May 24, 2021 • 1HR 8M

Your Lived Experiences Hold All the Answers with Mike Iamele | Episode 22

 
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Dalia Kinsey
Holistic Registered Dietitian Dalia Kinsey created Body Liberation for All as a resource for QTBIPOC folks who are ready to become the happiest version of themselves, using healing tools tailored for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folx. Since wellness is multi-factorial each season covers a broad range of tools (sexual expression, indigenous medicine, mindfulness etc.) for the pursuit of happiness. Special guests and healers join throughout each season to share their journeys to inner peace and fulfillment.
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Mike Iamele is a Life Purpose Expert + Brand Strategist and the author of Enough Already: Create Success on Your Own Terms. For nearly a decade, his Sacred Branding® system has helped hundreds of celebrities, artists, entrepreneurs, influencers, and spiritual seekers to map their experiences and discover their subconscious motivations, unique brand, and life purpose. People use this work for all kinds of things — from branding and building a business, to exploring identity and sexuality, to finding their artistic voice, to even re-discovering themselves after a life-altering event, like divorce or retirement. 

This episode we discuss:

🌈Why some of us shy away from clarity on our purpose

🌈What comes after finding your purpose

🌈Coming to terms with or overcoming feelings of being too much or not enough

🌈Recognizing your lived experience as the ultimate authority

🌈Learning to decipher your true self vs your conditioning and social programing


Episode Resources

www.daliakinsey.com

Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation

Connect with Mike 

mikeiamele.com/map for a free 36-minute training + worksheet to map your sensitivities 

instagram.com/mikeiamele

facebook.com/mikeiamelewrites


Welcome to another episode of Body Liberation for All. I'm your host and Decolonized Wellness and Body Image Coach, Dalia Kinsey. I help queer folks of color heal their struggles with shame self-acceptance through nutrition and self-care so they can live the most fierce, liberated, and joyful version of their lives.

"Everyone has been made for some particular work. And the desire for that work has been put in every heart." Rumi

The longing that humans experience for purpose is universal and the conditioning and distractions that we receive from pursuing our true purpose and feeling like we're living out our lives as the person we were born to be, is also fairly universal. If you hold multiple marginalized identities, in addition to all the other conditioning that we receive about the norms of the day, what types of bodies are good bodies? What types of jobs are good jobs? What types of interests are acceptable and what is unacceptable? You also are conditioned to believe that you cannot trust your natural instincts because what you naturally do falls out of step with what the dominant culture is saying you should be doing. So simple things like thinking about what's best for the community.

Well, that doesn't really fit in a culture that is focused on individualism and profit at all costs, profit in the face of human cost. All of this leads to the very common experience of feeling like something is just off in your life. Even if you're experiencing success in all of the ways that you were told would be meaningful and would fill you up. Today's guest, Mike Iamele specializes in helping people pull out the patterns from their lived experience that reveal what their purpose has been all along.

I love this conversation. Let's get right into it.

Theme Song: Yeah, they might try to put you in a box, tell them that you don't accept when the world is tripping out tell them that you love yourself. Hey, Hey, smile on them. live your like just how you like it. It’s your party negativity is not invited.For my queer folks, my trans people of color, let your voice be heard.

Look in the mirror and say that it's time to put me first. You were born to win head up high with confidence.  This show is everyone. So I thank you for tuning in. Let's go.

I am so excited to have you here. I was just taken away by your story of authenticity and bravery with so many of us being. Attached to our phones, especially this year.

I mean, social media was big every other year, but this year it really feels like a lot of us are finally finding our voice and finding a way to bring authenticity into spaces that before were about contrived messaging. You know, and being a queer person also, there's another layer that it seems like you have to work through to get to that point.

So can you share a little bit of your story with us? Why have you come to the conclusion that the work you're doing right now is part of your purpose?

That's a story. So you're opening a can of worms here, but you know early on in life, I had a lot of socially validated success. So I worked in public relations. I actually started the PR agency when I was 22 years old. And I worked with a lot of big name people. So celebrities, you know, healthcare politicians, some tech billionaires, and it was great. You know, I liked my job. I worked long hours, but I think if I was being honest with myself, it was really about the validation, right.

It was really the world telling me, hey, what you do matters. And I woke up one day, a few years later and I was vomiting blood. And that didn't stop for months. And so, as you can imagine, I was terrified. I mean, I didn't know what was wrong with me. I thought I was going to die. I was in and out of the emergency room going to different doctors who were all kind of diagnosing me with different things based on different levels, but it was kind of like, oh, there's some autoimmune thing happening here.

That was basically the overarching. And so at the time, I couldn't even, you know, go to work. I actually went to work and I had an accident. I shit, my pants at work, which was the most mortifying thing that you can imagine.

I feel like that's, I don't know if that's everybody's nightmare.

It was my nightmare.

I'm sure It happens to a lot of adults. I feel like we need to sit with that for a moment and like have a moment of silence for that . How did you even work through that? Did you feel like you were pretty confident person, early twenties or not so much?

If someone's really confident in their early twenties more power to them. I don't know many people like that. So that wasn't me, you know, I kind of went along with what the world, told me to be.  Like I was a good writer, so I thought I should do public relations. And so I don't think that I had a lot of unconditional confidence. I had this kind of like, if I can attach to what's praise, praiseworthy and hide the shameful stuff, then I can be confident.

And so no, the answer is no, I wasn't confident. And I remember that moment actually because I was trying to get to the bathroom. I couldn't, and I was just standing there in the bathroom. I locked the door and I just looked at myself and I said, this happened, like, you just have to acknowledge that this happened because.

The more, you don't acknowledge it, the more we can't do anything about it. Like the second that you actually face that this did happen, you have the power to do something. And that took me a few minutes and then I realized I didn't have my cell phone on me. And I thought, oh my God, I can't even like, have somebody help me out of this mess.

And so I said, all right, Mike, you know, you've just got to grow up. And I was shaking at this point, but I looked myself in the mirror and I just had just clean myself off as best as possible, sneak out, grab my cell phone and sneak back in. And so I did that and I texted the office manager to put an out of order, sign up.

I texted some friends to buy me pants and I called the cab and I just snuck out the back door. And, you know, there was, this was a really pivotal moment in my life. Actually. I'm glad you asked about it because I realized at this moment, you know, I can't control everything about the world. And I wish I wish I had a magic wand and I could change a lot of things, but if I can sit and really face this is happening to me then I can have the power to make a decision about this.

And so I kind of at this moment decided I'm going to get better. Like I have to get better. And so as I was going to these different modalities and I started trying, you know, reflexology and Reiki and acupuncture, you name it, changing my diet, going into you know, learning about herbalism.

One of my roommates was a medical professional and he was a guy I knew from college. We weren't super, super close when we moved in together. And the other roommate I had, she had a boyfriend. And so she was often not at home. And so just by default, because he was a medical professional, his name's Garrett, he started taking care of me and he would drive me to all of my appointments.

