Are you tired of feeling stuck, lazy, or letting self-doubt hold you back? In this episode, our guest Britt Frank reveals the shocking truths about laziness, addiction, and trauma that society fails to acknowledge. Prepare to challenge your beliefs and discover the path to getting very much unstuck!
Welcome back to We Are Already Free, the podcast helping down to earth seekers to embody their truth and live a beautiful life right now without waiting for all the external stuff to be just right for that to happen. I’m your host, Nathan Maingard, Breathwork Facilitator, Transformational Guide and Empowering Wordsmith, and it is an honor to be on this journey with you today. thank you for being here.
In today’s episode, we embark on a transformative exploration with Britt Frank, a licensed psychotherapist and trauma expert. Gain invaluable insights into why laziness is not what it seems, how addiction can be a catalyst for profound change, and the path to finding meaning amidst the chaos. By the end of this episode, you’ll have the tools to break free from limiting beliefs and live a life of joy and authenticity.
Britt Frank is author of the book The Science Of Stuck. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her master’s degree from the University of Kansas. She is a licensed psychotherapist and trauma expert who is trained in IFS (Internal Family Systems) and SE (Somatic Experiencing). In addition to her private practice, Britt is also a speaker and an award-winning adjunct instructor at the University of Kansas, where she’s taught classes on ethics, addiction, and clinical social work.
Born and raised in NY, Britt struggled for more than two decades with chemical and behavioural addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD, trichotillomania (a compulsive desire to pull one’s hair), crazy-making relationships, and complex PTSD. Eventually she found her way out of that mess (with a lot of help and a brief stint in a religious cult) and became a therapist.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Why laziness is a moral judgement for a physiological problem and how to discover the hidden gold in your laziness.
- The gripping story of Britt Frank’s journey from methamphetamines to finding meaning.
- The unspoken dangers of breathwork practices and why healing isn’t always the top priority.
- How trauma and grief intertwine and why understanding the difference is crucial.
- The number one factor in determining if your coach or therapist is trustworthy.
- And, near the end, a powerful insight on holding the tension of opposites.
- AND SO MUCH MORE…
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[00:00:00] Britt Frank: If it's just laziness, Then there's nothing to be done it's like, yeah, really? Or is it that you're afraid to fail? Is it that you're afraid to succeed? People are afraid if they start getting healthy, wealthy, and happy, they're going to lose all their friends. We were primed and wired to become comfortable with the familiar. Even if the familiar is toxic as fuck.
[00:00:18] If you know the language of the demons, then you realize they're there to help you. They're not there to harm you. Our brains are on our side.
[00:00:24] The process is so infuriatingly simple.
[00:00:28] One of my flights from reality when I was taking a break from being a drug addict was to be a fundamentalist cult member.
[00:00:34] If you're going to go love and light, fine, love and light and darkness and evil and hatred.
[00:00:38] whenever we see goodness at the expense of wholeness, we're going to end up in some fuckery.
[00:00:42] Nathan Maingard: Are you tired of feeling stuck, lazy, or letting self doubt hold you back? In this episode, our guest Brit Frank reveals the shocking truths about laziness, addiction, and trauma that society in general fails to acknowledge. Prepare to challenge your beliefs and discover [00:01:00] the path to getting very much unstuck.
[00:01:03] When you hear the words, we are already free, what comes up for you? Acceptance. Change. The shift in awareness. Human beings are so powerful. That's so much more. Everything is love behind it. Breaking the chains of your own minds. That which remains. Nature. Getting out of the matrix. We're sitting on the treasure and it's already unlocked. We are already free. You're free. You are a walking map. Have always been free. You are always free. Already free. We are already free.
[00:01:31] Scarlett 2i2 USB: Welcome back to We Are Already Free, the podcast helping down to earth seekers to embody their truth and live a beautiful life right now without waiting for all the external stuff to be just right for that to happen. I'm your host, Nathan Maingard, Breathwork Facilitator, Transformational Guide and Empowering Wordsmith, and it is an honor to be on this journey with you today. thank you for being here.
[00:01:53] Nathan Maingard: In today's episode, we embark on a transformative exploration with Britt Frank, a licensed [00:02:00] psychotherapist and trauma expert. Gain invaluable insights into why laziness is not what it seems, how addiction can be a catalyst for profound change, and the path to finding meaning amidst the chaos.
[00:02:14] Britt Frank is author of the book, The Science of Stuck. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her master's from the University of Kansas. She's a licensed psychotherapist and trauma expert who's trained in IFS, internal family systems, and somatic experiencing. In addition to her private practice, Britt is also a speaker and an award winning adjunct instructor at the University of Kansas, where she's taught classes on ethics, addiction, and clinical social work.
[00:02:43] Born and raised in New York, Britt struggled for more than two decades with chemical and behavioral addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD, Trichotillomania, a compulsive desire to pull one's hair, crazy making [00:03:00] relationships, and complex PTSD.
[00:03:02] Eventually, she found her way out of that mess, with a lot of help and a brief stint in a religious cult, and became a therapist. I'm honored to welcome her on the podcast today.
[00:03:13] In this episode, you will learn why laziness is a moral judgment for a physiological problem and how to discover the hidden gold in so called laziness, the gripping story of Britt Frank's journey from methamphetamines to finding meaning, the unspoken dangers of breathwork practices and why healing isn't always the top priority, how trauma and grief intertwine and why understanding the difference is crucial.
[00:03:40] The number one factor in determining if your coach or therapist or guide or facilitator is worthy of your trust. And near the end, Brit shares a powerful insight on holding the tension of opposites.
