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Turning 40 and Transitioning From Warrior to Civilian
Episode 8626th March 2024 • Forty Drinks • Stephanie McLaughlin
00:00:00 00:47:46

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John Lawyer spent more than a decade as a warrior in the Middle East and, upon his return to civilian life in the United States, struggled with his identity and how to engage with the world. He went from someone who was “important” in the desert - someone who directed where troops and airplanes went - to being just another person living in what he thought was a muted world that moved in slow motion. And then one night he woke up to a profound moment of clarity, some call it an awakening, that helped him see what he was meant to do in this next phase of his life.

Guest Bio 

From desert combat zones to a battle within, John Lawyer transformed from soldier to spiritual seeker. He acts as one of several guides for Kishar, a non-profit online spiritual community. This community is a place for people to share their journeys and explore their own unique spiritual path. John is an omnist and believes in the validity of most spiritual and religious beliefs around the world. He offers individual spiritual guidance and coaching services as part of the Kishar Spiritual Community.

Turning 40 and Transitioning From Warrior to Civilian

In this episode of the Forty Drinks Podcast, Stephanie talks to John Lawyer, a military veteran who experienced a profound midlife transition. John talks about his journey from serving in combat zones for more than a decade to coming home and feeling stuck and disconnected. He discusses the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life and the toll that war took on his mental health. John also talks about his spiritual awakening and the importance of letting go and being open to the Universe. A middle-of-the-night moment of clarity when he was 40 helped him understand his purpose for the next phase of his life. He shares his passion for helping others on their own spiritual paths and discusses the nonprofit spiritual community he co-founded called Kishar. 

If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be honored if you would rate, follow, and review the Forty Drinks Podcast.

Guest Resources

Find John on Facebook 

Find John on Instagram

John’s offer for Forty Drinks listeners: Join the Kishar Online Spiritual Community OR get one-on-one Spiritual Guidance / Coaching

Do you have the Midlife Ick? 

Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from this insidious midlife malaise. www.fortydrinks.com/ick

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The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications

Transcripts

Stephanie: Hi, John. Welcome to the podcast.

John: Hi, Stephanie. Thank you for having me.

Stephanie: It is my sincere pleasure. I'm looking forward to jumping into your story and learning more about your midlife transition. And you're not far past it now, am I correct? You're only you're just a pup. You're in your young 40s.

John: I'm 42 now.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right. So so the story is fresh

John: That's right. It is.

Stephanie: Why don't we start by, set the stage, what brought you to the beginning of your transition? Who were you? What experiences molded you into that person?

John: Sure. That's a big question.

Stephanie: It is. Mm

John: I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and I knew college wasn't for me, so I decided to join the U S Army straight out of high school. That was about a year before 9/11. So is kind of a way back when. And did my training, got to my first permanent duty station in about six months before 9/11 and then, and then, you know, war happened. And I would end up spending the next 12 years out of the first 15 years of my young adult life in combat zones in Kuwait, Baghdad, Iraq and then I spent about six and a half years consecutively in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

And I was a counterintelligence special agent in the Army. And then I got out and I was doing the same thing as a civilian. And interestingly, my wife was with me during this whole process. She did the same job I did. So we kind of took that journey together and

Stephanie: Mm

John: you know, I really love my job. I was good at it. It was, I felt important and I felt like I was doing big things and. I have questions about a lot of that now, but

Stephanie: hmm. I bet. For a civilian who's watched, you know, every season of Homeland, tell me what counterintelligence means to a layperson. And it's not on TV.

John: You know, actually, I think Homeland does a pretty good job of just showing kind of what some of that does. I mean, you know, I've, I've watched it and I, I, I thought through some of it, you know, I mean, obviously it's sensationalized, but a lot of it is, is, was pretty accurate. I mean, it's, you know, counterintelligence is pretty wide range.

