332. Higher Love: Relationship RoundTable W/ Alyson Charles, Stefanos Sifandos, & Christine Hassler

Alyson Charles, Stefanos Sifandos, & Christine Hassler

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

A heart-to-heart with Christine Hassler, Stefanos Sifandos, and my partner Alyson Charles, about the journey of finding yourself and your significant other.

Christine Hassler is a Master coach, facilitator, and speaker with over 15 years of experience. She is the best-selling author of three books, most recently “Expectation Hangover: Free Yourself From Your Past, Change your Present and Get What you Really Want" and is the host of the top-rated podcast "Over it and On With It,” where she coaches people live on the show. Christine is known globally for her ability to identify what is holding someone back and compassionately guide them to clarity. She also works with companies and organizations to increase the productivity and decrease the stress of their employees. Christine has a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology and implements elements of NLP, psychology, spirituality, science and a lot of her own diverse life experience into her work.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

There is a lot of love in the room today! 

This is my first-ever roundtable with a trio of guests, and the chemistry seriously flowed. So you’ll want to grab a snack before you tuck into this bountiful episode featuring personal life coach Christine Hassler, relationship alchemist Stefanos Sifandos, and Rock-Star Shaman Alyson Charles (who is also my fiancé).

Join our couple clan as we delve into the origins of our relationship with our significant others and the emotional untangling we had to go through before we could show up in our relationships in a healthy way.

What we all found is that calling in the right relationship isn’t an external exercise — it’s an internal one.You have to crack yourself open, letting the childhood programming and shame bleed out before you can rewire your brain to sit in true worth and authentic power. Once you’ve found that person(s), it’s a whole new ballgame of juggling your own projections and expectations with that of another person and praying to the universe they’ll provide that space for the real you.

It took all of us many years to get to this space, but hopefully, this episode will be a short-cut to getting you where you want to be —whether that’s in a relationship or flying solo — a little faster. 

10:28 — Creating Relationship Alchemy 

Moving from chaos to clarity within yourself

The origins of Christine and Stefano’s relationship

How Alyson and I moved from friends to divine partnership

Healing codependency, childhood trauma, and toxic relationship patterns 

Examining self-abandonment

29:41 — Emotional Unavailability

Unavailable fathers, unavailable partners

Dysfunctional relationships

Building self-availability 

Moving away from avoidant dynamics

Celibacy, sexuality, and journey to self-validation

The peyote ceremony that changed everything 

Surrendering to the universe

55:06 — Abandonment Issues 

Leaning into love 

Why shadow work and  grieving is so important

Trauma patterns

Divine timing

01:14:40 — Finding Sovereignty From Within

Honoring singlehood as a rite of passage

Celibacy as a means to self-discovery

The moment you know you’re being authentic 

Feeling ‘at home’ with someone 

The tools that helped us get here 

01:33:36 — Conflict Resolution 

Masculine/feminine forms of expression

Holding a container for someone else

Practicing self-awareness

Celebrating differences and choosing battles

Breaking down arguments post-argument

Parenting your own inner-child during a conflict

Freedom through commitment

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

[00:00:00]Luke Storey:  I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Four people in a conversation, the first time ever on the Life Stylist podcast.

[00:00:29]Stefanos Sifandos:  Oh, that's cool.

[00:00:30]Christine Hassler:  Okay.

[00:00:31]Luke Storey:  Yeah. So, I'm really, really excited to have you two here. As you know, your lovely wife, Christine, was on the show solo the other day.

[00:00:38]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yes.

[00:00:38]Luke Storey:  And I feel like we really got into the depth of your work. I got a really good sense of who you are and what you do in that conversation, so thank you for that. 

[00:00:47]Christine Hassler:  I loved that conversation. Thank you.

[00:00:48]Luke Storey:  Thanks. And we had to—or I chose rather to divert from relationship topics, even though there were some good nuggets kind of emerge. And I said, no, let's wait, let's wait. Let's wait until your partner is here, and of course, my lovely Alyson is here for this thing. We could call this perhaps our first co-hosts show. 

[00:01:05]Alyson Charles:  If you would like. 

[00:01:06]Luke Storey:  Yeah, my co-host. Let's do this.

[00:01:08]Alyson Charles:  I mean, I will take the role, but I did not tune in to crafting the cohosting questions.

[00:01:14]Christine Hassler:  I think they will just come through you. I don't think you need to prepare at all.

[00:01:19]Alyson Charles:  I so agree. Okay. Alright. Here we go.

[00:01:19]Luke Storey:  Alright. So, first thing I'm going to ask Stefanos is what is a relational alchemist?

[00:01:24]Stefanos Sifandos:  Do you like the name, Luke? 

[00:01:25]Luke Storey:  What's that? 

[00:01:25]Stefanos Sifandos:  Do you like that title?

[00:01:26]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I do.

[00:01:28]Stefanos Sifandos:  Cool. Getting a mix of, what is it? Like get confused, why do you even have that title? Doesn't make any sense. Some people really love it.

[00:01:33]Luke Storey:  No, I love it, and especially because I know how hard it is to name your secret sauce. And I have not, in the five years that I've been doing this, been able to successfully say what it is I do.

[00:01:45] So, I know what it is, but I don't know how to name it. So, I like that. So, what does that mean to you?

[00:01:48]Stefanos Sifandos:  To me, it means, it's very personal for me, because I looked at my life, and I looked at where I wasn't happy, and I wasn't experiencing the things that I wanted to experience. And how could transform those things? How could I make them different? How could I move from pain into even just simple pleasure? How could I move from literally chaos that I was experiencing into greater forms of clarity?

[00:02:13] And so, the relationship part came from me just being deeply connected to everything in life, including myself, including the shadows and the difficulty that I was traversing at that place in my life at that time. And also, what do I actually do in the world? How do I help people? And I just help them move from essentially an undesirable place to a desirable place. And that's really what the alchemy piece is, around relationality or relationships.

[00:02:39]Luke Storey:  And so, would you say that it is, because when I read it, I do think relational is relation to other people, but as you just described it, I mean, our entire perception of our reality is based on our relationship to our experience and how we perceive what it is that's going on, right?

[00:02:56]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. So, primarily, to self. In this context, to self, to one's vision or purpose, what's really important to them, to romantic partnership, to a sacred union, to being in relationship with other people, to our relationship to our past, to our present, to our future, just the big things that matter in life. How do we transform? When we're in an undesirable place in relation to that, how do we make it better?

[00:03:21]Alyson Charles:  I really love that you do this work and I'm learning about you for the first time. And I really respect that because I'm already reflecting back to when I was in some of the most fiery, anguishing, in some respects, moments in my life. The further I got on the path, the more I don't call those experiences in anymore, but when they would come in, and I was deep enough on the path, I would then know, oh, there's something really big and important to be worked with here. And if I can just ride with this pain, fear, whatever I was facing in that, if I can be with it in the most centered, healthiest way that I can, I know I can alchemize this into something massive that can change my life. And once I started to learn how to be an alchemist, it's really important work. 

[00:04:20]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. And the interesting part about that for me as well is, yes, we want to move from an undesirable side to desirable side, however, to really integrate that and to do that in an authentic way where the patterns don't keep repeating themselves, we have to sit in that stuff. We have to connect to it. We have to understand it. We have to feel it to free ourselves. And so, a part of that alchemical process is being into deeper union with whatever it is that we're tending to transmute and change.

[00:04:47]Luke Storey:  How did you two meet since we're going to be talking about relationships and all? 

[00:04:52]Christine Hassler:  We'll give you the short version of a very long story. Do you want me to start or do you want to start? 

[00:04:56]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. You tend to tell it, so I'll just slip in every now and then.

[00:05:00]Christine Hassler:  That's true. You either give too many details or not enough details.

[00:05:04]Stefanos Sifandos:  That's part of my extreme personality. 

[00:05:06]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, he's the extremes and I'm like center. 

[00:05:09]Alyson Charles:  Sounds familiar.

[00:05:11]Luke Storey:  I actually just make up details of the story that I can't remember.

[00:05:14]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. And then I'm like, what are you talking about? That didn't happen. He's like, oh.

[00:05:18]Christine Hassler:  But he made it sound better.

[00:05:19]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. 

[00:05:20]Christine Hassler:  Anyways, so okay. The short version of the long story is I was living in Ensenada, San Diego. He was living in Perth, Australia. I was in a weird transition where I had moved out to San Diego, was in my dream house on the beach, but had to leave. My landlord was like, you need to leave after a year. And so, I was nomad, and I spent time in Australia, and I was traveling all around. But then, finally, I came back to San Diego, and I was like, I'm too old to be a digital native or whatever.

[00:05:48] I need grounding. I need roots. I need a home. So, I went over to my friend's house because they were moving out of their house. And places in San Diego go quick when they're on the market. So, I was going to take over their lease if I liked the house. And so, I looked around and I'm sitting and eating dinner with my friend while her husband's working on his computer just a few feet away. And he said, hey, Christine, I'm working on this new startup, this web startup, and I need a picture of someone sitting at the computer pretending to use it.

[00:06:16]Alyson Charles:  This is good already. I don't know where it's going, but I like this.

[00:06:20]Christine Hassler:  So, I go over to sit down and pretend like I'm using this startup. And on the screen are the founders of the website, his picture being one of them. And so, there are like six or eight people on the screen probably. 

[00:06:34]Stefanos Sifandos:  At that time, yeah.

[00:06:35]Christine Hassler:  And I see his picture, and it wasn't like, oh, my God, he's so hot. Like it was more a soul recognition. Yes, I found him attractive, and it was also, I know him, he's familiar. He was so familiar to me. And so, I asked my friend, who is that guy? And he said his name, Stefanos Sifandos. And I was like, that's a name you don't forget, that he lived in Perth, and I was like, oh, I've just been in Australia, I'm over Australian blokes, like forget it. She said, well, he's really great. And I go, I don't know, he lives in Australia. And she said, but you're both going to be in Estonia at the same time. We're both going to be in Europe at the same time, for mine, having a conference.

[00:07:11]Stefanos Sifandos:  A few months later.

[00:07:12]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, about three months later. So, she's like, there's no harm in meeting him or introducing because you're going to meet him eventually. So, I said, okay, on one condition, because I had had a pattern of dating, just not ready for commitment, guys. And I was in a place where I was really ready for sacred union, conscious coupling, like I'd done a lot of work and I wanted a relationship. I didn't want to just date. And so, I said to my friend, ask him if he's commitment-minded. 

[00:07:38] Like ask him if he's ready for a serious relationship. And so, she did. She phrased it way more eloquently than I did. And his answer was yes. And she introduced us over email. And then, he, which I really appreciated, as a man, took the lead and responded first, which was so refreshing for me because it seemed like men had forgotten how to lead in a lot of ways and I found myself kind of having to do that. And so, he reached out, and we just started a relationship over WhatsApp, and really got to know each other. I mean, it's amazing how well you can get to know someone when there's no physical and sexual.

[00:08:15] We really went for it and asked each other funny questions to really deep questions, like what's your deepest wounding with your mother and your father? Like do you want an open relationship or do you want monogamy? Like have you ever been unfaithful? We really went into it. So, by the time we met in Europe, we ended up meeting a week earlier in Mykonos. We were pretty much already in love without ever—we didn't know how the other one smelled. We didn't know if we had any physical chemistry. But I think we could kind of tell, couldn't we? Even over video, like there was-

[00:08:48]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah, we can tell, there's synergy there. You can tell that. And we were both very real to the point that I, whilst we're deepening our connection, our union, and all of that, we do need to physically meet to determine what are the next steps. It's just an important part of the bonding process is the physical contact. Obviously, it's evolutionary. I mean, that's why we're all here today. But I arrived, I remember arriving very clearly, like I was just arriving in Mykonos, and arriving at a hotel room, and just opening the door, and having a hug, and it just felt at home. 

[00:09:19]Christine Hassler:  At 9:00 AM, it was an awkward time to meet, but yeah. 

[00:09:25]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. Just felt like home. It felt very much where we both needed to be. We moved in together that day.

[00:09:32]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, it was not awkward at all. Like our first kiss was not awkward. We didn't even discuss getting separate rooms. It was like, boom, we're done.

[00:09:40]Alyson Charles:  Yeah.

[00:09:42]Luke Storey:  So, that's so funny. I've interviewed another couple that had that, oh, we just knew thing, and moved really fast, and got married really fast. And I think this is one of the things that we really—well, maybe not so much Alyson, that I really was thrown by was the immediacy and speed with which our union came together. Because in the past, if it had been fast in those ways, like moving in fast, being exclusive, all that stuff happened fast, it always ended up blowing over my face, and for all intents and purposes, God bless the partners that I'm referring to, was a train wreck, just like, wow, bad move. Bad move, too fast.

[00:10:22]Alyson Charles:  I think the difference, though, is our fast track was fast-tracking in different ways than you fast-tracked before.

[00:10:30]Luke Storey:  Yes. It was not fast-tracking the shagging. 

[00:10:33]Alyson Charles:  Right. Yeah. We became a couple before ever being intimate and we were honestly just trying to keep up with God, you know what I mean? Once, because we had been friends, and then once, he took the lead, so I really also know that feeling of respecting that, being like, oh, thank God. 

[00:10:51]Christine Hassler:  I can relax and being with feminine.

[00:10:52]Luke Storey:  Yeah, finally. What is that, the thing guys don't do?

[00:10:58]Christine Hassler:  No.

[00:10:59]Stefanos Sifandos:  Oh, man.

[00:11:01]Alyson Charles:  You guys maybe need to put on your own workshop or something. But yeah, when he expressed his interest in me and took the reins, once that was expressed and that doorway was open, we just got ushered, I felt like, by God, got us into this other river, and then that river, that current took us, and we were with it, but at times, just trying to keep up with it, like, oh, now, it's taking us here, now, we're going here, now, we're sitting this here, and doing this, and being married in a teepee, and, oh, but we're not even a couple, but we're being married right now, and, oh. It was just like all of these wildly divine occurrence. So, that, it was fast in a different way, I think, is the difference.

[00:11:41]Christine Hassler:  And you are living in LA and New York, weren't you?

[00:11:44]Alyson Charles:  Correct. And the only game changer, again, because I was laughing when you said the Australian thing because his thing was the New York thing. He was like, I've done that, it was not a good situation, and I was in Brooklyn. So, that's why it was always a no. Even though he had felt something in all the years we've been friends, it was an automatic no because I resided in New York City.

[00:12:05] So, I've been bicoastal, finally said to him on one of the trips, hey, I'm in town, in LA, if you want to grab a tea, like usually, we try to do. And he said, well, what are you in town for? And I said, actually, nothing. I'm not filming anything. I'm not taking any meetings. I'm activating life because I'm officially going to move here. And then, that's what gave him the permission to then have that exact conversation that I just referenced.

[00:12:27]Luke Storey:  Green light.