[00:04:02] Check the description on whichever app you're listening, or visit alreadyfree.me/43. And now, please enjoy this fantastically fun, wild, and deeply authentic episode with Britt Frank.
[00:04:17] I've been looking forward to this chat, especially after listening to your, some, at least some of your audio book, you're speaking to a lot of my experiences. So yeah, I'm looking forward to this one.
[00:04:27] Britt Frank: Me too.
[00:04:28] Nathan Maingard: The place that I'd love to kind of start with is this thing around laziness. So that is one of the words I have used for myself many times in my life. It's still something that I come up with when, when I'm at low points and your book is kind of challenging me because you're telling me that it's like, That I'm not lazy and that's a kind of a hard identity to let go of in some ways.
[00:04:51] but also reassuring, cause I don't want to be lazy. I don't want to feel lazy. So if you're open to just going into that a little bit, why, why am, why am I not? Why [00:05:00] are people out there not lazy? Even if we think we are.
[00:05:03] Britt Frank: Oh my gosh. This idea that laziness is not a thing is so confronting for people who are very attached to this narrative. Yeah. Present company included. And I, so I was born and raised in New York. I come from like a really go do the thing kind of family. So when I say there's no such thing as laziness, people get so pissed off.
[00:05:23] They're like, how could you say that? Like, clearly that person's not doing a damn thing. And they should, I'm like, I'm not arguing. I mean, I smoked methamphetamine and. Like clinical depress, I was a mess. I am not arguing that we, we all do things that annihilate our goals and our dreams and our wishes. But laziness is a moral judgment for a physiological problem.
[00:05:45] So like, if I broke my knee and I'm like, God, my knee is such a piece of shit. My knee is so lazy. It's like, okay, you can sit there and yell at your knee and attribute a moral judgment, but that's a physical injury. And a physiological injury needs a physiological [00:06:00] solution. So when I say you're not lazy, I'm not co signing on you sitting on your ass playing Zelda.
[00:06:06] I am saying there's a reason that you're doing that. It's not laziness. And if you understand the function, then you can make the change. Laziness is not a thing.
[00:06:16] Nathan Maingard: Wow. Okay. So, so say I'm feeling that feeling that I associate with laziness. Is there a way of, of meeting that and shifting the relationship or is that a very broad dependent on what my personal story is?
[00:06:33] Britt Frank: So again, this idea that you're lazy provides a very uncomfortable but very cozy little blanket you can wrap around yourself, right? If it's just laziness, then you don't have to confront what's actually going on. You don't have to deal with your feelings. You don't have to identify where you might be feeling fear or judgment or whatever.
[00:06:52] If it's just laziness, Then there's nothing to be done and you can sit and snuggle up into the dark cave and it's, it's [00:07:00] comforting. And I'm like, yeah, I'm not saying it's good. I am saying it's a very comforting place to just go. This is just me. I'm just a piece of shit and lazy. It's like, yeah, really? Or is it that you're afraid to fail?
[00:07:10] Is it that you're afraid of social rejection, is it that you're afraid to succeed? I have seen often enough in my private practice, people are afraid if they start getting healthy, wealthy, and happy, they're going to lose all their friends. And the ugly truth is that's often true. Yes. It is often the case that the healthier, happier, wealthier, more abundant, whatever words you want to use.
[00:07:31] You find yourself, your circle is going to shrink if not change altogether. And that is very disrupting and very terrifying to people who like their people, even the toxic people. We were primed and wired to become comfortable with the familiar. Even if the familiar is toxic as fuck. So it's really important to know, no, you're not lazy.
[00:07:51] So the, your, to answer your question, what's the first thing you can do? Let's start by going laziness isn't the thing. I feel like a bum I'm laying on my couch. I'm [00:08:00] not doing anything. So let's just start with, am I feeling fear, exhaustion, guilt, or shame or sadness or anger? Let's just start with there.
[00:08:08] Like, is it possible that one of those things is creeping in? And people are like, no, I'm just lazy. Like, okay, cool. That's great. When that doesn't work and it won't, let's try these other things. But the other things are scarier. Lazy is unpleasant, but it's easy. It's like, I just suck. And it's me versus Oh, I'm scared.
[00:08:24] Oh, I feel. guilt or shame or whatever. So let's start with asking, is it possible that there's something going on here? And again, most people don't really know. I didn't until I started getting into this type of work. Like if I asked you, well, what's really going on? Most people would say, I don't know. And they'd be honest.
[00:08:41] Like they actually don't know. So then we have to start just process of elimination. Like. If you've been working a hundred hours this week and you're taking care of children and aging parents, and you're laying on the couch and not going to the gym, it's possible that you're not lazy. You're just tired and burnt out.
[00:08:56] So there's that. And then there's the, well, [00:09:00] maybe it's, you don't want to go because going to the gym is painful. And right now your brain is prioritizing comfort over the discomfort of working out. Long term that doesn't work, but we have to get curious and be brave enough to get curious about what's actually happening.
[00:09:15] But I promise you, it's not laziness.
[00:09:17] Nathan Maingard: Take laziness off the table and suddenly it expands into the question which follows is immediately, well, then what is this? And rather than it just having an easy yet uncomfortable solution of, oh, well, I guess I'm just lazy. It's more, I have to now step into the vulnerability of what am I really feeling?
[00:09:34] What does that really mean? What is, what is that part of me asking of me that, that part of me that I don't really want to look at because it's actually the part that I've labeled ugly or not enough or whatever the story is. Yeah, that's full power. So I'd love to hear more around your own story as well.
