Kieran Hedley is an Anxiety Coach, Meditation Guide and Waterfall Adventurer from New Zealand. He considers himself blessed to have been through his own darkness and fear, his own anxiety and hopelessness… to have come out the other side in a progressive way through the exposure to the median between the science and the spiritual.
Through loneliness and never feeling good enough, Kieran was unsure about the journey of acquiring Freedom Within. He wanted proof. He wanted logic. But, without being able to logically explain the way he was, he would seek reason. This only lead to many failed attempts with councillors, psychologists and medication. Finding the answers alone didn’t change the way he was.
Today, that freedom is something Kieran lives. The ability to decide how he wants to be, rather than having a person, situation or experience decide. It’s something he now guides and coaches others to do for themselves.
Today Kieran touches on:
- sitting with the really uncomfortable feelings that may be coming up for you in quarantine and dealing with them rather than ignoring them or continue stuffing them down
- redefining masculinity
- exploring the insecurities that come with the societal definition of masculinity
- the sense of control that can come with accessing pornography rather than having the actual human interaction, and the impossible standards that porn can set. Along with the communication issues and lack of connection when dependent on porn for pleasure in place of the human interaction or relationship
Kieran is one of the most pure, beautiful souls I think I’ve ever met and that shines through in today’s interview with him. You can find Kieran online at the links below, and please don’t forget to check out the bonus episode that dropped today as well, where Kieran turns the tables and interviews me about The 9 Year Affair. He asks some really deep and amazing questions, that have me digging deeper into my story than I ever have. I have that all linked below for you!
Are you ready? Get listening right away by clicking the link above, or if you’re more in the mood to read today keep scrolling for the full transcription of today’s episode! Let’s do this!
Look for references from today’s episodes? Find them all here:
Find Kieran online:
Instagram & TikTok: @coachkezza
Questions? Comments? Want to connect and chat about this episode? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach or Facebook at Emily Gough Coaching. I would absolutely love to connect with you and thank you for listening in real life and here any takeaways you had from this or other episodes!. It makes me day to see you listening to the podcast and fills me up with pure joy. Seriously. See you on the ‘gram!
Hey there, welcome back to the Room to Grow Podcast and today I have such a special guest, my friend Kieren Hedley is joining us today. And this is a really intense talk you guys, I’m honestly blown away. Kieren ‘s vulnerability and his willingness to share something so personal, not only his personal story, but in terms of some of the things that he has dealt with and overcome as well it’s incredibly, incredibly powerful. So I met Kieren back in Bali, this is actually our second time recording, because we recorded together in Bali in person, which is always a treat, and afterwards, we both just felt as though it had been rushed, and that we didn’t really get to the meat of what we wanted to get into on the episode. So Kieren is now back in New Zealand presently, because of the whole situation that we’re in. I am in Canada currently, because of the whole situation we’re in, so we recorded remotely this time and it was so worth it. It was absolutely fantastic. I also had the absolute pleasure of being on Kieren’s podcast, The Pocket Coach as well. So I dropped that episode of me being interviewed on his podcast as a bonus on here on the Room To Grow Podcast as well. So you can check that out, dropping them both on the same day. It’s all about my more personal story with the infidelity in my last relationship, it was my favorite interview that I have ever done. So I’m just absolutely thrilled to be able to bring Kieran to you today because he’s an absolute wealth of information. He’s a total sweetheart and he just has so many incredible things to share that so many of us can learn and benefit from. Kieran is an anxiety coach, a meditation guide and a waterfall adventurer from New Zealand. I can vouch for that I’ve gone on a waterfall adventure with him in Bali, and it was fantastic. Through loneliness and never feeling good enough, Kieren was really unsure about the journey of acquiring this idea of freedom within, but he now lives that freedom and he’s going to talk to us more about that today. He now teaches others and coaches others on how to do that for themselves as well. So today, Kieren and I are getting into redefining masculinity, sitting with the really uncomfortable feelings that might be coming up for you in quarantine and dealing with them rather than ignoring them or continuing to stuff them down as well. However, the one thing is that when you’re alone, what’s within you is often how you’ll show up with other people, too. And Kieren really has a beautiful explanation for that, and how the way we view the world is a reflection of what’s happening internally for us as well. He’s talking to us about exploring the insecurities that come with a societal definition of masculinity and then he’s also getting into his entire experience with pornography addiction. He’s talking to us about the sense of control that can come with accessing pornography, rather than having the actual human interaction and the impossible standards that pornography can set as well, along with the communication issues and the lack of connection when we’re dependent on porn for pleasure in place of the human interaction or relationship. And I think that it’s so important that Kieren is talking about this because this is an incredibly taboo topic that most people will not go anywhere near. They don’t want to discuss it, they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to deal with it. Certainly not on a public platform. So I need to give Kieran so much credit for just showing up as a really incredible human, he has an absolute heart of gold, but also for being so willing to have these types of conversations, because it’s through conversations like this, that change can be invoked and that people can start to maybe recognize things in themselves that they want to do differently and to look for the tools to start to change some things within themselves. And Kieran is just an amazing example of that. So I don’t want to hold this up. Let’s dive in with Kieren. I’m just so honored to be able to bring him to you and that you can also check out the bonus episode of Kieran interviewing me here in the Room to Grow Podcast or over at The Pocket Coach Podcast as well.
Hey there, welcome back to the Room to Grow podcast, I’m so pumped that I have my friend Kieren here, Kieren, thank you so much for coming on.
