CTC podcast S01E09V1-3-1.mp3
Eric: [00:00:00] And so cultivating that space to really be present, to be authentic, to be engaged, to enjoy, to be in joy of life, in life.
Gareth: [00:00:46] Hello and welcome to the show. I'm Gareth, and today Matt and myself are speaking with Eric J. Reid. When we get guests on the show, we send out a request for some information and preparation for them being on the podcast, and I was really excited to share Eric's bio. Eric has sought to define his personal, spiritual philosophy since leaving organized religion at the age of 18, now in his thirties, and empowered by life's experiences that have given him an unshakable gratitude for the miraculous, he is learning to recognize the divine forces at play and to be an instrument in enriching the lives of mankind. Eric is clearly an amazing wordsmith. He is a dear brother. He was one of the fathers, sons and brothers, founding members, and an important pillar in our tribe and our community. He also works as the creative director for a multinational outdoor equipment manufacturer in in the States. He operates a Cuban restaurant that he helps with his parents and is rolling out his dream to create a permaculture farm and retreat center in Utah. He's an amazing human being and I'm really excited to have him on the show today. Eric, welcome to the Culture Coach podcast. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being alive. And thank you for showing up in all the ways that you do for the people that come into contact with you. I'm excited to get into some of the topics for today, but perhaps you want to start off by sharing your origin story and who Eric J. Read is through the various lenses or roles that you've played in your life as a father, as a son, and as a brother.
Eric: [00:02:54] All right. So who am I? I am Eric Reid. I am just a dude who is trying to figure out what this life is about, trying to navigate the experience of growing up in, well, a culture that is deeply steeped in religion. I live in Utah. I was born in Utah. I guess that has a big part to play in my story. So the predominant religious culture here is Mormonism. It's the Latter Day Saint Faith. And I had lived in that until I was 18 years old. It was a bad age that I was asked to go on a religious mission to serve two years away from home, proselytizing or teaching my faith to other individuals, trying to convert them to the religion. This is something that is pretty standard here in Utah. Most young men will go out and do this, at least most young men of the Mormon faith. But it was at that point in my life where I recognized that there was an enormous gap in my in my life, in my spiritual perspective, that basically this I knew one thing and that was Mormonism. And I couldn't in good conscience go out and tell other people that I knew what the truth of spiritual existence was when I had only ever known that one thing. And so I kind of ejected myself from the culture that I lived in and started to explore what the alternatives were for myself. This was sort of a dark path for a number of years.
Eric: [00:04:52] I mean, admittedly, there were many quote unquote mistakes made. I have since come to reframe that as sort of these mistakes are something that have taught me. The sort of context that I was looking for, have in some sense reaffirmed many of the lessons that I received as a young Mormon. But the path that I went on to receive this truth for myself as an embodied knowledge rather than something I was just accepting as a truth from an authority figure, was very powerful because it gave me a true personal knowing and then informed the sorts of decisions, the sort of knowledge that I would go on to discover later on in my life. So that more or less brings me to where I am now. Now, still, while I've since moved back to Utah, I have reconnected with my parents, who I struggled with for many years. I mean, granted, they thought that I was, well, rather they knew. That I was on a dark path. Struggled to accept that and the reason for that for a long time. But we have since grown to approach each other through vulnerability, authenticity, honesty and acceptance. We have a very strong relationship now. So as a son. Yeah. It was was for a period of time. Really, really heavy. Very much in conflict. But now, like very light, joyous. I feel at this point in my life, like I'm very much in service to them.
Eric: [00:06:40] They've they've entered well into their sixties now. They're in what a neurologist would describe as their Wisdom Square. I have just stepped into my power square or that period of life where they are really embodying the wisdom that they have been slowly cultivating over their life. And I am stepping into the power that I have been starting to learn or rather learning to harness over the course of the last 30 plus years. So that brings us to an interesting point now, where it's interesting as a father, I have limited context there. But it's interesting because over the course of the last few days, I have recognized in a few potent and sometimes unsettling ways where despite being single and childless, I am showing up in life as a father. My first thought was like, Oh, I've got a dog like my father and my dog, which in some sense is true, but only to a limited scope. But really, where I'm showing up as a father is in this business that I'm running with my parents, where I am having frequent interactions with employees who are sometimes I mean, the youngest guy here that we have employed is 15 years old. I mean, so he's still he's a child, I mean, a large child child who is growing into adulthood, but he is a young man. And I'm having these interactions with him where I am recognizing sort of the conditioning that I received from my biological father when I was growing up, which was sometimes quite harsh, little bit antagonistic, aggressive.
