Mark speaks with Gary John Bishop, humanist, podcaster and author of the new book, Love Unfu*ked. Gary is committed to shifting people's reality and their ability to exert real change in their lives. This drives him every day both in his personal and professional life as a coach.
Today, Commander Divine speaks with Gary John Bishop, humanist, podcaster and author of the new book, Love Unfu*ked. A hilarious Scotsman with a brilliant mind, Gary esposes a unique brand of no-nonsense urban philosophy. In this episode, Gary discusses the nature of relationships, how to just be as opposed to being a victim, and recognizing that you are your behavior rather than your thoughts.
“One of the questions that I used to ask people, it used to freak people the fuck out, it would freak people out to ask them this question… They’d tell me this really traumatic thing. I would go… Okay, now what? And then they’d be like, Well, I just fucking told you this really traumatic thing. And I’d be like, I know, I get that. It’s fucking shit. Sorry you went through that. But answer my question. Now what?”
“The big one for me that works in my relationship is that I’m not asking my wife to be anybody other than who she is. That’s a massive thing. When you give somebody the freedom to just be themselves, you know, it creates a lot of space.”
“You don’t know your self limiting beliefs. You are them.”
“I started to really explore with Alan Watts, for the love of God, and people who just blew my mind like… that door opened for me it was like it sprung open. And it was like, Oh my gosh, I’m in this world now. I live a philosophical life, I take a philosophical view of everything that I do. There’s no off button… it’s just how I interact with the world now.”
“When people say ‘it is what it is,’ I like to say, no, it only is what it is after all your opinion and judgment and understanding and knowledge of what it is. Then it is what it is.”
“Some of you are still totally stunned that your parents had friends. Because in your mind, they’re this thing, this phenomenon. And they’re only that, but the other people have different things. And in fact, they are free to express other elements of themselves, and other situations and circumstances that they don’t necessarily have the freedom to express with you. And that’s all around you in life. And this is why when I talk about exploring, being is exploring the potential being that you could be in any moment of time. To me that’s fascinating for a human being.”
“We exist in a condition of blame… So everything you do is related to blaming yourself or blaming somebody else or blaming a situation or circumstance or you know, the world, whatever, for how you are.”
“Sometimes when you say, be responsible for how you show up, people’s reaction is, well, it’s not my fault. I didn’t raise me. I’m like, Well, you know, you can’t drive your car like it’s not your fault. You have to drive that thing responsibly.”
“You’d be amazed by the amount of people who say ‘I know what my values are,’ and then you ask them and they can’t tell you. You can’t put any language down but you should know like, what is it that fucking resonates with you as a human being?”
“You got to show up in your family, and you got to show up with your neighbors. And you got to show up with that Amazon delivery driver, and you got to show up and you got to show up, you got to show up, you got to keep showing up, you got to show up as the kind of person that when you are there, life is different. It’s not the same, you show up and it’s different.”
”There is no greater gift in this world than the freedom to be who you are.”
Mark Divine 0:05
Coming up on the Mark Divine show:
Gary John Bishop 0:07
One of the questions that I used to ask people, it used to freak people the fuck out, it would freak people out to ask them this question… They’d tell me this really traumatic thing. I would go… Okay, now what? And then they’d be like, Well, I just fucking told you this really traumatic thing. And I’d be like, I know, I get that. It’s fucking shit. Sorry you went through that. But answer my question. Now what?
Mark Divine 0:37
Welcome to the Mark Divine Show. I’m your host, Mark Divine. On the show, I discover by diving in and discussing with incredible people just what makes them inspirational, compassionate and resilient leaders. We talk in depth to people from all walks of life, martial arts grandmasters, philosophers, monks, CEOs, military leaders, special operators, proud survivors of whatever disaster you can imagine, and more. In each episode, I endeavor to turn the guests’ experiences and insights into actionable bits for you that you can follow and use to lead a life filled with your own courage and compassion, and success.
Today, we’re gonna be talking about love and what it takes for it to be real in your significant other relationship. We all want that dream, or most of us want a dream relationship. Sometimes you get it, and most think they don’t have it. And we’ve been sold an idea that you don’t get all the parts you need to have a real relationship. And Gary John Bishops tells us, that’s not true. Reality is we have to allow our partners to be who they are, and not try to make them be who we want them to be.
Gary John Bishop is my guest today, an author, humanist. Extremely funny Scotsman, born and raised in Glasgow moved to the US in 97. His journey of personal development led him to become a Senior Program Director with a leading personal development company. After years of facilitating, he went out on his own to produce his own brand of urban philosophy. Gary’s got a lifelong commitment of shifting people’s reality and their ability to exert real change in their lives. This drives him every day as an author, podcaster and a coach. He’s got a no frills, no bullshit approach, which has brought him a significant following who are drawn to his simplicity and real world application of his work. Gary’s new book coming out is called Love Unfucked. In fact, we’ll be talking about that. So let’s get into this. Gary, great to see you. Thanks for joining. How are things going where you’re at?
Gary John Bishop 2:39
Awesome. Thanks for having me, Mark. It’s really good to talk to you again.
