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170: Kary Youman | Overcoming a Traumatic Past With Mindfulness and Meditation
Episode 1704th April 2023 • Purpose Through Pain • Joseph James
00:00:00 00:49:18

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You don’t have to have all the answers to make a difference. Kary Youman is a heart-centered facilitator and mindfulness coach dedicated to creating brave spaces for people to discuss and explore complex topics.

Facilitating change through workshops on diversity, equity, inclusion, communication, radical kindness, mental health, and mindfulness, he is helping shift the way organizations view their culture and team dynamics.

He is on a personal mission to empower and inspire others to live their best lives through the virtues of kindness and mindfulness, helping people from all walks of life overcome limiting beliefs that have led to transformational changes both personally and professionally.

Using the humility and perspective that his life experiences have given him, Kary helps his clients discover their purpose and create a more meaningful life. From toxic masculinity and alcoholism to spirituality and meditation, Kary is here to talk about these experiences and how they influenced the course of his life and led him to where he is today.

On This Episode:

  • How growing up in a toxic environment changed the way Kary viewed his parents
  • The consequences of growing up thinking that only women are allowed to share their emotions
  • The surprising gut punch that changed Kary’s life
  • The intensity of Kary’s twenties as a functional alcoholic
  • How Kary’s spiritual quest led him to a silent ten-day meditation retreat
  • The seemingly crazy marketing scam that turned out to be true
  • The event that turned Kary into a mental health advocate
  • Taking the mysticism out of meditation

Key Takeaways:

  1. Judgment and animosity make breakthroughs and connections impossible.
  2. There’s always more to the story.
  3. When you’re in a dark place, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help, but only you can do the inner healing work.
  4. Self-love goes a long way.

Tweetable Moments:

  1. “Sometimes you can get drunk on the positivity because you’re not allowing yourself to experience what you’re experiencing.” - Kary Youman
  2. “It’s important to bounce back and to have a positive outlook, but sometimes you just really gotta deal with some shit.” - Kary Youman
  3. “Eventually, if you train yourself to walk through the dark, you start to recognize that you’re the light.” - Kary Youman

Connect with Kary:



Connect with Joseph James:

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Joseph: Hey everyone, and welcome to another great show of Purpose Through Pain Podcasts. I have a gentleman named Kary Youman that's on the show today. Kary is a heart-centered facilitator, mindfulness coach, dedicated to creating brave spaces for people to discuss and explore complex topics. He now facilitates change by hosting workshops on diversity, equity, on and inclusion, communication, radical kindness, mental health, and mindfulness to help shift the way organizations view their culture and team dynamics. He is on a personal mission to empower and inspire others to live their best lives through the virtues of kindness and mindfulness. And I probably say a lot of forgiveness in there. Kary, thanks so much and welcome to the show.

Kary: Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Joseph, really looking forward to this time together.

Joseph: Absolutely. Kary, I've had a little chance to dive into your Instagram and your, a little bit of your story and you've written a book, you experienced something that definitely other people have experienced in their life, but it definitely come at a cost to you throughout your childhood. And I don't wanna spoil it right now, but take us back to your childhood in terms of how you were raised, the family you grew up in, that leads you to the way you think and believe right now.

Kary: Yeah. Growing up, so it's interesting because my life, I feel, when I look back on it, I feel like there are different chapters of it. And, initially growing up, I was born in Los Angeles, California. My mom was from Queens and my dad which I'll get into a little bit more was from Louisiana, but his family lived in California. We were in what some people call the jungle, which is in Los Angeles, pretty rough area. But a pretty, traditional family in the sense that, my mom and dad were, pretty young, just working to try to, make ends meet and, by the time I was three, I was starting to recognize that like they, they weren't getting along, like I just remember a lot of arguments, just not really being on the same page. However, in the backdrop of that, I was always I always felt like I had love and I felt like I had support. But just seeing my mom and dad, at a young age arguing and fighting I just started to recognize that there wasn't something there. So they split up, and then from three to till about seven, I would live with my mom. She was a single mom, and then I would hang out with my dad and his family generally on the weekends, or if there was a school break or something, I'd go out, go and hang out with his family, which was just a couple of miles away. That's the beginning in terms of just how things started out. I could elaborate, but I'll just take a step back to see if there was anything there.