He would kind of cook dinner because I couldn't get off the couch some days. And about two months into this process, I realized I had feelings for him. And at the time, just to give you some context, I identified as straight and I had only been with women, to my conscious knowledge, only interested in women.

And so this felt weird. Interesting. I was kinda like, I don't know what's going on and I'm kind of thinking, is this just because I think I could die any day now, and this is like the closest human in proximity, like, is this something real, you know, I, I didn't know what was going on. And so I think had it been any other moment of my life, I would have just brushed it under the rug and thought like, okay, I, I don't know what this is, but it doesn't feel sexual necessarily.

It doesn't feel romantic, but there's something here. I would depress you the way, but I did think I could die any day now. And so I thought, well, I have to speak up, like, what am I doing? You know, I'm holding things inside suppressing things, and getting sick. So I need to do the opposite of that.

Well, what was your relationship to sexuality prior to that? Were you pretty much comfortable with the fact that for some people it's fluid or were you living in more of like a cis-het type of world where it hadn't even crossed your mind that not everybody's only attracted to opposite gender people?

Yeah. You know, I think that I've always considered myself a pretty open person. So it was, you know, of course, I had gay friends. I had, you know my friends, I had poly friends, had a whole bunch of, you know, friends of different persuasions, but at the time I kind of thought like, oh, if I'm ever interested what happens, cool. But I'm just not interested was my mentality at the time.

So it wasn't necessarily like I was like, this is the worst thing in the world that happened. It was more like, this feels strange. Like this isn't what I was accustomed to. And so I just spoke up and I said, Hey, Garrett, I don't know how to react. I don't know if you'll have a negative reaction to this, or, but I just have to tell you I feel something.

And that started a few months of conversations where we talked about this and we both had been feeling something and we didn't know quite what that was. And that led to about two years of exploring a physical.

Now, had Garrett ever experienced attraction to men before?

N no. I mean, I think he thought maybe he felt like he could have seen it, but it wasn't. He had actually, he had just broken up with a girlfriend of six and a half years, so we had a very long-term relationship. And so it's possible that because he had been in that relationship, he never really explored being with men, but we started exploring this and, you know, we, we dated women as well.

We were not exclusive at first and over time we, you know, we used pornography to help us kind of explore things that felt interesting without being unsafe and having to physicalize at times where we weren't ready. And I remember the first time we kissed, I felt his facial hair and it was so strange for me to feel like a man's facial hair or someone's facial hair while kissing.

And so it was this long process and long story short, we decided that I know we were really serious and we wanted to move in just the two of us. And I also knew that I had to leave my job, right. Because if I'm vomiting, blood, something is wrong here. Even though I healed myself, something's wrong here.

And so I enrolled in, I gave a year's notice at work, first of all, which I never recommend anyone listening to do, but I was an owner of this company and I thought, well, this is the right thing to do. And so I want to put them in a good spot. So I gave a year's notice and in that year I enrolled in herbal school and nutrition school.

And so you have to imagine I'm going to two schools, full-time, I'm working, full-time, I'm healing myself and I'm exploring my first same-sex relationship without telling a lot of people in my life because we didn't feel ready to, it was by far the worst year of my life.

Now, how did people in your like close circle, like immediate family respond to this major career change even?

Yeah, so there was a lot of fear because it wasn't like I had this solid plan, you know, I made good money in this career and it was kind of like, oh, I'm going to herbal school and I'll figure something out. And so people would just kind of like, what, like, where's the, why would you throw away this amazing career, you know, at your age, very few people have the opportunities that you do, what is going on with you?

You know, I think it helped a little bit that I had such a serious sickness because people kind of understood that, and then I needed the big change, but I wouldn't say it was well-received.

I can just imagine if you would have told like your friends and family, everything, it was like, I'm not really sure that I'm gay, but I'm definitely in love with this person. And also completely changing my job. They would have just really been concerned.

I thought I lost it at certain points. It's kind of like what is going on in my life. And so this year wraps up and it just so happened that Garrett and I decided that, you know, we had told a few close friends, but we were at the point where we were ready to tell our family.

And so just coincided that happened about the same time I was leaving my job. So it was kind of all at once I was ready to go and we told our families and, you know, they were surprised, but I think mostly, you know, positive and accepting sometimes to varying degrees, but everybody got there. And we anyway, so I was kind of this herbalist too, you know, a lot of Boston's tech entrepreneurs because I thought these are people I know I can help them.

And to be honest with you, I didn't love it. And so I thought, oh my God, Mike, what did you give up everything for? Like, what are you going to do with your life? And so I said, well, I've always been a writer. Let me start writing about my experiences. And I wasn't quite ready to talk about my relationship, but I could talk about, you know, redefining success and realizing that I had followed all the metrics the society had told me to.

And I ended up sick and unhappy. And so I started talking about those things. And about three months later after I started a blog, a publisher reached out to me and said Mike, can I give you a book deal? I was kinda like, yeah, yeah. Okay. Does this happen? Not often. Right? Not often. I didn't write a book proposal.

So she said, we want to give you a book deal. You know, we really like your voice. And I was kinda like, oh, okay. So if you're going to pay me in advance, I will write a book. I can do that. And so that was kind of my little career for a little bit. I wasn't doing herbalism and I got paid in advance. So I started writing that summer and I finished the book.

And when I realized I was turning in the manuscript, I talked about my relationship and I thought, okay, I need to tell people about this because yes, close friends and family know, but I can't have people seeing on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. And I haven't told them about this relationship. And so I thought, all right, before the book comes out, I want to tell a lot of people in my life.

And so I thought, well, I've been writing. I'll blog about this experience. And so I wrote it on my blog. And at the time I was writing for another publication that asked me if I would just elaborate a little bit for their publication. So basically, the same thing. I wrote adding a few more details. Okay. I've already put it out there.

That's fine. I'll do this. I wrote it for them. And I went to bed that night. The next morning I woke up and a hundred thousand people had shared it. It was the most overwhelming experience of my life to realize that millions of people are talking about your sex life all at once. Like in wake up to this.

I mean, I remember NPR called me, Huffington Post, Yahoo News. It was really intense. I got literally thousands of emails that week. So some of these were very supportive from people all over the world who I wanted to talk about, you know, bisexuality, sexual fluidity, pansexuality. There was certainly a good percentage that were very negative and a lot of hate mail.

Did you have an assistant at this time or solopreneur? You were literally always through all this.

Yes. Yes. I mean, I did not, I will be honest. I didn't read everything. I got it wouldn't be possible.  I had to, you know, I see a therapist anyway, of course. And so I had to like that therapist got a phone call. We did an extra session this week, you know, I had healers on like, I need help with this.  I was really anxious for like two months this, I mean, it was really intense. And even in my personal life, people like, you know, random Facebook friends or somebody I haven't talked to in years like everybody was talking about this.

And so it was very strange, you know, I think people have said to me now, what did you do to emotionally prepare? And I was like, what do you mean? If I knew this would happen, I wouldn't have written it.  I didn't ask you know, I'm not the type of person I've never wanted to be like, you know, front and center, you know, celebrity.

