now, you know what’s happening as opposed to Right.

Because a feelings, they, they, most of them happen in the subconscious. They, they’re happening, but we’re not necessarily paying attention to it. And all of a sudden it just shows up. It just shows up. It feels like it just shows up. Yeah. It’s not as simple as that. We’ll get into that later, but the. That notion that all of a sudden it’s here and we can name it.

So the, there’s this whole world where you’ve probably heard this in in movies where if there’s like a demon or whatever, if you can learn the demon’s name, then you can control it. A lot of that came out of the. Uh, the Early Desert Fathers and mothers post Jesus living in the wilderness, as he had as well starting to say, they would talk about naming their demons.

And those demons were these strong emotions, pride, like all of those cle deadly thing they had to describe and it be, and it became this larger piece because the moment you can name it is the moment where you create distinction between subject and object. You are no longer your feeling. You are the thing.

You are the you observ. Feeling. Right. And so it’s control is lessened because you realize I’m not frustrated, I’m having a feeling of frustration. Right? Right, right. And so we, we suddenly, we’ve separated that. So then if we, if we know with frustration, I’m not getting what I want, the, the next healthy step is to say, what do I want?

what’s the thing that I want and am I getting it or not? Like we, again, we start to just, we, we, we curiously start to poke at it a bit and start to go, what’s going on there? If you go, well, I want this, well, then we look and say, is that the healthiest thing for you to want? Right? Is that a healthy want?

Right? You kind of go, oh, well, what I really want is, and we need to start to explore saying, is that what you really want? . And is that the thing that, that you need in your life, right? Is that the healthiest expression as well? Another version of that is, uh, is that expectation, that unmet expectation, right, that I have about this situation or this person?

Is it in line with reality? Exactly. Is it, is it, am I expecting something that really is, is out of sync, uh, with reality and therefore, The more I continue to want that thing, the more frustrated I’m going to be. Right? So this is where, again, feelings and our thought life are so closely linked, so linked.

They’re intertwined so deeply because again, the feeling reveals the thought. Changing the thought impacts the feeling. Exactly. And so user relationship, uh, as an example, how many people are frustrated in their relationships? Lots. Mm. But have they ever, so they’re not getting what they want? Do you even know exactly what it is you want?

Right. Can you say it to yourself and can, does the other person know? Right, right. What’s the rea, what reasonable expectation is there that someone else will know? And you say, well, they just know me. I’m like, nah, you know what? We barely know ourselves. Like if we, if we, if we’ve said anything, it’s like there’s so much mystery in terms of what’s going on with us.

How much of it is driven by our own subconscious that we don’t have immediate access to easily all the time. What are the odds that are that I’m gonna be able to understand your subconscious to meet all of your needs. This is where. When we look at a frustration, you start to say, you know what, this is a great opportunity.

Cuz you know what, I don’t think I’ve ever been clear to say this is what I need or what I don’t need. Right. And you know what I love about, uh, what you’re saying and how you’re saying that is, is it, it, it puts the onus and the power on yourself to control your, your feelings, you know, instead of. Eric, you make me feel frustrated or angry or whatever.

No, I make me feel frustrated. Exactly. Exactly. It removes that you, you suddenly are, are no longer empowering other people with your feelings. When you start to think through and you identify your feelings and you begin to process, well, what’s, what am I really looking for here? What really is happening?

What happens there is, and this is the part where it comes into living richly, you have full control in living richly. You have full control over your emotional. Uh, experiences because, They’re from within. They’re not external. Well, it’s the, it’s the notion, again, we’re talking about the element of fire.

Fire properly used can bring warmth, it can bring light, it can bring comfort, it can bring peace. I mean, think of sitting, uh, in front of a nice fire in the fireplace mm-hmm. and staring into the flames. I don’t, I can do that. I can do forever. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And yet, Same fire that I’m leading, I’m going to, I’m gonna go make a fire.

No , uh, that same element outside of those constructs, let, like, if we just let it run loose, that same element can burn the whole fucking house down. Uh, and that’s wildfire, right? That’s like wildfire. And that’s our emotional life. Most of us are very familiar with the survival emotions. Uh, uh, anger, frustration, uh, uh, guilt, shame.

Like these, yeah. These are what are often referred to as survival emotions, and we we’re, uh, we may not be able to name them, but that’s where we’re living so much of the time. When we talk about living richly and leaning into, uh, the best version of your heart is what if you could dial down right, the volume on those survival, uh, emotions and start dialing up the volume on the more elevated emotions of joy and serenity and peace and probably the best and highest emotion of them all, which is gratitude.