Eric: [00:08:37] I mean, and I don't want to paint my father in a bad light. He grew up as a cowboy, like in the West, being beat to hell by his own dad. I mean, and this is a guy who, despite receiving much suffering by the hands of his father, would raise me in a way that was actually quite kind. Yes. Aggressive as verbally, quite intense, but also like very loving, like very much involved. I was never physically abused. Like I had a great dad who did an incredible job. He just had a hell of a temper. And I'm recognizing the same sort of pattern emerging in myself where I'm not like verbally abusing these kids that I'm working with, but I am holding them to a very high standard and I am sort of taking on that role of being a little bit terse, a little bit maybe not aggressive, but just like straight to the point, stoic, like man. And there's a place for that. Yes. But I'm recognizing where sometimes, like, I carry that beyond the point where it's useful, where it is a role that I'm carrying. And so it's it's a really interesting question for me where I'm showing up as a father. And there's a whole other conversation about how my parents have entered into their latter stages of life. And so our roles have kind of reversed where now I am showing up as more of a parent to them and providing them with the kind of support that they need in this stage of their life, both physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
Eric: [00:10:34] So yeah, that that's where I am. And then as a brother, I am a brother to all of humanity. I rarely meet someone who I don't just want to like lift up and I'm a lover. I am a little bit awkward about it, but I mean, that is part of being born into this world. It's like moving through that, learning how to love people. In a way that is authentic. Getting past the facts that sometimes a little it is a little bit awkward. But as like collective brothers and sisters, we have this opportunity to love each other in a very pure, platonic, just joyous way. And that's something that I'm actually presently more and more stepping into now, where I've kind of been on this more reclusive path for the first big chunk of my life. And now I'm stepping into more of a social role where I'm like owning who I am and showing up socially as that individual and learning how to relate as this vulnerable, authentic being in relationship to other people rather than as the hermit in a cave who's trying to figure out like what the truth to or the meaning of life and everything might be. So yeah, that's where I am.
Matt: [00:12:04] Eric Okay. I want to dive right into the theme of this podcast, which is Courage and ask you to share a story of your life where you went on a journey from chaos to courage. Some moments where you realized that you had to step up in a different way. And you did. And how did you grow as a result of answering that call?
Eric: [00:12:31] That is a really interesting question. It's kind of like pick a story, man. I mean, stepping into life, regardless of what kind of interaction we're having, is trying to distill the chaos into courage. Yeah, that's something that we're asked to do almost on a daily basis. And that certainly has been what my experience is with this restaurant, as well as with the property that I am trying to turn into a farm, as well as trying to navigate the landscape of corporate America. As I tackle these other two projects and try to keep those relationships amiable with my current employers. However, that's all the more like day to day benign stuff. What I would say would be a really good example in my mind of stepping from chaos into courage would be my first trip to Guatemala. Actually, that trip, that decision to go to Guatemala was made sort of after kind of a big transition. I had just tried to quit my corporate job for the first time. Their response was to give me a raise to allow me remote work, which opened up this whole new world of possibility for me. I had at that point in my life, been pretty rooted, existing or rather traveling primarily through the internal landscape rather than the external physical environment. And so I kind of asked myself, of all the things that I could do with this newfound freedom, what would it be? And it was like, Well, I've never been outside of the country.
Eric: [00:14:28] It seemed at the time, pretty clear that things were going to get more complicated than not in terms of international travel with the the global chaos that was kind of at that time still very much intensifying. So I decided, now's the time, leave the country, have that experience before I lose the opportunity. And so, yeah, I jumped on a plane. I went to Guatemala Lake Atlitla to visit a friend for a couple of weeks. Shortly after arriving, I. I realized that I had something to discover there that was going to take me much longer than two weeks to find. And so canceled my return flights ended up staying for about two months. And the interesting thing is what really threw me into the chaos was the person that I had gone to visit, the individual that kind of had helped me orchestrate this trip. Our friendship kind of crumbled. And so I found myself in a foreign country, in a place that is very much in my opinion, it's what many would call a vortex, right? There's a lot of energy moving around. There's events happening ten times a day. Pick your poison. Anything you want to do, you can. You're going to be invited to 17 different things in the space of 10 minutes. And so I kind of like entering into this environment and really having to ask myself, what is it that I want? Because if I'm not, like solid centered, stable, like if I'm not moving toward something in this place, I could get sucked in any of 20 directions and end up God knows, God knows where.
Eric: [00:16:40] And that's not what I wanted. Like I, I wanted to show up back in the States after this trip as having come home to myself, I recognized that that was a possibility. And so it really became a not even a daily challenge, but a moment by moment challenge where it was like and thank God for the opportunities that were given to me. These, like these snaps, these like sparks, these moments of like this is this is a choice. Which one are you going to make? Like that conscious awareness that I was making choices and that those choices would have an impact on the way that that day and the week. That would follow would transpire. So. My first trip to Guatemala. Man, it was kind of like this. This. This decision. Decision to face the fact that there is chaos. That that is fact of life. But to recognize that I have a place within it, that through engaging in that chaos in a way that is conscious, I can I can distill that into growth that I can through it, chart a course that brings me closer to myself. And I am of the opinion. This is kind of a sidebar. I am of the opinion that the self, the true self is in something like this, fixed being that like already exists on some level that's true. But more than that, it's something that we are in the process of forging, right, that we get to elects what that self is not just in this like physical plane, in this corporal body, the one that, you know, has a voice that I'm patting my chest and like, Oh, I've got a heartbeat.
Eric: [00:18:52] Like, Ok yeah, there, there is that self, but there is also the higher self and that higher self too is in flux, is in a state of evolution. Right. And so that that was the big lesson that I received there was recognizing that I get to choose through the experiences that I have here what that soul ends up looking like after the course of this life has passed, right? That, that soul chose this life as a means to evolve, which means that that soul is still evolving. So yeah, I mean, it was, it was kind of groundbreaking for me having that level of awareness, the decision making being so present and so potent, and especially in a place like Lake ot atlon, where the decisions you make are reflected back to you, the karma develops so quickly. And so yeah, this was a place where I got to meet a couple of fellow men such as Gareth Pickering, who would serve as sort of role models, as guides, as brothers, as I learned to step into myself as as a father, as a son, as a brother, as someone who is here conscious, making decisions in relationship to the world around him.
