Welcome, everybody, this is Brian King, your guide for the tour of the brave process. Hopefully by this point you have listened to or watched the first lesson in the very process, the be in the process, which is bearing witness to whatever comes up in your experience, whether it be thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, just whatever is present for you. And then completing that wonderful little free and more question worksheet at the end. And then some of you joining us here who completed that exercise to bring up any questions that you have. So I can shed some light on the exercise so that you can experience it at even a deeper level. So with that, Nicole and Shirley are joining us today, and I open the floor to your questions.
Well, I was intrigued by the material, it kind of it
opened doors in my thinking that I things, I think I've heard it with other language that didn't go through as well. So that was really helpful for me. And I'm curious how this process of bearing witness to yourself, which is is one of the things that was talked about in the lesson, not just bearing witness to others, and I've got all kinds of experience and understanding about listening skills and, and bearing witness from a non judgmental place to others, but less so in dealing with myself. And it seems like that was maybe a critical piece of this. And the question is, how does this overlap with what I have heard called, like re parenting, parenting yourself?
That is a beautiful question. Surely, you're actually one step ahead of me. Because the next lesson that we're going to be hitting on which we are going to be recording next has to do with the stuff that's coming up for you. What's the origin of that stuff? And what you're going to find is a lot of that stuff came from how we were parented. And then later on in the break process, what do you do with how you were parented if it wasn't the way you needed to be parented, and then we start doing the repair work. So the bearing witness part surely is the allowing the stuff that is the product of how you were parented to be seen, instead of Oh, that was hurtful. Let's shove that back down where it was. Just like opening your front door and allowing the cold air to come in.
stuff you would normally hide from our run from letting it in, letting it to be seen. And seeing it as a witness. As opposed to the person it's happening to go ahead and call Are you saying that you decide that your relationship to it is different than the relationship you've always had with? The relationship you're used to is, these are my feelings. This is happening to me. So you're being done on to the relationship you're having now is you are an observant right, you're the observer. You're watching it, you can imagine it on a TV screen or a large screen. My favorite metaphor is that you're sitting on the shore of a river. And all of the action is happening in a river. The thoughts could be bubbles that are coming up in the stream. The stream is the stream of life. Everything is flowing along. sticks. Small leaves, always moving, constantly moving, always changing. And you are not in the river where the water is happening to you hitting you in the face. There's all this stuff coming at you know you're not a participant anymore. You're sitting on the shore, watching it all tapeless so your relationship to that experience changes you know, you're not alone. Car Accident, you watched it happen.
That can be a really tough when you feel like you're in a car accident can.
That's why it's a process. It's one of those things that you practice as opposed to flipping a switch. Yes.
I have found it really challenging. to step aside, I am usually coming aware as I'm thrashing around in this river myself trying to keep from drowning. And even becoming aware that I need to step aside or it would be helpful for me to step aside is hard. And it keeps me often in a survival place. Which is not helpful for my long term life. But it's really hard to turn that around. Are you right handed or left handed? right handed?
So if I suddenly told you to start writing with your left hand From now on, that would be tough. Yes, it was. So what you just described is a very similar experience. You've been relating to something one way for the longest time, and all of a sudden, I'm suggesting you shift. And do it completely differently than you've been doing it? Yeah, that's gonna be disorienting.
Yeah, but this also makes me think a little bit about perspective, like going back to your river analogy. And then like, you're in there, and you're thrashing, right, but like, it's not the ocean. of you. Rivers aren't usually that deep. So if you just take a moment and stand up, you realize, you know, okay, it's not that bad. And then you can get to it. Right? Does that make sense? So just adjusting your perspective a little bit, I
think, just to throw something out to look for the for thought, in the larger scheme of things, using the ocean metaphor, the splashing around in that context, would be like the wave trying to get out of the ocean. It can't, right, because it believes it's separate. Get me out of here, I'm drowning. This is too big. I shouldn't be in here. But it doesn't realize it's part of the larger process. It belongs there. But it believes itself to be separate. But if it knew how it actually fit, and played its role, everything will go smoothly. And bearing witness, a big part of it is not resisting the unfolding of the story. Whether it's yours or someone else's.
