Creativity Coach Greg Halpen joins Rebecca and Erin in a conversation about the relationship between vulnerability and empathy. How does trauma impact one’s ability to be empathic? How did Erin get to be so vulnerable? How did Greg use creativity and performance to access trapped emotion? Come along with us and share your own thoughts in the comment section below. Greg’s Instagram: @themoodycreative53
Hey, it’s me, Erin. Thanks for joining us on the More Love podcast. Do not tell Rebecca, but this podcast is about empathy. She likes people to think she’s dead inside, but the truth is she’s a big time feeler who has truly helped me uncover that empathy is my superpower. Here she comes.
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Bestie, hi Love. What are you doing? Oh, just getting ready to host a podcast. A podcast About what Life, our life as best friends who are more like sisters.
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Yay, I love us and I can’t wait to share our stories with the world.
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Especially the ones that involve us pushing each other right To be our most authentic selves.
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Oh man Okay.
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My palms are completely sweaty, why my heart is racing 400 miles per hour, why I feel like I might need to run to the restroom.
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Okay, okay, so I got to take over. This is not a good, not good, right out of the gate.
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What just happened there with poor Scott and what you put poor Scott through has me in a tizzy, and if this is not the epitome of who we are as people, there will never be a better example. So I would like to start today’s show with what just happened there. Okay, okay, so we come in right. I just want to say Scott is the best. Okay, scott always has all the things out for us. I mean, he has the water. You say to him Scott, I’d like to be next to Erin because I’d like to do her nails. I’d like to have my little spot next to it. So does Scott have that set up?
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for you. He sure does, I know, but I didn’t check with you to make sure it was okay to do your nails.
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I was going to surprise you and then I was like oh, I have a nail appointment on Friday already.
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And you’re like oh, it’s fine.
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It’s fine, right, so we get here. We’re now sitting next to each other. All the angles are not okay.
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It is not okay.
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And so I say out loud that these angles are not okay. And Scott, being as wonderful as Scott is, is like I’m going to take care of this. I’m going to get you your different angles. I’m going to get you your different angles. At that moment, poor Scott is on a roller coaster with these cameras and this and I am getting overly. I swear to God, if you felt my palms right now, you would be like she just dumped in a swimming pool, right, and you the whole time. I need to paint this picture for people who are not watching this on the video Right now. You’re sitting here with your black long skirt on. You are wearing bright pink cowboy boots up to your knees. You have a shirt on that has a skull with some flowers coming out of it and it says I like murder shows, comfy clothes and maybe three people.
Okay, there’s a story behind that shirt has, have your rose gold earphones on and as Scott is running around acting as if he just wants us to be so happy because he cares so much about us, right?
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Well, he also made a demand that the angles are bad.
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Well, I just mentioned that the angles were bad. But you’re over here sitting here like you are in the nail salon. Yeah, Just looking at your phone. Scott is losing his mind. Scott is beside himself. I’m like okay, how do I help Scott? Okay, I’m going to help move the camera. What can I do? Does Scott need some water? I need to help make sure Scott’s okay. How’s his energy? Is his energy good? It’s not good right now, but that’s because he’s not mad at us. He’s just wants this to be so good for us. Right, and I swear to God, you’re over here scrolling the tic-tacs. No, I paid a bill.
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You paid a bill, I did.
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I paid a, I paid.
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Even better. You’re over here paying a bill, eating your your bagel and drinking whatever you got from the Dunkin Donuts. I cannot. And so then it’s like, okay, well, here comes the intro music time to start, and I’m like I’m not ready. I need to talk about what’s happening there, because you always got a lollipop or some smarties or a Pepsi or something. You know. What I got he is. That is not okay. What is that?
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The box of wine. I don’t know what you’re going to make me talk about today. I cannot.
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You brought a box of wine.
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You got some wine.
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No, thanks. Okay, Appreciate it, though. Do you want a?
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Scott, I don’t have that. Can we just take a moment? I could do a manicure.
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Could we just say something really nice about Scott?
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Let’s take a moment.
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I know, scott, I do have a question for you. Sure, is your wife high maintenance? You know, geez, that’s a really tough question to answer on the air or just answer in general?
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In general, I mean there are moments of high maintenance, yeah, but overall I’d say no. No, okay, there are there are certain things that are high maintenance, but as an overarching idea, no, that’s not the case.
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And then here comes Aaron and Rebecca into the studio. You’re way more high maintenance than me. I am very emotionally high maintenance. People think you are much more high maintenance than me, but the reality is my emotional high maintenance is off the charts.
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Yes, it’s just emotional. There are other things.
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Next time we’re on the air, I’m going to wear my sweatshirt that says expensive and difficult, which is my favorite.
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Which you sent me a picture and said find this and order it. So I did.
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So I just like to take a moment. I’d like everyone to know that we record at Rockbox that Scott is the absolute best producer on the planet. If he can deal with both Rebecca and I, he can deal with anyone. It’s true, and we’re very appreciative of him and we’re very thankful for the things he does, having the water out and our cute little earphones out, and we just love Scott.
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This is our favorite part of our week.
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It is our favorite part.
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I know and we just love spending it with Scott, so can we just take that moment? Thank you, scott. Yes, good, that was a good use. It was a good use of an audio file. So that is how we’re starting Love it. Today our topic is empathy and vulnerability. The same, the different connected, interconnected. Do you have to have one thought, the other? All the things, empathy versus vulnerability. But I might have a surprise for you that I didn’t tell you about before we got here today. I see you on your face, I see your eyes are closed.
Your eyes are closed.
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Yeah, because your surprises go anywhere from like nailed it yeah.
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This is so great too.
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Yeah, my worst nightmare, yeah.
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Yeah, right, right, I think I nailed this one. Oh, do you? Scott might also be in on it. It’s fine, oh, it’s fine, but.
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I dressed as a police officer, by the way.
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Who just kidding?
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Our surprise or the male stripper.
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Oh my God, you want to talk about making you uncomfortable? You would. You would die, you would run straight out of here. You got to go.
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Got to go. Oh my God I’m now I’m getting uncomfortable. Oh my God, what I don’t like that.
