Katherine Jansen-Byrkit- Overcoming Differences

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Interview with Katherine Jansen Byrkit Part II

[00:00:27] Mike: [00:00:27] Everybody welcome back to Java chat. I always say welcome back. It’s funny. I assume everybody’s coming back at least. I, I think you are. If it’s your first time. Welcome. Come sit down and have a cup of coffee with us and hang out. We are sitting today with a guest who’s been with us once before K atherine Jensen Burkett, who is, let me make sure I say this correctly.

[00:00:49] she has a master’s in public health. but she is now in private practice. and she does a lot of really cool stuff. If you didn’t listen to the first one, I’m gonna go ahead and say, go listen to the first one, the first part one, if you will, because you get to learn who she is and what she’s about her history and her story.

[00:01:08] The reason I wanted her to come back is because we started getting into, certain subjects that we didn’t have enough time to talk about. So at one, thanks for coming back. Appreciate how. 

[00:01:18] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:01:18] Thank you. I’m so happy to be back. 

[00:01:21] Mike: [00:01:21] Yeah, I think we. We had a few subjects that we, we wanted to dig into, that we really didn’t get a chance to dig into.

[00:01:31] and, and just for, just for convenience sake, for those who are, first-timers just a real short background on what it is that you do now, not your, not your history. We already went through that, 

[00:01:41] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:01:41] but what you. Got it. Well, if I can also make one clarification, so I had a career change 20 years ago, so I have a master’s in public health and that was one journey, which was amazing.

[00:01:52] But my focus now with a master’s in counseling and a license, is actually as a psychotherapist now, an author and a teacher. So what I do now is run a private practice, do retreats and groups as I can. COVID changed my world, but, you know, 

[00:02:09] Mike: [00:02:09] yeah. 

[00:02:10] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:02:10] And, do podcasting, which is great. I just really am pretty passionate about the path of conscious living and loving, which is, you know, everything that I’m doing in any of the different forms.

[00:02:22] what I bring to the table. 

[00:02:25] Mike: [00:02:25] Interesting. Some of the things that she does discuss it like mindfulness and there, there was, There were a couple of things that we wanted to go digging into. one had to do with, big changes. we didn’t get to really go too far into that one. And I think a lot of people, like as of right now, even, big changes have been, Utterly forced into certain people’s lives only because of, you know, what we’re dealing with on the health side.

[00:02:58] and then some of the other things that are going on in the world as much as in a world. And when I say a world, I’m talking about you, the listener or the viewer, because our worlds have all changed. I don’t care where you’re at. Something has affected everything around us. you just heard Katherine say that COVID affected her practice.

[00:03:18] COVID effected our, our agency, it’s affected the, the nice thing about podcasting is you don’t have to be in the same room, which is really nice. but still there were major changes that happened and. It used to be a question before, you know, what if I want to make a big change, you know, how do I do it?

[00:03:36] at this point we’re looking at, we’ve kind of been forced to make a big change. How do we, how do we deal with that? I mean, what’s, what’s the process of clot behind that? 

[00:03:45] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:03:45] Well, I think you’ve made such an important distinction. Embed changes are scary, and a lot of people get really stuck in paralysis when I’m choosing that.

[00:03:54] But it’s a really different thing psychologically. I’m not choosing this change. And to, be able to work with more of the complicated feelings. but I’m kind of a fan of resistance because it’s kind of like a difficult child. It’s like, you know, some of the greatest stuff is in working within ourselves.

[00:04:15] About our resistance. So, you know, other than, you know, potentially even going to jail, if I break certain laws that I don’t agree with, how do I work with it when it isn’t my preference? and so I think first of all, just to not resisting resistance is kind of an operating principle, in my world.

[00:04:34] So just to be curious about like, wow, Katherine part of you is really resistant to continuing to do your practice on zoom. So as I listened to that resistance, As I honor it, rather than fight it or push it down and power through, I might be thinking, well, why are, what, what, what is that about? Well, I, my back really hurts my neck.

[00:04:55] You know, it was really affected with my long days. Well, what could I do about that? Which is bodywork and maybe getting a better ergonomically, correct, situation, rather than just either be like, I hate this. Cause you know, this is not flattening birth. This is now eight months and going into a winter with this.

[00:05:16] So, so listening to the resistance, the resistance itself, almost like a part of you that you can put a microphone shield, like the one you have, and it would talk to you. We’ll give you some ideas about what it needs and then resistance starts to go down. The second thing I think in practice with all the adversity forced or unforced is, you know, where’s the good, there’s incredible good with these changes.

[00:05:39] I get to be doing home visits with people. Basically. I know all their animals. I know what’s on our walls. sometimes I know what you know, on pajamas they’re wearing because they might have a pajama top on there’s just a connection. That, has happened through this process. even when we go back, I’ll always have this year with certain people.

[00:05:59] So I think looking for the good is hugely helpful emotionally. so working what kind of force they change 

[00:06:05] Mike: [00:06:05] when you’re, and I see this a lot on, on the younger generation, Especially like on tech talk, which is where I hang on. Hang on a lot. I notice a lot of the younger generation have a tendency to go and literally sit.

[00:06:22] In the hardship. And when I say that, I mean, like, they will literally post something. Some of them meaningfully, like, I’m just here. This is just me sharing, you know, I’ll get through this, but some genuinely sitting there going, I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure what’s next. I don’t know how to do that.

[00:06:39] And of course, you know, being a decent community as it is the outpouring of support that flies out them in the comments is awesome. You’ll always have your trolls, but if you’re having to deal with this stuff on your own, And you’re not able to do that. I think I, you know, again, looking for the good becomes tough.

