Finding COURAGE to make CHANGE

September 01, 2023 Debra Jones RM with Sandy Stream Season 2 Episode 62
Finding COURAGE to make CHANGE
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Show Notes Transcript

How to release negative thoughts, guilt and shame. Learn healthy boundaries. Engage in healthy listening, and cultivate self-compassion.

Learn why demonizing your emotions is unhealthy for you and why selfishness is actually a good thing.

Sandy and Debra talk about GASLIGHTING, FIXING, and CLEAR MIRRORING methods of listening.

Learn how to get love from the inside to support you as you make changes for a better life.

HeartMath Institute technique

BOOKS mentioned:
Power Versus Force by David R Hawkins
Its not Always Depression by Hilary Jacobs Hendel

This episode of OWN THE GREY is brought to you by I AM.

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Take the first step to Uncover Your Life Purpose by visiting www.debrajones.ca/courses

This episode was brought to you by I AM.

  • Discover your unique talents
  • Realize your potential
  • Align to your path

Take the first step to Uncover Your Life Purpose by visiting www.debrajones.ca/courses

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[00:04] Debra Jones: Welcome to Own the Gray, a podcast to dispel the notion that aging is undesirable and setting new positive attitudes. I'm Debra Jones, and I believe you can be vibrant and healthy throughout the best years of your life. Sandy Stream is an author and an activist who believes, as I do, that everyone can find courage and strength to live the life they were designed to live. Sandy taught law for 20 years and raised two children facing adversities throughout her life. Her new book, The Courage Circle, is a compilation of the wisdom she gained from pain and trauma on her path to healing. She now encourages others to live in peace and power with themselves and in the world. When I held the book, I was reminded of a tip that my good friend and Reiki Master, Shelley Kabelin, once gave me. A tip that I'd like to share with you. She said, to gain the essential message from any book, place it in the palm of your hand. Draw a circle on the cover with your finger, tap the book within that circle, open it and read the first thing your eyes see. That will be the message you need to hear. Sandy's book cover guides us to do just that, and the short passages within it are perfect, bite sized gems of wisdom. I read the book and found it to be a combination of advice from a best friend, along with universal wisdom and free therapy. So well worth the price of a paperback. Thanks for writing this book, Sandy, and welcome to Own the Gray.

[02:02] Sandy Stream: Thank you so much for having me, Debra. I'm really, actually excited to be here talking to you.

[02:08] Debra Jones: Yeah, it's a great topic and I love all of the topics in your book, and there's so many directions we can go, but I know that your stories are obviously based on your healing journey, and your perspective, I think, is a healthy blend of empowerment, healed empowerment, optimism and encouragement. And so I wanted to know, why did you focus on courage in your book?

[02:35] Sandy Stream: Courage was not a word that I had heard a lot in my life, actually. It was like something that's just kind of out there, and if it was used, it was used for jumping in front of a train or doing something like that. Then I read this book called Power Versus Force where they were talking about different energies of different states of being. And it struck me that when we're stuck in a state of fear or shame or anger, not that there's anything wrong with any of these things, we're just talking about where we are. Sometimes courage is kind of that switch. It's like a flip switch in terms of getting out of certain places. And so the more I started feeling this, looking for that feeling of like, okay, courage, I'm going to have to have courage here and there, the more I realized it's actually a very powerful catalyst for moving us from one spot to another. And then I painted literally a circle on my living room. Like I was in such bad state. It was the middle of COVID, millions of issues in my life, just so miserable. And I literally painted a circle and I'm like, this is going to be my personal courage circle. And I would like sit there and meditate and cry and take notes and do anything and everything in that spot. And then afterwards I decided to write the book and call it that. But it was literally my courage circle. 

[04:00] Debra Jones: Wow. Yeah. That is awesome. So that book, Power Versus Force, could you kind of just give a synopsis of what you mean by that? So what was that, that inspired the courage piece?

[04:13] Sandy Stream: The author measures different vibrations, I guess, of different states that we might be in, so we might be in certain states and measure it. And then he spoke about courage being one that can get us to different higher states of being and other things that were very interesting. I only quoted two people in my book. One was from another author and one quote from this book Power Versus Force, that talked about the difference between the two and how power always wins over force. Because force takes energy, it needs to push something, whereas power actually it's like self, like the sun, like it just has. And so this is something also I began to truly understand in a deeper way for myself how innately, we have certain innate powers and feelings inside that we can access and that we don't need to use force and control and other things and that we can just live from that space. And I don't use that word empowerment as maybe other people use it very lightly, like, yeah, we're getting empowered. No, I mean it literally, like literally that we actually have inner energy that we can access and feel when we need it for different purposes.