It's, it ranges from, we're trying to stop people from spying on us. If people are spying us, we try to find them. And we try to, we try to either neutralize them or provide them disinformation. As counterintelligence, we also collect intelligence. Like we, we meet human sources and gather information and we do counterterrorism and stuff like that as well.

So it was a pretty, for me, I did stuff all the way from like big stuff, like, spy versus spy, like with Iran or Russia or that kind of stuff, all the way down to trying to get people to give us information on the battlefield that are giving us like really like low level tactical information. I did kind of the whole range of stuff.

Stephanie: Wow. And again, as someone who has never been in a military environment, that's some pretty intense experiences, spending 12 years in the middle of war zones.

John: And, and for me, I, I, I'm like, especially on the counterterrorism part, it almost takes an extremist to catch an extremist. So like, you're kind of like wholly dedicated to this thing. You're like, you're completely meshed in it and you're, I think the longer I was in it, the more. the toll of it kind of occurred to me.

I got older as you, as you grow, you start to recognize things that you don't see when you're young. I, I, I lost that idealistic part of myself and I saw the human toll of fighting this quote unquote enemy that oftentimes they weren't really bad people. They were just like we were, doing the same thing, putting food on a table, taking care of their family, their home, their, their country. And I think that starts to add up over time, you know?

Stephanie: Yeah. Cognitive dissonance. Right?

John: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that I don't get into politics very much at all or anything, but I think war is a political tool, you know. So it doesn't matter why you went to war after the first 30 days, it's really not about probably why you went to war in the first place anyway.

So you see this, you're part of this machine that just kind of eats the other side up. And then you also see eating yourself up. You see eating your brothers and sisters in arms up. And the waste of it. You see the waste of like, even the money spent on it. I mean, I, I saw billions of dollars spent that was just really kind of wild. So you start to see all that.

Stephanie: Yeah. the last time we spoke, you said that when you were in Kandahar, you realized one day that you were the old guy in the room. , You were the experienced one. You were the you were the the veteran soldier.

John: Yeah. I, I'd always been the baby in the room. And then, I mean, it happened almost overnight, right? I turn around and like I was having problems. There was all this drama happening in my unit. And I was like, why is all this drama happening? And I, and I realized, I'm like, I'm like, I'm older than all these kids. And, and I'm like, that's why it feels like high school because I'm old. They're, they're just kids. They haven't been doing this. Like, you know, so yeah, it was a, it was a sobering moment for me.

Stephanie: So you came home in your mid thirties, is that right? You came home from active duty.

John: Yeah. Well, at that point I had been a civilian for a while, but yeah, I was,

Stephanie: okay.

John: you know, actively in combat zone still. Yeah. They doing the same thing.

Stephanie: So you were doing the same thing, but from a civilian standpoint.

John: Correct.

Stephanie: Not, not a, not a member of the military. Is that, am I understanding that right? Okay. All right. And then you come home and life here in the United States is, I'm guessing very, very different than where you had been living for a dozen years.

John: Yeah,

Stephanie: How was that transition?

John: That was hard. I mean, I came home

Stephanie: I can't even imagine.

John: I didn't have an identity. I didn't know who I was because I was this person that like, you know, when I walked into a room, people listen to what I had to say. And, you know, I would tell whole stacks of airplanes, where to go and troops where to go. And I, you know, I, I thought I was important.

And then you do this thing, you know, I come home and like, I, the world is kind of moving in slow motion and it's not bright. I lived on an airfield where, you know, it was busy. There's 50, 000 people. Jets are taking off all the time, helicopters, you know, it's just you miss all that.

It's like, it's like adrenaline junkies or performance athletes or extreme sports guys. Like, you know, you have that high and soldiers are no different.. And so, yeah, I was, I had PTSD, you know, OCD. Anxiety, depression, you know, whatever you, whatever you want to call all of it. And so, yeah, I was a very broken human being when I came home.

Stephanie: How did you start to put yourself back together?