Yeah. Because when you are living in gratitude, uh, the world opens up to you. Yeah. It’s, uh, it, it’s actually been described as. The, the elevated emotion that is, uh, when you’re in that emo emotional state, you are most open to receive anything. Yeah. Like you’re in the, in the best possible way. What if, and, and so for those of you listening saying, well, what’s this deal with, uh, all this talk about feelings.

Listen, uh, uh, think about just the last 24 hours, how many times perhaps you have not felt great, uh, or you’ve had negative emotions this week, and what if you could dial that down, uh, and not eliminate it? I don’t think it’s ever about. But what if you could have more control, exert more control about what you’re feeling?

Again, not being a victim, uh, you make me feel. But understand that you’ve never had a feeling you did not create, as we stated in the last episode, you create your emotional state. And so if we can create misery, if we can create sadness, if we can create suffering, we can also create. Fulfillment and serenity and peace and, and, and, and happiness.

Uh, these are all available to. Yeah, but it, it does mean a more disciplined approach to, uh, uh, uh, acknowledging what we’re experiencing, uh, and then shifting both our thinking and our, our feeling around it. We can be more active in our engagement with our emotions because it’s not about control. No, it’s not.

Because, and the reason I don’t like the word control is cuz usually that leads to like people just saying, all right, I’ll shut her. Right. No, that’s And protection, right, is a closed state. It’s very closed state. It’s right. We want to be in an open, we want to nurture, say, what is that? More positive emotions?

Yeah. What is that? Right? If so, let’s use sadness as another one if you’re feeling sad, right. Kind of go, I just feel so sad. Sad is not bad. No. Sad is sad is I’ve lost some. It’s a feeling of loss. It’s like grief, light. Right, right, right. And, and so there’s a sense of loss. And so we need to look and say, what have I lost here?

So let’s say you’ve had a fight with someone. Well, I’ve, I, maybe I’ve lost some connection. Maybe I’ve lost a friendship. Maybe I’ve lost some time. Maybe I’ve lost some respect. Maybe I’ve. Some, uh, maybe I’ve lost the false picture I was carrying around to this person and maybe I wasn’t letting them be human.

Right. Right. Like, all of these things can be, but we, but by asking, by virtue of asking the question, we’ve actively engaged with that emotion. If we don’t do that, what happens very often is the emotion just stays. The messenger is still there waiting. Waiting to hand you the message and you’re not taking it.

And so we may get distracted, but we kind of come back and we have this low grade sad, right? We have this low grade frustration, we have this slow grade, whatever, right? And so it’s this, this piece where we can actively engage with our emotions to understand what’s going on here because we, as we do that, it transforms us, right?

And that’s the other part that I like about fire, is it’s transformative. Right. We talked about alchemy, I think in the, in the last one. Yeah. Right. I think the alta, I think I see very often alchemy as a great metaphor, right? Right. It was about ta, how do you take base metals and turn ’em into gold? Right?

Right. Like, I wanna make gold, right? Yeah. Well, I, I think maybe sometimes we’re that base, and by base I mean elemental, right? peace base. Not bad, right? Base not bad. No. That’s right. Yeah. The, uh, but we are that core thing that can be transformed into, and, and not just a better version of you just. It, it’s like it reveals the true value and worth of who you are.

Right? Right. And the more we do it, the more we reveal. And, and that’s a, that can be a scary thing. I know for me, for a long time, that’s been a scary thing is I, I don’t want people to see who I am. Right. I don’t wanna reveal that. Right. I’ve been telling you alchemy is a transformation of self and fire does that Right.

Fire, like we know fire. No matter can be created nor destroyed. Right. Right. Fundamental rule of physics. The, uh, but it’s always transformed. Right? And so to think of it in terms of that transformative nature through how we, how we experience our emotions, through how we track it back to our thoughts as well, to transform not just us, but our lives, because we’re not gonna get.

Those external things that maybe we want if we don’t have those internal pieces that are so fundamental. Uh, and, and so like those things have to be in alignment. You’re not gonna get a good life externally if you’re living shit internally. Let me finish this sentence in a sustained way, right? Right.

Because I know people who have all the things and, and bit by bit, the things just erode. They disappear, they fall away, or they don’t matter, even if they do stay, because what they’re after is that inner transformation, but they’ve been working on the external because it’s more tangible. . Right, right. And emotions.

You know, I, I I, a big part of that, so I so appreciate, uh, the, the idea of nurturing those emotions and even, you know, sad is not bad. Uh, it’s just a feeling grief is not bad. Let me talk about range. Let, right, well, so let me just, you know, to give as an example, like when, when Katie died, um, I had such an unhealthy view of grief that I, I believe that I, if, if I grieved, I didn’t have.