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So I have a surprise. So you know that I’m on a podcast group on Facebook. I didn’t know that. So I’m on a podcast, okay, and it’s called find a guest, be a guest, and I joined it before I even had any idea we were going to be on this podcast.
Okay, and so every so often I go in there and people will post. You know, hey, I’m interested in being a guest, or hey, I’m looking for guests and I’m scrolling. The other day and I stopped dead in my tracks Stop it With some pictures, stop it that this man has posted. Now, you know me, I’m a feeler. I’m a feeler, so I immediately, when I see these pictures, I’m like that’s it Done, contact him you mean the man. Yes.
The photographer or the, or the Facebook person, the person who was interested in being a guest. Okay, so I am introducing, for the very first time, the first guest.
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Stop it. Right now. We have a guest. Should we show a picture? Our first guest.
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I would like to show you some pictures I got him here.
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Look at the screens oh yep.
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Who is that? Stop it right now.
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I can’t. Oh, my God, do you get it? Yes, I’m so excited. Please bring in.
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Wait a minute, he’s on the phone. Oh, he’s coming His.
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I’m going to tell you all the things I got to keep it together. Welcome to our very first guest ever ever on the Morla podcast, Greg Helpin.
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What Did you lie to me about what we’re talking about?
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No, we are going to still talk about that Same topic.
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Oh, all right, I am all sorts. Of this is, this is nailing it?
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nailing it, for sure I like to pull up the pictures for you so you can also look at them. Oh my God, hello.
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How are you? I am even better now after listening to you both, because you got like I can’t. I just can’t.
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Greg. This is my favorite part, greg. Have we ever met?
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No, have we ever had any conversations outside of maybe four emails?
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Not a conversation no.
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I saw your pictures on the podcast site and I thought to myself there’s something about this man’s soul that I need in my presence. I need to speak to this man. I need to know all the things we have so much to talk about. I am so happy that you are here with us today, so you have to start, please, by telling us a little bit about yourself, who you are, what’s your story. You know what qualifies you to talk about topics of empathy and vulnerability and all the things. I have so many prompting questions, but let’s start with you. Tell us about yourselves.
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Well, thank you so much for having me on your show I listened to. I don’t know. You guys are hilarious. I have to tell you it’s you I just have to say first, there’s an SNL show called. Back in the 90s with Anna Gastier and Molly Shannon, they had this skit where they did a talk show and they’re like you guys sound more sophisticated, of course, but it just reminded me of that. You guys are like oh yeah, beautiful. So sorry, I digress.
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No, we love it.
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We love it. So I’m a creativity coach as well as a performance artist, solo performance artist, and I live in New York City, where it’s very apocalyptic because of the smoke, yes and yeah. So that’s kind of where I am right now. I’m, you know, really enjoying my life as a performer and yeah, what is a creativity coach? I work with creative people, people who are creative, whether they’re an artist, whether they’re a performer, whether they’re a home organizer. I help them with mindset problems in terms of creative blocks.
0:12:57 – Speaker 1
Interesting. So, in order to allow for more flow, allow for more creativity and authenticity.
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Yes, because I’m more interested in working towards the trauma end of things, like if you have a mood disorder, let’s say, and you’re a creative person and you want to do something with your creativity, but you constantly get lost with whatever you know depression or anxiety. So I help them kind of navigate through that. I love that, yeah, so they can tap into their truth, you know, into their authenticity.
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I’ve never met this me.
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Is this a perfect? I feel like we need to bring out the tarot cards. I know I brought this, you did oh my gosh, she’s going to love it and a pendulum.
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Of course you did so, Greg. I want to tell you this quick story. My sister is in, my sister-in-law is an art therapist and for Christmas two years ago, we decided that we were not going to give each other presents, but instead we were going to commit to spending one day every single month in her art therapy studio, literally just creating whatever it was we felt like creating. And I would never really consider myself a super artistic person. I would say that I, you know, have some good ideas and I, I know who we should ask if you’re artistic.
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Who Chris From the painter?
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on pottery. I can’t Whatever. Whatever she’s very, she was very judgey when she would look at your creation. Chris is from. Chris is from one of those paint your own pottery places where they have the pottery and you paint it. And every time I would paint something I’d be so proud of it She’d come over. She’d look at Rebecca’s and be like, wow, that is so incredible, I really love what you did there. Then she’d look at mine and just walk in the other direction and I’m like whatever.
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We’re supposed to embrace all people’s creativity, whatever so no, we’re not asking.
Chris about how she feels about my creativity. Anyway, back to the art therapy story. We would just create. So one time I’d create a wreath. The next time I would create something else for my house. The next time I would just stop randomly at Joanne fabrics, get a whole bunch of stuff and you know, because she’s an art therapist, she has every single piece of glitter, button, fun tape. You know everything you can possibly imagine. You ask for the most random things. She’s like oh yeah, draw her over here, upper right hand corner, second one down. And you’re like I cannot believe that you have a brown paper clip because that’s exactly what I need right now, but when?
you talk about being a creativity coach. Something that that brought up for me is it was when I started to tap into my own sort of sense of creation and my desire to create and to see myself as a creative person, not just in a I like to paint or I like to do watercolor or I like to quilt right, but essentially to create in business, to create in making this podcast, to create the life that I want to live and to find those sort of outlets of creativity and be in that flow. I have really started to embrace parts of my life and my personality that were not accessible to me prior to that. Can you speak to that? Does that resonate with you at all?
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Absolutely. It’s magical when that really is magical when that happens when you you’re just open to trying something new, such as like what you did in the studio. And I can relate to that because I, creatively, I have a strong background in musical theater and singing and but still, for a long time I was just really lost in terms of, like, what I wanted to do with my creativity and the more therapy I did because therapy was a huge thing, yeah, love it and the more I just dove into it, the more, yeah, the more of myself started coming out and the more like these talking on video, and it was just really difficult for me and now I’m just like I could, just it’s like stream of conscious easiness. So there is a lot of value in anyone tapping into some sort of creative thing, whether it’s a hobby or something real professional. It can definitely loosen up a lot of really cool things, absolutely.
