Are we as positive with ourselves as we can be? Is your internal language, as you talk to yourself, kind and loving?
Do look for positives inside ourselves? Responding to good affirmations about how we're going to live our day?
Everything we need is everything's already inside us. It's already there. The world is in here. Everything, – your physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual needs - it's all in here.
Faust A. Ruggiero’s professional career spans almost 40 years, and is diversified and compelling, as it has consistently established new and exciting cutting-edge counseling programs in its pursuit of professional excellence and personal life enhancement. He is a published research author, clinical trainer, and therapist. He developed the Process Way of Life counseling program and has developed it into a formal text presented in the Fix Yourself Handbook.
Mr. Ruggiero developed and began utilizing the Process Way of Life Program. The program consists of over fifty internal human processes, which can be accessed and developed to help clients address the various conditions which were affecting their lives.
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Welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman. I am thrilled that you are here and today I have with me Faust. Ruggerio lost foster geria.
Fast, fast, fast. That's an interesting thing. It's a it's Italian, you know, when, when we, uh, the ancestors came over, they chopped the old wall Fausto so, you know, let's make everybody sound American. So, and all of three or four of us that have the name, we get mistakes.
That's just the way it is. That's a trigger, something in my memory from undergrad literature studies. Yeah. There was an old that was thousand as I remember, I think that's why I got the mispronunciation. Yeah. Cool. So you hail from Pennsylvania? I do not so far from the New York where I am nice.
I've only been to Pennsylvania a few times. Everyone from the orcas coming to Pennsylvania. Now,
the city is emptying. We're not far from the Pocono mountains and with COVID You get a house, people say to buy a house there, you can list your house 40 or 50,000 above what it's worth. And the people from New York will come in and pay 50,000 above that. Wow. Get out of New York and they all want to get out of town.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, New York was the epicenter of COVID for quite a long time. I know my sister, one of my sisters lives in the city and was doing everything she could to just not be there. So staying at relatives houses just to not be in Manhattan. let's dive in. We have our six quick questions.
That's a permission to heal staple. So what six words would you use to describe your. You know, for me, I've been around a long time and you kind of mold who you want to be. I'd start with passion for me. There's not, I don't do much in my life without a whole lot of passion. You know, my wife always says, please don't take anything else on because you're a hundred percent in.
But you know, that's, that's where I start. I'm also a very, very grateful person and not for what I have or what you know, comes my way. I like to think about gratitude being inside me and then, you know, for all the little things it's just, just there and it wraps around itself around everything else that I do.
I'm very, very much a loving person. You know, I think that's something that once you start working with yourself and clearing out the debris and doing all that, that's what, that's, what comes into the picture. I keep myself very high. The more I acquire intellectually or whatever, the more I'm a student of life.
So, you know, my, my, my way is always to keep that flow going. So you got to stay humble to do that. I'm a very honest person with myself. I think that would be maybe sometimes honest to a fault, but I just believe that honesty is the best friend I have. It does. It keeps me away from defenses and agendas and all those things that we can all get caught up.
And I would say I'm a very engaged person. I don't think anyone that knows me will say, well, he's kind of half in it. You know, I love the passion. Yeah, it does. You know, I mean, I'm engaged. If I'm doing something as we're doing right now, I'm a hundred percent in, I leave here and I'm going to have an evening for the counseling people and I'm going to be a hundred percent in there, you know, and then you come home and you do it with family.
So it's just, that's just the way I am. That's the way it is. Yeah. I, I think that in order to be passionate, you have to be engaged and vice-versa yeah, absolutely. They go hand in hand. Okay. Question number two. What is your favorite way to spend a day for me? I'm I like to maximize my potential in anything I do.
So you know, and I'm an in-service person. I've been counseling people for over 40 years. I'm sorry if I had answered that if I can help anyone or a whole lot of people, that's going to be the way I like to spend my day at the end of the day, regardless of what came my way or what, you know, we bought or what we, what we did, if at the end of the day, I didn't help someone out.
I kind of feel like the day has been, you know, something, some things I missed that day, so that's cool. That's beautiful. It, it's very rewarding and brings my life meaning as well, knowing that the things that I do that bring me joy. Also connect with other people and help them along their journey. Yeah.
That's pretty amazing. I also like days, like I had yesterday where I canceled, I wasn't feeling well and I canceled my whole day and I sat in the house by myself and I watched TV and I read and I noodled around on my computer, but I did relatively nothing. And occasionally that's very restorative. Can't make a life of that.
But you know, some people do, but know your rights. You cannot make a life of that. No, but it'll, it restores my own, my own sense. Reconnects me with myself and yeah, it's a reboot. That's what it is. You know, you, you get away from everything, your mind's fresh when you come back. And I'll do all those things too, but I'm not one, I can't sit long.
So, you know, if I'm going to reboot, I'll go out and I'll make it a day where I'm working with my hands or something like that. I me and disconnect don't work too well, practice at it. I used to feel guilty if I wasn't always in motion being productive. You know, if I had the TV on, I was also paying bills or I was also cleaning the house or, you know, and it's taken me a long time to be able to just sit and enjoy a movie on, on the television, in my own house and not feel like I have to multitask that.
