ZZL 7 | Overcoming Drug Addiction

 

Overcoming drug addiction is a very challenging undertaking. Kyle Goldstein can attest to this as it is his big life zigzag. Kyle is a Health & Wellness Coach from  A New Breath Health & Wellness. Today, he joins Tesa Baum in a conversation about how he had to go through the difficult experience of active addiction and getting cleaned to rediscover himself. From then on, he picked himself up and got serious with nutrition, health, and wellness. Today, he’s very passionate about helping people by sharing his experience and knowledge. If you’re hitting rock bottom, don’t lose hope. It’s usually where you rediscover who you truly are. Listen to this episode and be inspired by Kyle’s zigzag story!

Listen to the podcast here:

The Journey To Rediscovering Yourself With Kyle Goldstein

On this episode, I’m going to be speaking with Kyle Goldstein from A New Breath Health & Wellness. You can catch Kyle on his podcast, Kyle The Grateful, Grateful, No Matter What. Kyle started his spiritual journey a few years ago. He decided it was necessary to change his life. He surrendered and he found a new way to live. He quickly adopted the motto, “Life lived through experiences.” From that day, it didn’t take long for him to realize what he needed to accomplish to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Whether it was completing a 112-mile trek in the mountains of Corsica, attending a ten-day silent meditation course or spontaneously leaving New York City to travel Southeast Asia and India to pursue his yoga teacher training. He kept that personal promise.

In 2018, he decided to turn his love and passion for nutrition into a career. He’s always been fascinated with the medicinal contents of food and how it can be the perfect prescription for certain elements that are usually treated within the framework of a Western mindset. He truly believes that people have the ability to change, adjust their lifestyles in a way that makes them a better version of themselves one day at a time. I’m excited for you to read it.

How are you, Kyle?

I’m good.

We’re going to start off, I would love to hear if you have an impactful zigzag story that you would like to share with me or anything that we’ve discussed. The last time that we first spoke, I know you have a lot of stories. Anything you want to share? I would love to hear them.

The decision to actually get clean has to come from you. Anyone else trying to tell you what to do, it's not going to work. Click To Tweet

I feel like my life is one big zigzag, to be honest. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have a few. I would want to start out with what I spoke to you about. A story that pretty much put me in the place I am. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that story. That’s how I got clean. I’ll do an abridged version because there are many things that can be involved in it. Within that, there is a lot of zigzags. To back up a little bit, I started using out of fun. I had some fun times when I was using drugs. I’m not going to lie. It’s the case, like in high school and in college. After I graduated college, I was supposed to go to grad school. I was a good student. I was a straight-A student. I made dean’s list but I was still using drugs. In my mind, I was like, “I don’t have a problem.”

ZZL 7 | Overcoming Drug Addiction
Overcoming Drug Addiction: If someone comes into hypnosis with negative feelings, it’s not going to work.

 

You’re highly functioning.

I didn’t even know what that meant at the time. I was ready to go to grad school because the way I was raised and I’m not saying this is wrong, as you go to high school, graduate, you then go to college. You then go to grad school. You get a job. You have a family and this. That’s your life. There’s nothing wrong with that type of trajectory at all. My sister did the whole high school, college, grad school. I thought I was going to follow in her footsteps in that exact order. I was ready to take my GREs. I was ready to go to school for Forensic Psychology. I had all the references I need.

I then woke up one day and I was like, “I don’t want to do this.” It could have been the impulsivity could have come from the drugs. Sometimes I’m hot and cold. I couldn’t do it. I packed up my stuff and I moved to California to work in the entertainment industry. I had a friend there. I worked my way up from there. When you’re freelance, you have to get your jobs word of mouth. I was working one day a week and before I knew it, I was working 5 to 6 days a week. I don’t know if your readers know me but I’m sociable. I talk a lot. I like to talk to people. I like to talk and get to know people. It was easy for me to get work.

During that time, my addiction progressed. I had a job. I had a car. I had an apartment. I’m looking at myself and this is not to speak ill of people who are homeless or people who are on the streets but I looked at those people at that time and I was like, “That’s not me. I don’t have a problem.” I was always comparing that I’m not as bad as them. Little did I know that it wasn’t about the actual drugs or the situation, it was the feelings and the emotions that I was suppressing because of them.

For a few years, I continued to use. I continued to work and I didn’t think I had a problem. One day, literally on December 11th, I remember the date, is the night before I decided to get clean. That morning, December 12th, I woke up. I didn’t have any more of my stuff. I tried to get rid of all of my dealers’ numbers. If people who are addicts or recovering addicts know. They try to make these bold moves of deleting people’s numbers. “Tomorrow, I’m going to do this and make all these promises,” I said that but then when I woke up that next morning, I panicked. I was freaking out because I didn’t have any of my dealers’ numbers. It was mainly because I didn’t have pills. That was my drug of choice.

What type? Is it speed?