0:17:38 – Speaker 1
You’re a super creative person. I mean you like to create in the kitchen. You like to create your crafts on a budget or not on a budget, but yeah, I hated that coffee filter rithia made for the front door, but other than that, I feel like you’ve been really spot on and a lot of the stuff that you do. You also find that you connect with different parts of yourself through being creative. Or is it different for you?
0:18:09 – Speaker 2
No, because I think that at the end of the day, that is my who. I am at the core. I always go back to you know when you would sit around and do icebreakers and things like that are when you meet new people. They would say if you had a superpower, what would it be? And every single time I felt so stupid because the only thing I could think of is I want to make everything beautiful and I felt really okay about that, but other people were super judgy Because I don’t know.
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But for me, I like to take things and elevate them, and that in whatever way, whatever that is anywhere, like you have a base, and then you want to take that base and you want to prove upon it.
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It’s always got to be extra.
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Always. Well, I know, you know clear about that. You know that yeah.
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I love extra you do Besties over here you guys.
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I mean, it has to be a has you have to elevate? You can’t. Yeah, you got to elevate it, that’s. It’s just for me. There’s an element of fun and flair to anything and if you don’t, it’s like romanticizing your day. If you, if you’re able to do that, you’re able to get through mundane tasks and those kinds of things, so it’s just who I am as a person. You’re extra to Greg.
0:19:22 – Speaker 4
I’m extra and high maintenance a little bit too, so you’re in good company here.
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But, I’m high maintenance in a good way, I mean, in a way that’s well, whatever, I can’t sugarcoat it, I’m just high maintenance.
0:19:39 – Speaker 2
It is what it is, and that’s. There’s no problem with that. I love that.
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I own it we accept you for her.
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I love that when you are.
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0:19:48 – Speaker 1
Thank you. I love that. That came from you, rebecca. Good job, I know.
0:19:51 – Speaker 2
In my heart I do accept people. I know, I know you do, I just know I don’t want to tell them, right, but you just did Look at you taking a rest, I know.
0:19:59 – Speaker 1
Isn’t that vulnerable? Here we are right at today’s topic empathy, vulnerability. I’m really excited to talk about this. I’ve done a lot of thinking about sort of the interconnection between empathy and vulnerability and I know, when we talked, greg, just about different topics or things, that you thought you could really add some extra flair, if you will too, that this topic of empathy and vulnerability was one that was really intriguing to you. So I would love to use that as our jumping point to just dive in to the conversation of empathy vulnerability.
You made some really good points in one of our early conversations about the role of empathy and trauma and how trauma can potentially impact our ability to be empathic. But does that also impact our ability to feel vulnerable? Right, and so we could start in a million different places. But I wonder, if I just set the framework associated with sort of defining empathy, defining vulnerability, if maybe we can use that to jump from there. So in my initial searching for empathy, the best definition that I was able to find is the ability to understand and share feelings of another, human being of another, and the word vulnerability more describes a state of being where one is potentially exposed to being harmed or attacked or hurt in some way. So, for me, one was this state of being, this possibility we can either put ourselves there or not and the other is essentially this essence of connecting with another human being and being able to feel for that particular individual. So, with that as our basis, greg, lead us off. What to, for you, is the connection, if there is one, between empathy and vulnerability.
0:22:06 – Speaker 4
Well, I think, in my opinion, I think to be empathetic or to have empathy is you have to have a certain level of feeling comfortable with being vulnerable. If you’re going to take in somebody else’s feelings or somebody else’s experiences and kind of meet somebody where they are, you kind of, you know you have to, there’s a certain level of vulnerability there.
0:22:35 – Speaker 1
Is that an openness? Is it an openness as vulnerability, sort of an openness to understanding the experiences of others?
0:22:45 – Speaker 4
I think it’s a factor in it. There’s, like you described in the definition. Vulnerability is part in like a survival mechanism to know when we’re going to be harmed or hurt. But there’s also a part that you know, like right now we are all being vulnerable in sharing some intimate things and laughing and like there’s this unspoken trust that’s happening. So like to me. That’s what vulnerability means. But if you’re experiencing something traumatic or you’re you have untreated trauma, being vulnerable is a whole different thing. It’s a whole different story. Same with empathy.
0:23:30 – Speaker 2
0:23:31 – Speaker 4
Yeah, trauma, because you have to. I don’t know like, if you are trauma triggered, it’s really difficult to take in somebody else’s feelings and experiences because sometimes we can react to that or lash out to that. But if we are grounded more, we can take those other experiences or just other people’s experiences and just kind of relate to it as a human being without feeling threatened, if that makes sense.
0:24:03 – Speaker 1
Yeah, you’re thinking of trauma as a lens, right? So there’s this lens that gets placed on how we see the world based on the experiences that we’ve had, and when trauma is a part of that equation, it is going to impact our ability to see through. That lens to what that other individual will maybe experiencing Do.
0:24:24 – Speaker 4
I have that right. That is perfect. I mean, I couldn’t, even, I didn’t. That was beautiful.
0:24:33 – Speaker 3
0:24:33 – Speaker 2
Well, I really 100%, because I recently went through hypnotherapy a couple of years ago and, you know, uncovered a whole bunch of trauma that I didn’t realize was trauma and that was significantly eye-opening and helped me understand why I am the way that I am and, at the end of the day, my one of my most favorite memories as a child was actually my trauma and that played such a significant role in relationships with how I view the world, with how I allow myself to. I have built such an armor from such a small child because I don’t like to feel things in my body and I feel them all the time and I don’t like it. So I purposely shove it down, you know, keep people at an arm’s length and try not to engage because it just doesn’t feel good. Specifically, you know, like I wouldn’t watch commercials, I still don’t watch commercials. I can’t watch certain types of movies I can’t.
0:25:45 – Speaker 1
Is it because you’re so empathic that you almost have to create this barrier that keeps you from over empathizing with people, because it will flood you?
0:25:56 – Speaker 2
But I didn’t know that Got it. I didn’t know that until I did the inner work and really dove deep into why it was the way it was. And what’s interesting is a lot of the symptoms or pain I was feeling in my body was an actual sickness, you know. It was a side effect associated with that trauma and once I was able to name that and start to compartmentalize and, you know, not over identify with other people and you know, like all those kinds of things, it allowed me to start practicing being nicer.