[00:07:00] I mean, how do you, how do you shake yourself out of 

[00:07:02] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:07:02] that? Well, a couple of things. So a third piece, maybe just to your point, is this idea of undoing aloneness. And when we think about how do we get through things, you know, we’re herd creatures. We’re not good in separation, quarantine isolation. Yeah. We can see, it’s kind of like polar bears to start to lose their fur and a search of pace on a zoo.

[00:07:22] They’re going insane. And that’s because they can’t move. They can’t go. They are not there. So it’s, I feel like we’re all in that kind of like this captivity place and losing our hair and losing our minds. So part of it is when somebody 

[00:07:38] Mike: [00:07:38] I’m the one that’s losing hair. Great. 

[00:07:44] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:07:44] Great. When people post and they’re not alone, that’s actually really deep medicine.

[00:07:49] Yes. It doesn’t fix the problem. It doesn’t mean I can physically go be with you. It doesn’t mean COVID goes away, but undoing aloneness, and especially people that hit hit this year personally, already struggling with some depression, some anxiety they already maybe had just recently gotten single. So they, the, the, this is kind of an amplification.

[00:08:10] I also am hugely a fan of challenging our thoughts, you know, there’s some kind of crazy statistic about. Most of our thoughts are actually not true. And I know we’re in a time where we need to feel like there are things that are true and we can find our feet and there are, there’s solid things in science and that kind of thing.

[00:08:27] But just the understanding that if I have a thought that it’s really triggering and disabling to me, just the idea that what if that’s not true? You know, no one’s called me. it’s like, I must not be important to them. Well, that’s a pretty disturbing thought. Yeah. But what if. That literally is not true, unless everybody in my life turned and said, Katherine, you’re actually not important to me anymore.

[00:08:52] I can’t. No, that’s true. That’s a projection, but our mind creates our feelings a lot of the time. And so when I believe something, then it’s basically like the experiences as real as it can get. 

[00:09:04] Mike: [00:09:04] I it’s, it’s kind of funny that you say that because I do even see that. Going on where a lot of people it’s almost as if they want it to be true.

[00:09:15] And my first thinking is why would you run down that road? You really don’t. You really don’t know the evidence, 

[00:09:24] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:09:24] but here’s the deal. It’s, it’s this crazy, you know, here, we’re in the world of psychodynamics. If you believe you are unlovable. Mike is a part of you. Of course, that’s a miserable idea of oneself, but because it’s the truth that you believe it’s a belief system, you 

[00:09:41] Mike: [00:09:41] will have, 

[00:09:42] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:09:42] you will actually go find evidence.

[00:09:44] You will screen out evidence where you are loved and you will even create evidence to support your inner belief system. So whatever we believe, we’re pretty much having the experience of confirmation bias. 

[00:09:55] Mike: [00:09:55] I was just about to ask, is that what that is? Is confirmation bias. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense.

[00:10:01] That makes absolute sense. What do you do? And this is, and this becomes, again, this is always going to be a choice. I don’t care what level you’re at. What can you do to choose to opt out of that so that you can begin getting away from the confirmation bias and start like, cause he just said looking for the good and things, but.

[00:10:23] How many people do we know are actually going to stop themselves from doing that. 

[00:10:26] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:10:26] And, yeah, it’s such a great question. And absolutely the field has changed when I first was in it. And also as participated in therapy, there was this idea. You could stop your thoughts. You actually can’t stop your thoughts unless you’re heavily medicated.

[00:10:41] And then there’s a potential consequence for some of us in that. So, but what you can do is begin to understand the nature of the mind and whether you like mindfulness or meditation or not just the fact that you could witness, Oh, there’s my mind telling me these crazy stories. There’s another part of me noticing my mind.

[00:11:00] Now it doesn’t have to believe that the witness. And so just that piece. And then of course, if you can deepen that through meditation practices, then it kind of like, I don’t know my thoughts and they don’t own me. And what I believe is the good. Is even felt inside of us. I don’t have to go look and say like, Oh good.

[00:11:19] It’s not rainy today. Or, Oh, somebody smiled at me, you know, there’s so much good around us. So, I think that that’s just more easily experienced and seen once we can get out of our head, is that yeah, it comes down to it. 

[00:11:33] Mike: [00:11:33] So I, I met a gentleman years ago. As a, as a story and this, this has to do with the physical element, but his mentality around it was really impressive to me and very inspiring.

[00:11:46] gentlemen had lupus. And, you know, it’s a debilitating condition for those that understand what lupus is. I’ve I have other friends that have it it’s it’s bad when 

[00:11:56] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:11:56] it gets you. It’s that 

[00:11:57] Mike: [00:11:57] you’re you’re you’re down. You’re literally down. You are not going to be doing anything. he was onstage, Sharing his story, at a, at a convention and his voice was inspiring and everybody’s like, he looks fine.

[00:12:13] He’s looks this dot blah, blah, blah. And then he goes, just so you guys know I have lupus and every, the whole room, now you’re talking about a room of about 300, 400 people and everybody just went dead silent. And they’re just like, Oh, here comes. And he says, but lupus doesn’t have me. Of course, the whole room breaks out into major cheers, you know, big rounds, but his mentality around it was exactly that.

[00:12:38] It was like, look, I get it. I got, I have something. Yeah. But it doesn’t have me and I’m not going to let it get me here. You know, it’s a lifelong fight. There is no cure for it. So it’s, it’s one of those deals where you consistently mentally have to commit to you. Changing the path of thought. And, and like you said, honoring it being, being the witness rather than the victim or the, or the perpetrator.

[00:13:05] That’s right. 

[00:13:06] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:13:06] That’s right. 