[00:09:51] Cause obviously, well, I say obviously, but it seems to me that someone who comes to something like this doesn't just do it by chance. And, and actually just a little context, you mentioned [00:10:00] methamphetamines. And so one of the things that I think caused me the most physiological harm in my life was, um, in South Africa, we call it.
[00:10:07] Tuck, but it is, it's got meth in it. It's got speed in it. And then it's also mixed with a bunch of other weird shit and you buy it. It's very, it's not very expensive and it is very harmful. And when I was sort of at 18 years old, I got into that for a while. And, and, um, yeah, for context. So what happened was that I was surfing.
[00:10:25] I was living in a small town, a little village surfing all the time, going to a very like barefoot hippie school. And, and I, but there was a part of me that, that was just not doing okay through my parents divorce and through society, raising me the way it did as a very sensitive person, not feeling like I was okay within that context, trying to find my place.
[00:10:44] And, and we had a class photo the one year, and there's me, you know, standing in with my class, this kind of broad shouldered 17 year olds or 18 year old, even looking, you know, tanned and strong. And then in the interim, between that time and the next [00:11:00] year, I got into smoking speed basically. And. What stopped me was a year later when I saw the next class photo and I had them side by, I put them into my journal side by side and I saw what I physically, what had shifted was that my, uh, my shoulders had shrunk, my whole body had kind of shrunk in on itself and I had lost a huge mass of body weight and it scared the living crap out of me.
[00:11:25] And that's what stopped me. So I'm curious to hear a bit more about your story in terms of. A very harmful substance, what would bring you or someone to that? And then how did you move through that into a sort of healthier relating with your body and with your emotions and yourself?
[00:11:42] Britt Frank: It's so interesting because I used to be so judgmental about the drugs that I used. I was always, I use the good drugs. I would never use speed. Like that's gross. That's a, that's, that's one of the bad, you know, like sitting on my high horse while I'm a total disaster. So I started very early childhood with what [00:12:00] was available to me.
[00:12:01] And as a child, I didn't have drugs available. I didn't have alcohol, you know, any of that, but pornography was all over the place. I had a very boundary list family and that's was just around. So that was an easy one to fall into. And then as I got older and more substances, chemicals, and people became available, I was just, whatever I have like the most proximity to, that's the thing I'm going to get addicted to for this particular season.
[00:12:26] And meth was the very last. Stop on my train and oh god, I loved speed. I mean, yeah, it'll destroy you. It'll destroy your sanity It'll make you a shell of a human and I think there's like a demonic piece to Speed that is like beyond just the human physiological fuckery, but god I loved it before I hated it because it kept me so far away from ever.
[00:12:50] I mean I was Goddess of all of the things I was the most brilliant. I felt no pain. All my sensitivity was completely eradicated. And as [00:13:00] most things do that, that comes to an end. And when methamphetamine addiction meets sex and love and relationship addiction with a violent person that very quickly turns into figure it out or die.
[00:13:13] And I don't know why I was fortunate and privileged to have the resources that I did. I certainly know better than anyone else. I was fortunate. I had the right, you know, tee up of resources that I was able to not die. And I was able to live. Um, but yeah, that brought, that brought me to the end of my road very quickly.
[00:13:30] Nathan Maingard: Hmm, and how did you, like, how did that turn into, okay. Like I've taken myself to this point. It's, it's, it's do or die time. Like it's shift or die. It's heal or die. It's get unstuck or die. And what was the process like? And then how did that become you helping other people or was that something you'd already been doing?
[00:13:50] Britt Frank: So it's so infuriating to me because the whole Hollywood, you know, I had my revelation that my life was no working and then I, I turned on a dime and [00:14:00] suddenly everything was. Sunshine and it's like, fuck you. Like that's not how it, it works. And again, I shouldn't say at first, if you're listening and you had the burning bush moments where like you heard a thing and never again, did you struggle?
[00:14:13] Like, yay. I'm really, truly happy for you. Parts of me are jealous, but I'm happy for you. I have found for most people, the healing process is more of a spiral to hell and heaven and back to earth and then you're bored for a while and you take three steps forward and 20 backwards. So it was super, you know, I learned a few things and I stopped doing them and I was like really committed for a while.
[00:14:35] And then I was an asshole for a while. And so it was a very roundabout collection of things that all sort of coalesced when I found my way to the type of therapy that I now practice. Which is somatic experiencing and internal family systems, the gist of which your brain is attached to a body and your body does things.
[00:14:52] And it's like, you don't get driver's ed for your brain. If you did, you'd stop crashing largely, assuming that you're safe and you have access to your basic [00:15:00] needs. And IFS helped explain why I was living with a hundred thousand voices inside my head, many of which were. Like contradicting each other, like, I want to do this.
[00:15:10] I will not do this. Like I'm a good person. I'm a bad person. I love things. I hate things. IFS made all of that made sense. It's like having, you know, a team of people in your head that when you, when you coach them, they all work together and life works again. So it was, I picked up my little, on all my side quests, I picked up little gems and little nuggets, and then I put them in my bag and.
[00:15:34] Like one day I looked, I'm like, Oh, I've learned a few things and my life is working. So I should probably figure out what next. And I was so obsessed with this work and the neuroscience. I, I was just, I didn't get into this work to help people. I just love it. I love talking about it and reading about it and teaching about it.
[00:15:52] So I went to grad school in my early thirties and did that. And here we are.