Like, that's not interesting to me. I worked in public relations behind the scenes. I can support those people. I didn't want to be one of those people. And so it was really interesting and scary. And I feel like also, you know, I didn't feel like I had a lot of street credit in the queer community and I was being asked to speak at pride events and stuff.

And I was like, I don't feel qualified. Or like, I don't want to take that spot from somebody else. Right. And so it was a very strange dynamic for me at the time. We had a little bit of kind of stalking situation with my now husband, but at the time boyfriend you know, it was a very strange time. So this was now six and a half, seven years ago.

So I'm distanced enough that I can talk about it, but it was a very strange time in my life. And so I'm still trying to explore, you know, my sexuality, my intimacy, well, people are talking about it and all the while to your point about, did I have an assistant? No, I didn't really have a business.

Like I wasn't even working as an herbalist. I had a book deal, but I wasn't making any other money. So that person that reached out to you, I can just imagine how much they pat themselves on the back for pitching this idea to you. They're like, look at it, I knew it I'm practically psychic, because how did they even, there was no way for them to anticipate that you would suddenly have such a boom in your reach.

Yeah. I, I don't know. I don't know if she predicted that or she was just kind of like, I like what you're talking about. And I think their publishing house was traditionally very, very esoteric, highly spiritual, and they wanted to move into more kind of wellness and mindset type stuff.

And so I think based on me as maybe a bridge to that but clearly, she is very psychic because you know, this happened. And so, you know, I still felt like such a failure because here we are at this moment where I'm like, I'm not making money. Like people are talking about me, but I don't even have a business model and I don't want to work.

I don't feel qualified to work in this particular arena. And it's not really my space like I just told my story.  This idea of lived experience, I think we'll talk a lot more about that, but I, at this point, said, all right, Mike, you're a branding expert. You can help people with branding. How do these things go together?

You're like, you know, your sexuality and viral article and herbalism and sickness and PR like these things don't make sense. So I went to every life purpose talk you can imagine like I have been on every webinar, I've read every book. You don't know how many times in my life I've heard- you will know your purpose by the end of these 60 minutes.

It was not true, but I've heard that so many times was in my life. And so I, you know, most of these things tell you, you know, figure out your passions, figure out your skills and then figure out what the world needs and find that middle point. And so I thought, okay, let me, how do these things connect? I thought, okay- oh my God, duh, it is so obvious. I'm meant to create a blogging course. And this blogging course is, yeah, it's going to be about helping you get a book deal. Sure. But it's going to be deep and spiritual. And it's going to be about owning your stories and healing, your trauma, and all this stuff. I thought, okay, I've finally connected the dots.

So I had no money at this point, right? Like I was broke, but I thought, I know my purpose. It doesn't matter. I'm putting every dollar into this thing. So I got the fancy lighting kit and the microphone, you know, and the editing software at a business partner at a web designer, you name it like thousands of dollars.

This was my big break. And I put this thing out into the world sure that it would take off. And five people bought it. It was a colossal failure. I lost thousands of dollars and I just thought I am done. I am so fucking done. Like, I can't do this anymore because it wasn't like, you know, in my mind it wasn't like, I just kind of half-assed it.

Like I went for it. Right. I had, I wrote an article, I went for this relationship. I went for love. I left the big job. I like, I felt like I took chances, and the world just clearly told me it doesn't want what I have to offer. It wants to kind of objectify me as this perfect relationship. That's all the world wanted from me, but not actually what I was interested in.

And so I became really resentful of all these people kind of like following me because they only wanted to me to be this poster child for something that, you know and tell me that I would never get divorced or my relationship with, I was like, hey we might get divorced. Like I'm just human here. Right?

 I am not perfect. And so at the time, I thought, well, you know what I want to host a failure celebration. And really the thinking there was, I feel like such a failure, but at least I did something that, you know, brought me to failure. At least I took chances, right? So that's got to be celebrated.

And so to do this, I went into a spiritual group. I was a part of a Facebook group and I said, all right, I'm not successful, but maybe you can be, let me give you the one thing I'm still confident in, which is branding. I'll do these free branding sessions for, you know, six people to fill my schedule.

And I thought tomorrow, I'm going to ask for my job back. I don't know if I have a job at my own company, but I'm going to beg for my job back. And so I give these six branding sessions and I'm used to working with a lot of, like I said, you know, healthcare politicians and tech CEOs, but these were artists and therapists and psychics and healers and all types of cool people.

And I did these sessions and I remember every single session, there were six of them and every one of them ended with them saying some variation of 'Mike, you didn't just tell me my brand. You explained my entire life purpose.' So I'm sitting there like, wow, what the F what are you talking about?

You're like, how's that possible? I've been trying to find mine.

This is the thing I'm trying to get myself. No, no, you're wrong. So I'm sitting there, like, I don't know what you're talking about. All I did was kind of condense these major themes of what you're putting out into a brand. And so I said, all right, well, what do I have to lose at this point?

So I do this process on myself. And I came up with six words and those six words are aligned, zany, free, unmistakable, successful, and vulnerable. And it was just like this click. And I remember sitting there and thinking, oh my God, I've never felt safe to be more vulnerable than I do with Garrett. I've never been like weirder or zanier than I am with Garrett.

Garrett literally thinks I can't make a mistake. Like he's always just like Garrett's type of person. First of all, every human being in the world is in love with Garrett men, women. It does not matter. Everybody's in love with Garrett because somehow Garrett has this way of making anyone who talks to them, like think that they agree with him and that they, that he originally that he supports them like everybody.

And I'm like, Garrett, I don't understand. Like both people walk away really happy. I don't get how this is happening. So anyway, so Garrett has this way of making me feel unmistakable. And as I was thinking, I was like, oh my God, that's why blogging felt good. But the book felt uncomfortable. That's why this article went viral.

Then it just started clicking. Like I can see now the sensitivities that were here and the things that couldn't hold them, that didn't work out, why PR was successful, but not fulfilling. So as I'm kind of having this little epiphany for myself I get an email from one of these women who I'd worked with that day and she said, hey Mike, do you sell what we did today?

You know, my friend wants to buy it. What do you call this thing? So I don't know, like, it's not really a thing. I said it's branding. I would normally call it branding, but you're telling me it's life purpose. I guess it's sacred. I'll just call it sacred branding. I slapped that name on it and I had my first client the next day.

And about three or four weeks later, I had 30 clients. And so I never left PR and I never went back to PR and here we are seven years later. And this work, you know, As really evolved, you know, we've found a lot of work, you know, with sexuality and gender, we've done a lot of work with, you know, we've done work with children, actually views this, which was really cool.

We've done work with people, learning their intimacy language and how to have more fulfilling sex lives. We've had, you know, people who use it to build businesses drag queens getting on TV shows, we have comedians getting comedy specials. I mean, you name it. And what I love about it is that what we're talking about is lived experience.

We're talking about mapping your lived experience because nothing, you know, we are experts on nothing else in life. If not our lived experience, right? We're the only person in the world who knows our lived experience. No one can take that from us. No one can take that away from us. And what we're doing is we're mapping those experiences and figuring out which levers you naturally pull.

