471. People Please No More: Healthy Boundaries & Releasing Relationships with Love (AMA w/Luke)

Bailey Richardson

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.

Today we’re exploring the highly important topic of boundary setting. My podcast producer Bailey and I discuss the fear and resistance that comes from setting a boundary, living in integrity, tapping into the source of abundance and adjusting boundary densities within relationships.

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.

Today we’re exploring the complex and deeply impactful topic of boundaries and having awareness around our people-pleasing tendencies. Ultimately, in letting the fear of change or resistance to ending a relationship get in the way of what’s in most alignment for ourselves, we not only jeopardize our integrity, but we block ourselves from having experiences and relationships that work for the greater good. 

The conversation kicks off with a discussion around a recent experience I’ve had severing a professional relationship, the fear and resistance that came up in that process, and how I was able to navigate those emotions to ultimately end up at a peaceful resolution. 

My podcast producer, Bailey, and I also explore how our attachments influence how we think of ourselves, why it can be so challenging to set boundaries with those we have attachments to, how to determine if a partnership is beneficial or harmful overall, and the different ways we can change the dynamic of a relationship to best support our overall well being. 

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.

00:00:58 — Trusting Your Inner Wisdom
  • Addressing people pleasing tendencies and boundary setting
  • How Luke approached severing a business relationship that was out of alignment
  • The importance of internal inquiry in situations where we feel resistance
  • The inertia of habit and living in integrity
  • How much we can benefit from being true to ourselves
00:26:58 — Stepping into Alignment: From Living in Fear to Integrity & Abundance
  • The process of determining if a partnership is a good fit
  • Evaluating relationships and how they impact your self-worth 
  • Taking ownership of your choice in engaging with certain relationships
  • Navigating the fear of losing something you have
  • Tapping into the source of abundance 
  • Accepting how our attachments influence our decisions
  • How to navigate change 
00:53:14 — Fortifying Boundary Density & Awareness in Relationships
  • Boundaries around substances
  • The benefits versus the harm of Luke’s addiction to substances 
  • Embracing ego dis-identification and humility 
  • Having awareness around the false boundary that separates us from nature
  • The profound realization Luke had that we are nature
  • Adjusting the density of boundaries within relationships 

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke: In any situation in which we find ourselves troubled, romantic relationship, friendship, familial, the fear of making a change or a severance, even a boundary adjustment to that relationship has to do with our fear of losing something that we have or not getting something that we want. And that motivation is the underlying issue with most relationships that we get stuck in that are not serving either party or both. 

All right, Life Stylist family, here we go with Episode 471. It's an Ask Me Anything episode with my co-host, Bailey Richardson. And before we get into today's conversation, uh, about which I have little idea, I want to invite you to join us next Tuesday with Bruce Cryer for Episode 472. We're going to be talking about the power and language of the heart.

He's an incredible man, most-known for his work with the HeartMath Institute. So we're going to be talking about the physical and metaphysical power of living in your heart. It's a great episode. So I invite you to join me on that one as well. And, uh, we'll go ahead and dig right in. What's happening, Bailey?

[00:01:19] Bailey: All right. It's going good over here. Excited--

[00:01:22] Luke: It's good to see you. I'm always excited to get on a podcast with you. 

[00:01:26] Bailey: Aw, me too.

[00:01:27] Luke: I enjoy doing these, Ask Me Anythings more spontaneously as compared to our old solo cast format where I would spend, sometimes days producing the manuscripts and end up making a three-hour, basically online class, out of a single podcast episode. So it's much more fun to just jump on. And all I really know, uh, about what we're going to talk about today based on frequent questions we get from our listeners, is having to do with things like personal boundaries, and people pleasing, and your own emotional and mental and physical sovereignty and things of that nature which I'm really excited to talk about.

Because I would say 2022's, I mean, there were so many lessons, but as Alyson and I covered in our year-end review at the end of, uh, 2022, I think it was our Christmas or New Year's show or whatever it was, that was really the biggest, I would say, yeah, overall, the biggest lesson for me of last year. And it came in many forms, from many different directions, and many of them were quite challenging.

And so this is something I've been putting a lot of focus on and, uh, we were just having a chat, in fact, before we started recording around a brand relationship that I've had and the brand. And I'll probably just do a podcast or a social media post about this later. So I don't want to get into the details of it, um, without being thoughtful about how it's presented. But essentially, there's a brand that we're working with that seems to be causing people a lot of problems. 

And I've over the past few days determined that it would be out of integrity for me to continue to promote this brand for a number of different reasons. People having negative experiences being one of them, but also some other things in the history of that relationship. And so before we started, I was actually in the process of crafting a thoughtful yet concise email just saying, hey, it's been great to work with you, but for the following reasons, I don't feel alignment with the brand anymore. And so I've chosen to move on. And that's something we can dig into and I look forward to your specific questions.

But I think the most important thing about what we do here on the podcast is getting different perspectives and, uh, applied wisdom from our guests and maybe even sometimes me, as is the case with the Ask Me Anything episodes. And I encourage the listeners to take whatever information, whatever principles or truths or whatever areas that we cover, and the guests or my understanding of those topics and apply them in one's life.

 And that really is the key. And it's something that I learned, God, going back 25 years ago from one of my mentors, because I would be reading this spiritual literature, especially around addiction recovery, 12-step literature and things of that nature. And early stages have a tendency to think it was about memorizing the information or indoctrinating myself into a certain vernacular and, um, way of speaking about things, the books I'm reading, the teachers I'm following, the philosophies that I'm intrigued by and so on. 

And he used to always tell me it's not about learning, it's about the application. He was always using the word application. And I just mentioned applied wisdom. It's like, you can have an understanding of something, and you can memorize it, and you can repeat it. This goes for me too. I'm not preaching to you guys in the audience. I mean, this is what I'm practicing in my own life, and I'm sharing with you because it's so useful, is actually taking the things that I learn and putting them into action in my day-to-day life. 

And another word for this that we hear a lot of, especially in the realms of plant medicines and psychedelics, is integration, where it's like, if you're in integrity, you're complete, and whole, and stable, and solid. I often think of these oak trees I have right out here outside my window. They're all over Texas. They're called live oaks, and they're just such sturdy, integrous creatures. It's like they bend with the wind. We lost a few limbs in the ice storm this winter, yet there they are, just standing firm. And they bend, and they sway, and they adapt to the environment of weather. But they're so deeply rooted into the ground that they're immovable. 

And integration or application to me is about taking these things that I learned from my lived experience or from other teachers, or books, or other podcasts that I listen to, and using the intellect solely as a tool to gain enough understanding of that principle to then take it and embody it to actually put it into my body, into my emotional body, my heart, my mind, um, my physical experience, and my behavior.

 There's another great quote or principle called-- it's goes something like, faith without works is dead. So it's like that tendency we as humans to have is to believe in some philosophy or belief system, theology, religion, spiritual practices, and we believe that they're true, yet oftentimes we don't actually put them to use in our day-to-day life where the rubber meets the road. 

So as we talk about the topics that we're going to unfold today, and I'm reflecting on 2022 and just how I had so many porous boundaries that really had a negative impact on my life, emotionally, especially financially, and also had a negative impact on my wife. Because as the steward of different areas of our life together, not all of them, but some of them, I'm the container master, especially as it pertains to our home and getting things done here and things like that.

 She was negatively affected by my lack of boundaries, and my codependent tendencies, and my blind trust of anyone because I think everyone's inherently a good person. And they are, yet some people are super fucked up. And so, um, reflecting on 2022, and so many of the lessons that I learned is a great way to start this because literally before we got on this recording, I was applying my own medicine, what I really need to do. 

And in this case, it's about create, well, not a boundary really, but severing a relationship that was a business relationship because my inner guidance system found it to be out of alignment at this time for me. And to be able to do that without any vitriol or blame or resentment, just stating the facts plainly, I'm going to have to exit this partnership for the following reasons, and I wish you the very best. And I truly do. There's no animosity on my behalf, uh, at all.

[00:08:34] Bailey: Like an oak tree. 

[00:08:36] Luke: Yeah. A little bit. Maybe. Maybe I'm like bamboo. I'm working my way up. But yeah. And it's funny though, and we'll go into the things that we're going to talk about, but what I came up against in making that decision, and it wasn't a hard decision because things have come to light in the past few days, uh, around this particular product that I couldn't ignore. I had to address it within myself. But the resistance that I felt inside to making that move upon internal inquiry and just looking at my own thoughts and feelings about it, which is such a huge part of this principle of application is, is going within and really being honest with oneself. 

