Making A Recovery With Kasey Lockwood and OJ Catbagan

AIH 75 | Making A Recovery

 

While it’s often difficult to wrap one’s head around, making a recovery, for the most part, is an internal process. So much of it has to come from you, which means you have to take plenty of conscious actions in order to advance the process of healing. Sean Entin sits down with Kasey Lockwood and OJ Catbagan, the hosts of the podcast The Way of Healing. Together, they explore how making a recovery is largely a process that occurs internally, and how you can help yourself make the recovery. You are in control of the way you heal. Make sure you know it and continue to allow yourself the healing you deserve.

Listen to the podcast here:

Making A Recovery With Kasey Lockwood and OJ Catbagan

We have on OJ and Kasey, who are the hosts of a show called The Way Of Healing. We had a lot of fun talking and delving into different areas of their stories of health, wellness and healing, but what stood out to me was the talks we started having about our inner life. Specifically, this idea or metaphor of thinking about our inner life as having a relationship with a child. It’s a commonly thrown around the term in some health and wellness communities is this idea of the inner child. The reason I love it or I appreciate it so much is that it’s a nice way of bridging the gap between these emotional states that we can become afraid of or averse to. The metaphor is if there was an angry screaming child, would you throw it in a room and close the door, lock it and let it scream and cry? Would you want to show that child love, affection, give him a hug and let them know, “Everything’s going to be okay?”

The metaphor is that these emotional states that we have inside, that we can perceive as scary, I have this rage coming up or I have this anxiety or fear, apathy, grief, you name any of these emotional states. If we’re shunning them or repressing them or locking them away in a part of our house that we’d never look at, it creates this tension and this builds up inside of us. This metaphor is great because you can start to look at your inner life as this child that needs love and affection across the board. I mentioned this a little bit, but it got me thinking of these ideas of what we call attachment and aversion. I’ve been exploring these more in the last few months in my own inner healing work, but it’s apparent when we start to look inside of ourselves that there are certain emotional states that we’re drawn to. There are certain emotional states that we’re averse to.

The whole premise of the work is very much a Buddhist practice. The essence of it is recognizing your attachments and let them go. Recognize your versions and let them go. You get into this place where you’re not strongly attached to certain emotions. You’re not strongly averse to emotions and you go through this process of letting go, working with yourself and getting to this place of peace within. That’s the ultimate goal. The idea of working with it as if it were a child can be very helpful. The inner landscape can be tumultuous and hard to grasp because it’s not tangible. Having some good metaphors and there have been other guests who have given us great metaphors along within this realm of the mind.

A metaphor, the way to think about it that works for you or works for someone you love, that can be very powerful and very transformational. We get into that on the show with OJ and Kasey. We get into their stories. They’re both well trained as massage therapists and have since delved deeper into their own healing work with their clients. They decide, “We’re so passionate about healing. We want to start a podcast.” They started The Way Of Healing podcast. They’re all-around wonderful human beings, warm and inviting. They have tons of wisdom to share.

Welcome to the show OJ and Kasey, how are you doing?

We are fantastic. Thanks for having us.

I usually start these off with whoever is on introducing himself. OJ, why don’t you start? Introduce yourself and give us a little bit of background about who you are, what you do and we’ll roll it from there.

It’s funny being on this side of things when people ask those or we ask those questions, everyone’s like, “That’s a loaded question.” Until you’re on this side of the mic, it’s like, “That’s a loaded question.” Who am I? I’m a facilitator for change. I think that’s a good place to start. I am a healer. I am a father. I do jiu-jitsu. I run a podcast. There are a lot of facets to who I am, but I think overall I like to create change or help facilitate change in people. I do that through my work, through the healing work, through the physical energetic work and also with the podcast. Giving people something to think about, a different way to look at life, shifting of perspective, where people might have had a blind spot. Where they didn’t know this was a thing and all of a sudden they hear a little nugget of wisdom and they’re like, “I start thinking differently. I’m a facilitator for change.”

Kasey?

The podcast that OJ and I cohost is called The Way Of Healing. That feels like the biggest thing. That’s at the head of my carriage with horses, that’s the lead horse in the carriage. I’m also a healer. OJ and I met in bodywork school at IPSB at LEI in Culver City.

What’s IPSB?

It’s a 30-plus-year-old massage school. It started in San Diego and then they opened up a branch in Los Angeles and it is the longest-running massage school in the LA area. It’s a brilliant place for meeting oneself, getting to know oneself deeper and at least a lot of what I found there is permission. The sense of permission to be me and to let go of familial conditioning, societal conditioning, and explore in a safe place, in a safe way. What else? I do some animal communication. I work with dogs. I do craniosacral therapy. I work in a hospital doing reiki. I work with essential oils and breath awareness through a program called Urban Zen Integrative Therapy. The short form of that is UZIT.

