Katherine Jansen-Byrkit – Awakening Your Life

Intro: [00:00:00] [00:00:00] Who wants coffee? Who wants a pot of coffee? I just make coffee. You want a cup of coffee? Sure, here you go! Who wants coffee? Anybody else want coffee? And now it’s time for the man with the caffeine, the new tropics for the brain. It’s @CoffeeWithMike, hang in, hang tight, grab your cup and let’s get this thing started.

[00:00:26]Mike: [00:00:26] Hello everybody, welcome back to Java Chat. We got a good one for you today. I swear, I’m going to call Steve Harvey and see if I can borrow that just for the licensing. We have Katherine Jansen-Byrkett here. Katherine has a Master’s in Public Health from the university of Washington. She got that back in ‘92. She spent over a decade in public health, managing violence prevention and teen health programs. 

[00:00:48] Okay, first off, thank you for doing that. Cause that’s like huge. That’s very needed. Over time she experienced an inner story. What ensued was a process of reflection, curiosity, and ultimately trust as she dove into her current career as a licensed professional counselor, which I assume you still are.

[00:01:06] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:01:06] I am.

[00:01:06] Mike: [00:01:06] And following in the footsteps of her father was also a therapist. This is cool. She graduated in ‘04 from Lewis and Clark. Awesome. And has now been in private practice for 17 years, offering not only holistic psychotherapy, but retreats and workshops, as well. This is cool, ladies and gentlemen. I present to you, Katherine Jensen-Byrkit. Thank you so much for joining us here on Java Chat. 

[00:01:32] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:01:32] Thank you so much for helping me.

[00:01:34]Mike: [00:01:34] Yeah, this is you’re going to have to, you go into a bit of how this all played out. Obviously, I just kind of read a little bio, but I mean, that’s—  

[00:01:44] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:01:44] Yeah. I mean, it’s a journey.

[00:01:47] Mike: [00:01:47] I mean, obviously, dad was a therapist. Did you ever think you were going to follow him and just kind of take off into that? 

[00:01:55] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:01:55] No. And it was actually on a personal retreat that there in university college, it kinda came to me. I was 39 years old and really happy in public health, had kind of my life pretty situated, had great benefits. And it just really came to me. And so, I was surprised. So, you know, I’ve been in therapy, just working with my trauma and I can share more about that, what my journey has looked like. So in that way, I’m not surprised, but no, I was actually going to be an attorney and then I took a health class and it was like health kind of grabbed me.

[00:02:27]Mike: [00:02:27] I mean, you think about it completely divergent. If you look at it, you’re talking about legal and health. 

[00:02:35] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:02:35] No, no, no, exactly. When I went to Lewis and Clark, there was an attorney who was in his early sixties deciding to go into like, okay, I’ve done that like left brain stuff. It’s time to do something different. 

[00:02:53] Mike: [00:02:53] So what was that moment like? I mean, obviously you’re off at a retreat and all of a sudden you just because everybody’s experience is different. Some people it’s just a thought and all of a sudden they move some people that’s an actual experience. And all of a sudden it’s like, okay, what do I do now? 

[00:03:08] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:03:08] Well, I’m going to tell you a story. That’s pretty intense about how they run those kinds of moments because I was in a small group. So, you’re to name a stream and it was just like, I want to be a therapist. And it just kind of came out of me. It just got clear, but this is what’s weird, Mike, instead of what you would think on a personal retreat where everybody’s just like, you can do it. Yay. Go Katherine. Their focus was you as a small group and we did this with each other. You need to tell her. You can’t do it. You don’t deserve it. You already have a Master’s degree. What are you thinking? What about the children to the point where it roughed up an engine inside of me. It was a very intense, personal retreat where I was like, I can do it.

[00:03:56] Yeah, it’d be, it grew such a yes. Such a resounding yes. Then when I got home to my husband who was not in resistance to it, but there was nothing anybody could say I got so clear. So it was really counterintuitive. 

[00:04:14] Mike: [00:04:14] That’s a very counterintuitive type of retreat. I mean, I get the premise of what they’re doing there. They’re literally taking the inside normal imposter voice and putting it outside so that your body goes, no, no, we’re doing this. Yeah, I get that from this. That’s gotta have been a Holy crap. That’s intense. Okay. Okay, so you come home and your husband. He’s looking at you, like, all right, what now? Where does it go from there? I mean, it wasn’t Lewis and Clark that you were, or was that where you were? 

[00:04:46] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:04:46] That’s where I got my Master’s and I thought, you know, I want to go. And there’s so many great programs when you take on psychotherapy, especially since there’s kind of a spiritual component to my practice and certainly in my own life.

[00:04:58] And so there’s just great programs, but I also was raising children, working still at the health department. And so Louis and Clark is a great school. What wasn’t my first choice became really, really a great fit. And that was three miles from me. 

[00:05:13] Mike: [00:05:13] You were doing this while building your family.

[00:05:16] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:05:16] Oh, yeah. I have six children. We’re a blended family. So I’m raising children, still working. I was literally on field trips, reading yeah. Chapter, you know, and then going to the pumpkin patch. And then with the first graders, I was doing homework with my children. 

[00:05:36] Mike: [00:05:36] It’s a different kind of experience. I would say it’s kind of an experience, but you get super folk when you get that though. And I’ve seen this before, you get this in super focused kind of, or hyper as some of it’s called in some cases where even in the midst of all of the chaos, it’s still somewhat organized.

[00:05:54] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:05:54] Oh, totally. And you know, it was close to home and there’s an energy when you are tapped into a calling. and I feel lucky because I work with many people and certainly even friends or sometimes some of my now they’re all adults, children have, like, what is, what is. What am I here for? Like, what’s my purpose? 

