GodXP Spiritual Fitness

Rev. Jennifer Dawn Watts: Progressive Christianity, Addiction Recovery, and Mastering Ego

April 18, 2022 Anthony Polanco
GodXP Spiritual Fitness
Rev. Jennifer Dawn Watts: Progressive Christianity, Addiction Recovery, and Mastering Ego
Show Notes Transcript

Jennifer Dawn Watts is founder of QFaith, an LGBTQ affirming Christian faith community, and Living Well Counseling located in Alberta, Canada. certified professional counselor and progressive Christian pastor. She has a new audiotherapy course out on the 6 types of emotions with Dr. Steven Brownlow & just released Season 3 of her podcast - Recovering with Jennifer Dawn Watts. She has 3 counseling locations in Calgary Alberta. She is the founder of two faith communities, one in Canada & one in LA rooted in the 12 Step model. Find Jenn's work at jenniferdawnwatts.com , recovering.podbean.com , qfaithcommunity.com , https://twitter.com/jennwatts , https://instagram.com/jenniferdawnwatts 

The GodXP Spiritual Fitness Podcast: Level up your spirit, realize more power. Join us as we talk consciousness, spirituality, mental health, psychedelics, psychotherapy, self-realization, and personal development to inspire advancement in our lives.  This is the #1 consciousness expansion show. Together we share stories and seek to discover applicable truth and wisdom for life. With your host Anthony Polanco: Music artist, depression recovery author, and former Christian missionary-turned-meditation coach. Follow us on Social Media: @wearegodxp on Twitter, IG, Facebook and https://www.godxp.com

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Okay, welcome everybody back to the god XP spiritual fitness podcast. I am your host Anthony Polanco. If you're looking to level up your spirit, realize more power, you're in the right place. This is the consciousness expanding, enlightenment increasing. Show that we're here for you. Today, we're very lucky. We have the powerful, Reverend Jennifer Don watts. She's a certified professional counselor, progressive Christian pastor, and a recovering addict herself. She's got a new audio therapy course on the six types of emotions with Dr. Stephen Brown low. And just recently released Season Three of her podcast are covering with Jennifer Don watts. She has three counseling locations in Calgary, she is the founder of two faith communities, one in Canada, one in LA. And they are rooted in the 12 step model. You can follow her on Twitter, Jen watts, Instagram, at Jennifer Don watts. And visit Jennifer Don watts.com. To learn more. I'm a big fan of her Twitter account. And you can find links in the description for all of these, Jen, I'm so glad that we are able to do this. How are you doing today? I'm doing good. I'm happy to be here with you. So it's kind of been hit and miss trying to get each other on the schedule. But we and we talked about this before recording, but the more energy that we put into making this happen, the more you know, potential, it has to be something special. And I think it's no small thing that you made it here. I really appreciate you meeting me halfway on this with all the rescheduling? Yeah, it is so nice. We were talking about before. And I think for your listeners to know too, that, you know, my supervisor says if you're if you decide you want to do something, the universe will test you to see if you're serious or not. And he says it's not so that you can prove it to the universe, it's so that you can prove it to yourself. And so for me, I've noticed lately that when I want to do something, there are obstacles there is resistance either within me or from the outside, but it's resistance. And so to be able to persevere and especially when you're making something with someone else that you are able to persevere as well. It's very meaningful. So I think it's actually a good thing. I think it's a great place to open. For anyone listening that also is trying to do something meaningful. It doesn't mean that you're not supposed to just because it's difficult. Yes, absolutely. One One of my favorite tweets of yours. I went through them last night and you said living an authentic life almost guarantees being misunderstood. being misunderstood is only a problem if we don't understand ourselves. How do you feel about that? Did I say that? We're just getting? Yeah, I'm feeling that. I think for me, especially growing up, I was really misunderstood in my family of origin. And I was a young child. And so I was constantly being defined by my mom, who struggles with personality disorder issues, and just other family members who were really oriented around image perfectionism. And so yeah, as a young, joy filled, spirit filled child more artistic, more creative, that isn't welcome, you're supposed to stay in line. And if you don't, you're misbehaving or there's something wrong with you. So for me being misunderstood was this wound or this button, and when people would misunderstand me, I will get really defensive and really caught an ego. And so I finally did find a therapist who is able to help me really start to understand who I am, and my own power, and what it means to be authentic, what it means to be real. And when I could experience that person, being really self reinforcing, like you don't, it's rewarding within itself, once somebody starts to feel that you don't really have to coach them much more, because it just feels so good. And so the more that I could feel what it was to be real, that would overpower other people's shaming reactions or misunderstandings, it just felt so good to tell the truth. And some of that I had to do in community and recovery. So I definitely don't think I could have done it by myself. I think some of it was therapy. Some of it was recovery. I think about the first meetings I ever went to in recovery and to be at a table with people where it was a BS free zone. And people would say Oh, I used to drive around drunk with my kids in the car and at first I wanted to shame them I want to be like you don't tell people your parents raise your you're gonna get killed out there. You sort of like that everyone will shame you. But they had all learned to ground and to be within themselves. And then I started to have who I really was mirrored back to me and that it's perfectly okay and there's a reason there's an aim for it, because you're not the first person who's done it. And so yeah, I really started to feel what it felt like to be authentic. When you start to do that, I think that the culture and all the expectations and norms that I would call the lie, that really tries to push you back into place, and so you will be misunderstood. And it only becomes a problem for me. When I don't understand myself fully, and I start to believe that lie, I start to believe that mirroring or that reflection, then I'm in trouble. That becomes a problem. But as long as I understand myself, who I really am and what I'm here for, it feels like that's just noise, right? Yeah. So that's kind of what initially drew me to having you on the show, you have changed this life of yours into one where you can live authentically, and help others who feel like they're on the fringe, they're being misunderstood by society can't find their way to living that authentic life. And you can't really get it from society, you call? Is that what you call the lie? Just for listening to society? Yes, the lie? Well, it's interesting, because the community that I started if people have their own definitions of the lie, so I would be just as curious of what you think the lie is. Yeah, I think of it as like illusion, what they call Maya. That's kind of what I think of. Yeah, I think for me, when I was a psychologist, and like working with clients, I really saw it come up in what they call cognitive distortions. So it was like, people were believing these thoughts that weren't really true. But when cognitive therapists helped them to list those, they could come up with evidence either for or against, and they would start to see Oh, my goodness, like the evidence for is very small, the evidence against a strong, this actually isn't true. And they could come up with something that was a lot more true or authentic. So that cognitive distortions for someone who's interested in psychology could be the lie. I think, for me, I do believe in darkness, like I believe in light, but I also believe in darkness. And so I feel like there is an energy that is like magnetic, it pulls me away from what I believe in what my values are. And so yeah, sometimes people call it falling asleep. And so they're not awake and spiritual awakening. And it's really intoxicating. There's a lot of times where I'll feel drawn into my iPhone, or I'll draw it into shows or even image what it means to be a beautiful woman or those kinds of things. And so, you had said something earlier about living completely authentically or something, I would never claim that personally, like, I haven't been able to do that. But one thing that is different for me is I'm definitely more authentic. And I'm able to name when I'm not living fully, authentically as well. So even though I can't do it fully, at least I can own it and name it, which often feels risky, my friend and I, he leads a spiritual community too. And we were talking today. And we were just laughing because we said, oh, let's FaceTime and then I said, What are you doing? And he said, Oh, he goes, I'm just coming out the store. I'm like, oh, where were you? He's like h&m, and I just started laughing. I don't know why we were just like, hilarious, but he's like, at h&m. And then I had to let him go, because I was like, getting my eyebrows tweezed. Serious. I'm like, we're still caught, even though we're trying not to be. But I think the differences is that we can name that and we can laugh at it. And we can ask questions and be like, Well, where is it? Because sometimes, when people are trying to, I feel when people are trying to overcome their ego issues, sometimes they will do things that are very restrictive. And really, all they've done is have a better disguised ego. So if I just stopped doing my eyebrows and stopped going h&m, it wouldn't mean that we've necessarily overcome what the root was of it, we might just be being perfectionistic and trying to be the new perfect thing that we think is spiritual, right. So yeah, it just feels at least the next step to