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Ep. 52 - Surviving and Growing Through Grief - An Interview With Justin Caffrey

by Hearts Rise Up
August 21st 2021
Filled with grief after losing his son several years ago, Justin Caffrey turned to Eastern Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience to deal with PTSD and extreme anxiety. This eventually led him to a ... More
mm hmm. Thank you for tuning your heart's in for another episode of the Hearts rise up podcast. I'm carol chapman, your host along with my co host and Siri and Concetta antonelli. We share our own personal experiences, tips and strategies along with powerful stories and compelling insights from guest interviews. We're here to inspire and empower your conscious evolution. Help you tap into your inner wisdom and rise to your heart centered higher self. Together we can rise to a higher level of consciousness, an elevated state of being and experience more love, joy and freedom. Mm hmm. Hello again To all my heart centered listeners. Thank you for joining us again for another episode of the Hearts Rise up podcast where we explore inner wisdom gained through life's journey of personal challenges.

I'm carol chapman your host and I'm delighted to introduce our featured guest today, Justin caffrey. Justin is a proven multi business entrepreneur in differing sectors and countries who built and sold regulated companies with seven figure exits. He's a certified investment fund hedge fund director and private equity professional. He's also all Ireland all star thought leader in personal development. In 2019 and 2020 After losing his son 10 years ago he turned to eastern philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. Justin has become a recognized expert on the inner critic. That internal voice that holds you back, You are not good enough, you're not enough and the imposter syndrome. His research is a rich combination of Western neuroscience, Eastern philosophy mindfulness and his own hard earned life experiences.

Justin swims in cold water all year round fast daily for 19 hours, eats a plant based diet and meditates each morning at five a.m. He is one of only a handful of westerners to have completed the grueling master training with the Yama Bushi in the remote mountains of chinois in Japan, an avid runner and fitness fanatic. He likes to challenge himself throughout the year. When you leave the extremes of private equity and hedge funds for buddhism, you can expect some exciting outcomes. His greatest accomplishment is his relationship with his teenage son. He believes that our Children are our only true legacy. Having built routine and structure within his own lifestyle, Justin provides advice and guidance on sleep, intermittent fasting, cold water, the vagus nerve meditation practice and mind body connection.

He continues to provide business advice to a select number of hedge funds and investment managers. He has also written for a mainstream paper in Ireland which received over 35,000 views. Justin, welcome to the show. Thanks carol. You have an incredible life journey and it's not over there's so much to explore with you. You must have gone through some pretty dark nights and indeed some profound experiences after the loss of your son, a major turning point for you, but obviously the power of the universe had something else planned. So I would love for you to share a little bit more about your personal story. Find a a jumping in point, whatever feels right for you and then we'll go from there, thanks carol, Thanks for having me. And yeah, so it is pretty wild. My life was Extremes in lots of different directions.

So 19 I went to, I went to London, worked in finance and spent her career in there initially in banking and then building and selling my own businesses. But I think like everybody, I was always on that ladder of pursuit, trying to place my hand on the next trophy, always believing that that next trophy would be the one that makes me think, ah this is what it's all about. I get it now. And of course, constantly in pursuit of something that was constantly diminishing each time I touched it, there was the pain and attention within me, but one that I was unwilling to really connect to because I felt that materialistic gains ultimately would be able to define me and my view of myself at that stage was purely built around how I wanted people to perceive me. So my own happiness wasn't at the core, it was, wow, look at him, he's done a B and C rather than I'm content and unhappy human beings.

So that brings pain. But you know, we don't recognize that often when we're in material pursuit and it was as you say, getting to the point of my life where I thought everything was, you know, really super. We we were on vacation, my wife was just coming up to six months pregnant on our second child. We've had three miscarriages. So we really felt lucky that this second pregnancy seemed to be heading in the right direction. And we took a vacation to spain from London at the time and whilst on vacation at five a.m. In the morning, she woke me up and told me that her water had broken and a roller coaster ride started from there. We never left spain for another year and we had a premature very young Boy Joshua born at 26 weeks with huge complications because there were many issues in terms of mistakes were made in the hospital around that time too.

