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Dead Lovers Do Tell Tales

August Goforth

Some interviews baffle me as they provide windows into what appears to be an inconvenient truth. Some people just find themselves at the center of things. Around other people who find themselves at the center of things. #Wtf is that?…

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This definitely seems to be the case for a NYC therapist named August Goforth. I chased this fella down for an interview almost a year before I kicked this project kicked off. I can’t remember where or how I heard about him, but I did. Maybe a faculty friend, as I think what’s I was doing then. Anyway, I had to get story behind a guy who’s writing a book with his dead lover. This thing sat in the can awhile as I wasn’t sure where to use it. But I knew I wanted to, as his story is just too damn good. It has a wicked sweep, from gifted Arkansas mountain child trained at Juliard, to the powder keg of NYC’s early 70’s gay rights movement, to hanging with spiritual outliers like Jane Roberts (Seth books fame), to a white light recovery moment from alcoholism, oh and also a near death moment. Just a fascinating tapestry of background experiences to set up this fellas #wtf moment. Press play to get a look at the teaser. This should drop some time in September, if I can keep the wheels and lights on over here.

#DRAGONSBREAD

You can’t be a dragon but you can eat #DRAGONSBREAD. We’re jumping off a cliff with this new show. Mashup video series + movie like podcast. The #wtf moments of interesting people.

So we’ve been busting our balls cranking out movie-like podcasts and vids around epic life stories for awhile now. When I say “we” I’m talking the royal we. There’s me, a couple cool interns, and sometimes a video guy. Anyway, I think we’re ready for the next step. #DRAGONSBREAD will be our first shot at producing a video series. It’ll be a mashup mixed media and animation type thing. They’ll also be a movie-like podcast too. The show will feature truth stories. But the gate for telling those stories will be the  #wtf moments of interesting people. You know those moments you run into where all your stories no longer work and you’re like #wtf do I do now?… It seems everything new and interesting starts with this moment.

So imagine you’re a teenager doing teenager things and one day you’re arrested for a murder you didn’t commit and end up on death row. Or you’re an IRS tax attorney and one weird night you watch your wife and dog vanish before your eyes in the living room. Or you’re a CIA operator and in a post mission debrief you’re told to ignore a sex trafficking ring. But you don’t. Stuff like that.

We’re going out there folks. With #DRAGONSBREAD I’m thinking Xfiles meets Losers with the intimacy of an Inside The Actor’s Studio.

So you should know I’m a therapist, but a grade A weirdo too. And why shouldn’t I be? I grew up binging Nintendo, Kung Fu films, and knock off D&D games. I spent more time watching Twilight Zone and fishing with my Dad than actually talking to him. I read Kurt Vonnegut, UFO books, and Orwell and went to church youth groups. I listened to my grandfathers tell way too many war stories, mostly told while drunk. I signed up for SEALs out of high school, but grew up rescuing stray animals. So you know… there’s alot bouncing around in there.

Anyway, the idea behind this show fleshes out like this…

We’re all doing our best in this crazy world. But all any of us has is the stories we tell ourselves and what the worlds tells us.  But neither are truth. They are versions of truths for sure, but not “The Truth.” The world is truth. What we can see, hear, taste and touch. The reality that binds and holds us.  As the saying goes, “the truth is out there,” it’s not a story. But weirdly this Truth truth always remains a step beyond us. We can never quite touch it. Well, supposedly great beings like Buddha, Mother Teresa, and Jesus have, but again, these are stories too. But what we do have is our personal version of truth, aka experiences based on our encounters with the world. Our lives, in other words. Very interesting things tend to happen when bring our personal truths and intentions into the world. When these two forces of truth come together world’s collide and something like magic shows up. Things we never imagined possible happen, almost daily.  Seems there’s no limit either. Science, religions, and economies tells us what’s possible all the time but each gets turned on its heads by 14 year olds building shit in their grandparent’s basements and “crazy” people. If there’s any secret ingredient behind how this happens, a catalyst to breaking new ground, I’d say it’s the #wtf moment. A close cousin to the “aha” moment, the #wtf is way less comfortable. It’s a sort of rendevous with the unexpected that knocks us out our spells. It forces us to think differently and do new things. It’s a moment of truth, so to speak, where our stories no longer work and our bullshit comes to a screeching halt. We either make room for something new or spin out. On this show we’re going to deep dive this #wtf moment – and the slippery middle earth where we’re forced to think and do different.