Gareth: [00:20:30] Thanks for sharing your story, Eric. The one part of your story I'd like to dig a little deeper into is the part of you making different decisions to walk away from Mormonism as it had been instilled in you growing up. I've got a dear brother who was also brought up Mormon, and I know how important that religion is as a thread weaving together a family. So what was that transition for you like as you let your family know that that wasn't going to be your truth anymore? Was it received with any anxiety? And how is that integration been as you've chosen different path to the rest of your family?
Eric: [00:21:12] It was pretty rough, actually, for a number of years. Big part of the reason for that was the situation that I dove into when I left my parents home at 18 was a pretty dark one. And I mean, to be explicitly clear, without going into too many details, I moved into an off campus housing place where most of the inhabitants were either drug dealers or alcoholics. And I found myself participating in some things that beyond just being an objectively bad idea, I mean. They were. Potentially putting me in mortal danger. My parents kind of recognize that they didn't know the specifics of my situation, but of course, they had lived with me for 18 years. At that point in my life, they probably knew me better than I knew myself, and they could see the impact that this place was having on me. And so beyond just being concerned about my access to the afterlife that they believe in. They were concerned about my physical well-being. And that persisted for years. I mean, well beyond like my exodus from the situation that I was in with arguably unsavory people into a more grounded, stable, aware path. And yeah, for a long time there there was this really intense undercurrent in all of our interactions where they were. If not just hoping they were actively trying to get me to come back to church. That did shift at a certain point. And that shift really happens when. I mean. Full disclosure for for the first maybe five years. Following. My 18th birthday when I left Mormonism, there was always that part of me that felt like maybe I will go back someday.
Eric: [00:24:09] And in fact, I did when I was 22. I went back for about nine months, felt like it wasn't a fit and injected myself again into a different environment, not one that was fueled by drugs and alcohol, but not Mormonism either. I found a middle ground. But yet that flirtation with the idea of maybe still continuing to be Mormon. Persisted. And then I was having a conversation with a friend and they asked me point blank, Will you ever go back? And there was something about the phraseology of that question as it was presented to me in the context of a conversation about my parents trying to get me to go back to church and my brothers and sisters doing this sort of like fellowship thing, dance with me, fellowship ing being something that happens pretty commonly in that culture where they will be super nice to you in an attempt to endear you to them so that they can convince you to go to church. So I'm having this conversation about that with a friend. She asked me point blank, Will you ever go back? And it was like an immediate answer. It was no. And when I recognized the immediacy and the. The resolution of that awareness that it's not a fit. It's not my path. Something clicked for me. I mean, it really in that moment clicked. And it was more than just, Oh, this isn't a fit. It was recognizing that for them, it is for them. This is the right path. And they are receiving what they experience as joy from it. And they are trying so hard to share that with me because they want me to have what they have.
Eric: [00:26:23] And all of the animosity, all of the awkwardness, all of the anger and awkwardness, it it all dissipated because I recognized that they are on their path. And I can accept that any anything that they're trying to do to, quote unquote, bring me back is being done out of love. And I can just love them for that. That's all there needs to be. And it was at that moment, like all of the interactions that I had with friends, with family, with my parents specifically, it was it was no longer conflict. It was just like this invitation would come my way and I would chuckle and I would be like, No, I love you, though, and. Guess what? I got back in return. Like when I gave them acceptance. That's what I would receive. I would receive acceptance. And we're at this point now where I'm on my own path. They are on their path and we love each other for it. That's not to say that there isn't still darkness on my path, and that's not to say that there isn't still darkness that exists within the dogma. That is not just Mormonism, but in my view, organized religion as a whole. But what also exists is the kind of love and light that we are all looking for. It can be found everywhere. And what I have found works for me in my relationship to those who are super religious is just celebrating that and focusing our awareness on amplifying those energies rather than the ones of discomfort. Dis ease. Distaste, distrust.
Gareth: [00:28:25] A couple of the times you were describing your archetype or default strategy as the lover, and I heard you say twice that you believed that it felt awkward. Can you unpack that a little bit more and let us know what it is around recognizing that you are a lover and how love plays a role in your strategies, your relationships, and your life that feel awkward for you.
Eric: [00:28:55] You know, it's a really good question and I am both glad that you asked it and a little bit disappointed that it's even a question that gets to be asked. Like as I spoke those words, I wanted to take them back and that's actually perfect that that is the answer. It is that that voice that exists sometimes in the background that is trying to get in the way of the interaction that's happening in the present. The one that is asking is this appropriate? But in a way that is self deprecating. I mean, it is healthy, I think, to be witnessing yourself in an interaction and recognizing the script that's coming up through the background into the foregrounds and influencing the way that you are connecting with somebody else. But when. That analysis is getting in the way of you letting an interaction unfold naturally. That's when it starts to get awkward, and that's something that I experience pretty frequently. Again, coming from a place where I've spent a lot of time probing into my own shadows, asking those questions, really trying to figure out what it is that makes me tick. But there is the other side of that where it's like, I'm not I'm not a clock. I'm I'm a person who's a little bit messy, who's a little bit wild, who doesn't always make sense and doesn't always have reasons for the things that I'm doing. But for me, sometimes, just like dancing through life feels difficult.