[05:34] Debra Jones: Yeah, I love that. And that really is how to be powerful is not to have power over the situation or over someone else, but to have that power from within. That, as you said, it's intrinsic to who we are. And I love that idea of courage being like that switch, so that if you seek the courage within you, then you can access your power and make a change, do something differently that's going to give you a different result. So if you don't like where you are or how you're feeling, you need to change something or you keep doing the same thing, you get the same results, right? Yeah.

[06:15] Sandy Stream: And it takes actually a huge amount of courage. It's no small thing. And I don't criticize anyone who hasn't moved or changed because it's not easy in our world where people are constantly demeaning each other or not listening to each other properly or telling each other what to do or all kinds of things that are happening to actually have the courage to just be yourself, that's already huge. Like, just to say what you feel or speak your mind or make your own choices, that takes a huge amount of courage, given the current way that many people approach each other. And also, it takes courage to make any change, right? Because we don't know the outcome. So in and of itself, it takes courage to, okay, I'm going to do something without knowing what's going to happen, but I'm going to do it anyways because it feels right, and I'm going to trust that it feels right. So I'm doing it. I think once you're used to doing it, it takes actually a bit less courage because you're like, no, I feel I'm going to do this, and what happens is fine, I'm good with that. But initially, it takes huge leaps of courage. So it's not an easy thing to do. But I try to encourage others. That's why encourage has the word courage in it, as we know.

[07:36] Debra Jones: That's great. So your book has a lot of different topics in it, but they all are things that we feel like they're universal emotions, for instance, and you talk about demonizing emotions. What did you mean by that when you wrote about that?

[07:58] Sandy Stream: Yeah, that book definitely has so many pieces because for me, it's my basically presentation of the pieces of the puzzle that came for me to end up feeling well pretty much all the time and guiding myself well all the time, which wasn't something I felt before. So, yes, it is many pieces. It's not one thing that leads to that. And hopefully some of my pieces are similar to other people's pieces because we're all human, but they might not all be identical. But one very important piece for me was to realize that there is a generalized demonizing of our emotions, at least as I've experienced it in our society, where somehow our emotions are bad. So if I'm sad, I shouldn't feel sad. I shouldn't feel angry. Something's wrong with me. And once I realized that in and of itself, that means that something is. If we demonize our own body, our own emotional states, that means we're kind of against ourselves. Like, why would our body be wrong, right? So I learned to flip that idea of my own body and my own self and think, if I'm having an emotion, it's for a reason. I'm actually going to listen to it instead of demonizing it, maybe follow it, respect it, accept it, like, do the opposite of demonizing an emotion. And for me, that was the beginning of understanding that my emotions were actually my guidance system. They were not my enemy. They were my friend and guiding me to what I need to do next. So if I was really sad or if someone's very lonely or something, if we don't demonize it and just say, oh, my gosh, I'm so sad. What do I need? Maybe I need a new friend. Maybe I need to get out there. Maybe I need to talk to someone. Right? So there's nothing bad about having the emotion if you actually listen to it and then see what you should do from it. Right. Or if I get really angry, I'll respect that as well, very much. I'll say, oh, I'm angry. There must be a good reason for that. I'm not going to say, oh, Sandy, don't be angry. No, I'm going to. Hmm. Why are you know what's going know? Are you feeling disrespected? Is there a boundary being broken? Do I need to take some action somewhere? So anger also plays as my friend in that way. It's not the same as if you're angry to do something to someone. So it's not because I feel angry that I'm allowed to hit someone. That's different. Yeah. So feeling is allowed, but lashing out obviously, is a behavior that's something else. But to feel, that's completely acceptable and healthy and necessary for you to know how to navigate your own life. And for me, it was the first step to learning, okay. To process my emotions, understand, maybe process some old ones, make new decisions. So it was a bit very messy ground to even enter that. But then eventually things are kind of cleaned out and there's not many happening. And if they do and they do still happen, and then I know, oh, okay, I better do this or I better do that, and it's all quicker and easier. So that's what I mean by knowing how to navigate myself now much easier. But again, that's just the first step. That's the first step, essential step for me of learning to feel. To feel again. Yes, we're feeling our emotions, but then we can also feel our heart. We can feel another person. We can feel a tree. We can feel like, oh, I have a hunch I should learn about this person or talk to this one. You start to feel life because you're feeling you're not anymore just thinking or you're not just in the head anymore. Basically, you're in your body. Yeah. I'm sure that's very familiar to you, Deb.