0:26:37 – Speaker 4
I love that dramatic pause before you said it.
0:26:40 – Speaker 3
I was trying to think of a word.
0:26:42 – Speaker 1
What’s the word? Do you love that? She said being nicer and then looked over at me like yeah, right, right, no was it. Would you say I’m nicer, it’s okay.
0:26:52 – Speaker 2
It’s just so much easier to be closed off.
0:26:54 – Speaker 4
What does your t-shirt say? You like murder shows oh my gosh.
0:26:58 – Speaker 2
yes, that’s our other show we have Me too.
0:27:00 – Speaker 1
We have another show, oh, you do.
0:27:03 – Speaker 4
0:27:04 – Speaker 1
Well, it’s a show that we it’s a made up show that we do It’ll be. Next, it’ll be 2.0. Yeah, yeah, after this one takes off, we do want to do you want to say the title to the microphone.
0:27:15 – Speaker 3
Well, no, not yet.
0:27:16 – Speaker 2
Okay, Well, I’m gonna set the show, I’m gonna set the stage. We travel a lot together and we sit in bed in our pajamas and watch murder shows and within the first couple of minutes we both look at each other and say what exactly is gonna happen. And we’re always dead on. And so we’ve decided that’s gonna be our new show and it’s gonna be called Busted by. Babes.
0:27:43 – Speaker 4
I would totally listen to that you would, you could? Have a guest appearance on that too.
0:27:49 – Speaker 2
Yeah, we have a lot of comments, yeah, about other.
0:27:51 – Speaker 1
We know immediately no joke, within one minute and 30 seconds, ultimately, and I’ll be like you know it was the dad and you know that she didn’t fall down the stairs backwards and she’s like I’m where. I’m absolutely aware that that didn’t happen 100% Yep, yep, you love murder shows too.
0:28:08 – Speaker 4
All about date lines. Minds of a psychopath.
0:28:10 – Speaker 2
Yes, those are like yes Well you might have to travel with us. Yeah, we might have to do a little phone call. Might love it.
0:28:20 – Speaker 4
Let’s do it, let’s hook it up.
0:28:22 – Speaker 1
I love it. I love it. So to the trauma aspect. So I’m hearing you say, rebecca, that through the process of hypnotherapy you were able to find the ways in which trauma was a really big player in your ability to be able to connect with and relate with others. I’m hearing you say too, greg, without going into too much detail, I’m hearing you say that maybe that’s part of your experience as well. Is that right, absolutely?
0:28:50 – Speaker 4
I’ve experienced childhood trauma as well, but I carried that into my life for a long time untreated. So you know, you develop these life skills that become maladaptive and they just don’t work for you. Like when you’re a kid, you take on these skills because it’s protecting you from whatever the trauma is, it’s protecting your brain, it’s protecting your nervous system. But as you get older those skills just are not. You know they don’t fit anymore, but we can still carry them. So I can completely identify with that.
0:29:26 – Speaker 1
Yeah, I’m thinking about a therapy form that is very near and dear to my heart, called IFS Internal Family Systems, and essentially I won’t be able to do all of the research out there justice, but I think what I love the most about it is that it talks about those childhood things that we used to do that were helpful to us, those things that may no longer serve us.
But the difference in IFS is that, instead of us saying this doesn’t serve me anymore and let me work really hard to figure out how I can just kindly move it out of the way so that I can continue to move forward with my life, ifs says why don’t we look at that protective mechanism, right, that firefighter, that maladaptive behavior, and let’s embrace the heck out of it?
Let’s look at it and say thank you so much for being here. I see what you’ve done for me. I see how protective you’ve been of me. I’m so thankful for your presence in my life because you care so much about me. And also, is there a way that I core self, aaron, can stand beside you so that we can work through these together, as opposed to you having to lead the way and lead the charge for both of us. That reframe for me in that form of therapy, is the most holistic, loving and beautiful aspect of working on yourself and recognizing how absolutely beautiful those parts of yourself were, because all they’re trying to do is keep you safe, and don’t we all just want those things that keep us safe to keep keeping us safe?
0:31:26 – Speaker 2
right, but I think you made a really good point about the word. I wrote the word safe down. That’s part of why I don’t want to be vulnerable, because I don’t ever feel safe.
0:31:39 – Speaker 1
You don’t want to feel vulnerable. No, I can’t.
0:31:42 – Speaker 2
I don’t want to allow my being vulnerable because you don’t feel safe. And that’s. It’s not. It’s not safe, as in you might laugh at me, that’s fine, or you might judge me, or whatever. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just I don’t feel safe, because then it makes me feel those things I don’t want to feel internally.
0:32:04 – Speaker 1
Is it not feeling comfortable feeling those things? Or is it that because you feel those things so incredibly deeply, you have fear that when you’re in the pits of those feelings, no one is going to be there To be with you in that moment? That?
0:32:19 – Speaker 2
could be it Very, very much so.
0:32:22 – Speaker 1
Do you relate with that at all, Greg? I do.
0:32:25 – Speaker 4
I think it can be both feeling like nobody is going to be there as well as feeling like that trauma is going to be relived again, or you’re going to. You know, like there’s a famous book out called the Body Keeps the Score. I can’t remember who wrote it, but it’s about how the trauma just it’s in your body, it’s there, trapped, and what you and when you talked about the little person like the little boy or the little girl inside of us who just wants to be heard and seen and loved, I can identify with that completely. That’s like I did a lot of that kind of work in my own therapy, like I needed to touch base with a little Gregory Absolutely.
0:33:06 – Speaker 3
0:33:07 – Speaker 4
Gregory, just you know, so it was, it’s so it’s cool.
0:33:11 – Speaker 1
Cool stuff. I love that. I love that it’s. It’s very healing for me to have this conversation because I feel like for me, vulnerability is something that just comes very naturally, very it flows right. I am very much someone who is comfortable in that moment, being wherever I am and owning that. That’s where I am.
So I’m trying to figure out what some of those differences are for me in the stories that you’re sharing, and for one I think I have probably little T trauma, not bigger T traumas, right. Some some smaller things that happened or ways that I wasn’t seen. I was a highly sensitive kid, right. So good luck hanging with that kid. You know very much alone in those types of situations. So I have some of those experiences.
