In this episode Matt speaks with Gay Olympian, Kung Fu Master, QTBIPOC Counselor and Shaman Devante Love. They talk about how to heal and discover your most authentic self through connecting with the body. Here are the questions explored in this episode:
►What does authenticity mean to you?
►What does embodiment mean to you?
►What is the connection between the body, our thoughts, our emotions?
►Why is it important for gay men in the 21st century especially to engage in embodiment practices?
►Forces that exist in society that have/can cause us to become disembodied: Capitalism, technology, colonialism, religion
►How do we become more embodied?
►Importance of developing a lexicon for bodily sensations
– Connect with us –
Welcome to the gay men going deeper podcast, a podcast by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about everything, personal development, mental health, and sexuality. I am your host today, Matt Lance at all, and we are joined by Devante love. Welcome to Vontay. Hi, thank you so much for having me beautiful platform and I’m honored to be here.
So thank you. Yeah, we’re, we’re honored to have you here. I’m excited to pick your brain today. Today. We’re going to be talking about authenticity through embodiments. We’re going to be breaking down the Devante and are going to be sharing our, our, what authenticity and embodiment means to us and how we can start to practice both of these things.
So we’re going to be unpacking questions. Like what does authenticity mean to, to each of us? What does embodiment mean to each of us? What is the connection between the body, our thoughts and our emotions. What is in there? Why is it important for gay men in the 21st century, especially to engage in embodiment practices, forces that exist in society that have,
and can cause us to become disembodied, such as capitalism, technology, colonialism, and religion. I’m very excited about unpacking that question. How do we become more embodied and the importance of developing a lexicon for bodily sensations? So, yeah, like this is just right up my alley. I bring up the word embodiment in all the podcasts and I don’t think people quite understand.
So I’m really, I was really looking forward to having you on here so we can unpack it so people can know what I mean when I dropped that, that bomb. But before we begin, I want to introduce you because you, you’re doing a lot of really beautiful things in this world. And I want to want everybody to know about it. So,
so Devontae love, they, them is a gay Olympian, Kung Fu master cutie BiPAP, counselor, and Sharman, who has over a decade of experience guiding thousands of folks from across the world who have felt weighed down by their trauma, anxiety, stress, or culture. They are the founder of healing, Kung Fu and online queer and BiPAP friendly spiritual martial arts school,
which teaches people how to attain new levels of wellness through movement meditation practices. After getting their masters in spiritual psychology from Columbia university, they were invited to train, teach and compete all over the U S and internationally. They’re currently pursuing a doctorate in performance studies where they are working to curate interactive healing performances that help people connect to their true nature and heal from mental,
emotional health blocks so that they feel empowered to live into their destiny. There’s no better person in my opinion to come on and talk about. So, yeah, welcome again. It’s, it’s really good to have you here and Yeah, yeah. I appreciate that. You know, just, just as you said, I think we’ll get into this, but embodiment is something that not many people even know of or understand,
and it’s something that’s changed my life, you know, becoming more embodied. So I’m really excited to share some of my story and experience, and hopefully that helps people understand the importance or I would say necessity of being more in touch with the body. So I’m ready for this rollercoaster. Yeah. Yeah. We’re at a very similar place in our journey,
I think. And I don’t know a lot about you. We’re just getting to know each other now, but I feel like a lot of our stories come similar and I’m actually looking forward to learning more about your story. So why don’t we start there actually, I’d love to know, like maybe your S your, your origin story, kind of what’s the,
what brought you to this work? What brought you to this place in your life? Where, where you’re practicing embodiment? Yeah. So my entire life I’ve been very athletic when I was younger. I did, I did a tap dance and I quit tap dance because I advanced so quickly that I ended up getting into these classes with all, all girls.
And I felt like I don’t belong in this particular space. I was like maybe six or seven at that point. So it was very young. And so I, I quit that and I jumped between different sports. He did like soccer, soccer, meaning like actual, like soccer, like European soccer. So, so football. And then I did like baseball.
I did basketball. I did so many different sports. And I found that when I was moving my body, the, the, all these voices in my head were sort of silence, or I was able to find a sense of calmness. And it wasn’t until maybe high school that I started doing martial arts, particularly. And I started doing it because I was being bullied and I’d come out to my parents.
And they had said that they wanted me to, to have a means to protect myself. So they, they found this martial arts school. I went there, I auditioned, I got in and I started training. And the more I trained, the more I learned a system of tuning into the body in ways of movement that helped me understand what it is that I truly desire and who I am.
And it felt really, really good. So I just kept doing it and doing it. So to competing in competitions and then started teaching. And it’s been, I think this is my 16th year of martial arts training. And it’s changed like the way that I stand, the way that I breathe, even just the way that I respond to people. I’m a lot more,
if you’re tuning in through audio, you can’t really see, but I, I use my hands a lot. Cause you know, I communicate with my body in that way. And martial arts has been the key for, so I’m very grateful for those practices. Again, it’s, it’s saved my life. It’s given me a new way of being in a new way of communicating with the world.
Yeah. I love that. I love it. Thank you for sharing a little bit about your path. What led you to this? And I’m sure we’ll hear more throughout, throughout the episode here as we go, but okay. Let’s, let’s, let’s break down the word authenticity cause you and I, we, we did meet before, before this to kind of come up with a topic and what we wanted to unpack together.
And we both agreed that authenticity is kind of a buzz word right now. My brand is all built around authenticity. So I understand it very well, but it’s like, it is, it’s kind of this word that people throw around. And I just think it’s important for the context of this podcast that we define it in the context of which we mean it.
