Episode 41: The Unique Way to Identify and Heal Your Emotional Trauma That’s Keeping You From Living Your Best Life, With Mastin Kipp

Melyssa Griffin

30 min

POSTED BY

TIME TO READ

Emotional Healing, Biomes, Inner Bliss, Trauma Therapy, Mental Health Awareness

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I’m a former high school teacher turned entrepreneur who loves few things more than a good hug, hopping on a flight to anywhere, and teaching people like you how to live an abundant and limitless life.

I’m Melyssa Griffin

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From drug addict, to personal development enthusiast, to founder of the incredibly popular website The Daily Love (and about 4 million followers)…

…and then Mastin Kipp tore it all down and started from scratch.

Why? Because he is completely dedicated to living his true purpose. While he loved what he’d created so far, Mastin knew that in order to truly honor this new mission, he needed to refocus his teachings on Functional Life Coaching, and help people with trauma to heal on a mind, body, and spirit level.

He calls this approach Trauma Hacking.

And whether you have big, life-alteringly painful trauma, or smaller trauma that you may not even be aware of, Mastin teaches us that the key to unlocking your full potential is to heal those things that are holding you back.

Mastin has been recognized by leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Arianna Huffington as a thought leader in personal development. His latest book, Claim Your Power, is a 40-day journey to unlocking your life’s purpose, healing yourself from the inside out, and becoming who you were truly meant to be.

In today’s episode, Mastin shares practical tips to heal past trauma, so you can live your best life now. He also shares his story about hitting rock bottom, becoming addicted to drugs, and how he was able to pull himself out of his lowest point to create a transformational brand that has helped millions.

I’m so grateful for this conversation and I can’t wait for you to hear this episode. Mastin is funny, relatable, and oh so knowledgeable. Let’s dive in!

Emotional Healing, Biomes, Inner Bliss, Trauma Therapy, Mental Health Awareness

In this episode, you’ll hear about things like…

  • What Mastin believes “purpose” is, and how he was able to begin to find his purpose in life after hitting rock bottom.
  • How unhealed trauma stops us from reaching our full potential.
  • What Trauma Hacking is – and how we can use it to address our own trauma, whether big or small.
  • An exercise from Mastin’s book about writing your own obituary.
  • The powerful connections between our microbiome, our trauma and our overall health.

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Some Questions I ask Mastin…

  1. What does it look like when we start putting our own desires and needs FIRST? (And why is this seemingly “selfish” thing actually positive?)
  2. Where do people go wrong with setting goals?
  3. How does approval-seeking impact our lives?

Links from the interview:

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. What are some tactics that resonate with you for healing your own trauma?

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#PursuitWithPurpose

Loving the podcast? I encourage you to use the hashtag #PursuitWithPurpose to show our PWP tribe how you live your purpose everyday. Plus, you’ll get to sift through the hashtag to find other business owners who care about community and connectedness over competition and comparison. And I’ll be reposting some of my favorite images and stories, too. 🙂

Thank you for listening!

Transcript

Read the Interview Transcription Here

Hello everyday world changers. Okay, so quick side note on that actually. I feel like a lot of people have cool names to identify the people who are in their communities. This is going to sound really lame but darn it, I have not been able to think of one that really exemplified what I wanted this community to be about, but I think I know what it is now. I just said it. Did you hear it? It’s everyday world changers. The reason being is that I feel like this podcast is for anyone, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a mom, or just anyone who wants to become their best self. Hence the word, “everyday”. I want this community to be inclusive. Beyond that, I know that anyone listening to this podcast wants to change the world deep down, even if that simply means changing ourselves first. So you might hear me use that phrase sometimes, everyday world changers. I hope you resonate with it and you feel like you have some ownership over it too, because to me, it’s everything that this podcast stands for. It’s everyday people doing our best to help the world and ourselves in a meaningful way. I would love to hear your thoughts on this name by the way, so let me know on Instagram. That’s where I hang out the most. Let me know, do you resonate with it, does it feel good to you, do you have a different idea. Keep me posted.

I want to dive into today’s podcast. So I am just really excited and grateful to introduce you to today’s guest, Mastin Kipp. You might know him from the Daily Love, which was his popular website and email subscription that he used to run. It’s how I discovered him years ago, and I’ve always looked up to him because of it. Now Mastin Kipp is a best-selling author, renowned public speaker, and the creator of Functional Life Coaching, which is an innovative, unique and accelerated approach to creating lasting personal and business change. He’s been recognized by leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Arianna Huffington, as a thought leader in personal development. His latest book, “Claim Your Power”, is a 40 day journey to unlocking your life’s purpose, healing yourself from the inside out, and becoming who you are truly meant to be. In this interview, Mastin is talking about something that, as he says, he’s never discussed on a podcast interview or really anywhere else before. He shares his method for healing the trauma that you’ve experienced in your life, whether it was life altering painful or something smaller that you’ve just tried to brush under the rug. He’s got tactical tips for both your mindset and your physical health that are going to help you to heal that trauma, so that you can live your best, happiest, and most transformational life right this very second. He also shares his story about hitting rock bottom, becoming addicted to drugs, and how he was able to pull himself out of his lowest point to create a transformational brand that has helped millions. I am so honored for you to hear this episode. Mastin is funny, relatable, and oh so knowledgeable. Let’s dive in.

Melyssa Griffin: Hey, Mastin. Welcome to the show.