And what I found in the resistance and maybe why I didn't just off the cuff go, oh yeah, it doesn't feel right. I'm out. I really had to think about it and I found that if there was any part of me resisting, it was because, well, I'm going to lose a business partner. And it's not a hugely significant one, but it's a few thousand dollars here and there, which we can all use, myself included. So it was like, well, if I do that, then I don't get this thing. 

There's a sacrifice, in other words, to staying in my integrity and my truth. And a lot of that integrity and truth has to do with the trust that I've built with the audience of this podcast and my social media accounts and whatnot. And there's no monetary compensation that's worth betraying that trust. But that fear did come up, is that scarcity feeling of like, oh man, if I pull the plug on this, going to lose a little bit of money. And this goes for all relationships too, by the way.

This isn't just about money. In any situation in which we find ourselves troubled, romantic relationship, friendship, familial, the fear of making a change or a severance, even a boundary adjustment to that relationship has to do with our fear of losing something that we have or not getting something that we want. And that motivation is the underlying issue with most relationships that we get stuck in that are not serving either party or both.

So I had to look at that. If I sever this relationship, what was on the top of my awareness is, oh man, but I'm going to lose something. And this is a short process. I mean, it took me all of 24 hours to come to the conclusion like, wait, no, there's nothing worth losing my own integrity and not being caring about, uh, the audience for this podcast and really being mindful of their wellbeing. 

And in this case, I don't think the particular product is useful. And again, I'm not trying to be cryptic here. I want to be very mindful about the way that I come forward with this information. And I will, in one way or another. But it'll become a whole podcast about that particular topic. That's the only reason I'm being slightly cloaked about it. It's just a supplement that I don't think's good for you and, well, it's good for me, but it seems to harm some other people and I don't want to be a part of that.

But the inner knowing, and the lesson in that is that by me saying yes and going against my own integrity and my own inner truth, and my inner guidance seems, on the surface, like I'm going to lose something that I want, which is some crumbs of cash every few months. But what is actually happening is by me denying the abundance of creation of God, I'm keeping myself small and limited by my hanging onto that relationship. 

And I'm actually shutting the door to new relationships that are in integrity, that are a full body, yes, that are on the financial spectrum, just speaking about a relationship that has to do with business or finance, that I'm quite certain would be more fruitful and would be fruitful in a way that I feel really good about inside, that is good for the people to whom I promote that product. It's good for the brand. It's good for me, and all of my other brand relationships are a three-way win.

A lot of what funds this podcast, of course, will-- actually, everything that funds this podcast are the brand partners that we work with. The show sponsors and the affiliate marketing. And that's just the lane that I've picked because I'm into so many things and I love discovering innovations and ways that can help us to, um, to be healthy, and vital and, uh, and have the best life ever. So that's the lane I'm in. 

But it was interesting to observe that little bit of contraction that I had, which wasn't a lot, but it was enough to notice like, ah, but then I, uh, I don't get the thing. I'm so grateful. And I'll wrap this up with this, and we can actually get to the real questions or your thoughts and feedback on that.

[00:13:48] Bailey: Which you've answered most of them already. 

[00:13:51] Luke: Well, there's plenty more. As you know--

[00:13:53] Bailey: Yes, of course.

[00:13:54] Luke: I can be verbose, but I'm very passionate about the things that I'm learning and the things I can share because information like this, I mean, not just early in my journey, I'm still learning all the time, but early in my journey, if I had heard some of the things I'm seeing right now, I could have saved myself and so many other people from drama and difficulty.

[00:14:17] Bailey: If you embodied them and not just heard them. 

[00:14:20] Luke: Right. And maybe I read them in a book or heard them on a podcast. I was like, oh yeah, that makes sense. And I then I just went about doing the thing that I always did because the inertia of habit is so powerful that even if, intellectually, we know something to be true or right, if we're habituated to do the easy, or if we're habituated to be motivated by the fear of losing what we have or not getting what we want, then even if we know inside the right thing to do, we either can't or won't do it because of the habit of doing it the other way. 

And this has to do with our fundamental character. When I'm talking about having integrity, it's the foundation of one's character. Your character is the values by which you live and the degree to which you live by those values. So I am always looking at building my character. And what that means to me is not trying to be perfect or pious or be seen as a great guy, it's how I see myself. It's, okay, so there are these values that I live by. Honesty, humility, willingness, love compassion, boundaries is a value. Things we're going to talk about. How loose is my relationship with those values?

In other words, do I apply and adhere to those values when it's convenient and it's easy? Or do I do it when I'm going to lose a little money, or lose a friend, or lose someone's approval? That's the real test because it's easy to make decisions that you feel are right when it's easy and when you're used to making that type of decision. But it gets much harder when there's anything at stake. And so the value that I'm gaining from making the decision to sever that relationship is a value in the fortification of my personal character. And out of my personal character being fortified comes a higher degree of self-love and self-worth. Because really what I'm doing is loving myself. 

And the way that that's being expressed here is I love the audience and I love them enough to not ever do anything knowingly that would cause them harm. And I think in this case, it's possible that that could happen. So it's out of love for them. But really the net benefit of it is more love for myself, and it's my own feeling of self-worth. And out of that self-worth comes more availability to newer and more aligned opportunities. And again, this applies across the board, whether it be financial, romantic, familial, whatever. It's the same principle. It's a universal law. And it plays across the entire playing field of one's experience.

And so I love digging into these things because I get to actually flesh out, what am I actually doing here? And in so doing, then I'm able to complete the process of application into my own practice. And also hopefully inspire someone listening to look at the areas in their life that have distortions, that are sloppy, they're out of alignment, out of integrity, and help them to understand the mechanics of how much we can benefit from being true to ourselves.

[00:17:39] Bailey: Hmm. Yeah. And when it comes to that thing that we're afraid of losing, it's like, will we still be worth the same if we lose that thing? If I'm losing that check that I get from them by saying no to them, am I going to lose a part of my own self-worth? 

[00:17:58] Luke: Yeah. Well, that's the thing. I mean, it's either-- if we're looking at what I'm going to lose, we've already lost because we're in fear. We've fallen out of faith. So let's say--

[00:18:13] Bailey: And we've gotten confused about who we are. 

[00:18:15] Luke: Yeah. And also confused about the ultimate source of our abundance and security. We get myopic where I see my girlfriend or boyfriend or my aunt, uncle, mom, dad, brother, sister. I mean, it gets much more complicated with family. Obviously, you can't just dismiss a family member over something less significant. But in many cases, that is necessary.

If someone's on a path and they're very devoted to their path, and their familial relationships are toxic beyond repair, and it's actually causing them and the other party more harm than good and romantic relationships, I've definitely had some of those, there is a time sometimes for a severance or a timeout, um, or maybe just a, um, an adjustment of the density of our boundaries and our inner circle and how close people get. 

But yeah, if I'm being motivated out of fear and scarcity that I'm not going to get what I want, that says something about my level of faith in the goodness and prosperity of the universe. And it also says something about my lack of faith of myself and my own resources to provide my own sense of safety, security, and abundance. Because it's a partnership with the universe. It's not just like I sit in the house all day and watch reality shows and wait for God to send me food and shelter and money. 

It's like, I am required to be a participant in that partnership with Spirit, and it's up to me to motivate myself to get out there and make a contribution to society. And for that contribution, I'm going to be compensated. So it is a partnership. It's not just, uh, being lazy and entitled and feeling like the universe owes me a living or owes me love or whatever it is that I seek or that I'm afraid to lose. But it's that I actually owe it to myself to proactively expand my experience as a human. And so if I don't value myself, and if I don't have a deep sense of worth in myself, then I'm going to be more easily swayed by things outside of myself, and their perceived benefit despite the deleterious consequences that are obvious in that relationship's continuation.

[00:20:45] Bailey: Hmm. And I think something interesting about, it happened with this partnership, with this brand, but it happens, I've seen it so many times in my own relationships, is the little hints that we get, and it can seem less serious at the beginning. We're getting these little hints of like, oh, maybe this person is not an integrity, or they don't have my best interest at heart. And it seems so small that it's like, oh, I can just brush that off. It's fine. I know what's real here. But you go on and you get like four hints, five hints, six hints, and then it gets a little bigger and you're like, oh wait, okay. I have to actually make a decision here. 

