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VIDEO PODCAST: Finding the Courage to Tell Your Story

In this episode, I reflect on the experience of making my last podcast episode (Reclaiming Spirituality After Religious Trauma), as well as explore:


  • Reasons why I was afraid to speak up

  • How I dealt with my fear

  • The "Compassion Conundrum"

  • The importance of prioritizing personal happiness

  • Post Traumatic Growth

  • The Fourth Survival Response

  • ACEs & PCEs

  • Being better than the "old god"

  • Why caring is sharing

  • The meaning of FEAR

  • And so much more...


There are TWO transcripts after the video (below). The FIRST transcript is of the onscreen text in the video. The SECOND transcript is of the spoken words. So if you just want to listen and then circle back later to scan the additional text elements here, I have made that easy.

Thanks, as always, for your time and attention. I hope you find this informative and/or helpful.



TRANSCRIPT 1: Onscreen Text Transcript

THE INSIDE OUT - Finding the Courage to Tell Your Story


Thank you for listening!


Please subscribe, like, comment & share.


Don’t forget: Captions are available


Transcripts are available at LukeRenner.com


Audio-only versions of episodes are available as podcasts on the following platforms:

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

Amazon Music / Audible

iHeartRadio

Audacity

Deezer

Gaana

Player FM

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Two reasons I wouldn't tell my story:

  1. FEAR

  2. COMPASSION


Prioritizing the happiness of others over oneself may lead to resentment and dissatisfaction in one’s own life.

While valuing others' happiness is important, prioritizing it too much can sacrifice personal fulfillment. Balancing care for others with self-care is crucial for a fulfilling life.


An inability to express oneself honestly can have severe consequences, such as depression, loss of purpose, decreased motivation, and even suicidal thoughts.


Despite the challenges and hardships that trauma can bring, it is possible to experience post-traumatic growth as an outcome.


This growth can manifest in various ways, such as increased resilience, a deeper appreciation for life, and a sense of personal growth and empowerment.


Therefore, even in the face of adversity, it's important to hold onto hope and recognize the potential for growth and healing on the other side of trauma.



When confronted with a traumatic experience, the most commonly recognized survival responses are fight, flight, and freeze.


In 'Complex PTSD – From Surviving to Thriving,' author Peter Walker defines "Fawning" as a survival response characterized by an excessive effort to please others and avoid conflict at all costs.

Fawning can lead individuals to prioritize others' needs and boundaries over their own, resulting in feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-worth.


By understanding and recognizing the impact of fawning, individuals with C-PTSD can seek appropriate support and care to heal from trauma.


ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are stressful or traumatic events that occur during childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction, which can have long-term impacts on physical and mental health.


Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) are events or circumstances that promote healthy development and well-being in childhood.


Working to develop your voice while protecting the dignity of others with whom you may disagree can be difficult.


Moving slowly and taking the time to be thoughtful about how you proceed not only reduces pressure on you, it may also provide the time and space needed to see more and better possibilities.


“Vengeance is mine”


Deuteronomy 32:35

Hebrews 10:30

Romans 12:19


Religions throughout history have worshiped dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of gods, making it difficult to give a specific minimum number of gods that have been named.


It is nonsensical for one particular religion to claim that it has the "one true god" because the claim assumes there is only one correct way to understand and relate to the divine (if there is a divine at all).


While there may be many subjective experiences or beliefs that lead individuals to believe in God, these cannot be considered as objective evidence that can be tested and verified by others.


Ad populum arguments that one religion is the ultimate truth because “so many people believe it” falls apart because, at any given moment, there are more people who do not believe it, instead stacking the numbers against it.


If an individual can demonstrate greater love, forgiveness, grace, self-direction, protection, or other virtues than a proposed deity, then that deity is not worthy of being called supreme or special.


As I matured and healed, I found that the god presented by my old religious beliefs no longer resonated with me and felt too small for my expanded understanding.


As my worldview expanded, so did my sense of compassion, which presented the challenge of seeking to improve people's lives while also prioritizing their well-being and avoiding harm.


My goal is not to elevate myself above others. I only want to challenge myself to exceed my own, past achievements.


I now believe it is presumptuous and disrespectful to assume that others cannot handle my changing beliefs.


One of the most practical ways to show love to ourselves is to be true to our own convictions.


Internal conflicts such as cognitive dissonance can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.


Chronic stress, in turn, can contribute to physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and digestive disorders.


