[00:00:00.090] – Brett Dupree
Hello, Chris, and welcome to my podcast.
[00:00:02.660] – Chris Leming
Hi, Brett. How are you today?
[00:00:04.100] – Brett Dupree
I am doing peachy. So it says here that you are a hypnotherapist.
[00:00:09.600] – Chris Leming
That’s right. Yeah. Transpersonal hypnotherapist.
[00:00:12.700] – Brett Dupree
How did you get started?
[00:00:14.450] – Chris Leming
I came back from a long trip or stay in Asia. I was over there studying Tibetan Buddhism and meditation. And I was spent some time as a Buddhist monk. And when I came back, I decided that I was going to be a regular layperson again and was looking for a new career. And I thought about being a therapist. But because I’m fairly lazy, I didn’t want to spend 10 years in school and doing all of that stuff. So I came upon hypnotherapy and it seemed like a great fit. I’m really glad I made that choice. It’s been wonderful.
[00:00:44.140] – Brett Dupree
Mm hmm. Wow. So you became a Buddhist monk. Who were you before that?
[00:00:48.690] – Chris Leming
Before that? I was a just typical fun-loving, I guess you could say, bartender. I worked in the restaurant business, worked in the restaurant business for about 20 years. And some of those years were really good because I was clean and sober and some of those years were not so good because I was not clean and sober.
[00:01:06.250] – Brett Dupree
Where are your drugs? Drugs of choice.
[00:01:08.250] – Chris Leming
Pretty much anything that was laid on the table, anything that was put in front of me. It was a chaotic time.
[00:01:14.960] – Brett Dupree
What effect did doing all those drugs have on your life?
[00:01:17.970] – Chris Leming
It was well, it was just complete chaos. Tell you the truth. It’s a very dark and difficult time. There were I mean, certainly, there were some good times. And I remember having some laughs and some fun. And I think most alcoholics and addicts can attest to that. That was that was not like one hundred percent bad. But for the most part, it was characterized by just a lot of pain and a lot of suffering, a lot of running away.
[00:01:39.120] – Chris Leming
A lot of not wanting to feel what I was feeling in the moment. A lot of confusion and not understanding why I was doing the things that I was doing. A lot of shame, a lot of guilt. So a lot of negative emotions and a lot of just feeling caught and trapped in this cycle of using and shame and using again and shame. And it was awful.
[00:01:57.900] – Brett Dupree
Did anything about the way you grew up to contribute to your drug habits?
[00:02:02.670] – Chris Leming
Absolutely. There is a wonderful psychologist and motivational speaker from the 80s who is really popular. Maybe you’ve heard of him, John Bradshaw. He wrote a wonderful book called Healing the Shame That Binds You. And in the beginning of his book, he makes this unequivocal statement that all addicts and alcoholics are suffering from toxic shame, which is rooted in your childhood experience. So absolutely, you know, the things that happened to me in childhood, you know, coming from a very kind of disruptive background.
[00:02:32.340] – Chris Leming
You know, my grandfather was an alcoholic and he was also a pedophile. There was a lot of abuse in our family. And so coming out of that sort of chaos and that hurt and that pain contributed greatly to my life choices that I was making to deal with all of that.
[00:02:46.560] – Brett Dupree
How would you explain your toxic shame?
[00:02:49.650] – Chris Leming
I would explain it as a core misbelief in my value as a human being, just as I am a core identity issue of thinking that somehow I am, at my core broken and flawed and no good. And in thinking that everything else in my life becomes colored by that, and by realizing and seeing the fallacy of that, everything has changed, everything becomes different. But that’s the fundamental thing about toxic shame, is that it goes so deep to just one’s sense of who they are as a person and that that person is not worthy of happiness or love or just even just the right to be and exist.
[00:03:32.920] – Brett Dupree
Because one of my questions is getting to the point of wanting to travel to India. How did I even get that idea to become a Monk?
[00:03:40.690] – Chris Leming
Right. That’s a great question. I came upon a book on Buddhism just after I got clean and sober in back in 2007. And I guess I was just looking for something. I was, you know, coming out of the fog of booze and drugs and cigarette smoke and bars and all of that. I suddenly kind of looked around and said, well, what am I interested in? Actually, what do I want to do with my new sort of clarity and my new freedom here?