So the plan is to launch with 3 episodes for a pilot series. We’ve interviewed Damien Echols from HBO’s Paradise Lost series, and will kick it off with that. He’s got a hella #wtf. But we’ve got a diverse guest list with some mind-bending stories to follow with too. This is everything we’ve been working towards and I am stoked to get it out there.

So come along for the ride if you’re good exploring people’s moments of truth. And they’re truths.  But you got to be cool with your own truth for that too happen, otherwise this show will just come off as a threat and piss you off. For now you can follow along and contribute here or keep up by signing up for the newsletter at toowimedia.com 

RipSlide: Heroin is a shitty friend

So Andy Roy basically fell off the grid of the pro-skater circuit in the 90’s. Where he went was hell basically. This epically wild dude with a good heart went on the ride of his life into full blown heroin addiction. Gangs, crime, and prison time in some of California’s sketchiest prisons followed.  Add in shame and estrangement from his sponsor Antihero skateboards and crew. I got to interview him from rehab, which was crazy. Actually how he got into rehab thanks to his buddies Stevo-o and Bam Margera from Jackass ended up being a big part of his story. It was an honor talking to him. Not just because he’s skate legend, but because it’s always great talking to truth tellers. And that’s not a knock on anybody, we’re all just wired for bullshit. Having worked in addiction, I’ve always thought addicts in recovery could do alot for our world, which is on tilt when it comes to honesty. We need people who can talk straight more than ever. And that journey from a life of lies to truth is about as steep and hard as it gets for folks who’ve been caught in addiction. They earn their truth. Anyway, this dude gives zero fucks about what anyone thinks. He’s got a handle on his bullshit-struggle or not- and I appreciate that.

We’re considering producing this episode for our new mixed media video series #DRAGONSBREAD.  We’ll let you know if it’s a go. 

Link to audio landing page and audio trailer:

LP: http://bit.ly/aroy-lp

Audio trailer: http://bit.ly/aroy-at-x

Full episode and video will be out shortly.

Free Side: An Iraqi’s path to the American Dream via the Navy SEALs -and Kenny Rogers

So I just hit go and published my interview with Johnny Walker. He’s now a citizen and free to share his real name. But I’ll leave that ball in his court. I wouldn’t be so keen to share my name if I had ISIS and the likes dreaming of laying me to rest.

So Johnny started out as just another kid with a dream. Except this kid was in Iraq and was carrying around a American dream. Hanging with his buds, he fed his dream a steady diet of Kenny Rogers, the Harlem Globe Trotters, and John Wayne films. He liked a bit of mischief so his parents pushed him to play basketball. He used it to study America, and soon his dream of living in the USA became an all consuming fire. Tall and driven, he became one of the better players in the city. He became a star highjumper too. However far away, his dream somehow always seemed within reach. But all that changed when Saddam Hussein, as he puts it, “started acting like a crazy moron.”

Iraq went to war with Iran.  And well, things got bad.

Money and food became scare. Bodies rolled into the city. But as he did with sports, Johnny found a bridge. He married the love of his life.  Working long hours as a truck driver and equipment operator, his American dream began to fade into background. His focus was now on his family, and victory a daily trip home with a piece of meat for the dinner table. But luck again would find Johnny. The day the American’s arrived at the start of the Iraq War, Johnny felt hope. He touched his dream again.

One fateful day after drinks with an uncle who would be killed at the hands of ISIS, he ran into three women arguing the Military Police. Johnny saw a bridge. Having a good way about him and a basic grasp of English, he helped both sides avoid an incident. He was hired on the spot. Somewhat of a natural at this stuff, the Sargent soon set him up with an interview with the Navy SEALs. When he looked up the word in the dictionary he wondered what he’d got himself into. “Sea going animals?… Who are these people?” After a shaky interview where he understood little, but nodded yes alot, he asked “did I get the job?..” “Indeed,” the interviewer responded. Ashamed to admit he didn’t know what “indeed” meant, he shuffled sheepishly back to his unit. They asked, did you get the job. “Indeed,” he said. His pals broke into uproarious laughter. “Well holy shit,” he thought. “I guess I got this job too.”