John: I think that the thing that helped me is I was always a positive person. Even when I was in this dark, dark place, I was still positive. So that helped me not get lost. I didn't lose myself completely. And I was also always a kind person. So I think I was kind with myself and I, I was able to tell myself, and this is tough. And I, you know, I don't know how you're going to get out of it, but you will. And I think that was helpful. I think time, I think time is this beautiful thing. It does heal you. And I realized that I had wisdom cause I'd had gained all this knowledge. And I think knowledge through experience becomes wisdom.

And so I, I did have some wisdom and I, I would value that. And I went to VA. They matched me with a therapist who practiced Eastern medicine. She taught me mindfulness. Wasn't able to completely wrap my being around that at the time, but it did help. I think that helped start things going. I think that we're always on a journey, whether we know it or not. I didn't know I was on a journey at the time, you know, but I was.

Stephanie: Yeah. Well, it's the game we play as little kids, right? The, I remember it, they had it at my grandmother's house when I was a little kid, Life, The Game of Life. And it is, it's a journey, no matter, you know, it's, you're going from, you know, you're in elementary school and you're going from grade to grade and you're learning different things and then you graduate high school and you're, you know, and then there's a choose your own adventure.

Are you going to college? You're going to the military. You're going to trade school. You're going to work. Are you, what are you doing? But you're right. When we're young, we don't think of it as a journey. I think it's, it's not until we're somewhere, you know, in the middle of it that, that we realize that, you know, the journey brought us to where we are. And then, you know, everything we do moving forward is continuing the journey.

John: Yeah. It's like when we're young, we're trying to get to a destination.

Stephanie: Right.

John: Yeah.

Stephanie: Right. You're, yes. And for a lot of people I've talked to, it's like, you're trying to check all the boxes. You're trying to achieve the things, right? In whatever path you've chosen. Career, relationship, home. Yeah. Yeah. So. You start seeing this person who's practicing Eastern traditions, which are unfamiliar to you and interesting, but not fully intriguing, maybe, but you can't quite get all the way there, right?

John: Right.

Stephanie: Yeah. So then what?

John: Yeah. It's, it's, I, I kept going and things got better for me. You know, like I said, time helped and I started to have more perspective on things and I, I also got to a point, this is kind of before I had my kind of spiritual moment, but I started to, to realize that I, I needed to kind of stop caring about as much, not like giving up sort of way, but like I needed to stop kind of being attached to outcomes and worrying about things that I couldn't control. So that was a big moment for me, and I never realized it. I actually didn't even realize that part of my journey until very recently, even. Just look, it took me some, some introspection looking back. So that, that helped. And then about, you know, a little over two years ago, I was laying in bed with my wife. She was asleep and I had this like, a profound moment of understanding or clarity, some call it awakening. It has many names, but it was this very warm feeling of being connected to everything in the universe that we're kind of all the same. We are one. And also that we're all saying very similar things when we talk about what we believe and what we practice or what our faith or, or anything is. why do we divide ourselves? I had all these thoughts all kind of at once.

That was kind of when I finally was like, Oh, I'm, I'm a spiritualist. I'm on a spiritual path and you know, this is what I want to do.

Stephanie: How much of the spiritual mumbo jumbo had you been exposed to or exploring or you know, aware of before that night when you were visited?

John: Very little. I couldn't have told you what the ego was from like a spiritual perspective, like the mind and ego. Like I couldn't have had a conversation conversation. And that, that part of what happens is I was like, Oh man, I. I got to go figure how to figure out how to talk to people about this. I got to go read.

I read, I think I read 60 books in like four months. And and I looked online and just like became familiar with how to talk to people. And I want to be able to talk to people regardless of whether they were a Hindu or an atheist or a Christian or a Muslim, it didn't matter. Right. Or a pagan.