Mastin Kipp: Melyssa, so happy to be here. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Melyssa Griffin: Very, very excited to talk to you. So before we get into all the amazing things that you teach and help people with it in transforming their lives, I want to hear a little bit about your story, because a lot of us are familiar with you and with the Daily Love, but what about the Mastin before you were an internet sensation and life coach?

Mastin Kipp: Without a sense of purpose and without my life partner Jenna, I’m just a pre-diabetic who eats Cinna Stix from Domino’s. That’s pretty much all I want to be.
Melyssa Griffin: Cinna Stix are very good…

Mastin Kipp: Listen, I traveled all over the world, I’ve been to so many spancy* whatever places—take me out of the Midwest, but can’t take the Midwest out of me, I guess. I grew up in Kansas and Canada. By all intents and purposes, had a relatively good childhood except for my father was in Vietnam and he was a medic. I was there chronically for two and a half years in the frontlines, dealing with people’s traumatic war injuries and wounding, and making life or death decisions, and seeing a lot of very violent things every day, saving lives. And then my mother broke her back when she was very young and lived with chronic pain basically from the age of 12 on. The doctors told her not to have me. I was sort of their one shot to have a child, so certainly I shouldn’t really be here but I am. And then both my parents were chronic smokers and dealing with addiction, which we didn’t know at the time. So I don’t get into the poor me story, but I do believe that everybody has core trauma that they’re working with or working through in personal development. Trauma isn’t always something that has to be this bloody, nasty, crazy, hurtful thing, which it absolutely can be and I work with a lot of people who have been through very hard things, but there’s different levels of trauma just like there’s different levels of hot sauce. It’s not like everything is super-hot.

And so for me, my “trauma” was just both my parents are the sort of co-addicted relationship, kind of focused on my mom’s back pain or my father’s career, and really no emotional connection there for me. So I really became an introvert. I became sort of really self-reliant on myself, never really formed a lot of actual relationships with human beings. Got into sports, I think my arm went out and got into computer games, and then got into the music business, and then got into drugs and alcohol. Hit rock bottom and was fairly successful from the outside of the music business, but hit rock bottom. And then as I started to get sober and ask questions about how could I feel as good off the drugs than on the drugs, I felt pretty good for a period of time, that led me down a very long and interesting personal development path. Thanks to algorithms like Amazon’s algorithms and iTunes algorithms, you buy this one book that someone tells you to get, and then there’s that recommendation engine underneath. You just go down the rabbit hole right; Wayne Dyer, Carolyn Myss, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, and down and down, James Allen, and then it just goes and goes, Joseph Campbell, Karl Young.

And so I just became just—I sort of consume self-help the same way you consume cocaine, which was a lot. And then I started kind of sharing stuff with people at a very young age, and people thought that was inspiring. And so I decided back in Myspace—that’s how long ago it was. We’re on Myspace. Some people live are like what is that. It’s a social network that used to exist and still does kind of. I would share quotes on Myspace around Hollywood, and people call me the quote guy in hipster circles. And then I just kind of started a T-Shirt company that was an aspirational T-Shirt company, did pretty good but then it crashed and burned. My partner left and did some things that were very hurtful. And then I kind of decided to end my career in the music business and then decided to be a blogger, whatever year that was, late 2000s. Moved into my ex-girlfriend’s parent’s house, which is rather embarrassing, and started this thing called the Daily Love. And then over a two year period, where I had like no money, I built it up to about three, four million people reading it per month. This is before Instagram and a lot of Facebook, the way that things are today. Twitter was the thing to be on. Sort of became this curated site for a lot of the voices that we now know today in the personal development space. And then things sort of took off from there. Was on SuperSoul Sunday with Oprah. This whole path opened up and then burned it to the ground.

I burned it all to the ground because I realized what I want to be when I grow up, which is really helping people with trauma. I love programs like Neurolinguistic Programming or the work of Tony Robbins. A lot of therapeutic intervention and strategic intervention, the work of Milton Erickson. I love a lot of that type of stuff. What I found has been missing because I work with so many people experientially, is really the conversation around emotional trauma. That’s really what’s missing from the space right now. Because of the way the world is going, that conversation is becoming more and more important. So I feel like I’ve been sort of prepping for that conversation for the last decade as a teacher, my whole life as a human, because we all deal with trauma. And so that’s really what I do. I do trauma in the form of life coaching. I call it functional life coaching. The term that I use, because there’s so many different thing—we start talking about trauma, there are so many modalities that people use. I just call it all under that umbrella of trauma hacking. So I think of myself as the first trauma hacker and really help people try to figure out on a mind, body, spirit environment, peer group level, how to kind of get into their stuff and heal their stuff, and really create purposeful lives from that place forward. So that’s the briefest description I can give you.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that so much. I want to get in first of all to trauma hacking. I like the way that you describe that too, where it almost implies that there are tactical things that somebody can do to heal themselves from their traumas. I’m excited to talk about that in a second. I also just see a lot of parallels between your upbringing and mine, and probably a lot of people who are listening, where we feel like we experience a lot of trauma. Trauma is just having emotionally unavailable parents or parents who are working on their own stuff and not really there to help you become a full person, and having that be a part of our trauma too. So I would first love to hear when you were at this place of hitting rock bottom, how did you feel like you began to find your purpose in life?