[00:04:07.410] – Chris Leming
Very quickly, I decided, you know what I am? I want to check out Buddhism and in particular, Tibetan Buddhism. So I picked up a book and I just immediately was smitten. I was just like, oh, man, this is just amazing. So I read another book and another book and another book very quickly decided, you know what? I want to go to India, which is the birthplace of Buddhism, and I want to just go and check it out and do a little pilgrimage there and then meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama if I could, and things like that.
[00:04:30.900] – Chris Leming
And so I made that my goal. And I spent a year saving up money and wound up, taking two months off and going to India for the first time. And then from then on, I was just hooked. I came back and all I could think about was how I was gonna get back? And so that’s kind of how things snowballed. And eventually, I wound up going back for several years and becoming a monk.
[00:04:49.940] – Brett Dupree
What was it like being a monk in India?
[00:04:52.470] – Chris Leming
Well, a little bit strange. Strange, strange in the sense that as a Westerner. As a Caucasian guy. Stick out, you stick out like a sore thumb as a Westerner there to begin with. And then to put on the robes of a Tibetan Buddhist monk, you just wound up looking very strange to people there and they’re very curious. And what are you doing and why are you interested in this? Now, more and more people have done it over the years, so it’s not totally uncommon, especially if you’re in an area where there’s a lot of practitioners.
[00:05:20.900] – Chris Leming
But, yeah, it was very strange. People would stare at me a lot and come up to me and say, like, hey, Guruji, what do you. You know, what’s your story? Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just back in America live and living in a dream?
[00:05:33.510] – Brett Dupree
Good question. What exactly got you to want to be sober?
[00:05:38.180] – Chris Leming
Desperation. Desperation. I didn’t know what else to do. I was in a place. It was really I had to make a choice. I wasn’t feeling well physically and certainly not emotionally and spiritually. I was completely bankrupt. So I just was in a place in my life where I was like, I need to do something or else I’m going to die. And that’s not I don’t mean to be hyperbolic there. I think a lot of addicts and alcoholics, we talk in very hyperbolic language.
[00:06:03.650] – Chris Leming
But it was true. I felt like I’d really come to the point where I needed to make a change or else I wasn’t going to be around for much longer. The drinking and the and the drugging, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get clean and sober on my own. And so I had to make that decision to say, you know what, I need help and I’m going to do something about this. And I didn’t know what to do. And I was very scary. And it was basically like jumping off into an unknown abyss. But I did it and I you know, I got the help that I needed.
[00:06:28.790] – Brett Dupree
That’s really cool. So you get clean and sober, you go to India, become a monk and you come back and everything is perfect.
[00:06:37.610] – Chris Leming
Yeah, something like that. Except for the part where it wasn’t. I came back and I decided what we call give back the vows. There was some uncertainty on my part on whether or not that was the right thing to do. There were some issues with the with the Buddhist group that I was practicing with that I had decided that it wasn’t healthy for me to be with them anymore. And that can be the topic of another show maybe. But I decided that I needed to go back to being a layperson. And as I did that, I think just a lot of stuff, unresolved issues came up from my past, things that I hadn’t dealt with either in therapy or just by digging deep.
[00:07:13.730] – Chris Leming
And a lot of it came down to just having not dealt with a lot of the abuse issues that I had experienced as a kid, things that I had even not thought about for many years or just not remembered as a result of that. It kind of tipped the apple cart over and I wound up having a drug relapse, actually. And it was really, really painful, was really agonizing period of about a year, kind of going back and forth and being very confused because I was like I was just a Buddhist monk a little while ago.
[00:07:37.040] – Chris Leming
Why am I still struggling with this stuff and feeling very humbled by it, then eventually getting myself back into a recovery program? So, yeah, it was not perfect at all. I guess you could say. But in another way, I guess it’s just my life. And so in a sense that it was perfect.
[00:07:52.280] – Brett Dupree
One of my favorite things I’ve heard is if you think you’re enlightened and spend the weekend with your parents.
[00:07:58.730] – Chris Leming
[00:07:59.720] – Brett Dupree
Would you say was putting yourself back into the old environment that kind of sparked all those poor behaviors?