[00:21:26] Luke: Yeah. Absolutely. That's a really good point because in looking back at this situation, and we were talking about this a little before we recorded, there were other warning signs earlier on in the partnership where if it was me today, post 2022, new me, new boundaries Luke, where I'm just much less willing to put up with any distortions in my field or deal with people that are dishonest or out of integrity or just have too many issues for me to take on. I mean, not that I don't have issues, but generally speaking, I get along with most people and I don't tend to have a lot of conflict in business relationships. Things are pretty smooth. 

So when something enters my field and it's just not working, it's become more obvious to me faster. But in inventorying this situation, I was like, huh. It was probably a year or two years ago where things came up and I was like, hmm, this isn't right. This doesn't pass the sniff test. Something's funky here. But I failed the test. And God bless me, I did the best I could. I failed the test because I was like, well, it's not that big of a deal, and these guys are still giving me money. And I like the product. And I still like the product. I haven't had a problem with it, but other people have where it's like, I'm out. I just can't participate. 

So it's very easy to justify, but that justification in my case came from the fear of not getting something that I wanted, again, I'm always going to go back to this, and losing something that I had. What I had was a small but steady income through this partnership. I didn't want to lose that. What I wanted that I was afraid to lose was more of that, and an ongoing, participation in that revenue share, which in all my other brand relationships is totally above board and I feel great about them. I feel very in integrity with everything that I promote. I use it or I have used it. It's legitimate. It works. 

The number of things as you know, because the role you've assumed as associate producer of the podcast and brand manager, you're dealing with all of the different wellness brands that we partner with. And there are many of them that come in. I mean, I get emails literally every day, hey, promote this thing. And it's like, it's not necessarily that the thing sucks, it's not unique or novel. It's not cutting-edge. There's already a zillion things out there. Uh, an example of that would be like a green juice powder. I'm sure a lot of them are great. I started doing green juice powders, spirulina, chlorella, all the things, I mean, going back to the late 90s.

The first one, I forget, I think it was called Green Magma, was the first one. That was even-- actually that was early 90s because my aunt was, I don't know, a sales rep or something. And my grandma, she was like 95. She was taking this Green Magma, and it was great. It was like wheat grass powder or something. And I think those products are useful. But I just use the Organifi Green. I don't know if they're one of our sponsors right at the moment of this recording, but they have been on and off for years. I know Drew the founder. I've actually grilled him on the ingredients. Like, wow, what about this? Are you testing for glyphosate? Are you doing this and that? Always passes all my safety and efficacy requirements. 

So if someone approaches with a new green powder, it's not that I think it's bad, but I'm not motivated enough by making money from that brand to just muddy the waters of the things that I recommend. It's like, I've already got a good one. Until I find something that blows that out of the water, then I'm just going to stick with that. So in all of-- and we're just focusing on business right now, but I'd like to take this more comprehensive and talk about other relationships, but this just happened to be on top of mind.

[00:25:35] Bailey: Lots of metaphorical pieces to this though. I'm hearing a lot of 


[00:25:40] Luke: Yeah. Well, listen, I mean, we can take it there right now. Let's say I'm in a romantic relationship and we've just moved in together, and I just spent a bunch of money on a deposit and buying furniture and decorating, and we're starting to even maybe at some point, merge our finances, and we have a shared bank account, or we're sharing the bills. Say we're in a romantic relationship and we're becoming intertwined in that way, and then we're realizing like, huh, we're really growing in different directions. Or there are codependency issues here, or love avoidant, love addict issues, or someone has some other-- one of the partners or both have a substance addiction.

I mean, if it's becoming apparent to either party that the downside of us staying together has by far exceeded the benefits of us being together, and the way that I've looked at this in my own relationships, by the way, is after some period of time, a few months, couple years, whatever it is, is when I start to have those questions. I ask myself objectively or as objectively as one can observe their own life experience and performance, has my life gotten better or worse as a result of being in this relationship?

And sometimes it's difficult to discern what is causation and what's correlation. It might not be because of that person or the relationship, but the correlation, in some cases, also speaks volumes. And so I know that I've been in relationships wherein some time goes by and I go, man, this seems harder than it's supposed to be. I remember in certain situations just being constantly in fight or flight and hyper vigilant, and just didn't feel safe ever, and couldn't relax. And there was just conflict and it was just tumultuous. 

And there were times where I looked and just like, okay, well, how is this affecting my other interpersonal relationships? Are they better or worse? Just straight up. How are my finances? How's my business or my job? How are the relationships with my family? How's my physical health and my energy? How's my emotional state, my sleep quality? Am I eating better or worse in this situation? 

[00:28:07] Bailey: Your relationship with yourself.

[00:28:10] Luke: Yeah. Well, abandonment, I mean self-abandonment. In those situa-- I'm so glad you mentioned that. Good thinking. In those situations, going back, uh, of which I've had many, and I'm also extremely grateful for those relationships wherein I had that type of experience. Because of the work I do, I luckily have been able to extract lessons about how to change myself and not try to change the other people or blame the other people. Because let's face it, in any relationship, aside from your family, one could argue you also choose your family if you're coming at it from a karmic reincarnation perspective. But let's leave them off the table for now. 

But any business relationship, any romantic relationship, any friendship we are engaged in, and we find, hmm, when I measure these different metrics of my life, everything has gotten worse, it's easiest, the lowest hanging fruit is to blame the other party. And the ego's never going to go, well, let's look inside and take responsibility for our contribution to this failure. The ego's always going to be like, fingers pointing every direction.

[00:29:17] Bailey: Mm-hmm. How can I stay the same? 

[00:29:19] Luke: Yeah. How can I stay the same and get them to change? In speaking of romantic relationships, the gift in it for me has been okay, sure, that other person made mistakes. Perhaps that other person had some serious problems. But the reality is that I am the one that chose them. I walked in a room and was like, I pick you. And I either saw things in them or our dynamic together as things evolved that were unacceptable and I ignored them or I wasn't awake and conscious enough or didn't have enough life experience and wisdom about the way things work to see them.

When one gets to the point where things are untenable, those same fears will come about. I’m going to lose something that I have, or I'm not going to get something that I want. So going back to that fictional scenario of you moved in with someone a few months ago and you're realizing, or both of you realizing this was a huge mistake yet we allow that situation to persist and decay because it's just too scary to think about, now I have to go get a better job or I need a raise. I don't make enough money. And how are we going to separate our bills? And who gets the sofa? And who really owns the dog? And the kid, if kids are involved, which I don't have experience with. 

 Not wanting to deal with either the logistical elements of creating a boundary or a severance, a separation, there's that part of it, but even more so is the internal fire that we are likely going to have to walk through because of our attachment to that person. And I don't mean attachment in a negative sense. I mean, I have an attachment to you. You have an attachment to me. You have an attachment to your dog, and so on. 

Attachments are God-given. They're healthy. They're natural. That's what keeps the web of life together. Everything in nature is entangled and attached. It's all a big love-making aeros, cosmic contagion. And it's beautiful. However, when that attachment is at stake, it's much easier for one to be prone to making justifications and rationalizations based on those fears of what's going to happen if.

[00:31:56] Bailey: Well, yeah, and I think it's, uh, what's the one true fear? It's like, where am I going to get love from if this person isn't here anymore? That's where I get my love. This person loves me so much. I'm going to lose that. Instead of just, I'm going to get rid of this outlet that I have for love and choose one that's better.

[00:32:18] Luke: Yeah. I mean--

[00:32:19] Bailey: Or find it within myself really, because it's always here. 

[00:32:24] Luke: Totally. I mean, if I think right now, I don't even want to speak it out loud, but because I just-- that's how much I can't imagine it because I love my wife so much. And I really just-- I'm sure everyone who's been in love that then gets divorced or breaks up or something also can never imagine it, but I really just see us growing elderly together and I can't imagine any other life. So I absolutely have an attachment with her, and I am in love with her, and everything about her just enriches my life on every level, both measurable and immeasurable. 