Mastin Kipp: Yeah. I feel like I hit rock bottom so many times. I mean I would literally hit rock bottom with a shovel and ask for like a power tool to go deeper. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep going deeper and deeper and deeper. When I got to a point where I realized this is pretty dumb what you’re doing—I never went to 12 Step, I never went to rehab. I kind of put myself in my own rehab. I think the first thing that I did, and it was unconscious, which means I didn’t know I was doing it—but the person who became my best friend and business partner at the time, was sober; not like he was sober, he just didn’t do drugs or drink. I think that connection with him was extremely powerful because it was a demonstration of sobriety and it was a demonstration of a healthier lifestyle. It was the environment that I was in. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time, but I was in a healthier environment with a healthier, you could say role model at the time. I was also consuming a lot of personal development material and learning about co-creation mindset, psychology, trauma, belief systems—all of the things that we all know go into personal development today.

The very first thing I did was, I wasn’t trying to find my purpose, I was just in a better environment. I think that that’s a really big key because you talk about nature versus nurture. Yes, you can nurture your beliefs, you can do your affirmations, you can read the books, you can do all type of stuff, but if you’re—put me in a room full of Domino’s Cinna Stix, I’ll have like 30 seconds of willpower. You keep those things 10 miles away from me, then I won’t even think about it. So environment is really key and that’s really what I did the beginning, which I didn’t know I was doing, was putting myself in the right environment. And then from that point, I was really motivated by finances at the beginning. So I try to make money and then that didn’t really work. I ended up couch surfing for two years trying to make money. What really got me out of it, was really starting to focus on the pain of other people and how to help people, because as soon as I stop thinking about or try to focus less on am I enough, who am I to do this, can I really serve this person…, I just said, “Well that person needs help. Let me go help them.” That was one of the big switches. What motivated me to do that at the time, was proving my business partner wrong. The same person who was the demonstration of sobriety for me, also did some things that were very hurtful. I said I want to show you. I’m going to build something so big and so huge, you can’t ignore it. That’s exactly what I did.

And then that anger ran out and then my focus turned into really helping take care of my loved ones. My mom, ended up sending her to a rehab, had to write a $30,000 check to do that. That motivated me like crazy to find something purposeful and profitable. And then now, I feel like my parents are set, my girl’s parents are set, all the money stuff is cool. Now what really motivates me is like a sense of purpose larger than myself, which took some time to get to, because especially when you’re just getting started, you’re like screw a mission, I need to pay my rent. But now, my mission is to really—my moon shot if you will, is to end emotional trauma in my lifetime. I think it can be done. And so that’s what drives me today, it informs all of my decisions. It’s a process. I think the one thing I would say, especially if you are really just getting started, if you can really just focus more on solving problems and less on what your purpose or your passion is, you’re going to find your purpose or your passion faster because the focus is too much on yourself and not serving other people. When you focus on serving others, that’s really—and solving problems—my friend, Naveen Jain, he’s a billionaire. He talks about how if you want to be a billionaire, solve a 10 billion dollar problem. It’s that simple. Which is not like how do I make a billion dollars, it’s I’m going to solve this problem. So solving problems is the name of the game, but you take care of yourself in the process, which we can talk about. The mindsets, you got to get out of yourself, and it’s so difficult in the early days because everyone’s so focused on survival, and paying the rent, and money, and stuff like that. So it’s a leap of faith, but there’s something more attractive and more powerful about serving others, and when you’re less focused on yourself and more focused on serving other people.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. No, I absolutely love that. I love looking for problems that you can solve versus looking for how you can make money. I think that’s such a beautiful solution to starting a business or fulfilling your purpose in life. What you were saying about environment is so true. I feel like you put somebody in an environment with people that are going to propel them to be the person that they want to be, it’s almost impossible not to. There’s just something about it. Maybe as humans, we’re like community based creatures where that tribe is just so important to us. Yeah, I love that you said that. So I want to talk a little bit about trauma. I know this is a really big thing that you teach people and that you care about. So let’s go there. How does unhealed trauma keep us from reaching our full potential or being who we’re meant to be?

Mastin Kipp: Yeah. So the first thing I want to do is awesome and very deep. I could write 500 essay pages on this, and I will one day. It’s a book I guess. The first thing we have to understand is we have to define terms, because in the personal development space, it’s not regulated. And so people can just say stuff and make stuff up and you think you know you’re talking about. When you’re in the scientific community and you say a centimeter, you know what that is. Everybody knows what that is. We have a universal agreement on that. We start using words like trauma, purpose, manifestation, potential, it gets real murky and real vague. So I would put it to you in this context, trauma is a wound. It’s a cut, that’s all it is. It’s a wound. You can have a big one. You can have a little one. You can have a little one that becomes a big one if you don’t take care of it over a period of time. There’s a direct correlation between emotional trauma and chronic health issues. And so it’s essentially a lack of resilience in your emotional body because of an emotional wound over time. It can fester and get worse. You can be re-traumatized over and over and over again. So that’s how I view trauma.