Johnny, who describes himself as lucky, landed the job as an interpreter for the Navy SEALs. He’d got on to a hell of alot more. But the story of how Johnny made his luck is much more interesting. Parts magic, mystery, and superhero tale, Johnny’s tear to reclaim a savaged Iraq while becoming an American citizen is truly epic. Love, guts, grit, wit, terror, hope, and reckless courage, he bares it all in this episode. His mission to find freedom not just for family, but two countries is about as real as it gets for an American story. At least for those Americans who remember how the country was built. Listen as Johnny tells the story of how fought for love of two countries and two families, his own and the SEAL brotherhood. And somehow came out winning his American Dream.

Be prepared folks, Johnny tells it straight.

Johnny is a NY Time’s best selling author and former interpreter for the Navy SEALs.

Links share with your community:
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Video Trailer: bit.ly/jwalker-vid

Episode Page: bit.ly/jwalker-lp

Listen On:
Pioneers of Insight: bit.ly/poi-ep-jwalker
Woke Warrior Stories: bit.ly/wws-ep-jwalker

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War & Art On The Jericho Mile: Navy SEAL David Rutherford’s journey from Penn State football hopeful to poet warrior

So imagine a character working at Blackwater  -a dude who’s a former CIA operator and Navy SEAL. Ok, now just let the image pop up and really sink in.

Now imagine that same character chatting excitedly about life, death, and personal growth with a health junkie who digs DMT trips and airing out the ups and downs of open relationships. Not sure what you imagined, but I didn’t imagine I’d find this character here.

But that’s exactly where I discovered David Rutherford. I caught him on the Aubrey Marcus podcast, which for those of you unfamiliar is kind of a no-holds barred dialog on sex, health, change, and consciousness.  Marcus, who’s the CEO of performance supplement Co. Onnit, has become somewhat of a popular media figure in the alt health worlds.  So “Rut,” as he’s known to friends and fans of the Team Never Quit Podcast, is no longer in Kansas so to speak.  He left “down range” for “down home” and hit the ground running. He’s now talking shop with the sharpest transformation junkies. It’s an impressive leap and one that definitely caught my attention. He seemed the perfect fit for our show.

David, or “Rut” as fans and friends know him, co-hosts a show alongside his buddy and beloved national hero Marcus Luttrell. The movie Lone Survivor was based on co-host Marcus’s survival story. He’d survived a horrendous ordeal following the infamous Operation Redwing snafu, in which the SEAL Team sent to rescue him was shot down in Afghanistan.

Anyway, I was blown away by David’s chat with Marcus. While Marcus is famous for delivering great chats, David did more than hold his own. He ran. So from there I quickly migrated to Team Never Quit and was even more impressed. David facilitates the show alongside cohosts Marcus and a shadowy operator known as the Wizard, a true smarty parts in wolves clothing. This isn’t your typical meat ball patriotism and lock and load wack fest. While there’s a high side and lots of enthusiasm, especially on David’s part, these guys lock into piercing explorations with A level guests, most of which have overcome epic challenges of their own. It’s anchored in sound wisdom and insight. So you can see why I was intrigued. Having now done the interview with David I can say this dude knows how to talk to where change turns to transformation. And he’s got lots of angles. David considers himself an artist who joined the SEAL teams. So I pushed him in our deep dive to really expose the origins of that. David started out as an obsessive child athlete from a well off family who ran into a buzzsaw when he got into college. Apparently he had plans to play QB at Penn State Football, but that dream was thwarted by another kid with a dream, college Hall of Famer Kerry Collins. So he basically fell into a hole that was filled by the company of tortured artists and tempered by mysticism. But Rut’s story only got better, as we dredged the impact of powerful failure and the artist’s disposition on the warrior’s journey. I found the interview enlightening and enlightening and a ton of fun.

You’ll find a bit of everything in this story, and a killer soundtrack as we ran with a Door’s inspired theme.

We hope you enjoy. 

Watch the episode trailer below ->>>

Listen to the full episode:

Listen to “Episode 20 – War & Art On The Jericho Mile” on Spreaker.