Mark Divine 2:42
Yeah, no, and this is a pretty good time to talk about un fucking the nation. Which is the name of your podcast.
Gary John Bishop 2:49
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right,
Mark Divine 2:51
Man. Well, we spoke a few years ago. And I super enjoyed the conversation. It was great to have you back. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to lately? And what have been some of the Big Insights and challenges you’ve had over the past couple of years with COVID and all the exciting things that happened with that?
Gary John Bishop 3:08
Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, I’ve been working on actually a bunch of new books. So the new book, Love Unfucked is about getting your relationship ship together, which has been on my mind as a topic because it’s consistent water. In my view, it’s a slurry there when it comes to this topic. So I really wanted to produce something which really could cut through a bunch of that.
Mark Divine 3:30
Have you figured out how to unfuck love in your own life?
Gary John Bishop 3:33
I really do. I really do. You know, I’ve got a bunch of big insights over the years, but the big one for me that works in my relationship is that I’m not asking my wife to be anybody other than who she is. That’s a massive thing. When you give somebody the freedom to just be themselves, you know, it creates a lot of space.
Mark Divine 3:53
You could extend that to parenting to write Do you have any kids?
Gary John Bishop 3:56
I’ve got three boys. And they are, you know, typical boys. Yeah, that is a big thing in parenting, because sometimes we do. We want our kids to be different, you know, like, you should be in a better mood, and you should be happy. You should be this way, that way. And that can often be a big problem, too, right there.
Mark Divine 4:12
Yeah, let’s stick on since we already dove into that. Let’s talk about unfucking love. And, you know, what were some of the challenges that led you to come to just allowing your wife to be who she is? What led you there? And what are some of the things that people do wrong?
Gary John Bishop 4:26
I think we have an ideal. So I talk about ideals in the book. And we come up with certain ideals of how things are supposed to be. And it’s based on whatever we’ve seen before, whatever we experience in our lives, maybe in our relationship with our parents. So we walk in with those standards, and they’re not always clear, but they’re there, you know, the standards are there. The minute we see the relationships kind of go off with little hope to triggered by some of those things. When I say go off I only mean go off in terms of the standard in terms of how we think that should be going, which includes how your partner should be, right? I mean, you know, like, my partner should say, I love you and my partner should do this. And my partner should do that. And, you know, once I started questioning some of that stuff, I’m like, Well, who said, like really, who said, it really was a massive breakthrough for us. There’s a lot of space in our relationship for each other, just, like I said, just be ourselves without the need to try and shift, move or change yourself to make somebody else feel happy.
Mark Divine 5:31
Yeah, that’s difficult to do. Because our conditioning is so airtight. And, you know, I remember our conversation about ontology and how you know, you’re a philosopher at heart, so am I, but this study of the nature of being, most people don’t take the time to do that, like that things just are the way they are. Right? And then you end up getting locked in this straitjacket of I love your use of the term standards, right? So it is, you have a standard, which is a set of beliefs and expectations. And then you try to match the world to that standard, right? And so until you study the nature of being, you can’t really address your own standards, because you just think that’s the way things are.
Gary John Bishop 6:08
Very good. That’s exactly it, Mark. Exactly. You believe that how the world is, is how the world is, right? But it’s invisible to you. Some things people talk about… And this is proven in relationships, self limiting beliefs, but you don’t know your self limiting beliefs. You are them.
Mark Divine 6:25
They’re hidden from your view, right?
Gary John Bishop 6:27
You’re just doing them, right? You just are them. But the more you see yours, the more you’re like, oh, look, I’ve never thought… I think a big challenge for me early in my relationship was being fully free to express my love to actually say that I love this person. You know, I wasn’t raised that way. I wasn’t used to that. It was you know, I’ll show you, I’ll be loyal, do the right thing. I think I’ll be consistent. I’ll be relentless. I’ll work hard. But to actually look this person in the eye and be vulnerable and say, I love you, or sometimes God forbid, you know, I’m afraid of this, I’m intimidated by that, which I’m very culturally Scottish.
Mark Divine 7:10
Yeah, unfuck yourself, you look really weak when you say that. Yeah, right.
Gary John Bishop 7:13
Right, exactly. Just kidding. It’s been a brilliant way to connect, explore your own pain, like to explore who you are in relationship. And ultimately, that’s all you’re going to get left with, not only in life, but in relationships, is who are you? What are you doing? What are you up to, what matters to you? And you need to be able to answer those questions profoundly for yourself.
Mark Divine 7:36
100% agree, and I agree with you, I think relationships are our best and most potent opportunity to gain self awareness. You know, the cave, yogi’s, had it wrong. They had a relationship with the Spirit. But a lot of them were just horrible people and couldn’t have managed a marriage for the life of them.
Gary John Bishop 7:57
One of the things that I wanted to cut through that was what I called bankrupt was done to stuff that just doesn’t stand up from logic.
Mark Divine 8:06
Culture and wisdom or what people take?
Gary John Bishop 8:09
Yeah, I mean, people say stuff, you know, I think people frown upon, for instance, arguing, right, like you shouldn’t argue I have no fucking problem. We argue like, it’s okay. It’s part of the deal where two people were trying to work things out sometimes.