[00:13:07] Mike: [00:13:07] And yeah, 

[00:13:09] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:13:09] go ahead. No finish that thought 

[00:13:11] Mike: [00:13:11] and, and, and be able to, and be able to realize that even if it is a physical thing, you have the means within yourself to be able to still see the good, his story touched so many people. That was his good. His good was being able to inspire other people for them to question for them, to question themselves as to why they weren’t doing things, why they weren’t taking the actions that they needed to take in daily life to be able to do what they said they wanted to do.

[00:13:41] When they first got involved with this whole thing that we were dealing with, it was MLM, but, 

[00:13:45] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:13:45] well, and I, there’s a piece with this gentleman story and, and, and an, a lifelong one of. True and real vulnerability. And so as he is not letting this define him as if he is, we talked about our first, our, I believe, you know, this idea of our relationship to self is one of compassion, but it’s an act of one it’s as if you have a little Mike inside of you.

[00:14:10] And a little Katherine inside of me, the child sometimes because we have young parts, but also just that sense of self that’s relational. So, so I am really loving and indeed yes. Practice of self care, not just having a mental mindset and an attitude. I think the combination of those things, you know, it’s really powerful and everybody has something, if not multiple things so they can tend what, and those are actually the times where we’re in a way our most.

[00:14:37] Expensive where we’re really tested and we grow. It’s like growing pains, you know, it’s growing pains for growth. so I think that’s a, a really powerful story 

[00:14:50] Mike: [00:14:50] that follows into another, another little subject about creating relationships. And a lot of people think that creating relationships is, is always external.

[00:14:58] and. I correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe mindfulness is a relationship that’s completely internal. This is watching over yourself and making sure that that relationship is good. You mentioned the child within, I remember going through, personal growth seminar work. That was literally a focus in one of the sections of that, that class was to sit down and actually see your inner child.

[00:15:22] Come and see you 

[00:15:25] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:15:25] and talk to you. 

[00:15:26] Mike: [00:15:26] Yeah, well, so mine didn’t talk to me. Mine just stood there and smiled at me and, and wow. Still, it still reminds me to this day. 

[00:15:39] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:15:39] That’s yeah, 

[00:15:40] Mike: [00:15:40] that’s the one who, when we, when we don’t honor ourselves, when we don’t practice mindfulness, that’s who we’re hurting. 

[00:15:49] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:15:49] That’s right.

[00:15:49] Well, and kind of circling back to the topic of bid changes. So there’s a kind of trauma that people don’t think about. They think about traumas, you know, head on car accidents, maybe the death of a parent when I’m five years old. Sure. Terrible abuse or molestation. Yep. There’s a, there’s a kind of relational trauma that’s that lives in us as scar tissue and it’s really important to heal.

[00:16:12] And that is when we were alone as youngsters with big feelings. So it’s aloneness. And big feelings. And that’s how repression starts because the feelings are too big for the little psyche. And sometimes our parents just, just didn’t have the emotional intelligence. They were off doing what they could probably improving from what they were raised with, but what they didn’t bring to the table was that emotional availability.

[00:16:35] And so when we think about the topic of big changes and if I’m really freaked out. Somebody astute in their personal work might understand that is this adult 58 year old. Katherine was freaked out about this, but change, or is there a young part that this is overwhelming too? And then we would not ask an eight year old to get a divorce.

[00:16:55] We would not ask a five-year-old to try to imagine a move to another country or deal with a chronic or. You know, debilitating illness, we ask an adult to do that. And so what we say to that little one is like, this is too big for you, but it’s not too big for me. So you get to just be a kid. And as an adult, we have resources.

[00:17:16] We didn’t have a , but the feeling is like when we’re a kid really overwhelmed. And so I think a whole bunch of people through this year of 2020 with how dynamic things have been. You know, their little ones are really activated, but they haven’t done the work to understand. They’re just having big feelings.

[00:17:33] They don’t have no idea that we’ve considered it kind of coming online. A young part has come online. 

[00:17:38] Mike: [00:17:38] Yeah. What are some of the, what are some of the signs that somebody can actually start recognizing? So they can see that. That, that little one’s getting overwhelmed. I mean, they’re the obvious ones, but there’s more subtle ones.

[00:17:47] What are some of the other signs that are not so apparent? 

[00:17:51] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:17:51] Well, when feelings are unregulated, so both big and unregulated 

[00:17:56] Mike: [00:17:56] welcome to the current U S status 

[00:17:59] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:17:59] try. Well, not to be mean to anybody, 

[00:18:01] Mike: [00:18:01] but I 

[00:18:02] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:18:02] don’t  

[00:18:05] Mike: [00:18:05] yeah. Not, not being mean to anyone at all. I’m just saying the current state. Exactly. 

[00:18:12] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:18:12] That’s right.

[00:18:13] Well, and it’s interesting because another topic we might explore today, is about bridging differences in how to deal with differences. 

[00:18:22] Mike: [00:18:22] Yeah. The next section, for sure. 

[00:18:23] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:18:23] It’s the, the idea of, so, so big unregulated feelings. Yeah. When all of a sudden, you’re kind of lost in something and you can really feel it in the body and the body, the more body work we do, the more actually even our ego when our egos involve, usually that’s a protective force from something that feels like there is danger and harm, and usually it’s not happening in real time.

[00:18:48] I all of a sudden experience you as somebody. You remind me, but I don’t know this is happening, right. it’s a reenactment of somebody that hurt me or somebody I didn’t trust. And so a good question to ask when we’re having big feelings is how old do I feel right now? And if I feel like I’m five. I probably am.

