Episode #11: Rev. Michael Poole On How To Be Authentically You While Walking A Spiritual Path
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This Month's Theme:
Rev. Michael Poole On How To Be Authentically You While Walking A Spiritual Path
Have you ever found it challenging to be your authentic self? You take time to know who you are and what you want in life, but the moment you start to go out into the world, you feel challenged and held back at every turn?
Re-connecting with your authentic self is the first step in the journey of authenticity, but continuing to embody your authenticity when met with challenges is the next stage. This is something our guest this week, Rev. Michael Poole of Earth and Cup, knows very well.
Rev. Poole has built an organization that assists individuals in connecting from within, embracing their authentic self from a place of love, and then carrying that authentic voice out to the world.
In this fun filled discussion, Amber and Rev. Poole dive deep into:
▸ challenges of living your authentic self in an inauthentic world
▸ how religion and spirituality can be used as tools to support authenticity
▸ hands-on tools and techniques to assist when challenges arise
Connecting with your authentic self is an important part of setting a strong foundation for life, but taking it out to the world so that others can experience your authenticity is the next pivotal step.
"Unity doesn't mean uniformity. Unity just means I'm going to authentically be me, and I enjoy sharing this spinning rock with someone who is authentic like you."
- Rev. Michael Poole
"Unity doesn't mean uniformity. Unity just means I'm going to authentically be me, and I enjoy sharing this spinning rock with someone who is authentic like you."
- Rev. Michael Poole
Michael serves as the co-founder and developer of the intentional missional not-for-profit organization, Earth And Cup, Inc.
Earth And Cup is a holistic, transformational approach to life that utilizes movement, meditation and life-long learning. Earth And Cup also provides classes, workshops and retreats on a variety of topics, as well as providing customized mission trips.
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▸ Connect With Rev. Michael Poole
- Website: http://earthandcup.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/778475618899354
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRIn_2PnwzVe2hdcT3PY4vA
▸ Full Episode: Watch on YouTube
▸ Episode 1 Time Stamps
- 0:00 - Intro
- 4:30 to 6:55 - Blending Eastern and Western Philosophies in a Christian Faith
- 6:56 to 9:43 - Learning to Embrace Our Differences
- 11:58 to 13:57 - Be Mindful of the Ripples You Create
- 16:15 to 23:56 - Everything Starts with the Breath
- 25:23 to 28:21 - Setting Yourself Up for Success with Authenticity
- 29:39 to 30:53 - Honoring the Authenticity of Others
- 40:23 to 44:33 - How Kilts Create a Meaningful Impact
Hi and welcome to The Heart Leader Podcast. I'm your host, Amber and I am joined today by pastor Michael pool. This amazing man has done so much to help the world. And I get the honor of not only having him as a close and dear friend, and we go way back. I mean, don't reveal our age, but I mean, we go way back. Um, and he has started an amazing organization with his wife, Tracy called Earth and Cup. So we're gonna talk a little bit about that, but we're also gonna dive into everything that Michael has done to give back to our world and to really talk about how authenticity plays into all that he has done. So I'm going to bring you into this conversation, Michael. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to be with us. I love thanks so much, and I'm so glad that we get to introduce you to everyone.
Oh, it's good to be here and it's good to see you and, um, bring the snow from Ohio and, uh, all of that's
Enough. You can keep all that.
So just to kick it off, I mentioned Earth and Cup. Yeah. I would love an opportunity to, to start by talking a little bit about that organization because it is something has a heartfelt meaning and is leading you in amazing and interesting paths through this whole COVID journey. So let's start there. Let's just start talking about that.
Yeah. So about, um, 10, 15 years ago, um, my wife, Tracy and I were looking, we were really looking at, um, starting an intentional missional community and, um, where people would live or be tangential to a group of people that were out in the world, making the world a better place. And, um, we had actually, it looked like we were going to, uh, be able to have a residential missional community in Mississippi and, um, that kind of, for a number of reasons didn't happen. And, uh, people just said, oh, you just need to, you just need to go do something. So we said, okay. So, um, we thought about what we'd like to do. We both have movement in our past yoga. Um, Tracy has yoga and I had karate and Tachi and chigong. And so we developed this, um, kind of community that uses movement as the entry point to, uh, holistic approach to healing, wholeness, uh, and transformation. And we work with individuals, we work with small groups, we work with, um, organizations. We also have worked with, um, uh, the business world as well. And so it's just, um, because we know our body holds everything that what that we do hold everything that we are. And so to allow our bodies to be the entry point to, um, yeah, to just, just making a difference in our lives, making a difference in where we live in our neighborhoods and then ultimately making a difference in the world.
