Joyous Expansion Podcast Transcript Liz Ophoven – Holistic Mystic – Transformation Through Sacred Cacao

[00:00:00.090] – Brett Dupree

Hello, Liz, and welcome to my podcast, awesome.

[00:00:04.180] – Liz Ophoven


[00:00:05.150] – Brett Dupree

I am excited to have you on. I’ve known you for four or five years now.

[00:00:09.570] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah, I think it’s been a while

[00:00:11.610] – Brett Dupree

for the listeners at home. I met Liz at a Cacao ceremony that she runs with an awesome sound bath. And it is a wonderful experience.

[00:00:22.170] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah. I keep thinking back to when we were sort of just starting out and sometimes we would have quite a room full and sometimes not so much. And one time it was just Brett. And it was amazing.

[00:00:35.550] – Brett Dupree

Yeah, that was pretty cool. I’m so thankful to both of you for that. That was very helpful for me.

[00:00:40.260] – Liz Ophoven


[00:00:41.550] – Brett Dupree

So how did you get started in your sound bath and your journey into spirituality and as a spiritual entrepreneur?

[00:00:48.860] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah, so I got started with the sound bath, but as a dear friend of mine came back from like a life-changing, I should say, like midlife chrysalis changing trip to Guatemala. She came back with some Cacao, some Cacao from Guatemala, and taught me about Cacao and taught me about sharing Cacao and the power of it in creating community. I had been doing some guided meditations and some workshops kind of in the spiritual realm, talisman making and different things like this, to get people together in a fun way, in an active way, and to help people in that kind of ceremonial setting to get their whole energy field cleared and cleanse.

[00:01:35.630] – Liz Ophoven

So the Cacao, when I was introduced to that, just seemed sort of a magic portal where we could bring all of this together and share and heal. And one of the best ways to receive energetic healing is through sound. So I used to have a friend of mine come and play her quartz crystal bowls. But then one time she couldn’t make it at the last minute. I played the bowls and kind of took off from there.

[00:02:04.620] – Brett Dupree

Have you always been into spirituality type things?

[00:02:09.130] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah, kind of. So I think that I was in high school in the 80s and there was a movement of spirituality back then called New Age. Right. It was so funny and fun and cool. And my mom was a little bit into it and somehow I got a hold of some new age music. This artist called Andrius Vollen Reader and I would secretly listen to New Age music while doing my homework, and I ended up just loving it so much. I started reading some sort of self-help books and things like that back then as well.

[00:02:47.970] – Liz Ophoven

And it just started to lead me into this path of trusting my inner wisdom. Basically, it

[00:02:54.470] – Brett Dupree

didn’t always trust your inner wisdom.

[00:02:56.290] – Liz Ophoven

No. So. Well, I would just say that the environment that I grew up in did not support inner wisdom. I grew up in the Midwest, in Indiana. And the way that my family was structured was very patriarchal and it was very proper. But that was like the appearance of our family from the outside. The inside was really hurting and really struggling. And there wasn’t a lot of love and there wasn’t a lot of compassion and there wasn’t a lot of support for people.

[00:03:31.030] – Liz Ophoven

But I had a very unique experience when I was growing up in this family. And I should also mention most of the men in my family were alcoholics. So I was growing up in this family where we’re really working hard on appearances. There’s a sort of violence underneath of like people clawing and scratching for love and attention and support. But then something happened. So it was my sister and me, and she was two years older than me and she was diagnosed with childhood leukemia.

[00:04:07.260] – Liz Ophoven

So when I’m just actually two years old, before I’m even really, really understanding what I’m alive, I grow up into this system of all of these things going into play and then my parents dealing with my sister, a little girl who’s just four years old at the time, having to start to get chemotherapy treatments. So that is a really, really intense, energetic for a family to deal with, especially a family that doesn’t deal with things. I created an entire another dimension that I lived in, not with my inner world.

[00:04:43.970] – Liz Ophoven

You know, I would spend a lot of time by myself and I loved it. It was super peaceful. I think that I really just tuned up my energy like my energetic ears and my energetic imagination and came up with, you know, imaginary friends. And asked them for advice and think eventually it just started to become more and more of my own inner voice that was talking to me as opposed to something from the outside. Yeah, that’s probably how it began.

[00:05:13.090] – Brett Dupree

Sounds like you had your own Bridge to Terabithia.

[00:05:16.720] – Liz Ophoven

I really, really wanted it. I wanted it more than ever. So I worked so hard to create it. You know, as much as I could. But then there was still a lot of pressure as I was growing up and dealing with my parents’ family who were suffering through my sister’s illness. After four years of her going through chemo and then remission and then chemo, she passed away. And so I was then six years old. I was, think, sort of fell into an abyss of even more alone time.

[00:05:51.880] – Liz Ophoven

My parents split up after that. My mother went into a deep depression. So I became super independent. And I spent a lot of time alone and a lot of time trying to figure out for myself what was right and wrong, what was appropriate. What should I learn and how can I take care of myself and even how can I take care of my mother? So what I wanted to do more than anything was escape. And the best place was my imagination, which later became my intuition

[00:06:21.940] – Brett Dupree

How do you tell the difference between intuition and escape?

[00:06:25.740] – Liz Ophoven

Right. Yes. So there are a couple of different things that I’ve learned about disassociation and intuition. There’s when life becomes really painful, especially emotionally painful. There is for me. And I think many people desire to get away. Right. You just want to hop on out of there. This can be disassociation. So I would do that. I would totally space out, go into my own little imaginary world. This started to leak over into when I was in school as a young girl.

[00:07:00.990] – Liz Ophoven

My grades were really falling and I wasn’t able to focus or pay attention in the world. Just seemed kind of boring. And also really scary. So disassociation can be unswerving in away. But it did also was the sort of I don’t know if there was a differentiation at that point. There is a way where I was just tuning in to my own needs and I was tuning in to something that I desired. As people get older, get into their teens, sometimes disassociation will lead you down the road of alcohol and drugs and just getting away, getting in a way, getting away and not dealing with what’s happening.

