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Recovering Our Attention: A Practice in Awareness & Recapitulation
Learn About the Importance of Mastering Your Attention
It can be hard to know where and how to focus, especially as clinicians during the holidays. Learning to master your attention can help you live fully and authentically at all times.
Join Lee McCormick as he uses twenty years of experience to teach you the power and responsibility you hold in your own attention.
Lee McCormick, Cory Miller
Everyone, welcome back to another web webinar live event at AllCounselors.com I’ve got my friend and partner Lee McCormick, a legend in the recovery space. I’ve known Lee for about a year now. I got to spend numerous conversations and hearing his heart, his work in the world. He founded the ranch way back in the day, it’s in a little town outside of Nashville, where he’s actually right here. You’re close to the treatment facility you founded called the ranch at your actual family ranch right now rightly?
And then Lee is also co founder of integrativelifenetwork.com I’m sorry, integrativelifecenter.com an amazing mental health Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Nashville right off of Music Row. You founded that in? I want to say 2010
Yeah, 2010’s when we started.
So Lee, would you tell us just for those of us that might not know you, as well, you just tell us a little bit more, I gave you some of the highlights there. But I know you’ve written books and things like that. But your journey goes back as one in recovery. And then you started trying to make and you’ve made an incredible impact in the world through your, your work in recovery.
Yes. So the journey started, oh, 24, 23 years ago. Now. When I checked myself into a treatment center in Arizona, I actually went to Sierra Tucson 23 years ago, and that opened the door. And that gave me the baseline of realizing that realizing that it been I was long overdue, and really questioning myself questioning my life. Like most people in treatment, I landed in treatment out of a mess. That was a result of the behaviors that I had been living by. And it was a, you know, I had a really great experience. And it just opened a lot of doors. For me, that was the beginning of the of the door opening journey, and the questioning things journey. And then a few years later, I started the Ranch – I owned the ranch for 10 years 11 years, and then started integrative Life Center in 2010 with Holly Cook. And that’s still rolling. So I’m still a partner in ILC, as we call it.
And during that time I have lived I’ve lived this ongoing relationship in multiple realities, I guess I would say. So I met Miguel Ruiz, the man that wrote the Four Agreements, read his book, signed up for a journey to Teotihuacan, Mexico, gosh, 20 years ago now. And that experience in Mexico, just really blew me open. So I was a couple years into the recovery experience. And my whole experience in Mexico opened the recovery experience that I was living up to a much broader array of points of view, and perspectives and the tools that are available to us and, and our learning how to recover our power, how to recover the power of choice, the power of, of the beliefs that we hold. And that led to other ceremonial connections, doing some work with Native American people that I’ve known over the years and getting involved in in sweat lodge ceremonies and medicine wheel ceremonies and going back and forth to Peru. I don’t know seven or eight times now. So I’ve lived a real broad array of experiences. That all was launched from my original having checked myself into a treatment center and starting that journey of opening up my life.
And I know like you, you have embraced, I think it would be the word but you dove in to the ancient wisdom that’s out there. Like you mentioned, sweat lodges. It’s something that you do I think a weekly basis i’m not mistaken at ILC for clients in in treatment at ILC because I think you told me one time you’re like, Hey, I got to do this every I got to do the sweat lodge experience, for instance, every so often because it’s like a resetting, you know, it’s just something you need in your life, and then you just got back from Teotihuacan. Yeah. Last week.
well, you know, the ceremony. Um, that’s, that’s really one of the it’s one of the principal aspects and one of the principal relationships, for me in the journey of recovery. And that’s what led to the topic of, you know, this, this conversation today, around awareness around the practices of recapitulation and realizing, realizing the power that we hold in the quality of the life that we’re living based on the level of awareness that we literally have the level of awareness that we hold with ourselves, in regards to the things that we give our attention to. And that can literally be as simple as the thoughts that we give attention to the thoughts that we have the random thoughts, the stories that we tell about ourselves, that we give our attention to the emotions that come up in us, that we give our attention to. So the the Shamanic world as such, that’s how we culturally identify it. The Shamanic world is really a world of awareness, directly related to how we hold our energy, the things that we give energy, life attention to, and the quality of relationship that we live with every single aspect of our life. And it’s, it’s the Shamanic world is I was introduced to it the ancient Mexican toltec based mystery school. It’s, it’s, it is a it’s a mystery school.