We talk about highest potential and the word, purpose. Purpose is really—there’s sort of two definitions of purpose. One is it’s a life aim that stimulates behavior and simulates goal. It’s a reason why. There’s a lot of peer reviewed research on how a sense of purpose can extend your life up to 10 years, improve lots of biomarkers like HDLs and LDLs and A1C and lower cortisol levels, and all kinds of cool stuff. All the blue zones where people live to be over 100, a lot of people do in those areas. All the elderly have a sense of purpose and meaning in their life. Viktor Frankl talks about it in “Man’s Search for Meaning” when he was in Auschwitz. So it’s pretty—we’re pretty much like okay, purpose changes your life. We got that, but what is it? And so when you look at any goal, if it’s a life aim that stimulates behavior or goal that stimulates behavior, well why do you set that goal in the first place. We say goals for an emotional payoff. So the financial goal gives you a sense of freedom or certainty. The romantic goal gives you a sense of connection or safety. And so we’re really going for emotional payoffs when we set goals. I like to look at purpose as setting an emotional goal that you learn to cultivate within yourself. So it’s an emotional state that you cultivate within yourself, and then you have to express it to the world in the form of service as a three step process of cultivating it and then expressing it in the service. If you’re not cultivating it, then you’re never going to feel that way no matter what anybody else does. If you’re not expressing it, you’re going to be repressed which reads depression. If it’s not in the form of service to others, you’ll never have utility or usefulness, it will just be a self-serving mission. So you have to cultivate an emotional state within you that you express to others in the form of service. And then you can do that in your relationship, and you can do that in business, and you can do that with your parents, you can do that in a job or a corporation that you’re in, when you’re running for office. So it’s all about emotions. Life is an emotional game.

So how does trauma get in the way of that? Very simply put, when we’re wounded and we have trauma, trauma doesn’t want the body to feel good. And here’s why. When you have positive emotional states, the nervous system associates those with a vulnerability, with potential weakness, and with a high level of potential threat. Whenever we go through trauma, whether it’s acute or significant, we start to have hyper vigilance and we look around for stuff. It’s like the old school idea of the tiger jumps out from the bush. Everything that’s green, anything that’s even kind of green, you’re going to be very vigilant about. So if you got hurt in a relationship, every person that looks like or is like the person that hurt you, there’s a vigilance around that, or if you were in a financial problem in the past, any risk, there’ll be hypervigilance. So we have hypervigilance that’s hardwired into us in the hippocampus in the brain, that says, “Hey, you know what? This is all a threat and I have to be on guard.” Guess what? If I’m on guard and there’s a threat and I’m not taking action, what starts to happen? I can’t feel good because I’m repressing. And so depression is—yes, there’s a biochemical imbalance when there’s depression, but when you look at it from the function of the nervous system, the vagus nerve specifically, depression is a shutdown pattern to help you be safe. It’s a survival mechanism.

You think about a turtle. When a turtle is scared, what does it do? It goes into its shell. We evolve from reptiles. we have vagus nerves like they do. The vagal response to shut down or play dead or feign dead, like that’s hardwired into us. So depression is sort of like chronically play dead in your life. It serves a purpose to keep you safe, but it doesn’t serve a purpose to help you find your purpose in life. So we have to start having a different conversation about what mental health is. Mental health is a very limited term for what it is. We also have to start looking at why does my body behave this way. It’s for a good cause. It’s to keep you safe. Nothing’s wrong with you. We have to substitute the question, “what’s wrong with you” for “what happened to you”. We have to substitute those questions because nothing is wrong with you. You’re surviving. That’s what you’re doing. That’s what you’re born to do. That’s what the nervous system does automatically until you intervene. The other thing is when you’re in these sort of traumatic trances if you will, where you’re sort of hypervigilant, always on guard, you have neuroses, you have anxiety, you have all of these things happening in your life, your behavior tends to produce significant inflammation in your body through poor food choices, poor lifestyle choices. And so what starts to happen is that creates what’s called dysbiosis in the body or just imbalance, or eventually is becomes dis-ease, distance from ease. So not only do you have this trauma trap, but now your body is out of alignment and you have leaky gut and you got stuff spilling out everywhere, you have chronic inflammation. We have all this chronic disease.

So it’s this wheel between emotional trauma and dysbiosis in the body that produces Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, anxiety, depression. There’s this study, they found depression’s inflammation of the brain is not really inflammation the brain, it’s inflammation of the microbiome that causes inflammation in the brain. So there’s a lot about microbiome health that has to go into this. There’s a lot going on when somebody is depressed or anxious. It’s the body’s way of keeping you safe. There’s all kinds of things you can do to kind of undo all that, because everything is—all chronic conditions could be reversed for the most part, because mostly lifestyle choices. You have to understand that when you’re stuck, when you’re depressed, when you’re sad, when you’re angry, when you’re not living up to the expectations that you have or your parents have or someone has for you and you feel like you’re falling short, you got to look at that and go, “I am very successful at staying alive.” That’s my success. To be more successful, I have to start to heal myself but I’m actually not doing anything wrong. I’m staying alive. We’ve got to go to the next level. And so when you invoke a personal development path, you got to come up against leaky gut and dysbiosis in the gut. You got to come up against any inflammation that you got. You got to come up against all those limiting beliefs. You got to come up against all the survival patterns that says you can’t do anything different otherwise you’re going to die. You got to come up against a long history of that, probably the peer group is a part of that too. Changing your life is a big deal. So how does it stop us? That’s how. That’s probably the most succinct and condensed version I can give you. We want to feel good but the nervous system says that’s vulnerable and so let me shut down instead. That’s basically the bottom line.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. That makes total sense, where we learn behaviors from this trauma and then it starts to affect our entire physiology. So how do we, if we’ve experienced trauma and we know that there’s something holding us back but we don’t know every piece of it, we don’t know exactly how we’re projecting it into our life maybe, how do we come to understand or become more acquainted with how our trauma is playing out in our life?

Mastin Kipp: Great question. So here’s the thing, nobody knows really how their trauma is playing out in their life because it’s a blind spot. You can think of it as a schema which is—you’re ever in an argument maybe or you’re in a conversation with somebody and maybe you’re in the kitchen, and they’re like, “Bring me the salt.” You’re like, “I don’t see the salt.” “Bring me the salt.” And you’re in this argument. And then finally they come over to you and like, “It’s right here!” It’s right in front of your face.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. You’re like holding the keys.