[11:45] Debra Jones: It is very familiar. Our society has really demonized anger. Right. Because we're told, you can't be angry. You're not allowed to show that emotion. And I spend a lot of time sharing with my clients that anger is yes, it's as valid as any other emotion. There's no bad emotions. There's just emotions. And it's this energy in motion that's flowing through you. And the trouble happens when you hold on to one of them. It's in motion for a reason. It's supposed to flow through because it's got a job to do. It's got to show you something or you need to learn something from it.

[12:26] Sandy Stream: Right.

[12:26] Debra Jones: But I often talk about how anger is fuel for change, because if you don't have that anger behind you. You don't have enough fuel to take a giant leap if that's what you need to do or to make a change in your life. So anger is a really good catalyst for change.

[12:48] Sandy Stream: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, if it's there, it's there anyway. But unfortunately, maybe many people try to avoid it or repress it or do other things for good reasons, especially when you're young, there's reasons to do that. You might get in all kinds of troubles that you don't want to be in. So we learn weird things. If our parents didn't allow our emotions, obviously, if they allowed, it's different, but if they didn't allow it, then it's easy to get stuck feeling like those are not allowed and also feeling weird guilt about feeling angry. So people will feel, oh, my God, I can't be angry at my teacher. She's just trying to help. I'm not allowed to be angry at this because there's a lot of guilt associated with it. Instead of just allowing your feeling, understanding why you're not doing anything to anyone, you're just feeling it and understanding it right. And then making choices for your life.

[13:49] Debra Jones: Yeah. So what did you learn about guilt and shame, then? Because that's a big one, too. What can you share with us about that?

[13:58] Sandy Stream: What I would share is the second book that I quoted in my book, actually. I think it was very crucial to that aspect. So that book is called It's not Always Depression. I read it not because I had depression, and I don't myself think it is anything necessarily to do with depression. It's just the author was experiencing that, but from her and from others, I definitely understood that guilt and shame are not our primary emotions. She calls them inhibitory emotions. So they kind of stop you from feeling what she calls the core emotions. So they're just like, in the way for me, they're almost like something that was put into you, like put into your head. You should feel guilty about this, but they're not actually yours. They're not your true core feelings. So sometimes we need to get past, I guess, guilt or shame to feel our true emotions. So that's one way of seeing it. In terms of shame, though, I mean, I go through it a lot. We talk a lot about it in the circles. I facilitate circles. I could talk about this, but shame is a really powerful constant for me. I feel it on a constant basis in our society. Like, it's not just somebody calling you a name or overtly putting you down. I feel that kind of energy from people on a constant basis in their tone of voice. So the tone is there's a constant I'm better than you, or I'm comparing myself to you, or even, I talk about this idea of a point system. Like, somehow in our society, there's some weird point system where you get more points. If you get this degree or that degree, or if you are tall or if you are like it's just weird. I don't know what that is. It makes absolutely no sense to me to have a point system because what points do you give if someone was depressed for three years and they decided to take a shower, like, do they get a point? Or what if I smile to my neighbor, do I get points? How are we doing this point system? This whole comparing each other, so bizarre point system, or this constant comparing between people, or every time someone speaks, like judging it as, oh, that's inferior, superior, acceptable, not acceptable. It really gets to people if we all live that way. And so in our group, one thing I try to do is right from the beginning of it, we drop. I ask everyone to introduce themselves actually with the titles. And I have a title that's lawyer. So that's like high on the point system, typically. So I ask everyone to introduce themselves with their titles and their usual introductions. And then we take a few moments and I invite everyone to drop it all. Like drop everything. We're going to drop our titles in this room. We're going to drop our kids, we're going to drop the dogs and the cat. We're going to drop everything and just be together to discuss these topics that we're doing. And it does absolute wonders at people opening up and feeling just at ease with each other, experiencing whatever they're experiencing. Some are experiencing pain, some are encouraging, some it doesn't really matter. It's just all honest. It's very hard to get past shame, given how I think our society currently operates. You don't really have to come from deep inside. You're going to have to really refuse and understand yourself in a deep way to realize that that information is just not correct.