Joseph: Yeah. So at this point you are, when you're growing up, in this family very toxic environment that you start to see how did that mo start molding and shaping your mind on how you viewed your mom versus how you viewed your dad at that time?

Kary: Yeah, that's an interesting question, Joseph because I spent the most time with my mom and because my mom was more emotionally available, meaning she was willing to talk about stuff whenever they would get in an argument, I would only really hear my mom's side. So at the end of the day, I found, as I got older, it was hard for me to build trust with other men because I really built it. My mom and dad would get into an argument, a couple of weeks go by, I would go visit my dad, but for the most part I'd be playing with my cousins or hanging out with my aunt and my uncle or my grandma, but never really talking to him about what happened. So you figure time goes by that starts to stack. That emotional availability that I think I had from my mom wasn't really there for my dad. So I just feel like that dynamic was really interesting because I think also, I started to believe that as a young man I'm not supposed to talk about my emotions, this is what women do, and I'm just here to listen. So I definitely internalized that and just felt because of all the other men that were in my life at the time, because they acted the same way, I just assumed that was, that's how you do it. Women share their emotions and men keep them to themselves.

Joseph: Yeah. And that's growing up in that generation it can still affect us a lot till this day, even as an adult, because we take on that mindset of I have to be hard, I have to be tough. I can't share my emotions because that's not only just the way I was raised, but now it becomes a condition to responses, a conditioned emotion, not opening up and pouring out and being emotional and maybe even detaching, but now it becomes something where the moment we're in a situation, we have to be tough. We can't, it becomes a conditioned response for us, and it's hard for a lot of men, even in the coaching aspect is I coach a lot more women because of men feel like they have to be tough and they can't open. So take us on from there, you're now living with your mom. The family is split at what age was this for you?

Kary: Yeah, so I was seven, so right around the time of seven, eight there were a couple of earthquakes in California at the time. My aunt, my grandma, my cousins, I had a few people there from my mom's side. They essentially said, Hey, let's move to Atlanta. Let's get away from these earthquakes, it's a little bit more affordable, let's move to Atlanta. So at seven I moved to Atlanta with my mom, a couple of cousins, my aunt, my grandma and my dad's family stayed in California So from about, from about seven till about 12 over the summer, I would visit my dad's family or if there was a school break again, I would visit his family. But I just wasn't seeing him as frequently because we weren't in the same state. So yeah, once we moved, getting integrated in Atlanta, it was tough because I missed my dad. I missed my cousins, I missed my grandma. But it was also cool because now I was living in a house with my mom, my grandma, my aunt, and my two cousins. So I felt like I had brothers when I never really had that before. And I had other family members who I could lean on who were all in the same space as far as I knew, we were living the dream.

Joseph: So what happened from there? You feel like you got a connection, now you feel like you've got a family, you're not missing your dad as much because you've got that now. Take me, what's going on in your life at that moment?

Kary: Yeah, so again, just trying to figure out, what it means to, to be a young kid, in the early nineties there was a moment in time where, I was going back and forth with my mom and dad between Atlanta and California and they were still arguing over the phone. I would pick up on things, my mom would say things to me about my dad. And I just, it wasn't, it was never really positive. And I remember when I was, right around 12 or so my mom was on the phone, and by this time, I'm skipping a lot of the story, but by this time my mom met someone else, I had a little sister and her partner was in the mix. He definitely was more available, but again, in terms of an example as like a father figure, Now that I'm older, I recognize that there were still a lot of things where he just wasn't emotionally available, but he was like my basketball coach and, participated in football and things like that. So I definitely felt like I was developing the connection. But right around the time I was 12, my mom and dad were actually on the phone going back and forth, and essentially what ended up coming up was there was a blood test that was taken when I was a kid, like literally three months old. And the doctor said, to my mom and dad, Hey, Kary has this particular trait sickle cell anemia is common in the African American community, the trait, which isn't deadly, but if you have full-blown sickle cell anemia, something to worry about. The doctor said, I have the trait, but the problem was neither of my parents had the trait. So the doctor said, Hey, I don't know what's going on with this, if you all wanna take another test, you can, something's not right. And for whatever reason at the time, my mom and dad didn't really do anything about it, they just swept it under the rug. So 12 years had gone by and my mom's Hey, send me some money. Where's the support? What's going on? This is your son, and my dad essentially asked for another test, which ultimately ended up coming back saying that I wasn't his, and in this moment, again, I've talked about this in on other platforms, but I just remember, it literally felt like Mike Tyson hit me in the gut, like it was just one of those moments where it's hard to put it in words. There are no words, I blacked out, I was in tears, the backlash of that the abandonment, the insecurity, just so many different emotions came up at that time, and I mean I think maybe even just until just a couple years ago was I really able to just have the courage to lift that up again and really face like what that trauma, what that situation did to me, traumatically, and how can I really start to heal myself from that? Because I had a lot of resentment, more so from my mom than I did my dad at the time, and it just took me a while to work through that.

