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EP 18 - The Shift from External to Internal with Aden B. Ascher

"Mr. Darcy lived a short distance from his body"

-James Joyce

From a young age, many of us are conditioned to focus on ourselves and our bodies from the outside. We might focus on our appearance, how we look or seem to others. We might focus on what we can get from life by seeking sensation and experience by consuming rather than consciously creating.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this way of living, however it is not the full picture of what it means to be a human.

Aden Ascher spent many years "externalized". This showed up in the way he practiced bodybuilding. In the way he navigated his closest relationships. In the way he sought intense experiences and sensation through substances. It was a way being towards himself and his body that was ultimately unsustainable.

On today's podcast he shares his story of awakening to and the journey to honor his internal experience, out of the necessity of a near-death experience/health crisis.

We explore: childhood experiences that drew him to bodybuilding, notions of masculinity and cultural expectations, how the experience of dying opened him to living, the HOW you do something being as vital as the WHAT and so much more!

Aden B. Ascher is a Life and Nutrition Coach, Entrepreneur and a former competitive bodybuilder who advocates for nourishing and sustainable lifestyle practices. He serves clients locally in Santa Monica California and remotely online.

You can connect with him on instagram @adenascherofficial

Listen while Reading!

AI: Every day there is a forgetting and every moment there is the possibility of remembering. Remembering who you truly are, awakening to your body, to the inner world and experience of being alive. Here is where you find the beauty, the joy. Here is where you free your Soma. Hello and welcome to Free Your Soma podcast, Stories of Somatic Awakening and How to Live from the Insight Out. I've got a very special guest today, Aidan Asher, who is a coach offering consulting for CEOs and entrepreneurs on how to focus and get rid of distractions. He also hosts in-person events in Santa Monica at Yalla Cafe. He and I recently crossed paths and it's just felt so aligned because I feel like he's been on a very parallel journey to me and we're going to explore that today because we've had some really similar life experiences, although we're of course very different people. So welcome, welcome Aidan.

AD: Hey, thank you so much for having me, Amy. Pleasure to be here.

AI: Yeah, so we had the pleasure of doing some somatic work together recently and that was really, really special, I think for both of us because I could really feel how you were really connected to your body and your inner experience and you have a long history of, I would say, probably a pretty intense relationship with your body, but you've really transformed how you experience your body now. So, you know, for our listeners who may not know, you had a background in bodybuilding and you used to do bodybuilding competitions and coach people around this, right? Yes. Yeah, and that's a pretty intense thing to do with your body. And you also have come a long way out of that through this process of having injuries, of being in pain for quite a few years. And we were talking just before we started recording about how these difficult experiences can really transform us if we handle them correctly, if we listen to what our bodies are really trying to say to us. So, maybe you can tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and where this all started for you. Yeah, absolutely.