Right? So from, well, I’ll start actually. So I would say for me, authenticity is the expression of alignment. That’s kind of how I define it. And, and, and, and when I say alignment, I mean alignment to what is real and genuine to us. And I think oftentimes we, we hide our authentic self because there’s shame or there’s,
there’s fear around bringing those parts of ourselves forward. And I think those parts there’s like more of our shadow selves, right? These parts are maybe our shortcomings or the parts that aren’t socially acceptable to bring forward. So we hide parts of ourselves. And I think when we’re being authentic, we’re integrated with our shadow and our light, and we’ve brought it in,
we’ve integrated it into one being, and we’re just being authentic to our yeah, like the alignment and the expression of who we are. So I would say that’s, that’s probably the best way to define it for me. What about for you? I love that. There’s I, whenever I think of authenticity, I try to center it around desire and I feel like authenticity is the way that we express our specific desires and we all desire things differently.
You know, we desire to wear something with desire to talk a certain way or move in a certain way. And because of that, authenticity is a practice of shutting away, the layers of what people tell us we should do to realize what it is that we truly desire. Like what, what sparks that’s, what makes us feel good or bad, and then choosing to act in the world in that way,
due to that, that desire. So I would say authenticity is a deep, the practice of constant recalibration toward our desires and finding ways to be in our desires within the world. So I, I completely agree with the way that you’ve, you’ve broken it down. And I just want to add that, that little bit about desire because it’s really important.
Yeah. I liked that. Actually. I liked that a lot because I think we often, like, again, you come back to what’s real and genuine to us. Well, if we desire to be something that isn’t socially acceptable or that people would shame us for being such as being gay, right. The desire to be our authentic self is like one of the most humanistic desires,
right. We, we, we want to be able to show up in the world and be who we are and desire what makes us feel good. So I love that. I love that we can kind of blend those two definitions together and come up with this really, really juicy definition. So. Okay. So what about embodiment? Why don’t you start with this one?
What does embodiment mean to you? Yeah, I would say embodiment is, is a set of practices or way or modality or ideology for putting the body first. So centering the body in all situations, whether you’re your in relation with someone or you’re in an activity, or you’re just like, you know, by yourself, you know, embodiment is the focus of the body and allowing yourself to gain new awareness of yourself because you’ve centered the body.
And we’ll talk about this, I guess, but, you know, oftentimes in society we’re so disembodied where some we’re so removed and we’re not, we’re not told to think about the body or we don’t naturally check in with the body itself. So when we are in this field of embodiment, it’s really about understanding, like how does my body react to this situation and thinking of your body as like,
not just a separate entity, but like a part of you and realizing its reaction and its response to the stimuli of, of, of the world. Hm, Hm. Yeah. I like that. I liked that a lot. My, my definition is kind of similar. So I use it, I would say when I use the word embodiment and I’m using it more loosely,
I’m talking about kind of the definition of what you just said. So having a connection to our body, having body awareness, understanding maybe our using our body for our compass, right? Our body is communicating to us constantly and being in touch with that communication would be embodiment to me. But I think of it also is like, you know, we have these kind of chambers that make up who we are,
like the mind body and the spirit. And I think when we are embodied, we are allowing all three of those to work in harmony together for our highest good. And I think that’s, you know, when you take embodiment to the next level, I think that’s, and then that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m really learning how to bring in my spirit,
bringing in my mind and bringing my body and allow them to all work together. Cause for most of my life they’ve been opposing each other, especially my mind and my body they’ve been at war and now I’m learning how to bring them into, into, you know, into integration and, and working together. So, yeah. Yeah. And I think what you’re saying,
a lot of people have that, that whether the spirit and the body are disconnected, I think for most people, the mind and the body are disconnected and what’s unfortunate is people don’t even realize that they’re at war until they get like drastically sick or something happens. And the body’s like, give me attention. Cause one of the things that I love about the body is that it’s going,
it’s relentless. If it wants attention, it’s going to like force you to pay attention. So you can ignore the body and be so focused on, you know, your, your mindset and these thoughts that you have. And eventually the body’s like, well, I’m going to get sick or I’m gonna like fail in some way. And then you have to completely focus on the body,
you know? So yeah. I, I, I love that. The explanation as well. It’s really, really nice. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. I fully agree with what you’re saying too. I think that’s been, my journey has been, my mind has been bullying my body to do all sorts of things, to perform, to overwork out,
to eat certain things like, and it’s just like, I’m now learning embodiment by listening, just truly just listening. That’s that’s my embodiment practice listened to my body. What does my body want? And, and learning how to honor that instead of like, you know, for example, like I’m learning how to nap, like for the first time in my life.
Okay. And it’s so amazing. Like rest is so amazing. And, but for most of my life, my body wanted to rest and nap and my mind wouldn’t allow it. Right. So that’s a perfect example of like, when we say we’re at war with ourselves or we’re bullying our body, it’s just simply not listening. It’s, it’s ignoring the whispers that the body,
you know, in the whisper suddenly turned into like, you know, screams and yells. It’s like, and we get disease and injuries and these sorts of things. So the body will always win. That’s what I always say. It will, it will, at some point in maybe, maybe at the point where it’s too late and then the body’s like,
okay, I’ve completely taken over. And then I would say for myself, there have been points where my body would literally shut down. I’m like, I have a specific memory of when I was training in China, I, I lived in China for about four years and I trained in martial arts there. And there was one point where I was just so in my head about like what it is that I needed to do,
who I should be listening to, how I should be comporting myself in these situations with different people, because I’m in a culture that I’m familiar with, but it’s very different from, from what I’m used to. And I just kept like being in my head. And I remember one point I got out of the subway and my body was like, Nope.