be able to talk about those things. Yes, yes, I would say that the success is just trying to live the, you know, the being on the path of living in an authentic way. And it's funny to hear you say it because a lot of people would be surprised to hear spiritual leaders say that the ego is always at work, there's no escaping it. And you can peel layers off peel layers off, and it's just always there. And that pursuit, it can make you feel like your go, you might be going down, up and down on your spiritual path. So how do you how do you reconcile that for people in your community for yourself? The relationship with the ego? Hmm, that's such a good question. So a couple things. One, I've heard people say things about smashing the ego or something like that. I don't really think of it in that way. One story that was told to me is that my voice coach, he said, if you imagine a child went into the backyard, and wanted to make you a cookie, and got the dirt and got some water and made this little mud cake and stuck, like the green tops of the carrots in it and put it together brought you the cookie, like, the child is trying to do something good, even though you're like, No thanks. Like, I don't want this. And so there is something for me about recognizing that my ego is trying to protect me, there is something about being part of the tribe that is really important as humans. And so me trying to look a certain way, the eyebrow thing, or my friend being at h&m or other ways, because it was my voice coach explaining it the times when I get anxious at speaking events. My ego is trying to say, be quiet, you're fine, don't put yourself out there, this could go badly and it could really hurt. So I appreciate that part of me, it got me through elementary school, it got me through high school, it got me through difficult relationships. And so making friends and loving that part of myself, but also just being able to say thanks for the feedback. And I do feel like actually discovering my own voice and sharing that more where I could be helpful is the path I'd like to go. So I'm going to try in spite of the risks. So it's a more friendly relationship, I think for me, and I think the other thing too, is what you were saying about the up and down are the two steps forward one step back that kind of idea. But just reminded me of a story. The first four years I was in practice, I specialized in anxiety disorders with people all over the world. And they were very severe. And I had this one client who was actually tracking their progress on these certain homework exercises. And when he made a graph, he was just good at those kinds of things. And when he made the graph, it was exactly like you said it was up and down and up and down. But he was smart enough that he knew how to insert a trendline. And when he put the trendline in it actually was progressively going up in a really gentle way. And so I think there is something about if we changed as fast as we hoped, I think we would scare each other. I think we need consistency as humans. So I think it'd be really scary if everybody was changing that fast. So there's something about this steady growth that is happening. And that's what I love about 12 Step. They just say if you're willing, it's working. And so I just show up one day at a time I worked the program, and then probably people who knew me a year ago or three years ago or five years ago, would notice a difference in my energy or approach even though I might not. And it might seem like there's bumps in the road. Right? Right. With the 12 step model. How did you land there? How did you decide? Was it your own transformation that made you realize this is this is the tool I want to use to help people? Yeah, so it's interesting when I talk about this, because I can feel the riskiness in it. So that's a good example for the listeners that swim on your being more real. And the reason that it feels risky to me is because my 12 Step journey was unique and that I thought it was alcoholic for a very long time. And I don't identify as alcoholic anymore. And actually the people in my life when I went didn't think that I was either. But the reason that feels risky for me to say is because I'm probably in Mill 2%, or something, most people that do go to AAA are alcoholic. So I've been afraid to share my story at times, because I don't want to if people are working on that program, and it's working for them, I don't want to be the one that convinces them go have that drink, and then they go crash their car into a garage. But what I've learned is that my story is my own and I have to own it fully. And as long as I can say that, then people need to take ownership for their own lives and why they may or may not choose to go to a program like that. But that is part of my story. So I was married at the time. And I was working as a counselor, and I was feeling the need like every day after work to drink. And I would even when I go home and not go to the same liquor store, I would get home and I'd be home for about an hour and I would come up with a clever way to say to my husband, Oh, you wanted to try that new beer didn't eat or whatever the thing was, and then he would go get it. And that scared me a lot because both of my parents were functional alcoholics. They worked and had really good jobs, but they drank quite a bit. And I didn't want my children to see that I didn't want them to see a parent who needed a drink every day. I didn't want them to see a parent who didn't know how to have fun or enjoy like a Friday night without alcohol. And so yeah, I started to feel fear. And I did tell my husband like I said, I can't I don't think I can go a day without this now, and he's okay, well, that's not good. And so yeah, I felt like I needed to try I have to be open. The other thing that happened to, and I don't know, you can probably share this in your journey as well. But there were these other things that happened along the same time. And I think when the universe is trying to tell you something, these other, it keeps coming up repeatedly, like, the universe knows that we might not get it the first time. So it comes up in themes. And so I had a client who was in program at the time and a 12 step program, I was in my 20s, as a therapist, and I was quite successful. And so I really thought I knew a thing or two. And I remember feeling very confident with most of my clients, except that one, and the stuff she was learning in 12 step was like better than the stuff that I was telling her. And I was like, this stuff is amazing. Like, you just should go there. And so that stuck with me. And then yeah, this the fact that my alcohol usage was increasing, it was just enough to scare me. And so I started going. And I was terrified I, because I identify as Christian and I did at the time, Christianity was like a mask I hid behind that was kind of this mask of I've got it together. And then being a therapist was like a mask of I got it together. So I was like, what is going to happen if I walk into this place, and people see that I'm falling apart. And it took a lot to get there. And for anyone listening that has addictive tendencies, whether it's gaming, or whether it's gambling, or whether it's pornography usage, or whether it's drugs or food, I have issues with food as well, or even codependency, it is so hard to go to your first meeting. And I'm so grateful that I went. And what I found when I was there is I found this BS free zone. And it was the one place where I couldn't just talk my way out of something. And I was used to being able to do that. And it just didn't fly in that room. And so it was scary. But it was really life giving. And I felt it was so attractive. The fact that people were that honest, I thought man, if church was like this, everyone would come if it wasn't this fake thing where people pretend that they're perfect, but it was this honest, everyone would come. And I don't know that I'd started church like that. And everybody didn't come in. But I did. I didn't think that at the time was funny. But yeah, and so it was it was that it was the honesty and then it was the love. Like, it wasn't the typical codependent love, like when you're in a church, and all of a sudden, people see a newcomer and they sort of glob on to you. And they want you to become a member or say the magical prayer or something like that. It was like, we care, we're here for you. Here's our phone numbers, call us if you need anything, but they weren't going to track me down or kind of jump all over me or that sort of thing. What I found, actually, I think now that I reflect on it is intimacy. I found community and we you and I talked before about part of what you're doing with your community is is forming community, right, for those of us that are refugees, of our original faith groups, we still want to hold on to something in terms of faith. But maybe that type of group didn't work for us. And so where do we go, and that was a place for me to go. And I found, yeah, Kenya, like that brotherhood, that fellowship of love. And that's an amazing feeling to be a part of a tribe where you agree with their values. And yeah, so then I stuck with them. And then I learned to live life on life's terms with which whether you identify as alcoholic or not to go completely without substances and like free of all medication that was like a trip in and of itself. I mean, that was totally, it was crazy, because it wasn't, it wasn't like some weird boy, I'm gonna be Christian, I'm gonna be a good person. It was like, I learned to live life on life's terms. So there's something about that time as sober as I could be from any type of medicating that I had to face a lot of feelings within myself a lot of anger, resentments a lot of things I didn't think were even true about me, I would have told you that no, I've forgiven everyone, I'm fine. Over time, I realized that it is a program of rigorous honesty. And I felt like I was trying to fit in by exaggerating my stories with alcohol, just so that I could belong and that felt dishonest and lacking authenticity for me. So the big book says, If you're not sure if you're an alcoholic, why don't you go out and try to do some controlled drinking and then you'll see so I did exactly what it said and I was okay and I actually didn't want it a lot of the time but I did find my way to the groups I did belong and identify more with and so that was issues with eating that I have and also with codependency love addiction. And it was funny because when you're at the right meeting when you're like even more embarrassed like I was like, happier to say I was like an alcoholic than like a reader. Yeah, like okay, this is these are the real people. This is something vulnerable for me. And still I have coded codependency issues that would be like my primary and I'm still working my programs. So the other thing I really like about recovery is they say we're not cured of this spiritual malady we have so this attraction I have to lie. What we really have is a daily reprieve based on events of our spiritual condition. Everyone's running around like chickens with their heads cut off screaming that the sky is falling. But if you and I were born 200 400 or 1600 years ago, the chaos disorientation and confusion would still be there. There's nothing new under the sun. there's anything I've learned from reading history books. 