[00:12:28]Alyson Charles:  Yeah, green light.

[00:12:30]Luke Storey:  Is that why when we we had tea that day, you seem so shocked when I switched gears? This is like, are guys not that direct normally or is it just because we had been friends and you just weren't expecting that pivot?

[00:12:43]Alyson Charles:  I think it was both. But I will say, I don't know, I haven't thought about this in a long time, but I was single and celibate for many, many, many years. And I don't recall. I could be in some sort of denial or illusion around it, but I don't recall being approached. I don't recall men very often coming to me and expressing interest. That didn't really happen that much.

[00:13:11] And so, there's that piece of it. And then, yes, the surprise of knowing you for four years, and working together in different ways on panels and whatnot, and I just did not know that you were ever attracted to me. So, that was a surprise, to the point where when he said it, he's like, I don't know if you know, but I've always been interested in you, then I went a little glitchy in my head.

[00:13:33]Luke Storey:  It was hilarious. She was just like [making sounds] , does in a computer.

[00:13:37]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. It was like, did I just hear? I was having like all these different realities happening at once, and I was like, did I just hear him say that? But then, I realized he was saying that. And yeah, it was a really funny, and beautiful, and powerful moment. Yeah, it was very nice.

[00:13:54]Luke Storey:  Christine, you mentioned that you had been attracted to unavailable men. What do you think the pattern was that kept that going? As a former professional unavailable man, I'm curious.

[00:14:07]Christine Hassler:  I think it was a few things. I think it was some co-dependency playing out. A little bit of I can fix you, I can save you, my love can open your heart. So, there was that part of it. There was also some wounding from middle school to high school of never being the girl the guys liked. And so, I would go over after that archetype of charismatic, maybe not diagnosable narcissistic, but some narcissistic traits.

[00:14:35]Stefanos Sifandos:  Traits or tendencies.

[00:14:37]Christine Hassler:  And guys that were just still in the energy of kind of playing the field. And I think it was just my own unresolved stuff around not feeling enough, not feeling worthy, not feeling desirable. So, I would go after the men who were desirable to most women and kind of had that like thing going on.

[00:14:57]Stefanos Sifandos:  What do you say? What are you saying, that I'm not desirable?

[00:15:00]Christine Hassler:  You're so desirable in both a healthy and a hot way, my love, in all the good ways. 

[00:15:05]Luke Storey:  You got a hot guy. He's a good-looking dude.

[00:15:07]Christine Hassler:  I do. And people would tell me when I would say what I was looking for in a partner, and I describe it, and they're like, oh, you're not going to find a conscious guy, who's also hot, who's like heart is open, who's also masculine, who's around your age. Like people basically told me I had to marry someone like 60 or above, who like what's kind of more Beta and was more of an artistic type. And I was like, that's terrible advice. That's not what I want at all. 

[00:15:33] So, I think I went also the other extreme of like the wounded 14-year-old, 15-year-old younger girl who never felt like the cool guys liked her, she was picking. And that's one thing I've learned over time with relationships, different ages and different wounds, I've picked different partners. Whenever I've needed to heal at the time, being an issue with my mother or my father, or what happened at eight, or 14, or whatever, even though I thought it was my conscious self, like my present day self picking, I was attracting from a certain age or a certain wound.

[00:16:06] So, I eventually got to the point where I got frustrated enough with it. I ended up breaking my right foot in Australia. And something about fracturing a toe in my right foot woke me up to, I'm like walking in the wrong direction, like I'm moving towards the wrong type of man. And I got really clear about what I wanted. That's why I was able to ask that question of my friend, like is he available? Like please ask him because that's the other thing I learned about men. They're either ready or they're not.

[00:16:38] I mean, that's a generalized statement, but I think women tend to be open to relationship a lot of the time unless we're consciously taking a break, which I did as well. But men, it's the switch that goes on in a lot of ways, where it's like, okay, I'm ready. Like I'm ready for that kind of commitment. And I learned that the hard way. So, when he said he was, yes, ready for commitment, he had played the field and done all of that, there was a certain, I could relax a little bit, because I was like, alright, he's done all the things that he needs to do and he's really ready. I don't have to convince him to be ready.

[00:17:11]Luke Storey:  Stef, were you ever in the unavailable guy archetype? Like had you attempted to open your heart before Christine fully? 

[00:17:23]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. That's a partner that I was with before Christine. And I think for me, the availability piece really comes down to truth. Can you be very honest, as honest as you can be with respect to what you have access to within yourself, with yourself and with your partner? And really, in previous partnerships, besides the one before Christine, and then I had some time off, I had space as well after that relationship before I even met Christine, but every one of my relationships is very dishonest.

[00:17:52] I was very unavailable. I would present to be available, present to want something, and these were coming from my own fears, my own insecurities, my own unresolved, unattended to fears from childhood, which is what Christine was speaking about earlier around these big dynamics that happen in our lives. And sometimes, I just come to the surface of our awareness as adults and we almost want to heal them again. So, we'll attract very similar circumstances that bring them in.

[00:18:18] But usually, we're not consciously aware of it that we can actually work with it. And that was me. I was just not able to work with my stuff until I hit a snag in the road or I hit rock bottom really hard a number of years ago. And that woke me up to the fact that how I was behaving was coming from a lot of trauma, and fear, and unresolved trauma at that. And so, I was very unavailable because I was unavailable to myself. I was unwilling to explore my own pain, my own traumas, my own shadows, unwilling to take responsibility for them.

[00:18:53] And therefore, I was moving through the world with arrogance, with ego, with fear, with projection. I would blame and shame other people. I wouldn't take responsibility for the choices that I was making, or if I was angry, I was abrasive, I was protective, I was really armored in my heart. But with Christine, I mean, two things. One, I'd really done enough work to really recognize, okay, here's where I can change and here's where I need to open up more.

[00:19:20] And Christine provided the very safe environment, nonjudgmental and compassionate, and couple that with her intuition to see beyond that, to not react to my pain that didn't cycle and keep looping each other's pain. And then, I would be able to go, oh, this is mine, let me lead through this right now, and I'll be able to own that with her, and then say, give me a day, give me two days, give me an hour, or whatever, or, hey, I think I need you to work through this.

[00:19:43] This is a thing that we get to do together. And I have had that awareness before. Like I knew this stuff intellectually because I've been studying this psychology, and behavior, and people for many years, but it wasn't integrated, it wasn't embodied. And so, it was all about what everyone else was doing, but not what I could do for myself. And so, the unavailability piece played a really big role in my life and it destroyed my relationships. Like it was very challenging to be in relationship because I would never own my stuff.

[00:20:18]Christine Hassler:  I think a lot of women too go for that emotionally unavailable guy because most women had emotionally unavailable fathers. Especially if you think about women in their late 20s, 30s, 40s, our fathers were of the generation where it was hold everything inside, provide. It wasn't really okay for men to have their heart open. And it wasn't a conversation really men were having. So, I think that plays into it, too.

[00:20:45] Like boys didn't have emotionally available dad, so they learned how to close their heart, not be available. And then, women saw those emotionally unavailable dad and just have been craving that love. And so, it's a pattern that I think—because we work with a lot of women who are calling in relationships, and it's one of the most common things that we see, is going after the emotionally unavailable, not ready for commitment, heart shut down type of thing. And a lot of it is tied to dad as well.

[00:21:12]Luke Storey:  Yeah, that makes sense. Did you ever have that pattern?

[00:21:15]Alyson Charles:  Yes, indeed I did. Yeah. I was just kind of reflecting on what my situations were. I think, yeah, my stuff, what keeps coming up for me that I think I dipped into was more the imprinting cellularly and the neural pathways that just got so there within my being that I really had to watch even while I was really evolving and getting pretty darn deep, deep, deeper on the path, it took me a long time to develop trust in myself regarding going on dates.

[00:21:55] And I think in the beginning of my celibacy, the celibacy was probably there more out of unconscious fear and protection than anything, then it morphed more into like something else, a different kind of celibacy. But I think, yeah, just that addictive. I dealt with a lot of codependent stuff. And the previous long term relationship I was in was almost 20 years. It was over 16 years, and it was just highly dysfunctional, and at times, abusive in various natures. 

[00:22:33] And seeing that someone like me could get into that kind of situation for so long, I really had to take the time to learn to trust myself, to make healthy relationship decisions. And thank God I found my way with that. And it's truly a miracle, honestly, that I am with you and got to this place because I came from just polar opposite, just really unhealthy, gnarly, dishonoring, dishonoring of my own self, allowing myself to be dishonored in so many ways. And God bless that that younger part of me, younger soul of me.

[00:23:23] So, yeah, I really had to bust out of the addictive and neural pathway kinds of things, and trust in a new way forward. The last little test before Luke and I got together had to phone a friend. I was dating that guy again like "that", that was a big test, had all the things that I was calling in except for the the healthy, true, sacred stuff. He was the kind of person that most likely would never truly be able to see me, but he had all the old things going on, plus some new stuff on the list, just in terms of lifestyle and the house he lived in. It was very enticing. So, it was a big last test for me.

[00:24:08]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. Those are the integration tests.

[00:24:09]Alyson Charles:  Yes. And it was gnarly. And I had to call my best friend from back home in Indiana, and I was like, oh, my God, I can tell something big is happening, combusting here. And she's like, you're in your addiction test. Like that man represents your old addictions. And I can see this from the outside. So, I just had to like ignore all the texts, ignore all the calls, and just like cut myself off from that addiction. And then, right after that berthing of the new way, he and I got together.

[00:24:40]Luke Storey:  I like what you were saying, stuff about being available for yourself, that idea that you're willing to really have intimacy with yourself and to face whatever it is that comes up in that process. I think that was a really important part of my becoming available, was just gone off the market for 20 months or so and just really sitting with the discomfort of what it's like to not flirt, to not exchange a little like on Instagram, to not like-

[00:25:13]Stefanos Sifandos:  Nice feminine dot.

[00:25:14]Luke Storey:  Yeah, did she look at me in Starbucks? Well, I don't eat at Starbucks typically, but Air One, right? Air One is like the modeling agency of Los Angeles. I'm going to go meet a beautiful hippie girl, it's probably there, but just all that stuff, just like complete detox from any little [making sound] any hit. 

[00:25:31]Stefanos Sifandos:  Just coming in a deeper communion with your shame.

[00:25:33]Luke Storey:  Yeah. 

[00:25:34]Stefanos Sifandos:  That was what it was for me. And shame is something I think that we will always work through unless we're enlightened, which is I don't think very available to most people. But shame, man, shame just blocks so much, because for me, I couldn't touch my own shame, and therefore was so angry and frustrated like a toddler wanting to have a fit. I couldn't self-regulate that shame and I wouldn't go near it because I didn't feel safe enough to do so.

[00:26:09] And so, I would project it out or I would find avenues for relief and release, whether it was sex compulsion, love addiction with just whatever it was, drugs, high-intensity adrenaline addiction, whatever would relieve that frustration and tension of may not looking at my stuff. But when I really came face to face with my shame and it felt like coming very close to death in many respects, that's when I was able to be in deeper relationship with myself, be available to me, because now, I wasn't ostracizing parts of me. I wasn't seeing myself as this fractured being. I was actually seeing myself as whole, and loving all the parts, even the parts I didn't like. 

[00:26:52]Alyson Charles:  How did you start to do that work? Like what was your first step in really facing what you were feeling shameful about?

[00:26:59]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. So, for me, the catalyst was being in a relationship about seven years ago and that relationship coming to an end because she found out I was cheating on her and there was infidelity in that relationship. And a lot of it, there was prostitution, there was sex. I was being very deceitful. I was very much in my shadows. And that became a catalyst for really looking in the mirror at a deeper level, because I saw for the first time what my actions were doing to someone else, so it wasn't secret anymore. It wasn't in secrecy. It wasn't in the shadows.

[00:27:32] That brought up a lot of trauma from my past, memories started coming back to my own consciousness or awareness, and that brought up, moonshining me. I couldn't hide it this time. It was too big to shove in a knapsack, and it was too big and too heavy. And so, I had to deal with it. And so, I went really deep into that. I sought support. I work with shamans, and spiritual healers, and counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists. I went anywhere and everywhere. And I spent a lot of time by myself. I shut the world out. I just really made the decision to go deep because I knew I just couldn't keep living all that. It's very painful, too painful.

[00:28:06]Luke Storey:  It sounds like your cave time, Alyson, when you went into the the Brooklyn little vortex apartment you were telling me about. There's something interesting that happened early on with us, and I'd always been the unavailable one in the relationship. It was the avoidant addict dynamic, like over and over again, or maybe in many cases too, avoidance. And then, I started to become much more available because I became more available to myself and comfortable with myself. And when I met you, Alyson, you probably remember this too, but I was like, I think, telling you about—because you had been celibate for so long, these long periods, and I was like, there's this thing, sexual anorexia.

[00:28:54]Alyson Charles:  He's trying to like pin that on me. I was like, no, that's not it.

[00:28:58]Luke Storey:  I was filling it up because-

[00:29:00]Christine Hassler:  What is sexual anorexia? 

[00:29:01]Alyson Charles:  That was my question. 

[00:29:02]Stefanos Sifandos:  You never heard that?

[00:29:03]Christine Hassler:  No, I'm learning another-

[00:29:04]Luke Storey:  It's like when somebody just puts up walls because they've been hurt. And so, they just become unsexual. 

[00:29:11]Alyson Charles:  Feel safer to them to just not.

[00:29:11]Christine Hassler:  Just turn it off, got it.

[00:29:11]Luke Storey:  When a woman that looks like my lovely Alyson, but I just find that, how did you not have sex for that long? Because I know guys, like it's not that guys weren't trying. So, maybe I thought perhaps you were shut down or that you were unavailable. And it's just so funny to see how following my intuition, and my trust, and open communication about these things, like so funny to think that I had that as a possibility because you're just so available for whatever depth of intimacy, vulnerability, love I can go, you're there.

[00:29:49]Alyson Charles:  Oh, yeah. Yeah, always.

[00:29:54]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. It's interesting. Like we can maybe shut it out to other people, but that doesn't mean we don't shut it off inside ourselves. Now, because I went through a period of—I think we all have gone through a period of celibacy by choice. And I know that's when I went into deep exploration of my own sexuality because so much of my sexuality was based on who I was having sex with. And so, I think there's a way that we can maybe shut it off from the outside, but that doesn't mean we're shutting it off. In fact, we're even juicier and more turned on, because we're exploring that within ourselves and we're not looking for that validation. 

[00:30:27] Because I think that's something most of us have to encounter at some point, is how we're using sex as some form of validation, some form of, okay, I'm chosen or, oh, this person likes me, or okay, I can like relax because I'm attractive or whatever it is. And I think it disconnects us from our own relationship with our own sexuality because we're dependent on someone else validating that for us or giving us a pleasurable experience versus really being able to run men energy inside ourselves. That was a big part of it for me.