[00:07:40.530] – Liz Ophoven

And if you just take a little bit of a sharper turn there and spin right back into yourself, you can sort of re-associate that goes inward and inside there, it can be just as juicy and fun and cool. But you’re still with yourself as opposed to departing from yourself. And, you know, I’m not even sure at this point if I’ve answered your question, but I think I did.

[00:08:03.930] – Brett Dupree

So that turning inside is how you broke the… a lot of times when people’s parents are alcoholics, the children become alcoholics. Is that how you try to kind of turn that around?

[00:08:14.550] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah, definitely. I learned a lot about that as I was growing up, and especially as a young teen, took a couple of psychology classes and started to understand how the paradigm of families work. So my uncle was a recovered alcoholic, but still very much in the program and very much identifying as an alcoholic. So he would warn me. And with, you know, about the effects of alcoholism in families and then these studies with psychology and sociology and things helped me understand what was at risk.

[00:08:45.540] – Liz Ophoven

And honestly, I tried it out. I was like, OK, so let me see him. I am I one of those people? Am I going to go down this road of, like, sort of the lost soul? Will I be an addict? Will I be a total @$@$ up in the world? I tried it on because it seemed like that was a predetermined outcome for me personally with the death of a sibling added into that.

[00:09:09.870] – Liz Ophoven

And I decided it wasn’t I was just like, no, you know, I know there are a lot of influences, but I have freedom of choice. I want to do a lot of other things. The easy way, I guess, would have been to just let my life drive me. But I chose to engage in my own personal path, you know, things that I was interested in and things that were exciting to me and drive my own life wasn’t always just like it wasn’t like one decision. You know, it’s come around over and over and over again. Who’s driving here? You know, it is a constant struggle because those things are true for me at least.

[00:09:47.700] – Liz Ophoven

It was clear from a very early age, like exactly what I would be up against and what some of my biggest hurdles would be in life in order to achieve my goals and dreams and desires. I feel just kind of knowing that at a younger age and continuing to remind myself and understand what was happening helped me to overcome those hurdles and blockages in.

[00:10:10.110] – Brett Dupree

one way for you that was going through your experience, your path.

[00:10:14.310] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah. You know, my spiritual path started as more of a rebellious path, and I rebelled from my family, which was pretty conservative and kind of Republican. And I decided to listen to my heart and listen to myself to make my own decisions. Right. So like I was explaining earlier, I decided I was going to move away from my hometown as soon as I possibly could because I knew the longer that I stayed there, the better chances that I would fall into this predetermined path.

[00:10:43.920] – Liz Ophoven

I used to ask myself this question, and it’s super-duper valid even today. And so the question I would ask myself is, what would you do? Well, I would say in the first person, what would I do if I were me and if I were me, I would do this, you know, and it would roll out. The answers would just come. And so I really think that for me, spirituality has never been about worshipping something outside of myself or giving over my power or having faith in something that I don’t understand outside of myself.

[00:11:21.320] – Liz Ophoven

It’s always been. Can I please just have faith in myself? And that’s been the most powerful guiding tool for me, is turning back in and saying, OK, who is Liz? What is she planning? What does she want to do here on this planet? That’s what my spirituality is learning to know myself. And allowing for that woman to guide me. The true most authentic on tethered and unharmed version of myself.

[00:11:53.770] – Brett Dupree

What have you gained from following the inner guidance?

[00:11:56.650] – Liz Ophoven

Exactly. No. It’s kind of like sometimes I say to myself. Also, like, what was the point? This does seem pretty hard. And wouldn’t it be nice if I could just fall into a pattern that just guaranteed me some level of success and security and safety and a future and maybe a retirement? So what have I gained and why is it important? I have gained a sense of excitement for life. I have gained the knowledge that with age comes more opportunity.

[00:12:35.290] – Liz Ophoven

As long as I keep being curious and keep being excited, I want to live. And I want to share. And I want to be with people. And I want to create as I get older, as I’m forty-seven years old now, as I continue to grow and evolve and allow this sense of curiosity to be a guiding light for me. I continue to be more and more engaged with life and I’m so excited to see what can I even do.

[00:13:02.830] – Liz Ophoven

I definitely have some hurdles to overcome and I face those when they come every single time. But what could I really do in this life in thinking about it in a way of like, I get to be here? I get to live this life. And I know because I’ve tried it a few times. I know I’m not happy if I just slip into a role that’s. I just go get it. Get a job. Oh, gosh.


You know, maybe like graphic design or something. I would probably be exciting for me for a little while. But if the pattern becomes too repetitive, I know myself well enough to know that I’ll start to feel that sense of boredom, which leads to depression, which leads me to start seeking elsewhere. Where can I get some excitement around here, you know, so then that can eventually lead to the disassociation. So you have to take some kind of medicine if you’re putting up with something that you just don’t enjoy.

[00:13:54.580] – Liz Ophoven

Right. So I’d rather try to enjoy my life and have my life be the medicine that I don’t have to escape.

[00:14:03.070] – Brett Dupree

Do you decide to want to take that same man to build a community and helping other people?

[00:14:09.080] – Liz Ophoven

You know, it’s so cool because I’m actually super shy and I’m super duper shy. But when I realized how powerful the energy was, tools that I’ve learned are and how exciting it is and how enlivening it is for people to feel valuable to themselves, to feel like what they’re doing, and how their living is interesting. I realized I just wanted to share it. I wanted to share it. And it brings me so much joy to be part of the community of people that are reclaiming the power of over their own lives, reclaiming their inner wisdom, reclaiming the strength to know that they’d get to be here.

[00:14:54.730] – Liz Ophoven

Not only that, but they’re also entitled to live a happy life into it to see. like there’s nothing more exciting to me than to be around people that are turned on and ready to adventure. So that’s entertainment. So I guess in a way, it’s entertainment for me. I’m like, look at all these people and what they’re doing because they’re free, their mind is free and their creativity is flowing. And it’s exciting. And then I feel like that in that way, we all get to be truly ourselves.