Objectively, my life has never been better on all the outside things. Inside, it's never been better in all the ways. So there's an attachment there, but there's also an inner knowing that as painful as any loss like that could be, that even though I'm in love with her and I love her, that she, or this could go for any relationship or work or anything, speaking to your point, the other person isn't the source of that love.

And this goes into the codependency, is that I'm only okay if we're okay, or I'm only okay if they're okay. And for people like me who are inherently extremely emotionally sensitive, which I am, I mean, I'm just a delicate person, I just feel everything and I feel it deeply which is probably one of the reasons that I became a drug addict as a little kid, really. Because there's such a depth of feeling and sensitivity, I think people that are of that nature are even more prone to getting themselves into situations which are unhealthy or harmful because of that sense of loss and because we tend to feel what the other person's feeling, and our mere neurons are just so highly tuned that we have the tendency to attribute our experience of love outside of ourselves.

Just like someone who has a little bit of a shaky foundation of faith can attribute their financial security to one employer or one business partner, or even one business that an entrepreneur might own, that business or that employer is a channel for the infinite abundance of creation of God. But when our faith is flimsy, and no shame to people for whom their faith is flimsy, mine is at times too, increasingly less so. But still, we all have our moments. 

And going back to a few months ago, or last year, whenever I was like, huh, there's a little disturbance in the force with this partnership, that would be a moment where my faith wasn't strong enough to go, nope, I'm out. Pull the plug. Because I trust that the source of my abundance is coming from a source beyond that. It's like you have a massive reservoir, and then there's a dam. 

And then there's a river that comes out of the bottom of that reservoir, and we're sitting there lapping up the water in the reservoir and afraid that that reservoir is going to go dry. And maybe we find it dangerous to get water out of that reservoir, but we mistakenly think that that reservoir, I'm sorry, the river rather, is the source of our abundance. And we can't yet see that up the hill there's a massive dam and there's an infinite reservoir from which that river of finite abundance emerges. And so we attach to these finite points of sustenance, whether it be love, finance, approval, friendship, connection, whatever outside of ourselves. 

But to your point, the cultivation of faith in abundance and the abundance of love as being centered within ourselves gives us more fortitude when it comes to making those tough decisions. When we need to create a boundary or we need to sever any relationship. That doesn't mean that there's not going to be disappointment, hurt, heartbreak, sadness, grief. All those emotions are still present because attachments are healthy and normal and natural. But we would be doing a disservice to ourselves to have the limited point of view that that relationship is the source of what we're getting out of it. 

And when we come to the understanding that that is merely a channel that consciousness is using to provide us with that abundance of love or finance or whatever it is, then we have more security within ourselves to be able to make changes to those relationships when they're not working without such a depth of fear that we're going to die if this thing dies. Which I know we've all experienced. And it's terrifying to the point of paralysis. 

And you can see this when you look at a bickering couple in their 70s and you're just like, why are you guys still together? Or business partners that are constantly feuding and it's like they don't end it. It's because of attachments and also because of that underlying misunderstanding that that person is the source of what you need. 

[00:37:58] Bailey: Yeah. Well, it's like the more that we build that trust that the reservoir is full and that it will come out of another river, we're able to refine those little reactions to the warning signs so that we can make the decision to cut off that relationship when we get the first warning sign or the second warning sign instead of the seventh or eighth because we just trust so much. We already know how full the reservoir is. There's no doubt that if we cut this one off another one will just pop right up.

[00:38:34] Luke: Absolutely. And I don't know if this is true because it can't be proven, but when I had that realization this morning or last night whenever it was, that it's likely that I'm actually blocking a better, more aligned and more prosperous opportunity by stingily clinging onto this one out of fear of losing something. 

[00:38:58] Bailey: I think it must be that way.

[00:39:00] Luke: I mean, I'm going to say it is, but it's not like I can go to a lab and do a study and show that to be the case. But it seems metaphysically that that's how the lessons in this human experience work. And this is-- actually fuck it. It's just the way it is folks.

[00:39:18] Bailey: It is. It's taking up your energy. It's taking up my energy, it's taking up space. It's like if we're going to let this thing be here in our field, then it's taking the place of something else. I think so anyway. 

[00:39:30] Luke: Yeah, absolutely. It's like, think about-- I'm always trying to clean up my garage because that's the last frontier of building this house. The garage is still a total train wreck and the rest of the house is together, pretty together. But it's like, say we have a bunch of old garbage in the garage, just old shit. We haven't done a purge, uh, a garage detox in a while. And, uh, there's things that we would love to have in that garage.

Man, I want to have a tool bench, or a car lift, or a boat, or whatever. I mean, I don't want any of those things, but trying to think of what a dude whose normal would want in his garage. I want a biohacking gym maybe. Okay. So I want to put a sauna out there, and this, and that. And I might have that intention and that desire, but the fact that energetically, I'm not willing to let go of all of the perceived heirlooms and junk that's out there, there's literally no room, there's no space, I mean, on the physical level for that stuff to come in. 

And I'm led to believe that in the metaphysical, meaning the non-material realm that that is also true. That if that space, the bandwidth of my attention, you might say, is full, then I am in fact denying better and more fulfilling opportunities from entering into my field. And so cleaning house, like spring cleaning, I think is a great thing to do with our relationships as well when we find that we've applied everything we can to make them work and they're not working. And this is, allow me to just offer a disclaimer. I'm not recommending that people disown your family or break up with your husband or wife because you heard a podcast. I'm just sharing my own experience truly.

And, uh, I think a lot of things can be worked out that might seem untenable on their face if both parties have the capacity to listen and to truly act out of love and have a desire for harmony and cooperation. But it takes two to tango. And on the spiritual path, uh, something I've observed over and over again is you have, um, in terms of a romantic partnership or friendships, you have one person who, for whatever reason is called to their spiritual evolution and becomes more and more committed and devoted to awakening. And the other party just gets left behind because they're not interested for whatever reason. They don't have the proclivity to be interested in such things. 

And I find that that is one of the most common divides, at least in the communities that I roll in, is one person is all in and they really want to grow spiritually or get into personal development and the other person doesn't and they're unwilling to change. And then you have two ships that were parallel on a sea and one is veering off into calmer waters in their spiritual practices. And the other one, for whatever reason, refuses and just wants to go straight. So it's like, did the person who veered leave the relationship or did the person who went straight leave the relationship?

And the fact is that we also go through cycles. I mean, I know this, especially with my career and also many relationships and spiritual teachers or books or philosophies that I've immersed myself in, is that sometimes things are good for both for some time, and the purpose that they were meant to serve has been fulfilled. Things come to fruition. Things have seasons. You plant a garden, nothing happens. Then some sprouts pop up. Then some little buds. Then you've got some flowers or fruits or vegetables, and then winter comes and they recede and become compost again. And so the cycle begins. And so things are constantly being birthed and being deathed over and over again.

And sometimes our relationships, two different practices, teachings, people, everything with which we have a relationship in life is constantly in flux because the human experience is so dynamic. And so sometimes we can also get attached to, well, I found a groove here. I found my sweet spot with my work, relationships, etc, and I don't like change because change takes me into the vulnerability of the unknown and requires much more faith than the known. And faith can be scary because it's intangible. It's not like God shows up. Well, maybe he does for some people. You sit in enough ceremonies, God might literally show up and talk to you.

But in day-to-day life, we're just going on faith. Again, I look at the oak tree, I go, well, something's making that thing grow. There it is. I go to sleep every night and why don't I die? What's making my heartbeat? There's something here animating the universe. I choose to just call it God because it's short and easy to pronounce and is encompassing of the point that I'm trying to make. But for some people that have a religious connotation to word God is difficult. But, um, you could call it universe, source, whatever, the cosmos, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, whatever your avatar of choices or deity of choices. 

But the fact is that there is a governor and an orchestrator of all of these dances in which we participate as people. And as we begin to observe the flow of that dance and trust in that dance, we become more malleable and less attached to the way things are right now and seeing them as the way they are always meant to be. We become more open and receptive to change, and also less afraid of that change. 

I don't like--I'm not a change guy. I mean, this is coming from a guy who's like, I want to just get my shit set up and never have it changed, literally. I hate moving. I don't like new relationships. I loathe dating, I mean, loathe dating. Dating apps, I mean, no, I'm not having it, anything. It's just I don't like change. I just find my groove and stay in it. But that's not how life works, especially if you're someone who's on a path of evolution. And if you're one who's deeply committed to doing God's will, whatever that looks like for you, that's the single most important mission of my life, is to express as God meant me to express, and to contribute to humanity and consciousness in the way that I'm best suited, which in this particular case, is recording a podcast with Bailey. 