[00:30:56]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. I got to a place where I just knew, thank God, the self-honor, and self-worth, and self-love, and respect pieces through diligence and work on my part had grown, and grown, and grown, and grown to the place that I literally could not physically—it would be an impossibility for me to physically engage with someone who I knew was only seeing the meat suit. I knew that number one on my list is I had to be seen and honored as the full goddess magnificence, good witch, shaman queen, things that we all are.

[00:31:44] I needed to be seen on the soul, on the deepest soul levels. And you can tell if you get real honest with yourself, really real, you can tell very freaking quickly if that person, where they're at. And so, yeah, I just couldn't, so it would just laser through. Like the little bit of dating that I did do is just like such a quick, no, keep it moving. No, keep it moving. I'm 41 now, right? It's like as I was getting older, the lasering just got faster, and faster, and faster.

[00:32:16]Christine Hassler:  Got quicker and quicker, yeah. Yeah. The bullshit meter definitely gets better.

[00:32:19]Alyson Charles:  Oh, my God, really highly attuned.

[00:32:21]Luke Storey:  One tool that was really powerful for me was writing out a vision when I knew that I was ready to really go all the way, and just open my heart, and be fully available to a relationship in the way we're describing. I wrote down the vision of every category of what I wanted in a relationship from the most superficial compatibilities to the depth of being on a similar life mission and all of that. And it's really crazy that I had been dating Alyson for a short period of time and didn't see at first that she was the one on the list.

[00:33:06] It really like took a peyote ceremony, had some interesting conversations that we had around that experience for me to have the awakening that, wow, the vision that I had dreamt of was actually sitting in front of me. And it's funny to think back now that I'm kind of like, yeah, I have this list and I'm just still looking. Like I was dating other people, but it's just like, yeah, the whole time, she's kind of like, dude, hello.

[00:33:36]Alyson Charles:  And it was exactly that piece, I said to him, the medicine directed me to bring up three specific things to him when we got back to the house that night. And I just basically said to him, I feel like if you don't see me yet, you will never be able to see me. And that like woke him up, right?

[00:33:59]Luke Storey:  Yeah, absolutely. Because then, there was something at stake. It's not like you gave me an ultimatum, but it was an ultimatum within myself to really stop, and go, wait, what? What's real here? What's clear? And that's when that list came to mind. And I have it in Evernote still. I don't think I've ever read it to you.

[00:34:19]Alyson Charles:  I've heard of this elusiveness. 

[00:34:22]Luke Storey:  Don't ever look in my Evernote, a boundary there on my computer. Look at anything you want, not that. But I think you matched up like 99.9% of the time or the qualities. But it was in that moment that that list came to mind, because it was like, see you, okay, who are you? And I was like, holy shit, you're that. It was just like [making sounds] just blew me away, that realization. It was so incredible. But still persisted. And I want to perhaps see if either of you three have had this, still that nagging, but what if you're wrong? What if you're tripping, and you just are infatuated, or addicted, or whatever kind of shit I've been through? 

[00:35:03]Alyson Charles:  Doing that thing again, just presenting in a different way. 

[00:35:06]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Because I had had so many relationships that were teachers based on both persons' trauma acting out in those dynamics, so there was like a real moment of trust, where I was like, God, I hope I'm doing the right thing here, because this could hurt really bad and could hurt someone else really bad if I was, yeah, I'm all in, and then two days later, like, what? That was the peyote talking. I'm out, or something like that.

[00:35:30]Alyson Charles:  Well, we navigated that well. And then, I definitely want to hear what you two have to say about his question. But before we get there, because then when he realized I was the one on the list, he leaned in, in a way that I had never been met by a man with, and like literally leaned across, like put his hand on my heart was like feeling empathy for the hard things I needed to bring up about him. He was feeling empathy for me for having to do that. And there was just this whole, I was being met in a way that I'd always dreamed of.

[00:36:04] And then, when he said, okay, well, let's do this, then I was the one that got, I was like, oh, wait, now, we're doing this? Like, maybe we should sleep on it. So then, I said, this has been a very big medicine day in a lot of respects, let's rest. And in the morning, let's see where we're at. And then, that next morning in the living room, I was like, where are you at with things? So, I think we really, in a very healthy, mature way, like navigated that the very best that it could have been. 

[00:36:36]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I remember actually the next morning, too. That was kind of more of the turning point because I would have had it out then. The night before, we're still in the medicine. Like everything's just in trippy land, obviously, so would have been really easy in the morning to be like, yeah, you know what, like let's just pump the brakes a bit, I think we're getting a little off track. But that was the real one. I was like, oh, shit. She's going to ask me like where we are this morning after all that. And it's like, this is the moment, dude.

[00:37:07]Alyson Charles:  Yeah, that was the real moment. Yeah. He was like down on his knees and we leaned our third eyes together. This all happened very organically and just had this whole like third eye to third eye, like that, in that positioning, was where we both said the yes to be together. And yeah, we had not even slept together or really done much of anything physical. 

[00:37:29]Luke Storey:  We didn't for a long time after that either.

[00:37:30]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. So, it's very funny.

[00:37:33]Luke Storey:  So, I guess the point here is knowing when to trust yourself, to allow the trust for the other. Like how do you know? How are you sure? What work goes into knowing when you know, and not just following some fantasy, or sexual chemistry, or something that could be presenting itself as like this is a karmic connection here that I really need to explore?

[00:37:59]Stefanos Sifandos:  This is really, really about the other person. The list that you made is less about this person out there waiting for you and more about you. You asked a question before, how do you know that it's not just the hormones, or it's the limerence phase of relating, or it's something else, or whatever it may be? How do you know? Well, you know when you're that person on your list. 

[00:38:21] That list that you made that Alison fills all the check boxes, she fills those check boxes because you're showing up as the individual that can attract that individual, that can bring that individual into your life. So, how you know is when you had the out in the morning, and you said, I'm all in. Because you're different. And because you're different, you're creating and attracting something different. That's how you know. The list is not about Alyson, or some other woman, or the qualities that she has. This is about you.

[00:38:52]Luke Storey:  That's so funny you reminded me of that, because when I made the list, part of it is what I am capable of bringing, what I'm capable of bringing to the relationship, what I have to offer. It was kind of an inventory of sorts. Like alright. This is all the cool shit that I'm going to bring. This is all what I would like to be brought. Yeah.

[00:39:09]Stefanos Sifandos:  Because you can control that to some degree, far more than you can control someone else's qualities and attributes, physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, whatever. You're in greater mastery of what you bring. You want to develop an aspect of your personality, sure, develop that. You want to work on a part of your life, cool, you can work on that, to be that person that begins to create those circumstances. That's where the mastery is, is in you, so you know when you're making different decisions to what you've made previously. 

[00:39:38]Luke Storey:  Hot damn. What about abandonment issues?

[00:39:44]Christine Hassler:  I want to say one more thing about the list, if that's okay.

[00:39:45]Luke Storey:  Yeah, sure.

[00:39:46]Christine Hassler:  Okay. And I love that you said, if you don't see me now, you never will, because that's so different than an ultimatum that comes from fear. Like if you don't put a ring on it, I'm out of here. It's like discernment. Like if you don't see me, like my self-honoring choices, I'm moving on. And we can tell what that feels like because an ultimatum feels like fear.

[00:40:06]Luke Storey:  Meanwhile, this is like our second date or something like that, I'll give myself a little credit.

[00:40:08]Stefanos Sifandos:  That's not an indication of that list scenario. Like you're having those types of conversation that early on, that's telling you something about your level of maturity and how you've evolved to be able to create a relational dynamic. 

[00:40:19]Luke Storey:  Yes. 

[00:40:20]Christine Hassler:  Relationships get on the fast track depending on how much work you've done. If you've done a lot of work like it just goes, because I think the soul is like, oh, great, here's my mirror. I can evolve even more. I'm already on this track. I've gone as far as I can, maybe solo. And now, I get this incredible mirror and my soul gets to grow in this incredible, expansive way. So, for me, the list was an interesting thing, because so much of my opening, my heart was about surrender, and about letting go of control, and about releasing my attachment to the way things need to look. 

[00:40:52] So, I remember about four months before I met him, it was New Year's Eve, and I had my list of everything I wanted and everything that I would be. And I felt this urge, almost a compulsion, to destroy it. So, I went out to my balcony overlooking the ocean and I burned it. And I got on my knees, and I'm like, God, my picker just seems to be off. So, I completely surrender. You bring me my purse, like who's going to evolve my soul? And I could feel the fear coming out, because it was like, but what if he doesn't have this? And what if he doesn't have this? And what if I have to deal with this?

[00:41:22]Alyson Charles:  What if I don't like what God gives me?

[00:41:25]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, exactly. And it was like, wow, I really don't trust God on this one. I really do not trust God on this one. And it was very confronting for me because that was the final piece of my availability. It's like I'm not even available to God fully that I can't surrender this. And so, it was that full surrender in tears, like I can't believe I'm doing this, God, but I'm doing it. Like I'm handing it over to you, and I'm going to get out of the way, and I'm going to stop working so hard, and swiping so hard, and trying all the things to make this happen. 

[00:41:58]Alyson Charles:  And look what came in when you did that.

[00:42:00]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. I mean, it was four or five months later, but that's pretty quick. That's pretty quick. And so, there was that deep surrender and deep trust. That was an important part for me, because control had been so my coping strategy, and certainty, and needing to know, and being scared to really let go of what I thought I wanted.

[00:42:22]Alyson Charles:  Yeah, I relate to that too. Mine's not a long share, but I think surrender, for me, it was very important and it's something I teach a lot about. And I had my final surrender moment as well. I just finally got to a place where I thought, you know what, I am in so much love with my own self and I've been living on my own for so long, I can do this. And I just said, you know what, God, I thought the vision that feels real is a vision that includes a sacred partner and perhaps a child or two.

[00:42:55] I thought that was the vision. However, if that's not, I'm good and I trust your way. And if, for some reason, this lifetime, I'm just meant to be so journeying along solo, I can not only do that, but I know I can thrive in that space. And I will accept that mission and I will be rejoiceful in that way of living. And that was my version of surrendering the piece. And you know exactly how it works, right? After you do that, then it was not long after, it's probably about the same amount of time.

[00:43:28]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. And you really have to do—you can't just be like, I surrender, that's my New Year's intention. Like you really have to physically feel it in your body, so much so that it's almost a little scary like, whoa, I'm really jumping off this cliff. I'm not just standing here looking. I'm actually doing it.

[00:43:44]Alyson Charles:  Yeah, I really meant it. I really meant what I said. I was like, I can be happy on my own.

[00:43:48]Luke Storey:  I think people, and I'm sure I've experienced this, too, but not so much lately. I have a difficult time with surrender because it's like one version of surrender is then you're not proactive anymore, you're not doing anything. It's like a passive surrender.

[00:44:05]Christine Hassler:  That's resignation, right?

[00:44:06]Luke Storey:  Then, there's an active surrender, where it's like, maybe you're still on the dating app, maybe you get asked out, and you're like, oh, this guy is iffy, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, and you go out to the dinner or whatever. So, it's like you're surrendering, I guess, not the action, but the outcome, right? 

[00:44:21]Christine Hassler:  Yeah.

[00:44:21]Luke Storey:  Surrendering the end result. 

[00:44:22]Stefanos Sifandos:  Your attachment to that of how it needs to be, there's less of a rigid understanding, or if I do this, it has to be like that. 

[00:44:28]Luke Storey:  Right.

[00:44:29]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. I had to cut out activities that I had attachment to. I couldn't be on the apps without having some attachment to them because they're so outcome-based. I had to really just let go of all the old methods of trying. And that's been a great lesson in other aspects of my life too, and I think especially with Stef being in my life now and really holding that masculine presence, and me having certainty in our relationship, obviously, there's always a degree of uncertainty, but it's enabled me to go even deeper into that place of surrender.

[00:44:59]Alyson Charles:  And there's such power and surrender, because now, we're co-creating with divine. We're co-creating with the source of all that is. And so, when we really mean that and express that, then all of our help, I mean, it's always there, but it really comes ushering in. And if you can just then, after you have your true moment of surrender, really open up your conscious awareness, feel to sniffing and to feel the messagings, then that's the active surrender, is you have surrendered, but then you are heeding the calls and the directives of the divine, and that's the way.

[00:45:42]Luke Storey:  Alright. So, what about abandonment issues? 

[00:45:44]Alyson Charles:  Back to that. 

[00:45:45]Luke Storey:  As someone who experienced a fair amount of abandonment in different ways and mostly abandonment of myself, that was one of the huge blocks to vulnerability, was, yeah, betrayal. I could probably live through that, but someone just like, poof, I love someone and they're gone was maybe one of the scariest. And for me, the solution was in really building a relationship with myself and with God, of identifying how exactly I had abandoned myself over, and over, and over again, and wasn't looking out for my own best interest from the adult in the room standpoint and just through that kid under the bus over, and over, and over again for whatever ignorance, or selfish motives, or whatever might have been motivating me.

[00:46:32] But when I finally landed in my body as the one who is the sovereign being, that is all I need to get through life, it's as though, in a healthy way and a fully integrated way, I was able to need another person and be fine with that. Like I need Alyson so much in my life, but if she was to go for whatever reason, I don't go with her. I'm still here.

[00:47:03]Christine Hassler:  I love that.

[00:47:04]Luke Storey:  Not to negate grief and things that one has to process from any loss of attachment, even healthy attachments, but I'm not afraid of being alone anymore, because as we were talking about earlier, I faced all the shit to such depth that it's like, I actually love everything about myself, even my neuroses. I bite my nails. I do all kinds of gross stuff that just like is ridiculous. And I wish I could stop, but I just love that I do it, because I'm so human, and so just embracing my humanity, and frailty, and imperfection more and more all the time.

[00:47:40]Alyson Charles:  You do all those things in such a sweet, cute way. 

[00:47:44]Luke Storey:  Well, thanks, honey.

[00:47:44]Alyson Charles:  He like chews his thumb off, I'm like, hon, take it easy.

[00:47:47]Luke Storey:  Yeah. This one's like about to bleed. Yeah, very nervous. 

[00:47:50]Alyson Charles:  Last night, we were watching a show on Netflix, I was like, calm down with the thumb.

[00:47:54]Luke Storey:  Like Cobra Kai, and I'm like, come on, come on.

[00:47:56]Alyson Charles:  You can hear him munching on the skin, and I'm like, that's got to hurt, babe. You do it too?

[00:48:03]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah.

[00:48:03]Luke Storey:  You know what's funny? You know what helps me get acceptance with that particular one is listening to Ram Dass talk about all his different stages of merging toward enlightenment. And he's like, yeah, I just still bite my nails 60 years into the journey. I was like, right on. Cool. But anyway, I guess it's in that being in love with yourself has what has really melted my issues with abandonment. And those are the limits of the depth to which I'm courageous enough to go in my love.