Well, you know, that's actually a permission thing. You have to get to the point where you can say, you know what, I'm doing a lot. I may, I may have been going for 10 or 12 or 14 days. I can give myself permission to take at least the morning off. And when I say permission, it has to be conscious. You actually have to say, I it's okay if I do this, I have to say it out loud or I, I don't get to do it.
Guilt-free, you know, like I've been battling this sinus infection for three weeks and I haven't allowed myself respite to heal because we had two trips planned in a family wedding and we were on planes and it was like three weeks of travel. And we just got home Tuesday night and I have given myself permission to have the, this the bulk of this week since we got home to just.
Rest my body so that I can heal. And guess what? I'm feeling better.
No brainer there. All right. Number three. What is your favorite childhood memory? Childhood memory? So many of, you know, when I look back, it was a much simpler time when I was, when I was young, I'm in my sixties now. So I was born in the fifties and, and, and when I look back, it was just the kids on the street getting together and play.
We were outside. There was no. Seeing us connect to the internet or the cell phone or, or anything like that. So it was left to us. I think we were far more creative. People really had to make something of nothing. And we did it every day. And then, and through that, we got to know each other very, very well.
And those associations are fortunate. Some of them are still in the picture. Some folks are still around it, and there's still wonderful friendships with a whole lot of depth and a whole lot of love in them. So when I go back to that, I think about those times, you know, it could be something as simple as the park behind the house, or I had a tree we could climb and we could sit in that tree sometimes two or three hours and you look back and say, well, we did nothing, but we did a lot.
We re we really connected. You're talking about connecting today. We really connected. Yeah. I have a lot of memories of that too. I was born in the late sixties and, and we just did a whole mess and neighborhood kids all around the same age. And we had bikes and big wheels and all sorts of pretend games in each other's houses and yards.
And the parents would always say, you know, to go out of the house, they didn't want us in the house. So we're always these pretend games, climbing trees, and really amazing things that I don't think even my own children ever experienced, they don't work with our children. I was always saying, let's go outside and I was pushing them out and I'd go out with them.
Cause I knew, I knew how valuable that was and, you know, put a basketball hoop in the driveway, in the swimming pool, in the backyard. And what we found was that all the kids were coming to our house. You know, we were the hub, you know, because that's what we, we, we provided, we were willing to do that.
And the other part is parents. Aren't willing to do that today too bad, but it's a, it's a great thing. Question four. What is your favorite meal? Well, you know, you're talking to an Italian here, so it's good. It's good. It's gonna lie in there somewhere. You know probably, you know lasagna spaghetti, those kinds of things, you know, it's what we were raised on.
You saw that two or three times a week, you know, and it's the simplest gravy on the stove all day, Sunday. Yeah. And you, and you called it the right thing. You know, when I say gravy, they say gravy, you mean tomato sauce? And I said, well, depends what house you live in, I guess, growing up. Right. But, you know, it's not just the taste of the food.
That's attached to a lot of old memories, you know because. We were in the house, the moms cooked at that time and grandparents cooked and, you know, you got together for Sunday dinners and all those things, and that's what, that was the staple. It was kind of built around that. So there's a lot, you're right.
There's a lot of love with that particular music and Italians have a lot of that same similarity in their cultural makeup. My mom grew up in Brooklyn and their neighbors directly downstairs in their apartment building was a Italian family. And my mom was always in aunt Mary's kitchen and probably knew how to cook good old world Italian food, just as much as the, you know, culturally Jewish stuff.
So it was just side by side, even when I grew up in the suburbs, you know, pretty amazing. Number five, what one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self. You know having to learn along the way growing up, but you know, like everyone else, I thought I had to find all these things that were going to be important to me.
And I realized, which is what I teach now. It's what my program is about. My book, everything is everything's already inside us. It's already there. That's where you have to go to find your world. Not out there. The world is in here. Everything, your, your, your physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, what's all in here.
And if I knew that when I was in my twenties, you know, I might be ruling the world today. I don't know. But it is huge when you realize that and you stop looking for outside influences to make you feel better or to complete you, life changes. Yeah. I didn't know. Like you, I didn't know that any of those things were there inside me and always was looking external to myself for everything.
Yes. And never found it because it's not there. It's not there. It's not there. Right. And it took me probably until my late thirties, early forties to start figuring out that all of the things that I was looking for were here in my center, if I had the courage to untangle and dig it out. And and that's been the process since then, and eventually led to this podcast being born because we're giving ourselves permission to do these things.
Exactly. Exactly. The last question. What is one thing you would most like to change about the.
I, you know, I would probably go with negativity. It's become a very negative place to live people attack before they get to know each other. But you know, even that part of it, I'd like to see people be more positive with them. Selves. If we are more positive with ourselves, if the internal language we have is good.
If, if we're looking at four positives, we're getting up with good affirmations about how we're going to live our day. Then we bring that out to the rest of the world. So I love to see people do what we say, go inside, find all that good. It's not, you're not just going to find stuff that has to be fixed.