Eric: [00:30:55] At least part of the reason for that is, is the unresolved piece of the relationship that I have with making mistakes where I'm fine making them as long as they are contained within myself, which is, of course, an illusion. But the corollary to that in my mind. At least insofar as I have convinced myself of its existence, is that I don't want to make mistakes, that they are unacceptable when they involve somebody else. And so when I'm in relationship, when I am in interaction with somebody else, that question is pretty consistently popping up. Am I acting appropriately? Is this acceptable? Because I don't want to have a negative impact on anybody else around me. And I find myself more and more frequently in a place where I am in intense relationship with other people, where it's not like the surface level, just like drive by, you know, those surface level interactions like those for me are increasingly rare and what they are being replaced with is something that seems like a situation that is rife with opportunities for. Mistakes to be made for feelings to be hurt, for triggers to be delivered. Four uncomfortable truths sometimes to be the topic of conversation, or for my own emotions, to be an intense presence in my own energetic field. And especially when that happens, it's kind of like high alert. Be careful. And like, I don't know, sometimes it's a bit awkward.
Gareth: [00:33:37] Thank you for sharing those two powerful answers with regards to the description of things feeling awkward, I really appreciated how you were.
Gareth: [00:33:48] Aware.
Gareth: [00:33:49] Of the language thing that you're using to describe specific situations and recognizing how that plays out in reality. And these are the stories that we tell ourselves, and there's no there's no perfect script. And if we wanting things to shift in our reality, the self awareness that you that you reflected in that, that answer around how you describe the roles of engaging with people as potentially feeling awkward is, is really powerful. So I really appreciate that. I also wanted to share that I feel the courage that it took to stand up for something that was against everything that you had been brought up with, specifically around religion and. Recognizing as well that there's such a powerful place when you just open to acceptance and love of everybody's path that has a real way of being able to disarm people where even though you may not necessarily share the views of somebody specifically or their same religious frame that they see the world through, that when you love and accept them unconditionally for who they are, whether it's a parent or a partner or a friend, that it's really disarming. It's kind of hard to argue with somebody who accepts everything about you, even if you don't share those those same worldviews. So thank you for reflecting on that, that powerful journey that you've been through.
Gareth: [00:35:23] I also wanted to say that I love I love the part of the human experience that goes back to check it out one more time. I recognize that in me, in relationships, there's a part of me that knows it's not right and maybe ends a relationship and then feels like, Oh, maybe that wasn't a good idea. And you spin stories in your head and then make the decision to go back for one last try and see whether it's worth it and then need that final confirmation to be like, No, no, okay, this is definitely not for me. And sometimes it happens more than once. We keep going back to sample and try and make 100% sure that that particular phase is definitely over. And I wanted to ask you another question. What have been the role of mentors in your life? Is there a story or someone or a couple of people that may have come into your life that have opened you up to a world that may not have been accessible to you, had this person not come into your life and share some of the ways that you expand it. If you if you had such a person in your experience.
Eric: [00:36:26] Yeah. I appreciate that, Gareth. You're actually the kind of person that actually I would describe as a mentor. And it's not like you are serving in a function where you are the mentor. I am the mentee. But just based on the kind of collaboration that we have, the kind of conversation that we have, that kind of relationship where I speak and I feel like I'm being heard. And when you speak, I feel like I want to listen. Like there have been many times where you and you and I have been having a conversation and I walk away with something that really haunts me in the best way for the week that follows. I mean, I can still remember one of the last golden nuggets that you dropped, this beautiful bombshells that happened in a conversation where and surely it's something that's been said before, but it was the context and with which you delivered it. And what you said was the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. And I've been carrying that around with me for more than a month now, like thinking about that, applying it to my present circumstances. And so I have lots of mentors. None of them are serving in any sort of official capacity. There have been, I would say, two men in my life who who really stepped into that role for me. One of them, he really changed the way that I saw myself.
Eric: [00:38:11] He gave me power as an intellectual and was one of the first people who, in the way that we interacted, taught me a better way of thinking, a better way of orienting myself to the search for knowledge. He was a man who I mean, I could I could go and drop into story about this guy for the better part of an hour. But suffice it to say, he was a literal genius. I don't know if you've heard of Mensa, but he was the proctor to enter the Mensa organization here in my locality. And I happened upon this gentleman by chance, because while I was serving tables at IHOP at the time, I was about 19 years old, 19, 20, and I got stuck with this guy because I was the new server and everyone kind of laughs, chuckles ha ha. There's Wayne. Eric gets the table. He's the new guy, so they pawned him off on me. Little did they know that this guy was more than just a talkative old man. He was truly a sage. And I would every Wednesday, knowing that this man was going to show up about 3:00, he was going to order the biscuits and gravy with eggs poached lightly, green Tabasco sauce, black coffee with none of that heathen sugar. And if he was feeling spicy, he was going to order a Sunday with hot chocolate and a cherry.
Eric: [00:39:59] And as soon as this man walked through the door, I would put in his order. I would clock out and I would spend the next 30 or so minutes just listening to this man tell stories. And I think that the thing that I walked away from that relationship with and again, it did turn into a more of an official sort of mentor mentee relationship years down the road. But what I really learned from that man, one of the most valuable lessons was very early on in the beginning, and it is that the most unassuming characters have something to offer you. So if you're really listening there, there are mentors everywhere. I kind of like the way that Ram Dass puts it when he's like, You know, the person that triggers you is really just God showing up in drag. And so, yeah, I truly do feel like all of these characters that show up really are individuals who are carrying the message, who are the mouthpiece of the divine, regardless of their relationship to it. It's kind of like God is working through us whether or not we are actively participating in that venture. So yeah, mentors everywhere, brother. There is another layer to that as well. At least there is for me. And it directly ties to what you are saying about that that gift and or slash maybe curse that we have sometimes to rationalize our way in or out of things, situations, decisions, circumstances where maybe we don't quite belong.