[00:19:06] There’s probably a young part in, and, and just in terms of, you know, when we think about maturation, if any of my behaviors are not signs of maturation, just kind of like taking a long view or understanding, I have a story right now. I have, I don’t even have all the information. Those are not developed things within a child.

[00:19:28] So probably we’re in kind of a younger age. 

[00:19:32] Mike: [00:19:32] Interesting. So there’s a, there’s a subject that, that you do talk, you do touch on a long fear. if I can remember how it was worded. Ways to deal with long fear, uncertainty and loss. That’s what it was. Yeah. And I, I think, I think there’s kind of ties into what you were just talking about because a lot of people, I think they, they, they tend to run.

[00:20:01] I used to call these thought attacks. There’s these thoughts that you, that, you know, for a fact, if you start entertaining them, you know exactly what road it’s going to run down. You know, you shouldn’t go there, but your brain goes, sure. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Yeah. And then you end up with these things that we, I used to call thought attacks, which are just basically worthless to anything mindful and, and not helpful to the little one.

[00:20:27] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:20:27] No. Or it’s the little one. So one of the things,

[00:20:34] yeah, mindfulness is this idea about living in the moment. And I really say pretty frequently, but we do have to handle our affairs in the future and we do have to resolve and finish. Business in the past. So some people use mindfulness, actually, Mike, as a checking out it’s it can be a defense. I’m just going to be right here and right now, and I’m not going to deal with my trauma.

[00:20:53] I’m not going to make my amends. I’m not going to plan for my future. And I think that is not what mindfulness is. So we, a teacher once told me, you know, how to, how to, how to be in the present moment, but have, you know, resolved past and, and organize features. Like we dip our toe. So we dip our toe in the past.

[00:21:14] When, when you say those thoughts are going down, memory lane, that would be a red flag. If I am you thinking maybe there’s something unresolved. That is why my mind keeps going back. Something is, is living inside of me. That is unfinished, whether that’s logical or not, whether I understand that or not.

[00:21:34] And that’s. That’s why a coach or a therapist is a great person to kind of dive into that and unpack that a little bit. but yes, I think that kind of, how do we, how does the adult in us deal with uncertainty and loss? Well, we know that. I’m not alone, including I have myself, I have resilience, but again, an eight year old or a 10 year old might not know how resilient we are.

[00:22:00] We’ve barely lived life. Right. So I can know some things on my own behalf. And I have no idea how 2021 is going to go. It’s probably going to be challenging. It’s not all going to be done. And. Six weeks. And so, but I can know that I’m not alone and I have that resilience and I have a kind of resourcefulness that we all do capacities to be resourceful.

[00:22:19] That’s a lot in the backpack of dealing with hard things, unless, so do I have to have all the answers when I know those answers, I kind of don’t and. 

[00:22:29] Mike: [00:22:29] I would tend to agree a lot because if, if you look at it from that perspective and, and, and literally guys, if you’re listening to this or watching I’m seriously suggesting shift your perspective and look at it from this, you got a backpack has got a lot of tools in it already.

[00:22:45] You just haven’t unpacked it. You haven’t looked at what’s in there and everything. That seems like a huge mountain in front of you. You’re carrying a mountain climbers pack, everything that seems like it’s a swamp in front of you. You’ve got a swamp burners packet. 

[00:22:57] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:22:57] It’s 

[00:22:58] Mike: [00:22:58] it’s really got everything that you need, but you need to literally take the time to unpack it and take a look and realize you’re not alone.

[00:23:07] It’s not just you didn’t. I say I turned that off. I swear. I turned, 

[00:23:12] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:23:12] yeah, I didn’t hear a thing 

[00:23:15] Mike: [00:23:15] you didn’t, but I did. And I’m going to have to do something and turn it off or something like, like literally turn it off. we’ll take a short pause and we’ll come right back, getting into the next subject that we were going to talk about.

[00:23:26] So we’ll, we’ll, there’s, there’s more to unpack, I think just at this point though, understanding that. From the perspective of being a responsible, mindful human. This is not, not being the mindful adult, being on the mindful human, is the ability to see that it’s not all bad. You’re right. 20, 21. Isn’t going to happen in six weeks.

[00:23:49] Thank goodness. and at the same time, is it going to be tough? Well, you know, they said life was an adventure. That’s how you’re supposed to live. It. If you look at it from the standpoint of everything’s against me, then it’s not going to be an adventure. 

[00:24:04] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:24:04] And if I could just quickly add if we can learn from this year, and if every crisis really is an opportunity, what is the opportunity if life is going to, as it will, in certain ways, continue to be difficult and challenging and something we’ve not contended with.

[00:24:20] So we need to be opportunistic. 

[00:24:22] Mike: [00:24:22] Love that. Gonna to leave that right there. We’ll be back in about 30 seconds. We’re going to discuss something else about overcoming differences. Cause that’s a huge thing that’s that’s seriously lacking right now. We’ll be back at 30. So you guys we’re back Java chat part two with.

[00:24:39] Katherine Jensen Burkett. 


We’re talking a little bit more about, we were talking about mindfulness and how to deal with the challenges that we’re dealing with. that was insight. And now we want to talk about outside, cause there’s some serious issues going on right now between people that. I would tend to, when you, when you guys hear how she addresses this, I agree with her.

[00:25:04] It doesn’t need to be words it’s gotten out of hand. I mean, literally it’s gotten out of hand, when you have a difference with somebody, how you handle something like that. So I’m going to kind of let you just run with this, okay. Explain where it comes from. And, and then we can start talking about how, how to deal with it.

[00:25:25] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:25:25] Hmm. Well, I guess, you and I kind of an appreciation for this interview talked about just even the operating premise that, maybe we are of an age to remember a time where diversity of opinion, not diversity of race and nationality, the other important kinds of diversity, but diversity of perspective and opinion was not innately threatening.

