Josh is the Founder of Wellness Force Media, host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath & Wellness Program. He spent the past 19 years as a trainer, researcher, and facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world.
- Fatherhood Initiation
- Diseases Of Repression | Knowing God
- Josh's Vision Quest & Darkness Retreat
- Divinity Placed On Parents
- Current Culture & Labels
- Plant Medicine Journey & ‘The Middle Way'
- Gender Conversation & Porn Addiction
- Aubrey's Depressive Episode & Poetry
- Motivation & Identifying With A Brand
- The Balance Of Peace & Courage: What Comes First?
Listen to the Aubrey Marcus interview on Wellness + Wisdom:
- 123 Aubrey Marcus – Own The Day
- 196 Aubrey Marcus: Owning The Day, Open Relationships, & Skipping Breakfast?
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TRANSCRIPT: Josh + Aubrey Marcus LIVE Podcast Resources + Links
“There is this pressure that I think many of us feel where, because we're born into a bloodline, we have to love no matter what that bloodline is, and it's just not the case. If I have a friend in my life or a colleague that treats me like garbage, and I let them know the healthy bright line boundary, and they continue to not honor that boundary, I say goodbye. And I think we can apply that same thing to parents. There's no reason that you have to keep going back to the well and drinking the poison. There's just no reason for that.” – Josh Trent
Aubrey Marcus: “Josh Trent is the host of the Wellness Wisdom podcast, and he's just a wealth of wisdom about health, about life. He's lived a lot of powerful experiences from his own medicine journey to all of the amazing podcast guests he's had, including myself of course. And so I wanted to share this beautiful conversation with my friend Josh Trent.”
Well, here we are smoking a cigar. And this is a tradition that I learned from my stepfather who doesn't really smoke cigars, but whenever my sisters were born, I was young, I was like 11, and he had all of his sons and me, and we smoked a cigar. And I've recognized that there's a fatherhood tradition about smoking a cigar, smoking a cigar with your friends and your family and whatever, like when you have a baby.
And we're a little late. We haven't seen each other a little while, but nonetheless, here we are, time warping back celebrating the birth of your child. And we're gonna talk a little bit about fatherhood. Wow. Over a year ago. My son's 13 months. Actually, you're the only guy I know that said let's smoke a cigar for your boys. So thank you.
The Unique Parent & Child Pairing
I wasn't late at all. No, that was the perfect time. Let's go, let's go. So, yeah, I mean, I think this is one of the big crucibles and initiations that all of us go through. I think for men having a son is a particular type of thing as well. And also likewise, there's different crossovers of course. If, you know, you're a mother who has a son or mother who has a daughter, everything has its own unique pairing.
But there's something particularly interesting about that. And both of us being men, both of us have relationships with our own fathers. And you are getting the opportunity to start to reprogram, reprint, re-understand that relationship and both backwards and forwards. And I've had to do a lot of work backwards with my father.
And I want to talk about that because there's some new scenes and, and info that I've released for the first time publicly about, you know, my father's mental illness and how that's, you know, how that relationship has been. And that's in my new director's cut documentary, Awaken the Darkness. So lots of stuff to talk about, and we'll just use that as a jump off point.
Healing the Inner Child
Well, in order for us to be a father, we have to tend to the child inside of us. So if I'm not healing, or if I'm not healed to a point, then whatever I'm doing with my son or my daughter, my child, it's gonna come through. In other words, when you have kids, everything that you thought you had healed or everything that you thought was pure, it gets even more pure. It gets even more healed. It's that because you feel like you need to?
I don't think it's because we need to, but specifically it's because in order for me to hold a space for my son, in order for me to be a true father to him, I have to tend to this boy inside of me that maybe is still angry at his father. Or maybe still has some stuff that is needing to clean up like a cosmic cleanup.
And that's been the case for me, man, since we last chatted over this past year. You know, definitely a huge soul journey with like, how do you be a father, tend to your responsibilities, take care of your business, but also tend to your spiritual self. It's really easy to just be heady and be intellectual and take care of all the stuff, but to really, really be there for my woman, my work and my son, it's a tall order. And I think now even the demands on men in the world, it's even bigger. I don't know if there's ever been a time where men are asked more of, but also like it's time for us to be that way anyways.
Fatherhood & Responsibilities
It's, I mean it's interesting. You listen to someone like Elon Musk respond to, you know, questions about being a father and it's like: “yeah, gonna miss that one kind of”, I mean, and I don't wanna put words in his mouth or paraphrase unnecessarily, but it kind of felt like the vibe was like: “I gotta be father to the world in the way that I think about it and you know, I hope my kids are gonna be alright.”
And I think we all have a little bit of that musk tendency of being like: “Look, I'm just working to set the world in order in the best way possible”. Whether that's financially or whether that's offering my gift and medicine to the world. And then to add this other very specific layer of father to one child or two children seems like an enormous load to add. But for every father that I've talked to, it's also incredibly clarifying of the purpose behind it.
Yeah. I think for me, the big question I always ask myself: “How do I do it all?” How do I? Different journeys that I've been on, different mentors that I've met with, how do I hold all of it? Right. Cause I came from an experience where, you know, my dad did the best that he could. It’s kind of always the case.
Always the case. But sometimes the best that parents can do actually isn't enough. It's always odd. That's always the case. I mean, basically they're always doing their best and it's always not enough. For the most part. Unless you're born on some magical planet where parents do enough, I don't know where that planet is.
Divine Connection & The Contrast of Hardship
Your parents would have to be actually in unmediated contact with the divine because we divinize our parents. We place God on their face cuz they're our entire universe. Yeah. So unless they're in unmediated contact with the divine, you know, divine spirit, what the cabalists would call retsam hashsham, like God speaking through them and just looking at you every day like: “Tell me your story, my child, tell me more”.
And just no matter what you do, unflinching love. Then they're enough, but anything short of the divine is going to be something that we're gonna have to brace for. And so we can't be everything to our kids ultimately. And maybe that's what we’re not, maybe that is what we signed up for. So everybody drinks from this river of forgetfulness and that we get to the world and we're like: “Oh, I'm remembering who I am.”
And then you have parents that offer you contrast and that contrast is either really fucking deep or it's kind of deep. But there's always contrast. So the contrast where I came from was my mom was bipolar, my dad left home when I was two – two months actually.
And so it's not to shame though, I'm not sitting here on your podcast going: “Oh it was so hard.” Because I think most people's journeys have to be in a deep contrast. There's no way around that. Especially if you wanna do big stuff in the world. I have never interviewed someone or been around somebody successful that didn't have some kind of deep, dark contrast where they came from.
Most people that make anything of themselves, they had like this – I don't know how to describe it – almost like a black hole of contrast and pain that they came from. And I mean mine was just the same, different than yours obviously. But I think we share that. I think that's a commonality with you and I where we see the best in people, and we didn't necessarily come from an environment that was perfect or that was setting us up to be taken care of at all times. We had to learn how to take care of ourselves.
My story is interesting in that the feminine lineage of my family from my mom and my grandma was as close to unconditional love as close to that retsam hashsham , close to that divine consciousness coming through them as possible. So my relationships with the feminine have always been really kind of easy and solid. Not that they always liked me or I didn't get frustrated or jealous or whatever. There's things with the lover that's different than with a mother, you know? So I still had to go through all the lover challenges, but that side, that whole side – the deep reverence for the feminine, all of these different things, the feeling that I could be loved in that way by a woman, I've always had that.
On my dad's side, though, it’s different. There was a lot of intellectual connection, which was beautiful. The ability to solve puzzles together and figure things out. There's so much beauty in my relationship with my dad, but there was also intense rage, as one component and definitely a lot of conditionality and the expression of his love. And it didn't have to be him saying anything, just the difference between him being really quiet when I didn't have a great basketball game versus him being full of love and joy.
Kids can read your energy and the energy when I didn't play well or didn't perform well in whatever it was, was like: “I'm not proud of you and I don't love you as much today”. Even though you could still say “I love you” but you didn't feel it, you know? So it created this dissonance between what I was feeling and what actually he would've expressed.
Children’s Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP)
That's because kids have the ultimate ESP. Kids don't listen to what you say. I mean eventually they do, but when you're super young, our nervous system is so fresh, we're like a rose. We are literally like the softest rose and anything that I feel inside myself that's not loving, or if I get pissed off because Nova's crying, he can feel on some level that maybe I'm still even understanding that I forgot he can feel everything.
So when Carrie and I are good, he's good. But when we're not good, when we're fighting, or when there's interstitial tension in the relationship, kids can do that. So we have to be his fathers, we have to be so pure, not perfect, because I don't know any father that's fucking perfect. But we have to be so pure that it just gives us space for our kids to live their life without being clouded from our wounding.
I heard a story that was told secondhand about a psychiatrist who was studying early onset schizophrenia. And he was working with a child who had really intense schizophrenia. And I heard this story from Rabbi Gaffney. But finally the psychiatrist gets the kid to calm down, kind of starts to quiet the voices and the episodes that he's having and then invites his mother and his mother comes in and is like: “Johnny”, that's what she said (cheerfully). But the energy she was pushing out was daggers, disownment, I hate you. Like you're the fucking disgrace.
So it was these two sets of contradicting information that was coming at him. And so the thesis of the psychiatrist is like: “This is what creates these rifts, these splits in the psyche when somebody is saying something but they're telling you something completely different with their body, then the brain doesn't know what the fuck to think about it.” And in this extreme case, it caused an actual split of the person's psyche. And I think this is the nature of gaslighting. This is why it's so dangerous in relationships, in all forms of manipulation where somebody will be saying something but transmitting a whole different energy. It's so difficult for us to receive this contradictory sets of data and it really fucks with us.
Authenticity VS Safety
Because it's hard to be authentic at times because of fear. I get conditioned that fear is actually the way to go because I've seen it with my parents. So my mom and dad mirror fear to me and I think: “Ok, as long as I do that fear path, then I'll be safe.” Which is so wild because there's some part of everyone's psyche that is so addicted to being safe. And sometimes like that safety actually just eats up people's dreams. Like I know it did for me there. There's no way that I would ever be sitting here with you if I didn't constantly lean into my fear. Constantly try to understand: what is fear telling me? Is that shit even real? Even coming over here today, I'm like: “Hmm, interesting, imposter syndrome. Ok, cool. What are you here to teach me?”
What are you actually here to teach me now? And really there's still a part of my child that is learning how to be a man in this world. And I think I can say that because a lot of men feel that way. Even new dads feel that way. Nobody's perfectly prepared, and I think the more honest we can be about where we are in our consciousness and our evolution takes the pressure off. Just me saying that takes the pressure off.
The stuff that we keep inside hidden that we're just patterning and compounding and impounding shame in the cells of our body and in the psyche, because we're unwilling to express it. That is the root of so much dise. I think Paul Chek, who's a mutual friend, calls all of these major diseases “diseases of repression.” And repression is holding something in feeling that it's unworthy, it makes you unworthy, it makes you bad, and therefore you need to keep it secret, keep it safe. And then fundamentally you'll never love yourself, nor will you allow the world to actually love you. Because what liberates you from that is expressing it and having somebody look at you and not flinch and be like: “Ok, I love you just the same.”
Even more for the courage to share that and that's, I think, one thing that parents can do if they're doing their best. No matter what, if the kid can look in their parents' eyes and see that they're loved, no matter what they do that will liberate them from this feeling of shame and allow them to actually express what they want to express.
There's nothing that my son could ever do that would make me not want to love him or not want to spend time with him, or not continue to work on myself so I can show up for him better. There's absolutely nothing he could do. I mean, obviously if he was violent to me, if he was trying to stab me later on, but I'm not gonna let that happen. He's gonna be a good kid. But there's certain limits to this. And I was feeling when you were saying too, I've had a lot of depression in my past, anxiety… I had a fucking bad episode last night. We should talk about that.