What is Urban Zen? How do you bring that in a hospital setting? Sean, who’s part of our team was in the hospital. We got to meet some of the people on the Urban Zen team. The way I was looking at it, they started this transition where they’re bringing more holistic healing into the hospital setting.

That’s exactly what’s happening. I’m grateful to be a part of that. Integrative medicine is something that is coming out in studies. The data is there that shows that things like breath awareness, meditation and yoga help with people’s healing. It reduces blood pressure. It reduces the duration of illness. It can help with relaxation. It can help reduce pain. Urban Zen was started by Donna Karan. She was a fashion icon in New York when her husband, Stephan Weiss, was ailing in the hospital. They brought in all of their alternative therapy, which I like to call traditional therapy because it’s thousands of years old. They brought in all of their traditional therapists to his bedside. He had a profound sense of relief from some of these people.

One of his dying wishes was for Donna to carry on this training, to create training around this and bring this programming to nurses, to patients and to family members. That’s how Urban Zen Integrative Therapy was started. One of their first big projects was in the Superdome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A bunch of people went down there with their essential oils, their breath awareness, their reiki and they did the healing. There are programs popping up around the country and I happen to be part of the one here in Los Angeles.

What do you think in terms of all of that Urban Zen is doing? I’m in my mindset, in my experience, the easiest way I always describe it is this type of healing to people is it’s putting your body in a state of balance and your body has this innate intelligence to heal itself. Would you add on to that? How would you say Urban Zen is different from that exact description?

I think that’s applicable and accurate. I would also add that it invites us to be right. It invites some stillness in the body. It invites us to go inward and experience what only we can experience. We can all be sitting here and talking about the pain in our left elbow, but everybody’s pain is going to be different. What connects the mind and the body is the breath. I find that most often if the patient is able, we’re always going to be doing a breath awareness. A deepening of the breath and acknowledging of the inhale and the exhale and the pause and filling the body with the breath. The breath isn’t just in the chest, the shoulders, or the neck, you’re not only taking it in through your nose, but the diaphragm runs the entire depth of the body. It is as much in the back of the body.

We’ll do a lot of breathing into your back and feeling the breath expand, feeling your sides expand from that place that invites relaxation. We then can go into our parasympathetic nervous system, which is where the healing takes place. When we are in our sympathetic nervous system, that’s our fight and flight. Until we have somebody else holding space for us saying, “Let down your guard.” In essence, it’s hard to heal while still being your own security guard, your own alarm clock, your own cook and chef, and cleaning person. We have to be hypervigilant all the time. When you’re in a setting where somebody’s holding space for you to say, “You can let your guard down. You can relax. You dim the lights and allow you to be with yourself,” that’s when you can heal.

I love that you bring these different nervous states and that’s been a lot of my experience in the work that I’ve done with yoga, meditation and personal training. The common denominator seems to be if your body is in a hypervigilant state, it’s not able to heal in the way that you might want it to because it’s worried about simply surviving. I try and belabor it over and over again because getting out of that state isn’t always as simple as it sounds. There are simple techniques but for many of us, in my experience, especially people who have gone through some trauma, we almost have this condition, habit of experiencing the stress states. Do you have any experience working with people who might have a harder time getting out of stress? Do you find it’s pretty easy most of the time?

It’s hard work. A lot of people are conditioned to doing more, where they don’t have the space to start tuning in to what’s going on inside. It’s people that even come with that intention are like, “I’m going to go to this place for someone to hold the space for me where I can go inside.” They’re caught up in what’s going on and what has been that they don’t know how to go inside. For a lot of people, meditation is huge. For me, it’s been huge. There’s a lot of healing that goes into meditation and what’s been coming up, I don’t know if you’re familiar with inner child work. The inner child work comes up time and time again. The podcast we run, we have healers come on in and tell us about what they do and their different modalities. A lot of them have a lot of inner child work and there’s so much healing that happens when you look inside and find the inner child in you that has been scarred and hurt. You hold the space for your inner child and say, “It’s okay. I still love you” or “The mistakes that you made, they weren’t your fault. Forgive yourself for the mistake you made that may have caused pain, anxiety, or something going on that’s real, that’s manifesting itself in your physical body.” That has been huge.