To be honest, whatever you put in front of me but it was mostly painkillers. If you had Xanax or cocaine, I would do it. I didn’t like cocaine but if you had it, I would do it. I learned that it was more about me trying to get outside of myself than the drug. The one that I usually did was Percocets. I started freaking out. I don’t know what it was. Now I know what it was, but at that moment, I didn’t. I heard something. I surrendered. I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.” I called my parents and told me to get some help. I came home and put myself into rehab.

Looking back on that a little bit, after that whole a-ha moment, that was my higher power. That was my first introduction to my higher power. I had no idea about higher powers. I thought the word God was a crock of crap. I didn’t have a good relationship with religion or anything like that. I didn’t know how to how to label it but that was my higher power. To this day, I know that there is a higher force. I have a higher power that I choose to call God but it’s the God of my understanding. It doesn’t have to be your God or anyone else’s God. That’s a little bit of a zigzag.

Did you feel that after taking all the pills, you clearly weren’t feeling 100% healthy afterwards? That you did have the hangover afterwards?

It’s funny, too. When I was in rehab, I was in a room with two other guys. I told them what I was doing and how much. I was like, “I’m doing 8 or 9 Percocets.” They were like, “What? That’s nothing. I was doing 40.” I was a responsible drug addict. I would do it but I had a routine. That’s how I am still. I would do some in the morning, some in the afternoon, then some at night. I would always do them while I drink and then I would smoke a little bit. It was all this enhancement too. I didn’t feel healthy. I was living my twenties.

You tolerated it and it became part of you.

I was highly functioning, so I didn’t think I had a problem.

I can relate to it to a point because I smoked cigarettes. I didn’t even enjoy it after a while. It was more of a social thing. It’s something I did. It was a way for me to make conversation with people or leave my situation whether or not it was at work or at school. I would say, “Let’s have a cigarette break.” My mother passed away from lung cancer. I stopped around that time. I heard stories that my grandmother passed away from emphysema. We know we need to be doing something like that but it’s like, “I’m strong.” There’s something about it where I felt I was invincible.

That word that came to mind when you said that. It was the exact thing.

I still feel I’m invincible in many ways. I feel I’m strong. I’m not on the other end. Certain people are clean freaks or they care about always making sure everything is immaculate. I’m like, “I can handle it all.” As time went, I did quit around the time my mother got lung cancer but it wasn’t that it didn’t even shake me. It was more like, “I’m in a new place.” That’s not even part of my life. It wasn’t difficult for me to get off of it, which was interesting. I just stopped. For you, this is a different kind of addiction for sure.

It’s different. It’s funny to say cigarettes because I hate cigarettes. That’s one thing I never got addicted to. I’m grateful for that. There are a few other things that I tried as far as drugs that I’m grateful I didn’t get addicted to. I’ll be honest, I tried meth once. I thank God as much as I can and my higher power that I didn’t go down. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d even be alive if I kept using drugs. I don’t like to go down that path. I know that decision to get clean had to come from myself too.

Anyone else trying to tell you what to do, it’s not going to work. You can carry the message. You can’t carry the addict. People would tell me to get help, some people living in California. When I was there, I wasn’t ready. It’s tough because I’ve had friends here that weren’t ready. They ended up passing away from overdosing and you can’t do anything. It’s tough because what they’re doing is bringing them down a certain path. You want to help but you can’t change people.

Two things came to my mind. I went to a medium circle and my grandmother came, the one that died from emphysema. She and my mother had passed as well. The message from them was, “You are going down that path.” They both died young. It was something that you know but thank God you have that higher knowing of, “I’m finished with this phase in my life.” The other thing that you said is you can’t change people. I’ve done hypnosis for a long time. I’ve stopped treating people to stop smoking.

You do the hypnosis? It’s funny because for a year, when I said I was in college, I did research in a hypnosis lab for a forensic psychologist. That’s what it was. I was a research assistant for him to try to get references for if I was going to go into Forensic Psychology.

Tell me what you’re feeling about it since you did research on it.

The biggest takeaway was, if someone comes into it with these negative feelings, it’s not going to work. If your mind isn’t open, if they’re resisting before they come in there, it’s not going to work.

ZZL 7 | Overcoming Drug Addiction
Overcoming Drug Addiction: Taking a holistic approach focuses on all four bodies: the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical bodies.

 

It is changing a mindset. It’s helping you change your mindset. Everything is a support system for positive affirmation. A big part of it is you have to be ready. Those success stories, they already decided before they went in to see anyone that they were going to stop.

That’s similar with my business with people who want to get healthier and nutrition. If you’re not motivated, then it’s not going to work. I can give you all the resources in the world. I could give you a meal plan. I could tell you what to buy, how to cook it, what to do when this happens. If you’re not holding yourself accountable, if you’re not ready, if you’re not going to show up then it’s not going to work at the end of the day.