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That's a part of the game. Are you ready to level up? Wake up from the shit quit playing around, go to death mastery.com right now. Use code God x p 20. And get 20% off your next camp. I'll see you on the other side. And so you know these that some people don't even track their time even in AAA, they just say whoever got up first this morning has the most recovery. So you found the right. rehabilitation for yourself? How did you know that? That was what you wanted to use as a tool to help others. What was the moment where you were like, You know what? I want to help others with this. Yeah, so I would say that a few things. So when I was in program, they often said things like, we alcoholic struggle with resentments. Or we alcoholics are selfish and self centered, or we're undisciplined. And I remember the therapist and he was like, this isn't just you like, this isn't unique to you, like people are like this. So I felt although I love that my friends with that particular addiction, were willing to own that. I also felt that other people could benefit just like the client that I had mentioned. And I heard people in program saying my friends wish they had a group like this because it's so amazing to come for sit for an hour, be able to unpack your day, and just be honest for three minutes and have people listen to you. And they see that the program isn't about quitting drinking. It's about learning how to live. So if we don't know how to live with these really strong feelings we have or with feeling disconnected or feeling lonely or lacking Kenya lacking intimacy, we're in pain and our spirit and so of course we try to medicate Of course we try to like numb out and watch shows or look for things that will make us attractive to others to bring people closer whatever we do to cope with that pain. And so I felt like whenever you find something great they talk about like in the book The Tipping Point they talk about mavens but those are the people that like when TOMS Shoes, nobody knew about them, they're the people are like, Oh, these shoes are great, and they're telling you everything about TOMS Shoes, right? So I'm one of those people that if I experienced something great, I totally want to share it with others and and want them to experience that too. So I wanted people to experience the honesty. I felt like it was a program that made a difference in my life differently than therapy did. So I want to share that. And I felt as a Christian that was progressive. I had so many people around me clients and otherwise that I genuinely love the teachings of Jesus, whether it was love your enemies and bless those that cursed you, or whether it was Don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself Each day has enough trouble of its own, like living in today that one day at a time thing is Jesus teaching, right. But the people who originally started 12 step are actually six steps in there, Christian. So the teachings were great, but they didn't think it was at all anything they wanted to be part of in terms of how the LGBTQ community was treated. They didn't like how women in leadership were like, weren't allowed to be in leadership, and they didn't like the narcissism or the hiding or whatever. So I also could see how the 12 steps were really Christianity 101. And I did feel like it was a much rather than that, for me, the false ideas around Christianity are that it's a set of beliefs. And if you just believe the right thing, then it's some sort of ticket into heaven. For me, Christianity is a practice, which is like how when I practice yoga, it's a real practice, like I have to engage with it. It's not a set of beliefs for me. So and I'm not like, I know you have real Yogi's on here, I'm not but for me, it's like a way that I actually engage in a practice. And so I do feel like the 12 steps taught me how to practice my faith in a way that actually made a difference. Like it actually affected a feeling of awakening and feeling like I was more connected to purpose, feeling like I could listen to the Divine and want to be of service instead of feeling like there's an obligation. And so yeah, so I brought people together, whether they had identifiable addictions or not. And then we started meeting in my living room. And originally, before the 12 steps we had tried to gather, but it was more of the old DNA and the old DNA from your churches, you bring someone that's got a personality, it's based around a cult of personality, basically, they do all the work, and then you just show up and you it's like a consumption model, right? You listen to them and take what they have to say. Whereas the 12 step is a very flat structure, it's you don't have to put a lot of work into it. There's not a lot of prep, it's not like there's worship band practice three times a week, or there's a really great talk. It's just people getting together in a flat model and trying to be honest and engage in a practice. And so they say, if you can read, you can lead. And I loved that because I was like, now everybody can contribute. And they say, service keeps you well. So it's like, not just one person getting to do all the service. We all keep it going. And so it's a beautiful model. And I thought, well, if it works for alcoholics, and gamblers and codependence like, why can't it just work for people that may not have identifiable addictions, or people that do have identifiable addictions, but they want to deepen their recovery journey, and not just have it based around a substance? Well, that's it, that's what I wanted to get to, because my journey was very much like, what's missing in the Christian path for me, and when I found that thing, I thought, I want to help other people who have felt like their religion and their rules for life need to be cohesive, their spiritual walk in their approach to life. And so you kind of found this thing that solved that problem for you spiritually, and, and it's like the, what I call it churchianity, the church version of Christianity that's kind of taken over the actual spiritual path. That is what I think you are creating a solution for, to put it politely there's politics in the church, and people can see that it's like very obvious and kind of repels the outsider. And the thing that kind of pulls it all together is I think the psychology aspect, like getting to understand ourselves on a psychological level, I think is very necessary in this time that we're living in just, we all have this hunger to know meaning and to know why we're here and the the approach of understanding yourself from a psychological perspective, but also finding a way to tie the dissonance between blind belief and like actually pursuing your deepest meaning here. I'm so fascinated by that, because I found yoga and meditation was the practice I needed because Christianity didn't have a practice. There's these tools that you can use reading scripture or contemplative prayer or going to church worship. It's very similar to chanting mantra or the path of knowledge and learning. It's there. And of course, in different traditions and modalities of Christianity. There are emphasis on different tools, but there's a lack of that in the American church. How do we practice Christianity and how can we make that a daily one way of life. So it's very interesting. It's very intriguing to hear that you've found a solution for this thing that we all are desiring from Christianity as a society in Western culture. Yeah, for sure. And I think that it continues to evolve. For me, I feel like it's a solution. And I think as soon as we adhere to a system, as we continue to grow, at some point, we might kind of stand against that system too. And my friend, and I, and 12 Step, we used to have a joke. Because whenever we'd find something new that was like, it felt like the answer would be like, This time for sure. All of a sudden, it fails. So I really tried to steer clear of absolutes, I had to eventually leave the 12 step community that taught me so many of these things, right. And when I did, unfortunately, many of the people that were my tribe, and my friends looked at me and would still look at me, like I'm lying to myself, and I belong with them. Right? And that I am going to cause a lot of trouble by saying the things that I say. So again, that quote that you came back to this, that only is a problem, if I don't understand myself, right? If I start to believe what they're saying about me, oh, I am that and I'm lying to myself. And now I'm out there telling my story, I need to get back in line and get with them that I'm in trouble. But I really do, thankfully, also have enough other mirrors that can see this journey that I'm on. And so there are aspects of even 12 step that I find aren't the healthiest. And so an example of that, is that one of the things that keeps people in community, which is also what keeps people in church often is fear, right? So if you go back out, you're going to drink and to drink is to die, right? So it's really good, because it keeps people in accused you of doing the practice, right? Same thing with church, if you're not doing the stuff you could go to hell, that's really scary. So it keeps people attending in the practice. But for me, I feel like often when we're motivated by fear, we can slip into doing things just because we