Mediocre Mystic

We're Baaaaaack!

October 14, 2021 Fundamental Shift Season 2 Episode 10
Mediocre Mystic
We're Baaaaaack!
Show Notes Transcript

Fundamental Shift returns with a video edition on YouTube. Subscribe there to get our video content! This is the Audio edition. Grace and James talk about the shifts that have been going on with the pod and in their own lives.

Referenced in this Episode:
Krishna Das: Web | Facebook| YouTube

If you want to explore more about modern media as sacred texts, music, film check out these podcasts:

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Music by '86 Aerostar

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James: Heads up: the following podcast contains adult language and deals with adult subjects. Keep this in mind as you listen or view. 

Grace: Hey folks. I'm Grace. 

James: And I'm James. Welcome to Fundamental Shift: the podcast where we talk about the major shakeups in our lives, their fault lines and aftershocks. 

Grace: Thanks for joining us. You're in for a real shift show. So James, it's been a while. Hey, everybody, we're back! 

James: We're back, I think, do we have an audience in this, in this? [applause] okay, well there's okay. Thank you. Thank you. We're back. Okay. 

Grace: I love it. I love it. So guys, you know, we're coming into our third season and I'm just like, Us in our lives, pods have fundamental shifts and we have kind of gone from a lot of storytelling in our first season, a lot of high producing in our second season of more sort of newsy type stories and topics, within our Fundamental Shift land. 

And this third season, we just want to come to y'all with a lot of candid conversation. So that's what we're going to start out with. We're going to be real candid with you all about our very unplanned sabbatical, our very unplanned break. We did not mean to leave you guys for months and months. 

And so we are happy to be back, but we want to chat with you all about that and kind of what's been going on in our lives. And we definitely want to hear what's been going on in yours. And we imagine that you've had a lot of what we've had going on. So as we come into this third season, we want to make it just very open, very conversational. And we really want you to come along and join us in the conversation. And I apologize. I'm just going to be blunt. I'm trying to root out "you guys" from my vocabulary. You know, I'm learning and I'm growing and, that's just something I'm really working on right now. So I apologize for the amount of times I say that. Uh... 

James: You need to lean into the Southern and go with y'all, you know, it's the most inclusive word... 

Grace: Cause y'all means all 

James: There you go. 

Grace: And I do love "y'all" so y'all... 

James: There you go. 

Grace: How y'all doing? James, how are y'all doing over there in Florida? 

James: Yeah. You know, we're holding it down here. It's still, you know, kind of hot. I think it got up to 90 today, even though it's October. But it has been cooler, little less rain, so, so it is nice to be out of that rainy season. But yeah, you know, things are, things are just, they've been kind of wild, you know, a lot of changes here. 

 I didn't even tell you this, but I started a new job in July, so, same company, just different thing. But, but it's nice to change things up. And, we, my family and I have actually adopted somewhat of a spiritual practice in recent weeks. So there's, there's this thing that happens on the nights that we used to record on, which we used to record on Thursday nights, which we happen to do ... be doing that right now, where Krishna Das, who is a... he's a singer. He is, he is well-known for being friends with, with Ram Dass and sort of followers of the same guru over in India. And he's in his seventies. Yeah, he, he was he's in his seventies now and he's just continuing to sing with people... 

He didn't start  

Grace: this until he was in his forties. 

James: Yeah, no, he, and he's, he's talked about... 

Grace: That's so inspiring to me. He didn't really start Kirtan until he was in the forties. 

James: Well, originally he was, he was tapped to be a member of the Blue Oyster Cult. And he was, yeah, he was going to be, I think their guitarist and/or singer with the Blue Oyster Cult. But then he got involved with Ram Dass and, and all that stuff, with Maharaj-ji who was, who was their guru over in India. 

And he decided to, you know, leave Blue Oyster Cult behind which it's unfortunate for Blue Oyster Cult. I think they would have been a lot better with his vocals, but nothing against Blue Oyster Cult. You know, they had that one good song. It needed more cowbell, but, but yeah, so I mean, I, I really enjoyed his stuff and I would sort of, as we were preparing to sign on for our recordings on Thursday nights, he has this live cast that he does on Facebook and YouTube, and maybe some other channels where he just does Kirtan; he does singing and chanting, and you can either sit and, and watch and listen; you can close your eyes; you can meditate; you can sing along; you can do call and response with him. And, it's really just something that I've found to be moving and beneficial. It, the, the idea of, of chanting as a form of meditation, that just keeps you in the present moment, and keeps you sort of rooted in the here and now I found really beneficial and, and I would sort of peek a little bit. I would turn it on for a few minutes before we got started recording. I'm like, "ah, this is really nice." And for a while I was joking--I had a little joke with my daughter, who's seven. You know, I'd turn it on, on a Thursday night and start watching and she'd be like, "what are you watching?" And I'd show her; she's like, "Ah, I don't know about that." 

And every time I would turn it on on a Thursday night, I'd like show her on my phone. I was like, "Hey, look at this it's that guy." She's like, "aah, THAT guy?!" But then finally she actually, you know, started to get interested. My wife got interested and we've been doing that on Thursday nights. We might not always all be in the same room while it's going on, but he goes for about two hours or so on Thursday nights doing it. And I'm usually sitting there the whole time, soaking it in. My daughter might be reading a book. My wife might be in another room playing her saxophone or something. But we're all just sort of together, even if we're in different rooms, doing slightly different things, but this, it's all sort of revolving around this event on Thursday nights. 

So that's kind of become our, our spiritual practice, which is kind of a shift from not really having much in the way of a practice other than some informal, you know, meditative practice and sort of continually reminding myself to be in the present moment. So that's been nice. 

Grace: That's amazing. I love that. And I have enjoyed sort of watching your posts about that, especially when it's your daughter reading a book and that sort of thing. I love that it doesn't mean we all have to be in the same room doing the same thing, but we're still in this corporate experience.  