[00:08:07.760] – Chris Leming
I don’t think so, because, you know, I had been in touch with family and, you know, I wasn’t like I was completely removed from the world. But I think it was that sort of that shift from going back into lay life. You know, I had really put all my eggs in one basket as far as being a monk. It was a decision that I came to over about seven years before I actually made that decision to do that.
[00:08:27.470] – Chris Leming
So it’s something I thought about a lot. I decided that this is what I want to do. And so when I had to make the decision or whether or not to continue on that path, it was really disruptive to my identity, to my sense of who I was. And I was like, well, what am I going to do now? It really was really a blow to my confidence in my ego. And I think, as a result, that’s why a lot of just really deep issues about like who am I?
[00:08:47.540] – Chris Leming
What am I doing in this world? What happened to me? Why? Why do I still feel this sense of toxic shame, essentially? And I realized that even though I had been a monk and have been a Buddhist practitioner for about a decade, at that point, almost, I was still feeling these these these really deep, dark feelings of like worth worthlessness. I needed to go back and look at those things.
[00:09:09.140] – Brett Dupree
Is that when you discovered hypnotherapy? Yes.
[00:09:11.630] – Chris Leming
Around that time and I started going back to therapy myself and I wound up finding a wonderful outpatient treatment program that was just filled with just absolutely wonderful, loving people and was able to get some wonderful counseling and support. And then I discovered MDR and hypnotherapy and went through that process. Those processes myself was able to have some really, really profound relevant resolution with a lot of my issues of abuse and really get to the core of like, why do I not think that I’m such a great person and really was able to get in there and get some healing going. So and it’s an ongoing process. It’s a process that continues for me. I do. I use hypnosis for myself on an almost daily basis.
[00:09:49.820] – Brett Dupree
What benefits have you gotten from hypnosis there?
[00:09:53.420] – Chris Leming
It’s a wonderful tool to be able to calm yourself to the point where you can put. Aside for a moment, all of the chatter and all of the sort of the judgment and the criticism and the critical faculty, we call it. And to give that a little bit of a rest and be able to go into a part of yourself that is always centered and is always grounded and has a lot of deep wisdom about who you are, what your places in the world and where you’ve been and where you want to go.
[00:10:21.460] – Chris Leming
There’s a lot of deep wisdom in ourselves that gets covered over by a lot of confusion, a lot of distraction in the process of hypnosis, and in the state of hypnotic trance, we’re able to access that deeper wisdom within ourselves. So that’s what I’m able to do with myself. And I go into these self-induced trance states and I talk to me what I call my inner guides. And this is just, you know, metaphorical language to talk about, to give voice and form to my own inner wisdom.
[00:10:46.330] – Chris Leming
And I’m able to then have conversations about where am I right now? How am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? What are the right courses of action for me? What are the possibilities for me? And so I’m able to just better handle problems and issues and feelings and emotions that life has in store for me.
[00:11:02.140] – Brett Dupree
And you wanting to help other people do the same.
[00:11:05.350] – Chris Leming
That’s really been my part of my mission since I got clean and sober. I wrote a book in 2009 and it got published in 2013 called The Narrow Way, talking about my experience with alcoholism, addiction and then ultimately finding my way to India and finding this wonderful tradition of Buddhism and spirituality in general, a sense of belonging to something larger to myself than myself. And so for that entire time, my whole feeling was that you know what?
[00:11:31.270] – Chris Leming
I’ve made it through this and I’m making it through this. And I want to help others to do the same because I know how awful that experience is of feeling trapped in that sense of toxic shame and that feeling of I’m no good. What am I doing in this world? I don’t deserve to be here. And because I discovered myself that even though I was still struggling with my own issues, I had made a lot of progress in realizing that, you know, I am worth something. I do have something to contribute to the world. I have a right to be here. But I’ve really felt very motivated to want to share that message with other people.
[00:12:00.220] – Brett Dupree
So if you gain by working in sharing with some other people?