[00:15:26.650] – Liz Ophoven

We’re tapping into our best. We’re tapping into our genius. And that’s what’s gonna heal the world. So eventually. And I know this is already happening and I’m even starting to collaborate a little bit more and more people. So let’s say you’re in your best. They say it’s in your genius. More and more people are in their genius and collaborating with other people in their genius. And coming up with amazing solutions for sure. But even amazing expressions.

[00:15:55.360] – Liz Ophoven

And when you have an amazing expression, then you’re not so destructive. Out there in the world.

[00:16:00.030] – Brett Dupree

So, yeah. So what are all the energy type things that you do nowadays?

[00:16:05.780] – Liz Ophoven

Oh, yes. I guess that’s what a ceremonial list. And I work with Cacao. I’m a healer man or a healer. I’m an intuitive musician, slash sound healer. So I work with quartz crystal balls, gongs, Tibetan bowls. I mean, really, it’s like broadening. So vocals and rattles, things like this. Amazing instruments that are so fun to work with. And I’m a visual artist and a sculptor and a yogi and a mother.

[00:16:34.420] – Liz Ophoven

So I get to use my tools, especially in the art, in the healing arts. And it really. Narrows down to kind of, three main tools. The first one is being grounded. So really, really getting your body and your energy field connected to the center of the planet, connecting with the earth’s energy field through your feet, through your root chakra. The second one is finding center. Finding center for me was so hard for so long, I couldn’t do it.

[00:17:05.790] – Liz Ophoven

I was like, you know, for anyone who’s had experience in finding your center. I was always like way over to the left. It’s like, where’s your awareness right now? And I’m like, up and out and over to the left. So once I was able to train myself to come into the center, there’s like a whole world there that’s very peaceful. And the third one is finding the edges of my personal space or the boundary of my aura and keeping my energy inside my boundary and allowing the energy outside my boundary to stay outside my boundary.

[00:17:39.660] – Liz Ophoven

So these three things are the tools that I really love to share, and they’re the basis in the framework for why I feel like any and all additional healing r

[00:17:52.930] – Brett Dupree

What really led you to Crystal… I mean, what are the benefits of crystal sound healing and Cacao ceremonies?

[00:17:59.880] – Liz Ophoven

So one of the benefits is community. I mean, this is really one of the strongest benefits is the element of the community, the element of community while you were being healed or when you are healed. Let’s say you’re healed in a way that your auras cleaned out. You’re sort of refreshed.

[00:18:21.960] – Liz Ophoven

Cacao itself is an amazing superfood and it’s plant medicine. And so when you drink ceremonial Cacao, your heart chakra and your vascular system open up. So you’re getting super shot of magnesium and all these different nutrients at the same time, your heart starts pumping more blood through your bodies, your oxygenating. And it allows you to come into the center more easily and to stay there with less effort. You should never have an effort to stay there, but it’s just a great ally.

[00:18:58.170] – Liz Ophoven

So this is a plant ally and food medicine, you know, or it could be a plant, medicine, food, ally, and his chocolate. I mean, what says love more than chocolate? Come on. Right.

[00:19:09.780] – Liz Ophoven

So I just it just works. I drink it. And I was like, whoa, this is an experience. I can feel it. And it really works. Lends a great hand. It’s wonderful in communities and the courts. Crystal Bowls are fantastic, fantastic healing tools because they transmit vibration. Right. And they’re perfectly tuned. Whole notes. I said I have these seven whole notes. And so when the vibration of the whole notes starts to leave the bowl and go out into the room and then it crosses over into the energy fields of everyone at the ceremony.

[00:19:48.330] – Liz Ophoven

These whole note bowls that are perfectly tuned. Are you have all of these notes in your body and in your energetic system. And so once these tuned pitches come through, if you’re out of tune anywhere, which is exactly what happens when we’re not feeling very good. The bowl vibrations bring you into tune and they clean you up and tune you up and through a process called entrainment. So if there’s a greater force that is perfectly in tune, it will tune up the other instruments in the room and our bodies happen to be those instruments.

[00:20:21.570] – Liz Ophoven

And there’s just something so fantastic about the sound of the bowls and their ability to help you fall into that meditative state. Theta or, you know, just a deep relaxation. They take over the chatter in your mind and allow you just to be present. So you’re getting centered. You’re being present and you’re surrendering. You literally, I think for me is surrender into the sound and just be a witness then to what’s happening inside your mind’s eye or inside your body.

[00:20:55.650] – Liz Ophoven

And your only job is to just be there and breathe. And they’re fantastic. They work miraculously. They work miracles. I mean, music had to have been I don’t truly a scholar, but I think it was must have been the first medicine on the planet through the treatment and the healing powers of the vibrations of sound vibrations and the awesomeness of the Cacao. It’s a perfect, perfect mixture for really cleaning out people’s energy fields, brightening up their mood, allowing them to process.

[00:21:29.220] – Liz Ophoven

And that aspect of being in the room with other people doing the same thing. So you have acceptance. So it’s just a beautiful combination to me and it really feels it and changes people’s lives.

[00:21:43.240] – Brett Dupree

Something that I think about going to your Cacao ceremonies, the last year especially came during a very difficult time in my life when I was going through my bankruptcy and losing a job and actually grief when I didn’t know I was even going through grief and so allowed me the process that. And I believe,  I don’t remember if I did, but I think even doing this podcast came out of just one of your Cacao ceremonies. Well, definitely the Church of Awesome and all the ideas through that just came through me from your Cacao ceremony. So other than me, do you have any other fun success stories that you like to share?

[00:22:17.500] – Liz Ophoven

Oh, my gosh. Well, I mean, I love hearing that. And do I have any fun success stories?

[00:22:28.780] – Brett Dupree

Some good feedback?