Mark Divine 8:23
It’s better than suppressing anger, right? suppressing all sorts of crap, right.
Gary John Bishop 8:27
That’s why I’m not a fan of the phrase control your anger… it’s a trap, you know, you get yourself stuck in there. That doesn’t mean to say you need to run with it every time but at the same time, you have to find a way to realize that it’s a human expression, and you have to find a way to get that expressed in a healthy way in a way that works for you in a way that works for your voice.
But one of the things about being in a relationship that I find curious is, you kind of alluded to earlier, you won’t get a better opportunity to work on yourself than you will when you’re in a love relationship. Because it grinds to the surface everything that you think you can get away with or think you can overcome or you think you can handle about yourself and includes some of those little dark corners sometimes that maybe you felt as if you have handled or that you’ve been kind of trying not to handle… you know, some of your own junk. But what people tend to do is defend that junk rather than be like oh, this is something about me here that I need to understand a bit better or maybe explore a bit for myself, you know. You’re just on autopilot.
Mark Divine 9:38
I would agree. From what I recall from our earlier conversation. You kind of started your self awareness work by getting involved with one of the programs that does kind of like I liken it to clubbing you over the head. Your own your own reality like S Summit. I don’t know which organization you remember. But yeah, you were a head trainer for one of them. Here’s the three part question but it should all make sense. What led you to that? What was your biggest kind of takeaway from those experiences? And what have you learned now that you have some distance and you say, You know, that worked then or, you know, doesn’t work for me now, what have you changed since? Because a lot of people are drawn to those programs. And they’re good as kind of a starter kit, just like, Tony Robbins programs are good as a starter kit, but I’m only gonna take this so far.
Gary John Bishop 10:25
Yeah, that was my pathway in my personal development. And so I got into it to deal with my wife at the time, which again, at the time, I felt as if I was just kind of, like a hamster on the wheel. You know, like, my life really wasn’t going anywhere. But once I got into it, it was the first time in my life that there was a kind of logic that made sense to me. And that really started my fascination with ontology and phenomenology and things like that.
Mark Divine 10:53
That program that you started, was one of those weekend long, where they lock you up and you have to face your reality. And they tell you, you’re off. Everything you believe to be true is not true kind of stuff?
Gary John Bishop 11:04
Well, I think of what it did for me was for the first time I could, it’s almost like holographic work, I could see my shit. And I’ve never been able to kind of get in front of myself to look at it. You know, I was like, Oh, now, it makes sense, you know, really was like a big aha, it was like, Oh, dammit, you know, really wasn’t Oh, shit, it was like, dammit, I did not want this to go this way. But it was brilliant. Because not only did I understand it, but I got fascinated by that way of thinking, I’ve never thought about myself in those terms. And that got me into philosophy in general. But I did, I became a facilitator for them for a while.
What was remarkable about that, and really moving at times, was the speed with which people could reconcile their lives for themselves like that people could do it with that, when given the right kind of logic to think it through. You know, people sometimes come to me and they say, Well, that takes a lot of work. And I say, well, not necessarily. An example that I like to use is, you know, I’ve witnessed somebody hold a grudge for 30 years and give up, in a moment of time, right? And just give it up.
Mark Divine 12:21
They resisted it for 30 years. And then finally when they surrender they’re like what the hell was I holding on?
Gary John Bishop 12:26
And then I’m watching this person, what has happened there and that one second what it went from there, that there and everything changed. And I say to people, all that’s available, but with the benefit of hindsight now, you know, I really loved doing that, it was brilliant. But there’s just so much more to this world than just that, like it’s a brilliant place to start but now, I started to really explore with Alan Watts, for the love of God, and people who just blew my mind like… that door opened for me it was like it sprung open. And it was like, Oh my gosh, I’m in this world now. I live a philosophical life, I take a philosophical view of everything that I do. There’s no off button… it’s just how I interact with the world now.
Mark Divine 13:21
Right. Since you brought up the term philosophy, help us understand from your perspective, what’s the difference between different schools of philosophy like ontology, studying the nature of being or epistemology, studying the nature of knowledge. And how do they kind of lead you in different places?
Gary John Bishop 13:39
So ontology is the nature of being. And when you really get the ontology, you’ll see that everything has a being, right, there’s a beingness to a situation as a being as the more you get until it becomes all encompassing, but it starts with the nature of being. And you’re a human being, and you’re always being one way or another. Right. And contrary to what you think, it’s not a whole massive range of being that your average human being exists. And so it’s a pretty set wise opinion, which is different from how they start in life, to being started in life, experiencing a wide range of being and lots of different ways in a day. But after a certain amount of life under your belt, you’re you and you’re the you that you’ve become. And that’s encompassed in ways.
So something like for instance, phenomenology is for all intents and purposes, if you could set aside everything you know, and everything you believe and everything you understand about for example, a tree, the experience one has of a tree, if you set aside you know, all that, so for me anyway, it’s like, it really is like this profound connection to what so phenomenology that phenomenon as it exists, that’s why sometimes when people say “it is what it is,” right, and I like to say, no, it only is what it is, after all your opinion and judgment and understanding knowledge of what it is, then it is what it is.
