EP87 Freedom from Fear and Anxiety
In today’s episode Keith talks about overcoming your own Fears and Anxieties through the process of staying.
[0:00:13.2] KC: Welcome to the Business of Life Podcast. My name is Keith Callahan, your host and today we’re talking about something that is near and dear to my heart. Sort of something that I’ve dedicated my life to focusing on and helping others because it’s something that I have definitely struggled with at times in my own life and yeah, something that I have learned a lot about and it’s overcoming fear and anxiety.
Excited to share with you today, sort of some new practices that I’m doing and what I’m going to do, I’m going to tell you a little bit about a story that happened to me this morning. Just a realization that I had and then I’m going to go into the work that I’m doing right now, particularly I’m going to talk about a meditation teacher that I have been studying by Pema Chodron.
And a couple of resources that I recommend, even for people that don’t meditate, it’s just awesome stuff. I actually heard about her through Seth Godin listening to a podcast with Tim Ferriss. So I’m going to talk a little bit about those resources then I’m going to dive into the roots of all of our suffering, the roots of all of our fears, all of our anxieties, all those things that cause suffering and I want to also share with you our ability to release ourself from that suffering and how to do it.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today, we’re going to dive in to actual how to stuff, how to overcome these fears and these anxieties and then we’re also going to talk or first I want to start off with that story that I had mentioned and also share a little bit about the work that I’m doing, the things that I’m studying right now with Pema Chodron.
This morning I was dropping my kids off to school and as I — let me take one step back, I got off this morning, I worked out, I have a home gym, worked out in the home gym and after I worked out, I came upstairs and I’m doing this meditation practice. Right now I’m doing twice a day, two 20 minute meditation seats a day and yeah. So after I work out, I meditated, went downstairs, made a quick shake, jumped in the car, driving the kids to school.
Got to school and dropped them off and I got in the car and I was pulling out of the parking lot and I don’t know if it was just the interactions with the people I had this morning or what but I had this really overwhelming sense of sadness that came over me and I was just so sad about the amount of suffering and what each one of us is up against in our mind every single day. With this meditation work that I’ve been doing, it’s deepened my practice and it’s deepened my commitment from my life is to really live life at the highest level and one of the things that I am just really focused on right now is having total control over my mind and I’m going to dive into that a little bit deeper.
But what I mean by that, it isn’t that I control every single thought, it’s that I am not swept away by my thoughts and I’m in control of me, not my thoughts in control of me so I’m not having thoughts and then react. Does that make sense? Anyways, yeah, I was driving out of the school this morning and I was just — so many times we can get frustrated with people and we can get angry with people and we can be disappointed with people and we can’t understand why they do the things that they do and I just had so much compassion for people this morning and it was really rooted in the fact that we have a lot of work.
Like as human beings, especially in our western society and we haven’t been taught the skills to not be puppets of our mind, we haven’t been taught the skills to be present every single day, every single moment and we haven’t been taught the skills to really be able to live without being controlled by our mind and without all the suffering that comes along with that. So yeah, I was just really — had so much love, so much compassion, so much understanding but also sadness at the same time and whatever it is that you have going on in your life right now, know that we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the celebrity on TV or the guru or the monk or the priest or whatever it is.
Everybody, we’re human beings and everybody has this same condition where our minds are just constantly sort of going against us. They’re very critical, they’re very analytical, they’re very judgmental and the good news and I want — this isn’t all doom and gloom, the good news is I’m going to share with you today some of the techniques that I’ve been using to free ourselves from that suffering, to free ourselves from that mind that just keeps beating us up, right? So yeah, that was my morning and as I was having that both compassion and understanding and love and also sadness at the same time for what people are up against. What our brothers and sisters, everybody that we interact with throughout the day, what they’re up against, I just had compassion for everybody and I realized I was like, “I want to share a little bit about that and share a little bit about the things that I’ve been doing that can help.”
First off, I want to just mention again, the woman that I’ve been listening to, her name is Pema Chodron. A few of the things that I particularly have been working with, I think that any audio that you get from her is awesome and these are not really meditation audios, it’s really ways of working with your mind. The first one is the audio book called Getting Unstuck, awesome, awesome book. The subtitle is Breaking through habitual patterns and encountering naked reality.