And that is such a meaningful mission for us because it's very similar to this approach. Right. And so to be able to connect and share that mission is amazing, but I know when we met, there was many moons ago. It was when you were a pastor at a church in Ironton, Ohio. Correct. And so many people would say as a pastor yeah. At a church, where does all of this Eastern approach fit in? Yeah. And I know because I've been with you when this has
Happened, right. When this is all gone down. Right. And it's like, oh, well, how does this happen? Yeah, yeah, no, it's a good thing. We, um, here in the west, especially, um, amongst Christianity as well, um, there's this view that these other approaches to life are somehow contrary to, um, to the Christian faith and, um, you know, both and I are, are both pastors and, um, you know, we've, um, studied a lot, looked into it a lot and we find, and even across, um, you know, religious traditions for the vast majority of them, the core tenants and, and is all the same. I mean, eventually we're all striving for the same thing and it's just a different approach, um, on, on how to get there. I tend to look at it as, um, sometimes I'll describe it as climbing the mountain. Right. You can start at a lot of different places around the mountain with a lot of different paths up the mountain, but we're all still kind of traveling towards the same direction.
And I think that's true with, um, with these practices and with religion, we may start at different parts of the mountain. Um, but yeah, we're, we're going up the mountain in a little different ways, but we find the similarities throughout. So whether it's, um, you know, yoga and, and the Hindu tradition or with Tai Shong from the, the Chinese, you know, a Dallas or karate or a Buddhist tradition or, or anything really it's, um, the tenants are really all the same and you can really find the similarities of, uh, you know, where they all intersect and connect. And so it's lifting that up more than, um, the smaller amount of differences between them. So, but it can be an interesting conversation at times.
It can be, and as you were saying, there's all, always something that connects all of them and like you, and part of what we talk about all the time when we get together yeah. Is how connected everything is. Right. And the one thing that seems to float through all of these things is love, right? There's always a foundation of, of love and all of these di front approaches to climbing that mountain. That's like the dirt that everybody walks on right. To get to the same top, but instead we're all focused on talking about the different things we see on our path to create the separation. Right.
So why do you think that is, why are we so focused instead of focusing on the beautiful foundation that we're all walking on that instead we're focusing on the fact that we have different views.
Yeah. And I, I think some of it comes with, um, just our own individual uncomfort abilities with being different. And, um, I mean, we see that in the world a lot. We, you know, we, we gravitate in circles and neighborhoods and everything with, um, people that are similar. And so, um, yeah, I think we have this tendency to just, um, steer away from the different, but for me, um, when I'm among those who are different from me, it helps define me as me more than me trying to define or accept or reject somebody else. Yeah. Because I, I learn more about who I am when, with people who, who, um, have different experiences, different views on life, different, um, just the differentness. So it's, it's embracing the differentness and learning to be more comfortable with, um, with things that are different. And so, yeah, we have this tendency to gravitate, to point out the differences, which typically are, uh, only a minute bit of the whole, which the whole is, you know, this similarity that focuses on love. Most of it is, it is it's the ground that we walk on is this notion of, you know, love for ourselves, love for each other love for the world, love for, you know, everybody we encounter, uh, you know, the animals. I mean, it's, it's just embracing that and, um, yeah, focus on, yeah. Focusing on the dirt that we're all walking on that, um, more help us get, get through all this and just be learn to, to grow with being okay. With, with different, I think.
Yeah. So when you have someone who comes to you as a minister yeah. Or as a pastor who is like, who's saying, I do that, I would like to focus more on the love aspect, but I have no idea where to begin. I don't know how to shift out of all of these negative thoughts that I'm having about myself, about other people. How, what do you say to them? How do you counsel them to even be again, to start to embrace that connection? Right.
Um, and I usually, and it's, we start with someone say, you should start with an easy thing, but I, I typically don't, I, I say, um, I like to start with just yourself, right? The struggle and the difficulty it is for us to love ourselves, cuz we know everything right beyond what the camera shows. We, we know it all. And so, you know, in well, in our practices, we talk about the use of positive affirmations. It's, you know, making a concentrated effort to look up in the mirror every day or look in the, on zoom or whatever platform we're using and seeing you and, and give yourself, uh, positive affirmations and really steer away from, from negative language begin and begin with yourself. Just, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna, you know, break myself down. I'm not gonna use positive language or negative language about myself gonna be uplifting.
I'm gonna, you know, take my positive affirmation for the day and I'm gonna try to live it out as best as I can. And then at the end of the day, I let it go. Regardless of whether I, you know, claim to succeed or fail in that, and then tomorrow'll be a new day. So I usually start with people just saying, just look in the mirror or, you know, and, and just really kind of start to love yourself. And then once, once we kind of are able to develop language, uh, a, a love language, um, then we can use it with other people. And, um, you know, we can use it with people that we trust the most. I mean, love is a vulnerable thing. Um, and so it it's about building trust. And so, so now just, you know, how can you explore how to love somebody, um, that's close to you and that you trust, and then you just continually take those circles out to, to love people that are different from you. Um, love people that, that don't agree with you or trying to bring you harm. How can we, um, you know, love in the midst to the more difficult situations. Yeah. But it, I mean starts, you know, we talk starts with your own heart and loving your own heart and then moving out, you know, loving more and more hearts. Um, so yeah, it starts with ourself because we can't, we don't feel it within ourselves, then the possibility for us to feel it somewhere else becomes diminished. I think
So it's like, you have to be the pebble that you throw into the water to even get the ripple
Effect. Absolutely. And, and to just remember that everybody else is throwing their pebbles in too. And so to be mindful when, when the ripples mingle and to be okay, Hey, I, I see you're trying to love me kudos for that, you know? And, uh, yeah. And then, you know, it's, as it's as simple as, um, you know, you, you go to the coffee shop and they put four pumps instead of five pumps and you just, you know, just be okay with it. Just thank 'em for, Hey, they've showed up to work today and you don't know they're at, in their life and just give 'em a smile and say, thank you. And you know, maybe that's what they needed to get them through the day that's, that's showing love. I mean, it, so often we think it's these big things, but it's just the every day, every breath encounters that we have with ourselves and with everybody else as our yeah. As our, as the ripples from our pebbles begin to intersect. Yeah. Yeah.