 

 

Gamer: CEO John Allen’s rise from elite basement gamer to Navy SEAL

Ok, so first off John Allen’s  got a unique story, even for a former Navy SEAL, which is saying alot. 

The dude was a video gaming college drop-out living in his parent’s basement before he became a Navy SEAL. So there’s that to start with. 

I’ve been considering a couple of different story arcs for this interesting life story, ’cause that’s what I do. *Spoiler alert- if you you intend to listen and don’t want to ruin it for yourself, you may want to postpone reading this until later. 

Ok.

So perhaps John’s story is that of the underdog; here an unlikely hero becomes the hero in a typical way. In this version a frustrated middle class kid sets out to become a man, discover his purpose as a warrior, and then earns his manhood and more on the battlefield. Now a man he returns home only to re-experience frustration; he’s got to pretend to be something he’s not. So he wages war, but this time not as a frustrated kid, but as a war-tested leader. Man goes back into battle as a CEO fighting for the futures of the elite brotherhood he left behind. 

That sounds pretty tight. 

The alternative arc is that of the typical hero who plays hero in atypical way. Here an eager young man leaves home for adventure, takes up the sword, but only after a brush with death does he discover his true identify and purpose. He then gives himself permission to return home as the man he’d always intended to be. A man who leads a little differently.  

You know how the saying goes, perhaps the truth lies somewhere inbetween.

So “Gamer.” As said, this episode takes you into the life of a frustrated college kid who became the world’s top ranked gamer in a video game called Skate. I’m a 90’s dude, so I remember this. It’s the game that basically killed Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in 1999, which was a billion dollar + franchise. We’re talking millions of users and an empire turned to dust by this release by EA Sports. Kinda a big deal in the gaming world.

So, yeah, John ruled that. Which if you think about it, is a cool story by itself, but the story gets better.

John is frustrated. So he gets an itch to become a Navy SEAL. But he doesn’t see himself as the typical Navy SEAL candidate. He’s not a “strapping jock,” as he states in the interview. But John defies the odds and does it anyhow.

 So now it’s a very cool story, but still it gets better.

Once on the teams, John’s plans change after a close call in combat and some unfortunate bureaucratic bugaboos. With little time to prepare, he gets hit with a sad reality. Transitioning from the service ain’t easy, and perhaps it’s even worse for former operators. Of course this struggle to shift from combat to domestic life complicates everything, including his marriage. Eventually he gets fed up as a civilian and decides, “hey I’m going fix this shit so my brothers and sisters in arms don’t have to deal with it.” And so he does! John founds a company which places elite vets and fighter pilots into good jobs. 

So now it’s a very, very cool story. But still it gets better!

John gets a visit from the ghost of combat past. He’s forgotten about “The Warrior’s Code.” Operators don’t talk.  So his special forces brothers remind him.  The community brings the heat.  John finds himself in a quandary. He believes if he’s going do any good as a CEO he needs to own his past as a Navy SEAL. Even more conflicting, he doesn’t want to let his identity as a warrior go! Striken with guilt,  he unsure whether he’s doing this for himself or others. And here comes the soul searching.  

Curtain.

So yeah, you get it. John’s story is an exceptional story. It’s paints a powerful portrait of the dilemma our elite solider’s face transitioning back into society and our working cultures. 

John talks openly about the pain of having to surrender his identity as a SEAL when returning home. And he talks openly about the fear of of losing the community he values most – this being his connection to an elite brotherhood. There’s also the added irony of John’s taking on the challenge of making transition easier for future warriors. 

As for me. Well, personally, I think this is a great episode so listen.  But really, as an interviewer I don’t always have the luxury of clicking with everyone. And I did with John. We had some funny similarities, gaming, philosophy majors, BUDs. But John’s objectivity, humor and humility really endeared me to him. He’s capable of talking to both the foibles and nobility of the warrior’s job and journey. I think you’ll hear what I’m referring to if you choose to tap in. 