[00:46:25] Bailey: And we can use that as the filter, I think. If we know our purpose and the people in our lives are not contributing to that purpose, or they're holding us back from achieving it, then they're probably not supposed to be there.

[00:46:43] Luke: Yeah. And that's a really good point. I mean, that's part of that inventory. How's my life going with blank in it? When I'm participating-- because everything is a relationship. Alyson talks about this. Um, we think of a relationship as just human to human, but we're in relationship to everything in our reality. Because we are the single focal point from which we experience all of reality in its totality. So I have a relationship to this desk. I have a relationship to my business, to this podcast. I have a relationship to my garage. Anything with which I interact on any level, I have a relationship. I'm relating to it, I'm interacting with it in some way, whether it be internally or externally. 

And so is my relationship with anything serving me or not? Is it deleterious to my wellbeing and the wellbeing of the other party if it is another party? Or is it beneficial to both? Are both of us flourishing? If it's a relationship with my workspace, am I treating my workspace with respect and keeping it free of clutter so that my workspace and I can communion together and be productive in the most effective and enjoyable way? Not that my workspace is sentient, but I do have a relationship with it. It's like everything in my surroundings and my experience. 

And so all things are really relationships. And you could say that it's especially true that we have relationships with food, and we have relationships with substances. I have my Lucy, shout out to Lucy Nicotine. See, what these guys did was smart. It says this product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical. And I can attest to that. I really enjoy it, and I'm also, I would say, clinically addicted to it. I mean, I've talked about this on podcasts. I've been having this relationship with nicotine since 1986, or maybe 85, actually.

[00:48:45] Bailey: Oh my gosh.

[00:48:47] Luke: On and off. Fighting with it. Battling with it. Right now, I'm in a phase of just like, I feel better with it than it is a net benefit. I don't smoke cigarettes or anything like that, but, um, just these little nicotine pouches or nicotine gum and stuff. I don't know, I enjoy it. I like it. But I had a battle with myself toward the end of the year on which, uh, I talked about on the podcast with Alyson, the year end 2022. And I had this battle of my own internal relationship with myself because I had this idealistic perspective that I wanted to be perfect and I don't want to be controlled by anything. I don't want to feel like I need anything. And like, if I leave the house and like, oh no, I forgot the thing, I don't like that.

[00:49:32] Bailey: Yeah. Well, that's the density of the boundaries. It's like that boundary, it evaporated between you and now the nicotine, whatever the source is, it's a part of who you are. It has to come everywhere with you. And without it, you're not okay.

[00:49:49] Luke: Yeah. There's no boundary. Well, the boundary with nicotine with me, it's funny that you mentioned that is, and I want to talk about the density of boundaries too. That's something that just came to me a few months ago, and I think there's maybe an interesting model on which to build around boundaries. So with nicotine, for example, the density of that boundary, meaning how porous is that boundary or not, I will not take a hit off a cigarette ever in my life. Just like I will never take a drink of alcohol ever in my life, and a number of other substances with whom I have severed that relationship permanently based on experience and just self-knowledge.

[00:50:32] Bailey: And like, if it's not going to serve you at all, then-- 

[00:50:37] Luke: Yeah. Well, that's one of the templates for addiction because addiction is a relationship. Is this behavior giving me more benefits than it is harm? And so when I look at the Lucy nicotine pouches on my desk, there is a part of me that's like, God, I wish I didn't feel like I needed this to be me and to feel good. Yet if I'm really honest with myself, I derive more benefit from it than I do harm. 

When I was a drug addict, that was true for many years even though my life was absolute chaos and I was hell bent on self-destruction. But when I would use drugs like alcohol, heroin, crack, cocaine, it's hard to see how they could benefit you. But because I had so much unresolved trauma and so much mental illness, frankly, the benefit that I derived from my relationship to those substances outweighed the damage that it was causing to my life and my relationships. 

In other words, the medication had more benefits than side effects, even though the side effects from the outside objectively, for anyone looking at me in my sad, pathetic life, would indicate that the damage that I was causing myself, the side effects of that medication, I guess we could say, were by far more than what I was deriving in its benefits.

However, my experience was without this, I will probably kill myself. So I need this. I want this. I like this. I know I shouldn't be doing it. I know I'm doing myself a disservice. I know it's sick. I know I have a sickness. But it worked until it didn't work. Then I crossed a threshold with my relationship to those substances, the ones I just named, and many others to which I was addicted for a long time, wherein the side effects and the damage that I was causing to myself, and my life, and my relationships, my ability to support myself financially by far outweighed the flimsy benefits I was getting from it.

It's like I actually stopped getting the benefit, which was my ability to run away from myself and my problems, and to not think about the things in my life that had harmed me and the things about which I was sad, and grieving, and hurt, and all of that. It couldn't mask my trauma anymore, basically. And so then you look at, I can't hold a job. I have chaos and drama in all my relationships. My entire life is totally dysfunctional. I'm becoming increasingly more mentally ill. I'm spending time with people that are extremely dangerous and toxic. I'm putting myself physically in situations that are potentially deadly. I'm being mugged on the street. I'm completely unconscious of my surroundings. 

I was living a very destructive, dangerous life, and the compounding effect of the shame that I experienced of my higher self-knowing that I was throwing my life away, all of that became so present that it overshadowed the benefit that I was getting, the relief that I was getting. And so in any relationship to anything or anyone, there comes a point where you have to say, man, is this doing more to me or more for me?

And when it gets to the point where it's doing more to me and I can't adjust that relationship, which is often difficult because if the relationship involves another person, people are often immovable. If it's a relationship to a habit or an addiction or a substance, I can't change the nature of that substance. You can't make heroin, light. Heroin without the heroin, it doesn't work. To get the thing you need the thing. So if I can't change the external party in that relationship, then something has to change within me.

And this is a beautiful point at which we arrive in our relationship to anything, when we can in earnest, within ourselves, make that determination, is this serving me or is this harming me? A. Okay, let's say it's harming me. Is there anything I can do to change my relationship to this thing that makes it not harm me? And sometimes there is. Sometimes interpersonal relationship. There's therapy. There's holding ceremony together. There's reading books about how to relate. There are coaches. Uh, there's a lot of ways that both parties are willing to evolve together. And this is happening all the time, every day.

Many people think their relationship's at the end because it's hurting both people, and they both say, we really love one another as friends or otherwise, and let's work on this. Let's fix this. And sometimes things are fixable, and sometimes they're not. And so the next determination after, is this hurting me or helping me, is it doing something to me or for me, then the next one is the tough decision that sometimes comes, which is, it's untenable. It can't be amended. It can't be fixed. And then what comes into play is that faith that that relationship is not the source of your love, is not the source of your abundance, your sustenance, your financial security, whatever it is. But there's a greater source.

And that is the opportune time to capitalize on building and expanding in that trust. Because when we're in a vulnerable state of grieving, and grieving has many forms in many levels, depending on what we're grieving. I mean, I could be grieving the partnership that this morning I decided I don't want to continue with. Um, I'm not grieving, but I could be a little. I'm more relieved that I finally came to my senses and found my internal guidance and listened to it. But when we're in that vulnerable state, which in addiction recovery is often called hitting bottom, that is the most fertile ground with which to start building a real working faith.

[00:57:35] Bailey: Hmm. It's rich with potential. 

[00:57:38] Luke: Yeah, it is. I mean, think about hitting bottom. You are on the ground. You're in the soil. 

[00:57:45] Bailey: It's funny I think about the, um, how Dispenza talks about the void where there's nothing. When you hit bottom, that's how it feels. It's like you have nothing. You are nothing. Because you've lost everything that you thought you were.

[00:58:03] Luke: Yeah. And when you're empty, you have the capacity to be filled. So much of spiritual growth in my journey has been not in the acquisition of more knowledge and understanding, but actually more so in relinquishing the things that I'm so sure that I know to be true. It's actually a process of subtraction, more so than addition. It's, how many of the thoughts that I entertain every day are actually based in falsehood? How many lies am I listening to that are generated by the mind? How many, uh, how much emotional dysregulation is being caused by the ego? 