[00:48:34] It's like there is no place I won't go. And sometimes, it's not even scary. It's just the depth of love and the depth of feeling is so intense that it breaks my heart open. And when that happens, I just fucking lean into it. I'm just like [making sounds] more. And so, the learning in this expression of this depth of love is not the learning from the wounds and from the child. It's the learning in how deep can you go without fear. It's just absolutely fantastic to observe.

[00:49:18] I'm so proud of myself that after all the wounding by others and myself, that I'm just like, I'm here for this. And what I'm really here for is I'm here for myself, to be able to experience that full expression of my humanity as reflected by other in such a beautiful way. But, man, being there from where I come from of like, I'll have sex with you, I will never marry you, I'm never going to be monogamous, we're never having kids, you're not spending the night, like it's embarrassing to admit that that's where I was for a vast majority of my adult life. But to go from there to this level of depth is incredible to experience.

[00:50:07]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. And I just want to take a moment to honor you because you're just so honoring of our relationship, and just so respectful, and just go above and beyond on your own innate accord. You just go above and beyond what is needed to just create a very sanctified, harmonious, strong space for us. It's like even something as little, it's a big thing, but could be viewed as small, like we're not legally married yet, but you chose, I said nothing, but the moment you proposed to me, you also wanted me to put that ring on your left hand. And that typically doesn't happen until like the wedding has happened. But stuff like that, you do on a regular basis, just allows me to just feel so safe in this with you. 

[00:51:14]Christine Hassler:  That safety feeling.

[00:51:15]Luke Storey:  So then, what are the million steps—I was going to say, what's the step, but the pattern of relationship, where karmically, there's mommy, there's daddy, there's mommy, there's daddy over, and over, and over, and over again [making sounds] implosion, explosion, pain, more trauma now from the enmeshment, and the painful separation and untangling. It's like, what's the line that we cross where the learning is the learning of expansion that I just described? It's a learning, how much can I love?

[00:51:51] How much can I trust? How much can I honor? How much can I hold space? How selfless can I be? All of those things. It's a learning in an expansion rather than a learning in contraction and more pain of those patterns. It's like, what is that? I don't know exactly what it is for me, the turning point. Maybe it was enough of that pain to where I really hit a depth of surrender that you were describing, and call in them, honor God, and just said, hey, man, I'm done picking, like you pick now. Here's my list, but you pick and just knock me in the fucking head when she's there.

[00:52:23]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. Well, I'll start, and then you pick it up. But I had a similar experience with Stef of getting to the point where it's like, oh, my gosh, I am experiencing so much love, and that's what's bringing the tears now. Not the pain, but the expansion of love. And it is scary in a little bit, because it's like, whoa, and I think for me and what I see in a lot of people is you've got to go through the contraction piece first. You've got to have the contraction, have those triggering relationships, and then go into the shadows, go into the pain, and feel the anger, and feel the sadness and grieve. Because I think that's a big piece that we don't do well, is we don't really know how to grieve.

[00:53:10]Stefanos Sifandos:  Feeling is freedom.

[00:53:10]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. We know how to be victims, but we don't necessarily know how to grieve, to let go of the relationship we always wanted with mom and dad, to really grieve the hardships that we've had, because that's a huge letting go process. And then, I think ultimately, we get to a place of deep forgiveness, of I forgive my parents, I forgive myself, I forgive anyone who's hurt me. And not from just words kind of place, but that really deep forgiveness, because I think that's what really sets us free, and then opens us up back to God. Because whenever we're harboring any judgments, or resentments, or anything that's keeping us in that contracted place, we can't open.

[00:53:55] And for me, it's been that huge emotional release diving in those shadows, but it's the forgiveness piece that is the crossover, like that really deep forgiving. Because I've learned in my own development and from spiritual teachers that when we really forgive misunderstandings we've bought into, that clears karma as well, because we're not only doing the forgiving of this lifetime and everything, but we're forgiving beliefs that we've been carrying as a soul or patterns for thousands, millions, however many years. And so, I think that's the crossover place where we start to actually open up and experience that more expansion.

[00:54:33]Stefanos Sifandos:  But you got to feel before you can forgive.

[00:54:35]Christine Hassler:  Oh, for sure. Going to be a mess.

[00:54:35]Stefanos Sifandos:  And that's what most of us don't do. We don't feel. So, you're asking for a process and there are many stages to the process unraveling for ourselves. But before action steps can come, you just got to sit with the stuff that you've been avoiding. Because you do a really good bit of storytelling than me in this sense, the analogy of the gold chain, because I think that's an important one in terms of an initial first step that is linked to the rolling stone effect, or the snowball effect, or momentum.

[00:55:04]Christine Hassler:  So, yeah, have you ever had a really tangled necklace like a gold chain? It's just tangled.

[00:55:11]Stefanos Sifandos:  Thin, just like that.

[00:55:12]Christine Hassler:  Thin. And you pick at it, and you pick at it, and you pick at it, and then you reach that one knot, that one knot that like just undoes everything. It's like, ah, and that's how it is with looking at our own stuff. We pick, and we pick, and we pick, and eventually, we get deep enough where we reach that one knot that kind of just releases everything, and it's like, we feel like we can breathe again.

[00:55:36]Alyson Charles:  And then, you say, I did it.

[00:55:37]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, right? Exactly.

[00:55:39]Stefanos Sifandos:  And then, there might be another big knot, but the point of that is these knots or these emotional wounds that we develop during our formative years, the core infliction of those wounds, the biggest ones that we have, they're the ones that stick around, and keep influencing, and keep magnifying and amplifying our current state situation. I want to say something that you mentioned earlier when you're being deeply vulnerable about that if you would lose this relationship, yes, you'd go through the grief, but you'd be okay, or you'd be okay in the abandonment pieced around that. 

[00:56:20] The beautiful thing about all of that is all I could think of was, wow, you're at a place where you really love and care about yourself, where you back yourself enough with your, not arrogance, but confidence, where you're confident enough about who you are, about what you bring to the relationship, that you can go deep, because you don't have that fear of this person abandoning you, because you're not abandoning yourself more. So, now, guess what? Infinity and beyond. 

[00:56:43] Like you can go to whatever depth. And yeah, as you push the edges, will be fear, but not enough fear that will stop you from pulling back, and saying, no kids, no marriage, I'm not going to see today, my terms, I'm going to be the boss. None of that. And if it does come up, you're able to check it, but none of that's happening because you love all these parts of you. Something that come up for me when you're talking about your fingers and that, I don't bite my skin too much, but when Christine, I see it as picking on my quirks or she will say something about my quirks, whatever it may be, and if I'm in the mood, like I'll get upset. 

[00:57:20] And I'll get upset at her and I'll project, but what it just made me think of, that is, oh, I think there's some spaces within me that I need to love a little more, because if I love those spaces within me more, I would just go, yeah, sure, no problem, I love you, see you. And most of the time, I do, but there are times when I don't. So, it made me think, oh, shit, I think I'm going to look at some more stuff within me because when she's-. 

[00:57:41]Christine Hassler:  Always.

[00:57:41]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. And always is the answer, of course. But when she's picking on me-

[00:57:48]Christine Hassler:  I really don't pick on you. It just lands that way. 

[00:57:50]Stefanos Sifandos:  I know. That's why I'm going like that.

[00:57:52]Luke Storey:  There's an air quote.

[00:57:52]Stefanos Sifandos:  Air quotes.

[00:57:53]Alyson Charles:  He is using air quotes for everyone listening.

[00:57:55]Stefanos Sifandos:  Changing the tone of my voice to the people that are only listening, picking. But it's a thing that I get to look at a little more, because if I really give a fuck, look, I wouldn't be, just leave me alone, stop annoying me or stop picking on me, I wouldn't say those things, right? So, that was interesting too.

[00:58:13]Luke Storey:  There's a piece in those cycles of painful learning and relationships that I think is really interesting. And that is, as you were mentioning, our formative years, you know, the first seven, eight, 12, whatever, we're walking around in a Theta state, we're totally being programmed by every experience we have. We're logging that in the hippocampus for later on so we can avoid that same danger, that whole mechanism psychologically. I think the trap for us that have entered into relationships that were less than pleasurable and ultimately painful, or perhaps, even traumatizing more is that familiarity. 

[00:58:51]Stefanos Sifandos:  Because it's safe.

[00:58:51]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Well, no, because it's familiar, because there's a part of us that recognizes that type of dysfunctional love, that type of connection. And then, you meet that person, you're like, it just feels so right. It's like that thing you told me when it feels like a drug, run, my dad's always told me that. And I thought, what? That's what makes you stick around, ah, but it doesn't feel right because it's right. It feels right because it's familiar.

[00:59:17]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. And familiarity is safety because the brain being pattern-recognizing machine wants to repeat. So, if it's a drawing, familiar experiences that are quite set to safe. So, we're approaching or we're retracting. And so, if it's familiar, even though it's not good for us, it's going to feel safer, because, oh, well, we've dealt with it before. We've survived. We're still here. Let me move towards that.

[00:59:43] And so, we approach it as opposed to retract. And so, we have to recognize, and that's where that deeper work comes in, when we get to ask questions, have reflections from people that are close to us or people that we trust and respect, where, really, they can say, hey, yes, this is a pattern that you're doing, but is that really what you want? Where's it coming from? And then, we can start that deeper inquiry as well into self.

[01:00:01]Luke Storey:  So, I wonder if there's a way to bypass the cycles of relationship, and just when you're single, go to fucking breathwork, or plant medicine, or EMDR, every kind of therapy, and just like get to the root of that, and perhaps not have to go through 20, 30 years of dysfunctional relationships to arrive there.

[01:00:23]Alyson Charles:  Well, I mean, we've talked about this a lot. That was similar to my path. Remember? 

[01:00:29]Luke Storey:  Oh, that's right.

[01:00:30]Alyson Charles:  You're like, oh, right. You did that. And so, yeah, it is possible. So, in all of the times that you were learning through relationships, I was just home in my little Brooklyn cave, in my little, yeah, cave initiatory period, and I was just learning through my relationship to Great Spirit, and going to the depths of myself. And plant medicines call to me occasionally, but it's primarily my work is done without the aid of that. But yeah. So, I was learning and got to my place of sovereignty and readiness of sacred union without having to go through relationship dynamic.

[01:01:10]Luke Storey:  Right. I forgot about that. You are the model case for that as a path. And it's like maybe that was as difficult or painful for you as me going through 15 relationships or whatever.

[01:01:22]Alyson Charles:  It is not easy, yeah.

[01:01:24]Luke Storey:  Maybe there's not a right or wrong way. I think I'm just grasping, I'm like, there had to have been an easier way to arrive where I am now than the way I did it.

[01:01:31]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. I think it all depends on how much we have to resolve, and karma, and divine timing because we talk about it a lot. Like if we had met three years ago, this wouldn't have happened. 

[01:01:46]Stefanos Sifandos:  What do you mean, three years ago? You mean like five years ago? 

[01:01:49]Christine Hassler:  Three years before we actually met, sorry. Thanks for catching me on that one. Because we weren't in a place where we would have fit, where we would have resonated.

[01:01:58]Stefanos Sifandos:  Where we would have received each other.

[01:02:00]Christine Hassler:  But I encourage people especially in their 20s and early 30s to really dive in and really do that work. I can't believe that we're encouraged to get married before 30. I did and it didn't work because we just don't know ourselves. We haven't really experienced. Our brain is really still forming until 25. And you hear there's so much conditioning, you get married before a certain age, especially for women. And I think it just creates more issues than it prevents because there's this pressure to get into a relationship. 

[01:02:40] I know for me in my single years, people would be like, you're still single, why? They'd look at me like I had some disease or something, like there was something wrong with not being in a relationship. And I think if we really honored singlehood as a rite of passage, like this is the internal work, you're going to go into your cave, you're going to deal with your stuff so that you come with less baggage to your relationship. Any relationship is going to have work, but we came with like carry on, not cargo.

[01:03:11]Alyson Charles:  Yes. And I think two things as you're talking came up. One, I think a lot of people are wanting to learn more about celibacy right now. I don't know if you guys are getting those inquiries, but I share about it occasionally on podcasts. And I get a lot of messages from people, still a little more women than men asking about it, but we'll say like, where can I hear about your whole journey of your almost five years of doing it? Because I think as the planet is doing its alchemical process, and shadow transmutation, and awakening, obviously, all beings are as well.

[01:03:50] And the more people's souls are waking up, that piece of doing that work and learning, feeling like something big must come of this if you're celibate. So, that was one. And two, if I could just give one quick piece of advice for people that are wanting to, like you said, get on the fast track of not having to go through all the gnarliness, it's just tune in to what sacred practices can I do that will allow me to land in and get embodied in my personal sovereignty. 

[01:04:24] That's the key, because it wasn't until I did all the years, and years, and years of work, and I landed in my sovereignty, and you did all the years, and years, and years of work, and you landed in your sovereignty, then God has brought us together. It was only when I was sovereign as my individual self and you were. So, it's like just going into whatever meditation you can, and asking your soul, asking your intuition, and asking whoever it is that you speak to what practices, what tools, what rituals will aid me in becoming a whole sovereign being. If you want to get on the fast track to sacred union, you have to get into sovereign union first.

[01:05:05]Christine Hassler:  I think that's so true, and when we were talking about how you know, I think one of the ways you know is because when you're in that sovereign place, you feel totally yourself. Like when Stef came into my life, I just was me. There was no contorting. There was no, what does he want me to be? There was no saying yes to something I like when I really didn't. It was just fully authentic me.

[01:05:32] And that was such a shift and it wasn't until I had that shift that I realized how much I contort myself into whatever I thought I needed to be out of my own insecurities or whatever. And that feeling of I am me, this is me, take it or leave it, like this is who I am. And I feel safe not because you're making me feel safe, but I feel safe enough with me that I can just be me.

[01:05:58]Alyson Charles:  Yes. Bingo. 

[01:06:00]Luke Storey:  Beautiful. Yeah. Isn't it really incredible to be with someone who just loves you unconditionally, that you can be yourself. It's like I'll never forget. I know I talked about this in our one-on-one interview, but when I went to dinner with you both in Palm Springs at the Joe Dispenza thing and that thing you said of when you meet the right person, it feels like home, it doesn't feel like a drug, I mean, that was like just laser etched into my awareness. And I've heard it said in different ways. But because I'm someone that used to do a lot of drugs, I really related to that. 

[01:06:35] So, I know what it's like to get that drug and want the drug, like I have an intimate relationship with that dynamic of addiction. But I think what feels like home is what you're describing. It's like you know who you are, good, bad, ugly, indifferent, and when you can really present that in an authentic way without any hiding, and that person is just like, yeah, I'm about it, like what a powerful experience that is. I mean, even with her, sometimes, I'm like, can I really be this much myself? And I push the limits, and she's like, I love you even more. It's like, what?