[00:06:12] And that’s always been low hanging fruit for me. It was clear I was going to be an attorney. And then it was clear that I was to be involved in health. And then this. So, I just want to give a shout out to one of my main crises that happened at 16 years old. I quit high school. So part of why I am so glad for my educational journey is I don’t have a high school diploma. I have a GED.

[00:06:39]Mike: [00:06:39] But you still have a master’s and a doctorate, right? 

[00:06:42] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:06:42] Two masters.

[00:06:43]Mike: [00:06:43] Two masters, dual. Guys, did you hear that? The GED can kill it? That’s the truth of the matter. There’s no excuses. Please continue. I’m sorry. I just, I had to say that. 

[00:06:54] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:06:54] No worries. No worries at all. Yeah. So how I’m also here is I wrote a book kind of about my journey and it wasn’t so much that I had ever planned for that either that also came to me about 10 years ago as a, This just needs to be what I ultimately offer my children because I can’t be their therapist. But it really came to me as a, Here’s the book on wakefulness. It includes an inner world stuff, outer world stuff. 

[00:07:23] So it’s a lot of actually what I work with within my practice, you know, as the title of the book, the title of the book is very Pacific Northwestern, river to ocean living in the flow of wakefulness. So the first few aspects of wakefulness are like the first one is relationship to ourselves. Freedom from the mind because so many people, they’re at the mercy of their thinking and then mindfulness.

[00:07:50] Mike: [00:07:50] Can we dig into that for a second? Cause I swear that’s going on so much right now, just that, that whole thing. People have become so distracted with themselves and with everything that’s going on around them. That I swear that just right there, there is none. That’s a very general statement, but it just seems like nobody cares. They’re not paying attention to anything and they’re paying attention to all the outside voices. And that’s completely swayed them off of what they’re supposed to be, who they’re supposed to be, where they’re headed. Am I calling that pretty right? 

[00:08:25] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:08:25] Yeah. I just, you know, the mind and our culture that actually kind of worships thinking that’s a strong word, but I think it’s— 

[00:08:33]Mike: [00:08:33] I think it’s pretty damn close. I think it’s close. 

[00:08:36] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:08:36] We marry that, Mike, with the fact that the research has said that. At some crazy level, the content of our thoughts are inaccurate. Talk about fake news. If our mind is telling us life and we do not have capacity to understand, those thoughts need to sometimes stream by don’t own your thoughts and don’t let them own you, or actually have practices where we challenge our thoughts. But just because I think that doesn’t mean it’s true.

[00:09:07] And if I’m depressed or I’m anxious, did that depression or anxiety proceed the thought or follow the thought? I have depressive thoughts. I’m going to have even more body experience. If I have anxious thoughts, it doesn’t mean that there are not. Obviously, COVID things are uncertain. So, some of that’s real stuff, but just having it really was needed to be the second chapter relationship to self, and then immediately working with the mind because that’s so much where our mental. Health wise or mental illness and lack of peace. 

[00:09:41] Mike: [00:09:41] I swear. That’s where a lot of the latter generations behind us— cause you know, when we were growing up, forgive me for going down this road and I come from the islands. You know, if you had problems, it was: suck it up, take a lap, you know, do some pushups or something like that.

[00:10:00] There was no mental health in our years. I mean, yeah, there were therapists and I saw my institute back in the day, but it wasn’t a huge thing. It’s become such a huge thing that the now generations over-focus on it. And just what you said right there with a depressive thought happens was your depression before or after that. They don’t pay attention to it. They wait until the thought comes in, they’re depressed after, or their anxiety comes after and say, Oh, I’m anxious. I have anxiety attacks. I’m like, Whoa, look at what you’re thinking about. 

[00:10:30] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:10:30] That’s right. Well, I suppose my clients are shocked when I’m like, Of course you’re depressed. Of course you’re anxious. It sounds like things are working exactly as they would, but I can help you with that. 

[00:10:42] Mike: [00:10:42] Pulling my buddy from Brooklyn. What about this, do you not understand?

[00:10:50] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:10:50] Exactly? I guess I would also say, we don’t have enough of maybe the right way to be in terms of what I would frame as mental health as a mental health provider. I don’t even think of myself as kind of a mental health worker. I think of myself as a healer. I think of myself, accompanying people and undoing aloneness. I educate people on their inner process so that they don’t eventually need to pay me. They begin to understand their whole system differently. 

[00:11:19] Mike: [00:11:19] You know, what it gets me, I want to find out why is not what you’re talking about right now being taught to our youth? Why is it not out there? I don’t see it. 

[00:11:27] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:11:27] Well, yeah, that’s, yeah. 

[00:11:31] Mike: [00:11:31] Cause by the time they get to you it’s like you’ve already taken the shot over the edge. I gotta bring you back from the edge. 

[00:11:42] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:11:42] Right. Something like, one of the key parts in relationship to self is worth. So by the time I meet people, they not only haven’t stopped believing they’re good enough. They live in a culture where we have to prove our worth. It comes from something. If we were a baby and didn’t think we were good enough, we wouldn’t cry. The other baby next to us would have been better than us. We didn’t, it’s not innate.

[00:12:05] If that’s what I believe, then I have this thing in my mind called confirmation bias. And I keep experiencing evidence in my life that will reinforce the current belief system I have. So a whole lot of therapy to me is about remodeling and looking at the inner self. 

[00:12:27]Mike: [00:12:27] It’s interesting you run down that because it runs around in my world a lot and I’m not in health. I’m in marketing. In our industry when you’re talking about what your mind’s looking for, you got to find it. You remember the older, I had a Critical Thinking professor back in college that told us, Hey, by the way, your mind looks for what you tell it to look for. So on your way along, you guys look for Mercedes-Benz. And I want to see how many you guys see tomorrow. And we all came back everybody saw like four or five, maybe six. And he’s like, all right, how many Toyotas did you see? Nobody could remember. 