Mastin Kipp: For sure. We have blind spots like that, where other people can see it but we can’t see it by ourselves. If you have stress, if you have anxiety, if you have chronic pain, if you have essentially any sense of dis-ease or not feeling good in your body regularly, you have unresolved trauma for sure, which is every card carrying human being alive. If you get stuck at a plateau, you have trauma. If you’re in an argument that you know you say things that you’re not happy about, you have unresolved trauma. It all boils back to unresolved trauma. So the two things you want to do to get started on a very practical level is, you want to start to improve your microbiome health, because your microbiome in your gut has trillions and trillions of microbes in there. We only have 20,000 human genes. We have millions of microbial genes in our body. We’re 1% human, 99% microbial. So if you want to feel good, take care of your microbes. The best way to do that is with that kit called Viome. You can go to mastinkipp.com/viome for 50% off. I make no money on that. I believe in this product. It can analyze your microbiome better than any test out there and give you the exact food recommendations and supplement recommendations that you need to bring your microbiome back into balance, which is so huge when it comes to changing your life. Way better long term than pills because food is like the ultimate prescription medication. So you want to do that. The second thing you want to do is, you want to get yourself into a trauma hacking or functional coaching process with your personal development. Just going to a therapist and talking about what used to happen, not necessarily good enough if you’re not getting the root cause trauma. Going to your Kundalini yoga class or yoga class and doing your mantras and meditations is great, but you’re just relieving pressure from a pressure cooker but the heat is still on. So what you want to do is—I’m not against yoga or meditation or green juice necessarily, but if you’re not doing your trauma work, you’re just in high level coping. So instead of like maybe coping with promiscuous sex and cocaine, now you’re coping with green juice and lemons. It’s a high level coping and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you do your group cause trouble work, there are modalities that can help you feel better, but you can still be dissociating it and checking out with high level coping stuff.

So that’s what “Claim Your Power” is all about. It really helps to address that root cause stuff. In the perspective of trauma hacking, there’s so many different types of modalities that you could also utilize along with the functional coaching process. I really view functional coaching as the foundation to a life of trauma hacking, because we regress you very quickly and safely within 20 minutes to what that root cause trauma is, and help you realize, wow, the way I’ve coped with this has helped me be safe and that’s a good thing. You could, on top of that, you could get the “Claim Your Power” book or go through one of our Claim Your Power boot camps or come to Claim Your Power live, we can help you with that. And then additionally, you can do stuff like John Barnes’ Myofascial Release, because we store trauma in our fascia. You could do EMDR or cognitive behavioral therapy. You could do equine therapy. You could do yoga informed therapy. I mean there’s so many different types of other additional things you can do, but you definitely want to make sure you’re doing your trauma work through a functional coaching process. You want to make sure you’re addressing your microbiome health. You want to make sure you’re addressing your body. John Barnes’ Myofascial Release is probably the best body work I’ve ever found to help release trauma, and Kundalini yoga. The combination of those two things for body work is just ridiculously incredible.

You want to make sure that you’re in a nurturing environment. If you’re being abused every day, getting out, getting to a Family Justice Center, something like that would be very powerful or just leaving the jerk might be powerful. Being around entrepreneurs, being in a healthy environment, getting all those shitty food out of your house. Just having a really clean environment because your environment is a lot about your belief systems. And so you want your environment to match who you’re becoming. You want to make sure that you are doing your personal development work and you’re reading healthy, awesome words every day and you’re moving your body. There’s a lot that goes into transforming your life. The foundational piece would be get a Viome kit and do your Viome, takes two seconds, and functional coaching process and cycling your power. Those two things, it’s like a really powerful approach. You can supplement it with your therapist, your yoga, your this, your that. Those two things go together like PB&J. They’re just really powerful.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. I appreciate what you said about how things like yoga, green juice, supplements are helpful, but they’re more of just high level coping mechanisms. I think it’s easy for us to think, well I’m doing yoga every day, I’m becoming my best self, I’m working through it, through meditation and yoga, but that’s really not the case if we’re not addressing the core stuff that’s going on. So I appreciate that. I want to make sure that I understand this connection to the microbiome and to our trauma. Can you explain a little bit more—what does that connection look like? How does trauma affect our microbiome or vice versa?

Mastin Kipp: Sure. So the reason why I know this is because I’ve been working with Viome, helping them explain this incredible technology in a way that the market can understand. I’ve been doing it for free. It’s something that I do. It’s a passion thing for me. It’s really something that’s for the mission of ending trauma in my lifetime. So I spend a lot of time talking with a lot of doctors and MDs and people who are extremely bright. The bottom line is this, you can’t change your genes, but you can change the microbes; the genes are the microbes in your body, because we are 1% human genes, 99% microbial genes. We are outnumbered. So this body that we’re in, is actually the host to the bacteria, yeast, fungus, and mold in our microbiome. We have more than just one microbiome. The gut is where most of it—we usually have about three to four pounds of microbes in our gut. And so the goal is to help understand what’s happening in there, because here’s the thing, almost all the neurotransmitters are produced in your gut; dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, oxytocin—all the feel good chemicals. When we have leaky gut, cortisol gets in there and just makes things even worse and creates all this inflammation. If you have low stomach acid, then you get oral bacteria from your mouth that goes down into your microbiome and starts to produce great inflammation. Low grade chronic inflammation is the root cause of every single chronic disease.