Even weight loss for hypnosis. Mainly, my work is help leading people to explore past life regression. I work with the Akashic field. When I was doing straight hypnosis, people will come for weight loss. I remember I had a woman who didn’t like vegetables. She likes to eat cookies. I can’t change your taste buds even if you want to listen to me. People, even if you’re saying wisdom, the person has to be in a receptive mode. Before every session, I always say, “Are you in full receptive mode?” Because we can be giving and I know the words we’re saying are golden but the person and their whole spirit has to be open for it. It’s also that reciprocal exchange between the practitioner-facilitator and the person that’s looking to heal. It has to be a two-way street.

For a long time in my life, I wasn’t receptive to anything in general. I was close-minded. I was scared for a lot of things. It took that experience through active addiction and then getting cleaned to understand that I was a scared little boy with low self-esteem and a big ego. Nothing was worth it. Having issues with all that stuff and the drugs is a way to mask all that. I don’t know if you ever seen them but I’m talking about drugs, they’ll take a piece of paper, they’ll rip it off and say, “This is your drug problem. The rest of that piece of paper is you and everything. You’re the problem. That’s only the symptom.”

It’s not about the drugs. It’s not about any of it. It’s the fact that you have had this awareness and this awakening, the lens that you look at. You had this transformation at this moment to help people. You can relate to hardship and challenges, which is a beautiful thing. That is why you had, in many ways, to experience all of that. Your main work is nutrition.

It’s nutrition, meditation and I’m also a certified yoga teacher. It’s all a holistic approach. I want to focus on all four bodies. In certain circles, there are more than four bodies but the four bodies I talked about are the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical bodies. A holistic approach because a lot of times, we only tend to focus on the physical body. How we look, how we feel but there’s much more that we need to not even deal with but we need to be aware of.

How are we feeling emotionally? What emotions are we feeling? Are our emotions real? Are they valid? Are they coming from somewhere else? Are they trying to trick us? Same thing with our mental state space. What are we thinking? Are our thoughts helping us or harming us? Also, the spiritual aspect of, “Do you have a spiritual practice?” Are you connected to something higher than yourself? When I talk about the nutrition and what you consume, it’s not about what you consume physically. What you read, what you hear, all these things are stuff that you consume that can be as toxic as eating that piece of cake or highly-processed food.

We’re the gatekeepers of that information. You can choose what you watch. You can choose what you read. Sometimes you can’t choose what you hear if you’re with people but you can create this level of discernment as far as what’s real and what’s not. What serves you and what doesn’t? Which people are toxic? Who do you need to remove from your life? All these things that I want to bring into my business and what I do because I’ve always been into nutrition. I made it a career but yoga was a few years ago too. I took that leap to learn yoga and that was for my personal practice at first.

I see your Instagram. I can’t believe you started this a few years ago.

That’s a whole other zigzag. Some years ago, if you tell me I would be teaching yoga or go to India to get my yoga certification, I would have thought you were on something. At that time, I was working for an urban farming startup company. I stopped teaching. I used to be a teacher in New York City. Talk about zigzag. I then stopped teaching. I became an urban farmer. I started bartending and I was working out a lot. Yoga crept into my life. I saw people doing it at my gym. I then started going to one class here, one class there.

Before I knew what I was doing with two classes, I then started seeking an outside class outside of the gym. One that wasn’t for free. In February of 2018, I went on a first day at a yoga studio. Nothing came from it. That following week, I went to yoga every day at 7:00 AM at a donation-based class. On that Friday, after the yoga class, I had another moment of clarity where I was like, “I want to get certified. I want to deepen my practice.” I want to go somewhere. I found a place in India. I want to do that style. I booked the ticket. That propelled me to move out of the city because I didn’t want to be there anymore.

Start living life through experiences. Start finding and rediscovering yourself. Click To Tweet

Do you want to go back after COVID? What’s your feeling?

No, definitely not. To visit, yes. Before COVID and after my yoga training, I came back upstate. I was bartending on the weekends in the city because it makes great money in a club. I was going to school. I then opened up my yoga studio. I was teaching yoga from Mondays to Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, I would bartend and then Sundays, I would come home and then teach again. I did that for three months while my studio was open. I was running myself ragged but the money from the bar at the time was good. To be honest, I always wanted to stop it eventually. I didn’t want to live that lifestyle. It was late at night. It didn’t feel good. The money was good. I was addicted to money. I felt the chase and all that stuff.

COVID happened and hit people differently but I don’t want to minimize it. It allowed me to go into things that I didn’t need. The bartending needed to be stopped. I wanted to stop and COVID was like, “I’m going to stop it.” I did. It stopped my yoga studio as well, which sucked. At the same time, it allowed me to re-shift my priorities to my nutrition, which was my main focus the whole time. I take the name that I had from my studio and use it for my new business because my studio was A New Breath. When I tried to trademark it that was already taken. I had A New Breath Health and Wellness. I already had the name when I shifted over.