So there’s perspectives and beliefs around it, you know, there are stories around it, there’s a fantastic mythology associated with it. And what was so powerful to me and different from other Mystery Schools as such, were the tools that that had been created over 1000 years for us to use in practice, in realizing what the mythology is telling us, so the mythology tells us something, it informs us and I’ll look at the recovery journey, even traditional recovery, disease model recovery, it’s a mythology. It’s a story that’s been made up by people based on real experience you know, based on quote unquote science, based on opinion based on all the stuff that we humans weave into the way that we tell our stories. So, you know, traditional recovery to me is is a mythology. It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s not true, it’s not untrue. It is a story. It’s a story about who we are, what we’re doing here and definitions and labels and roles and diagnoses that are offered to us that we then as unique individuals we each as individuals then are responsible for how we choose to respond to the information that’s conveyed to us from the mythology of recovery from the story of recovery.
you know, I early on in recovery the the identity the My name is Lee and I’m an addict thing. There was some relief to that because it gave me an explanation for the pattern of behavior that that I was really stuck in. And at the same time, it wasn’t but a couple months I think that the feeling of my name’s Lee and I’m an addict didn’t feel correct and I wouldn’t I didn’t have a resistance to the fact that I was addicted to a drug and to a pattern of behavior that was a completely realized that but what didn’t feel correct to me was me defining myself by my behaviors, as though the totality of what I am, is defined in my name is Lee and I’m an addict.So I, you know, I questioned that it didn’t, it just didn’t feel correct. And again, there was no argument that I was addicted to the issue was that that doesn’t define what I am, it defines the way I’ve been living.
So, you know, when I bringing that with me to Mexico, on my first journey, to the pyramids, and Teotihuacan, and my introduction to the whole energetic realm of the toltec mystery school, the mystery school basically says, We’re an aspect of the mystery. That’s what we are. And for all of our knowledge, for all of our science for all of our beliefs, the truth really is, we can know a lot about a lot of aspects of this material world. But we don’t actually truly know what we are, we do not know where we come from, for a fact, we have a lot of beliefs around it. But we don’t know where we come from, we don’t know where we go, when we leave our bodies. If you believe we go anywhere, you know, could just be that when the body dies, we die with it. I don’t subscribe to that. But you know, we’re we each have our own choices and how we hold our relationship to life.
So recovery to me rapidly became about self discovery. Even though at 40 years old, I thought I knew myself, you know, I had a pretty compelling story about myself, I had done a lot of things. You know, they’re My name’s Lee, and I’m a rancher, and I’m a cowboy. And I’m a commodities trader, and on blah, blah, blah, I could have given you, I would have given you a whole bunch of the roles that I live as my reality as my identity. And when you scratch the surface of all that stuff, really underneath, I clung to that, like we all do, we cling to the roles that we live, because they offer us an identity in this world. And it that gives us a sense of security, that gives us a sense of belonging gives us a community of people that live like roles. But underneath all that, is that is it really true. Is that what you are, or is that just what you’re doing. Right.
So that’s what that actually is. What inspired me in recovery was the questions. You know, the questions were compelling. The questions were intriguing. During my walk every Yeah, well, I wanted there to be more than just My name’s Lee and I’m an addict. I was like, right, like, Okay, well, shit if that’s it, then it didn’t gonna take a whole lot to do this. Just do what you’re told. Which has never been a strong suit of mine anyway. Right, you know, so my recovery journey taking me or me, taking me and me taking me and me taking my recovery journey into Mexico, opened up this whole paradigm. And this whole perspective, and the mythology of the ancient toltec awareness, which is as valid today as it was then, because the majority of what the toltecs realized 1500 years ago, is the basis of much of the quantum physics realizations that have occurred over the last 20 years.
Okay, you’ve talked about Toltecs. And just for those of us that might not be aware of that culture, or civilization, what what could you tell us a little bit background about toltecs and then link it to the awareness and energy that you talked about?