Joseph: Yeah, without a doubt. Now, did you overhear this conversation with your mom on the phone or is that how you found out, was overhearing everything?

Kary: Yeah, so they were arguing back and forth and essentially my mom, she was upset, my sister's dad was in the room and my mom was like, Hey, sit down, she kissed me on the forehead, look me in my eyes, gave me a big hug, and essentially she told me, and at that point, obviously there's a part of her that's, probably going through her own shame and guilt and all these other things. But at the time, my mom wasn't necessarily convinced that the test was right. So there was, this kind of dangling carrot where it's I think we should take another test, like I feel like this is your father. So there were many years that went by where there was just this dangling of let's take this test. But I didn't have the courage to be like, Hey dad, can you take this test again? I didn't take the test. So many years went by where it was just is this my dad? Is this not my dad? There was no follow up. So again, going back to not being available emotionally, this happened and I didn't talk to my dad for years, like I didn't hear from anybody. It was just a, this is your dad, cut it off, now you're not talking to this person at all. So there was just a lot of, so many different things going on inside of my head, and whenever I would talk to my mom about it, it was just pushed away. Again, I think for her, she just didn't know how to address it. She wasn't really sure of what was going on. I don't hold, I don't hold her or him to blame, but at the time, as a 12 year old, I just didn't have the emotional capacity to really monitor what my emotions were doing.

Joseph: Yeah. The thing about it is not only do we not have that at 12 years old, if you think about, of course we live in an, we live in an age now that information is at the tip of our fingers, and we really don't have a problem of finding. Information about something, if you need mental health, you can Google it. If you need therapy, you can Google it, back then in the nineties, it's not something you ever thought about. Let me go to the library and Google Mentor, or not Google cause it wasn't there, but let me look up mental health.

Kary: And the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Joseph: Yeah. You would look at, you would get a definition, is we would ask people, we would reach out to people's Hey, what do you know about this? But there's the thing about it is our parents didn't know. Our parents had no idea what it would be like. Oh, how do I process this stuff? How did my parents process it? My dad would be like, if, you don't cry unless you're hurt and you need to go to the hospital, kind of thing. And as a 12 year old, you're not one, you're not processing it the way it needs to be done, and then as a parent, what do you even do for your child? And so the best way a lot of people did at that time, just don't talk about it, it'll eventually heal itself on his own, because we lived under the premise that time heals all wounds, right? Which is the biggest misconception of anything because, I don't feel that time heals all wounds unless you're doing something during that time. So now years have gone by, you haven't talked to your dad, no further tests have been done, you're not, it's not being discussed with your mom, what happens after this? Where did it come about that you actually got the news?