But throughout the course of my life I’ve always been very reinforced by just wherever I am, and putting that out there has a tendency to draw people in, to bring people closer.
That it’s just this natural sense of of it is okay.
And so this concept of reinforced vulnerability for me is interesting because I think I’m able to be vulnerable and open to a to a certain extent because it’s been a comfortable experience for me, and I’m hearing you both say that there were times in which that vulnerability felt incredibly uncomfortable, and not only just uncomfortable, but it also wasn’t resolved right. So it was like, oh, you’re in the pits of that vulnerability down there. That looks really uncomfortable. I got to go get a hamburger right. And you’re like I’m still down here, guys, yeah, still. Yes, this is still uncomfortable, right. Which then created this little barrier that said we ain’t going down that hole again, right, we’re not doing that again. And then maybe you test it, and maybe you tried it again, and maybe you went a little bit further, tried the vulnerability again, and then you’re like well, that still didn’t feel great, right. And so I wonder if we can talk a little bit about reinforced vulnerability and how that reinforcement throughout our lives plays a role in our ability to be connected with others.
0:35:41 – Speaker 4
Yeah, I was thinking, I was asking through a video that I made about creativity, and I was asking, like what’s the difference between a person who ranks first, has been thriving creatively since, you know, since a young person until their adulthood, and another person who has taken a long time to blossom, you know, like a late bloomer? So I’m always like, what’s the difference between that? And sometimes I think it has to do with how we were raised. You know, like what’s that thriving person was? He taught where they taught how to self-sude or manage their emotions, as opposed to the other person who might have experienced some difficult times in childhood. So I’m always wondering about that. Yeah, it’s really good point For you. Like you say, you’re really comfortable with vulnerability, like. So what? Like your experience is growing up? It sounds like you were supported in a way.
0:36:41 – Speaker 1
What I my off the top of my head. Thoughts on that are one I had a father that was incredibly supportive of be myself, make my way in this world. You can be confident, you can be capable, you know nothing’s gonna get in your way. You do you right. And that confidence played a role in probably allowing me to take some risks that maybe, without that confidence, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with Mm-hmm. The other part for me is that I’m a very linguistic person, right. I love listening to what people have to say and then putting that into words that make sense for me and seeing if that resonated with the other person. And I have met with a lot of success in that, because it’s very rare for me to be so completely, radically off in my assessment of oh, I heard you say this, is this what I heard, right? So very often people will say absolutely, or that was. I love how you put that, or that makes so much sense, right. So there again is a confidence booster and also just a positive reinforcer, right, because that’s my way to connect with you, that’s my way to show you I see you, I hear you, I’m with you, right, and what we’re talking about. So those two things, I think, play a big factor.
And then, oddly enough, I grew up in a family that was not overly emotive not overly. We were not an I love you family. We were not a hugging family. We were not a oh my God, great job. We were very much a cerebral family. I’m very proud of you. You did an excellent job on such and such a task.
We were not the family that said how do you feel right now about that exam that you just took? Was that great for you? It was just a very we weren’t a very feeling-oriented family. That surprises the heck out of people when they hear that, because I am so incredibly, ridiculously emotive and I would have to say that, as a highly sensitive child, that was such a missing component of me of what I needed as a little girl. I needed to throw a fit and run to my room and have someone come into my room and rub my back and say it’s all right, we just have feelings, are fine, right. What I got to know you know, fault of my parents, because they didn’t know any better was Erin’s throwing a tantrum. Let her go to her room, shut the door. When she’s ready she’ll come out, and then we just won’t talk about it, right?
0:39:24 – Speaker 2
What I think is fairly standard.
0:39:26 – Speaker 1
Pretty typical for Absolutely right Trailed rearing, Absolutely. But then when you’re this kiddo who you talk about, feeling things so deeply right, I mean I feel like I’m just this live wire walking around all the time just feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling. To not have that realized, to have a space to talk about that. When I first got into actually my master’s program and I switched from psychology to counseling and I went to my very first interpersonal relationship group, I was like, oh my gosh, this is the best experience of my life there are 12, right, this is your worst nightmare.
There’s 12 people all sitting around and the whole reason we’re there is to talk about how we feel about what’s happening in the here and now. I can’t.
0:40:20 – Speaker 2
No, I can’t.
0:40:21 – Speaker 1
Oh my gosh. Seriously, it’s like the three of us let’s pretend we’re in a group, right, we’re sitting in the group, we’re all having this group and we’re just all present and we’re like can we all just be present with our feelings right now? Both of your eyes are hilarious. I cannot. Both of you are looking at me like I want to run off of this podcast right now. I gotta set the stage. I love it.
So we’re sitting here in this group, right, and everyone’s arms are crossed and we’re looking around, and then, out of nowhere, someone says I’m noticing a level of discomfort in my body. Right now. It feels like my stomach is starting to hurt. I’m feeling uncomfortable, I’m feeling the need to say something. And then someone else pops up and they’re like I noticed that about you and I hate it. And they’re like wow, thank you. What is it about that that makes you hate it? And the person is like why can’t we just be present in this moment? I always feel like you’re the one to break the silence. Right Before you know it, we are 60 minutes in to this interpersonal relationship session, where everyone is talking about their feelings and they’re interrelating and they’re connecting and they’re ticked off and there’s resolution and it’s beautiful and it is just this amazing experience.
And it was in that moment Muhe Shakur from SUNY Brockport’s self-insulatiety class that I was like I’m home, I am home. Right, I cannot believe this exists in the world. So you have this confidence, mixed with this positive reinforcement, mixed with this desire to see people, mixed with the fact that this can exist in the world with a group of people and you can feel closer to them at the end and I didn’t have that in a majority of my relationships I would say almost any of my relationships pretty much up until you, honestly, which is ironic, very ironic that for me sort of allowed this experience with why vulnerability and empathy just sort of became a really active and important part of my life.
0:42:38 – Speaker 2
So I have a question. You always used to tell me that criticism doesn’t matter unless the person giving it to you matters. You’re like we only care. Oh, absolutely Right. And so does it work with vulnerability and empathy?
0:42:57 – Speaker 3
Because if I don’t, like you and I don’t care about you.