[01:07:10]Alyson Charles:  Well, I'm laughing, because the first time I ever stayed the night, he was like in the bathroom doing stuff. And I think you just opened the door, and you're like, said something like, it's better to just rip the band-aid off, and he like came out with all of his like biohacking sleep gear, his like green strip on his nose, and his cap, and like just all-

[01:07:35]Luke Storey:  My EMF cap.

[01:07:36]Alyson Charles:  Yeah, like all of the things that he does to like sleep in the way that he likes. Just the very first night, he's just like, this is how I sleep, this is who I am, it's better to rip the band-aid off. And I was like, oh, this is actually kind of funny, okay, I've never had this, and this is funny, okay. So, that's how it's been every time. Like when you show me more little neuroses or quirks, it's, yeah, you're just such a lovable guy.

[01:08:02]Luke Storey:  Takes a special woman to be able to get on board with all this circus, trust me. And I'm not being self-deprecating. It's true. I mean, if you follow me around for the day, all the rituals, all the control, all the shit, like it's out of control, but it's fun. Okay. So, I feel like we've kind of covered, I think, what most people want, those that desire a relationship is one in which the unfolding and the growth is coming out of love and expansion rather than pain and contraction.

[01:08:31] We've talked about some ways to arrive there, in the way that Alyson did on her just going within, with me, trying to learn relationships by doing relationships. But maybe we could talk about some of the tools that we've each used to really get down to that deep stuff, the deep wounds, the core shit that caused us not to abandon ourselves, to disrespect ourselves, to dishonor ourselves, to dishonor and disrespect other people, to be unfaithful, whatever that looks like, however that manifests. What are some of the ways that you guys have really gotten to those core wounds and really gotten in there and done some work to heal?

[01:09:15]Stefanos Sifandos:  Breathwork has been a very powerful catalyst for my growth and my own exploration of self. And I'm a practitioner now. It's part of how I work with clients as well. But many years ago, when I was exposed to breathwork, it completely changed my life and unlocked aspects of self that I couldn't touch with talk therapy and conscious cognitive work. And it really unpacked a lot of this repressed trauma that was held within me at a cellular level, but also within the unconscious self.

[01:09:49] And then, I was able to begin at some point thereafter with intention and effort, of course, to make sense of all of that, and then translate it into something tangible that I could then work with. I could bring that to my therapist, or my coach, or my shaman, or bring that to a journey of sacramental medicine, or whatever it might be, and I resonate very much with you. I've been exposed to various plant medicines and sacraments, however, and I can speak for you in the sense, I know for us, it's the, can you do the deeper work in familiar state of consciousness, and do the majority of your depth of exploration and excavation there? 

[01:10:29] And then, use plant medicines as something that, A, very sacred and, B, something that can begin to expand at a deeper level. But because there's this, I've sat with some very painful emotions that breath has accessed for me in a safe environment, and I've done that, and I've got the confidence and the courage that I've gained from that, it's allowed me to go even deeper. So, breath for me, again, many tools that I personally use, but breath, it has been so powerful, continues to be so insightful for me.

[01:11:06]Alyson Charles:  It really is. I love that—it's not really a modality, but I love that practice as well. I have had just as such powerful journeys, realizations, one, while we've been in here and Austin actually. And it was just a full on right out of the gate, as soon as the breath got activated, I was traversing around, and being taken to all these different unseen realms, and then also very tactile earthly things that I needed awareness around, and just do the breath. That's it.

[01:11:41]Stefanos Sifandos:  The memories will come to you, thoughts will come to you, ideas will come to you. It's almost like the breath accesses parts and symbols of yourself that you weren't able to make dots and connections to before. Has been a very personal, powerful practice for me.

[01:11:56]Christine Hassler:  For me, it's been the somatic work. So, it's been the not talking about things, but really getting into my body and feeling, like feeling the feelings, making sound to those feelings, being loud, being messy, using my body to move stuff out of me because I was wound very tight with worry and anxiety. And we talked on our solo podcast about being on antidepressants, so everything was really contracted and controlled. And so, for me, that somatic work, especially with therapists, that's also been really helpful for me, having therapists and coaches.

[01:12:36] I'm in the phase of my journey now where I can really go to myself. But for a good almost two decades, I really needed a practitioner because it kept me going and it moved me faster, because skilled practitioners could really see my blind spots and could take me past my edge. And so, getting to that raw, wild woman, guttural like emotion that I had been holding in my body for years, and years, and years, even getting back to like feeling how I felt in the womb, that kind of expression of emotion has been the biggest catalyst for me because it like switches me back on in so many ways and it's after those big emotional releases.

[01:13:20] I love breathwork as well. And it seems like the big—like not just catharsis, but really therapeutic emotional releases. That's when I reach the states of ecstasy. That's when my logical mind switches off, and I can see more clearly, I have more access to spirit. That's when I get the best visions. Even though I'm exhausted after something like that, oh, it's like the clearing comes in. So, that's been something that's been really, really useful for me.

[01:13:46]Alyson Charles:  I really like the vision of wild woman Christine, like around the fire. I was seeing it. Your hair just being tossed around. I'm like, oh, yeah.

[01:13:55]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, exactly.

[01:13:57]Alyson Charles:  Let's dance around.

[01:13:58]Christine Hassler:  Exactly. Get that [making sounds just that guttural pain out, because we don't just carry our own pain, we carry the collective pain too. So, tapping into that. And that's been a big part of all the retreats I facilitated for women over the years is giving them a space to allow their grief out, and allow their anger out, and just go wild, and not need to talk about it, because I think we talk too much about our issues and our problems, and we don't feel them and move them into alchemy again.

[01:14:24]Stefanos Sifandos:  And not integrate them and we loop them up.

[01:14:24]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, we can analyze ourselves to death, but nothing's changing.

[01:14:29]Alyson Charles:  Love those.

[01:14:30]Stefanos Sifandos:  Somatics and breathwork has been very powerful for the ecstasy as well, yeah.

[01:14:35]Christine Hassler:  When you teach, when you facilitate breathwork, you combine the somatics.

[01:14:38]Stefanos Sifandos:  For me, breathwork is somatic, they're interchangeable, they're synonymous with each other.

[01:14:42]Christine Hassler:  Yeah.

[01:14:44]Luke Storey:  I think for me, before I did breathwork, I was doing various breathing exercises in the Kundalini yoga for many years, and then I think I found Wim Hof and did a couple of his trainings. And when I did that, I was like, this is just Kundalini yoga. And I was like, hello. Same thing with Dispenza's breathing thing. And when I interviewed him, I was like, no offense, but what you're doing, I've been doing for a few years. He's like, yeah, I know, it's all the same origin stuff. 

[01:15:13]Stefanos Sifandos:  He says that too, yeah. 

[01:15:14]Luke Storey:  Yeah. It's just how you package it up. But some of those experiences that I had, especially when I would do like a four-hour workshop or the white tantric like long Kundalini yoga sets would have extremely psychedelic experiences before I ever did, well, consciously, use plant medicines or psychedelics, but so many moments of just ecstatic joy, just laughing hysterically for no apparent reason, just crying, wailing, suppressed memories coming up to be healed.

[01:15:43] All of that stuff just from moving the body in the nervous system, and getting it in the cells, and breathing, and holding your hands in certain ways, and chanting. And that was a really organic way for me to come out after many years of sobriety and start to really dig into that stuff that I couldn't get to through therapy or the various tools in the 12 steps and stuff. But I have to say, for me, in terms of relationships, those last blocks were really just plant medicines, man, just fucking rock to me. 

[01:16:15] It showed me things about myself. And not only showed me, but just dismantled whole structures that I had built to protect myself. And they were just gone. And going in and doing psychic surgery in my brain, and rewiring things, and disconnecting things, and really doing like deep, deep quantum work to the point where after the ceremony, I'm going like, was I just imagining all that? Was I really doing that? One can never really know, but the results are, wow, so many of those things that I used to be triggered by, they're just nullified.

[01:16:51] They've unraveled and they're just not a thing. Maybe like we were talking about attachment styles. It's like there would have been a time where if I was with a lovely Alyson here, and I was out, and I'm running a little late, I was supposed to be home, and I text, and she didn't text me back, I would totally freak out and be obsessing on my phone like, oh, shit, is she mad? I don't know what I'm going to say. 

[01:17:12]Alyson Charles:  And I'm just at home like at my altar, or like chanting, or something, I'm like, okay, see you in a little bit. He's like, oh, I thought you were mad at me. I was like, why would I be mad?

[01:17:20]Luke Storey:  Yeah. But over time, through those experiences and a lot of work, the firing of those synapses, they're gone.

[01:17:30]Stefanos Sifandos:  You're making different choices. And so, whether it's breathwork, or plant medicine, or working with a therapist, or a Kundalini yoga practice, or whatever it might be, gives you access to give you a better awareness of these patterns or behaviors that you've been playing out in your life that haven't been serving you, that have been rewiring, and firing, and re-firing, and then embedding in your neuronal structure.

[01:17:52] But then, when you're able to see them and you're able to choose differently, physiologically, you're developing and laying down new synaptic connections, but new neuronal networks. And you keep making that choice again, and again, and again, and then you get rewarded for that physiologically, emotionally, relationally, and then that's the changes, right?

[01:18:11]Luke Storey:  Yeah.

[01:18:12]Stefanos Sifandos:  And so, these experiences don't need to be peak experiences, but they're experiences that we have that a deeply reflective of what we're not able to see. And then, if we can act on that, that begins the process of solidifying a new path, and a new neuronal groovy, and a new behavioral set, and a new way of seeing in the world. And even Alyson may do something that upsets you, but previously, you would have reacted, but now, you respond. That's so powerful.

[01:18:41]Luke Storey:  And that's a great segue into how to fight in a healthy way.

[01:18:45]Alyson Charles:  I didn't share my tip. 

[01:18:47]Luke Storey:  Okay. What's your tip? 

[01:18:47]Alyson Charles:  There might be one person out there that wants to know what I do.

[01:18:50]Christine Hassler:  I want to know too. 

[01:18:51]Alyson Charles:  But I will try to just make it concise. The thing that just kept coming to me then that works for me is just simply uniting with my own soul. And so, the way that I have done that primarily is by my relationship to Great Spirit and great Mother Earth. And so, I found my way to where I'm at by, oftentimes, being very courageous and just truly living by the directives given to me and allowing myself to as illogical or scary as some of those calls and directives given to me might have been, I just trusted and just so bravely, continuously expanded into, and just open myself up to stepping into and living what I was told to do.

[01:19:58] And just by relentlessly doing that, not setting out a business plan in the way that we're taught in schools, but just literally, truly living every day by the calls of Great Spirit and great Mother Earth, that allowed me to unite fully with my soul. And then, by me being in alignment with who I truly am and in alignment with the mission that I incarnated to be, I don't know, that's just my answer. That's just what I wanted to say. But it's by uniting with my soul, and connecting and living by the calls of Great Spirit and great Mother Earth that got me here.

[01:20:44]Luke Storey:  And so, in that discovery is the shedding of those false structures that were needed before because there's now stability and strength in that relationship with God.

[01:20:59]Alyson Charles:  Yes, because the calls that come in every day, it can be for me to lay down on my back, and to open my legs in the butterfly pose, and to just spontaneously be directed in this random womb healing that I didn't even know I knew how to do, but all of a sudden, that is what my being needs right now and I'm being told exactly how to do it. And so, one evening, it's this spontaneous womb healing, and then the next day, it's for me to launch Third Eye Certified and it's a more business thing. And then, the next day, it will take you to every single thread that you need to go to, to get to arrive home within yourself.

[01:21:41]Luke Storey:  Amen, sister.

[01:21:41]Christine Hassler:  If you're willing to listen. 

[01:21:44]Luke Storey:  To your point of having a different response to conflict, something difficult, a difficult conversation, two human beings just trying to coexist, and you're never going to 100% of the time see things the same way, there's always going to be a certain amount of potential for friction. I have definitely noticed, and this is, I guess, going into a bit of the energetics, but I have noticed that I have fine-tuned my ability to breathe through discomfort and being reactive.

[01:22:18] If she's having a moment like she got a little hungry in the car the other day and was just upset, and it's like I could have gotten defensive, offensive, annoyed, impatient, blamey. I mean, there's a million different directions those old patterns could have taken me and created some bullshit out of nothing when homegirl is just hungry, right? Like she just wants some goddamn barbecue or whatever. 

[01:22:40]Alyson Charles:  No.

[01:22:41]Luke Storey:  But she didn't want barbecue.

[01:22:42]Alyson Charles:  The only option was Pooters and I didn't want to eat at Pooters. 

[01:22:43]Christine Hassler:  I don't know what that is. That sounds awful. 

[01:22:48]Luke Storey:  We're in Texas. It's up by Spice Place. I said, we'll find some barbecue, don't worry, I don't want barbecue. But she was just having a moment and it was really beautiful because I think I had the cognition that she was in her feminine, and she's ever in her seat just like [making sounds] just being that storm. And it was like, okay, I can jump on fluid feminine storm, too, and then both of us are like [making sounds] .

[01:23:15]Alyson Charles:  Why are you being this way?

[01:23:17]Luke Storey:  Yeah. And sometimes, it's just an inherent reaction or response. I'm not like calculated about it, but in that moment, I was like, oh yeah, this is like that shit John Wineland talks about, of just, your container, man. And just like, really? What's that feel like? Babe, okay, mm-hmm, even though inside, sometimes, like, God, shut up. I want to just stifle it, and get back to having fun, and listening to music, but she's not there.

[01:23:43] So, it's like [making sounds] just breathing into my belly, and just feeling the fluidity and the beauty of that storm. And actually, rather than contracting, or defending, or offending, it's just like an embracing, like, oh, bring all that and I'm going to drive. And eventually, we're going to find her some food and she's going to be normal again. 

[01:24:05]Alyson Charles:  Take her to Pooters to shut her up.

[01:24:07]Luke Storey:  She's going to be normal again. But I think in response versus the reaction, and not even conflict resolution, but just conflict override of just, there is no conflict a lot of the time just by recognizing, ah, there's a potential trigger here, I'm not going that way. 

[01:24:26]Alyson Charles:  And that allows me to move through my thing faster.

[01:24:29]Luke Storey:  Yeah. And I've noticed, when I try to rationalize or like, please don't feel like that, I'll tell you how you should feel because I'm going to give you, on paper, the actual facts of what's going on right now, that does not work. Trying to bring you into the masculine logic space and explain why you shouldn't be upset is a complete cluster F, right? But just going, even in my head, if I'm like this makes no sense. Like she's being totally illogical. I already know the solution. The place is two miles away. It's open. I already checked. 

[01:24:58] Like I have the whole problem solved, so I think, but just to allow you to have whatever experience you're having in that moment, and just compassionately and unconditionally love you, despite the fact that it's somewhat counterintuitive to do so, because there is a pull to like, God, I got to prove I'm right or something. But for me, it's in the breath. That's where I find the compassion and the patience.