This is an amazing audio book, this is actually the audio book that was recommended by Seth Godin on Tim Ferriss’ podcast that I mentioned earlier. She really talks about in that audio book, the different ways that we get hooked, what she calls is hooked and the different ways that we get hooked and what she means by hooked is, whenever something happens in life that scoops us up emotionally and we lose our sense of stability, we lose our sense of grounding, we lose our sense of rationale right?
You know that, you’ve had that happen right? Something happens whether it’s — so what happens is we get hooked and then once we’re hooked, we usually turn to something to get away from the uncomfortable feeling. Let’s say that maybe our turning towards something is TV, maybe it’s social media, maybe it’s drugs, maybe it’s alcohol, maybe it’s food, maybe it’s exercise. We do something to remove ourselves from the present moment and to get away from the uncomfortable feeling.
We get hooked and we do something to get away from that present or that feeling. A lot of times, when we’re doing that, we unconsciously remove ourselves from the present moment. So check out that audio book, Getting Unstuck, I’m explaining a little bit about what she talks about in there. The tools that I learned from there is just so valuable and I’m actually going to talk about them a little bit more when I go through the teaching for today.
The second thing that I have found really valuable, a lot of people say that they don’t know how to meditate and I actually downloaded, I’ve been meditating for a few years now and getting a lot deeper into meditation. I just downloaded a meditation app, you actually have to pay for this one, I think it’s $10 and it’s called, How to Meditate with Pema Chodron. Yeah, if you’re curious about learning how to meditate, it’s a five week course but it breaks things down very simple, very basic, starts you off with short meditations like five minute meditations and really teaches you about how to meditate and there’s all different types of philosophies on meditation but this teaches you how to meditate and teaches you how to be present with everything that’s going on in your life. Check out those two resources and yeah.
I want to talk about three things now. The first thing I want to bring up is that all — actually, before I say anything, I’m going to go through some tools and resources that are working for me right now as I really had to go through an evolution with my spiritual path. I’m just not able to — my spiritual path used to be, I would go away for two or three weeks at a time and do long ceremonies, spend the weekends at ceremonies. I’m just not able to do it as much anymore with the kids.
Sort of two things with the kids and it’s also a very physical path, it’s with the — I have lyme disease and I have continued to sort of, I wouldn’t say suffer with lyme disease, I’m very aware of when my symptoms rise up but one of the things is when I get really tired and fatigued, it really kicks in and whatnot. Yeah, for a few different reasons and then one of the things that I’m really working on now though is working on meditation and working with this work with Pema Chodron and working on being present. We’re going to talk a lot about that.
But the reason I brought all that up, the reason I wanted to start with is listen to some of this, take what — this is stuff that’s been working for me. Look at it, explore it and this isn’t like the end all, be all. I’m just going to share some stuff that’s been working for me in my own personal practice with four kids and with the craziness that just comes along with life. So I hope this helps, I hope it can shine some light on some things that may be beneficial to you.
The first thing is, we started with how to get free from fear and anxiety and the first thing I want to note is all suffering comes from our attachment to our thoughts. Let me just repeat that. All suffering comes from our attachment to our thoughts. When I’m talking about suffering, I’m not talking about pain, pain is inevitable. If you fall and scrape your leg, you’re going to have pain, we don’t remove that, I’m not talking about putting ourselves in a bubble and not experiencing pain. What I’m talking about is removing suffering. Suffering comes from perpetually playing the story over and over in our minds. Suffering comes from the attachment to our thoughts.
I just want to sit with that for a moment because it’s really important, I’m going to lay this out in three steps but the first step is understanding that. The second step is our ability to stay present, our ability to stay present is what will either help us to eliminate suffering or increase our suffering. Our ability to stay present. I started talking about the different things that Pema teaches in that book or the audio book.
What happens is we have certain things that arise and they make us uncomfortable. So there’s certain situations, it could be talking in public, it could be whenever you see an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, it could be dealing with the in-laws, it could be the work or spousal or children. Whatever it is, we have these thoughts and our ability to stay present is where the freedom comes. So we have this fearful thoughts, we have these anxious thoughts and what we usually do is we usually run, right? This is fight or flight.
We usually run but it’s not in the physical sense, sometimes it’s in the physical sense like sometimes it’s so much, “I just got to get out of here,” right? We run by avoiding the feeling and there’s so many different ways that we run. We run by eating food, we run by consuming alcohol, consuming nicotine, we run by getting absorbed in our kids. One of the ones I’ve really noticed lately, two things that just popped into my mind, we run by, we have a break and instead of just being and being present, we run to our social media.