And I just like fell down to the ground. And I was like, oh my God, what’s happening. Nothing was wrong with me, health wise, but my body was being so ignored. And at that point I was like, okay, I cannot not listen to my body at this point. Cause it, it communicates a lot to us. And I think we’re gonna,
we’re going to talk about this, which is beautiful, but the body tells you exactly what it is that it needs. And when you tune into that need, you, you find the ways in which your, your thinking changes or your emotional states start to change. And it’s a beautiful, difficult practice that requires patience and requires a slow, attentive quality,
which are, which is hard to do in this society where things are so fast paced and go, go, go all the time. So embodiment is somewhat of a, it’s sort of an activist way of being, because you’re sort of being opposite toward the ways in which culture is oriented. Yeah. Beautifully said beautifully said it brings us to the question about things that caused us embodiment,
right. Technology. I think that’s huge. It’s so huge because we, we live in a culture where everything is, is, you know, instantly gratified impulsivity is a common trait amongst, amongst human beings now. Right. And the body doesn’t work like that. The mind works like that. That’s why I think a lot of us have an over identification with mind and it’s things like capitalism and technology that have really reinforced that.
So, but I’m jumping ahead of myself here. Well, I would say wherever the body wants to go. Yeah, exactly. Okay. So the first question we have is what is the connection between the body, our thoughts and our emotions? Yeah. So from an energetic standpoint, cause I, I teach a lot about spirituality it’s I can say from an energetic standpoint and a psychological standpoint.
So in, from an energetic standpoint, we have different frequencies or vibrations around us. And the most surface level vibration is the body itself. It’s the physical. And then beyond that, we have the, the, the mental, and then we have the emotional. And so whatever’s happening within the body is going to reverberate across these different fields. So if I’m feeling a pain in my kidney and I allow myself to tune into that,
I realized that there’s thoughts that are associated to that usually thoughts around like worthiness or unworthiness, whether or not you belong in a certain space. And then once you start to tune into those thoughts, there’s emotions that are associated with that. So maybe there’s anger because you’ve never felt like you belong in a certain space. Maybe there’s just sadness because you, you want to feel comfortable.
You want to feel worthy within a specific context. And so there’s a deep correlation between the three. And it’s very interesting when you start to do like embodiment work, you start to realize exactly how one influences the other two and even, you know, people talk about changing their emotional states and the way that you do that, honestly, and truly, and fully is tuning all the way down to that,
to that more, the most surface level is the body and shifting the way you move or shifting your connection or relation to the body. And that changes the way that you think about things. And it changes the way that you feel about a certain situation. So there’s a direct correlation and you know, each of them speak to each other. And again,
it’s really unfortunate how they’re so disconnected. There’s different modalities of therapy, which I’ve trained in and I’ve, I’ve done, which I didn’t really connect with very well. Cause it’s so on the mental level of just changing the thought, I can change the thought, but my body is still going to ache or that emotion is going to still be pervasive and still come within me.
So we need to really look at these things on all three levels and that’s when change, true change and transformation happens. Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s bang on. And I think, you know, I get the sense that we both practice similarly because you know, I I’m trained in, in CBT. I might assume if that’s what you’re talking about,
cognitive behavioral therapy. And I’m also trained in dialectical behavioral therapy and DBT is a little bit more trauma informed, but CBT is definitely not trauma informed. And that’s where I struggle. And I always, from, for my own journey, you can’t heal trauma by intellectualizing, by moving through the mind, right? Trauma does not live in the mind, the stories of trauma live in the mind,
but the trauma itself that lives in the body. And I think for me, I experienced trauma as a child. And what happened was I learned the tutted associate. I learned how to get out of my body because it was too intense. I took refuge in my mind and I spent most of my life in my mind and it becomes exhausting. And it’s like,
you’re, you’re literally running in a hamster wheel when you’re trying to heal from your mind. And so w you know, how I would answer this question is that if we want to connect with our emotions, we need to be embodied. We truly need to be embodied. And especially if we want to connect to our emotions for a healing purpose, for example,
healing trauma, or working with shame wounding, we really need to be embodied for this practice. And you know, this is the last three years of my life is, is learning, present moment awareness, learning embodiment. And guess what happened from, from starting to practice these things I healed, I healed my trauma. I connected to my divine feminine,
you know, all of these beautiful things that happen through the practice of embodiment is, is, has been life-changing for me. And so, yeah, hopefully I answered the question. What is the connection between body and thoughts? Yeah. Yeah. I definitely think you did. And I think to add to that, there’s so much that’s happening within the world and we are we’re sponges,
whether we’re aware of it or not in the, you walk down the street and you’re absorbing the sounds of the street, you’re absorbing that, those, those billboards that, that you’re seeing. And so, so much of that is being seeped into your system and your body’s stores at all. And we’re, we’re, we are pieces of nature, we’re aspects of nature,
and we absorb everything that’s around us. So it’s somewhere stored in the body. And sometimes we’re so focused on the mind and the things that we’re thinking, and of course we can change those particular thoughts, but again, everything is stored in the body somewhere and in some way. And so it’s not until we tune into the body that then we’re able to realize the ways in which we’ve absorbed things into our own behavior and our actions.
And then once we move through that, once we gain that awareness, we can then consciously choose how to move forward. Yeah. I love that because that’s basically, that’s exactly embodiment right there, right. Tuning into that and, and allowing it to kind of guide us. It, it really is, you know, the body is the compass. And I think,
you know, I always say like, emotions are messengers of need, and they are the things that are guiding us to everything, to our desires, to our needs, to our fears, or worries all that emotions are, are the compass. And when we’re not embodied, we’re not connected to our emotional body, at least not in a deep and profound way.