AD: Once again, thank you so much for having me on here. It's a real pleasure to be here. In my background, for a majority of my life, I remember first touching weights when I was about seven years old. I came to America and I just got that much more amplified with, at first, was the food that was available where I was from in Belarus. So, there wasn't really, it was a sense of scarcity. When I came to America, it was just an abundance of everything. And I started to, without knowledge, started to really just eat things and over-consume, because that's pretty much the way that we're conditioned here, where we're programmed from external sources. And my dad was always in shape in the past, and I noticed that my mom appreciated that about him. And I never really got the, as I'm sure, plenty of children in modern day and in the past that didn't get the attention or the presence of their parents. And I really just craved that. And subconsciously started to pick up on what was it that my mom paid attention to and what was it that my dad paid attention to. And my dad would always bring home films like action movies and I would always see the main characters, always this in-shape man that just looks very masculine and I've always wanted to be that way and become this almost a cartoon-looking character and in my own story. And so, I just continued working out and never really gave it too much thought, just followed that I liked how I felt when I worked out and it was a way for me to self-care. And eventually, I fell into the ego trap with a lot of people in the gym would just tell me, you know, I have the physique to compete. And I never really cared for competing. I always just did it because I enjoyed working out. I enjoyed how I felt. I enjoyed the results that I would get. And it felt a good way to conquer something, to conquer this goal for myself. And I feel that as a man, it's really important to do that. And eventually, I caved in and I did a competition. And ever since then, I just continued competing, continued on the competitive path. Although it was a healthy competition for me personally, it was healthy in the sense that I wasn't competing against anyone. I was competing with myself and what I could do and what I could accomplish. So that part had always stayed pure for me. Although what ended up happening was I went into the military very early, at the same time when I got married at the age of 20. And the only reason I did that was because I had these pre-conditioned notions within myself that that's what I needed to do, because that was what I was here to do. I thought that, okay, I'm going to military. I have this career that's starting. I'm able to provide and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something that my parents couldn't do, which was have a successful family. And I thought that I had it all figured out already at the age of 20. And so, yeah, I got married, went into the military. And then I started to notice that the same things that I had swore that would not repeat with me ended up replaying in my own reality with the marriage that I was experiencing. And instead of paying attention internally what was going on and why all these things were happening, I just continued focusing on external things and bodybuilding is all external. It's an expression of internal art externally, however, most of it is externally perceived. And the marriage fell apart almost instantly, although it continued for almost five years. But that was because I refused to pay attention to things. And eventually when I got out of the military about four years after the contract was over, the marriage ended then and it was a complete loss of identity, well, not complete, I can't say complete because the process of identity loss lasted for about four years afterwards. But then when I didn't have that, that part of the identity to hold on to anymore, the part of marriage, the part of the military, it was as if there was this hollow space that got formed there. And I tried to fill it in with going into bodybuilding even deeper, started to party a lot, started to do drugs, started to just go into a dark path. And it wasn't good, it wasn't healthy in any kind of way. I was just masking a lot of things that I was feeling that I didn't understand, didn't know what to do with it. And I was just surrounding myself with anybody that so I wouldn't have to be alone and actually face myself in those ways. And eventually, by 2018, I continued down the same same road. I started a company back then, when I was coaching people with bodybuilding and training, and I started this meal prep company where I would do the clients nutrition, I would do their diets in their meals. And so they didn't have to think about anything, they would just eat, their diet would be done already, they would just know at this time I eat this meal, it's doing this. And I would train them, I would do their massage, their bodywork as well, so they had the full package. And I felt really good about what I was providing. However, I was completely neglecting myself. And so once again, the same pattern of focusing on the external and not focusing on the internal at all. It completely played out. And eventually, I remember there was a consistent, I remember exactly how long this played out for, but it consistently outwaked up. And I just felt worse and worse and worse every day. So one day when I woke up, and it was a complete, I don't know if it's a psychotic break, whatever it was, but I couldn't understand what reality was, like what I was looking at, I didn't have words to, to, they're like, I was just freaked out and just yelled and it was just madness. What I laid, I later understood was because my, I was stimulating myself so much, so I could just keep going. Because there were days when I wouldn't sleep for about three or four days at a time, you just completely just keep going through the night, just keep working. And because of all the stimulation, the brain, the neuron pathways in the brain would disconnect eventually when the stimulus would wear off. And when I woke up that morning, that was exactly what was going on. I got to witness and experience my brain completely, pretty much fried. And I had to drink two full pictures of coffee just to get back to a normal a normal function and get back to understanding what this reality was, whatever, like, like things just, you know, so they would make sense again. And so I went to the doctors that day and I was dating a woman at the time. And I went to the doctors and they drew my blood. I thought that I was like, maybe, you know, maybe I just need to donate blood, then everything will be fine. Because that's what I remember bodybuilders doing. And I just I hated the doc, I hated going to doctors, the idea of going to a doctor just didn't make sense to me. Still, that doesn't make sense to me because I know that they just put a bandaid, but having an idea of what is happening internally would have been nice. So I did go and they drew my blood, they said, before we allow you to donate, we're going to need to actually see what's going on. And so when they drew my blood and they looked at they printed out the results and in front of me and they're sitting there, they were looking at the blood results, looking at me doing a doing a take back to back. And they're just like, we don't understand how they told me like, we don't understand how you're sitting in front of us. Like these are results of a dead human being. And they said we didn't even get to look at your organ function completely yet. But based on what they were looking at, the toxicity, the hemoglobin, the thickness of the blood was there's a maximum threshold. And mine was seven points over the maximum threshold. And they said, even if that even if I did donate all of the blood that was allowed allowed for that for that for that day, it would only bring it down one point.

AI: Wow. Oh my God, I've never heard of this before. So you had too much blood like in your body or what is too much hemoglobin specifically?

AD: It's hemoglobin and the whatever the reason for that was, they weren't able to even do a touch on that. So they would just get a bunch of blood out. But whatever is making the blood toxic would still be there. So I pretty much just got there. They told me that like, you know, based on what we're giving you a timeline of how much longer you have, they said we give you about a month. And so like I just took that in and went home. And the woman I was dating at time I said, look, I just need to lay down, just process, process what I just received. And it was actually it was there was that and there was actually an old business partner of mine, who him and I were very synchronistic in certain things. And he actually ended up he the exact same day I got noticed that he had like a brain aneurysm or something. So like some wild like that. And I was like, oh my God, like we're so synchronistic, that means something with me is going on. And like, it was exactly that. So I was like, I just need to lay down process what I just, you know, receive them when I wake up, I'll know what to do moving forward, like how to how to how to heal how to get healthy. And I thought I'll take a nap. I laid down on the couch. And next thing I knew was I'm hovering in like energy type, I don't like it's not a physical matter, not a physical form, but I was looking at myself on the couch. And I was leaving just felt insane amount of relief that no longer, no longer held in a body that is that is in constant trauma and pain. And it was just felt blissful. And like I was returning returning returning to source, so to speak. And but as I was leaving, I felt that I wasn't done. I felt that I wasn't it wasn't my time to to leave yet to be to physically die. And I chose to go back into the body. And when I came back into the body, I woke up in miserable pain, utmost pain. It was physical pain, emotional pain, pain on a soul level, everything. And I had three ribs that were out of place that I didn't even have awareness to. And so from that moment, I understood that, okay, if I'm toxic, I need to detox. And that meant in every sense of the word. So I started to detox my thoughts, the people that I was allowing around me, the food that I was putting in me, the supplements that I was putting in me, the substances, the environment, everything. And that was a very long, long journey, very scary.