There is all, a lot of beauty and good stuff inside us once we're willing to go in and get it. And when you do that and learn to talk to yourself and feel good about yourself, that's what you bring out to the rest of the world. I'd love to see people do that. It's hard, you know, I find. I'm a very, generous and kind person with other people.
And what I have figured out now that I'm 53. What I have figured out is a lot of my own internal dialogue about myself are, is things that I would never in a thousand years think to say to another person it's just so mean. And so judgmental and so full of shame that I would never in a thousand years even think that about somebody else.
And so I'm trying very hard to learn how to not do that. And when I catch myself, I try to flip the script, not to be cliche and turn it around. What I tell people and what I've used for myself, that that works is that's going to happen. It's an, it's an autopilot kind of thing. And what if it starts with me, I consciously say, I'm not going there.
It's, it will start. I know it's going to start. Then I reverse the trend. If I try to reverse it without stopping it. At first, they kind of blend together and sooner or later, I just go back to, to the old stuff. So I, I got to a point where I said not going there. I'm not thinking that because it's real easy for it to happen.
You know, people were, were trying to grow and get better, but the world isn't always going to cooperate. So there's always a place to find negativity. They'll back into our own past. Find it. So, you know, I don't get boisterous about it and I'm not getting arrogant about it. I'm just saying, you know what, there's good stuff in here.
I'm going to go get that. I'm not letting that other toxin come in and get to me. So when it does, I'm just saying I'm going to stop you in your tracks. That's what I, I started when I was, I, I almost got arrogant with that part. I said, you know, you're not going anywhere. Then I can get humble and go, you know, think about how I'm going to help someone or think good thoughts and good thoughts about me.
Because if I can't think good thoughts about me, I know I'm going to attack someone else because our natural way to do things is even the playing field. So I'd rather keep I'd rather, even in a positive way than you know, and you don't have to say anything, someone that someone it's spinning in your head, well, that person is, you know, and you have that internal dialogue with them that, you know, doesn't even really exist and who wants to go there.
So I stop it quickly, you know? Cause it's going to keep on coming. I don't think anyone is void of that. No. I, to a larger varying degree, you know, I'm sort of under this impression that everybody had a very fluid and noisy internal dialogue, because I tend to analyze and over analyze, or at least just narrate in my own head, everything that I do.
But in talk, I teach high school English also. And in talking to students over the last several years, I've come to realize that not everybody has the extent of an internal dialogue that I thought we all did. There are some people for which it is very quiet up there. I lost an end beat that
the motor seems to be running all the time, you know? And it, even if it's idling, it doesn't have to be at a fever pitch, but it's all received to be going. And as long as it's open and running, it pulls things in you know, so, and that's, you know, I actually, I then did them. I said, man, you guys don't think about anything.
You know, you just go from a to B and everything is, it's not okay. You just don't question it. Well, I, you know, I'm not set up that way. And I know that, so I put the stops in where they need to be. Makes sense as we get to know ourselves, we, we begin to figure out how to do that for ourselves. Okay. So let's, let's dive in.
Well, I would love you to tell us about your book and your, your, your fix yourself handbook, your process way of life. Like I've been reading your website and excerpts from your book, and, uh, nobody can say this better than you can. So, let's just launch in, tell us, tell us about the book, how you started writing, et cetera.
You know, I was the kid who was always in service at other people. I guess I was the listener. I was the kid in high school. People, you know, friends came to and talk to. And so I naturally went into this. So now I'm in college and graduate school and you're learning all the, this is the way to help people.
These are the theories, these, and then got into private practice and actually sat down with people and say, okay, throw the book out. It was a great learning. It gave me a lot of that. They gave me a lot to draw on, but these things just don't apply. Like they said, they were going to apply. So I began waiting this out and throwing that out and putting this in.
And what I started to realize was that stuff inside us has it has a name it's they're called processes. There are it's honesty, it's gratitude, it's humility, all the things I talked about their processes. And if I could teach people the process. And put it into a program that made some sense it would work.
So about 20, 22 years ago. Now I started doing that and it evolved into what I call the process way of life. And you don't tell that to people when they come in and well, you know, welcome, sit down, I'm going to teach you the process way of life. But I said, we're going to talk about some processes that are going to change your life.
It really took off. I, you know, I haven't treated anyone in, in over 20 years that hasn't used this and said, wow, this changed everything around because what they finally understood was that there are ways to get into that internal part of us. There's a real simple root in. And when they started to do that, they were phasing all this outside influence out of the picture and they were working with themselves and they weren't, depending on, you know, the public opinion, peer pressure went down, they were getting very happy with themselves.
So. Three six years ago, I said, I need, I'm going to develop this into a text that would being asked that by a number of people and started to do the research that a lot of research on how the book should be. Design who was going to be written for publishers came back and said, well, primarily you'll write it for women 18 to six, the United States, you know, good old self-help territory.
We'll write it just for the women. I guess the women are the only ones that are supposed to change. I don't know. I said, I'm going to write it for everyone. I want to start around 18 and go through, you know, sixties and seventies. That's fine. I want it to be for men and women and for, straight and gay.
And for everyone I wanted everyone to be. So that was the first thing I did. And then started, started thinking about a design and I, one of the chapters short, because I, you know, I looked at self-help, there's these 40, 50, 60 page chapters and people are telling me they're getting lost in them. So I wanted to go four or five chapters.