[00:13:07] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:13:07] Oh, I love it. Exactly. And I mean, not to frighten your listeners, but this is how powerful confirmation biases are.

[00:13:16] Mike: [00:13:16] It’s okay they’re big people. 

[00:13:16] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:13:16] I have a funny story about coffee, too. I can tell you if you want to hear it, but it’s not only experiencing confirmation bias, the mind selects out contradictory evidence, and then the step further we create evidence to support. So when I go to the yoga class, because I have a belief that I don’t belong, because of that belief, I behave in a way, right? I might come late. I definitely sit at the back. I don’t engage with people because I have this sense of I’m on the outside, looking in now. If you’re in the middle of the yoga class, is that the person you’re going to walk up to? You’dprobably think, well…right?

[00:14:10] So then it’s like, wow, no, one’s interacting with me. I set it up. And now this is actually direct experience. It’s not even the mind. Everybody seemed to be, you know, talking to each other and the teacher and I got left out again. So that is heartbreaking to me that the system works like that. But again, once we know the system in a loving way, we can be the master of our mind. It’s not about not having a mind. If I didn’t have a mind, we wouldn’t have had this appointment. Like, it really is a great tool for thinking, but it is not the end. 

[00:14:46] Mike: [00:14:46] It’s a really wonderful tool thinking just, you know, there’s some days where I wonder if that word is actually used when they are progressing in their life, because you just look at them and go, My head hurts. Why did you do that? Why did you say that? Why did you think that? You gotta kind of wonder, and I do it to myself too like you said, we have our own self conversations. I think at my age now I’ve had more walks down by the river with myself than I ever have to, to basically go okay. What was that? 

[00:15:25] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:15:25] Well, and what I guess I would say, and I’m the therapist on your show. So I’ll give the plug for psychotherapy and understanding psychodynamics when we’re thinking, what aren’t we doing? We’re not feeling in our body and our body actually, there’s more and more research that says our body is cuing us and very, these, the. There are no separated parts of the brain anymore. They’re all working together. And, what aren’t we doing when we’re thinking? We’re not feeling and emotions are not just about, Oh, I feel that’s good feelings once they’re truly experienced core emotions, at least two adaptive actions. So actually that is behavioral.

[00:16:04] But, if I shut down my emotions, cause I’m always in my head and thinking those untrue thoughts that I don’t challenge, then I’m really kind of screwed because so much of my system can not give me what I need to navigate my life. 

[00:16:20] Mike: [00:16:20] It works both ways. I mean, if you, you can’t separate the two, they have to work together. You know what I mean? I have good friends. They’re like, you know, if you ever have to make a decision about a woman, don’t listen to your heart, listen to your head. And I’m like, Yeah, ,but if I do that, I’m not feeling anything. And my head’s just going to be thinking one thing and it may not be correct.

[00:16:41] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:16:41] This is the other thing. This idea of more integrative, holistic existence and living and decision-making and engaging. And so there’s another one too, which is intuition. That may not at all make logical sense, but from what I’ve learned, it was not that many years ago— I don’t know which islands you’re speaking of, but the Hawaiian Islands, I was—  

[00:17:08] Mike: [00:17:08] That’s where I’m from. 

[00:17:10] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:17:10] I probably saved my life and my husband’s life just by not getting into what looked like waves that were fine and safe. And then I got the no, and he got really tumbled in the crevasse with the lava, but there weren’t two of us. And so it’s so powerful to start to access all of our existence, and what that brings to our life. 

[00:17:33] Mike: [00:17:33] I’m already having fun. We do need to take a short 30 second break. We’re going to take a short pause guys, and we’ll come back and you guys know about the second section. We’re going to start getting into the whys, the inspirations, what inspires Katherine and what keeps her moving on this? So we’ll be back in 30, and we’ll keep digging 


[00:17:55] And we’re back here at Java Chat sitting with Katherine Jensen-Byrkit. She is a mental health therapist. How would you describe yourself?

[00:18:06]Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:18:06] Well, a licensed counselor, a psychotherapist. Yeah. And I would hope to be a coach, healer, friend. I mean, there’s a lot in the mix when you work. 

[00:18:23] Mike: [00:18:23] I think friend is absolutely the best goal to be just in general, no matter who you’re working with. I tend to move into that realm. Some people in business tell me, well, you can’t be everybody’s friend. I’m like, well, I can be a friendly acquaintance. That’s good enough. 

[00:18:39] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:18:39] Yeah, there you go. Yes. And when I sat with my dad before he passed and he never got to do private practice, but there was a little bit of an overlap between when he was done. And I asked him, what’s your advice? Like what, what’s going on in the room? He just looked at me and he said, Katherine, just love them. Yeah, just love them. I mean, not necessarily going to say that, but that’s a felt experience and that is so therapeutic. There’s such a lack of love right now in the world and isolation even in a way we do life and can do life and COVID hasn’t helped that. So yeah, it was only exasperated by it.

[00:19:19]Mike: [00:19:19] This section, we usually talk about what motivates, what inspires, like who were some of the people you looked up to? Maybe some of the books that you’ve read that have driven you along your path to where you’re at now. Maybe we can talk a little bit more about some of the things like you just, you mentioned the big one aloneness. I swear, that’s been driven by fear. In our days it was just, don’t talk to strangers. Now, it’s don’t talk to anybody and it’s like, when the hell did that come in, you know? So what are some of the things that have pushed you in this direction? And then what keeps you going?

[00:19:51] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:19:51] Well, you know, it got pushed in this direction because I was suicidal and attempted suicide at 16 and had to climb my way out through a GED, through leaving Roseburg, Oregon, and moving to San Francisco to not be in 200 pounds anymore and starting to not violate my body through food addiction. So, I’ve had so many teachers along the way. I would say Tara Brach, who actually endorsed my book, she does a lot of work around the trance of unworthiness. She’s both a Buddhist herself and a psychotherapist, and does lots of retreats. She has a radical acceptance as a book she wrote long ago.