And I think those feelings are valid when they're just a defense mechanism put up by this other entity that we just give the blanket, um, name ego. I'm not demonizing ego. Ego's an integral part of being a human being. We have to have one. It's how closely are we identified with it? Am I operating and feeling and thinking from the position of ego? Or am I a witness observer of the phenomenon of the ego and how it operates and forming a collaboration and a partnership with it and keeping it in its right position as the governor, higher self in our shared experience as a person?

[00:59:33] Bailey: The boundary around the ego.

[00:59:35] Luke: Yeah. It's an integration. Because back in the early days, uh, and this is very common in addiction recovery circles, is because the ego is such a staunch impediment to sobriety, there's a lot of talk about smashing the ego and getting the ego out of there and getting rid of it, which is smart because the ego's the thing that-- you see these reality shows, what's that one? Intervention. And the addicts like, no, bro, you guys are all the assholes. It's your problem. I'm doing fine. And you're like, ah, God. The arrogance and pride and close-mindedness and resistance. You just see pure ego.

So it is true that the ego needs to be subjugated to some degree in order for the light of reason and the light of spirit to shine through and reach that person's true self or higher self. But it's not something in my experience that should be demonized if you want to grow and evolve because whether you like it or not, it's still part of the persona. If you're still incarnated in a body, having a material human experience here on earth, in the plane of visible light that we call matter in reality, even though that's just a small sliver of the totality of reality, but let's just play in that small sliver if we're going to participate in this, the ego is necessary. 

So when you hear someone say, oh, that person has a huge ego, I don't personally think egos come in sizes. I think they come in degrees of identification. It's like, how much am I buying into the false understanding that I am the ego? When you see someone who has a huge ego, we think of someone who's boastful and arrogant and conceited, that's preachy and talks down to people and it's like--

[01:01:27] Bailey: It's like all they are is ego.

[01:01:28] Luke: The superiority of it. But what's interesting is someone could be as equally ego-identified, meaning they've lost touch with who and what they really are and they've taken on the role of this super identity of ego. Someone who is marred by self-loathing and has no self-worth, and self-esteem, and is self-deprecating. This is the side of ego, by the way, that I'm more familiar with. I rarely think I'm better than people, but it's all too common that I think I'm not as good as people. And this goes into people pleasing and all that, which we didn't even get into. We've been going for an hour and a half, and I'm like, I haven't even gotten started. We can do a part two.

 You would look at someone who is very sheepish and people pleasing and accommodating, pathologically accommodating, uh, and say, whoa, that person's humble. I think of humility as the antithesis of ego. But the person who is that self-deprecating, self-loathing person is as ego-identified as the arrogant, superiority complex character. It's the same coin, but that coin has two sides, inferiority or superiority. 

But it's the same false identification with something that is actually not me. It's a part of me. It's one of the components of the persona, but it's not who and what I really am. And so you could look at someone who's on the inferiority side and say, man, that person has a huge ego. Because they don't have access to self-respect and self-love. Because they don't know who they really are. They're actually trapped-- 

[01:03:14] Bailey: Access to the truth. 

[01:03:15] Luke: In their ego. Yeah. And so this is a really playful way that I like to explore the beautiful fundamental principle of humility. And I never like talking about humility because I feel like if you're talking about it, then you don't have it. But the only way we can get it or not get it, it's outside of ourselves, but gain access to it, I think is by talking about it. So maybe over the years I've gained a little more humility and one of the highest compliments I ever get, which I get here and there is like, wow, you're a really humble guy. I go, man, I don't know if there's a better compliment. And of course, if you're humble, you don't let that compliment go to your head either. 

But the way that I look at it is, and this comes a lot out of the 12-step literature, um, almost verbatim in this case, is an honest evaluation of who and what you are, and a willingness and desire to become better. That's it. So humility and ego dis-identification says, man, I'm Luke Storey. I'm a pretty cool guy. I'm pretty smart. I'm pretty talented at this and that. And, um, I'm gifted in these ways, in those ways, and there's some shit that I do that I really need to work on. 

And that's a really, for me, a really healthy way to have a relationship with myself that keeps me in balance and hopefully prevents me from leaning into the superiority of thinking I have anything going on anyone else or the inferiority of thinking that I'm unworthy of love or success, or anything else that a human might seek to experience in life. So it's that middle ground, and that middle ground is born in the fertile soil of hitting bottom. We are humbled by our failure.

Humiliation and humbled are two different things. Humiliation is self-loathing. That's shame. That's a very low state of consciousness. But humility is actually a very empowered state of consciousness because it's honest. Humility is saying, man, I'm really screwed up in the following areas and I'm going to own that. And at the same time it's like, I do an outstanding job at these five things.

[01:05:46] Bailey: Yeah. I think--

[01:05:47] Luke: And actually owning that, but not owning it like you created yourself. Because actually that's the slippery slope with taking credit for the gifts that you have because you didn't give yourself those gifts. The only credit you get, maybe, is that you were able to identify and acknowledge your gifts and pursue them and hone whatever craft is associated with those gifts, whether it's being a mother or an engineer or a doctor or whatever.

But ultimately, if you zoom way out, we can't really take any credit for any of it, because even the motivation to pursue one's gifts comes from a higher place. It comes from whatever it was that created us and is expressing itself individually as a you or as a me. So it's all God, whether we think it is or not. What'd you say?

[01:06:38] Bailey: We have to be grateful for them. 

[01:06:40] Luke: Yeah. 

[01:06:40] Bailey: It's like once you take credit for it, it's like you're cutting yourself off from the gratitude for that thing. 

[01:06:47] Luke: That's right. If you take the credit, you got to take the blame. Yeah. 

[01:06:54] Bailey: I love that. 

[01:06:55] Luke: Yeah. That's the coin. It's like, when you puff up your chest and you start getting a little full of yourself, man, you're just poised to get your ass knocked down. And when you stay small and hide, you're poised to never grow into your fullest expression. So it's, for me, about finding that sweet spot in the middle. It's the sweet spot in the middle. And from that sweet spot is where a more true inspiration around boundaries, around beginning or ending relationships of any kind, that's where it comes from, because that's where the balance is, and where balance is we find integrity. 

The humility is another way of saying integrity, because it's an honest understanding of where you are in life right now in this moment, and a desire to grow up higher and reach toward that sun, going back to the tree analogy. It's like the tree's sturdy. It's solid. It's immovable, yet it's still evolving. It's not just done. I'm built. I have integrity. We're done. We're going to stop here. No. 

[01:08:01] Bailey: We get better every day.

[01:08:03] Luke: It's still seeking an expression of further life through its vitality and its procreation. And it's the acorns, it's spreading. It's still doing its thing. It's still expressing. But it's doing so in its truest nature. And one of the greatest ways to find out who we are is by going into nature and observing nature from a place of inclusion and participation. Not a place of recreation or recreation. It's immersing ourselves in nature with the goal of experiencing ourself as part of that fabric. Not like, oh, this is a separate me. Now I'm going to do the nature thing. 

I mean, this is something I'm working on all the time is really, as a domesticated western human, it's like we have this dominionistic separate relationship with nature. And then through that, well, is one of the ways we lose touch with who and what we really are, and our own integrity, and our own humility in our place in the universe. And seeing how important we are and how insignificant we are simultaneously. And if you're in awe of a waterfall or a sunset or a peak of a mountain or the middle of the ocean, there is such a grounding and humbling effect to that experience if you can really take it in and go, wow, I'm actually integrated into the natural environment because that's what I am. I'm not in it, I'm of it.

[01:09:40] Bailey: Yeah. The, um, creating a closer relationship with it and then actually allowing that boundary of your identity to dissolve. 

[01:09:51] Luke: I like that.

[01:09:53] Bailey: I think we have such a distant relationship with nature. Most people do. It's like a distant relative. It's not our person. It's not--

[01:10:04] Luke: Well, I love how you put that, of allowing the boundary that-- it's really a false boundary that separates us from the natural world. There is a--

[01:10:14] Bailey: Yeah. We created it in our heads.

[01:10:17] Luke: Totally. Um, I think I brought that particular piece up. So many of the most profound realizations I've had in my life have come from psychedelic and plant medicine experiences. And as I always say, hopefully when I talk about those, I'm not encouraging other people to go have those same experiences or even promising that you would have the same realizations. I don't know. It's for each person to decide. There are absolutely risks involved with that way of exploring yourself.