And when someone starts to run into challenges with that, because that'll happen inevitably pretty
Quickly usually. Right.
Yeah, exactly. It's not easy thing, you know, it sounds so simple. I'll be the pebble I'll create my ripples and I'll honor the ripples from others. Right. It sounds so simple in theory. Right. But then you get out there and you start creating waves. Right. And you're like, ah, right. So yeah. What do you do then?
Yeah. Yeah. You know, someone throws the Boulder in the lake and it disturbs everybody's ripples. Yeah. And I think, you know, and this is where, you know, this notion of, of, of love and doing good and doing no harm really meets the road. And because it's when we meet the resistance of it all, and in times of my life, I've gone into the, um, you know, going to be confrontive or I'm going to my love diminishes. And I go into anger and hate and, and it, and I think that's, it's realizing quicker and quicker when that begins to happen when I can feel inside my body that I'm getting angry. And, um, and then it's taken a moment and saying, you know, I just need to step back. I just need to step out of this situation. I, um, and it, and I, I just can't continue this conversation, um, now, um, because I don't want to, I don't want to anger you, I don't want to upset you.
And so I need to get in touch with where I am in this and, and give us a moment. I, we were talking about that. Um, I had a conversation, uh, last week with somebody, um, about a situation. I said, you know, it's and they said, I just had to walk away. Well, that was probably the best thing before it gets, um, to throwing boulders in the lake instead of pebbles. Yeah. But it's just learning to notice in yourself when you're moving from one side of the spectrum to the other, and then just go take a breath, go take a break, go take a run. Yeah.
Do you find that some of the practices from the Eastern philosophies help you in taking those breaks or monitoring your emotions? Yeah. And if so, how? I mean, what are some of those,
Right, right. And so, I mean, you know, in our practices, everything starts with the breath. So, um, well in New York city, we were some of the, um, participants we worked with were in homeless shelters. Um, and so I'd go in and I'd teach TA yoga and we'd spend, you know, 30 minutes just breathing real, just allowing them to breathe, allowing them to release, allowing them to just kind of sit and be, so it all starts with the breath really. I mean, and, and we get that in all of our movement modalities and to really just teach people how to breathe. I, uh, you know, that whenever I start a new class or a new group off and you know, people laugh at me, so I'll get my, um, my older, wiser people coming into class. So I've been breathing for 80 years. I was like, okay. But I know how to breathe.
I don't wanna breathe.
I like, oh, OK. Well, how about we check this out? It's like, oh, I I've never felt well. Right. Let's um, so yeah. And it's about me. So walk
Us through a breath
Technique. Yeah. Breath technique. Okay. Everybody kind of sit away from the back of your chair. Right? You don't wanna slump get up. No gangster leans here, sit up. Right. You've had that golden thread lifting up through the crown of your head. Right. And we're grounded to relax your shoulders. We're gonna put our hands up in front of our, in front of our bodies. Right. Just a little bit out. Right. We're gonna do a technique called opening close. You're just gonna open to about shoulder high shoulder width, and then close to about, uh, head width. Right. So you're just gonna breathe deep as you open ex, as you close now, think about yourself being a balloon. So you're not only breathing in one direction, but you breathe in all directions close. So now open and close up. So breathe up and down, breathe into the back, breathe into your back, breathe up into the corners.
One more open and close. Right? So what we just did in 30 seconds or less was we lowered our blood pressure. We lowered our pulse rate. We were taking more oxygen in typically than what we were, uh, taking in before. Um, when we get excited, we tend to hyperventilate up for chest breathe. So when we focus on abdominal breathing more oxygen into the brain, allows us to think clear, allows us, um, to relax the tension in our shoulders, our neck, wherever we hold tension. So I I'll use, and we'll talk about, you can do a body scan and just letting, uh, just breathe and just let tension go work through your body. You can think about, um, breathing in positive, uh, images. You can think about releasing negative images, but just center it all on the breath. And it's just as easy as that. You can sit anywhere, anywhere, anywhere, and, um, you know, really kind of just do your breath to, and you don't have to move, but the visual moving for me, I it's your tends to engage your more of your body than just trying to sit there. Okay, I'm gonna breathe. Like there, its try to engage.