[00:20:30] And my own therapists, I give a shout out to David Rico. He also was a psychotherapist at Santa Barbara. He wrote the Five Things You Cannot Change and The Happiness You Find By Embracing Them. Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection. You know, those of us who struggle with perfectionism as a response to a felt sense of unworthiness.

[00:20:55] Well, it starts with some, usually some kind of fracture to the sense of self. But, it’s interesting because one of my children, a couple of them were readers for my book and I have in my book, a section on intrinsic worth. Then, I have practices because I believe we can’t just have ideas. We actually have to do something. We have to create the neural pathways, but then I have a story and I had one of my clients by permission to obviously without his real name, tell his story about how he didn’t feel worthy and he had an absent father. But my daughter read it and she said, Mom, at 25. And she was like 27. I didn’t know I was worthy, but I did have two loving parents. I had parents telling me I was worthy. So she said, you need a story in your book for people like me that don’t understand why they don’t feel good enough. 

[00:21:52] And so that was helpful. So I put her story in the book because that can happen through a lot of different sources, not always a divorce or abuse or an absent parent or that kind of thing. So I think it’s a really big and important question and drives so much because even the loneliness idea, if I don’t feel good enough, then my own sense of insecurity is going to promote social anxiety because I’m so afraid you might reject me—because I’m afraid you won’t love me or like me, cause I don’t love or like me, even though you don’t know that I’m projecting all of that onto you. And that’s going to create a lot of anxiety. This might compromise how well I engage. It’s not the be all and end all, but if I were to pick one thing—

[00:22:39] Mike: [00:22:39] That’s probably one of the biggest things. And then I don’t know if you just saw my face, but I just had a realization. I’ve been a single dad for a long time. My son’s now 19 and he still struggles with a couple of things. And it’s always been my fear that in the midst of all of this stuff that he had to deal with changing schools all the time, having to work himself through a divorce, stuff that, you know, it wasn’t his fault. I’m going to have to have him read that book if I can get him to read. 

[00:23:06] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:23:06] There’s an audible with a great narrator!

[00:23:10] Mike: [00:23:10] Yeah. That’s good. He’s an online kid, you know, he’s a gen Z. and they’re interesting, the way they learn. They’re masters of group work. I mean, there was actually a study done on it where they brought a bunch of gen Zs together, sat them down and gave him a subject to research. And it was interesting. There were five of them. Four started talking in the last one, got on the computer, started running Google. And, they got their project framework done. Lickety-split. No problem. And they didn’t know each other, they were just tasked with it and they went for it and I was like, that’s amazing. You couldn’t have done that with me and my generation. We just looked at each other and went, yeah no. 

[00:23:54] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:23:54] Right, right, right. Thinking about how they do it. Right. 

[00:23:57] Mike: [00:23:57] Yeah. But when it comes to themselves, it’s hard to get them to do anything. I mean, he has his little things, but that’s about it. 

[00:24:09] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:24:09] So I try to promote, not like I want, you know, I’m not glad for what happened to me. When my dad left in a very unfortunate way at 14 , it was really the fracture for me. It was pretty much a light bulb moment. Inadvertently as an alcoholic, we didn’t see his over drinking. He kind of made it like it’s not me or my sisters, I’m leaving. It’s just your mom. I can’t do family. Like, yeah, then of course, two years later, I’m 200 pounds and suicidal. Of course, of course. 

[00:24:37] Mike: [00:24:37] I wonder why. 

[00:24:38] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:24:38] Yeah. I wonder why. Because of that trauma, because of the work of trauma that your son and others experience—I wasn’t ready to maybe do all the work, feel all the pain because with trauma, I have to be willing to re-experience some of what happened, but I also didn’t.

[00:24:56] I mean, the therapist I was working with at the time, while they’re well well-intended, but they basically just sat with me and I talked. I didn’t learn other than reading the books. It was worth a sense of relationships itself. A sense that 19 year old Katherine or whatever your old Katherine needed to talk to that 14 year old, who at 13 thought she was good enough and at 14, got confused.

[00:25:20] That’s called parts work. So, again, I’m really about  trauma’s so hard, but it is such a platform by which such deep things can happen within ourselves. And now with a relationship to myself, when I take my final breath, I know I’m going to be with myself in a way that undoes another kind of love that I never would’ve had before if I hadn’t had that trauma.

[00:25:52] Mike: [00:25:52] We all have them. This thing where we’ve made mistakes, sometimes we learn from them. Sometimes we don’t, hopefully we do. And those mistakes lead to regret. There’ve been a couple of times where people have asked me, well, what do you regret in your life?

[00:26:10] And I’m thinking I’ve got a lot of shit in my life, you know, but I don’t dwell on them because, unless you bring them up, I don’t think about them. I just don’t. I don’t have the time, but you say that there’s a way to make peace with that so that it’s not, there’s not an emotional anchor on it. Does that make sense?

[00:26:28] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:26:28] It totally does because, well, and this isn’t challenging you on that, but more invitational for you, Mike, if you don’t think about it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist inside of you. Where there’s regret, there can be shame and shame is really a toxic emotional experience where guilt and this always surprises people because I don’t believe there are truly negative emotions.

[00:26:52] There are core emotions and each one has this place. If I didn’t regret a system that cued me, or if I didn’t have a system that helped me feel guilty, which is kind of in the family of sadness— Like say that I cut somebody off on the freeway, I feel a little guilty. I frightened somebody. I change my driving. Do I not feel guilty? But you know, that’s not a steady state of guilt. That’s a wave of guilt that changes behavior. That’s a five second, like that’s done. 