Sure. If, if you’ve heard of the book, The Four Agreements or you’ve heard of Don Miguel Ruiz. Miguel’s family lineage goes back to the toltecs were a tribe. They were a conglomeration of tribes and peoples that started to band together something like 1000 1200 years ago, in central Mexico. You know, there were a couple tribes and they’d run into another small group or tribe and they’d absorb them. And then they’d run into another one and absorb that. And it grew and grew to where the city of Teotihuacan will come outside of Mexico City where the Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon are, was the capital as such, of the toltec world, and the toltec people in there were, it’s it’s estimated now by the archaeologists that they were around 200,000 people that live there 1200 years ago. So it, it was a city you know, 1000 1200 1300 years ago. The, the term toltec translates to artists of the Spirit. Artist of the Spirit, is reflecting on their perception, their perspective, that each human being each one of us, is an Artist of Life. And that the canvas that we are painting is the actual life that we are creating. So each one of our individual lives, each one of our individual realities is literally a living art installation. And we are the consciousness that is 100% responsible for what we create as our life.
And all of this existed for them outside of the right, wrong, good bad judgment orientation that we that I guess the puritanical Christian world brought into everyone’s perception. so powerfully, you know, over the last couple, thousand years or 1500 years, that the acts of judgment, the fact of measuring and gauging and judging seems to have just grown more and more powerful. And the toltecs lived with awareness, but they also saw life as a reality of cause and effect of action and reaction, that is the basis of how we humans do the dance of life in this world. In this duality, if I do this, I get that, if I choose this, then I eliminate that and I get this, you follow me, it’s just simple cause and effect, it’s action reaction. So they really had a mastery of simplifying the nature of our relationship with ourselves and simplifying the nature of our relationships with the world. And there was a real beauty to that, that was really appealing to me. And the tools that the toltecs developed, were tools of personal empowerment, that also came with with a powerful personal responsibility. And I am 100% responsible for the choices that I make. As adults, I’m 100% responsible for my choices. I am 100% responsible for the beliefs that I subscribe to. I am 100% responsible for the thoughts that I give my attention to, for the emotions that come up, and how I respond to them. I’m literally all of these millions of interactions that happen within us and around us, between us in the world and between us and ourselves. All of this continuous living, evolving fabric of interaction that we live with, on a day to day basis. We are 100% responsible for our side of every one of those actions, and reactions and causes and effects.
So from their point of view, there’s no such thing as a victim. There, there are experiences that one person can put on another person, you know, we we can do terrible things to one another. We can do terrible things to ourselves. We have to deal with the energetic of that we have to deal with the actual experience of that and the emotional reactions to that. And from their point of view, that doesn’t make us a victim. It makes us responsible for how we have chosen to respond to those heartbreaking experiences or those traumatic experiences. Um, and that made so much sense to me. Because what I’ve realized and witnessed over 20 years of work in in, you know, in the mental health addictions world is that seeing ourselves as a victim really tends to disempower us. When I cast a victim shadow on myself, and I take on a victim’s attitude, that can, that can very easily become a poison, it can become a limiting factor it can become, it becomes a series of filters that I then see the world through, that I see myself through. And it distorts my opportunity to realize myself separate and apart from the experiences that I’m living in the world. One day at a time, I’m the one living the experience. I’m not you experience that I’m living. Does that make sense to you? Like, I was just out sorting cows, right, I’m in the cow pens in the mud. And we’re sorting some sorting heifer calves from bull calves. And I’m the guy standing there, thinking the thoughts, seeing what I’m seeing, making the decisions I’m making, say, in sort this one this way. So this one goes to the left, this one goes to the right, this one goes straight through. I’m the one in the middle of that experience directing the traffic of that experience. I’m not the experience of what was going on in the cow pens, I’m the one that was present for it, and with it, and the one that’s directing it. But what I am, is something else, something greater, something more. And it just happened that for that hour and a half or two hours, that’s where my focus and attention was, that’s where my physical body was, that’s what I was doing.
Mm hmm. But you weren’t in it. You were Yeah, directing and experiencing kind of above it while things are happening.
