Ralph De La Rosa teaches about two things, the suffering that comes from emotional confusion and the freedom that comes from emotional intelligence. Ralph began practicing meditation in 1996 and has taught meditation since 2008. He was a student of Amma’s, the hugging saint, for 16 years. He began studying Buddhism in 2005. Ralph’s work has been featured in the New York Post, CNN, Tricycle, GQ, Women’s Health, and many other publications and podcasts. Ralph is a PTSD, depression, and opioid addiction survivor, and their work is inspired by the tremendous transformation he’s experienced through meditation, yoga, and therapy.
In this interview, Ralph joins me to discuss how we can live a better life, understand ourselves, and make the contribution we would make if only we could get out of our own ways. We also talk a good bit about Ralph’s books. The first is Monkey is the Messenger: Meditation and What Your Busy Mind is Trying to Tell You. Ralph offers an insightful perspective here that the mind, the monkey, is both an agitator and an ally. It’s not something to wish it would go away or shut up, it actually has some incredible messages for us of growth and healing. Ralph’s second book is called Don’t Tell Me to Relax: Emotional Resilience in the Age of Rage, Feels, and Freak-Outs, a book that’s very timely, even still as it was published a couple of years ago.
“Life is like an exploding train wreck of beautiful possibilities.”
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Ralph De La Rosa [00:00:00] And in the therapy session it came through, oh, this is secure attachment. This is a feeling of trust and relationship that has been so elusive for me my whole life. I wonder I’m not recognizing it. And wow, now I can, like, contact it in my body and I can let it spread through my body. I can let different parts of my psyche feel this.
Brilliant Miller [00:00:22] Hi, I’m Brilliant, your host for this show. I know that I’m incredibly blessed as the son of self-made billionaires. I’ve seen the high price some people pay for success, and I’ve learned that money really can’t buy happiness. But I’ve also had the good fortune to learn directly from many of the world’s leading teachers. If you are ready to be, do, have, and give more. This podcast is for you.
Brilliant Miller [00:00:45] My guest today is Ralph De La Rosa. Ralph teaches about two things, the suffering that comes from emotional confusion and the freedom that comes from emotional intelligence. Ralph began practicing meditation in 1986, and he has taught meditation since 2008. He was a student of Amma, the hugging saint, for 16 years. Ralph began studying Buddhism in 2005, and he has combined what he’s learned there with what he’s learned in IFS internal family systems. Ralph’s work has been featured in the New York Post, CNN Tricycle, GQ, Women’s Health, and many other publications and podcasts. Ralph is the author of two books, both of which I love and I took a lot of weight from. The first is the monkey is the messenger meditation and what your busy mind is trying to tell you. I particularly appreciate the perspective Ralph offers here that the mind, the monkey is both an agitator and an ally. It’s not something to wish would just go away or just shut up. Instead, the mind actually has some incredible messages of growth and healing for us. If we can learn to listen. Ralph’s second book is called Don’t Tell Me to Relax. Emotional Resilience in the Age of Rage Feels and Freakout is a book that’s very timely given what is going on in our world and what has happened in the last few years. Don’t you think Ralph is a PTSD depression and opioid addiction survivor and their work is inspired by the tremendous transformation they’ve experienced through meditation, yoga, and therapy. Ralph’s work is all about healing, growth, and awakening. We cover so much in this interview. If you’re looking to live a better life, if you’re looking to understand yourself more fully, if you’re looking to make the contribution you would make if only you would get out of your own way. And if you don’t already know Ralph and Ralph’s work, you will appreciate this interview and their books. So Ralph is offering a course in September of 2022. He offers some other online courses as well. You can learn about those and more on RalphdelaRosa.com. With that, I hope you enjoy and benefit from this conversation with my friend Ralph de la Rosa. Ralph, welcome to the School for Good Living.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:03:03] Thank you so much for having me.
Brilliant Miller [00:03:05] I’m glad you’re here. Ralph, will you tell me, please, what is life about?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:03:11] Oh, we’re just going to hop right into the deep end of the pool here, huh?
Brilliant Miller [00:03:16] I might ask you who you are next, but, you know, we’ll just start from there and go down.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:03:20] And let’s just get the existential crisis over with. You’re right. US, right out the gate. Yeah. What is life about? I mean, for me, I really think we’re here to learn. I really think we’re here to grow. I really think we’re here to remember our deeper nature. Remember that we’re here to take care of each other. That we belong to each other. And I mean. In terms of like the meaning of life. I have a teacher who says the meaning of life is life, and the meaning of what happens is what happens. You know, the it’s it’s the richness of our experience that I think we’re all are seeking. And that has everything to do with remembrance and learning and growth and all the things I just, just just danced through so succinctly. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:04:11] Yeah, right. All right. Well, thank you for that. I do want to ask you about your relationship with music. Oh, it’s been a very important part of your life, right?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:04:22] Big time. Big time. I mean. Yeah. Music has really been received and. And now really enacted as a form of cultural activism, really, for. For me, I mean, it’s what kept my mind alive in the depths of hell in adolescence and early adulthood. And being a and having it as a creative outlet as well has really sustained me, gave me something to live for. In the times when there was nothing else when I had nothing, no other identity in the world, nothing else that I even knew how to do or cared about doing. Being able to be in the creative process, both with myself and the kind of spiritual experience, really, whether one calls it that or not, of, of collaboration, collaborative, creative experiences. When I played in a band that was a six-piece ensemble, quite, quite a few of us in that room. And we had played together for so many years that we were able to tap into this group mind experience where there would be communication within the song in real time between us that we would all be able to pick up on and feel and improvise off of and what have you. And that sort of magic is. Right in line with the sense of magic that I had at six years old when I first started experiencing depression. When I first started experiencing trauma and I had first started having spiritual experiences and spiritual experiences of just certain subtle stillness. I couldn’t quite put my finger on that. Let me know if this is not it. This is not what’s going on here and what everybody else thinks is going on here. There’s. There’s more. There’s. There’s no way this isn’t here.
Brilliant Miller [00:06:17] What was your instrument?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:06:20] So I grew up playing guitar. I’m from about the time I was 12, and I started writing songs right away at 12, and at 20, I switched to the drums, and drums, I would say, are my main instrument now. Is this just the, you know, the animal in me, an animal with regards to the Muppet animal? Really? Really. I. Yeah. It gives me an outlet for that level of energy that I hold. It’s such a powerful instrument. It’s such a beautiful and unusual instrument as well, to have four limbs and an independent motion. But I recently returned to playing guitar and I am actually working on an EP right now of songs about being somebody with neuro divergence and a history of attachment injuries or just issues, patterns, and intimate relationships and looking for love on dating apps and what that’s like, you know. Yeah, so I’m going.
Brilliant Miller [00:07:24] On to ask you more about that in a moment about neurodivergence and what that means. It’s a term I’ve heard I’m not familiar with. But before we move on from music, I do want to ask you, would the band you were in, was this a punk band?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:07:40] I grew up playing in punk-metal bands. The band, though, is talking about before that I was in for about five years, was more of like a post-punk, shoegaze man, which correlates to space. Rock might be a more recognizable term for some folks, just a very ethereal but very, like, tough and charged at the same time. Wow. Is it? Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:08:03] Now I’m going to go on YouTube after and I’m going to research this a little further. That’s cool. But that’s knowing that your background includes music that way. You mentioned in your writing a song that’s very different from that is Madonna’s Like a Virgin that had a powerful role in your life, whether you liked it or not. But when you talk a little bit about what that song has meant to you or what it’s done to you, perhaps.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:08:31] Yeah, more than to me, yeah. It had a torturous role in my mind. But yeah, in the beginning of The Monkey as a messenger, I tell the story of of finding myself in the midst of, of trauma and confusion and drug addiction and all of these things having just, strangely enough, gone on tour with who’s known as the hugging saint, this guru named AMA, having just traveled across the country with her, and I somehow landed in the mountains on a dirt road in Colorado with a bunch of healers and and body workers and energy workers and and kind of trying out a return to devotional yogic practice. And it was and I had a suitcase worth of belongings and no music with me, which was like kind of a big deal at that time to like to say, okay, no, no, no, rock and roll. I’m going to take a break from that entirely for for a while.
Brilliant Miller [00:09:33] And talk about a pattern interrupt.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:09:35] Right? Yeah. Yeah, indeed. And then having had some experience with back to yoga in an ashram setting earlier on where you’re in a cold shower at four in the morning and in the temple chanting by 430, I kind of tried to recreate that schedule for myself of like kind of this very disciplined, austere, devoted, focused kind of atmosphere of spiritual practice and waking up early in the morning with the sun and first thing in the morning before anything else happened, sitting down, doing some chanting, and then getting real quiet with the heart and mind and. I’ve met that moment every single day with like a virgin blue lack of that. It would just pop into my head, like, just barge in really. Like, no invitation. Definitely wasn’t a welcome visitor. And me being like a metal kid, a punk rock kid, and all of a sudden this like cheesy. Well, I think cheesy, but a lot of people would say brilliant pop top 40 song from my youth just just barging and then like with the fight with like, oh, god, what is this? And and not having tools, not having been exposed to basic mindfulness instructions just yet. Like, that’s just a thought regarded as such return to the brand. But just seeing it as an intrusion and, and frankly, a failure like, oh my God, I’m here with all this spiritual intention and my mind goes to this, this, this what I would call it, pretty trite place. Now, like I’m here with all the substance of my brain is going through all this flimsiness 40 and just a struggle with that and not knowing what to do with that, not knowing what to do with that, and just just being tormented by my own mind and thinking like it was about the struggle against it. And I’m willing to bet that the last thing I’ll say here’s is I’m willing to bet that my struggle against it, the sense of like this can’t. I’m I have this deep, dark secret in my life. It’s called being tortured by Madonna. Fucking alive in my in my sadhana. You know, the struggle against it is probably what made it happen every day.