[01:25:23] And then, I find myself after that little 10 minute thing has subsided going like, well done. You could have just made a situation that's really nothing into a thing and add a whole thing. And it's like, is it really worth being right or proving a point? It's just like, it's the worst when you take the bait like that from yourself and engage on that level. 

[01:25:48]Christine Hassler:  Because then, you're just headed towards a fight, you're just headed towards a fight. And I love what you said about the masculine as the container, and the same is true for the feminine. I mean, basic rule of thumb is two people being upset at the same time is going to lead to an argument. So, if he's upset about something and he's in his shit, whatever it may be, my role as a feminist is just a whole vast space of unconditional love. 

[01:26:11] And not going to try to fix them, or make it better, or going to victim, or going to bitch, or like any of those things, just hold that space and let him ride his way through it because men have waves too. It's maybe a little different than the feminine storm, but men have their waves as well. And I notice, when I just hold that space of unconditional love, he'll eventually get through it, and then he'll come to me. 

[01:26:34] And when I try to go to him too early to fix or comfort, like he feels interrupted. And so, I've got to give him that space to do whatever he needs to do, because I think early in our relationship, when I was still working at some of my enmeshment patterns, we had a lot of flip flop. At first, he was really enmeshed with me and I was avoidant, and then he worked his way out of that. And I was like, wait, where'd you go? And I imagine where he is.

[01:26:57]Luke Storey:  Hide and seek.

[01:26:58]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, it was hide and seek, totally. And when I was in that kind of codependent, it was kind of I'm not okay unless you're okay type of thing. And a really big healing opportunity for me in this relationship is to be okay when he's not okay because I used to let his mood set the mood.

[01:27:17]Luke Storey:  Oh, man. I know so well. That's brutal.

[01:27:20]Christine Hassler:  Brutal. And he would be in a bad mood, and I could be in a good mood, and I would just be deflated, and then build resentment. And so, a big growth for me and I've really seen this shift inside myself is when he goes into one of those, I can just be like, well, I'm here and open when you're ready. And until you are, like go work out what you need to work out. And that's kept us from getting in parenting roles with each other or that co-dependent. And it's so helpful for me, like even today, I had a hungry moment. I came in. I also like had just gotten an MRI, which brings up PTSD for me. And so, I come home and just a lot was coming up. And at first, you want to tell the next part?

[01:28:10]Stefanos Sifandos:  You can continue.

[01:28:10]Christine Hassler:  Okay. Well, first, it was kind of met with he was getting pissed off and met with some, what would you say?

[01:28:16]Stefanos Sifandos:  Sarcasm.

[01:28:17]Christine Hassler:  Sarcasm, yes. He's really good at cutting sarcasm. 

[01:28:22]Stefanos Sifandos:  I should guide you to the course for that. 

[01:28:25]Christine Hassler:  It's like how to be an asshole with sarcasm? And it was just making it worse. And finally, like he came in, and just gave me a hug, and let me just melt, and have my emotions, and get some food. And when I was met with that kind of container energy, then I could move through it. But the more I met with that sarcasm and made it feel like I'm doing something wrong for having my feelings, the more it just escalates. So, that's definitely a dance that we've learned, is that when one person is having a moment, don't try to fix it and don't condemn it.

[01:28:56] Just hold in either that container, that unconditional love, let them work through, and then be available when they come out of it. Don't be punishing because that's the other thing that we see a lot of couples do that we work with, is one person will come out of whatever they're in, come to the other person, and then the other person is like, oh, that was so hard for me, and I can't believe [making sounds] . So, being that really loving and receptive place, but that comes back to sovereignty, of not letting your partner dictate how you feel. That's a really big thing in sacred union. 

[01:29:27]Stefanos Sifandos:  Practicing also regular self-awareness. So, for me, I have probably one or two introspective spaces during my day, generally in the morning and in the evening before—so, if I'm finishing my workday or whatever I'm really focused on that day, and before we then connect, I like to spend a little bit of time reflecting on my day and just cultivating self-awareness about what I do. What could I have done differently? What did I feel today? Why did I feel that? Where did it come from?

[01:29:56] Am I missing something? Do I feel like I'm neglecting myself? Whatever it might be, I ask a series of questions and just sit. I'll just sit, and feel, and just in that solitude. And I say that to preface, it's very important to know where we're coming from. So, at the beginning of our relationship, this relationship brought up a lot of old stuff for me that I thought I had dealt with. And I did, but not at the layers that this relationship brought up. And so, I wanted her to feel bad.

[01:30:23] When I was feeling bad, I wanted her to feel bad, because for me, that was an old coping strategy. That meant that either my mom, or my dad, or my grandparents were relating to me, and always getting attention and love, and that's one of the ways that I receive love. And I was able to give love in that way, right? And that was that victim, that victimatic complex. And I would have and want people to feel sorry for me. We're talking about pausing. 

[01:30:46] Well, we're talking about breathing. We're talking about the power of just taking a moment to not react, even if you do nothing, but you're really doing something, but doing nothing is so important, and just being stillness and silence, and ask, what do I really want from this scenario right now? How do I really want this to go? And that's been very enlightening for me, very revealing for me, and it's helped spotlight, highlight some of the patterns that have played out in my life that have kept perpetual distance in a relationship or have perpetuated conflict in a relationship. 

[01:31:23] And today, I was being cheeky, but always at least aware of my sarcasm for the first time—not for the first time, I'm sorry, but in years, generally years before that, I wouldn't be. So, purposely, I was being sarcastic to rile her up, but then I knew I needed to be tender with her as well, because that wasn't going to help. I didn't know you're actually hungry. I thought it was something else.

[01:31:50]Christine Hassler:  Well, it was both of those things.

[01:31:51]Stefanos Sifandos:  Well, I didn't realize thatyou were hungry because she's a menace when she wants to eat. It's super cute. It's super cute, but at the same time, I'm going-

[01:32:01]Luke Storey:  Well, I think those are some of those small personality nuances and differences that if you really love one another, and you value peace and harmony more than being right in conflict, you can work your way through. And you're never going to meet a person that's an exact carbon copy of you, and how narcissistic and boring that would be. But I think like one thing that we—I don't want to say we have conflict around it per se, but just one way in which we're so different is food to me, literally, it's almost the same as having to go to the bathroom. Like that's how important it is to me. It's like, I got to take a dump is like I'd like a steak. They're pretty much on equal footing in terms of something that I have to do to just move around.

[01:32:43]Christine Hassler:  Be human. 

[01:32:43]Luke Storey:  Yeah, to being human. And so, I don't care how food tastes, really, whatever, like I just want to get it down and move on with my life. And she is a normal person who likes food that tastes good, and there are foods that she does like and foods that she doesn't like. 

[01:33:00]Alyson Charles:  But we're actually very similar because like I could give two shits about where we eat, when we eat, like cooking.

[01:33:08]Luke Storey:  Well, I'm not saying that you're like a foodie per se, I'm just saying you care about food a little bit more than I. 

[01:33:17]Alyson Charles:  Slightly.

[01:33:18]Luke Storey:  As an example. It might be more pronounced to me because I care so little that you caring a little bit more than me creates a contrast. But point being is I think as you start to really get to know someone and you find what your differences are, that you can start to celebrate them, and honor them, and kind of put yourself in their shoes. So, if I'm like, whatever, we'll just eat here. And you go, you know what, I really don't want that.

[01:33:45]Alyson Charles:  I don't want Pooters? 

[01:33:46]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I don't want Pooters, it's like, okay.

[01:33:48]Alyson Charles:  I just like saying that.

[01:33:49]Luke Storey:  I'm sure there's a million things that I'm very particular about that you tolerate, and even in some cases, embrace, right? Because I'm so like specific about my life. So, having that self-awareness, and then being willing to bend a little bit I find is really, really useful. And also, just choosing your battles, like is this worth a fight? Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, shit really goes down, and you're like, no, we need to talk. Like we need to fix this. Rare in our case, but I'm sure it'll happen at some point.

[01:34:19]Stefanos Sifandos:  I think the art, the very subtle art is to be able to be self-honoring, be self-honoring on what your needs are and also build character through doing life a little differently to what you've done it, particularly, if you've been single for so long, and then you are now living together, and you're managing someone else's expectations of how they do life, and someone else's habits, and patterns of being, and all of that. And the balance point is, can you be self-honoring, expressing that in a really healthy way, in a loving way, and do what you need to do for you and adapt? 

[01:35:01] Because human beings, think about this, again, we are here, another reason, because we have adapted really well to a changing environment over millions of years. And whether that's geophysically, or whether that's culturally, or relationally, emotionally, whatever it might be, the adaptation piece is really important in order for us to then grow to the next level of expansion, expand to the next level of our expression in the world. I think in relationships, whether it's to self or to others, if we push the edges of that or go to the edges and just remain there for a bit, I think it's very, very rewarding.

[01:35:37]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. The only thing I'll toss into this is I think in our situation and because we all four have put in a lot of work to get to where we are, the thing that just makes it very easy for me is I just know that whatever might be coming up for you, if it is something that needs to be looked at or addressed, I know for 100% truth, 100% of the time, you'll do the work. 

[01:36:06] And so, I don't get all like so nervous and fear-based when I see you in a thing, whatever that thing might be, because in my body and in all of my being, I'm just like, okay, like I think that's something that is going into the area that will need to be brought up and I think that's something that we should talk about, but I don't feel fear because I know we're going to have a healthy discussion about it and I know that you will be honest with yourself. And if you also agree that that's something that needs to be tended to, you will start tending to it immediately and I will see the evolution in that piece immediately.

[01:36:49]Luke Storey:  Like when I looked at jogging girl?

[01:36:50]Alyson Charles:  Oh, my God. 

[01:36:53]Christine Hassler:  It sounds like a good one. 

[01:36:56]Luke Storey:  It's just like a classic dude moment where we're walking the dog up the street where we live in Laurel Canyon, and it's totally unconsciously, like I could not pick the girl out of a lineup, A, because I didn't have my glasses on, B, it was just like female shape coming down the road, and I'm with her.

[01:37:15]Alyson Charles:  In spandex and a sports bra.

[01:37:17]Luke Storey:  Yeah. And I'm just like [making sounds] .

[01:37:21]Alyson Charles:  Like I'm literally standing right here, and he's breaking his neck to watch Jogging Girl go for about 30 to 40 meters. And I'm like, hello? 

[01:37:29]Luke Storey:  And there's like no way out of it either.

[01:37:33]Alyson Charles:  Like so disrespectful is what it felt like. Like just blatant in my face, disrespect for about 15 seconds. I was like, that will not be going on anymore. We will talk about Jogging Girl now.

[01:37:47]Luke Storey:  Yeah, funny stuff.

[01:37:50]Christine Hassler:  We have these stuffs. Because when we got together, we got married legally three months after we got together. So, we were really in the fire and that's when a lot came up. And we were having big arguments, like I had never had really screaming arguments with someone, but we were just in the fire. It was like our souls were like fast track, we're just going to bring everything up.

[01:38:13] And luckily, we eventually got some help and got out of that screaming fight for a while. But when we were in that, I think both of us would get so scared that the other one was going to run or this wasn't going to work. And I had come from a divorce, he had moved countries to be with me, so we felt like we had a lot at stake. And I can't remember what originated it, but you pick it up from here. This. 

[01:38:38]Stefanos Sifandos:  Well, we're in Encinitas. And we were walking. We were staying at Robbie's house and going for a walk. 

[01:38:44]Christine Hassler:  Because one thing we always do is we break down our arguments after we have them, and we're like, what did we learn? And what agreements can we make? What really happened there?

[01:38:53]Stefanos Sifandos:  We dig deeper to ensure that, okay. Well, if this happens again, how can we really grow from it in a loving way? So, we're just going for a morning walk and we're talking about life, just talking about so many different things, where we're going to live, what we're doing, what the future holds, where we are. We're actually talking about arguing, and we were talking about conflict, and that one of the ways that we can really navigate conflict through a symbolic gesture outside of talking, because sometimes, the talking just goes like this, is one of us just puts a hand in the air and clenches their fists.

[01:39:31] And I said, but what I was speaking to was this here represents us. And no matter where we are in life, we can always come back to this. And I use it just as an analogy of, I was speaking about one's purpose, and what's important to one's life, and where are they, and how do they get to that, and the clarity, and we ended up just making this, no matter what's happening, whether she's in a lot pain, or she's upset, or vice versa. 

[01:40:00]Christine Hassler:  Or, we're in a fight that we're just not getting-

[01:40:01]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah, one of us that it's a pattern break, it's a reminder that we're always going to come back to love that we need, and keep arguing, and if we have to just take some space. We know enough again what research demonstrates, and we can talk about this in a moment, if you like, but how to have conflict in a healthy way, how to argue in a healthy way from a physiological perspective and rebuilding the relationship perspective. But that, there is like, whoa, we have to remember, yes, we have a difference of opinion right now, and that's cool, but how we're interacting without opinion because it's not healthy. 

[01:40:34]Christine Hassler:  We're on the same team.

[01:40:35]Stefanos Sifandos:  We're on the same team. That's what this means. We're a team, we're family, we're open, we're together. And this is, we're together for life. And this is the commitment that we made to each other.

[01:40:43]Christine Hassler:  And it helps this abandonment and rejection fears, too, because when he does that to me, I'm like, oh, wait, he's not going anywhere. And same with me. It's like, okay, we're arguing right now, we're in something, and we've got this to remind us, like this is where we're headed.

[01:41:01]Alyson Charles:  I love it. Yeah.

[01:41:02]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. So, there's been times where like, because we have an agreements, we have argument agreements, and one of the agreements is—you could tell it. You can take, is we don't storm out of rooms, we don't just leave. And if we need space, that's fine, but we say, I'll be back in an hour, I'll be back in two hours. I just need some space. I'm coming back so that the other one doesn't feel that abandonment, because we decided earlier in our relationship, we didn't want to—I think fights are good. I think they add passion.

[01:41:34] Like I think the conflict grows the relationship, and add some passion, and kicks up the dust a little bit, but it's the, how quickly you can repair and learn from it. And we don't find ourselves having the same argument over again. So, having an agreement about how we argue has been really, really helpful for us, because for me, conflict-avoidant, stuff everything inside, hold on to my emotions, and as I make myself sick, arguments scared me. He comes from a Greek, Italian loud family. I come from, let's hold it inside kind of thing. And so, my nervous system would get so rattled whenever we'd have an agreement that I'd go into that-

[01:42:21]Stefanos Sifandos:  Argument. 

[01:42:22]Christine Hassler:  I'm sorry, whenever we have an argument, yes, that I would go into that place of the trauma response is fight, flight, freeze, or fawn, and I go into freezing or fawning.

[01:42:31]Alyson Charles:  What's fawning?