Kary: Yeah, so much time went by, I think the interesting thing about it, Joseph, is I didn't tell anyone about this, I didn't talk to anyone about it. It wasn't like I went to my grandma or my aunts or my friends it was something that I just kept to myself and I just lied about it, like I didn't, even say anything happened. So I think for a long time there was just an insecurity and I found myself just latching onto any kind of male figures who seemed to take notice in me, like I was just looking for something to fill that, that void, and again, a lot of time went by. A lot of time went by and just out of the blue. I was, 17, 18 by this time, like I said, a lot of time I went by, I buried it, just forgot about it, my grandma, my dad's mom reached out to me somehow. She found the number, or, yeah, my mom had the same number. She reached out and just said, Hey, care bear, that's what my grandma calls me, haven't talked to you in a while, miss you, would love to see you, I'd love to send for you to come out to California and see everybody. And I haven't talked to any of them for almost, six, seven years. So for me, I'm like, wow, that's weird, she's not even talking about any, does she know what's going on? There's no way, there's no way. She couldn't know, but I just, I didn't say anything about it, I'm like, everything seems cool. I miss them, I miss my dad, I miss my cousins, I miss my grandma. I would love to come see you all. So a couple weeks went by, a couple months went by and she sent for me to go out to California, got to see my family, it literally felt like a family reunion. We connected, I saw my dad, I saw my cousins, I hugged everybody, but the strange thing Joseph was. No one said anything about this huge elephant that was in the room, which was this test says that this isn't your son or your nephew or your grandson. No, but no one talked about it, and again, I'm 17, 18 now, so it's like. I'm not gonna bring it up, I don't know what to say about it, and I don't blame anyone. Again, it was a super difficult topic. I left that, weekend trip, I went back home, I'm like, mom, it's it was great, it was good to see everyone, no one said anything, and my mom just justified it or verified it, she's I still believe that that's your dad. I feel like we need to take the test again. So it just tick the model in my mind that okay, this wasn't a dream ‘cause I think because it happened so young, a part of me just didn't believe that it happened. But then going out there and just having so much love given to me and then coming home and my mom saying, I still believe this is your dad. There's a part of me that's do I really need the test? What if it's really not my dad? What if I really find that out? Do I really want to give this up? So a part of me, again, it's like I didn't wanna know the truth at this point, like I just wanted to connect with that part of my family. And just for the next, few years, I started this cycle of just going out every couple years I was starting to call my grandma again, I was reaching out to my dad a little bit, but really just starting to feel like, okay, there's an opportunity to rebuild this Even if I have no idea how I'm gonna rebuild it.

Joseph: Yeah, wow. That had have been tough, even at the age of 17, we process a lot, but yet, like you said, how do you address the elephant in the room? How do you, especially when nobody is acting different. You can always tell or maybe now it's just okay, everybody's acting awkward. Let's go ahead and do this now but when people aren't, how was it seeing your dad at that time, knowing that in the back of his mind, he knew something? Maybe even denied you, or according to your mom, denied you as a son. How was that seeing him for that first time after six years?

Kary: Yeah, it was an interesting moment, Joseph, because by this time again, I was going through these full cycles of life and I started reading I'd read like the autobiography of MalcolmX and then I read Siddhartha and like I felt like my spiritual path was starting to begin. So something in me, was starting to understand this concept of forgiveness and wow, just being present with people. Again, this is like the super early stages of it, but when I saw him, like there was no there were no ill feelings, it was just like, man, like I missed you, I love you, like I was trying to just connect the dots, like I really just didn't go into it with any ill feelings at all. It was just really good to see him.

Joseph: Did you feel like you had hope at that?

Kary: Yeah, 100%, 100%. Again, it's like I was thinking like maybe the test was wrong, maybe the test was wrong. However, there was a part of me that like would look at pictures of him when he was younger and I'm like, that kind of looks like me, like maybe I look more like my mom, like I was just still trying to connect the dots. ‘Cause there are a lot of things about him and I that are very different, we have a very different build, we have a different face, but I'm like, maybe I just look like my mom.

Joseph: Yeah. What happened from there?