check the box, rather than doing it out of desire, which creates real transformation. So there's many, many people in 12 step recovery, that are genuinely doing it out of desire, they've tasted what it feels like to be awake, and they want more of that. And so they're doing the practice, but there is still a lot of fear. And so yeah, for me, I would say that I am still continuing to evolve. The community that I've been a part of is, I think, 10 years now. Yeah, June of 2012. So it's going to be essentially, like 10 years that we've been going. And I think that we are continuing to evolve. So yeah, it is it's the best tool I have right now in the tool belt to try to meet some of these needs. But I continue to grow as well. And I've had to really, I've had to really ask myself those big questions. Like how many clothes do I really need, like the happiest times in my life when I'm honest, or when I was in my 20s. And everything I owned was on my back. And so I'm going through that right now I've downsized at this big house I built on the river, and then I downsize from like 4000 square feet, then I was at a 2800 square foot rental and I'm in 1400 square feet with two teenagers like that's a big step for a single mom. And so it's it's I'm still asking these questions, and a lot of the brilliance that's in 12 Step still helps me today a lot. Like the idea that I don't graduate from the program. I'm still learning and still growing, or even the idea of when you're talking about some of the issues in Christianity. Yes, I still had a practice at some points. So some points I was in community like I lived in the inner city of Chicago and I had a community I lived with, I did social justice stuff for a year. And it was really cool. And I remember those times of experiencing real community and being awake in my faith. So I don't know on your faith journey. If you can think of times where you had a good community, you were in a practice and faith and you were awake, and it was like a time where you're connected. So there are these times in my Christian journey I can remember but I think the challenge that I find is, I still remember a lot of shame. I still remember a lot of inability for people to even understand emotions. And it was a strength to not have emotions or show those and so that's why I love doing the work with Dr. Brown low on those six types of emotions because seeing those and understanding how important our emotions are, we're emotional beings is really profound for moving towards health. There was still a lot of ego there was still a lot of wearing masks in those times. And so I think that the practice is important, but I also think that the values are the underlying health or like energetic value. However people understand that as your listeners, you can become more conscious and raise those vibrations and still do the same practice but they mean so much more. So I feel like that's where I'm so grateful for my journey as a therapist as well and the learning I've done because I feel like it So that psychological health that is really informed even how I do the group now. Yeah, I want to, I want to go back to the thing you said about fear being the, the thing that keeps us kind of locked in the biases that we kind of just are born into, or just to pick up along the way. Because I think it's really important for people listening, there's times in my life, I can look back and see how much fear I had about changing my mind about what reality is or what truth might be. And many times where I entrenched myself in a paradigm, a way of looking at the world, and ideology, and I felt more and more rigid. And that's the ego hardening to the ideas that you have. And the world is infinite, it's so large, it's so much larger than we can ever see. And it's like you said about being on the path forever. If it's a good path, you never want to get off, you want to stay on that path. many lifetimes, it's a path for a reason. If it's helped many generations, many ancestors, then it could help you all the way to the end. It's like a martial art, you never you get your black belt, but you never end black belt is just the beginning. It's any practice worth doing once is worth doing forever. That's a that's a true technique. That's truth. Any practice that is true, will pay dividends and it won't run out. So the reason I say that is because that fear thing can keep us from Destiny, from faith from the potential in life that we see for ourselves. And that's a really scary thing when you're in it. And I would just encourage courage, whoever's listening and myself, and you just whenever you feel that rigidity of fear, just, there's beyond that fear is probably the thing that that you need to get to. It's that truth just behind that thing. And that's a signal. Fear is a signal for growth. And it's, it's painful to spend a lot of years hiding behind one question. We can live in these tiny pockets of fear, that limit our potential in various ways. So it's an amazing vehicle for transformation. Fear. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think that is like something that I noticed in my journey right away is how afraid I was because they would say, you could pick a Higher Power of your own understanding. And I couldn't even do that. I really, in my Christian journey, I prayed I believed in God had done what I thought were all the right things. Even my marriage, I mean, my marriage, we waited till our wedding day, even for our first kiss, when they said you can make us the bride. We want a $40,000 wedding wedding on their Christian radio station. It was like this fairy tale. Even then I was in a marriage that was emotionally abusive, really scary. It was falling apart. And so I just felt like, I tried trusting God and things aren't working out. And so what can I trust? And so even then I realized, yeah, I'm afraid to trust anything other than myself. And they say, in 12 Step, it doesn't matter who your higher power is, as long as it's not you. And they'd be like, holy crap, it is me, like I do trust only in myself. And I've learned to be very afraid as a human on this planet. And it's understandable. I mean, we've been through so much, of course, we're afraid. And there is healthy fear. Sometimes there are things that we feel a caution around or don't want to move towards. Like when I get too close to the edge of a cliff, it's good that I feel fear and that I don't fly off of it. I love the idea in 12 Step about a group conscience. So it wasn't just one person that was the dictator to us, we could make decisions as a group about how we were going to move forward. So there are aspects for me where I do feel like Oh, I'm kind of afraid this is becoming a bit of a problem for me, I might, I might want to pull back from out say, I'm watching Netflix every day for four hours or whatever, whenever those things are for people. So I think there is some aspect of fear that is helpful that protects us that Yeah, I think what you're talking about is that when we're trying to move towards something and we're inspired by something we're curious about something or or when it's a really oppressive fear if you do this, then x will happen. And I feel like that's the thing again, with Christianity and then also sometimes with 12 steps is like, if you move beyond this, then this will be terrible for you. And sometimes we just have to find out for ourselves some of the best learning I've done is through experience and maybe it is terrible. Like maybe I do get a terrible hangover. Okay, so I learned something but yeah, and even things like just dancing at the bar I had danced and 20 years ago and to overcome that fear and to be free and to like dance and close the borrow, like my soul became so alive again. So there are for sure things that that are longings within people, or curiosities or things that people keep being prompted to try. And yeah, those are the things that ego just tries to stop you for sure. Yeah. So tell me about where Q. Q faith comes in. How did you create Q faith? And what is the the main driver behind Q faith? Well, they say we say that the only requirement for attendance is to respect our values and a desire for spiritual awakening. So because we're LGBTQ affirming, and because a lot of Christian people were interested, we wanted to make sure that they were not going to override our values, which was like this place of acceptance and love and non judgement. And our values were really different than what most Christians thought of as Christianity, like, we value mystery and questions and wonder, rather than pretending we have all the answers, right? That's really different than a lot of Christians, we value authenticity, right, and sharing honestly about our own experiences. Again, some people are used to a zone where you wear a mask, so that would be difficult for them. So the values were important. And we came up with those as a group, and even the children, like our 12 value is we like to joke and have fun, and try not to take ourselves too seriously. And we may occasionally swear. But though we like to joke and have fun part was the kids because we said to them, what would you what would be the best church you can imagine they're like churches supposed to be fun. And I was like, yeah, that'd be fun if they were in the backyard jumping on the trampoline, and they loved it. So to even involve the children in making the values was important. And then the group conscience just agreed on what those values were. And I didn't know this at the time. But much later, I found out that if you write down what your values are, and you read through those, whatever you're trying to do, will get easier. And so I didn't realize at the time, I just knew that in the 12 steps, they have the 12 steps and the 12 traditions, and they read those at the beginning of every meeting. And I thought, well, we can read the 12 steps, but we don't have any traditions. So why don't we do a value statement. And so we read those at the beginning of every meeting, and it helps to hold the structure and the framework of this is who we are, and this is who we're not. And this kind of keeps us together. And there are other things in it, Jesus as we understand him. So it's the same principle as like Higher Power of your own understanding. People were able to attend that were agnostic or atheist, and they had their