I wanted to be able to talk to them all because I felt like we're all, like I said, where I felt like we were all saying the same thing. So I had this like thirst for knowledge and desire to be able to share that my journey with people and have them share theirs with me so that we could be open and better understand one another. Because I feel like that would help me in my development. Maybe I could help others in their development and maybe that would be this good thing.

Stephanie: Interesting. So, how was it when you, when you had this opening, this awakening, you woke up in the middle of the night, you're home, your wife is next to you. How was it you believed it? How was it that you understood it? If you, if you didn't, if you weren't really aware of much of the spiritual world previous to this, how did you know that this wasn't just indigestion?

John: Right. I think that that's a hard question to answer. I think I've always been kind of, I've always had a creative side, but I've also approached life logically and try to combine those two things. That helped me in the military and when it happened, it all felt very logical. There was obviously this like esoteric creative side to it all, obviously, because it was this big thing, but it just really made sense.

It felt, it's kind of ineffable almost, but it, it, it was a, it was a, it was this understanding too that, because what made sense to me is I could stop arguing with strangers on the internet. I could stop arguing with family at Thanksgiving. If I took care of myself, if I love myself, especially first, then I can lift up myself, which would lift up the world around me.

I should love my neighbor. Like if my neighbor has 90 percent of the stuff that I have in common, like we're, we agree on 90%. Why are we going to argue over 10%? So it was just that it all just made sense to me. It was a, like a bolt of lightning.

Stephanie: It was logical. It made sense. That's. I'm just trying to process that. When I was talking to Vince, he was also talking about his spiritual awakening. And I was mentioning that, you know, others of the people that I've talked to, that's part of this transition for a good number of people.

Not everyone, but for a good number of people, there is a spiritual awakening. There is a an opening of the heart or the soul. There is a, an exploration into things that they might have considered weird or out there previously. And so you know, for a lot of people that I've talked to who have had this experience, they, deny it for some amount of time, right? The, maybe the first knock or the second knock or the third knock. I certainly, that is my experience as well of, of denying it before accepting it. So it's interesting to me that on this very first calling, this very first tapping on the shoulder that, that you just said, wow, that makes sense.

John: That's actually interesting. And I, I've, I've had some similar experience talking to other people. I've had some of those same experiences you described, talking to other people about their journey, their journey as well. I think for me, like I had been stuck for so long in a place. You know, after those, those first 15 years, you know, where I'd been on and off in the desert for so long and then coming back, that was, I was, that was seven years that I was home where I was just kind of stuck. So I think that I was ready for something maybe anything possibly, but I

Stephanie: That makes

John: that's, that's probably was, was a part of it. And I think that helped.

Stephanie: That actually, you just illuminated a huge piece of it for me, which we hadn't, I think which we skipped over. Tell me about being stuck. What did, what did being stuck feel like? What did it look like from a practical standpoint?

John: My wife and I had very similar experiences. So she had experienced a lot of the same darkness and trauma that I had. So we understood each other, but people didn't really understand us. So like, we didn't, we didn't go out very often. We didn't leave the house that often. We were kind of in our own complete little universe or world.

Stephanie: Hmm. Mm

John: I don't believe any trauma is better, worse than, another trauma, you know. But we had experienced trauma for so long, like it was like years at a time and it was high grade trauma from like big events, missile attacks or truck bombs or whatever, you know. And then there was all that, that low grade trauma that happens over 12 years, so we were, I think that's feeling stuck was just not knowing where to go, not knowing how to move off of high center. So much processing that had to happen.

When I had this moment, understanding part of my, this concept that I had, I, this idea that I had is that can I help people make it through that process faster than I did? Can someone help, if someone, you know, so that's, that's part of it too, you know was the desire to help people find their home, help them help themselves find their home. Cause I think we're whole inside, whether we know it or not, we just have to see it.