This is what I’m talking about zigzag. I believe that most things are predestined. I do feel that we have free will on our own interest level. The path is always there, regardless. It’s like, you’re peeking into this path, so you went down that road. You’re going down that path. It is what fits in your life, in terms of the lens you’re looking at and your vision. When we’re younger, we go with the flow like, “This feels good. I’m going to do this.” This looks good. I’m going to do this. You’ve already done all these things and you’re like, “I did all of that,” which makes us a whole person. As we get older, “What are we going to do with all these experiences?” Pack it in? We’re packaging it.

That’s one of my main things. One of the mottos I have on my bio is, “To live life through experiences.” Because I used to be materialistic, I used to spend my money in certain ways. I hit rock bottom with my drugs. In 2017, I had a spiritual rock bottom. I had a relationship that ended. I was broken up with. I have no shame with saying that I was not the good party in it. That needed to happen. I was upset with myself. I was ashamed. I had to rediscover myself.

I made a pact with myself that I would start living life to experiences. I would start trying to find myself and rediscover myself. I did a passionate ten-day meditation retreat, the silent meditation. It’s not like a retreat at all, by any means. I then ended up going to Corsica on a 112-mile trek with a shaman, a friend of mine. From that moment on, I started traveling. I traveled a lot from 2017 until 2019 until we couldn’t travel anymore. I want to live life through experiences, experience things and create this life where I can help people. All of this stuff was preparing me to be able to share my experiences with people and give them whatever knowledge I have, my personal experiences to see if it can help. Because that’s all I want to do in this life is help people. However that looks, I don’t know 100% but I want to help.

Everything you want to do, you’ve done. You can grab life. Anything that looks shiny to you, you’ve done it. You jump into every reality. A lot of people have a hard time making their dreams come true. That’s not your problem. You’re like the genie, “I’m going to do this.”

One thing too was, for a lot of my life, I was run by fear.

I don’t see that anymore.

I made that decision to lead with love and choose love. That sounds cliché or corny to some people. I still have those instances where that fear wants to creep back in and it wants to tell you that you shouldn’t do this or that.

I was curious. It doesn’t sound that you have that holding you back anymore.

It doesn’t but that fear, those things never fully go away. They’re only dormant. Once if you give a thought a little bit more space to grow, you can allow that fear to come in. I’m aware of it. When it comes in, I know where it’s coming from and I know how to remove it. It’s that little voice that’s saying, “You’re not good enough or you shouldn’t do this. Stay in your comfort zone. Don’t get out of your comfort zone.” I know when it’s speaking to me and I know where it’s coming from. I know how to combat it.

When I was in my twenties, I worked in the restaurant business also. I had many different jobs. I jumped from different situations, if I quit or I was laid off or a relationship ended, it’s that feeling of crisis. When we’re in crisis mode, we’re able to jump into the new thing because when you have nothing else, you have to do the new thing. That’s that fear.

Things have been presented to me in my life. I could have gone 1 of 2 ways or 1 of 3 ways but I chose to take it for what it was then move forward and say, “This is what it is.” I need to do something. I didn’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity. I did that for too long. I didn’t allow myself to throw my hands and give up and say, “This is what it is. This is what I’m destined to be.” That was me in the past. That’s not me. I know that I’m not here to be miserable.

You are self-motivated. Do you need someone holding your hands? Do you feel that you do this from within?

I feel like I do it within but I also feel I allow myself to be receptive to other people in my life that may have advice. Do I take all of it? No but I don’t want to be this person that says, “I know it all,” because I don’t. I’m not afraid to make a mistake because mistakes are when we learn. It’s when we grow. It’s when we realize, “I tried this. It didn’t work. Let me try this.” It’s not failure. It’s a zag. This doesn’t work, let me go this way. It’s constantly moving.

Did you feel, with all the people that you learn from, you put them on a pedestal? In a sense, did you ever have those moments where you put somebody on a pedestal and then they came crashing down for you?

I feel maybe 1 or 2 people I put up on a pedestal. They didn’t come crashing down but I realized that wasn’t healthy. My yoga instructor, the main one in my Yoga Shala in India, I put on a little bit of a pedestal. Maybe, at one point, my sponsor I put on a pedestal. I thought this person knew everything. They knew a lot more than me. They imparted a lot of wisdom. They’re human. I realized, when another friend of mine had a sponsor on a pedestal and that sponsor relapsed. It’s not that they disappointed the sponsee. They thought of this person as something greater than human. This guru status, there could be gurus but I could also be your guru. You could be my guru. We could all be like a teacher. There’s a lot of people that have gurus and they put them on pedestals. That can be dangerous.

You do it in a healthy way because, “We all have to learn,” and I’m always open to learning more. It’s that feeling of, “They know so much,” and that can be taking away that feeling of your own self-empowerment. You haven’t given away your power to anybody else. It’s more of an exchange.

I don’t want people to think of me as a guru. That freaks me out. Even I have a tough time sometimes taking compliments on some of my podcasts or some of my things because I’m like, “I’m just me. I’m only speaking.” Some people, it hits them hard. It hits them right in the heart. They look at a blog post that I write and they’re like, “This hit me.” Sometimes I’m like, “I’m just writing.” I’m imparting a lot of my wisdom and my personal experiences. I don’t look at myself as a guru. I look at somebody who went through some stuff and wants to share it because maybe it can help one person. I don’t look at it as me trying to be this global sensation because that’s the ego starts to creep in.