[00:15:56] Nathan Maingard: I feel a sense of reassurance hearing you [00:16:00] because that's so been my experience and I often think of those people who go to like, I, as an example, I'm, I'm quite, uh, plant medicine has been massively helpful for me personally. And so, and I've been to, I remember the first one, I, First big, uh, psychedelic mushroom journey I went on as a, under the facilitation of a, a psychotherapist and, um, you know, it was this, it was this big thing that I'd worked towards and had reached out for desperately because even the people very close to me who are generally not like pro pharmaceuticals as a rule, uh, had started to say, maybe you need to go on SSR, like maybe, yeah.
[00:16:35] Antidepressants, SSRIs is like, maybe it's time. And when I was looking into that more, I just thought, wow, the cost of that is going to be so high or has a potential. And I, and I'm not saying like, I know it helps some people. It gives them like time to work some shit out. I just kind of felt like for me, it was going to numb me out and I was going to have to climb back out of that numbness.
[00:16:54] Anyway, so I got into this, had this first big journey and, and went through it all. Died, had the ego [00:17:00] death, had the full, wow, God is everything. God loves everything. I am everything. And I woke up the next day and I was still depressed. I still had chronic pain. I still didn't know what to do with my life.
[00:17:09] And it was fucking so painful. It was so painful to be like, Oh man, I thought this was going to fix it. So hearing you kind of reflect that reality of the one step forward, 20 steps back. And I've actually. I've actually had this thought recently about like, stop worrying for myself. Stop worrying about the steps back.
[00:17:29] It's just about the step forward. Just focus on whatever I need to do to take that next little step, because that's all that counts. I could take a hundred steps back. And as long as when I've done that, I take that next step forward. I'm doing, I'm doing the thing, whatever that thing is. So thank you so much for that reflection.
[00:17:47] Britt Frank: And again, no disrespect to people who have the sudden change, but like you said, insight without integration. Is just like, okay, cool. Like, yay. God is everything. I am God. I am everything. I [00:18:00] am love. And then, okay, what do I do with my body? Could not tolerate the insights that I had picked up along the way.
[00:18:06] So they just got put in storage until I was ready to do something with And yeah, I think the steps back are really important. If you're going from like a, a metacognition, like spiral. spiritual kind of orientation, the steps back are really important because if you keep plowing forward without making sure the things are tended to along the way, then you're going to get to someplace and not have the muscle strength and the internal infrastructure to tolerate it.
[00:18:35] And then it's going to crumble. So I don't like the steps backwards either, but I would say. They're not necessary, but when they happen, they happen because for you in that moment and for me in that moment, They were necessary because I had to go back and pick up a few pieces that I had left behind of myself
[00:18:52] Nathan Maingard: Well, let's get into your book a little more deeply because the name itself really just spoke to me immediately, the science of stuck. Like I'm just like, Oh, that [00:19:00] word stuck sticks with me. So I'd love to know what being stuck really means to you and how that concept informs your approach and informed this book and informs the therapy that you practice.
[00:19:14] Britt Frank: Yeah, and thank you for that because my disclaimer and as a clinician I think it is so Important to be responsible with our language. And I see in the clinical world and the wellness world, in the yoga world and the healing, all in the nutrition, like all of these worlds, like your thoughts create your reality and you are in charge of all of your things.
[00:19:33] And, you know, yes, but like, if you're in an oppressive environment where you're being subjugated, like, I don't call that stuck...that's a whole nother thing. So, my disclaimer is when I refer to stuckness,.
[00:19:46] I am assuming that at the current moment, you are safe enough, whatever that means for you, you have access to your basic needs enough, whatever that means for you, and that you're not currently under oppression or in the middle of, you know, I've lived in [00:20:00] a domestic violence situation. I don't call that stuck.
[00:20:02] I call that abuse. So when I talk about stuckness, it assumes that those other things have been worked out to some degree. So that's important because otherwise people are like, well, I'm stuck and it's my fault. I must have manifested this relationship because my thoughts create my reality. And here I am.
[00:20:20] And I think that is a very unfortunate way of framing things. So I would tell people like, don't pick up my book if you're in that situation. Put it down, find somebody that can help you get shelter, get food, get a job, figure out how to manage your money. And then we'll deal with your stuckness a little later.
[00:20:35] That is not your. Chief concern right now. So that's my disclaimer. So when I talk about being stuck, I mean, there's no logical reason why you're not doing the things you want to do. And there's no logical reason why you keep doing the things that you say you don't want to do. Like I want to launch the business and get fit and have a healthy relationship, but I'm smoking a bunch of crap and I'm looking at porn all day and I'm [00:21:00] doing fuck all like.
[00:21:01] There's a reason that that is existing. And again, it's not laziness. There's a science behind our stuckness. And when we learn it, things change. And I called it the science of stuck because not everyone identifies as having trauma or having a high level mental health challenge, but I don't care who you are.
[00:21:18] Whether it's sex, money, career, relationships, or like meaningful work, everyone gets stuck with something somewhere. Like that is a universal experience. So it's the science of stuck, not the science of trauma.
[00:21:31] Nathan Maingard: Yeah. I love that distinction around, around stuckness and trauma and how the two are obviously like massive crossover. And also that not everyone is wandering around being like, I'm deeply traumatized. And so it kind of expands that, uh, somewhat I, I have to say, or I don't have to say, I choose to say that I deeply appreciate your enthusiasm.
[00:22:00] Britt Frank: so funny. I tell people like I'm a dark soul, but I have so much fun doing it, Like. It's just really fun diving into the abyss when you know the directions. And if you know the language of the demons, then you realize they're there to help you. They're not there to harm you. Our brains are on our side.