Every time you're successful and fulfilled in life. You know, the reason that this relationship is so fulfilling and good for you, or the reason that this job or this little offering or whatever, it's the same reason over and over again. And then we're using your own language. So it's your formula in your words, to be able to articulate who you are, your essence, and then why, you know, that's, I think the biggest thing about purpose and what I get so frustrated with other purpose stuff, is it never answered the question why. The word purpose means why.

Right. I want to know the purpose of something. I want to know the why. So if it can't explain to me why that felt so traumatic, why this worked out over here, why this relationship didn't work? If it can't answer that it's not actually purpose work, it's something else, but we need to understand the why and the why is according to our sensitivities, right.

If I, you know, I get fired up about this, because, so the way we talk about purpose a lot is we'll say things like oh, it's aspirational or achievable. We'll say, oh, my purpose is to be a life coach. My purpose is to write a book. My purpose is to be a health coach. My purpose is whatever, and that's awesome.

But here's the thing. If you can achieve it, that means you can also fail it and that doesn't make any sense. How could you fail your purpose? And furthermore, if you can achieve it, that implies you didn't have it at a certain point. So did you just not have a purpose as a baby? That doesn't make sense either.

Of course, you did what we had as a baby before we had language before we had any conditioning at all, we had sensitivities, right? Every baby is sensitive to things. Some babies are sensitive to music. If a baby's sensitive to music, they're probably going to hear notes that I can't hear. If a baby is sensitive to freedom, they're probably going to feel trapped really easily.

And their whole life always looked for opportunities to free themselves or free others. And these sensitivities are where we literally sense life more. We see taste, touch, smell, hear life. You know, we're going to hold more trauma around them because we experience things deeper. Right? We feel those deeper.

We have more joy and happiness when the split hairs and see nuances and be more experts in these areas. We've seen the highest highs and the lowest lows, right? We've been to the darkest depths of these things and also the highest Heights and they articulate every moment of our lives. And so when we start to understand that it's not hard to know, you know, in my relationship.

If my husband and I, our fight knock on wood. It doesn't happen that often, but let's say it does. And I say to myself, okay, what am I not feeling or expressing here aligned vulnerable. It is. And I'll literally say that was like, Garrett. I don't feel like I can be vulnerable enough here. I just need to speak that.

And it shifts the conversation because I have the language to know what's wrong here and how I can speak up about it. And for me, that's just radically changed me.

When did your self-awareness or intuition get to this level? Was that through the healing work that you were doing as we were trying to physically get better? Or were you always able to pinpoint what you were feeling like that?

Yeah. So, you know, I think that I've always been intuitive. Definitely think every human being is intuitive, whether we suppress it or not is a different thing. I've always been pretty intuitive and pretty sensitive. And that's, you know, to use that word sensitive again, it means able to send some more, you know, people who are sensitive in my opinion, are people who experienced life.

They just feel like they might get their emotions might change quickly. They might be sensitive to something, but they feel life deeper in that area of sensitivity. And so I've always been sensitive. And I think having been that sick forced me to listen to my body and to become even more sensitive to my body.

And then going through, you know, these moments where the entire, you know, a lot of people are talking about my sexuality. It made me really sensitive and made me really, you know, and I think I have the the moment where I could have numbed out. I could have tried to check out from that, or I could have stayed with it and stayed with those really anxious feelings.

And fortunately for myself, I did she stay with it. But even though every failure, when I felt like such a failure, you know, those moments create such resiliency from a, and so I think it just, when I was at this moment of kind of like, what are you talking about? I'm not doing life purpose work and actually beginning to map it, it started to make sense and things started to really click for me.

And I mean, I'll be honest with you. I don't know if you talked to me five years ago, even if I would be giving the exact same interview, I think doing this work and having the language for it every day increases my sense of, Hmm.

So for you is working as an entrepreneur, possibly a spiritual path?

 Oh, yeah. I mean, I think I, to be honest with you, I think everything is a spiritual path. So, you know, the bottom line is when we talk about sensitivities, we only, everything we do in life is to experience an essence of something. Right. You know, I buy this painting. I have behind me, I buy art because I want to feel something.

I want to experience something in my relationship when I have sex. Right. Like I want to experience something. And to me, that something is according to my brand energies, my sensitivities. I mean, I could have, you know, sex that isn't full of essence and fine. That's great. That feels biological or physiological, but it doesn't have this deeper essence to it.

Right. It doesn't feel quite as spiritual. You know, I think for me, materialism is really the purchasing of things, devoid of essence. Right? So like, and that's why we're all hungry all the time. Right? Like we are buying, you know, shoes and we don't really, they don't give us anything or they weren't like, you know, made with craftsmanship or love.

They don't come with a beautiful note. I mean, just think about that. How much. More fed. Do we get buying something off Etsy or from a local artist? And we can feel something versus buying it off, you know, that was mass-produced and there's no shame there. You know, we all need to buy things mass-produced.

I understand, but we were hungry all the time because we're not getting fed in essence. And so it's like, well, I gotta buy this or I gotta get to the next relationship or the next job or the next whatever. And we're looking for something. And I kind of described it as ransacking the temple. It's like, we walk into a temple and we were like, flipping couch cushions.

We're ripping things like, where is the essence? I just want to feel this right? Because it's, we're told we're supposed this job is supposed to make us feel good or this relationship or the Instagram worthy pictures or whatever it is that we're told. And then if we don't feel it, we shame ourselves and we think something is wrong with us.

And rather than saying, Hey, I want to feel vulnerable and free and zany. What's the best container for me to do that. And here's the thing all the time. 75% of the time, when people come to work with me, they're talking about purposes of job, 25%. They're talking about the purpose of the relationship. That's the main way we talk about purpose, right?

People, if you get the job, you have the relationship. And I always say to them, what happens if you get laid off or you change careers or you rake up or get divorced, right? And so often people will come into my work because of those things and say, I need to rediscover my purpose. And what we find is you only had a conditional purpose.

That's not your fault. You know, we are conditioned to believe that. But these things give us purpose, but it was never the relationship with all the power. It was the essence inside of it. And so if I know that, you know, Garrett makes me feel vulnerable and zany and aligned if ever we were to get divorced.

You know that sucks. I would agree with that, but I need to feel these things in my next relationship. And it's kind of like pouring water from one cup to the next, the cup. Isn't the thing that nourishes us. It's the water inside the cup is just the vehicle. And so I say that because yeah, I think entrepreneurship is spiritual.

I think sex is spiritual. I think getting dressed in the morning and dancing and laughing with friends with spiritual. I think anything that truly brings me to that elevated space, that gives me essence that literally gives me life, you know, like the saying but literally gives me life that is spiritual and anything can be spiritual.

Wow. That really resonates. Do you find that once people are able to pin down what their purpose is in general, are those the same things we're looking for and sexual encounters?