own understanding of who Jesus is, which for me, in my particular understanding of Jesus, that's how Jesus would be like Jesus would want people around that have their own ideas of who do you think I am? He would say people, right? So yeah, it was a place that people could come with varying faith backgrounds. It tended to draw in four different groups of people. So one were people who had a previous background in Christianity, and they were becoming much more progressive, but they still want to community and they still believed in the the real value of the teachings of Jesus, but didn't like, what did you call it? churchianity? Exactly. So they don't like that. And then the second group of people were people who are in recovery already, but they wanted to deepen their recovery. And so the idea that AAA says, our primary purpose is to achieve sobriety and to help other alcoholics. It's not that that's bad. But people felt a deeper sense of purpose. What else am I here for, besides sobriety? Helping alcoholics is their meaning, who am I? So they want to ask those questions. So people from other recovery groups would come, the third group of people or people who had no church background and no recovery background, and they were spiritually curious, like you were talking about the seekers, right. And so those were people that were like, it sounds really interesting what you're doing. People are honest, it seems like they're having good feedback, their friends would be coming, they bring their friends. So it was the third group, like my massage therapist, she wasn't an addict, and she had no background in church. But she wanted a place to ask questions. That was the other thing like it was called que faith in the beginning, because it was we were questioning things. And I think that's part of the seeking, rather than as soon as you think the answer, you're kind of screwed, right? So as long as you're keeping asking questions, that's a good thing. And then the last group of people were people who actually were involved in their church in a deep way. And they loved what we were doing. And I really admired them. It was a small group of people because most people that fit into traditional church don't get what we're doing at Kew faith. But I really love those people because there was something that they were called to do to actually help change the institution and not give up on it. I always say that, like, the Titanic is sinking like we all know, church attendance is like declining and all those types of things right. But I was like, God bless the people that are like trying to do work on the Titanic while the people are there. So Absolutely. So yeah, so those were the fourth group of people that would come and they would just treat it like a small group or like a Bible, not Bible study, because we'd only do Bible like once every six weeks. But again, we only did Bible once every six weeks, because it was very triggering for people. But we didn't completely exclude it because we thought, I wonder if we look at the scriptures together from a different angle. If suddenly these words can have new meaning for us again, and new life and not be part of the trauma of the past that kind of the not throwing the baby out with the bathwater thing. So yeah, see, everyone wants to become a superhero. But not everyone does become a superhero, do they? Lots of things claim to have magic powers. But not everything does give you magic powers does it. And when you find something in your life that truly does give you that special magic, you hold on to it, you keep it sacred, you treasure it, my friends, this is so easily attainable, that it's a sin a crime. To keep it to myself, I found magic in the Mojo microdose soft chew by dwell on mushrooms. Just one of these little bites is packed with functional mushrooms and a nootropic blend designed to give you the perfect microdose experience. Without the worry, you can do anything you want on these every morning. 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My approach was to create a church that was where it's kind of like a meditation experience with community and music experience that you'd get in a church and also the philosophy and the life development, inspiration. But creating a space where people can have an actual practice that they can take with them themselves on an individual level. And I felt like my approach lacked this Fellowship Community element. I just love that the church is show up and work together to find truth for one another. What amazing thing? Yeah, there are things you take with you. So like that practicing the steps. First of all, to actually do the steps is exactly what you were talking about, about that fear thing. That's a great example of the steps are a good thing. Everyone could benefit from doing the steps. I don't I can't think of anybody who wouldn't, especially if you're guided by a sponsor. But everything in people wants to not do it like that. Even one two and three people can do. But when you get to four, and you start making a list of your resentments, like the people just halt, right? You make a list of your resentments. Because nobody wants to admit they're resentful. And then what did people do to you? And then you look at what's your part. And that also was really scary, because I thought, Oh, you're going to do this thing that my family is to do, where you turn this all around. And it turns out to be my fault, right? But when I actually did it, it took me 18 months and program before I finally just took it to a Starbucks and I'm like, I'm doing this no matter what I realized, one, that how hard it was for me to admit how resentful and angry I was. Because I thought well, okay, fine, maybe just this one. So I wrote down the name and the situation. And then I was like, Okay, fine, maybe this other, okay, this person too. And then I had four pages. And I didn't even know I was carrying that around with me. And then when I, by the time I got through it, it felt so good. It felt so good. Being able to really look at myself not being afraid to look at myself, and to be able to see those parts of my contribution to what happened. And I remember this feeling of of like higher powers guidance of, I'm not showing you these things, because I want you to feel bad at all. It's because until I can show you your part, you're you're gonna keep repeating these things. And this is a way of protecting you like this way of helping you because all I can control is me, right? And so it was like this. It was like this helpful guidance of if I can see these things, I don't have to keep setting these dominoes in motion that cause all these other situations for them to be hurt or me to be hurt. And so it was a me Using so doing the steps, all of them, the fifth step is about Confession. Like they say in 12 Step, we're only as sick as our secrets. And so this idea that there was absolutely nothing I had to take to the grave. Like, again, confession is Christian. But how many people actually do that? Right? So I had to do that. And my first attempt at it, I was referred to this lady who was really I, they said she was good, but she was actually pretty mean. And so walking out of that meeting, was actually part of my recovery. That was an example of where in the past, I wouldn't have listened to myself, and I would have just done my confession with this woman. But as I walked out of there, I felt my hair personally like that. That was just a part of your recovery. But I was like, no, no, I'm gonna do these friggin steps. So this last thing I do. So then I asked around, and they said that there was this guy, and they're like, fryers, or whatever. And they're like, oh, yeah, he's taken so many of them. He's basically like falling asleep when you're doing it. I'm like that I want that guy. That's my guy. And so I had to push through just like how we talked about today with the podcast, that perseverance, and are you serious, right, and we had some bumps in our aligning our times. But now is the moment and we're here. And so I showed up for myself and for the process and that practice. And so you actually work the program in your daily life as well. And sometimes I work it stronger. Sometimes I work at less, I can feel the effects when I'm not working my program. Like step 10 is continued to take personal inventory. And when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. There's times when I'm not so prompt back and be like, okay, something's going on. The other thing that's really fascinating about 12 step that was very different than my experience with Christianity, but that is meaningful. They, the early church met daily. And to try to get people to commit today, can you imagine to say, Okay, we're gonna meet every day. It's so radical, but it works, right. So they have this thing in 12 Step, that's 90 meetings in 90 days. And they've just seen way better effects with addicts. So the deepening of that community rather than just once a week is huge. And the other thing that they say when you first get there as pick up the phone, and they call it 100 Pound phone, because it's so hard to do. But one of the things that was like an ego death for me was learning how in the moment to pick up the phone if I was struggling, and to believe that the person on the other end actually wanted my call. And not only did they want my call, but in 12 Step, they say, when you get to help somebody else, it's actually for you. So there's something that you're doing this podcast for you, actually, it's keeping you sober, right? Doesn't matter if anybody else is getting while you're staying sober, right? So for me, getting asked to be able to do this interview and getting to share my own experience, my strength and my hope. This is for me, this is keeping me sober, I would say thank you for giving me that. So that's really different than in, in my own upbringing, Christianity, where if you did service or volunteered, you're like, you're welcome, your children's church today, or whatever, you're welcome that I've been a missionary to the inner city or whatever. Instead of No, you need this? Because if you don't have this, you're gonna get caught in the lie. Yeah. So it's a really different, it was just such a different understanding of the way really, and the more that I understand it. The, as I understand the way of Jesus, it's not