Thanks, for having me. And I’m excited too
me too.. I’m sad that so we did actually, in the manner of full transparency you and I recorded two podcast episodes in person in Bali. And one was you interviewing me the other one was me interviewing you and the one that I did with you. I think you and I both just felt unsatisfied with it. We’re like, No, like, we need to dig deeper. There’s more that we want to cover
Yeah, So much more and like we said it was just too rushed.
Yeah, yeah, we were like trying to cram it all in and in a week and we’re like, No, I think you and I are both very dedicated to our craft and we’re not willing to not put out something that isn’t up to either my standards and and I just adore you and I know that you have so much to offer and I wanted people to get the absolute best of you. So I’m just grateful that you’re taking the time and now instead of face to face in Bali, we’re New Zealand to Canada, but it’s fine.
So tell us a little bit about yourself. You’ve had kind of a really interesting path to get to where you are especially for how young you are as well. I feel like you’ve done a huge amount in like a few short years. So give us a little bit of the Coles notes about who you are and what you do.
So to say what I do and who I am I needed to speak a little bit about how I got here. Just in a nutshell, I struggled severely with depression growing up. Lots of loneliness and lots of conflict within myself in terms of always feeling like the outcast, always feeling like I was the extra person in the friend group, not actually part of the friend group. Always feeling like all my friends get girlfriends, why can’t I speak to a girl, like I couldn’t even speak to a girl, let alone get a girlfriend. I even developed a stutter at one point. So there was then a slouch, I manifested a slouch, hiding away from the world and a stutter. It’s crazy to think that that used to be me. It used to be me in the psychological world where I just couldn’t escape what was in my mind, could not escape, it could not be in touch with the reality that was going on around me and could only be in touch with what was in my mind. And I’d have all these stories that I made up and this led to thoughts of not wanting to be here. I was never probably suicidal, that was definitely not an option for me. Luckily. Then there was a turning point. I started seeing therapists. As I started going to therapy that gave me the opportunity to start speaking about it more and understanding it more which was amazing. That was an amazing platform, it didn’t heal me, but it gave me an opportunity to progress. And I think that’s very important. It should be talked about more. That it’s absolutely okay to go to therapy at any point, anytime, and it’s just a beautiful experience if you take the right approach. From there I became quite passionate about mental health because A) my own suffering, B) I’ve got it a lot in my family and now it’s talked about within my family, which is amazing, and C) My friend, just a few years ago, took his life because of anxiety. So this got me really passionate about the topic of mental health and anxiety and just how taboo it seemed, how people just wouldn’t speak about it yet it would just be so present, be so noticed because I’ve been struggling my whole life with this. I had been putting a massive smile on my face every time I felt like absolute shit. I had been forcing a laugh every time I felt like hiding away from the world. It was just to cover up everything that was going on internally, and I started to notice that it’s almost like the people that smile the most, are many times the people that struggle the most, then that’s what I started to see a lot. I saw friends that were in University, I saw the big smile, and then you get into a deep talk with them and find out they’re really suffering. So that was really interesting. That was almost like the hiding amongst the happy people.
Finally, I had some interesting experiences sort of running away from problems that I had in New Zealand, and I went overseas chasing my dreams, went to California and Quebec, good old Canada, and I was chasing the fitness dream of being a fitness superstar on YouTube and stuff. And that sort of led me into understanding that this wasn’t my true passion. It was more of a secondary passion. My main primary passion was really mental health. And that’s where I started to explore the coaching scene, and have successfully dived into that as a full time thing, that’s such a beautiful space to be in. So currently, I’m an anxiety coach and I am a meditation teacher as well. I wouldn’t say teach, I’m more of a guide. I’m not a meditation teacher that doesn’t sound right for me. So meditation guide, there’s a bit of a better way to put it. I’ve been practicing that for the last 10 to 12 months over in Bali and New Zealand. So yeah, that’s a little about me.
Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing because that’s a pretty heavy story that you have kind of undergone and gone through and and I also really liked that you brought up the point that sometimes the people that smile the most are the ones who are hiding the most pain. I tend to think of people like Robin Williams, who were always so talented at making people laugh. That was their entire life making people laugh. And sometimes I’ve met people like that in real life as well where you peel back that initial layer, and there can just be like that’s a cover for so much pain. It certainly isn’t always the case. There are people who just really are that joyful, of course, but sometimes it can be a mask that people wear. So it’s really interesting to think about that. And to sort of take note of that as well. We have a lot to talk about today. So we’re going to kind of tie in anxiety, we’re going to tie in a little bit more of your personal story. And you and I were talking beforehand about, you know, we feel like we can’t not talk about the elephant in the room. Because since the last time you and I saw each other in person, a global pandemic has erupted. That’s kind of how you and I have both ended up grounded in our home countries, which wasn’t necessarily the plan. But very grateful to be here. I know. Yeah. And I know you feel the same way about New Zealand as well. But part of that, that I think you and I want to talk about is not only the kind of trauma around this whole global pandemic, but also some of the moral and ethical issues that I have often struggled with. And you and I have sort of discussed before about Westerners living in Bali. And yeah, there’s a lot of layers to that. So wherever you kind of want to dive in the most I’m really excited to open up this Pandora’s box because I think there’s a lot to unpack here.