But there was one time in Yosemite, we went to, um, a cabin up there with my brothers and Alyson and a few friends, and at that point, um, worked with mushrooms or any psychedelic or plant medicine, without facilitation, without a proper ceremony, etc. I mean, earlier in life when I was a drug addict, I did tons of psychedelics with reckless abandon and was very unconscious and caused myself and probably other people a lot of harm because I was using them to try to escape my reality, which is a horrible idea because it's just going to take you deeper into your reality.

But anyway, we're up in, um, Yosemite and we rented this beautiful cabin that's owned by, um, Lacy Phillips from To Be Magnetic, a friend of who's been on the podcast, and I don't know if I ever told-- yeah, I told her. I was like, I just outed her property on my on my podcast. But yeah, anyway, had some mushrooms and I just thought, well, I'm going to just feel into it and if it feels aligned, we eat some mushrooms. And, um, a few of us did. And I'm outside and I star-- I mean, it was literally, I think I can say this in honesty, it was the most fun day I have ever had in my entire life to memory. Maybe when I was three or four years old I had a more fun day at my birthday party or something.

I laughed where my face hurt, for hours and hours. And one of the things I was laughing about was that I could just keep eating mushrooms and the big joke became how funny it is that I was trying to measure them and only take a certain amount because I'm like, okay, I'm going to take two grams and then three and a half grams. And they're measured. And I was very calculated about it, which is very smart, by the way. I don't think I was in air, but I guess what I'm trying to express is I felt so safe largely because the people with whom I was sharing that experience were close dear friends for whom I had infinite trust and also trust in the fullest expression of whoever I was going to be that day. So there was no chance of paranoia of like, people think I'm being weird because I'm in the backyard naked, laughing, climbing a tree. As freaky as I could-- 

[01:13:12] Bailey: You could completely let go. Yeah. 

[01:13:13] Luke: They were there for it because they were my brothers and really close, uh, close friends. Anyway, the moral of the story is, um, since I ate so many more mushrooms, uh, because I just kept eating all day than everyone else, everyone else went inside and their experience had concluded and I'm outside by myself just having a blast. 

And at one point I'm down in the creek and I find all of these different varieties of mint growing in the creek and, I don't know, basil, just all these really beautiful aromatic herbs. And it's up in the redwood sequoia zone, near Yosemite, so it's just gorgeous and just lush and amazing. There's a creek going through the backyard. So I'm down there and I'm just eating all these herbs. And my friend Brie comes down and is like, oh, we were just wondering what you're doing. And I look up at her from the creek and I'm like, I'm just eating salad. There's salad everywhere.

[01:14:10] Bailey: You got [Inaudible] in your teeth.

[01:14:11] Luke: Yeah. I just have my mouth full of all this delicious mint and stuff. So I'm down there just, I mean, I am just having a blast and then finished my salad and, uh, went and sat on a stump or whatever. And I'm sitting there and I thought to myself, man, Luke, you got to go in nature more. This is what it's all about. And then the voice, capital T, capital V that happens in those experiences said, Luke, you don't need to be in nature. You are nature. 

That might sound trite or obvious to anyone listening, but the impact of that understanding for some reason in that moment landed. And has never left. I mean, it's waned. It's not as strong as it was in that moment on my hands and knees, eating salad out of a creek, but that was one of those big aha moments. I was taken aback, just like, oh, wait, what? And I realized my whole life I had been an observer of the natural world. Not a participant or a constituent of the natural world. 

[01:15:24] Bailey: We've grown to put all these measures in place to protect ourselves from it. Not only from the parts that are dangerous, like wild animals, but from dirt and bugs and grass and all this stuff that we're allergic to or just don't want to touch. It doesn't match the world that we've created inside. And even when it comes to the-- I'm looking out the window as I talk about it, at all the trees outside. But it's that fear, I think. People think it's going to make them sick. I grew up-- when I was little, I hated bugs so much. I'm still a little-- I don't really like them.

But when we're out there and we're a part of nature, we actually live there with the bugs and they're living their own lives out there. It's not all about us. We're not coming in and being-- if we're not coming in and being something completely different from them, then they're not really going to bother us as much as if we go in there and we're like, oh, going into nature acting just like how I do inside when I'm completely far away from it. They're like, well, who are you? Why are you coming here into our space? 

[01:16:40] Luke: That's so true. Yeah. The symbiotic relationship. Yeah. And I don't even know how we got on that. Yeah. I guess it has to do with the boundary. This self-imposed boundary we've created around the environment of which we are a part.

[01:17:00] Bailey: Mm-hmm. Well, and it's funny, I think of-- it makes me laugh, especially with the wording, the language, when you eat mushrooms, it's like you become more like a mushroom. You are what you eat and you eat them and then you can feel how the mushrooms feel out there in the woods.

[01:17:24] Luke: Oh my God, so good. Yeah. That's actually a really, uh, another funny part of that experience thinking back on that day. It was just so fun. And it had some beautiful realizations too, but more than anything, it was just like everything was hilarious. But that was the first time really that I felt a kinship to that kingdom. And I perceived those mushrooms as actually being like family members or friends. And that was out of just being led to just keep eating them and feeling safe in doing so. 

[01:18:08] Bailey: Like a true teacher. Like a teacher that cares about you. 

[01:18:12] Luke: Yeah. And it was like they were showing me, dude, your fears are your problem. We're fine. It's like you have all these human-made mathematic equations and you're going to do this and that. And they were literally just like laughing at me going, we're your friends. We're your family. We are you. We're part of you. And that was really what they were teaching me that day was, you are not separate from the natural world, including us. That said, I do recommend people are mindful and respectful of the potency of different substances like that. And it could go very wrong if someone just thought, oh, well, Luke said you don't need to measure them. Just eat 10 grams and you're good.

[01:18:53] Bailey: Oh, no.

[01:18:54] Luke: I'd definitely not advise that. But in this situation, that's just the way it rolled. And to that end, I've not done that since. And that was probably three or four years ago. And I've never just willy-nilly started eating tons of mushrooms anytime I've experienced them. Since, they have been measured and it was perfect for that particular day and experience.

But yeah, I just, for some reason, thought of that probably because for those watching on video, on my desk I have what could look like a sex toy but in this case is, uh, actually a little crystal mushroom that I don't even remember where I got this thing, but I sit it on my desk. It helps remind me not to take life too seriously, because often when I'm at my desk and this computer, that's when life gets tense and serious. 

[01:19:45] Bailey: Aw, I need a mushroom for my desk. 

[01:19:47] Luke: Yeah, you do. I might have-- thinking back, the folks at Four Sigmatic who were one of our sponsors at one point, I think they might have sent it to me in one of their little Christmas influencer gift bags or something like that. That might have been how I got it.

[01:20:01] Bailey: That's sweet. 

[01:20:01] Luke: But yeah, it's pretty cool. Well, Bailey, per usual, we're going to cover one topic loosely, uh, and that was boundaries and relationships, uh, and all this. And some good stuff, I think, uh, arose there was inspiration from both of us. 

[01:20:19] Bailey: I think that was so perfect. I love how we-- because coming into it, my topic that I had in my head was really boundaries in general, and I feel like we made a nice little web around that.

[01:20:35] Luke: Yeah. I agree. And it was also cool that there's something happening in real time that has to do with that boundary. Oh, there's one last thing I wanted to touch on. 

[01:20:44] Bailey: Okay. I want to say one thing too. 

[01:20:46] Luke: All right. Can you remember yours? 

[01:20:47] Bailey: Yes.

[01:20:48] Luke: Okay. When I was talking about boundary density, and I haven't totally fleshed this out, but it's pretty straightforward and simple, I think. In some cases it's not even necessary to completely sever a relationship with a thing or a person or whatever I'm in relationship with. But sometimes there needs to be an adjustment to the density of that boundary. So you can look at it like an inner circle. And going back to my nicotine, my nicotine on my desk, it's right here. It's in my inner circle, and I've reconciled that with as little judgment as I can. My wife is in my innermost circle. You being, uh, a co-creator with me, I don't think of you as an employee, you're a partner, a co-creator, you're in another tier of that circle going out from its center.