Eric: [00:42:13] You brought this up in the context of relationships. Right. And I have found that my romantic partnerships have been some of the best, if not most difficult unofficial mentorships I have undergone. Again, it's not an official capacity, but I have entered these relationships, recognizing that there is something in this other individual that I find attractive. Typically it's some sort of quality, and I wants to keep that quality in my energetic field as consistently as I possibly can. Right. And generally that entails like starting a relationship with that individual. And I'm not always quite so clear with myself about what that thing is. And truly, sometimes it is just based on just physical attraction. But for me, more often than not, there is some sort of intellectual or spiritual or psychic quality about the individual that is really like making them look good. The thing that I have begun to recognize is that more often than not, what it is that I am sensing, what it is that I am attracted to is some sort of quality that is part of my shadow that I am projecting onto them and not shadow in the typical union psychology sense of like some darker aspects that is too uncomfortable to handle. And so I'm approaching it indirectly by projecting it on to somebody else similar.
Eric: [00:44:00] It's something, something powerful or altruistic or more alive or engaged, something juicy that exists within me that I'm not yet comfortable with, whether it's I'm not comfortable with the responsibility that owning that would bring me. I'm not comfortable with the awareness of how my lack of owning that in the past has created flawed circumstances. Whatever it is, for whatever reason that I haven't felt comfortable in owning it, I'm projecting it onto this person, or at least recognizing it in this other person. And I am bringing them into my field as a way of like witnessing what that thing is so I can get better eyes on it. And those relationships, regardless of the way that they end or how deep they go, are quite often for me an opportunity to recognize something in somebody else that I also know in the background. Maybe not consciously, but I do know is part of myself that wants to come out, that golden shadow, that wants to project itself through me, not past me. And so honestly, man, like some of my best quote unquote mentors have been my romantic partners, not just older men or individuals with a great deal of wisdom, but my peers, my co-conspirators, those confidants who I feel comfortable enough relating with that we can really drop in and express through authenticity something that doesn't always get the chance to manifest.
Matt: [00:46:04] Eric, I'm loving this conversation and what you said around how mentors and teachers come in the forms of lovers sometimes really resonates with me. Past relationships, the ability of getting raw and real and intimate and authentic with our lovers is a huge key to unlocking our human potential. And so love that you touched on that. I want to shift gears back to your cult of courage, specifically around Guatemala and this idea of of realizing that your choices are really your soul evolving. And I wanted you to see if you could touch on some of the experiences that got you to that realization. And maybe if you wanted to share any habits, routines, philosophies that you have implemented in your life that have helped you expand in in this Guatemala evolution, if you will.
Eric: [00:47:00] Absolutely love it, man. These kinds of conversations are what thrill me more than anything else. All right. So a philosophy followed by two practices. The philosophy is that life itself, the cosmos, the divine, whatever you want to define it as, whatever name you use, it is conspiring in my favor for the purpose of my continued growth. Right. And I've always believed this when I when I was a young Mormon kid, it was God loves me. He wants me to go to heaven. Now it's something more like I am a soul with a connection to the divine. All that is whose mission is to learn how to contain, to hold, to practice more light. So I want to go back to that philosophy. The universe is conspiring in my favor for the purpose of my growth. When I arrived in Guatemala, there was this feeling that I needed to be there. But I didn't know why I. I had no no real reason to be there. I mean, in my mind, I was like, man, this is irresponsible. Like, I just canceled my return flight home and I'm going to do what, like be on vacation for the foreseeable future? That's unacceptable. But it's what I felt like I needed to do. But I wanted like I needed purpose. I needed, like, some function, some grounding. Give me structure. And so. At the time, I was reading a book called The Shamanic Way of the Bee, and this is one of my favorite stories.
Eric: [00:49:17] I don't know that I have the time here on your podcast to share the whole thing, but basically what happens is there there's a line in the book that says, Ask the bees what the Druids know. And I decided, like, you know what, I'm just going to ask the bees. Like, that's as good a suggestion as any. And it just so happens that as I close the book, I'm there drinking a cup of cacao, and on the rim there's a honey bee. And so I'm like, I vibrate a little bit. I'm like, Oh, shit. And so I started to express to this bee like, Hey, look, bee, I am feeling sort of lost. Like, I'm supposed to be here, but I don't know why. I'm a little bit afraid. I have these concerns, etc. And at the point where I'm starting to feel like I might break down, I kind of reel myself back in, like lift up my chin, like, okay, like I'm a man. All right, compose yourself. And then this bee, like, takes off. And as it goes around the corner, these two women, like, up here, as if out of thin air, because I can't see around the corner. And it's like the bee disappears and replaces itself with these two women who come around the corner, like, laughing, giggling, just like excited.