Brilliant Miller [00:11:57] Yeah, I held that pattern in place, right? Yeah. That which we resist persists.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:12:02] Exactly. Exactly.
Brilliant Miller [00:12:04] You know, how many mornings in a row do you think that happened?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:12:07] I mean, I was there for about three months. And so I can tell you, I mean, this is 22 years ago now, but. Wow, yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:12:17] I will never hear that song this same way again, for better or worse. That’s right. Thank you for sharing that. I do want to go back to that or to neurodivergence. What does this mean? What does it mean for you?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:12:36] Oh, I mean. I like how you just go and write for the depth, right out the gait.
Brilliant Miller [00:12:43] I’m curious.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:12:45] For me, when I started trying that label on and I started looking at and taking self assessments for high functioning autism, which is very, very likely, that’s that’s the category I would fall under, maybe subclinical high functioning autism. But when I started taking self assessments and I started taking a look back at my experience through that lens, you know, just if this is true about me, then let’s take a look at these different formative experiences. Well, processed in therapy. But. It’s just started making a lot of things. A lot of things that were nebulous or that there was still a blank spot with make sense. Phil Duncan likes it auto accounted for. Not just a lot of experience that I had had it in the past that he didn’t quite understand despite therapy, like years and years and years of very consistent therapy. It also accounted for these meltdowns that I still have to this day. And this was with a decade and a half of of very consistent spiritual practice in my life, very consistent therapy, very consistent self-reflection, self-study, the whole shebang. But there is an experience I consistently have of especially when plans change or. Sometimes it’s just random to that, that I’ll just get a piece of information that throws my nervous system into this particular kind of effervescence where I’m overwhelmed and I can’t control. I lose the ability to control what starts to come out of me and and and how I just just my words, my behavior. It just it’s a meltdown, right? Like, all of a sudden, I’m freaking out. People around me are like, What’s wrong? Literally, nothing happened, guy. And the best I can do, which I’m pretty good at these days, is, say, I got to take a step back and I got to get off the phone. I got to hang up the call. I got to step out of the situation. I got to go outside. I need to be alone in the other room for 5 minutes, whatever it is. That’s that’s the only real thing I can do with that experience. But. It just explained away a lot of things. It explained away a lot of things. In fact, when I told some of my family members that I think this might be the case with me, I was told, Oh, we just thought you were so intelligent that you had no common sense. Wow.
Brilliant Miller [00:15:27] Wow.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:15:28] And I think that that insight really rocked me. It was hard to receive, but also explained a lot of my experiences with my family that they just had no idea what creature they had on their hands, that I was not. I was a bit of a feral being growing up, but I was also they wanted to they wanted to put me in third grade after kindergarten. Well, because I showed up in kindergarten and knowing how to read, I’m not even knowing that I knew how to read, but knowing and just with a lot of competencies that I shouldn’t have had and things like that, just just all of a sudden being able to make sense of your life, being able to construe a cogent, coherent narrative of your experience is very, very much in line with healing. And I could say a lot more about that, but it’s it’s powerful. It’s powerful to be able to.
Brilliant Miller [00:16:32] Well, thank you for sharing that. You know something, reading your books and for anyone listening for this in the intro already. But the book Monkey is the Messenger: Meditation and What Your Busy Mind is Trying to Tell You. And I love this one. Don’t Tell Me to Relax: Emotional Resilience in the Age of Rage, Feels, and Freak-Outs. It’s a very timely book now. And in both of these books, you share very personally from your own experience and learning, but also, I think, some pretty profound insights that that are pointing right to this very thing about, you know, as human beings, we’re necessarily maybe inescapably meaning-making creatures. Our ability to consciously make the meaning of our lives and shift the relationship we have to our experiences and the events and people in our lives is pretty profound. And I want to go back because I know that what each of us does is a function of or largely a function, maybe entirely a function of what we’ve lived through, what we’ve survived. And so your learning and teaching is deeply informed, of course, by your experiences. And you talked about Amma, the hugging scene, and you share a story in the book. I’d love if you’d be willing to talk about it. And there are a few aspects to this because it relates to your addiction, which you touched on in this conversation about an addiction to heroin, an addiction to cocaine, being in some very dark places, meeting Alma, this wise sage, a saint, perhaps, who maybe had the power to remove the addiction from your life. Yeah, but you asked her if she would. Will you tell us what she said?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:18:15] Yeah. She said no, actually. And the back-to-back story is, is I had been a devotee of hers for years at this point but had not developed the tools. Buddhism is what really gave me the tools to work with myself and learn how to be a human being. Like, Dude, can you be a human being before you reach for transcendence? You know, that’s actually the formula. And I was just going after Transcendence for the longest, and it didn’t work because transcendence and drugs are very similar. And to my brain, drugs were, you know, kind of the same thing. Just another reach for freedom. And the time came when the trauma caught up with me and my games and myself to see caught up with me. And I turned to heroin and that was the deepest pit I could ever imagine. Finding myself in and trying to get off was this horrendous nightmare. And so, yeah, I’m a comes to town, you know, and your teacher comes to town when you’re in the middle of a nightmare, you go to them and say, can you do something about this for me? Yeah, you can. And she literally said to me, I mean, this is through translators. Of course, I would never do that to you. And I’m struck by the phrasing to this day. I wouldn’t do that to you. And that she told me, this is going to be the rest of your life. And I would never take that away from you. You’re going to have to work that. I don’t believe she actually said this. But but but the sense was you’re going to have to work this out for yourself. And that’s going to give you what you need for the rest of your life. And I had no idea what she meant by that at the time. This is going to be the rest of my life. Oh, great. Do you mean I’m going to be in recovery from this for the rest of my life? I’m going to be like have seen for the rest of my life. What do you what does that mean? And also, my first reaction was, you know, screw you, lady, like, are you kidding me? I’m your devoted. I am, you know, and I’m your child, basically. And you’re going to leave me here. And what an awful pill that was to swallow at the time, you know?
Brilliant Miller [00:20:39] Wow. That, you know, reading that in your book, it really caused me to think a lot about, you know, the nature of our work and the help we give other people. If there’s even such a thing as health, whether we’re really helping when we help people, you know, this kind of thing and and you quote, I think it’s a little of Watson that about if you’re coming here. I forget exactly. But you know, if you’re coming here because you recognize your liberation is bound up in mind, then let us work together. Yeah. Right. Which is a different come from from like let me give you a hand up or a handout or whatever and. And I’m really curious to know what your take on, you know, helping others because you’ve spent and you tell these stories in your work about working in the foster system, working with people who are abused, who experience deep trauma, you know, this kind of thing, like some of the worst things that we could imagine, many of us living in privilege can’t imagine. We haven’t seen it firsthand and this kind of thing. Yeah. But having lived through and worked with, you know, what you have and continue to. How do you think about helping others?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:21:51] Well, it’s a great question because you’re right. It can’t be hierarchical. Me up here, you down there. It has to be horizontal where we are on the same path, but we are part of the same family and we are in this together and we are also in different roles. And especially in the teaching role where I have students, this is where I’m always reaching for as I’m learning just as much. Yeah. Okay, here’s the nexus. Here’s. Out of how to say this. I’m learning just as much as anybody else. It’s just that our lessons are different, and the real crux of the matter really comes down to the genuine experience of compassion. The genuine experience of compassion is the only thing that’s going to heal anybody. There are a million expressions, there are a million flavors of compassion, and there are a million different ways compassion can be applied. But any healing that’s going to take place necessarily has compassion as the main ingredient in it. Now, when I say so, I think that actually our trauma at a certain level, at a certain level, this isn’t the whole story, but at a certain level is a little bit of a bait and switch in that we think we want to heal our suffering and get away from our suffering. But our suffering is actually here to teach us how to open to genuine, deep compassion in a way that we as hardheaded humans would never bother to do otherwise. So in that context, for me, as the so-called therapist in a room with a so-called client. My job is to be in that compassionate space. And if I’m not in that compassionate space, it’s not going to work and imperative there. For me, that is very good and teaches me gives me so much because that is the doorway. The Buddha literally said Compassion is the doorway to ultimate liberation. My therapy client, and my students are giving me that opportunity. Right. And my job really isn’t so much. Let me help you figure this out. It’s how do I show you how to access that place that I’m in? Right. Because if they’re not in competition with themselves, it’s also going to be I’m not going to say it won’t work or there won’t be any benefit, but it’s going to be a much slower, much more tedious process. If I can work on getting somebody into a space of genuine compassion with themselves, their therapeutic process is going to be marvelously, just generally speaking, very, very efficient, and very to the point. And the realizations and insights they need and desire are going to come about in surprising ways. So if I’m in a process where I have to be in compassion, you’re teaching me how to be in that space, how to recognize that space applied in that space. And I’m constantly practicing giving you the roadmap of how to get there yourself. Like the internalization for me is I mean, it’s life-saving, honestly.