 Absolutely. Absolutely. So I'll, I'll, I'll, you know, talk and vulnerable, vulnerable, right. That's why my energies. So, you know, for me, you know, looking, I've actually taught a class on this, discover your brand in bed.

And you know, a lot of people you know, if we want to have really fulfilling, meaningful sexuality, we need to know what our needs are in bed and also our skills or what we share with others. And so for me, you know, vulnerable is one of my sensitivities. I need incredible vulnerability in bed. So we have a rule in our relationship that anything that needs to be said during sex is fair game, like in the sexual energy, once we're in that container, anything, it could be kind of crazy fantasy. It could be something that's obscene. It could be can. None of it is shamed. We can have a conversation after sex, after we're out of that space. But during that experience, sometimes things just need to be said to be said. Sometimes it's not even true, it just needs to come out.

And so for me, you know, I know I'm a master of creating that space and I need that space. You know, when I think of vulnerable, I immediately think of power dynamics and I love playing with power in bed and being able to explore things in a really safe way. Then I've got an energy like zany. Well, of course, we're going to do some roleplay.

Of course, we're going to be silly and goofy and fun. And if I'm not able to experience that, if it's just quote-unquote getting off, then that's fine. That's good. But it's not really meaningful or satiating. It's just. An act. And I think I'm not saying that any of us have to be monogamous or in long-term relationships to experience that we can absolutely have a one-night stand and have these experiences.

Right. It does not have to, but if we know what we need, we can ask for it. We can say, you know what? Like, I really love dirty talker role play. Like being vulnerable in bed, that's something I need. And so it gives us the language and the opportunities to step into this with less shame because I think, you know, like there's a part of me that was like, okay you know, it's awkward or weird, or like, I don't know if everyone would understand it, like how vulnerable I need to be in bed.

And I'm like, why am I ashamed of that? That's the exact reason I'm successful in my business or successful in other parts of my relationship, why would I be ashamed to be who I am? And I think on this topic of, you know, decolonizing deconditioning, one thing I think about a lot is it's really hard to know who we aren't.

If we don't know who we are. And so, you know, understanding that essence, getting really, really clear like this is why actually I'm before language, before conditioning, before all the things that the world puts upon me, this is who I actually am my true sensitivities. And so things I experienced most in life, it's a reclamation of myself.

And then I can say, well, wait, the world tells me that this isn't right now, not true. Right. We can stop pulling it out because now we're saying, well, we know who we are. We have that baseline. So it's not like we're saying, well, I want to, you know, deconditioned myself, but decondition yourself. And it's really, I, at least I found for myself of people I've worked with, it's really challenging because we don't know what's true, then what's right from it.

That definitely resonates because it's like, because it's conditioning starts at birth, it's hard to detangle. What is true to you and what you were told.

Yes. You know, I had, you know, I know you talk about the body a lot and I have never, you know, I had never felt really attractive. I never felt good about my body.

I'm, you know, I'm 33 right now. And literally, since I was 13 years old, I haven't gained more than five pounds. So like, I just, my body is that type. I can exercise, I can eat whatever. It doesn't matter. My body doesn't gain or lose weight. And I know that some people listening might be like, oh, I wish I had that.

But for me, you know, especially you know, being a man and at the time being a cisgender heterosexual man thinking, I was I felt a lot of shame around this that I felt like I was too thin. I felt like I have this big Jewish nose. I don't feel attractive. Right? All these things, these stories I had.

And I remember a few years ago, I've been doing, doing this work for a while, but a few years ago I said, come on Mike, you know, you do this work. Like you can use this work for this. I've seen other people do it. So I said, all right, what with my body would make me feel vulnerable and zany and free. And I thought, well, duh dancing naked in front of the mirror.

And so every day for a year, while the water was heating up for two minutes, I dance naked in front of a mirror, you know, vulnerable and zany really freely dance. And I just looked at my body.

How did you feel the first time you did that?

Uncomfortable, as you might imagine, right? Like, you know, you see, oh, this crease over here and like, it just, you know, you, ‘cause you're when you're in the mood, you see it all right, the flopping and the whatever.

And, and it didn't feel comfortable. And there were days when I didn't want to look, I wanted to close my eyes, but it was two minutes. Right. So I said, I'm just going to do this for two minutes every single day, while the water is heating up, and just look at myself.

And I did that every day for a year. And then at the end of that year, I didn't even at the time notice that this was connected. I booked my first boudoir photo session. And I think that there was, I don't remember an exact thinking around why I did this, but just something felt resonant. Like this was something to really push myself and challenge myself with my body.

And it was the first time I was nude with a stranger in a non-sexual setting. You know, not often you have someone come to your house and just get naked for a non-sexual reason, but we had a little studio set up in my house and I remember he was so great. He had me do a striptease. I was in a bathroom nude underneath, and he had me do a striptease over the course of three songs.

So is the world's longest strip. So it was like nine minutes trip. But by the time that bathroom came off, I was so comfortable at this point, you know? And so I was just new and in-between, you know, clothing and stuff. I didn't care about being nude in front of him. We had this great shoot and I was so nervous and I thought, you know, these photos very personal.

I don't even know if I'm going to show them to my husband. Maybe they're just for me, maybe he's going to see them. And I got those photos back. And I have never felt so powerful or sexy in my life. Oh my God. My mom saw them. I post them on the internet. I don't care. Who's seeing these photos because I felt so sexy and confident.

And I can tell you that was a few years ago. Now I've had a few shoots since then. I can tell you with certainty that there's not a room I walk into where I don't feel like one of the sexiest, most confident people. And I have no idea if other people find me attractive. And quite frankly, I don't care. I mean, I'm sure there'll be glad they say, Hey, Mike, you're not attractive at all.

And that's awesome. That's your prerogative, but it feels like that's about you. That has nothing to do with me that you don't find me wonderful, but I'm really attractive. So that's great that you don't see it. And it just. It changed something within me because I realized these are my sensitivities.

These are how I experience life. So I need to relate them to my body instead of seeing my body through the lens of the media or social media, whatever it is, that's telling me how to view my body. Let me view it through my lens, through my sensitivities. And it's radically different. It changed, completely changed the way I relate to my body.

That's incredible. And that you pretty much coached yourself through that process. And in a lot of ways, I think you almost have to, when no one else is modeling, what does it take for me to accept myself? And I think it's so true that once you can accept something about yourself, It doesn't hurt when someone else disagrees with your perception of yourself like if somebody says something about you and it really pains you on some level, you're not convinced that what they're saying is a lie.

Like if somebody said, oh, you're purple and I don't like purple people. That's not going to phase us. We know we're not purple, but if it's some different kind of messaging, if somebody says something anti-Semitic to you and you've internalized some antisemitism, well, that's really going to sting. But if you love your identities and somebody has an issue with it, you're like, that's a huge problem that literally doesn't have anything to do with me.

Yes. And to be fair for everyone in this thing, it's a really hard thing to do. I mean, it's, especially depending on our lived experience and who we are, we are, you know, indoctrinated with messaging all day, every day from so many different places.