But he was born with with a hypoxic brain injury. So he he struggled for a significant amount of time without oxygen because they didn't pick up on the fact that he was in distress and we didn't really know what the prognosis was going to be, but We were told he would survive 24 hours and then he survived 48 hours and then a week. And and then we started to really believe that we could bring this boy into the world and and and be his parents and be his family. We spent the next six months in neonatal intensive care. He had collapsed lungs and blood transfusions. Um he had pneumonia. You know, it was a really difficult time, but we had hoped and we had my second child was alive And then after six months There was an opportunity for us to train as his carers and then to live within one km of the hospital. And that was really to see if we could sustain him to a point where we could airlift him back to the UK.

So he was never well enough to be on an air ambulance. So we try and how to manage him with with oxygen tanks. He needed his internal airwaves basically vacuumed out several times a day. So we were trained on how to do that. He was tube fed. So our life for for the next five months was, you know, rushing back to hospital whenever we couldn't sustain them and then managing oxygen tanks and vacuum systems and tube feeding whilst also taking care of our three year old who was with us. So I've gone from a point of everything that I touch was gold and super too. The intensity of the challenge that any parents who are listening to this, whoever faced into terminally ill or sick Children with with whatever and disability they may be struggling with. It is horrendous place to be. But yeah, that was quite a changing moment. What pulled you through. What kept you going?

I think, you know, looking back now 16 years into my marriage, definitely our relationship was key. You know, at that stage we were married five years And you don't really get to know somebody properly until you're in the midst of a pretty intense crisis. And I think the failure rate in that situation is about 75% of marriages fail when Children are in long term care are terminally ill because inevitably blame and guilt set in. But we, we kind of came together as a team and the beauty of that relationship was that we knew that when one of us was having a really bad day, the other one would step up and you know, a really bad day, it would be sitting on the floor of the shower crying, just questioning why am I here and why has this happened to us? And and then, you know, my wife would go, okay, you know, it's my day today, so we sustained that kind of tag team approach.

We had a lot of, a lot of laughs, we had a lot of joy. I mean, I can think back to some, some very funny events, you know, in the midst of chaos, if you can find humor, it's always helpful. And we had a beautiful three year old who we were absolutely steadfast committed in terms of, we wanted to sustain good living for him. So we had a kind of a raison d try, you know, we had a reason to keep everything in place for him and then also for each other, but ultimately, you know, we had this, this young boy who was fighting for his life and, and as parents, you do whatever you have to do. And so what happened from there as things progressed and you and your wife were still having to manage through that? Obviously there was still a lot of, well, a lot of inner turmoil brewing within you and no doubt your wife as well as to how to, how to move forward with your life. What what happened from there?

So it was, it was coming up to christmas and we, we were now in spain for 11 months. We had organized that stage that we were going to to have an air ambulance, take Joshua home. So we would really kind of climbed a very significant mountain and when all of a sudden the pieces looked like they were falling into place, he developed pneumonia again and deteriorated really badly on christmas Eve. So that was christmas Eve 2010 and we raced to the hospital as we as we always would. So everybody into the car, oxygen tanks, all Joshua's equipment, Luca as well. And my other son and and off we went to the hospital and we got there, they immediately brought him into the emergency room and they incubated him, which is Not a pleasant thing for anybody to have to go through.

But for a small child, this would have been the 5th time he was intubated and we would have been doing a lot of rehab helping him through his brain injury. So all of the rehab goes out the window because they have to pump his body full of medication and all of his muslim memory goes on the back of it. So we were standing there and I can still remember seeing him through the windows and and he's just it's just a small swollen body. Then after they've after they've had this this really aggressive intervention and the the attending physicians didn't know us because it was christmas Eve and the normal medical team weren't there? So they, one of the guys, the consultants came out and spoke to us afterwards and he said, look, I've now got the backstory on you guys. And he said, look, if I'd have known what I've just been told, I wouldn't have resuscitated because it's time to just accept that this body is not for this world.