[00:22:28.820] – Liz Ophoven

I get some really beautiful feedback. I think you’ve been there before as well. When people say, look, this is my church. You know, I really love to be able to host the Cacao ceremony and the sound journeys at least once a month. And it’s been a little tricky lately. So we’re looking forward to that. But every single ceremony, people come up to myself and my husband, Pete, who works the ceremonies with me and they share something, you know, whether it’s deeply personal, like I had no idea, you know, that I was so sad about this or my grandmother came and visit me in a vision or I feel so much better. Thank you. I think it’s one of these tools that you can rely on to continue to support you in whatever creative journey or emotional journey you’re on. And I love getting the feedback because it just makes me feel, you know, it’s working. We’re doing something good here.

[00:23:25.160] – Brett Dupree

My girlfriend was absolutely glowing afterward, and there are so many spiritual connections because of it.

[00:23:30.800] – Liz Ophoven

Yeah, it’s pretty phenomenal. yea like, as you know, I like to create a theme and sort of a destination. The destination is always inside. But we can go in through a guided meditation about your higher self for a guided meditation about an animal’s spiritual helper or teaching a tool like a timeline jumping or cleaning your crown chakra. And through these different avenues and these themes in different ways to get in and to clear out in every single little piece of. The journey there. There’s either emotional block, information, trauma, or creative inspiration, or there could be messages from your guides.

[00:24:18.890] – Liz Ophoven

I mean, it’s endless. What could happen and what does happen? People I like to use these different doorways to come into the center and to mix it up a little bit so that you have an opportunity to get a taste of all these different paths and pathways that are all leading right into the center of you.

[00:24:38.930] – Brett Dupree

Awesome. So we are coming to the end of our time together. And one thing I like to ask my guest is to do a one minute a motivation. You can imagine this as if you have a time machine and you’re going back to your eight-year-old self. But unfortunately, you’ll have him in it until you take him back into the future before you finish giving you information. and you have one minute to do it, or you can think of it as taking your entire lives, purpose, and mission and condensing it down to a minute.

[00:25:01.340] – Both

So you’re ready. Ready. Let’s go. All right.

[00:25:06.500] – Liz Ophoven

I’ll just hold you just get in my lap and I’ll just all do rub your head for a little while. I’ll do that for a minute and you’ll be all better.

[00:25:13.250] – Liz Ophoven

But my motivational message would be to simply sit down with yourself and give yourself a little bit of respect. Treat yourself with some comforts, with some love, having some beautiful fabrics on your skin, something wonderful to drink, a comfortable place to sit. Take a few super deep breaths until you can start to feel that breath filling up your entire body and ask yourself, who am I? If I was me, what would I do now? If I was my full self, where would I go?

[00:25:51.740] – Liz Ophoven

What would I choose? How do I feel? You can ask. Asking is the key what’s really going on inside myself? What do I need right now? Treating yourself like you would treat your own eight-year-old child is the key to really unleashing the best of yourself. So that’s my advice.

[00:26:14.820] – Brett Dupree

Awesome, thank you so much for coming on my podcast. I really enjoyed listening to your story and how you broke your own cycle and how your spirituality was kind of rebellion and the idea of actually putting yourself out there when you are shy and an introvert.

[00:26:29.550] – Brett Dupree

How that living your purpose can make you feel so alive. And also sharing the benefits of Cacao and sound baths to people out there so that they have another modality for them to try. So thank you so much for everything you do to help people. And thank you so much for making this world a better place.

[00:26:46.230] – Liz Ophoven

Thank you so much, Brett. I loved coming on and I can’t wait to see you again.

[00:26:51.690] – Brett Dupree

May your day be special

[00:26:52.870] – Liz Ophoven

yeah, Namaste.

Joyous Expansion Podcast Transcript Nelson Toriano – The Missing Piece of Running A Successful Business


[00:00:00.120] – Brett Dupree

Hello, Nelson, and welcome to my podcast.

[00:00:02.470] – Nelson Toriano

Hey, thanks so much. I’m excited to be here.

[00:00:04.540] – Brett Dupree

Excited to have you. Can you give people an introduction to who you are?

[00:00:08.730] – Nelson Toriano

Sure. I am the CEO of a financial and education company and a career development company dedicated to personal trainers. So I help personal trainers develop themselves into business owners. And I do that providing complete education in terms of entrepreneurship, like my six-second elevator pitch practice for a while.

[00:00:28.270] – Brett Dupree

It sounds like you have it down.

[00:00:30.200] – Nelson Toriano

I do. I’m also an author. I am an MBA. But really my dedication is to help personal trainers and fitness professionals develop themselves until legitimate CEOs in the industry. There’s limited education in terms of business. So a lot of fitness professionals will learn science, will learn how to sell, and they know how to market themselves so that if any of your listeners, you probably follow fitness professionals and fitness models on Instagram, that’s a really common path.

[00:00:56.730] – Nelson Toriano

But behind the scenes, there isn’t a whole lot of education in terms of accounting, finance, and law and how to set up your actual business structure. That part is lacking unless you actually take business courses. My contribution back to the community that I loved, the industry that I love is trying to fill in the gap in that education by bringing everything that I learned in entrepreneurship and everything that I learned in the school and try to make that standardized and make it appeal to someone who thinks more in terms of fitness.

[00:01:23.460] – Brett Dupree

Have you always been into fitness?

[00:01:25.420] – Nelson Toriano

I have. I have. So I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. I started off teaching at 24-Hour Fitness teaching group classes than I segue into personal training. But now it’s more of a weekend and more of an evening type of gig. I’m based in Silicon Valley.

[00:01:40.830] – Nelson Toriano

So here, down here in San Jose, it’s just south of San Francisco. It’s easy to fall into a career in tech. So technically, I was working in tech for about a decade. And then one day I started soul searching and realizing is sitting behind a desk because this is something I’ve I see myself for the next 30 or 40 years. So I entered these several years of soul searching and realize it wasn’t my calling anymore. What really was my calling was giving back to the community, was being with people, was watching their journey through health and fitness and their happiness in the gym always spilled over to happiness personally.  I really found that more of a purpose for me. So I switched careers altogether. I do business by obviously I have my own business, but now my mission and my vision for the business itself is in the realms of personal training.