And we know how toxic it is, whether it's the racism, the misogyny that, you know, homophobia, transphobia. Yeah. You name it. And it's just, you know, I think that it's really hard. And so I want to validate everybody with this. It's really, really hard, but what I feel so passionate about when my work is that.

Our lived experience matters, and we are the expert on lived experience. And no moment of your lived experience has been wasted. And so I think I hear this all the time. People will say to me, oh my God, if I only knew my purpose back then, like, you know, I wasted time in this relationship or this job or this whatever.

And no moment by experience is wasted because our sensitivities have always been there. Even if something felt really, really bad, that's beautiful information. That's been telling us about ourselves over and over again, who we actually are. And so we want to take that. I mean, we just have a treasure trove of data.

Our lived experience is just data showing us the same patterns over and over again. And all we have to do is stop mapping those patterns. And when we start mapping them, we're going to see the same sensitivities show up. We're going to see, oh my gosh, every time I've had trauma, I felt disconnected. And every time that I've been really joyful, I felt super connected to people.

We're going to start to see those things show up over and over and over again. And I just think, you know, in this conversation about deconditioning decolonizing, I think purpose is an area that I feel really passionate about doing that with, because there's so much conditioning, right? I mean, if we talk with deconditioning, there's so much conditioning and how we talk about purpose and view purpose.

And if it isn't unconditional again, that word conditioning, if it isn't unconditional, they can't talk about trauma and our happiness, it isn't actually purpose. It's something else entirely. And I just think we're in a moment right now where we're having a real reckoning with wellness and spirituality and a lot of these places right now, and noticing the limitations to how we've conceptualized them to date.

And I just think about it. Can't answer your own lived experience. It's wrong. Your lived experiences, right? The theory is like, that's why we have theories in the first place, right. Theories out to generalize or help us to understand lived experience. But it's based on the lived experience. That's the right thing.

The theory is just there to help understand it. So if ever our lived experience is counter to something we're learning in spirituality or wellness or whatever industry, that's the wrong thing. We're not wrong. We're right. Because we actually lived it. That's the wrong thing. And so that's why I'm so passionate about doing purpose work and spirituality that starts with our lived experience we’re right as we are.

And anything we do from here has to start with that.

I love that. I really see how powerful it is when people are able to show up fully as themselves and how people will gravitate toward them. But it's so hard for a lot of us to get to that point where we can just be ourselves without thinking, how will this be perceived? Is my gender expression gonna rub people the wrong way? Is my target client going to understand if I speak out against types of injustice that they assume I don't care about? You know,  what's one of the biggest challenges that you find people have, even when they're able to get clear on their purpose and recognize it? What is the next barrier?

So many, there can be a few, you know, I, I talk about like, it's kind of like. We think about purpose. Like we're shooting darts in the dark. That's how most of us live our lives. So we're trying so hard to hit that bullseye and the lights are off and chances are pretty low. We're gonna hit the bull's eye.

Right. But once in a while we all do, and we have a miracle in life and that's beautiful and we so happy with it. But even if we do have that miracle, we have no idea what we did or how to replicate it. And so when I do my work, I'm really interested in, you know, mapping all the times in your life. You've hit the bull's eye and flipping on the light switch and figuring out what you did now saying that we know how to hit the bullseye.

Now doesn't mean it's easy. Right? I know when I'm looking at a bullseye, it doesn't mean I hit it every time. I'm not great at darts. So I think that's what we're really digging into now is even if we know, okay, Mike, be super vulnerable here. That's your path to success and fulfillment. That's what you do when you're most successful moments.

It's not easy. It's not easy to be vulnerable in every moment. And I've got my own shit, just like everyone else. Like, you know, if my dad disagrees with me on something and I'm like, Ooh, like, do I want to speak up and be vulnerable about this? Is that okay? It might harm the relationship. And we have to understand that it may change some of our relationships, right?

If we are more and more of ourselves, If we, if our relationships were functioning well, when we weren't being ourselves, totally chances are, they're going to change a little bit. And that's not to say that some people can't grow with us. That's absolutely not to say that, but it is to say that we now have the language to ask for what we need.

And so I might say to my dad, by the way, my dad's a great person. I'm not picking on him here, but I might say to my dad, you know, dad, I need to be vulnerable with you about this and blah, blah, blah. And give him the opportunity to grow and change with me. And if he's not able willing, then I have to decide if I'm going to keep suppressing myself and my happiness to appease someone else or not.

And I don't say that, you know, like a facetiously, like that really is a hard decision. And in some situations, you know, it depends like, do I, am I okay? Like. You know, kind of accommodating this person 2%. Like maybe the answer is yes. In that situation. I don't know. You know, I speak I wouldn't speak to you the way I speak to my husband.

I went to speak to my mom, like, so there are ways I'm going to slightly change my behavior, but that's still feels authentic to me. And so that's where we have to define where that line is, but for sure, it's going to bring up all of our stops. You know, I always tell people when, once you map your sensitivities, that's not the end.

You're not done. That's the beginning, right? That's when you really have to do the work because now, you know the answers. And so now it's about actually embodying and living them. And that's a lot harder to do because I think we sort of like, you know, this lack of clarity because sometimes it keeps us safe from having to do with the hard work.

Oh, that is such a good point. That is wow. That's really powerful. I can definitely see that barrier. And in other people and in myself, have you had people and relationships fall away as you've done this growth?

Definitely. You know, and it's, I think grief is a part of life that we really need to honor.

You know, I think in our culture, we don't always talk about or express. And I think right now we are dealing with collective grief. So in many ways, so it's something that needs to be discussed more, but, you know, I see everything as containers. And so you know, I used the metaphor before of water and a cup, you know, I am always drinking Mason, jars of water, big, giant Mason jars, because truth be told I'm really lazy.

And so I love drinking lots of water. I don't want to fill it up all day. And so I drink out of these big Mason jars, but theoretically, if I went to a friend's house and they, I asked for water and they gave me a tiny cup, theoretically, I would drink out of it because I want the water. I didn't really care about the container.

If you gave me a giant, you know, Mason jar of soda, which I don't really drink, I probably wouldn't drink out of it. I want the water. So what we need to understand is that water is the thing that's eternal, right? Water cycles through all of life, you know, goes into me out of me. And it comes back around the Mason jar.

It's going to break down one day. That's temporary. Every container we have is temporary, including our human form, right? Our bodies grow and change our relationships, grow, change, and dissolve, right? Or, you know, jobs do, this is everything. That means that grief is an inherent part of life. Things are going to grow and change and dissolve and wither away one day.

And that means that we have to experience grief. Right? We have to understand that relationships will dissolve. Friendships will dissolve, you know, Jobs. So the ways we've been doing work will dissolve and that's okay. But our essence is eternal. That's the thing that we always are. That's the thing that withstands throughout every container that we have.

And so for me, you know, I have had to really learn the hard way. I think many of us have how to absolutely love a person outside of a relationship with them. Like I am, there are some people in my life that I love, love, love, and thinking about it makes me sad because there are so many times where this person was so, you know, it's so beautiful and great.