Well, I know myself, apart from the roles that I live, you know, and in that is, I think, is a great opportunity. And it’s something that I work with the clients at integrative Life Center on in groups that I do in ceremonies, and stuff is to give them experiences of realizing. Realizing that for all the things that we do in our life, all the places we go, all the labels that we attach to ourselves, all the roles that we play, that we’re subscribing to these activities, we’re subscribing to these beliefs. And we exist separate and apart from that, it’s, it’s, um, well, it’s not unlike the Shakespeare statement about All the world’s a stage, you know, and we’re all the actors, we’re really the characters in our own little personal movie that we live on Earth. So I’m the lead character, who chose to go into the cow pens and sort those cattle today, um, and the quality of my day, and my peace of mind. And my presence in in the day, can go two ways I can, I can get so enmeshed in that activity, that I can make myself miserable. If things don’t go the way I want. Or I can make myself great if everything does go the way I want. Or I can just get in there do do my job, do the best. And when I’m done, I’m done. And then I shift my attention to something else. But my value, the quality of my day, the quality of my experience is not going to be determined necessarily by the outcome. Because my sense of who I am. And, and the quality of my relationship with myself is not determined by the world around me. The quality of my relationship with me, is something that is determined by the quality of my relationship with me. Does this make any sense to you?
Yeah, I mean, the part you said about the roles separate you from the roles you play in your life. Yeah, I think that pretty much can cover all of us, especially this time, what a good thought to think. And so, you know, I’ve heard this I think in recovery and I can’t remember where the source comes from, but what you focus on, your attention expands and we’re talking about attention in all this and it seems like one theme that you’re talking about is choosing, choosing these things very deliberately. What your awareness is being there like in sorting the cows and things like that, like being, your awareness was there in that moment? I’m curious what other thoughts you have around awareness? in particular what we put our focus on?
Okay, good. That’s a great question. So if you think about this, whatever you’re focusing on, you’re giving your attention to, okay? What I give my attention to I give energy to my intention is, like a, it’s like a light beam. If I focus my attention right now on on this conversation, then I’m giving energy to this conversation. Okay? When I give energy to something, I’m giving life to it. I’m making it important, because I’ve chosen to give it my attention. This is really reflective, if you consider the stories that we tell ourselves. And in particular, for instance, the reactions that we have during the day. So someone could say something to me, that I find offensive. Okay, I can hear their words, I can, I’ll have a reaction. So when I have when I hear their words, and take the words, and that triggers an emotional reaction, and a feeling comes up of anger, or resentment, or, or fear, or not good enough, some, you know, there’s an emotional response, it comes up, I can feel that emotional response come up. In that experience, I have the opportunity number one, when those words are spoken to me that I found offensive, I have an opportunity to hear the words and to consciously say, Okay, that was a jackass thing to say, or that was rude. And so what, who cares? Right, because my sense of well being is not determined by what anybody else thinks. For the most part, that’s true. I mean, my children, my wife, they’re kind they are exceptions to that. There are very few people in this world, if whatever their opinion of something I say or do is it’s going to change my mood or my feeling in the moment.
And I’ve just learned that over the years, because if we’re if we’re not 100%, responsible for ourselves, then we end up living at the mercy of the next opinion, the next reaction, you know, the next expectation how well that goes. And what I’ve realized is I can bring a much cleaner, clearer effect much more effective presence of myself into situations, if I do not need to be validated by them. If my self worth is not going to be determined by what the outcome of that interaction is, just You follow what I’m saying, like the quality of my day, the quality of my moments, the quality of my experience, I don’t offer it up to the outcome. Although we all have feelings, we all have reactions, it may not, you know, something could go great, or something could turn into a mess. And the mess is not fun or pleasant. But I’m not going down a rabbit hole of oh my god and drama. Because something didn’t work out the way that it potentially could have. I am the I am responsible for how I respond to all the interactions in my life. When we give our attention to a thought, to an emotion, to an external interaction, when we give our attention to it, we’re giving life to it.