So, you know, it's something that you probably already know deep within your own being. But you hope desperately that you know the universe and whoever and whatever we could pray to at that moment in time would would bring us over the line. But it was the moment of reality where we had to accept that we have come to the end of the road and there will be no further medical interventions for Joshua. So we we we made some some great decisions. We had to, we had to fight a bit of a battle because they wanted to keep him in hospital and to let him die in hospital. And he spent so much of his life in hospital. We wanted to take him back to our home in spain and to have his least medical interventions as possible over the remaining weeks. So we had a very wonderful and beautiful two weeks where we brought him home, we could remove all of the, the machines and and the heart rate monitors and and the sounds and the and the oxygen and everything else.

And we were then given morphine strips to help manage his pain. So he had he had, you know, 12, 13 good days where we were, we were with him and then his his lungs were just failing him. So on the, on the last the last day it was nice because my, my mom and dad had come over from Ireland. We had a really nice day together and he and his became into that evening Joshua had multiple heart attacks and bizarrely survived. So we had a night where he slept between the two of us and he died peacefully the next day, which was really calm. Beautiful end to an incredibly chaotic period. You know, that was as you can imagine what neonatal intensive care units are like.

And mm hmm. And the turmoil of not being in a country a that you either speak the language or that you've ever wanted to live in just happened to be there on vacation. But there was something very serene and beautiful about it in the end and and we, you know, we have a great affinity to spain now, you know, we love it and we've got great memories and made some wonderful friends throughout our journey. So We were we were very lucky in the end to have 11 months because they told us at the start 24 hours. So take what you get exactly kudos to both you and your wife for managing through all of that. I just can't imagine the mix of emotions I've experienced death in my family before, but I have not suffered the loss of a child and you know, I know that death is tough to deal with in any circumstance, let alone the death of a child. So my heart goes out to you and your wife and and I can just imagine the again, the mix of emotions that she went through and so that whole year was obviously a huge building up point to creating a turning point in your life or really reevaluating you probably didn't have much time to evaluate your life in those circumstances because you were really just trying to get through day to day.

What happened from there, obviously you've just made significant changes in your life. Yeah, I mean, you know the funny thing about the year was that it was actually really if you want to think about living in the moment when every day could be the last for your child, you are completely living in the moment. You don't really care about the future or the past. So it was probably, well, certainly from my perspective, my first awareness of what it was like to live like that and although I remembered it being really good in terms of the family time and you know, our quality time of being able to pay attention to each other and pay attention to Joshua. My reaction on the back of his death was okay, I need to kind of get back to where I was. So I moved into kind of rebuilding reassessing and you know, back into business again. My wife Beatrice, I said that we moved to Ireland at that stage because we thought, well let's let's take a break from the UK and I've got quite a big family as you can imagine in Ireland.

So we thought, well let's come and stay here for a while, it would be good for all of us. Beatrice basically spent the next few months walking every day in the mountains in Wicklow with our new golden retriever. And um, and I went off to build a business. So she processed grief and I ran very fast away from it. You know, I was pulled into the stereotype of, you know, Harden up, toughen up man up, you know, be strong show everybody that you're back in action. Yeah, I mean, I remember pitching a business idea to a board of a bank Probably four or 5 weeks after Joshua's funeral. And one of the, the directors of the bank was at the funeral. And he said to me after that meeting, you know, like why are you here? I was I was at your son's funeral and I was like, oh, this is this is what I do, this is this is how I know how to be. So I had that great moment in time where we were very intensely close together. But actually I became incredibly fractured from that point because I struggled with the grief.

And I had lost my nephew in 2001 and he was 18 months old and I happened to to be home in Ireland when he died. So I had this huge fear all the way through my life that I'd lose a child and now I lost a child. I couldn't even try to process that. You know, when our first child was born, I had heart rate monitors laid on the the cot bed and I was constantly checking him every night. I was very worried that something would happen to him. So now my worst fear has actually happened. And I just don't think there was any way that I could even remotely contend with the idea of being close to that. So I ran as fast as I could and went off and built another company and in a different country and was flying, you know, 100 150 times a year and kind of back on full tilt living, which is, you know, for anybody who's listening, that's not the way to approach grief, right? And so at some point something broke down and you decided to make some major shifts in your life.