Mark Divine 15:17
And that constructed meaning is all just a story anyways, the tree to you is going to be slightly different than what it is to me. It’s going to be generally the same, because we’ve largely agreed upon a definition of what it is. But to a woodpecker, a tree is food, you know, and to a squirrel, it’s a playground, and it’s the place to gather nuts and to a bird, it’s a place to land and build a nest, right, you know, to the tree itself. Who knows?
Gary John Bishop 15:46
Right? Right. But the same goes for your experience of people. So your wife, they are a certain way, rather than well, maybe they just are that for me, right? I mean, I often make this joke with people, I say, some of you are still totally stunned that your parents had friends. Because in your mind, they’re this thing, this phenomenon. And they’re only that, but the other people have different things. And in fact, they are free to express other elements of themselves, and other situations and circumstances that they don’t necessarily have the freedom to express with you. And that’s all around you in life. And this is why when I talk about exploring, being is exploring the potential being that you could be in any moment of time. To me that’s fascinating for a human being.
Mark Divine 16:36
That is fascinating. And the Vedic traditions would say that my experience of you is created by me, not by you. Because everything is created by me, that’s the nature of mind, is to create your local reality.
Gary John Bishop 16:51
That’s true. And then, but when you start to come from, like some of those fundamental principles of existentialism, then I might start getting responsible for the way in which you relate to me.
Mark Divine 17:02
Right, exactly. Now, that’s where you’re starting to get somewhere right to me, the Holy Grail, or the turning point in personal development, is the responsibility for how you show up in the world, and for how other people show up for you. And that requires great introspection and awareness of the quality and nature of your own thoughts and the energy that you put out in the world. You will create the exact world that you’re representing on the inside, heaven or hell, and people will show up that way, just like you said about your parents, my father can show up to some people as this really good looking powerful man, and he can show up to me as an asshole. You know what I mean? So we create those worlds.
Gary John Bishop 17:42
When you said that at the beginning, like, you know, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, because people don’t realize, like it’s that simple, but where you started that phrase or that sentence, that’s everything right there. It is everything, that is I’m responsible for the way that I show up. And I’m responsible for the way that you show up for me. But it’s very hard to kind of pry people away from that. And this is a kind of body of work that I’m getting into right now is, it’s very hard to do because we exist in a condition of blame. So you exist in this constantly thriving and burning condition of blame. So everything you do is related to blaming yourself or blaming somebody else or blaming a situation or circumstance or you know, the world, whatever, for how you are.
So sometimes when you say, be responsible for how you show up, people’s reaction is, well, it’s not my fault. I didn’t raise me. I’m like, Well, you know, you can’t drive your car like it’s not your fault. You have to drive that thing responsibly.
Unless it’s a Tesla.
Gary John Bishop
But if you were to take that approach up to a whole host of other things in life, like whatever you’re eating, like, well, don’t look at me, you know, it’s not my fault. They gave it to me, your life will take a lot of weird turns. So responsibility really is starting with the idea that you have the say that it’s on you. And it doesn’t matter what’s happened. It’s not like, what’s happened doesn’t matter. I mean, no, it can’t matter to you as much as you have made it. And in that moment, you have to really start to take responsibility for the way that this whatever this is, is playing out, in your relationship, is playing out in the world. You know, because that’s, Heidegger said, there is only being in the world, what he’s saying is being is a worldly phenomenon. You’re showing up as something and you have a say, you have all the say in what that phenomenon is.
Mark Divine 19:55
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What’s coming into my mind Gary, is like these kind of like three broad buckets of individuals or types of people, those who don’t investigate anything and just are victims and actually feel like the victims, like the world is happening to them. The second category is those who say, You know what, I’m going to do something about this. And so they become great doers, right, to take control of their life, and to build the life they want. And that only gets you so far, right? Because at the end of the day, you build all this great stuff and you still feel like shit, right? And the third category are those who recognize that it’s the nature of being like you said, like Heidegger says, and the whole ontological approach is you’re actually the nature of beings. So you take responsibility for how you’re being, right, that affects what you do. And you do some very different things. And you do things in a very different way. When you’re clear about your beingness, than you are if you’re just the doer, right? And then the third group is you, you kind of do just as a reaction to the way the world is acting on you. That’s the victim. I just made that up. I don’t know if it’s accurate or not.
Gary John Bishop 23:42
I like what you said, there’s a term I use, I call it the triumphant victim. And they’re constantly triumphing over whatever they’ve been a victim to. So when you talk to people from that perspective, they generally say, No, I’m not one of the victims, I’ve overcome it. Like I know, but the whole point of it is to overcome your victimhood, which you keep doing like you keep loving, like you’re just an angry, resentful, overcoming victim that, right? But you know, there have been pivotal moments in my development all along the way. But I think one of the big things was finally just letting go and letting people off the hook for how it turned out, was just like, What am I doing? I think one of the worst things you can ever say to yourself is “I’ll fucking show you,” right? I mean, it’s okay in that context, to kind of get yourself going, but you have to realize that if you track that all the way through you’ll just become resentful. You’ll be on your grinder and you become angry and you will never be free.