Eric: [00:50:55] They come sit down on the bench next to me. And it just so happens we're in a place called Nectar, in fact. And these two giggling women are having this conversation about like, man, like, what do we do? There are all of these opportunities, like, we could do this, we could do this, we could do this. Like the world is our oyster and we could not be more excited about it. And it struck me, it was like, wow, they are faced with the exact same conundrum as I am and I am approaching it with like, Oh, woe is me, I am lost. I don't know what to do. There's too many choices. And these two women are expressing this like, wow, like all of these options, which one do we choose? And it really just it shifted for me that entire experience. I was like, You know what? I can't go wrong. Like, I'm just going to start diving in like something feels good. I'm going to say, yes, here we go. And so. The interesting thing is it was on my way to a men's group that that same circle where I met our brother Gareth. Not. Not the same meeting, but the same circle. And I'm on my way there. I've got about 15 minutes to kill and I'm like, All right, like, what do I do? Or I go, I'm kind of standing and hippy highway, not sure which direction even to travel.
Eric: [00:52:35] And this honeybee comes and it lands on my arm and it lands specifically on this tattoo that I have of just a circle all by itself, just this circle. And this bee lands in the dead center in the middle of it, walks to the edge, traverses the circle once, and then takes off. And I'm like, Holy shit, I am following that. B And so I follow the B into a garden, which was. The guardian of a place called Las Pyramids De Luca, which was one of the options that I had of a thing that I could do month long program like I'm asking for structure right in this program is kind of expensive and I'm like, I have reservations, but this bee guides me there. And as I'm like walking in towards the reception, the bee lands on a flower and I peek my head through the door. And who is there other than those same two women? And they are signing up for the course. And I'm like, Holy shit. All right, I'm doing the moon course. Here we go. Right. So that's one of the experiences that I had that really solidified for me that. Man. Not only are my choices, my soul evolving, that I have an active role in choosing the direction of that, but that it is communicating to me that the cosmos, the divine, my higher self gods, the universe is conspiring in my favor and is having a conversation with me.
Eric: [00:54:17] Like I got to experience a part of that with a honeybee, but how cool is that? So yeah, one of one of the decisions that I made at that time was I wanted to not only believe that life around me was the divine communicating to me as if the whole hologram theory is real. And as much as I am creating this reality in terms of, I don't know, like the things that you choose to focus on, you amplify. And so you're creating your reality in the way that you are putting your energy into those things. And it's like you buy a red car and then all you see are red cars, or more specifically, you buy a red Toyota Tacoma, and then all you see are red Toyota Tacoma. All right. Yeah, okay, there's that. But I also wanted to believe that I am actively creating this reality, right? That there is part of my subconscious as it is connected to the divine through my higher self that is creating this experience. The source is communicating to me through physical objects, not just through the words of people who are sometimes fallacious, who are often running scripts, where, I mean, I can't always even trust myself, but nature, man, nature has yet to lead me wrong. So I decided to do two things so that I could begin to distill what is becoming a language that life communicates to me through.
Eric: [00:56:12] So I'm not just like praying to God, right? But that God is able to communicate to me through more than just like heightened states of emotion. So the first is dreams. Keeping a dream journal I consider to be absolutely essential, not only for more clearly defining what your relationship to specific symbols are, but also to recognizing what is happening in your psyche. In the subconscious, like what is active. I am willing to bet that the more that you get into dreams, the more that you actively participate in them, the more that you will begin having potentially even precognitive dreams. Dreams come to life, right? And everything that exists in those dreams is important. Just as I am coming to discover that everything that exists in this physical reality is important, we just often fail to see. So. So yeah. Keeping a dream journal. I adopted a lot of different techniques, like using a blue pen, only using a blue pen for the sake of dream journaling and always using a blue pen for the sake of dream journaling. Using the four elements like having a candle, meditating myself into a sort of dream state as I'm going to bed doing the same as I wake up. It's a lot easier when you don't have a significant other. Anything that you can do, though, to create that connection with dreams, recognizing that they are emotional and having that be part of your journaling practice, making sure to underline any symbols that exist, whether that is a person, a animal, an object, something as benign as a chair like that gets underlined.
Eric: [00:58:28] What else? Yeah. Dreams, man. If. If you're the kind of person that doesn't really dream, I invite you to start keeping a dream journal anyhow. And just by nature of doing that, that's what really brought dreams. Like, much more into the foreground for me. What else, Tara? That's the other one. So after I finished Dream Journaling, I would engage in a tarot card practice where I would pull three cards, recognizing that tarot cards are again full of symbols, representative of archetypes, and that they carry both a light and a darkness to them, which is they carry both the light and the shadow. Every card has like an exalted. Kind of a shadowy nature to it. So I pull three cards. The first card represents the energy signature of the day as a whole. What that day is going to be like, what the predominant archetype is. The second card is my self, but it is specifically my most exalted form of self as I will present during that day. The third card is my shadow as it will present during that day. So I have the day as the whole my light side and my dark side.
Eric: [01:00:08] I kind of study the cards. I let the images kind of gestate in my mind, and then I put them away and I more or less forget about them. I let the day unfold naturally. And the end of the day, as I'm journaling, I allow anything that wants to come out to end up on the paper. And then once I feel like I have been expressed, then I pull out the cards and I reexamined them in the context of what I have just written. And every time there is a connection between the symbols on the cards and the words on the page, and sometimes it's fucking mind blowing. It is uncanny. And so those are the two things that I do to more clearly understand, not necessarily define in rigid terms, but to have a felt relationship with symbols, with the way that the etheric speaks to me through physical objects. And the more that I do that, the more that I have the experience of the divine showing up through objects which in the past seemed benign but now seem like totems, like messengers. Now we have an understanding, not a perfect one, and it's not omnipresent, but it's more consistent. And life itself feels more meaningful, more magical, more vivacious. Because I am doing my part to develop the language that we can share to have that conversation.