Brilliant Miller [00:25:10] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And what you’re sharing now reminds me that we are I’m once heard and I know this is truly a Chinese saying, but I’ve heard there’s a Chinese saying that goes there are no friends. There are no enemies. There are only teachers. And in that regard of what you’re saying, I’m reminded that we’re all we’re always teaching everyone, not just through our words and our writing, but through our example, through our behavior. And you tell a story in the book that I think it’s probably not an exaggeration to say it’s changed my life about the nun who, you know, it’s a story I don’t if it’s a parable, you know, with this angry man in the gift. Yeah. Right. Because that, to me is right in line with what you’re talking about, about how and I’ll ask you to expound on that, if you will, in a moment. But I think it’s such a beautiful illustration of the idea, the difference, first of all, between kindness and not being kind of being nice. Right. Which that distinction also, if you would talk about it, is pretty profound. But then how this relates back to compassion because we can do that. We can be powerful and be true to ourselves while having compassion. Yeah. Right. But if we’re not aware of that possibility, I think we’re less likely to do it. But when you talk about these things, maybe about the difference between being kind, being nice, about the gifts we don’t have to receive like anything related to that.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:26:36] Right. Well, let’s go back to this other example for a moment right. Because once she was right, like she the work I had to do to recover from heroin addiction, which was arduous, long-term, painstaking, painful, total nightmare, also taught me everything about working with trauma, about the importance of daily practice and having a somewhat thorough and oftentimes meticulous checklist of these are the things I do to keep myself okay every single day. It taught me so much and just being in the fire with that process for so long really left me with a passion for what I do now that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And so she was dead on. Right. This is going to give you everything for the rest of your life. I’m not going to take that from you. That’s compassion. And it was the last thing it was nice. In fact, my initial sense of it is this is me. And I think I’m flabbergasted at your capacity, you know, to just. No way to no way. Right. So that’s it. That’s but that’s compassion for you. Compassion has a sense of boundaries. Compassion has a sense of containment. Compassion has a sense of. I think compassion is limitless, but we as human beings have natural limits as well. Compassion, compassionate energy. When we’re there, I mean, if we want to be true practitioners of compassion as opposed to co-dependence, which is a different story, a particular form of nice, that isn’t so good. Um, we have to develop a sense of, you know, sometimes it’s okay to leave somebody. In dire straits. Sometimes that’s what that person needs. Sometimes that’s actually an act of compassion to be like, You got to figure this one out for yourself. I can’t do it for you. That would rob you of something that you need to get here. So when it comes to having boundaries, you know, so often people struggle with having healthy boundaries, and embodying healthy boundaries is around the fear of feeling guilty. If I say no, I’m going to feel so bad or the fear of where the other person will be left. But if you’re really situated in compassion, there’ll be an intuitive sense of. No, it’s okay. You’re. You’re a grown-ass human. You can reach for resources. You have an innate capacity to think outside of the box and get creative with this one. And it might be good for you to carve those new neural pathways for yourself.
Brilliant Miller [00:29:36] Yeah. Yeah. Helping others learn, perhaps, that they are more capable than they know themselves to be. And it’s you point this out in your writing that I think you say something to the effect that fear and guilt are the prices we pay for living a meaningful life. Something like that was like. That is profound, you know?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:29:58] Yeah. Yeah. God, you really read the book. Thank you. Yeah, it’s true. Authentic living means you’re going to lose the popularity contest. Sometimes. It’s that whole cliche aphorism that I love so much that I am not for everybody. And it means a true living of that phrase. It’s okay to let people down. You’re not going to like me for speaking the truth, for embodying the truths that I hold right now. There are times when that is just going to happen. And if we want to be free, that yeah, that is part of the price of admission sometimes. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:30:39] Well, then if you remember this story well enough to share it, would you be willing to talk about this? This nun came down from her years of living in a monastery and she was really the recipient of a gift. She didn’t especially want full transparency.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:30:56] That’s actually a story about the Buddha that I elaborated on and I made it into a female practitioner just to mess with the paradigm.
Brilliant Miller [00:31:07] Right on.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:31:08] And. And beautiful. Yeah. Yeah. But the essence of the story is basically how. Well, I also elaborated on it to make it a little bit more human, because the essence of the story is this nun comes down from thinking she’s attained enlightenment and enters the marketplace and just absolutely loses it in the harried ness and the materialism and the scam artists that are present in this open-air market and what have you just. Just absolutely comes undone. And because the conditions shifted so dramatically from being off in this nice, peaceful monastery. And so her enlightenment comes undone. Right. Like, how many of us have had that experience of like, I think I’m really getting somewhere with this spiritual practice. And then, you know, maybe for example, as Ram Dass says, if you think you’re so enlightened to go spend a week with your family, you know, go on holiday. So let’s see how that holds up there. Right. Like, change the conditions for the Buddha, sending students to meditate in haunted places or in the charnel grounds, you know, like go, go sit next to a funeral pyre and see how your peace holds up there. And so her enlightenment doesn’t hold up in the marketplace. She falls apart and realizes that awakening has to be unconditional. It has to be able to survive in any circumstance, go back into nature, goes back to the mountain, decide not to go to the monastery, goes in and meditate with the earth, situates herself in awakened mental and artfulness, and decides, okay, now I’m ready. Now it’s sturdy, now I feel unshakable and heads back into town and meets with this person on the road who looks her up and down and just says, you stupid monks, you stupid monastics, I hate you, I hate you. In fact, you’re a woman. You should be in the kitchen somewhere. Don’t you know your place? You’re nothing. You’re not contributing to society at all. It’s just. Just this whole. The terrible tirade that frankly many of us receive on Twitter these days, right over my encounter in other areas of our lives. I hear a lot of vitriol out there in the world. But this time she looks at him and says, excuse me, but let’s say she doesn’t react at all, which makes them even angrier. She goes she trolls him, but with silence and non-reactivity. Right. And then finally she says, excuse me, let me ask you a question. Let’s say, for example, I’m at home and somebody rings my doorbell. And they want to come in. And so I say, okay, you can come in. And then once inside my house, they hold up a box and they say, this is a gift I have for you. Do you accept this gift? And I told them, no, thank you. I don’t accept the gift. You hang on to that. Who does the gift belong to? And the stranger says, Well, the guest, of course. And she says, Exactly. So in this way, you have come into my space and I welcome you. But this gift of anger and hatred you have for me. I decline to accept it’s yours to keep. And that’s one way I’ve learned to deal with triggering situations. It’s not perfect for me. I’ll admit that much. Sometimes it takes me a minute to get there. Sometimes I have to pause for quite some time to get there. But the animosity of the world, the bullying of the world, the oppression of the world, that’s constantly going to be coming at us. Right? It’s the world. It’s broken. It’s hurting out there. It’s confusing out there. But when those energies come our way. One way I think about working with them is can I take that in and feel it? Because I have to. There’s the unconscious mind. They say its psychoanalysis cannot say no. It has no actual boundaries. You’re going to feel everything you experience on some level. Like Ted. So can I be willing to feel that but not hold it. Let it pass right through me. Right. That’s showing up in your house. But then also leaving like. Almost like your body is translucent. And the negative energies of the world hit you, but they just water off a duck’s back. You know, that’s one of many ways to contend with such energy. It’s that.
Brilliant Miller [00:36:05] Yeah. That’s powerful in that image, that metaphor of a gift also that we don’t accept and we don’t need to. And you have a sentence in your book that says, The person coming at you the wrong way is actually suffering and trying to pass their pain on to you. And that’s it’s just so to me, it’s such an empowering possibility, first of all, to recognize that and the compassion that becomes available of, oh, they’re just hurting and they’re trying to diffuse their pain. They’re trying to pass it on. It’s natural. And second, I don’t have to accept it. You know, it doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me in a hole. It’s just not my gift. Yeah, yeah.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:36:44] Yeah, somebody I worked with in a therapeutic context once said they put a Post-it note in their cubicle at work that said, return to sender with any negative energy or just something dysfunctional would come at them. They would just think to themselves, return to sender. I don’t accept that. Don’t accept the gift. Don’t engage. Right.
Brilliant Miller [00:37:07] That’s great. That’s a great reminder. Well, one thing I’m really curious to get your view about as well is we talk about the the the insight available, the lessons that can come from our suffering, even from our trauma. And I love the way I heard Eckhart Tolle. He said this about the fires of suffering becoming the light of consciousness and what I wonder, though, and what your take is on. Is it possible? It’s kind of like rammed us right when he said, when you get the message, hang up the phone. Is it possible to get the message without suffering? Can we somehow cultivate insight and wisdom without having to go through so much hurt?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:37:52] I mean, in this life of infinite possibilities. Sure, why not? But. There’s a story in. And I think it’s in the holy teaching of visual acuity, this Mahayana scripture, where the Buddha takes a student to all these different realms to show them how the different realms of existence. And this isn’t the teaching on the six realms of existence, but just different worlds and how things roll out in different worlds and what other lives are like out there, and how the Dharma manifests in relation to those conditions. And at one point, there’s like a realm of bubbles, and at another point, there’s a realm of beautiful smells where beings attain enlightenment by smelling beautiful flowers. And that just gives them this genuine perception of the interdependence and openhearted compassion and and and the student gets really mad, and it’s like, why can’t we have this as a spiritual practice here on Earth? Why the where the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path and sit down and follow your breath and all this discipline and you know, and working with hardship and obstacles and all of these things. And why can’t we just, like, get off on beautiful flowers, man? And I can’t remember exactly what the Buddha’s response was, but it was basically like, Yeah, humans on this planet, they’re just very stubborn. And this is just what we have to be broken down in order to really start asking genuine questions. And we need all this discipline and engagement with our ship in order to wake up. I mean, I’ve been comfortable sometimes in my life, and generally speaking, where my mind goes is, well, now, how do I just keep it this way? Yeah. I mean, I’m not reaching for anything further. Not asking any deeper questions. Just how do I make it so that these ducks don’t ever fall out of a row again, and invariably they do. And then. I don’t know. But then. I don’t know. I think about the Barbies and maybe the Sufis and some other folks that have like ecstatic experience. That’s part of their spiritual practice. I know for me that was just pure spiritual bypassing. Back in the day, could others engage in that and have all of the realizations that they need to have to open their heart fully? I mean, I think of Rumi. And how true that seems to be with regards to their ratings, but also how much of Rumi’s writings do deal with shadow material? Yeah. As well.