[01:42:32]Christine Hassler:  Fawning is what do I need to do to make this better? 

[01:42:34]Alyson Charles:  Okay. 

[01:42:35]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. And by having those agreements, it can settle my nervous system, because I'm like, okay, this is just a bump. This isn't something that's detrimental. It's not going to lead to us breaking up. And so, we highly recommend that to couples.

[01:42:48]Luke Storey:  That's really good.

[01:42:50]Stefanos Sifandos:  It's really simple, but powerful.

[01:42:51]Luke Storey:  I'm a fawner. I didn't even know about that F, that one with the F. I know that you left one out, the fornicate one, but that's what they say. I didn't make this up. But that's a good one, because I don't like conflict. There is a lot of conflict at times when I was a kid and it was terrifying. So, I don't like yelling, and shit getting thrown, and like all that. It's just I shut down really hard. And so, it's like, yeah, I want to get everyone happy again as quickly as possible, so this feeling I'm experiencing goes away.

[01:43:20]Christine Hassler:  Me too.

[01:43:21]Alyson Charles:  Yeah. I know you have those tendencies and this is just another quick little share, but because I know you have that tendency of more withholding to make peace, and I have verbalized this, but just have set the intention lately that I would actually like to hear from you and know from you more a little bit if I'm doing something that does make you uncomfortable or annoyed, because sometimes, I feel like you might withhold or fawn a little too much, whatever that might mean. 

[01:43:56] So, that's why last night, when we were watching the Cobra Kai and he was eating his thumb off, when I was trying to get my blanket, he happened to be sitting on the blanket, so I was just trying to move it so that I could cover my feet. And he got a little annoyed because he's very into this new series, and he's like, oh, God, you're being annoying, I'm just trying to relax. And he's actually never, ever, ever, ever articulated anything like that to me at all.

[01:44:30] And so, I was so like caught off guard. And so, I just got my blanket and kind of huddled in the corner. And I was like, I don't know how I you feel about this. And a part of me, my feelings were like a little hurt, and like the little girl in me was a little like sobby. And I was like, am I being annoying? And so, I was being a little sobby, but I really just stayed with it and breathed with it. And I just tended to that little girl. And I was like, oh, it's okay.

[01:44:58] This is really not a big deal. And I didn't say anything on purpose, because once I was able to sit with those feelings and do what I needed to do, I was actually glad. I'm like, he's doing the thing. He's expressing more of the thing that I actually was hoping he would start to do, so my intention is actually opening. So, don't now get on him, and being like, what do you mean? I wasn't—like just let this be. So, you were totally unaware that any of that happened, correct? Yeah. You had no idea? 

[01:45:31]Luke Storey:  No clue.

[01:45:32]Alyson Charles:  Because I just did what I needed to do, but I was really kind of glad in a weird way that for the first time, you said, I was being annoying. I don't know.

[01:45:41]Christine Hassler:  And you did such that healthy conscious relationship thing to do, is you parented your own inner child. 

[01:45:49]Stefanos Sifandos:  That's the self-regulation, sovereignty, self-autonomy piece. 

[01:45:52]Christine Hassler:  Where we get into like the codependents with relationship is I want him to take care of me. Like you hurt me, you fix it, you take care of me. And what you did is like, okay, I'm hurt. I recognize this. Let me parent my little girl. Let me calm her down. And then, you could actually see the situation so clearly, and go, oh, wait, this has nothing to do with me. He's just feeling safe enough now with me that he can express this. This is actually kind of a weird compliment.

[01:46:18]Alyson Charles:  Yes. That's exactly it.

[01:46:20]Stefanos Sifandos:  And the beauty of you sharing that now and Luke integrating that within himself is, he may say then, oh, now that I feel safe to express that because I have a real-life example of being met with love, actually, or at least not reactivity, you get to say to yourself, oh, maybe I can express that in a kind of way, in a way that won't upset her. And that's when, now, you grow together.

[01:46:46]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I think there's a piece too that, I don't know if it's a male, female exclusively, it could just be an energetic thing, so like to consider people listening to the show, might not be in a male female relationship, but I am, and so that's my point of reference. But energetically, in masculine manhood, for me, if I do get upset, and emotional, and triggered into anything close to fight or flight, my brain shuts down and I cannot come up with one rational thought or thing to say.

[01:47:20]Alyson Charles:  I can attest to this.

[01:47:21]Luke Storey:  It's just like [making sounds] white out, and I got to go away and not talk about it until that feeling goes away, then I'm like, oh, then I can logically dissect something and come up with a solution. And likewise, if ever, not because of her, but just in life, work, whatever, I'm overwhelmed, stressed, legal shit, tax shit, whatever, just the stuff that hits you, life comes at you fast, as they say, sometimes, when that's going on, she can visibly notice that I'm upset, not with her, but just upset, and she wants to soothe me by getting me to talk about my problems.

[01:47:58] And I've learned over time that when I'm still in a problem and I haven't fixed it yet, it makes me more and more upset to talk about said problem. So, we've learned, I think it's been another tool for Allison to learn to just like let me go freak out until I fix my shit, and then I'm happy to come back and share about what the problem had been, and here's what I did to fix it, and I feel very successful. I'm really high in testosterone, because I had this problem, and I conquered it, and now, I'm back to report that I won.

[01:48:33]Stefanos Sifandos:  Validated.

[01:48:33]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Do you share in that? 

[01:48:36]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah, kind of. 

[01:48:37]Luke Storey:  Like talking about my problems makes them worse, that's the thing I observe.

[01:48:42]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. So, it depends on a number of things, but what I'm hearing you say as well is that you're really wanting to "fix your problem yourself". The issue that you face, you want to take care of it yourself. And there's a feeling of I'm a utility now, I'm a value now. And that is a masculine energy, but it is also a male evolutionary process that we've gone through as men to be of great utility to our tribe. And what I've often found for me is when I am in the middle of something and someone attempts to come in to help me, if I'm in a space of low self-worth or not believing in myself, I will interpret the willingness or yearning to assist me as in, you're not good enough, let me do it for you or let me help you, because you're not enough, right?

[01:49:30]Luke Storey:  Yeah, that's good.

[01:49:31]Stefanos Sifandos:  And then, I get very frustrated. So, my frustration doesn't come from someone trying to help me, but me not dealing with my unresolved low self-worth in that instance or maybe it's an ongoing thing. And so, yes, I still am a big advocate of autonomy, and sovereignty, and being in solitude with one's stuff, and working on yourself, and can we accept assistance and help? And often, we'll find that when we cannot accept that assistance, when it charges us, it's less about them trying to help us and more about the way we feel about ourselves because we can't navigate through this issue in the way that we think we should. So, we're shooting the fuck out of ourselves, basically.

[01:50:11]Christine Hassler:  I'm just thinking of a moment we had a couple of weeks ago where you didn't sleep and you got up before me. And it's really a feat if Stef can get out of bed without waking me up because I'm like a light sleeper. But somehow, he slipped out of bed. He slipped out of bed. And I came in the kitchen and he asked me to read something he wrote. And I could tell he was working his way through something. And this is a beautiful thing about sacred union, he had done a lot of processing on his own, but it was the sharing of it with me while he was still in it and some things that I was able to reflect. 

[01:50:46]Stefanos Sifandos:  Because I asked for it.

[01:50:47]Christine Hassler:  Yes, because you asked for it, that was that final layer. And so, I think that's the beauty of a relationship, is we can get pretty far on our own. And when we have a loving partner that can reflect things back, or ask questions, or say the things that we really need to hear, it's like another deeper level of healing can come forward. And that's really the beauty, because I think we're saying a lot, yes, be sovereign, do your own work, and the relationship, the container itself is filling. 

[01:51:16]Stefanos Sifandos:  Is part of it.

[01:51:17]Christine Hassler:  Yes.

[01:51:17]Stefanos Sifandos:  It's part of doing your own work. And with Christine as well, particularly as you both know, she's exceptional at what she does in the world, and how she serves people, and how [indiscernible] you are, and how you're able to map consciousness, and understand people, and see patterns, and be the psychological detective, and all that. And I think over the years, I don't think I know, over the years, I mean, I've seen you spoken about this, Christine is very reluctant to give advice or insight unless she's asked for it. And so, I have to constantly say, tell me what you're saying. I have to say that. 

[01:51:54]Christine Hassler:  Because I don't want to be his coach.

[01:51:55]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. And I don't want her to be my coach either. But it's almost when I say that, when I say, tell me what you're feeling, tell me your intuition, tell me your insight, the coach's hat comes off, and the wife, partner, best friend, person sitting here that just loves you compassionately saying, hey, this is what I'm saying and feeling. And that level of permission is very empowering for me, because I am asking for it, so I'm very willing and open to hear it, and feel it, and absorb it. And it bonds us because it gives you permission to not hold back. Because I'm saying, when you hold back, don't answer about coaching, just tell me what you're feeling, tell me what you're seeing.

[01:52:32]Alyson Charles:  Yeah, that's the exact, that when I wrote on the piece of paper, I have one thing that I want to share, beautiful segue into that.

[01:52:39]Luke Storey:  Oh, I thought it was the story about me telling you you're annoying.

[01:52:42]Alyson Charles:  No. That was an unexpected little gem that emerged. But this is the last little piece that kept coming in before we sat here. It's like, make sure you talk about this, because I think there is, again, something really beautiful about all four of us being on the consciousness evolutionary path and committed to doing that kind of work, and we're also in relationships. So, let's see how I want to pose this exact question. 

[01:53:13] I think that there's something unique and beautiful that comes with that then when you've got two people in the relationship who have their own spiritual gifts, and some gifts may be similar between the two, but then, of course, there are a lot of spiritual activations, and gifts, and abilities that are very unique to you, Christine, unique to you stuff and unique to each of us. And so, it's that dance then, that unique dance that comes in this kind of sacred relationship of honoring when you might be getting an intuitive hit that is perhaps the opposite direction that he's maybe wanting to go.

[01:53:56] I was kind of chuckling when you were sharing in an interview or listening to about when he's going on the vision quest, and just what comes up for you, but yet he's honing in on something within his own soul that's directing him to go on this quest as scary or maybe dangerous as it might seem, and we have come up against this piece a lot with, he just, for whatever reason, gets pulled into plant medicines way more than I do. The irony is that I'm the shaman, but I mean, we're all shamans in our own ways, of course.

[01:54:36] So, that's been a funny thing within our dance of, I'm very skilled at seeing especially people's shadows and just when there's anything at all coming into play that's not of the highest. And so then, voicing that, but then he's on his own path. And then, sometimes, he might say to me, but I am really feeling cold, so I don't really know what question. I just think that this might be of service to people listening that are wanting to be in this kind of relationship. And these are the things that you're going to hit up against when you're dealing with people that have their spiritual abilities activated. 

[01:55:20]Luke Storey:  Well, I think for me, with that particular issue, it has a lot to do with getting to know you, and your gifts, and insights, and honoring that. And she's alluding to one particular impasse where I had been journeying a lot for like a couple of years, just all positive experiences, so why would I not do this all the time? It's like, this is amazing. Every time I go on a journey, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, I'm just like killing it, God's killing it for me. Alright. I'll have a little humility. But I mean, like I'm getting a lot accomplished, a lot of healing, a lot of expansion and growth, so it's like, well, of course, I'm going to keep doing that. And then, there was one point a few months ago where I had gone and smoked the Bufo toad, the 5-MeO-DMT, which for anyone that's experienced that, you know it's-

[01:56:11]Stefanos Sifandos:  Is that your first time? 

[01:56:12]Luke Storey:  That was the first time, yeah, quite an earth-shattering experience, to say the least. And I came home. It doesn't last long. It was an afternoon thing. But like I told her I'd be home at a certain time. I'm out in Venice, we're in Laurel Canyon. And afterwards, I started hanging out, integrating, smoking cigars, kind of chilling. So, it's like, what was going to be a 90-minute thing turned into a multi-hour thing, and then I got like the guilt trip, like scared little boy, ah, she's mad at me. Like energy kind of came in, I started a trip out on that a little bit.

[01:56:42] I tried to call her. She didn't pick up. I got like attachment anxiety shit, like, oh, man, I'm going to go home, and she's going to like bad trip me and this whole kind of spin out. And I get home, and I think I was carrying that energy, and then we had this conversation, I believe, in that moment, where she's like, hey, it's your life, do whatever, but like this doesn't feel right. Where you are right now, tonight, after this experience, as beautiful as you say it was, feels off to me.

[01:57:10] Now, the old me would have been like, well, good for you, too bad, I know what I'm doing, and just totally ignored that. But knowing her gifts and getting to know her, I was like, okay, this is uncomfortable because I just had what was probably the most profound experience of my entire lifetimes, but okay, I'll feel into this. And it's funny because I kind of slept on it, and I thought, hmm, maybe there is something here that I can't see. 

[01:57:37] And then, I started to see like, wow, I have had all of these realizations in the past couple of years, profound realizations about the nature of the universe, the nature of my life, my experience, all of it. And I'm pretty good at integrating and applying lessons. I mean, I've been doing it for a long time. I don't just read a spiritual book. I read it, I'm like, okay, that sentence says, do that, then I go do it. I'm someone who likes to apply the truth.

[01:58:03] Anyway, when that happened, I took a pause, and I thought, maybe she sees something that's valid that I don't. And that was just out of my respect for your gifts. What ensued was all of this 3D earth stuff was just about to happen, taxes, buying a business partner out, just stuff that required me to be so down to earth, so grounded at my desk, organized desk, pen, paper, emails, ah, that world that I don't like to be in at all. I could float in the ethers all day, every day the rest of my existence and be stoked. I don't like the earthly realm much. 

[01:58:41] But then, it was a great opportunity for me to see, ah, she did see something. It's not that I was doing anything wrong or I was in trouble by journeying so often, there was something coming, a wave of real life 3D shit that I needed all of my faculties for. And even with all my faculties, it was pretty gnarly. It was a gnarly period there of losing an assistant, hiring another one that didn't work out, just all that stuff. And that gave me, really, a lot of respect for your gifts of like, oh, shit. Like I wouldn't have seen that coming. I might have just been kept going once a month or whatever I was doing off on my trips.

[01:59:15]Alyson Charles:  Well, yeah, it was that. And also, I understand about applying, like reading, okay, do, but these medicines, as you know, but for anyone who doesn't know, like these medicines forever continue to work, work, work, work, work. Like they will just always be working with you. And I do think, along with what you just shared, there was that other piece of this of just like these successive compounding. Compounding, now, this one.

[01:59:41] Now, this different one. Now, this different one. Now, this one's the same, and then this one. And it's like it felt to me, you were not giving it proper sacred space to continue teaching and weaving. You were compounding them just way too much and getting into that extremist place that felt dangerous and not of the sacred essence that each one should be handled in. So, don't forget that there's that piece too.

[02:00:09]Luke Storey:  Thank you for that, babe.