So you can try to fix your chemical imbalance by forcing your brain into submission with a pill, long term that doesn’t work. The reason why you have a chemical imbalance is because your gut is probably not producing the chemicals it needs to produce. And so when you look at like anxiety, depression, don’t just go off your meds, you’ve got to do it with a functional doctor and an informed psychiatrist, and you probably should get a scan to really see what’s going on in your brain. The gut and brain are connected between what’s called the vagus nerve. And so it’s called bi-directional, so what happens in the gut immediately happens in the brain and vice versa. The real brain is our gut. If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, we’ve had guts longer than we’ve had brains. The part of our brain that makes us awesome and also crazy is that prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex in the brain is the part of you that does all the over thinking, where your gut is like, “Hey, go!” Literally all the wisdom is down there because there’s trillions of little guys in there that are basically informing you what to do. So a gut feeling is very real. If you’re not producing the neurotransmitters that you need to feel good, if you have chronic inflammation, like no affirmation is going to become more powerful than that. It’s not going to happen.

And so if you’re going to start to heal your trauma, you’ve got to focus on microbiome health because if you have leaky gut—leaky gut, it means the poo in your colon is leaking into your body. You have a sewage system leaking into your body. That’s disgusting. That’s one reason why you probably don’t feel good and that’s the root cause of so many illnesses. And so if you can start to heal your leaky gut, bring your microbiome back into balance, what happens? You’re producing all the things you need to produce to feel good. Affirmations are great, but you just feel good naturally just like you did when you were younger. And so that’s really like the foundation, because what happens is, if people go on a personal development path and they don’t address their physiology and microbiome health, a lot of times, especially the women I work with, they’re over 40, they’re in a life transition, a lot of them have a chronic illness. They’re telling themselves, “I did all the work, I’m still so tired. Something is still not quite there.” It’s not because something’s wrong with you, it’s because your microbiome is out of balance. And so it’s a catch-22, the better your microbiome is, the better your mindset is. The better your mindset is, the better your microbiome is. The combination of improving your microbiome and improve it and doing your trauma work is really what—it has to be the foundation of any personal development path, or for that matter, chronic healing path around today. It’s a holistic model that we’re talking about here.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. I love that because I feel like I hear that all the time. It’s like I’ve gone to all of these seminars, I’ve read all the books, I’ve worked with coaches, but I still feel like there’s some level that I’m not accessing of myself. I feel like that’s a perfect solution, is really looking at your microbiome and seeing what’s not working in your actual physical body, that’s keeping you from feeling better. So that’s awesome. I want to talk a little bit about some kind of tactical things that you talk about in your book. The first one is this thing that you call the approval map. I think this is a huge concept for so many of us because a lot of us are seeking approval from other people, even if we don’t realize that we’re doing it, and how that’s impacting our life. So can you tell us a little bit more about this concept, the approval map?

Mastin Kipp: Sure. So it was very interesting. The entire process and all the coaching that I do, I don’t just sit around on a yoga mat or meditation pillow and just make some shit up. I have insights and ideas, but then I work with my clients. I sort of like workshop it with them. Clients, when I bring something new to them, I let them know, “Hey, guys. This is some new stuff. Will you be the guinea pig?” They’re usually l super stoked because it’s pretty cool usually. The Claim Your Power process was born out of a 10 year process of working with people experientially. One of the things that I found is that once people got clear on kind of how they wanted to feel and what they wanted to do, the next thing that would stop them is well what about that person, what are they going to think— insert mom, dad, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, child…

Melyssa Griffin: Instagram follower.

Mastin Kipp: Totally. Someone who’s dead. So what I started to realize is, what’s up with that? I started to realize there’s actually a hierarchy of, you could call it approval, essentially. It starts with ourselves and then it kind of gets into the realm of higher power, and then it gets to other people. Some people question that and say you’ve got to put God first. I would say to you, “Who chooses that?” You do. Jesus chose to be crucified. Buddha chose to be under the Bodhi tree. The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous is you admitting that you’re powerless. God didn’t do that for you. So there is a level of self-responsibility in all of this. And so you have to figure out what do I need, how do I need to feel. And then what’s up with this higher power? What’s going on with my relationship there, my sense of purpose? And then based on those two things, what sort of social constructs do I need to sort of support that, and also what part of me has been causing this disarray in my life too. Where are you on the hook for that? And so what’s really interesting is when we work with clients, a lot of times they’ll say, “Well, I’d love to go start this business but I can’t.” Why? “Well, my husband doesn’t want me to.” Why do you care about what your husband wants? And then all of a sudden, you get into the deeper issue of like, essentially, approval.

It gets all back to core trauma, because one of the other survival patterns that’s out there is what’s called mend and attend. So we all know about fight or flight, either kill it or run from it, but there’s also I’ll take care of it. And so a lot of times, we can dissociate from what we want to do by taking care of somebody else. So it serves two purposes: one, we’re going for their approval, that makes us feel good about ourselves, but also I can conveniently ignore the things I know I need to do for myself under the good guise of taking care of somebody. It’s really sneaky because most people will say, “Oh, you’re such a good person.” Maybe you are, but deep down you’re raging because you’re not doing what you want to be doing. This is really linked because human beings are supposed to be together. We’re built for relationship and connection and tribes because we’re stronger together, but part of the personal development process is breaking free from the tribe to figure out who you are. There are so many conscious and unconscious rules about what has to happen if you get tribal approval from your parents and your peer group, you name it. When you go on a personal development path, you just got to basically give them the bird, as consciously as possible of course.