Ok. Let's talk about that. But the opposite of depression is expression. To piggyback on what you're saying about Paul. So if I'm expressing myself, we're in a world of people that are scared to express themselves. And honestly, the more we do that, the more we're gonna heal as a society. Now granted, when we first express ourselves, it might not be that good, it might not be that great. You gotta be willing to look stupid and actually like: “I'll do that for my son when I learn new stuff.” When he's able to understand what I'm learning, I'm just gonna learn it and be honest about him and be like: “Hey, I'm kind of gonna fumble around here son, but I'm going for it.” I'm fucking going for it no matter what. And I think that's beautiful.
Because the truth is always good. That's the thing. The truth is always good. Truth is always good if you're just doing it and being honest. It's always good. This is the first cigar I've had in like three years. Hope I'm doing it right. I mean, you could do it better, but the fact that you're doing it is good. You know, you're truly doing it. Exactly as best as you know how now. Yeah man. Thanks for the cigar. You're welcome. You're welcome.
I had an experience, I was on the phone. I recently released a podcast for Aaron Rogers and people got a window to the depth of our friendship and I've had really deep friendships before in my life. It's not the first deep really close friendship I've had and I have other deep close friendships. But, um, it's just a particular resonance that we have as brothers that's really unique and interesting and it's also a unique and interesting time in my life. And he was expressing some things to me and I actually just came out of a ketamine cannabis journey that was fucking phenomenal. It really springs me to your highest divine consciousness, you know? And so I was coming right outta that feeling as good as I could possibly feel, the highest vibration that I could possibly feel.
And the contrast with how low I felt last night. And there may be something there with like I'm feeling both the highs and the lows more in this current chapter. But in any case, he's on the phone with me and I could tell he's a little bit ashamed of some things that he was thinking. And I just got this overwhelming feeling and just told him: “Bro, there's not a fucking thing in the world that you could tell me that I would judge you for, like nothing.” And I actually thought about it in my head and I was like: “Is it there?” I was like: “Nope.” I mean, some things I might caution him against, like if he was like: “Yeah, I feel like I wanna stab my fucking teammate in the neck”, I'd be like: “Cool, don't do it.” But like, I wouldn't judge him for that.
And of course it wasn't anything and it wasn't anything extreme nor any issues with his team or anything like that. Everything's good. But it was this feeling of “There's nothing I would possibly judge you for no matter what right now.” And it was cool because I don't think I've felt that much before with men or just with people. With people in general. This pure unconditionality. I'm sure it's there to some degree with my mom, but in a lot of relationships it's easy to slip into a little bit of judgment. And I think because there's no attachment necessarily in the friendship, we're fucking friends. I don't need anything or expect anything.
There's no contract or relational conditions that we have that could be violated. It was a very interesting experience that was recent and fresh and that's the type of energy I'd wanna bring in to my children for sure. That's also the energy for sure to bring into my union with Lana and I've been there sometimes, but I've certainly found myself judging her.
But the minute you put the penis in the vagina, the minute there's penetration, it changes everything. Because the whole relationship, intimacy – I'm sure you've talked about this multiple times on your cast – but into me you see. So I'm gonna see with Carrie all of her stuff, she's gonna taste and feel and have a visceral somatic experience of all the things in me that aren't loving, that are judgemental. And then we bounce the tennis ball back and forth. And eventually we get to a place where we're improving.
And I don't know how you have this experience, but for me this was like, from day one it was tumultuous, it was challenging. There's been super high highs and super low lows. And I think what that did for me was it just cracked part of my heart wide open where I was like, ok, three months in I knew this was the mother of my child. There was a feeling. I can't sit here and tell you with words and use my intellect to say: “Oh, this is why I chose her. This is why I chose me.” There was a choice. This choice, there's no possible way.
And some of the things we can't put words on because it actually is like trying to define God. We can learn from Paul, we can sit here and go back and forth about everything and nothing at the same time. But until you hold a child in your arms, until you know God, until you've actually been in communion with God, there's no possible way you can understand it. And even from there, you probably couldn't say it right. You probably fuck up a little bit.
The description of it. That's always the curious thing when people ask: “Do you believe in God?” I don't think God's supposed to be believed in. I think you're supposed to be known or not known. If you're believing there's a lot of room for manipulation, know God, get to know him. Him, Him. It's a ridiculous thing to say. But sure, get to know God.
But it's a construct we understand. The Earth, the mom, God, the Father. So, but either way we know that that's also false. That there is no genderlessness, there's no gender in the all. But it is kind of helpful to use that because in our mammalian construct, our lens, that's how we see it. And we can't see outside of the story anyways. So as soon as we start to explain the thing, we're dipping into story because we're using words that carry meaning and connotations in our own perspective. But ultimately it's like: “Do you know God or not?” That's really the question. And it's not a matter of faith or belief. And I think that's where we've kind of gotten it wrong.
I always tell people, God to me is not a bearded dude in the sky. There's no way that I could ever create that as a reality because I was raised in a Christian upbringing. My mom was pretty religious and so I was actually pissed off at God for a long time in my life. I was like: “If God is all loving, omnipresent being, then why can't you heal my mom? And where's dad?” And why am I experiencing so many challenges in the world? And honestly, it wasn't until like my thirties, like 33, 34, that I found God, I went three decades without knowing what God was. I mean, holding Nova's a whole different version of God, but actually knowing what God is, I experienced it through ceremony and through breath.
And I think if you get to be in the state where you know and experience God and you get to hold your son in that transmission, then your son will know God from the start. And that's the thing that I think I haven't seen much of really, and it's not like we're always in contact with the divine. We're always participating in the divine. But the vibration and the consciousness we're at fluctuates and it fluctuates in kind of pretty extreme ways for me. Where I'm very much in my separate self, which can get very depressed, or I'm in my unified consciousness, which is the most alive, the most radically alive I could be. But I know that if I can bring my children in with me when I'm in that state and they could feel it and I could just look at them and be like: “This is God.”
And just give them that feeling like this is God, this is God. It's like all the love you could ever feel. And God wants to know your story, every bit of it. It's the most important story in the world. And give him that feeling, starting with that. And then say I am feeling that right now, but don't get confused. I'm not God. I am not God. God is everywhere and in everything and in you. And I'm just dipping my finger into the river in the current, in the stream. That's everywhere. So don't ever get confused by when I'm angry or when I'm not like this or when I don't pay attention to you. Don't think that I'm God. Remember this feeling is God and it's not me.
And I think clearing that and separating that is so important. And I'm gonna start those conversations early, trying to disambiguate myself and mom from the divine father and mother, and give them access to the actual divine father and mother through allowing them to step into the current of the emotions coming through us. And then eventually they'll have their own opportunity, probably start with breathwork and then eventually move up through the medicine path, through initiations, and vision quests, and things like that.
Josh Healing His Own Father Wound
Thank you for the Quest by the way. You're the person that introduced me to Tim Corcoran. And I did that for two years, the past two years on the Quest. And that was the most powerful medicine. I mean, there's no psychedelics needed when you're doing four days of fasting in nature. When you're that deep in nature. I've had heart palpitations and experiences that are so psychedelic without any kind of medicine whatsoever, some of my ayahuasca experiences could pale in comparison to the stuff that came through when I was out there in nature. Because you will face your fear. I mean, I know it's something that you've probably done at some point, right? Like fasting in nature. I don't know if you've done the Quest with Tim. I haven’t. Oh my god.
I mean the purity of nature that most people are trying to escape is because they don't know how to sit with themselves. And there's all this like flinching when I first got out there, when people get out there, it's wild beyond anything I could ever imagine. And one of the big things is that I realized that I was still attached to my father being a certain way. It's pretty cool to smoke a cigar here and talk with you about fatherhood because I feel into the man that my father was and is, and he's an imperfect being. I went through this experience where, it's been 40 years plus, 40 years, of trying to see him in a different way. Hoping for the best and really inside of me there was this young boy, this young wounded boy who was trying to actually make him something.
He wasn't. I was trying to make him the father that was loving, the father that was present, the father that was there. Almost like a dream, like a little movie reel I was playing in my brain at times. But it wasn't his movie. It's not who he is. And so I had to come to terms with that out there. And I did this beautiful ceremony on day three where I'm kind of trembling because your heart rate elevates when you fast like that. And I walked up on the side of the mountain – and for people that don't know the Vision Quest, you go through three days of hardcore ego stripping. So all the mass, all the things that I show up with in regular life, that shit's gone right away because Tim and Mark are very talented at doing that.
And we got to this place where I really just had a lot of rage and anger at my father. And it was eating at me, like literally was eating at my physicality. He was eating at my soul. And I sat on the top of the mountain and I thought about the father I'm gonna be for Nova, and if I'm still in my forties, if I'm still trying to make my father someone he's not. That's dangerous for my own relationship with my son, because then I'm gonna kind of almost subsequently give that to him, that energy.
So I got to this place where I actually found this crazy bone. It was like a bone with meat still on it. And I went down and I sat in my sight and I, I just did a little ceremony and I was like: “Hey, you know, I love you dad. I love you. I really do. Like there's a part of my heart that will always love you no matter what, because you gave me the gift of life. There's nothing really else that you are required to do. I could have demands or expectations of you, but you gave me life, so thank you.” And that's it. And so I buried him. I buried the bone, I did a ceremony and had a conversation with my grandfather. I mean, this is the psychedelics that you can experience without medicine and nature.
Aubrey’s Father Wound
And the other way, which is a way that I went is the darkness, the dark room, you know, the darkness retreat, which is similar in that all the ego stripping all of the things that you thought were important, which is all the external world, all of it points directly inward because there's no escape and there's nothing there no distractions. It's just you and the black and in the void.
That seems so scary to me. I saw that and I was like: “I don't know if that calls. I don't know if I wanna do that.” Like, Vision Quest is hardcore but being in the dark… Do you fast in the dark as well? You could. We were on a raw vegan diet. Well, that's basically fasting. I didn't need a lot but fasting would add just another layer of intensity to it. And I'm definitely drawn to go back, but so much so that I put a dark room in my house.
So I'll go do small, like one day, one day journeys or six hour immersions in the dark and just get back into the black. And in one of those kind of ceremonies, I went in and I called it a death lodge. And part of that was saying goodbye to my father. For those of you who don't know, I haven't talked about it much. I had a really good relationship with my father. Our challenges, as I said, rage and some different conditionality of love.
And he had a lot of his own struggles and challenges, but his struggles and challenges led him to explore psychedelic medicine and introduced him to Stan Grof and the whole crew, the OG crew. And they were the ones who led me on my first psychedelic vision quest when I was 18. My right of passage that then sent me on my whole life. So if it wasn't for my father's struggles and his quest to seek things out, he wouldn't have led me down this path. So everything was perfect and so much gratitude for that.
And then at 30, he kept trying to connect to voices that would come through. And in his mind it was voices of the angels, that was where his mind and his desire.. He was schizophrenic? He was trying to connect to that. And then it seemed just kind of like an eccentricity at the time but at one point the voices started to come and there were starting to be warning signs that these voices were not angels. They were a projection, an externalized projection of the ego talking back to him.
But we still didn't understand the potential consequences of how this could pathologically unfold. We didn't raise the red flag. We were just like: “Alright, this is dad being a little eccentric.” And then it just flipped and the voices were telling him the truth about reality and his heart and his senses, and everybody else around him was false. And so that thing flipped. And my family got really scared.