AI: Yeah, well, you're letting go of a lot. I mean, if you think about everything that had built up in your system, the detoxing that you're speaking to, it's about letting go of what has been being held in your body on a chemical level. But also, you're going to have to let go of all of the different lifestyle patterns that brought those things in to begin with. So it's a total overhaul of everything that you had been doing up until that point. Yeah, that's huge. Wow. Yeah, you mentioned this a little bit in one of our previous conversations, but not at this level. This is a really profound experience. You, it sounds like you almost practically died. I guess we'd have to have someone check from the outside, right? Whether your heart stopped or anything, but you had that experience. And you decided to come back, even though your body at that point was not a hospitable place for your soul. And I've had another person on the podcast, we talked about this briefly, about taking care of the temple of our bodies allows for our soul to really shine and be inhabiting this earth. And if we become toxic physically and we become ill, then it's much, much harder for our soul to want to be in our body. And that's part of what you've just described. So wow, that's so incredible. Thank you for sharing all of that. I would love to go a little deeper because what you said about the way that you were focused on the external and that bodybuilding, while it is like this art, and there are a lot of things about it that are creative, right? And like maybe in some ways for some people, like life affirming, it had a really big impact on your body. Can you talk a little bit more about the impact that that kind of training it has on people's bodies? I mean, because you also saw other people doing it. Like what would you kind of say to people now or say to yourself back then, if you knew what you know now about how our bodies work and about the impact of like that level of stress, right? So yeah, say a little something about the impact that that had on your body.

AD: Yeah, absolutely. So bodybuilding in itself, there's nothing wrong with bodybuilding in itself if and when done the right way. Like the way that I did it, it was not done the right way because I went and I did other things alongside of bodybuilding that completely conflicted. Partying, drug use, not paying attention to emotional states, not honoring how I felt in any kind of way, just knowing that this is what needs to be done. I mean, there were definitely, it was a double-edged sword in a way where there was benefits to take away from that and also negatives as well. So I got to learn all of it. Knowing what I know now, I definitely, I'm done with the drug use, I'm done with all the substances, I'm done with that. Just really enjoying being present and being here in the body and enjoying the world. And I am very much so looking forward to getting back to weightlifting and training again. I'm recovering now from a shoulder surgery. Once that is done, I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to training again. I have the absolutely zero desire to compete anymore. I don't see myself on a stage ever again. However, there will be definitely things that will be incorporated, such as martial arts, yoga, stretching, things that I didn't do before to balance out the constricting movements of bodybuilding. Because I got to really understand that before I started the rigorous and strenuous training of actually bodybuilding and preparing for competitions, I was very well connected with my surroundings, with people. I had a very good perception of just how I connected in the world. For lack of a better term, tortured myself in that way, pulled myself through hell, which I have zero regrets doing. But nonetheless, what happens when we train in a constricting way all the time, we are, if we look at our body as a whole organism that has different parts that are working in harmony and in unison with one another. When training in the traditional bodybuilding workouts, almost all of the movements are constricting. So, restrict blood flow and constrict a certain muscle group, say a bicep for just for example, say we do a curl. We're taking that muscle and we are separating it from the rest of the organism. It is now separate for that time being and all the blood gets caught there, it swells up, it gets the pump and all the things. Eventually, that starts to affect the entire organism, the whole human. Parts of the body start to really not feel that they're connected with one another. That eventually is how thoughts start to form, start to feel separate, start to feel alone, start to feel as if not connected with the environment. That was how things ended up playing out later on in life was I started to feel very disconnected, I started to feel as if I'm not one with things around me. And it really took a lot of work to get back to feeling that connection, to realizing that you actually are connected.