[00:02:25.860] – Brett Dupree

So it sounds like you help people take their fitness business and actually turn it into a business rather than a hobby.

[00:02:33.270] – Nelson Toriano

Yes, I do all the Instagram. What you see is on Instagram, that social media. But I’m behind the scenes. I’m making sure that they’re compliant and making sure their business actually grows.

[00:02:43.000] – Brett Dupree

Yeah, generally speaking, people who teach people something clearly went through something themselves. You talk about the struggle you had in starting your business first. Yeah.

[00:02:53.490] – Nelson Toriano

You know, and when you meet, it’s always interesting when you meet another business owner, when you meet an entrepreneur, sometimes they will share with you the highlights and the accomplishments and what they do because we’re so well-rehearsed. And again, I’m always been fascinated by people’s stories behind the scenes. I have to be honest with listeners. If you enter into business ownership, entrepreneurship, it is a very lonely journey. And it is very at times I can be very scary.

[00:03:20.250] – Nelson Toriano

Do you want to give up? I’ve wanted to give up so, so many times. Even though I had a master’s in business administration. I knew that I had a passion for all these topics, actually branching off on my own and seeing my own dream come true. Again, it feels lonely because you are creating something from scratch. You’re creating something that you’re not used to. There really is no template. When you’re an employee, when you’re teaching in the gym, you follow these protocols.

[00:03:43.620] – Nelson Toriano

You go enter sales training and you have these colleagues and everyone is on your same level. But when you’re branching out on your own and you have this sense of purpose, you’re at a point of creation. One of the obstacles that I had to go through when I was unraveling who I am as a person was that battle of not good enough. I had to deal with the imposter syndrome. I still deal with it. There are so many successful entrepreneurs.

[00:04:04.860] – Nelson Toriano

There are so many successful business owners. There are so many people who seem like they got their stuff together. And I’m just starting to talk about emotional intelligence. It’s a constant practice to keep yourself motivated. I know that sounds trite, but going back into my past. So I’m the youngest of three in the Filipino American community and my older brother, my older sister, about nine and 10 years older. And then there are my two parents. So growing up, I was always babied, but I was made fun of lots.

[00:04:34.000] – Nelson Toriano

And so I still carry that with me. I’m always different. That conversation still sticks with me as an adult. Now, I came out of the closet back in 2003. So as a closeted gay child and a student in high school and even in college, that conversation in my psyche, I am different. As always, stuck. And for many, many years, gosh, I’m 38 years old. I would say good. Three decades. That conversation still resonates.

[00:05:00.300] – Nelson Toriano

We’re being different is bad. It’s not admirable. It took a long journey to actually appreciate my self-worth, to shift my mindset that being different when it comes to business is technically called a unique selling point. And it’s called a marketing position. It actually sells. It’s actually a good thing. But for a very, very long time, I had to deal with the, again, imposter stroke that I’m not good enough. I should just follow in my own path.

[00:05:26.850] – Brett Dupree

I was in and say we’re about the same age. And one thing I remember growing up is the 80s where it came to gay people.

[00:05:34.560] – Nelson Toriano


[00:05:36.200] – Brett Dupree

And especially media, I know I’m various shame how I acted like a kid toward that, but just assume that it’s very lonely, very lonely way of growing up,  having to hide yourself that way.

[00:05:49.080] – Nelson Toriano

Yeah, you do. Now, going a little bit deeper. It really impacted me on the emotional level, on the visceral level of just being a human person. So I grew up in Tampa and I went to college at University San Francisco and between 1999 and 2001. That was the peak of the rave scene. So if you were in that area, you know, glowsticks were common and MDMA was common at that time when I was really coming into my own skin when I was coming of age and I was dealing with that conversation in the back of my mind that was being different is bad.

[00:06:19.290] – Nelson Toriano

Well, I fell into that. I fell into the party scene. So that drug was my panacea to make the pain, make the anguish, make the confusion go away. So I was battling with drugs for about a good two years. And I remember hitting rock bottom. I was lying on my back in Golden Gate Park and I didn’t know anybody there. I can’t tell you that was my rock bottom of feeling lonely, not just emotionally, but physically.

[00:06:44.130] – Nelson Toriano

I really didn’t know anybody on top of that. The conversation of being I’m not good enough and I want to feel wanted and I want to feel appreciated and I want to feel valued and loved. I gravitated to a relationship, my very first relationship, which was and there are being physically abusive because I met him through the party scene. So everything I eventually left him after hitting that rock bottom. This journey’s to sobriety. It’s there isn’t one particular thing that fixes everything.

[00:07:09.420] – Nelson Toriano

Sorry, listeners. There is no easy way out. It was a long process of trying everything that works and what worked for me. When I talk about success, getting myself sober and finding that everything kind of work, things like forgiveness, things like going to therapy, things like focusing on school and all with a long, long process. I use that template and use that structure for getting myself out of a dark situation into entrepreneurship. Also, the journey can feel really lonely.

[00:07:37.650] – Nelson Toriano

There’s a lot of ups and downs. There’s a lot of tears. There’s a lot of times where you want to regress and give up, but you have to stay the course. I still reflect on myself personally on that personal journey. This is how I got here. And you do have to acknowledge yourself. I do have that knowledge self that I’m pretty proud of. It was a dark moment.

[00:07:57.190] – Brett Dupree

Awesome is so cool. They are able to get yourself out of there. So you’re giving themselves sobering going through the dark place. The lessons you learned that helped you through your bankruptcy. Yes.

[00:08:08.000] – Nelson Toriano

So that’s another story. That’s another story. So time passed. 2003, I graduated from college and I moved back home with my parents. And then it was during that time when everyone was buying houses. And so my parents helped me get into a condo and that was about two thousand five, I believe. And then I was working in tech.