I wanted a lot of information. And then I wanted the the key to the whole program to be here are the exact steps you take to do this in every chapter. So I outlined the book that way. And we published. In December of 2019, and it's been a wonderful ride since that time, a lot of people are using it.
We're just turning it into an audio book now, and it's really has just taken off. I think I've done about 120 interviews in 11 months. Wow. People are calling and it's. So it, you know, but the key is people are getting back to me and saying, wow, this is working. I can, I can, I can really see me doing this.
And you know, and it's full of all those permissions you're talking about. I don't call them that. But it, you know, it's telling people, you can make your it's okay to make a decision to do this. And then, you know, and I start them by taking them off auto pilot, I call it this connect from what you're doing, and let's start, let's reboot.
You, you talk about a day, we reboot and I'm talking about a program where you start by rebooting. And so we start there and we take them through 36 different chapters and give all the necessary information and then the exact steps to, to fix those problems. So you're talking about specific processes, specific things that we do automatically, or that, that connect to our own.
Personalities our own behaviors about our processes that we can use. If we learn to use them, we will change the way we operate the way we think feel and behave. I'm talking about for example, honesty, you know, people talk about honesty all the time. Let's be honest with each other. And then when I ask them about that, What they're telling you about bears?
No resemblance to honesty whatsoever. They're there, it's a surface kind of an honesty. Honesty's become one of those things that protects us. And and you know, we don't get to look at the whole issue or, or the part of ourselves we don't like. So I teach them how to go deep and he's going to get uncomfortable.
I mean, there's, there's no doubt about that in the initial going, I teach them that, teach them how to slow down. Lifespace because everything goes fast and, and they're quick fixes everywhere in this destination and that one and get me there. And I'll just be okay when I get there, we take that out of the picture.
One of the keys, so the program is learning how to use your intellect over your emotions. Not that you can't be emotional, but something comes up. We usually react. We go at a hundred miles an hour and by the time we're done, it's a horrible performance and emotional performance. I teach them how to get their intellects engaged first.
And then when you decide to emote later, you're molting on you're emoting on factual information that is realistic and organized and, you know, so we start with that, with that part of it, then we go into all the different kinds of things setting boundaries and goals and stopping things like people pleasing and setting up walls, learning boundaries, and how to defend those boundaries.
All different kinds of things, because you know, when people come into the office, They say, well, Jay I'm depressed or I'm anxious when I look at them and we start tearing things apart, there's always about 10 or 15 things that are going wrong while you're doing this right. You're codependent over here.
You, you, you didn't settle that abuse issue over there. And so, when I wrote the book, I said, let's look at all of these. Not that everyone has, it has all of them, but enough of us do where a lot of us and, and, and then you can, you can take it chapter by chapter. And what I'm getting, the feedback I'm getting is finally someone said, okay, here's all the things as opposed to two or three.
And in defense of self-help authors, that's what the publishers demand. Don't, don't spread it out too. Why. Yeah, focus on one or two issues. You know, and, and, and everyone comes back saying, well, it's the same thing over and over again. So, you know, I had a couple of agents that were working with me and I actually said, thank you.
No, thank you. And I went and did this my way, because I, I thought that I was gonna make, I wanted to make this like a counseling session in a book and that's what I did. And then that's what people are, are coming back and saying, yeah, all these things, once one step at a time, you know, people tell us, you know, you, you, you gotta learn to love yourself.
And I haven't heard one of the self-help groups, tell me how to do that yet. So, you know, I teach people how to build a world inside that they really like, because that's the stepping stone to loving yourself. If you can't do that, you won't get to the love. Right? So we teach those kinds. And so what I'm, what I'm saying is I get very, very specific about what I want.
You know, in counseling and you can probably see an enemy as I'm talking. I'm a very dynamic counselor. I I'm nothing person that's going to, you're going to come in. I'm going to say, well, how was your week? And I'm going to do this for 45 minutes. Right. It's just not going to happen. Now. We're going to start turning over the rocks.
We're going to get in deep. You're going to get comfortable, but you're also going to get confident. And so that, that's the way the book is set up. The way the program is set up to learn the processes, get inside, understand how powerful you really are in there and learn how to use it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I know for, for my own life, I I've been a journal writer since 1983 and I've been in therapy for on and off for, but mostly on since I was 20.
So it's been a long time. And I do a lot of meditative things like artwork and so on that allow me a lot of head space to process and make sense out of things. And I know the only way that I was able to. Figure my life out and figure out how to make myself happy and bring meaning to my own life was to undo or at least shine a light on childhood trauma and the things that I, you know, the dysfunctionality that I grew up with in my own family, and then really analyze intellectually how my behavior was just being triggered by things that felt similar or the same to traumatic things that I survived as a kid.
And, and a lot of it were, were survival mechanisms that I acquired along the way on how to deal with my bipolar drug addicted mom, you know, on things that I learned and then kept repeating out through all my other relationships that weren't getting them. To any better of a place. What was the definitional definition of insanity was to do the same thing in the same way each time and get an expect, a better result.