Mark Divine 24:48
Even if you try to succeed, you have to prove to the world, have to prove to your parents or prove to your peers or to prove to whatever society that you’re worthy, right? Yeah. I agree. And that leads to a lot of things like impostor syndrome, and all sorts of feelings of inadequacy, because you’ll never measure up to the best person. Even Elon Musk is probably saying to himself, man, I wish I could be like…
Gary John Bishop 25:14
Yeah, well, you know, I, my three boys are big sports guys, they love sports, and they all played soccer. And my middle son, he’s remarkable, he’s an elite talent. He’s only 10. And, you know, he’s already getting professional academies in Europe wanting to come over there and all sorts of stuff. But one thing, I’m always saying, I’m always teaching them humility, and I’ll say, there’s always somebody better than you, always. And the moment you realize that, then you settle into just being great yourself, but you can actually need to be great, I need to be great, I need to express myself. So even in my parenting, you know, ontology plays a big part in the way that I relate to my children, the way to relate to myself, my wife, once you’ve kind of got moved by touched by, gotten by being you can’t unsee that stuff, you can’t unsee it, you’re locked in now.
Mark Divine 26:05
It’s interesting, I just used that term in the relationship to psychedelics, I don’t know if you’ve ever had an experience with your clients or anything with that, but, you know, you have a psychedelic experience, you know, with psilocybin or Ayahuasca or something, and they’re all kind of the rage at least they are here. You can’t unsee that if you have a unity experience, even if it’s facilitated or simulated, you can’t unsee that and it changes you. I’m not an advocate of frequent use of those types of things because then it starts to seem like a recreational you know, some people that I know of, they’ve just shifted from alcohol back, and that becomes their thing. And that’s, that’s yeah, you have a risk of spiritual bypass at that point. You know, you don’t need that, you know, I’ve had similar experiences with meditation. I’ve had experiences with you know, Navy Seal Hell Week, for example, right? It’s kind of like Ester or Landmark, you know, you’re locked up for a whole week, no sleep.
Gary John Bishop 27:01
The military is… you can’t perform in those kinds of environments without several transformations. Those force you to transform. Your junk cannot survive that. People relate to that, like it’s all physical challenge. You get challenged mentally, physically, spiritually, like, it’ll tear every fiber you have. It’s a transformational experience.
Mark Divine 27:30
You’ve probably heard of our SEAL Fit events. I know, maybe we talked about last time, but we run a 50 hour, nonstop no sleep training event called Kokoro. And the reason I named it that it means to merge your heart and your mind and your actions, that’s essentially what you have to do in order to do it, and that requires a transformation. And it happens during the 50 hours, literally, you have a whole stage development of your life that unravels and you evolve to another stage. And that stage is one where you’re able to really open up to help and to being a good teammate and to loving another individual besides your spouse or your kid with the same level of depth, but in a different way. And hat’s powerful for individualists, you know, because we’re a staunch individualist culture. We’ve been going it alone, you know, since the pioneers came over here and took over the land that came from you guys, right? Because the Scots and the English and you know, everyone over there was basically the same way.
Gary John Bishop 28:25
We would always rebel. And, you know, because when I did a bunch of my training, this was about 15 years ago, there were a bunch of people on staff at the time, who were former military former SEALs really, right. And that had been this kind of long history, there were former SEALS had come through that training. But they likened this transformational experience, to their experience in training. And I would say, to pursue the kind of line of profession that I was getting into at the time, that required me to disappear everything that I had become. And that was torturous, because I had to be able to stand up in front of 200 people, 300 people or 1000 people, and talk about life and everything that has to do with life and have absolutely nothing going on. But like nothing, like I got nothing going on because I have nothing going on. Right? It really is to get to that point of, I got nothing going on, like at all. I’ve completed that all, because that was part of that included, like going back all the way through my life and putting a period on the end of every sentence in some things, having conversations with people and dealing with things and handling things. Such that no matter what you asked me, I had absolutely no attachment, you know, nothing.
Mark Divine 29:53
I love that because I think that you just hit on one of the most powerful practices for eradicating regret and trauma, which is, as you know, one of the things that probably the main thing that holds people back, right, there’s a lot of areas of development, but when you look in terms of what holds you back, and what keeps you stuck, it’s trauma from early childhood, which you shouldn’t have regrets about because you didn’t do shit. But then it’s your behavior that results from trauma that causes you to do stupid things that you then regret. So it spiders and often manifests in all these different ways. We call it a recapitulation. And I got this from the Toltec tradition, where before the you know, they allow you into the warrior class, they require you to recapitulate, which meant you had to visualize your life in reverse all the way back to birth, every single moment, and every moment that was beautiful, you appreciate, and every moment that was painful, you let it go, and you forgive yourself. And that’s what I think you meant by putting the period after every sentence, right?