[00:08:25.980] – Nelson Toriano

That was my first job. And if things were going well and then 2009 happened. So if you guys remember, that was the economic downturn. All of those conversations suddenly came up. Now it amplified. To be honest, those conversations are now your failure. You couldn’t keep up. What did you do? You shouldn’t have didn’t. You shouldn’t have entered into this financial agreement and buy a house. What were you thinking?

[00:08:48.540] – Nelson Toriano

These are all conversations that I was telling myself. I filed for bankruptcy and was discharged in 2012. I was laid off from my job. I was one of the millions and millions of Americans. And it was another moment in my life where I felt really alone because everyone around me was still either living with their parents or somehow what seemed like that they were still holding onto their properties like they were living there. And they seemed like they were doing fine, going through the court system, going.

[00:09:14.530] – Nelson Toriano

Hiring a lawyer, finding my financial statements. It was, again, really daunting because it was a brand new learning curve for me. I didn’t understand what was going on, so I had to hire a lawyer. The interesting thing, though, actually, let me backtrack. At this time, I was in another job and when all my co-workers and I were working and that’s when we had our lunch break, they would go out to lunch. They would go wherever they needed to go.

[00:09:36.870] – Nelson Toriano

And I would still be sitting my cubicle and I would lean forward on my keyboard and I would just start. I was so amazingly stressed out, not because of the job, was because my life is falling apart. I have no money. I’m so house poor and I can’t talk to anybody because no one’s going through the same thing again. I felt now I’m in the presence of I know these people. I’ve been working with these people, but I can’t say anything. I never felt alone since I had my rock bottom moment at Golden Gate Park. Handling my bankruptcy and handling the court system, handling all the paperwork, happened on the weekends, happen in the evenings. And then something really transformation will happen. So when you file for bankruptcy, you have to attend these classes. They’re really boring because they have to walk you through. This is what a credit card is and this is how you should have managed it.

[00:10:22.590] – Nelson Toriano

And blah blah blah, these are basic concepts that I know. And then you have to attend these meetings, which felt like AA meetings like everyone in the community went there. Now, in my area, so many people were filing bankruptcy and so many people were required to take this class. We usually had to meet at a community center. Well, there were so many people, they ended up renting out a whole church. And it was huge.

[00:10:43.200] – Nelson Toriano

And I remember walking in and this is weird. I’ve been to the church before, but I’ve never seen this packed. That was like standing room only. And was everybody at that moment in time was filing bankruptcy. And these meetings happened across the country several times a week for several years. So that a lot of people and I would look around and there would be senior citizens. There would be people who just retired. There would be new families. There would be pregnant moms.

[00:11:08.640] – Nelson Toriano

There would be children. And we were all going through the same financial struggle. We were all going to the same process. You could feel in the room everyone’s attention, everyone’s anxiety. But at the same moment, you could feel everyone’s empathy. They’re like, oh, my God, you’re going through it, too. You’re going through it, too.

[00:11:26.130] – Nelson Toriano

And these are people who are like working professionals, just like me. When I started getting communication with people, I slowly start feeling that I wasn’t alone anymore, which was very therapeutic. Very I much appreciate it. Finally, I got discharged. My lawyer got to sit with me. Good luck with everything.

[00:11:41.820] – Nelson Toriano

And then it was such a relief, to be honest, and not be at the house for I’m dating someone who is wonderful and I’m still living with him also. And he’s been amazing and supportive. But it was one of those dark moments. I have to look back and say if that was the worst that life could have thrown at me. I’m doing fine.

[00:12:00.150] – Nelson Toriano

I’m OK. I’m still surviving. I’m still here. It sucks at the moment and it feels really scary. But it wasn’t until I physically put myself in a situation when one I actually potentially could realize I’m not alone. That meant the world to me. That changed the course of everything. Now we can talk about it openly and objectively. Whenever you do feel alone, I know whenever I feel alone, the first thing I have to say is actually vocalized.

[00:12:26.820] – Nelson Toriano

I feel alone. Somehow the universe works and it delivered people to you like hey and assures you that, like, you know, you got this. I’m here for you. It’s amazing how the universe works like that. I don’t know. Oh, no, I totally agree.

[00:12:39.570] – Brett Dupree

I went through a bankruptcy as well and just a couple of friends open up to me about it, and that made it easier to go through. It didn’t feel like such a failure and the only person going through this. There is a lot of power in just recognizing the fact that really all our problems are not special. Yes, I know who has this learning?

[00:12:59.840] – Brett Dupree

Well, I mean, that’s pretty much almost the point of the podcast, is listening to struggling entrepreneurs or people even who just had a great idea and this moved forward and they did it.

[00:13:09.600] – Nelson Toriano

And I think also it’s battling that you should be a certain way. You should. Your life should look like this. You shouldn’t have foreclosed. You shouldn’t have to have filed for Chapter 13 and all these should and these expectations. You don’t realize you had or even I should say this. I didn’t know I had my psyche. I was putting myself down. You know, sometimes I just really need to be kind to myself and say, like, you know, I’m human.

[00:13:34.270] – Nelson Toriano

And it’s OK. Life doesn’t have to look a certain way to someone else. It said. So it’s your life. It’s my life, you know.

[00:13:41.970] – Brett Dupree

That makes sense. So how did your bankruptcy fueled you in taking your business to the next level?

[00:13:50.360] – Nelson Toriano

When I was sitting in the church, it was an emotional rollercoaster, just sitting in that one hour in the pew in the back and not talking. One of the emotions that I got really present, too, was anger. And wasn’t anger necessarily at the banKs. But I was angrier that when I’m looking around and seeing people who are going through the same thing at the same knowledge base as me, and we’re equally as screwed. This is wrong. It’s unethical.