And was it at that point that you went to Yama Bushi or after you had that major revelation that this is not what things are cracked up to be. And I got to do something different to turn my life around so I can I can manage through life and make the most of it. I can thrive. I was pushing hard all the way through but you know, I think I think I could feel a dark spot in my soul becoming darker and bigger as time went on and the anxiety and the stress was becoming quite overwhelming. So the inner critic became an inner chorus and and the guilt and blame attached to losing a child, which is very intense, was running rife in my mind and I was in a really important meeting about two years, 2.5 years after Joshua's death. And In that meeting there was about 10 people in the room and they'd flown in from different countries and I started to feel like I was having either a heart attack or a stroke and I felt this intense feeling in my body.

My, my periphery vision just shut down so I could only see people if I turned my head to look at them. My heart felt like it was going to pop out of my mouth. I was in a cold sweat, but to give you a good sense of what my mindset was like. I thought, okay, this might be a heart attack or stroke, but I don't feel I'm going to die right now so I can probably still close this deal and then just go to the hospital and find out what's needed. So I kept going all the way through this, Which lasted, it lasted probably 15 or 20 minutes and then score to these clients from our office, but literally holding on to furniture as always moving because I felt like it was going to collapse. I went back from my office to to my hotel, I had a glass of wine, I thought, you know, I don't feel so bad now, but the next few weeks spiraled out of control. You know, my my my brain was, was completely fried. I was deep in, in embedded in PTSD at that point and my wife then noticed that I stopped petting our dogs and I knew I only had enough energy to function in terms of being a husband and a father and being the ceo of my business and everything else was just being shut off.

So I knew that I needed to get help. So I needed to go into to some kind of therapy, which was frightening for me to face into. But I also knew that the nature of the way that my mind was, that I was getting into some very dark places, It was very hopeless and helpless in the way I was thinking and suicide was becoming an option. So, you know, within PTSD and and and extreme anxiety, you do lose all sense of logic as things really progress. So, I was very lucky to find a psychiatrist who was a gentleman from India who had spent many years working in the european health system and became hugely disenfranchised with the approach. So he actually developed his own therapy based more around his hindu faith and I'm working within meditation as a source of healing. But ultimately seeing that the mind and the body is one and healing the being rather than just trying to heal symptoms.

So we started in therapy and within three months everything changed. So it was quite an extraordinary moment. But you know, when I say everything changed, I mean, literally everything changed because even at that it started that he said to me, I think you'll stop drinking and I crazy, I can't imagine I'm going to give up alcohol and he said, you know, I think your life will change if you do everything I say, and you focus on what we do together, it will change, but it won't just change back to the way it was before Joshua. I think it will, you'll find that there's a path that's going to make you feel even happier, which is an impossible thing to tell parent of a dead child. But you know, as I sit here now, he was right and I do find immense beauty and the joy of, of loss because we can, you know, and Covid is a great leveler that so many people have lost so many things, but we also have an opportunity to use these losses as a moment to punctuate our life and reflect for a little bit and think about where was I going before this happened because often, you know, we're not really tethered to anything.

We're just kind of like charging ahead hoping for something without any kind of real certainty of sense of being Yeah, that was, that was definitely the big moment and that was 2015, So 7, 2014, so 7, 8 years ago now. So that set you on the path of studying buddhism and getting into meditation and studying and Yama Bushi and turning things around. And I think it's really interesting that obviously you've been through a lot too and the personal experience of getting through some traumatic personal experiences that were just, you know, culminating and going through some sort of metamorphosis yourself, internal metamorphosis of understanding who you really are and getting in touch with the essence of who am I and then moving it in a very positive direction and turning it into an energy of focusing on as you helped and healed yourself.