Highlights of this episode include insights into; 

  • how a gamer becomes the best in the world without actually knowing it 
  • how a pair of swim trunks can become a weapon to inspire powerful change 
  • why luck matters in Navy SEALs training
  • How a near-death experience can rewire a person’s priorities
  • what many military spouses of Special Forces operators fear most
  • what motivates an operator to break age old unwritten warrior’s code
  • what some elite warriors fear about transitioning back into civilian life, i.e. what it means to “come down the mountain”

Watch the Story Trailer for this episode below:

 

Listen:

Listen to “Episode 19 – Gamer” on Spreaker.

 

Three Bullets in Buffalo: When Miracles Aren’t Enough

So this episode titled ‘Three Bullets In Buffalo’ features the life story of Rob Howze, a man who left the ministry for business -at least that’s one byline.

But the story’s bigger than the byline, in this case. Rob’s on a mission, and there’s some big whopper issues attached to where that all started for him. Stuff like what’s good and bad about religion? Is there a God? And where do we go to find meaning in our lives? The kind of stuff that many like to file in the “don’t touch” drawer for entire lifetimes. 

Rob’s also pulls back the curtains on some of the underlying emotional dynamics that drive addictions. He paints a wickedly crisp portrayal of the hidden struggles that can light the fuse on depression and problem drinking. I could’ve called this episode “Church & Booze,” because both were at the root of his low points.  I happened to relate to alot in Rob’s story. Not only did I work in the addiction industry for 8 years, but both booze and religious zealotry made the highlight reels in my own upbringing. I actually think that helped us make a good on-air connection-but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What really got my attention, however, was Rob’s portrayal of a compelling personal miracle. The guy was held hostage and shot at point blank range – and he survived. Somehow.

So, you get to hear how Rob made sense of all that. You also get to glimpse why moments like these turn lives around. They shake the very foundation of a person, beliefs, outlooks, hopes, dreams, and perspectives -everything can change in an instant. We’ve showcased a few of these “wake up calls” on the show.  But man… Rob’s got one super legit wakeup call. It’s terrifying and mystifying and perhaps worth chewing on. It’s something he still draws on as a leader and family man to this day.

One final random thought this episode sparked in my head. 

Rob’s story reminded me how important change is. Everyone is carrying around an agenda -until we’re not. 

What I mean is we all have beliefs we like to imagine are serving us in the best possible ways. …Until that moment an event comes screaming out the blue to completely reset our story and perspectives. Once humbled, we can see how life forces our hand to inspire changes we might not otherwise be compelled to make. There seems a truth here. As an interviewer I feel privileged to get close to moments that after decades are still reverberating in people’s hearts. It’s awesome.

The Greeks liked to riff on what they saw as the divine origin of life struggles. Tragedies weren’t just tragedies, they were ‘Divine Tragedies.’ They framed the worst as purposeful acts, even if often perpetrated by hungry and capricious Gods. Many religions continue this tradition to this day.

My interview with Rob got me thinking that perhaps our ancestors were just pointing out the ancillary benefits of radical discomfort. Struggle inspires change. Life encourages us to grow in this way. More broadly I see this as a commentary on the nature of freedom. We desire it, dream, plan, and scheme for it but aren’t so great at achieving it. And if we do achieve it, it’s typically fleeting as freedom by nature can’t be captured.

More often then not we get stuck in the lives we create to secure our freedoms. They become our cages, because we can’t help but fall short of lives that only exist in our dreams. So life helps out and knocks us on our ass from time to time. The unexpected difficulties knock us out of our spells. And in those brief moments we taste freedom. Freedom, in other words, is often felt on our knees.

Can’t we all relate to this idea in some simple way? Haven’t we all come through some screwed up event feeling better off? More prepared for life, or more grateful? We may not have expected it, but there it is anyway-a better life resulting. Rob’s story reminded me just how important it is to stay open to change -at least as best we can. I say open rather than “prepared” here, because change ain’t predictable. It’s not on anyone’s calendar and rarely welcome when it stops by. But if we can see the process of change as healthy, perhaps we won’t add struggle to our lives by trying to avoid it. Perhaps then won’t need a great flood or to be held at gunpoint to inspire growth. Maybe if we simply make the room to get uncomfortable in some tiny way each day we’ll remain flexible enough for life to flow through us as opposed to cutting us off at the knees. 

 

 

Listen here ->>> http://bit.ly/ep-18-3bulletsinbuffalo