This is the inability to stay present at its very root. We’re so uncomfortable right now as a society that any break, any free moment, what do we do? We pick up that phone. Our inability to stay present increases our suffering, sometimes we run to all different things but it’s basically, it’s removing yourself from the present moment and getting caught up in something else. All right, step number three, how to stay. It’s tough right? Sometimes we have certain things where they make us a little uncomfortable, we have certain things that make us really uncomfortable and then we have certain things that they totally just blow us out of the water, right?
So how do we actually stay? How do we actually stay present because here’s the deal, if you stay and if you feel the feelings, they’re going to be a little bit less next time? Two things are going to happen, they’re going to be a little bit less but you also become empowered. One of the most powerful words in your vocabulary, in your spiritual life, in your evolution is “empowerment”. When we stay through an uncomfortable situation, when we don’t give in, when we don’t cave, we become empowered, each time we stay, we become more and more empowered and here’s is the magic when we stay, the next time, it’s going to be a little bit less and a little bit less.
Let’s say that you’re uncomfortable, I don’t know, whatever it is. You’re uncomfortable driving and usually you use some type of distraction right? It’s kind of scary but texting on your phone, getting lost in thought, listening to music, all that. It’s not that bad but we don’t become more and more comfortable driving when we’re doing that. When we sit present moment, we stay in the moment, we feel the un comfort. Next time it’s a little bit less, next time it’s a little bit less, next time it’s a little bit less. I hope I’m doing a good job describing this, describing the difference between staying and running.
As I’m going through I’m sharing this podcast, I’m doing the car example, I would say, I was thinking to myself, “Maybe that’s not the best example?” I want to see if I can give another example because I really want you to get this piece. So let me give an extreme example because this will make it a little bit clearer. Some people get claustrophobic, right? Let’s say that you go in an elevator and it makes you extremely claustrophobic. And your mind starts racing, you’re counting, you can’t wait for the thing to open up and that was just horrible, right?
The next time you get in it, you remember the last time and you are — and then this goes on and on and then you start avoiding elevators all together and then you avoid elevators so you avoid something else that makes you claustrophobic and you can see how our attachment to our thoughts compounds over time and it gets worse and worse. There’s a way to detach from them, there’s a way to feel the feelings without continuing the narrative because here is the key point in this whole entire thing. It’s not your thoughts that are the problem, it’s your continuation of the narrative.
We have this fearful thought, and then what happens is we continue to feed it, we continue to think about it, we continue to focus on that story, we continue to go down that road. Here is how you don’t go down that road: It’s too easy steps. The first step is you realize you’re down that road and some people call this noting, what you can say is like, “I’m thinking.” I call it I’m going coo-coo or I’m having a monkey mind or my mind’s going crazy because that’s what it is, it’s crazy right? This stuff that happens to us, these fears that cause these anxiety, they’re not rational. We think they’re rational and in the moment they’re totally rational and they come in and they’re so strong and they’re so powerful, they want to hook us, right? Here’s how you get out of it.
First of all, you recognize that you’re in it and then you lean into the feeling of it. It’s in the feeling nature that our power is born. It’s in the feeling nature that our power comes into us. Because what happens most of the time is something like this happens, we obsess about it, it’s getting worse, got to run, got to hide. Here’s what I want you to do: Something happens, it causes that feeling, you recognize it, you recognize what’s happening with your mind. It doesn’t matter what it is, it doesn’t matter what the thoughts are. The practice is feeling what’s currently going on in your body because once you get in to the feeling, you stop the pattern of the thinking.
This is like a Ping-Pong game at first because you get in to the feeling, it stops the pattern of the thinking. The thinking starts again, you get lost in the thinking. You move back to the feeling, stops the pattern of the thinking and then you move back to thinking right? It goes back and forth. What I want you to do is make a commitment to always come back to the feeling. It’s in actually staying and feeling the fear, feeling the ability, feeling the wanting to run, wanting to hide, wanting to go someplace else. Feeling it, leaning into it ever so gently, ever so slightly.