And so we’re, we, we, we’re not accessing our compass. Right. And I think for me, when I started to connect with my emotions and feel my emotions is when I started to align to my soul purpose, because that’s what the, my compass, my emotions is, what is constantly guiding me to my soul purpose. Right. So,
yeah, it’s just been life-changing for me to, to connect with this part of my being. It definitely is. It’s, I’ll say really quickly, it’s been the same for me as well. You know, I, I used to be really deeply socially programmed in terms of like, doing things in order to please other people, or just to make myself seem not looking problematic to,
to, to the world and to the people that are around me. And when I realized that I was taking on all of these social cues of like, literally how to walk, how to speak, how to dress myself. So I don’t appear to be too frightening to other people. And when I realized I was like, so in my head, in that way,
like I felt my body just be really angry at me for like, you know, you have this, this need to express or be in this way, but you’re not doing it. And again, around that point, I, my body started to fail. So I’d had to have really weird, like sicknesses that best started to come in. Cause the,
we keep saying this, but the body will prevail. And if the body wants something, it’s going to get something until you listen to it. Yeah, Yeah, exactly. Yeah. The body or the mind might win the battle, but the body will win the war. That’s that’s my experience. I love that. Yeah. There was something I was going to say,
but it, it just evaded me, but it I’m sure it will come back if it’s meant to be shared. Okay. So does that question feel complete for you? Is there anything else you want to share on that one? It does. It does. Okay. Okay. Good. Okay. So let’s bring it into the gay context. So what is,
or why is it important for gay men in the 21st century, especially to engage in embodiment practices? This might bleed into the next question a little bit, but we live in a time where, you know, we’re inundated with so much information and information comes in different ways. It could be just the media and the ways in which we see gay men in different TV shows or movies,
the, the news and the way the news is talking about queerness or, or even like pouring and pouring, giving you sort of a step-by-step instruction as to how to please a certain person. And so we’re inundated with all this information and if we’re not embodied, this information becomes sort of a recipe for how we exist within the world, but is that recipe something that actually tastes good to your soul,
to your unique self? And I find that from my work with a lot of gay men in particular, like a lot of folks are disembodied and they don’t tune into their body. And so they go into actions that are almost no are almost are compromising their own personal desires. So if they desire, let’s say authentic, deep connections with, with other men,
but they haven’t tuned into like that particular feeling in the body. They might go to what, what culture or what society says is, you know, authentic connection with men. And oftentimes that results in like casual sex or it results in these sort of like baseless sort of shallow conversations. And I think it’s really, really important for us as, as gay men to take that time,
to be again, to be activists and listen to what the body wants and act accordingly. And the hard part about that within, within the gay culture is gay culture is unfortunately very how’s it, to be honest, like it feels very cookie cutter. You know, there there’s, there’s a lot of gay men who exist in the same exact way of,
you know, you have a certain body type, you do these certain activities. And that’s what it means to be a gay man within our culture. And there’s many different expressions as in many different flavors of being a gay man. But I find the same thing over and over and over. And part of that is because people are taking on all of these messages and that’s what they think they need to be.
But if we were to tune back into our bodies, we can realize like, oh, I actually, don’t like to have the sort of body type where I had this like really ripped six pack and these like vehicle muscles, you know, maybe that’s not what my soul wants. Maybe that’s not how my body wants to actually move about in the world.
For me, that was really, really important to realize because there’s one point where I just felt like I needed to have a certain body type. And then I was like, you know, my body wants to, to sort of slip through the air in the most like precise and clean way and having really a really chiseled body with big muscles doesn’t allow for my own instance of a poetic sense.
It doesn’t allow me to do that. I feel like I’m sort of, you know, blocking the air as it’s coming through me. So I have a more toned body. And that allows me to kind of just like slip through space. And when I have this kind of body, it feels really, really good to me and other people, other gay men will critique me and say like,
I need to do this. Or maybe they might not be attracted to me because I don’t fit this cookie cutter mold, but this expression of myself feels best and I feel truly happy and my body feels good. So I guess to sum up that, that long preamble or that long aside, it’s not an aside that long piece, I would just say it’s,
it’s important for us to tune into the body. So we realize what it’s authentic to ourselves, and we can have the courage, the honesty to express that in a society that’s trying to still put us into these molds of who we should be. Yeah. So articulate. Yeah, I tried. Yeah, that was awesome. It’s very stimulating to hear what you just shared.
And there was so much going on for me. So let me see if I can kind of bring it all together and have my own little preamble here. Well, we T we titled this authenticity through embodiment. So we’re inferring that authenticity comes through the body and it may be expressing itself through the mind through the way we talk through the way that we create stories about who we are.
But I think it originates in the body. And I think, I think a lot of gay men, not all gay men have either experienced shaming or trauma in their life and or both. And I think those are two things that pull us out of embodiment. They disembody us. And I think that when you, I, I fully agree with you that the gate,
the gay community and the gay culture, in my opinion, it does feel very cookie cutter. It feels like people are trying to replicate this. What they think is the top of the pyramid. Everybody’s trying to be this, this thing, right. Whatever I don’t even, and I agree with some of the things that you’re saying around it being, you know,
this Adonis thing, you know, overvaluing white, the white male overvaluing the chiseled body, like these sorts of things. I think people are trying to replicate that. And it’s when we try and replicate that, I do think that we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re likely intellectualizing and we’re, we’re, we’re trying to access our authenticity, our mind by being like,
oh, I want to be this. I want to be this. I want to be this, but we’re not listening to our body. And I think that when we do start to connect into our body, like you said, we start to have the, the experience of, of the duality of our nature. And I think for me, I,
I frame that as masculine and feminine. But if that doesn’t land for people that could be yin or yang, like I have both parts of my being. And for so long, I was a gay man that was over identifying with his, with his masculine. And I would even say at some points in my life, it was a wounded masculine. So I was over-identifying with a wounded masculine.