I know I tell this story very emotionally in the documentary, Awaken the Darkness, because a lot of stuff with my father came up there as well. But it just flipped and I had to go over to my family's house, and he was really unglued and scared, so I called the police and had to let them in the house and had to see them come in and restrain my father. They had to use a stun gun or a taser and take him away. And that was like a fucking crazy thing. And again, I'm not going into it with the full emotional gravitas that I could, just because I don't feel like this is the place that I want to dive into the gravitas of that.
But in the show, in the documentary, I certainly let myself feel it to the full extent. Because to describe what that is like, to see this man that I've looked up to my whole life in this state and have to go through that was unbelievable. But it's been a very strange situation because then, from there on, he was in and out of psychiatric care, and the mental health care in our country is just kind of ridiculous. They're overwhelmed, underfunded, and there's not really that much they can do. And he was clever enough and sovereign enough that he could get himself out, but once he was out, he just barred himself from everybody because basically he's been in isolation.
And many people have tried. His brother, myself, his best friend, we've all tried to reach him, but he won't allow himself to be reached. He's just kind of in his own world. So it's been strange because I've had to say goodbye to my father without having a funeral. He's still alive but he's dead. But then he may resurrect himself. There's so many possibilities of how it could go. So there's not really a roadmap to that that I've known from anybody else who I've talked to. But the same qualities have applied: grief, letting go. Saying goodbye to what was.
And I just went through that whole process and I feel very at peace after going through that whole grieving process and allowing myself to feel everything, and writing the letters of goodbye and burning them, and doing the rituals. But some part of me also knows that maybe the chapter's not done and maybe there's more there for me to do. I think probably doing that and making sure before I have kids too that if there's anything left to do that I've done it. And I'm not just diluting myself and kidding myself into thinking like: “No, I'm good because I feel like that.” But I don't know.
The Courage to Let Go
In order to do that though, you had to have mass courage. There's no way you could have said: “Alright, I love you, dad, I'm letting you go.” Unless you were courageous enough to talk to the little boy inside and say: “Hey, I got you.” I can actually father you now. Just because we were brought into this world with a certain construct. It's not the totality of who you are, of who I am, but there's an emotional journey to get there.
There's no way that I could have that realization, or that you have that realization, just by flicking a light switch. Like people say “love and forgiveness, just forgive, just love, just forgive.” I don't buy that. I don't think forgiveness and love is a light switch that you flick. I think you have to go through it like you have and like I have, just this kind of tumultuous journey where it's one layer unfolding and then you think you're healed and then you might go into a journey, or you might have an experience where you realize, and where I've realized, “Yeah, it's still there.”
Unexpected Turns on the Healing Journey
I was feeling when you were sharing that: “Is he a hundred percent healed?” Are you a hundred percent in total peace and surrender of the process? Because for me, there's probably a thread way back in there where I'm like: “Yeah, if he comes back around, I would welcome him with open arms.” Total open arms. I mean, obviously our situations are different. I don't know what it's like to have been through what you've been through. I was vice, I felt like there was a gate around my heart that was squeezing it when you were talking. That's painful. And would we be truly who we are if these things didn't occur? It's painful and it's perfect.
Which is such a fucked up paradox at times. We're on a show talking about our lives here in Austin. Ok, I'll play this game. But it's truly a game. And sometimes I allow the pain in me or the feelings that I have of grief to make me forget that I'm in a game. I'm not spiritually bypassing. I'm being honest. Sometimes I'm in total joy, and then sometimes, these emotions that I experience this grief even as a father, I don't know what to do with them all the time. I have some good tools, I have some great tools, but I think there's just something to be said about, you never know what's gonna happen in the ocean of forgiveness. There's gonna be times where you hit a fucking squall you may not have known was coming. And that's definitely been the case.
Unconditional Love vs. Our Expectations
I think the key thing is to really remove all of the divinity that you've placed on your parents. And not that they aren't divine, of course they are, but they don't represent God to you anymore. Even the name ‘father’ carries so much weight and it's such a big deal in our world. And it is a big deal. And it's not that he's my dad. He's also Michael Marcus, He's Michael Marcus. And Michael Marcus has his own challenges and struggles. He had his own porn that he liked to watch and he had his own fucking whatever. He's a human, he's just a dude also. And I think we forget that it's like when we have all of these expectations and labels again, that's what makes it so hard to love unconditionally, is because we have all of these expectations.
You're my father, how could you have done this? Whereas if it's just another person we're like well, they had their own shit dealing with that. But when we put these labels on somebody, it makes it such a big deal. And then also society reinforces that it's such a big deal. Your family can be and it is important, but also you can choose your family. And that's ok too. You can, and it doesn't mean you have to exile your birth family from your life. Of course not, love them and respect them for everything they offered you, but it also doesn't mean it has to be such a fucking big deal.
There is this pressure that I think many of us feel because we're born into a bloodline, we have to love no matter what that bloodline is and it's just not the case. If I have a friend in my life or a colleague that treats me like garbage, and I let them know the healthy bright line boundary, and they continue to not honor that boundary, I say goodbye. And I think we can apply that same thing to parents. There's no reason that you have to keep going back to the well and drinking the poison. There's just no reason for that. It's just not reality, but it is a reality for people that are stuck in this construct of “I gotta be the good little boy, the good little girl, and do what mommy and daddy say.” And then that actually goes out to what we're experiencing as a society right now.
Which is where I gotta listen to the CDC, I gotta listen to what's coming down from mandates, and it's just this other layer of fear. It's like a fear cyclone and I just want no part of it. I want Nova to have no part of it. And so I'm stoked that we're here because I know so many people are gonna feel this like: “God, what are the things in my life that I'm doing because I was told to do versus what my soul, my gut is telling me to do.”
The Covid Theater
I think a lot of people are clouded by the intellect. We've made the intellect this God that we get drunk on all the time and it’s the conditioned collective intellect that's not even ours. We didn't even come up with it. It's just something that we've just downloaded from osmosis from a billion different sources in the world. And you mentioned the CDC and all of this, and it's so funny to me how different people's sentiments are towards covid now. Like covid’s still around. People are getting it all the time. And I was like: “Do you all realize how fucking crazy you all were like a year ago?” Exactly. Two years. Do you forget? Do you remember when you double masked in the car alone? And now it's no big deal.
But it seems like it's unacknowledged the difference but to me I'll look around and be like: “What is going on here?” Do you not realize this attitude that you have now is an attitude that you were shaming, ridiculing, attacking, canceling people for – the same attitude that you're expressing right now in the same or similar conditions is the same thing you were attacking people for like a year ago? It's just very odd to me.
I think when you point out a fallacy and someone's subconscious has been so attached to it, there's a massive, almost like an expectation hangover that Christine talks about. I expected things to be a certain way and now they're not. Ok, I'm just going to bury that. They're just gonna bury it and intentionally not talk about it in amnesia. But we all know it's there.
And that's the part where I've really had to walk a ladder on the whole theater. I call it ‘covid theater’ cause it's like a really bad play that we're all watching. I've had to walk the emotional ladder. There was a time when 2020 first came around – that was why we moved to Texas. We moved to Texas because Carrie and I were looking at a sunset in San Diego and she had just gotten pregnant with Nova and this cop rolls up on us and he is like: “Hey, you need to wear a mask if you're out here.” And I actually thought he was joking. I was like whatever. And he is like: “No seriously, you have to wear a mask.” And in my mind this just didn't register.
Full somatic experience of fuck you, you're not gonna tell me to wear a mask when I'm watching a sunset with my woman. And then that night we went home and we said: “Where are we going to live?” Because it ain't gonna be here. And unfortunately when I came to Texas, there was still some of that downtown. We live in Hill Country so not necessarily up there as much, but I was fascinated, I was so shocked. If Texas is one of the most free places where there's really like ‘don't tread on me energy’, then what's it like in places like New Hampshire? Which is odd for you to mention New Hampshire since their state motto has lived free or die. Ok, I don't like the labels either. And they probably didn't practice the motto.
Living in a Bubble
I hate these labels of like red and white conservative and all this stuff. I think it's a tool to divide us. I don't, absolutely. I don't, I vote with my actions, with my money, with my heart. I don't actually participate in the voting game. People might judge me for that, but whatever. The reason I'm saying that is because I'm experiencing that in California and some here in Texas.
You and I have no idea we live in a bubble sometimes. You see maybe a little bit more of the world than I do. You travel probably a lot more. But oh my God, if we are in a bubble where everybody's talking about freedom for our family, for ourselves, imagine what the fuck it's like in different cities across America where the only narrative is fear. The only narrative is do what you're told, watch the screen and handle it that way. I mean that's where people and that's also where compassion comes in because you realize there's so much conditioning, so much fear, so much lack of feeling of safety.
Labels, Judgment & The Illusion of Safety
People just didn't feel safe. And when you don't feel safe, you do everything you can to make yourself feel safe. And I think part of that safety that comes in, I mean beyond Republican, Democrat, all of these other kinds of arbitrary lines that we've been forced into because of the collective system that we have. Which I think is absolute nonsense, and I would never consider myself either one of those. You're not a Trumper. No. I got labeled a Trumper when I moved here.
Of course you do. Everybody wants to put you into a camp, one way or another. When I was talking about psychedelics, I was the most liberal hippie fucking piece of shit of all time. And then I'm like, maybe chill out on all of the lockdowns. What the fuck are you all talking about? I just have opinions. And that's the crazy reality that we've been in where everybody's so desperate to put you in one tribe or another so that they can basically judge you and then discard you or scapegoat you or whatever, whatever they want to do. But that's just not the way and it's not the truth.
I even felt it right now. I had to check myself because I was getting heated as I was expressing it to you. And I'm like, ok, sometimes sacred anger is good. I would never let somebody hurt my son or hurt my family. I wouldn't just be blase and passive to that. But then, one thing I've been feeling into is what line do we draw for ourselves in society when it comes to people telling you and I what we do with our bodies and how we lit our lives?
It's such a moving target at times. It brings me to this place where I sometimes have massive rage and then sometimes grief because I know not everybody can come with us. And it's not like I'm better, I'm not sitting here like on some totem pole saying: “Oh, I know the way.” But I definitely feel the way when it feels light to my body, when it feels free for my soul. That's the way. The other way isn't the way, no matter how much we try to compartmentalize it or intellectualize it.
And I think it's just this game of safety that we're playing. I'm here with you right now. There's nothing in this life that's 100% safe. There's no fucking way we could ever be totally safe. It's just not possible. No. Which makes it so good.
And if you actually recognize the unborn, undying aspect of our infinite self as connected to the divine, then paradoxically we're always safe. And that's, I think, the defining factor – and where I was going with the last kind of rant, but I forgot actually where I was going. But the defining factor that I've seen in people's reaction to Covid was not Republican Democrat.
Facing Mortality to Feel Safe
There's some correlations I suppose you could make with those particular camps, but I try to disregard those camps entirely altogether. But the number one defining factor was having a person faced off with their mortality in a significant way. Like have they looked, stared into the abyss of their own death and accepted that reality truly, fully somatically, and come back from the other side a stronger person from that. And if they had done that, then they weren't scared and they felt safe.
And that was the number one correlative characteristic. And that could have been the plant medicine path, which is how I've done it. It could have been this person walked across a very cold place all alone, or been in some very challenging combat situations – places where they've had to deal with their death and at the point where they've dealt with and accepted and moved beyond their understanding of their death. Like that, we're gonna die, memento mori. We're gonna die. Like that in an embodied way was the number one correlative to whether people felt safe or not. So you never experienced the rage or the fear, or you did but it was quick.