Stephanie: Mm. Interesting. I relate to that so strongly. It's it's, it is truly the impetus for the podcast because I made such a mess of so many transitions in my life, you know, there was collateral damage along the way from, you know, friends to my own health to relationships to, you know, so, so yeah, if I can, you know, showcase so many different stories, so many different versions of this midlife transition, this midlife discomfort, like, the way you describe it as a stuckness, right? And how do we get out of that? Then, then, you know, hopefully others will make it through with a little bit more grace and ease than, than I did.

John: Yeah, absolutely. I, and that's, it's a great message too.

Stephanie: Yeah. So after your, your opening, after your, your, your midnight visitation. And you then spent months reading and learning. Where did you go from there? What did you, what did you do with this information?

John: I knew that I wanted to do something, some type of community. And so I very early on, I knew I wanted to start a nonprofit spiritual community that was a very universal, come, come one, come all, come as you are, doesn't matter what you believe. We could all kind of hang out together and talk, ask great questions, find better answers and have a place where even in this digital world that we live in, this busy technical world, we can still have meaningful, authentic human connection online and, and have smaller communities that aren't Facebook or Instagram or TikTok or whatever, you know, where people can actually have conversations, share stories, share journeys, see what works because my path isn't going to be your path.

It's going to look a lot different, but our paths may inform each other. And so I, I really wanted to make a place where that could happen. In a kind of natural setting that made sense in a online world. So I worked every day for over two years to, to make that happen with my wife, who had a very similar experience. And then a good friend of ours from, she grew up in the Balkans during that war herself, and then was in Afghanistan with us for, for years as well. So she's, so we kind of co founded this thing, this community.

Intermission

Stephanie: It's interesting that you just mentioned your wife, because that was, I was actually just going to ask you about your wife. You said that you had so many of the same experiences that you, you know, you were able to really understand each other. How did, let me, before I ask that, a lot of times during this period of transition, I have heard of, you know, marriages falling apart and of people moving in different directions. How was your wife's transition back to civilian life and, and how did you guys stay kind of in alignment and in I don't know, in relation to each other?

John: That's a really good question. It was not easy. You know, I, I think being married to Stacey is easy. That is easy. I think relationships aren't easy. You know, I, I think that there was a lot of anger, not at each other, but we took it out on each other. I had a lot of rage inside of me. And we don't talk about that in society.

We don't talk about mental health as much. And we, we kind of talk about it now a lot more than we used to, but it's still very surface level. We don't really talk that there's emotions that are, you know, trapped. And I think that makes relationships difficult. And the good thing is that we both understood our experience because we both went through it.

The bad thing is we, we weren't great at coping with that. Cause we'd both gone through it. So it was kind of a double edged sword. And I, I think that takes me back to the fact that thank God I picked Stacey and she picked me way back when, early on.

Stephanie: Right.

John: That made that transition easier. This takes us back to every decision we make, especially these big decisions of life are greatly going to impact this transition that we have into our mid years, which are really good years, really great years, cause you're not young. You know, you're starting to get, get wisdom. And so I, all these choices that we've made really impact this transition. So thank, thankfully I have made a good choice and she had made a good choice. That made that part easier, I think, than, than it could have been.

Stephanie: Yeah. Did you guys you, you met overseas, is that right? While you were already in the military.

John: We met, we met, we were in the same unit in Georgia in Fort Gordon. And so we, we deployed together. So we were spent, we were overseas. Yeah. We actually got married in Kuwait. Our wedding certificate's in Arabic.

Stephanie: Oh, wow. Right. Because a lot of people who get married young get married because they think they should. They, they get married because It's a, it's a box to check it's, you know, well, you know, we dated all through college and it's been, you know, we've been graduated for two years, so we probably should get engaged and then, you know, another year or two and it's like, well, we should get married and then we, we should have a kid.

Well, we should buy the house before the baby comes and, and, and then you find that, you know, you, you wake up in your mid thirties on the sideline of a soccer field somewhere and you're like. Whoa, who am I? And, and

John: Yeah.