So I was trying to be ripped. I was trying to be a Dom top mentality. Like I was trying to be things. And then as I’ve done this, this embodiment work and I’ve connected to my authenticity, I’ve realized that damn I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m not those things. I might have moments where I feel those things, but I’m not those things I was attaching to them for,
for egoic reasons. And I think now, like, I’m like you, like, I used to, you know, value muscle and being bigger. And I wanted to be bigger. I was a fitness competitor and all those things. And now I’m like really embracing this subtle softer kind of like I like, and I like how you, that’s why I said,
you’re so articulate. Cause like the way you were describing it, I was like, yeah, that lands so well for me, like just feeling into the way my body’s moving now, it’s a lot more fluid. It flows like my movements aren’t as rigid. So I do think that gay men can really benefit from connecting more with their bodies and with each other,
with each other, like in, in, in, in, in sex is wonderful. But I think even in more ways than just sexual sensuality can be something that can be embraced to, to help us explore our authentic or authenticity. Yeah. That’s the best I got. Yeah. That was beautiful. Like, I, I felt what you said in my,
in my liver, which is making me want to talk a little bit more about self-worth and being a gay man, being a gay person, being a queer person, we run it against moments in which we don’t feel like we are good in this world that we’re not valuable, that we’re not important. And naturally what the mind says is if I feel like I have no self worth,
I’m not important. What around me is getting the attention. What around me is getting, you know, all of that praise and, and value. And, and you see the specific look of what talking about gay men. So the specific look or actions or behavior of a gay man. So you see that. And you’re like on the mind level,
I’m going to replicate that in order for me to feel this sense of self-worth or to gain that sense, the sense of self-worth and people achieve that. They go toward that particular image. And what’s unfortunate is when they go toward that image and they attain that image, they’re getting all this attention, but there’s still something that feels wrong. There’s something that’s missing.
And then if they tune in and they feel it in the body, there’s something that feels either heavy or really just like open or vacant. And I would say the reason for that is because they they’re chasing an image of who they think they should be, rather than finding the image from within. And that image from within manifesting sort of an outward expression of being.
And I think that’s, it’s a very difficult practice. It’s a very important practice. And when you can do that, you feel, I’ll say for myself, I feel really fulfilled. I feel like I can take a very deep breath and I feel calm. And when I go home at the end of the day, I say, go home. As if I’m like going out all these places,
it’s still a pandemic, but when I’m home and I’m just about to go to bed and I sort of reflect on myself, I can be completely happy with who I was. And every action that I took, because what I did is I took something that I felt authentic to me. I might’ve gotten rejected by, by these certain people, but you know,
their rejection means very little when I love every aspect of my being Bingo Bango. I think that’s so key. Authenticity can be very fringe and it can be very outcasting. I’ve experienced that in the last three years where I’ve really been fierce about being who I am. I don’t care if the herd goes right. If I want to go left, I’m going to go left.
That’s how I’ve been living my life the last three years. And yeah, people shame you when you go left and they go, right, right. And they throw all sorts of shit at you and they reject you and stuff. You’ve got, gotta be really self-possessed and grounded in yourself in order to be able to, to, to move through that.
And I just think that maybe a lot of gay men struggle with being authentic and living authentic and choosing authenticity because of the fear of rejection. I think it’s so strong for so many of us because we experienced that is usually what one of our first core wounds in our lives is we come to connection of, of that we’re gay, we’re different. And we feel rejection because of that.
Right? So it’s like we do anything and we build our lives in a way that we’re structured to not have to experience that again. So we might become people, pleasers, conformist, any of these sorts of things that keep us stuck in inauthenticity and disembodiment. And I think, and disempowerment, I think as well. So yeah. To see stuff here,
to see stuff, loving it, I love it. Okay. So this is the big kahuna question. I want to allocate it some good time for this one. So the forces that exist in society that have, that have, or can cause us to become disembodied, such as capitalism, technology, colonialism, or religion, What made you choose that question?
Because you chose that question and I really loved it when I saw it, I was like, oh, this one’s so good. What made you choose it? You know? And it’s interesting, like right after you, you read it. There was like a pause between both of us. There was like this like very like quiet pause. And it’s because I would say it’s because those topics are heavy.
You know, those topics make up our society. And so, because these topics make up our society and they’re causing us to be disembodied or they’re taking us away from our body. It just goes to show that our culture is designed in a way to disembody it. And within the mechanisms that I teach, I talk a lot about these different forces and how we can combat them,
how we can. I keep saying the word activist. I think it’s because I’m pulling in the activist archetype lately, but how we can be activists and like push back against these things. And first we need to be aware of what these things are and how they’re trying to pervade our system, pervade our, our emotions, our mind, our bodies. And then once we realize that,
then we can push back from the body. You know, I’m, I’m a martial artist. I think about everything in terms of martial arts. And there’s, you can think about a block, how someone’s coming in with a punch it and you take the punch and you redirect it outward. And, and that’s what I try to do with these different forces.
So capitalism, for example, is I think one of the, one of the things that deeply disembodies us, that we’re not as conscious of capitalism tries to turn the body into a vehicle of production of just a means of production. So if you’re not doing something that is productive, if you’re not doing something that’s going to help you make money, that’s helping you cross off your cross off the long things,
the long list of stuff you have on your to-do list, then that thing is deemed bad. You know, you’re deemed lazy. You know, you, you were talking Matt about how you, you learning how to take naps. I love my naps and I will religiously like fight against, you know, things that try to take away my nap time.
That’s like crucial for me, cause my body needs rest. My body needs to learn and be reminded to move slowly because you know, like I think of the elements and earth, for example, is one element in our body is this earth it’s made up of water, but I see us as earth and earth is very, very slow. And when we are operating on this capitalist speed of like,
go, go, go, go, go. We’re going against our nature. We’re going against our body. You know, we don’t heal instantly. You know, most of us are not Wolverine. You know, we don’t have this like magical, like quick healing ability. We heal very slowly. And so we need to think about, well, why is that we’re moving so fast if we heal slowly.
You know? So I think it’s important that we recognize the ways in which this capitalist culture is trying to make us move very fast is trying to make us think very fast. You know, we’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and we’re disliking all of these things. And again, like, do we truly like these things or are we just going and just,
we’re just clicking, clicking, clicking, because the is slow and it’s responsive. So if I see this image, it’s an interesting image, but do I really like it? I don’t know, but I’m just scrolling through it. I’m just gonna go like all these different things. And so I think it’s important to just slow down and capitalism says, slowing down is problematic.