Obviously you learned some things along the way that you knew you could help others with. So your your work now focuses on helping others to deal with life circumstances and challenges and building resilience and focusing on their mindset because our mind can really run amok and affect us in so many negative ways. Can you talk a little bit about how you got into helping others and even how you got into the rigorous routine that you're that you're in like the fasting and the cold water swimming and the significant techniques that you're doing now. Sure when I finished my own therapy, a few months after I finished it, I went back to to see my my therapist dr pretty chatter and I said to him, I want you to teach me. And I told him, you know, you teach me and I'm gonna quit my company, I'm gonna sell my stock, resign my position.

I studied with him for the next couple of years, then I I rocked up and I told my shareholders on my board what I was doing and they all were convinced that this was a ruse and I must be setting up another firm, but it made those decisions to change. And then once I once I've made those key changes and I had learned the nature of his approach, but I was really interested in then was you know, how will you deal with these bodies? You know, so much of The nature of our pain is simply down to two internal human swelling, right? You know, if you think about how we feed ourselves, how we nourish ourselves or more likely how we don't. So the whole idea of the nutrients became interesting and the neuroscience became interesting and I went on to study and take a Master's in mindfulness based interventions and how we could use these modalities to intervene in terms of PTSD and mental health.

So as I started to make more inroads, I was drawn more to why towards the buddhist side of things as opposed to Hinduism where my teacher had come from. And I actually have no idea how I ended up finding the Yama Bushi and she kendo which, which is the spiritual path that I follow. But I stumbled across it and you know, before I knew where I was, I was connected touche condo. And before I arrived at the condo I discovered that cold water was an incredible therapy in terms of one's mental health but also to help us to ease into our day. And I used the word ease with, you know, a tinge of pain and shock of course, but wakes up the nervous system and it and it is one of the ways that we can actually move ourselves out of the fight flight response. So I was very interested in this. And I've been showering and swimming in cold water for for a few years before I found the Yama Bushi.

But this is one of the most important practices within she condo is cold water waterfall. So they start every day like this. So all of a sudden I found this pathway and I thought oh this is really interesting and nature for me has become a huge healing modality as well. And within shag endo and the Yama Bushi are, are are the sacred priests who mind the mountains and the and the shrines in shanghai, which is the old samurai area of Japan last the last kind of base point of the samurai surviving as Japan went Imperialists and it went towards an imperialist Way of Living in the 19th Century. The, the key would insure gondo and much of what we learned in our training, we're not allowed to ever speak about. But the key tenant to it all is that everything we need is already within us and everything that we need is within nature and we are nature.

So it's that reminder of the fact that we're not separate. We're all one, you know and the and the energy and the vibration of the planet and us as beings is a beautiful connection that if we can align ourselves with it, this healing. So that then brought me into plant based food and plant based diet. So all of these things all came together. And I started to research more and more and more around different ways that I could see that people could intervene in their mental health. So the the rigor with in my life now is I would say principally built out of the fact that I can offer some things within my practice is that some people can do and implement in their lives. Everybody doesn't need to do all the things I do for far from it and I do them because I enjoy them. But one or two of those things alone, brought into somebody's life can start to ease some of the physical pain and then ultimately through therapy and self reflection.

The mental pain can be resolved. And I think carol the best way for me to look at it and speak about it is that if I can find the joy of loss within the death of my son, then I hope that I can help others believe that whatever they're struggling with and most of our pain, especially addiction and anxiety and depression is all born out of some type of loss. It might be loss of personal sovereignty due to physical assault. Sexual assault, difficult upbringing as a child, loss of a childhood or then it might be a loss of a loved one or loss of a business or loss of our sovereignty through covid loss is the key where we find within most of the mental health issues around. So I try and really focus on that loss and that's the beautiful legacy of Joshua that he helped me find that capacity to speak about can recover from these losses, we can refine ourselves. And you said it beautifully, I didn't become better version of me or the best version of me or all that kind of self help stuff.