0:43:06 – Speaker 1
Is the question do you have to be vulnerable or do you want to be vulnerable?
0:43:11 – Speaker 2
Right, or not just the vulnerability but the empathy too, like I struggle with having empathy or being vulnerable, I guess, with people or situations that I just genuinely think are insane. Or I don’t like the person, or it’s very clear to me that they can figure their stuff out and it’s annoying, and so it’s very difficult to maintain that level of seeing people when you’re over it.
0:43:51 – Speaker 1
Interesting, At least for me. Greg love the head nod. How does that relate with?
0:43:56 – Speaker 2
you, we are apparently. I know I know, I know, I know, I saw his picture and I’m like boom bestie 100% Yep.
0:44:03 – Speaker 1
You can relate with that.
0:44:05 – Speaker 4
That’s where I filter out of my empathy and vulnerability out through my characters. But I can relate to that. But at the same time, like I’m at a point now where I can, I do feel empathy and I do, and then I’m okay with vulnerability. But the thing is it takes me a little while to get there. Like I need that bridge of trust for me in order for me to feel those things. And it’s more conscious now rather than you know if I’m going to be vulnerable, I’m going to win them. Do something like go eat a lasagna or something, because it made me feel really uncomfortable. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Stelfer’s lasagna the best, mm-hmm.
0:44:54 – Speaker 2
Or, unlike you, it’s just again. It’s the live wire radiating all the time. You just see people for where they are, see people for who they are, always meet them where they’re at, and I am always confused. I’m like why, ya, that’s so interesting. Why are you talking to them? Why do you feel the need? She’ll just like walk away from me and like here we go. It’s some rando who she heard a voice and she’s like they need me. It’s like the Batman signal and you, freaking, go over there and do the voodoo.
0:45:37 – Speaker 4
The voodoo you do so well, it’s true.
0:45:39 – Speaker 1
You don’t feel compelled to do that at any point, unless you genuinely already have a connection and care for that person.
0:45:48 – Speaker 2
No, no, I do again, it’s a feeling thing. If, for whatever reason, my guard is known in that moment and that particular situation, person, experience, whatever is calling to me, I may consider putting the toe in.
0:46:08 – Speaker 1
You, yeah, we’re all in.
0:46:11 – Speaker 2
We’ve dove all in no matter what, to the point where sometimes it’s like that, that never ending story, when the horse is going down in the quicksand.
0:46:20 – Speaker 1
I can’t, I can’t.
0:46:21 – Speaker 2
And I’m like I can’t even give you a lifeline because you are in too deep.
0:46:25 – Speaker 1
I can’t, I can’t that specific part. You wanna talk about little theater trauma? It’s that part of the never ending story. When he goes in the quicksand, my mom would pop her head out of the kitchen and be like he comes back at the end, aaron, don’t forget he comes back, cause I would be a disaster.
0:46:41 – Speaker 2
But see, that’s me all the time if I allowed it.
0:46:46 – Speaker 1
Yes. So that’s my question for you too. Is it the case, when it comes to vulnerability, that you have been, through the course of your experiences, just taught that vulnerability equals lots of feelings, vulnerability equals unsafe, vulnerability equals difficulty, and so you walk around at times with at least half, if not three quarters, of a wallop, because it’s unsafe to be walking around with any degree of that wall being down, because you are going to be flooded with whatever feelings are coming your way Versus. For me, the wall is down, I walk through, for whatever reason. In my mind, it’s target.
Right, I’m a walking through target, this wide, open book, ready to embrace whatever energy is coming my way, because I’m confident that whatever is thrown at me, I have the ability within myself to get us through that particular situation. I never place that power in the hands of others, which is a wonderful thing for me and a terrible thing for me, right. But I’m trusting that whatever comes my way is completely fine and I will manage it, because I’m so confident in my ability to be able to handle and maneuver the vulnerability and empathy as it comes. But is it the opposite for you, too, that because you haven’t had those positively reinforced experiences, or because you yourselves aren’t so comfortable and confident in those vulnerable moments that you haven’t flexed that muscle enough to know that if you’re walking through a target and something highly emotional comes at you, that you won’t, in that moment just freeze and be uncomfortable and be like oh my gosh, I’m feeling all the feelings and now I don’t know what to do with it.
0:48:45 – Speaker 4
I once, a while ago, I was like that. I would say. I am more comfortable now and more especially as a performer like I have to be able to access emotion and being in the moment. I wasn’t always like that, but I think up until maybe two, three years ago. Over the past couple of years, I started coming out of this shell of all of that where feeling vulnerable and feeling empathy and all of that is definitely a lot easier. A lot easier, but still there’s that trust. It’s more like it’s not like a wall, but it’s like a gate that I’m in control of opening or closing when I need to do that.
0:49:35 – Speaker 2
That visualization made a lot of sense to me, but I feel like your gate is one of those raw-diron gates with slats and like you know what I mean. Where mine is, it’s so weird. Mine is in the restaurant, that refrigerator door that’s like big and steel and has a suction. That’s my gate and it’s strong and I am keeping inside a specific temperature because if I open that, this is so I am going.
0:50:10 – Speaker 1
I know I’m loving it because when you said he has a raw-diron gate, I’m like, absolutely, and it’s black and they’re the square ones and they are, yeah, very clear.
0:50:20 – Speaker 2
And it’s very clean and I know, and mine I mean did you see the refrigerator?
0:50:25 – Speaker 1
It wasn’t a refrigerator for me, it was cement, but it was cement that actually is cut out, which I think from a scientific standpoint is not going to make a lot of sense. But that’s okay because we’re in visualization mode and that essentially it’s on these hinges that get to be opened Like a dog door on the bottom.
0:50:45 – Speaker 2
No, it’s the whole door is allowed to open but that thing’s heavy.
0:50:49 – Speaker 3
It is heavy.
0:50:50 – Speaker 2
It’s not like we’re just opening and closing and doing every single day it takes a while, but that’s why I liked the industrial refrigerator, because for me, I need to maintain even temperature, and when you open that door and the heat comes in, we are now melting, spoiling Things are happening that I do not like smelling, and do you trust yourself?