[02:00:09]Stefanos Sifandos:  That's interesting, because the extremist place that men can get through particularly is very unstable for the feminine and feels very unsafe, because it's so unpredictable.

[02:00:19]Luke Storey:  Oh, that's a good point.

[02:00:21]Stefanos Sifandos:  Very unpredictable, and it's extreme, and it's intense. And intensity, it's like driving a car, like you're driving at 40 miles an hour, cool, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150 miles an hour, all of a sudden, there's more attention and effort required to control that vehicle. And if you're moving in extremes, there's more effort that's required and that can be challenging. And that that perception of, oh, you're unstable, you're unsafe can bring up a lot for the feminine within any individual.

[02:00:53]Luke Storey:  Yeah. But that was a really interesting dance in our relationship and I guess continues to be to some degree. 

[02:01:00]Alyson Charles:  It happened the other day. 

[02:01:01]Luke Storey:  Yeah. 

[02:01:02] Because after that, then it sort of turned into a thing, where I'm like, I don't know, an opportunity presents itself, I'm feeling into it, and I think, this feels pretty good, I want to do it. And it's like, oh, shit, I got to talk to Alyson about it.

[02:01:11]Alyson Charles:  This is a sensitive thing now for us, like all his journeys.

[02:01:13]Luke Storey:  Yeah, it's just not me. Like my whole life, I just do whatever I want however I want to do it, which is a very lonely life ultimately. And so, it's much better to have someone. But yeah, now, it's like the other day, I got a text here in Austin from a friend and it was to go sit with the toad again. And I was like, ding, ding, ding, ding, it's time. And I'm like, is it really, Luke? Looking in the mirror, looking into my heart, pausing, sat on it for a few hours, then mentioned to her, I was like, oh, I hope she doesn't like bum out on this because I'm feeling pretty called. 

[02:01:42]Alyson Charles:  Well, I'm not ever going to try to control, but it's just like, I just want it really thoroughly and properly felt into, because I'm highly discerning and I really trust my discernment. So, when these experiences are presented, you have to—not you guys, but just anyone listening, I would want you to understand, like I'm then going into, as someone who facilitates spaces like similarly, I'm like, I don't know who these people are, I don't know who is facilitating.

[02:02:12]Stefanos Sifandos:  Where does it come from as well?

[02:02:12]Alyson Charles:  Where does it come from?

[02:02:14]Stefanos Sifandos:  What's the intention behind it, the lineage that follows? 

[02:02:17]Alyson Charles:  Exactly. 

[02:02:18]Stefanos Sifandos:  We could speak to sacrament in plant medicine and how it's used in modern-day community so much, it's so different. I wrote a very long blog on this a couple of years ago actually.

[02:02:31]Luke Storey:  Oh, good. We'll link to it.

[02:02:32]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. Okay. 

[02:02:34]Luke Storey:  But I think like in summary of that point, because I know we've got a dinner soon, but it's been one of those interesting things, too, to navigate, in that there's the sovereignty piece, like I'm my own man, I know what I'm doing, and I make mistakes, and I'm willing to own them, and I'll accept the consequences of said mistakes. There's that piece. But then, also, there's the relationship and there's her.

[02:02:57] So, there's an honoring to that where I might really want to go do something, but for whatever reason, she's not able to cultivate a feeling of feeling comfortable and safe with that. Maybe she met the people and gets really bad vibes off them or whatever. And it's like, yeah, it's my life, but because we have a shared life, then there's a certain bleed over into her experience that one needs to be mindful of.

[02:03:25]Alyson Charles:  And this is the last thing I'll share, since that initial thing, the two that you felt very called to do, I sat with it, did the work with you in it, and I also arrived to a place, where I'm like, okay, I think this also feels aligned. Like I did my own communications and prayers. And so, thankfully, since the two you felt very called to do, I also eventually arrived to a place of peace within my own self, so there wasn't this huge combative like I don't feel good about this, and you're just like, well, I do. So, I don't know what's going to happen.

[02:04:00]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I think there's just a place of balance and harmony there. But it has been really good for me, just to kind of like be a bit more thoughtful about it and a little less cavalier, and slow my roll a bit, and it's been good for me.

[02:04:13]Christine Hassler:  Well, I think that's part of sacred union, is like the way we help each other grow isn't just through conflict and isn't just through heart expansion, but it's also having the other person be a little bit of a compass in some way, and be like—because sometimes, it comes from needing to feel safe, but a lot of times, it just comes from our intuition. Like you'll say something like, hmm, doesn't feel good. I'm not feeling fear, it just doesn't sit well in my body. 

[02:04:40] And he calls me on stuff, too, and I think that's one of the beautiful things about a healthy relationship, is you really start to—like I trust—an example, when it comes to anything physical, I trust him. Like if we're hiking where there are bears, or there's anything that's physically challenging, or dangerous, or whatever, he's gotten really into guns since we've moved to Texas, and he's an excellent shooter.

[02:05:07]Luke Storey:  Take me shooting.

[02:05:08]Stefanos Sifandos:  100%.

[02:05:08]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, he's really great. All those things, like I have nothing to prove and I really surrender to him because like that's one of his many gifts. I don't even try to—compete is the wrong word. And then, there are certain things that he's really acknowledged in me, so I think it's just finding those things in your partner because we see this a lot in couples we coach. Couples get competitive with each other like inside the relationship. And it is brutal. And it's like, acknowledge each other's gifts, recognize them, recognize the ones you share, and then recognize the ones that are different that you can really call each other out in because I think that's an important part of the growth.

[02:05:51] I mean, you really called me forward in physical things. Like there'll be things like even the shooting example, I didn't want to go do it, and you kept, it's going to be good for you and it's going to be—and it turns out, I was a sniper in a past life and I'm excellent with an assault rifle [making sounds] . And he's able to say, no, that's not your fear, your nervous system is going to be fine, tap into that inner warrior, it's not your fear, this is just your head. And I'm glad he called me forward in that way, but it's because I know that's an area where he's extremely gifted.

[02:06:24]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. And we have to give ourselves permission within the coupledom to, if I want to make a choice that Christine doesn't feel strongly about or vice versa, I'll make that choice and I'll learn. As long as I'm not intentionally intending to hurt her or my soul for us, or create distance in the relationship, or be ignorant and stubborn, that's not my intention, and I really sit with her, because at some point, you may get to a place where you're adamant on something that you want to be or do, and you're adamant on the exact opposite of that.

[02:06:58] And you've both done an adequate amount of deep inner exploration, and you're still feeling that, and you're still feeling that. It's not about right and wrong. It's about, well, okay. And this is the balance point, can you release that, but still be self-honoring, what does it look like? Who knows? That's the challenging part. Can you be self-honoring for you, and do what you need to do for you, and really hear and feel everything your partner is saying? Where do you find that balance point? And it's not just in that moment. It's also across many moments past, present, and even future-projected. And that's something that, I mean, we learn and grow through all the time.

[02:07:33]Christine Hassler:  Yeah. Because we're similar in our values and visions.

[02:07:35]Stefanos Sifandos:  And very different in the other ways. 

[02:07:36]Christine Hassler:  Different in so many ways. 

[02:07:38]Stefanos Sifandos:  Very different in other ways. And I also have learned over time to really respect Christine's intuition and her fears. And her fears, even her irrational fears, I have to respect that.

[02:07:50]Christine Hassler:  The rational you doesn't make perfect sense to me.

[02:07:52]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah, that's what I mean. And I know Chrissie's really learning that about me as well and helping me in that place. So, things that I want to do that are quite adventurous and more leaning towards the adrenaline, that doesn't sit right with Christine. And I also have to think that I've got a family now and maybe a baby on the way at some point very soon. And I have to think about how I want to live my life, too. So, I mean, I don't think there's any right and wrong path. 

[02:08:23]Christine Hassler:  Say what you say about freedom through commitment as we start to wrap up, because I think that's really good, especially for men or people that have trouble with the commitment piece.

[02:08:31]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yeah. I spent a lot of my life defining freedom by not being committed to anything. So, no houses, no loans, no businesses. I mean, I did have businesses, have had business partners, but that was a real struggle. There was always resistance, so I was never fully in. Relationships were the same thing. But I have found freedom through commitment because, and it's paradoxical, but I'm so committed to the commitment of whatever I'm making that I'm allowing that situation in all its elements and variables to come through to me.

[02:09:09] I'm completely open. I'm not holding back. It's pretty similar to the abandonment example that I gave you, you're able to lean so much deeper and deeper into love because it's something you don't care if she leaves, but you're okay to feel her leaving, you're okay to grieve, you're okay to not be attached to the outcome. And for me, I didn't have this massive fear around my freedom being taken away because my relationship to her is completely different. And because of that, I feel freer in the commitment, in the commitment of this relationship. I feel free of that, if there's anything we need to speak about, if it's uncomfortable, I'm bringing it to our container. 

[02:09:47] And we have uncomfortable conversations, very uncomfortable conversations, very uncomfortable conversations that we both go there, but I'm so committed to this relationship, and to this human being, and our container, and what we're creating in the world that I have so much clarity, I've surrendered to the commitment that I have so much clarity that I have freedom. I always say to Christine, I always have, should I say, no matter what it is that we have to go through, we're going to get through it. I can't see how we cannot get through it, we got to work it out. I don't know. That's just the way I think, so I don't know. 

[02:10:24]Alyson Charles:  No, that resonates.

[02:10:25]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I love that. I know we're out of time because we're going to get to dinner. And I also haven't eaten because I've been recording all day.

[02:10:31]Christine Hassler:  Oh, no.

[02:10:32]Luke Storey:  Now, I care about food. I take back what I said. It's not utilitarian. But that freedom piece, I just have to touch on this because it's so meaningful to my love, Alyson, here. I interviewed her about four years ago in New York City on the up and up, all professional, I was celibate at the time, and I guess she was, too. But it's funny, we went to do this interview and she brought me into this workspace, like a beautiful space, but it was really loud.

[02:10:59] Nd I was like, dude, I can't record in here. Like you've got to find us a quieter room. And she did. So, we ended up in this little utility closet of this retail building in New York City. And we're in this very close quarters, kind of like about as big as this little space we're in and we're kind of like seated very close to one another. And I don't know, somehow the conversation veered into this very vulnerable place. And I had been having the realization in a very similar way that I always valued my freedom, man, no one's going to tie me down.

[02:11:26] I do what I want when I want. I'm not committing to no woman. This whole bullshit that it's just hilarious now, but, God, it's so funny. I have to give little Luke a pat, like I was just immature. But I said to her, and I cried, it was probably the first time I ever cried on my podcast, and now, I cried almost every episode, it's ridiculous, but I said, I've discovered that I've always valued this freedom so highly that it actually became a restriction. 

[02:11:58]Alyson Charles:  A prison. 

[02:11:59]Luke Storey:  A prison. And that the true freedom is the freedom that we talked about earlier, the freedom to love with reckless abandon, and just go all in, showing who you really are, and being seen, and seen another. I mean, the freedom that I was clinging to was so superficial, and in hindsight-

[02:12:18]Stefanos Sifandos:  So rigid.

[02:12:20]Luke Storey:  Yeah, so rigid, and just flimsy, and just of low value freedom. It's like a freedom to move your body where you want to move your body and with whom you want to move it, but not a freedom of expression in your soul, and expression into delving into the expanse of consciousness, and choosing to be a single point of focus in that consciousness with another, and then forming a third single point of that consciousness, like that [making sounds] it's a whole other realm versus like I want to do three girls at a time. 

[02:12:53] It's just like, oh, my God, that was so stupid, just like hilarious in hindsight. And that was really like our first bond. And when I shared that, like I said, I teared up and she was just like 100% with me. She was just there, just leaning in, open, ready, having it. It was a really special moment. And it probably was the moment we fell in love, I would say, or at least I fell in love. I didn't know it, but I had never been so vulnerable with a woman at that depth of realization, and been so honored, and held. 

[02:13:25]Stefanos Sifandos:  And met, nonjudgmental and compassion. 

[02:13:29]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Just 100%, she's like, yeah, I'm all about it. She's just right there. And I was like, whoa, this is weird, get me out here. 

[02:13:36]Alyson Charles:  Four years later, now, we're together, yeah.

[02:13:39]Luke Storey:  Too much intimacy, too fast.

[02:13:40]Stefanos Sifandos:  But that's one thing I'd say about you and previous just human beings I've had in my life that have been able to hold that space, is that you, I feel so safe in our conversations, and our interactions, and relationships, because I know no matter how difficult it may be for you, you're going to stay there, you're going to be there. It's not about leaving the relationship. I don't have that fear of Christine leaving me, because I feel I'm so far healthier, integrated from when we first met. 

[02:14:09] Because when we first met, we're going through a lot of shadow stuff. I, particularly, that was coming up and I needed to. But when you can have a partnership where both people are really safe for each other, you're lighthouses for each other, and you're foghorns for each other, you know that there's that stability there. No matter what you bring, it will be met with openness. That's what continues to build trust and expands the individual sovereign journey, but also that relationship.

[02:14:39]Christine Hassler:  Yeah, I have so much more to say about that.

[02:14:42]Luke Storey:  That's beautiful.

[02:14:43]Alyson Charles:  I tell you, that's a part in joy to end.

[02:14:44]Luke Storey:  Yeah, that's a great ending moment. And like we've said, there's so much more to discuss, but we are two hours and 16 minutes in.

[02:14:50]Alyson Charles:  Wow.

[02:14:52]Luke Storey:  Yeah. You always know it's a good episode when it goes over two hours and I don't really notice.

[02:14:56]Christine Hassler:  I didn't notice at all.

[02:14:57]Stefanos Sifandos:  Wow.

[02:14:57]Luke Storey:  So, thank you both so much.

[02:14:59]Christine Hassler:  Thank you. 

[02:14:59]Stefanos Sifandos:  Thank you.

[02:14:59]Luke Storey:  And thank you my darling.

[02:15:01]Alyson Charles:  Thank you. It was so nice.

[02:15:02]Luke Storey:  My darling angel, thanks for sitting in with us.

[02:15:05]Alyson Charles:  Darling angel. 

[02:15:06]Luke Storey:  And I'm just so appreciative of you and everything that you are.

[02:15:09]Alyson Charles:  Oh, thank you.

[02:15:10]Luke Storey:  And I just feel like the luckiest guy in the world. And the same for you two, it's really lovely to know you and get to know you even better today. So, thank you.

[02:15:17]Christine Hassler:  Absolutely. Thank you so much.

[02:15:19]Stefanos Sifandos:  Thanks for having us.

[02:15:20]Alyson Charles:  Thanks.

[02:15:21]Christine Hassler:  Bye. 

[02:15:21]Luke Storey:  You guys ready to go eat? Let's do this.

[02:15:32]Alyson Charles:  Yes. 

[02:15:32]Christine Hassler:  Yes. 

[02:15:32]Stefanos Sifandos:  Yes.



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