Brilliant Miller [00:40:54] Right. Well, thanks for your thoughts on that. Okay. So we’ve covered a lot and I do have a few more questions before we move on to the Enlightening lightning round and the questions for you about writing and creativity. But what haven’t we talked about that is either been on your mind lately or you think might be of service to people listening? Anything else that I haven’t asked you about that you want to talk about?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:41:20] I’m working with a very juicy, brand new insight that’s come my way, and I’m just starting to talk about it publicly, and I’m teaching on it very soon. Cool it down. If you’re down here, something on what’s called attachment styles.
Brilliant Miller [00:41:36] Yeah, absolutely.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:41:38] Okay. So those of us who are trauma survivors or didn’t have it so wonderful in childhood didn’t have a trustworthy relationship with caregivers for whatever reason. And sometimes caregivers are totally trustworthy, but a child’s experience in some of them isn’t, or something goes awry. Because childhood is deeply complex. Right. We might have what’s called attachment issues or attachment injuries where we don’t experience intimate relationships in adulthood with. A sense of security. Right. We’re either freaked out that they’re going to leave us, that we’re freaked out, that they’re not the ones for me. We’re freaked out about being too much or not enough or we’re freaked out that them being too close to me means I’m going to lose my sense of identity, or I’m going to get engulfed. I’m going to lose my sense of freedom. Right.
Brilliant Miller [00:42:36] Which is totally true. This totally is totally true. People experience that and more. But like I had somebody who pointed out to me, that I’d never seen it, but I hadn’t acknowledged it. Many people will end their relationship, even when it’s going well out of fear that they’ll get left. I’m like, there’s it’s there’s like no logic to it. And then there’s like, amazing logic to that.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:42:58] Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to hurt you before you get a chance to hurt me one. Yeah. I’m anticipating that it’s going to go in the future. How it went in the past. Yeah. Right.
Brilliant Miller [00:43:10] Yeah.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:43:11] But so those are all examples that would fall in the realm of what’s called insecure attachment or avoidant attachment. Right. Either I’m preoccupied with the connection in such a way that I’m leaning in so much. And that could be a source of great anxiety, great conflict, and all kinds of drama. Or I’m leaning back because, again, out of fear in someone that it’s too much. It’s going to be overwhelming. I’m going to lose my sense of self.
Brilliant Miller [00:43:41] And I know many, many people have written and thought about this as this largely is Piaget.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:43:47] Yes. And I think Bowlby was.
Brilliant Miller [00:43:51] Was a John Bowlby.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:43:52] Yeah. Was one of the progenitors and. Yeah, lots of it. Lots of great thinkers right now. Then I would say the like kind of top psychologists that are the purveyors of this of putting this into practice would be Sue Johnson, who says.
Brilliant Miller [00:44:11] Hold, hold me tight.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:44:12] Yeah. Stan Kotkin, who wrote Wired for Love and Wired for Dating, kind of the neurological perspective. But. The point is, is that even if you have those makeups, which I think all trauma survivors do, and the theory is, is that 60% of the population has what’s called secure attachment style, an ability to just trust the connection. Trust, aloneness, trust, togetherness. It’s all good. And one can bond and form relationships with a sense of ease and success and what have you. And so for those of us who are in the other paradigm, the not secure paradigm, there can be a lot of pathologizing, a sense of there’s something wrong with me. The conventional thought in psycho psychology is you can’t get to a secure attachment style. You can’t heal these early wounds that you went through because they were too early. They were too pervasive. Discovering that sense of ease and trust in relationships. Not possible if you’ve been through enough. Making sense so far.
Brilliant Miller [00:45:34] Mhm. Yeah. Absolutely. And I’m curious just like you, as you proceed, I remember reading about this and I think there was a third read disordered is there a disorder. Cause this sort of.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:45:46] Means you have both insecure and avoidant at the time.
Brilliant Miller [00:45:51] Oh, okay.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:45:53] My story for a very long time. Right. Which is totally maddening to everyone around you. Right. Pulling them in and attacking them at the exact same. And in the same breath. But I had this experience recently getting close to somebody who had a secure attachment style and it was kind of uncanny because I had this experience of closeness with them and empathically tuning to their nervous system. And I was struck by this very strange sensation that I never had before. And luckily, I had a therapy session right after that experience. Where I was able to explore that sensation. What is this? Because it’s not me it wasn’t my feelings about this other person. It was something else that I picked up in their nervous system as somebody who’s very empathic and on. And in the therapy session, it came through, oh, this is secure attachment. This is a feeling of trust and relationship that has been so elusive for me my whole life. I wonder if I’m not recognizing it. And wow, now I can, like, contact it in my body and I can let it spread through my body. I can let different parts of my psyche feel this ha. How cool to have this sensation because now I can start to organize my nervous system around it a little bit. And as I started to do that, I started it and just sitting with it in meditation practice, I started to realize this. It’s actually the direct sensation of the breath as well. Hmm. That there’s a secure attachment feels like something very simple, very subtle, very smooth, very supple, very like just like a gentle blanket wrapped around the nervous system. Not too tight, not too loose, not too heavy, not too like just this nice feeling of trust. Security. I’m okay. Whatever happens, I know I’m going to be okay. I might freak out for a little while, but I know I’m going to come back to my baseline of relatability.
Brilliant Miller [00:48:13] Yeah, even the freakout. Okay. All right.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:48:16] Yeah. When? When you can trust that you have baseline security, right? Like a baseline of well-being. And I started to realize, like, this elusive thing. That is. Asked about. It’s actually accessible to anybody. And it’s right there in the sensations of the breath. Sense of breath. Smooth, simple, reliable, consistent, steady, and sweet. There’s a sweetness to them. And just started relating to my breath as a teacher of secure bonding, as a teacher of trust. Where is the relationship in my life? And just like I have the last few weeks, I’ve just been Lord, like, oh my God, the breath and trying to show me this whole time and I’m just now seeing for the first time because I’m so crazy.
Brilliant Miller [00:49:10] I think we all are. Honestly.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:49:14] I mean, yeah, but it’s, it’s, it’s really the other thing I’ve been saying. People live lives. Do you know what liberation means? It means less work. It means life because it means you stop adding all these layers of running around and freaking out to things, and then you get to reclaim all the vitality that’s involved in that. And the breath is really trying to show us how to do that in meditation, the direct sensations of the breath in the nostrils, wherever you feel them in the body. If you really listen for it, look for it. There is this like. The very trustworthy thing that you can start to tap into and begin to relate to and internalize in meditation.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:01] That’s awesome.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:50:02] I was out there. You lecture very long.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:06] Oh, thank you for sharing. There’s. There’s a lot in there. Yeah. And, you know, part of what you’re you’re sharing with me, first of all, I’m really happy that you’ve had that experience of being able to be in a relationship with someone that was able, it sounds like, in some way to transfer or make possible make available to you something that was already in you. But then, you know, there it was. Yeah. And I think I think that’s pretty cool. It reminds me a little bit I interviewed someone you probably know. I saw you had someone in your acknowledgment at Kripalu, but not Steve. You know, Stephen Koepp, the author of Yoga and The Search for Self. I have heard that.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:50:46] I know that name. I definitely know that name, but I haven’t read their books.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:50] Yeah, I interviewed him a while back, and in his book, he talks about relationships as containers where healing can be possible. And it sounds like this is where I learned a little bit about that attachment theory, where if it’s if the person with whom we’re in a relationship doesn’t have that, it’s not available to us. But both we can find that and we can be that or we can provide that.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:51:15] We can discover it together through something called regulation. Right? And then lots of co-regulating practices is there’s, there’s coupled breathing practices you can do, you know, and the canon has lots of the stuff.
Brilliant Miller [00:51:31] That’s pretty cool. And then what you’re saying about liberation means less work. I love that. In your book, I was grateful for the reminder that relaxation isn’t something we do, but it’s something when we see the tension and the trying and effort and all that, the relaxation is what happens is then what we experience. And, and I especially love your metaphor of like keeping corks underwater. Mm. You know, which I don’t, I realize that can apply to like many things, but the effort of like trying to manage the aspects of our lives, like hold it corks underwater, that eventually some of them are going to pop up.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:52:05] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Especially with regards to emotional repression and trying to keep certain parts of this at bay. And so it’s just a losing strategy. Yeah. And in the long run, it’s going to get you, you know.