AI: Yeah, I love that. What you said is so perfect because I feel the same way about the way that I practiced yoga when I was younger. I did it in a very, I would say, kind of aggressive way. And what you spoke to just now is that the how of doing something is probably even more important than the thing itself. So, what you said is that there is maybe a more holistic way to do bodybuilding, but that's not what you were doing. What you were doing was kind of ignoring the internal signals, overriding them with substances, masking them, and then pushing your body into this really constrictive practice over and over and over. And the results that you were getting externally from the world around you was probably like praise and you were winning, right? But what was happening internally is that you were becoming more and more fragmented as the human being because the things that really needed to be addressed and healed within you were not getting the support that they needed from your system. So, one way that we can talk about this in a really like simple way is that in order to breathe, your diaphragm needs to move down in your body to draw your lungs open, right? And if we practice a lot of repetitive contraction of our abdominal muscles and we keep the lower, you know, or our whole body, say our whole carriage, we keep it with, you know, regular practice in a state of muscular tension, it's actually going to constrict our breathing. And so, if someone is practicing a lot of like abdominal exercises and doing a ton of weightlifting and getting really tight, it's going to be that much more important for them to do other practices like the ones you mentioned in order to balance that out so that their breathing doesn't become constricted, so that their digestion doesn't become affected by the muscular armor that they're basically putting on every time that they work out, right? And so, what you're describing is like the way that that kind of continued focus on the external, right? The how the, how our bodies look versus how they feel internally can really disrupt our natural rhythms within our bodies and that sense of everything being connected and that we're safe and that we're whole, right? And that we're one, that can get very quickly interrupted when we're practicing something over and over that constricts our system.

AD: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, that was the best way that I can, that I can describe the the, the happening of that is that it started from a dysfunctional foundation and the body was being built upon a dysfunctional foundation. And so, there was no, there was no open-mindedness to allow anything else into the equation. It was like, no, this is the way that it is. This is the way that I have been told. This is the way I know and this is all that there can be. Instead of, there could have been an allowance of, hey, you know, let's try some stretching, let's try some yoga, maybe incorporate some, some diaphragmatic breathing, even with boxing, you know, anything that would be outside of this box. Not, not, not back then.

AI: Well, that rigidity, I mean, I had that too. I mean, lots of people have probably been through that where you get really into something and people can, you know, become very dogmatic about it and sort of think that this is it and this is the only thing that I'm going to do because it's the thing, right? And then everything else becomes uninteresting or everything else like is somehow less than this thing that you're after, right? What I think that is at the end of the day is its own kind of trauma response where we're afraid of trying something new for all kinds of different reasons, right? And so we stick with what feels comfortable. We stick with what's safe. We stick with what's known because like as I can imagine, you know, and I had this experience as a yoga teacher, you have a bodybuilder or like a gym, you know, person come in to a yoga space, like they're not going to be good at it at first. I mean, nobody's usually good at yoga at first, but especially someone who's really tight, you know, they're going to have a really hard time doing it. And that is like kind of a blow to your ego, you know what I mean? And honestly, the same was true for me as someone who did a lot of yoga, I was good at yoga, like I was good at being a student of yoga and following the cues and doing the poses. But if you were to like put me in like a coordination that was outside of yoga, like say some Samba dancing or something, like I was not that was not my zone of comfort. I was not good at that. And so I would not really be as open to doing it. I would rather go do my yoga because it was my my zone of comfort in my body, you know, and I felt like affirmed there, whereas in a new kind of physical movement technique, it was like clumsy at first and awkward and would remind me that I wasn't, you know, good at everything or that I had, you know, these human faults that when you know, you're living in kind of a trauma state, you tend to think are the end of the world. And it's hard to just like see your own humanity, right, when you're living in that kind of fear. But yeah, your your story is incredible because I think that, you know, going back to what you said about being a young boy and wanting your parents attention and noticing the things that they liked and the things that they valued, you know, what you're describing is not too dissimilar from what I think a lot of us look around, you know, and see in the world, which is that there's a certain, you know, male body type and action hero and stuff that, you know, is prominently displayed as like a person of value, right, kind of like wanting to go after that action figure body, right.

AD: The real problem was that I didn't have a masculine role model that was able to teach me what it means to be a man, what it means to be truly masculine to transition me from that path of being a boy to manhood. And so the only things that I could that I could pick up off of were the cartoons that I would watch with the muscular, muscular drawn figures or the men that I saw in the movies. So that was really all I had to go off of. And that was the education that I received that this is what a man is, is you have to be you have to look this way.

AI: Right. And then there's also this lack of expression that is often paired with that of like men are stoic, men don't cry, they don't talk about their feelings. And it sounds like you have really transformed a lot of that to even just be able to be here on this podcast with me and talk about these things, you know, and be vulnerable in this way. This is a return to a certain type of masculinity that is not really being shown or demonstrated too much in our society, would you speak a little bit about that? Because I know you've done a fair amount of this kind of men's work recently. Absolutely.