Gary John Bishop 30:55
For sure. I mean, I had, it’s funny, because it’s kind of like layers, so you know, something happens. And then you take that something, and you live from that something, you start taking away from interaction, you know, your conscious sense of doing that, you know, you’re just reacting to whatever you dealt with, in that moment of time. One of the questions that I used to ask people, used to freak people the fuck out, this would freak people out when I would ask them this question and tell me this really traumatic thing. I would go, Okay, now what? Now? What? And then they’d be like, Well, I just fucking told you this really traumatic thing. And I’d be like, I know, I get that. That’s fucking shit. Sorry you went through that. But answer my question. Now what?
Mark Divine 31:41
Are you gonna let that define you?
Gary John Bishop 31:44
And if you sit there and you bathe in now what, you’ll hear yourself and what you typically do, what used to blow people away is not only did I not have anything going on about myself, I then couldn’t have anything going on about you. So whatever you told me, had no significant support. I’m not like, the worst thing. You know? I’d just be like, I can’t. That’s fucking terrible. Now what? And, you know, I remember when this was years ago, talking this person who’d been through, I’m not gonna be specific, but it was fucking brutal when she was 15. But brutal. And she got to the end of it. And I just sat there looking at her. And I didn’t say a fucking word to that girl, not a fucking word. And she said to me, what am I doing with my life? That’s the question. And I think in her mind, it was the first time she’d ever really been able to, first of all, express it fully. And then secondly, set with the impact of like to see how it was going to unfold. Because people kept jumping in with trying to fix or trying to change, you’re trying to feel sorry for. And I didn’t, I just gave it all over the world, just to be herself and say whatever she needed to say, and sit in silence. And it was amazing. How quickly people if you give them a little bit of silence, yeah, how they’ll sort themselves out. It’s remarkable how people can do it.
Mark Divine 33:14
That’s awesome. That’s a very Buddhist perspective. You know, the Eastern perspective is that you’re alright, right now, everything’s perfect the way it is. So the only thing holding you back from that is that you’re stuck in the past. And we’re stuck in the future. So just be present, and allow that. And so that’s a beautiful way to get people in the Western model psychotherapy is, it’s been very valuable. But that is about doing and fixing. Right? Fix fix, fix do do do, that can only get you so far, eventually. This is why the merging of the Eastern and Western models is so powerful, one can only get us so far.
Gary John Bishop 33:45
For sure. I feel as if, like, if you keep starting with the notion that you’re broken, if you keep starting there, ultimately, the aim is, and I think this is where it falls down. Ultimately, the aim is that you’ll feel not broken.
Mark Divine 33:58
But if you’re always focusing on the brokenness, then you’re just reinforcing that
Gary John Bishop 34:02
Fuck, you’re gonna be feeling broken all the time. But I say, what if you are this way? And that’s okay. But what I’m interested in is what else is available to you? Who else can you be? That’s that I get that, I’m gonna get even resist that and I want to find out and let that be anything but itself. But what else is available? What are the new ways in which you can study, explore and experiment with this being that you are? And that’s a radical world once you start getting into it, and especially in your relationship, like exploring who you are, and being grounded in what matters to you, which you’d be amazed. I talk about values in this new book. You’d be amazed the amount of people who say “I know what my values are,” and then you ask them and they can’t tell you. You can’t put any language down but you should know like, what is it that fucking resonates with you as a human being?
Mark Divine 35:01
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My first experience with that was actually my interview for the Navy SEALs, you know, you go through all these hoops, but then you have to interview with the SEAL commander. I was actually already at Officer Candidate School when this SEAL commander came up, came to the school because this is pretty serious, SEALS don’t want anyone without, you know, they go meet you in person before they let you go to buds as an officer. And Woody Woodruff was the guy’s name you can you know, picture that bronze steely blue eyed, you know, six foot three, guy literally was the one of the first guys who invented the triathlon, the Ironman in Hawaii, you know, because a bunch of SEALs were involved in that formation of the Ironman. And he looked, he just stared at me. I shit you not, Gary, for about eight to 10 minutes. No blinking, his eyes just like piercing through me. And at first my skin was just crawling like, right? I was supposed to like, stare back at this guy? And in a few minutes, my eyes shifting around. I said, Fuck, I’ve got to do this. So I just stare back at him, but not in a cocky way, just staring at him waiting for the question. And so I had to open myself up to just like that presence without any like, What’s he want from me? No expectation. And he was just kind of gauging where I would go with that. And then he said, What do you stand for, Mark? And fortunately, because of all that silence he gave me I didn’t just go… blah! You know what I mean? Right? I literally thought about that. I’m like, that’s a really good question. What do I stand for? You know, and so I started to just describe some of the things that had led me there, that I stood for. You know, hard work was something that I found really inspirational because it led me to grow and to feel good about myself. So I was at a young age espousing a universal truth that I don’t know if I would ever come upon as a value system head, you know, sort of like three or four of those. And he was like, All right, good job. See ya at buds.
Gary John Bishop 39:26
I’m telling you, that was something brilliant that he did, though. And I mean, brilliant, and it’s actually a phenomenon. So when he looked at you and kept looking at you, right, all of that initial stuff that was right there in the first minute or two. That’s all your persona.
Mark Divine 39:42
That’s right. Is it my ego, just screaming.