Thus, when we are living in disagreement within ourselves, we may be threatening our very ability to survive and thrive.


By understanding and honoring this, we can truly begin to improve the quality and quantity of life for ourselves and for others.


A healthy community is inclusive, diverse, and respects individual differences, while promoting a sense of connectedness and belonging among its members.


Communities do not necessarily need to share the same values. They are able to respect one another's autonomy, protect everyone's right to live as they please, and not infringe upon the rights of others.


Healthy communities are able to create and sustain an inclusive environment that does not discriminate based on factors such as race, gender, sexuality, religion, or socioeconomic status.


A healthy community actively works to break down barriers to inclusion, and strives to ensure that all community members have equal access to resources, opportunities, and services.


False

Evidence

Appearing

Real


Don’t forget the good that’s possible.


There is a saying:

“Hurting people hurt people.”


But this is also true:

“Healed people heal people.”


Sharing your personal story can be a meaningful and transformative experience, and while it's okay to feel hesitant about taking the first step, remember that it's never too late to begin.


Perfection is an elusive goal that can hold us back from taking action. Instead of waiting for everything to be just right, it's important to recognize that fear is a natural part of growth and change.


Your heart is beating.

The clock is running.

Opportunity is passing.


What will you say?


How will you say it?


When will you begin?




TRANSCRIPT 2: Spoken Word Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Inside Out. My name is Luke Renner. Thanks for checking in and spending some time with me here. I put a little bit of my heart and soul into these so it means a lot to me for folks to tune in and listen.


A little housekeeping right off the top. If you are connecting with this on YouTube, if you wouldn't mind too much, please do me a huge favor and subscribe to the channel. If you like the episode, maybe hit like. I do suggest that people click the little bell button. That will give you alerts whenever I post new material. Sometimes I'm not exactly on a consistent schedule, so to save you from having to keep checking back or from forgetting about it entirely, if you check that bell button, YouTube will send you an email or something when I release new material.


Also, just so everybody knows, on YouTube, you have the ability to turn on captioning or subtitles if you find that it would be useful to read along while you're listening to the material. If you want to read transcripts of the episodes, you can find those along with the video in the blog section of my website at Luke Renner.com.


Also, and this is sort of a recent development, all of this material moving forward, starting with the episode just before this one (Episode 16)‚ all of that material will now also co-exist as audio-only podcasts and you can find those also on my website or in your favorite podcast platform. Just search for‚ “The Inside Out.”


You might need to add my name for a little while because I've not been, like I said, terribly consistent, so things may not be showing up as quickly in a search if you just use the name of the podcast. So, either search for that and my name or maybe just my name and see if that ... whatever works better for you.


Let me know, by the way, because I need to keep tabs on that.


So that is housekeeping. And now let's get on with this episode.


A couple of weeks ago, I released a podcast titled‚ ’Reclaiming Spirituality After Religious Trauma.’ If you're listening to this episode on YouTube, I will put a link to that episode at the end of this video. And maybe, you know, on one of those little cards that pops up on the screen. I'll also put it in the video descriptions, but the link will also be on my blog and all that too.


So anyway, since I released that episode, I have sort of affectionately begun to think of it as my spiritual‚ ”coming out.” And I'm using quotation fingers here because even though I have technically been in that headspace for quite a while, privately, it's taken me a long time to find the courage, quite frankly, to say anything like what I said in that episode in a public-facing way.


In general, I am making this episode as a kind of follow up to that one. It's my opportunity to say, “Hey, here's what it's been like since I posted that.” And I'm doing this as a kind of encouragement to you. Thinking there may be somebody out there who has been thinking about having their own public-facing expression of a spiritual‚ ”coming out.”

Maybe you're feeling a little scared or tenuous or hung up about that yourself. And so this episode here is sort of like me reflecting on what that's been like. What the last couple of weeks have been like, what it was like for me to make that, and to put that out, really kind of as an attempt to be helpful to you.


Right. So I'm here to offer in this episode, a little peek behind the curtain of my process, in case that's useful. So that's what we're going to do here today.


Now, I said that, you know, I had been having this spiritual change, this shift happening inside of me for a very long time. But I was not ready to just sort of talk about that in a public facing way. And there were primarily two reasons for that. One of those reasons is I was afraid. I didn't want to say any of that stuff because I was afraid, honestly, of being criticized heavily by the former religious community that I used to belong to.


Right? I still know and am connected to a lot of those people. And I'll talk a little bit more about that later. But I want to get to the second reason that I didn't want to say anything for such a long time. And as I think about it, it maybe it's a little bit of a surprising reason. The reason is because I had compassion.