AD: You know, the the stoicism and the keeping, keeping emotions and feelings to, you know, to ourselves as men, there's part of that that is that range true. Not everyone deserves to be allowed into that inner world where our emotions and our feelings are, you know, shown to the public. There are certain certain people that do get to be crowned as deserving as as as our safe space as men, where we do get to take our mask off, so to speak, and we get to show this is what I'm experiencing internally and for those men, for those people to hold that space for us. So that's that type of vulnerability is definitely beneficial and I know that a lot of men in this world, they don't have that. And it's critical, it's critical to have that outlet in order to be healthy. In order to have that that sense of I get to call this, this person, and I got to express this, and I get to be heard and I don't I'm not going to be judged and it's simply this space where I just get to empty something into the void that I trust, and just leave it, you know, leave it there and it's never going to be brought up again. That's definitely is definitely important. It's it's wildly important. Otherwise, we have, we have this this version of a human being of a man that walks around in society and has all these bottled up emotions and they they feel them and they're experiencing them, but they they think that it's not allowed for them to express them. And so you have, you know, there is dangerous, is dangerous to be in that that's that's what talks the toxicity is. It's not a toxic masculinity, is simply a toxic human being who they're toxic because they have things inside that need to be let out so that they can breathe freely again. And so that's that shows up a lot in today's society, unfortunately, but I think that with the immersion of the healthy of masculinity coming back, I see that it's moving in the right direction.

AI: Awesome. Yes. And there's something specifically special about being able to speak to another man about these things, right? Like, because I think often the men that I've known in my world, like they'll have this vulnerability to their girlfriend or to their wife or, you know, to whoever they're dating, right? Like that that's like a space that they feel safe. And while that's wonderful, like, what about actually feeling safe to express yourself to another man in that in that vulnerable way? Can you speak a little bit about the power of that? I mean, you've already spoken to it a little bit, but very specifically with men, there's something special. Absolutely.

AD: You know, what I've learned and noticed from my own experience with my past relationships, my past marriage with with with my parents, what I observed from them and what I'd to confirm myself that I thought that was the right way to go. For say that a man, you know, what man and woman are in a relationship and the man goes and starts telling his his his partner, this is, you know, spilling basically all of his feelings, all of his emotions. And it's, it doesn't usually end very well. You know, the woman doesn't, it puts the man, if not done correctly, if not communicated correctly, it puts that man into the perception of now you are her boy. You're her man, you're now her boy. And women don't want to be in a relationship with with a boy, they don't want to be in a relationship with their son, they want a man, they want a father for their children, they want a husband, they don't want to be dating a boy. That's not the that's not the dynamic that is optimal, then that man is going to be treated as such as a boy or as a child, and is going to feel completely emasculated, you know, and it's it's not a healthy environment, it's not a healthy, it's not healthy for, you know, a child to perceive his father in that way, or her father in that way, because then it's not taken seriously, it's not taken respectfully. And that was the exact dynamic that I saw play out in my in my parents. And I didn't respect my father growing up, because I didn't perceive him as a man, he wasn't presented as a man. He was acting out, right? He was acting, he would, you know, he he just presented himself and he was treated as a boy. He was he was not treated as a man. And, you know, he it's not it's not his fault because he didn't have the education growing up himself either. So there was no way for him to know how to be a man. He wasn't taught by his own father either. And that was the cyclical trauma that's been happening. And that's why it's that it's so important in a family dynamic for the for the man to have his men to have them in communication so that he can have that healthy masculinity around him to to have that masculine care to keep him keep him in and for lack of a better term keep him in check of being a man and being being a healthy man. Because bringing bringing that to, you know, and not having that outlet is it's not a not a not a very good environment.

AI: Well, if we go back to that analogy that you had about this toxicity building up when we're not able to express the feelings and the thoughts and the, you know, desires or the frustrations, right, that we're having. And that that's just building up. And then eventually, like, you know, people explode and they have a big, you know, terrible argument or they hurt somebody or they say something really nasty, right, because of that build up, right, within their system that's their soul is literally saying like I can't hold any more like toxicity in my body, and then letting it out somehow, right. And what you're describing is that to be able to have that safe outlet with other men, so that that kind of toxicity is not even in small mild ways kind of being dumped on your partner or your family, so that you can kind of clear yourself and then show up in that space as a responsible protector, as a responsible provider, as a role model for your children or for your family, right. That's this kind of beautiful, I guess, dynamic that you're speaking to here of what's possible when men are actually supporting men in this beautiful way. Yeah, absolutely. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, I think women, you know, there's a lot about, you know, different women's groups, I've done some women's work, women work, I don't know, we did like her weekend, where we get to dive into all this stuff, and my dad's been really into men's work for a while, so I know a bit about kind of, you know, contrast and compare like the differences. And because women are so kind of conditioned to be more naturally expressive about all of their different feelings and emotions and stuff. My dad said that the work that we do on the women's weekend is kind of like, we don't have to beat around the bush too much, we don't have to like, we don't have to go through that much drama to get women to spill the beans and say everything that they have to say, you know what I mean. But with men, there can take a little more effort to get a guy to open up and really say like what's on his mind and really let out his anger, you know, because it often is not a choice, it's or a decision that men make to do on purpose, it's something that happens kind of, like I said, if there's a buildup and it's sort of out of their control usually. So, so yeah, it's really exciting that you're doing this work. Do you see yourself doing more of this work in the world? Would you like to be working with more men about these kind of issues?