Ugh. Right, because I, of course, was a preacher at the time, and, and we, you know, there’s, there’s, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Now, if you actually notice what that biblical passage says is, it doesn’t say we don’t grieve. It. Right. It didn’t, so even, even in the good book, it didn’t say, don’t grieve because you are, you know, Katie’s in heaven and all of this.

It was, it was, you may grieve, there might be a different element physically, and, and certainly Katie’s mom, she grieved in a healthy way and and processed that. Yeah. For me, I was immediately back into I need to show. All of the positivity. And that’s a negative feeling. That’s a negative emotion. Uh, what I love so much is, is being able to now be in a place where I can both embrace the happy, fun, pleasurable feelings, but you can also embrace.

Sadness and grief and hurt and, and not embrace ’em as in you hold them close and say, yeah, I’m hurt. So therefore justifying whatever, but be able to now take that and to, to even sometimes journey through it. Yeah. Uh, and to, and, and to really come out of that place, okay, what am I learning? What am I growing in all of that?

So much power in that. So good. Because when, when we talk about, even earlier when I mentioned, you know, what, if you could dial down. Uh, on some of those, uh, experience of those survival emotions and dial up the noise or the volume on, uh, the more elevated ones, that doesn’t mean you’re always gonna be living in, in the elevated ones.

I think what we’re talking about here when we talk about the fire element as, uh, your heart, the best version of your heart. Is its ability to experience the right emotion in the right situation and, uh, take grief for example. Right? Uh, grief is one that’s very difficult, complicated for many of us. I, I still remember years ago, my, my, uh, my dad had passed away.

Um, and, and that was so hard. And then another relative is my grandmother, I believe, if I’m re my memory, serving me right, that that whole time period when she passed away is a blur to me. You’re right. All I can remember feeling in that moment was. Hmm. I was so angry that yet somebody else, uh, wa was out of my life now and that I hadn’t wouldn’t get to spend any time.

That was, uh, the anger is all I could feel. Now, I know anger is a natural stage of grief if you understand the stages of grief, but I was stuck. In anger and I couldn’t properly grieve mm-hmm. because I didn’t understand again, and there’s all kinds of reasons for that. Uh, you, you talk about some of them for you, and very similar for me.

Many of those emotions, the negative emotions were seen as that’s bad. If you feel un un unnecessary sadness or grief or whatever, it’s a sign that you’re, you’re not doing the faith thing correctly. Right. So we’re not, and, and I think, yeah, outside of even religion, I think there are aspects of even positive psychology.

Uh, pop, uh, psych culture that would say, you know, always be feeling happy. And regardless. I think, I think that’s dishonest. I don’t think that’s what we mean by this. It’s, it’s, it’s having, developing the mental and emotional acuity and literacy to feel the right emotion at the right moment and experience it fully.

That’s what we mean by living richly. We just don’t wanna be not getting stuck. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Stuckness because what that tells us is emotions are controlling us. We actually don’t have to control them. We need to actively engage with them. But I think what we do need to do is move from a state where emotions are controlling us, right?

That we think, if I’ve got the feeling, then it must be, I’m bad, or this is bad. I’m like, it just is. It just is and, and again, it’s kinda like the thoughts, it’s like it’s just a thought. Right. Right. It’s just a feeling. And some of them are more comfortable than others. Yeah. Happiness is a great one. Joy is a great one.

Silliness is a great one, right? Discovery is a great one. Like curiosity for me, a great one. Yeah. There are, right? They, they all have their own nature and we just need to accept that and not. This is bad. So that’s bad and things are bad. Go going. I just feel lost here. Right. I feel sad. Yeah. Or I, I have a feeling right now, or I am feeling sad right now.

I, I, I often, I try to, I try to stay away from the language of I am this. Right. I feel this. I feel this. I think so. So true. Right? Because we reinforce in our identity what we are. Yeah. Right? Again, power of affirmation. Power of affirmation. I love this whole notion of how it’s about getting present. We talked about, you asked in the last episode, Rob, what might people do to start, uh, uh, discovering and, and seeing some of the negative thinking or beliefs that they have about themselves?

And we talked about the importance of just beginning to get present to it. Pay attention. . Right. And I think it’s the same with our emotional life. It’s getting present, paying atten, what is it that I’m feeling, um, and, and taking an active role, uh, in both discovering that and understanding it, uh, and, and learning to express it more fully.