James: Yeah, it's really nice to be able to sort of slow down and just be with each other. And we get so busy with my daughter's extracurricular activities, and my wife works late some nights, and just depending on how busy our weeks get to have at least one time during the week where we can just slow down, we can breathe, we can just be relaxed. It's been very, very nice. 

Grace: So tell me a little bit about, you know, for both of us, we... It kind of just got crazy over the summer. And so we would kind of talk about, are we going to record and where are we going, and we even had topics set and the whole thing and kind of just looked at each other and said, oh my gosh, we've got to take a minute. The summer's just pretty much gonna have to be a sabbatical. 

And we got so busy. We couldn't even sit down and do this to tell our listeners. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like kind of just what was going on in your life and how that was affecting you and, you know, just sort of, sort of where you were at. 

James: Well, it was a very different summer for us and not in an entirely bad way. At some point, I think it was June or July. It was some point after the school year ended the last school year, for my daughter. First of all, I should say I have a brother-in-law who is 18, college student, and he had an internship at Colonial Williamsburg, where he was, he's a music major with history minor or is it the other way around? I'm not sure. But he studying music and history. So he ended up getting, a position as a, as an intern in their cabinet shop where they make the harpsichords. And so he's, he's a keyboardist; he's a, he's a pianist. So, this was right up his alley. And it's also where I was born. I was actually born in Williamsburg, Virginia, so it's kind of funny how that works out. 

So anyway, he went up there, with, my mother-in-law and was staying there for a while. They had a condo that they had booked for the summer for, for his, for him to live at. And so my daughter actually ended up going up there. She was going to spend several weeks up there for the summer with them, just enjoying the time up there. 

And, as circumstances would have it, my wife actually, ended up going up there to relieve my mother-in-law, which was, it was amazing that we had that flexibility in order to do that, 'cause we both work remote. So that worked out, in the family's favor there. But anyway, I ended up going up. 

We were already planning on visiting for a couple of weeks anyway. So I had my time booked, actually for about a week. I think I was up there. And I had booked vacation time. So that whole summer pretty much revolved around the Williamsburg thing. And it was great for me to get back up there, the area where I'm from; I was able to take my daughter around and show her my old elementary school and some places that I used to go to. 

 But that really consumed the summer for the most part. And so, you know, I was doing that. You had things going on that we'll talk about a little later, but it was all this, this mix of, of circumstances that led us away from being able to record this show together. So, it was very interesting summer and, and also I got a new job in July as well. 

So there was that. So switching different kinds of work, traveling, it was just a kind of a mess, but not an entirely bad mess. I, I enjoyed the summer. 

Grace: And I'm sure a lot of us just got busy this summer. You know, I would say one reason is before Delta, we got a little brave... 

James: Yeah...  


Grace: ...that we could travel and that sort of thing before the Delta variant came along. And I know that was one thing for me is all of a sudden I could see people hadn't seen in two years, or do a thing I hadn't done in two years. 

And, and I'm sure that's the story for a lot of us. And, for us, we kind of started, still stayed with protocol with my wife having auto-immune and you know, it's still kind of being a thing here in the States. And then with the new variant, we did decide to keep protocol, but we still did get a bit brave to go places and, and do some things within that. 

So I'm sure that was the story for a lot of our listeners, too. Um, and in the midst of that, traveling and all of that too, in our family, we had a bit of sickness, that was pretty intense, with my wife and her, auto-immune got pretty intense. Had a pretty bad flare up. We had a hospital visit, that sort of thing. 

And, one thing I love about us is we have always prioritized our family, you know, time and, and, health and mental health, physical health as well, above, you know, all things. And so we just want you to know as listeners, we would want you to do that too. And those are the things that we were doing. 

We were simply making those priorities that we, I would say probably our listeners share as well. And one thing I was doing with some self care, it had been awhile and, I'm a caretaker in my life. Helping my mother-in-law bit and helping my wife as she helps her mother. And, that's a big part of my life. 

I really needed to do some self care. And with COVID with working remotely, with those sorts of things, I really needed a space that was just my own. My wife is a woodworker and she has a shop and she can kind of escape into that world. And it's wonderful and I'm so happy she can do that. But for me, I'm more sort of a study type gal. 

And so one thing I really did, on my self care was to finally dig in deep in our guest room and make a proper study. You're looking at this beautiful wooden map behind me now, if you are viewing, that my wife actually got me, covers our whole wall. It's beautiful. And, you know, I bought a desk and it's actually the exact same desk my dad had when I was a kid. 

James: That's so cool. 

Grace: It is so cool. And I used to do our family business at that desk and things like that. So that was just really something I leaned into. I bought a really nice chair from World Market. You know, just things I would not normally, push in and do for myself. And I have to say, it has given my mental health the space to be here today. 

It really has. It's given me a lot of energy and peace and just a place to go and create and just dive into those things that, that I needed to dive into, or sometimes just lay on the bed and, you know, read a magazine. And I really, really needed to do that for myself. And it wasn't something that I realized I needed this badly until I did it. 

 So that was something I really delved into this summer. Just really making some time to do that. And, a weird thing that kind of came up through that. You and I talked about this a little bit was. I was like, oh, I'm going to have all this time to read. And I really do ideally love to read, but I have not read in the way of studying in quite some time. 

And I wanted to study some things and learn some things over the summer. And I just couldn't quite get to that space. And I kept going, what, what is this, what is this? And I could listen to a book. I could listen to someone talk about a book. I could maybe get to a listicle that was about it. And that's not normal for me at all. 

You know, I read long, long novels and, I love to read text books and all those sorts of things in the past. And so I started kind of just trying to figure that out. And I talked to you a little bit about it, that I realized finally, that I had a trigger. And it was the oddest trigger of all to me that I would have a trigger about reading, but it went back to that exvangelical place because all of my study was so focused on religious teaching. 