It's hard to heal while being your own security guard, alarm clock, cook, and cleaning person at the same time. Click To Tweet

A lot of people aren’t familiar with that kind of work. The only way to go in there is to go inside. If you’re going somewhere and you’re saying, “This person is going to fix me. They have the solutions for what’s going on in my physical body.” You’re not going to find exactly what you need until you start looking at the inside about what’s going on in yourself. Until you can sit in silence or have someone hold that space where you feel safe to go into that parasympathetic and find that healing within yourself, it’s hard to find the healing. Otherwise, everything’s going to be temporary.

I understand what you’re talking about the inner child, but I’ll add on here for anyone who might not. There’s been a lot of research and science behind what happens between when you’re 0 to 7 years old in terms of brain state. They’ve discovered that the brain is in what they scientifically referred to as theta state but commonly referred to as a hypnotic state. This is essentially the time as a child when we’re creating patterns. Our brains are pattern recognition machines. We’re creating patterns. We’re creating meanings. In this state, you always hear like, “The child’s mind is like a sponge. It absorbs everything,” and it does.

From 0 to 7, we’re literally absorbing. After seven years old, the brain shifts and it goes into using those patterns, habits and routines you’ve learned from 0 to 7 for the rest of your life, unless, you go into the inner work, which you’re talking about. In meditation, in my experience, it’s tough to work. I was in yoga class having this childhood memory come up in second grade threatening this girl. As a kid, you say something offhand, but then it gets spiraled out of threatening this girl and then you got sent to the principals. My parents were then mad at me. You don’t realize how something like that can completely structure your mind in a way too, “Certain situations aren’t safe. I can’t act this way because this happened.” You’ll see it as you start to pay attention to how these patterns are playing out.

I have two kids and as a father, you have to be careful with what you tell your kids in terms of their health because the kids are highly suggestible. If you continue to tell your kid, “You have this problem with you.” Once they hit that age of around seven, that’s them. That’s part of who they are or their personality. When they have something that’s going on with their physical body as a child and you ingrained that into their brains as an adult when something pops up, subconsciously, they’re telling themselves these gnarly things about themselves. You have to sometimes go back to that kid and say, “That’s not you. That’s something your parents told you you were.”

What I found too and you speak to this, it typically comes up not when things are good. Typically, these habitual patterns, we pick up from 0 to 7, they start to come up when I’m tired. I start defaulting to these states when I’m tired and also under stress. Prolonged stress or being tired, your brain is trying to work efficiently so they start defaulting to what it knows is safe and what it knows is comfortable.

Part of that is because these places, these experiences, and these memories are stored in the amygdala. It is where we have these negative emotions. Whatever has been stored by the amygdala, that’s what we’re pulling from. When we do the inner child work, you typically go back to the earliest, the most intense, the first worst or earliest memory. That’s the one that you have to heal in order to move out of that. You’re taking the charge of the memory when you do that work.

What’s that process like? Let’s say I’m reading this blog and I’m saying, “This is resonating with me. I want to start doing this work.” Is it as simple as looking at it or is there a little bit more involved in integrating and healing that aspect of self?

There are a lot of people that do this work and it comes through many different modalities. One is that we have to be in a parasympathetic state so we can’t be in our reactive state and think that we’re going to address this thing and release this thing. You can’t want that, first. You can get to it like there’s great work, somatic experiencing trauma, trauma release work and family constellation work. These are all things that people can look up to. I’ve experienced it through craniosacral work and then the practitioner helping and guide me, guided-visualization. Usually, it can come up even if you don’t know if you don’t have a specific memory that you want to go back and work on. That’s fine because whatever’s going to show up is going to be the best thing that you’re going to work with. Maybe you show up with stress and the practitioner gets you into a relaxed state and then starts to talk to you about your stress.

They will maybe invite you to remember when you first felt stressed or a situation where you felt stressed, “Did you feel this as a kid? Do you remember being this?” Sometimes it goes all the way back to the womb. Definitely, I think that there needs to be a facilitator in place to do this work. I haven’t found it for myself because someone else has to hold the space so that I can open up what’s inside and what’s deeper.

Sometimes, when someone does open up that space for you, it’s just the surface. They’re opening up this awareness of like, “That’s there.” Sessions are short with healers. It’s anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, 2 hours at the most. Sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you have to sit and meditate and go back to yourself and start working through that stuff yourself. The Hawaiians have a practice and it is called, Ho’oponopono. Their whole thing is you go back to your inner child and you say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me. I love you and thank you.” Whatever thing that you went through as a child, you’re forgiving yourself and you’re also thanking yourself because you allowed yourself to experience that as a spiritual being. As a child, you allowed yourself to experience that experience so that you could grow. You don’t hold that against yourself anymore because it was part of your growth and made your innocence part of who you are now.