Brilliant Miller [00:52:19] So your upcoming class that you’ll be teaching here as we recording is August of 2022. In September of 2022, you’ll be offering a new course online. Is it around these ideas or something else?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:52:31] Oh, yeah. And these ideas are strewn throughout everything I do. But yeah, I have a full online curriculum at this point that starts we’ll start in September with somatic meditation, just feeling into the body, breathing into the body, really inhabiting the body, kind of like a next-level mindfulness practice. And then we get into artfulness, opening up the heart-loving kind of self-love, using loving-kindness, meditation for oneself only, which brings up a lot of different things for folks. And then we get into what is really the core of my life at this point, which is internal family systems therapy and this practice of parts work working with different parts of yourself in the space of curiosity and compassion as an inroad to healing and transformation, which is what I practice in the therapy room with folks, but also something that one can do on oneself. And I think that the vehicle of meditation is, is very, very conducive towards that. And then yeah, and then there’s, there’s more that comes after that. But that’s, that’s in September.
Brilliant Miller [00:53:40] So that’s a lot. That’s a lot.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:53:42] It’s four and a half months. It’s a semester, a very progressive, systematic development.
Brilliant Miller [00:53:49] Well, I realize that probably not everyone is ready for that work, but hearing you describe the curriculum for this course, I’m thinking I wish everyone would take that course.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:54:00] You know, well, you have to be ready to get started either, you know?
Brilliant Miller [00:54:04] Yeah, that’s right. Good point. Let me ask you, I see you were talking oh, this about the breath. I just have one thing I learned recently that you were sharing that I’d love to share with you everything. You know, these words that we use, that many there are many of these, I’m sure that we kind of use them in a certain way and we forget the deeper meaning that they have. Right. I’ve heard. Namaste. Right. Is something like what is the light in me, sees a light in you or something like that. Right. But then it’s just this. Hello creeping. Right. I recently learned the word aloha. Have you learned the meaning of this word?
Ralph De La Rosa [00:54:40] Does it have, like 50 some odd meetings or something?
Brilliant Miller [00:54:44] I don’t know for sure, but a traditional Hawaiian healer recently told me that he means so. Also, I was told means in the presence of God. And that ha means together we breathe the stuff. So. Isn’t that amazing stuff? That is wild.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:55:04] Yeah, it was wild about this. I’ve never heard.
Brilliant Miller [00:55:09] Yeah. So I could be wrong. I heard it. I learned it in Hawaii recently. I was like, That is amazing.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:55:16] Together we breathe in the presence of God. Well, I mean, what a greeting that is.
Brilliant Miller [00:55:24] Yeah, it’s very cool. So I’ll never say aloha again. Quite so like casually or joking or ever jokingly, you know? I was like, That’s pretty cool. Yeah.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:55:35] Yeah. I mean, it is funny how that happens to like people around on the scene. I’m actually by as a greeting, which literally means I bow to the by consciousness, but it becomes a thing like oh, not much the way.
Brilliant Miller [00:55:49] That’s interesting how that happens. Well you know, that just reminds me of something I wanted to ask you about as well. You talk about I think you call it original pain and carbon and a carbon copy. And the reason this is coming up for me is, again, like there’s a surface level of something like the carbon copy, but then to really heal it or transform it to get to the original pain and I know that’s just way too maybe a left, a hard left, but I wonder if you’d be willing to talk about this because a lot of our conversation has been about healing already. Yeah, I might not even have those terms. Right, but is that will you talk about this or anything? Yeah, it’s coming up for you as I ask this poorly worded question. Sure. Sure.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:56:27] Of course. I mean. We’re in the realm of how trauma works, really. We’re in the realm of what Freud called the repetition compulsion or more colloquially, the things that just come back around over and over again in our lives that drive us bananas. Right. The same anxiety, the same depressive cycle, the same. I’m dating a brand new person that I thought wasn’t at all like the last person I dated. But here we are with the same issues, you know, the same addictions and compulsive behaviors coming back around, around again and again. Right. That would be what I would identify as the carbon copy in that analogy. Right. That it’s a pattern that has its epicenter somewhere in the past. Because what we know about the human nervous system in trauma is that trauma is loosely defined as any adverse experience we’ve had where our defenses were mobilized and rendered useless. Right. So that could be as significant as a real situation of assault or abuse. I could also be getting a very gaslighted text message from somebody and ending up in a dialog that goes nowhere. You know, with somebody who’s just egging, you wanted just wants to see you get riled up. Right. And yet the neurochemicals are mobilized but have nowhere to go at the end of the day. Right. And of course, there’s this exists on a spectrum, obviously, assault not the same as a gas lady, text message. But nonetheless, our bodies are going to, because of the imperative of survival, that our nervous system is oriented around, is going to hang on to these experiences because there are lessons in there. And the natural propensity is to repeat those lessons over and over again. Repeat those patterns. Repeat. Yeah. The patterning that that creates in our nervous systems. And that’s one so that we remember but to remember for survival sake. But because our bodies really actually don’t want to hang on to painful experiences. Like what? What organism? You know, from a Darwinian perspective, would hang on to painful experiences that hold them back in some way. That’s actually a liability. That’s not going to bolster your son, your ability to survive ultimately. Our bodies want to heal. They don’t want to hang on to what we internalize as painful experiences. And so I think. The repetitions, the carbon copies of these experiences that we have in our lives the same patterns coming back around and around or out. Have that purpose of, you know, when when we’re triggered in some way that the energy of that original wound that’s being triggered. You know, somebody we you know, like I, for example, my dad walked out on my family when I was four. We just came home. His stuff was gone. And a deeply confusing, deeply painful for me. Five, or six years ago, I had a partner who did the exact same thing.
Brilliant Miller [00:59:47] Wow.
Ralph De La Rosa [00:59:48] Came home and her things are gone. What? Like, how did you not tell me? Like, I had, like, no warning. And the emotions that came up for me then were and this is a very direct 1-to-1 kind of example. Sometimes it’s much more mysterious the connection between original pain and carbon copy pain. But the emotions that came up for me then were yes, about the situation, but had the energy, that path situation, which means healing is possible. Healing the original pain as possible when the is when a wound is exposed and only when a wound is exposed can it be healed. I think I’m coming at this in a convoluted way, so to speak.
Brilliant Miller [01:00:37] Well, what you’re saying I mean, again, I realize this is somewhat of an abstract concept, but potentially a very powerful one. Right. This idea that we and this might not be exactly what you’re saying, but I’ve heard something to this effect before, that we unconsciously will engineer situations like we’ll repeat things. But the reason we’re doing that is so we can heal. It’s just something that happened and it’s kind of that. What’s that you’re saying, right? Until you make the unconscious conscious, that will rule your life and you will call it a fate kind of thing. But it’s like, here’s the opportunity to understand why I’m eating compulsively or why I can’t stop scrolling Facebook or, you know, why I’m procrastinating on this or gambling or online porn or whatever it is, whatever form or flavor that takes for us. But the idea, instead of going, Well, I’m just a screw-up or there’s something wrong with me, which maybe that’s true, but I don’t think so. And it’s not very empowering. Instead of saying, No, you’re actually trying to complete something, right? Some original wounds. And if you will look back and you will actually feel you will allow yourself to feel the pain of that, then you will no longer need to continue this self-defeating pattern in the present and keep feeling this level of pain.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:01:56] Thank you so much for saying that way better than I do.
Brilliant Miller [01:02:00] I mean, I’m reminded of this reading a lot of this in your book. And I just and that’s why I asked how this idea of the original pain versus the carbon copy. It’s like that’s profound, but we’ve got to go past the surface level of the carbon. Right. That original.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:02:13] Yeah, indeed. And but literally, when when we are triggered, it is either an opportunity for a re-traumatization or it is an opportunity for healing and transformation and the kind of railroad switch. Right. If you imagine a railroad switch that determines whether the train goes in this way or that way. If compassion is in the situation, either coming from outside, from another person or coming from inside from yourself towards yourself, which is what these parts work thing that I practice is really about, is how do we get a direct, genuine experience of that? But if compassion is present in the moment of these calcified emotions being made liquid, we can say, and again by this situation, old, all pain is triggered by the current situation, have compassion, this presence, we’re going to move in a very good direction.
Brilliant Miller [01:03:10] But it’s scary. It can be scary, right?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:03:13] I mean, sometimes in a class context, I’ll have people just stop and imagine a fully healed life. A fully healed life.
Brilliant Miller [01:03:24] It’s like I don’t even know what that would look like. I don’t even know how to imagine that.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:03:27] Yeah, exactly. And then I’ll ask for a show of hands. Like who’s terrified right now?