I still love quite a few people, real people who have names and addresses and faces. In some cases, their blood is coursing through my veins. Right? I've got real people who I love, who themselves still believe many of the things that I wanted to speak out against. I didn't want to speak out against them as people, but I did feel compelled to speak out against some of the ideas that they still very much believe.


Now, a funny thing here is that some of those people actually already know that I don't believe some of those same things anymore. In fact, they've known it for a while. It's not like I've been hiding from them. My de-conversion or falling away or apostasy or whatever we want to call it is kind of old news to some of them.


But because I love them and I care about them and I haven't wanted to cause them any unnecessary difficulty in their life, in their world, I just wasn't convinced that it was important for me to say anything publicly about all of that stuff. For the longest time, I felt like I wanted to because it seemed important to me.


But it was sort of like, at what cost? How important is it really?


Just because those ideas that I wanted to speak against had hurt me, and even though in many ways I feel like the ideas actually robbed me of some of the best years of my life, they robbed me of opportunities to be my “best self” sooner... for me, that doesn't mean that I am required to take a swing at the people who put the ideas in my head to begin with.


Part of the reason I can salvage some compassion is because I feel grateful to be able to say that none of that loss has been permanent. Because here I am. I'm doing this right. This is happening so. As an aside, it's really kind of sobering for me to think, you know, if I hadn't gotten PTSD in my mid-thirties and if I hadn't sought help to deal with that PTSD, and if I hadn't, then subsequently unlocked the childhood trauma which had conditioned me to be vulnerable to getting that PTSD, like if I hadn't been broken in a really big way in my mid-thirties, I'm not sure I would be where I'm at right now.


I could still very much be locked into that ideological trap that had me effectively stuck in a state of constant survival, you know, terror. I wouldn't have used the word terror, but yeah, so it's you know, it's a sobering thought. And I touched on this a little in the previous episode. You know, I believe during all those years that I was happy inside of that indoctrination.


But I know now it was because I was in compliance with the rules of the ideology. Right? So I didn't have anything to worry about. My head wasn't on the chopping block because I was playing ball. But there was always that lingering worry, really more of a certainty that if I screw up, the pain, the punishment, the condemnation, the hell or whatever, or was like waiting for me, you know.


So it's a weird kind of happy to be, no question about it. Anymore, I actually reject the idea of that as authentic happiness.


I understand that now to be more like the fourth survival response that Pete Walker introduced in his book, ‘Complex PTSD - From Surviving to Thriving’. Most of us I think, are familiar by now with the three most widely known survival responses: fight, flight and freeze. Right? You know, if a bear is coming at me and maybe I'm armed to the teeth with some real weaponry or something, I might be like, “Hey, I can take this bear” and I choose to fight.


If the bear is coming at me and I don't think I can fight, maybe I think, you know what? I'm going to hit the road. I'm going to run. So I flee. Now, maybe I've seen enough nature documentaries to know that running from a bear is maybe not a great idea. So I choose instead to play dead. Or maybe I actually freeze up.


I go catatonic, and I just, I just freeze. These are those commonly understood survival responses to a traumatic event. Pete Walker was the first to introduce the idea of “fawning.” That’s spelled F A W N I N G. Fawning, like a baby deer, which he defines as “the please others to get along and avoid conflict at all costs” response.


We see this all the time in abusive relationships like abusive marriages. We see it in cults. Children will often fawn when they don't have the power or the capacity to escape the oppression that their caregivers may be putting on them. Fawning would have been my relationship to those toxic ideas about God. I was happy insofar as God was not pissed, and I just do not believe that that is an acceptable definition of happiness anymore.


Like now I say that's total B.S.. Actually, I don't really feel like I know many people who, if you put it in those terms, would call that genuine happiness. There's just too many strings attached. The choice is between love me and be happy or don't love me and be in torment. Right? That's a non-choice. That is abuse.


It's human, not divine. But just because people put these really scary and hurtful and damaging ideas into my mind when I was a child does not mean that as an adult I am obligated to hate them for that. Certainly, I am allowed to, and I know people who choose for themselves to stay angry or to hate... to be mad, and that's their right.


And it's my right because I can do whatever I want. But what's also true for me in my situation is that I am smart enough to understand and really believe that the people who put that shit on me actually thought they were doing me a kindness. They thought they were helping me. And I believe that they thought that. I get that.