So it's the resisting that probably lends to that thrashing, feeling, the feeling of being overwhelmed and over your head,
is anytime you step in, when someone's telling the story, you're suggesting there's something wrong with how you're showing up. When someone puts an emotion out there, and you try and comfort or correct or guide, you're saying what you're doing right now is wrong. Don't do it like that. Do this instead. So someone gets the subtle message that feeling like the way you're feeling is problematic. And they begin questioning, second guessing, whether it's right for them to feel the way they're feeling. And that all of this is conscious. because keep in mind, our survival instincts happen in the brainstem, the lizard part of our brain, free three main parts of our consciousness, our conscious mind where we believe we make all of our choices. Many of them are automatic, our subconscious and unconscious. All three of those levels inform the way we respond to our world. Your mosquito bites you in your hand goes over to slap it. That's automatic. There's no pros and cons. discussion going on in your brain. It's just what. So your decision to respond, impulse, whatever. Those are things you can bear witness to
So it's like not judging yourself. Like when something happens, like something happens like you do something. And then you tell yourself, oh, that was a bad decision. I'd be like, wait, stop. Hold on, like what led to this? That's kind of what you mean.
What led to it is next. So we're not doing that yet.
So we're just saying like, Okay, this just happened. Like, I'm not judging myself. It's not good. It's not bad. It's just something that happened.
Right? Something just came up. Isn't that interesting?
That's the most that. I think that's the hardest part. Because that's what we do. Right? We judge ourselves, but I can't believe I just did that. Right. And that's what we that's where we have to catch ourselves in that moment. Like, I can't believe I just did that. Wait. Right. That's where we're bearing witness. Right? Yeah. And you're also catching that response. Boom, this thing happened. Ooh, this response happened to interesting.
And you simply acknowledge, and the announcement is where you stop. You don't embellish. You don't tell story. You don't value judge. That good, bad, right? Wrong, ugly, beautiful, nothing. This happened, that happened. Interesting. We know. And then other stuff is gonna come up. A thought sensation of feeling interesting. Doesn't matter if it's good, bad, right or wrong, up, down, left, right? It happened, okay. And you just let it come up. That's in the larger scheme of things. One of the big takeaways of this process is less reactivity. Can you experience what happens to your body without freaking out about it?
Because I was just sharing with somebody this morning. In fact, one of my Facebook groups, for professionals. It's called help, my client is neurodivergent, as the name of the Facebook group. And I shared the little nugget that not only do people with neuro divergence, tend to see the world as a threat. But we have the physiological response to that threat, tension, maybe shallow breathing, which sometimes can make us feel short of breath, or tension somewhere in the body. increased heart rate because of nervousness, well, guess what, we feel that and we feel anxious. So our physiological sensations that are responding to the world being threatening, we find those sensations threatening, and we respond to those sensations. So it's in Buddhism, referred to as the second arrow experience, you get hit with an arrow. So you freak out about the first arrow, holy crap, I hit that shot with an arrow. Now you're suffering because you're freaking out about the arrow, it's like a chat with a second one. So what the little nugget I gave in that group was, you need to take care of the second problem before you take care of the first one. Because if you say to somebody, man, you got to change the way you're thinking about the world. You got to stop thinking the world such a dangerous place. Okay? I'm not thinking clearly enough to say, the world is not a dangerous place, because I'm too busy freaking out because I miss reading the sensations in my body, and I need to learn how to be at home in my own body first. work from the inside out. Then I can start worrying about the body. It's like, if somebody is emotionally or sensually dysregulated. And you want them to go out and learn the new dance moves. Right? What is the likelihood that's going to happen? It's not let's teach executive functions, to somebody that has poor self esteem. Can't remember has a poor sleep cycle. You know, they're dysregulated other ways. Not gonna happen. Help them to comfortable in their own skin first. So if you can bear witness to your experience, and really reduce your reactivity to it, and remain calm. What are the chances you will stay grounded enough and clear headed enough that you can act in life from a place of calm focus? Just by learning to bear witness. This is just the first step.