And I realized that every time I would try to go in deep into something to learn it, and like one thing for me was language, I wanted to learn a new language, I would get in this space that I didn't understand for a minute until I related it to this trigger. Because in the past I learned a language to go on the mission field. 

I learned a text to be an apologist for the gospel. So it was really interesting for me to, to try to reclaim reading. And that sounds silly. But it's not. And I've started to realize all those ways that even being so far in the church, it can come back and bite you on the butt sometimes when you don't even realize it. 

And for me building this study was so amazing. Then I get into the study to read and I go, oh shit, I can't read. That was so weird. So to sort of finally identify that trigger and work through that a bit and, and tell myself the things you have to tell yourself, as you're going through these things, many people read many things, many people study, many things, you know, it doesn't have to be centered around this thing, but for me in my life, it had been. 

So I've really had to deconstruct that and, and just break that down and bring myself back to a place of like, I can do this just to do this, just to enjoy it, just to learn it and just to benefit the community around me. I don't. I have to have a mission of saving someone's soul, for this to be beneficial. 

 And that was just really a big thing I did this summer. That that was for me, you brought in this spiritual practice, which I think is beautiful. And for me, I brought it in deconstruction that, you know, and, and I'll be honest, I haven't had to deconstruct like that in years. Right. I've been out for a long time. And so to, to kind of have that come at me was interesting and deconstruct on that level was, surprising, but really good for me, really, really good for me. And I'm glad I did it. 

James: Yeah, that's great that you were able to sort of recognize and pinpoint the reason why you were having trouble with the reading and the study. And you were able to sort of self-diagnose, what was going on and, and work through it. I think that's great. 

Grace: And so for me, one thing I used to want to do in that is Oracle cards. And that's kind of something I've been doing more over this summer is utilizing that as a meditation technique. And I don't, I don't think I'm Professor Trelawney. I don't think that I can dominate the future. And she was pretty bad at it. 

So for all our Harry Potter fans, it's not like that, but I do use them just as a point of, of meditation, a way to sort of guide myself to what I already know, you know, or my inner truth. And they just sometimes kind of help me, bring that out. Another thing I started this summer, which was interesting and sort of unexpected, it kind of came out of a retreat I had in the, back in the early spring, was some Reiki. 

 I am a Reiki practitioner and I haven't done it in a while and have picked up a few clients, through the summer. And that's been really good for me. And something to really throw my energy into again and, and, so I was into... Really, you still question your beliefs, right? Like, like questioning why I'm doing it, question, how I'm doing it. 

And that's not a bad thing to question why and how I'm doing it, I don't think. I think it's made me a better Reiki practitioner. So that's kind of been just really interesting to go to that place too, and just say, okay, like, this is the way I did it 15 years ago when I learned it. And, and this is how I'm doing it now, and this is how I've grown in it, and the time and the space in between actually I think helped in the end. 

James: Nice. Yeah, that's great. So, what do you get from the Reiki practice? Like you're, you're practicing Reiki on someone, right? So I'm, I'm sort of vaguely familiar with that and how it works, as far as like the proximity and frequencies and that sort of thing, but, Yeah. Someone who is administering the Reiki. Do you get something back from that in addition to being able to, I guess, provide something to, to the recipient? 

Grace: I mean, honestly, if you're doing it right, you're a conduit. So you don't get anything taken out of you. And for me, I don't necessarily get anything put back into me except for the great satisfaction of helping someone, in my opinion, because often like my wife will say, oh, doesn't that drain you? Not if you're doing it right. If you're doing it right, you're simply being a conduit of energy. Right. So, so for me, and the way I practice and in the way I practice is actually called Shamanic Reiki, It's a little different than traditional Japanese Reiki, in that Japanese Reiki is really formulated. This is the way you do it, and it's a very clear pattern. Shamanic Reiki is very intuitive so that I practice more that way. It's, it's been a combo and in my learning, if you're, if you're doing it right, you should not feel some great drainage after or anything like that. But as your conduit, you're also not going to necessarily feel any great feeling. 

 And I won't say I feel neutral because I definitely feel good at the end for having helped someone. But I can go home and cook dinner, you know, take shower and go to bed and watch TV in between. So it's more of a practical kind of thing in that way for me. 

James: Do you find it to be a meditative experience as you're, as you're doing it? Sort of roots you in the here and now, the present moment? 

Grace: Yes. And because it's intuitive, especially the way I practice, it helps me learn more how to listen to myself, how to listen to my client and how to be in touch without, and, and trust them and trust myself. You know, and for those of us who do draw on, on a greater power, helps us to listen to that spirit, the way that we interpret it. 

And I would say if you're practicing Reiki, that's probably where you are, you know, you're drawing from something. And in my case, I do believe in a great spirit, a source, so to speak, not particularly what most people, I guess, would think of God but I don't have a problem with calling it God, either. 

So for me, when I'm going into that space, when I'm calling on that, it's primarily just my intuition, you know, more of the, sort of the Zen idea I suppose, of, of the consciousness around us. And just listening to that, being, being in tune with that. And so as I help other people do that, certainly I've become attuned myself, so to speak. 

 It's kinda magical in that way. The more you help people, the more you sort of become attuned yourself. And it, it was very much a surprise. It wasn't something that I was going after. Some folks actually came and reached out to me and asked me for it, and that was kind of really beautiful. And, I'm kind of in this place right now where I'm trying to say yes, I'm trying to say yes to those sorts of opportunities. I'm trying to say yes to those sorts of invitations, and not be so scared that it might not be perfect. Cause I'm, I can really be a perfectionist and get hung up in that. So I'm trying to be okay with it not being perfect and, and to trust the intention--to trust the intention. 