[00:27:21] So first of all, I would say we need to be friends and sit with our regrets and guilt as sometimes a very adaptive and helpful response to a situation where it’s appropriate to do that. Sometimes it involves making amends with somebody, whether it’s a kid, a partner, a friend, even a client, right. But there’s that other piece of learning from it so that then I can forgive myself and put those learnings into practice. So then, it’s not like I’m traveling through life recklessly so I can have a lot of regrets to work with, but regrets are our evolution and they’re not a problem without a problem story, but we do need to protect that sense of self from not harboring shame.

[00:28:11] There was a man who wrote a book called A Year To Live. And it’s not because he was terminally ill. It really is a powerful teaching. And he said those that I work with that are terminally ill. Say they’re given like a year to live. One of the things they change in their life. And they get real busy, like, okay. So right now, what is today? The 30th says, you and I, Mike, are going to die. We know we’re going to die in 2021 on October 30th. What does that inform about our life? So forgiveness, forgiving others, making amends, like finishing that unfinished business. And the premise of his book is why do you have to wait till you’re terminally ill?

[00:28:52] That’s transformation. So living from a place of not tempting fate and death, but someday it will be our last year and what a great life to know that I’m not traveling with unfinished business. So again, our regrets are going to inform where that unfinished business is. So thank you for that question. It is a really great question and we don’t have to be afraid of that. 

[00:29:17] Mike: [00:29:17] Yeah. So it’s a deep one. I think a lot of people miss the fact that. All you’re doing is suppressing. If you don’t do those things. And I still have that stuff to work through too, don’t get me wrong.

[00:29:29] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:29:29] And let’s go back and connect the dots. Maybe that if I have regret and guilt, so see if I don’t have worth, then my mistakes become confirmation bias. Then I’m a bad person. I’m not good enough. But if I have intrinsic worth my fallibility, I’m not afraid of that so I can face it. And sometimes that’s, again, that’s why it’s such a far reaching thing worth. That’s why I don’t deal with my regrets because it’s going to be so toxic inside of me. I haven’t made peace with my humanity and my imperfect makes sense to me. 

[00:30:02] Mike: [00:30:02] So, you got like some real deep passion for this, obviously. And as I said, this whole thing kind of leads into the why do you do this? I mean, what’s the driver for you? I mean, other than, this is your calling? 

[00:30:26] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:30:26] Well, it isn’t like a belief. And then thank goodness I had a calling. It’s like one needs purpose in life. What I experienced and what I’ve always seen in my clinical practice, much less where I’ve seen even my kids before they found more of a sense of direction and purpose. Those that didn’t have clarity right away. It’s part of, you know, having our feet on the ground and having a really powerful way to have a meaningful life, but purpose can be kindness to strangers as much as a professional trajectory.

[00:31:02] So I really throw a wide net with what that can be. And especially for people that don’t really have it clear in a professional way, they need to have purpose in their life. There are many ways to arrive at that. So, it’s really compelling. I loved public health, but the appeal was a little bit fading now that I look back. So I was able to listen and keep being open to new things. Especially with that retreat. My life was taking a left turn. One more adventure my husband would want to do. 

[00:31:33] We want to live in another country. I’ll have to see if I’m going to do that, but we actually put some energy into starting with Costa Rica and Panama. What does that really look like? And now with zoom, the upside of COVID, I can take my practice on the road. So I feel like adventuring and really listening. And, you know, to me, that’s the “why.” It’s an incredible way to experience life, and certainly unconventional as my life has always been, starting with that GED.

[00:32:07] Mike: [00:32:07] That’s just huge, and by the way, Costa Rica, yes, do it. I’ve got friends that are down there now and I’ve got other friends to move there. I keep getting invitations. I’m probably going to go down there to look at a development that we’re talking about working on. It’s amazing. Let’s put it that way. So yeah, definitely at least give it a shot to just visit. 

[00:32:33] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:32:33] Well, or some hybrid of being there, you know, two to four months of the year where you get to know that community and keep residency in the States. I have grandchildren and you know, I’ll always have to see my mountains and see my pacific ocean. But you know, one of my kids just moved to Australia after studying abroad. I’m like, wow. I went to San Francisco from Roseburg, Oregon, and I broke the family code. I could go live in another country and I’m like, Hey, I just have noted that I’m 57. I want a turn. I want to do that. So darn it. I’m going to do it. 

[00:33:09] Mike: [00:33:09] I’m deserving of it. Dang straight. There you go. 

[00:33:14] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:33:14] That’s right. That’s right 

[00:33:15] Mike: [00:33:15] Guys, we’re going to take another short 30 second break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about what Katherine is working on now, where she’s headed, what she’s thinking. She kind of gave us a little bit of thought about what she’s thinking about doing, but we’re going to dig in a little bit to what she’s actually doing. So in about 30 seconds, we’ll be right back.


[00:33:30] Back here at Java Chat, hanging out with Katherine Jansen-Byrkit, talking about real cool stuff. We’ve been digging into all kinds of cool stuff with you when it comes to mental health and how to take care of things and how to perceive and how to actually frame thoughts and feelings, et cetera, et cetera. And there’s a ton more guys. Trust me. This particular podcast format is too short to be able to do what I would like Katherine to do.

[00:33:58] But we’re getting out as much as we can. So this last section just basically talks about what you’re doing now. What are you doing now? What are your goals? What are you working on? 

[00:34:08] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:34:08] Hmm, well, you know, my beloved 7th child, my book. So I’m really, I’m proud of it. And I really feel like it has a place, so I’m doing podcasting and we did just do the audio version of it only two months ago. So that was a process. I kind of love what I do. My goal is to deeply enjoy myself. I’m not so far from retirement actually. And my husband’s a bit older than me, so if I just keep doing what I’m doing and just change up, like, wow, I do a retreat, but maybe I should do an international retreat and keep meeting people like you and keep kind of spreading the word of wakefulness. And my practice tends to run full. So it’s not like I have more hours of the day. I have to actually watch that because I love the work so much. I can be a little bit on that workaholic edge. And especially with Zoom, I have to take care of my body around it.