AIH 75 | Making A Recovery
Making A Recovery: There is data that shows that things like breath awareness, meditation, and yoga help with people’s healing.

 

One thing that I’ve found helps in terms of a lot of this work is to start looking at your addictive behaviors. From there, you can start to ask the question of, “Why am I doing this?” It’s like one of those easy access points into that does some of the deeper dive into the harder memories to access. It’s like peeling the onions or peeling the layers. Someone challenged me to stop smoking weed because in some capacity they told me. People use marijuana for many reasons but for me, I use it when I am stressed or anxious. It was my relaxed mechanism. Someone challenged me like, “If you wanted to, could you stop?” I’m the type of person that is like, “Let’s do it.” At that moment, with a snap of the fingers, stop. In the aftermath of that, you start to have all those emotions you are suppressing from addicted behavior.

Addictive behavior can be eating certain foods. It can be drinking coffee. What started to well up was all the stuff that I wasn’t dealing with. Some days it was subtle, some days it was not. You start to allow that stuff to bubble up to the surface and as you allow it to bubble up, you become more aware of it. To me, it’s fine like this bounce back and forth. I was like, “Some days I feel ready for this and I can deal with it.” Some days you’re like, “I don’t want to deal with this at all.” Do you have any experience in your own lives of working through any of those behaviors?

Not at all. I can’t relate to you whatsoever, only daily. As we’re working into this consciousness and evolving ourselves and knowing ourselves, there’s analysis that’s happening constantly with, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Is this something that I need to clean up? I don’t feel great about doing this. Do I need to be doing this? Can I give this up to go deeper? Do I need to give this up?” All of these things. All of the information that comes to us in our daily lives that either reinforce that or brings that up again. When they say that things come in threes. It was the third time that I see an article about stopping drinking alcohol or stopping coffee or one of these things.

Let’s take a look at that. Sugar and I’ve toyed around with taking substances out over the years. Some I’ve left out. Some I have called back in. A lot of it is like where is my emotional state? I find that if I try and cut something out when I’m not ready, it becomes a tug of war. It is maybe detrimental to my emotional state or it takes over in a way like it takes the reigns. It’s like, “We’re going to drive the chariot now.” I’m like, “Give me those back. I’ll give you a turn but don’t be greedy.” It’s constant. Am I doing enough for my gut health? Am I doing enough for my cardiovascular system?

In wellness, I’m always thinking about that. Where’s my piece? Meditation is important. Yoga is important. Tai chi, anything that can take us out of that to need to know. I am suddenly starting to worry that I’m not speaking to your point, but there is definitely the emotional component. It’s valuable to look at your lineage and like, “I made the correlation that this trait that I’m expressing comes from my father. Is this an important thing for me to carry on? Do I want to clean something up so that when I have children, I don’t pass that on?” There’s the awareness of our parent’s patterns that starts to come into play.

What I find with that, especially when you’re talking about parents’ patterns and I’m using the term addiction. If you know Joe Dispenza, he is a former chiropractor who teaches about meditation consciousness to heal the body. Essentially, one of the big things that he brings to our attention is that beyond being addicted to tangible things, you can be addicted to emotional states. Those are the harder ones to break. Those are the ones that can come from our family, from our lineage, from who we were as a kid and talking back to that inner child. Peeling back the layers, in my experience, start with the things that you know are right there on the surface. Work with those first. As you become comfortable working with those surface layer things, you can start going deeper into, “I’m definitely addicted to ice cream, but I can work on that. That’s my own addiction.”

If you can work on having a relationship with that habit, routine or pattern, then you can start asking, “What’s the next layer?” You did answer my point, which is creating a relationship with yourself and finding this balance and being able to not be black and white. Looking for that gray area and acknowledging, “This is where I’m at now. You might recognize that I’m doing something that maybe isn’t perfect or ideal but for me, at this moment, it’s right.” I think that’s a huge point for anyone. It’s like you have to do what is right for you and forget what everybody else is telling you. Forget whatever else is doing and acknowledge, “I’m doing X, Y, Z. Maybe it’s not perfect in terms of what people are saying, but it’s where I’m at and I’m acknowledging that flow.”

Commit to it. If you’re going to do something like eat a pint of ice cream, commit to eating the pints of ice cream. Don’t be like, “I’m eating this soon when I feel sad because I needed it.” That’s a whole other thing.