[00:22:16] And again, I don't make light of pain. I don't make light of suffering, but the process is so infuriatingly simple. Not easy, but it's simple that, and if you don't laugh at this stuff every now and then, life is so hard if we don't have some levity. And again, given my own personal trauma history. I'm, I choose to approach it with, with laughter.
[00:22:38] But you know, if that's not your jam, you don't have to do that.
[00:22:41] Nathan Maingard: Um, I think that there's a, I actually wrote a poem about this. I don't know why this is, do you want to hear a poem? I've never, I don't think I've ever actually read a poem on a, an episode. All right, cool. I'll, I'll, I have to see if I can find it. Uh, I can always edit this out later, but this is [00:23:00] weird.
[00:23:00] I'm trusting in the flow of this one. Uh, where is it now? Okay, yeah, so this is not really, this hasn't been shared anywhere yet, and uh, I'm not sure why it's coming up now, but I'm just gonna trust that it is and we go with it. I had forgotten that sweat, blood, and tears are powerful magic. I'd sanitized my space to keep me safe and surrendered mystery for a rat race.
[00:23:24] And now you'll find me, covered in all of the above, deeply in love, and flowing fountains of source energy for you to drink from, if you're ready to become the butterfly shrugging out of its cocoon, the wolf howling at the moon, the wandering sage singing songs to the loon, the spinning of the loom and the light on the rug it spun, and the lovers lain there upon, sharing timeless delights which no names can ever truly explain.
[00:24:10] Britt Frank: I don't get rendered speechless that often. fuck. That's good. I, every hair on my arm is standing up. Wow. Thank you for sharing that. That so good.
[00:24:22] Nathan Maingard: Thank you for being open to it. I think what came up is when you were saying around that levity, and I've noticed something about that, about the saints, about those who have found a way to fully live in the world is that they seem to be able to meet the most intense, darkest things with some kind of a, like a knowing smile, if that makes sense, like it's this, it's, they're not denying it, they're not whitewashing it or spiritually bypassing it, but it's, it's a holding of all of that.
[00:24:50] And there's a. There's a softening into it. Does that make sense?
[00:24:54] Britt Frank: Oh, that totally makes sense. I loved your line about the difference between the saints and the [00:25:00] insane is as thin as the angels. I mean, it's so true. I mean, if you look at what we call insanity and you look at it up close, it actually makes full sense in context. You know, the line between genius and madness.
[00:25:12] It's choice. The line between what you're talking about is awareness. And it's so true. I mean, I don't remember who said this, but lots of people have said versions of insanity is a sane reaction to an insane situation. Like who's to say that insanity is not its own type of genius because genius is simply finding an innovative way to do something.
[00:25:32] Insanity is a very innovative way to survive trauma. And again, I'm not making light of it. I'm not saying we shouldn't take it seriously. I take psych meds. I go to therapy. Um, but wow, just reframing. Oh, so goddamn good. Thank you.
[00:25:46] Nathan Maingard: Thank you. Yeah, I know. Hearing your reflection also gets the tingles going. It's, it's the sense of, yeah, being able to meet life with that sense of that at some point we can laugh at some point we can smile. Not [00:26:00] always. Sometimes it's not appropriate, but it's worth doing whatever necessary to reach the point of being able to go, Oh, wow.
[00:26:07] What a journey, right? That's beautiful. Thank you
[00:26:12] Britt Frank: I feel like it's, uh, it's cashing in on the pain, like I'm sitting here with you and this is beautiful morning and I'm smiling and I'm happy and I'm showered and I've eaten food and I've slept. But like there were many, many years where it was all night tears and self harm. And it's like, I had to do that.
[00:26:28] I want the equal and opposite, you know, like we, if we're going to experience these extreme polarities of existence. If I had to do the hard stuff, I am certainly cashing in on doing the happy stuff, the lighthearted stuff now without in any way sacrificing the reality of all that suffering. It's just holding the tension of the opposites.
[00:26:48] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, I mean, I think that's part of the challenge of, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, by the way, is the, the current sort of new age spirituality, love and light, like, um, like you were saying earlier. Yeah, [00:27:00] it's like your thoughts, positive, happy vibes only, whatever the stories are, um, high vibration, high vibe tribe, you know, that kind of stuff.
[00:27:07] And I, I'd love to just hear your reflections on that and what, what is that a response to and what is that maybe, what is it finding and what is it missing?
[00:27:16] Britt Frank: I try to have compassion on that. And I just, I'm not that good of a person and I don't. And all my judgmental like shitty parts come out with that whole love and light high vibe, tribe, good vibes always, because it's spiritual bypassing, masquerading as. Healing and even worse, it's spiritual bypassing masquerading a solid clinical advice that if people are not doing, there's something wrong with them.
[00:27:40] I mean, you said it in your poem bloods, there's magic in blood, sweat and tears. You cannot alchemize pain. You can't transform or just to bring it down to earth, you don't build muscle without you're tearing your muscles first. So you don't go to the gym and sit there and lift a one pound weight and go love and light.
[00:27:56] I'm just going to affirm my way into being able to do pull ups. It's like, no, [00:28:00] you're going to, you're going to. Bleed and sweat and puke and grunt. And you're going to tear your muscles because that's how change and growth happens. So if you just look to nature, the change process happens through, you know, like shit is fertilizer for flowers.
[00:28:14] Like it does not, it's just not true. And having been exposed to a lifetime of gaslighting and abuse and secrets and lies, I have very low tolerance for deviation from truth is subjective to a degree, but if we're just talking about how does change happen, change happens through pain. And to say that, just think your way into being happy is just not accurate and it's not helpful.