And I applied that to my life and, and, you know, it's an ongoing process that isn't something that you can say, okay, check a box. And that's done, it's constant, refreshing, and exploration and fine tuning and so on. But yeah, it's, I, I can't recommend enough for people to do the hard work and figure themselves out because there is nothing better than that.
You know, what I hear as you're talking, I've heard from everyone is what's the plan, you know, when they come in and they say, okay, you're going to help me do this. And, you know, and, and, and what counselors tend to do because it's, it's not something you can just throw out there. They say, well, let's get some information first and we'll see where we're going to go.
I just tell them, I have the plan, how I'm going to apply it to you will depend on what you tell me you need, but I will guarantee you if you work the plan, just like I tell people to look, if you work the plan, you will make the changes there. No doubt about that. But you know, it's, it's not, it's not rocket science.
It's basic simple logic that, that, that should be guiding our lives, but we have it so twisted and so many different things, coming in that are guiding our lives or that we're letting guide our lives. You know, I mean, I have just talking to someone the other day who brought in something that someone told her, and I knew it was wrong when she said it, but she began to.
Tell me about this whole new procedure. And I said, where did you get the information? My friend brought it in. Where did your friend get the information? Well, it's, it's out there. It's, it's an whole experts. Experts are all done. And by the time she was done, no one, she gave me nothing about where the plan came from.
And when we, I said, let's, let's break into it. Let's just look at this thing. Cause I want you to see what a plan is not. And we went through it and there was no plan. There was no plan. There has to be a plan to move forward. What are you going to follow? Because that's what you're going to work with every day.
And I find that too many people are hoping that someone's going to say, okay, do this and then I'll do it. But there's no plan by the time I'm with someone in my office, in my office for the second or third week, they know exactly where they're going. We've outlined it. I said, okay, these are all the things we need to work with.
This is how we're going to do. We're going to take it one step at a time at your pace, but this is where we're going. Then they have a clear idea that that's the way I wrote the book. That's great. So, so what is the first step? Somebody who's just beginning this, what, what's the first thing they need to sort of wrap their head around, taking your life off auto autopilot.
We go forward without questioning anything. We get up every day. Yes we do. It's that insanity thing you were just talking about? We plug into the same routines every day. We don't question them. When, when things go awry, we don't realize even say to ourselves while I'm doing the same thing every day, I eventually it's going to wear thin and I'm not going to feel good.
So I tell him, let's just stop the train before you make any changes. Let's look at all the things you're doing and put them into a little bit of a coherent perspective. So you can see. Okay. And then we'll start to go from that point. And when they, when they can look, what I believe in what I'm doing is very gently helping them to hold up the mirror that they've been trying to smash for the last seven plus years, you know?
Right. So once they do that in real life, they can look in the mirror and that you know, it isn't that correct image. It's okay. I got some things to deal with, but, then we also outline a few strengths, so they understand as good in there. They're not going to go in there and find this monster of a thing.
That's going to come in and bite them and say, oh my God, now I'm, I'm that bad. No, you're not. You just have things you're not doing. Right. That's all you have old you know, nemesis from when you were a kid that are, that are thick, you know, you continue to give life as you're going to, as you're going forward, we're going to, we're going to kill that life off and you know, you're going to forgive yourself and anyone else and move on.
Yeah. It's not, it's like, it's not rocket science. It's, it's very simple to do once you stop fearing it. That's the next thing I tell them, give yourself permission to stop fearing because that's, that's hard wired into it. Yeah, definitely. We were afraid of what we're going to find. We're afraid of everything.
And then we have different ways to do, to address that we get angry to cover the fear. We, we, we run from the fear. We have all different kinds of things. We do all the little defenses we, we, do to keep ourselves from looking at ourselves and all we're doing is looking at ourselves. Someone we should love, right?
Yeah. A big, a big thing for me, that, that keeps me, I spent way too much time thinking about is body image and, physical health. You know, I. And I've been trying to really unravel this for myself. Like where does all of this come from? And besides the media and society and age-ism, and you know, all sorts of things that society tells us about youth and feminine beauty and so on.
Really a lot of it has come from my own dad and my own grandmother and their judgmental comments that they've made over the whole span of my life. And I I'm, I'm in the process of doing this now for myself on winding all of that, to figure out how that is then interpreted as my own self dialogue as I'm judging myself and.
How I'm learning to take better care of myself, especially after menopause and everything's changing and so on. And I'm facing a different reckoning now with, with aging. And my continued relationship with my dad, who's now 81 and still spews the same venom that he did just because that's his programming.
So we've had some very dicey conversations as I've laid down boundaries. You know, he, if he's thinking those things about me, he needs to not say them out loud, cause I don't want to hear them. And it's helping his forced quiet is helping my whole outlook. You're just silently nodding now. No, I see this in women a lot.
What you're calling body image and you know, I always say, how did you arrive? At the point you're at and what the point you're at right now, what is it doing for you? And actually the second question is more important than the first, because you can go back and see how you arrived. You can go back and say, dad's dialogue and mum did this and they always had me on diets or, or, something physical happened to me.