I found how to be me again, and that's where we find peace, right? We tend to lose that over the course of our life, particularly as we move out of being a baby and move into childhood. And then we start learning and integrating and taking in new things and that builds our conditioning over time and we create these patterns and these thought processes and comparison and competition and the ego starts to to really develop. And then we become really, really set in our our ways of thinking are ways of being or ways of doing that. It's really hard to shake that. And it's unfortunate that for many people it takes a significant life transforming event or a set of circumstances that cause people to really take a good hard look at who they are and what they've become.

So I'm curious in your work, what is the single biggest challenge that you find your clients have? Is there a particular modality that works pretty well for most people, if someone were to want to start shifting some things in their life. What would you point them to? I would say the biggest and most difficult thing for people to come to the point of his acceptance. Like for me, with the, with the loss of Joshua, I needed to just accept that it happened. That was really the most important point. And then within that we have huge amounts of guilt and in our criticism. So I speak about this a lot when I talk to parents who have terminally ill Children or have lost Children, I can honestly say that there were times when I sat with Joshua throughout his life where I wished he would die because the torment in our own lives was intense. So those kind of things we hold inside because we think I can't ever speak this to the world, because if anybody hears me saying this, they'll think I'm a bad person.

But for all of us, like my father was three years in with dementia and Alzheimer's, you know, and people will often say time come with me when you actually wish that your parents would die because the nature of how they live is just so abhorrent that death is clearly a better option. But as a parent of a sick child speaking these things is very difficult. So like everything the more we hold it in to be crude and this is what I say to my clients all the time. I said to him, you know, when you're a kid, we used to always say when you're about to fart, it's better out than in. And it's exactly the same for whatever internal dialogue is going on in your head. When you try and hold it inside, you will be able to hold it inside for some time. But eventually it's going to deteriorate and it's going to eat away at you. So, first of all, finding the acceptance of the loss. And that happens. You know, I'm I was working yesterday with a lady who was sexually assaulted and you know, she had a whole issue with the police and they didn't deal with it properly.

And then she took a case against the police and then that fell down and all the time. She was hoping that there would be some sense of justice. And we were having a conversation yesterday around the fact that sometimes we have to accept the injustice. So by accepting the injustice we start to let go of what we're holding onto in terms of wanting other people to suffer because then we can start to move from the acceptance towards the forgiveness. The forgiveness is huge. And what often people may have been wounded by another party. They may think that the finding the sense of forgiveness for the other party is just a bridge too far, but generally where the real bridge to fire is and where the real pain comes in is when we have to find forgiveness for ourselves because even in the case of, you know, the most heinous crimes that can be committed against us in sexual assault or murder of a loved one, guilt attached to that from the victim is huge.

And it's that internal dialogue that is just ongoing that we don't talk about. So if we accept the nature of what's happened, it doesn't mean that we're accepting, it's right. It just means that we're accepting it's happened, then we're kind of setting it down and we're able to move towards a point of doing the work on ourselves. And meditation is a huge part of that. So it allows us to start to calm the nervous system and open ourselves up so that we can do some exploratory work and then moving towards that forgiveness side. So, and it's important for anybody who would listen who may be going through PTSD or emotional turmoil if you're if you're feeling unwell, meditation on its own needs to be accompanied with therapy because it can often open up the nervous system and it can exasperate the nature of your internal pain. So it's important to do that or look for people who work within mindfulness based stress reduction programs and and therapists who are who are very comfortable around that, which is N.

B. S. Are is huge in the U. S. And all over the world. So they're very good practices to help you recover. But you got to do the work, you know, my mantra is when I work with people, it is you got to wake up every day, you've got to show up for yourself and you've got to do the work and then you've got to keep doing it for forever because can medicate yourself Through your life. But my father died two years ago at 86 years of age And he was medicated from his 30s. So he never had the groundbreaking moment to think about changing his life because he was medicated with huge amounts of medication, had electric shock treatment, all that kind of stuff and died without having the capacity to reconsider another path. So taking stock slowing down, paying attention to yourself, noticing if the inner critic is becoming an inner chorus and it's distracting you from from being able to live your life, then it's time to take action.