Stephanie: Whose life is this? This isn't what I meant to do. But it sounds like for you guys, it wasn't that. It it wasn't a should it was a different choice.

John: Yeah. I mean, we were very, you know, soulmates or whatever you want to call it. Yeah. We were very aligned with with each other and I, it worked out. She's eight years older than me. And so I was, I think I was 22, 23 when we got married. I was a kid, but I'd always, I'd, I lived by myself for a couple of years in high school and I was kind of an older soul a bit.

So I think that helped bridge that eight year gap. And, but I mean, I love your description of, sometimes, and I've been guilty of this too, going through life without doing the things we should do. and doing the things society or this tribe or that tribe or this parent or that teacher or this co worker or this boss told us we had to do or should do, right?

All this stuff. Who are we? Right? Who am I? Yeah. And that's, that's a very spiritual question. Who am I?

Stephanie: Right.

John: Like you, that you asked, you know, you, that I spent a lot of time asking that question.

Stephanie: Yeah. What, and what kind of answers have you come up with?

John: I'm not my name. I'm not my, my profession or I'm not my history or my future. I am this kind of universal being that's connected to everyone. And if, if I am that, and you are that, we are that, and we're all the same thing. So that's kind of what I've come up with.

Stephanie: How, how does that present itself in a practical way on a day to day basis?

John: That's a great question. That's a great followup. I love it. I think anybody that's on a spiritual path and realizes it or a journey and realizes we still occupy this three dimensional reality, this real world we all share every day. Most of us aren't going to go live in a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas.

We're going to, we're going to live this life that we live with all these other people. So I'm very interested in that intersection between spirituality and our spiritual self. Our divine inner self and the real world, that quote unquote, real world, because we have to occupy it. We're not going to float away into the ether.

So I think you have to be grounded in the center in the day to day, sleep, right. Eat, right. Have good relationships, take care of your finances, all these things, all these, I call them life blocks or blocks of life, all these life blocks that you have to

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

John: of. And then you have more time and space to be the spiritual self.

To explore that universal divine, you know, capital S self or divine or in Jesus Christ or, or the Brahman or the Tao doesn't matter what you call it. Right. Like then we have time for that.

Stephanie: So you're saying take care of the foundations, take care of the build, build a strong foundation, and that will allow you the space to explore.

John: Yeah, absolutely.

Stephanie: Yeah, I like that.

And as we come to this midlife. I also think it's, well, I'm only going to speak from my own experience. It's been easier to focus on foundation my world has gotten smaller. And it's not necessarily a bad thing that my world has gotten smaller. All through my twenties and thirties, I was a wild girl.

I was, I was a party girl, but I was also, you know, professional and I had, things that I needed to get done and, and I was a member of boards and committees and, and I would be at, you know, business events, you know, 3 nights a week, but then, you know, out for a glass of wine with friends afterwards.

And, and so there was, it was always go, go, go, go, go, go, go, and on the weekends I would, you know, be up to Maine with friends and, you know, or we'd be up in the mountains in New Hampshire or, you know, You know, we were all it was always doing something. There was no quiet. There was no, you know, pause. And I think, you know, I've said since I met my husband when I turned 40, life has changed, life has shifted and it did become smaller because I wanted to concentrate on us and our relationship and building our life together. So, so some of the, the other stuff kind of went away. And and I do feel like the last 10 years or so that I have really focused on foundation.

So that's, it's, it's an interesting idea that you, you bring to the table here. Cause I, I had never, I've, I've, I've known sort of like the bigger to the smaller, the louder to the quieter, but I hadn't put that piece together. The foundation actually, once that's really solid gives you. The bandwidth, really,

John: Right.

Stephanie: of the more exploratory pieces, introspection.

John: Yeah. Go be who you, you need or want to be.