Brilliant Miller [01:03:33] Yeah, I’m like, Well, do I have a good life, do I have six-pack abs? I don’t know. Yes. You know, what am I driving in that life? I don’t know. You know? Yeah. I mean, I had a bad time in that life, you know?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:03:47] Right, yeah. Who can imagine such a paradigm after you are so habituated to trouble and pain? Yeah, yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:03:57] Yeah. Well, thank you for writing about this, and thank you for talking about it now, I hope. I mean, it’s been useful for me and I suspect and hope that for people listening, it will be as well. But then there’s also this thing about, okay, so I have some awareness of this and there’s so much more that we could talk about that that I won’t ask you about right now. But I just encourage people to check out your site, and read your books. But the things you talk about models seem the thing you’re touching on now, the internal family systems. So where I’m going with all this is if people hear this and there’s something resonating with them, they want to know more. And of course, we’ve talked about your course coming up in September. Many people listening will have missed that. But what would you suggest people do? How can they work this out for themselves? We often can’t do it on our own, I think it seems. But what would you point them or what would you suggest to them?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:04:43] Yeah. I mean, I think the best way to learn a guitar or a piano or how to do rock climbing or snowboarding is to get a lesson from another person, you know. So engage with the teacher of some sort or a practitioner of some sort. Is generally very advisable. It’s one thing to learn meditation on an app, but it’s another thing to engage meditation in the presence of a community and somebody who is a trustworthy guide. So connect, connect with others. I think the daily practice of meditation is incomparable. Invaluable. There’s no substitute for it if you work on nothing else. Working on that would be something that is going to provide dividends in due time. You know, if you’re only working on one thing, if you only have space in your life to work on one thing, I would say work on that because everything we’re talking about is our inner world. Everything, all the pains we hold, the patterns we repeat, these matters of awakening, matters of the heart, and so on. It’s called the inner life, which is so deeply underprivileged and undernourished in our society. And so. Work on your inner life. Work on your inner life. And I don’t know of another way to really do that. Just sit your butt down and close your eyes and go inside, you know? Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:06:18] Awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you for that. So with your permission, I’m going to go ahead and transition us to the Enlightening lightning route. It’s a series of questions on a variety of topics. Ten questions. All right. My aim, for the most part is to ask the question and stand aside. I might tug on some of the answers here or there, but for the most part, I’m going to try to keep us moving through this. All right. I’m nervous. Okay.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:06:43] I feel like I’m on a game show.
Brilliant Miller [01:06:45] I know. I love games. I love. I love games. Okay. All right. Question number one. Please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:06:59] Excluding train wreck of beautiful possibilities.
Brilliant Miller [01:07:07] Okay.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:07:08] I love it. I’m going to go with that exploding train wreck of beautiful possibilities.
Brilliant Miller [01:07:12] That’s awesome. All right. Question number two is, what is something about which you have changed your mind in recent years?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:07:22] This is hard to say because it’s not simple. But I’m going to just put it out there. And if you want more, you can ask for more. Okay. That those around us who hold views we consider to be dehumanizing and even a threat to our own survival. Worthy of compassion.
Brilliant Miller [01:07:49] Well, thank you. Okay. Question number three. If you were required to wear a t-shirt every day for the rest of your life, and had a phrase or saying or a quote or quip on the shirt, what would it say?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:08:04] It would say, is your heart open or closed?
Brilliant Miller [01:08:09] Okay. Question number four What book, other than one of your own have you gifted or recommended most often?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:08:16] Be here now by round to us, hands down. And that is a book I’m constantly buying multiple copies of to give to people. Yeah, yeah. It’s where it all started for me.
Brilliant Miller [01:08:29] That’s beautiful. Yeah. Beautiful. Okay. Question number five. Do you travel a lot? What’s one travel hack? Meaning something you do or something you take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:08:46] This is going to Narang because it’s not a hack and snacks.
Brilliant Miller [01:08:53] It’s a snack. It’s very important.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:08:57] Family. It’s hard to stay well-nourished when traveling.
Brilliant Miller [01:09:03] Yeah. And hydrated.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:09:05] I’m not a flight traveler. I bring an enormous amount of supplements with me. Hydration tablets, the whole thing. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:09:14] Right on. Well that reminds me and I do appreciate this I forget which of your books this was then but you talk about how to have a difficult conversation effectively. Right. And I appreciate that you give us a little acronym HALT, right? Of when not to have a difficult conversation, and H stands for when you’re hungry. So it’s no surprise to me that you take snacks with you. You’re walking your talk.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:09:39] This is true. Hungry, Angry. Lonely. and Tired? Not the time to engage in difficult conversations.
Brilliant Miller [01:09:47] Yeah. Smart. Okay. Question number six. What’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age? Well.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:10:00] Cardiovascular exercise on the regular time was I thought yoga just awesome at practice would be everything and running cycling strength training like getting the heart rate all the way up on the there so important. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:10:18] For sure. Okay. Question number seven. What’s one thing you wish every American male or maybe I should say every United States citizen?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:10:33] That behind the eyes of other people is an entire lifetime of experience. A heart is full of dreams and nightmares and anxieties that are not unlike one’s own.
Brilliant Miller [01:10:47] Me too. Thank you. Okay. Question number eight. That’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about making relationships work.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:11:03] Listen without waiting to talk. And then formulate your response after you’re after they’re done not doing. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:18] All right. Thank you for that. And question number nine. Aside from compound interest, what’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about money?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:11:35] I laughed so heartily because I have been dirt poor my entire life until a couple of years ago, and I’m still getting my head around how that works at all. But you know what? Like my guiding principle in life that has served me so well and is the reason why I’m here is, strangely enough, the reason why I have any money to my name at all is generosity. And I think it’s an important thing that as you’re taking it in if there’s a surplus, have a vehicle for it to be going back out to other people. Mutual aid funds are great social justice orgs, the ACLU, and great Doctors Without Borders. It’s great your friends that you know are going through difficult things, you know, great. Buying somebody a cup of coffee on Venmo lets me up every time. Yeah. I don’t know who I am, but I got a hit. Yeah. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:12:39] Awesome. Well, thank you for that. Okay. I told you there were ten questions that were really nine. But speaking of money, I’ll. I’ll let you know here that. In an effort to express my gratitude to you for sharing generously of your knowledge, your wisdom, your experience, both in your writing and in this podcast. Today, I have done two things. I’ve made a $100 microloan through a keyboard on your behalf to a woman in Rwanda named Joyce. She will use this money to it’ll be part of a loan that’s crowdsourced, where she will buy a delivery van, where she’d be able to deliver water to customers who don’t didn’t previously have clean drinking water. So that’s one way I hope that this conversation will do some good in the world beyond just whoever might hear it.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:13:31] Amazing.
Brilliant Miller [01:13:34] This was pretty cool. I do. I like to do that for each of my guests. And then the other thing I did, which I don’t do for each of my guests. I made a $100 donation to the Utah Pride Center. Specifically oriented toward mental health issues. So thank you for giving me a reason to do that.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:13:55] Yeah. And. Well, your name is Brilliant so.
Brilliant Miller [01:14:01] But that’s okay. We’ll call. This brings us to the last part of our interview. And as I said before, there really is so much more. Maybe we’ll do a part two sometime. But what I’d love to ask you about now is just a few questions about writing the creative process, maybe about publishing the marketing things you’ve learned that could help others on their journey. Well, let me start with this question. When did you first know you were a writer?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:14:33] I loved writing and growing up, but it was journaling and it was very abstract. But I loved it. I made some zines, like punk rock zines, like photocopied D.I.Y. political outlet for rage and radical feminism scenes in my teen years. But that wasn’t really writing. It really hit me that I had a gift with it and it could go somewhere. When I was a sophomore in undergrad at the age of three, taking an autobiography class, a memoir of class, and had to put together a pretty big body of work to graduate that class and hand could end of that class really felt some wind beneath my wings with writing and thought, okay, you know what? Maybe, maybe I want to write a book someday. I don’t know, maybe in like, my twilight. So that’s what I’ll do.
Brilliant Miller [01:15:31] Yeah. Where did you go to school?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:15:35] I started that Manhattan Community College, and I graduated from Fordham University.
Brilliant Miller [01:15:41] I’ll sort of ride on. And what? Tell me again, if you will. Did you study psychology?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:15:46] Well, my degrees are in social work.
Brilliant Miller [01:15:51] Social work? Okay. Yeah, right on. So. With your let me ask you this. With that class, maybe that teacher and I suspect there might’ve been others who’s been influential in your development as a writer, and what have you learned from them?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:16:09] Hmm. I think I think it was one of my clinical professors in grad school, Rachel Kammer her name was the first person who said to me, you know, you have a really strong voice. You know, have you ever thought about writing a book? And I said, Yeah, maybe in my twilight years, but she said, No, I really think you could do something with this now. And that was the first time. Somebody believed in me and with regards to this particular talent and expressed it independently of me really doing anything other than turning in some papers. And that was pretty huge. And then really good writers, you know, watching writers like Susan Paver, Lowder Ensler and my friend Adriana Limbaugh. But watching other people who are meditation teachers just out there doing their thing in the world pieced together on their own books of profound thought, profound teachings, and really touching thousands and thousands of lives. I would also say just indirectly, huge inspiration. And in my life, my friend Amanda Gilbert is another one that, like her, book just blew me away with its depth. Given that she’s such a light-hearted being too to know personally. And then she comes out with this book that just has all these layers of depth and meaning that.
Brilliant Miller [01:17:56] I’m not familiar with Amanda’s work. What is looking her up on Amazon right now? Amanda Gilbert Yeah, what’s, what’s the book there? Is it kindness now?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:18:06] Yes, it is. Yeah. Wow. Really great book.