Matt: [01:02:02] Eric, I didn't realize you did the moon course. That is on my order board. Been wanting to do that. And the way that the bee brought you in there after the series of synchronicities. And then the moment when you're talking to the bee and you're essentially you're just getting real with it, right? You're owning your fears. You're owning your desires. Like that was that moment with you and an interaction with nature, another being from another species nature and having having the space to say that out loud and hear yourself say it has power and gravity and. Yeah, man. Great story. Thank you for sharing that.
Eric: [01:02:57] Yeah. Baby Moon Course, honestly, is one of the most incredible experiences I have had in my life. A large part of that was the community that I discovered there. There are four people who I met and this has been almost a year now, and we have kept in close contacts. I mean, strong, fast friendships like this is tribe man. Those people who I know will show up for me in authenticity, people who I know I can show up with in authenticity. And it is no. Coincidence in my mind that that is what I found. On the back of that experience that I had with the Bee and I love the way that you put that is like showing up as just real, raw, vulnerable, owning the fears, owning the desires. It's authenticity, man. It is being present and honest and expressive of what was real for me at that point in time. And dude, like, I hope that we can we can do that with ourselves. It's glorious. Absolutely amazing to receive that reflection from somebody else, right? When you really feel like you can be all of you in that moment. The man like. It was a lesson for me. It was an opportunity to really create that space of vulnerability, of authenticity, of expression, of those things and feeling like there was an audience, right? Just a little. Humble honeybee. But it was the perfect audience. And the remarkable thing that I experienced was that it was willing to communicate back to me, or at least that's the way that I perceived it. So, yeah, man. Like with your loved ones, go there with honey bees or whatever totems resonate with you. Go there and then just with yourself, like, go there. It's worth it. It's always worth it.
Matt: [01:05:40] Eric Good stuff on the dreams to really be blown away by that exercise. I want you to let I want to let you and the audience know that I've shifted the color of my notes to blue ink for this episode. And as always, you can get those by going to the Cult of Courage Live website and registering to join the cult coverage conversation. So yeah, that dream exercise you just gave us was an excellent install. Thank you, Eric.
Gareth: [01:06:10] The Golden Shadow is not something that we speak about too much. And I love how you brought that attention to the part of ourselves that looks for something magical in our partners, and we project that golden shadow onto them. And it's a really interesting place to recognize where we leak energy when we do this. And I remember when I fell in love with a woman in Thailand many years ago, and one of the things that she had, too, was she was really connected to a body. She was a yogi, and she ate super clean and she only drank a small amount of alcohol. And there was so much about that that I, I teared up at the time as to one of the reasons that I loved her. But on reflection, now I recognize that there was a part of me that wanted to have a better connection with my own body and really lean into the parts of understanding diet and understanding nutrition and biomechanics and yoga as a way to access the parts of my body that I've been disconnected from. And yeah, it was really, really interesting to look back and to see that golden shadow. And it made me think of that Marianne Williamson quote that says, Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It's our light, not our darkness that frightens us. And there's so many layers to that quote, because when we realize just how powerful we are, we have to let go of some of the stories and the yeah, the victim narrative that we've chosen to hold on to as a, as a way of not moving forward in our lives. And that can be pretty fucking frightening. And yeah, it just seemed to tie into that, that golden shadow.
Gareth: [01:08:02] And I just wanted to say thanks so much for pointing that out. The exercise that you shared on dreams and tarot is really, really strong as well. And thank you for for bringing that. I'm very certain that dreams lucid dreaming and living Lucid Lee, are topics that we're going to unpack on this podcast in the future for sure. And yeah, I definitely want to connect with some of my teachers that have been inspirational in my practice of recording my dreams, recognizing dream themes, asking my unconscious mind to reveal answers to questions through my dreams. And yeah, my dream journal is 583 entries now, and those are the number of days that I've woken up and written in my dream journal. And yeah, it's a, it's a longer download than we can give justice to in this, in this particular podcast. But I wanted to say thank you so much for bringing that dreams are such a powerful way into a different reality that we sometimes don't have access to. And much like the Law of Attraction, when I didn't understand it before, I gave my dreams any attention, I was never open to the magic that could be revealed through dreams. And so when we take the time to bring awareness and consciousness to how we dream and the messages that show up in our dreams, we have access to more information to be able to support ourselves and to make this human experience even more rich. I'd like to ask you to share something in your world, Eric, right now that you're excited about. What's a project that you're focused on that's bringing you a lot of joy that you see yourself putting your attention on over the coming weeks, months and years?
Eric: [01:09:53] Yes. Thank you for bringing a highlight to that element of it, where the qualities, the characteristics, the the elements of personality that we see as exalted in other our qualities that we are capable of embodying ourselves. And it really is incredible when you find those individuals, those partners, whether they were romantic or otherwise, who embolden us, who empower us, who aid us in that process of learning how to integrate those qualities into ourselves so that we can express them as part of the being that we are, rather than trying to somehow hold those qualities or live them vicariously through somebody else. Something, something that I am currently ablaze about have been for about a year now. Is this permaculture project a permaculture retreat centre that I hope to start? And I have invested everything that I own into this property. I am just past a year now having bought this property in 2021. Spending this last year watching the natural rhythms, the seasons and cycles of this area, and now preparing myself to start these first few stages of implementation. Working with a local permaculture architect and honestly, I'm at this point where I'm I'm really starting to get into the nitty gritty, the details, what the energy inputs and outputs are in terms of physical labour, in terms of finances, etc., so that I can start approaching others with the intention of rewriting my personal money story, recognising that what it is that I am involved in is so far beyond just me that what I'm trying to do is is create community in an area where I feel truly needs it, at least the kind of community that I feel is supportive of the kind of growth that I was looking for and continually rediscovering deeper and deeper layers of.