I noticed that as you move too, it opens your shoulders, which opens your chest, which allows more airflow, correct. That part of Tai
Chi. It is right. The Eastern, you know, in TA Chi, we talk about, you know, you want this, um, chest open. So you want your, you know, we, you lift your chest and yoga. We talk about having, you know, heart centered, um, techniques and postures that open up the chest. You bring the shoulders back a little bit. Yeah. Because it does give you more room for your lungs to expand. And it gives you, uh, more room for, you know, your body. So of especially now the LA, especially the last two years when this is how we've communicated, we're all like this. Right. And we need to, we need to get back to sitting up straight and getting those, you know, getting not carbon in getting the open, the shoulders up, but bring the chest. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it's just little simple things like that. That then it gives me a little different perspective on the situ as you and I might be having an intense conversation cuz we're not allowed to argue, but we can have intense conversations <laugh> um, right.
I've never argued. Right, right, right. But I've had intense conversations. Right. So, you know, when I, when I start having an intense conversation, it's like, okay, I need to sit up. I need to open my chest. I need to breathe. I need to move out of my emotional being into my more, uh, centered being and yeah.
That way. Yeah. So during an intense conversation, it might not do you well to go like this because
You're especially like this. Right, right. Yeah. Right.
You take the wrong way.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But sometimes, um, your breath, you know, there's all these breath techniques with where you're just kind of working your fingers or you're just breathing and you just, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna sit here and fold my hands and I'm going to breathe and I'm gonna keep my I'm gonna bleed you through my nose. I'm gonna keep my mouth shut so that I can keeping my mouth shut. And then, um, yeah. And I'll just kind of listen to what's going on. Yeah,
Yeah. What a great way to bring you into the present moment. So you can listen to what somebody's saying, right?
Absolutely. Yeah. It's and I think it is about, you know, it is about being present. And so, um, so we'll talk about, uh, so okay. Find your nice seated posture, right? Put stuff away from the table. So we're just gonna do a four count movement. So you're gonna bring your arms up. Right. And then you're gonna bring 'em in and then you're gonna push 'em out. You're gonna bring 'em down. Right. So this is like a conversation. So you're gonna be present in the moment and I'm gonna take in the totality of the conversation and I'm going to realize that my responses have cosmic implications and that I'm gonna care for the other as we continue this conversation. So that's how so, like if I'm doing, working with people, I'll give them movement techniques to think about these more practical techniques. So it's being present, absorbing the entire conversation, realizing there are cosmic implications and caring for the other. Right. So yeah. So it is about being present in the moment right now. And not, you know, when I gotta go shopping in an hour or what happened a week ago. Yeah,
Yeah. Or even think ahead in the conversation, right. Like, oh my gosh, what am I gonna say when I haven't even heard everything right. That this person has said to me, so I don't even know what I'm gonna say because I haven't fully heard what they're saying.
Right. Cause they're not even finished and we're already making a response. Well, how can you respond to me when you've already decided what you're gonna say next? And we, we do that a lot. We will ask a question, not to hear what you had to say. It's to set up my response. And it's like, well, that's, that's, that's not really a dialogue. That's just, I'm just somebody you're gonna talk at.
Yeah. Yeah. So having the movement yeah. Along with the breath as a physical indicator,
As a physical indicator, right? Yeah. So, so another one, right. So we do rush need with a conversation. So there you go. You're gonna just on hold your water melon. Right. We hold watermelons here in Ohio. I don't know what you hold in Arizona, but <laugh> grape, grape fruit, grapefruit. Right. But that's a right. So you're gonna hold your watermelon and then you're gonna bring it to you and then you're gonna turn your hand forward and then you're gonna push forward. Right. So it's listen. Right. Uh, take it all in <affirmative> now, after we've taken it all in, we get to form our response and then deliver our response. Right. So I use that a lot in, in con I'll do I do workshops on having mindful conversations and I use this and it's funny cuz then you'll come back. I'll I'll be talking or I'll be saying something and people go like this and I'm like, oh, they want me to listen. So I know it's a visual to listen for. They're asking me to listen. I'm like, oh, okay. And then I'm okay. I'm listening. Okay. I hear you. Yeah. So you can use these. So when you get a group of people that understand some of these movement concepts, you can, I just need you to listen to me. Okay. I'm listening. Yeah.
That's amazing. And so as you are, and I know our theme for this month is all about authenticity and embracing your authentic self. Yeah. And so these are tools that you can utilize right yourself to kind of go through things within yourself to clear out habits that you may be desiring to clear out. Right. Have, do you have others that you've used because given what you've done in your life, authenticity, I know is key for you. There has, there's a strength in you yeah. To move through the resistance and opposition you have. And we'll dive into that here soon. Yeah. But yeah.