And so because I want more people to love in my life, not less, I have made the choice not to hate them for that. And I think that having some time left in my life to live free and clear of the bad thinking probably has something to do with why I've landed on just moving on. I've only got so much time and energy available to me.


The clock is ticking. I don't want to burn the rest of my life on facing backward any more than is necessary. You know, if there are riddles that I need to solve and get the gold from, fine. But then I want to turn back around and keep moving forward. And so I've been using the strength of character that I've worked hard to develop since I've been healing.


And frankly, to be completely fair, some of that good character these same people taught me, right? Not everything from my past was bad. Not even close, really. There's a lot of good in my back story. You know, we talk about ACEs a lot. Adverse childhood experiences. But some of us aren't always being entirely honest and talking about the PCEs or the Positive Childhood Experiences that are there.


And I have plenty of those, too. So some of my ability to even question and separate myself from thinking is because of the way I was raised as well.


So when I was faced with whether or not I wanted to say anything publicly about how much I disagree now with these ideologies I was raised under, a big hesitation for me was that I didn't want to hurt the people I love by making them feel as if maybe they had wasted their life on bad thinking. For example.


To be very honest, there is a slice of me that does feel a tremendous amount of anger toward anyone who could fail to see that they were also doing real damage to me while they were doing good. And I could choose to dwell on that. I could get stuck there or choose to be there. And I could say, “You know what? You don't deserve my kindness. You don't deserve me being nice to you. So get bent.” Right? I mean, that is an option for me, but I don't feel that way.

There's a bigger feeling in me, a part of me that's been released from bad ideology. It's been released from systems of coercion and control. And I think if it's truly free from coercion and control, I don't personally think I can afford to be bound to ideas like vengeance anymore.

That's an “old god” idea. Deuteronomy 32:35, Hebrews 10:30 Romans 12:19 - You know, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written. Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.” That's the English Standard version (ESV). Like God says in his book to people that he supposedly wrote, “Hey, humans, when it comes to vengeance, don't do it. Leave vengeance to me.” Now, that is a really useful God to force on to your enemies once you have vanquished them and are now requiring them to believe in your God, or it's off with their heads. Sort of like how the U.S., you know, says, “No one better dare drop nuclear weapons on anybody. Thus sayeth the only country who has ever actually done that two times. Do what we say, not what we do.”


And therein lies a clue. It feels really good to people when we fight back. When we get hurt, we want to hurt people back, but we don't want them to then hurt us back. So what we do is we paint this picture of God which favors us getting our way. Then we claim ourselves to be servants of that God carrying out his orders.


“Hey, we're just doing what God wants!” When the whole time we're just raping and pillaging and then wrapping it up by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord, don't rape and pillage us back.” I think if people are willing to be brutally honest with themselves, I think most folks can sniff out human ideas inside of ideology because we're human and we know what we look like and we know what feels good at the base of our nature.


Like, if we say something is divine and then we look at it and examine it for human characteristics, they're actually really easy to spot. It's like when I walk out to my car in the morning, I live near some woods. I might see raccoon prints on the hood of my car and I'd be like, “Hey, there was a raccoon on my car.”


And then I might walk around to the side and see on one of the windows one of my kid's handprints. Maybe they had some goo of some kind on his hand and, you know, boom, there it is. And I could say, “Hey, those are human fingerprints. That's... that's my kid’s. Like, my kid was here.” You know, if it looks like a raccoon print, it's a raccoon.


If it looks like a human ego, if it's petty and small and vindictive and one-sided and lacks the ability to see from a viewpoint that is much higher than, say, five foot eight, is probably human. As I devolved away from believing a lot of toxic ideas about god, that's how I knew they weren't divine. The god you're showing me doesn't live above the universe.


The god you're showing me wears a size nine, and all of these ridiculously small minded characteristics that we see in the on-brand pictures of god match shockingly and conveniently well to the way we show up in the world. And people say, “Well, we were made in God's image!” No, humans from a very long time ago made god.

And so their fingerprints are all over the glass. When there's a predator in the environment, we don't just want to not be eaten by the predator. We want that predator to go away to die. That's a part of wanting to survive. Vengeance really hits for humans because it really connects to and undergirds our survival instinct. I don't believe for a second that god would be that way.

If there is a god. I think by definition, god would not have a survival instinct because god's survival is not threatened. And yet the god we see in so many religions is behaving as if threatened. Vengeance is just to in the mud. It fits too much like a glove on my hand for me to believe that it's divine.