So I have this protection, protection, all those sorts of things, but I always say, what's it doing for you now? Because if you're not changing it, then it's doing something for you. Right. And let's find out what it's doing for you right now. And you're probably going to find that whatever it's doing, you don't need.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I do. The one thing I allow myself, and again, I have to stop judging myself, even while I'm talking. That's so it's so fun., I am emotional, an emotional eater, and so I don't do drugs. I don't drink, I don't engage in physically dangerous things, but that's always been my go-to. And so we just, I just, you know, I had a, hysterectomy and medically induced menopause, and then immediately we went into a global pandemic.
So it was like whamo one after another. So, so that's where we are now. And so I know exactly how I got myself to this point and, you know, sitting quietly and writing and so on is great for my brain and great for getting books written, but not so good for the waistline. So I know exactly how to fix it. I just haven't yet.
Which begs the obvious question. Why? I don't know. And sometimes, you know, when people come into my office and they get to that point, I say, well, do you have to know before you start to change it? No. And that's where I am now. I've slowly, you know, I'm overwhelmed because there are so many things that I need to, or want to address.
And just yesterday I decided, okay, the one thing I can do without getting off the couch is start tracking what I'm eating again, because awareness is the key for me anyway. So I downloaded the thing back onto my phone and I started tracking, you know, it's just little tiny baby steps that will eventually get me where I need to be.
Baby steps are still steps. So. And so I, once I stopped looking at the whole entire problem as a big overwhelming, scary thing, and I just pared it down into individual little things that I can do, not all at once, but over time will eventually get me where I want to go. And it will, you know, one of the things, the simple things I work with all the time with people just do it.
And you know, they'll say, well, you know, we've been thinking about this for about three weeks and I'd say, well, I'm not sure why you haven't started. Right. And I find it. Yeah, that's right. What happens is it becomes an autopilot way of doing things. Okay. We brought this up. Okay. Yeah. I really showed it. I always call it the smoking syndrome.
You know, you really, we have to quit, you know, I really should do this. I'm working on it. And I said, okay, I'll even have any idea what that means. What does it mean to work on not smoking either you stop smoking or you don't. So do you want to stop? Let's cut it down. And I give them an easy program. All my smokers don't or are successful with this, and I give them that simple program and they, when they start it, there are successful getting them to start it.
Right. It's an entirely different, thing, because it's a comfort zone. And once it becomes a comfort zone, even if it's toxic, it's something we do every day. We don't change it. Yeah. We love our comfort zones. My husband. We've only been married four and a half years, even though we've known each other for 30, some odd years, long story, but he was a smoker, his whole entire life and I'm asthmatic and just can't tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke.
And so it was a deal breaker for me. Like either we're going to be involved and you're going to become a non-smoker or you're going to smoke and I'm not going to be in your life. You know, that's just the way it is. And the night before our first official date was his last cigarette and he never had another one after that.
So you saved his life. I just, yeah. I gave him other things to focus on and be positive about, and I think he missed it every now and then for a little while, and then didn't have in many boxes of patches and I don't think he used, but a few of them. So, I mean, I'm not saying it's that easy for everybody, but I, it changed his mindset.
It kind of like filled his pleasure centers with other things. And what's more intoxicating. The new love, you know, one of the things I do with people when they get stuck like that, as I say, let's just do it. You're going to get uncomfortable. We already know that, but when you get uncomfortable and least you start to get uncomfortable, you're going to come back and you're going to give me this information about what you're uncomfortable about.
And that's going to give us all this whole new picture about what's going on, but right now you're medicating. And while you're doing that, there are no symptoms anymore. You want me to say something you're dealing with now is your smoking or you're overeating or, or whatever it is that you're doing. So we don't know what's going to happen until you begin to stop.
So let's, let's program some discomfort into your comfort zone and see how you react. Then let's not, you're not going to fall apart. They're not going to rush you to the hospital. You're not going to hang yourself on the tree in the backyard. Nothing, nothing like that. Let's just get this started. And then you start telling me what you feel and what's going to happen is your discomfort is going to go back and connect to whatever it is that caused this.
Cause that's what you're medicating. It's common sense, right? If we take that away, what do you have left? Whatever, whatever the cause of the problem is. And then we go back and we get it. And sometimes it's not taking the whole comfort zone in a way. Sometimes it's just invading it. Sometimes it's just sending some of our, our, our little sentinels in there and they're going to disrupt some things for a while.
And then the person says, I'm starting to feel this. And I had a dream about this, or I, I was thinking about this conversation with my mother or whatever. I said, we're turning on, we're turning on some lights here. Right. So do you want to keep those demons in the background where they can keep on poking you?
Or do you want to show we, should we just get the medicine out of the picture and let's go get the date. Right, because they're going to be there, get dressed and they're going to show up in all sorts of different mind, body ways and yeah, absolutely. Let's go put them to rest and once, and for all, exactly, exactly.
It's no different than the stress induced IBS. I wind up with, if I don't address things that my anxiety goes straight to my gut and, you know, I could medicate that out with gastrointestinal medication, which I do sometimes, but I could also take care of the thing that's causing me anxiety. And then I no longer have the stomach ache.
