(Breather) In this breather show, Shawn Askinosie and I continue our wonderful conversation, which becomes more spiritually-minded as we touch on topics such as grief, aging, and a little bit about neuroscience, too.
Shawn gets really personal and opens up about his own experience with loss and what he refers to as “the long arch of grief.” We talk about aging and the soul, and Shawn shares why he thinks of our souls as ageless. We also talk about the neuroscience behind forward acceleration and gravity, and its effect on our brain and on our equilibrium.
There are times when we need help with our emotions and spiritual selves. [01:09]
Grief is grief. It doesn’t matter how old you are. [05:28]
Life is so comfortable we don’t have many opportunities to push our bodies to the limit. [08:37]
One has a sense of freedom that is very spiritual. [11:38]
- “Many of us experience dark nights of the soul. Gray nights, even shaded nights…and I think it’s important we get help where we can, and not feel ashamed to admit that we need help.”
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Brad (1m 9s): Hey listeners, I hope you enjoyed the full length interview show with Shawn Askinosie, proprietor of Askinosie Chocolate. And after we finished the formal show, we kept talking and this guy loves to go deep and get spiritual on ourselves, and it’s really fun. So I think you’re gonna dig this breather show where he talks about kind of accessing that, that, that spiritual experience of the incredible sense of freedom that’s fleeting in everyday life, but sometimes it’s access through physical exercise. And I share some of my insights about some of the great memories I have, especially the day that I quit my miserable job, got on my bike and pedaled 103 miles without any training and saw my quads saw God during the ride. Brad (1m 55s): And I also had just this confluence of special moments in my life of leading my career and embarking on a new path. So just a fun, little chat and more insights from Sean Askinosie I think you’re going to enjoy it. Going back to that mention of getting your, your mind, your body and your spirit, right. And here we are, we’re we’re in that advanced age group, I think in the 50 plus division and got to start looking at that even further than, than, than we did a decade or two decades ago, but how’s your, how’s your fitness approach. And we, we’re going to talk about some of that? Shawn (2m 29s): Yeah, it’s good. I’m in the midst of a push-up challenge now that is really hard for me and it’s, but what I was going to ask you about that I think you would really be uniquely suited to help me with is about middle-way through the pandemic. I needed to engage the services of a therapist / teacher. Something beyond my spiritual director, and I’m not ashamed to say, you know, I was In a pretty tough spot and many of us experience, if not dark nights of the soul, maybe gray nights or shaded nights of the soul. Shawn (3m 12s): And I, I think it’s important that we get help, where we can, and that we’re not ashamed to admit when we need help. And this woman that’s been helping me. This has just been by telephone weekly. She’s been awesome. And last week in our session, and it wasn’t necessarily from any prompting from her, if it was, it was very subtle, but for whatever reason, I evoked in my mind the first moment in my life, where I had a knowing of freedom. Shawn (3m 54s): And I don’t mean where I believed in my freedom or had a, a book knowledge of my freedom or someone told me that I had freedom, but an experiential knowing of freedom. And as I was talking with her, it came to me that when that was, I was in the third or fourth grade, probably the third grade. And so I was maybe eight or nine years old, and I rode my bike to school by myself for the first time. And so this would have been like 69 and I had a stingray bicycle and my house was, you know, maybe a mile from the school and in riding the bike. Shawn (4m 39s): I remember the details of the, the, the sun, the crispness of the day and just that forward motion. And when I was describing it to her, I broke down. I started crying, describing this bike ride to her. And parenthetically, I’ll note, we didn’t talk about this in part one, but my dad died when I was 14 of lung cancer. As I mentioned, he was a lawyer and it was really tough for me, very, very, very tough. That grief, or should I say unresolved grief 25 years later after the murder case is the thing that then triggered me into finding my vocation and finding my calling because I, I volunteered in the palliative care unit of a hospital, big hospital for five years on Fridays, just visiting patients, dying patients. Shawn (5m 28s): And that I did after that murder case that I described to you. And so that was really tough. And it’s, you know, the, the long arc of grief, I don’t care how old you are. Your dad died in 2020, you know what I’m talking about? And even though he was 97 years old, doesn’t matter if you were in your fifties or if you were in your teens, grief is grief. A broken heart is a broken heart. You know, sorrow is sorrow. I don’t care what age you are. I believe your soul is ageless. Your true self, your true nature has no age has no age. And so my nine year old soul or what my nine-year-old that I thought was for whatever reason, I, I was evoking this freedom and this bike ride, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Shawn (6m 17s): I don’t know what it was. I’m not that athletic of it. I mean, I did, I wrestled in high school for a little bit, and I did martial arts in college when I lived in Japan. But then I kind of gave it up for debate and law school and all that stuff. And I just, I walk a lot. That’s pretty much what I do. And now I do ups and stuff all that aside. But so then last week I started thinking, okay, I need to go back to the short film called Slomo about this, this, this neurologist who gave it all up because of neurological condition that he had. He lived in San Diego. If you haven’t seen the video, I strongly encourage you to do a Google Slomo and it Slomo all one word. And this guy started inline skating on the boardwalk in San Diego. Shawn (6m 59s): He’s done it every day for 15 years. And in this documentary, he, as a neurologist, he describes this position that he gets in. That’s almost like the warrior three position in yoga. So it’s one leg on the ground, inline skating, one leg and back, both arms out to his side, almost like he’s flying head down, but he’s slow. It’s, it’s, it’s fairly slow. It’s not the super speed. And he describes it as reaching this place, (some would say the zone or flow state) I don’t think it’s that perhaps it is, but it’s, he talks about this, the science behind the neuroscience behind acceleration, forward acceleration and the, and gravity and the center of gravity in the earth, sort of pulling down and its effect on our brain and our equilibrium. Shawn (7m 51s): And he says that