[00:35:04] But you know, webinars, I’m kind of looking at that. How far can I take a virtual reality? Basically before, it’s really not the same experience as in-person, and hopefully this time next year, or even sooner, we’ll have, you know, our leg over COVID and we can start to have group gatherings safely. 

[00:35:24] Mike: [00:35:24] Yes, please. Sometime soon we just get through this. 

[00:35:29] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:35:29] Yeah, yeah. A challenge for me right now is just taking care of myself with the intensity of my practice. The statistics you’re hearing are true. The suicide rate, the addiction rate, the marriages, or committing to your relationships. There are really big challenges around how to do this long-term so that’s real. I’m not raising children and trying to do homeschooling at the same time, but really, really taking good care of myself. You know, if I can’t go to the movies, if I can’t travel and if that has sourced my happiness, then I have to keep doing what I invite my clients to do, which is find deeper and new ways to experience life as sometimes very hard and sometimes certainly, truly scary, but also amazing and good. 

[00:36:20] Mike: [00:36:20] Agreed. I have so many thoughts for you on what you can do with that. I think being a market, I’m thinking, Oh, there’s an info product. There’s a coaching program. 

[00:36:29] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:36:29] Oh, there’s this? There’s that? Well, let’s talk, maybe working with you is in my future. 

[00:36:34] Mike: [00:36:34] You know what? Anything’s possible. It’s just the idea of what you have as far as value to bring to the general populace. I think it is the awakening part that we kind of touched on a little bit that is so necessary because we’ve been taken out of our routine for six months at this point, almost completely. And we’ve been shut in when we’re used to being open out into the world. Going to work, being with friends, going out and being social, you know, and even the introverts are starting to feel it. I mean, I’ve got friends that are, and they’re just like, yeah, I’m not really digging this anymore. 

[00:37:14] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:37:14] It was really nice when everybody entered my world. Right. And it’s like, welcome, like, yeah. Yay. 

[00:37:20] Mike: [00:37:20] And, now it’s like, yeah, you guys got to go. And so do I, I mean, so I think this is just a human thing. Human condition we’ve been pulled from our routine. We’ve been given a routine we are completely unused to. We don’t know how to deal with it. And I think your information has to be out there in some form besides you. 

[00:37:44] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:37:44] Well, in one of the podcasts, I referenced a research based on astronauts, very different called third quarter isolation. And it’s what happened to the astronauts in sustained isolation. So they had anxiety. Then they had depression. And then they got really restless and rowdy, and then they started feeling like you’re in your bubble and I’m in mine. All this stuff started happening for the longer term effect.

[00:38:18] And so, yeah, we haven’t done this before and we are doing it, but hopefully we learn from the first six months as we may have another six months and going into winter. There are certainly silver linings with this. I see people deeply struggling with this, but also waking up some veils have really lifted.

[00:38:37] Maybe we do need marriage counseling because now I’ve spent so much time with you I can’t just have mobility be a way I don’t deal with some of our problems or maybe I just realize I need to work at home or work less. I can’t even imagine not seeing my kids as much as I have. So, I think we’ll look back at this time and there will be a lot. 

[00:38:58] Mike: [00:38:58] I find it very interesting that a lot of what people are calling the narratives that are out there now when you have a human that lives in “normal stasis,” it’s easy to feed it to him. You put them in lockdown. And you give them time to themselves and all of a sudden they’re just starting to question everything. 

[00:39:22] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:39:22] Yes. Well, and it kind of goes back to, I’m forgetting the name, but it’s a powerful poem called “The Invitation.” And one of the stanzas in it is “do you truly love the company you keep?” We read it at the beginning of our retreats to just really have impact.

[00:39:44] Truly keeping your own company and especially for people that live alone, and need to be COVID safe. But one of the cool things about this next stage and the holidays is we need to get out of judgment. We need to get honest with our choices. We need to be self-supporting of our choices, but know that, Mike, your choices may not work for me.

[00:40:05] And my choices may not work for you. So we get to not judge. We get to be creative about it. Is there a collaborative way to stay? Connected or see each other or have holiday times or not, but what a great way to bridge differences right now, which are our country and people have a hard time doing to have a collaborative approach to decision making.

[00:40:27] Mike: [00:40:27] And a little statement that I learned and I can’t remember who taught it to me, following up the “or not” and it’s three words and that’s okay. And that’s the part that’s missing. Yeah, everybody goes “or not”, and that’s not okay. You can’t be that way. I’ll do me. You do you. Even though we can’t collaborate this way. It’s okay. I still love you. You’re still here. Right? 

[00:40:56] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:40:56] You have to make a choice of which is more important, your ideology or your relationships. And I’m not saying that, I’m going to relax. My principles and my core values from a place of also not expressing them. And if we do stay in our lane without glaring at the lanes next to us, creating a sense of curiosity and respect and actually within. Our family, my children, you know, we’re on a continuum of left-leaning right-leaning. But the main thing is we would never choose out of  a relationship. We can talk and be receptive and curious with each other.

[00:41:34] And so there’s so much common ground. That’s the sad thing for me is because I had to do that as a couples therapist. I’d have two people and because I always was committed to not taking sides. I literally in the middle of the couch would see a bubble and it was starting to fill and it was all the common ground, but they were off being super positional. I don’t want a dog, you want to die? Like whatever it would be. And there was resonance towards each other’s position, but it was all about power and control. So I love working for the company. 