counterintuitive. It's counter ego. You know, there's something in me that is actually intuitively drawn to this way. But it really is hard to overcome that fight within me to that is attracted to the line. Yeah. And that's what, that's what sounds like, truth. To me. My Spiritual Awakening was very much a self awareness moment, a realization of the ego in control of my life, I didn't know. And it's funny people would say, occasionally that I was a narcissist. And I kind of took it as this like, playful, endearing trait, but they were right. I was I was terribly suffering narcissism unconsciously. And when I realized what they really meant it, it was scary to realize, whoa, I've been living in this unconscious demon personality, you know, where I'm just consuming. And I was a I was in a Christian band. I thought it was doing ministry, but I was consuming everyone's energy. And that's just being unconscious to the ego. And what it sounds like is this practice has given you not only an increased awareness of when God the source is talking to you. Also, realizing when your ego fires, you're able to catch it, instead of letting it take over. The third thing is realizing when you've become spiritually lazy because you're used to it. Now, you've gotten used to these triggers. So the self awareness is I think, the key that ties lots of spiritual disciplines together, the realizing of the ego and then becoming a pastor of your On the ego, and that relationship with the self and with God is the really what helps us grow spiritually without that we're just kind of encased in the ego, thinking that we've got a path, but really, we're just kind of unconsciously going about life as it's being given to us, you know? Yeah. And when you said that thing about narcissism, because I identify as a recovering narcissist. I mean, I think a lot of us are on the spectrum. I'm recovering from a lot of things. But I would say that what stands out to me about that is shame. And I think that being in a BS free zone and being really authentic, like starting off with Hi, my name is Jen. And by myself, I'm powerless over the why, like, I'm screwed, right? That's a real admission, like, I'm not just saying that to fit in. I always say I don't, I wish I didn't need you fuckers. But I need you. If that's the way it is, right. So I think, you know, not taking ourselves too seriously. And then being able to really admit, this is where things are at. And then talking in a group about the areas where we fall short, or what we're noticing if we're getting caught in our spiritual malady, being able to cry in the group, male or female, you know, being able to expose some of our darkest secrets. It's fundamentally a de shaming experience. And especially for me when I started the faith community. And I would be really honest to the table in the meeting, because it's a very sacred space. I think that was the moment that people started to trust me more, because it was like, Oh, she's not just saying these things. She's really like admitting this stuff. It's very honest. You don't usually hear a pastor that that unless they have it planned as part of their sermon for the day, and then they're going to tell you how they use all these tools and fix everything. But you don't just hear them to say, Yeah, this is the situation for me, and whatever it is, like my partner, and I screamed at each other yesterday, and I feel terrible, and I'm kind of feeling lost or whatever. You just don't hear that. So yeah, I think there is something about shame, especially in the group model. It's one thing when people come to me in therapy, and they can learn to trust me and be that real, that is healing. It's very different. When you can go into a room group, a group of strangers, and I've gone to meetings and Mexico, I've gone to meetings on a cruise ship, I've been to meetings and all these places. And to just be able to be safe to be your real self and to be accepted and loved is so healing. So I think even that I think just even that if that was our only practice to just tell the truth. And for somebody to be able to come and sit with us right now and be like, Okay, I'm using porn three times a day, like I'm scared, it's not my job. And we're just able to accept and love them. Like that humans long for that kind of radical acceptance. So I think there's something 12 step does in that sense, that is something that I've tried to replicate, but I think only by myself becoming more comfortable with these aspects of my humanity that are at times difficult for me to understand, then I can I can create that for others to like, by modeling it. Yeah, that's such a great way to help facilitate transformation is to be a participant. Yeah. And bringing yourself to hey, I created this because I need it. Yes, this is the this is I'm a consumer for this. This is why I made it. You know, that's amazing. I tell people I probably am the worst. Like, the only reason the universe chose me to be the founders because like I'm stuck with it now. Exactly. Not the best and I had the most give, it's because I'm like desperate for whatever it's offering. Exactly. And that's amazing. That's the that's the commission of your life. People ask why? Why God XP, why did you? Why did you make God your brand and look at my neck, I got a got a tattooed on my neck. This is who I am. I'm committed to this. This happened when I was 19 or 20. By the way, I was in a horrific car wreck miraculously survived, woke up to three hours later, I was a week from going to Korea on a missions trip. And my whole life was just ministry. So I felt like really disconnected from God. Because of it. It was like the opposite of what you'd expect, right? I miraculously survived. But I had this existential PTSD. And one of my actions is I really literally had an out of body experience and then woke up two hours later. So I had the survivor's guilt. I got the tattoo as a way to permanently remind myself this is your second chance at life. God has spared you. It's beyond what you deserve. So never forget it. And it has been Destiny shaping in and of itself. along my path. I had the idea that like, I will never leave this path of trying to understand the love of God for me, and sharing that with others. And it's just funny how the suffering that we're able to overcome shapes us in such a beautiful and positive way. And yeah, it goes back to that living an authentic life thing. If suffering was your vehicle, how could you make it meaningful? And I truly believe that will lead people to to a more Oh, fulfilling life? Absolutely, your story is so moving. And I can feel the passion in that. And I think even as you're passionate as a missionary, it's easy to be dismissive of those times. But that's actually such a beautiful part of your soul and who you are. And so for those people listening those times where we felt most alive, even if it wasn't the right exact right relationship, or even, it wasn't the exact right way to be of service, there's something in there that is the real us, right? That part of us that if we understand ourselves as yes, this is who I am, I have to be fully and I have to be passionate i Even if I like passionately fall in love with the wrong person, and it ends in a ball of flames like this is the way I'm so yeah, I think that's really beautiful in it, it. I don't remember the exact words of it, but it reminds me of this, maybe you can put the link in the bio, but I think it's William Stafford is the poem. But it's something like there's a thread you follow, and people don't understand what you're doing. And you have to explain about the thread. And then it says you never let go of the thread, right? So that's what you and I are doing, like whatever shape it takes whatever we're trying to do. It's this thread we follow. And it's consistent, right? And yeah, I feel like that's in all of us. I feel like all of us have this desire, or this God shaped hole, like Christian save us desire for the divine. And we're trying to find that. And even when I see people's behaviors that don't necessarily make sense. Like, you might say, Okay, well alcoholism, like how does that make sense? Well, guess what, at the end of the night, when everybody's drunk, they finally open up and their walls come down, and there's intimacy, and we're honest with each other. So maybe people are just trying to connect and be the real intimate, Soul loving being that they are. And this is the best way that they do it, right. The same thing with pornography, like people are trying to connect with intimacy, they're trying to be real and authentic, and get in touch with this part of us, that our culture tries to cut us off from our sexuality. So people are trying to find something good, even though the behaviors aren't necessarily the exact best way to do it. So yeah, when I think that, again, goes back to that same quote you brought up, when we know that we're good inside that we're ultimately good. I used to fear that if people really saw inside of me and really look deep, deep down, they'd find something black, or something dark or something wrong, or I was broken or as bad. It's so crazy. If you ask Christians, how many of you are sinners, like everyone raised their hands? How many of your saints, nobody would raise their hands, but actually, if you look at the letters of Paul, he says to the saints in Corinth, to the saints in Philippi, like you are white as snow, like grace covers, everything you've ever done, this is a free gift, you don't have to earn anything. So it's supposed to be good news. But yeah, once you really take in that idea of being light, and being immortal diamond, it's okay, so I'm trying to find something and I'm not doing it in the best way or the healthiest way. And the other thing too, that's been helpful for me as well is just realizing we're part of generations, right of people who have had the same patterns of behavior. Yeah, didn't pass down over and over. And it's like a train going down the tracks like, you're in one direction. It's hard, even if you lift it up a little bit and set it on new tracks till the next generation, like you did your part. Right. So I have this real acceptance for those behaviors in me that aren't fully aligned, but at least we can talk about it at least we can be authentic. So yeah, I love it. And I mean, those stories even with you with your tattoo, and so