Uh, uh, a couple years ago I wrote a series of guiding principles for my life, and, and I wrote this one down, really not knowing what I was saying at the time. Uh, but it is, I’m committed to choosing my thoughts, feelings, and actions, and to interrupting my automatic pilot more often. I will not be a puppet on strings of my own making.

Mm. Um, and this was this whole notion of. Uh, uh, the strings that I feel that I’m, that are pulling at my life, that are those in quote unquote invisible forces that are acting from the shadows and influencing my thoughts, actions, decisions, feelings, um, they’re not all that, uh, uh, foreign to me. I created those, most of those, we can make ’em visible.

We can make them visible. We can bring them into the light, start calling them what they are, started getting present, paying attention to them. And then, uh, beginning to carve a better way forward. Uh, one of the things that’s really fascinating and still very much engaged in this work, and as much, I think as we’re talking about these issues, these are things that we’re very much still learning and practicing and discovering.

Oh, yeah. Uh, we’re none of these episodes are us saying, Hey, we’ve got it figured out. This is more like we’re, we’re on a journey. Journey and we’ve invited you to join us. . Um, we continue to discover things, but, uh, uh, back to Dr. Sherry for a moment, who’s our, our coach. We work with her, um, uh, our coach and therapist.

This is probably the best way to put it. Um, and she’ll often, uh, as I’m describing a painful situation or something really hard that happened, whether it’s a present situation or a past event, uh, that we’re exploring together. And she says, Eric, you ever notice that when you’re talking about hard things, you’re smiling?

And it was like, really? She goes, yeah, you’re smiling. And she says, if I was talking about that, I would not be smiling. She says, I’m sitting here and I’m feeling pain for you. Mm-hmm. , I’m feeling sadness for what happened to you, uh, and what you went through and what you experienced, and yet your emotions are out of sync.

The, again, the audio and the video is not, And again, part of that is, uh, this notion of of of just being trained over time, uh, training myself over time, being influenced, certainly we are influenced by outside forces for sure. Context and upbringing and, uh, all of that. Uh, but we still get to choose, even if we’re choosing unconsciously, we’re still choosing, uh, that feelings, negative feelings are bad.

Right. Right. That you can’t, you shouldn’t be experiencing those. Um, and and so part of my work is becoming present to when I. is the emotion that I’m expressing in this moment, uh, is it lining up with what’s actually happening? Right. Or is there a disconnect? Because if there’s a disconnect, there’s something to be looked at there too, too little or too much.

Right? Right. So we see the overreaction sometimes, right? Uh, we also, very commonly with men, see the non-reaction, non-reaction then, then numbness. And that seems to be socially acceptable, right? People seem okay with that. It doesn’t upset people, right? The, the overreaction, of course, that’s not okay. Yeah.

Like if you lose, you’re cool and you get angry. or you become too emotional, uh, right. In a situation well, that’s looked down upon, uh, and yet the the no reaction, the non-reaction is almost prized. Yep, yep. Yeah. Playing to numbness . Right? Right. So you, you, you see, you know how many, I dunno. Action heroes are, , the emotionally unavailable, numb, highly confident male.

Right? Right. Like they have all these super skills. That’s what’s, so I look and go, wow. Like no wonder men are so fucked up . Am I supposed to be able to do that? Cause , I have a little bit of a distance to go the, uh, right. But also, you know, barely available to, to their own emotional sta set. And this is what we see over and over.

But we also see. Outside the movies, right? We see it with people all the time, and I know I’ve been there for a long time as well, and it’s just a lot of it was these feelings are uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do with them. And so it’s either stay trapped in them. , which is like, I’m not staying in that.

So you shut it off and, and you shut off. Think about this, if you shut off, uh, I, whenever we shut ourselves down, uh, if, if we prescribe to the notion that the relationship we have with ourselves determines the quality of every other relation, right? Sets the tone for every other relationship we. And, and let’s talk about love relationships for, for a moment.

Your most significant relationship. Mm-hmm. , uh, that and your kids if you have children, right? But those romantic relationships, if we are shut off, partially shut off, then how can we bring. Right. Uh, what are we bringing into other relationships? Yeah. We’re bringing partial self. We’re bringing a self that is, uh, uh, alive in some regards and, and shut down in others.

And so if we’re gonna connect meaningfully, uh, in a loving relationship with someone else, it has to start with a loving relationship towards self, uh, self again, radical self-acceptance is where it all begins, right? Is this notion. Getting present to what I’m feeling. I think when we hear and, and, and I’m, I’m, I’m sure our female listeners could, could teach us quite a bit on what it means to be emotionally detached, emotionally unavailable.