[00:28:38] And it does a great deal of harm. I was in a, one of my flights from reality when I was taking a break from being a drug addict was to be a fundamentalist cult member. Cause I thought if I join a cult. I'll be told what to do, what to think, what to wear, what to eat. And then I'll be good. And I'll be loved.
[00:28:54] And to a degree that worked, but there's no room for humanity when you're talking about that [00:29:00] type of conformity. And I really needed acceptance and belonging. So I traded my humanity for it, but love and light, like if you're going to go love and light, fine, love and light and darkness and evil and hatred.
[00:29:12] Always good vibes and bad vibes. Always. Like it, whenever we see goodness at the expense of wholeness, we're going to end up in some fuckery. So seeking wholeness makes room for all of it. Seeking goodness completely cuts you off at the knees. And that's when a lot of. Not good stuff happens, so rant over.
[00:29:31] Nathan Maingard: no, you're talking my language here. And so a question related to that is obviously now like becoming a coach or becoming someone who supports people, you know, I'm a coach and I'm certified in that and I, I put a lot of time and energy into it and at the same time, I could have gone and done a weekend in Bali and got a coaching certificate and, and even I could have done a year or two years, which I'm currently involved in.
[00:29:52] But I guess what the question I want to ask is how do you tell if a coach or a therapist or a healer or a [00:30:00] facilitator is worth trusting, especially when a certification is as easy as like clicking a button these days?
[00:30:07] Britt Frank: I love that question, and I think it's important to name. I have received profound healing from people with no training, and I have received incredibly damaging, abusive, horrible advice from people with PhDs. So I do value education. I do value study, and I do value making sure that your skill set is as sharp as You're able before you go out and help people, but I think the mark of a good or a trustworthy coach or therapist or healer is not their level of education.
[00:30:38] It's their level of awareness of their own limitations. So if you were to go to someone with a weekend in Bali certificate, who's to say that that person is not just a life ninja who can like see all and do like. But that person better damn well disclose. Just so you know, I have 48 hours of formal training.
[00:30:56] I have no knowledge about the brain or neuroscience. I have no knowledge about [00:31:00] trauma. This is the zone that I can help you in. This is the zone that I can safely operate in. And if you have needs outside that zone, you're going to need to see somebody with more skills. That is the mark of a trustworthy helper, regardless of their education.
[00:31:14] Therapists with 25 years of experience should be able to say the same thing. Cause we all have limits to our scope of practice and you need to be able to disclose that. So I would say the number one way to know you could trust the person in front of you is, are they aware of their own limitations and do they actively and enthusiastically discuss that with you?
[00:31:33] So, you know, from the jump,
[00:31:35] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, I love that as an indicator, um, is that sense of humanness. It's one of the great, one of the great things about Oh, the, one of the great indicators of danger of the red flags is around the one who can do no wrong. And I'll tell you a story from actually a previous guest, uh, Scott Carney, who was the first person to really write in depth, uh, in a, in a very, one of the mainstream.
[00:31:57] Journalists about Wim Hof all those years [00:32:00] ago. He was, he wrote the first big article in Playboy magazine and a lovely guy. And I had him on the podcast and he shared about, um, his book, the enlightenment trap, and one of the things he said, which I based on our conversation so far, I feel you will appreciate was he said the problem with the guru.
[00:32:16] Is that if the guru turns to his second in command and says, you know, my penis is telling me I should sleep with all these young women who are part of my following, what do you think? The second in command will go, I don't fucking know you're the guru you do, you know, you tell me and the guru is like, well, I guess I'll do that then there's no, there's yeah, anyway, I just thought you'd appreciate that story.
[00:32:38] Britt Frank: it's so true. It is so true. Yes. I love it.
[00:32:42] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, so in terms of the way that you experience or treat trauma, and I know you've said in your book and, and I'm sure in other areas that trauma is more like, um, an injury than an illness, right? Am I saying that right? And so I'd, I'd like to hear then if it is an injury, What are [00:33:00] some of the basic ways other than reading your book, which I highly recommend people do, but like, what are the ways that the listener could now take action on that and kind of start to, to, to create the splint or the take the medicine or do the thing that's going to help that injury to start healing in the way that it's meant to, or that it wants to.
[00:33:18] Britt Frank: Well, it helps, again, to differentiate trauma from, uh, You know, a chronic condition that is now just a part of who you are. And again, I'm not saying mental illness isn't a thing. I'm again, I take psych meds. I go to therapy, but trauma is not an illness. It is not a state of being. It is a state of injury.
[00:33:35] Like put more simply, trauma is like brain indigestion where your brain can't process or metabolize what happened to you. And then your brain is stuck in fight, flight, or freeze. So either you're like you're hypervigilant and you can't ever relax or you're glued to the couch and you're in a perpetual state of shutdown or you're like rage or whatever.
[00:33:54] So if we don't first frame the problem properly, we're never going to get to the solution, right? [00:34:00] Trauma does not define you. It is an injury that happened to you and it can heal. But often we also kind of mix up trauma and grief because they're, they're pretty, they go pretty hand in hand. Now, grief is not an injury.
[00:34:12] Grief is. Grief does become part of the fabric of your existence. So the things that I've experienced, the things that you've experienced, that type of grief doesn't go away. It doesn't heal. It just becomes part of, I've heard it said, like grief's like the ocean. You know, some days the seas are calm and the sun is shining.
[00:34:29] And other days you're getting the shit kicked out of you. Like you're a surfer. So like you've got sand in places like you shouldn't and water up your nose and you're totally getting tumbled. So grief is like that. But trauma is an injury that can heal like any injury if you have the right tools and the right resources.