AD: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, this ties directly into the work that I do through the coaching, as I will be doing this until this body is done breathing. And it absolutely overflows into the work that I do with the clients that I have. Every single one of them gets to experience me in that much more of a way that they tend to have a role model that they get to learn from in more ways and nutrition, more ways than, you know, making more money, like of course it all will reflect, they will be more just healthier human beings in every aspect. So definitely.

AI: It sounds like because of the work you've done with kind of a more holistic approach to your life in general now, that's what you're seeing, you know, these interconnections between like, oh, we could focus on one area like how much money you're making or how to improve your body, but those things are actually connected. Those things are a way of living that's going to improve you as an overall person. And then everything is going to become so much more streamlined and easy for you when you're healthier as a whole.

AD: Definitely. I mean, even taking the example of what you just described with making more money, right? You know, somebody can be making more money, but they can feel like complete garbage inside. You know, they can feel like complete garbage. And then if we usually boil it down to, you know, what it is, a lot of the times people make money, but they don't feel good about the way that they're making that money. And if we backtrack all the way and get to the root cause of it, and then clear that up, and then connect that person, align with them the means of making money in a way that actually feels good for them, how much more money is going to be going in?

AI: That makes a lot of sense to me. I feel like I had just personal experience with that since I've gone into my full, full steam ahead entrepreneurial, you know, passion now where I'm really, you know, I'm promoting and selling something that I truly believe in, that I actually really see helping people and making the world a better place, you know, kind of living my purpose, so to speak. Like I am making more money than I ever have. And I'm, you know, also helping people. And it's the satisfaction, the fulfillment from doing actual service that keeps me going. And even more than, you know, the money, because like you said, you can make money, you can make money doing all kinds of things. But what do you want to do? You know, what's going to fulfill you as a human being? And when you align with that, you know, what you're saying is that then now your whole system is like green light on that, your whole system is like ready to work towards, towards that end. And yeah, how much more money will be possible for someone when they're on the right path for them as a person. So speak a little bit about, you know, what you're offering now you said you're focusing on CEOs and entrepreneurs, how to focus and get rid of distractions. What's your background with that? Like have you been classically a distracted person or had trouble focusing?

AD: Yeah, so absolutely. So it's in one way or another, it seems that the trouble focusing, of course, in modern day, there are different factors that are affecting us today than say when my, when my dad was born. However, to give a little bit of background story with that was when my dad was born, I don't know when their right mind thought this would be a good idea. But when he was born, there was something going on with his brain. And back in Belarus, the doctors said that injecting mercury into brain would be what would solve the whatever was going on to a baby's brain. So a baby's brain. Yeah. But that's insanity, insanity, pure insanity. And so that happened. And ever since then, there was a collection of things that ended up taking place then. My grandmother felt incredibly responsible for having given the thumbs up for that. And so she ended up babying him. So he accepted that as his identity as someone that is incapable. And it seemed to had karmically played out in my life, where I was willingly putting things into my body that would clutter up my brain and keep me from being able to focus and pay attention. Mainly processed foods, processed sugars, everything that's not from the earth, naturally. I was just emotionally eating everything in sight. And eventually, you guys at a point where if I wasn't taking some sort of new tropic, if I wasn't taking some sort of focus aid, then I wouldn't be able to focus on anything. I would be scattered brain completely, I wouldn't be able to function. And so I realized when I had started that company, the for with the meal prep with the nutrition for the clients, I realized that I had to take a focus new tropic supplement. And I knew this, I remember there was an internal dialogue that said, you know, if you don't take this, you won't be able to keep going with this. And it was like, I wonder how long I could keep this up. And I kept it up for about two and a half years, every single day, taking this new tropic to help my brain focus worked phenomenally, great supplement. But the other end of it was it was completely disconnecting my brain pathways, a process, so it was eventually something had to give. And so I realized that without focus, without the ability to focus and pay attention in that way, there is no way to succeed because especially in modern day to day, we have everything around us is trying to take our like our number one thing, what would you say your number one, number one thing that would allow for you to be successful in your businesses? I was my health and well being. And your health and well being will allow it for you to do what?

AI: For me to show up for my clients and get done my tasks and, you know, do all of that in a graceful, I guess, aligned way on time.

AD: So if you're, say you say I'm your client right now and you're You're unable to focus and you're doing anything but having conversation with that go anywhere, probably not.