I think guys have earned, uh, a reputation for that. And yeah, part of it is again, uh, the, the, the lessons we’ve learned or not learned or the culture that we’ve been raised in and the models that we’ve been presented. And I think there is a shift beginning to happen where men are waking up and saying, I don’t want to be numb anymore.

How. Numbness and living richly even coincide. They don’t. That means part of me is not alive. Right. And then you got this dichotomy of, okay, so do I go with numb where I can’t feel anything or this other stuff where I don’t know what, I have nothing to do with it. Right? Where I feel like I’m outta control.

Right. I’m not, but I just, and that’s the literacy piece, that’s the learning. Like what do I do? Because you’re right. If we, if we say this stuff’s too scary and we close the gates, well, let’s say we close ’em 50%, well then we can only get out 50%. If we close ’em 80%, we can only get out 20. That, that that piece around our capacity to connect in a meaningful way with others has to do fundamentally with our ability to process this stuff, to learn, to be okay with it, to learn that a strong feeling doesn’t mean things are bad, it just means it’s a big message.

So pay attention. Pay attention, and start to work your way through it. Right. And even if I go back to frustration, if I’m in a relationship and it kind of go, I’m frustrated. Why I’m not getting what I want, well, what do I want? I. Stuff. Does that person know that if I say, yeah, actually I’ve told them like 25 times in different ways in these contexts, then then that’s actually very useful, right?

To say, Hmm, hmm, maybe this isn’t working. Right. Right. Or maybe we need, we need to elevate the conversation or get some professional help or whatever. It lets me take the A, take the emotion and move it into action, right? Right. Mova is still the root word of emotion and it means it’s Latin for motion.

Right? Right. We want to move the stuff is supposed to move the, if the other, that’s when it gets stuck in us, then it’s a problem It causes, and I think the same with negative thoughts, right? Yeah. Negative thinking like thoughts that just are meant to pass through the mind. The subconscious. I even read recently the dreams.

You know, you ever have those dreams where you wake up and you go, oh, like I’m glad I’m awake now. Because the, it would just, it felt like there was a bunch of negative negativity in the dream that you could sort of in, oh, I that, think that was that, and I think this was this. Well, I’ve read that, uh, uh, the brain, that’s the brain.

Literally just the, the subconscious flushing out, taking out the trash negative, taking out the crash . So now I used to wake up from dreams like that and go, oh, oh, and it might set me off to have a bad day, cuz I woke up sort of on the. Side of the bed, and now I wake up and I’m like, oh, good, look at that.

It’s not the multiverse. Not the multiverse. Right. It’s like there’s my brain flushing it out. Right? Again, the the how we perceive something can really change our experience of it. And whether that’s at the, the mental level of, of, of our perceptions and beliefs, or it’s at the emotional level about what we’re feeling.

Uh, it’s, it’s an active. The more we move into a protective stance. And I remember, uh, this was, uh, not long after I had that significant breakthrough in the spring that led to, uh, just a significant transformation for me this year. I had a dream, and the dream was really weird. Uh, I, I have a beautiful Jeep.

You have a nice one too. A bit more beautiful than, more beautiful than, well, I think mine is better than yours. But, uh, and then, and then Trevor drives a Corolla. Uh, a 4runner. It’s a 4runner. 4runner. Right, right. I always get that. Hang on, I’ll put it in the show. No, 4runner. Let’s get. But in the dream, I was, uh, uh, admiring, I was walking away and admiring, but it wasn’t my Jeep, it was some other kind of truck, but a truck that had been souped up and, and all this stuff cuz I’ve done a lot of stuff to my Jeep.

And then in the dream I come back and I can notice that the doors are open from a distance I’m what’s going on. And as I get closer to it, I recognize that, uh, All of the, the, the Jeep spins or the truck representing my jeep spins stripped down. Uh, uh, all the parts that I invested have been ripped off of it.

It’s down to its basic shell. And I woke up in a start and I recognized in that moment that what I was afraid of, I got present to what that dream meant for me is I was get, I was a fearful that these significant breakthroughs that I was exp that I would. Right. And so I was feeling fear and, uh, so fear, what does fear protect?

Protect. Right. Protect going to protect time at Rose. Yep. Right? But the, when we’re living out of fear, if we re recognize fear, we can move through it. If we don’t recognize that fear is motivating us, we, we, we begin to close down. And when we close down, to your point, yes, we may be protecting ourselves from outside things coming in.

It doesn’t filter, it doesn’t know what to filter, good or bad, right? Uh, and so we end up blocking ourselves off. It’s, it’s the walls we build to protect ourselves often become the prison of our own making. Uh, and it’s the sole notion of openness and nurturing and paying attention and leaning in, uh, takes real courage.