Freedom to Speak Our Truth
I felt a stifling suffocation when I wouldn't express what I really wanted to say. That's what I felt and so I eventually released a poem. Like a time for a revolution, and it was a revolution of consciousness, not of action, but of a way to rethink about our place in the world and what it means and how we're allocating resources and how, with the money that we spent to pay for the lockdowns, we could have ended world hunger and provided clean water for the entire world 12 times over.
So there was some sacred anger that was coming up through that, but the biggest thing that I experienced was feeling shut down. Suffocated. I wasn't able to speak, because I remember early on I made a post basically saying I miss gathering together. I miss being at concerts and hugging someone and seeing a stranger next to me. And I miss being at Burning Man and sharing a puffer mapacho with somebody on the playa. And it was just an expression of my heartfelt desire to be in communitas. And then I just got fucking lit up for that. How could you even be thinking about that right now? Blah, blah. Just so much venom that came to me for that.
And it kind of shut me down a little bit from expressing what I really felt. Because I missed people, I missed gathering. I missed it and that's all. That's all I wanted to say fundamentally: I fucking missed it so much. And to be attacked for that, well, fuck, I just can't say anything. And so I retracted and I just talked about other subjects that were safe. And until I started becoming more outspoken, I felt like I had a paper bag or a plastic bag over my head.
I felt that in a big way and I was actually shocked at how many people didn't speak. I was like: “Oh, you're all just kind of complying now.” But there's so many people that have massive platforms, millions of people follow these people. What if we were all just to speak our truth and even in the fear of judgment and just go for it. And we could lose revenue, we could lose followers, we could lose whatever. How powerful that would be. How amazing that would be. And I really feel like the Covid Theater and all this stuff we welcomed it in as a collective, because we're still kind of like a teenager in society. We're still learning how to drive the Ferrari. We've been given a Ferrari here.
This is the most beautiful experience. Look at all the stuff we get to do all the time. It's so beautiful. It's so amazing, so happy. But we are behind the wheel. What would happen if you gave a Ferrari to a 13 year old? They'd probably fucking crash it. So we're kind of there and I feel like God, the archetype of the father, whatever you want to say, is teaching us. I feel like you and I are on a page in a book and we're just doing the best we can to honor all the people that are gonna be written on the page after us. That's it. I used to feel, when I would wake up in the morning, I gotta grow my audience. I would put this pressure on myself all the time, and it was exhausting.
And I was like: “Oh, I'm actually doing that because my ego doesn't want to fully express itself.” So I'm gonna get caught up and overwhelmed and all this other stuff where I'm trying to ‘save the world’. But meanwhile, I'm not tending to the full world in me. I'm not actually taking care of all of my world. And that was double bomb drop on the quest.
Healing with Ayahuasca
But definitely in every ceremony I've ever done – the last ayahuasca ceremony was like the rip cord of me jumping out of the plane where I knew I would never go back. It was down at a place in Costa Rica. I think we know the name of that place. I'm not gonna name their name just because I used to consult with them and I don't wanna slander them.
But not every space is sacred. Not every ceremony is sacred. I just did a podcast with Ben Greenfield, I don't know if you know this. He's come out against plant medicine. He's no longer a proponent of plant medicine and so I wanted to bring him on and I'm like: “Well, tell me the real story.” What's really going on? And at the core of it, he said that it came to him from scripture that there was this pharmakeia conversation he had with himself.
But I feel like it was something deeper. And I tried the best I could to really get it out but I think Ben in this limelight of sharing “Ok, I'm done with medicine.” But then at the very end, he changes and he is like: “Well, maybe there's certain cases, there are certain cases where this medicine can be powerful, this medicine can be healing.”
And I feel the same way. I feel like medicine can harm or it can heal from my own experience. I had to go through the darkest night of the soul around porn. 20 years plus porn ruled my fucking life. And even when I got with Carrie and I knew it was coming, I was like, I have to let this go somehow. How am I gonna let go of porn? I literally didn't know how I was gonna do it. And I just go into therapists and talk therapy and EMDR and all this stuff, because for me it wasn't a drug. I used to smoke and drink and all that stuff, but porn was so viscerally embedded in my psyche where when I didn't want to do something or when life got really hard, I would go to porn.
It's an escape but it was actually ayahuasca that showed me what my life would be like if I were to continue to be a slave to porn. And that was like the ultimate. However, there was some dark energy that came in so I understand what Ben is saying. It's not 100% safe. And I'm not sitting here saying that everybody should do plant medicine. But I think there's a more sacred ramp, like a sacred on ramp to do medicine. Because a lot of people that go to medicine, they could end up with an experience that I had and they might not fucking come back. They might actually go through a unique trial by fire.
It's a trial by fire. And you don't go straight into the hottest part of the fire before you dip in the waters. Don't go into the lava until you know you're made of dragon. Be made of dragon before you go fucking into the dragon fire. And test yourself every step of the way.
And I've been tempted to make that kind of escalation pathway and I always talk about it, but I will never tell someone to go do medicine until… Well, have you been in a float tank? How many times? Like at least 6 to 10 times in a float tank before even thinking about it. Have you been in shamanic breathwork? Ok, go take that.
ot just some Wim Hof breathing before your cold plunge, which is great. Like go fucking deep. You know, go there, go to all of these places first, and then if you still feel called after starting to unpack that, then if you can go for it. You know what I mean? But there's, it is important to let people know there's many, many pathways and you don't need medicines.
People will ask me: “Do I need aya?” No, of course not. You probably want some significant changes in your life and potentially ayahuasca could be one of those tools, but you don't need it. You don't. It's not a matter of need. In certain cases it can be really helpful, but there's many, many ways up the mountain. And so never feel compelled to do anything on the plant medicine path. However, also don't feel a compulsory negativity towards it because of some strange interpretation of scripture.
I don't know how you have herbal remedies in your tinctures and supplements, but these particular herbs are somehow the devil ones and these ones are the god ones. That whole concept to me is fucking bonkers. All respect to Ben and those who believe it. But it doesn't make any sense fundamentally to me. But also, at the same time, if you don't want to do them, for sure don't do them.
The Middle Way
I think it's awesome that he's out in public with one of the biggest podcasts out there sharing his experience so we can all learn from it. He's trying to find the middle way. All of us are. I mean, Lazu, it's easy for me to quote Lazu and be like: “Oh yeah, the middle path, the middle way is the way, my mind gets that.” But my body still tries to figure it out. My body's always like “What exactly is the middle way?”
What is the middle way for Ben? What is the middle way for you and I? I think we talked about this earlier. I'm gonna fumble through it. I'm gonna be honest and I'm gonna fumble through it so that eventually I do find the middle way. But it's not something that I think we get right out the gate. The middle way feels like a moving target. It's like a Goldilocks zone that I'm always trying to live my life through. But it's never the same any day.
What the middle way is trying to say is the truth. It's the true way. And the true way is often in the middle, however, it's not always in the middle. And I think that's also a trap to finding the middle way.
Sometimes the true way can be very fucking extreme. Sometimes the right thing to do is to defend your life with lethal force. It's not a middle way. It's like that. That is the right thing to do at this point because it's either kill or be killed. Someone breaks into your house and they’ve got a gun and they come with lethal intent. There's no middle way. There's a way and that's the reality of that situation. So I think it's a general maximum that's usually helpful, especially if you're mediating a discussion.
What Is Our Truth? Subjectivity VS Objectivity
You know, like assuming that there's a truth that's in between. Sometimes though one person is just honestly expressing the truth and the other person's fucking lost it. Like, I've been in those situ, I mediate a lot of different conversations because intuitively I can find the truth in between, which is often in the middle. But I've been in some where I'm like: “Yep, pretty much sounds like you got it right on the nose.”
And there's maybe some fine points, but it's really about the truth. Where is the truth? And then you get into ideas about objectivity or subjectivity. I was literally just gonna say that. Which is who's truth? The truth that we all… if I drop this cigar, there's gravity. But who's to say that the way you lead your life is the truth, or the way I lead my life is the truth. We could pontificate that in so many ways.
Well, that's far too much of a fucking amount of time to actually say anything's in the truth. Because we're always dancing between truth and delusion and distortion. I'm coming into awareness of my own distortion fucking constantly. And I did a recent exercise to excavate shame. I wouldn't have thought I was ashamed of anything anymore. And then I go to excavate, go through this process to uncover my shameplex, as Rabbi Gaffney calls it, and go complete this exercise.
And I'm like: “Holy shit, I'm ashamed of so much still, after all of this work and all of these years.” And I wrote out my own shamography, and just understanding it. So of course, there's an infinite amount to learn but there are certain cases where things map to what a general consensus, objectivity of reality would be. And that's what our courts are trying to get to. They don't always get to but that's the idea. The idea is that there is some justifiable right or wrong that somewhere at least maps a little bit more closely to reality.
The Subjectivity of Genders
For example, as much as people might want to believe that men can have a baby and we have a male baby emoji. It's not happening. It's not happening. So that's not the truth. Now, from a metaphysical perspective, can a man birth a work of art that lives and grows from the womb of his creativity in his divine feminine? Yes. But his belly's not gonna get distended. It's not gonna be another human life that comes out, you know? And so it is this balance between subjectivity and objectivity.
There's no way that I'm gonna be part of a world or a narrative that is contributing to dysphoria of any kind. Specifically gender. And I think it comes in like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I'm not here to be against the transgender movement at all. Of course not, it's your life. But if you wanna do something, great. But when you’re living your life, you want me to use a specific language, specific way of being, and you want me to believe something is real when it's not. I mean that is actually like a hallmark of communism. And I'm gonna tell you the truth, but it's not the actual truth.
It's postmodernity to its most illogical conclusion, which is: everything is a story. There's nothing that's real. And if everything's a story and there's nothing that's real, then men can have babies. And obviously we know that that's not true. So there's another transcendent and it's good to include that and understand as you were saying, like, well, fuck, everything is subjective and there's an objective, first principles, first values, there's a real cosmos and real earth and real things. And it's both, it's like we have to both include the postmodernity of there's infinite amounts of genders that people can express and there's infinite ways that you could imagine birth and creation.
But there's only one way that's actually gonna happen with a body. You know? So it's, it's the balance of both. It's an including and transcending. And I think we're still stuck in this place where we haven't transcended this idea of everything being subjective.
I get why there's this movement for people to put she/her, they/them. I think there's over 150 pronouns there, and now there's like these neo pronouns. Have you seen the neo pronoun conversation? I tend not to follow it. Ok, well, I don't spend a lot of time.
I've said this before, I think there's 8 billion genders, 8 billion unique genders. And they are well summarized by just calling someone by their name. Cool. You know what I mean? Yes. You're not a man or a woman. You're a billion other things actually. So I actually could never even get it accurate by any label. So how about we just go with a name? How about that? That's great. That's really the only thing that makes sense to me because I think they're right.
If you don't feel like a man doesn't work for you, then there's another one. But no label is really gonna work for you because you're fucking irreducibly unique, completely irreducibly unique. So I think the impulse to make 150 is right, they're just stopping too early. You gotta go all the way to 8 billion and at 8 billion, you've got it. And then at that point you're like, well fuck it. Might as well just go back to two. It's a lot easier to communicate.
Talk about finding the middle way. Holy shit. I'm thinking about like, I get both sides. I get the empathetic side because I see why people are being compassionate, having empathy for people that, in my opinion… This is just my opinion. This is not the objective truth. I think it is objective truth for me. I think that we care about each other. I think that I want people to feel accepted. I want of course somebody to feel safe in their body, at home in their body. And there's a limit to us having empathy and also truly calling out mental health disorders. Like true gender dysphoria. A 4 year old, a 5 year old, a 13 year old, a young child, they don't even get to pick their dinner, but we're gonna try to say that they can pick their gender.