Totally. So almost like we, we sort of brought it up before the call but there’s almost like, these various groups of people or various groups of experiences, I should say, that are really arising in this pandemic, because of course, many people in the world are quarantined in their own homes and their own spaces and many issues are arising. Some of them are like literal issues, like they don’t even know if they can put food on the table tomorrow. But then some of them are just as literal but just not as noticeable, which is the mental issues of this, feeling of being claustrophobic, the feeling of being lonely, this feeling of being rejected, this feeling of having to face so much shit, excuse the French, that we normally try not to and that brings up so much shit that’s been buried down through the busyness of this business orientated, fast paced world that we live in. Because it’s so easy to just get on with the day and just keep moving forward. And then keep because I keep moving forward. I’m leaving something under the rug or I’m leaving something suppressed and I’m using whatever I’m focusing on in front of me as the distraction, as the vice and a lot of people think that is because they have gotten over it, but then they sit still in this crisis for three, four weeks, however long they’re going to be quarantined for, and it comes back up and they’re like “oh! I don’t remember having this problem!”. Because it’s been suppressed for so long, but in the quiet is where the noise arises. So yeah, that’s definitely a really noticeable thing that’s really come up for sure, for a lot of people and I’m noticing a lot of people messaging me about that, Yeah,
yeah. And I think that that’s a big part of it, is that we’re used to the busyness and we’re also used to then just when we do have moments of stillness to busy ourselves with other things. So we numb, we pull out our phones, we scroll Instagram, we scroll Facebook, and we’ve all been guilty of this, by the way, and you and I were to talk about this and like later in the conversation, too. Yeah, totally. You know, we put on Netflix, whatever it is, and we rarely ever sit in silence, because for some people, I think that silence and stillness has become almost painful because there’s so many layers there and we don’t even want to address that then when we’re presented with it’s too much for us it’s overwhelming. And if this is going to go on longer than we think it’s going to, which I suspect that it will, I think a lot of people are going to be facing a lot of demons that they maybe either didn’t know that they had at all or that they’ve been burying for so long, that they’re going to come up and we’re going to be like, ‘wait, what, where the hell is that coming from? what is happening?’
Yeah like ‘I miss my ex girlfriend or boyfriend!’ like since when??
Literally so funny.
This one quote that I heard from my favorite guru from India and he says, if you’re alone and you feel lonely, it means you’re in bad company.
Oh, that is good. That is so good. And that’s the thing because I feel, maybe it’s partly because I’m an only child but I don’t think that’s only it because there can be only children who still have a lot of like demons just like anybody else, but I am very comfortable in my own company, I can spend probably too much time alone if I allow myself to do so. Bali’s been really good for that because Bali has brought my social life back and I’m like, Oh, I love being around people.
It’s a beautiful thing, but it’s very easy to utilize this sense of socializing, of being an “extrovert”. I put that in quotes because I don’t like using those terms too much. Because it sort of diversifies people as like, you’re in this block, you’re on this block. And it’s very easy to use this experience of being around people and being around friends to cover up something that’s deep down, because I get to stay busy and stay laughing with people and not think about this, you know, whereas as soon as silence happens those things they’re right in your face. But it’s important to understand that however I am on my own, is actually how I’m going to be with other people. Because whatever is within me, is how I express myself, right? Because at the end of the day, I can only give what I have. So if within myself is insecurity, then I’m going to be grasping on to things outside of me, looking for security. If what’s within myself is feelings of lack of compassion within myself, then I’m probably not going to be as truly truly compassionate, deeply compassionate with those around me, because I’m going to be constantly looking for that compassion from others. So because I might lack something within myself, I might seek that through others, but the moment the others aren’t there, it’s mine that I have to face that. I think it can be a beautiful thing, even though it’s a scary thing, even though it’s a painful thing, it is a beautiful thing at the end of the day because it really gives people an opportunity to step in front of these things and be like, ‘yo, let’s go!’. But at the same time, I think it’s also important to note that even if you’re coming through this and you don’t feel like you’re making progress, even if you don’t feel like you’re going to step above these things, even if you don’t feel like you’re, you’re really working through some of these things, it’s okay too, it’s important to understand that just simple awareness, and simple opportunity to confront something, even if it doesn’t mean you’re coming out stronger. Your ability to sit in front of it does actually make you stronger, and dig down. Your ability to simply face it in some shape or form. It’s like, the more you fly on a plane with turbulence, the easier it is to eventually ease your way into just stepping on the plane sitting in the seat and then just facing that fear. Over time, because it’s a timely thing. It’s something that you can eventually get used to, the same way that happens within the internal fears, the internal struggle, the internal mental noise, whatever that might be, is the more opportunity you give yourself to actually look at it. That’s progress on its own. So don’t avoid yourself, I think it’s important to really congratulate yourself for giving yourself that opportunity to really face.
So many good reminders in there. I hope that everyone almost back tracks and listens to that again about, you know, the validation and whatever you’re having come up within yourself. And having that almost reflected back. I think that that’s really, really powerful realizations that all of us are hopefully going to figure out sooner rather than later so that we can come out on the other side of this better humans than when we went into it as. Like, can we really work through some of that?
totally, totally. You know, and I think it’s important that however I take myself out into the day is, that’s gonna be an understanding of how I’m going to also be a scope for the world. So I’m going to be only taking in what’s around me based on what’s within me. Because that’s what I have the capability of. So, I’m gonna, this is more for other people because I know that you understand this part. But if I was to say where do you see me? where do you see me right now?
Like Physically? Uh against a wall in New Zealand.
I’m on your screen right on screen.
Yeah, it’s on my screen. Yes, yes.
