In some of my harder, darker times, it was this moment, this moment right HERE that got me through.
It was the dream of this life, this ability to share with others, to be able to speak to them about their pain, their suffering, and the ways that they can transform it all that kept me going.
It was comforting to know that I wouldn’t just be preaching, or telling people something that I read in a book, but rather something I experienced, something I know from the inside out.
It has been nearly a decade since I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type II. I was attending college at the lowest point of my life, in my greatest depression, and was quickly prescribed medications. But no matter what they gave me, and they gave me way too much, things weren't getting better. Instead the list of symptoms: not being able to eat, to sleep, to really even think or feel just kept getting bigger, and all around these it felt like my world was collapsing.
Family tragedies piled onto more tragedies. I couldn't figure out how to get myself into class, nothing felt important anymore, but the university kept charging, and I was too scared to stop enrolling, so I was hemorrhaging money I didn't have.
My family fell apart, my friend circle fell apart, my finances and life goals fell apart and so did I. The answer from my psychiatrist was an ever expanding cabinet of pills.
And that's when I decided to figure things out for myself. I wouldn't accept the conventional wisdoms of people who didn't understand what I was going through.
I quit taking the drugs, doing my research and figuring out how to wean myself off.* I quit drinking as well which helped an infinite amount. I started looking into different forms of spirituality, psychology and studies in physical healthy and neurology.
I completely changed my diet, started exercising, explored paths and ideas I was too scared to ever think of before and made it through. It was one of the scariest, roughest, most exciting and rewarding times of my life.
I had to come to grips with childhood traumas, current family traumas, my addictions and mental health as well as my identity. I had to realize I didn't want the life I thought I wanted, I didn't want to be an international lawyer, spending my time trying to make money, to get ahead, to raise the family my family wanted. Instead I wanted to understand what was going on inside, inside myself and all the others I saw suffering. I wanted to understand, and I wanted to be able to bring healing.
It was this goal, this conception of the wounded healer, who learns by healing themselves that inspired me. And now, here I am to help you remember everything you need to adapt, in fact, to flourish in self-development and the ways that you interact with the world, in essence, to catalyze a transformation in you and thus the world.
As with everything I do, I come at this from every direction possible. To get as much information to as many people as possible I have launched the following blogs:
Mind-Body: Perspective and techniques to balance, heal and empower your mental life as well as the science to make your body as strong, healthy and vital as possible.
Spirit: Finding meaning and fulfillment through the world’s spiritual traditions.
And Everything Else, where I share bits of my story and whatever else comes to mind, tying the other three blogs together and developing a platform to help in both of our transformations.
Along with these blogs I will be releasing free hypnosis recordings on youtube to help support the embodiment of this information in your own personal transformation. If you like, you can even sign up for my mailing list and I’ll email you hypnosis recordings to download, all for free.
Why do I have to share all this?
Because when I was falling apart, reacting to this crazy, wonderful, violently horrible and yet exquisitely beautiful world we find ourselves in, the ability to pass what I learned on to others is what motivated me to keep going.
And now I am here to fulfill the story of hope I told myself. And where I am, I know that I can succeed in helping you to transform.
Life isn’t easy these days. We have a lot on our plate. The average full-time hourly worker is working forty-seven hours a week. Salaried workers are reaching up into the fifties, and when I ask my clients how much they’re working they often give figures in the sixties and seventies. SEVENTY hours a week!
Even at forty-seven that’s nine plus hours of work a day. Then you have to commute home, you need to cook, clean, grab the kids if you’ve got them, go food shopping, any kind of shopping, make it to your appointments, their appointments, maybe even your dog’s appointments and hopefully have some time to sleep at night. Good luck trying to socialize, and that body. . . well. . . forget about it.
And forget your mind while you’re at it.
There’s just too much to do!
I don’t know how many times I have seen a client break into tears explaining just how busy and stressed they are and then go right into blaming themselves for all the self defeating habits they’ve developed; everything they feel is holding them back.
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to step in right there and start to point out what’s really going on. Remind them of what's happening in their environment and what’s happening in their brain.
You see none of this stress is really natural for us. When we were embryos in the womb, our genes weren’t really getting us prepped for all this work and all this stress.
OUR ANCESTORS USED TO SPEND 4 HOURS A DAY HUNTING AND GATHERING.
They didn’t have a perfect society, but they dominate the human time line, which means that that low level work week is what our bodies have evolved to do. Sure, we’re human and we’re adaptable so we’re making forty-seven hours work, but we’re stretching our systems to the max.
I see this constantly with my clients. They’re getting pushed too far and they’re taking it out on themselves.
Internally they beat themselves up endlessly, externally they develop all sorts of self defeating habits to try and mask the stress, the pain and the inner turmoil that comes from a life unfulfilled. This only perpetuates the cycle and leads them back to their own internal self abuse.
And if it feels crazy inside, the world is even crazier outside. Things are picking up faster and faster and our bodies and brains simply aren’t used to it.
For most of human civilization, civilization itself was a pretty slow moving thing. People did what their parents did and their parent’s parents for generations. Life was well laid out for you. This definitely has its limitations and disadvantages and I don’t think anyone wants to go back to that, but it also meant that people had a better clue as to who they were and how they fit in. (Or didn’t fit in, which is still a problem today.)