That doesn't make sense to me. And that's not from a judgmental place. My curiosity is very fascinated by the way that our society is describing that – all is welcome, all is good, all is here, all is accepted no matter how crazy it is. That doesn't make sense. That doesn't make rational sense to me, to my mind, or even to my heart. My heart, forget about the mind, my heart knows what's going on is we're still learning how to play. We're still learning how to be in a sandbox and understanding each other. And that's like the meta framework to me.
If I had a kid, if I had a boy and he was like: “Dad, I feel like a woman.” And my advice, if I'm going down into the real practical, would be: “Ok, well just know that lots of things are shifting and you're welcome to try this on.” Try it on, see what you think, see how it feels like I'll respect you.
Would you buy your son a dress? Sure, sure. If I felt like this was coming from, not because he saw something on TV or his friends, but if this was a genuine thing, yeah. I'd be like, let's try this on. But just know that we're trying this on and playing and playing. We're gonna play this out. And we're in constant questioning and exploration and curiosity. And don't worry if, however, it stays like this forever, great. If it shifts, ok.
Carrying Shame through Life
But I think that would be generally just to put a meta framework of let's be real curious. And also the radical acceptance because I think the problem would be if he actually threw his own desire. Because lots of kids want to dress up in women's clothes, put on lipstick, and just see what it's like. If the parent shames you in that moment and it's an expression of your life force.
And here I am radically alive and the parent's like, no. Then all of a sudden you get shamed. And when your aliveness is shamed, then part of your goodness, which is related to your aliveness, is shamed as well. And then you carry that shame with you. So I would be really mindful to just allow this to go through. And it's like most mental stuff that people go through instead of trying to fix it immediately. Let's just trust that it's a season and a current. Ok, here we are. I love you. I love you just as you are in this space and I'm here to support you and trust that this is a season. And stay curious. Stay open to the evolution of yourself through time.
I love the way you put that, that was poetry. And there's so much nuance there. If I am being in agreement with maybe some psychosis that my child is having or some dysphoria that my child is having… If my son really wanted to have a dress, I'd probably buy him a dress too. I'd be like: “Hey, you're expressing yourself.” But I have to be very careful about who he hangs out with and who's around him, and what YouTube is telling him. So there's a true bifurcation there, but within that is so many little tennis matches back and forth. And I think that's the challenge… We're here smoking cigars. Like this is my father’s cigar.
Porn Accessibility & Addiction
Well let's get real. This is a very interesting one because porn is ubiquitous now. It was difficult to find. That's when we were kids. And I'm a little older than you, so it's probably easier for you. I'm 42. No way. Come on. You did a good job, bro. Thank you. Thank you. You're older than me. Come on. Look at you go. Let's do it. I'm fucking impressed. Thank you. Youthful spirit. Yes, I love wellness. But you're living it.
So when we were kids, porn was hard to find. You know, you get a magazine and you go in a closet. Whatever, it was hard. Or you hoard it like a selfish prick. Like I did. There was always the secret box. I got some. You got none? Suck it. You know, I didn't care. No, it's not true. I probably shared, but fundamentally, it was difficult at that point to find it. Now it's ubiquitous. And actually what you did find at that point was a Playboy or something. Or maybe you could score a Penthouse or something like that and like, holy shit. And your whole body would be lit on fire.
Now it's a fucking different game. And so we have to address it. I think as both you and I know, you can tell by the aftertaste of the porn that you consume, that with some particular types of porn you get a really gnarly, poisonous aftertaste after you're done. And then there's some that, especially when you're really using fantasy and there's certain situations you're like, actually that was pretty cool. That felt pretty good.
So I think it's dangerous to lump all public erotica into the same category and call it porn. I think there's a whole spectrum. But anyways, our kids are going to be wide open to the whole fucking spectrum. And they're gonna be drawn just like we were to public erotica. So how to deal with that is the interesting question. I have some thoughts and I've been really curious about this, but I think when I have kids, it's gonna become even more interesting because I have some thoughts. That's what I wanna get to.
I have some big thoughts on that. Let's go. So after two decades of using porn, any addiction, no matter what, you have to keep ramping up to get the same dopamine hit, the limbic brain needs to be satisfied. So we get to this place where I did. I was watching some really gross shit. And this is like three years ago. So thank you to plant medicine. Thank you to breathwork, Thank you to Paul Chek. Truly, I mean honestly, I really feel like those things healed me.
But when I was in the depths of addiction, way down in there, I was watching the worst things you could imagine. And like you said, I would almost have this nausea as I was watching it. And after I watched it, and I realized that it was because there was some part of me that I was at war with actually being responsible. I knew that my mission, my podcast, my future woman – I didn't have a woman at the time… It's easy for men. Specifically, I'll speak for men because I don't know what it's like to be a woman. Men, we get easily wired into porn because it's visceral. Like we have balls, we like to orgasm. Like this is a very different thing. Like men and women are different in that way.
Visual Stimulation in Men and Women
I believe there's a difference, particularly I think what you can certainly say: “It's not a matter of desire.” I think that's actually been proven categorically incorrect. Especially by Wednesday Martin's book Untrue. And the whole revolution, the sexual feminine revolution is to reclaim the desire like the Lilith that has been made as she-demon because of her sexual desire to be equal to Adam in her sexual veracity and intensity has been then demonized. And then women's sexuality has been demonized. And now there's a big reclamation of that. I think that's there.
However, one thing that is definitely true, as far as I understand it from the literature, is that men are more visually stimulated. What we see is actually what allures us more so than women are interested more in a story or sensation. There's a warmup. There's a whole other thing that it's not just purely visual, the visual has been over indexed, indexed really high for men as compared to women in the aggregate.
Now this is all obviously different. I think 25% of porn hub watchers are women now. So it's not like women aren't stimulated visually. Of course they are. But I think statistically in the aggregate, men are more enticed by the visual.
And I think Aaron Alexander was just talking to me about a beetle in Australia that's attracted visually to their mate. It's like a golden orange beetle that's attracted visually to their mate. But an empty beer bottle actually appears to them like what allures them to mate. And so they've almost gone extinct because they just swarm around the tops of beer bottles and just do whatever fucking insect ejaculation they do to try to inseminate beer bottles and they're not actually having sex with each other anymore because the beer bottles are around. So they're like, it's like a fucking problem. It's like their porn. It is, it's their porn. And it's the visual stimulation. So I think at the very least, that's one of the big differences between men and women.
Creating New Ways
I was talking about the limbic brain, so yes, that makes sense. Visual cortex, limbic brain, dopamine hit. But after a while the law of returns goes into effect, where you take twice as much, you get 50% less reward and then it just goes on and on and on. This is why you see perversion. It's really easy to have a perversion pervade in society because people just don't know they're on the addiction train. And so there has to be some kind of soul reckoning, like I've shared with you where I had the entity, which actually was for my good. I know it was really shitty. I don't wish it upon anyone. I'm not sitting here blaming ayahuasca or even blaming the center. There's no one to blame. It happened, it was supposed to happen otherwise it wouldn't have happened.
But when I look at pornography, like my learning curve did not have to be so long. It did not have to be so long. If I would've come across Gary Wilson's work earlier, Your Brain on Porn, or even listened to some of Jordan Peterson, I could have shortened the curve.
And so it's all perfect. It's also, as we've talked about, painful at times. But I think when it comes to me guarding and being a shepherd for my son from 24/7/365 porn at all times, the only way I can do that is by who I am. I can tell him to not watch porn. I can, but if he gets an energy from me at all, like that is still in my life, then I'm out of integrity then I'm not being honest. And like I said earlier, kids don't necessarily do everything you say. They watch who you are. They watch your beingness. And so that's the way we do it. I don't think we're ever gonna be able to block our kids' phones or block their iPads or whatever crazy things coming in the future.
The forbidden is always even more appealing. And so my thoughts on this: I don't know what the fuck to do with kids. Because I believe you, I buy it, and I think that's a good step. But it's gotta be real. It's gotta be absolutely authentic. I'm with you a 100%. They can sense out. Like you said, they sniff out so much more than we give ourselves credit. We think we're fooling them. We're not fooling shit. And our women.
So all of that, true, given, agreed. And I think that the allure of the pornography is, it's such a strong drug. I find that it's probably going to be difficult to not say: “I don't do this drug anymore, so you won't, right?”And they're gonna be like: “I don't know, I just took a hit of this drug and it was fucking crazy, my whole body got on fire. Like I know dad.” So what I think is that ultimately the way that you change a system is you don't attack the system or block the system or cancel or censure the system. You create a new system that makes the old system obsolete.
No doubt. You create something new that's better, that actually makes the old way something that no longer is appealing. And I think what needs to emerge is a whole new class of public erotica, call it porn 2.0. This new class of public erotica that needs to replace the existing one, but still allows for that impulse to be expressed, but done in a healthy way without the toxicity.
Love, Drugs & Erotic Fantasies
And one of the ways, and again, this is what I've been talking to my rabbi about as well. You have a rabbi? Yeah. Cool. And fundamentally the idea is: what does that look like? Well, certainly in my own experience of the aftertaste, which I think is the feeling and it's with you. It's the fruit of the war inside where you know you shouldn't, but you do anyways. That's what it feels like. And you just know it's just ash in your mouth when you finish. You're like, man, that was not healthy. Or even unconscious sex, it's the same feeling.
Of course. So finding ways to create something that actually allows access to that, to step into that erotic fantasy, but without that kind of poison. Now, what I've experienced is if I'm watching anything that I filmed with my wife, for example, no bad aftertaste. Doesn't matter how freaky we got. We could fucking gone for it. Swinging off the fucking chandelier, doesn't matter. And I use that as a metaphor, obviously. That's not how freakiness goes, actually, in the bedroom. Nobody's trying to be Tarzan. Maybe people are trying to be Tarzan. No shame to those trying to be Tarzan.
You were walking to somebody's house and there's like a sex swing there in their living room for sure. Sure. Whatever your thing is. But there's never been an after taste to anything I've filmed because I've known that the way that it was engaged was with love. It started with love and it ended with love, no matter how freaky it got, no matter what waters we explored. I remember the laughter that came afterwards. And I remember how much we loved each other and how we held each other. So that experience changes my interaction with that content, even though the content could appear very similar to something that I would've watched online and had a horrible taste.
But that's difficult because at that point that's just you and your own. And again, so many minefields here to look at and so many caveats, and so I think erotica that's engaged with genuine love and respect and honoring of both the feminine and the masculine, particularly the feminine. Because the degradation of the feminine is a common thread in this erotica. And it can be accessed, but it has to be accessed with the willing submission of the feminine, the desire of the feminine to be that, based on a container of love, safety, trust, admiration, worship.
So it could be visually depicted, but the thing that's been really interesting to me is fiction, like erotic fiction, written word. With Fabio on the cover with his hair flowing? Similar idea, but you think about like what, 50 shades of Gray? When 50 shades of Gray hit. I remember I would go through the airport and I was in one particular plane and I looked around me and there was like five different women of different ages and different genders. Not gender, different races, different creed, different whole… You could tell the whole vibe was different.
All of them reading 50 Shades of Gray at one point. And it was kind of squirming in their seats as they're real. I was like “Oh shit.This must be something. It's really getting people excited.” And in that, I think when the imagination is activated, rather than just seeing something that actually literally happened and you tell a beautiful story, even if it's really like erotic and graphic and visceral. Then I think that's another healthy way to experience erotica without it being porn and leaving that nasty aftertaste. So I've been actually myself dabbling in writing erotic fiction.