Right. And this is what we do across the board. You know, we just now have legalized marijuana because it's going to solve all our problems. No, it's not. It's going to be one more drug that we take one more way, that we're going to medicate through issues. We're never going to get to the calls or points on anything.
And then since it's a drug, we will deal with all the typical things that drugs do. I mean, and it's common sense and I, that's not a, an editorial about not using marijuana. It's just the reality of the situation. It's a drug you're going to smoke this, always the people who do, and they're going to have some lung problems down the road.
The research on marijuana. That tells us that. Yes. In fact, we can get addicted to it, but it's been sold as we cannot. So, you know, it's one more thing. And I, I tell people you want to smoke pot, that's up to you, but can we clean your life up first, then go enjoy. If you're going to do that, the recreational stuff, how have your mind in a place where you say, well, I'm just going to skate for a while and have a nice time.
As opposed to, if I don't do this, I get stressed out. I get depressed. I get anxious, my joints hurt or whatever it is that you're, that you're medicating for. Right. I know that I, I discovered edible cannabis cause I'm asthmatic, so I don't smoke anything. Right. But edible cannabis as a way of mitigating pain after surgery, because I, because of my mom's fatal opiate addiction, I, Understandably leery of Vicodin and Oxy and all sorts of things, because I know what it did to her.
And the few times that I have taken it for post-surgical pain and things, I have not liked how I felt. Um, and that's a physical thing and an emotional thing because of my experience with my mother, but, but edible cannabis was a very effective way of mitigating post-surgical pain without some of the side effects of the opiates.
Right. But it's a short term, it's short term and it had a plan, right. Again, that's different than, you know, I got a medical card, I got a medical marijuana card because, you know, I used to smoke pot and I, you know, at the end of the day, it, it took my stress away and I, and I say, that's great, but as you get addicted to it, you'll have more stress and you'll have to smell.
Because that's, what's going to take the stress away and then you're kind of caught in this. This whole thing, why go there? But again, what I say is let's fix everything else. Then you make decisions, whether it's pot or anything else, right down the road, you want to socially have a drink or a joint or a gummy candy or whatever it is that you do, where you choose to do.
Why don't we make it? So it doesn't have to be part of, what's supposed to fix you because you can fix yourself. Right. It all comes down to tenure and being aware. What else kind of comes back to people's opinion of themselves. You know, if your opinion of yourself is always going to be, I am broken, then you're always going to have something that, you know, puts, tries to put you back together.
When we realize that, yeah, I am powerful enough to do this. I am strong enough. It's going to get uncomfortable. It's not going to kill me. And that, and that uncomfortable places where all my growth is, my growth is not in my comfort zone. It's not in the marijuana. There's no gross in any of that. No, the growth is in the uncomfortable part, which makes me challenge myself and find new ways to get stronger.
And it's always there. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's learning how to be comfortable in the discomfort for me, you know, learning how to be okay with the vulnerability of exposure of revealing things to myself. Yeah. I have a chapter in the book on just that, learning how to be uncomfortable and be comfortable with the uncomfortable part of things.
And when I try to tell people is the brain is designed. It's called habit formation. The brain is designed to this mechanism that says, I'm comfortable here. Now, if I challenge myself, for example, if I never exercise, and now I'm going to come out of my comfort zone and start doing these things, the brain is going to get comfortable there because that's what you're feeding it.
Right? And, and you can keep on challenging getting to decide how strong you want to get, but the brain is going to adjust to what we do. It always will. There's a little bit of this comfort because that's new territory and has us doing some things we haven't done before, but you know, that's how we got into the comfort zone to begin with the brain adjusted.
So why wouldn't it do it all over. Right. Yeah. Just readjust to things that are healthier for us. And that don't feed into the negative behaviors that we had previously been adjusted to. Yeah. That makes sense. So you've, you've figured out your tolerance point, you know, I, I don't want to do this anymore, whatever this is.
And then for me, anyway, I had to backtrack and figure out what was feeding into that. Like what was the cause of that behavior? And, I wrote a memoir of my, of unraveling all of this with regards to my relationship to my mom and all of the survival behaviors and survival mechanisms that I had adopted as a kid.
And as an adolescent that I brought forward, dysfunctionally brought forward into my adult relationships and. I knew that I was miserable and had to unwind it, how to dig deep into my own past and figure out how to make sense out of all of that. So that I could end the intergeneration ality of the dysfunction of the mental illness of the drug addiction and not carry it forward into my kids' life.
And, I went back and read all of them journal entries from 1983 on forward. And there were so many things that I didn't remember ever having happened. And to hear my 16 year old self or 18 year old self talking about certain things, I was starting to see patterns of behavior. If you're, that was almost like a very clear roadmap of why this behavior as an adult existed.
You know, you're doing this with men in your life because of things that you learned to do with your own parents when you were a teenager. And I started as I started to see my behavior in a cause and effect kind of way, it made it so much easier to redirect and to end the toxic behavior and create a healthy boundary and a, a new mindset for myself.
It, it was the Mo I didn't intend for it to be the cathartic experience that it wound up being. But I think writing it was the most pivotal self-awareness practice I could have ever embarked on. And everybody has those little things they can do. And what you think is going to be like you said, a small step, and that's what I always tell people, make the smallest steps, because first of all, they're going to connect and get you somewhere.