It says you’re a minister to society in some way, you’re a rebel. You’re not making, you’re not making bank. If you’re slowing down and actually find the opposite to be true. I find that when we slow down and when we tune into ourselves and we move against this speed of capitalism, we’re able to not do as much, but we’re able to have more profound experiences.
And that to me is really important. And the way we relate these profound experiences to other people brings us in closer connection. So I talked about arrows a lot, so we’re more deeply connected because of, because of this, I spend time regularly just like sitting outside, staring at trees and staring at squirrels and what’s happening outside. And people will say that I’m just like weird or I’m not,
I’m not working. But the fact of the matter is I’m just tuning into like the nature around me and what’s happening. And then when I go back into work, I feel a lot better. And this is why people take walks when, when they’ve been working for hours, that they need to take a walk. And that walk is refreshing in that way because it’s reminding them to slow down.
Yeah. I, my business has significantly gotten busier since I’ve slowed down because I don’t think, I, I think the universe was like, well, we can’t, we can’t make you more, bring you more prosperity and abundance. If you’re not, if you don’t know how to rest, you’re going to burn out. Right? So it’s like when I started incorporating things that were slowed more slowed down,
more rooted in my divine feminine that’s when the universe brought me more, more business. And it’s just amazing that we were so trained through the capitalistic men mindset that the rat race, right. We got to go, go, go. The more you do the more you have. And that’s not always the case, right? The do the more you do,
the more you might have within the more fucking burnt out you are. And then you can’t enjoy what you have because you’re hospitalized for, can you feel like shit, you got adrenal fatigue, right? And that’s been my life story at certain points in my life, as well as it’s just like, you know, pushing forward with this, this, this masculine energy inside of me.
And it’s just like, it’s just, it’s a recipe for disaster, but I, you know, I’m, I’m really moving through a lot of, I’m also bringing forth the activist archetype for the first time in my life. I’ve never given a shit about activism and I, I really could care less. I’m very much an individualist. I stay in my own lane and now I’ve been impacted by certain things with the pandemic that I’m like,
you know, what I’ve really learned to speak up. And I’ve learned to value my bodily autonomy and my sovereignty in such a significant way and valuing freedom in such a significant way. And it’s made me realize that the way that our, that our, our system is set up and I’ll speak specifically for an example about the medical system, it’s set up in a way that keeps us disembodied because a person who’s disembodied is a person who remains in sickness.
And I think the medical system is a built, it’s a business, it’s a business model it’s built on. If you’re sick, we make more money off of you. Right? So I think that, you know, you look at the way that allopathic medicine works. It’s like you go into your doctor’s office, they give you five minutes and they,
you tell them what’s going on with you. And then they give you something to mask your symptoms, right? It’s all pill pushing pills. And I just think that when we do become embodied, we learn how to take care of our health in such a profound way. And that might still be allopathic medicine. Right. But we learn how to take charge of our health.
Right. And I think now we’re outsourcing our authority, our agency, and our sovereignty to doctors, and like being like here, here, take, take all of my power and you tell me what I need to do with my body. Well, when we become embodied, we know what to do with our body. We listen, we tune in and we’re like,
oh shit, yeah, I’m eating too much sugar. Or I’m not doing enough exercise, or I’m not doing these things. And we start to get this awareness. And I think for me, I’ve always been fairly body aware because of being athletic and stuff. But when you become embodied, it’s like you become emotionally body aware. And I think again,
when we have that compass and it’s online, then we’re guided to what we need to do. So I just think that, you know, embodiment is also going to connect you to your health and allow you to take charge of your health instead of outsourcing it to a doctor. Yeah. I love that. You keep throwing out these like very pithy phrases that just like land so hard.
It’s absolutely beautiful. And just, as you said, like when we go to the doctor, a lot of us give away our autonomy toward this expert, this person who is trained in, in medicine in some way, you know, this goes to another force, colonialism and colonialism is one person coming into another space and saying, this is how you should be.
And I think it’s, I, I look back into more indigenous cultures where they were deeply embodied, where they did things according to how their body needed. They had an understanding of not just two genders of like 15, 20 different kinds of genders, different ways in which the body wants to be seen and wants to express itself. And colonialism has come in and sort of shut those things down and said,
man, or woman, you know, these are these, these two ways of being. And then, you know, we wanting to feel powerful, wanting to be connected to this sense, since the power, we’ll listen to this sort dominating force. And so I think it’s when I think about colonialism, there’s many different ways in which we’ve been colonized to where we lose sense of our own,
our own body. And I think this kind of also connects to technology, but information also colonizes the body. When we get inundated with information, we think this is what we want when I look at. And when I’m, you know, the Google algorithm is very clever and very, you know, good at making me think that I want something, but I don’t really want it.
I don’t want that lamp. I don’t want this special sale for, for this pizza place. That’s like right next door, you know, I don’t really want these things, but when I see it, then all of a sudden I’m having some sort of reaction where I feel like I want it. But when I tune in and get more embodied, I realize this is not what I want.
So I think it’s important to realize the ways in which I’ll say specifically now information is colonizing. We’re being colonized by information. And so this is why people take breaks from like social media or they, they, they’re very careful with what they’re watching. I have friends who like will only watch like HBO max or only watch Netflix. And that’s the way that they’re trying to mitigate the ways in which information is colonizing them.
So we have to be very careful with how we utilize technology before it like uses us. And unfortunately, I don’t think our brains have caught up to the speed of technology. Technology has grown vastly in the past 20 or so years. And the human brain is doesn’t grow that quickly. You know? So our brains have not caught up to the speed of this,
to all these like connections that technology is bringing us. And so we’re becoming disembodied. The brain doesn’t know what to do. So the body doesn’t know what to do. And then we’re sort of overwhelmed. And when we’re overwhelmed, we’re easily to be manipulated. And I think that’s deeply problematic. So we need to become more embodied, slow down, become embodied.