Melyssa Griffin: In a very loving manner. I’m glad that you brought that up because I think for me personally, what I’ve found is that putting myself first is a huge step in my own personal development and something that I wasn’t doing before. Like you were saying, I think it was mend and attend, where I always thought of myself as a fixer. I would see a problem and I would fix it. I would never think of my own self because it was like if I’m focusing on these other people, then I get to help them, I’m doing good in the world, but inside I was crumbling. I’d love to hear more about your perspective on this, of what does it look like when we do put ourselves first and why is this such a positive thing.

Mastin Kipp: So it’s a really weird—it’s almost like a paradox, meaning there’s two polar opposites that are completely true. This thing is black but it’s also white. Well, how could that be true? It’s a paradox. Most universal truth is a paradox. So you have to be able to entertain two opposing thoughts in your mind at the same time to understand what I’m about to say. The first thing is you need to be able to put yourself first, what do I need. It’s kind of like on the airplane, you got to put the mask on yourself first. So what do I need, what do I got to do to feel that way, and then I have to go do that. I want to feel connected. What do I need to feel connected? I’m going to go do that. And so that’s a very important thing. However, there’s no arrival point to self-love where if one day now I’m worthy enough to be in a relationship. I love myself so perfectly that now I can be in a relationship or now I can do something, because soul mates will love us in ways that we thought we were completely unlovable. That’s part of the deal. Loving yourself is important, but it’s like you got to love yourself and then get over yourself right away, which is the paradoxical part because you have to lose yourself in the service of others as well, but not completely. You have to really focus on serving others, taking care of others, making sure you think of other people, but not to the point where you’re exhausting yourself. There is absolutely need for self-love, but the next level for personal development, and this will be a trend sooner rather than later—this is not like Zeitgeist right now but it will be, is how can we be loving together as a group. So it’s not just wow I figured out how to love myself, it’s I can love myself and not collapse in your presence. You could love yourself and not collapse in my presence. We can understand that we’re having a conversation, a dialogue, not I’m going to go just do me.

What’s happened with the self-love revolution is, it’s kind of turned into this narcissistic Instagram selfie culture. It’s nonsense because people are freaking lonely underneath. So the next level is how can I love myself together with you and how can you love yourself together with me, not by myself. That’s the next level. It’s very tricky because it’s navigating your needs and somebody else’s needs, understanding how to have a compromise with that and understanding that when you let somebody in, that they could crush your heart. That’s just kind of part of the deal. The truth is, especially in a relationship, in any relationship, those two people will go through some serious shit together that’s really painful at some point, because you’re killing each other’s trauma. So when you get in a relationship, you don’t want to think is there someone better out there, you want to think, is this a good person to get in it with, can I go through some shit with this person, are they trustworthy, do they show up, because especially there’s always this myth, like there’s some better person out there. It’s nonsense. Is this someone I want to go on a journey with? That’s really the question, because the ultimate purpose of soulmate relationship is not just to live happily ever after in some Disney film, it’s to really heal your, basically polar opposite root cause trauma, where one person tends to be afraid of abandonment and the person tends to be afraid of being smothered. They need each other and they work it out. That’s the journey of the soulmate. On the other side of that, that’s when you really get to live happily ever after. That’s the next level, is how can I love myself in your presence. I feel differentiation is really freaking hard. It’s rare air*. Most people never get there. You know what they say? Irreconcilable differences, that’s what they say.

Melyssa Griffin: Differentiation is when you can love yourself without the expectation? Is that…

Mastin Kipp: No. There’s a lot of these weird self-love rules that people have because they’re trying to get it perfect. The bottom line is you got to know what you need. I got to breathe. I got to eat. I need sleep. I like to listen to soft jazz, I don’t, but just in general if that’s what you like. I like to wake up…

Melyssa Griffin: Bubble bath.

Mastin Kipp: Totally. My girl likes to wake up quiet, I like to wake up loud. What’s the compromise? I wake up quiet, I go downstairs and then I wake up loud. That’s the compromise.

Melyssa Griffin: What does waking up loud look like for you?

Mastin Kipp: Well I got my home gym over here and we just crank the hard rock or the hip hop or whatever. And so there’s this compromise that has to happen and the expectation will be there. You have to have expectations. The real work is in how to navigate a conscious conversation when those expectations miss. With expectations, how are you ever going to do anything in life? It’s the attachment to the expectation always going your way that’s the problem. That’s the thing with personal development sometimes, is that we kind of like make all of the things that make us normal and human, wrong, without saying you know what, anticipation, expectation, there’s not a bad thing there. I have an expectation. My girl right now is at the gym show with her mom, I’m expecting them to come home in a couple hours. There’s nothing wrong with that. And then sometimes in a relationship, you expect someone to do something and they don’t, how do you navigate that? That’s really the question, where you don’t collapse but you also understand where somebody is coming from. It’s rare air. Differentiation is how can I be my full self in your presence and how can you be your full self in my presence, and neither one of us collapses, neither one of us walks away. We love and accept the other parts of ourselves, because the other thing is, usually in a relationship, if you don’t become like the person that you’re in a relationship with, you will repel each other because there’s something about that person that attracts you to them. That’s a missing piece for you. So there’s a lot to say about that. Differentiation is, it’s not individuation. Individuation is like 2010. Differentiation is I’m going to be different than you, but we’re going to be together.