It’s always that idea of being a celebrity. I heard you on another podcast talk about social media. We want to get in front of as many people as possible. It’s an interesting concept. You want to be in the spotlight. I had a message ago, I usually hear things. It seems like you do too, in terms of spirit. I hear it. A lot of times, when I first wake up, I’ll get a message for the week. It’s hysterical. My message was humble and then I see it play out. What does that mean? Because every week, it could be something new. It’s interesting to keep that humbleness but to be authentic and try to help as many people as you can even that one person.

ZZL 7 | Overcoming Drug Addiction
Overcoming Drug Addiction: What you read or hear and all the stuff that you consume can be as toxic as eating that piece of cake or eating highly-processed food.

 

It’s a delicate dance to express humility and be humble but also to put yourself out there, self-promote and try to reach people because that’s what I want to do. I want to reach people but if I’m too humble and I’m too proud, I won’t be able to reach anybody. You have to find this balance of being out there but also not sounding arrogant or not saying, “This is the way.” I always say in a lot of my talks that, “This is just my personal experience.” Am I right? Maybe. Am I wrong? Possibly. This is my lived experience and might not be the same as yours but this is what I went through. I would like to share it if any, even if a little part hits you in a certain way or you can take something from that, amazing. It doesn’t have to be that you have to agree with everything that I say.

That’s such a gift, that understanding. Many people may be shy to open themselves up and share their message to the world because that’s intimidating. Once you do take that first step and then you start talking to people, it feels good. I used to have tremendous stage fright. I didn’t want to do it, even speaking in front of a group. Now, I love circles. I love bringing groups together. That is comforting for me.

In college, I was deathly afraid of taking my public speaking class. I went to school at SUNY Binghamton. Whatever intro classes you took, there were always 200, 300 people. I’m not taking a public speaking class there. I did at the local community college. That was when I was eighteen. Fast forward to when I’m 28, I’m teaching in front of kids, which is probably the worst place to be because kids are ruthless. Even before that, when I got clean, I’m speaking to people in meetings. I’m then speaking not always to groups of people but to a camera. I’m doing podcasts. I’m putting myself out there. In all those steps when I had my YouTube channel, when I started that, before I started my blog, before the podcast, I was scared. I don’t know how to do this. Your 1st time is not going to be the same as your 100th time. You have to start somewhere.

You have to do it and then that becomes comfortable. That’s the whole idea with our mindset. Our mind doesn’t like what we don’t know, the unknown. That’s what happens. Making anything comfortable, you’re into it, then that becomes familiar. We don’t like the unfamiliar.

I had the podcast and I wanted to step it up. I’m going to start interviewing people because I got to the point where I was doing me solo. I’m talking for 25 to 30 minutes. I need to not take a break but I want to start inviting people in. Even doing that was scary because I’ve never interviewed anybody before. What do I do? How do I do this? I had a few friends helped me with the first few episodes. I got a little bit of in a groove. It’s a conversation. You build a lot of situations up in your head, situations that are way less intimidating than it turns out to be. It’s nothing. It’s a conversation with another person.

It is like dating. I don’t know about you but I did meet my husband on online dating. At that time, it was new. A lot of people weren’t doing it. Now, it’s crazy. The idea of meeting somebody or interviewing with, I have gone on so many interviews in my life but certain people find their groove right away. They’ll take the first job. I’m glad I went through all those experiences when I was younger.

I feel looking back on the entertainment industry, working in teaching, even some of the stuff I’m doing, I pretty much threw myself into it. You’re going to sink or you’re going to swim, especially with teaching. If you get in there, you can go to school, you can be prepared but once you get in front of the classroom, it’s make it or break it. I swam. It’s the same thing when I was in LA. In production, I threw myself in there and I was, “I’m going to do this and you can either make it or you can’t.” I have that belief that you throw caution to the wind sometimes.

I always leap and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought of things a little bit more. There’s something to be said for both.

Coming back to the balance which is a huge part of my life with everything because I was an all-or-nothing type of person. I was living on the extremes. In life, there has to be balance. You want to take risks but you don’t want to be stupid almost. You don’t want to dive in there and not think about the consequences.

Sometimes, I feel ignorance is bliss. Many people like to research on diseases or anything that has happened. I don’t want to go there because it is your mindset. Whatever lens you’re looking at helps the situation. I don’t want to say anything 100%. If you do have a good attitude about something and you expect the best, you’re going to have better chances of positivity. That is my belief. I don’t want to be naive about it. It’s better sometimes not to do so much research and see all the risks versus the benefits.

I can equate that to when I went to Corsica with my friend who was a shaman. There’s this trail called the GR20. If you ever want to look it up, it’s one of the longest trails. It’s Corsica, which I didn’t even know existed before. He told me it’s a French island in the Mediterranean. He posted on Facebook and he was like, “Anybody want to do this with me?” “Me,” even if I had no idea what it was. If you look up, one of the taglines for this hike or this trek is, it’s a mixture of ignorance and bravado.