Each person, I have a level of closeness and boundaries with. And then there are people in the periphery with whom I'm purely acquaintance, and I might not let them into much of my internal life, not because they're a bad person or anything like that, or there's any incongruence necessarily. It's just the relationships dynamics don't call for more closeness. And so I'm aware that people are at a different spectrum of permeability based on my relationship to them or to a thing, again. 

So it's like, how loosely do I hold those relationships? How far do they get in? And sometimes in the case of a person, their position in that inner circle might change based on the dynamic nature of both of our personalities. And my historic pattern was to just let everyone into my inner circle and not think about it because everyone's ultimately a good person underneath all their shit. 

[01:22:49] Bailey: Me too.

[01:22:50] Luke: After hurting myself by doing that for so many years, I've slowly, and I do mean slowly, learned that I don't necessarily have to remove people completely from my life. If I'm finding there's some minor distortions in the field of our relating, they might just need to be bumped out a few steps so that I feel safe and comfortable and I'm in alignment with my own highest good. 

And if I'm not doing that from a place of punishment or blame or manipulation or anything like that in terms of wanting that other person to feel badly or any of that weird shit, if I'm doing that from a place of truth and a place of self-love, then that adjustment to the density of that boundary is going to serve the highest good for the other party as well as me, because it's based in truth and truth doesn't have a negative aspect.

Truth is purely beneficial to everyone, even if it ruffles some feathers, aka ruffles some egos or some feelings get hurt. And so it's a matter of finding the most elegant way to make adjustments to that boundary density with the intention of not causing harm. Like not just telling someone, hey, I'm putting you in the outskirts of my life. Sometimes it requires a little finessing to not hurt the other party unintentionally. Leaving aside that we hopefully aren't going to do it intentionally. But even just trying to take care of ourselves sometimes can be rough on other people, especially if they're not expecting this change.

But if it's done so from a place of self-love and a place of adhering to my truth and my integrity, it can be done in a way that serves the highest good for all. Even if some feathers, aka ego gets ruffled. Sometimes there's a little disturbance in the force because there's been a change in the dynamic, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the relationship has to totally end.

For me, when the boundary has to become very dense, where that person's not in my life at all, it has to be very out of integrity, and there has to be a serious distortion in either our dynamic or that person's personality. There's things about them that are just unacceptable fundamentally to how I choose to live my life. And that's not a judgment against them. It's actually just adhering to my own sense of worth and love that I deserve more in my life than that person is willing or able to contribute. 

And if I'm allowing someone's behavior in any relationship to harm me or anyone that I love, I'm actually doing not only myself and the people who are being harmed a disservice, but I'm doing that person a disservice by enabling them to live in that distortion. So I'll delude myself into thinking I'm being kind and compassionate by putting up with someone's dysfunctional shit, but really what I'm doing is like giving money to an addict. Enabling. 

[01:26:13] Bailey: And when we can move them into these different circles and keep the truth as the actual motivator of that, I think we learn about relationships, and they learn about relationships, and how their actions affect other people. And we can move them out into a farther circle, and then if they change, then they can flow back in and get closer. And you adapt the model to the truth of what's happening in the moment. Instead of letting the residue keep people in certain places and not letting those people change based on your prior perception of them. And thinking that you know who people are, if you can let them flow in and out, then everybody wins, I think. 

[01:27:03] Luke: I'm so glad you brought that in. Yeah. Because nothing in our life is finite. Everything is dynamic and ever changing. I mean, I've had relationships that it was necessary for them to completely cease. Just pull the plug. We are done. And then one party goes off and does some work on themselves and, uh, realize the error of their ways, and comes with an earnest, amends and acknowledgement, and takes responsibility for their role in the demise of the relationship or the situation that caused that demise, or whatever it might be. 

And you're so right. Things can always be renegotiated when the environment or the dynamics of the environment have changed. It's always open. I mean, maybe not in some cases. In a case of grievous con or something like that. I mean, there are a couple people that I, just from my childhood and whatnot, that I would never, ever, ever, I don't think, be able to reconcile with. But those are exceedingly rare exceptions and cases where there was just very dark forces at play that I have no interest in ever interacting with.

[01:28:16] Bailey: Yeah. Not even worth the possibility. But I think that takes away some of the fear, for me anyway, of considering changing or ending a relationship. It's like it's a lot more scary if it's going to be forever and it doesn't have to be forever. 

[01:28:35] Luke: Yeah. Well, that's why some parents give their kid a timeout. You need to chill for 10 minutes and we'll reevaluate the party after that. Well, Bailey, thank you. Did you have anything else before we go? 

[01:28:49] Bailey: Yeah. My one thing. Well, it was a bit of a coincidence, but maybe it's causal. The eclipse on Thursday, the 19th and 20th. It's an eclipse that's all about releasing harmful relationships or unreciprocated relationships where the energy is not balanced. One thing that I read about it though that it even plays into that circle thing. It's like, sometimes the dynamic of the relationship is what's harming us, and it's not actually the other person. So we can change that dynamic and remove that way that we relate to that person without actually removing that person from our lives.

[01:29:33] Luke: Totally. Yeah. Changing the relationship, the way we're relating. Yeah. That's beautiful. I thought I heard a murmur of the eclipse. I don't really follow the goings on the cosmas--

[01:29:44] Bailey: It's a big one. 

[01:29:45] Luke: Much. But people seem to be hyped about it, so I'll pay a little more attention. But like I said, last year for me, and then carrying on into this year has been a lot about what we're talking about now. And just following that inner voice with more dedication and being willing to advocate for myself and not put up with anything that's, uh, of a lower frequency. Not that I'm of such a high frequency, but whatever frequency I am deserves and demands at least an equal frequency. And so there's been a lot of house cleaning in my own life, so I'm glad we got to unpack this today.

[01:30:29] Bailey: Me too. 

[01:30:29] Luke: And, um, I want to invite the people listening. Well, first, thank you so much for joining. If you made it to the end of the podcast. Uh, hope that you derive some value from this conversation. And if you have, Bailey, and I would be thrilled if you shared it with a couple friends. It used to be really hard to share podcasts, single episodes on the apps. It was so annoying. You would click the little share button and then it would open an SMS or email or whatever, and then it would just send the podcast as a whole to someone.

When I first started, I would try to share certain episodes with people, and you literally couldn't do it. Now, it's super easy. There's a share arrow somewhere on most podcast apps. And if you dug this conversation and you find that it was helpful and could be helpful to someone else, then please send it along. But also I'd like to, uh, invite people to follow me on Instagram. I think after the past three years of shadow banning, I feel like I'm starting to emerge a little more in that, uh, app. I think I was ghosted pretty hard, uh, by the algorithms, and I guess the world has changed a little and maybe I've been a little less outspoken about certain things, the, uh, unmentionable things. 

But I really enjoy engaging with, uh, the listeners on Instagram. You can find me there @lukestorey, and, uh, that is my most active, and for the most part, self-managed social media account versus Twitter, Facebook, or our Telegram group or anything like that. Um, so follow me on Instagram and give me feedback on the episodes that we post there. I get a lot of DMs from people. I do my best to answer them. I'm not always successful in doing so, but I at least try to acknowledge anyone that wants to communicate. 

It gets a little harder over time as more people get on there, but I like that. As much as I hate the censorship of that app and just how wack it is in terms of the lack of freedom of expression and speech, it is really fun for me to see into the worlds of the people that listen to this podcast because it's like, I'm doing them or you and I are doing them, or it's me and a guest, and it's like people are coming into my world and my field, but I have no idea who those anonymous people are out there that are listening.

I look at the downloads and I'm like, 20,000 people listen to this thing. I'm like, who are these people? And so Instagram is a fun way for me to see, oh wow, this is a real person and this is how this work is impacting their life. And it's a great way for me to get feedback and know which episodes people like and don't like, and make suggestions, comments, inspiration, whatever.

So I just wanted to add that before we go. And the last thing I'll say is, uh, don't forget to tune in on Tuesday with Bruce Cryer, where we talk about the language of the heart. And so many of the things we've talked about today are relevant to that conversation because that conversation is all about how to harness and really access our power center, which is our heart. And when we're in the power center of our heart, things like boundaries and the understanding of relationship dynamics becomes much more intuitive and self-empowered. So I look forward to sharing that episode with you next week. And thank you for co-piloting me today, Bailey, and I'll see you. 

[01:33:47] Bailey: Absolutely. All right. Bye, guys. 


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