Tools, it tools. I mean it really, and I, I think this gets back to, you were asking about loving and, you know, I have to, for me to be authentic to me, I have to love my authentic self. I have to love me who I am authentically and, and then, um, and then live authentic life. Um, and which there is the rub. So that means mean what you say and, and if, and if, and don't say what you don't mean or be you, you know, it's, um, you know, what do the kids say today? You know, you be you or, you know, you do you, uh, but to be authentic and to, um, you know, in a world, in a culture where we think we have to present some image of ourselves for acceptance, um, I mean the, the reality is, and you know, I get to define who I am and what I am and what I can do and can't do.
And it is better if I present my authentic self than to present a false self. And then I we've already set ourselves up a broken relationship and, you know, work relationship or something greatest gift I, I, um, interviewed for this was years ago, way out, uh, pastor, uh, gig and someone that was part of the team that interviewed me. And then as I was leaving four and a half years later, um, she said to me, you know, 95% of what you said you were and who you were and what you could do and what you couldn't do. Um, 95% of it was true. 5% was BS, but 95% and sh and she says, um, I wish we'd had even been as close to authentic with you as you were to us. And so, I mean, I, that sticks with me that, I mean, being authentic to who we are really does serve us better in the end than trying to present some false presentation. You know? So, I mean, yeah, you, you asked me for a picture and I sent you a picture of me wearing a guilt because that is, you know, if for those who know me, that is me and, and is for a lot of reasons, but yeah. I mean, if I'm going to send you a picture, it'll be yeah. Of an authentic me. Um, yeah.
Yeah. And, and 90 to 5% is a pretty high percent. That means that you know who
You are, who I am, right. You are absolutely. And it comes with loving ourselves and, and knowing who I am. And, and as you were saying, and then it comes with letting go of the stuff I don't, I don't need to be authentic to, if it's not authentically me, then I just need to let it go. I don't, I don't have to hold on that stuff. I don't have to hold on to anything, uh, you know, from, from anybody or anywhere that isn't authentic to who I am now, maybe it was authentic to me back when I had air, but it, that, you know, but, uh, yeah. And so I can, I, I'm free to let that go and to love who I am today. Um, and not be bound by any, anybody else's, or even my own view of me from a future past or, or whatever. Yeah. And it goes back to loving ourselves. Yeah. And then allowing each of us to be authentic. So I, I allow you to be authentically you.
Yes. So it's wonderful to bring that up because oftentimes we wanna be our authentic self, but then we wanna change other people. Right.
Right. We think they should authentically be like me because look how good I am. Right. Yes, no. Right. And see that's. Yeah. And this goes back to being different. We want everybody, you know, we, uh, you know, we talk about unity. Right. And, um, but unity doesn't mean uniformity <affirmative> yes. Unity just means I'm going to authentically be me. And I enjoy sharing this spinning rock with someone who is authentic, like you and we are unified. We are in unity in that moment cosmically, but it's, but it doesn't mean we have to be the same. That's boring.
Well, I think of it like BA and Robins <laugh>, I mean, it's all ice cream, but boring. Would it be if it was the same flavor all the way around,
Right. Every right, right. You know, it's, uh, we have a, uh, a hamburger joint up the road here and, uh, they also do ice cream and they have a flavor of the day and our daughters all, you know, well, what's the flavor of the day. Well, let's look it up, you know, because it's great. It's like, if it's just the same thing we had last week, then don't bother. Yeah. Yeah. But it that's the trick you're you're right. Amber it's, I mean, and we get to the point, this is back to our love connection. Um, I can love myself, but then I, then the next step is, is loving you for who you authentically are and being okay. That it may be very different from who I am and being okay with that, that I don't have to change you or make you, or criticize you or devalue you because of who you authentically.
But that's part of going mountain. Right. It always gets little more challenging the further up you go
<laugh> right. Right. And it's, and so, you know, the, the deeper we start to get into this work, you know, the, the farther up the mountain we go, the harder it becomes. Um, and, and, and, but that means you're. So if it's getting harder, that means you're doing the right thing. That means keep plugging on. Um, because you're, it's it's, if it was easy, then you might wanna look at why it's so easy. Um, yeah. You wanted to kind of be a growing edge all the way up. And it does the higher up the mountain to go the farther up, we travel, the harder it's gonna get cuz gravity, whatever, the gravity of culture, whatever it is, is trying to pull us back down and we just have to work against that. Right.
Yeah. Well, I know when I met you, I knew that you were who you were and you were not going to change that to fit into anything. No. And that happened through a, a, what we called a mission trip, but ultimately you were doing something called tools for schools, right. And iron to Ohio. And this was one of many things that you did, but it was definitely not easy. And we did things in the heat of a crazy summer. We
Passed out water to people in like 120 degree temperature and we're we were with
Humidity. Yeah. Albany, some people almost passed out from passing out water. <laugh> right. Talk a little bit about how you organized a lot of these different events, where people from all over the place came to assist because there was such a need.