James: Yeah, I think that's a good place to get to because I mean, what is perfect, right? Like it's, it's an imagined ideal based on these mental formations that we cook up. And so, you know, I think, I think there's a, a Buddhist saying, something along the lines of, you know, when you realize that everything in the world is perfect already, then you'll sort of throw your head back and laugh or something, something to that effect. 

And, you know, yes, there's suffering of course. And you know, Buddha, Buddhist thought, or Buddhist teaching, wholeheartedly acknowledges that as one of its main tenets, that there is suffering. But it also encourages us, I think, to get away from this idea of this imagined perfect. Right? And to, to be in, in reality as it really is, and to work with that. 

And so it sort of turns the idea of perfect on its head, so to speak. So that's, that's one thing that I've really learned a lot, through, through that sort of meditative practice. So, so you mentioned getting back into reading and studying, maybe not always having as much time to dedicate as you would like, have you been doing any recreational, reading, any, anything along those lines? 

Grace: I have. 

James: Well, what do you got going on? 

Grace: Well, you know, I'm just going back through Potter. So I do want to put a disclaimer here. I in no way support the author's statements on trans folks or... 

James: Cosign. Agreed. 

Grace: ...or persons who might be pregnant or, anything like that. I, I don't, I don't support any of that. like many in the fandom, we all believe the fandom is, is what makes it what it is. 

And, you know, we, we stand by her original, statements of love and support and inclusivity. You know, I just want her to shut the fuck up. I'm going to be honest. I really do. But going, going back to that series, even with that lens, has, has been really good because I've been listening to a lot of podcasts along side of it, which has been fun. 

A lot of those have been queer and super racially diversive and, you know, so many wonderful things about Hermione being Black and things like that have just been really awesome. And, just to listen to it through those eyes and through these other, you know, amazing folks in the fandom who are, who are not turning on us, the fandom. 

Right. And I think that that's really cool. And that's something I've been really just digging into and learning about, like, how do you, how do you reckon with something that you love when the author of that says something really, really not just terrible, not just awful, destructive, almost of her own message. 

So, and that's why I'm not naming her either. I just, I lean into what those folks are saying, who, who, who have been points of her attack and the way that they're leaning into it. And that's really been really just an eye-opener and amazing and a new way to learn and study. And it really has healed that place in me, honestly, that was so triggered. Believe it or not, it's just really healed that place in me that was so triggered by studying and learning, and showed me the importance of continuing to study and learn even a same text, and the way that we can take texts and not just texts--music, TV shows, all those things--and make them sacred in our own lives. 

Right? There's more things that are sacred than the Bible or Buddhist writings or the Koran or any of it. There are so many things. And in our contemporary society, it's often these things that we, we take that connect to us and speak to us and they become our sacred text. They become our sacred writings. 

They become our sacred music. They become our sacred viewings, and that's something I'm really leaning into right now and enjoying. 

James: Yeah, I think that's great. I think absolutely we can, we can gain insight from almost anywhere, you know, even in some cases, if it's to bring our awareness to something that we, we don't want to become, you know, and, and in terms of, yeah, I have, I have thoughts and we all have ways that we process, you know, things that happen. 

And we, you know, we can find a way to justify almost anything, right? The way that I look at things like, you know, the Harry Potter series author, and the things that she's said and done, and just the Twitter wars she's gotten into with people about something that really, maybe because it doesn't impact her directly, maybe, maybe that's why she's doing this, and she has these opinions for who knows what reason? I don't know.  

In terms of good people versus bad people, I find those labels when directed at people specifically, directly, to be less helpful than when, when we think about behaviors as good or bad, right or wrong, or, you know, helpful or constructive or destructive. 

I think when we look at behaviors in that way, it's a little bit more helpful than labeling a person as...  

Grace: Systems and institutions, right? 

James: Systems and institutions, yeah, rather than the human being, because I think human beings have the capacity to do wonderful, amazing things. And at the same time, turn around and do something completely deplorable. 

You know, we've seen that with so many well-known people, celebrities, authors, actors, who do these amazing things and really help communities, and then turn around and almost in an effort to undo, you know, those benefits in a way. But, and if we, if we start to, to take those actions as sort of a canceling out of the good they've done, I don't know how helpful that really is. 

Not to, not to make excuses for bad behavior and not to say, "oh, but they do good things too, and that redeems them." But if we look at the thing itself, the thing that's been produced or the act that has been committed, whether it's good or bad, I personally find that to be more beneficial and more useful than to sort of have this scale, right? Where you, like on this side, here's the good things they've done... Ohp, they did all these bad things and that just cancels out the good, I just, I don't see it that way. It's, it's a little more nuanced than that. 

Grace: ...what our pod comes down to, right? Fundamental shifts. Like, because what we are about is nuance. Right? We're not, we're not about "this thing is all good, this thing is all bad." Spew, a lot of things. That's just not what we're about. I think what we're about as nuance, we're about getting into the weeds. 

We're about those things. And so I kind of think that's what you're saying. Like, let's take a nuanced approach to these things. 

James: Yeah. And, and I think the term nuance can be abused a lot and I don't want... I don't want it to become that, where nuance is used as a, as a way to uphold oppressive systems and. And... 

Grace: Yeah, I'm not giving a pass... 

James: ...allow people to get away with bad behavior. Yeah. And I know you're not, I just want to make that clear to anyone who might be watching or listening that, that it's not that, that it's more acknowledging that good exists and bad exists and they can sometimes exist side by side and the bad doesn't necessarily cancel out the good, and, and again, I'm talking about behaviors and things that happen, things people make, or say, or do, not the person themselves. 

So a good thing is a good thing; a bad thing is a bad thing, right? And neither one, I don't think either one has to cancel each other out necessarily. 

Grace: Yeah, I... with that. 

James: And also, also acknowledging that people who do bad things. are... and I've said this before on our podcast, are in no small part, a product of influencing factors that have come into their life and, and shaped their consciousness in a certain way. 