Kary: Yeah, so again, giving you the abridged version, a lot of time went by this time I've got through my twenties. Twenties were really intense, I felt like for me again, just a lot of bottled up emotions and not really dealing with stuff, trauma. I was working in like the restaurant industry and trying to pursue a career as an actor in the movie business, and if you know anything about the restaurant industry and that. I'm not saying everyone's like this, but there's a very heavy emphasis on like spirits and just partying and just hanging out and just being out. And I really embraced that, like, I really felt like I became a functional alcoholic through my entire twenties and it almost feels like a blur. I would reach out to them every once in a while, but at this point I think I was just, exploring what it meant to just get drunk like every night. I don't really know what that was about for me, but I do feel as I look back that it was me trying to numb myself from really dealing with what was going on. And again, this is a story for another podcast but I had a couple of different experiences happen in my twenties that really opened me up. And one in particular was, I was like 28, 29, but I, just had a night where I just binged. I woke up, drank, went to work, and just was doing it in this cycle, and I just had a moment where like I looked in the mirror and I just didn't really recognize myself and just had that internal voice just Youman is this it? Like you were pursuing a career to be an actor and you wanted to do all this stuff and now you just go to work, you drink, you go back to work, you drink like it was a cycle, and I'm like, okay, I'm gonna take a couple days off. And by this time, like I said, I was on the spiritual quest, so I started reading like, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, and I heard about Napoleon Hills thinking Girl Rich and Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, poor Dad, and I read The Alchemist and, all these other books how to Win Friends and Influence People, like, all this stuff was on my radar, but I just felt like I wasn't embracing myself for surrounding myself around people who would uplift and help me bring out those qualities. But I went to a library that was in the town that I lived in and I just overheard someone. In the library, outside of the book area, talking about a meditation retreat they'd gone to now at this, I was familiar with meditation, but I didn't really have any experience with it, and I'd always been curious, but I just thought that was some kind of mystical thing, like it just wasn't in alignment with who I was. And I just, I wasn't into it, but I heard this guy talking about it, my new Deepak Chopra was really into meditation, and Dr. Wayne Dyer and some of these other people I was following, so I just went over to the guy and I'm like, Hey man, can you tell me more about that meditation retreat you just went to? And he gave me this information. I looked it, and long story short, I ended up signing up for this 10 day silent meditation retreat without having any meditation background, like something just, it's like what is it like when the pain like your pain will pull you until, like your vision, your pain will push you into your vision, pulls you, I'm destroying that. But essentially like I just had a better vision of myself and I just, I'm like, I'm willing to do anything to get out of this rut, just in a couple more words, I go to this meditation retreat and to my surprise it's they take your phone, like they don't want you really talking to people. You're eating vegetarian meals, which seemed wild to me at the time, and essentially I'm meditating for 12 hours a day with no real experience coming into it, and the first couple of days were really hard, but once I got into like day six, day seven, I remember I like went on a walk ‘cause you take breaks and I just crying, like really fiercely, like all these tears started coming up, all these different emotions started coming up and I went back in and I just started having all these different flashbacks about my family and just thinking about all these different things. Long story short that me, that process was life changing. There's a lot more that happened there, but I felt like being at that workshop essentially aligned me with my inner voice because I felt like through my twenties, through the trauma, I'd lost touch with who I actually was, I was responding to all the thoughts in my mind and not connected to my heart. So when I got out of that I started building a relationship with my inner self and as a result, some more time had gone by. Again, I'm just giving you some backstory, but some more time had gone by my sister. Now, she has a kid, she's older, but she was telling me about these DNA tests that were out, they started becoming popular kind of in the early mid two thousands. And I'm like, I'm not taking a DNA test. I watched Total Recall, I saw Minority Report, like I just didn't want someone to steal my identity or just something wild, but, she took it, it came back. I was really fascinated by the data and I'm like, wow, I wasn't really thinking about, I'm gonna find my dad, but I'm like, it'd be really interesting to just learn about my ancestors, as a African American male in America. I know I'm from Africa, but Africa's a big continent, like where, from Africa, like what tribe? So that was my catalyst to, to take the plunge with the DNA test. So I ordered the DNA test, I do the swab. I sent it out a couple weeks, go. And the results come back and it's whoa, like I'm 87% Nigerian and 5% Swedish and all these other weird things start coming up. And I'm like, wow, that's fascinating, I started learning more about the potential tribe I could be a part of. So I'm like, wow, that's cool. So then a couple more weeks go by and I get this message, they have a social media platform where people can message you, different matches happen, but I get this message and essentially the message is hi, my name is Robert. I stumbled on your profile today, and I'm in extreme shock, it says that you're my son, question mark. Please respond back, and I literally, the first thing that came to mind was like, this is some crazy, marketing scam or strategy to get me to upgrade my membership because I had a basic membership, but I'm like, no way. And the guy had a picture up and I'm like, that looks like me, but like an older version of me. So I had, the first thing I did was I'm like mom, I sent her a picture. I'm like, who, do you know who this is? And she's no, this is the scam, I'm like, what is this? What's going on? And I think something in her was like, what the hell is this? What's going on? So I'm like, I'm gonna explore it. So I sent the guy a message and I'm like, Hey, thanks for reaching out. This has actually been a pretty sensitive topic for me for a long time. So I just started asking him some questions just to see if it was like a bot or what's up with this dude? And all the questions, all his answers are just lining up with the timeline. And I'm like, okay. So I went back to my mom and I'm like, mom, this guy is like saying all the right stuff like you don't do. Do you know who this is? So I'm like, how about this? How about you two get on the phone and talk about some stuff? ‘Cause I want to be respectful to that process, everyone was young, I get it. I'm not trying to put anyone in the hot seat, but essentially they had a chance to talk for a minute, I got back on the phone him and I talked, but long story short, I ended up finding out that my dad my mom, my dad was a musician and my mom was just really into the music. So it sounds like there might've just been a night of magic when my mom and dad had split. They might've hooked up and then my mom and dad got back together, but just sort of kept things going. So I was just right in the middle of that, I feel like that's a long thought, but what I'll just get at is I'll just leave it there and see if you have any responses to that.