It does. Huge. So we’ve got some, I I, what I’ve heard here are a number of practical things that people can do to begin to, uh, embrace and, and to understand emotions. One is I certainly identify. The emotions when you come in, hey, put a sticker on it, attention and put a sticker. And you know what’s really helpful to put a, what’s really sticker on it.

We talk about identifying your feelings. One tool that I know has been, we’ve talked about this together. The feeling wheel. The feeling wheel. I wanted, I mean this, this seems almost like, I remember what first it was suggested to me and I said like, are you kidding me? A feeling wheel. And yet now it’s, I was like, oh my God, there’s so many, there’s so we’ll put, we’ll put the feelings we on in there.

So can this describe it? Can we describe it? In a hurry. Are you in a real hurry? I would lunch. I think lunch is almost here. lunch is almost here. Okay, so the feeling. Is it starts in the center with a few core emotions and then it starts to break those downs down in more and more nuance. And so as you go out kind of row after row, you get a, a way more nuanced, uh, expression of, of those feelings, right?

And so basically your range of stickers that you can put on an emotion grows right with with each ring. And it’s useful sometimes cuz we go. I’ve got the feeling, I can’t quite put my finger on it. You can literally look at this thing, right and go, there it is. Yeah, it’s, it’s this feeling. I’m feeling guilt or I’m feeling frustrated, or I’m feeling, when you think why that’s important, you can’t really heal it till you can feel it.

So when you’re able to type rhyme idenify, I like that, that rhyme, but I didn’t come up with that. Can’t feel it. But this notion of once you can. Then you’re, you’re better armed. Like they say like, like, uh, you know, little less leaning it, half that less powerful. There was an little rhythm there, . I dunno what I completely missed what you just said.

It’s okay. It’s okay. Uh, but again, so the feeling will, can be very useful. I’d also say without getting into it, a couple of therapeutic models that are tremendously useful, both on the mindset front, and I would say equally powerful on the feelings front because they are tied together, uh, is, uh, cognitive behavioral therapy.

And rational behavior, emotive behavior Therapy, therapy, R E B T C B T. Uh, these are models, uh, that are actually designed for the user to learn, uh, where it’s often used in therapy for sure. Uh, but the goal is for the therapist to teach the model to the person, uh, that they’re working with so that they can learn how to use this to c.

Negative thinking, challenge negative emotions and reset and begin to do what we’ve been talking about. Yeah. Which is create your reality more deliberately. Yeah. And more meaningfully and more intentionally. Well, we can throw links to that. I was gonna say, let’s throw some links in the, in the notes to maybe a couple of, uh, you know, some white papers or whatever that we’ve seen, uh, some articles that, that we think are really, uh, speak to those, uh, some.

Theories. Um, let me just for the be, uh, cause I want to talk relationships. Yes. Uh, and, and so, but to just kind of sum up with the, the emotions we want to identify them, let’s use the feeling wheel and other, uh, uh, uh, components that we can use to, to really understand what am I feeling? Uh, I, I think it’s important as another practical step is to separate, you are not your.

Right is another important thing to do is to recognize that you are not defined by them. They are not you. Right? They are something you’re experiencing. Uh, I th a great question that you brought up earlier that I heard. Uh, once you’ve identified a feeling, what’s it saying? What’s it telling me? What’s the message?

Uh, I’m feeling tired. What is. Have you slept or I’m feeling sad. Is it because you haven’t slept or you’re hungry, you know, whatever it is. Uh, what, what is it telling you? What’s the message? Uh, behind the feeling, I think is any other, uh, that I, that I didn’t pull out of what I was listening to as you were sharing the, along with the messages, you have to test it, test the message.

Is it truth? Is it truth is the truth is the dispute a dispute? Because, and in both C B T and R E B T is when you recognize there’s an activating. We form a belief around, so something happens. Yeah, we form a belief around what happens and then we feel a consequence or we there’s a consequence. And so usually the consequence is a negative emotion if something that happened that upsets you.

Uh, but the thing is if it’s A, B, c activating event, belief and consequence A does not cause C, right? Right. B, B does causes C. So A is just a, A is just a shit happens. What happened? Good thing bad. It’s what shows up on your front step. It’s challenging. Those initial thoughts and beliefs that are forming in your mind and choosing your, we, we talk about this, choosing your way forward as opposed to coasting or drifting, uh, you is disputing or refuting those negative beliefs that are leading to both further negative actions, reactions, emotions, and the rest.