As we do trauma work with people, or as I have conversations with people about the experiences in their life that haunt them. That’s the way I put it, you know that we literally are haunted by the heartbreak or the pain or the suffering of traumatic experiences. When those stories come up, when those memories come up, if I am conscious enough to realize that that old story every time it comes up, it triggers an emotional reaction of fear or anger or sadness. If I can realize the cause and effect between the story coming up in my mind, the memory coming up in my mind and the trigger of the emotional reaction. Then I can look at that and go Okay, yes, it’s true. I have the thoughts, the thoughts triggered emotion, my attention goes into my attention first goes to the thought, I believe the thought, that triggers the emotion, I feel the emotion, the emotion starts a spiral. And that spiral takes me back down into the guilt, the shame or the rage or the anger or the whatever is in my spiral around that memory and that trauma. And in each one of those interactions, there are tools that we can use to learn to stop to break to intervene on the automatic nature of how that whole series of events clicks in place. Mm hmm. Do you follow me?
So, um, and I’m telling you, it works. And it is a practice. So one of the practices that we use at integrative Life Center that I’ve developed over the last few years is that the journaling practice what I call the first mirror. So and there is a video on this, you guys, you can
I just put a link into the chat.
Okay, cool. So that that video actually is fully self explanatory, so I’m just going to touch on it. Um, but I introduce people to the practice of at the end of each day, take 30 minutes, take a journal, and a pen. And sit down somewhere at the end of your day, you’ll take yourself back to the morning when you woke up. I the way off typically frame it is I’ll say I want you to see yourself like the only person sitting in a movie theater, you’re in the movie theater. And as the lights come up on the screen, there you are in bed that morning, and you are the witness in the theater to you waking up that morning. And you are the witness to you walking through your whole day being the witness to all the interactions. And in any interaction that you really got hooked. That something that you got real angry, or that you got real happy in kind of crazy happy. Any interactions where you got hooked by anger, you got hooked by fear. You just scan through the day. And you begin to acknowledge those interactions that you gave energy and attention to that caused you suffering. Okay, develop the ability to be the witness to how we respond. Because our responses become automatic.
there’s, there’s really no thought in there. This happens, this comes up, the emotion happens, I go with emotion is like bam, bam, bam, there’s no pause anywhere in that when we first start. But in the recapitulation, you give yourself the opportunity to be the witness. Just see how you function during the day. If you’ll do that for a couple of weeks, I guarantee you, you’ll get to a point to where in real time during the day, something will happen that will trigger you or hook you. And you’ll feel your reaction coming before it completely before it completely takes you over. And you’ll have a moment in there that you’ll have the realization Oh my God, I’m doing it. Mm hmm. I’m going there right now. Does this make sense to you? And if y’all have any questions or anything, ask them please
just gonna take this point almost halfway or over halfway through is if you have questions, please put those in the chat or the q&a button for Lee and we’re here for you at AllCounselors.com great to have Lee McCormick on today to talk about all of this and experiences coming off of Teotihuacan too just recently, I you know, I’m curious for you to talk about specifically the energy part. So I get this like, one is awareness and, you know, it’s a it’s a popular topic too, with awareness with all the mindfulness stuff, you know, all the apps out there and everything but I get that I think you went a layer deeper for me. And that is recognizing I’m spending energy putting energy in out into certain things and to be able to reflect I was he when you said I was trying to reflect this one and going okay.
but it seems like you’re that’s a way like we’re not cars but if you see a car and you see a car you know a mechanic puts it up on the stand searching around. And like you know, listening for things and seeing for things seems like that’s what you’re dealing with this exercise to is just looking at where did where those little outlets were in the day you’re exhausted or and something happens particularly in, in recovery, right you get there’s something a cue trigger, you know, and you get this opportunity, but you’re saying throughout the day is see where you’re expending this on, potentially, to say negative things?
Well, and and imagine during the course of your day, how much energy you put into situations that are in truth absolutely irrelevant.
they don’t mean squat. Yeah, I’m not using my cow pens language, I’m using my professional language. It doesn’t mean squat, right? If in the shamanic world, the key to living an amazing, fantastic life of intent is that we must break the patterns of all the ways we bleed energy into the world, with no positive result for ourselves. So it’s a re-collection recollection. It’s a conscious practice of awareness of what am I giving my energy to, because what I give my attention to I give energy to and what I give energy to I give life to. So apply that to old memories, to old trauma loops to old stories, my name is Lee and I’m an addict. Okay, I could carry the story, I don’t, I don’t refer to myself that way. I’ve not indulged in what my addiction was, for 20 years or something. 22 years, I don’t count days. So say I haven’t indulged in the behavior. That was my addiction. And now I was addicted. Like, I was, I was addicted. I haven’t indulged in that pattern of behavior or that substance in over 20 years. So what in the world would be the benefit to me continuing to identify myself as an addict? I mean, and some people will say, Well, if you don’tconstantly remind yourself, you’ll go back to it, what I say is, if if you constantly remind yourself, you have a far greater chance of going back to it, because you’re keeping that option of behavior that you created, it didn’t exist apart from you.