Get help. Absolutely. It's really paying attention to the triggers and the markers and the things that are showing that showing up repeatedly and not being afraid. Two take a good hard look at it once you've taken a good hard look at it then to take some inspired action to get the help that is needed. What's your maladaptive behavior, you know, what are you doing? Are you drinking? Are you gambling? Are you smoking? You know, what is it that you're doing to hide from your pain and everybody knows this, everybody knows what they're doing. I did some workshops recently with some Silicon Valley firm based in Dublin. We don't have a workshop on online pornography because now we have a whole raft of young people who have found this as an addiction because it's an easy constant dopamine hit. I don't have to deal with my pain because I can keep showing up and get a dopamine hit, but they have to keep going up a level to get their dopamine hit.

So the intensity of the interaction with pornography becomes more and more grotesque and intense because they're chasing that just like if it's drugs or alcohol, you're increasing the level that you need. So if it's any behavior that takes you away from the normal capacity to be social to do the things that you'd like to do, to read, to go to the movies, to go to the theater, then it's time to look at it and think, okay, maybe I need to get some help here. It's pretty extreme, hadn't, you know, spiraling downward because it's it's not going to stop. No, it's not going to stop. Obviously in today's world, this is a this last year has been so mind boggling. Strange, weird. What advice do you have for people that are wrestling with all the things that Covid and it's not just Covid it's just the divisiveness and the things that are occurring in our world today. What advice do you have for others too, build the internal resilience muscle and to not allow it to control you, but to take back, you know, control from the inner, you know, one of the most important things to realize is that the only control that we have in terms of the world is within ourselves.

I don't even like using the word control, but in terms of showing up and taking care of ourselves, we can do that so much of the divisiveness and pain right now is that we're looking at the other and wishing that they would change. And it's an impossible task to hope that the other person changes. So we can only really do the work on ourselves because, you know, I love the expression, you know, hurt people, hurt people when you're looking at somebody and they may have very differing view of the world or politics or religion or whatever it is, if they're operating from a sense of pain within their body and they're reacting and lashing out, you can't negotiate with them. It's a it's an expended energy that will only corrode your own being. So instead it is, you know, as jesus christ would say turning the other cheek, you know, it is that time to just turn away and move on because they're not going to listen, they're not going to pay attention.

So what can I do? I can nourish myself, I can nurture myself, I can make sure that I'm doing things that are wholesome that are good for me and in time, others may change, you know, within Eastern philosophy. The very famous saying is that, you know, when the student is ready. So too is the teacher. So don't try and teach the student, wait until they show up. So I think hoping that somebody who is screaming at you from across the aisle is going to change is a very sore and painful experience. Instead think where you can go and take care of yourself whilst they continue to shout and then see if their energy eventually dissipates. I think that's great advice. So many of us are faced with that in today's world, even, you know, the people that we, you know, surround ourselves with or that we don't have have much control of it. Even in the work environment may be dealing with toxic relationships for lack of a better term.

I hate to use that term toxic, but it's probably pretty accurate because I I like to think of the world as a beautiful loving place and it is, it certainly is. We just have to seek out those experiences and see things through a different lens. I agree. I think it's what can I do? Pay attention to myself, what's here for me now and where should my energy be best placed and you know, hurt people will just continue to hurt people. So avoid them because they'll find another negative energy to feed off and they'll just, you know, cancel each other out. So pay attention to what you can do be in nature slow down, you know, walk, be outside, get some vitamin D. Look at trees, just notice what's around you. And I know that's hard when people are struggling. One of the things that I've been doing a lot of in the, in the last six months locally have organized lots of walking groups and I do a walk, There's a beach beside where I live, it's just under kind of two miles long and at the end it's just a cliff face and you can't get around it and it's a really stony, difficult beach to walk on and there's just cliffs on one side and see on the other hand there's no trees, there's nothing at all.