Brilliant Miller [01:18:11] Right on. That’s great. Tell me, what’s the. What’s the hardest part for you? I mean, you’ve done something that many people aspire to do, which publishes a couple of books and not just a couple books, but good books, books that I suspect are making a difference for many people. I would bet that you’re now getting letters from people that you’ve never met, telling you how your books have impacted them. But I want to come back and explore that a little more. But what I want to ask is like, how like, what is the hardest part of that for you? What was the hardest part of getting these books drafted or getting them published, and how did you manage to overcome those difficulties?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:18:51] The vulnerability, honestly, is the driver of a lot of things such as resistance, procrastination, and writer’s block. Churning out writing that isn’t so good. Or from the bones. Yeah. Vulnerability. The sense of exposure. It’s. I mean, it’s such a complex thing. It’s a beast with a lot of arms to it. Right. Because there’s the vulnerability of being seen, the vulnerability of trying, the vulnerability of trying and possibly failing, the vulnerability of being somewhere in the background of your mind. You know, that if I become a public figure, that’s going to expose me to a tremendous amount of critique. Brené Brown says that publishing a book is like stripping off all your clothes and walking out on a stage naked and saying to the auditorium, So what do you all think? So there’s that level of like emotional exposure as well, where you’re really opening yourself up to humiliation, potentially to scathing Amazon reviews. I just come with the territory. Yeah. And then and then that being such a gang abuse in the background of your mind that, that I really feel like that’s what accounts for the pervasive sense of procrastination and resistance to the process. Completing my first book, I realized, oh, writing all writing a book is, is it’s just a lot of writing. It’s just a lot of the days in front of the laptop where you’re just doing the things. That’s really what it comes down to in a way. It’s math. It’s arithmetic. Right. You know, a lot of one plus ones. And then you’re you get somewhere at some point.
Brilliant Miller [01:20:40] Yeah. I had one guest who described it as like building a wall where, you know, maybe the words are bricks. You’re just and before you know it, if you keep at it, you produce something.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:20:50] Exactly but it’s tough. It’s not easy to sign up voluntarily to put your heart on the line like that.
Brilliant Miller [01:21:02] So what how did you resource within yourself or how what allowed you or how did you. How did you persist? How did you for luck? I can hopefully not sandwich easily. But how did you triumph against this challenge?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:21:17] Well, let’s be real. Deadlines are an enormous boost when it just has to get done and somebody cut you, you know, a small but significant check that you will have to pay back if you don’t get it done.
Brilliant Miller [01:21:29] Yeah, leverage right there. There’s that.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:21:32] You know, that that it does kick you in the butt. But then. Also, this might be really useful to some folks, as is figuring out what my personal reward system looks like, right? So I have a friend who wrote a book and made their deadlines by writing a bunch of checks to the NHRA and giving them to a friend and saying, hey, listen, if I don’t have this word count on this date, you send one of those checks, this word count on this date, you send another check like that. And that person did not miss any deadlines because they didn’t want any money going to the NHRA. That would never work for me. They would never, ever work for me. But I have another friend who, you know, had milestones and like an Amazon shopping cart of like 10,000 words. I got that pretty dress and 20,000 words. I got that. You know, that other thing that I want? And that would never work for me either. I would just cash out the car more.
Brilliant Miller [01:22:31] So yeah.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:22:33] What works for me is being rewarded during the reward, during the effort. So like if I am under a deadline and it’s Sunday and it’s my day off, I’m going to put in three, four, or five, 6 hours of writing today. I’m going to do that at a really nice dinner. I’m going to sit myself down and have a bit of a treat yourself a moment and do the work while I’m enjoying that. And that helps me tap into some inspiration and gives me a little bit of fuel and a sense of. Not being such it not being such a grind.
Brilliant Miller [01:23:16] Yeah, yeah, yeah. What I love and that is this is one of the challenges of writing, I think, is finding what works for us and what doesn’t and using what works. And even when we find something that works, it might run its course and we need to find something new. You know, but my experience and also my questions for, about 150 other authors have led me to believe that the way we organize our time and our space matters tremendously as well. What works for you? What habits and routines, what systems and environments did you know, that’s a big question. Oh, but that’s what’s been supportive for you in actually producing finished work.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:23:58] To two levels. Big picture, small picture. Um, and really good question, by the way, but the big picture was. As I was teaching and teaching more and more back in the Brooklyn days, I had a sense of, I am developing something here and I don’t know what it is, but this is going to pay off that I have all of these class notes in my Google docs and therefore never teach the same class twice. Always make a new batch of notes if it’s the same workshop I’ve given six times. We’re coming at it differently this way. Those notes are going to be rearranged. I’m going to put new quotes and different things in there. Always be like pushing that envelope at least a little bit every time you sit down to open your mouth in front of people. And that paid off in that in both of my books I wrote a stream of consciousness. There was no research. There was no there was very little like Google searching to find out this or fill in the blank. It was actually right there in my body already, and I was really amazed by that. But I had been teaching for like a decade at that point, and I just had it in me in this particular way that I was like, Holy crap, this is just, like, pouring out of me. Wow. Because I had done background work with this sense of this is going to need to go into whether it’s a training manual later or a book or something else. And the then smaller picture would be on the day-to-day like there’s the reward piece. But really what we’re in the realm of is how does your muse work? What’s your relationship to that mysterious thing that goes on with creativity? Right. And one thing about the way the muse works for me is I really relate to Johnny Cash, who said I’m not the maker but the delivery of music. I really relate to Neil Young, who said ideas are written on the air and if you happen to get your hands on one, I’m paraphrasing, but if you happen to get your hands on one, you better drop what you’re doing and nourish that. This is in Elizabeth Gilbert’s work, the magic as well that ideas to us. They visit us and they check us out. Are you going to be the one for me? Take care of me. Are you going to nourish this vision? Are you going to you know. And so, you know, I really I’m annoying to hang out with because if I get an idea and it’s one that just hits me in a particular way, whatever I’m doing, I’m out to dinner with somebody at a show, walking down the street, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. I’m so sorry. Can you give me a moment? And I’m, like, turning around in voice, dictating into my phone, and until I get the whole thing and. And I’ve had that turn out to be like hours. Well, if an idea visits you of inspiration, visits you, you know, you got to be devoted to it because, you know, it’s not necessarily going to come back.
Brilliant Miller [01:27:00] That’s powerful, too. And that idea that you know, there are there is this thing about doing, like you were saying, hours in front of a keyboard or with the word processor or however we write longhand, if it sets it back, that’s our thing. But there’s also the aspect of being a receiver, so to speak, like tuning ourselves to listen, cheating it once we hear it if we’re lucky enough to do it. And then there’s all the work of organizing, too. So I’m curious when you say that your books were written basically a stream of consciousness, how much outlining was involved, and how much of a sense of this is the reader I’m writing for? This is what result I want the book to have. Was there much of that at all? What was that like?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:27:44] There was less of that than my publishing company would like there for there to be. I really consider inspiration to be one of my main teachers in this life and just obeying inspiration and following intuition. I’ve always had a sense that the people I’m here to speak to are the people who probably say, I’m not into religion, but I’m spiritual, and if I had to pick one, it’d probably be Buddhism. I just have that sense of people who are sitting and interested in the contemplative life. But, you know, if I give them too much of the trappings of some sort of formality, they’re going to run. So this is great because then I can keep things very grounded and street level. But no, not a lot of outlining. In fact, don’t tell me to relax was written in two months because Shambhala Publications actually came to me and said, Hey, listen, we’re figuring out that this election, 2020 presidential election thing is going to be a huge disruption for contemplative people, and they’re going to be hungry for resources that aren’t about acceptance. And we think you might be the person to have the voice to speak to this and after some negotiating back and forth about what forms that would take. And how political we wanted to get once we finally were at the clear. Yes, for us both it was like, okay, well, we’ve got to really step on the gas now and get this thing done. And so I took two months off of seeing clients and just sat down and read every single day and handed my editor a huge mess. She, Matt Zeppelin is his name. And I owe him a debt of gratitude beyond that because he took that mess and was able to formulate it into something that made some sense. And then we went into a more collaborative revision process from there. Well to prevent the week that COVID lockdowns began.
Brilliant Miller [01:30:00] Only counting.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:30:01] And not knowing what was coming out all like that, that book would take on a particular relevance beyond just the presidential election that year. Still, I wish it wasn’t so relevant right now, but it frankly is.
Brilliant Miller [01:30:16] It is for sure. Tell me about the titles. What were the working titles for these? How did the titles that they have now become what they are? What are your thoughts generally about titles?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:30:27] I mean. One. As you can tell, I’m a long-winded person. That is also much to my publisher’s chagrin. But the monkey is a messenger. Hit me in meditation, actually, and I cried a day. I wept because the bones of that book were formula forming in me before I ever talked to a publishing company at all. And when that title hit me, I really wanted to write a book that contended with the reality of overthinking from a self-love perspective, like Stop demonizing. This is bad. Yeah, that’s antithetical to the whole thing. What are you talking about? We need to get rid of this part of ourselves, or it’s just fluff. Everything about us is meaningful. We need to love this aspect of ourselves. And it hit me through formulating this book in my mind, like, these thoughts are actually trying to tell me something. They’re actually in the message that might be a little bit coded. And so and then the monkey as the messenger hit me in meditation one day and I just wept like, that’s beautiful. Wow. Life is really speaking to me with this one. Don’t tell me to relax. Was more me just being a bit pissed off. Nice and. And wanting to. Let’s. Something out there that. Spoke to meditation from a radical feminist perspective and also said to people, particularly cis women and trans folks, I said, communicated like we’re coming at the marginalized experience, you know, and who gets told to relax? It’s usually women, sisters in particular, but also other people who have set about oppression. And it’s this. That happens. And it’s never worked for one person even once that they’re told to relax and okay, do your thing. But, you know, yeah. So I wanted to convey, that it was a book about meditation where we weren’t going to we were going to talk about being activated. And that being activated in certain circumstances is actually not antithetical to compassion or even peace.