Joseph: No, so I guess what was going through your mind as you started to see it unfold in terms of this is, I wasn't looking for the truth, so to say, but now all of a sudden it's right here in front of me.

Kary: Yeah, by this time I'm, 36, 37, so this wasn't too long ago. And again, I've been on the path for a while, big fan of, star Wars and some of these other movies, and I just felt like this was like my moment to like, show up and just be present. Be the man that I would wanna be for my kid or for whoever's looking up to me. So I just knew going into this, if I had any sort of judgment or animosity or anything like that, the breakthrough, the connection that I wanted to build with my biological father wouldn't be possible. There's no way it could be possible. So I just, getting to know him and talking to him and just learning more about career as a professional musician and some of the people he met and just how he grew up and some of his idiosyncrasies and how he talked and how he walked. It's wow, this dude literally looks like me, we talk the same, we have the same fingers, we've got the similar head, like it was just, it's mind blowing. So look at someone who was part of you being on the planet for the first time in your life. Yeah, at 36 years old, so for me it was, I just had so much gratitude in my heart, and even with my mom, I think in the beginning she was a little shaky about it because I was very vocal about this experience. For me it was about being vulnerable and sharing this, it's not about me trying to get pity from people or just airing out my laundry, I'm like, yo, there are a lot of people who are, who have, or who will experience this, and if I have the courage to share this and talk about, then why not? So because I was talking about it so openly, I think it made my mom a little uncomfortable because people are looking at her like what happened? And at the end of the day, I'm like, mom, this isn't about you, this isn't about me, this isn't about him. This is about us healing and moving forward so that we can create a new relationship. So I think once that, once the early part started to trickle off and we really started to see that this is something that could develop into something I felt like everyone got on the same page. And I swear Joseph when I was on the phone with my mom and my biological father for the first time, it was probably one of the most, it was an emotionally charged moment that just filled my heart in a way that I don't think I've ever felt before. It was amazing,

Joseph: Do you think, Kary, that if you had not gone through the meditation and deepening your own mind in terms of changing your mindset, the forgiveness to healing, things like that when you did meet your biological father that your mindset or your heart would have been the same reaction, you ever think about that?

Kary: Yeah, Joseph, it's hard to say and I'd like to think. I would've showed up the same way, but I look at the darkness that I got to face early on through my practice and just my commitment to meditation and personal growth. And there were some hard moments there where I had to have those tears by myself and those lonely nights and being uncertain. I think me dealing with that darkness on my own and coming out on the other side and still able to love myself, made it so that I could show up. And be that person, because I know if this scenario happened for five other people, this scenario wouldn't have been the same, there would've been animosity, there would've been some guilt, there would've been some shame, and maybe some of that stuff was present on the other side. Like I said, I still to this day don't know exactly what my dad was going through, ‘cause there's more to the story, but at the end of the, just being able to connect with him and just his vulnerability, it's like I'd never seen or heard a man in my family in my life who'd been that vulnerable. He was telling me everything, drug addiction to, being promiscuous, to losing all his money, to having a heart attack and almost dying to wishing he was around for more of his kids. Just saying stuff that, I never heard a man close to me talk about so openly.