I was thinking when you were talking, Taylor, that a lot of this begins with allowing ourselves to even observe our behaviors. Many people go on autopilot all the time and they do when they do. It’s all coming from the mind and everybody grows up differently. For me, I recognize that I carry a lot of shame in these choices. Eating ice cream is a perfect example. A lot of it is allowing my observation of how am I feeling when this is happening and then allowing the shame to melt away because it’s when we peel back these layers that then the pure sense of whatever comes through. If I’m going to constantly attack myself, then I don’t get to glean the wisdom of my experience and I have to continue to experience the same thing over and over or it won’t be the same thing. It will be the same lesson, but it’s gaining size and intensity over time.

A lot of it is recognizing the behavior and then not having shame around it, at least in my case. From that place, we begin to shed the layers of our conditioning from our childhood and then come up and say, “I don’t have to hear the voices that I heard all growing up.” Whether it was teachers, parents, friends, the parents of friends or whatever our influences have been. We can peel back all of that. That reveals the new bud, our own essence, that’s been there all along.

You're not going to find exactly what you need until you start looking inside and see what's going on. Click To Tweet

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the show before, I make the analogy of imagining I’m holding a bottle of water. This clean bottle of water is who you are. Over time what happens is you start to add dirt to the water. It gets dirtier and dirtier until you forget that there’s even water there. To me, the process of what we’re talking about here of healing comes to not throw the bottle out and getting a new one, but cleaning what it is and realizing that as the essence of who you are was always there.

Dirt doesn’t hurt. Let’s look at what’s in the water and take out what we don’t need. Soil is life. I see what you’re saying. Toxins, clothes, paint, whatever you want to add to the canvas that was blank when you came in and then cleaning that.

I like to think of it as we’re moving obstacles to experience more of who you are. One other thing that came to mind while you were talking there is talking about eating ice cream and feeling shame. I bring that up because I am a habitual ice cream eater, but I used to tell people in my consultations, I would say, “Eat ice cream with the same state that you would eat a salad.” That’s belaboring the point of if you don’t do the shame, the guilt and the stress that you bloat into that is worse than eating it and having a great time. What you mentioned within that is this idea of bringing this to my attention, is this idea of attachment and aversion.

If we’re talking about addiction, most of the time, we’re talking about attachment. We have to let go of our attachments to the experience you are. She also brought them to my awareness, this idea of you have to let go of your versions because both sides are hurting. Lots of times, we’re like, “I’m letting go of these things that I’m attached to and that’s helping me find myself.” If you’re talking about experiencing shame or guilt from something you’re doing, you’re suppressing becoming averse to this aspect of self. You also have to let go of that aversion to these aspects of yourself and acknowledge them and bring them in as well. They’re both sides of the same coin.

The judgment of the thing because when it’s still a judgment, you can choose not to do it. You are closing the door on it and saying, “I’m not going in that room of my house as opposed to like let’s open the door. Let’s open the blinds. Let’s open the windows and move some air through here.” We have a teacher who says, “Better in than out.” Energy naturally goes in cycles and waves. We know that energy shows up like waves, sound frequency as waves and there are hills and valleys in everything. The valley is as natural as the peak. Can we move through the valley gracefully, the same way that when we’re high on life when everything is sailing and the sun is out? How can we apply that same verb to when we are in the doldrums?

We were talking a little bit about this idea of doing less. Do you want to start, OJ? I’m talking about how we have this idea of doing more?

It’s been fine-tuning that works for me and taking out the extra things in my life that don’t serve me anymore. Smoking weed could definitely be one of them and doing less weed, does that count as doing less?

It totally does. In terms of health and wellness, people have this idea of, “I need to keep doing more to figure it all out.” What we ended up getting to is this idea of doing less.

In my experience, I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a place where it was an integrated approach to healing. There was bodywork, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, a nutritionist and it was this holistic place where people could go to find healing. People would come in with injuries and autoimmune diseases and this and that. They would come in and then we’d start doing work and then they would try to do more on top of that. They’re getting healing work done instead of sitting back and sitting with, “What’s going on in my body? What’s my body saying is going on with me?” Instead of tuning into, “What should I do? I did this thing. I’m going to do this thing.” They keep going until it gets to a point where they’re overwhelmed and instead of getting better, they get worse. Their body hasn’t had a chance to rest.

A lot of times people will come. There are people that come in to get tune-ups and to feel good. There’s something serious going on. Like their back is completely locked up and they get it opened up. It feels great. Instead of using that openness and that space to say, “What in my life may be causing my back to lock up on me?” It’s like, “My back feels good. I’m going to go to jiu-jitsu, I’m going to go play golf. I’m going to go to yoga class.” They keep adding and they never get to the point where they can sit back and reflect on, “What is this lesson that my body is trying to teach me?” The body is a reflection of what is going on internally with your soul. A lot of times, a physical injury isn’t necessarily a physical injury. We talked a lot about the inner child work.