[00:34:45] And so let's start by. Let's start there. This is not who you are. This is something that has happened to you for, you know, crazy is not a thing either. People are like, I guess I'm just crazy. I was told that for years. Crazy is, again, a moral judgment, not a [00:35:00] physiological reality. If your brain is stuck in fight, flight, or freeze because you have trauma or brain indigestion, the first way to start...
[00:35:08] Facilitating that healing is to create safety by whatever definition makes sense for you safety in relationships in environment to whatever degree you're able. And again, trauma injuries can heal to the degree that you have safety and choice. If you have a traumatic injury, but you have no choices and you're dependent medically financially on your families, let's say for everything.
[00:35:31] And as soon as you question your family, they shun you. And now you're going to be left out in the cold to die. That's gonna limit your healing. But that's not your fault. That's not a character issue. Trauma can heal to the degree that you have safety and access to choices.
[00:35:46] Nathan Maingard: Um, uh, Yeah, that actually speaks so much to kind of the intuitive direction that I've taken with my work. So one of the things I learned, and, and that's also the thing about the humble experience of being a human is realizing what I don't know and how [00:36:00] it's like very. It's an important smallness to come into relationship with.
[00:36:04] And this happened where I've been facilitating breath work and cold immersion and my coaching and having an amazing time. And then a friend of mine, a dear friend of mine reached out to me and she's had a Fully destabilized nervous system to the point that she actually could not operate or function, you know, like was dizzy, fainting, like just nervous system completely.
[00:36:26] And she, because she's the kind of person she is probably similar to you. She just got excited to learn about it. And she just went on this deep dive and is now like. Probably the most knowledgeable person I know on this topic. And she said, you know, are you trauma informed? And I said, no, I've heard that term, but I don't exactly know.
[00:36:41] She's like, cool, let's do a workshop. And she, she, we did a one to one workshop where she really took me on a deep dive. And it was amazing how many of the things I had intuitively been feeling where it's like, for example, people rave about upregulated breathing, things like Wim Hof method and transformational breath and holotropic and all these wonderful things.
[00:36:59] [00:37:00] And there were some times where I just didn't feel like that's what a person, that it wouldn't be good for a person. And when doing this thing, I realized, yeah, because if someone's nervous system, if their trauma is specifically related to being in fight or flight, to consciously send them into that state without context could literally destabilize their nervous system.
[00:37:16] So I'd love to hear you speak on this idea of like one exercise for everyone. Like everyone should do upregulated breath work.
[00:37:23] Britt Frank: As a breath worker, I cannot tell you how, just it warms my heart to hear you as a breathwork facilitator, acknowledge that. 'cause again, I'm not anti, I think breath work is a miracle. I can't do it. Oh, okay. I've chosen not to go into the level of trauma healing that would make it necessary for me to do breath work safely.
[00:37:43] Um, I have strangulation trauma, so whenever I force breath, my system goes into complete shutdown. So if I try to count breaths, if I try to force breath, if I try to pay attention to my breath, my system goes into fight or flight. Could I fix that? Yes, but it's just like super low on my [00:38:00] priority list of like things to tend to and I have enough tools that breathwork is just not one of them.
[00:38:04] I'm all about breathwork. I think breathwork, like you said, it's a miracle, but it's not for everybody. And being trauma informed is somebody that can say to, I used to think it was my fault that I would sit in a yoga class and panic. It's like, what is wrong with me? Like Everyone's breathing. Everyone's legs are up the wall.
[00:38:22] And with some of my sexual trauma, legs up the wall is also going to send me into a state or fight or flight. So I didn't know what was wrong with me. I just knew I was shaking. I was sweating. I was panicking and I'm in the car crying and like, what the fuck is wrong with me? Like, this is like the most Zen situation.
[00:38:36] There's soft music and everyone's really nice. And, but that practitioner didn't disclose, Hey, just so you know, you might have trouble with this. And if you do know, no worries. Like you don't have to be a trauma expert to say to people, Hey, this is a thing. It works great for a lot of people. It might not work for you.
[00:38:53] And that's totally okay. Being trauma informed just means letting people know not everything works. And if something does not work, that's [00:39:00] not necessarily because you suck. It's just because brains do weird brain things and your nervous system is nervous systeming. And yeah. So thank you. Thank you so much.
[00:39:09] As a person who does this, who can say, and again, not all things need to be healed and it's not always safe to try trauma healing sometimes accommodating our symptoms is what, like when I was getting out of my addictions and out of those relationships, I didn't have the bandwidth, the safety or the choice points for healing.
[00:39:27] What I needed to do was stabilization. I needed to just figure out how to get from point A to point B and then when my choice points expanded and my safety expanded, I could get to deeper healing. But yeah, going back to breathwork isn't for everyone and trauma informed breathwork practitioners make me very happy.
[00:39:44] Nathan Maingard: Yeah. Well, thanks to my friend Karen for reaching out and offering me that as a, a sensitive enough friend to just be, she wanted me to know this so that I could improve. And I was like, wow, what an honor to have people around me like that. interestingly enough, I have one of my clients who is [00:40:00] without going obviously into any detail, but had some breath trauma as a very, very young child and.
[00:40:06] We've done work around breathwork and choosing to instead of doing up regulating breathwork to do down regulating so just slowing it down and it's enabled this person to soften into and feel the discomfort of the fear of the anxiety that comes up but feel in control which and I'd love to hear you speak on this as well.
[00:40:23] Am I correct in saying that often healing from traumatic experiences that we had is the difference between choice and not choice. So choosing to go into the discomfort is the thing that can heal the thing that happened, that we had no choice about.