[17:38] Debra Jones: Yeah, when you were talking about the circles and how you facilitate the circles, it reminded me of the red tent circles that I facilitate. And we do not even know each other's names. We show up. Right. And so you said, it doesn't matter if you're a wife or a mother or whatever, you don't bring that in. It's you and your essence. And magic happens. I know you recognize this because you've seen it before, but magic really does happen when you drop those judgments and expectations of yourself and of other people because, yes, if you were sitting in a circle with me, I wouldn't know that you're a lawyer, so I wouldn't give you all of those points that lawyers would gather. Right. And it doesn't matter at that point. We're all the same. We're just human beings. And that's a really great place to start. So you talked about the emotion piece is sort of just the beginning. And you talked about how if you can get past the beliefs because that's what the shame and the guilt is it's based on beliefs and it's based on judgment. And I always say to my clients, just drop the judgment, right? If we just drop the judgment, we'd be so much better off. It's not the easiest thing to do at all, but it is self care. It is a way to be kind to yourself. And in your book, you say that self love or self care isn't selfish. Would you like to share a little bit about that?

[19:15] Sandy Stream: Yeah. So in terms of what you're saying, the drop the judgments, it's a difficult thing for people to understand. What do you mean by how do I drop the judgments? They're just always there kind of for me, what happened. I'm not saying it's the same for everyone, and I don't remember who prompted me to do that, but not to worry so much about the thinking or the judgments, but to start actually moving into my body more in general. So as opposed to trying to fight the thinking, just build the body experience. So what I mean by that is to start to feel yourself. So whether it's a lot of meditation or you like heart chakra opening sounds or like whatever it is that feels that you feel your heart space, you feel your body, you feel your yoga, meditate, everything that's in the body, you'll start to just feel yourself more. And when you're talking about self care and self love, when you do a lot of feeling in yourself, in your heart especially, and I don't mean that as a wishy washy term. I mean that literally in the heart space, you start to feel for yourself more, and you understand yourself more, and you feel your goodness. Kind of you can understand yourself, right? Like, oh, that's why I did that. And I'm not bad, I'm good. Maybe I made mistakes, or maybe I'm learning. And you actually start to feel your own goodness when you understand yourself like that. And I think that's shame could dissipate when you feel the truth, basically the truth being your own deep goodness that will kind of unravel those thoughts that might be going around. And we're not taught to do that right. Anytime we're focusing on ourself, whether it be okay, I want to focus myself, see how I feel. I want to focus on myself, take care of myself, or I don't want to go for the dinner, I'm too tired. Well, again, this guilt stuff has been taught that that's selfish or taking care of yourself is selfish. But at this point, anyways, I don't think I felt it so clearly before. But at this point, for me, it's not only not selfish, it's your absolute responsibility to take care of yourself. That is your responsibility to do in this world. And so not doing it is not doing your responsibilities for yourself. So I would even turn it extremely the other way. But don't no guilty about what like if you can't or you're having a hard time doing it? No, never guilt, because you would just understand. No, it's hard for me to do it because I haven't learned to because this because that you have to know yourself. Nobody knows you as you know yourself. But it is not something to feel guilty about if you're taking care of yourself. I mean, do you feel guilty when you take care of your kids? 

[22:14] Debra Jones: Exactly.You know, when you were talking about feeling into your heart space, I was reminded of the Heart Math Institute, and they have a guide that all you need to do is to actually put your fingertips at your heart and maybe just feel it, like, feel the texture of your skin, maybe even tap it a little bit. And I found for myself that if I am in my head or if I'm in guilt or I'm trying to work through something and I'm not in my body, I'm not feeling it just by putting my hand on my heart. And just coming back to that sensation just quietens the mind and allows me to get back in touch with me. The goodness of me. It's all out of love.

[23:05] Sandy Stream: Right.