AIH 75 | Making A Recovery
Making A Recovery: A lot of people are conditioned to do more where they don’t have space to start tuning into what’s going on inside.

 

A lot of times it may be something spiritual or energetic, that’s going on where we need to do less of something. If I’m addicted to golf, for example, if my back flares up every time I play golf, then there’s something going on there where my body, my spirit might not necessarily want that for me. I have to set my ego aside. As much as you may love something or as much as you may be addicted to something, if it’s not serving you anymore, you have to learn how to take that out of your life instead of continuously pushing. If you keep pushing and your body keeps giving you these little subtle signs where others aren’t right. This isn’t right and you keep ignoring it. Kasey was saying, eventually, it’s going to snowball into something bigger where then your body is going to give you something gnarly and it’s going to say, “You haven’t been listening to me before. I’m going to make you listen to me. I’m going to shut everything down to the point where you have to listen.”

The way I see it as you’re describing it is body starts with a whisper and then by the end, it’s yelling at you. I’m interested in the idea that we have at least something that we can pay attention to. If we don’t have necessarily a spiritual practice or a meditation practice, get one. Kasey is on it. It is true. Start paying attention to what’s going on in your physical body. I was talking about this with my team is that I believe personally that if you were to pick one aspect health to master, it’d be meditation. There’s so much benefit behind cultivating that awareness. For many people, that’s not always the easiest road in. They’re going to end up there eventually. We’re all going to end up there eventually.

Sometimes for people, the easiest road in is some movement practice or some X, Y, Z. Pick a movement practice that is helping you connect with your body in a new way. Basically, all you’re pointing out is if the same routine and pattern you’re doing keep causing you the same back pain, try doing something different at the very least. We’d love it to connect with your mind, body, the spirit in that way but for a lot of people, it’s not on the table immediately. Having that idea of, “What can I do differently? Instead of working out in the gym six times a week, what if I did 2 or 3?” That was one of the things when I used to be a personal trainer for Bulletproof and even in yoga. I would see people, “I’m going to the gym six times a week. I’m doing this. I’m doing that.” I was like, “Take one of those days and sit on the couch and do nothing.” It’s hard to bring that into someone’s life who’s so used to like, “I have to work out six times a week to be healthy.” It’s like, “That’s a belief that we’ve been given and do less and get even more benefits.”

You’re giving the body the ability to recuperate and regenerate. One thing that I’ve found helpful is an analogy with this thinking because our culture is a young culture. Yin and yang, the yang is the sunshine. It’s daylight. It is fire energy. It is the go energy. We see that every day here on earth. We have yang and we also have a yin. We have sun. We have the moon. We have a night. We need that to stay in balance. We can’t operate as if our sun is always shining. We have to take that moon energy. We have to be in the yin and the stillness and the darkness. I think of a story from our massage skull training that is a doctor goes to study with a Buddhist monk. He shows up and he’s like, “I want to study with you.”

The monk says, “You’re not ready.” The doctor says, “I have this training and I’ve done this.” The monk says, “Yes, but your cup is full. You need to empty your cup if you want to add more to it.” Taking stuff off the plate, having the yin in balance with the yang, that’s the only way that we can be in harmony. Whether or not we want to accept that we are under the laws of the universe. We exist because the universe keeps us here. We think that we’re mankind, we’re strong. While nature has got something else for us and we’re learning that. The stillness and the softness and do nothing, the sit. Have space to contemplate, have space to do some art or some music or to lie around and watch the wind blow through the trees. These are all things that our body needs. Recognize nature. We’re surrounded by cement in a city, so we have to work a little bit harder for it.

Many of us in the city don’t have animals that we’re interacting with. We all know if we’ve had any good experience with nonhuman species, that’s a very healing thing. I’m using words right now to articulate but that’s just one of our senses. Let’s utilize our other senses. When we’re in space, when we’re sharing space with animals, they’re not using words to communicate back to us. We’re sharing a space and they’re sharing something energetically. We don’t need words for that. I encourage people to practice with fewer words. Shut off one of your senses from time to time. That time that your clients are going to spend on the couch, put in earplugs, put on a blindfold, maybe take the smells of the room. We have our sight, our sound, we have touch, we have a hearing and we have a taste. We are such a visually-oriented society that becomes our dominant thing. We think that everything that we see is all that there is. In actuality, we have all of these other senses that are taking in information and have the stuff to share with us, but we have to create the space to let it come through.