Accessing the Better Drugs
And I think that whole category could, and of course it's not gonna eradicate porn 1.0 that'll always be there. I think there's a lot better drugs than cocaine and a lot of these other real drugs. Yeah, they work but they leave you with a really bad aftertaste.
There's just better drugs out there and there's gonna be better drugs out there. And I think my goal will be to teach my children: “Look, I know you're gonna want drugs. You're gonna want the aeros drugs of public erotica. These are the ways that you can do it healthfully. And these are the ways that you can do it unhealthfully. Same with, actually, your diet.” You want something really sweet, like yeah, this fucking keto cookie tastes delicious and you're gonna feel good when you're done. And this fucking hostess cupcake thing, you're gonna feel like shit when you're done. You know? But you're gonna be accessing a lot of the same stuff. It's just the whole aftertaste in your whole life is gonna feel different if you go this way.
But the way you're accessing it, it's more real, it's more organic, it's more life accessing it. Like when you and I were growing up, we had to work really hard to get porn. So if somebody… I love this because it's like this return to somewhat of innocence. By reading something, there's a whole different faculty that comes on in the brain. You might not get as much dopamine, you might not get as much activation of the limbic system. And so I actually think that's a really good thing. I think that's a beautiful thing.
Especially in our world where I don't know exactly what it's gonna look like for Nova to have whatever his device is, it'll probably be like a patch that he wears and he'll tap the patch and it'll just, boom, come up.
I remember Gary Vaynerchuk was like: “You guys got to watch out because eventually people are gonna put those lenses on their eyes and they're not gonna wanna come out. They're gonna wanna stay in there.” Which is what the whole fucking metaverse bullshit is all about. And I do mean bullshit. I understand that people think that it's this way, a great way to connect and all that, but it's actually connecting in a fake world.
Using Our Own Battles to Teach Our Children
So if we were to read erotic stories or if we were to just like: “I'm just really feeling this right now because…” Wow, I really feel like my woman saved me honestly. I was in the throes of addiction really bad. And so I just want to say I love you, Carrie, thank you for saving me because I really didn't have a way of navigating that world.
And so I'll share that experience with my son about the lessons that I've learned and hopefully, because I can't control any outcome, but hopefully my way of being and my honesty about what I've been through with him and the way I relate to her and the way our union feels and the way our union is, he can do whatever he wants because he knows what realness feels like. He knows what the real thing is. So I never have to have fear of him getting caught up in that world. Because he knows my story and he knows our way of being. He’s got a living model.
That's the greatest gift I could ever give him. That's the best thing I could ever give him, that way of being. And that is a daily basis, right? Because there's lots of trappings. I don't know what it's like to have built a company as large as you, but I'm building my podcast and we're growing. And so for all men, with energy and with notoriety comes distraction, comes lots of other things like female attention and whatnot. And so that is always something that, myself as a father, I have to tend to. Am I being emotionally lazy? Am I having little moments here and there where I'm enjoying the cooling of feminine energy that's not my woman's? Is that okay? And to what degree is that okay? These are all things that I think about quite a lot.
Especially with my background. So I think my son is gonna feel that – my way of being, my truth. And he knows what it feels like to be in the presence of a mom and dad that actually love each other, that have been through a lot together, that have been kind of bruised and battered. And we have our scars, we have our stuff, but we have a way of being that he can connect to. I think that is the ultimate teaching tool for him. No porn guard where I'm trying to like look at his URLs, all that work. Me telling my child not to do something with my finger pointed like that has no bearing in the world of distraction that you and I are stepping into.
My son is one year old. I can't even imagine, Aubrey, the world that he's gonna be in when he's 10. I mean, 10 years ago, where were you? Where was I? Can we even conceptualize in 10 years the level of distraction and the call to you and I to be strong enough to withstand that distraction as fathers and also to be able to articulate that to our children? Holy shit, what a journey we're about to go on. I mean, it's gonna be fun, but it's gonna be intense. I feel like the intensity's gonna ramp up actually.
Aubrey’s Depressive Episodes
And I can feel too that when I do have kids, it'll just really cause me to take a look at all of the different patterns and the different things that I'm experiencing. And I know that at the very least, radical transparency and honesty is gonna be key in helping them understand to the same degree that I understand it. But for example, and I said I was gonna bracket this and talk about it, I had a depressive episode last night. Really like just in the bleakness of it and no reason for it. I had no real… And actually Christian, can you run? I left my phone out there on the table. I actually forced myself to write and I'll actually share what I wrote.
But it just fucking came outta nowhere man. And it's not like it was something new. I've had this for most of my life, like periods where just the depression comes in, and I have my own techniques to try and overcome it. But sometimes nothing's working and sometimes I don't know where it's from and I don't know why it's there. And if that still comes when my son's around, it needs to be addressed. What cannot happen is my son or my daughter, I believe I'm gonna have both if they witness that and they're just like? What's up with that?” And then, we talk about it and just express from my heart this is something, and I don't even have all the answers to it, but this is what it feels like for me.
And this is this pattern. Maybe sometime you'll feel like this, maybe you never will. Hopefully not, hopefully not. But I think that radical honesty, but also the impulse to let's fucking get to the bottom of this. Let's figure it out because I don't even want to have to go through all of those explanations unless I need to. And I will of course. But I'd much rather rectify and find the answer to this riddle. And it's a riddle that I haven't quite solved.
And I'm curious. I'm curious whether, because it's come on more frequently recently, I've started to make a bit stricter dietary decisions because I know that pro-inflammatory cytokines go into the brain. It’s one of the big triggers in correlatives to depression. You gotta watch out for the barbecue here and then, just hidden shit in there.
Well, and also the meat smoke. The smoke is also something that I've noticed too really ramps up my inflammation when meat is smoked. You're actually thinking about the smoke. And again, obviously we have smoke coming out of our mouth now, but we're not inhaling it. And the same way, it's tobacco and I'm sure this has some inflammatory process as well, but it's chosen. But when you're eating the meat that has been slow smoked for days, I can feel the difference of smoke even if I have smoked Turkey versus regular Turkey.
So lots of little clues for me about inflammation that I have to be really mindful of. I've noticed a correlation between gluten foods and non-gluten foods. I'm not celiac or anything like that, but just one's a little bit more inflammatory, like raw milk versus not raw milk, homogenized milk. A big difference there.
Fried foods for sure. I just fucking hard stop on all fried foods, even though they're god delicious. That contributes to me having more depressive episodes and I don't even like calling it depression. It's just like depression is moving through me. I think when you pathologize something it becomes even greater than what it is and it can be helpful, but I think it's also problematic.
So as depression was with me last night, or moving through me like a depressive fog, and I'm just doing my best to figure it out. But some part of me is wondering like: “Do I need to go fucking straight carnivore or do I need to go like full keto?” Or do I, because I know when I fast, I don't get depressive episodes when I fast. That's one thing I do know, but I can't fast all the time. I like being fucking athletic.
You have lots of headaches if you're fasting all the time. So do you ever… Two things came up for me. One is just, and I know you've talked about this and I know you know how to do this on an intellectual level. I still struggle with it holding my heart and like laying on my bed and actually letting it move through. There's something in me that sometimes I'm good, sometimes I'm not good, sometimes I don't want it to move through. Is that what you experience sometimes?
Expression to Move Through Depression
Let me express, I'm gonna read this. So I know, also, that writing typically helps. That's the only way I can be cathartic is when I write things down. And when I write and know that potentially I'll share it. There's some part of me, and I think it's that acts of service are one of the clearest correlations in all the clinical research to actually eliminating depression – when you're of service to others.
So by expressing what I feel, it's not only expressing it for me, which is helpful, which is also another proven way to actually help with your, what you're moving through. But also the fact that I'm gonna share it also makes it feel like maybe this was worth it. And it kind of reifies my purpose and part of what I'm here for. But man, it was fucking tough last night. And again, no reason, it just hit heavy. So this is what came out. So I brought my computer out and I was like: I just got to. And this is not a great poem or anything because obviously, but whatever.
The words slump onto the page, a labor to release them, I pull them out of me like lodged cactus spines. I don't want to write. There is no poetry in my heart. My words are not light in my pain has no art. I have no story to tell.
No raging grief, blazing jealousy or black and shame. Absolutely nothing to blame. But still I write because I know each new word is the stirring of fight. A bleak ray of sunshine in the fog of gray. I hear my queen humming in the next room like a bumblebee milking a flower or sweet honey on the lips of a bear. And I have no humming beak nor the fluttering wings to drink from her pool of pets.
My darkness is an old friend, a very old friend. He comes to stay for a while. Neither cruel nor vile. Just persistent. Am I resistant? No. But neither can I surrender, nor can I accept.
What am I to do? It's not a secret. I have kept nor tears unwept. The lesson is a maze. The teaching is a riddle. Why can't I see what is here for me? I am tired, weary, dreary, neither warrior or poet or drunkard or addict yet. Here I am. I am here. And that's all I can say. How long will I stay? Blessed am I for tomorrow is a new day. Today is a new day.
What Is Depression Teaching Us?
What are you here to teach me? That's right. That's the voice of it, right? What are you here to teach me? When the icy hand, like the world comes in…Because the honey's there. I actually was like: Wow, the honey tastes really good right now. But damn that question I don't have the answer for that. But I know that when I do ask that, it's easier, It's a lot easier for sure. There's, inside of me, been just this dark hole for the majority of my life. I don't exactly know where it comes from, but it makes me fond. I have a tendency to fawn, it's one of the trauma responses. So I fawn with people when I start to feel uncomfortable with that darkness, with that depression. And so here I am talking about it.
It's a good thing to talk about it. And I think that's so beautiful, man, it’s so fucking great that you have this place where you can share where other people around the world can be like: Wow, I'm totally not alone. I'm totally not alone. I layed on my bed last night too, Aubrey and fuck, it really sucked. And I feel like that question that honestly our friend Paul taught me 3, 4 years ago: What is it here to teach me?
When I was going through all the OCD and my psyche broke from that medicine serum, it took me almost two years to heal that. I was having crazy shit go on, weird sexual stuff coming up. I think it was a cleanout from the porn. Honestly, because every time I watch porn, I would micro-traumatize myself and honestly it was here to teach me that there's some contrast that I'm not looking at.
There's something that I'm not looking at, not out of shame. I'm not shaming the shit out of myself for not seeing it. Like, oh, I should see it. I just think it's beautiful that you have a reflective practice where you can write for catharsis and you can wonder, you can be curious: Ok, what are you here to teach me and not bet a thousand? And not have to beat yourself up if you don't get it.
Finding Purpose in Serving Others
Because the next day is coming. It feels like that in the moment. But you seem to me, I know it's your show, but I gotta ask you a question because I love podcasting too. What is it about your drive to create Arcadia, and Fit for Service, and all these things?
There's a love there, but then do you also feel the drive because there's the dark, because there's that unanswerable question of what are you here to teach me? Why does this old friend keep coming back? In other words, does that fuel you too? And if so, how much love fuels you versus how much of the dark?
It's difficult to say. I think there used to be a lot more justification for egoic motivation to do things, but to me it was always very simple. And I've talked about this on podcasts too. It was very simple for me. I love the world. One motivation, one truly. I do. I want to help and that's what I'm here for. And the more that I help, the bigger my platform, the more successful I am, the more likely I am to meet women who love me too. It was always about, it was always about the feminine. It was always about: Can I find my queen? Can I? And if I was polyamorous, can I find the next Paramore that's gonna thrill me? And so much was kind of very reductionist in my mindset.
I never really cared about… Even though I'm very competitive in sports and stuff like that, that wasn't the thing that drove me. What drove me was: I want to be the most awesome so that I could attract the most awesome woman when I meet her. And then, I fucking did it, here I am with Lana, she's my dream woman top to bottom.