Yeah. And I think it's tapping into this and, and you, you know, so I mean the Christmas project, I mean, they still do two schools now and it's bigger. I mean, it's a prior to COVID was like this downtown festival with bouncy. I mean, so what it became you, even after I was gone, you know, it's and same thing with our Christmas program was Christmas with dignity. And I think that was it, it was about doing, um, doing the right thing, but out of love, not out of guilt or out of a desire to gained something ourselves, it was out out of love and showing dignity to somebody who just needed to drink of water today. And we can do that in multiple ways. Some of them give dignity in the ways we do it, many don't. And so, you know, when, you know, we got down, I got down to Ironton and we, we had kind of a back to school event.
I Lawrence county, Ohio is of the 88 counties in Ohio, the 88 county, as far as poverty. I mean, it's the, um, highest poverty rate in Ohio. And, um, you know, so back to school people, I mean, you know, two and three kids don't have disposable income to go buy hundreds of dollars of school supplies or the clothes or something. So we started to, you know, help them out because it's the right thing to do. Um, and so, and we organized people, eventually it was from all over like, I don't know, four state area or something like that. Um, but we did it in a, in a dignified way. So, you know, it was hot, but we fed everybody. We gave everybody water. We, we allowed them to the kids to choose the backpacks instead of just coming through a line and handed them something.
And I mean, same thing with Christmas, we, we allowed choices and we gave, we, we did everything with a means of dignity, which, which is showing love. Um, um, not trying to take somebody's dignity away and people realize that people feel that, that you really do care and that we are in this together and yeah, it's just approaching anything. We do. Um, you know, I don't, I don't have to diminish anybody's dignity there that's that's, you know, and so out of love, I have the ability to help you in this moment, allow me to help you. And I'm gonna do it in a dignified way, because maybe down the road, maybe you or some, I'm going to be the one that needs assistance and you, or karma brings us to a point where someone shows me dignity when I, when I was in need. Uh, yeah.
And I, you know, we talk, well, we talk about karma. We, there is some sense of reaping what you sow and we throw out positive to the world, you know, we eventually get it back, at least that's, you know, that's what I say, I think. But yeah, and it was about doing things in a dignified way and, and the, and the people we were walking with, um, could tell, we cared and we, we really did want to help them and, and to, to walk with them, instead of throwing things at them, you know, we, it really was a walking with, um, and I think that's the way we approached. Like, we, we, you know, we just need to walk with people and care and love them and enough to, um, to be in the midst of it all with them. No judgment, no, no competition, no need for any of that.
Yeah. Yeah. And that's,
And all that still goes on. Yeah. They're still doing what we were doing years ago, you know, but they're still doing that because it was, it's founded on this notion of love and dignity and, and care and relationship walking together. Yeah.
I'm sorry, go ahead. Oh, no, not at all. No. Need to be sorry.
Cause it's I get excited. I get excited. It
Does. And you fell like when the reason you and I became such bonded and close friends is because the day I met you, there was so much passion that came from you and it was a walk together. It wasn't you standing up above everyone else and saying, this is how it's gonna go. And I'm this to serve my ego so that I could feel better about what I'm doing, right. It was, we are in this together from the people who are here, volunteering to the people who are walking through the door to get assistance to those of us who are organizing this event. It doesn't matter. Right. We are all on this journey together. And we just all happen to be at different parts on the path. Right. So let's help each other. Guides who have walked this part of the path, help the others who haven't to see their way through so that they can get to where you are now, which will give you more to get to the next stage of your path. Right. And that's how it was always, every time I came to Ironton, that was how you Lu things. So it wasn't like, it was just a one time thing. It was consistent. It was authentic. And over the years it was the same and it was the same. And it only grew from there. Yeah. And you had more and more charities that you created from that authentic place. Yeah. Can you talk about some of the other things, especially around kilts kil there's
Yeah. And you know, it's interesting. So, um, this notion, so even the language, you know, we use, especially Tracy and I with, um, I, my wife isn't here. I don't know why I pointed out her. She's not in the room, but that's right. You knew I
Was pointing out. So always beside you. Right.
Whatever that was. Right. Um, but uh, you know, even the language we use with Earth and Cup, you know, we don't, we really don't refer as instructors and students. We don't talk about patrons and clients. It's just because it's not helpful language. And it does set up this dichotomy of I'm here and you're there. Um, you know, we just, we're all participants, we're all in this together. We're all participating in this moment together. So yeah. Even the language we use, it has to be authentic, um, to, to what we're trying to present. So yeah. So kilt, um, in 2011 was, uh, I mean, Champaign county, Ohio, and I got on the American cancer society county board, and I was the only male. And, um, so I, I got, oh, you get to do male oriented cancer. Woo hoo. Right. I was like, yeah. And I, well, what are you gonna do, you know, to bring awareness.