That's a bit of a tangent, but it actually points to a little life hack that I've come up with for myself, which I now use all the time, and that is this: the only thing that I really have to do for myself to prove to myself that the god somebody is trying to sell me is total bullshit, is to just be good in ways that that god can't be.


I just have to be more forgiving. And a lot of times, I am. I have to have less strings attached to my love. And I do. I would never send my kids to hell, not even if they wanted to go, because love doesn't actually let people destroy themselves if it has the power to stop that. I don't need them to worship me either.


If my kids preferred to build Legos in the street or they only ever wanted to eat sugar, or maybe they like to play with real guns instead of dumb old toy guns, I will deny them their free will every time because I love them. Because, compared to my superior intellect, they don't know what's good for them. They’re children. They’re little.


And no matter how smart they may be, they just can't stop me from loving them because that's about my will. And love wins. It is not always an easy way to be to forgive when I'd rather get my pound of flesh. And yet I have managed to pull that off. And so I'm proud of that. I'm proud of me for that.


The god of the Bible tells me that anything my people may have done to hurt me is for him to bring vengeance upon. And I'm actually saying, “You know what? No, thanks. You can keep that petty shit for yourself.”


It was actually my compassion that caused me to hesitate for a very long time when it came to speaking out publicly against this bad ideology that people who I love had poured into me. I didn't want to make them feel shame. Among their peer group, I didn't want them to feel like failures as parents. In the case of my parents; it wasn't only my parents.


We were families being families together through this time, through this religious process. They had their peers. That was the other parents. I had my peers. It was the other kids. There's a lot of infighting, a lot of separating that happens through churches. And I can say, you know, the people from my tribe, I mean, there has been separation, there has been some infighting.

But through all of the years, there's still this core group of friends who have remained friends. They go on vacations together or they hang out together. I mean, they still very much spend time with one another. And I don't want to shit on that by speaking up against the bad ideas. But I had to come to a moment where I realized that, Luke, you are not criticizing ideas that they came up with.


It's not like they wrote a book and you're saying your book is crap. It's not like they made these clothes. These are centuries-old hand-me-downs. And if these ideas are bad and harmful for me or for my kids or for my friends, then they're bad and harmful for my former religious family. Or I could say, maybe they're bad and harmful.


I mean, I do know people who take the same toxic ideas and they somehow manage to make lemonade out of it. If you can get something good out of it for yourself and not, at the same time, put it on to another person and cause them trauma, you know, rock on! You do you. It's like handling enriched uranium.


And for some reason you didn't get radiation poisoning, but you can pretty well be damn sure somebody will. So maybe we shouldn't be handling enriched uranium. You know? So if a stranger deserves to not get stuck in this shit, then I think the people I care about the most also deserve to be free from it. Do I think they will listen to me and feel liberated?


I don't think that's likely. But it's not about them. I can only do my side. And if I feel truly, deeply that it's proper to speak out against bad thinking for the sake of helping a stranger, I have to be willing to do that for my own loved ones at the risk of hurting their feelings. And if we're being fair, how is that any different from the way that I used to be?


I believed so strongly that people were going to go to hell, I didn't care if I hurt their feelings to tell them that because I wanted to save them from hell.


So when it comes to that compassion hurdle for me, I had to realize, like, you're not actually helping them by protecting them from getting their feelings hurt from hearing you say what you believe to be true. It isn't compassionate to keep my mouth shut if people are in danger of being harmed. And because I was harmed and because I am meeting lots of people in the world who are harmed the idea of the harm is not theoretical. It is a fact.


If speaking out can reduce harm, then the compassionate thing to do is speak out. So it actually wasn't that I had to stop being compassionate in order to speak freely. It was actually that I had to start being authentically compassionate. Right. Okay. So compassion, problem solved.


Check.


Now, what about the fear? The fear I had was, “What if those people who I used to believe these bad ideas with come back and try to maybe like, shred me apart?” Right. What if they see me as a threat in the environment? Or to their faith? Their survival instinct kicks in and they try to destroy me in some way.

Right. Or just cause me trouble. My therapist has challenged me semi-regularly, “Luke, people do not take you that seriously.” Like, Dude, calm down. You know, the survival response is really good at producing delusions of grandeur. So I come up with this fear that's, like, worst case scenario. Do you know what I've actually experienced in the two weeks since I released that episode?


Any of the people who might think that I'm a threat to their cherished beliefs are doing exactly what we always did when I was a part of them: they're ignoring me.