And I say that again, not to make excuses, but, but to just to acknowledge the fact that what often appears to be a free choice by someone is not necessarily that at all, and to sort of diagnose more than to make excuses. So if we, if we understand the ways in which our consciousnesses are shaped, and by that token, in that way, we're able to sort of take some agency into the picture and, and shape the way things are going forward. I think that's more useful than just completely throwing someone or someone's work out because they did something else that was bad, but I don't know. Maybe I'm rambling. 

Grace: No, no, I totally understand where you're coming from. And I agree. And I was going to say, one thing that I've thought about is how with a lot of my healthcare friends, you know, I will get frustrated with the unvaxxed, and the unvaxxed taking up so much hospital space and things like that. And they have said to me, over and over and over, it doesn't matter, you know, if your patient is unvaxxed you care for them just the same. And you look at that person just as a patient, right? And you have to do that. And then you understand there's this other thing called, you know, misinformation and you blame the misinformation. You don't blame that one patient. 

And that's kind of the way I look at something like this. You, you blame again, the systems and institutions, because at least with the author, I think a lot of hers is a lot of fear, a lot of fear about what femininity means and feminist identity means to her and, her own background and all of that. But it's a bit of red herring, but it's hard to say to someone like that because it's the same argument as say, lots of straight people worried that my gay marriage is gonna somehow end marriage. 

You know, if my gay marriage, your marriage, I don't know, like that doesn't happen. Right? Like that's, it's, it's a false equivalency. Doesn't happen. It's not true, but the fear is still there because it's built by systems and institutions and misinformation and, and all of those things. And if you want to hear a lot of really good information on that, go back and listen to our wonderful episode with Emilie about disinformation and the media, because it's a wonderful, wonderful layout of how that works. And, and, and that's just kinda what it makes me think of. Right? So, and I think that nuance is really, really important, but I agree it's not a pass, right? 

James: Absolutely. 

Grace: it's, it's a piece information; It's not a pass, 

James: Right. Yeah. Like, and not to make everything Buddhist, but I don't even know if... 

Grace: But you are Buddhist after all, 

James: I mean, maybe I am? I'm not sure. I haven't... 

Grace: Not to make everything witchy, but... 

James: Yeah, right? But yeah, I mean, there is this, this element of acknowledging the shaping of consciousness and these causes and conditions that lead to certain things happening; karma. 

That's, that's really the wide reaching term that everyone's heard of. Right? It's not, it's not what goes around, comes around. A lot of people think that, but it's, it's really more, "this is this way because that is that way." It's cause and effect and, and acknowledging that I think is to also understand that none of us, not one of us, could be anyone different than who we are right now in this moment. That's not to say we haven't made certain choices that led to this point, but those choices were influenced by things that came before. And, and so to acknowledge that is to bring some compassion into the picture, I think, and to at least acknowledge that this person may have wrong perceptions, wrong thinking, wrong ideas, but that's where they ended up because of where they came from. 

Right? And again, not, not to not to write it off as, not their fault, not their responsibility, because you know, wrong, wrong action is wrong action. Right? You can't, you can't let that go. But moving forward, if you can... if you can know that you are a shaper of consciousness, you know, if you can be that influence and you can do it in a compassionate way, to understand that we get, we get to a certain place, you know each, each point is, is, is a destination and also a starting point, right? 

We've arrived at this point. I've arrived in the present moment as I am; going forward, what comes next? What am I going to become? 

Grace: See exits as entries. See certain exits as entries. just been kind of coming up in my space lately, as I'm doing my readings and such. I mean, just sort of parallel to that, in a more pagan space. It's about our history, right? Like we look at our ancestors and our history and that sort of thing, and how those systems of the past, those messages of the past, those institutions of the past affect us in the present, right? It's the same, it's the same kind of concept. Again, to dismiss, but to, to learn and to understand so that hopefully, oh my God, can we please help history stop repeating itself? Right? Like at some point, can we say, I want to break this pattern?  

Now when we were exvangelicals, it was about breaking some evil shit. It was about breaking some, you know, terrible demonic, evil spirits, and delivering ourselves from all that in our past when the truth is so much of that is cultural. And so much of that is historical. And we simply need to take the knowledge that we know now. do better, right? We know better. Let's do better. 

 And stop this mob mentality that it just drives me nuts with the mob mentality. 

James: Well, yes, we do what we can. Right? But we, we need to acknowledge that we are so very limited in our scope of what we can accomplish. Like, I don't want to be discouraging, but in a sense, we have to be honest with ourselves that to some degree we are like, I don't know who said this, but it were like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream. 

Right. But we're a conscious twig, so we can try to, you know, move here or there. Exactly. So, you know, we, we do what we can, but, you know, can we change the direction of the Earth's axis? Can we make it spin the other way? And in a sense changing society, it takes a lot of buy-in from a lot of people, 

Grace: That's what I was going to say is one person, certainly not. 

James: But, I also see each person's consciousness as a parallel universe of sorts. I've said this before where each person's like each person's consciousness is like a universe unto itself, because the way you see the universe, it's the entire universe to you. And the way I see the universe is completely different. 

And so it's the universe. Each one of us is living in. And so in a sense, yeah, you can change the world. You can change the universe one consciousness at a time. So there's that? 

Grace: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I kinda think that's what we're trying to do in the pod, right? Like, hopefully we reach out to one person that changes something and gives us that domino effect. So speaking of that, we did this, you know, our last series of podcasts was about purity culture and toxic masculinity, and certainly how those two intertwine. 