[23:05] Debra Jones: Even though somebody might judge it as otherwise. Right. So that's what I found really useful is the physical. Touching your heart space brings your attention because whenever you're feeling something in your fingers, that's where your emotion goes. When you're feeling something, that's where your attention goes. So that's what you're focused on, the actual physical heart. 

[23:27] Sandy Stream: Yeah.

[23:29] Debra Jones: It's beautiful. And so in your book, you also talk about getting love from the inside versus the outside. What did you learn about that?

[23:39] Sandy Stream: I learned about many things that I was and maybe others also. We spend a lot of time trying to get many things, I think, from the outside. They're actually available to us from the inside. So not only love, but other things, approval. So that takes up a lot of people's time if you're looking for approval always from outside instead of looking at it from the inside. Right. So I could, for example, decide, you know what, Debra? You get to decide if I'm good or not, or you get to approve of me or not. I could do that or I could not do that. Right. And keep that in myself. So giving that to somebody else to do really is like when we talk about power, it's really giving it away to another human being as opposed to keeping it in yourself. In terms of approval, in terms of love, I also feel like this attempt to find people who may love you, although it's a beautiful thing to get loved. So I'm not putting that down. But if someone doesn't, then what does that mean? And are you able to find this feeling of love in yourself? So I don't know if it's a weird thing to say it's to yourself as if you're like two people, but it doesn't really matter what words we have. But can we find just that feeling in the self, I guess, by spending time again in the heart space or whatever works for you, and then realizing that we can really love ourselves very much and unconditionally, actually. So no matter what we do, no matter what we say, no matter what we mess up and we can still be understanding of it and loving about it and say, oh yeah, you messed up while you were overwhelmed, you were tired, maybe you can really be kind that way. And in my opinion, it's just very difficult to get that level of unconditional love from another human being, even if they're well intentioned, even if they're family, because unconditional is a pretty intense that's a pretty high level love. And only you know yourself so well to give it right to yourself. You're the only one who would know enough information to really give it so deeply, I think. And if another person hasn't reached the point where they love themselves so much anyways, it's very hard for people to do it for someone else. So to expect others to give you unconditional love when they don't love themselves yet is really not realistic, in my view anyways. Maybe in the future, if people really love themselves unconditionally, I think they are able to offer it to others, but that person has to arrive there first, right? Like, how would you love someone else unconditionally if you don't love yourself unconditionally? It doesn't really make sense. So realistically and practically speaking, it is, at least in my experience, perfectly realistic and possible to love yourself unconditionally. And it's something that you can end up offering somewhat of to others eventually because you're full now. So when you're offering love, it's more like spilling from yourself as opposed to depleting something you don't even have. Do you know what I mean? Like you have a 10% and somehow hard to describe that way. What do you think?

[27:11] Debra Jones: Well, I read something the other day, and it was the difference between caregiving and caretaking. And it's interesting because caretaking and caregiving, they kind of mean the same thing, but they actually don't. And caregiving is the part that you've just described, is that you've got the love inside of you so that you can give it away to somebody else. It doesn't deplete you because you're already full and caretaking. You're getting something out of doing it. So you're not actually taking that love within you and sharing it with someone else. You're actually trading something by caretaking.

[27:55] Sandy Stream: Yeah, and again, it's not to criticize it, but if we're always, let's say, doing things for others to feel like, oh, if I do this, okay, I'm a good person. If I do that, I'm a good person. So if we're honest about it, we're not really doing it fully for the other person, right? Part of it is so that I feel like a good person. Right? And so the question is, why do you need to do something to feel like a good person? Why could you just do nothing? And that's where our society does not give that message that you can absolutely sit down, do absolutely nothing ever. And there's nothing wrong inner feeling of goodness, there's nothing it's not affected by what you do at all. And so it's a bit of a flip from the usual way of how you're deemed a good person if you do this and then this and this. So we're always seeking, okay, what should I do? What should I do to get these points of I don't know what again, these weird points, I don't know where they are. I love it. Yeah. Invention. It is.