But in the meantime, sometimes there's a small step that you don't realize was much bigger than you thought it was. Sure. Keep making them because every now and then two or three kind of band together, next thing you know, you have this memory, you have this connection to what you need to do. And you know, it, I see this all the time with people.
So, you know, you're right. Keep on going forward use whatever you have to use, whether it's writing or talking to people or, or whatever you need to do, but be willing to get uncomfortable a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Just recently you started a podcast. Just a couple of months ago, I believe no I've had a podcast do whatever I can get to it.
I, you know, where I go through chapters of the book are things that I'm doing in there. So I've done that for maybe about eight or nine months of what I did start recently. There's a radio show. Maybe that's what I'm confusing. I did an interview with a woman by the name of Linda McKenzie who runs healthy, healthy life.net.
And it's it's just, you know, like 50 or so people doing radio shows and it's all designed to do basically what we're doing here. So we just we went through I think I I'm going to do the third one in next week. It's a lot of fun, you know, you pick your, your, your guests and you go forward and all different kinds of things.
So, so I actually did one with, a guest who I had interviewed with two or three times, and we did this last. Two weeks ago and the station called me back and said, gee, this thing took off. How would you two like to do a radio show together? So now we're starting a second one. So it's just once a month.
Cause, anything more. I mean, I just don't have the time to, to, to get into, but it's a lot of fun, you know,, it's, it's live. So that's the neat part of it. So can we listen to these if you go to my website, it's foster gerald.com. There's a link. And, and, but if you're interested in the whole gamut of things, that healthy.net health, healthy life.net, and it's a radio, it's a internet radio, it's global.
It goes out to the cross to the world. And like I say, I'm here about 50 of us doing radio shows on they're all doing it. It's designed to help get people get healthier, physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, really nice format. Excellent. I I'll blink all of these things, your website and healthy life.net.
All of that to the show notes of the podcast. So if you're listening and you want this information just scroll down and all the links will be there. Awesome. Awesome. Why do you think just as a last question here, why do you think that, that as humans, we do tend to deprive ourselves of the happiness and the self-confidence and the power and the peace that we crave.
You know, it's, it's a two-pronged answer. The first one is what we learn will be come up with. People are very, very good at spreading the wealth. Unfortunately, what they're spreading is the negativity and we start believing it and you know, you're a little kid and you don't do this, right. And you, this and you have before, you know, You get this negative view yourself and then the internal language arts and we get to be older and we really believe we're not worthy of the changes and all the good things.
And, it's not that that, that the past is even tearing us up anymore. Now we're afraid to move forward because we firmly believe we don't belong there. And, you know, you want to talk about permission, give yourself permission to believe that you do. And, you know, at the very least go make the efforts, do what you have to do to get better and see if you belong.
You're going to find out that you do, if you do the work, the only, the only possible outcome is that you see that you belong. So, you know, being willing to say, yeah, I'm worthy of this, you know, and, and then go forward and see what you find. That's all.
It's simplistic. It's simplistic and brilliant at the same time. And that's what it should be. If we're going to grab it. You know, people, people dream up all these complex programs, these huge acronyms and all these things that make things look wonderful when it is in its simplest form. That's the way we're supposed to live.
We're a simple, straightforward life uncomplicated. And when we strip it down, the program we're using should be simple, easy it'll ply and consistently be able to work for us. That's all I put together. It's not rocket science. I grabbed what was there. That's wonderful. And you found it inside yourself and show us how to find it inside ourselves.
Exactly the fix yourself. And where can we pick this up? Is it available anywhere books are sold? Yes. You can, the link is on the website, but you can go to Amazon Barnes and noble, uh, it's out there in paperback and a, an ebook. And within the next month, it will also be there as an audio book or you're narrating it yourself.
I'm not, I thought I would like to, and then I realized how much work is involved in that. It is a lot of work. You know, doing a podcast. I already know how to use the programs enough to do the podcast, but not, you know, audio books are run essentially by Amazon. It's a site called ACX where they get everything done and everything has to be to their exact standards.
Yeah. I recorded my own audio. Yeah. During lockdown and I was doing it from my little home studio that I created here and because it's in my house and I'm in the suburbs, I could only record in the middle of the night. So it would be quiet enough and there'd be no sound and each chapter at a time.
And then, yeah, it was, it was a very involved process. Yeah. And you know, I, I'm still counseling full time and I'm doing interviews and I'm doing, appearances. And I thought, you know, what, as much as I liked to, I found, I found a wonderful person who you know, has a, a voice that can appeal to men and soft enough for those who are more feminine or, or like a softer approach.
And I said, he works. He, it sounds really nice. I'm editing it right now. And he sent it back to me. So I'll go through this. He'll get it again. They're telling me sometime, mid August, we should be ready to go. So yeah. Nice. I wish you luck with that. I I love audio books to me. It's I love the comfort of listening to somebody.
Tell me a story. it's excellent. Well, thank you so much for this. This was a lovely, a lovely conversation and, I'm sure everybody listening got something out of it. Well, I appreciate you inviting me. It was a wonderful time. Thanks be well, you too. Thank you.