Stephanie: It's interesting you say that that way, because I feel like I was who I wanted to be through my 20s and 30s, and certainly from this vantage point, I often wonder what would have happened if I had made different decisions, if I had, you know, settled down earlier, if I had, you know, not been distracting myself with, you know, the social stuff and, I also, you know, wouldn't have ended up here, you know, so it's, it's, it's a fun mind game to play, you know, I, I knew I was who I wanted to be then, but it's a very different person than who I am now.

John: And I think that looking back at my past too, all this stuff that I did led me to who I am today. So I'm, I'm glad you said that like that, because like,

Stephanie: right.

John: We wouldn't be who we are if it weren't, you know, for all of the great things that we've done and all the mistakes that we've made, all the pain we've been through, you know, it, it all adds to the experience.

And

Stephanie: Yeah.

John: thing that I've tried to do is enjoy the journey every day more. Because the journey is, you know, it's that cliche of the journey is the destination is that that's in songs and that's in and popular culture for a reason. The journey is the destination. It is the

Stephanie: Right.

John: because if you can't enjoy the day to day,

Stephanie: Yeah. I was gonna say because when you get to the destination, you're not gonna know cause you'll be gone. Right.

So, right. The enjoying of every day and, and for those folks who are still stuck and who are in the discomfort and in what I call the Ick. Sometimes it's tough to do that. Cause it, everything feels so heavy. It feels so hard. It feels so challenging. And so I, I have always tried to see, look for the little things, not the big things.

Cause you can enjoy a little thing. You know, whether it's

John: and. That's where change starts. That's, that's where you get out of the Ick. That's where you get out of the darkness. That's where you get out of the stuck. Is that small change. You know, journey of a thousand miles, right? You got to take that first step. You got to, you got to move. And the, the Universe is always in motion. And, you know, I don't really believe in absolutes, but I do believe the one universal absolute is change because the Universe is, it does always move. Change is always going to happen. If we don't accept that. And move with it. If we, if we stay unmoving and then we're, we're in diametric opposition to like the will of the Universe.

Stephanie: And things get harder

John: Yeah, much

Stephanie: the more

John: Harder than they, they need to be. Way harder than they need to be.

Stephanie: So tell me about healing from the kinds of experiences that you've had that most of us don't have. I'm sure that they are, except for your brothers and sisters in arms, but most of us civilians have no idea what, what life is truly like in war zones. But I think we can all understand trauma. We've all got our own traumas. But talk about healing and how you worked through that process.

John: Healing is this beautiful thing that is kind of easy to hear about and then, you know, it's hard to do sometimes. I believe letting go is the, just starting, like we just talked about is the first step you have to start somewhere. If you have this giant task ahead of you, you know, you gotta, you gotta start. And then once you do that, I think letting go is this, this big thing. We have all these attachments to things. We have some good attachments to our loved ones and things like that, but we have all these attachments that aren't necessarily great for us. And we're attached to, we judge ourselves, we judge others.

We don't forgive ourselves. We don't forgive others. We're, we have these past events that have domain over us still where, we're focused on a future that may never be. We worry about things that we don't have any control over. So why are we attached to all this stuff? How do we let go of it? And I think that is core to moving in a healing direction is, is letting go. It has to happen.

Stephanie: I love the concept of attachment and detachment. I've talked before about one of the earlier spiritual guides that I took notice of and kind of followed is Mike Dooley, who, his original sort of emergence into the popular culture was from the movie, The Secret, and then he's written books and has done seminars, but he always sort of talks from the point of view of the Universe, right? He as if the Universe were talking to us and, and, and he, his approach is, you know, to really, like, you're saying detach from the outcome. And the more qualifications you put on the things that you're wishing for or working towards or, you know, moving towards or trying to manifest, the more qualifications you put on it, the, the harder the universe has to work to make you happy.