Eric: [01:12:57] So I, I'm in that process of putting together the spreadsheets, writing the prospectus so that I can start inviting other people in, in a significant way to join me on this adventure. There is always something to dive into here. Right now, I'm really involved in passive solar, geothermal energy. What I'm trying to do is create a greenhouse using only local materials, something that uses no toxic materials, that has a net zero energy imprint on my environment. The reason why I'm really excited about that is I've spent the last couple of years living in a small RV, again, having reinvested everything into this project. I'm really excited to get off of a pair of wheels and living with my feet planted firmly on the ground. There is something about waking up and just being able to stand up tall and stretch to your full height and arms up and just that expansive, beautiful expression of awakening that I haven't really had the opportunity to experience here. So, yeah, I'm amped up about that, getting ready in the next couple of months to break ground. Man there are so many different directions I could go. Let's. Let's talk about the mycology, the microbiology, the ecology of this area and where I mean, I don't know if you can sense my excitement, but one of the beautiful things with this project is that there are so many moving and wildly interconnected pieces. And so, yeah, I'm I'm absolutely ablaze about it.
Matt: [01:15:02] Eric. I can hear the excitement in your voice and yeah, thanks for sharing that. It sounds amazing. I think we'll have to get you back on the podcast in the future to get an update on that and hear more about it. To wrap up this conversation, I want to shift gears and close it out with an invite for you to share. What is your current call to courage? If you could define it for us, let us know why it's important to you. What's next in your process? And who's your support? Who's your accountability in getting this done?
Eric: [01:15:44] Yeah, man, I would love to join you all again. In the future. I hope to be producing my own content as time goes on, sharing this process definitely something that I'm just wildly excited about, so I'm glad that's coming through. Call to Courage. You know, the thing that is most present for me is having moved to a new town, I mean, it's been about a year and that year has been spent really digging the foundation of the multiple projects that are happening here with the restaurant, with the permaculture project and the area of my life that needs the most nourishment. So far as I can see, it is my social life. And again, man, this this ties right into that first message that I left. And the follow up question that Gareth brought back into it about that awkwardness socially in the aspects or as I embody that archetype of the lover. And so my call to courage is to schedule at least two significant social events or interactions every month. It's not something that I've been making a lot of space for here. There are opportunities, some of which I've taken, but it has been somewhat haphazard and it's been the lowest priority just with so much going on. And not to make excuses because again, man, so much of what I am doing here is about cultivating community. It's about bringing people together under a certain kind of atmosphere, with a certain level of intention behind those interactions.
Eric: [01:18:03] And that's not to say that every event needs to be a seminar or like some deep conversation or anything to spiritual or heady. Again, so much of life, so much of the beauty that we are given, the gift of experiencing is in the everyday moments in those commonplace interactions. And so cultivating that space to really be present, to be authentic, to be engaged, to enjoy, to be in joy of life in life. That's my call to courage, man. So to at least to interactions, to events socially per month, my accountability partner, my support is actually my mother, the person that I spend probably the most time with. I spend a whole hell of a lot of time with my parents, man. They own the restaurant that I'm working in. They bought the property next to mine. We are definitely co-conspirators. We are championing each other's dreams and it's a conversation that's been coming up about how I would like to be stepping more into the social circles, finding my place within a community here so that I can learn where my part is in what already exists as I bring this future to fruition. Yeah, man, that's it. That's what it is. Of course there are many, but that's the one that's really on my mind.
Gareth: [01:20:02] I love it, bro. Thank you so much for sharing your dream again. I remember the first time you shared that dream with me about your land, and you showed me a photo of the place, and you actually showed me the design of how you thought that the layouts of your property may look. And I was struck by the conscious detail that you'd gone into in terms of how you plan to layout this beautiful piece of land that you feel like you've been given stewardship over. And yeah, the richness of you experiencing that you've now got water rights on the property. And I'm so glad about what you're doing, brother. And we also spoke about at that same breakfast the idea of having a father, sons, brothers, tribe meeting where we really get to sit around a fire together on your land and yeah, look up at the stars and yeah, really just connect. And I'm, I'm looking forward to when that happens. It's been great having you on the show. We would love you to share some photos, perhaps some photos of your land if you want to share the design that you had, even if it was only the starting point, maybe a photo of you and your mum would be great as well that we can share inside the call to encourage conversation. That's our telegram group, our free telegram group. For listeners of this podcast that want to access the community at a deeper level, connect with other brothers, connect directly with our podcast guests, and also shape this conversation.
Gareth: [01:21:33] So you get to ask your own questions of our guests as we're creating this podcast. So Eric, it's going to be a couple of months that we're going to hold you accountable. That's one of the things about being part of this community is in a few months time we'll have you back on the show and we look forward to hearing how your scheduled and consciously created social engagements that you are calling into your experience as your call to courage. Unfolding your life and just looking at how you grow from that. And thanks once again for everything that you shared on this show and the brotherhood that that we share. And for showing up for our founders circle. Our friendship and brotherhood has run so deep in such a short time, and I know that there's lots more to come.