And, um, and, uh, so I said, I'll, I'll do, because in October for breast cancer, they had survivors, uh, cancer survivors do a fashion show and, and places, they got nice gowns. And the ladies, um, did a fashion show. So I said, well, I'll do a fashion show and they'll go, well, what would men fashion? And I said, well, guilts, of course. So we started what what's known as kilts for cause, and it's, I, I put on, on, um, uh, kilt fashion shows as a means of bringing awareness and advocacy to, uh, to male oriented cancer. And, uh, yeah, I put guys in kilts that have never worn kilts before it is helping them get dressed is hilarious, but it, but it, but the guys are usually are, are just have a blast. So then when I turned 50, which was a long time ago, um, I, I wore a kilt every day for a year, um, coldest winter in 30 years in Ohio.
And, uh, I've raised money and awareness and advocacy and action for the American cancer society and, uh, world hunger, which is another grassroots movement potluck. Didn't no longer is one of my other grassroots movements. And so, um, so I work, I literally didn't have, uh, pants on for an entire year and I traveled the country. Literally I was, I was in Boston to, I was out at devil's tower Montana or wherever that is. Um, yeah. And, and then, uh, raising money and speaking on it and bringing awareness onto hunger and cancer. And then, um, when I turned 51, I had rolled that into a charitable foundation. And so I, I don't get a penny from kill to 50 for charity. I do fundraising for other organizations and groups and people that need an interesting fundraiser. So I come in and I do kilt pass shows and all that kind of stuff.
So, um, yeah. And, and, and it's the same thing. It's about, um, bringing dignity in people's lives when at times they don't feel that they have any dignity and sh and, and allowing them to see that they do in the midst of that moment, that, uh, we can go through cancer and, and, and still have dignity. We can, we can be people who don't know where our next meal will come from, but we can still have dignity and we can show them dignity. And, um, so that's what some of that's about. Yeah. It's fun. I'd rather wear coats than pants day. So I have 30 of them. So it's even in the snow, you, oh, even you just wear, you just wear heavy socks. You, Hey, you get kill heavy kilt hose. I just bought two more pairs for this winter. It snowed. So, yeah, it's not too bad. Kilts with wool. Kilts are actually fairly warm. And so they do hold heat in actually. So it's not too bad,
I've never worn a kilt. So I'll
Take your work. We'll have to have a fashion show. <laugh> yes.
Yeah. So if somebody was interested in getting a whole of that charity, how would they get a hold of you?
Yeah. [email protected] You can send me an email if you go to the website earthandcup.org and emails there, or, uh, the email is [email protected] can get ahold of me. And yeah. Or you just wanna learn more about use movement or, you know, hunger, how, how can you get work with hunger or poverty or, um, you know, cancer awareness or, you know, just, just to make the world a better place. And we'll, we'll find ways to connect you. Yeah.
Yeah. So you had mentioned your world hunger movement. Yeah. That being a grassroots movement, what is that about? I know there's potluck in it,
Right. There's potlucks in it. Yeah. So, um, yeah, it came out of this. I'm a Lutheran pastor and Luthers are big for having potlucks where everybody brings food in. And so, um, a colleague of mine, um, Kim Codway, who was a seminary classmate of mine, and I were sitting around one day and said, Hey, um, how can we latch onto this potluck thing and do some work and hunger for it? And so we came up with this, um, potluck to end world hunger, where when, if you have a potluck, but then to remember those who may not have something to eat. Um, and so have a program about how can we get involved with hunger ministries locally, regionally, nationally, globally, um, several years ago, what, 20 15, 20 16. We tried to have the world's set, the Guinness book world's records for world's largest potluck. And we had people come in from all over the country to do speaking. And, um, yeah, but it's just remembering as we, as we, um, eat and joy food, remember there are people who don't know where their next meal will come from. And so just get involved in, in trying to bring an end to, uh, world hunger. Yeah. One potluck at a time.
Nice. So you've started a lot of different organizations that are still in motion still. And I know just from talking to several different people who have a desire to do something like that, but either time, or just lack of knowing where to start, like they feel that they just don't know how to climb up that mountain. You've done this many times. So you are well versed in being a guide up that mountain. Where would you say to even begin?
Yeah. Um, begin by dreaming as big as you can possibly dream. So potluck end world hunger really began with me pitching an idea to a bunch of people about having the world's largest potluck. Um, and <laugh> you're right. OK. But then, but to dream big and, um, you know, it's, and then spread that dream to other people who, who might catch a flame, uh, or catch a spark in that. And then you just need a few people to have a critical mass to make it happen. Um, yeah, because the truth is each one of us, regardless of our places and stages of life can change the world positively. Absolutely. We can make a difference and even one person's, you know, putting up a lemonade standard, you know, it can, it changes the world because it's the, you know, ripples across the cosmos. Um, but yeah, and then it's, you know, you, you pitch these ideas and then you, you just don't give up, you keep pitching 'em until you find people like Amber that'll come down to the Ohio river and 120 degree, and then, you know, and then she connects you or I connect you, or somebody connects you with the person, it takes you the next step.