[00:12:03.820] – Chris Leming
I gain a sense of satisfaction. I gain a sense of feeling that my life has some deeper meaning. And there’s just something about serving others and helping others that, you know, you can’t really quantify the benefits. And most programs of recovery, they talk about service to others being one of the quintessential components of any healthy recovery. And in Buddhism, also in really any spiritual tradition, we talk about that to service of others, putting others before yourself or at least on equal ground with yourself and recognizing that everyone is deserving of love, happiness and compassion is a recipe for your own happiness.
[00:12:39.880] – Chris Leming
I don’t know if there’s really a way to explain that other than taking the spotlight off of ourselves and our own problems and rather seeing what we can offer to others. It’s just a natural curative for most of our emotional turmoil and malaise.
[00:12:54.520] – Brett Dupree
So do you see you’re a transpersonal hypnotherapist what exactly is transpersonal?
[00:12:59.410] – Chris Leming
Well, it’s just a fancy word for the modality. And I work with includes the spirit and includes what you might call the spirit or the soul. And so it doesn’t focus simply on the personality, on the on sort of the gross ego. It also considers that, hey, you know, we’re larger beings. You know, we have all those things. We have personalities. We have our past history. We have our issues. And we have our depression and we have this and that.
[00:13:21.670] – Chris Leming
But we also have different aspects of ourselves. We have deeper wisdom. You could say we have a quality of light and luminosity, primordial ness that is indestructible. That is something that goes on that’s eternal. Those are kind of these aspects that I also bring into people’s experience as we’re going through the hypnotic process. This realization becomes very helpful when dealing with these really, really difficult issues of trauma and childhood abuse and addiction and depression and all these sorts of things. It allows for just more empowerment and deeper breakthroughs.
[00:13:53.380] – Brett Dupree
Hmm. Cool. That sounds really nice.
[00:13:55.510] – Chris Leming
[00:13:59.780] – Brett Dupree
What made you want to go into, what was the next step in becoming a hypnotherapist? How did you go about doing it?
[00:14:03.910] – Chris Leming
I was recommended to go to a school actually in Seattle. There’s wonderful hypnotherapy, transpersonal hypnotherapist here who has been practicing for well over 30 years and has been training other hypnotherapists for almost that time. That amount of time as well. And so I went through that program and got my certification. And did you know that whole process? And I continued to do mentor a relationship with that teacher. And it’s great. You know, I just keep on learning more and more every day.
[00:14:31.780] – Chris Leming
It’s a wonderful, wonderful art form that I’m never going to become completely an expert at. You know, it’s something that can always continue to grow and expand.
[00:14:40.630] – Brett Dupree
Does it look like working with you?
[00:14:42.070] – Chris Leming
I like to think that I am what I like to call my practice as a client-focused practice. So I like to really, like, sit down with people, kind of turn off my own agenda and really try to kind of listen to where people are coming from and see where people are coming from. And through my practice, my practice of Buddhism and. Dating and studying, trying my best to practice in my own humble way. This path of compassion and listening to others try to do that.
[00:15:08.540] – Chris Leming
I try to bring that to my practice to allow people to share their experience as it is and to try my best not to make any judgments, not to make any assumptions. To really open myself up to listening to where they’re coming from, where they want to go. Because I know that I’m never gonna be able to be in their shoes. I can be as empathetic as possible as I possibly can, and I’m still not going to know what their experience is. So I need to trust that they know exactly why they’re talking to me and exactly what they need and exactly where they want to go.
[00:15:37.710] – Brett Dupree
How’d you come up with the name True Nature?
[00:15:39.890] – Chris Leming
There is a concept in Buddhism. It’s called Buddha Nature. Actually, these teachings are this sort of philosophical view that we are all in a sense, not in a sense. We are all actually just expressions of pure, enlightened mind. And that is who we are at our core. And that’s sometimes synonymous with what we call the true nature. That’s the direction that I want to take myself and that’s the direction that I want to take my clients, is to get them in touch with.
[00:16:06.650] – Chris Leming
And it’s a process that I’m going through as well. So we’re kind of doing it together. But to get them in touch with their true nature, who they really are cutting through all the B.S. and just getting down to the real basics of who we are, spiritual beings.
[00:16:19.280] – Brett Dupree
Do you have any fun success stories this year for clients?