[00:25:49] That was not innately threatening. and I’m not quite sure yet. I’m sure anthropologists will help us in your succombing sociologists about what happened in our culture that this shift began to be there. But I want to return to that as an operating premise, that if you and I disagree. It really is.

[00:26:08] Okay. And I, because I’m not used to doing this, maybe in our culture, we’re not getting better at this. We’re getting worse at this. It’s a learning to hold space for dual realities. And that is a real thing. And it’s not fun. I love it when you agree with me because there’s a resonance there. But when we think about, if we disagree, what’s the big deal.

[00:26:28] What is the actual threat? Yeah, it’s usually actually just a little feeling of loss. But then I can be curious. And then maybe with the tool I have, there may be less lost than I’m imagining. And I’ll tell, talk to you about my forcep tool in a minute around collaboration is literally called bridging differences.

[00:26:45] Right? But that operating premise, I just want us all to take a deep breath, exhale, and imagine expanding the space. And being curious and receptive to other perspectives. Not that I will adopt them, but I might receptivity as I might. The one guests I have is I think there’s this idea. We talked about it the first time about worth the idea that, that I need validation.

[00:27:12] That, when you agree with me, that validates me. Well, I would offer that I need to have intrinsic worth and that I should not look to others to validate my perspective. Like, what is true for me stands on its own. And if I can hold that space, that is an easier way to hold the bigger space of like, Oh wow.

[00:27:32] We see this really differently. Don’t we? Mike? That’s okay. Yeah, I know what’s true for me, but if I don’t, if I’m looking for you to agree with me, because I can’t feel my feet under me, there’s going to be pressure. I’m going to, I’m going to challenge your facts. There’s going to be this kind of a different agenda that I may not even realize.

[00:27:52] Validation is a huge driver, so we need to have an operating premise. The diversity is our friends. And bring curiosity and receptivity to it. And that we’re not looking for validation around our own position or perspective. So then the tool that I developed and it was really straight forward and it really came through working with a lot of couples because my job as a couples therapist is I couldn’t choose a side and I would literally see, 

[00:28:17] Mike: [00:28:17] wait, did you say you can’t choose a side?

[00:28:20] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:28:20] I don’t choose a side, 

[00:28:22] Mike: [00:28:22] 15 people I wanted to refer you to 

[00:28:24] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:28:24] because they, that shit, there you go. 

[00:28:26] Mike: [00:28:26] Yeah. Yeah. We’ll get into that one next, please continue. 

[00:28:30] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:28:30] Well, it’s so funny when I start a new couple, cause sometimes people have gone to other couples therapists, have they come to me in there? They launch and it’s okay.

[00:28:37] Whoever starts first is going to get Katherine on her side. Right. And I just say, so I love what you’ve shared and to the other person I saved, by the way, I don’t make any assumptions that that’s your reality. And by the way, I also won’t take a side. So I’m hoping that we can still work together and they kind of.

[00:28:53] It’s like, well then what would we do if you’re not going to pick us? 

[00:28:55] Mike: [00:28:55] Exactly. But I’m going to fight, right. 

[00:28:58] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:28:58] It’s not about like, it’s nuts, right? I’m like, well, even if you want to spend the money on me being in your fight, I don’t want to earn money. 

[00:29:06] Mike: [00:29:06] Yeah, exactly. 

[00:29:07] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:29:07] The tool is that I, I, Could feel the vast difference because people were positional because that’s an ego state and differences bring out our egos.

[00:29:18] So one of the ideas of this is practicing. Non-attachment like if we’re going to truly be collaborative, I may or may not exactly get exactly my way, but I’m open to starting a process. So that’s kind of a beginning mindset. And then what I do is have people describe their difference. You want to talk? I don’t want to go.

[00:29:39] You really want a dog, like it’s really important to you. And I really don’t want a dog. Like that’s a real thing. Right. And then 

[00:29:46] Mike: [00:29:46] what I asked you has ended relationships like 

[00:29:50] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:29:50] or children or move. Right. And I say, we don’t know what the answer is going to be. We do not know whether or not we’re going to get a dog.

[00:29:58] So you have to let go of that outcome is I want you both to find common ground, right? So what I would do, even though it gives up some of my position, cause this is kind of transcending the ego, I might say, well, sometimes I kind of want a dog. Now, if you’re not in your ego, you’re not going see 

[00:30:17] Mike: [00:30:17] I’m right.

[00:30:19] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:30:19] I do not playing into position in finding common ground. As you know, sometimes it’s really nice to just pick up a go and not deal with an animal. And I know that’s going to cost us a bunch of money and I do kind of think about that now. It’s not that I still don’t want a dog and you still do want a dog, but it moves us closer.

[00:30:36] And I think about like a really big river. It comes more like a Creek. Like our differences are, are not so big. There is some common ground. And then the third step is okay, let’s start developing options. Still not knowing whether we’re going to get a dog or not to see if there’s one that’s kind of a win-win.

[00:30:56] So we might put an option on the table of what if we foster dogs and then we could take breaks. Okay, 

[00:31:02] Mike: [00:31:02] let’s just add, 

[00:31:04] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:31:04] would that be enough dog for you? And could I work with that? You know, in terms of having grit, you know, that’s an option. We haven’t chosen it yet. We could get a dog and actually commit to rehoming if it didn’t work out right.

[00:31:17] We could postpone this decision for six months, not get a dog. And I could just, we could do more information gathering about maybe I just, the kind of dog. Yeah. You see, once we get into creative process, when our differences are not as broad, then to then to me, we can find something like, you know what, I can say you could say not getting a Dublin dog.