And then that part of that motivation died off. So now I'm moving, I have to fuel myself from love. So there's definitely, that's definitely been a recalibration. The part of me that's trying to give myself purpose, to actually combat the combat, the darkness is certainly there as well. And that's what I was saying, service to others is a way to actually help modulate my own depression.
So in some ways that is self-serving in that the more I help the world, the better I actually feel inside. I've been an apprentice with Poranguí and a particular type of body work, and so I can bring people into a body work journey. And when I'm doing that, there's never been a moment where I was depressed nor any day that I've offered that, that I've been depressed because I know that I just showed up in devotional service to somebody for 2, 3 hours and it feels really good to me. So there's definitely another part of me that's doing that to fight back the darkness. The more I serve, the less dark I feel. And so one of the inquiries is I'm in a transitional stage of my life right now.
And I think part of the darkness is pointing me towards potentially even another level of service that I could reach where I'm offering something even more potent, or not more potent. I don't want to be comparative to that, but something else I'm being called to do that I haven't been doing. And maybe that's what it's trying to show me. Maybe it's the universe saying: “You feel like you do now because there's more that you know – I know – inside that I can give that I'm not giving.”
Exploring the Inner World
And maybe there's some part of me that's still afraid, and potentially it's maybe that's what we've been talking about with sexuality here. I just revealed, on this podcast here for the first time, I'm writing erotic fiction. But no way am I gonna share it yet. It's like depending on who the characters are. And it's the exploration of fantasy and power exchange and all of these different things.
And maybe this is a similar experience to what I was experiencing when, in the pandemic, where there was things that I wanted to say and share that I wasn't sharing and that was causing me to feel this suffocating feeling. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it's a false flag. And that's has nothing to fucking do with it. And I'm just still in the curiosity and the listening because I didn't write the fiction for anybody but myself. I just wanted to write it because it was a way to explore a whole different world and a healthy way to explore the different world rather than because I've looked at porn in my life too.
So rather than doing that, let's explore it through this – through the creation of characters and story and all of this. And maybe it has nothing to do with that. And maybe it has more to do with spiritual/religious ideas that still are like a little, you know…
I kind of keep to myself, it's possible that this is part of my knowing. Now is the time to just stop giving any fucks about how many haters I get or how many people come after me for my truth. And maybe that's it. I don't know. All I can say right now is I'm just in the listening and trying to figure out what it is that this is trying to tell me and what it's trying to compel me. What next level of service it's trying to compel me to, because service is the only thing that fights off the darkness.
Serving Others through Podcasting
I feel the same way. Like whenever I'm doing something for someone else. This is why I love podcasting. In the middle of podcasting I'm never thinking about my darkness. I mean, unless I'm asked, then I'll share. But whenever I'm serving or helping to serve someone else's mission or putting someone else on a spotlight, it lights me up.
My whole life I wanted to be a DJ, like an old school DJ. Like Adam Carol and Dr. Drew. I used to listen to them when they had the cassette taste behind me when I was a teenager. And I'm like: “Oh, one day I'll be on the radio.” I found the radio and all the people were drug addicts and alcoholics, like being a DJ ain't that great, you all. So when podcasting came around. I was like, wow.
There was a part of me that started to heal because of it. Podcasting saved my life. Carrie saved my life but podcasting saved my life too. I don't know what the hell I would be doing in this world if it wasn't for this. Like true communion at a table where we get to share each other's messages. Like that is everything to me. So I think that catharsis comes in many forms. You're a writer. I write too. I've never written the mystery stuff or the sex stuff, but it's interesting. I think that catharsis is the key. It's like if we're not getting it out, if we're not letting the decaying snakeskin die, and we're holding onto it because it has to be a certain way, it makes me reflect on my life.
Healthy VS Unhealthy Catharsis
What am I holding onto? That has to be a way that my mind is telling me it has to be this way versus how fucking amazing it could it be for me to just let the skin peel off, let some things die. Catharsis is the only way. And there's a catch there because catharsis could also mean unchecked hedonism as well, right? Where I just go left field and I'm constantly partying because that's my catharsis.
What I'm saying is there's a healthy way for catharsis. We talked about the middle way. Sometimes catharsis might look like doing a bunch of drugs and partying in Vegas. Or sometimes it might look like just sitting. If the confines are a little too tight, sometimes you need to blast through the confines, and be Hunter S. Thompson for a day, and then find your way. Ok, I fucking did that. Don't need to do that again.
And then sometimes, catharsis might just be having your wife hold you and so you can just cry for a moment. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think that's beautiful. Honestly. In the beginning of my journey when Carrie and I first got together, she probably held me like once a month where I would just let shit go. I think it's really beautiful. Now, to many people watching, they might be like: “What? You're going to let… My wife's going to hold me while I cry? What the fuck are you talking about?” But it's powerful, man. It's really powerful. And I think the more we can be honest with each other and honest with ourselves the better we're going to be as a society. That's the bottom line.
But if it's up to me, it's going to be, and vice versa. If it's going to be in the world, it's got to be within me first. I fell into that trap many, many times. So the world needs that. The world needs people who are willing to give fucking real and throw down on a table and say: “This is what's going on for me. This is what's actually occurring in my life.”
And I'm curious, what you feel might help me assuage that pain, might help me understand my pain more. And just like Bruce Lee said: “Take what resonates. Leave the rest.” Sometimes I get a lot of people that come on the show and I don't agree with what they say, and I really challenge them because one per one person's catharsis is not everyone's.
Being Prisoner of Your Own Life
And also having a podcast and being a public figure in any way is both incredibly liberating and self-actualizing in a lot of ways. But you have to be careful that it doesn't become a prison in a way. How so? What do you mean?
In some ways, and I've done a pretty good job being kind of boundary-less in my content, but I could have very, very easily been another human optimization guy. I wrote ‘Own the Day’, I ran the company on it. And there's a lot of people when I would post something about relationships or post something, especially when Own the Day really popped and became a bestseller and all that, where people who didn't know me from my podcast with Rogan or didn't listen to my show were following me for that. And they're like: “I just came here for the kettlebell workouts, bro. What the fuck is all this?”
Do I put a red light on my balls now? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh well. Or other stuff I'm talking about, like self love and relationship healing and all of these deeper… They're like: “I didn't fucking come here for this. I came here because you're the Own the Day guy.”
And I think you can get stuck in different lanes that actually become prisons to a certain degree where it's like you have to show the same thing and it works, but if it's not your true expression, then it's also going to become a gilded cage for you to live inside. If you have an identity or a brand that has to live up to certain standards. And that's the thing. You do create a brand and the brand has certain parameters, like the brand can't constantly evolve.
That's going to the brand, it’s not even going to make sense. You have to really focus a brand so that it penetrates the market to the degree that you want. And you do that with product brands, that's what we did with Onnit, and that's what you do with the product brand. But when your brand is yourself, you have to be really fucking careful. Because then, and we do this even in our social circles, we're our own brand. Even if we don't try to make a brand, people are putting us in this kind of category themselves. I remember I used to party a lot in my twenties, and me and Caitlin, we were good at partying. We'd put out a lot of energy, we'd stand on tables and dance and fucking let it rip some days.
I just didn't want to do that. I just wanted to sit around and let the party happen and people would come up like: “What's wrong with you man? What's wrong with you? Why aren't you on the tables?” Because my brand was the guy who's wild and parties. And so that became a prison for me.
So I felt like I was letting people down if I didn't do what they wanted me to do. And I think whatever this next chapter goes, it's going to be about deepening even more than I already have my full spectrum authenticity and being like: “Sorry you all, I know you want me to talk about mindset and physical optimization and all this, but I'm just going to be writing poetry and erotic fiction for the next three months.” So that's what's life for me right now.
Freedom, Alignment & Authenticity
It's not that I don't love the rest, it's just this is the season I'm in and that's what I want to talk about. Or this other thing and this other topic, this other season. I'm going to talk about that. And I think that freedom is something that I can see, for me, is going to be important. And I don't know what that freedom exactly looks like and I am very free, but I think part of my nature is I want to be completely free, like truly, truly free.
And of course, I'm bound by my own internal ethics and my own internal morality of constantly seeking the truth, radically willing to admit when I'm wrong. And like all of that has to be in place seeing through everybody else's. I'm not going to violate those things. That's who I am. But if I did, I would surely want to, it's part of my responsibility to share that as well and also receive the feedback of like, this is fucked up bro. Like: Damn, I didn't see it from that perspective.
When something's not working, the soul will create chaos so that it eventually works. In other words, this year, February on 02/22/22, I completely killed Wellness Force as a brand. The word ‘force’, the etymology of force, can't always be trusted like a force of nature. And I always felt like for the past two years that I wasn't really in 100% integrity on my show. Something was off, something just didn't feel right.
Carrie and I did a mushroom journey on New Year's Eve, and she rolls over and I was sharing with her that I don't feel like I'm in alignment, something's wrong. And she's like: “Well, why don't you just get rid of force and replace it with wisdom?” And I was just like “Ugh, that's it.” Wisdom is what I'm always seeking. And I'm imperfect in the way I seek it, but I'm always seeking more wisdom.
And wisdom isn't just information. I think I got caught up in the game where a lot of podcasters just interview people. It's like: Aubrey, what's the five ways that I can biohack my body? Or what's the five ways that I can do it? And honestly, when I made that shift, damn, I feel better. Now the podcast is Wellness + Wisdom instead of Wellness Force.
It opens up this bigger cavern for me to explore, where I can share about my addiction, I can share about my stuff. I can just be my fucking self that feels so good compared to what it used to feel like because I was doing it because it was what other podcasters did to be successful. And that was a massive turn. Since then, everything has exploded. I have a private studio now. I work out of the house. Things are good and I know, like you, there's something else too.
So there's like this muse calling me forward. I don't exactly know what it's gonna look like just staying. But I'm gonna enjoy it. But I'm gonna enjoy it from me sitting here with you just being honest. Even if it's crunchy when I share, like there's been multiple things that we've talked about where I'm like: “Should I share that?” Of course. Should I fucking share that? Of course. With all these people. And the answer's always yes. The answer's always yes for me to share.
That's what really liberates, always. That's what really liberates us. And I remember I switched my podcast from the Warrior Poet project to the Aubrey Marcus Podcast because, when was that? That was six, seven years ago. That was early in the game, seven years ago maybe. And the reason was Warrior Poet is a brand and I would have to live up to a certain brand. And sometimes I'm resonating with that brand and sometimes I'm not.
But if I just call it my name, then pretty much people can expect I'm gonna talk about whatever I want to talk about. But the slippery part of that is that it doesn't really matter because fundamentally people are going to put Aubrey Marcus into a brand anyways. So now it's about actually evolving the brand of Aubrey Marcus to be the full spectrum human that I am in its most radical extension. And I think now is also a period, I think we went through a period where all of us had to encounter what it was like to have an opinion that we weren't comfortable sharing.
2020 gave us plenty of opportunities to do that. And the world we're in now has plenty of opportunities to do that. And I think that was kind of the forging of a certain type of courage. And I think that courage is going to be necessary as we continue to go through this next period where you're just willing to share what you feel and then deal with the consequences.
Peace Comes from Courage
It's almost like there's a part of me that's actually going back to the Warrior Poet ethos. What does the Warrior Poet do? The poet feels everything to the fullest extent that it could possibly be felt. That's the code of the poet – share it. That's also the second part of the code of the poet. Feel everything to the depth of the feeling possible and share it. And the warrior is the part that is willing to go into the darkness and willing to take the arrows and willing to stand up to whatever challenges come their way and use that as a forging process to alchemize their strength and teach them courage. So it's an interesting and beautiful journey we're on here, bud.