[29:03] Debra Jones: It's been a diversion for us. And I really love the last point that you made. We should be putting it on T shirts. We should be spouting that out to everybody, is that you're good enough? It's that not feeling good enough unless you do this or do that or make yourself less or make yourself small, or all of those things. So that kind of leads me to the idea of how can we help each other? We are a community of people, and we thrive in community. And of course, the last few years we've been separating from community. I know everybody is feeling good when they do get together with people. Myself, when I reconnect with some friends, and we actually just get to share ideas and thoughts, and it's very enriching. And so the idea of the courage circle, which is what you talk about in the book, and it's what you do with others, so you say people need to be in groups and we need to belong. And you encourage the creation of courage circles. Well, what is a courage circle?

[30:15] Sandy Stream: Courage circle originally was just mine, like I said, where I found my courage. But then once I wrote the book, I suggested in the book, if people want to get together and talk, I try to not make it something like just to belong to the circle, even though it's important, I guess, that feeling of belonging. Because I do personally feel like the most important thing to realize is that we all belong everywhere anyway. So I'm a bit hesitant to make things into more groups where you're insulated and not realizing the bigger picture. So nothing wrong with groups, obviously, but realizing that, no, regardless of the group, we are still in the bigger group of humanity in that aspect. I just wanted to say that about the belonging, but in terms of the circles. So in a couple of yoga studios in Montreal, I started facilitating a space where I didn't know what I was going to do at first. But we sit around, like I said, we let go of our titles. A bit, and then we take a few minutes to demonstrate what is listening. And that takes time because I think a lot of people have not even experienced that. So I ask someone, can you just share anything about do you want to do this now, Debra? Do you want me to I'll say I'll ask anyone in the group, can you share just something? And then I'll demonstrate three different types of listening. So, Debra, if you would be the person, are you willing to just share whatever it could be anything about?

[31:42] Debra Jones: Well, yeah, sure. I'd like to share that. I really love having these kinds of conversations, and when I am by myself, I'm with my own thoughts. And so I really do like combining minds and thoughts and creating something new out of it.

[32:01] Sandy Stream: Okay, so you just shared something, right. And for me, I really try to keep my head always focused on what is true. So it's not only about being nice, but what's true. So that in our world, we feel like we're in reality and we're not lost and confused the more we focus on what's true. And so you just express something. So one way of people listening, so there's three, the way I separated them. So the first one, if we imagine ourselves as a human mirror, the first person they do what you can call gaslighting or dismissive or anything else, literally put the mirror down. Like, that didn't even exist, whatever you said it's like, whatever. So that person might say, oh, yeah, really? I mean, I really like to talk about I like to talk to people, too, because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What you just said didn't even exist, basically, right? What you just said, I go on to something else or I ignore it or whatever. Who cares? Or something in that tone. So that's common. It's like a regular way people supposedly listen, right? Very unhealthy and over time, very damaging to us because it gets us confused. That is something wrong with me because I keep saying something, but it's like it's not really real in the eyes of the other person that I speak to. So I'd be very careful being in relationships where there's a lot of dismissive or gaslighting behavior. Second type, I would call it more like the fixing energy. So the person lifts the mirror again, the reflecting the truth mirror, but then they see something of what you said, but then they kind of put it down right away, and they want to fix the situation, right? So they might say, like, oh, really? Do you get in your head sometimes? Okay, you know what I do when I get in my head? Like, the best thing you could do, just put your hands in cold water and whatever. Or also, best thing you could do, like, I know this really amazing therapist, blah, blah, blah, whatever. So they want to fix the situation very quickly because usually they're not comfortable with anyone having emotions or maybe they don't have whatever reasons is in them usually. Or they want to give advice to seem really smart. So right away it comes back very fast like oh yeah, he should do this and whatever. And I have to still catch myself, I have to say, I mean, that was my way a lot, what I had learned, right, I'm not hard on myself. It's what I had learned in my life. So it's something I really try to be very conscious to not do all the time. So that also doesn't count in my world as healthy listening. Because constantly having to fix someone so you express something that wasn't too deep, difficult or whatever. But what if you had expressed like, I'm really sad about whatever. I'm like, oh really? Okay, then the best thing you should go do this, go do so you're constantly giving the message like something's wrong with your feelings, something's wrong with what you do. We need to fix this every time. And that is in my view, this subtle shaming that's happening all the time in our conversations with one another. And then the third type of listening. So I demonstrated again, someone literally just shared in the room. So everyone's like witnessing it, it's not just theoretical would be to truly listen. So truly listen would be just to be a clean mirror and to say something like for you it sounds like you find that sometimes you get a little bit too much in your own thoughts as well. And that having somebody to bounce things back and forth with or share and get kind of real or intimate with helps to bring you back into your body and feeling state and connecting or something. So you're really enjoying that, is that right?