If you do your research, you’re probably going to be, “Holy crap. I can’t do this.” Some of the days you were hiking 15 miles and you’re going 3,000 feet up and then 2,000 feet down with a huge pack on you in the middle of the summer. It was intense. If I had looked everything up, I probably would have psyched myself out. At the same time, I needed to have that bravado. I needed to be like, “I can do this.” It’s that balance, that mixture of not letting yourself research too much but also being, “I got this.”

There’s a moment of being prepared for the situation. That’s where the maturity and the balance come in. Because that youthfulness of, “Let’s throw caution to the wind and jump in,” even in relationships. It’s alright if you’re going to take your time getting to know people. Because I always felt that my first impression of people was always right. I jumped in. Girlfriends, boyfriends. I’m jumping into relationships but it is nice to get to know somebody in a slower way as you get older.

Allow yourself to be receptive to other people in your life who may have advice. Click To Tweet

That also makes me think of being much more vulnerable. I don’t even mean vulnerable with my heart, with a possible spouse but being vulnerable for everything. Because that vulnerability, for me, is having an open heart, having an open mind. Because being closed off, you’re going to miss the message. You might miss some stuff that may end up hurting you but I’d rather take that chance of being hurt, being slighted or feeling I was taken advantage of.

That’s great because a lot of people get jaded also. They feel like, “I’m not lucky in love,” or anything. If you keep saying, “Every single morning, we’re born again.” If you have that fresh outlook, it’s better if we have amnesia sometimes. All the hardships, all the things, reset yourself every morning to say, “Whatever happened is over. I’m a new me.” It’s something I like to look at and not have that cynicism about everything.

If you think about it because everything that’s happened previous to that moment, when you wake up in the past, it’s fantasy. It’s no longer here but we live there a lot of times.

Our emotions get trapped. That’s the thing. That’s why when I do this Akashic field healing work, it’s the idea even in our past lives. There are certain traumas. There are certain fears, there are certain beliefs that you may have had. This could be way back in many lifetimes. Even your ancestors. Anything that has gotten in the way could be hindering you on your path. Once you know what that is, we know a word, a feeling. Once we know what that is, it does evaporate. Because you’re not, “That’s what’s getting in my way.” I do believe in regenerating ourselves always.

I’ve never looked at it like that. That’s exactly how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I don’t pray in the conventional way of praying. That word has been used in many different ways. My idea of prayer, sometimes in the morning or every time in the morning and night, I say, “Thank you.” I wake up, “Thank you.” That’s all you need to do. It’s you having a conversation with whatever you want to have a conversation with something greater than yourself. Say thank you. Also, sometimes when I remember, I thank every part of my body. That waking up is a gift because not everybody can afford that.

That’s why, more so than praying, a ritual that you have that keeps you on track with yourself in a healthy way, that you can start every day a certain way. I don’t know if you’ve read this, I love Sadhguru. I listen to him all the time on Instagram.

He had Ishi yoga. I did one of his things in Connecticut. They have different shalas but I follow his stuff.

ZZL 7 | Overcoming Drug Addiction
Overcoming Drug Addiction: Vulnerability is about having an open heart and an open mind. If you’re closed off, you’re going to miss the message.

 

I love him but he was talking about getting up in the morning on the right side. That’s important. He says such cool things all the time.

A lot of his stuff is simple. It’s that we complicated life so much that you got to look at what’s right in front of our faces.

He does simplify life in this good, humored, relaxed way.

He has a good energy about him.

You want to hang out with him. He soothes you. A person that emanates that, we’re drawn to that. There’s something about our culture that a lot of us we’re trying to shift our culture a little bit even when we talked about time. What has happened to the past? We think we know everything. We don’t know everything. We have to be open to the spiritual, to the emotional, to the physical. There are many different elements that we have to be open to.

Western culture or culture in America, I wouldn’t say it’s close-minded but it’s rooted in a lot of antiquated religion. It doesn’t expand into a lot of the Eastern philosophies that are seen or deemed as an alternative.

For me, this is the natural way.

It is if you think about it. If you look into a lot of the stuff that they’ve been doing for thousands of years, whether it’s through food, meditation and prayer. The way they speak and interact. The way they respect their elders. I don’t know how we got to the place we are in. We have to go back into history as far as colonialism, settlers and all that stuff. There are a lot of things that led up to it. I feel that there’s no openness in our culture.

I heard you in an interview with Amy Kaufman. I do feel we are aware of so much and what we can’t see. If the people in our culture can’t see it with their own eyes or they don’t have proof then they don’t believe it. Those people that always appear to be woo-woo or out there, you mentioned that in a ceremony you experienced. That’s where I heard you on a podcast. You experienced something and you knew it was true. You felt it. Someone else may be looking at what you’re doing and they’re putting in a category. Meanwhile, it was your experience.