And I know that that's a big reason we had the sabbatical, y'all. It's a big reason that we didn't even know the sabbatical was coming because it took a lot out of us, a lot that we didn't expect. It hit so many places I think that neither one of us had been to in so many years, and doing just the research for it, for me, I know, was, I just had to take a shower every five minutes, from delving through all the audio delving through all the reading that I was doing. And so much of it I'd already read and heard before. I grew up with it. And going back into that space after so long, I'd forgotten so much of it. And it was a beautiful thing. 

Now I re I realized that I'd forgotten so much of it and pulling all that back up and, and, and doing such a deep dive into that. It affected me in ways I did not expect. It sucked the life out of me and the energy out of me in ways I did not expect. I'm super proud of what we've put out. I am. I stand behind our work wholeheartedly because I know all the work we've put into it. 

And if you haven't heard those shows, I really encourage you to go back and listen to them if it's something that you can put your time into of course; I do you want to give some trigger warnings to that, about sexual abuse and of course, talks of, just abstinence and those sorts of things. If, if that's anything you struggle with, as far as being triggered from your past, with, or even your present, those are certainly things that we talk about and we have really beautiful people who came on an interviewed for us, and I'm so grateful to each and every one of them. I got so much reward out of that series and I also got a lot of recovery time that I needed out of that series. 

Tell me about how you felt about it, James, how did it affect you? 

James: Well, it was very, very draining, I'll say. It was difficult. Heavy. It was maybe not so much triggering for me, but definitely touched on a lot of things that I was familiar with growing up and even into the college years. But yeah, I mean, it was, I mean, it probably was a little, little triggering, but, and I apologize for the background noise and there's a lot of stuff going on. 

My family's moving through the house My daughter's coming 

Grace: to take a pause? 

James: Yeah. Maybe we can pause. 

Grace: Hello. 

James: Ohp, there you  

Grace: Fam.. Fam all settled? 

James: Yeah, just a bit of a disclaimer. My wife is practicing a recorder in another room of the house. So we might have some nice little woodwind background music as we continue the show. This is just to prove to everyone that we're not a professional podcast. Some people accused us... some people accused us of being a paid professional podcast, which we are not, which has been nice because, you know, as an independent show, we're able to be flexible for one another and to prioritize self care, family care, all that stuff, which is why we've been, you know, incommunicado for a while. 

But at the same time, happy to be back and happy to be with everyone, you know... 

Just a word  

Grace: ...on that too, with any ads you hear, those are actual folks that we know, that we support, and we are sharing with you for your local businesses. Folks that we know are doing a great job or people of integrity, and we're actually just promoting them because we love them. We are not getting any sort of paid sponsorship or anything like that. 

 And we have chosen to this point, not to start a Patreon or, or anything like that because we, we just really want to be genuine in our content to you. And we don't want anyone to feel like they're getting content that is influenced, so to speak. We, we, we are trying very hard to stay true to our independent roots. 

 So that's where we're at. If you'd like to donate to us, we have started to think about possibly throwing, a button on our, home page for that. And we are still considering that. And of course, if, if that happened, you'd hear a better mic on my end for sure. 

James: Well, you sound good right now. 

Grace: Thank you. Anyways. So let's get back to you, kind of chatting about how you felt about our purity series and on the work that was involved and kind of how that took us to sabbatical really. 

James: Yeah. It was definitely a challenging time for our show, I think for both of us and, for me, you know, sorting through some of the old teachings that I had heard about how all men are or how all men should be, eh, you know, it brought back some things that it was uncomfortable to talk about at times, and going through clips about purity culture and, and looking up various literature, you know, it's, it's not something that was necessarily a fun thing to, to put together it, but it was something that we both wanted to address and talk about because it is something on which you and I have both shifted significantly over, over the years. 

So that's really what our show is about. It's not always about the fun shifts, right? A lot of the shifts we make are from places of, you know, negative, you know, teaching and, and things that are harmful and things sometimes that we were directly involved in and maybe even supported and moved into a place of hopefully greater liberation and freedom. 

So that's where we were going with this. I hope we did a good job. I hope, I hope that came across to folks that, you know, we wanted to address this and talk about how there is a different way, a better way. And you know, as difficult as it was, I think it was certainly worth it to go there. 

Grace: So, what do you feel like was the hardest spot for you that maybe kind of took you into that space of like, I need a sabbatical now. 

James: I think for me, it was, it was more the purity culture aspect of it. I think, with the toxic masculinity, that was still difficult in certain, in some ways, but not quite as difficult as talking about the purity culture teachings. And it's all wrapped up together because the purity culture teachings, you know, when I was in high school, Christian high school, and this was the high school before I moved to Charlotte and we met, they had a seminar where they called in the boys and the girls, and they had like one big meeting of everyone before splitting up by sex. 

And, you know, they were teaching things like. They were telling the girls never believe it when a boy says he loves you or he's in love with you, or that you have beautiful eyes or, you know, anything he does to compliment you is, is seeking after one thing, because all boys, all men are animals and they're after one thing. 

And that hit me hard because you know, being a teenager is weird anyway. But when you're trying to learn how to move through life in a way that, you know, you have a life, maybe like your parents eventually, you know, you know, where you meet someone and get married and fall in love. And, and for many years I struggled as a result with being complimentary or being the least bit forward with, with someone I was attracted to. 

And so that... 

Grace: ...which makes it hard to get a date. 

James: Yeah, I didn't, I didn't date until I was in my late twenties. So it's, it really was detrimental to my development, I think, as a human; it really impacted my consciousness in a way that, I had a lot of wrong perceptions about myself and about other people. And I didn't, the problem, the thing that was difficult for me is that I wasn't buying what they were selling about boys and men, because I knew I wasn't like that, but everyone else is being taught that I'm like that. 

And they probably believe it. So I better just back off. That, that was how I was for a lot of years. And so I had to kind of revisit that in this series and sort of unpack it maybe once again. But yeah, so, I mean, it was, it certainly had its challenges. 