Melyssa Griffin: I like that. You really show up as your full self. There’s a quote that I like—I don’t remember all of it, but it starts with I take care of me and you take care of you. That’s the ultimate form of love where you come together and you love each other, but you have to come as your fullest self.

Mastin Kipp: I don’t know. I think that’s a nice ideal. I don’t think that’s accurate and here’s why, because especially in a relationship, think about this. Take it out of relationship, let’s talk about the Marine Corps. We’re on the battlefield together. You get shot in the shoulder. Oh, you take care of you, you’re good. No, nobody left behind. You risk yourself, you go over there. You get your comrade, you put them over your arm, and you drag them out of there. That’s what you do. There’s a time and place for that. Now chronically, if it’s always 90/10 where it’s always that deficit for you, that’s a red flag. Sometimes your fullest self and your best self is just a smile. It’s just being there and not leaving the room because you’re really angry. And so I think that like—I remember one time a friend of mine was bragging that him and his girlfriend or him and his wife hadn’t had an argument in 10 years. I’m like, “You have no passion in your relationship? You have to have arguments. That’s crazy.” So I think it’s more about how to navigate it and understand it. It really gets down to not questioning the intention of the other person. They didn’t do this because they’re a bad person, because they hate me, because they’re going to leave me. They’re just doing what they do. It’s about the navigation of that process. So I think it’s I’ll love myself so that I can love you, and when I can’t, I need your help. When you can’t, you need my help. We’re going to figure this out together. Nobody is left behind. With your ride or die person, not with the person who’s abusing you or hurting you, or not giving back or not reciprocating. That’s called a healthy attachment. So you’ve got to have that healthy attachment, because what really formulates a strong relationship, is how you hold someone when they’re down. That’s how you can really know if someone has your back.

It’s really easy to celebrate somebody who’s good, but when they’re down—like there’s a book called “Hold Me Tight” by Sue Johnson, who talks about that attachment theory. There’s a story in there about how a husband was cheating on the wife. He came home, he finally told her. She broke down into tears. She was laying on the floor and he started blame her for why he did it. They’re in therapy maybe a year later and she was livid at him, but she wasn’t livid about the cheating. What she was livid about was the fact that in her lowest moment when she found out that he was cheating on her, he didn’t hold her, he blamed her. That was more painful for her. So people f**k up in relationships all the time, but it’s how you navigate those moments that really forms the attachment long term. If you have a mutual—especially in a relationship, if you have a mutual intention*, like I’m not f**king going anywhere, I f**king love you. I’m going to f**k up a lot, just give me some space and give me a chance to repair and vice versa. That’s how you build healthy attachment because people can’t get it right. And so what happens is, when we’re over giving and over extending ourselves, we like to get all these rules about how to do it right next time so we don’t experience pain versus finding someone and realizing—love is a battlefield. You are in the Marine Corps of your heart and it’s going to be your messy. It’s just going to be messy. If you have two people who are focused on the intention of growth, then you can always come back and repair.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. I feel like I felt something when you were just talking about how a lot of it is about ownership too and taking responsibility versus blaming or trying to find something wrong with the other person. It’s really like what am I doing to contribute to…

Mastin Kipp: Oh my God, ownership is everything. Two words that end the argument.

Melyssa Griffin: I’m sorry?

Mastin Kipp: Maybe. Yeah, that might—you’re right.

Melyssa Griffin: Oh, you’re right.

Mastin Kipp: Done. You’re done. No more argument. If you’re really an egomaniac, you could say “you’re probably right”.

Melyssa Griffin: You’re working on it, so you’re almost to you’re right. So I have one final question that I love to ask all of my guests, and very curious to hear what you have to say. That is, what is one thing that you feel like people could do to live a more meaningful and fulfilled life?

Mastin Kipp: I would absolutely say it would be sort of two things as one thing, and we’ve already talked about it. You got to get your microbiome checked. The microbiome is the center of your feel good or feel bad universe. So Viome. And then doing your trauma work. Those two things, it’s going to help you have more meaning because you’re going to feel better, you’re going to understand the pain that you went through, the context of why you went through it and how you can turn that into service. You’re going to take care of your microbiome and get your body healthy at the same time. That’s a foundation for the best life ever.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, I love that. Everyone should go get Mastin’s book, “Claim Your Power”, because it really dives deep into that trauma work and helping you heal and find that potential and purpose in your life. So amazing. Where can people go to learn more about you, Mastin?

Mastin Kipp: Well, we have coming up, July 12th to 15th, if you’re really interested in the deep dive, we have a trauma hacking sort of annual event, Claim Your Power Live—coming up July 12th to 15th. It’s in Orlando, Florida. Just claimyourpowerlive.com. It’s an amazing experience. There’s a great tribe of folks that are there. The hotel has a lazy river on it. It’s super fun. There’s a lot of high performers there who want to do this work to kind of get the edge. So that would be the best place to come, is over to claimyourpowerlive.com.

Melyssa Griffin: Amazing. Thank you so much Mastin. You are fantastic.

Mastin Kipp: Thank you for having me today. It’s been a pleasure today. Thank you so much.

Hey, don’t go yet! Listen up. Did you get something meaningful out of this episode? Well the most meaningful thing you can do right now is go and leave a review on iTunes, because those reviews are what keep us here. Make sure to subscribe and share this episode. Finally, are you pursuing your purpose? Show us on Instagram with the #pursuitwithpurpose. I’ll see you over there, and thanks so much for listening to the Pursuit with Purpose podcast at pursuitwithpurpose.com. Bye.

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