[35:49] Debra Jones: Absolutely, yeah. That's actually the truest reflection of what I had said. And yes, it's not trying to fix, it's not trying to shame, it's not trying to dismiss, but it's actually I know that you heard what I said by what you repeated back to me as the clean mirror.

[36:14] Sandy Stream: And there's nothing wrong with what you feel whatsoever, right? And so if we do that to each other and allow each person to speak honestly, basically, right, because you just spoke honestly, all you did was say the truth. That's all you did, right? This is a truth. So if each person is now allowed to speak the truth of what's going on inside them, for example, and not get dismissed or shamed or this and that, then they end up opening up even more. Like if you do that, number three, they open more, they share more, people are now connected, they're more intimate together. And then that is like truer connection than maybe the artificial connection that a lot of people are looking. They think that that's going to feel like connection, but this is the real connection. Where each person could just be honest and open and not controlling each other or trying to tell each other what to do or what to feel or what to be. That is actually a deeper connecting way. So we do that in this I do this demonstration every single time. It takes about whatever, five, seven minutes. So we drop our title, we do listening, so we understand what listening is and then we discuss a different topic. Every single week we do a different topic of discussion and everyone I start just to get the conversation going, but then everyone goes around and talks about their experience or point of view. Sometimes people interact and say things to each other, whatever, but it's a beautiful space because people are natural. It's just actually amazing because they're honest, they're open and it's respectful. Like there's nowhere else in the world that I know like that myself. I never lived this anywhere else where you can have a group of people of all ages and races and titles and whatever else all sitting together, talking about what their current experiences and thoughts are being open about. It sometimes sharing pretty deeply, all strangers, pretty much. I mean there's repeated people. So it's a wonderful experience for me too, because it feels sane, feels healthy, it feels normal actually. The rest doesn't feel normal.

[38:29] Debra Jones: I love it. Well, we need things like the courage circle and that's exactly what happens in the red tent too. We actually do learn to listen and have one conversation instead of separate conversations, which basically means that the person that's talking on the other side, it's not relevant enough. So I'm going to start my own conversation. So there's all these little dynamics here that if we learn to do things in different ways, as you said, it's healthier and we all grow. When one heals, all are healed. And I think you mentioned that in your book too. So then if people are curious about how to find their own courage, I do recommend getting your book because again, it's an easy read and I love the contents list because you can just go down the contents list and pick the phrase that relates to the way you're feeling. That's what I did when I first got the book and it's like, oh, that's what I needed to hear. That was really cool. If people are interested in maybe even starting a courage circle, what do you recommend? Where do they start?

[39:35] Sandy Stream: So I've been facilitating these in person until this week. And then this week two people said, well why don't you try online? And I was like, no, online is not person. And I've been so determined that things have to be in person, but I decided to try it because it is possible. Maybe it won't be the same, but it will be still interesting. And so I did start to post to do online circles. And what I'm hoping or envisioning. It didn't happen yet, but it's in my mind and then eventually in reality, is to try to create them in different physical locations. Even if I can't be there, I can do online. But what happened in my circle is that the group started to get together afterwards without me and the circle around, which is so beautiful, because now you have people you're getting together with that are respectful, open and listening. A group, which is such a wonderful thing, like really connecting that way. I booked to start online circles in a few different spots, but I would keep them separate physically, not try to do all the online together. Because again, to encourage people eventually to meet in person themselves after, whatever, I can help facilitate that by setting a place or whatever. Even if I can't come where they can actually meet in person afterwards, I think that would be super cool. So if somebody wants to contact me or help me start one in their area too, that would be cool. It's not hard to do meetup, it's very well organized and to do these things, but if someone's interested, they can do that. Or they could join the online one for now that I've set up in Montreal and Toronto. By the way, I just set it up last week and you just go on my website, which is www.thecouragecircle.com, and join the free meetup and we'll see how it goes.

[41:41] Debra Jones: If you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show. I need your help to keep bringing you quality episodes. Go to www.OwnTheGrey.ca to become a supporter for the price of a coffee. I'm so grateful to you.