it's so inspiring, right? If we just get together and tell these stories, like, how much more alive are we like after this call? Right? And that's what recovery is this, they say you can have a meeting with two people. And the listeners listening, this is a meeting, right? And then we feel more alive after Okay, great. So we got something that we needed, and then we keep going. Yeah, absolutely. That is so good. Yeah, it's like, Well, I kind of lost my train of thought, but there was this other quote of yours that I wanted to get to. And it's funny how the quote living an authentic life guarantees being misunderstood kind of shaped our conversation. That's like a theme that kind of naturally flowed back in. You also said something about what we're talking about was that temptation succeeds by honing in on one small part, rather than the whole picture. That's another tweet of yours. And I love that one because I noticed it in myself that no matter how, how holy, I'm living, there's always this sneaky thought where it's it hones in on on a small desire I have and disregards everything else that could be an hour, two hours of meditation, and all of a sudden I'll be by myself in the kitchen, this is a PG example. But you know, thinking about diving into the chips, even though I'm not really hungry, the the little voice of the ego coming in of desire, no matter how well you shape your mind, temptation will find a way to isolate this one part of yourself and say, well, but this is who you are. too, and it's so sophisticated. Well, what are your thoughts about that? Yeah, I quite a few. One is Yes, I do feel like when I am tempted, the world gets smaller and smaller, like a ticket, the it gets more black, I don't have that big view. And it kind of hones in on that one thing that I think I really want or need. And I create ego stories, basically, of why I need that or why it's important or why whatever, you know, I hear myself telling those stories. So one is you identify your own bottom line behaviors. So I have to decide for myself on the areas like so I'm in a way. And one thing about Overeaters Anonymous that's so interesting is they say, oh is the PhD of recovery and use chips, so I'll bring up away they say the reason it's the PhD of recovery is because in other programs, you put the tiger in the cage, you lock the door, and you throw away the key. But in this program, you have to walk the tiger at least three times a day. So it's different in programs where you still have to have whatever the thing is, or it's still actually a good thing. So codependency I am a two on the Enneagram I love helping people I'm a channel of light. So it's a really fine line between when am I helping when am I being codependent right so something that I still need in my life? Food I still need to eat right so when am I compulsively overeating as a way to numb which was like a very early way of me coping as early as nine years old. I would get in front of a TV after school and eat from a tub of ice cream. And that was a way to check out from the world. And when am I actually feeding myself so it's actually really more difficult than something like just don't drink if you're an alcoholic, you know? Same thing with love addiction. So how do you know when you're really like loving? Well, and then how do you know when you're a love addict attracted to a love avoidant? So the way that they deal with those types of behaviors, if you don't want to just stop something completely, is you identify your own bottom line behaviors. So that's a really amazing, open conversation, but something to land on, at least temporarily with yourself of what does spiritual awakening look like and feel like for you? And what are those behaviors where you know that that I just don't want to go there that just, that never makes me feel good. So that's the first part. And when I was in unhealthy Christianity, people told me what the bottom line behaviors were right, this is what makes a good Christian, this is what makes you bad, right? Whereas this, you get to decide for yourself. So that's beautiful. The second thing is, for me, that's helpful in those moments when I feel that real obsession, they call it the obsession of the mind, when you really when you're addicted to something, you just want it when I want it and it won't go away. I love the idea. They say play the tape forward. So that's one tool is you actually play the tape forward as if you had that whatever you want that bag of chips or whatever. And you watch how you'll feel and what the result is. And that can be really helpful of getting you out of that stuck moment. So that was meaningful to me in my journey, play the tape forward. And the second thing was just for today, what would it look like just for today? If say for me with my partner, I'm really being the partner that I want to be in my relationship. Maybe tomorrow I can be an asshole, but just for today, what would that look like? Just for today? What would nourishing my body in a way that is meaningful and productive look like for me. And so that that idea of just tomorrow, you can eat the bag of chips tomorrow, you can use tomorrow, whatever your addictions are, but just for today, what would that feel like? And I often tell myself, Okay, tomorrow, I'm gonna do that, like tomorrow, I'm gonna go What am W or whatever. But that helps me get out of that stuck place and into something that's more meaningful. There's this one reading called yesterday, today and tomorrow. And it says anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It's only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. So there's something about staying in today that is really meaningful to me. And yeah, I think the other thing is just meetings. Like I think just being able to say that out loud to somebody else really cuts through it. For me, it's when it's secret, it's when I'm alone. It's if there's wolves, they get a sheep all by itself, right. But if you're in the like group of sheep and the shepherds with you, you're totally fine, right? So there's something about when I isolate and hide and cut off from people that I feel like I'm in a lot more that that temptation has a lot more strength. There seems to also be something really important about today, the present moment, there's two eternities yesterday and tomorrow. One of my main philosophies I call it one day life I almost literally believe that today is my only day when I go to sleep, my soul turns off it goes into somewhere else. I have memories of yesterday, but I don't know that that's me. So I treat this day as if I when I woke up. I'm like Okay, thank you. God, this is amazing. I'm good. Need to live life? Now? How can I do this guy's life as best as possible? How can I leave him in a better place tomorrow? When I take the shoes off and someone else steps into those shoes tomorrow, they can feel like okay, good, this guy left me off in a little bit of a better place. That's my approach to life as best as I can. I learned it from a book called The greatest salesman in the world by Augmentee. know there's a chapter with is all just kind of it's kind of like devotional about living this day as if it was your last day, making it a monument of your life, a testament to who you were. And that philosophy, I think, is the core of my spiritual philosophy of my life practice is just treating this day as if I had to give it the most honor I possibly could, because I turn off when I go to bed tonight. And that's it. And it's taking advantage of the present moment not living in the past or the or the future. And it sounds like that, that seems to be another one of these universal truths that that kind of brings in lots of spiritual, spiritual practices. Yeah, definitely. I felt that today. Actually, I sometimes I put different little words in my alarm and my iPhone, and when it wakes me up in the morning, just so that there's something when I wake up and my one today, it was actually like, you're alive, celebrate, you know. And I thought about that, because I thought it will be really scary when I have to face death. And like, I turned to dust. And so I was like, Well, I don't have to face that today. That's a good thing. I can just get to be here and get to participate. So yeah, I love what you're saying about that about genuinely celebrating, not just like an Instagram a stupid Instagram quote, but really think about it. Like, when you wake up, it's good. That wasn't your last night. Like, that's, you're here, we're here, oh, my gosh, we're here. And the other thing that came up when you're saying that, too, is I think that temptation isn't only for the bad things like we were talking about the things that are like how we medicate or what we're addicted to, I feel like I can often be tempted away from the good as well. And so even today, coming into this, and my sound court isn't working, and whatever temptation can make me feel like, Oh, I can't do this, I'm in the middle of moving, I shouldn't be signing up for this. And I really do think that play the tape forward, helps me with that as well. It helps me to know that resistance is normal. And that actually, when I'm about to do something great, I'll feel resistance within myself. That's my ego. But also just that idea of temptation away from what's good, and how we talk ourselves out of a good moment with our person or calling one of our friends or whatever those good things are. And I play the tape forward to and I thought about this experience and the privilege of us getting to be together and who's going to be listening to this. And then even the idea that the we're meeting in a moment in time, and these sound waves are going to be captured and transported to another moment in time. whoever's listening right now where you are, it's a miracle. It's really a miracle. And we get to share in this together and something drew your listeners to you and something drew you to me and me to you. It's just it really is. It's that awareness of what's remarkable and unique and amazing, right. So yeah, I think I just wanted to mention that too, when you're talking about all the goodness that we can be a part of, it's really easy to get tempted away from that as well. Yeah, I call that spiritual laziness, like, you feel the grace of God, the grace of the universe for you and your life. And so you think I'm good, like, I'm in