You know that thrashing in the river? It's exhausting. Yeah.
And not just for your arms, no, your everything, everything you can, it can take away from your morale. Have you ever felt that? Surely? Oh, yeah. Like, what the heck am I doing this for? What happens when you start thrashing and just observe it. Because when you're when you're able to bear witness, and I sense that the two of you have experienced this almost accidentally at some point in your lives, when you were just present with the experience. You were immersed in it and just having it. Right where you almost felt like you weren't there was just the experience. ever have that? Pull. Yes. So when it wasn't you anymore, meaning it wasn't personal? Because there was no you anymore. How much thrashing was taking place in that
moment? Usually happened when I was all thrashed out. It's just so exhausted that you just, yeah, that's a very good way to say it.
But have you ever had a positive experience like that, though?
Well, they become positive in a moment, because you realize that all you had to do was let go.
Interesting. So you reached one extreme, where it had to become the opposite.
Cuz you're so tired that you find it that it go and you're like, wow, I could have saved myself two weeks of like heartbreak if I had just like, not been so worried about it. That's how I have it.
I love the direction this is going. Letting go, you reach the point of exhaustion. You just have to let go. You can't hold the weight, or hold the rope anymore. Right? letting go. Another word for that is surrender. Another word for that is trust. One of my big practices that I've been working on lately, and I actually did it this morning, is to consider just how much of the way the universe the world however you think about it, you can actually trust to take care of itself. Such that you can let go of the anxiety you hold for fear that you need to be ready for something. Oh my goodness, when something goes wrong, I need to be ready for it. And what I was going through my mind this morning, I wanted to get as personal as I could. I was thinking Can I trust the cells in my body? to nourish me, keep me healthy. Keep me feeling good today. And I want to respond with an emphatic Yes. Can I trust my heart to beat? Can I trust my feet to carry me can I trust the air around me to be there when I breathe because I want to be able to give up as much need for control as possible. So that I can just let go of that need to protect myself and feel currency. I want to feel more at ease, you know. Because the the news that the media sources, if they had their way they would have me terrified all the time. I don't have any interest in that. So I'm looking for reasons to trust. And I'm deliberately choosing the word trust, because that is something people today are so terrified to do. So some of the things that are safe to trust, are the things that we know are hardwired into the way things work. The sunrise and sunset, the air that we breathe, the blood that's pumping through our veins, the fresh food that we eat. reminding ourselves we can trust that certain people, maybe not so much, they can be flakier, but as much as we can remind ourselves, that all around us, we are witnessing things that are trustworthy. What can that mean for us? Yes, like learning to make tiny trust deposits using your cell. Oh, I love that. That's deposits. That's really super easy. Speaking some trust upon Yeah, that's awesome. Surely were you gonna say something
I was I as I listened to those things that you were describing, you know, I have a hard time trusting those things. I've some of that is my, my age perhaps. I've got friends within a few years of me dropping from heart attacks. I'm not particularly feeling trusting in that I'm, or in the body in general. I just went through a rendus bout of systemic Poison Ivy, it was just horrible. And for me, as I as you were listening those things I was saying, you know, I don't really like Nah, don't trust that stuff. That's that's definitely Donald trust that stuff. It's that stuff. I trust that I thought about gravity. I can trust gravity. I do trust gravity. Go with that. So I can go with that. Maybe that's my tiny trust deposit. There you go.
Know, what you lean into for trust surely does not have to be the same stuff, I think. But the key is being able to recognize just how many things you don't need to worry about. Yeah, because one of our most anxiety producing activities is looking for opportunities to control. You know, it's one of the reasons why people get nervous start suddenly cleaning or rearranging, tidying up, because they're looking to control something. But the more you acknowledge that there are things that are taken care of themselves, and could be trusted to do so. I don't need to micromanage myself, I don't need to check every tree and say, Are you producing enough oxygen? Are you really trying your hardest? Most things take care of themselves. And I can be confident they will continue to do so. And I can just be at peace with that. And the more that I can say that about stuff, the more that I realize the only things I really need to pay attention to the side, besides you know, taxes and all those obligatory things.
is the degree to which I live my values? Could you say that again, please? The degree to which I live my values?