Well, you really see me right? as the lights reflecting off the screen. It’s going into your brain right now and sending signals to your brain, right? So it’s all happening within you, right? And then if I ask you, where are you hearing me?
In my earbuds, in my mind
The sound waves are going through the microphones in the air, and it’s going to the ear drums and sending signals to your brain saying this is what we hit. And now if I was to somehow reach my hand through the screen and I touched you on your hand, and I say, do you feel? Do you feel me? You might say yes. But really you feel the sensors on your skin saying that, Oh, I feel this sensation on my hand. Right? So yes, if you close your eyes and I touch you on the top of your hand, right? You can think of the spider, you could think it’s anything, right? You don’t actually know what it is. But you can make an assumption of what it is. But essentially, all that’s being sent to your brain from that sensation is, oh, I feel something on the hand. It’s this sort of sensation. It’s a sort of texture. So that’s all happening within you. Right? All of that’s happening within you all the light that’s coming through your sight. All the sound that’s coming through is it’s all happening within you. Have you ever experienced anything outside of you?
Are you asking me or you adding like no more metaphorically?
Yes, in general.
I mean, there could be arguments for both sides. My instinct is to say yes, but I also understand the argument that people could say that no, everything is actually happening internally.
Yeah, totally. I mean, at the end of the day, even though I am looking at things that are outside of me, it’s my sensory organ of my sight that’s picking that up and my sight is inside of me, the signals that are happening and transferring that information to my brain is all happening within myself. The sensory organ of my hearing, right? My ears, that sensory organ itself is picking up the sounds that are around me, but it’s sending the information about brightness within me. So all of that experience, all that information is converted within me, right? So even though there’s information outside of me, I’m picking it up and sending it inward. So essentially, whatever that filter is within myself is why I’m going to perceive that. So for example, if I was to look at a tree and I was in a state of pain, I might just see the tree and not think anything of it. But if I’m in a state of lovingness, within myself, I might look at that tree and be like such a beautiful tree. You know, a state of depression, like, I might look at the tree and be like, Oh, that’s an ugly tree, like, whatever it might be your frustration, right? So I’m always going to look at things through the filter of how I am with myself. So I think it’s important that this is a really good reminder for people during this time to notice that how you start to see the world around you is actually how you’re feeling within yourself. It’s a beautiful reflection, because that gives you empowerment, not disempowerment, empowerment, knowing that Oh, if that’s the case, and what if I shift what’s within me, the muscles around me will become a lot different, and possibly more spectacular. Yeah, yeah.
Oh, that’s beautiful. I love it. And I mean, in terms of the pandemic as well, I think that part of what you and I kind of wanted to touch on as well is that we’re in, you and I are very fortunate to be in developed countries that have healthcare and governments who are doing their best to protect us. I mean, I suppose some people would argue that but I think that they’re doing a pretty good job. And I love your prime minister, by the way, she’s amazing.
She’s spectacular. I’m not gonna lie. Yeah,
Absolutely spectacular. That woman, I want to be here when I grow up, she’s awesome. But I think that one of the, it’s been such a dichotomy after having lived in Bali for months and months, to see how things happen there in comparison to how things go down, especially in this time of crisis in developed countries. And I have always had moral and ethical issues with living in Bali as a Westerner because we have changed and altered the Balineess culture, we have taken over, we have placed our own expectations on Bali in terms of what we want it to be as opposed to accepting it for what it is. And we also then get to just pick up and leave whenever we want. But there’s never been such a glaringly obvious example, as this particular crisis that we’re in is everyone has fled Bali. And I just happened like you happen to be out of the country anyway. And you were going to be going back sooner, which is no longer the case. I happen to be leaving the country at the same time, as well. Again, for you and I in particular, it just happened to work out but you and I both know, many, many people in Bali, who fled the country, which I would have as well if I had been in that position. But that again raises this moral and ethical issue of why is it okay that we can be there when it’s convenient for us? And then since there are less developed nation, we already know that the projected numbers, a country like Indonesia is going to be hit so much harder than a country like New Zealand or Canada. And is it fair? There’s nothing fair about it, but it just presents these really difficult questions. So I’d love to get your thoughts on some of that and how you kind of feel about all that.
Yeah, it’s interesting, I mean, it is the ideal situation in which we’re able to find a sense of security and safety and knowing that even though this virus is deadly, yes. Being in the age that we are, in the health that we are, we would be okay, even if that was to pass through us. So there’s that. But there’s also the unknown factor of well it’s still killing people, it’s still possible to die as a healthy human if you did get this virus, so that is quite scary. And in that fear, I feel like I think that there will be people that would feel guilt and would feel shame for leaving the country. And I really want to identify that those people are the people that probably have obviously put a lot more thought into it. And those people, I think, like you’ve done well to actually bring that to mind, because I think it’s very easy for people to not even think about giving it a second thought. So I think that it is obviously very fear based and fear has overrun the sense of ethical embodiment, whatever that might be for that person. So simply the fear is stronger than the ethics to that person and that’s okay. Although it is frustrating. That is unfortunately just the reality of the situation. The reality is that a lot of people have left and the reality is that a lot of people are starving, today, tomorrow, the day after people are going to starve to death. And it’s just the truth of it unfortunately. I wish I obviously could do a lot more about it as individuals, but the most we can, we can hope for as they really do work through this. And it’s just gonna be interesting to see what the world’s like in those third world countries after the situation passes. So I’d say that’s all I’ve really got to say about it. Because I mean, as much as I would love to have some sort of influence on it. Yeah, yes. It’s just a matter of the…
I think it’s more of an awareness issue than anything else, like just just being conscious about it. And and by the way, I don’t mean to imply that anyone who left Bali should have guilt because like I said, like, I would have done the same thing. It’s just that I would have left the country as well anyway, but it just presents this whole dichotomy about, you know, just there’s such a disparity between the way the Westerners live in Bali and the way the locals live in Bali. And yeah, it’s very heartbreaking sometimes on a good day, like, aside from any crisis, and now the crisis that we are undergoing has just made it even more obvious to the point where it’s hard to watch, because then as all the Westerners have left, all the money has left with them. They really depend on that tourism. So that’s hitting them so hard, and they already don’t have the same kind of infrastructure that we’re so fortunate to have in these other more developed countries. So it’s that I almost just wanted to bring it up as an awareness factor because I think that is something that a lot of people, I certainly don’t have the answers, by any means, but I think it has something to be aware of especially as you know, we’re globe trotting humans. Yeah, yeah, immense privilege to be able to do so. And I think it’s just really important to still always be aware about what’s happening on a more local level.