[00:14:12.450] – Nelson Toriano

No one seeing people whose retirements literally just disappeared and they’re scared. I’m watching this pregnant mom who is maybe five months into the pregnancy and she’s scared. This is wrong. So for a long time, I didn’t know how to channel this anger in my ethics. This sudden like this sitting in my heart, I just felt like an ethical man. I don’t know if this is a brand new emotion.

[00:14:33.510] – Nelson Toriano

I didn’t know how to process it. When time passed and when I started going more into personal training, what I saw in the industry was a lot of personal trainers quit regularly. So if you guys don’t work in fitness, there’s a very high attrition rate. Not only most businesses failed in the first two to five years, but about 80 to 90 percent of personal trainers burnout and quit within the first two years of their employment anywhere. It’s an exhausting job, but most of my colleagues were my age or young.

[00:14:59.710] – Nelson Toriano

There and they were moving out of the Bay Area regularly. They just couldn’t make the numbers work. The cost of living is too high. They’re not getting enough clients. And a lot of them just quit. And these are people who I respect, I admire. And the same feeling of being angry about ethics came back.

[00:15:18.280] – Nelson Toriano

I would treat it as the main reason why I stuck around and I was successful at personal training in a very in an area where the cost of living is super high was because my background is in business. I just knew what to do behind the scenes and I would reinvest the money. Went to the soul searching stage yet again for about a year or two. And I realized that in the industry they don’t offer education, they offer sales training. They’re really good at teaching personal trainers how to be salespeople, but they don’t teach them how to be entrepreneurs.

[00:15:45.760] – Nelson Toriano

So I threw my hat in the ring, figured Ali and I did something that was very uncanny and uncharacteristic of many people. I said I’ll write a book, I’ll hold it. I’m going to start a business. Let me make a difference in this industry. In an industry, usually people make a difference where another person or donate. But you know what? Let me shoot real big. I’m going to make a difference in the industry. So I created a company, registered my company, wrote a book, start my educational program.

[00:16:13.390] – Nelson Toriano

And my goal is to help personal trainers decrease the attrition rate. I don’t want these talented people to quit on a regular basis. That’s if there’s not enough of us. We can’t make a difference in terms of global health in obesity. It’s bad enough a lot of these schools are canceling a lot of physical fitness activities after school programs of sports. The United States not on a great trajectory to be healthy. So, yeah, I’m making a difference in this world.

[00:16:39.370] – Nelson Toriano

I use my bankruptcy as net fuel, that emotional fuel to say this isn’t right. And I think I have a solution to correct it. Let me take that back. I know I have a solution to correct it.

[00:16:50.790] – Brett Dupree

Powerful language. One thing that stood out to me that you said is that they teach personal trainers, sales training, and business training what exactly the difference?

[00:17:00.880] – Nelson Toriano

Good question. If you’re in business or even nationally, your employer and type of role where you have to get clients, you end up learning the sales funnel. So your social media, your email marketing hears all the different ways to get clients and your income. Now, let me say to back your revenue is the number of sessions that you sell times your rate and the math ends up working and you get a lot of revenue and then you pay your taxes and then you get income.

[00:17:25.510] – Nelson Toriano

Their education stops there. Now, in reality, a lot of personal trainers and actually in reality and a lot of industries, people outgrow the role of the employee. They actually want to do something on their own. They just want to test the waters and see, hey, can I get clients on my own? Can I set my own rates? Can I set my own schedule? Their interest rates peaking and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, which you find purpose.

[00:17:46.630] – Nelson Toriano

You do find fulfillment. You find a contribution. You find these intrinsic motivations that you know. Being an employee doesn’t necessarily offer a wide variety of people. But in order to be self-employed, there’s a lot of more skills that you need to learn. You do need to learn how to manage your finances. You do need to learn how to set up your business correctly. You do need to learn how to make sure your business functions and is compliant with local regulations and things like that. That part of the equation is not readily accessible, especially in the fitness industry.

[00:18:17.950] – Nelson Toriano

My goal is to try to make that more visible, more accessible. So there is sales and marketing in reality in terms of an entire organization, the entire business. Those are select functions of the business. Not to be confused with the entire business.

[00:18:31.660] – Brett Dupree

I never thought about that way. What does it look like working with you?

[00:18:36.490] – Nelson Toriano

So I have several options. Usually, people just ask me random questions. I do have a book with a book. You can take a sales study course that is available for passing what we call continuation credits. Those credits can be applied for your certification as a personal trainer because you have to redo your certification every three years. I do have two educational programs. One is four sessions. And so that is one on one training with me. And I answer your questions and I teach you the basic fundamentals of business organization that offer limited support ongoing.

[00:19:05.590] – Nelson Toriano

And then my new course that’s more intensive. I do select personal trainers who I work with. You really do have to be committed to opening your own business. And this is specifically designed for people who know they definitely want to be self-employed, but they won’t need to enter an education program. Think of getting your MBA and a number of eight sessions plus continuing coaching.

[00:19:24.610] – Nelson Toriano

I do develop a community group of supporters, other entrepreneurs, other fitness owners do support each other as well. So that is not only giving you a community that gives you want to one coaching with me, but that gives you more detailed information, specifically developing into investments, money allocation, law, everything to support your actual business plan.

[00:19:45.880] – Brett Dupree

So how do your book and your courses transform people?

[00:19:48.680] – Brett Dupree

There are four roles and listeners. If you know who Robert Kiyosaki is, he’s a very profound thought leader in the business world. Personal trainers tend to operate in two of the four quadrants. They’re basically, roles anyone can be in their life. One could be an employee, you’re working for someone else. The second one is going to be self-employed or working for yourself. The third and the fourth one is where some personal trainers really, really, really want to be. And this is why on-screen personal trainers if they want to work with me.

[00:20:13.440] – Nelson Toriano

One, they want to be business owners. They actually want to open up their own facility or open up their own all my brand. They hire people in order to do the work for them. It’s a totally different structure. And then the fourth one that’s most elusive is being an investor. How do you invest in another company? That’s not necessarily fitness, but how do you reinvest your income into things like real estate or stocks or how to do you.