So it’s learning to be a, a more, uh, selective, uh, a chooser of what you will embrace in terms of this is what’s true. Yeah. Right. Loving. Internally to ourselves. Yeah. That’s where it all starts. Uh, and then loving well with others. Yeah. How does this notion of heart, uh, and relationships play into the living richly mindset?

You attract what you believe Oh yeah. Attract what you believe. So true. Um, I look back, uh, I’m, I’m very grateful to be in a, an incredible relationship right now with a wonderful woman by the name of Kate. And, um, Uh, what I would say is probably for the first time in my life, uh, we met sort of post a lot of this work.

She was on a journey of her own and I’m was on a journey of my own both, I think, coming into this relationship more whole than we’ve ever been. Um, and, uh, for the first time again, remember that my belief was that I don’t deserve anything good, that people are better off without me, uh, that I would often give and serve and go over.

To try to balance the ledger. And so what did I end up doing? Choosing relationships where I would be the primary caregiver, uh, and I wouldn’t be, they, they wouldn’t be reciprocal. Mm-hmm. So I, I had this, uh, I was in a, uh, uh, this, this cycle of being in relationships with people who couldn’t nurture me back.

Um, and I can tell you again, doing the work, uh, learning to love myself, accept myself for who I am, uh, feeling like I’m no longer coming into a relationship as half a half a man. I quoted that song, uh, by Dean, something I forget now, uh, in, in my story about how can I say I love you when I’m, I don’t love who I am.

How can I give. All of me when I’m only half a man, half man. Well, that was my story for so long. And I think the difference now of being in a relationship where both of us are whole and becoming more whole all the time, uh, and yet it’s far more giving, it’s far more nurturing, mutually, uh, right. And, uh, I think the, the, the biggest dimension to me, shift wise, relationship-wise, Has been in doing all of this work, um, uh, sharing that journey with someone for the first time ever, where that’s exciting.

Uh, we’re able to have, and I think you, you’ve talked about this a lot too. Yeah, right. This notion of, uh, we’re not at this necessarily at the same place. We’re what? We’re each living out our own journey. But we’re on the path together and what a different experience from anything I’ve, I’ve had before and, and to be able to welcome that.

I know that in the, in the past because of my scripts. Mm-hmm. and because of, you know, what I would tell myself, I would often sabotage a relationship before, right? Before I could get hurt. I’m gonna leave you before you, I’m gonna fuck this up before anything else happens. And, and in doing the work and embracing Hub launches his.

First shots fired in embracing that, uh, to be in a place now where I can embrace the emotions right. And embrace the vulnerability right, and to welcome it and to be alive in it. It’s so liberating. Is it? It’s so freeing and, and, and it is. So incredible. And then, you know, and, and you guys know this, is that I remember early on in the relationship that I had, that I have, uh, currently, uh, that with Wendy, that I would even say to you guys, there was some things about joking.

I would say, listen guys, I don’t, I I don’t joke about that with me. Right. Uh, you know, I don’t want that anymore because, because I want to be so true and focused in on this relationship. And I’ve talked about, you know, Wendy and I have created our own rituals around how to, to, uh, to do that. And, you know, one of it was interesting.

I. Saturday night with some guys having some cigars and, and enjoying, uh, some company like that. But I was eager to get back home knowing that I didn’t want to miss one of the rituals that Wendy and I have, which is every night before we go to sleep, we’re lay in bed, we get a single light on. That just gives enough that we can see each other’s face and we just talk.

We talk. Nothing about everything, about a moment. Uh, but that openness and embracing all of this stuff about living richly with someone. Totally different journeys, right? Different, right. We’re not, we’re not, we’re not having locked in with each other’s journey. We’re on the path separately, but together.

Right. And it’s such, to your point, liberating is probably the, one of the best words to recognize this as somebody that I’m now committed to long. Because of being able to, because it started with the emotions when you, when you connect better with yourself. And I think this, again, this is where it starts, right?

Uh, uh, it’s interesting. My, my core values part of the work that was transformative. Earlier this year, I used to think of courage, curiosity, connection, compassion. as external. These are things that I did out here. Uh, but what did it mean to be courageous for me, right? What did it mean to connect with me?

What did it mean for me to, uh, be curious about my own int interior world, my own internal world? Uh, what did it mean to extend compassion? And so I’ve actually rephrased all of my, uh, uh, my core values that they actually all start internally. But that means when I do that, Uh, then when I show up, I show up in all of my roles and relationships, right?