maybe in skaters or skiers or surfers, or, but what I was going to ask you since I’m not super athletic right now, I don’t, I haven’t done skating or inline, but I, the reason I want to figure out what that is for me is because it takes you to a place. It’s a place it’s a meditative place. And I meditate a lot, you know, I, I pray every morning, but I want to experience that in a, in something that I can do physically, that will bring me to that sort of maybe forward acceleration or what do you, what do you think about that? Brad (8m 33s): Wow. Shawn (8m 33s): I know you’re gonna know about this. I know you’re gonna know about it. Brad (8m 37s): I mean, that example is pretty bizarre. It’s hard to relate to what the guy’s talking about with this positioning of his body. But I think, you know, life is so comfortable that we don’t have many opportunities to, you know, to, to push the body to the limit once in awhile and know I’ve been doing this my whole life. And it’s just so rewarding that I think of it as second nature, but, you know, I’ve, I’ve had a transition in my athletic practices over my, over my lifetime. And I used to be an endurance athlete. And that was my whole thing was going all day and pushing my body and putting my brain into that state where it’s like, we got to concentrate for a seven hour bike ride and that’s all fine and dandy. But now like my, my complete passion is an event that takes one second. Brad (9m 21s): I’m, I’m a high jumper and that’s, that’s all I think about. It’s, it’s so fun to get out there and try to perfect my technique. And from the time you leave the ground to, to landing in the pit, it’s one second. You don’t even know what’s going on. I have to watch the video to see if my technique is right, because it happens too quickly, but I’m just referencing that as my talking point is like you go out there and do something that’s so different from your day-to-day experience of typing a computer, laying in a bed or sitting in a chair and it can be, you know, it can be a real rush in that sense that maybe that’s what you’re relating with with the guy in the, in the show. And especially if you’re, you know, not super competent at something. Brad (10m 3s): And now you pick up everyone’s into archery now, the cool people or whatever it might be, but, you know, I’ve been skiing my whole life and my friend, who’s an expert skier gave me a little tip on the slopes last month. And I had from the second, he said it, you know, the next three days I felt like I own the whole mountain. I had broken through from an entire lifetime of being scared to get out of control. And now I’m using my arms correctly. And you just have these kinds of portals that are accessible in the physical realm that aren’t there anywhere else that I’ve experienced, maybe in a, you know, a three days silent meditation retreat, you’re going to feel the same way I did. When did that epic eight hour bike ride and climbed up to the top of the mountain because those things I can remember just like your nine year old bike ride to school. Shawn (10m 53s): Yeah. That’s why I’m I’m well, maybe should you have the time and you see that video and you can email me back and tell me what you think or something, but, but I’m fascinated by this. I’m fascinated by because, because in that age of nine years old, you know, the, the knowing of freedom is it is more accessible than like I just turned 60 last week. And, you know, for us 60 year olds or 50 or whatever, we, we, we tend to get sort of separated from that, knowing that knowing of, of freedom. And I don’t mean necessarily mean, you know, emotional freedom or, I mean, the combined physical and spiritual freedom combined together. Shawn (11m 38s): That’s what I think is very interesting about it’s a convergence. So yes, it’s meditative, but it’s, it’s kind of induced by a physical experience and not one that was like my bike ride to school. I mean, it wasn’t like I was breaking some speed record or something. It was just this experience of freedom and knowing, and I have, it was just kind of strange how it came up in therapy. And then I happened to remember that this documentary I’d seen years ago, it’s from 2013. You’ll love it. It won all kinds of awards, this documentary 16 minutes, 16 minutes, 16 minutes. Brad (12m 19s): Yeah. I’m also thinking of, I was, you know, I graduated college. I was a big athlete triathlete on the running team. And then I was immersed into work at the world’s largest accounting firm. And it wasn’t my calling, man. I could tell on day one when everyone was so excited, all the other, all the other hires were captivated by the employee orientation and the retirement plan. And I was like, what am I doing here wearing this stupid suit in this office building? And I only lasted there 11 and a half weeks. And the day I announced my retirement, you know, they were, they were pretty surprised because they’d spent all that money training me. But when I walked out of the building and the next, the next day I got on my bike and I wrote a hundred miles, which I wasn’t prepared for, but, you know, my intention was I was going to go try to become an athlete now. Brad (13m 5s): But I think, you know, combining the, that particular bike ride with the previous day, I had exited a career and like walked out of this building and felt like I was really free to go live my life, instead of, you know, to that point, I had majored in accounting and done the interview process and the recruiting and all this things that, you know, society was telling me, this is what you’re supposed to do. You go to college, you get a degree, the degree applies to a career, you know, everything was on point and then exiting the building and sitting on a bike seat instead. I think that’s, you know, that was sort of a transcendent experience. Shawn (13m 42s): Yeah. I’m sure it was what, a moment of freedom. I mean, truly that’s. Yeah, no, there’s nothing like it, really. And, and, and, and it’s not that I’m saying that I wanted the feeling for the sake of the feeling, but I want, I, but I want to experience that kind of connectivity that is combined, as I said, sort of converging with a physical experience, you know, because I have had the, I described to you, I’ve had that feeling in Africa, you know, when we’re there, I had that experience when I was volunteering with patients who were dying in the hospital, I’ve had that same kind of feeling of freedom as I’m just spending a moment, you know, with this person. Shawn (14m 26s): But I thought, you know, when I I’ve, cause I’ve read so much about you and your experience with sports and as an athlete and that I thought maybe you would have also some thoughts on this. So yeah. Brad (14m 41s): Pretty wild. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks, Shawn. Yeah. You bet. Well, let me know what you think about that. Thank you for listening to the show. 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