Totally. And once something is a lot more in your experience in terms of like, that’s a reality like, Oh, shit, that’s actually a reality that’s actually happening right now. It’s a lot easier to put that into perspective of, while I’m, I’m blessed. I really am. I’m really lucky. And that’s something that I’m not a big fan of like adopting perspectives, because it can be quite hard to adopt a perspective when I myself am struggling a lot internally, but at the same time, I think it is still important to raise that awareness, because it does give people an opportunity to start seeing a lot more clearly about what’s going on. So yeah, I think it’s beautiful. Thank you for bringing it up.
Yeah, well, thank you for being open to discussing it a little bit. We want to, and I am so grateful that not only you’re sharing your story with us and all of that, but that you are so open about your struggles with addiction to pornography. And I think that it’s really powerful here and that you’re bringing this to light because I think that there are a lot of people who are struggling with this, who will not discuss it because there’s so much shame attached to that like just this immense, immense shame and people don’t want to discuss it, people are pushing it under the rug. And I’ve had women in particular reach out to me not to say that this can be a male or female issue that doesn’t have anything to do that I’ve just happened to have had some women reach out to me, saying that they’ve struggled with their male partners having issues with pornography addiction. And then when you had kind of mentioned it to me in passing, I was like, we need to talk about this. So I would love to hear a little bit more about your experience with that and what you kind of underwent, when you were going through it, how you came out of it, if you’d be open to sharing that I would be so grateful.
Absolutely. And I think it’s an amazing topic to talk about in a time of crisis like this because that’s when vices become very loud. Yeah, now that I don’t have a the vice of, you know, going out on the weekends or going partying or going socializing or getting a beer or, you know, doing this other stuff that’s outside of the house. Now, there’s only so many vices I can access so Instagram, Facebook, social media, and other things as well. But then also, a lot of people will use self pleasure as advice in terms of how to escape boredom, how to escape, you know, their own thoughts or their own struggles within themselves. A great way to do that is through self pleasure. And as a guy, there’s a lot of focus normally on the, I’m just going to use the terminology on it doesn’t bother me that it might shock people, but on cuming. Guys are just so focused on the end result a lot of the time and that’s just for a guy that’s just natural. It’s nothing to be shameful of. But it’s, I think, important to bring to attention that if a guy can learn to come away from just that focus at the end, that both the experience for the guy is going to be so much more beautiful when they can focus on the process, and the enjoyment through that process with beautiful focus on that. But it’s also going to be very much more enjoyable for the partner as well. Who’s also experiencing that because it’s gonna be a lot more presence. And I’m sure as you and I both know, it’s a much more beautiful experience when both people are much more present. And not just you know, maybe drunkenness, or not just like going for the end goal. With pornography there’s, there’s such a focus on the, for a lot of it anyway, there is a big focus on sort of the guy side of things and really pleasing the, you know, the the guy in that sense. It’s like this quick access to a sense of pleasure, this feeling of being alpha, this feeling of being empowered in some shape or form because at the end of the day, like everything, there is under your control, there’s nothing that’s out of your control, literally, it’s on a foreign screen, you’re on your own, you can do your thing, but it’s that feeling of like this is in my control, another person isn’t in my control, so this is a lot easier to access. So as a guy, there’s really a lot of toxic masculinity that goes on in the world in terms of how guys need to be because a lot of guys don’t feel that they are that that is a lot, there’s this feeling of insecurity within, therefore, it’s easy to turn to something. And because I feel de massculated, I don’t know the word. Because I feel like my masculinity is not where it should be. I want to find other areas of life somewhere where I can have control over that. And I can slip into that feeling being alpha being masculine and what ever since. So that’s what definitely was a big experience for me, it was out of the sense of needing a vice. And it was out of the sense of not feeling masculine. In terms of like, I wasn’t in the space where I was, I was having that connection with a woman and that sort of spectacular way, and I was turning to something else where I sort of get what I want out of there. And that was pornography at the time. So yeah, it’s an interesting topic to get into because there’s so many avenues for a guy and of course I can imagine it’s interesting to hear both the girls and the guys side of this as well. Both sides are affected. Now as a guy, I’ve been in relationships where I still watch porn. And in the past when this was a thing, it was like, there was a poor, how would i say it? there was poor communication around sex, there was poor communication around sex because there’s poor communication around sex, both sides weren’t fulfilled and weren’t, the environment wasn’t created for meaningful sex where those needs on both ends were met. Therefore, it was so much easier for me to turn to porn, and that’s what I did. So that would happen during a relationship as well. But it would happen a lot out of a relationship when I felt lonely. Or when I felt within a relationship that my needs weren’t being met, I turned to porn as well. So that was sort of an interesting vice to really look back at and be like, wow, I really used that a lot. And there were many times when I would feel guilt, feel shame about it. And I’d beat myself up about it a lot. So every time I’d finish watching porn, I would feel guilt and shame and I’d beat myself up and then this would be this massive cycle of feeling less about myself. Then again craving that feeling of empowerment. So going back to it or feeling less about myself feeling crap and then needing that vise to cover it up. So yeah, it was such an interesting cycle. And I think by talking about it, and understanding it now, it’s important not to feel ashamed of it. Because I’m so open about it. I’ve spoken to many, many of my guy mates about it. And seriously, I even know a lot of guys mates of mine that are do watch it in their relationships and it’s something that I do bring up discussion with just to just to know like a loving matter in a loving manner but yeah, shining light on that and understanding that It does create harm, but at the same time, understand that that’s not the source of the harm. The source of the harm is what’s leading to men being impulsive about going to this porn and going to this sense of needing that pleasure. What is that? That’s where the root is. And it’s important to look at that, because that’s where you’ll be able to address the issue rather than looking at porn itself and trying to not watch it. Now, if you address the root of what’s leading to that impulsive need, then that’ll fix itself. So I think that’s what’s important to shine a light on.