[00:42:05] Mike: [00:42:05] What’s really interesting to me is, and this is whether you’re in personal life, you’re in business life, whatever, like you happen to be in what you just said right there. It’s the common ground that you find the best position to work from because from there anything’s possible. I don’t want a dog. All right. You don’t want a dog. I still love you because you do this for me while I still love you. Cause I still do this for you, but you do this for me and it’s like, well, there you have it. This is what you begin to work from. 

[00:42:31] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:42:31] That’s right. And, you know, obviously in that kind of case, and it’s funny because that was something that my husband and I had to do. He would call an animal “one more needy creature,” which is kind of his favorite thing. I wanted to get T-shirts of “needy creature,” “needy wife,” “creature number one,” etc. But, when we did a two year collaborative process, it was so powerful, and we’re two years into our life now. Yeah, I can get your ego aside because I didn’t know if I was going to get a dog and it wasn’t about the outcome. It was just about working together creatively. 

[00:43:07] We did it so differently, and he doesn’t resent that dog. Yes, you can’t both have a dog and not have a dog or have a baby and not have a baby, but it’s really about how the process feels on the other side of the decision. When is a real feeling that we can have, and I don’t ever use the word compromise, cause that’s usually like, well, you gave up as much as I did.

[00:43:27] Mike: [00:43:27] Yeah. It’s not a real win. It’s interesting that you use that. And the first thing that hits my mind was the old farmer versus the florist farmer who looks at a flower and goes, that’s a weed. And the florist looks at the wheat and goes, yeah, exactly, exactly. But they both have a purpose, so I totally get that. So, where can people find you? I mean, obviously we’re going to have your links below, but go ahead. For those that are listening or watching, where can people find you? 

[00:44:01] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:44:01] Well, I’ve never closed my practice. It’s full, so I don’t know that I can literally offer those professional services. I do retreats and workshops less now, you know, but we’ll have webinars. I’m kind of thinking about developing that. b I’m on different podcasts now, so I’m kind of more active in that. 

[00:44:23] Mike: [00:44:23] And, yeah, I have a couple podcasts I’d like to get you to. Douglas has one called Life Transformation. You need to be on that one. That’d be awesome. Yeah. He’s a great guy too.

[00:44:33] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:44:33] You know, my book, actually, one of the public health things about my book was I believe in affordability and whether I don’t trust counselors, I can’t afford a counselor. I can’t drive to one, or I don’t want to do telehealth. I do think books like mine and the ones I’ve mentioned are powerful resources for transformation. And we’ve kind of stopped reading. Luckily, there’s audio now. That’s fine. If you don’t want to pick up a physical book, it’s better for the planet. 

[00:45:04]Mike: [00:45:04] They can, you’re on, well, you’re on Facebook, you’re on Twitter. So, you know, we’ll be following you. There’s going to be plenty of people following you when you start putting out any content. LinkedIn, if anybody wants to connect with her there, we need to connect there for sure. I believe you have a website.

[00:45:32] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:45:32] Yeah. Harbor Glow Holistic. So energy counseling is my counseling business Harbor Glow Publishing is the publishing company and created so I can publish my book. My husband is a chiropractor and because he works in our little space, we created one website with all the two of us here. 

[00:45:53] Mike: [00:45:53] Perfect. Perfect. Oh, The time runs way too fast sometimes. I have one more question for you though. In your business right now, obviously you’re doing fine. I mean, as far as being full up with clients and stuff like that, but what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now in your business?

[00:46:10] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:46:10] Well, it’s what I guess I referenced before. I’m human, too. And so, not that I process what goes on for me with my clients. I’m pretty. I’m creating an unconventional there, too.

[00:46:26] Mike: [00:46:26] Not a bad thing 

[00:46:26] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:46:26] That professionalism has got to really hit refresh and what we understand, what that looks like. BPretty much now in the winter, my entire full practice is on Zoom and any retreats. That is just a walk. It’s not what I signed up for. I had a little chance from like six weeks ago, my body had a chapter I’m like, I didn’t sign up for class. Thank goodness you could do it. Because my husband couldn’t Zoom his chiropractic practice. I am also very free. 

[00:46:56] Mike: [00:46:56] Just turn a little bit this way for me. 

[00:46:59] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:46:59] Pardon me?

[00:47:02] Mike: [00:47:02] Just turn a little. Can you remember what this adjustment felt like?

[00:47:05] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:47:05] Right. Don’t pump against that wall. That’s funny. I’m going to tell him that. He’ll get a kick out of it. The logistical challenge, I guess the deeper work is, but it keeps me on my toes because I will never be a hypocrite if I can’t find the good in life. When life is hard and life is quite dynamic right now. And gosh, we had forest fires, so we couldn’t go outside. That was our lovely reality. And, so that was intense, you know, it’s over. So I get to keep exploring what that is. I need to keep really taking care of myself on a lot of levels, emotionally, physically, spiritually. So it’s not even a challenge, I guess, to me, that’s the opportunity.

[00:47:50] Mike: [00:47:50] Yeah, there you go. I’m so glad you said it that way. I hear a lot of times, although I put the question out as a challenge, I always look to see if somebody is really looking at it from the standpoint of, yeah, that’s a challenge, but that also opens up a lot of doors. It always does. No matter how you look at it, I mean that, that’s what pivots are for. That’s what new opportunities in, in any other realm might happen to pop up? You know, I’ve had trainers go from being private practice and all of a sudden they’re making five figures in corporate training and they’re booked out for six months and I’m looking at them going, do we just have this conversation?

[00:48:24] Cool. Well, I want to thank you once more for coming and sharing your knowledge, your wisdom, your insight, your story. It’s amazing. I think there’s a lot more to talk about though. I don’t think we covered more than like a mustard seed of this and would probably love having you back if you’re open to it.

[00:48:41] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:48:41] We’d love that. 