So we’re not manipulated by all this information by all the external world. That’s trying to tell us what, what we want or who we need to be honestly, very quickly. Like that’s something I realized I don’t watch much porn. I never really have, but when I was younger and I did watch porn, there’s all these little pop-ups that, that,
that would come. And I had to click out of the pop-ups, you know, in order to enjoy my porn time. And every time I realized he was popups or like, I’m like, I want this thing, I need this thing. But I don’t. The fact of the matter is I’m in this moment where I’m trying to feel pleasure within myself.
And then all these things are telling me, you know, there’s these beautiful sails and all these things that are happening. And I, and I, I paid a lot of extra attention to that because in those moments where most vulnerable, so anyone who watches porn and those moments, I think we’re most vulnerable to our desires, our bodies being colonized. So just be careful with the things that are happening when you’re enjoying your,
your me time. Yeah. Yeah. That’s such good wisdom to Share. I fully agree. Fully agree. Okay. We’ve got about 10 minutes. So I want to get these, these, I know time’s flying. Okay. So how do we become more embodied? I think this is, we need to give some meat here because I think people are gonna be like,
well, damn this, I want to become embodied. And how do we do this? So what are, what are, what’s maybe a couple of your favorite tips on teaching people how to become embodied? So I look very closely to nature as my examples for how to be, because again, we are nature. We forget that, but we are.
So what I tend to do is I’ll go outside and I’ll look at a tree and I’ll mimic the way the tree is moving. So I’ll like put my arms up, like the, the branches, and I’ll kind of sway in that way. And when I do that, when I mimic these aspects of nature or pretend to be a squirrel or pretend to be a dog in some way,
it gives me a sense of like, how is the body moving in order to become this particular shape and what sort of pain or what sort of ecstasy do I get from this? I think, honestly, this is one of the reasons why yoga is so popular. Like yoga puts the body in certain positions that replicate nature. And w when we’re in these positions,
we have these profound insights. It’s like, wow, I have not been giving my partner enough attention, or wow. This aspect of work is really making me feel uncomfortable. And it’s because we’re, we’re mimicking these, these structures with a nature itself. And then it gives us a chance to kind of tune into, well, what feels good or what does not feel good to the self?
So my first thing is this, you know, mimic nature itself, like literally put your body in these shapes and, you know, move in a certain way or breathe in a certain way as something else to kind of really understand what is authentic to you, what is unique and what is good for you? So that’s kind of the main thing that I do within my,
my work is like teaching people how to move in that way. There’s something else that I would say is to work, to become more sensitive. We’re often very desensitized because we’re overwhelmed with certain things, but we need to practice being more sensitive. And when we’re more sensitive, we can then tune into and understand what exactly is the body trying to say.
So realize that there’s this like pulsing sensation every single time my boss says something or realize that I feel like I’m being stabbed in the shoulders. Every time I walked through this particular grocery store. And so the more we tune into these different sensations, we become more sensitized. And then we realize the ways in which the world is trying to impact, or the world impacts our specific way of being.
So I guess to keep it short again, to, to mimic the structures around us, the natural structures around us, and then contemplate how those movements inform the way that we want to be authentically and then to sensitize ourselves and be aware of these sensations that are coming up in the body at all times. Hm. I couldn’t have answered it better myself,
dude. Did you know that I do a work in sensitivity? No. So my two businesses are one is working with highly sensitive people in impacts and my other is working with gay men. So I, so sensitivity is something that I understand very well. I’m highly sensitive, I’m in pathic. And I think, you know, learning how to manage sensitivity and become more sensitive.
I think it’s so important. And I’ve, I’ve used sensitivity in so many different contexts. I think oftentimes people attribute sensitivity to like being hurt easily, but it’s not, it’s a perception and being finally attuned to yourself in your environment. And I just think that that’s everything. If you want to become more embodied, become more sensitive and, and, and connected.
I use the word to move towards more embodiment, the word grounded roundedness. And I, I do a lot of work with tree energy and I love trees. I’ve been obsessed with trees since I was a kid. And it’s been one of the ways that I’ve learned how to ground myself and through, through grounding myself as how I’ve learned to connect to my body.
Cause grounded-ness means coming out of the mind, down into the body, down into the earth. And so I would say anything that’s going to bring you grounded-ness might be earthing, you know, taking off your, your, your, your socks and shoes and standing on the grass or on the soil, and kind of just feeling the earth that might be hugging trees or anything like that.
But oftentimes what people will come up against the mind, right? When we toot, when we do try to move towards embodiment, we come up against the mind because we’ve been so addicted to thoughts and thinking that the mind is louder than the body. So we need to have a practice that’s still that, that, that, that controls our concentration or our attention.
Because, you know, I think the it’s really important for us to, to, to learn how to manage where we bring our attention and where we, where we control our attention, because the mind is going to be the thing that’s going to be so loud. And it’s going to take us away from being able to connect to our body. So there’s something called one pointed concentration,
and it’s essentially where you, you learn how to manage your, your, your concentration, right? So you might concentrate on, well, what I did was I concentrated on counting. So just one to 10, 10 to one, one to 10, 10 to one. And when your mind wanders, you bring it back. So you’re learning how to play with your attention,
because I think oftentimes people think that they, they, they want to bring stillness to the mind, but you can’t really still the mind, at least in my opinion, the mind is meant to be running wild and, and constantly thinking, but we need to learn how to pull our attention away from the mind and into the body. So I do think that those would be my two tips to learn how to,
to, to control your attention through a practice, like one point of concentration and then learn grounded-ness. And then also body sensations, I think, is really important. Like yoga nidra has been such a game changer for me. I’ve had so many profound experiences by doing yoga nidra, which is essentially just like scanning your body with your own consciousness and attention.