Doing this with gentleness, doing it with compassion, doing it with a little bit of humor is a good thing to throw in there, a little bit of humor. We lean in and we feel and we can take a deep breath and breathe and we can do it again. What happens there is you bring yourself back into the present moment. You bring yourself into your power, you accept that feeling and it’s in the acceptance of the feeling, its’ in not wanting and not needing the feeling to go away and not needing to run from it that it loses its power. Sometimes it’s going to be a little bit harder than others, sometimes those thoughts just come bombarding in, right? Then sometimes it’s a little softer.
Here is the work though, one more time. It’s leaning into the feeling and feeling the feeling and having faith that that’s going to go away. Then we get caught up in the mind again, we get caught up in the thinking and our natural thing is, “Oh my god, I got caught up into thinking, I can’t be thinking, it’s making it worse,” all this, that. Just be gentle with yourself. Realize that you’re thinking again. Make that note, call it thinking, call it monkey mind, call it coo-coo mind, whatever it is, you make that note and then you go back to feeling. The feeling isn’t thinking about the feeling, the feeling is just feeling. Feel what’s going on in your body, feel what’s going through it.
All right you guys, I hope that helped, I hope that it provides some insight for you and gives you a tool to work with. Check out Pema’s works, check out those two things that I mentioned and again, even if you just check out the audio, Getting Unstuck, that is not about meditation, it’s about everything that I was talking about and working with it in the real world. Have a beautiful day and we’ll see you on the next episode.
[00:18:06.7] KC: Hey, Keith here, and today I have a free gift for you. Listen this free gift is a list of the 12 most influential books that I’ve ever read. These are the books that have helped me to create the mindset, learn the philosophies, learn the skills to really create this big, beautiful, life that we’re living now.
I read a crazy amount of books, I really do. I’ve probably read thousands of books and these are the top 12 books that – they’re the ones that I go to, they’re the ones that I work with over, and over, and over again. They are highlighted, outlined, dog-eared. And I put this list together for you because I want it to be a shortcut.
I don’t want you to have to – you don’t have to go out and read the thousands and thousands of books. These are the 12 that I highly recommend. I have a detailed review for each book, explaining why I recommend them, why I like them, when I worked with them in my life, what part of my life they helped me to improve.
So I put this together for you, and made it super each for you to get this list. All you have to do is send a text to the number 33444 and then in the body of that text, type in “12books” with no space. So that’s the number “12books”. Again, send the text message to the number, address it to 33444 and then type in “12books” as the message and just send that. And that’ll get you setup to receive those top 12 most influential books that have had the biggest impact on my life.
[00:20:10.7] KC: Today’s episode is brought to you by our sister podcast, All About Beachbody Coaching. So All About Beachbody Coaching really allows us to do this podcast without having all those annoying commercials in the beginning for you. So All About Beachbody Coaching, the Beachbody business that Amy and I run, actually funds this podcast.
So yes, it does cost money to run this podcast, we do not charge you anything, we don’t throw in commercials or anything like that, it really is, it’s funded by our business and by our other podcast, All About Beachbody Coaching. And for me, I’m just eternally grateful for this opportunity because it’s allowed me to really create the life that I love to live.
It’s given me the opportunity to do what I want, when I want, with who I want, and even deeper than that, it’s allowed me to help others to create the same for themselves. It’s allowed me to help hundreds of other people become part time or full time Beachbody coaches, to leave that corporate 9 to 5 job and create passive income in their lives.
And really there’s nothing like that. It’s cool when you have success, it’s so much more rewarding when you help others. So I mention this or a few reasons, the first reason is, that’s actually the way that I work with people and mentor people. I don’t do anything outside of Beachbody coaching because I know that it’s such a powerful life changing tool.
So if you’re curious about working with me, interested in working one-on-one, interested in creating the type of life that you wanna live, I suggest swinging over there. The other reason is, even if somebody’s just curious, like you’ve heard about Beachbody, you know there’s a lot of Beachbody coaches out there. Maybe some of them you get a little annoyed with.
It really dives into what this business is really about, which is life transformation. So if you’re just curious, swing over there. And then the other piece is, if you’re really considering becoming a Beachbody coach, I highly, highly recommend you listen to that first.
Alright, much love guys. Again, that is the All About Beachbody Coaching Podcast, our sister podcast.
[00:22:37.5] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to the Business of Life Podcast. Apply what you learned today and you’ll be one step closer to creating the life you love to live.
© 2016 The Business of Life