I read an interesting factoid on Instagram. Who knows if this is 100% true? I know it’s at least somewhat true. The factoid I read was that humans only see 1% of the entire spectrum of light. I know, maybe 1% aren’t true. I don’t know what the percentage is, but I know we only see a fraction of it. If you look at any science textbook, it will show you, here’s the visible spectrum of light. Everything else you can’t see.

We’re all in the 1%.

It’s what we’ve always wanted. The point being is there’s so much going on around us that we can’t physically see. It requires us to get in touch with other senses to feel, taste, smell, and experience what’s going on that’s beyond eyesight and by eliminating one sense, you can start getting in touch another. I was cooking for a yoga retreat for a friend of mine and the last day was completely silent. Everyone was walking around completely silent. It’s interesting to see what happens when you take away talking and you see how much space they created. There was an immense amount of space created because nobody could talk to each other. It took out probably a dominant feature of our existence as human beings. The way we typically interact. Talking I guess is an addiction and we’re addicted to talking. It was interesting to see it play out for 24 hours. I know people will do ten-day meditation retreats in silence, but it’s because it’s removing all of these things that aren’t a part of who you are.

An inner reflection is required to do that. It’s scary. I’m terrified to do that. I’ve never done one but we’ve had a guest come on. She does ten days at a time.

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I’m planning to do a Vipassanā and silence is so profound. Being in silence, why are we scared of that? There is much clarity that comes through silence because we’ve quieted the voice of our mind or the external voice of our mind and it gives space. It comes back to this giving space for things. If you can even be quiet for one day with the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Training, there is a silent retreat component and that’s a three-day. That’s still relatively short, but for a lot of us, that’s considerable and then the ten-day Vipassanā.

The ten-day Vipassanā is on my to-do list. I’ve got to find ten days to check out. A good way to start or maybe either of you have done this is sensory deprivation float tank. You can’t see, you can’t hear. I describe it as it’s like being in a womb. For anyone who’s never done a float tank, essentially you’re in this bath of magnesium salt and warm water. The water is usually body temperature. You feel at one with the water, but there’s so much magnesium that you’re super buoyant. The idea is you’re floating in space in this water. It’s in this big dark black box usually and you put earplugs in. You literally close your eyes and open your eyes. There’s no difference. It’s pitch-black. I’ve found doing that once even for six months. You don’t have to do these crazy sensory deprivation things all the time, but I think it’s important to be willing to get in one of these things for two hours and say, “What’s here?” A lot of our senses are turned off, there’s still something happening. That is an aspect of who we are that we don’t always recognize.

You’re emptying by doing that. We’re used to filling it and going and doing a float tank is a way to empty, to allow more to come in or more to come through. It’s like cleaning the plumbing. We can’t let the grass keep growing. It’s like you’ve got to trim it every now and then. I’m sure there are more analogies we could make.

I was always looking at nature. When you were talking about yin and yang, I think about it as creation and destruction. It happens in nature all the time. If you watched a tree over a season, they’re creating new flowers, the flowers are dying, they’ll get into the soil. It happens within us as well. We’re always creating. We’re always having new thoughts. We’re always building. We’re always manifesting. What we’re not doing all the time is we’re not always cleaning the house and destroying the parts that are no longer serving us. That’s the process we’ve been talking about. If you’re doing the inner child work, if you’re doing any of these awareness practices, to me a lot of it is it’s destroying the parts of you that you no longer need or no longer want or no longer serving you. That’s a challenging process because you feel like you’re losing a part of yourself. Did you ever have any of those experiences of you feel like you’re killing a part of yourself?

All the time. It’s constant.

In a very natural, decomposing way. Everybody uses the spectrum of words differently. Destroy sounds a little scary. Personally I’m like, “I don’t know what that means.” I think about natural decomposition. That’s a little bit more palatable.

It’s letting go.

It’s releasing. It’s part of the natural life cycle.

My question and this is one we ask everyone because I think it’s important is what’s your inspiration? Kasey first.

The signs that I get from the universe, along my path. For example, life isn’t perfect. It comes with hiccups. It comes with stomach aches. It comes with all sorts of things. Coming here, I used the restroom before we sat down and turned the mics on. There is a piece of art and it’s two children and they have a string between their fingers. Not only is it reminiscent of Michelangelo, but it’s a cat’s cradle. They’re playing cat’s cradle, which, if anybody grew up, there’s a string game. That made me think of Kurt Vonnegut’s book, Cat’s Cradle. In his book, one of the two things that stood out to me most was the idea of the granfalloon and the karass.

AIH 75 | Making A Recovery
Making A Recovery: You have to give your body the time and ability to recuperate and regenerate.