Joseph: It's crazy. That's something that you had been searching for, the emotional connection with a man, your entire life pretty much is now being met, by the very man that was supposed to provide it to begin with but ultimately wasn't there. And that was your biological father and no fault to anybody, because of just the way things transpired, that's, it's crazy. I put something up on the screen, but for the listeners you made a comment about dealing with darkness, but you said dealing with darkness alone. And I want you to really expand on that, but I also want the listeners to understand, when you're in a dark place, okay. Whether it's mentally, spiritually, physically, whatever you feel it is a dark place ‘cause it's different for everybody, number one, it's nothing wrong with getting help, nothing wrong. But there are certain things that we have to go through in life that we have to go through it alone. And it's, by profession, I'm a dog trainer, okay. So I trained dogs. I've trained dolphins, I've trained chickens, and of course, the human aspect of training humans, okay? I am yet not to find a correlation between training humans or raising humans and training and raising dogs, the learning is exactly, okay. But it's amazing to watch when a dog, when a light bulb and a, and the head of a dog goes off when they have figured out how to do something without the influence of a human, okay. I'm sure somebody in some point in time has seen funny videos of dogs, climbing up halfway up a fence using their paw to reach over and lifting the latch and using their nose to nudge the nudge the fence. And then now they're out and free, we've all seen something to that, the dog didn't all of a sudden just start watching videos on how to open the gate, he started figuring out on his own if I nudge it, that doesn't work, if I push it up, this may work if I nudge it and push it up and all these different things. But when a dog can figure out on its own how to, it's something that happens in the brain along with us as well. If I figure out how to change a tire on my own, or let's just say do something with the engine of a car, okay. It's one thing if we try to figure out by following directions, normally you've gotta do it one or two times, but when you can actually figure it out on your own, there's things that happen in the brain that make that permanent, that learning lesson permanent, okay. And so when you're dealing with darkness, when you learn to do things on your own without the help of everybody else, you learn how to apply that in so many other areas of your life because you discovered it, so to say but I want you to hit a little bit on that. I wanted to add that in for the listeners because there's nothing wrong with being one. Nothing wrong with getting help on your own, but there's also, I want you to look at it as places of darkness as a place of, this is a chance for me to do healing on my own, without anybody else, because Kary, it doesn't matter what I could say as a coach, as a therapist, as a psychologist, whatever the case is, I can't make you cry, I can't make you dig deep down inside you to release emotions that have been bottled up, at least you can do that.

Kary: Yeah, you touched on a lot right there, and when I think about dealing with the darkness I feel like the first thing that comes up for me is, there's a movie that came out in the early two thousands. I actually really like the movie, it's called Fight Club. But there's just a scene where Ed Norton's character is talking to his alter ego, Brad Pitt, and essentially Brad Pitt is pouring this, like acid on his hand and just telling him to fill the burn. But every time it starts to burn, Ed Norton's character like tries to go to a happy place and tries to go away from it. But every time he does that, Brad Pitt slaps him and he says, no. Like this pain right here is exactly where you need to be if you just deal with it you can work through it, and essentially he like neutralizes it, I forget what exactly what he puts on it, but I just remember watching that and just tying that to my life and just saying, wow, I feel like for the longest time, whenever something happens, it's like I'm trying to put myself in this happy state, or I'm listening to music, or I'm gonna go play basketball, or I'm calling up a girl or whatever. And again, I think it's interesting because I feel like, I've read so many books about positive mental attitude and how important it is to stay positive, but I think sometimes you can get drunk on the positivity because you're not allowing yourself to really experience what you're experiencing. Yes, it's important to bounce back and to have a positive outlook, but sometimes like you just really gotta deal with some shit, like just real talk, and I think for me, and I've been criticized by a couple of people too. I'm just like, y'all are just being haters, like I'm not gonna walk through the world like in a negative attitude. I'm gonna be positive all the time no matter what. So I think for me, as I was just starting to go through these different phases in my life, I just had these moments where I'm like, wow, like instead of trying to do this or do that, let's just sit with this man. What is coming up for you when you think about what happened with your dad and some of the trauma that you experienced as a kid, like how does that make you feel? Write about it? What's really coming up? And I just feel like having those moments of writing about it and talking to myself and crying and sharing it with, a girlfriend or a friend I felt like it just really started to fill, help me fill my cup to where the shame or the embarrassment that I think might have come in my head from talking about it or expressing it no longer was there. Instead of seeing it as fear and shame and guilt, I saw it as vulnerability, and vulnerability stopped being a bad word. It started being an empowering word that allowed me to really recognize that, wow, it's dark over here, let's go this way, let's go in the dark. Because what happens is eventually if you train yourself to walk through the dark, you start to recognize that you're the light and you only need to see just a couple of steps in front of you. You'll get to where you need to go, but you gotta trust that because of trust is what ultimately shines that light. So I think over time I just started to recognize that the light is inside of me. So no matter how dark it is, I'm gonna be able to see at least a couple of steps in front of me, which up until this point has led me to some really powerful experiences.