[00:31:39] I’m not willing to put that off the table, but I could wait or I am willing to foster, like something might just kind of land as, okay. We’re going to, we’re going to go with this option. So that’s the fourth step, so it’s so yeah, go ahead. So it’s defined your perspective, but not to be positional. Secondly, find common ground and find common ground with the other person’s perspective.

[00:32:02] Third develop more than two options, two or more options that, that both people could consider living with and then pick an option and work with it and kind of circle back and see how that went. So, you know, at this point you ha you’re neither going to get a dog or not. It’s going to go one way or you’re going to have a kid or not.

[00:32:20] There’s no way to split the difference on that. But the whole goal would be to find 

[00:32:24] Mike: [00:32:24] a way to not have. 

[00:32:28] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:32:28] Right. Exactly. So when we think about the politics, how many people are willing to go, okay, I’m going to give up some positioning 

[00:32:38] Mike: [00:32:38] on the ground. Yeah. And what’s funny is, is there is a ton of common ground at night and the extreme sides don’t want to see it.

[00:32:45] It’s all the ego stuff that at least it’s what I’ve seen. But I also have been watching a bunch of creators, on tech talk that are both sides. the ones that are wild out, I, I don’t pay attention to, but I’ve actually seen two sides of the same coin, literally. Come together. And at first it was boom, boom.

[00:33:05] And then after that they would get together and talk on another platform. Like, I can’t remember his name, but somebody did some kind of call out. Saying that he said something about another creator and that creator said something and he literally went to their Instagram and reached out and said, Hey, I just want to have a conversation.

[00:33:25] I want you to understand something. This is what I said, this is what I meant. I don’t want any misunderstandings here. And although their perspectives are decidedly different, they’re not really far out, but they’re decidedly different. He literally came back on tech talk and he says, you know what? I want you guys to understand something.

[00:33:41] I respect this person because they had, they had the, they had the guts to come back and actually have a conversation with me. And while we don’t agree, I respect them for what they were able to do, which is sit down and have a conversation. 

[00:33:55] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:33:55] Well, so what we didn’t talk about today is kind of the tool I have that is much more complicated, but it involves how to have a conversation.

[00:34:02] It’s a communication tool. Yeah. and one of the parts of my communication tool that I added, cause I really love nonviolent communication is kind of a building block, but it didn’t have all the things I needed in it. So I was seeing every, I was seeing so much poor communication. I have regulating emotion.

[00:34:20] Regulating anger in that tool. So you have to bring your calm self to the table. Yeah. You have to breathe. 

[00:34:25] Mike: [00:34:25] I think that’s, what’s missing again on both sides. What’s missing ego runs the passion running. It pulls the anchor and immediately where everybody starts going. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, 

[00:34:35] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:34:35] bang. That’s right.

[00:34:36] That’s right. Well, we actually can’t get into the other part of our creative brain if you’re so angry and you’re trying to talk, my system at a nervous system level actually starts to sit down. So we truly cannot. Excuse me have that expansive like, wow, there is a lot of common ground. We ultimately sometimes have to make a decision or maybe we just kind of can see each other’s perspective with a lot more respect.

[00:35:00] But communication is part of collaboration. Collaboration is about common ground and creativity. If we, especially, if we have to make a decision and really getting ego out of it. And I just think in that way, maybe we’re a young country or maybe we just have to go through a stage that is a lot about power and control.

[00:35:18] and that seems to, 

[00:35:19] Mike: [00:35:19] that seems to be the driver having factor behind all of these crazy conversations that are, that are happening, that are dividing everybody. Is that there’s another. Agenda driving behind it all. And, and I, I, I’m not going to say what one or the other agenda may be, but I think if more took inventory of themselves before looking at what’s being pushed as an agenda, they would probably see there as a whole, a lot more in common than they would.

[00:35:49] The ones that they keep saying are so far off on one side or the other, I have friends on both sides. I am more of a centrist anyway. And boy, when they start in, I’m like the first thing I do is like, okay, hold up before you start going, running down that road, you know how I feel about this? Yeah. And the more you push on that, you realize what I’m going to do.

[00:36:12] And that’s, and that’s basically, I’m either going to give you more facts. I’ll honor what you believe. I’m not going to ever tell you you’re wrong, but I’m going to give you more facts and I’m gonna let you see the other side. And you hate when I do that. So let’s, let’s figure out where we want to go from here.

[00:36:26] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:36:26] Well, if you and I were to start that conversation, what I would say with anyone, and this is kind of communication, good communication practice to first of all, get consent. We don’t do that. We just start talking. We don’t actually ask somebody, Hey, can I have this conversation, a sentence? Like, not just about the me too movement.

[00:36:43] It’s about a lot of things and consent is important. Then we need to, if I’m just going to talk at you and can’t bring curiosity and receptivity, it’s actually not a conversation. It’s just two monologues. Yeah. And probably we’ll just get activated. So two months, 

[00:36:59] Mike: [00:36:59] the difference between late night and the David Letterman show 

[00:37:03] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:37:03] conversation, we’re going to do those two things.

[00:37:06] but what, what I feel like is another piece of this, and for me this whole year of a good thing that has happened is veils have lifted around the depth of systemic racism in my perspective. And I think one of the. Sad things that we’ve the lemonade we’ve drank. And we didn’t know, we drank it as individualism.

[00:37:25] And that is, we are tribal creatures. That is the human way. That is the mammal way, or us as mammals. And so we, this kind of independence, individualism kind of, approach has an idea like getting there together. Is more meaningful and powerful and ultimately satisfying than going it alone. We’ve lost that.