AI: Oh yeah. So you're saying the focus. Yeah, yeah. That's your focus. You'll be able to be present and be in that moment with your client or with your task at hand. Yeah, absolutely. And what you were saying before, I thought that this was a fascinating point. You were taking this new tropic and it was helping to deal with this lack of focus, but it wasn't really changing the cause, which was maybe your eating habits and behaviors and the things that you were putting in and the things that you were also not putting in because you weren't eating certain things but you were eating a lot of other things and you were using the supplement as kind of like a band-aid to deal with the symptom of the issue with your food intake or lack of real food intake. Is that kind of what was going on?

AD: Yeah, because in essence, when we come into this world where there's nothing wrong with us at all, absolutely nothing wrong. So of course, unless there's some sort of genetic hereditary thing that's passed on, different subject, different story for a different time. But as long as we are acting in alignment with health, with our true essence, our pure sense of self, everything is functioning just fine. If you're putting canola oil as gasoline into a Lamborghini, it's probably not going to run. But you put the right fuel in is going to be performing exactly as it's meant to. And so that was the same thing that was going on with my body with everything I was experiencing. I, you know, instead of paying attention, instead of even thinking, oh, maybe I'm doing something that's really messing up my body, I was just presented with these pills and that was the the habit that I used to act upon anyway. I was like, oh, I just take take something and it'll make this go away magically. That was the way that I went about things in the past.

AI: So I say that really common. I'd say that that's, you know, very normal in our world. That's what we're sold a lot of, you know, like people will ask me a lot about how to improve their gut health. And what they're usually asking me for is like, what sort of sort of probiotic or what sort of like pill should I take? What sort of supplement should I take? You know, and my answer is always, well, your gut microbes want fiber. They want plant fibers from different kinds of plants. And if you have a damaged gut, you're not going to be able to digest some of those fibers. So you're going to have gut issues. But that doesn't mean to not eat those things. It means to recondition your gut slowly so that you can digest them. Because at the end of the day, you can have all the probiotic bacteria in your gut in the world that you want. And if you don't have the prebiotic fiber to actually feed them, they're just going to die out. And then you're not going to get those postbiotics that are what, you know, the benefit, the short chain fatty acids that most people are after that feed your brain, that reduce inflammation in your body, right? That's this kind of chain. I think we might have talked about this before between prebiotic, you know, or prebiotic, probiotic, and then postbiotics. There's this chain of events and people get fixated on the probiotic because you can buy a pill for that, right? But it's just part of the picture. It's not the whole thing. Just like taking a new tropic with, you know, I don't know what it had in it, maybe some kind of like medicinal mushroom like ashwagandha or racia. I don't know any kind of these different new tropics and adaptogens that people take, right? And it has this enhancing effect on your brain or on your system. It's never going to replace like drinking water and eating real food. It's going to help, you know, maybe mask some symptoms or it could help enhance an already healthy body, right? But it's never going to replace the simplicity of just eating food from the earth and regularly drinking water, right?

AD: So, yeah, well, you know, most people will, just as we just talked about, will buy all these pills to mitigate certain symptoms of having to have certain symptoms show up in their reality. But next thing they know is they have a whole pantry, a whole cabinet full of supplements that I take this for this, I take this for this and this thing helps me do that. And you know, at the end of the day, they still have all the problems. If not, they have more problems. And what it's really doing is they're stuck in this cycle of being sold something. That will, you know, whoever's selling into them is doing a fantastic job of being a salesman, but they're not doing a fantastic job of actually tending to the person's actual needs. You know, it's making a quick buck, selling them a pill that is really not the answer. It's just like going to the old school, I don't know what the real term is, but modern day doctor that would say, hey, we have the you have diabetes. Fantastic. We have this pill for you that will mitigate your symptoms, but your diabetes will stay with you. It's just that's not the point.

AI: You know, yeah, the great point you brought up about the way that. Are. I had my thought for a moment in my cat walked in here. It'll come back in just a second. But you have said very beautifully about the way that, oh yeah, the different adaptogens or new tropics or these different, even herbs and supplements that people are taking. Sometimes they can end up with more problems because these herbs, these plants are powerful and they're supposed to be acting on a healthy system, right? To do the things that they're doing, the foundation of like kind of a healthy human being for the most part, right? Kind of like I was describing about like, say, some people have a hard time digesting like brussel sprouts or something, right? Because maybe their gut isn't used to that conditioned for that, or maybe they have some damage to their gut and there's not the microbes, the beneficial bacteria to break that down. So you might have like an herb that you're taking. Maybe you're taking like a bunch of different herbs, but the foundation of the health of your body to be able to absorb the nutrients of that herb and then use it effectively is out of whack. And so instead you're like piling on maybe a lot of one specific type of nutrient or one specific type of plant compound, right? And it's affecting your body in this way that, you know, isn't what you intended, isn't actually healthy. Plus I don't think a lot of people realize that these herbs can interact with each other and do different things when they're interacting with each other that they wouldn't do if they were just alone. So like what you're combining, how you're combining things can also have an impact on your system, right? Yeah.