People who stuck to tradition felt they knew the best ways to get their food, keep their house, find a partner, raise their kids. The ancestors had figured all of that out for them.
We have a lot more freedom now with what we choose to do and why, and a lot of the time that’s pretty terrifying. We need to make our own choices on how we live our lives, what coping mechanisms we are going to use for stress, what foods we are going to eat for our best nourishment.
What are we going to believe in?
All around us is a world that has forgotten many of its better discoveries of mind, body and spirit, and is at the same time expanding in every direction at once.
We’re communicating faster and easier than ever before in ways we can’t even fathom.
We’ve got particle colliders looking into the subatomic and hill sized telescopes checking in on distant galaxies.
We’re tearing down old traditions, trying to break away from our parent’s beliefs and habits that just don’t work for us, all while challenging the old ways of relating to ourselves, to others, our family roles, gender norms (thankfully), identity, culture and spiritual traditions.
We’ve got cell phones and dinging computers causing surges of dopamine, traffic jams spiking cortisol, news, media, and entertainment that fill us with dread and heartbreak.
We are awash with stimuli trying to fill up all the empty spaces left behind, entertainment and advertising taking up screen, billboard and neurological space. We are in an environment the human brain has never seen before.
Think about it; for most of human evolution you could hear a story from your mother or father about the rivers, jaguars and the deer you hunt and have had thousands of generations of special selection to make sure you were one of the fittest creatures in your environment.
Not to mention thousands of years of culture to make sure you have all the tools and mindsets to do what you need to do.
Now we have new social, political and economic predators hacking minds with well researched marketing, all through devices that came out just last week. We are seeing things our parents never dreamt of, we’re seeing things we never dreamt of. Our brains are desperately trying to keep up with new social environments, worlds of data and tech that evolve a million times faster than our cells and neurons ever do.
Meanwhile new belief systems, home remedies and pseudosciences are popping up everywhere. These are paired with ancient traditions of wisdom and healing, and newer traditions that simply say they’re ancient.
People are being asked to throw away the old that we know, and at the same time we are exposed to an endless storm of the new, mixed and dotted with ancient relics that brush the fingertips of memory.
In this chaos, we are suffering.
When I see one of my clients pouring out their frustration and hear in their words, in their tone, their suffering, and know that they are blaming themselves.
I see myself.
Ever since that break down nearly a decade ago, I have been obsessed with researching and putting to use everything I can to bring balance to my life and help me adapt.
What I discovered was a spiritual journey, nurturing, tearing, torturing and healing me. It soaked into every aspect of my life, from the way I nurture and support my body, to the methods I use to balance my mind, to the spiritual experiences and rituals I use to give life meaning.
Along the way I have been completely transformed. Leaving behind an old faith, countless old beliefs, the label of a “straight” guy, and so many other parts of an outdated identity.
When I see a client suffering. I see a human being ready to transform.
This site is called Remember Josh, because I’m Josh. Joshua Burkhart in fact.
And not only do I want you to remember me, but the word Remember struck me as exactly what we need to do.
If we go deeper here, and you will find from my blog and our sessions that that’s exactly what I like to do, if we go deeper we find that the word remember comes from the latin memor, to be be mindful, to remember. If we trace it back further it becomes mer mer, a doubling of mer: to fall into thinking, remember, to care for.
Remembering for the ancients wasn’t just about holding onto moments or data from the past, it is about being mindful; mindful of the past, mindful of ourselves, and caring for everything in the mind, in our world, all that we touch, that we REMEMBER.
In essence, the word remember is a call to action, it is truly the same as a mantra of transformation. Remember who you are, be mindful of who you are, care for who you are. Take the best of the past and the present and create a better future.
If you believe I can help you with this, then contact me and let me know.
If you’d like to know more about how I can help, check out my techniques and methods for change and transformation.
And if you’d like to know more about why I can help, just keep reading along:
I am a certified Peer Wellness Support Specialist for Mental Health and Addiction with the State of Oregon, also known as a Traditional Health Worker. Which means I had hundreds of hours of training in techniques life coaches use the world over, from motivation interviewing to goal setting and mirroring techniques.
You can look me up in the Oregon database. Once again, it’s Joshua Burkhart.
The difference between this training and life coach training is that Peer Wellness training is actually certified and approved by OSHA and the state of Oregon. No life coach training program has that level of accountability.
Further, I'm specially trained to work on the grittier aspects of hard to beat habits and mental health challenges.
I am also a trained hypnotist, life coach and reiki master.
Overall my clients have ranged from people who want to quit smoking to people having their own powerful spiritual awakening, from cancer patients to others experiencing bipolar states, PTSD and anxiety, as well as people who want to increase exercise, sleep better, eat better and a whole bunch of other mindset and behavioral changes.
Essentially, people ready to change, to transform.
*If you ever decide to quit a medication please consult a specialist. If you feel like they are not listening to you and you are being poorly represented, then consider getting a second opinion. At the very minimum do your research and let people know what you are doing.
I weened myself off at the rate all my research suggested and still had a day of seizures. I got through it, but I would suggest making sure people know what you are doing and getting all the help that you can.