You know, am I going to show up and stand for what I say I stand for? Or am I going to be flaky or hypocrite for some other form of that. Because that's truly what I want to be able to commit to I just want to be able to show up. Be the change I want to see in the world. You know, I had this conversation with my eldest last night. Because we have a same sex couple of neighborhood. Very nice couple. And we were talking with them last night, my wife and I and my son comes out. And he being the unfiltered asked me that he is he says you to a couple. And they say yeah, he says, that's great. I always said we live in a society where that wasn't a problem. And people could just be, you know, and I just was, you know, I system. And I explained later I said, you know, why should you? He said no, I said, because we were just talking to neighbors. I said we were not having a conversation about diversity, or social justice, or discrimination. You were just talking to our neighbors. I said, if at some point, we're sitting down, and that topic comes up, that's fine. But in that moment, that was not the topic. I said, here's a recommendation. One of my favorite quotes from God is Be the change you want to see world. said if you want a world where people are just people, and we shouldn't have to make those divisions and labels or whatever, I said, You behave towards people like that's the world we already have. And you don't make a big deal out of the fact they're same sex. That's what needs to happen. And that's what my wife and I were doing. So in that instance, bearing witness to the fact that Oh, he's There are a couple. All right that that's a fact. Story, no embellishment, no value judgment. Here it is. And the cherry on top of the sundae. They adopted a black boys deserve a little boy teething boogers running down his nose, one year old turn up and down the driveway, their family. And I don't have to say that they're gay family, I'll have to say that their unconventional family, non traditional, their family bearing witness. It's just what it is. It's the story that complicates us.
So one of the things that we are bearing witness to perhaps is the kind of unspoken presence of the stories that we've been told forever by everybody. When we are going through this or that that's part of the complication. That's part of what the resistance is rooted in. Is that always stories?
Yeah. And luckily, what you're going to see when you're bearing witness is a lot of these biases and prejudice that pop up things that your brain is going to want to assign to this experience. Oh, it means this, and it's an indication of that. Even stuff that you don't know, has been impressed upon you. Because we are surrounded by the systemic bias that's in our culture. You see it in all the marketing, you hear it and how history is taught in the classroom, how it's talked about on the news, the political bias, depending on which news network you listen to, in which politics you zoom in on, there are agendas everywhere you go. So when you're bearing witness to someone else's experience or your own, he went to the shoulds. What are their shifts? And what are your shifts? Because when you're trying to help him fix and all that stuff, that's all the shooting going on. You're trying to shoot on someone else, and you're shooting yourself.
Wonder what he's so full of shit. While you're bearing witness, you're seeing all the shirts and they want to compel you to do something. While you're bearing witness, you just see him, oh, there's one of those shirts. Alright. And you are not compelled to react? Because you're a witness. You're not thrashing about. You're just observing. This is a really, really. Thank you. Welcome.
And I think one of the things that I've learned now in this in this conversation, I guess, something that clicked is how many different ways they can how many different occasions we can bear witness to ourselves, like, it's not, when this happens, you better witness as they get these feelings. Like if you start feeling yourself getting clammy, or your heart starts racing, or you can't breathe, like witness that what's going on, you know, or if there's a thought that pops up, or if there's a situation that happens, like, there's so many different ways that we, we bear witness we like, you know, it's a win win opportunities, yeah, to bear witness to it. So
it's a way of being with your experience, being very present with what's coming up for you in real time.
Yeah, cuz then you're not worried about the past, which is great depression, you told us and then the teachers anxiety like, you're right, you're right now you're living life like this is what exists, right?
Because when you're present, is, you'll typically know that by a change in how you feel, you're gonna feel much calmer and more grounded. When you're in the present,
typically much more content. When you start to get riled up in any form of fight or flight, you know, you've drifted somewhere in the future or the past. And there also tends to be greater curiosity, when you're in the present, because you're seeing all this stuff pop up, and you're like, wow.