 

These are his own made-up words and they’re wonderful. The granfalloon is the family that we have come into this world with. The people that we share our biology with, our DNA, the people who raised us. The karass is the spiritual family that we call in, which are the people that see us and help us, see who we are and take more of that out into the world. It felt very fitting that I’m coming into a room of like-minded people doing similar work that I should go into the bathroom and see Cat’s Cradle and be reminded that this is my karass. Regardless of what my biological family is doing and I love them, and I’m grateful for them. We’re different and sometimes I get bogged down and that I’m like, “Why can’t I fix or change or do? Why isn’t their vision my vision?” I came from them. Shouldn’t it be that? My job is to find my karass in this life and grow that.

I always call it to choose your own family. OJ, what’s your inspiration?

The family is fitting. I have two little girls and my motivation is to make the world a better place for them in the sense of it’s safer. It’s more open to whatever we’re trying to preach here. That it’s not so much of a go masculine. You have to work the 9:00 to 5:00. You have to go to school and be this or be that. It’s more, follow what’s in your heart, follow your passion, follow what calls to you and know that everything is going to be okay in the end. I come from a background where I have a big family. I have 32 first cousins. I was towards the younger end. I had a lot of influence from my older cousins and we didn’t come from a place that talked about spirituality and looking in. It was a Catholic family. That in itself, a lot of things are going on there, but it was also a go, go family.

Both my parents work two jobs. They both struggled to make things work. I hardly saw my parents growing up. It was me and my brother. As I grew into an adult, it took a lot not to follow in those footsteps where now I’m creating a life and lifestyle that I want and that serves me and that feeds my soul. Part of my motivation is to show my kids, you can follow your passion and know that things will turn out fine regardless if you’re going to be doing volunteer work or if you’re going to be doing a podcast or healing work or work in the 9:00 to 5:00 if that’s what calls to you. It’s okay, but creating a safe space for them to explore and express themselves and to not feel like they have to suppress any part of themselves because society tells them that they’re not supposed to do that.

Thank you guys very much. One more time, will you let everybody know where they can find your podcast and find the work that you guys do.

We have a website. It’s TheWayOfHealingPodcast.com and we’re on iTunes. You can subscribe through the website and then you’ll get the episode delivered to your inbox each week. We are on YouTube. We just started doing video. We’re looking to take this on the road and on Instagram @TheWayOfHealing.

It is probably the best social media outlet to reach us.

Go check out their podcast. Thank you, Kasey. Thank you, OJ for being on here. Until next time.

Thank you, Taylor.

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About Kasey Lockwood

AIH 75 | Making A RecoveryKasey has been curious about wellness and one’s internal landscape since she was a young child in the backyard of her suburban home in NJ. At 18 she moved to New Orleans, a unique backyard of its own with much bigger bugs and more live jazz than the northeast. At 20 she traveled to West Africa, living in Ghana for a semester, and the bugs got bigger still. The moral of the story–the bigger the bugs, the more to learn.

Kasey has been on a quest for connecting one’s experience to the natural laws that govern those of us living on planet Earth. She is fascinated by language, love, and celestial design.

Kasey has a degree from Columbia University in New York. She studied Massage Therapy at the Institute for Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB) in Culver City, CA, and continues to train in Craniosacral Therapy with Hugh Milne via the Milne Institute. Kasey offers integrative therapy modalities in the Neurology/Neuroscience Unit at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Her work is rooted in the principles of Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Massage.

About OJ Catbagan

AIH 75 | Making A RecoveryAs far back as he can remember, OJ used to always dream about being a hero and helping people.  After years at a sales job, OJ took a leap of faith and jumped into the world of wellness where he became a yoga instructor. With the desire to do more and inspiration from his grandmother who was also a healer, OJ decided to take another leap of faith, and jump into the world of healing.

As a former yoga instructor and mixed martial arts fighter, OJ has a unique understanding of the human body and how to help it perform at its highest potential.  My passion for the human body was discovered when I started doing yoga at 18 years old.  After 4 years of being a yoga instructor, OJ switched to a career in bodywork and massage where he worked for 3 years in a postural alignment clinic combining the philosophies of chiropractic, massage therapy, physical therapy, personal training, nutrition, and other modalities to create a one-stop-shop for allowing the human body space to heal itself.

To deepen his understanding of the human experience, OJ attended the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, a holistic massage school, in Culver City where he learned energetic techniques including acupressure, polarity therapy, and craniosacral therapy. OJ also practices and teaches Calligraphy yoga, a hybrid movement practice combining Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and Chinese calligraphy, as a way of cultivating and maintaining energy flow throughout the entire body.

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