And yet I know that they're not healthy for me. I know that in our current space and where we're at with life they can't hold a container. That's safe for me. And so it's kind of, you know, and I think that grief is important and you know, this for me touches upon also the idea of being too much or not enough.

And I think for many of us we've been told what too much, right. Or not enough, but you know, for me, it's always like too loud, too passionate, too intense, too sensitive to whatever, too emotional. And so, you know, I always describe that again with the idea of the Mason jar is its kind of like, I've got this giant pot of water and I try to pour into my little Mason jar and it spills all over the ground.

I wouldn't shame the water for being too much. Yeah. I'd get a bigger pot That doesn't even make sense. So when someone says to me now, Hey Mike, you're too much. I think to myself, what they're saying is you're too much for me to handle in this container. They're telling me it's the wrong container for me.

Great. They've done the hard work for me. Thank you. This isn't the right relationship or the right friendship. There's no shame on you. This is the container you can hold, but I'm going to go find the containers that can actually hold me. I'm not willing to put myself in unsafe situations anymore.

And so that's all we're doing is we're saying I'm right. My lived experiences, are right? Your container can't hold me. If you say I'm too much, you're just saying that's for you in this container. Beautiful. I'm going to go off to other places doesn't mean there isn't grief or pain in that process, but it means that we stop telling ourselves we're wrong because every time we stay in containers where we're too much or not enough, we're saying we're wrong.

And the container is right.  Hmm, that is so powerful because I think anyone who in any way is interesting, in my opinion, at some point has been criticized for their distinctness and the people who managed to escape all criticism. They either are. Deliberately playing small and all areas pulling punches when they really want to speak up.

Just always trying to conform to what they think other people want, or maybe they really are just extremely boring. I don't know, but everybody, I know that's interesting at some point has been told that they're unacceptable that they're over the top and they need to reel it in, but every pot has its cover.

And why spend your time trying to get people to love and accept you when there are people out there that will love and accept you if you just showed up as yourself. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. And again, it's, it's really hard, you know, I wanna validate everyone. We've been conditioned with this since the moment that we were born.

Right. We conditioned with everything in life. It's dichotomized to what's praiseworthy and what's shameful. Right? So if, you know, let's say this body type is praiseworthy. The opposite is shameful, right? We have this dichotomy of things, right. And we award social validation points according to that. Right?

So if you have these things, you know, you have more political or social power. And if you are these things, you have less. And so we a train since the moment we're born to leverage whatever is going to be validated by society and to suppress or hide whatever is shamed by society. Right? And then we end up upholding the very systems that are harming us because we have bought into the same game.

And so we go breaking that down is a really hard personal process for each of us. And, you know, especially actually, if we're getting this conditioning from our parents, right, that's a big trigger place because it can feel really painful to feel like we're evolving our ideas differently than how our parents have taught us.

It can sometimes feel, you know, disrespectful or it can feel like. It just gets in there on a deeper level. Right? Our parent’s conditioning seems to get in there on a deeper level or our families or our close friends. And so it's hard. Like, you know, I really want to validate everyone in this conversation and myself as well, that it's really hard to do this deconditioning work.

But I think for me, this memory that you never have to try to be yourself. If you're trying, it means you're being somebody else. Like I tell myself that over and over again, because I think about having coffee with a best friend and hours fly by and genius just spills out of me. I am having so much fun and I forgot to try.

Right. And we say the greatest things, and then we have the other conversations and you're kind of like awkward and technical and like, hey, did I say the right things? Do the right thing? And I always say, anytime we're being technical. We have no idea what the essence is. We're like, it would just be contrived right?

To your point earlier. We're not tapped in, but when we're tapped into the essence, it just happens. The tech, the right tone of voice, the right. You know, we don't have to think or try because it's natural to us. And so I want every human being to be in the containers and spaces that are safe and natural to them where they feel like they're just having coffee with a best friend, right.

Why couldn't business look like that? And relationships like who wants to be in a relationship where you have to pretend to be someone else, or you have to try so hard, right. That is exhausting and toxic. And so I want this like this podcast, right? I feel like we're just shooting the shit, just talking, having coffee with a best friend.

And that's where our most natural potent selves are. That's where the wisdom that no one else in the entire universe can give, but us. Right. Because we're the only ones without lived experience. We're the only ones with our essence and sensitivities. So when we are in the zone, we're giving the greatest contribution to the world.

I love all that. And I also love that you normalize for everyone that this is a really difficult process. And even when you first had that sudden surge in being visible and being seen and feeling exposed that you had a therapist to support you, what are some other practices that you found supportive or that you would recommend to clients while they're going through all these uncomfortable feelings that will come with doing this type of work?

Yeah. Yeah. So, you know lots of things. So the first thing I say is to use your sensitivities, right? So like, for me, I wanted a morning routine for years and I just couldn't get it together. Right. I wanted to exercise in the morning.

I could not get it together or at least keep it to consistent. And I said to myself, all right, Mike, What would make you feel aligned and zany and free and all my words. And I realized my husband's always doing things like P90X. Yeah. That overwhelms me, like someone yelling at me. And like, I just, I'm not good.

Like I'm very sensitive, nervous system. I can not do that. So I realized, okay, I've got to feel free. Right. I can't feel like I'm on someone's schedule and not just free in that way. Free to do this. I'm falling on vacation anywhere also. It doesn't cost me money. So I want to do calisthenics. I wanted to do bodyweight exercise because that I can do it anywhere.

It's free. I'm using my body now. What type? Well, types that align my body and especially my vulnerable area. Like my core. Now I start thinking, okay, let me try playing. Let me try this. But also I've got a line with myself. So in between every exercise, I take five minutes to feel my body and feel every emotion that comes up.

I started doing that. There's a whole long story to it, but anyway, That now I've had a consistent exercise routine. I've hardly missed a day for almost three years now. And so that really radically changed things for me. And so I always say, start with your sensitivities, but understandable. That's a big, that's a big loaded answer.

So the other thing that I want to say, especially right now during COVID where there are just so many stressors going on. I always think about the emergency tool kit. You know, I don't know about you or anyone listening, but I know when I stopped to go to a dark place, it can just go down quick and it's really hard to dig yourself out.

Once you're down there, it's hard to dig out. And so I know when I start getting into that dark place, I send off three quick text messages because I know I still have the energy to text. And I send those text messages to three people who I've built a relationship with. And I feel like they can be supportive of me.

And then the second thing I do is I turn on the hot water in my bath. I don't want the energy to get in that bathtub, but I have the energy to turn on the water and send off three quick tasks. And then, well, the water is heating up. Hopefully, I've heard back from people and I've gotten a little bit of support and that gives me the energy to get into that bathtub and maybe do some journaling while I'm in there.

And so, you know, those are some of the tools I really like, you know, every morning I do meditate. I do journal. I love tapping emotional freedom, technique, EFT tapping. Basically, anything I'm going to recommend is free or really cheap because why not? There are so many resources out there. And you know, so EFT is a beautiful one and there are so many videos on YouTube.