AD: It all boils down to the same thing for me personally as the ability to focus, to get rid of the distractions that will allow for us to simply be present with what matters in front of us. And when we have allowed so much to clutter up our perception of what reality is in the moment, you know, the things that actually matter become so distant and so few and it's like as, you know, it's as if a person is drowning in the middle of the ocean. There's a life raft directly in front of them, but there's someone that's consistently slapping it away telling them grab the life raft and they slap. Grab the right, left, slap it and it's just happening and they're unable to do it. You know, it's really, the life raft is there, but you have this distraction and you can't grab the life raft, which is your goal, until you get rid of this distraction that's slapping it away from you, you know, and that's essentially for lack of a long story short, that's what I do in the coaching. Get rid of the thing that's slapping your life raft away.

AI: That's awesome. I love that. And so if people wanted to learn more about your services and maybe connect with you, what's the best way they could get ahold of you?

AD: Yeah, you know, my Instagram is very new at the moment because it used to be just filled with my bodybuilding photos and there was really nothing else to go off there. So I'd completely cleaned it up. People are more than welcome to contact me through Instagram. It is my name, Aiden Asher, Aiden Asher official. And you can also contact me through my email. It is AidenBAsher, A-D-E-N-B-A-S-C-H-E-R at Then my phone number is also very useful.

AI: Cool. I mean, we can put that on the show notes if you feel comfortable or you can also, you know, have your website. I don't know if you have a website there, but anybody who wants to get in touch with Asher about coaching, about learning more about what he does, because you also host in-person events in Santa Monica, which I may actually be doing one there soon. It's been so great to get to know you and so inspiring. I feel like the somatic work that we did together, you connected with that really fast because you've already done so much internal work, which is what you've been speaking to today. And, you know, where do you see this going in terms of, you know, this was your first, was this your first experience of like some kind of specifically somatic work?

AD: Specifically somatic, yes. I've done things in the past like postural correction exercises that were kind of similar, but not the, not the same thing. This was very, the somatic session that you and I had specifically was very helpful because it allowed for me to bring that much more attention and focus to the area that was impacted and release it. And if it wasn't for that, you know, I wouldn't get the progress that I had and feel better. So I definitely recommend it to anybody that's looking for pain from tension, whatever is physically going on with the body. And when you couple something that is nutritionally based, you're, you know, it's allowing for the body to become that much more open to releasing physical tension because it's all connected, you know, we impact one part of the body and the rest will follow suit one way or another.

AI: Yeah, that's beautiful. Kind of this, this purification process that you're speaking of, of like detoxing of releasing, you know, stories, memories, literal chemicals that might have been building up in our bodies. And once we start that like path, once we start doing that, it just sort of like snowballs and keeps going, right? And then maybe we stop for a little bit and it keeps going, we stop for a little bit and it keeps going, you know, like this kind of healing journey of gradually like just taking off layer after layer of what's built up on our system. So we can be here so we can be focused and present right now. Exactly. Oh, that's wonderful. I really do look forward to continuing to work with you as a client and also just having you as a friend because, yeah, you've been really phenomenal at both of those roles. Absolutely. Likewise. Thank you so much for sharing your story today. Is there any last words that you want to share with our listeners, any, you know, pearl of wisdom or experience, maybe an anecdote or something?

AD: Yeah, you know, something that I've noticed bringing up for every client, everyone that I've really ever communicated with, you know, we have all these things in our experience. We have a home, we have some people have families, some people have kids, we have a vehicle, we have a job, we have money, we have, you know, things in general, everything, everything that's outside and around us. But when we really pay attention to what's at the very root of all of it is us. And if we don't give ourself more attention than everything that is around us, eventually that dynamic will, that balance will be overthrown. And the things that are outside of us will have more attention and more of our energy and focus than we actually give to ourself. And eventually that ends in a very bad way. So what I would like to leave everyone with is focus on yourself first, and more than focusing on anything that is outside of us. Because when we do focus on ourself first and more, then we're able to provide that much more to the things that are around us.

AI: Oh, that's so beautifully said. Yes, self energy. I've been thinking about that a lot, you know, we can get kind of concerned with what other people are doing or other people's vibe, right? But what are we putting out? Right? At the end of the day, like, what is our energy that we're cultivating, that we're nurturing or not? And then how is that being transmitted into the world? And, you know, if we focus, as you said, on that piece, you're right, it is the most vital for not only us, but for our environment as well. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. I'd love to have you again, we can check in with you at a later point and see what new exciting things that you're up to.

AD: Thank you for having me. Yeah, I love it.

AI: You've been listening to the free your Soma podcast. Subscribe now to hear more stories of somatic awakening and gain knowledge and tools for somatic living. If you'd like to learn more about me, Amy Takaya, Hanosomatic Education or the Radiance Program, please visit www.freeyoursoma .com.

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