You made so many incredible points there. And I have so many questions. First of all, just to acknowledge the fact that you and I currently are speaking in in fairly heteronormative terms, but this can obviously apply in like any type of relationship like anyone can get sucked into pornography addiction. It’s not necessarily like a heterosexual thing. I mean, pornography in general, I think presents very often unrealistic standards for both males and females, like physically, and otherwise the detachment I mean, again, I could also bring up the ethical issue here that a lot of pornography is made kind of down the avenue of sex trafficking women as well. Like that’s another whole separate issue. But in general, I think that it presents this really difficult standard that’s impossible to live up to. And then both sides end up confused about what the actual real life relationship will look like. Then like you said, communication goes out the window and then we’re fucked and then nothing ever comes of it because both sides end up feeling so unsatisfied and as though they aren’t living up to like as an individual or as a couple, or thinking that about the other person even though nothing is living up to this fantasy that’s playing out in their heads, and that’s really dangerous because it blocks us from having true connection and intimacy with our partners as well.
totally, I can definitely give a little bit of advice, actually, for guys listening to how to actually work around that and how to improve the connection during sex, because I definitely noticed that there’ll be times when my desire for sex would actually decrease and my desire for porn would increase. So I’d almost like want porn more than sex because sex wass not as meaningful, that was the real issue rather than and also because of the point I was like, I want it’s like, I get to, you know, I’m in control. Whereas in sex, I wasn’t, and I still felt insecure in those moments. So because there was a lack of communication around that that was a big issue. So it’s definitely a discussion that needs to be had if there has to be an understanding of how to address both sides of needs equally. But at the same time, if the guy doesn’t give an opportunity, and this can be definitely on the girl as well 100%. But I think, obviously I’m a guy so I can speak as a guy. But if that focus on the connection during sex rather than the end goal, and I’ve talked to a lot of girls about this, and I hear a lot of girls falling into the trap of actually being really focused on just trying to make the guy come and then feeling really bad if he doesn’t, or feeling really bad, you know, there’s an issue there. Hearing that I was like, wow, this is something that is such an issue because that also from the female side leads to a lack of potential connection because it’s no longer focused on the moment. Now there’s a focus on what I’m trying to create. And obviously vice versa. That’s a big thing for the guys as well as the guy so focused on getting that pleasure at the end that because like, that’s got to happen, you know, that there’s such a loss in connection with what’s going on now, because if I’ve got 100% of energy to focus my energy on something, right, I mean, if I’m really focused on what I’m doing in my work or whatever, you know, hundred percent focus, but if I’m if I’m focused on, you know, 50% on my work and 50% on, you know, what my wife’s doing, what my kids are doing, our brains are going on only 50% focus on my work because 50% of my, my brain is focusing on something else, right? So same thing in sex, if I’m 50% focused on the end goal, even if I’m just even if I’m really focused on that person, there’s still a subconscious focus on the end goal, therefore, there’s a lack of connection that I can have that moment. So it’s important if someone can take away that subconscious focus on the end goal, then the connection and sex is going to absolutely tenfold. It’s such a beautiful experience and what I did for six weeks, and this isn’t what I suggest most guys do just for a little while, but I did it for six weeks and I didn’t ejaculate for six weeks. I did have sex in those weeks and I did not ejaculate. And there was a discussion, interesting discussion for sure with the person I was intimate with but what it did for me is it took away the opportunity for me to have that end goal. Now that angle was irrelevant. So all I had was that moment, that’s all I had, there was no subconscious focus on what was going to happen. It was just that and that gave me such an opportunity to really engage during that moment. And man that changed everything for me in terms of my experience. So I would highly suggest for any guy listening, the next you know, two, three times that you engage, intimately understand, that’s not your last time you’re gonna do that, okay!. So give yourself an opportunity to really engage with that connection, whether it’s having a discussion with her, especially let her know because otherwise you’ll probably feel bad because that’s unfortunately what’s going on now. But give yourself an opportunity to really take away the ego completely, don’t ejaculate and just give yourself an opportunity to just engage with that moment completely and see what that’s like for you because I guarantee not just a lot of the connection that sex can bring, but also you’re gonna learn so much about yourself so much about yourself.