I mean, you can just go look that up. Journaling, I always resist and I'm always like, oh my gosh, I feel so clear and therapy. If we can afford it or get access, I know it can be very challenging right now. But if we have that opportunity, beautiful opportunity, you know, I think that it's really just.

Recognizing that whatever we're feeling is normal. I mean,  let me rephrase that, whatever we're feeling is right. Normal can sometimes mean according to norms of society and usually feeling your feelings. Isn't normal. It isn't according to the norms. So whatever you're feeling is right, and you deserve support.

And I think so often we don't reach out because we feel like, oh, am I going to annoy this person? Or, oh my gosh, I'm always dealing with something like this. And. You know, I, I have a story around that. This is years ago. I, my husband wanted to go out to eat at a restaurant and my sister got us. It was a nicer restaurant.

My sister got us a gift certificate for my birthday. And so we have a meal covered and he said, Hey, do you want to go to this restaurant? And I have some dietary restrictions from being sick before and I looked into it and it wasn't very, gluten-free friendly and I didn't love the options I was going to have to have.

And I just, and all of a sudden I started crying and I was like, what is wrong with me? Why am I crying right now? This is so ridiculous. And Garrett is like, we don't have to go to the restaurant. Like, I don't know what's happening. It's like, I don't know what's happening. And so I texted my friend, a friend about this, and she said to me because I had at least enough wherewithal to text my friend.

She said, oh, we just don't have enough words in English for people who honor themselves was like, That's what you got from this like I'm confused. And she's like, well, yeah, you were looking at this place. You didn't want to go. And then you felt really high maintenance and difficult. And all of your stories about that came up and you started crying cause you were beating yourself up.

She's like, but like that's what happened. And I was like, oh, you're right. That is what happened. And so I think at that moment, realizing how much we shame ourselves for shaming ourselves. Like we like just layer it on. Right. What kind of like, I already feel bad. And then I shamed myself for feeling bad and it's exhausting.

And so remembering that we deserve to feel what we feel and we deserve to feel support. And even if what we're feeling is quote-unquote, like, you know, over the top or, you know, overreaction, right. How often do we hear that one and overreaction, you know, like we deserve to feel that that's our sensitivity, that's our reaction.

And. You know, humans are not logical or rational, contrary to popular belief. Humans do not do logical or rational things. We may not know the reason we're doing something, but we have a reason for everything we're doing. And so that's why I'm interested in that sensitivity work because we can start to say, well, why do I feel this way?

What's really going on here. You know, why does this, this feels misaligned for me. Okay. Now I can start to take action. What would feel more aligned for me? And so yeah. I don't know if that answered your question.

Absolutely, you just have so much wisdom. What do you feel the most passionate about in your work right now that you would encourage people to check out that you offer, that you really feel like is giving massive value to your clients right now?

Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, for anyone listening, who's kind of like, alright, Mike, I've heard enough. Like, how do you map your sensitivities? We actually have a free 36-minute training and a worksheet, so you can go through that and you can actually do it's completely free.

Just download the worksheet and you can start to map it. I will admit, like, it's just the limits taste into this work because I do two and a half hours with people, but it will give you an idea and we'll help you to stop do that work. So if that's of interest at www.mikeiamele.com/map you can download that.

The other thing I want to say is you asked me what I'm most excited about and this, well, maybe we have children listening, but I'm excited about, we started doing some work with children and I have a story about this. That's really exciting for me. So about two years ago, we did our first experiment with children.

And of course, I use someone close to me. So my niece and she was six at the time. And she, you know, I had to really figure out how no kid's going to sit for two and a half hours. So I'm going to make this like 20 minutes. Right. And bringing some Disney characters and whatever. And so we did this and I was just experimenting with her.

And one of her sensitivities was quiet. And then I thought, well, that's interesting. I didn't think much of it. And so she went on her Merry way. And then about a month later, I got a call from my mom. And my mom said, you will never believe what happened today. I was like, okay, what happened? And she said, well, my niece was at school at a kindergarten.

And a little girl was bullying her and saying, you know, you are like awkward and shy. And like, he didn't have to talk to anyone and something's wrong with you? And she said, well, you know, my uncle told me that one of my superpowers is being quiet and that's why my superpower was in life. And it's okay. I bet you have superpowers too.

If you talk to my uncle, he could tell you your superpower. And I just thought, huh, miraculous. And you know that again, goosebumps, that's something that really excites me. I'd love to, you know, bring into schools because imagine when I was six years old, you know, and someone said something about me that I was different or I felt uncomfortable or whatever it means to

And I had that fear, but no, this is my superpower. And you have a superpower too, and you don't have to bully anyone. You can feel good about yourself with your superpowers. Like, it just felt so good to hear that. And so that's something that We're slowly moving in that direction, obviously with schools and COVID right now, that's not moving, but it's something that, you know, in the future, I really want to pursue as like an afterschool program or something, because I think it could be really fun.

I could see that being really lovely because so often school is where you learn to reject yourself constantly. As other people bring in their concept of normal as taught to them at their house and how beautiful that she could see. Yes, I'm distinct, but your criticism is about you not understanding how I'm special and having that space to not feel really broken down, but also not angry at that other person's aggressively opinionated statements about what is acceptable, what is normal. Yeah, that would be amazing. That's going to be exciting to see. I know so many kids need this.  What part of the country would you be focusing on? Are you in the Northeast?

I'm in the Northeast. So I'm in Boston. So obviously, you know, we'd start here. Although my sister actually does some amazing work in Charleston. So she lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and she has helped to bring Montessori education to the public schools of Charleston this city schools. And so it's completely free for kids to be able to go to, which is awesome.

And because you know I'd love to bring this everywhere, but I think Montessori would be more open to it initially because it's free. Right? Exactly. And it's free to the community and it really serves an amazing population that it would be a place that I think she has some inroads won't be able to help me get it off the ground.

So hopefully one day it will be in Charleston, maybe.

Oh, I love that. This has been so wonderful. One final question. If there was one thing you could say and everyone who hears it will understand it, internalize it and carry it with them for the rest of their lives, what would you share?

That's a tall order. You know, I think this idea that your lived experience matters, you are the absolute expert on your lived experience and your lived experiences, right? So if anybody questions it or tells you different or that what you experienced, isn't true, including a theory.

So not just the human, but including a theory that is wrong, you are right. And you never have to try to be yourself. If you're trying, it means you're being somebody else.

Mm, that is so good.

Okay. Today I know that you must have had some epiphanies. Please reach out to me, reach out to Mike and share those with us.

We would love to hear what came up for you. I love Mike's focus on intuition and turning your attention inward to figure out what direction you should be taking in life. And that reminder that none of our lived experience is ever wasted is so refreshing to hear because it's so normal, it's so common to feel like we're behind once we should have had these breakthroughs in life earlier on I've included all of Mike's links in the show notes.

I hope that you will connect with him. Also remember the best way to keep up with everything that's going on with the show and to get guided meditations,  self-love and self-help content that's centered on QTBIPOC people delivered to you every other week. You want to be on the mailing list.

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