One of the things that's coming up for me is how have I never noticed this before? Because I'm noticing new things. And I'm like, because it's always been here, like, I've never seen this before. So like, you know, like, in all the work I've been doing, one of the things I've been doing myself has done is, you know, it's helping me notice, see different things, observe, you know, new things that have always been there. And I just didn't, you know, I was so open here, that I couldn't appreciate it.
It's because we spend our lives in storyland. That's what I listened to a talk by Roshi. That's a Japanese word for a Zen master. And he referred to that as storyland. When you start getting caught up in the narrative, event bearing witness, and then you just say, Oh, that was so neat, it reminds me of that time when other ideas start going off into that, and you're out of the moment. Now you're going back into the past, even if it's a pleasant past, you're still out of the moment. So storyland is where we can get caught up in those places that can rile up stuff that's not useful for us.
One thing to keep in mind is that bearing witness is what keeps us grounded in our life as it happens. And it reminds us that we are not defined by past experiences. Because those things don't exist here. Anything that you can tell me happened in the past, oh, but there was this time I said this to this person that made me a bad person. And there was this time I made this mistake, and it makes me dumb, really. Whereas anything that's to happen here, show me doesn't exist. The more you bear witness to what's happening here, the more you remember, none of that stuff exists here. That stuff is not my life now. What is my life now is hopefully, the person who has been or is being improved by that experience, not the person who is destined to repeat that experience. So big difference. So if you are the one who has done better,
what is there to be depressed about? What is there to be anxious about? Because the only thing that exists here is opportunity to do better.
opportunity to discover opportunity for new things. And anything that you're gonna be learning in this process.
Please remember, it's not a destination. It's a process. These are things you will do throughout your life like eating, breathing, self care. It's part of how you live. It's part of how you process your experience. It's not like okay, I got the gold medal. Now I can go get fat. This is part of what get keeps you tuned into life into your experience. So you can live with ease. You can live as peacefully as possible. Even when you're experiencing your strongest emotions. That's where we're leading. So keep practicing with it. And remember, it is a practice. Some days bearing witness may be challenging than others. But okay. Some days or some nights I sleep better than others. I'm not going to quit sleeping just because I'm imperfect with it. Man, I spilled something on my shirt I was eating screw that I'm never gonna eat again. I'm a total pig when I do Follow me. Yes, imperfection is part of how we live. It's part of our design. And we just bear witness to that too. So keep practicing, keep asking questions. And by all means, once we record lesson two, and show it to you, watch that, complete the worksheet, and we will come back. And we will do a q&a for that lesson as well. So I'm not gonna plan
on yet, I just want to ask, surely, did you have any questions about the worksheet? So we can go sign off?
Well, the first two pages were simply answering questions kind of I did it kind of in a journaling kind of a fashion that was really helpful to me. And the third one looks like really great. And, and the Christian tradition, we have this thing called examination of conscience, and the 12 step groups kind of took that on to, I think that would be really helpful for that, and not as oriented to mistakes as some of what I've experienced in the past. And I really think it's good.
Now, I'm unfamiliar with that, is that something you can send me a link to?
Yeah, I'm sure I can find something about it.
Maybe we could look at that, Nicole and see if there's a way to incorporate it a little bit. For sure. We're always looking to improve. Okay, thank you very much, really. And Nicole, thanks for remembering about that. So carried away with everything.
No, no, I just want to make sure because that's one of the thing, you know, one of the parts of the lessons. That's important.
And it was really nice to be able to type my answers in it. I didn't have to print it out and do a hand thing. And now I've got paper. And you know, that was really nice to be able to do it in this new worksheet and downloaded into my computer. So I have it and that was really helpful. That was very practical.
Yeah, we aim to please. Good, good, good. All right. Well, thank you both so much. This has been enjoyable. And I trust helpful. So enjoy your weeks. Reach out if you have any questions, and let's keep moving forward. Okay. Thank you very much, everybody.