Because people are afraid of what they don’t know and can’t see, instead of exploring it, they’re going to push it to the side and say, “That’s fake.” “That’s not real. It’s a conspiracy.” Whatever it is, they’re not going to give it any weight. It is a disservice to people because there’s so much out there besides what we know or what we’ve been taught, at least in America. Until the person or people start to think outside of that and to start doing their own research and trying things, they might find things that they don’t like. They might find things that they like. They need to step outside of whatever box they’re at.

It’s experiencing it. I’m sure you’ve taken part in a lot of journeying. I like to call it contemporary shamanic work but the Michael Harner circles, the shamanic journeying. That is a great place. I feel and facilitate a lot of these circles to connect to spirit. When I hear the drumbeat and the monotony of that rhythm, that’s when I hear, see or feel a lot. It’s a way that I’ve been meditating for a long time and I love that. That to me is a helpful and simple way to get there.

You took the necessary steps. However your life and the trajectory it went, it brought you to that place. I feel like some people or a lot of people are resistant to that because they may feel they’re being judged by other people or the society. Whatever it may be.

People are starting to shifting a lot. Because it used to be like the flower child, a certain type of person would be interested in the spiritual stuff. That is outdated. I feel like we’re looking at things in a new way. People want more. They want to crawl under the surface a little bit more. They want to understand and experience new things. That’s where the Age of Aquarius is coming in.

It has to do a lot with being more connected with everybody in the world and the internet. All those things can be used for bad. If you’re using it for good, you recognize what else is out there and what has been hidden from you. Even in the early ‘60s and ‘70s, all these experiments on a certain plant medicine.

I was going to talk about plant medicine with you.

It was Omnivore’s Dilemma where he eats then he did the one on mushrooms, Michael Pollan. On the show, they were saying they did a study where they said that psilocybin is more beneficial than antidepressant drugs for depression. It’s the ‘60s and the known plant medicines, whether it’s the mushrooms, marijuana, Ayahuasca, whether it’s peyote, San Pedro, all these things. The thing is, at first, I was resistant because of my past with drugs. The conclusion that I came to is that when I did drugs, I did it to escape reality. Any of these drugs, if I ever intend to use them, I wouldn’t call them drugs anyways, I call them plant medicine. I will use them in ceremony and I would be using them to go within. I haven’t done Ayahuasca yet. No one’s doing Ayahuasca and went to a rave. No one’s doing Kambo, the frog poison or peyote.

I was going to ask you about that. I’ve spoken to people that love that.

I’ve never done it yet. It’s on my list. The thing for me is I want to go to the source. I want to go to Peru.

I was going to say to stick with that region that is most knowledgeable about that. Go to the Amazon. Go to Peru. I’m sure there are wonderful facilitators that are American. I don’t want to completely disregard them because a lot of people can write them off but go with your gut. Your intuition who you feel is safe.

When the time is ready and I’m ready for it. The thing with Ayahuasca, you have to be 100% ready because it’s not tacked onto lightly. I’m waiting for that opportunity to present itself because I feel I’m more and more ready for it. Once it appears, I’m going to take that leap as I did with the yoga. I want to go to the source. I went to literally where the right style of yoga was created.

There is a facility in Costa Rica, I only saw it on Facebook. I don’t know anyone that went there. It may be a little commercial but they do have a lot of people come in and they offer the plant medicines there.

There’s a thing called Kapitari, a website for everything, in Iquitos, Peru. You might fly to Iquitos, they pick you up and they bring you into the jungle. It’s week-long. I have had that on my radar since 2016.

Please let me know. I’m not jumping into it either but it is always intriguing. I’m not craving it. I don’t have a need to explore that. You don’t want to take advantage or overdo that too. A lot of people will find this to be such an inspirational experience. That could be unhealthy too if you explore too much.

Anything in excess is not good for you at all. It’s the balance and you don’t want to start using that as your crutch because then you’re not focusing on yourself fully.

The here and now in life, day in and day out. What have you been up to? What are some of your offerings? I know the world is opening up and there’s so much that’s going to shift again.

I had a studio. I no longer have a studio anymore. I closed that down. I still teach yoga. I have private sessions. I have small group sessions. We could do it at my house. We can do it at their house. We could do it outside with the weather warming up. I want to start maybe doing some outdoor yoga. I’m offering a nutritional counseling, meal plans. I’m also doing guided meditations. I’m also offering package deals. You can get the yoga. You can get the yoga meditation. You can get the yoga and the nutrition. I have all these packages and depending on what you want, what you can spend, what you can afford, we can work something out.

That’s the thing, too. I have these prices for things. If someone comes to me and wants to work something out especially if they’re from my area, Sullivan County then we can work something out. I grew up here and I have an affinity for the people here. A lot of times, I feel that wellness and some of this spirituality and yoga has become an exclusive club. Some people can’t afford it. It’s like you can’t sit at my table type of thing. Yoga came from a place in India. It was a certain way. It’s been bastardized in America where if you want to go to a class, some classes in New York City, it’s $35 a class, some people can’t afford that.