[00:37:49] Or some racial, they never had that. I could get my book if I need to. There’s a proverb that an African proverb that I start the chapter, not part of bridging differences, that it actually feels really good, but not from the ego. I didn’t get my way. I remember like I wanted a lie look, books in a certain part of my yard.

[00:38:07] It’s a small example. But every time I normally would have gotten my way cause I had a strong ego. Then I tried to grow up in my marriage, which I have. And as we collaborated. I would look at that, that Layla and in the old it would have been like, I didn’t get my way. That’s not what it’s supposed to be.

[00:38:25] Right. It always represented symbolically. Like, I’m so proud that like, that’s really nice there and it’s way nice enough. But it represents that I listened to my partner and he had a vote. And I guess I didn’t really respected his input and together we figured out what would work for both of us. I know it’s a small example, but it is this, like, it truly did feel better to lay my head on the pillow that night.

[00:38:47] Mike: [00:38:47] You know what you’re describing? You’re describing hope. If you think about it, when you can talk about a group of people that would normally not see eye to eye, able to walk together, like literally walk together on the same path. Maybe not in the same perspective, but at least walk together on the same path and know that each side is validated for their perspectives and, and validated may not be the word but respected for their perspectives.

[00:39:14] Let’s put it that way, respected for their perspectives and the ability to be able to share those perspectives without fear of. Any kind of retribution or action or anything like that, but in honoring that’s hope. 

[00:39:28] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:39:28] Because there’s that,  because 

[00:39:29] Mike: [00:39:29] at that point, you’re, you now know that you’re not going to get down for something that you say, even if it’s wild.

[00:39:36] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:39:36] That, and that is also, I glad you’re saying that you’re not using the words, cancel culture, but that piece of like, it 

[00:39:42] Mike: [00:39:42] is that, that plate that has no place in our community, that that culture has no place in our society. That, that just that’s no good. 

[00:39:50] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:39:50] It doesn’t mean anything. And so it’s actually as, as if we are truly too.

[00:39:54] So it reinforces this isolation and individualism, I’m not safe with you. If I break something, authentically, then there’s shaming and there is a danger in doing that. And so then there’s performative. Holstein, and there’s performative mass that we have on in the world. And so that we, but you know, we’re having this conversation, so this can be undone.

[00:40:16] And I really, really love your words. It’s not about a shared perspective, but there could be very much closer. It is about shared path. And that is a really exciting, idea about, I want diversity. I. I don’t want clones of me and my life. I want to stretch in ways that, you know, perspective or otherwise practices, 

[00:40:38] Mike: [00:40:38] what a boring ass life, if everybody’s like me, Jesus, are you kidding me?

[00:40:42] But yeah. And the idea too, is that just because my perspective of looking at something, how does it mean that my perspective is the best. I’m not going to come up with the best solution for everything. There has to be a diversity of, of, of perspectives. Cause I’m going to just because, you know, it’s the difference between the PE teacher versus the scientist?

[00:41:00] You know, there’s a problem just to come up with a formula, to figure out and begin to understand it. The PE teacher will take a lap. 

[00:41:07] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:41:07] Right. Well, exactly. You’d be surprised at how much the PE teacher might, you know, contribute to some, you know, bring in something that would be a surprise 

[00:41:18] Mike: [00:41:18] in some ways that taken a lap would help.

[00:41:20] And in some ways the science would help it just, but you can’t take it to everything is 

[00:41:24] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:41:24] the point. That’s right. And it’s more holistic. The, the idea that then we’re not looking for validation. And so, you know, I think as we’re saying in this segment to, or this interview to worth is it is a thing. And if I don’t understand that it’s not even about like having a relationship with myself or having, knowing there are young parts that we were saying earlier, if I don’t have that worth.

[00:41:48] Very subtly, but very consistently I will be looking for validation in my life. And if we have that driver, I can’t have a lesser interesting or effective solution. I have to compete with you. It just means I have to compete. And that, you know, we have to start to undo some of those trappings. Which this kind of conversation.

[00:42:10] Yeah. 

[00:42:12] Mike: [00:42:12] Very easily, very, very easily. And it’s not that competition is a bad thing. It’s just what, where is heck competition happening? 

[00:42:20] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:42:20] Yeah. It’s where it’s council culture. It’s where the validation from you. But yeah, certainly if we can play a game in credits.

[00:42:26] Mike: [00:42:26] Yeah, exactly. And that, and that, and that goes back to that.

[00:42:30] If, if you’re, if you’re worried about other people validating what it, what it is that you think is valid. You’re looking in the wrong spot. It’s not about, it’s not about validation and, and it certainly isn’t about cancel culture. That again, we both agree that that’s just, that’s got to go, but validation isn’t supposed to be an external thing.

[00:42:48] It’s supposed to be you within yourself and your own relationship, but at least that’s how I understood it. If you’re valid in your own mind, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. 

[00:42:57] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:42:57] Well, it’s interesting. yes, and I, when we really know that we are as good as, but no better than no, better than has to come in that too.

[00:43:09] you know, I, that’s how I, with my book was surprised people. I could reach out to some pretty famous people because I. I now know I am no less. I am my own person. I am no better, but they probably need a book on wakefulness too. I do. I read my own book. I need other books. And so I could reach out and not like, Oh, how did you do that?

[00:43:31] How did you approach? It’s like, if I sat with the Dolly mama, it’s like, I would there, I thou you know, there would be this just, it actually has been very connective because I can be in my body, in the presence of people that are really powerful and really insightful, potentially famous. but I can look at a homeless person, not with judgment and say, I am no better than that person.