Thank you for sharing that. And a lot of what you’re saying totally applies to women as well in terms of, you know, again, like the unrealistic standards. I mentioned this on a podcast episode I did a couple weeks ago with my friend Steph. About women who I mean, I don’t know a single woman who has never faked an orgasm. I don’t know a single woman, because things like pornography have set a certain standard, where, you know, women come like that and you’re like, What? That’s just not how it always works, unfortunately. It removes the exploration aspect of it because it’s just like, okay, let’s just get it done, and that end goal for both parties. But you know, often the focus is especially on the male, but in general, when you take that away for both sides, the enjoyment is going to increase massively, massively.
And then you can sort of bring it back in, but that’s only once the connection is established. Yeah. So I think it’s just a beautiful challenge, because then you can really prove to yourself that no, I am in control of this. I’m in control of, you know, this machine meaning me and my impulses, my impulses, my impulse of needing the end goal to happen that can wait, alright, I’m in control, not my mind. I’m in control right now. If you can establish that control, I guarantee you’re going to feel so much more in control of your own life in so many other areas as well. So yeah, I think that’s a very big, very big powerful thing to slip into for especially. Yeah, guys, girls.
Well, what triggered you to like take note of what you felt to be an issue with the pornography in the first place? And to actually start to change that for yourself because especially, you’re a young guy, and for someone, I’m always blown away, there are several people that I have met in Bali specifically, who are like 26 and under, who are the oldest souls I think I’ve ever met. And you’re one of your one of them, like you have the oldest soul. And I’m just so impressed that a guy your age, in particular, was able to understand what was happening and to make that shift and transition. So how did that kind of come about for you?
I just want to quickly touch on that old soul flame because that’s an interesting point and then I’ll touch on this because they are both very interesting things and I’m excited to share that. But quickly on the old soul thing, I just want to really elaborate on the fact It was just more that I looked at the pain, I didn’t look away from the pain. Most of the time, I was looking away from the pain but by looking away from the pain, I didn’t grow. I didn’t mature emotionally, I didn’t mature psychologically, in terms of my relationship with my psychology and my relationship with my emotions, but I’m mature in those areas of my life, if I do look at them, it’s just that simple. I’ve been blessed enough to have that opportunity and that security and support in order to do that. So from a young age, I mean, so it’s possible for anyone at any point to mature in those areas, of course, as you know, but it’s, it is very difficult to do without this poll. So, the number one step is to find that support and in some shape or form so called psychologists, therapists, friends, coaches, whatever, right? And then start looking at that emotional and psychological trauma and pain. Because by doing that, that’s where you’ll grow and mature in those areas. Cuz I wish I heard that a lot earlier. You know?
A lot of people would benefit from hearing that earlier. Yeah. And I mean, yeah, age just doesn’t always matter. I mean, I know people who are 40 who behave like children. And then there’s people who are 22 that I’m like, is your soul 112 like,
like, I remember I was at a men’s circle and this 19 year old kid came in, and he just said the most spectacular things, all the guys around like, jaw drop. Whoa, how would you say? Did you read that in a book?! it is just pure, beautiful.
Yeah. So the age can be very irrelevant in so many ways. And I’ve learned that lesson in particular in the last year, especially meeting people like you and a couple other really close friends of mine that I’ve just been blown away at how mature they are for their age. But yeah, sorry, let’s let’s bring it back around. So tell me how that transition kind of happened for you.
Yeah, So it was something that was on my mind for a while because I’d always feel guilt around it, firstly, so something that I try to stop. And this is going back to the issue that I mentioned before, which is if I just try to stop the impulse without addressing where the impulses coming from, that’s a big issue because now I’m going to try find other vices or feel frustrated, I’m going to feel like a needs not met. Right? So addressing the issue, right, like properly. So this can be a big issue in a relationship if either partner is like, we need to stop this because if you say we need to stop this, then you’re stopping something without giving attention to what’s causing it. And that just creates a big build up and where does that go? That build up can go into the relationship and cause more issues. So it’s important not to just stop it, you know, talk about it and discuss it, but don’t make it a problem. Bring it to the intention there and say Okay, this can be talked about, we can solve this. How can we solve this? Where’s it coming from? Why is it happening? That’s what needs to be looked at not the actual thing. So that’s what I started to notice over time, because every time I’d try to stop watching porn, same thing, frustrated, desperation, constantly thinking about it. This native like, oh, man, it was so good to just get it out. But I can’t, I can’t I not not watching, you know, and then I’d get into this internal battle and it’s frustrating, frustrating time. Now, yeah, what’s important is I had to start looking at where it was coming from was it coming from boredom. So when I would allow myself to be bored, the only reason why I allowed myself to be bored is because when I was on my own in silence, I wouldn’t allow myself to bring attention to my thoughts and emotions. So that’s why I was bored. But the moment I did that changed, right. So there’s boredom. I noticed that was impulsive, and I was bored because I wanted to just take my mind off my thoughts and emotions. It was whenever I was in this feeling of pain, or in this feeling of disempowerment, not feeling good enough, not feeling worthy. And these feelings became compulsive, the impulsive triggers for me to go and watch porn. So that was the first step, was actually being aware of where it was coming from. The second thing and this is what really just completely cut it cold turkey and this wouldn’t normally happen for a lot of people. I was just lucky enough that it did happen in terms of like, there was a big pain in my life and