I feel like after courage comes peace, because a lot of times people are like: “Well, what comes first? Peace or courage?” Peace is always, in my opinion, after courage, because courage is uncomfortable. To have courage is not really peaceful. If I'm having courage to stand up to anything in life, I'm going to go through a period of compression. It's going to suck for a moment. I'm going to have to feel my value, feel the love for myself, and have the balls to stand up for whatever it is I believe in. And I think after courage comes peace, we all just want peace. I mean, isn't that what this game is all about? We just want to feel peaceful. I know that's been my story. How do I feel peace while I have to go through sometimes where I have to summon the courage in order for me to feel?
I think we want both, I think we want to feel peace, and I think we like a fight. What's the split on that? 70-30? Yeah, 30% courage, 70% peace. I think if things are too chill for too long, we'll be like: “Man, I miss when it was heated, when it was difficult, when it was challenging.”
I'm watching a show right now called Sandman, and it's a big show on Netflix. I have my gripes with the show, but also there's some beautiful parts of it. It's about these divine beings that are also very flawed and anthropomorphized. But the main character represents sleep. So it’s the God Morpheus, and then there's the goddess desire, and then there's the despair, and death, and all of these different – they call them the endless – and it's about the world that they're in and how they interact with people. But in the show, and I won't give spoilers, he basically finishes one of his quests, A deep quest, a quest that took him through a deep period of darkness and a deep period of failure.
And he accomplishes the quest. And then I was surprised where the episode went, and it was him in despondency because he was more powerful than he'd ever been. But he'd finished the quest and he was like: “I thought this would bring me happiness. I thought my world is in order, my kingdom is in order, everything is calm.” And he was just absolutely despondent because when he was in the quest, he had a clear hot burning purpose and a fire that was lit inside him. And when that ended, then he was like: “Well, what do I do now? I miss it. I miss the fire of that experience.” So I think it's both, I think being able to enjoy and truly enjoy the rapture of peace, and then also know that some of us are just built to go into the fray.
We're built to have a quest and difficulty and challenge. And I see that within the world right now. I see that with a lot of the people who are preparing for potential cataclysmic situations. Some part of them, even though their compassion and their kindness and the love in their heart doesn't want anything bad to happen in the world, some part of them is craving something bad to happen so they can apply all of their skills of foraging. And protecting their family and dealing with all the things that are coming up.
Earlier you said that the middle way is sometimes killing someone. I think what we're leading up to – this is just my experience, this doesn't have to be everyone else's. I'm actually welcoming the disruption. I've felt it ever since I was a little kid. Why do you all treat each other so bad? What is this all about? When I was super young, I used to ask this question: “How come life hurts so much?”
How come things hurt so much? I think it's because we see each other as separate and we're pitted against each other by who knows? You could call it the top of the spider, like David. I don't really know what it is, honestly. Like is there a room of 50 old white men that control the world? Maybe, maybe not.
To me, I think it's likely an anthropomorphization of an archetypal force. And actually people are just participating in that force to varying different degrees. I find it hard to imagine a group full of fucking old white guys who are trying to plan everything out. But it's possible. Well, there's evil in the world for sure, but as an energy, absolutely, no doubt. Certain types of energy and certain people participate in that energy. Whether they are the absolute embodiment of that energy. I don't fucking know.
After the Dark the Light Comes
There is the warrior inside of me, though, that's welcoming. I don't want people to die. My grandpa was a brigadier general. He was the first Sicilian in the Marine Corps, in the twenties. He made it, they gave him the key to the city. So that's within me. I have deep reverence and deep love for my grandfather. I've had many conversations with him. He's been gone for over 20 years. I still talk to him. There’s still an honoring there. And I know he did the best he could.
He fought in many wars where maybe there wasn't an imminent threat. Although World War II, there absolutely was. We were very close to losing World War II., for all the history buffs out there. I do think that we're coming, even if you look at that book ‘The Fourth Turning’, I'm trying to digest it right now. It's just really cold reading The Fourth Turning, I don't know if you've heard of it or not. But supposedly we are coming into one of the darkest times. Now after the dark is going to come light. So I am welcoming this because I want to feel more peace. I want us to all have more peace. And in order for us to have that, we have to be summoned into courage right now. I don't want it to be that way, but fuck. I'm like: “Please, can we stop the charade?”
But see, some part of you does want it. And some part of me does want it because I want the peace. And that also is potentially a slight justification for actually wanting the narrowing of focus and the aliveness that comes from being in contact with imminent threat. There's a radical aliveness that comes when you are in contact with an imminent threat.
For anybody who's competed in martial arts, when you're in an intense martial arts match, you're not thinking about shit. It's the only thing that matters. There's this one person who wants to hurt me and it's my job to hurt them first. And there's bliss. It's the deepest, primal experience one could ever, maybe, experience.
Moments of Radical Aliveness
I'm rewatching Game of Thrones because it's Lana's first time. Watch it. I've never, I've never started. Oh, dude. I've never started. It's so fucking good. I appreciate it even more now than I did then and I loved it then. But there's a character, Daario Naharis, and he's played by, in season three, by my friend Ed Skrein, and Ed didn't carry on the character, they had some disagreements with HBO or whatever. But in season three he gets to play this character and he's pretty quickly upon getting introduced. He says this line, he's like: “I'm a simple man. I like to fuck a woman who wants to fuck me and I like to kill a man who is trying to kill me.” And when he first said that I thought, like 10 years ago or whatever when I watched that, that's a badass thing to say. But now I fucking get it, man.
Those are the two points in your life where you feel the most radically alive. And that's what you live for. You live for the radical aliveness. So what you stand for at the core level is the most radical aliveness. So that man in peace, he would just have sex with a lot of women who wanted to have sex with him. And that was a contrast to the kind of horror culture that was pervasive in Game of Thrones. He's like: “No, not for me. I will never do that because I don't feel alive when I'm paying for something.” It has to be the allurement, the desire. I have to be met in that desire and then I feel alive, and I don't also want to kill somebody. No. I only want to kill them if they also want to kill me.
That's what makes me alive. I think there's a part of us, and obviously this is an extreme example of two different types of what, Rabbi Gaffney would call eros, the kind of narrowing of your life into this radical interiority and presence of the moment. So yes to peace, I think it's something we all want, but we also all want to feel like we're right here in the moment and there's nothing else in the whole world that we're thinking about or doing. And that's also what we crave. And if that means that there's a big conflict, I think part of us craves the conflict because that will bring us to that state. I was thinking about that last night. If I was in the middle of that depression and somebody tried to break into the house, would I be depressed five seconds later? Fuck no.
I would've grabbed the gun and I would've enacted the plan. You go here, this is where they are at. This is the vest. This is your backup weapon. This is my primary weapon. This is where we go. It would've just been straight fuck action execution. Here's how we protect ourselves. Here's how we get outta this situation. And the depression would've been gone in a fucking instant.
But in this kind of lavish piece, there was this deep darkness that was in there. And actually what pulled me out of it is Lana and I made love and that helps. So I guess there is a little Daario Naharis in me. And me as well. But yeah, I just see that. And so it also gives me another perspective on everything in the world that perhaps things have been so peaceful and we don't know how to deal with that piece enough of a way that we want some conflict to actually bring out our higher virtues and our values and our courage and our bravery and at least those of us who have that archetype within them.
I think I definitely do. I just had a spiritual growth moment here just sitting with you because I'm thinking that's in my DNA. So if my grandfather was truly a warrior for his time, it's activating in me when I feel a threat. Yeah, totally. It's coming along. Some part of you is coming along. Some part of me is like: “Oh, you wanna fuck with me? Okay. Oh yeah. Yeah.”
And, and I think to some degree that's healthy. I think that's good. Now, unchecked – not cool. Unintegrated anger, non-sacred anger. Obviously, I'm not a proponent of violence. I'm not like: “We should go kill China.” Let's not even talk about what's going on in China. But truly, if death or if something comes to me, if the threat of death comes to me, I'll do everything in my power to live. I'll do everything in my power to live. And we need that. And I think that's being trained out of a lot of men, there's a lot of feminization of men right now. And I'm not saying that we all should have an American flag everywhere in our house and have lots of guns and eat barbecue for every meal and drive a Chevrolet. Even though I'm getting a Chevy truck, which is so interesting. I'm just realizing that right now.
The Warrior, The Poet, and The Peaceful Monk
I think there's a natural harmony of life and I think sometimes that harmony leads us to violence and leads us to uncomfortable things. That's why the yin and yang exists. It’s always been that way. We're always flowing, we're always going on sides. And I feel like right now, we're in a big crunch phase. But, you know, to quote Kelly Brogan, the healing spiral, it's right now I feel like we're in a contraction and eventually we're gonna be in expansion.
I think so. I welcome the expansion. I think peace is a skill that needs to be practiced, trained, and sought with the same tenacity that the skill of war is practiced, trained and taught. To be really good at peace, you need to go through the same type of Tim Kennedy fucking preparation for combat conflict. He is the real deal. He is the premier example of what kind of mentality, physicality, everything that you would need for war of any sort hand to hand or whatever the fucking conflict is. He's trained himself for that.
And I think peace is an equal challenge to master. Somebody like Ram Dass. Ram Dass is like the Tim Kennedy of peace. He trained himself to that degree to be able to hold peace with that level of mastery. And I think both are to be a fully robust human in this experience, train yourself with the same tenacity for both sides. Both the warrior, the poet, the peaceful monk – trained to be all these archetypes. Practice makes a master.
Well, since we started this podcast with fatherhood, that is exactly what being a father has been for me so far. Just what you just said. Sometimes I feel like I need to protect and be at war. Sometimes I feel like I just need to soften and just be at peace right now. And it's a constant, I guess you could say, calibration for me. And it's beautiful. I really do love it. Having a life that I'm responsible for is so beautiful. It's so beautiful. Even before I came over to the studio, I was like: “Hm, what am I even doing this for? Why am I even coming on Aubrey’s show? What's this all about? Oh, I'm doing it for Nova. I'm doing it for my family. That's what it's about.” It's about, like you said, being both the protector, being the warrior, being the dad that can hold my son and lightning just struck. So that's what it's about.
Brother, this has been a real pleasure man. Thanks for coming on. Thank you so much. Thank you for the cigar. For sure. Thank you for this awesome conversation. For sure. Really appreciate what you've built, man. And there's a huge part of my heart that's grateful to be here in Austin, and you were very kind to me when I first got here, and a big part of my life unfolding in the way that it has is because of your intro to Tim. So huge gratitude for you for that.
Of course, mam. Of course. And big shout out to your podcast, which is now Wellness + Wisdom. That's it. And one thing I always appreciated kind of, at the start of our relationship, was I was doing a lot of interviews for Own the Day at the time. I think that was the first show we did. Yeah. You're on a laptop in New York. Yeah, I was on my book tour and I got a lot of shit interviews, I have to say, but your interview was one of my favorite because the fact that you care and that you're willing to do the work and do the research and actually dive in, read the fucking book, get the right questions, go in deep and really explore the topic thoroughly. I was like: “This dude is legit.”
And so just big shout out to you and your podcast, for anybody listening, because you give a hell of an interview and hell of a conversation. So lots of good stuff there. Thank you very much. Feels good to receive that from you. Of course. Thanks for tuning in everybody. We love you, bye bye. Thanks for tuning into this video. Make sure you hit subscribe. Follow me at Aubrey Marcus, Check out the Aubrey Marcus podcast available everywhere and leave a comment. Let me know if this video resonated or what else you would like to hear from me in the future. Thank you so much.