As a dad, as a friend, uh, as a coach. Wherever I show up, I show up more fully. Uh, I, I show up less stuck. I show up less. In hindered, uh, and so more can flow through me. Um, right, and this again, is, is a big definition of living richly is when you have full access to all of the resources of mind, heart, spirit, and body.

Think of how different your life could be. Right. Um, and it all begins with just taking some of those, those steps and, you know, you mentioned your, your kids. Another place where you love well, when you first understand and be able, so we often, we do things out of fear, obligation, guilt. Yep. Fog. Right, the fog.

And so we make decisions, oh, I better do this cuz they’re gonna, you know, or whatever. That when you, uh, when you really get to this point of being able to understand and to embrace emotions within, now you’re able to love out of a place of desire and want, not obligation and guilt. Right. And that’s where the freedom comes.

Right? A hundred percent. It’s so powerful. So powerful. I, I think for me, it, it’s learning that, uh, just about every love song is a lie , right, right. In the sense that, isn’t it, right. Isn’t it hard to find a, a, a, a meme about relationships or a graphic or a poem or something that he not that’s actually healthy, full of bullshit.

So the hall, you complete me bullshit. It’s like, no. Oh, you don’t, no, no, no. That’s the problem, right? That’s the problem, right? Is people are trying to fill in the incomplete parts of themselves with other people and, and like that’s the lie. That’s the lie. And, and so like, truly like just about every love song or relationship song is, I can’t live without you.

I’m like, yeah, we can, we can, we want to choose someone for a healthy reason, not because we’re dependent on them. It’s because we’re in a good, healthy place. What you just described with Wendy Rob, around. I wanna get home. Right, because we connect, right? Right. We just talk about everything about nothing.

That’s like, emotions are the connective tissues of relationship. And if we don’t have access to our emotions, what are things holding things together? Like not, not much, right? Right. We’ve got fragile relationships. So I think it’s that that element around truly owning our own emotions and not counting on the other person to fill in our emotional gaps.

Right? So they fully own their. We fully own ours and we bring our completeness together, right? Like that is, that is where you, you get a good, healthy relationship. A hundred percent. And I say that cuz you know, Carrie and I, we’ve been together a long time, right? And I’ve already told you a whole big chunk of time emotionally shut off, right?

Carrie’s got her own journey, her own story as well. But to be in a place where we’ve now been working at this stuff for a while, stumbling, fumbling, dropping the ball. Trying again, but to bit by bit like maturing this. Right? Slowly by, slowly piece by piece. Finding our way, finding ourselves, which is a, which is scary.

Yeah. Yeah. In a relationship. Cuz you, you kind of go, well what if I do this and find out that’s not gonna work. Well then that’s not going to work, right? But what if you find out you do this and it. Right. Right. And that’s, that’s where we start to, you know, we, we start to bring courage to these choices and the discovery as we work our way through, because none of us know where any of this ends.

Right. Right. We only have the now. Yeah. And to work our way through that now. And so it’s, it’s to be able to continue to discover that together. . Yeah. It’s the, I think at, at the heart of it, it’s this notion of, again, going back to uh, um, the phrase that really stands out for me is becoming a masterful hardest.

Right, right, right. Being skilled in matters of the heart. Right. And how do you become skilled? You practice. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, right? , you, you, you, you learn, you, you, uh, you, you find people that you admire that are good at this stuff, and you, you build a relationship with them. You, you read what you need to read, you study what you need to study, and then you practice.

Practice practice to, to the point where stuff that was out of reach now becomes part of your daily experience. We’re gonna be spending a lot of time talking about, uh, this element as well as the other elements. I know that we’re almost an hour into our conversation again, and I think we could again, go hours an hour.

So we will be revisiting and having more conversations around this. But let me encourage you, uh, one of the things you can do, Is go to the website, living, uh, slash uh, act actt, and uh, we’ll have a link there for a feeling, the feelings wheel, so that you can start to identify, find to learn. And uh, it’s just such a great tool as well as some of the practical tips that we’ve been talking about today will be listed there.

So encourage you to do that. You’re still here an hour later, so subscribe. If you haven’t already, might as well. You’re in this far. Let’s face it. Let’s keep going together. We don’t want you to miss anything. We’ll continue to share the information and all of these stories with you, and we want to hear from you as well.

And as we’ve been saying, this is better in community. Yeah. Uh, you can do this work on your own, but it’s tough. Uh, so, uh, invite someone, you know, share the podcast with. Uh, perhaps, uh, set up conversations to, uh, follow up on what you hear and see what that means for you. But share the journey with someone that’s important to you.

It’ll make a a world of difference. Thanks for being on the journey with us, and until next time, we just really do appreciate each and every one of you.