It's one of the fundamental rules; a sure-fire tactic for dealing with apostates is to just ignore them. My wife, who gave me permission to say this, she was actually part of a bona fide cult during adolescence, and at one point she got cut off. She was banished. And as part of that, that church community was commanded to cease and desist all contact with her.


Like. Like the flipping of a light switch. She was banished and isolated faster than a fart in a fan factory. And that contributed to religious trauma for her. It was very effective. Great tactic if what you're looking to do is get rid of the apostates. But what is being sold in these groups as “community” really was all about believing the same things or “get the hell out.” And I'll just say it right now, in case you're not getting there yourself....


That's not community. I know that now. And because I'm not limited in that way anymore, because I can be and I am friends with anybody I want to be, I just don't care about that punitive tactic anymore. When I was in the church, we ignored atheists, agnostics, people from other religions. I mean, we had critical things to say about them amongst ourselves.


We were like Statler and Waldorf on the Muppets, you know, up in our little box, feeling self-important and mostly being turds. But we were too busy propping ourselves up to spend any time out in the field, engaging those people. And so that's what happened the last two weeks since I released the episode. All of those people I was afraid might come, you know, come to get me... they either heard what I had to say and said nothing, or they've just ignored me altogether.


And so that thing we say about fear, you know, F E A R: False Evidence Appearing Real. There it is. There has been nothing to fear, at least not with this particular group that I came from. There are some religions, right, that when you speak out against them, they are obligated in a way to put a target on your ass and they will come after you like it's their job to do that.


So I don't say what I'm saying right now with ignorance about that. You always have to evaluate, “Am I putting myself or my loved ones in danger if I say what I want to say?” And then you have to weigh that cost for yourself. If you feel that no one will harm you, if you feel that bad ideas are destroying some of your people, or if you just want to be a part of keeping bad ideas from spreading to new people, I want to encourage you to come out of hiding and find ways to start talking about this stuff.

I think people need us to talk. I think people need us to speak up. US? Who's us? Well, you know if I'm talking about you. I don't know. You know. Before I wrap this up, I've got I've got to say one more thing. Because I was expecting nothing but negative reactions to what I posted., what I'm about to share with you has come as a tremendous shock to me in just two weeks since I posted that episode.


I've had around 20, 25 people... somewhere there... contact me in one way or another. That's a lot for me, by the way. I don't regularly post, so it's crickets most of the time. 20 people is like a huge pile of people, right? People have been contacting me and thanking me in some way for making that episode. Some of those were profound expressions of gratitude.


Some were like, “Hey, thanks,” you know, but I've been getting private messages emails, comments from people expressing gratitude for the episode, and that is not at all what I contemplated might happen. And I received none of what I was worried about. None. So if you're keeping silent because you're afraid, just hear what I'm saying and think about it.

You obviously know your situation better than I ever could. So you have to go with what you know.


From the moment I knew I wanted to start talking about this stuff, it literally took me over a year to actually record that episode because I had fear and I didn't want to hurt the people who I love. Before I could even think about sitting in front of a microphone and pressing record,

I had to fully work through the compassion conundrum. And when it comes to the fear, the fear did not actually go away until some time after I had published the episode. So once I had made up my mind to hit record, I still had the fear. I just had to accept that I was afraid. I had to find my courage and I just had to do it anyway.


In the end, I ultimately felt that there were more compelling reasons to speak up than to keep silent. Chief among those reasons, I don't want to be controlled anymore, not by other people, not by my own fear. So all of that is how I got to where I'm at. It's how I was able to put that into the world.


And I wanted to share that. We don't know for sure whether we're going to get any more than this life that we're living right now. This experience of consciousness. I am starting to open myself up to being willing to accept that maybe there could be more, but we don't really know that there will be. This is what we know and this is what we've got as far as we can tell.


And it just seems beyond tragic... it almost seems wrong... to stay in hiding, either out of fear or out of love. So this is my gift to you this week. Do with it what you will. I would love to hear your thoughts. If you're on YouTube, you can leave a comment in the comment section. If you're on my blog, leave comments there.


You can message me. You can email me. Let me know where you're at, what you're thinking. Feel free to be you with me. If you're hateful and mean, I might not respond back. I won't be hateful and mean back, but I might just ignore that. But if you want to say anything at all, feel free to say it.


And until I do this again, be safe, stay curious, give grace, make love, and be truly alive. Thanks for listening.


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