0:51:16 – Speaker 1
Are you the one opening and closing the refrigerator door?
0:51:20 – Speaker 2
No, hmm, stop. Why do you want this to be Stop? No.
0:51:28 – Speaker 1
I am never opening and closing it.
0:51:30 – Speaker 2
0:51:30 – Speaker 1
Because that’s the side of it. Yes, that’s interesting.
0:51:33 – Speaker 2
That’s the suction piece and that’s why it’s on. It’s not my refrigerator at home that when you leave it open it just stays like that and then the alarm has to go off, as you. No, it’s the industrial one that’s like on a hinge, and then it has to suction close and it’s got to be real hard to open it Somebody has to tug it.
0:51:50 – Speaker 1
You are the refrigerator. You are not opening the refrigerator, Correct yeah 100%.
0:51:56 – Speaker 4
So there’s like a laser sensor. As soon as those families come in, it hits that sensor and like it closes.
0:52:04 – Speaker 1
Yes, hmm, and Greg, are you the gate or are you standing at the gate?
0:52:14 – Speaker 4
I’m the, I guess oh.
0:52:17 – Speaker 2
I’m going to tell you what you are, you better tell me. You are standing at the gate. Hmm, you are standing at the gate because it has the holes in it, so you are filled. It’s like a filter You’re allowing and whatever, but then you also have the ability to open, but he is controlling the gate. It’s one of those gates with the yeah.
0:52:38 – Speaker 1
Yeah, oh, absolutely.
0:52:39 – Speaker 2
That’s like a lesbian look at me.
0:52:41 – Speaker 1
You got to push the thing down and that’s what opens it. And everyone’s like I can’t get this thing to open, Right yeah.
0:52:46 – Speaker 4
Yeah yeah. The funny thing is I was the cement too. I was the cement a while ago. For a long time I was the cement. So I think like part of the work you do is like it’s possible to develop a bounce back how I believe that.
0:53:05 – Speaker 1
How did you go from cement to raw iron? Hmm?
0:53:09 – Speaker 4
Years of therapy medication. To be honest, yeah, Lots of mistakes, lots of just lots and lots of really embarrassing events and mistakes that I’ve had life lessons. I guess that’s the only way that I anyone can learn, maybe, is you keep falling off that horse and you just have to keep getting back on it, even though you’re just perpetually falling off of it.
0:53:37 – Speaker 1
But had that always been your experience, because my guess is you’d fallen off the horse many, many times before Did you always just get back on? Why was this different?
0:53:49 – Speaker 4
I didn’t always get back on. I would kick the horse, I would just like resist getting back up there. I’d fight it, I’d lash out or whatever. What’s different now is I it’s like I don’t see it as a horse, I see it as a little boy who just wants to go for a horse ride and he has a hard time getting on the horse. So I help him up there and I hold his hand, as we’re not galloping, but lightly, whatever horses do across the field. So that’s kind of the difference. But I relate to that cement definitely.
0:54:28 – Speaker 1
I was like I have those little goosebumps I, when you just talked about yourself being on the horse and like trotting around this field with yourself as this horse, that kindness, that compassion that I’m with you as we go through this just really spoke to me. That’s really, really beautiful. It’s so clear to me that you’ve done a tremendous amount of work to get to a place where you feel comfortable opening and closing that gate and that the gate doesn’t always need to be open that there’s great pride associated with at least even being in a place that’s wrought iron and that isn’t cement anymore Right.
And I hear that and I feel that and I love the fact that this process of creativity has allowed for some of that flow to assist you in getting more to that gate that can be easier opened and closed based on your own accord, you know.
0:55:24 – Speaker 4
0:55:25 – Speaker 1
I really love that Exactly.
0:55:28 – Speaker 4
I just started blossoming, opening up creatively as a performer, like all the photos that you see and like I. Just I don’t know what happened, but with all this work that I’ve done, something happened and I I don’t know I just exploded with all of this amazing creativity and ideas that I’ve always fantasized about.
0:55:52 – Speaker 1
And there wasn’t one thing that you could point that to. It literally was just almost like an unburdening of what had happened and in this one moment, just being in this place, where this creativity started to flow.
0:56:06 – Speaker 4
Oh, I think I just can pinpoint it to just a lot of pain, I guess a lot of emotional pain that I experienced, that I just wanted to figure it out because you know it’s funny because on one hand, you have all this emotional pain Now, on the other hand, you have this strong desire to create, to tell a story, but that pain just keeps getting in the way. And I’m like I’m going to figure this out because I want to be a star, whatever that means. So I just took the time to figure it out and eventually it just clicked. I mean, it’s hard because I’m 53 and it’s taken me like 30 years to get to this place. So there’s like some people can get there sooner, Some people takes a longer time.
I’m really proud of you, Greg.
0:57:01 – Speaker 1
And. I’m proud of young you on the horse. I just have this overwhelming sense of like how awesome it is that you’re able to show that it doesn’t matter what that experience has been like, with the right determination, with the right desire to put your heart in a different place, that it’s possible to get there.
0:57:24 – Speaker 3
And I think that’s beautiful.
0:57:27 – Speaker 1
I’ll end by saying that something as I was going through the podcast group that made me stop on that picture. Initially it was this guy’s different than everybody else on this podcast, right. The next thought was this guy’s going to connect with Rebecca really well. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the bandana, maybe it’s just the many different faces right.
But what really touched me the most, greg, is when I said could you please send me a couple images of yourself, you know, over email. And I’m scrolling through the pictures and I’m laughing and I’m smiling, I’m like this is going to be so great. And then I get to your last picture and it’s you. It’s just beautiful, you in your true, authentic form. And I have to tell you that that has stuck with me in the week and a half that we’ve had between our first conversation and here today, because it’s this nice little reminder for me that we are all of these things we are creative, we are goofy, we are fun with bandanas, we are all of these wonderful things that make people stop. And at the end of the day, that last picture is this pure picture of just Greg, and it was in that picture.
0:58:46 – Speaker 4
You’re going to make me cry. I’m getting a little emotional. That’s amazing.
0:58:51 – Speaker 1
I love that. I’m telling you now you’re going to make me cry, and Rebecca’s over here doing it now?