And I bring people down there and we walk, I just encourage them. You come and you walk and when you arrive at the beach you have all of the conversations, your head saying, I don't want to go for a walk, I want to be here, don't do this. You have all the anxieties and stress has gone on in your life. But as you walk, You know, it's probably 45, 50 minutes of walking to a dead end knowing that you have to turn around and then walk all the way back again. But as you get in 25 minutes, you suddenly start to notice that things fall away and you're left there with the beach, the sea, the sound south and there's a healing in it. So it's that capacity to slow down and be in nature is so healing but recognize that your body will say stay in the chair and scroll social media because that's where it's getting dopamine but bring it to somewhere, it will feel like it can heal and you will benefit but go through pain. That's the mindset bit, push through and just notice then, oh wow and I have lots of clients who are incredibly depressed at the moment And they do this walk and they and I say to me, you know, it's fine in the 1st 20 minutes of your walk, just swear at me, you know, and curse my name and and blame me for everything and then it will resolve itself afterwards.

You'll be fine, you'll be thanking me later. I love that as you were sharing that story, I couldn't help but close my eyes and visualize what you were describing and it really kind of took me kind of away for a little bit just and into a totally different experience. It was nice. It's it's amazing what we can if we can't physically do it. It's amazing what we can do even within our minds and visualizing. So there's lots of ways to achieve it. But I also love what you said earlier about it's where we put our energy where we place our energy that's so important, placing our energy and into things that are more nurturing and constructive I think is what you were saying, things that are a little bit more constructive and nurturing for you and even though you may be faced with these and have to deal with other people in the world, you don't have to endure it or and be attached to an outcome. Absolutely, you don't have to endure.

And ultimately, you know, it's when you go through something like Covid, it's also a good opportunity to have some sense of reflection and to notice, you know, if I am in relationship with people and if that relationship is taking everything from me and giving me nothing in return, then a nourishing path can be to end those relationships we have to take care of ourselves, nobody is coming to save you. So you have to make some tough, bold, assertive decisions yourself at times. Exactly, and I think that, that right there is a great way to wrap up our discussion today. That's some great advice I just want to thank you so much for joining me today. Your story is incredible and the work that you're doing is incredible and just the wisdom that you've gained and you've shared today, I know can help so many other people who are listening, how can people find out more about you and how can they connect with you Sure.

Find me on social on instagram, I'm Justin dart caffrey, you can connect to me on my website Justin caffrey dot com and on youtube, I've got ton of free content on there. So there's free guided meditations to stuff around cold water, the vagus nerve, some of the neuroscience that I've studied. So if you just search up Justin caffrey on Youtube, you'll find my channel. My two names are kind of unusual together, so there isn't too many of us knocking around. So if you're searching on youtube it will come up and you'll find all that content. I do some online courses and stuff that if people feel they want to know more, they can get involved in the courses but check out all the free stuff first and then if it resonates, reach out to me. Oh, that sounds great. Thank you so much for sharing so graciously your time and sharing those resources as well. Be sure to include all that in our show notes and I just want to thank the rest of our listeners for those of you that are listening to this podcast episode today.

I hope that you have found some enlightening and insightful tips on how to navigate life's challenges because we're all in this in some way fashion or another together and we need to learn and grow together and help one another. I just want to thank you and also to let you know if you're interested in joining our community, you can go to community dot rise up dot com and you can find out more about our community. Thank you for being here and listening to our show today. Bye for now. Yes, Yeah. We hope today's show helped to bring a bit more joy and happiness into your heart. We hope it inspired you to unleash your inner power and rise up to your best and loving heart centered, highest self. We'd be grateful if you'd leave us a review on itunes. Those reviews are important to spreading this valuable message. We'd love for you to subscribe to our podcast and share the show with others, visit Hearts rise up dot com for heart centered courses, guided meditations and are popular notes from your higher self until next time.

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Ep. 52 - Surviving and Growing Through Grief - An Interview With Justin Caffrey
Ep. 52 - Surviving and Growing Through Grief - An Interview With Justin Caffrey
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