Brilliant Miller [01:33:05] Yeah. So what were those were the titles, it’s obvious. Monkey is a messenger, as you said, of Kim Ki came to you in meditation. You have that. But don’t tell me to relax. Did you have that early? Was that even in the formative files? Was that what you were saving things as or did that emerge later in the process? How was the timing like on that?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:33:30] In the process? There was I mean, once you’re working with a publishing company, they actually will generally have the last say, the title. They want it to be your title. They want wanted to be something you feel good about. But ultimately, excuse me, ultimately, the publishing company has a huge saying in a title, a cover art, etc. and they have a huge saying that they want you to be happy with it, though. And so that one was one where we were in such a I want to say a rush, but we are being brisk in our process. We had a huge back and forth and we went through many iterations when I had a long list of potential titles and that was actually not a strong contender. And then one day my editor came to me and said, We actually think that this one pushes a button. This one actually says a lot about what this book is going to be. I think our first title was like All the Feels or something like that. And yeah, we went with that one because there is some there’s a lot of heat behind that. Yeah. About meditation that says, don’t tell me to relax. Like what?
Brilliant Miller [01:34:47] Yeah. No, that’s great. I realize that being a teacher, and being a communicator is often very different skill set from being a marketer, being a salesperson, being a promoter, you know, that kind of thing.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:35:02] Not to Instagram.
Brilliant Miller [01:35:05] That’s right. That’s right. What have you learned in your time as an author about marketing and promoting books?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:35:13] I mean, I’m the last person to ask because I really don’t do anything that feels gross ever. As a rule, my social media following suffers because of that. My newsletter numbers suffer because of it, and I just don’t care. I think authenticity is what this world needs. I think. People who are a little bit anti-platform are what the marketplace actually needs. And I just think it’s really disgusting that we’ve been reduced to commercials online. They’ve got everybody else to be a commercial unto themselves. That way we notice less when they insert the actual commercials. And the whole thing is like the US dehumanizing ourselves in service of them being able to deliver commercials more seamlessly. And that is deeply disgusting. So I really think, first of all, I didn’t plan on ever getting this big. I didn’t. This is wild to me that I’m here. And the only reason why I’m not a broke social worker working with kids in Harlem, which I plan to do for my entire life, is because of that, that kind of fierce sense of integrity with it. Like this belongs to everybody. I am not going to play any of your capitalist games and I’m going to like really shoot from the hip and come from the heart with this thing. And somehow that’s what got me scouted by multiple publishing companies and scouted by retreat centers and all these big-name venues is that degree of hopefulness. And so, I don’t know.
Brilliant Miller [01:37:06] That’s awesome.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:37:07] That’s going to be my answer.
Brilliant Miller [01:37:09] I love it. Now, thank you.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:37:11] Peatos live your love, you know?
Brilliant Miller [01:37:13] Yeah, well, I think it’s great. And I think it’s good for creatives to hear, you know because what works for one person might not work for them. But to hear people talk honestly about their experience, I think, is it’s almost always useful. So, yeah. And then what you’re saying resonates with me as well. I’m the same way, and then I’m like, I think about this a lot because on the one hand, you have people like Peace Pilgrim. You know, I read a book about her years ago where she talks about selling spiritual teachings as something one should not do. And then on the other end are people like Tony Robbins, who I think Tony is also an incredible spiritual teacher, even though he talks about a lot of things and he charges a lot of money. So, you know, again, there’s not a one size fits all, but we each get to figure it out for ourselves.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:38:05] Well, I’ll just say this, you know, and one I love that you read Peaceful Grimness. What an amazing, amazing being that was. And I’m too. I do. The one thing that I point to in marketing that I do try to emulate is actually if you pay attention to Apple’s marketing, it’s all they do is show you the product. Right. And an ad for an iPhone is just the frickin iPhone. Yeah, that’s it. And you already know what it is. And so that’s the one thing where I’m like, okay, that I can do. I can show you what you’re getting and what you’re getting is me talking or writing. And so that’s, that’s my social media is me talking and writing. And I just look at it that way, you know, without too much of a plan around that.
Brilliant Miller [01:38:51] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And at the same time, too, like I think about a few years ago, I read Edgar Casey, I read his biography. Do you know that guy? Exactly. That’s the void. He’s an amazing healer. Back in the forties, he would do remote sessions. He would go into these internal states and people would write him letters about ailments they had, and he would make an appointment with them. And then he would see things about whatever their illness was. And then he would write them back a letter. But he never wanted to create a movement. He never wanted to have an ism, never wanted to have like a school about his. And I’m like, that is amazing. So anyway, it’s yeah. What you’re saying. As I said, it resonates with me. Okay. So we’re just about at the end of our time and again, we’ve talked about so much and there’s still so much more we could discuss. But I will ask you to find all the questions. One is about this writing and creativity, and then there is more, general about what we want to leave, what you want to leave listeners with, whether it’s a request, you know, an invitation, thought and inspiration, whatever. But the first is what advice or encouragement would you leave those listening with that might help them complete their own creative projects, and make the difference in the world that they’re capable of making by sharing their message in their writing?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:40:10] Keep going. Just keep going. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep your head down. As Chuck Close says, inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. Yes. You need inspiration. You need the muse. But at some point, all that writing is all that making a song is all that making a record is all that making a podcast is all that making spiritual practices is you just do the dang thing and you keep doing it and you keep doing it. You just don’t give up. That’s really what it comes down to. That’s the basic arithmetic.
Brilliant Miller [01:40:43] Awesome. And I realized that on this, I think it’s so good. That could be the final thought. No pressure here. But if there is a final thought or final ask anything or people listening as we go ahead and wrap up, what is it?
Ralph De La Rosa [01:40:56] You have a new working definition of enlightenment. Would you like to hear it?
Brilliant Miller [01:41:01] Absolutely.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:41:03] It is the full reclamation of the best of our childlike qualities. That childish, childlike spontaneity plays innocence, wholesomeness, uninhibited ness, expression, liveliness, and vitality.
Brilliant Miller [01:41:23] Generosity.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:41:24] Generosity. Right. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:41:27] Those are all reclamation of ours. So the definition of enlightenment is the full reclamation of our childlike qualities.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:41:34] Within the context of full maturation, wisdom, insight, discernment, ethics, tenacity, and healthy habits. A healthy community supports career financial intelligence. Right. Like the best of both worlds. I imagine that life all the. All the inspiration and wildness and freedom of childhood. But within this, like a really healthy container of maturation.
Brilliant Miller [01:42:06] Wow, that’s cool. And you know what? That’s what I love about that is that that seems doable to me. Right. And then that for me is like the catalyzing question on a fully healed life, that earlier thing that I’m like, I don’t even know what that would look like. But now when you describe it this way, like, I start to get a sense of what that might look like for me. That’s cool.
Ralph De La Rosa [01:42:25] Yeah. Cool. Yeah. Resonates.
Brilliant Miller [01:42:28] Yeah. Okay. Well, again, my guest today, Ralph de la Rosa, author of Don’t Tell Me to Relax Emotional Resilience in the Age of Rage, Feels, and Freak Outs. And Monkey is the messenger meditation and what your busy mind is trying to tell you. I do hope, especially if you’ve listened this far, if you haven’t read these books already, you read them and you share them and you make the difference in the world that you are, it’s possible for you to make. And I love Ralph to what you said about life is like what an exploding train wreck of infinite possibility.
Brilliant Miller [01:43:02] Being something like that. Yes.
Brilliant Miller [01:43:04] And I think that’s what awaits you from that. So thank you so much for listening. And Ralph, thank you for being a guest on this Call for Reclaiming podcast.
Brilliant Miller [01:43:18] Hey, thanks so much for listening to this episode of The School for Good Living podcast. Before you take off, just want to extend an invitation to you. Despite living in an age where we have more comforts, and inconveniences than ever before, life still isn’t working for many people, whether it’s here in the developed world where we deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, divorce, unfulfilling jobs or relationships that don’t work. Or in the developing world where so many people still don’t have access to basic things like clean water or sanitation or health care or education, or they live in conflict zones. There are a lot of people on this planet that life isn’t working very well for. If you’re one of those people, or even if your life is working, but you have the sense that it could work better. Consider signing up for the School for Good Living’s transformational coaching program. It’s something I’ve designed to help you navigate the transitions that we all go through. Whether you’ve just graduated or you’ve gone through a divorce or you’ve gotten married, headed into retirement, starting a business, been married for a long time, whatever, no matter where you are in life. This nine month program will give you the opportunity to go deep in every area of your life, to explore life’s big questions, to create answers for yourself in a community of other growth minded individuals. And it can help you get clarity and be accountable to realize more of your unrealized potential. You can also help you find and maintain motivation. In short, is designed to help you live with greater health, happiness and meaning so that you can be, do, have and give more. Visit goodliving.com to learn more or to sign up today.
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