0:58:56 – Speaker 3
Yeah, Rebecca’s right now.
0:58:57 – Speaker 1
0:58:59 – Speaker 2
I’m not doing it right now, do not tell people that.
0:59:02 – Speaker 4
You’re like where’s my box of wine? Right, you’re actually showing your drink.
0:59:07 – Speaker 1
It’s so true.
0:59:08 – Speaker 3
But, the reality is what we get doing.
0:59:10 – Speaker 1
I got to that last picture. I thought that that’s who’s on the show, Right that is. I know that Wonderful Scott will put the picture up of you for everyone to see, and for me that is the person I felt absolutely most connected to and most excited to be with here today. So I am so thankful that you were our first guest on More Love Me too. I’m so thankful you were with me to surprise Rebecca, because she had no clue. That was like one big covert operation.
0:59:47 – Speaker 2
Well, he’s also going to be our first guest on Busted by Babes, oh yeah. Yes, yes, you will also be with us in the Queen’s Eyes.
0:59:54 – Speaker 3
Dead watching Busted.
0:59:56 – Speaker 1
By Babes, yeah, when our next show airs. And if people want to get in touch with you, which I know they will, because after today’s session I do not you know how I call it a session. You were such a therapist.
1:00:11 – Speaker 2
You were such a therapist, it was actually a little.
1:00:15 – Speaker 4
It was very therapeutic. I love that. I love that.
1:00:21 – Speaker 1
And if people wanted to get in touch with you, Greg, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you as a creativity coach?
1:00:30 – Speaker 4
They can go to my website, which is creativevisionaryincubatorcom, which has everything on it from you know, I also have a podcast that’s coming out soon, my program and everything in between. You can go to my Instagram, too, which is the Moody Creative 53.
1:00:52 – Speaker 2
Oh, moody Creative, Moody Creative.
1:00:55 – Speaker 1
I know absolutely.
1:00:57 – Speaker 2
You’re doing it literally right now. You better accept my friend request.
1:01:01 – Speaker 4
I will. I posted a couple of new characters there too. There’s a preacher man character. I want to do the same. You are one of the characters.
1:01:11 – Speaker 1
You are the next character With all the extra. Make sure there’s a lot of glitter in there, greg.
1:01:17 – Speaker 4
Lots, lots of glitter. It sounds like you know you. Just you transform me back to my, my small town in upstate New York, where are you?
1:01:26 – Speaker 2
1:01:27 – Speaker 4
With this humor.
1:01:29 – Speaker 2
That’s where we’re from.
1:01:30 – Speaker 4
Greg. We live in upstate New York.
1:01:34 – Speaker 3
Where are you from? I’m from Oneida Syracuse area.
1:01:38 – Speaker 1
Stop it. Where are you all from?
1:01:41 – Speaker 4
I grew up in Baldwin’sville, new York. Oh, I know, I finished high school in Govindore.
1:01:46 – Speaker 1
Stop it. My grandparents were from Govindore.
1:01:50 – Speaker 4
Wow, I can’t believe. This is amazing.
1:01:52 – Speaker 1
I’m telling you Get out the tarot deck. Get out the tarot deck, I love it so much. Yes, we remind you of upstate.
1:02:02 – Speaker 4
New York. You just, yeah, you just have this. You guys have this, like I don’t know what’s that. Are you guys Midwestern? I’m like no, this must be.
1:02:13 – Speaker 2
You didn’t know where we were from. Oh my God, we’re in. We live in Rochester right now, but I’m from the Saratoga area.
1:02:22 – Speaker 4
Oh, wow, okay.
1:02:25 – Speaker 1
And I grew up in Syracuse.
1:02:29 – Speaker 2
Crazy. So how are we going to do this? We’re going to do his card. Yes, we’re going to have him. Hold on, I got to shuffle him and then you’re going to tell me when to stop.
1:02:36 – Speaker 1
Are you open to a very quick one card tarot experience?
1:02:41 – Speaker 4
I am very much.
1:02:42 – Speaker 2
Yeah, we can have their mermaid tarot cards. Oh, he loves that.
1:02:47 – Speaker 4
Oh, I like that Okay.
1:02:50 – Speaker 1
You want me to shuffle through when you say stop.
1:02:53 – Speaker 2
Okay, you’re going to shuffle through. Yeah, yeah, yeah, all right, you go ahead and tell her when.
1:03:00 – Speaker 4
1:03:01 – Speaker 2
Okay, and this is the present. That’s what we’re doing. Yes, you got the King of Swords. Ambition, oh ambition.
1:03:11 – Speaker 1
Okay, and what does that mean? It means King of Swords.
1:03:19 – Speaker 2
This man is clever and is often a strong leader in a professional career. He’s a great strategist with charm and ambition, but can exert pressure too. He’s in patient I’m sorry, as he’s in patient to succeed. He can be relied upon to offer calm, logical judgment, and additional meaning is that legal issues need your attention right now. I just got released.
1:03:47 – Speaker 4
I’m just kidding. Okay, so that’s behind me.
1:03:53 – Speaker 2
Hilarious If this King comes up as the you card in the reading. Take a logical approach. This is the time for mental agility rather than emotions.
1:04:05 – Speaker 4
Wow, that’s so spot on.
1:04:08 – Speaker 2
It says for the advice piece look to the facts before you make decisions.
1:04:14 – Speaker 4
Oh, wow, that’s. I love that, love it. I always, I always let off of emotion before. Now, you know, you have to know the facts. You have to know that’s beautiful, thank you.
1:04:27 – Speaker 1
Apparently, this is a new part of our show.
1:04:29 – Speaker 3
This is the best You’re next.
1:04:33 – Speaker 1
Poor Scott, poor Scott alone Hard enough day with us. Greg, thank you for being with us today. This will not be the last that you hear from us. We definitely will have you back on the show again. Love your energy. Thank you for being present with us and until next time. Everyone I loved that Me too Isn’t empathy amazing.
1:04:55 – Speaker 2
Well, we’re amazing. I don’t know about all this empathy stuff.
1:04:58 – Speaker 1
That’s fine. I accept you. Wherever you are, I love you. I love you too, and if you love us, please like and subscribe to More Love, the power of empathy podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. See you next time.