[00:48:41] Mike: [00:48:41] Yeah. I think there’s a lot more to be discussed only because again, we’re dealing with a community of entrepreneurs and business professionals who are busy. Even though they’re home working remotely, they are busy and they’re missing over half of what we just talked about. So, I think letting them in on the fact that the whole “and it’s okay” is there because a lot of them are thinking it’s not 

[00:49:07] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:49:07] And that, you know, they’re there in their professional life. So, I love your contribution to the world. So thank you, Mike, for being one of my already favorite podcasts that I’ve been on and I’d love to come back. 

[00:49:22] Mike: [00:49:22] My goal has been achieved at least one. 

[00:49:26] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:49:26] He’s like, you’re not supposed to have favorite children. 

[00:49:31] Mike: [00:49:31] Totally. So, since you said that I got to share this.

[00:49:37] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:49:37] And then I’ll tell you my coffee story, if you want, we’ll do that, too.

[00:49:40] Mike: [00:49:40] Before we sign off, I posted something. I think it was yesterday. Let me see if I can pull it up. It was I wish my siblings would stop calling me spoiled just because I’m the baby of the family. I am the youngest. The fact is my parents kept having children until they found one they liked. It’s not my issue.

[00:49:57] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:49:57] Love that. I love that. That is great. That is great. 

[00:50:02] Mike: [00:50:02] So what does this coffee story? Yeah, bring it, bring it. 

[00:50:04] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:50:04] Yes. So I sit with strong cups of coffee, two, two big ones every morning, often on the deck, looking at the river. 

[00:50:12] Mike: [00:50:12] Are you sure you’re not German in any way?

[00:50:15] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:50:15] I don’t know. I don’t know. I have a weird disease called hemochromatosis, which is a mouthful, but basically caffeine keeps the iron from attaching to my organs. I get to drink coffee every day. Because Of the idea of wakefulness, one of my readers is like, cause I put that in the book I could in the meditation section, I just said, I said everyday with my cup of coffee in my bed. My reader’s like Katherine don’t you think it should be herbal tea? And I’m like, give me a break, not herbal tea, it’s coffee. And if somebody doesn’t like my book because I’m drinking coffee on my back rather than herbal tea, right. 

[00:50:53] Mike: [00:50:53] There’s ways around that. It just drives me nuts. I got away from coffee. Oh, well, good for you. I need my caffeine. Have a good day.

[00:51:02] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:51:02] I love my caffeine. Right. 

[00:51:05] Mike: [00:51:05] Actually it’s become a comfort food for me because it’s like, I just drink it to drink it. Plus I do intermittent fasting. So this is black, you know, I put nothing in it. I keep it clean. I don’t eat for 16 to 20 hours at a time, depending on the day. Anyway, going back to the book and what you actually put in there and the coffee story.

[00:51:21] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:51:21] Yeah. Yeah, I love it. I love it. Well again, thank you, Mike, so much. And please reach out anytime.

[00:51:28]Mike: [00:51:28] Finish the story. Cause you were, you were talking about the person who came back to you and said, shouldn’t it be herbal tea?

[00:51:34] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:51:34] And I’m like, this book is all about authenticity and you know, that for me, so it not only had to stay in, it was kind of like putting it on the back of the book that I attempted suicide, but it’s not a book about suicide or telling my readers that. I was a food addict and weighed 200 pounds and had to get that right. Like just the, you know, I’m not performative in the book and there isn’t anything to me, I dunno. It’s like the idea of like the Midwesterners that could pick up a book on wakefulness and go, Oh, thank God she drinks coffee. Because if there’s somebody from Portland, Oregon that only drinks tea in Portlandia, and you know loves chickens. And you know, I’m not vegan either. 

[00:52:20] Mike: [00:52:20] I love chicken. Oh, you mean live ones? I’m sorry. I’m thinking I love chicken. I eat it every day. 

[00:52:25] Katherine Jansen-Byrkit: [00:52:25] Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

[00:52:28] Mike: [00:52:28] Oh, shucks. This has been, this has been a lot of fun. thank you again very much for, for joining us here on Java Chat. My gosh guys, if you can find her follow her. We’ll give you the links down below as always down in the comments. If you guys have questions by the way, just know that you can, you can always put questions down below. we will eat it for them over to Katherine.

[00:52:47] If you want to follow this on YouTube, we do get questions. Feel free to answer them directly and get them over to your website or whatever to get more information. If you’re watching on YouTube and you’re not a subscriber yet, there’s a button right there, subscribe. And there’s also a little bell there hit that bell because that tells you when we’re bringing up another episode. We usually do premiers on it. So pay attention guys. We publish  every Monday and Thursday we’re actually falling behind. I’d have to do a third day of publishing. That would be cool. And if you’re listening to us on a podcast platform, make sure you download or subscribe, whatever that is.

[00:53:21] If you’re listening to us on Anchor, which is where we Homebase are our recordings, anchor.fm. Feel free to make a donation and support our little podcast every little bit helps. I always like to end these. We always say the same thing and it’s because we made it. We love every one of you. We appreciate every one of you for watching, for listening, for downloading and for subscribing. Whatever it is. And if you can share this out, please do, because somebody out there is going to want to hear what just said by our guests today. Share it out, give it to other people to pick up the golden nuggets that you may have picked up or some more that you may not have. It’s all good. And it’s okay. 

[00:54:00] So for Katherine Jensen-Byrkit, I’m going to have to get so used to that. My goodness. For Katherine Jansen-Byrkit and myself Coffee With Mike, stay up, stay safe, stay healthy and live. From us to all of you, ciao for now. 

[00:54:20] Outro: [00:54:20] For more information on Java Chat, visit www.JavaChatPodcast.com. You’ve been listening to @CoffeeWithMike on Java Chat. Tune in weekly to this podcast. For the next episode, you can also download or subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform. A production of Oasis media group, LLC. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Copyright 2019, all rights reserved.

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