[00:40:37] Britt Frank: I love that. And I say this all the time. Anywhere choices are absent, trauma is likely to be present. So if trauma is defined by the removal of all of our choices, anywhere choices are present, that's going to be medicinal for trauma. So whether your choice is to do downregulated breathing or upregulated breathing, whether your choice is to do breathwork or not to do breathwork, whatever, as long as [00:41:00] you have a, set of choice points teed up, then that's going to facilitate trauma healing.
[00:41:05] And that's a really beautiful thing. And again, assuming that you have relative safety, it's very rarely the case where there are no choices. And so anywhere you could be mindful of your choices, even if you don't like them, more than one option is going to cue to your brain. That we can start to heal this thing.
[00:41:23] Nathan Maingard: Oh, beautiful. Well, I know we have some limited time and I want to, I want to just offer you the opportunity. If there's anything that we, I know there's so much in your book that we haven't talked about, but then I recommend people read your book. Is there anything that you would want someone to really walk away from this conversation with that we haven't covered yet?
[00:41:40] Britt Frank: Let's see. We talked about crazy is not a thing. We said that lazy is not a thing. That's helpful. Um, stuck is a starting place. It's not a destination. Like wherever you are, whatever mess you're in. Like I've destroyed my life several times over and burned everything to the ground and it sucked, but like stuck is always a start again, assuming you have access and safety [00:42:00] stuck is a starting place and your brain changes, like that's the most frustrating and miraculous piece of information is the brain you have now is not the brain you're going to have a year from now. So, this whole, this is just who I am thing is not biologically accurate. Like, this is who I am today, but okay, then we can change that. We can rewire and we can remap your neural pathways.
[00:42:22] So, the brain you have now is not an indicator of your future potential or your future happiness in any way.
[00:42:29] Nathan Maingard: Oh, I love that. Thank you. I, so I have a question that I want to say for the, the patron only round here about the aerial circus and trauma. So we're going we're going to get into that for the patrons, but for now, I would just like to ask you when you hear we are already free. What comes up for you?
[00:42:47] Hi, Nathan here with a quick check in. Firstly, you have my sincere gratitude for being a part of this We Are Already Free podcast community. Thank you so much. Your presence is invaluable in helping me [00:43:00] spread the empowering message of living a life of authenticity and meaning. I kindly ask that you take this moment to leave a review or rating.
[00:43:08] Doing so helps us reach... ever more lovely folk around the world who can benefit from the We Are Already Free message. Your review helps us climb the ranks and gain visibility, allowing us to touch the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people like you. By reviewing, you also enable me to book more inspiring and insightful guests for our community.
[00:43:27] To leave the review, simply visit alreadyfree.me/review. It will take you so little time and make a really big difference. Your support means the world to me. Thank you so much. Now let's dive back into the episode and continue our journey.
[00:43:42] Britt Frank: So when I hear we are already free, I have like some social justice parts of me that get really growly about that. And then I have some other parts of me that are like, well, we can't, doesn't have to mean we, as in, other people. We can be like the internal, we like [00:44:00] all of the parts of me, we like my good parts, my bad parts, my shadow parts, my light parts, all of it.
[00:44:05] We are already free. Yeah. I can, I can land on that. And so, yeah, I can say we are already free. That, that works for me. Cause that's an accurate description of where I was and where I'm at now.
[00:44:18] Nathan Maingard: quite a few people have said, I'm sure, you know, someone said this, so I don't know what other people are like, but actually I think every answer I've heard so far on the podcast has been unique and you've brought another beautiful facet of the idea of the internal we is already free, are already free.
[00:44:34] All those parts are free. Oh my gosh. Thank you for that. That's going to, I'm going to sit with that one. Beautiful. so if you'd just like to share where, and I'll put this all in the show notes as well, but where would you like people to find more about you and obviously the book, The Science of Stuck, et cetera.
[00:45:00] Nathan Maingard: Beautiful. Thank you so much, Brit. It's been a real honor to, to meet and connect with you and especially to, to hear your, that flowing lightness about the shit that you've navigated, which is like, we have barely touched on, but my God, it sounds intense and to just see you and hear you as an example of that transformation as you embody that yourself.
[00:45:21] So thank you so much for coming into the space and for sharing with us on the podcast.
[00:45:25] Britt Frank: Thank you and thank you for sharing your art. That was beautiful.
[00:45:28] Nathan Maingard: It's my pleasure.
[00:45:30] Thank you again to Britt Frank for sharing your wisdom on the We Are Already Free podcast. You can find links to Britt Frank's book, The Science of Stuck, her Instagram, and many of the things we discussed in the show notes now on wherever you're listening or at alreadyfree.me/43.
[00:45:46] Great news! Spotify has enabled commenting on episodes and some of you have already commented. So thank you so much. I've been reading those comments. I can't reply directly, but I hear you. I see you. I feel you. Thank you so much. So if you are on [00:46:00] Spotify, leave a comment on this very episode and let me know your thoughts.
[00:46:04] Let me know what's come up for you. What did it bring up? How do you relate or resonate? I look forward to hearing from you. And, dear listener, if you feel stuck in your life, stuck in self sabotaging habits, limiting beliefs like, oh my god, I'm so lazy, I invite you to take a tiny action of self love right now.
[00:46:21] Reach out to me on Instagram and let's chat about how to get you from stuck to flowing. Remember, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you are ready for change, check the show notes now for a link to chat with me directly or just reach out to me on my Instagram. What a pleasure to share this journey with you.
[00:46:41] What an honor. And together we are remembering that we are already free. I'll see you next week.