Gary John Bishop 39:45
And your persona can’t be with that. But if you keep looking and looking, it’ll get quiet, and you get quiet, and that’s the other side of it. Now you’re on the other side, now you’re in this thing called Truth, or rather truth for you. So when he asked you that, that was, you gave him the truth.
Mark Divine 40:04
You gave him the truth as without any script, right? Just kind of came out. Yeah, looking in other human beings eyes can be very uncomfortable for a lot of people like you said, because of the ego and so you’ll resist it. I’ve seen this used and I’ve participated in it in conflict resolution before with my family. And boy, you know when you sit there and stare for five minutes in another person’s eyes and you’re looking at their soul. And finally, you get to the end of that and you’re like, I am looking at myself here.
Gary John Bishop 40:32
I’ll tell you something, man. This was a long time ago in a summer exercise and I had to get paired up with somebody, you know, that to do this, I was paired up with this freakin 75 year old woman, you know? So I’m standing there. And so at the beginning, you know, you’re kind of…
Mark Divine 40:58
You look around, you see that happening with everybody, you know, they’re all like, eyes are flitting.
Gary John Bishop 41:03
But then there’s a moment, though, where that curtain just drops. And I remember like, I had this experience of just knowing and being known. Like, I know you, and I don’t know this fucking person from Adam, but like, I know you. And it was so moving. For me, it was like, because that whole shellac of persona, I feel like it’s grounded in a fundamental fear of other human beings. In a fundamental way. You’re there, I’m here kind of view. So every time people are presenting themselves to you, they’re presenting, you know, the fucking the Roman centurion, she’ll tell you, you know, you’re getting the fucking polished best version. But in those moments when you compete with another human being, it’s another one of those things, you can’t unsee it. You get people’s humanity, their humanity and your humanity, and that we’re all just fucking trying to wrestle with us, then. Once you’ve seen that, though, one of those things, it gives you a lot of room for other people again, you get room for where people are at, I don’t have to resist that, I don’t have to fight, and just give it room.
Mark Divine 42:23
That’s right. I love that. Let’s say that I was one of your screwed up clients. And I’m saying that openly and lovingly. And I just told you my horror story and you said, Okay, what’s next? Yeah, I want to go to you’ve got these seven assertions, right? How would you coach me using those seven assertions?
Gary John Bishop 42:40
Well, usually, the answer is what’s next for more people, is when they need to ponder, when they really need to think about it because we’re so rooted and trying to affect change alter, that when you really consider what’s next. If I’m not gonna be fascinated by that, then really what’s next, but always comes down to the willingness part, be willing. And being unwilling, by the way, both work very powerfully. Something to ask people like, okay, you don’t want to do this. You don’t want to do that. Are you willing to live with that life? Because the moment, it’s a bit of a trick question, right? So the moment you answer yes, I’m willing, you’re responsible. You have to be because you just declared yourself willing.
Mark Divine 43:26
What are you willing to give up or to do in order to fulfill that willingness, right?
Gary John Bishop 43:31
Right. It’s something ongoing, this works the same way, it’s like you know, I might say, Are you unwilling to continue having a relationship go on? And sometimes people find a little better resolve in that, like yeah fuck that shit. Like I’m not doing this, I’m not gonna live this life anymore. But ultimately everything that I do is getting you grounded and you are the one and I must get you there. And there’s lots of different ways of doing it. But not only you, if you’re going to be the one moving forward, and you’ll always be the one, and however this is going, you’re the one.
You know, I remember years ago this was a work situation I called up my immediate superior and this was a very much a transformational environment I said oh this place is fucked up and this and that and a fucking…. This is bullshit and What am I gonna do. Then he said, Well, thank God you’re there. And I was just like dammit. But I really got it like, I really got impacted by you’re the one like, stop pretending like you’re not built for this. Because you are, you know you’re… no matter what life throws at you, and you absolutely testify to this given your training. Your capacity goes far beyond anything you can even imagine for yourself, like it goes way beyond this. So much capacity for life, so much capacity for the remarkable.
Mark Divine 45:04
Yeah, I agree with that. The work you’re doing is phenomenal. We need more of it, you know, because it seems to me that no matter how much we do, it’s like a tsunami of negativity and conflict in the world. How do you, I mean, writing books and podcasts and stuff like that is probably the answer. But how do you scale what you do? How do we reach more people to help them make the shift to beingness, which is positive and inclusive, you know, to stare in the eyes of another human being you’ve never met? Different culture. You know, I would love to do that with a Chinese right now. Or Russian, like. I see the humanity in you, and have them do the same, of course.