Joseph: Wow. Let's get caught up to where you're now building a relationship with your biological father, okay. How has that transpired to be where you're at now? ‘Cause you were just talking about being in a different place right now, how has that happened? How has that transpired?

get a call from my sister, it:

Joseph: Man, sorry to hear about your dad, man, but it's a powerful story, man, and it's still a story of triumph. Because like you said, you never know where somebody's at in their current space. But the fact that you chose to better yourself mentally, ‘cause think about this, think about if you would've met him during the time of you were struggling with addictions. And how you would have responded to him finding out he was your biological father, we could say, what if all day long? And that's not what we're doing, but because of you were in a different state of mind then, and this is the importance of dealing with that darkness is we, because you were in that different state, you made those last couple years for your remarkable, all those things that he had been searching for, it is like he was saving all those things for that moment with you, and brother, you have a powerful story, but not only do with your dad, with the book, your life would, but you're coaching people now, you're coaching people in the mental health and being able to take what they've gone through and the pain that they've gone through in finding different things. Talk to me a little bit about that.

Kary: Yeah, I mentioned just early on just how powerful meditation has been for me, and I didn't mention this, but when I went to that meditation retreat and came back, it didn't happen right away, but I became sober and I've been sober for almost 10 years now from alcohol. Again, it's different for everyone, I'm not someone that's quit drinking alcohol, but I just recognize for me, the relationship that I have with it wasn't healthy. For me, I feel like the type of person I attract, it's very interesting, and you being a coach, you probably feel the same way, but it's like you, you attract people who are similar to you in a way. Yeah. And I feel like a lot of people who I gravitate towards are, they're either, creative are artists in some way, shape, or form, and just trying to work through maybe some addictions to just gain a little bit more control over their creativity. So I really just try to encourage people to, first off, just start where you are, get a journal, and really just start to uncover what's going on for you. I don't push meditation on people, but I highly encourage it because I feel like there's a lot, there's a lot of mysticism around meditation, and at the end of the day, it's really just becoming mindful of your breath and aware that you are a thinking being, you are not your thoughts, you are a thinking being. So once you can start to detach from the prison of your thoughts, you just have more choices in the world. And that's something that I really just try to communicate, not just through words, but just through actions and just by the way I show. And I've just found that, one-on-one coaching is great, but what I've really leaned into is group coaching, like I love getting a group of people in a room and just having that osmosis and that energy of just having different people share their stories and their experiences and having other people to bounce different ideas off of one another. That really has been just a huge part of, I think me just helping people to just become more aware of that inner strength in them to go out and, really shine the light that's in them.

Joseph: Yeah. Are there any last words for the listeners?

Kary: At the end of the day, what I've been going around with Joseph is this life thing. Some people say you only live once. A Buddhist might disagree, but let's just say we live only once, I just wanna encourage people to be kind to your mind and just get to know who you are. You know that self-love that comes from being kind to yourself and showing grace to yourself really does go a long way. I know a lot of people who are good to other people who are giving to other people, but when it comes to reciprocating that to themselves, there's a part of them that feels selfish. And what I like to say is it's not called selfish love. It's called self-love when you can take care of yourself and monitor your own emotional scale your capacity to love and to give just expands. So I just really want to encourage people just to be kind to your mind and just create that space and grace for yourself that you would for a close friend.

Joseph: Wow, brother. Thank you so much. Listeners, if y'all want to in contact with Kary he's a wonderful guy, he's a coach, and you can reach him at He's also on Instagram as Kary Youman brother, thank you so much for reaching out and I am looking forward to building an amazing friendship and with you and we're even maybe one day we can link up again. So thank you for coming on the show, brother.

Kary: Really appreciate this, Joseph. Thanks for having me.