And it's just to keep dreaming. Um, yeah, it's, it, it really is dreaming big dreams. You know? I mean, the, the cliche is, you know, if you want to, you can't, if you wanna clear the treetops, you have to aim for the stars. Right? Well, sometimes you get to, you get to get into spa when you do that. And, um, and you'll amaze yourself. You'll surprise. I'm just, you know, I'm just a guy from the middle of farm town, Ohio that never knew how to do any of this, you know? And I, I still don't know how, but I surround myself with people who know how to do this. And so I, um, yeah, it's, it's, it's realizing what your gift is. And then combining your gift with other people that have other gifts to make the dream come true. Uh, this is back with being with people who are different, right?
We all have different gifts, so mingle with people who have other gifts, and then it, it at allows these dreams to just flourish. And then that takes you to the next dream, to the next dream, and just never settle for stop being to dream, to never settling until the world is, as it is supposed to have been from all the beginning of whenever. Um, we just need to keep dreaming and making it a better place. And we can one person at a time, one potluck at a time, one kilt at a time, one zoom call at a time, one coffee at a time. Yeah.
Yeah. So not losing the vision right. Is a big part of it too. Holding out hope, not losing vision, being willing to anytime you're gonna start a fire, you have to be willing to rub things sometimes the wrong way, but that little bit of friction yeah. Can create massive flames. You just can't take it as though it's a negative right. It's perspective,
So perspective. Right. And you learn from, you know, I, we talk about success and failure. Well, the truth is if statistics prove out, we will succeed about as many times as we fail. So we need to reframe what success and failure is about. It's not that success is good and failure is bad. Um, it's just, things turned out the way we thought they would. Things didn't turn out the way we, but we still gain. We still, we still learn. We still, you know, it's not about success and failure if you're starting that fire and it, well, okay. Maybe I learn how to start the next fire a little better. Right. As I audition for survivor, I'm out different stick my fires. <laugh> this is all my list of things to do. But yeah. I mean, it's just about learning how to, to start the next fire, to get the next spark, to what to add in, to keep the fuel burning. Yeah. And then to invite people around the warmth of the fire or the light of it, or yeah. The fun of it. Yeah.
So as we're preparing to wrap up here yeah. I know it goes so fast. It's like In these changing times. Yeah. And it is, things are different, especially over the past few years where things have moved more toward an online platform and just the way we do business is different. Whether it is, uh, nonprofit or a for of it. Do you have any advice for someone who is moving forward in this new territory as the last little bit?
Yeah. To just, um, just keep, just keep plugging along and, and give it, you know, give it a try. So, so, you know, as we, to you, we move to zoom pretty quickly when COVID hit. And it, you know, here I am with my 80 year old participants push the blue blue button, blue, blue zoom, you know, but they kept at it, you know, and it's just, don't just keep trying, you know? Um, and, and, and you, uh, the notion of, well, I can't do that. Well, yes, we can. We can really, we can do online anything. I mean, um, find people who are doing it, I mean yeah. Who are doing podcasts and, and say, oh, you know, how can we do this? It is fairly easy or not really easy, but it's capable. And to just not give in, just keep climbing the mountain, maybe take a different direction, just keep plugging along and trying, and, and it'll come and it's all about experience. It, it really is. So, yeah. Yeah, because you can reach, I mean, I mean, we're, I don't know how many miles apart we are, but we're having a wonderful conversation. I mean, this is, we can, I've been with people all around the world at the same time and, and, you know, 20, some different time zones. And we couldn't have done that prior. I mean, if we take anything out of these last couple years, it's learning how connected we really all are. Yeah.
Yeah. We are Baskin Robbins. We're, <laugh>
More than 31 flights. Right. <laugh>
I love it. Right. Right. Well, one more time for those who would like to check out Earth and Cup, how can I get a hold of you?
Yeah. The website you is Earth and Cup, um, dot org. We're also on, there's a Facebook group. It's Earth and Cup. You can jump on there. You can email me at, uh, Earth and Cup gmail.com and I can, uh, send you in directions. There's a lot of stuff up on the website. You can check it out. Um, a lot of stuff, uh, work off of Facebook. So there's a lot of stuff going up there you can, if you're interested or have questions, just send us a message there as well.
All right. And you are now located in Ohio, in the us. I am. So if anyone is in Ohio, who's listening, you're local, but you can re reach out to anyone no matter where they're located in the world,
Reach out to anyone no matter where and willing to get in a car and travel too. So it's
Okay. Wonderful. Well, again, thank you, my friend for sharing an hour here with me. I appreciate you.
Oh, I appreciate you too. It's fun. It's it's good to catch up and, uh, yeah, just hear how everything's gone, but yeah. Thanks for having me
On. Absolutely. We'll have Tracy on here sometime very soon too. So folks can get to know her. Yeah,
That'd be good. Good, good, good blessings to everybody.
Thank you, blessings to you and blessings to all of you. Thank you so much for joining us on another heart leader podcast where heart and mind align. I am your host, Amber, and I would also like to share my sincere gratitude to everyone at the transformation network for all that you do to keep our show amazing. Until next time we look forward to seeing you in the Suivera Community.
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