But if it's only, you know, a:

John: No, that, that's, that's everything, really. That, that, that concept, that, that mindset and perspective is everything. I, I, I talk about being open to the Universe all the time. Yeah, if you ask the Universe for something, you have to be prepared to receive it. And it's that story of that guy that's on the roof and a guy in a canoe comes by when it's flooding and he won't get in the canoe and he won't get in the motorboat and he won't get in the helicopter and he drowns. Right. And God's like, dude, I tried to help. I sent you all this stuff and you were like, you've said, you told me you're waiting for God, but I sent you all this stuff. And, you know, so yeah, we have to be open to the Universe. We have to be in receive mode. We have to be prepared for, you know, those that you could call it, you know, thankful for unanswered prayers or unanswered meditations, because the other answer is going to be what you actually needed and wanted, even if you didn't know it. So, you know, The Secret or manifestation or law of attraction isn't about getting a million dollars, their Ferrari, right? It's about receiving what the Universe sends you and the Universe will send you what you need, it will, but you have to, you have to be open to it. And there's an aspect of meeting the Universe halfway as well. Like you can't just kind of, again, you can't just sit not in motion and expect the Universe to deliver that to you, even if you're open. So be open to the Universe. Move with it. Meet it halfway. Great things will happen.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. And be, to your point, be open to it not looking like you thought it would look. Be open to the guy in the canoe, the guy in the motorboat, and the guy in the helicopter.

John: That's right.

Stephanie: Because once you are, you can see all the ways that the Universe is supporting you. Yeah. it brings me to another one of my favorites, which I know I've talked about before.

And that is the movie under the Tuscan sun, which I would be surprised if you had seen, because it's a real, it's a real chick flick, but the middle of the movie, she's the, the main character says to somebody, you know, I want love in this house. I want a wedding in this house. I want something else. I want a family in this house. And at the end of the movie she's hosting a wedding for a young friend and his new bride and her best friend shows up and has a baby and, and there's so much love in the yard and the friend comes back to her and he says, you got everything you, you asked for. And, and you can see her in the movie. She kind of does the, like the, the sort of reaction and, and she, she goes and she scans the yard and it's like, holy cow, it's all there. I got everything I wanted. It just didn't look like what she thought it was going to look like. And I just, I just always love that one. I it's, it's a favorite of mine.

John: That's a great story. I do like chick flicks though. I haven't seen it, but I, I

Stephanie: Yeah, well, check that one out. It's, it's an oldie, but but truly one of my favorites. It's one of the ones that Patrick knows that if if it's on broadcast and we go cruising by, we're going to get stuck

John: and watch. Yeah,

Stephanie: That and Sweet Home Alabama for some reason. I don't know why. Yeah, that's a fun one.

John: It is

Stephanie: So where are you today, John?

John: Today, you know, I am I'm happy with myself. I mean, I'm joyful with myself Most most of the time. Not all in every second of every day, but for the most part. And I've you know I've started this spiritual community. I was finally able to launch it last fall and I that's what I'm doing in my life. That's, you know, I, I very much believe that people should live their higher purpose, figure out what it is, then live it and align it with their life.

And I've done that. So I feel very fortunate to be able to have done that. And so I, I work with people from a community setting online where they can come together and we have a meditation prompts and we have affirmations. We have places where people can just talk and, and or just watch and listen. And I also help people individually one on one spiritual guidance and coaching as part of that community.

And that's what I do now. That's, that's my life.

Stephanie: Wonderful. Tell me what's the name of your community and where can people find it?

John: The name is Kishar and it's at kishar. org, K I S H A R. org. And that's the entrance to our community and it has links to all of our social media. And we also have a pretty cool YouTube channel that, this gives free and open advice on how to better yourself and walk a spiritual path or live a better foundational life.

And we're nonprofit, so all of the funds that do go into the community go back to the community. So that's trying to give back to the world from that perspective as well.

Stephanie: Wonderful. Well, John, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate you sharing your journey with us.

John: Yeah, I, I appreciate I appreciate the message that you're putting out in the world as well, that the transition and handling it. It's a, it's a great message for people.

Stephanie: Thank you.

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