[00:43:55] and I can have my ideas and feelings about. Especially in Portland, Oregon, the amount of homelessness there is, but I am no better than that homeless person. And so it’s a connection 

[00:44:05] Mike: [00:44:05] we become to, to extend that a little bit, who we become curious. 

[00:44:11] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:44:11] Yeah. 

[00:44:12] Mike: [00:44:12] Love that. Like, like, there was, there was a guy I don’t, I’m not sure if he’s still in Hawaii, but they, his nickname was diaper, man.

[00:44:23] I don’t know what his real name was. Apparently he was a med student that snapped, was homeless, and, and did run around with an adult diaper. the EMT is knew him well, and the reason they knew him is because they could get into these wonderful conversations and medicine instead of call and all that kind of stuff.

[00:44:41] But somewhere along the line, he would disappear. Because they would just go off into another world and they’re like, yeah, that’s about the end of that conversation. But they would treat him as an equal. For as long as they could, until he decided that it was time for him 

[00:45:00] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:45:00] to leave. What a story that gives me chills.

[00:45:02] Mike, that is so beautiful. I remember one year, around the holiday time, it was either when one in one of our groups or maybe with my kids would bake cookies and we were just going around. And I remember this older man, he was sleeping on the hard, cold pavement under a bridge. And I said, sir, I have a cookie. It’s warm if you’re interested.

[00:45:23] And he said, I don’t deserve that cookie. I don’t matter. Wow. You know, to be able to say, look at here, and say, you matter to me, I will never, he will always live in my heart. I don’t know if you made it through the night. He literally would not take a homemade cookie. That is how profoundly, debilitating not having worthiness is and, or worthless.

[00:45:47] And so yeah, where we can, be the instrument. Of hope, I guess, to use your word. not just at a holiday season, but always as well as to live it and be generous towards self and hopeful about our own lives. So we fill that cup up and that is a light we bring to the world so important these days. 

[00:46:10] Mike: [00:46:10] I think it’s a it’s What’s the word.

[00:46:15] I always try to choose my words, cautiously, because I want to make sure that people understand that what we’re talking about here is a continual presence. Not just I’ll do it for a day or I’ll do it for a month or I’ll check it out. I’ll try it. No, no, no. This is a continuous thing. This is a every morning I get up every night that I lay down.

[00:46:35] This is a thought that I wake with. This is a, is a hope that I rest with that, that we’re looking to be present in everything that we do. Will we succeed at that being present? Not always we’re human. This is, you know, it is what it is, but to have the, the proper intent. And I was just talking with, who I just had him on the show,  living with intention and.

[00:47:02] Living the intentional life, excuse me. When you live an intentional life, and you have that presence of mind. You’ll have the space that we’re talking about. You’ll have the space to share whether that’s, whether that’s with the gentleman that you spoke of or whether it’s, you know, I don’t know, the Dalai Lama, again, being able to be curious in both situations and being able to be present in both situations, the amount of the amount of trade.

[00:47:33] Is immense and people, unless if you’ve never done this before, by the way, just, you know, one go get her book because we’re going to put your book back on it. But two is take a second and actually think about who is it that you came across today, that you look down at the ground when you walk by them.

[00:47:48] Instead of smiling at them, a smile does not mean anything, but hello. And that then I think that’s been lost too. how many people have you actually had conversations with where you were really listening and not waiting to get your part in? 

[00:47:59] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:47:59] Exactly. 

[00:48:01] Mike: [00:48:01] Yeah. What, what  where you in today, where you could have done something a little differently, that might’ve even brought out a greater.

[00:48:09] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:48:09] Yeah. Yes. Well, and I guess I go from intentionality and I’ll bet your other guests talked about this to practice because we can attend ourselves to still, a pretty passive existence. And so some, one group, there w the work they’re doing this month is to have every day. A random act of kindness, including one towards self, through, through this year going into the next year.

[00:48:37] but it’s, it’s going back, and in a word basically at a time, but the way we can undo aloneness with another, I can’t fix it. Oh of what’s needed for the homeless population. Important. I can say you matter to me and I can have a person that in that moment not feel as alone. And it is literally, cultivating and, what would it be like offering this bucket of hope 

[00:49:02] while we, while we can only lay out the welcome mat, we can lay it out consistently until somebody either takes  it or does it.

[00:49:10] Mike: [00:49:10] Yeah. Unfortunately, guys, we’ve come to God and we’re not again, we’re still not done. I know what this is good. This was, I, I, I really enjoyed you coming back and hanging out and sharing these insights and talking more about, you know, mindfulness and presence and things of that nature. I’m glad we were able to connect.

[00:49:29] guys, if you need to find her, we’ll have her links again, down in the, in the, in the comments, make sure you grab her book. I mean, she talks about all of these things in the book guys. Okay. So you haven’t hit the subscription, make sure you subscribe, hit the bell. If you’re listening on any of the podcast platforms, make sure you download or subscribe.

[00:49:45] If you’re listening on anchor.fm, you can support us there. we’re going to be around for a long time. We’re going to have a lot more of these kinds of ones for guests coming on and sharing their insights, their expertise, and some of these wonderful things that will help build a in anybody’s life, including yours.

[00:50:01] Mike: [00:50:01] Thanks for coming and hanging out. I appreciate ya. 

[00:50:04] Katherine Jansen Byrkit: [00:50:04] Thank you so much. You have a great holiday season. Let’s stay in touch. Absolutely. I’m supporting your work. 

[00:50:10] Mike: [00:50:10] Yeah, I appreciate that. We want to support yours as well. for Katherine Johnson, Burkett and myself coffee with Mike, stay up, stay safe, stay healthy and live for now.

More information on Java chat, visit www.java chat, podcast.com. You’ve been listening to coffee with Mike 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 LA.

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