I value my worth. I know my worth. I know the services that I can provide. At the same time, if someone comes to me and they want to work something out, I would love to because I’d rather give them the services and help them than then not have it at all. I see it more and more that people can’t afford certain things and it’s their own health and their own wellness. That shouldn’t be put on the backburner. It’s not realistic sometimes for them to shell out some money because they have to pay bills. They have to pay rent.

I always feel that money comes. You do know what you should be offering and it’s coming from the heart. People feel that, know that and it seems to always work out. How about online classes? Are you exploring that?

I did the online for yoga for a little while when my studio closed. It was tough. It was energetically draining and emotionally exhausting because I couldn’t connect with the people. I didn’t see them. Maybe I would. I’ll do nutritional counseling and maybe a guided meditation, even that’s a little iffy. I’ll do it if the situation presents itself but I’m not going to make it a weekly thing.

For yoga, I find it to be impossible. In terms of us connecting and nutrition counseling is easy because you could put them together, you could be talking.

In life, there has to be balance. You want to take risks, but you don’t want to just dive in there and not think about the consequences. Click To Tweet

That can be transferred to an online format. The yoga or meditation, a lot of times, I feel that there’s energy that needs to be transferred between teacher to student, student to teacher and in the room in general. It can’t be done. I remember I was talking about doing Reiki online. It’s feasible but it’s not ideal.

For Reiki, I do feel it’s more hands-on, even though any energy can be done long distance. We feel the energy. I definitely do. I believe that wholeheartedly. It’s because since we are energy, we don’t need the physical contact. I feel connected to you. I know it would be different if I was with you live but the information is shared.

I could feel it too. I can feel it through the screen because energy knows no limits, knows no boundaries. It’s time and space. For the yoga practice, it needs to be hands-on sometimes. You need to feel the room. When you have multiple people in a room, sometimes you can get caught up in it because it becomes an experience. That can’t be transferred online.

It’s interesting because I was taking this class throughout the whole COVID. I don’t know if you’ve heard of The Class, Taryn Toomey. She’s great. All the instructors are great. Definitely check her out. She went virtual. She had a studio in Tribeca. She’s amazing and all the teachers. They usually are collaborating with musicians. The music is there and it’s online. I did it throughout COVID but I wasn’t wearing sneakers. I was doing a lot of jumping jacks and I hurt my knee. If I was live with them, it wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have gotten injured, which is interesting. It is also great sometimes to drop in on a class.

ZZL 7 | Overcoming Drug Addiction
Overcoming Drug Addiction: Anything in excess is not good for you. You don’t want to start using that as your crutch because then you’re not focusing on you fully.

 

You got to do what you got to do. You got it take advantage of what’s presented but it was tough for me. I have been asked to teach at some places. I’m a little bit hesitant because not that I don’t believe in the mask.

I can’t do it. I wouldn’t want to do it with a mask. I stopped doing Pilates indoors because I don’t want to work out with a mask.

It’s been tough this summer. Hopefully, some opportunities open up where it’s outdoors. I miss teaching. I miss the energy. I hope it can.

It’s great because Amy Kaufman and I started working together at the start of COVID. It was wild. We never met. We met up online. We then took a chance in December and we started facilitating these Kakao ceremonies inside of the yoga studio. I’m so blessed that we did it. We are fully masked and it was done in a safe way. Now that it’s opening up, I’m glad that we did it.

You’re preparing yourself. It was preparing you for whatever comes next and you’re going to start opening up.

We’re getting the energy going like spring. Everything is blossoming. I’m excited. I hope to meet you soon in person, for sure.

Especially in a ceremony, I’ve done one before and I love them.

Maybe we’ll come to you and do an outdoor ceremony. That would be great. It is such a pleasure. Anything you want to leave my guests with? Anything you want to shout out to the world?

There are a few things. The first thing is to not be so hard on yourself. I always say this, if you saw somebody in the street, talking to somebody else the way you allow yourself to talk to yourself, you would step in and be like, “How are you talking to that person,” but we give ourselves permission to talk to ourselves like that. Sometimes it’s by default because it’s easy to beat ourselves up. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, whatever position you’re in, whatever it is, be okay with it. Allow yourself to be. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

With that, with not being so hard on yourself and allowing yourself the time, space and energy to grow, you can become that better version of yourself. It doesn’t have to be something momentous. It can be small steps but knowing that you’re better off than you were a day ago, a week ago, even a second ago is something to celebrate. Use those celebrations to continue on with that mode, to continue moving forward. Don’t get caught up in stuff that you can’t do or you’re not good enough in because that can all change in a second. I beat myself up for far too long and it’s not something that’s worth it. It doesn’t serve us.

It’s beautiful. Such an honor speaking to you. It’s fun. Enjoy the rest of the day. I’m looking forward to seeing you and chatting again soon.

Me, too. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Have a great day.

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