Gary John Bishop 45:45
Well, yeah. Right. I sometimes feel as if I guarantee your average person from those countries would absolutely love to do the same. I guarantee you, but the one thing that, see if you get why people don’t do it first, why don’t people get out there and make the difference, right. And assert it’s two things. I think the first thing is, people say themselves, Well, I would, but I’m fucked up. I need to sort this out first, right? They don’t realize that the way to transcend that is to be someone who shows up in the world, right? That’s actually how you start to impact that and break that up, you realize that life is bigger than your primary concerns. So that’s the first thing you got to kind of first address is stop making it about you, stop. I know those people probably listening a lot are like I’m always making it about me. I mean, like unconditionally, most people make it about others, but then looking for something on the back end, like…
Mark Divine 46:43
Gary John Bishop 46:45
Right. So I say, Well, if you just worried that way, if you took on showing up in this world as somebody, and then I think the other thing is, at a very deep level with human beings, I really feel as if you were to get down to it with them, they would say, I’m just one person, I’m just one voice. And it’s all just code for ultimately, I don’t matter, you know, just one in 8 billion. And I say, but you got to show up in your family, and you got to show up with your neighbors. And you got to show up with that Amazon delivery driver, and you got to show up and you got to show up, you got to show up, you got to keep showing up, you got to show up as the kind of person that when you are there, life is different. It’s not the same, you show up and it’s different.
And on to speaking. And again, I don’t do a whole bunch, you know, but I do some of them. I’ve done them with Tony Robbins, you know, they’re like 30,000 people there. And the first thing I do is get off the platform down on the floor and walk right off the back. And I talk to a couple at the back of the room. And I go talk to people when we’re just talking because I don’t want to give you a speech or text you something. I want to be somebody who not only what I’m saying makes a difference. But who I am, makes a difference. And that can be at the supermarket. And that can be doing a podcast or writing a book or whatever. But when it’s your life, Mark, when this is who you are, the possibility of it, the potential of it just keeps opening up and opening up and opening up because it’s in everything that you’re doing.
Mark Divine 48:23
I agree. And I love that when people have to have that shift to recognize that their mindset, their attitudes, will create the world around them. And recognize that if I’m… not only does impact me but it impacts everybody because if I’m creating hell for myself then that Amazon driver I just dropped a little hell bomb on and that person in the checkout line. I just dropped a little hell bomb on and everywhere I go, I’m making everyone’s life worse. Yeah, imagine that being played out with 7 billion people. It’s no wonder you know, the world can be a shit show. Now flip that the other way. If every interaction we have we aspire to be positive and drop a little love bomb. Imagine billions of people doing that every day. That’s how you scale heaven on earth, so to speak.
Gary John Bishop 49:09
Do you know the weird thing in me is like, sometimes at the end of the local news, you’ll see some story about somebody who did something that was kind, right. And I’m like, why the fuck is this making the news? Like why are we not just doing this? And it’s funny because when you are kind with people. And so I see this reaction all the time that like, what do you want? You know, like what’s in it for you? And I’m like nothing! You know, I don’t need that. And this is what I do. This is who I am. There is no greater gift in this world than the freedom to be who you are.
Mark Divine 49:49
That’s probably a good place to put a pin on this has gone for a while. So Love, Unfucked. Is that how you say it? Yeah, of course you don’t spell the word out in the title, right?
Gary John Bishop 50:02
Right, trying to be kind of polite without really being polite.
Mark Divine 50:07
So to learn how to be in relationship, that’s powerful. I love that that’s gonna help a lot of people. Where can people find you if they want to connect with you like on social media website and stuff?
Gary John Bishop 50:18
Yeah, I’m on Instagram at Gary John Bishop, my website, Garyjohnbishop.com. I’m on Twitter, a little bit on Facebook, for the oldies. I’m one of the oldies. And then, you know, my podcasts are there unfuck nation, which is a little bit of a different format, I really use it to just share an idea a week and take a question. Maybe somebody’s dealing with something, I’ll unpack that question. But yeah, I mean, I’m active on there. And I’m making the difference that I professed there mate, so yeah, you’ll find me.
Mark Divine 50:49
Yeah. Well, thanks for doing what you’re doing. And thanks for coming on the show. It’s been a lot of fun reconnecting and chatting.
Gary John Bishop 50:54
Yeah. Awesome. Mark, thank you. Always great to talk to you.
Mark Divine 50:57
Likewise, Gary. Take care.
What a hilarious guy. We had a great chat after the show about the brand Unfucked. He felt like he’s a little locked into it. But yeah, he didn’t even want to call the title of this book, Love Unfucked. But there you go. His publishers kind of pushed him into it. At it right. We had a fun conversation about the nature of relationships and parenting, about how to be as opposed to do as opposed to being a victim. The seven assertions of being willing, being wired to win, having the attitude of I got this, embracing uncertainty, recognizing that you are not your thoughts, but your behavior, being relentless, expecting nothing and accepting everything. Sounds a lot like Unbeatable Mind in a sense. He’s got one of my favorite quotes, “Your success in life is almost exclusively tied to the degree that you can keep a promise to yourself.”
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So thanks for being on this journey with me. It’s up to us to change the world. We have to be the change we want to see. But we got to do that at scale. We now have the opportunity to do that with technology. And by sharing and by believing that we are the change and not relying on some old, negative and crusty institution to do that for us. Because they ain’t working. So let’s do the work. Show up every day and be positive, be supportive. Be in service. Drop those bombs of love instead of bombs of fear around. Okay, that’s it for this show. Thanks again. See you next time. Hoo-yah, Divine out.