We create, we each create our addictions. We didn’t catch them like a cold. They’re not random. It takes a lot of time and energy and intent, and typically money to create an addiction. So we manifest it not knowing any better. And going through the recovery process of literally divorcing myself from the entity that was my addiction, and unraveling the behaviors that were rooted in the addiction, unraveling the thoughts, the fears, the judgments, the justifications, unraveling everything that was rooted in that addictive pattern of behavior, and unraveling, the true source of that addictive pattern of behavior, which was probably life experiences, you know, that led to the addiction being such an attractive way of avoiding feeling what I was feeling, okay. How in the world does it really serve me to, to continue to give energy to something that hasn’t been relevant in my life for 20 years, or for five years, or for eight years? My perspective, is that the recovery process is really an opportunity of waking up in the moment of realizing, oh, my God, look how much time and energy and attention I have given to this pattern of behavior that is my addiction over the last number of years. how powerful the presence it has held in the middle of my life. Because I said so. Every time a craving came up, every you know, my reaction to a good day to a bad day was about the same thing, go out and party and get high. You know, the insanity of those patterns and behaviors that we have created that overwhelm our lives that overwhelm our opportunity to make other choices. We can’t make other choices, because so much of our energy is invested in that addictive pattern in the stories that support it. Okay, that I don’t have enough energy available to go do life a different way.
So the recovery journey is the unraveling of all that stuff. Breaking the patterns of behavior, breaking the pattern of the addiction, which for instance going into a 12 step meeting is intervening on the pattern of the addiction, where you go to a meeting in the evening instead of going to the bar, or the whatever, right? So I’m redirecting my attention from thinking about getting high, or whatever my behavior was, I’m shifting my attention from that pattern of behavior. And I’m taking my attention into a meeting, I’m taking my attention to a meditation group, I’m taking my attention to a yoga class.
Like you’re acknowledging that, you know, at some point, you know, you had a problem with certain substances, or drugs or something like that. Well, I think what you’re saying is you’re not, you’re switching your daily awareness from, okay. Yes, I’ve come through this to say, this is a problem. These are things, but you’re saying, like living in the old identity, perhaps what I hear is not the best for you going forward, like the and, you’re hitting that I think identity without saying it by saying the roles that you have in your life, like, you know, an hour ago, you’re out there, directing cattle, you know, now you’re doing this live event. And, but you’re, you’re simultaneously not being attached to the old life, it feels like, but also not just re– reattaching those in other areas that don’t serve you too.
Absolutely, because my responsibility to me, and my responsibility to the life that I am creating. Okay, I create my life. Every day. From the time I get up in the morning till I go to sleep at night, I am actively engaging in the creation of what the life of Lee McCormick looks like and feels like it amounts to. Right? You do the same thing?
And I’m, and we all do the same thing. What’s missing is that there are most people are not really completely conscious, that they are actually creating the life that they’re waking up to and stepping into in the morning.
See, because we’ve not been taught to understand the power we hold, we’ve been taught to be compliant with the rules and the judgments and the expectations and the values of our culture.
So my value can only be achieved through how well I perform according to the rules of my culture.
And that’s extremely applicable in the recovery world.
And it’s gonna take a couple days for me to digest that.
But well, it’s true. So, you know, in a sense, we say that, well, we can say, you know, my, my first priority is God. But who do you give more attention to? What holds more sway over your self judgment over your self value over your identity? Who actually holds the bigger hammer, in your day to day life and in the mood you’re in? And in the quality of how you show up for the things that you do? Your relationship with God, or your relationship with the culture of your life?
I mean, if you’re going to be really honest about it, right? Did Did somebody have a message? Did I see a message?