Grace: The hardest part for me was probably delving deep into Elisabeth Elliot. So like most things, you only got a fraction of what I had to go through, right? As far clips and everything. And, you know, when I was younger, I not only read every book she wrote, but I hosted her for a weekend. And it was very difficult for me to go back through that and hear all the things she really said. 

Right. Because I had this vague memory of her as a missionary, And yes, I knew she said some real dumb stuff about passion and purity and all of that. That was one of her books that was really popular. And I, and I knew she said a lot of these things, but I didn't recall so many specific things. And when I really remembered about her was in my mind, I had built her up to be like this rebel, because she really did buck against a lot of the stupid things that mission agencies would say about women. Right? So in my mind, even sitting here now so far removed, I still saw her as like this bit of pioneer, right? Bit of women's pioneer...  

James: Yeah.  

Grace: ...because she, she made it happen and she went and she did the things and she's had three husbands and all that, all of that. And to revisit that and then hear all the really, really stupid patriarchal shit she said was painful because it was on Phyllis Schlafly level. And I realized, oh my God, you're just like Phyllis Schlafly. And what I mean by that--if any of you haven't seen Mrs. America on Hulu, go watch it; it's about the ERA--is these evangelical women who have power and the reason they have power is because they put down every other woman, right, to be in a patriarchal system under her husband. 

The only reason they have power is because they're reinforcing the patriarchy towards these women and... 

James: Yeah, I think the way you put it was they, they, they got their power by asking us to give ours up, is, the way you put it. I thought that was a really good way to put it. 

Grace: Yes. And that was so difficult for me to realize that she was part of that system because I just had not built, I don't know why, but I had not built her into that system. And, I will tell you when I met her, she was a model of peace. I felt a tranquility around her. Like I can't deny that. And I also loved her chutzpah. 

Like I remember saying, oh, I've been turned down by this mission agency, you know, what do I do? And she was like, apply to another one, duh. I loved that. Right? I loved that very simple answer. It wasn't like, there's something wrong with you. It was like, whatever, go somewhere else. I did love that. And I do remember her talking about, on personality quizzes, she would often get labeled as hostile. And I just, I related to that in the sense of, I never got labeled as hostile, but definitely I was not, you know, the warm, fuzzy, affectionate kind of woman that evangelicals prop up. I'm by no means cold, but I've even been termed as aloof in some circumstances and things like that. 

 And it's more than just that I'm a very intentional person. I'm an introvert, I'm an intentional person, you know, I'm not an extrovert. I'm a friendly introvert. I will be very friendly to folks, but like as far as, you know, beginning in there and getting in relationship, it takes me some time I'm a slow grow, and I related to her on that. And I went, oh, I'm not crazy. I'm not strange. I'm not weird because I don't fit this other profile they want me to fit,and look at all these great things she's done, et cetera, et cetera. So I think that revisiting this and going "oh crap, she's not really any of these things I thought, and not only that it's worse," was heartbreaking. I cried a lot. There was a talk she gave that I watched that was about essentially following your husband, right? And kind of just that, that message of get on board with your husband's message and you'll be okay. I mean, hell we see it today on TLC, in Plathville, the family that's there now. 

I mean, it's, it's still here, y'all. It's still here, and realizing that, that she was very much that, it was heartbreaking. I, and just to break somebody down from this picture, you had them, even though you're out of the church, even though you're far away, you're kind of going, all right, I know she had said some real weird stuff, but overall she was great and a good influence on me. 

Well, no, no. I look back now and I'm like, she's probably a lot of the reason I didn't come out earlier because I thought, well, she's a woman like me. I'll find a man that looks at me like that. She found three. So, you know, like I think that, that was just the hardest thing for me to break down a hero. 

And, and someone that you didn't necessarily still see as a hero, because you don't think that way, but that you just didn't have in that Voldemort category, so to speak. You didn't have them in this like evil category. You had them in this sort of like category. And just hearing all this stuff she had to say was heartbreaking. 

 I would say that right behind that for me, was listening to the Mormon elders and all the Catholic priests and bishops who were still preaching, I mean, just ancient stuff. Right? Like you feel like you're in the middle ages when you listen to these guys. And thinking about all the women still sitting under them, all the couples who are going to them for counseling, just really broke my heart and it made me angry. Right? So I was, I was sort of really heartbroken going over the Elisabeth Elliot stuff. Then I got to that stuff and I just got mad, just angry. And all of that emotion just made me so tired and I just needed a break from it over the summer, to be honest, because we had had such a deep delve and it's just the two of us, y'all, like, you know, NPR has got several producers on this, several writers on this, several presenta... presentators on this. And for us, it's just the two of us and we're doing all of that together. And I'm so proud of the work we did. I feel like it was journalistic quality, I do, and I'm super proud of it, but it was a bit devastating and  

James: Yeah, it's draining...  

Grace: ...needed a break from it.... 

James: Yeah. And, and to speak to the production of it as well. I mean, that's all part of it, right? It's not just the prep. It's not just listening and speaking, speaking the words and breaking it down, but it's also the work that goes into producing it and, you know, mixing and editing and all that. 

It's, it's, it's like having to process the material all over again. So, I mean...  

Grace: And you're going through every little word of it. 

James: Yeah. And I, I love the production process. I love editing the show and putting it together and... But it's it's work, right? It's a lot of work. It's labor intensive. And then when you add that to that, the subject matter, that is labor intensive on the mind. 

Grace: And it's work we we chose. 

James: ...that....  

Grace: Like, we should be clear about that. It's work we chose. 

James: Oh, absolutely. Not complaining. 

Grace: And it's it's work that we hope that people have gotten something out of, that it was, and is indeed work, you know, cause then there comes in the promoting it. And how do you do that and how you do that well, and how do you do that without offending and getting people to listen and sort of hear the whole thing and, and all of that. 