And it allows you to kind of really connect it to the sensations of who you are. And those would be a few of my tips for embodiment. Yeah. And, you know, to expand that, going back to like sensitivity and to expand that, I think we’re so focused on a couple of the five senses. So we’re so focused on like seeing things or hearing things,
but there’s also smell. There’s also tastes and there’s touch. And when you go into a space, you know, have you, have you smelled the way a space actually is, have you allowed yourself to touch the different textures? Have you, I don’t know if you would taste like the walls or something, but like, you know, realizing you have these five senses.
And if you utilize these five senses, you get a different experience. I remember I was at a theater cause I do a lot of performance and there’s these, you know what to call them? There’s the curtains. That’s what they’re called curtains. Yeah. There was the curtains that were there. And I realized I’ve never touched those curtains before. And so what I did was I used my hands and I went down the curtains and I used my body and I kind of wrapped myself in those curtains.
And I had this really interesting experience of like feeling the texture of these curtains. And I’m like, wow, this is absolutely fascinating. And because they had that experience every time I’m on stage. And I see those curtains, it reminds me of that visceral bodily experience that I had. And I performed differently. I feel more alive and awake in my performances because of that.
And so I think it’s so interesting and it’s a really good technique to just tune into the five senses. And when I get into spiritual teachings and teachings, I teach people how to go beyond the five senses into other senses as well. But just starting to tune into those five senses in all environments that you’re in really helps you be aware of the body and what’s happening.
And it also helps you to slow down as well. Yeah. I love that. I think sensitivity is the, is the thing that, that creates enhancement to our senses. Right? If you are more sensitive, you’re more likely to smell things more intensely, hear things more intensely because you’re, you’re attuned, right. You’re, you’re able to tune in.
So I do think sensitivity has many benefits. Last question, we have a couple of minutes. I want to make sure you have an opportunity to just speak on that. So the, the developing Alexa con for bodily sensations, I’m not sure what that means. And I would love to learn more about it. Tell me a bit. Yeah. So I,
I, I spoke about a little bit, but I think, and I think I’m already doing it. We, as a culture and society don’t have the greatest language for the body, we just sort of say, oh, that hurts. Or that feels strange, you know, but to, to realize there’s all these words that describe how we’re feeling,
there’s like words like titillating or like, or like poking or stabbing. So like looking at these different words and seeing like, when have I felt titillated when, when, when, and where do I feel this sort of poking sensation. So just literally like, and I say this because I’m so into words, my undergrad work was in linguistics. And then I did like a lot of like language and power related research.
And so when you have words for something, it gives you a whole new experience of that particular thing. So when we start to look at these sort of sensation words, then we participate in the world a little bit differently and I’m walking by, by Jack in the box. And I feel like my arm gets sort of titillated in some way. And part of that,
because I have like a really weird experience in the past with my grandmother and, and Jack in the box. But I was able to realize that because I had that particular word that I started to use and certain languages have more words and certain languages have less words, which is also interesting to look at. I feel like in English, we have a lot of beautiful words to describe what’s going on within our bodies,
but we don’t necessarily utilize those. And so my point there is to, you know, develop your own personal dictionary or vocabulary for what your body is doing, and that forces you to become aware of the body and realize, you know, when does this word describe how I’m feeling and, you know, start to ask yourself why? So that that’s more so what I,
what I meant by that particular topic. And I just think it’s really important to that. That’s another way to practice becoming more embodied is to literally learn the vocabulary words of the body, the body and sensations. And I can share a list of those different words for people, if that would be helpful. And it just changes the way that you experience the world,
because now you have words to codified to speak to what you’re experiencing or what’s happening. Yeah. I love that. I love it a lot. We made it, we were both feeling a little off before we started. So we were like, we’ll just stumble through this together. So we did it. I thought we could. I think we created something really amazing here.
I do want to point people in the direction of finding you, because I know you’re doing a lot of work in embodiment. You have an Instagram healing Kung Fu your Facebook is Kung Fu master 1, 2, 3. And if you want to find them on Tik talk, you can find them at Kung Fu therapy. I, I’m also creating a lot of stuff on my Instagram.
That’s related to embodiment. You can find that at insight inspired to be authentic, a lot of resources there for if you’re wanting to move towards more embodiment. I’m just seeing if there’s anything else. Yeah, I think we’re good. Oh, and your website healing, Kung fu.com. Yes. The website. And just to add as well, if anyone wants practice with embodiment,
I, I will start to have weekly classes again, weekly online classes that anyone can tune into. So there’ll be information about that on my website when that comes. Mm. Yeah. Beautiful. I feel like the gay community has a lot to learn from you and I’m just really honored. And I want to, on behalf of the gay men’s brotherhood,
I want to thank you for coming on and sharing your wisdom with us for the last hour. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. And I will be for sure if you having you either on this podcast or my other podcast again, cause I really enjoy our connection and the way we create. So yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a really enjoyable experience.
This is a beautiful podcast. I’m again, honored to have been invited. And I hope that that people that are listening, take something away that changes their experience within their life. Whether it just be like, you know, using more words to describe the, the bodily experience or just the encouragement to listen to the body. I think that’s really important.
You don’t get that in many spaces. So I hope that that folks are able to practice embodiment and see how it shifts their perception of the world in themselves. So thank you all for listening. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. And you’re welcome. And for those of you who are watching on YouTube, you can drop us some comments because we would love to have your comments.
And we do. Yeah. We do also read the comments in some of our reviews on the podcast. So please hit us up. And if you’re, if you’re on YouTube, you can hit the bell icon subscribe and we release content each week. So you’ll be notified when we do. And if you’re listening on your favorite podcast network, you can,
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