Yes, somebody asked about CEU, and this is this is not a CEU webinar. So I answered them. If you have questions for Lee McCormick, please press hit the chat room or the q&a, the chat button right below our videos or the q&a button. Either way will work, I’m monitoring these as we talk.
So you know, somthing else Cory, that to bring this awareness. I am 100% responsible for the life that I woke up to this morning. Okay, I was 100% responsible to the life that I was waking up to 25 years ago, when my life was a mess. Okay. I didn’t understand that 25 years ago, because that’s not the way I was raised. It’s not what I was taught. I was taught to live life based in judgment. I was either doing good or I was doing bad. I was either right or I was wrong. So I was always dancing with, you know, the kind of like the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other shoulder and which, which way do I want to go and what do I want to do?
But as long as we live with judgment, as our, as the overlay of our choice making, we can’t help but live in conflict because living by judgment disempowers us Living by 100% responsibility for my choices in my actions, that empowers me. And it says that it what it makes real evident is that the quality of the life I’m living of the energy that I carry, of the choices I’m making, the quality of my life is going to be determined by the quality of responsibility that I’m willing to take over my choices. And running into that awareness a couple years after going to treatment. It just, like slammed me, I was like, oh my god. So that shit show of a life that I lived for 10 years. It wasn’t anybody else’s fault. It actually, it was my responsibility. But it really wasn’t my fault. Because I had no clue what I was doing. I’d never been introduced to the fact that life is this living, energetic back and forth exchange of cause and effect. And that I really do hold the power and the grace, and the responsibility and ability to create a life I love living, if I’m willing to own if I’m willing to own my choices, and the consequences, and the cause and effect 100%.
You know, and I think we get so beat up in this world. We our sense of like the God granted innate sense of value that each of us has, that we were born with, to ful- for me, for me to fulfill the reason for me, even being in this world, I’m going to have to discover the inspiration, or follow through on what the creator gave me as gifts and tools, and unique points of view. Like for me to really honor my Creator for me to honor God, then I need to figure out who am I really? And how do I live my life from that unique place of inspiration within myself that the creator gave me as the purpose for me being here. Makes sense?
Mm hmm. For sure, I mean, when I hear you talk about and I was looking at the Four Agreements, you talk about, like about personal responsibility, about control, power, energy, and that control. And it’s this perspective, it feels like the toltec teaching for for instance, and application to your life is I’m not my I’m not the roles I’m in. But I have personal but I have personal responsibility to live. I don’t know it feels very empowering. Like, I think you actually used it, you said empowering.
It is empowering. See, I’m not the role that I play. But I’m 100% responsible for the quality of myself that I bring to play. It’s literally, it’s literally, we’re all character actors. And I’ve accepted this role as Lee McCormick, a cattleman, a rancher. And so the only person responsible for how well I live that role is me.
Right. My name is Lee, I’m a recovering person, the only person responsible for how I characterize that role, how I choose to live in relationship to that role, what I bring into that role, the only person responsible for any of those things is me. Yeah.
And, and that’s that, back to it empowering. And then your review your first journaling experiences is reviewing what happened during the day, which a lot of this I mean, I don’t do that. Yeah, I was trying to think back what I even had for breakfast, or if I had breakfast, but counting those things and being that’s an awareness that I don’t have currently, you know,
well imagine if you did that, like now in this time of COVID. We’ve all had this big wake up call to how how, how incredibly important our health is.
Okay. And that our health, our health is based in the relationship we live with our body and the relationship that we live with the food that we eat, what we drink, how we care for ourselves, okay. If If I’m journaling, if I’m recapitulating my day, and I’m going through the day and realizing Well, I was in a hurry this morning, so I got a taco. I got a breakfast taco at McDonald’s. For breakfast, and I didn’t really have time for lunch. So I, I ate some crackers and some cheese for lunch and drank a coke. And I got home for dinner, but I was really tired. So I just threw some frozen thing. And I look at that over a couple week period of time. It’s like, dude, you’re like, eating garbage. And you wonder why you don’t feel good in your body. And you wonder why you’re gaining weight. And you, you know, it’s like, it’s all just cause and effect. And I could say, Oh, god, I’m such an idiot, what’s wrong, I could go into the judgment thing, and just burn more good energy after bad, judging myself. Or I could look at this and go, you know, what, I need to take responsibility for how I’m eating, and what I’m drinking. And I’m going to get up a half hour earlier in the morning, and I’m gonna, I’m going to cook a couple tortillas and fry an egg and eat some sauerkraut with it. And then you know, I’m going to take responsibility for these moments in my life and raise the quality of the experience that I’m giving myself.