grace. I don't. There's opportunities everywhere. You could have been like, there's gonna be another podcast tomorrow, I deserve to relax, I deserve to feel peace. But then if it causes stress, then it's not for me this. This is kind of like the lies that I tell myself is I'm abundant so I can let opportunities pass and that that's another form of sin. You know, it could also be like a part of just becoming proud of yourself. Yes, I finally gotten to a place where I am a lightworker. And people want to talk to me because I'm doing good. You know, those are lots of reasons to feel pride, and making the most of each day combats that for sure, combats the atrophy of being in abundance. Definitely, definitely. And I think when recovery they, it, again, goes back to that we're not cured of the spiritual malady. What we really have is a daily reprieve. And so there is something about it's both and it's a little bit of that healthy fear for me of I know what that feels like when I get really stuck. And I get really caught in a lie. And it feels terrible. You know, what you call a spiritual laziness, the big book would call resting on our laurels, you know, like it's kind of like resting on our previous accomplishments or whatever resting on I think there was something about when when a person from war would come back or something they would get laurels. I don't know what the old references but that's what they call it really often. And that is something where I can rest on my laurels and be like, I've done this I've accomplished this, but really I can tell I can tell within, I need about three to four meetings a week to feel like I am well, even even now. So and there are just other aspects like step 11 Is meditation like seeking conscious contact with the divine. And when I don't have that time, in the morning, my day is just really different. Like I noticed something different, I need a lot more quiet, I think then some people do, and maybe other people need it, and they just don't get it. So of course, when the alarm goes off, I don't want to get up. I don't want to meditate. I don't want to do some sort of quiet time or whatever. But yeah, part of it is desire as well. I really desire that feeling of this kind of connection in what's real, this kind of spiritual intimacy. When we're done this, I'll have a bit of a high from it. Right? So I have to remind myself, oh, yeah, this is actually what feels better than just kind of being, you know, locked into some, I don't know, usually, for me, it's like a show or something that just I end up feeling like, oh, and some of the shows, I watch these women look a certain way, I feel like, Oh, I've got to lose some weight, or I'll inject something in these little lines right here. Terrible, right? So um, and finding things for me that are also life giving ways to relax. That's been another thing where I do really need downtime. And I need to not push myself so much. But there are books that I can read, that when I get myself there, it's a little bit harder than a show or something. But when I curl up with a book, or make some tea, or have a hot bath, or sit in the hot tub, there is something really meaningful about resting as well. But just yeah, in ways that aren't that don't make me as spiritually sick. Totally. Yeah, totally feel that. I want to get you out of here on time. But I just want to do a couple just quick questions. So if someone wanted to take part in one of these, they wanted to show up to one of your counseling locations or to one of your faith communities. But in Canada or LA like what would be the like, what's, what's the recommendation? How do they how would someone get into one of these with you? Yeah, so the counseling thing is mostly for people in Calgary, so they probably couldn't, unless they're from Alberta, Calgary, because that's where all of the therapists work. And I'm no longer counseling. If somebody wanted to do go to a Q faith meeting. Everybody's joining right now on Sundays, they've all kind of joined together at the different meetings in the US and Canada. So they could go online to Q faith community.com. And then there's a phone number or video. And yeah, I would just say be really brave, because everything is gonna make you not want to do it. And if they're not sure, they could read the value statement, they could watch the little video and just see if it resonates like it's okay, that not everything is going to resonate. So some people might be drawn to your community, mine or another one. And some people from this interviewer might be drawn to a 12 step meeting that that is actually with their specific addiction, which is great. But it's super easy to Google. And I would just say prepare for the resistance, because it's gonna happen, but just do it anyway. And they say, if you can try six meetings, then you'll know for sure whether it's for you or not, it's really hard in the first one because all of us have an ego that's gonna say this isn't for me, this was weird that people don't aren't my thing. But after six, you usually have a pretty good indicator of if your life is better with it or without. Nice. And and what would be like, what's this? Do you have one thing that what is your passion for seeing Christianity transform in your lifetime? What do you think? What's your message for the Christian church as a whole? Wow, that's a great question. Oh, my gosh, I'm gonna take that as my take away with you have to have something that's like on your heart that I just wish I could say this to Christians. I wish I could say this to the church. You can tell the truth. You can tell the truth, and it's okay. That's what I would say. And I think if everybody started doing that, we'd be a whole lot healthier. That's beautiful. Amen. Amen to that. And for anyone listening. If you could just give them one message, they could be from any walk of life there to the person on the street that you pass by. What is your advice for today in this moment? I think I would tell people that they are genuinely lovable inside, because the deepest pain and a human that I've found as a therapist and spiritual teacher is that really deep deep down and most of the time we don't feel it because we defend against it that people fear that they're unlovable, and a lot of behaviors stem from that. So if I could help people to really know really no, that they were born just like all these other beautiful babies that we are drawn to that are so incredible. That's who they are. They are this very A lovable creature, that will never happen again, even if they're cloned, they will never have their soul those unique experiences that make them them. And they're this moment in time never to be repeated. So they can't be anything else, but lovable. I think if people understood that, then it would really overcome a lot of the shame problem and a lot of the other behaviors that come from that. Amen to that, I feel that we've had a very unique and energetic conversation about lots of things ego and Christianity, recovering, and waking up to ourselves to our unconscious lives. And I think it's, it's been quite profound. I would love to do this again, six months from now, we'll catch up again. And so last thing, I think you've got it such a great voice. I can't wait to get into your new the new season of your podcast, the six types of emotions course just came out? Would you do a little, a little elevator pitch for that? Yeah, I mean, it's work, right. But if you're ready to do it, if you really want to change, if you want to see your life change, then yeah, you get to be with a therapist, my supervisor who has over 40 years experience working with people, he's absolutely brilliant, so much of who I am, and who I become as because of him. And so it's a Yeah, it's six types of emotions. And I know people are really burnt out and exhausted, and so you have to be ready. And if you're not ready, now, that's okay, except that there's no pushing on my part, it's there for people who are ready for it, they want it. But I really believe deep down, if somebody does that work with their emotions, they won't be the same after and they'll be a lot more alive and a lot more free from that feeling of being being kind of tired and lost. So it helps a lot. And one other thing too, I want to say just before we wrap, I just wanted to say I feel a deep sense of gratitude to you and to your listeners to be welcomed onto your show. I think a lot of people have been affected by Christianity, the fact that I'm a pastor still that I'm a confessional Christian, that can be really, I don't know, just something that people shy away from because of their own hurts and those kinds of things. So I just I felt, you know, such a sense of hospitality here. And I think that's the kind of faith journey that I believe in where we can all be ourselves, and speak your own truth. And it's all okay, and we're welcoming to space. And I really felt that here. So I want to say thank you. Absolutely. And then we appreciate you for joining us and the you embody that pursuit of truth. And, and that's why I wanted to have you on the show. This is an extremely fortuitous serendipity. And we'll definitely have you on again. Sounds great gentlemen. follow her on Twitter, Jen watts, Instagram at Jennifer Don watts, Jennifer Don walks.com. But yeah, definitely follow her on Twitter. That's where I am. That's what she is, you can follow me as well as he style. And we'll catch up with you on the next episode. Thanks for having me. Thanks for being here. So you enjoy the podcast, and you want to know how to take the next step. You know, we've been growing a community alongside the podcast, one person at a time, and it's gotten pretty popular now. So I invite you, you get lifetime access to the community right now for a limited time. With purchase of any godspeed course, you can also purchase community access on its own. But it's definitely recommended that you get it for free. By signing up for a course get in watch all the free content. There's meditation videos in there. There's a bunch of articles and interesting other videos so you can meet people who are expanding themselves and figuring out what life's all about for them as well. It's just a great place to make friends in these times. When there's a lot of negativity and communities online. 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