So, yeah, I mean, I agree with you, like, and this is why people start Patreon, y'all, because it is like a second job. Especially when you love it as much as we do and you want to make it so good. 

James: Yeah. 

Grace: And, and we hope that we did, we hope that people really understood how much we wanted to make it good.  

James: I like to think, I like to think they, they, they took that away from it too. I mean, let us know, you know? 

Grace: Yeah. Let us know, y'all. I mean, we think is good. It doesn't mean anything if y'all don't think it's good. But we do want you to know that our souls were in it and that's why our souls suffered. And we had to give our souls a break and we want to come back to you now this season and just be really open and have these con... candid conversations, because we love what we did, but, to keep it up at, at that level, it just requires a lot, to, to, to produce at that level. 

And we're certainly going to continue to produce and do our very best and all of that. But we want to, we want to come off less scripted. And we want to have these chats with y'all and we want to really hear from you. We want to really, interact and engage with y'all and just really hear what you think. 

We have a feeling that, based on our numbers and such that we probably attract folks like us who listen and don't say much back. And think, oh, that was a good show, but don't say anything and, and sort of that, and we relate to that. We're those people, we're those pod listeners. 

James: Yeah, we're social introverts. So if you're a social introvert, if you can activate the social part a little bit and say hi, we'd really liked that. 

Grace: We really would, and we would very much appreciate it. And was there. That's just, that's kind of where we are now. This is where we're coming from, where we're going to start streaming like this and letting folks see us as well. And, if, if YouTube is your thing, we just want to be able to appeal where you are. 

We have transcripts as well, if you're a reader. So that option is out there. And, I am looking at my notes, and I Rocketbook... 

James: Do we want to talk a little about Halloween ... 


If Rocketbook would like to be our sponsor, 

James: Rocketbooks are cool... 

Grace: We do love Rocketbook. 

James: I ...  


Grace: You can save the using Rocketbook.  

James: Here's my Rocketbook,  

Grace: Um,  

James: so, yeah. Halloween's coming up. I know that we're going to get to that. We're going to talk about that maybe at a later date, but do we want to... 

Grace: Yeah, let's do it. I want to just mention one more thing before we go there, which is to say that James and I are going to continue to stream our shows right in the same feed. He's going to continue to do the Quieted Mind and I'm going to pick up Mediocre Mystic. Yes. Only had one show. I realize that. My number two's coming and it's big. So, Halloween is kind of a great time to drop a Mediocre Mystic too. And just... 

James: Absolutely. 

Grace: I'm going to be talking about some really fun stuff with some really fun friends of mine into all kinds of woo-woo. So hopefully you guys will enjoy that, but yeah, we're, we're gonna drop a show together on Halloween and we would love your input. Right, James? 

James: Yeah, absolutely. So, you can, should we tell them how they can contact us?  

Grace: Let's do it. We want to hear all your Halloween stories, your best, your worst, all that good stuff. How your, you know, for me, I'm just interested, particularly as an exvangelical, how are you deconstructing Halloween? How does that, you know, factor into your life now? If at all, is it just fun? 

Is it, you know, something you got all woo-woo witchy about, like me? Whatever. However you want to talk... 

James: Did you trick or treat? Were you allowed to trick or treat? Did you, were you allowed to celebrate Halloween or did you go to a church fall festival or both? Maybe you did both? 

Grace: Trunk or treat? 

James: Trunk or treat? 

Grace: Yeah. Were you allowed to watch Scooby-Doo 

James: Yeah. Yeah. 

Grace: It's a no or Smurfs. 

James: I I find the phrase "trunk or treat" just a little concerning though, because you're giving me an option of a treat or a trunk. Am I going in the trunk what's happening with the trunk? I am not sure. You have an option of trunk or treat. I dunno...  

Grace: 's fair. I'm not going to get just stuffed in the trunk like... 

James: Then you're the treat, I guess. I don't know. 


That's just, that's a little, okay. Maybe that's going too far. 

Grace: Oh, now we're getting into true crime. Fundamental Shift... 

James: the spooky music 

Grace: ...meets true crime.  

James: It is Halloween themed. I don't know. 

Grace: Well, let's let them know how they can contact us. I know on Facebook, you're just going to look us up at Fundamental Shift. On Instagram you're going to look us up at fun.shift.pod. On Twitter, you're going to look us up at funshiftpod. 

James: Funshiftpod. Yeah. You can email us You can leave us a voicemail at 704-665... am I getting it right? 


I think 7473? Don't quote me on that. There's a number that you can text or leave us a voicemail. 

Grace: Oh that's awful. 

James: Okay. It took us a few minutes, but Grace has the number. 

Grace: Okay. Leave us a voicemail at 704-665-7473. We would love to hear from you. 

James: I think that's what I said. I think that's the number I said at first, I think got it  

Grace: If you did, we can just cut... 

James: All right. But yeah, voicemail or text us. 

Grace: Yes. Or text. 

James: Was there another one? Was there another way to contact us or does that cover it? 

Grace: We are good. That's it. 

James: We're not on TikTok yet? Right? You can't contact... 

Grace: we're  

James: ... on can you...  

Grace: I don't know because there's only so many things I can do. Y'all I am 42 pushing 43. 

James: You don't have to dance on TikTok anymore. People actually say stuff. 

Grace: Oh, well, maybe... 

James: We can take a clip of this and put it on TikTok maybe. 

Grace: All right. We'll try. We'll try. 

James: We'll see. We'll see what we can do with the TikToks. 

Grace: Tick Tock ...stop... Do you remember that? That's an old one that's an old one. 

James: Yup. 

Grace: Well, y'all, thank you so much for joining us. I hope you have enjoyed this shift show. Cause it has been just that. 

James: Mm-hmm. All right... 

Grace: Please do join us next time. We will talk about Halloween and we hope we will have all your amazing Halloween submissions. Yes? 

James: Until next time, keep it spooky.