[00:20:34.950] – Nelson Toriano

What are the different strategies the wealthy people do to make their money grow? When I talk to some personal trainers, they generally want to know that. They want to know-how and their money grows that are beyond their basic checking and savings. And we talk about what we call assets. We talk about their net worth statement. These are the behaviors and these are the strategies of the wealthy. So my book goes into detail about how to explain all of these very theoretical concepts and make them a little bit more tangible.

[00:20:58.920] – Nelson Toriano

But explain them in fitness terms. I understand how to speak fitness. I understand the mindset. I understand the learning style of a fitness person or kinesthetic tactile. But you’re also talking about like Harvard Business Case studies that are really out there and really over the top that it can go right over someone’s head. I try to take these more elusive concepts and explain them to a particular listening style. That’s my book. And when we go into detail, I want to go into coaching.

[00:21:22.980] – Nelson Toriano

I’ll walk you through. This is how you actually go through the forms. This is how you actually go through the financial statements. This is the actual process for the trademarks and copyrights. So it’s a little bit more handholding. And I think that type of coaching style is needed in the tennis world. There’s a lot of coaches that will teach you how to do exercises, but very few coaches will actually teach you how to run a business.

[00:21:43.860] – Brett Dupree

What do you like best about your coaching practice?

[00:21:46.140] – Nelson Toriano

Oh, gosh, I think that goes for any type of teacher or any type of coach or any type of anyone who gives a contribution is watching the student get excited, watching them grow that fulfillment, watching them get that eureka moment, that aha moment like, oh my gosh, this makes sense. It really speaks to me in that sense of contribution. It’s just it’s self-fulfilling. I love it.

[00:22:08.280] – Nelson Toriano

And again, going back to that fear of being an entrepreneur is scary. But you want it to fall on a dream. You want to make a contribution to the world. And when I see someone say I can do it.


Yeah, you can. I remember going through that and I didn’t learn that feeling and saying that I can do it. I didn’t learn that until later in life. So if I can give that back to people who are emotionally probably going through the same thing and not being able to vocalize it for whatever reason, that gets me up in the morning. That reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing.

[00:22:40.290] – Brett Dupree

Awesome. Do you have any success stories to share?

[00:22:42.570] – Nelson Toriano

It’s recent. I actually work working. How funny. And how they were on a podcast. I was working with another fitness influencer and he’s doing great in sales.

[00:22:51.390] – Nelson Toriano

Oh my gosh. He’s on tape talkies on social media everywhere behind the scenes. He was sharing with me his dreams and he wants to launch his own podcast, too, and he wants to put his name on a product. He was asked me a bunch of questions and I was walking through, OK. This is how you register our limited liability corporation.

[00:23:06.030] – Nelson Toriano

He was amazed that now… He had to confide in me, that he’s like, even though I am selling a lot. And even though on Instagram, I’m this influencer. I’m so, so scared that I could lose all of this. And he was confiding with me that, you know, a lot of the fitness people that you see on social media are the same way.

[00:23:25.380] – Nelson Toriano

They’re doing great. They seem like they’re killing it. When you get to talk to them and you actually tell them, kid, this is the business structure, now, they feel a little bit more confident. So he’s on the go of registering his business, setting his trademark. He’s super excited that now he’s confident that he’s found the right systems in order to develop his own podcasts. His income obviously generates income increase because he and I put the right systems in place for accounting, finance, and law.

[00:23:50.400] – Nelson Toriano

So, yeah, it’s amazing when you have a good foundation of your business to stand on everything, not only monetarily, but emotionally and intrinsically, viscerally. It just explodes. I love that. That to me is a success. That to me is purpose.

[00:24:07.080] – Brett Dupree

Awesome. So we’re coming to the end of our time together. One thing I’d like to ask my guests is to do a one minute of motivation. You can think of this as 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 live a happy, enjoy filled life. But unfortunately, you only have a minute until your pop back into the future. Or you can think of it as taking your entire life’s message and condensing it down to a minute.

[00:24:31.200] – Both

Yeah. So you’re ready? Yeah. Let’s go. All right.

[00:24:34.560] – Nelson Toriano

You are going to be told you are different. Everyone’s going to tell you being different is you should hesitate. You should follow the norms. And if that message resonates with you and you accept it, it will be disheartening to very slippery slope into shame and to being quiet.

[00:24:50.190] – Nelson Toriano

I learned that being different can make you a lot of money. I learned that being different is very lucrative. It is, in a sense, a source of pride. It’s a source of individualism, it’s a source of standing out in the market. So if you take being different as bad. Translate into the business world. That’s technically called the unique selling point. And a market position. It’s a competitive advantage. Look at the context of being different. I highly suggest you choose a more empowering context.

[00:25:17.060] – Brett Dupree

Thank you so much for being on my podcast. I really enjoy listening to your story of what it’s like to grow up feeling alone and listening to different people’s perspectives of how they live their lives. So living in a way as a closeted gay man and then getting to the scene of drugs and partying and finally stepping out of that, becoming sober. So utilizing those skills to start building your own business, but then being smacked in the face with bankruptcy as someone who went through it themselves.

[00:25:46.450] – Brett Dupree

That feeling of losing your self-worth, but then bouncing back from that and thus even helping other people, utilizing that as a fire to really help people. So they don’t have to go through something like that by not only taking what they’re doing, but expanding on it so that they don’t just think of themselves as someone who just brings in revenue and sales, but to be a whole business is very helpful for allowing people to become stable in their personal training business.

[00:26:16.700] – Brett Dupree

Thank you so much for being on my podcast. Thank you so much for you. Contribute to this world.

[00:26:21.950] – Nelson Toriano

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

[00:26:25.790] – Brett Dupree

May your day be special.


Joyous Expansion Podcast Transcript Chris Lemig – Self-Esteem Hypnotist, From Alcoholic To Tibetan Monk To Hypnotherapist

[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

Mm hmm.

[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

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