[00:16:22.580] – Chris Leming
Just recently worked with a client who has been struggling with addiction. Came to me with just talking very, very non emotionally and just kind of in this very unnerving way, almost just about that, which just no emotion whatsoever about him just wanting to overdose and thinking that that was really the only option for him. I was able to work with him over a series of sessions and really get into where he came from and where sort of that feeling of desperation and despair originated, which was back in his childhood when he was so seriously neglected and abused as a kid.
[00:16:58.520] – Chris Leming
He was able to get in touch with that and go back and just really embrace that child that was still living inside him. And that’s the thing when we experience traumas in childhood, that part of ourselves, that trial gets frozen in our personality and we carry it with us for the rest of our lives until we can go back and give that child that healing that it needs, that love that it needs, and to be able to watch someone and watch him go through his process and embrace that child.
[00:17:21.920] – Chris Leming
And just to start to pour tears, because he was just that you needed that love and he realized that he could give himself that love that he didn’t get. I mean, I was crying, too, you know, I tried to keep it on the down-low, those sorts of things are why I’m so glad that I chose to do this work.
[00:17:39.310] – Brett Dupree
That sounds cool. What’s your favorite part about being a hypnotherapist?
[00:17:42.470] – Chris Leming
Watching that process unfold? And just the amazement, the absolute amazement of, you know, when I could do a session with somebody, when I do sessions with myself, just it’s always amazing to watch people’s own capacity for empowerment, for healing and for change, have them realized that that’s what they have and that’s what they’ve always had and that’s what they will always have within themselves to help themselves and to advocate for themselves.
[00:18:06.470] – Chris Leming
So seeing that time and time and time again, it almost comes out as a surprise when I see the light turn on for people and see them realize that, oh, I can give a wonderful life, a joyful life. It’s just amazing.
[00:18:21.200] – Brett Dupree
So we are coming to the end of our time together. One thing I’d like to ask my guest is to do a one minute of motivation. You can imagine this is if you have a time machine and you’re going back to your eight-year-old self and you want to convey everything you need to succeed in life, but unfortunately, you only have a minute until you’re plopped back into the future or you can think of it as convincing your entire life’s message into a minute.
[00:18:41.160] – Chris Leming
OK, great, great. Before you can have a happy and fulfilling meaningful life. Really have to believe that you deserve it. Unfortunately for many of us and myself included, it’s not always a given. What I’ve discovered is that through this sort of natural, relaxed state of hypnosis, we can guide ourselves and be guided to an experience of our true nature. And that’s that nature that I was talking about that’s always inherently pure good and worthy of happiness.
[00:19:03.020] – Chris Leming
The thing is that there’s basic goodness. It’s often covered up by feelings of that toxic shame, that guilt and the fear and what we believe, the lies that these feelings whisper to us that we’re somehow no good or unworthy in some way. It’s no wonder we become trapped in these self-defeating patterns that wonder really binding us and limiting us. But what I’ve discovered is it doesn’t have to be that way. The thing is, is that we can change those old patterns.
[00:19:24.860] – Chris Leming
We can totally release all of that shame, guilt, and fear. And as a result, we can live a life that’s joyful and free. And when we realize that that’s all within our power, it’s just that our lives are changed forever.
[00:19:36.650] – Brett Dupree
Awesome. Thank you so much, Chris. I really enjoyed having you on my podcast. I loved your story on how you started living a lie. You’re basically living life for toxic shame and doing drugs and alcohol. You finally decided to get clover, hehe, sober, and change your life and turn it around. Going to India was just a really interesting step. But one thing I very much enjoyed appreciating was here in the fact that once you started. Spirituality. All that’s personal development work that you relapsed.
[00:20:03.950] – Brett Dupree
And because there’s always this idea that you go out, you’re finished. And on the other side and there are no issues. But to show that you still are able to bounce back from that and take it into this transpersonal, true nature, hypnotherapy is an inspiring story. So thank you for sharing it on my podcast. And thank you for everything you do for this world.
[00:20:25.460] – Chris Leming
Thank you so much. I had a really wonderful time. Thanks.
[00:20:29.310] – Brett Dupree
May your day be special
[00:20:29.310] – Chris Leming