It’s just so it’s like, everything in life is for me, everything in life is a relationship. So what is the quality of relationship I live with my body, really? What’s the quality of it? What’s the quality of, you know, you can look at exercise in our culture. What’s the quality of relationship we live, you live with exercise? Well, you can either not exercise at all, that’s one choice. Or you can be one of those people that works out all the time, incessantly that that’s really your coping mechanism is working out and working out working out. And you’re really abusing your body. Because it’s, it’s it’s a coping mechanism like drugs or alcohol are a coping mechanism. Is it really good for you. So this recapitulation, at the end of each day, I call it the first mirror. Because it gives us a mirror to look at the quality of choices we’re making in our life, and the patterns that we have established, that we have given power to, if you think about it, the patterns that you establish, tend to own you until you wake up and go, Oh, shit, that really has become a pattern. And I keep doing it that way. And I really don’t want to do it that way anymore. So I need I need to break this pattern. And allow myself more flexibility.
Yeah, in starting, I think this is, this is great. And I’m more and more understanding because it’s a high sense of personal responsibility. There’s no blame. It’s, this is my life, starting out from it, taking account of it, and being intentional about how I direct that energy. From what
judging judging myself. Takes zero responsibility.
judging yourself is an absolute complete waste of time. it accomplishes nothing. Doing nothing. Yeah. If I want to change my life, if I’m if I, if I basically if I don’t like the choices that I’m making, right, then put the attention and the energy on changing the pattern that directs your choices. not judge yourself over what you’ve already done, which hasn’t changed anything.
Yeah. That’s good.
Well, Hey, everybody, we’ve been talking with Lee McCormick, co founder, integrativelifecenter.com, Nashville, Tennessee, and then I’ll put a link here into your book to the heart reconnection
heart reconnection guidebook.
While I do that, any last thing or thoughts you wanted to share with our audience.
I don’t know, man, we’re, you know, we’re living in the upside down. I mean, it’s so so many of these TV shows the last 10 or 15 years have turned into prophecies. So we’re live in some some combination of Stranger Things and Vampire Diaries and
I was about say, when he said when he said that, I thought, Stranger Things upside down.
Yeah, you know, so in the gift in that is that nature, life, like the the truth of what’s going on here is life is going on here. And life is greater and more mysterious than we are. Thank God. And life has intervened on how we humans are living here, because we’ve created a real mess and the opportunity in that is for us to wake up. Just like in our individual lives on a recovery journey, the invitation of needing to step into recovery was an invitation of life, not an invitation of judgment, mm, invitation of life. We’re living with this COVID situation and all that’s going to keep coming from it is an invitation to Would you like to pay attention now? How you live? Would you like to step back and regroup and question and re dream and reimagine, you can take it two ways we can be a victim to it. We can keep looking back waiting for the past to show back up, which is never going to happen. Or we can say oh my god, the whole deal is changed. Let me dream into how to create a new fresh relationship with how life is today. So there’s a lot of parallels to this and our individual life journeys.
Well, Hey, everybody, Lee McCormick, co founder integrativelifecenter.com, Nashville, Tennessee. Spiritrecovery.com is Lee’s personal website where you can find his books and other things he’s done including interviews like this one. Lee thank you for being on you’re going to be a regular at AllCounselors.com and we need it. I know it’s always good for therapists and clinicians in the audience to be able to kind of kind of receive, you know, be able to come take some time and space and get recharged to think about these things for their own work in the world. Yeah, so we appreciate you.
I appreciate you too for y’all have a have a great holidays, man.
Ditto. Everybody. Take a big deep breath. Think about what Lee shared recordings will be at AllCounselors. Thanks again, Lee and thanks, everybody for being here today.
Alright Brother. Adios.