insecurity in my life. I started to think, like, literally, I’d see a girl and instantly think about sexual desires. Like, even at wacky ages, even if I wasn’t even attracted to them, even if it was just wrong. And then I would imagine them in a sexual scenario without even wanting to and like my mind would just go straight there without me wanting to and I would beat myself up and be like ‘that is so wrong and sickening’. And I’d be so frustrated. And that was so painful for me and I realized that a lot of that was coming from physically watching porn, because that completely shifted my psychological structure of what was going on in my brain and neurological patterns firing through the watching of porn and it was proven right? Many times over in science, but yeah, I really noticed that firsthand. Then finally, the pain of not feeling like completely in sex right and not feeling like a lot of the time I would go soft, I wouldn’t be able to keep that hard on. I know many guys share that pain. But that started to go away when I got rid of what was creating that, which was this feeling of disconnect in sex because I saw sex as another way through pornography. So that when sex did come, it didn’t feel right or feel good, you know, it wasn’t the same connection, isn’t the same beauty because I was so focused on what I thought it should be rather than what it actually was, which is so much more beautiful. But that beauty isn’t seen when I’m just looking at this surface level stuff, which is through porn. So that was a big pain that really triggered me to be like, Oh, I literally just stopped because I was just causing me so much pain, frustration within myself. And eventually those sorts died off those, that in a battle and a frustration died off, I started to actually have good sex. Yeah, a lot of things changed for me as soon as I took porn out. And I’d say a really big important thing is to first look at where you’re beating yourself up, address that first before you address the pornography problem because if you go straight from beating yourself up to just cutting out porn, that frustration is just going to build more so it’s important to see where you’re beating yourself up about porn, make that more normal and okay for yourself to acknowledge within yourself to say, Okay, this is a struggle. This is something I struggle with and that is okay. Once that’s okay within yourself, then you can start moving past it. Because at the moment, it’s not okay. There’s a moment that becomes a big wall and a big block for you. So make that more okay within yourself understanding that okay, yes, is a problem. Yes, it’s causing a lot of issues but it’s okay to have the struggle. Once I acknowledge that, then it gives me the opportunity to start making those steps forward because the moment I’m below what I’m trying to face is the moment I feel overwhelmed by it. But the moment I allow myself to feel okay with this, and I’m gonna face it, I think that’s real important too, to really put it out there. But yeah, and then from there, you can start slowly, just like anything we’ve offered. Take your time, be communicative about it, especially with your partner, if you’re willing to feel like you can be, then I’d recommend that because any good partner word would be understanding. And as long as you’re obviously like saying, look, this is a struggle. This is where it’s coming from. This is why it’s happening. Would you support me? And I’m sure any good partner would. So yeah.
this has just been amazing. Kieren , like honestly, your honesty is so appreciative. And I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to really benefit from your openness around this because it’s a tough topic. It’s a tough topic. So I really commend you for being open and available to have these types of conversations and
It’s interesting because I know most would pause. You know, it doesn’t even matter anymore. It doesn’t bother me anymore, because it’s just that once I’ve normalized it and made it okay with myself, it’s a lot easier to discuss outwardly. So yeah, I just wanted to acknowledge that because that’s possible for anyone trust me, it used to be the most shameful thing, the most shameful thing. It was sickening inside of me, so I can go to that, trust me. Anyone can.
Yeah, that’s really incredibly powerful. Thank you for that. Thank you for that. Also, I think a lot of our parents learn a lot about us on podcasts and information that may be otherwise would not have been discussed. It’s fine. It’s fine. Okay, well, one more question to wrap up with and that’s if you had one piece of advice on teaching people how to grow into the best Possibly possible version of themselves? What would it be?
If my emotions are here, not over there? Not somewhere else. That’s where I need to put my focus.
So like inside you?
Unknown Speaker 56:16
Yeah, yeah, if my emotions are experienced within me, if I want to learn how to be, if I want to learn how to be the best version of myself inwardly, so that I can be myself and be the best version of myself outwardly, I must first focus inwardly. Because at the end of the day, before I do any action, I must first have a thought, before I actually acknowledge any experience, I first have that emotion. So things start inwardly and then we will project outwardly. So if I’m always trying to fix what’s outside of me, I’m always going to run into a wall. But if I first change what’s within me and change my experience of what’s outside of me, changing what’s outside is a lot easier. I’ll just give a quick example. If I’m in a space of insecurity within myself, and I’m, I’ll use a relationship, perfect example, if I’m insecure within myself, and I’m constantly needing things to be a certain way in the relationship, I guarantee that that person most likely doesn’t want to do those things. Because Yeah, otherwise it’d be happening, like naturally. So now I’m here, wanting things to be a certain way and they’re, there wanting things to be a certain way and I guarantee those things aren’t going to match perfectly, they never will. So until I address that insecurity within myself, and make myself feel more secure about that, is the moment that I won’t come at it with the sense of needing to control it. And I’ll come at it with the sense of compassion for the other person understanding that this person is simply acting out of their part of love, their version of love. And that’s okay.
I love it. That’s been a really beautiful theme that you’ve managed to weave in throughout this entire episode. I think so that’s a perfect way to wrap up.
Thank you so much, Kieren . This has been amazing. I really appreciate it. I wish I could give you a hug in real life like we did in our last interview. Zoom Hugs
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