EP #89

Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth and Happiness with Akshay Nanavati

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In this episode of the “Alcohol Minimalist” podcast, Molly introduces Akshay Nanavati, a Marine Corps veteran, adventurer, and entrepreneur, as a guest who shares insights from his book “Fearvana.” Akshay recounts his struggles with drug addiction, alcoholism, and finding healing through neuroscience, psychology, and spirituality. The concept of “Fearvana” revolves around turning fear into health, wealth, and happiness, emphasizing the beauty of struggle and the positive relationship with suffering. The discussion explores redirecting negative emotions, reframing stories, and embracing a worthy struggle as a path to bliss and enlightenment. Both hosts stress the importance of facing fears, understanding the mind-brain duality, and consciously choosing how thoughts influence feelings.

Hey, it’s Molly from alcohol minimalist. What do you do in this October? I would love to have you join me in my more sober October challenge. What do I mean by more sober October, it simply means that we’re going to add in more alcohol free days than you currently been doing, whether that’s one or two or 31. It’s up to you, you get to set your own goal and that’s why it’s more sober October. You can check it out and learn more at get got sunnyside.co/molly It’s totally free. I’ve got grises I’m going to be going live every week to announce the prize winners. And it’s just going to be an awesome event. So I would love to have you join me. You can learn more at get.sunnyside.co/molly and you can get registered today. Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I’m your host Molly watts. If you want to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, you’re in the right place. This podcast explores the strategies I use to overcome a lifetime of family alcohol abuse, more than 30 years of anxiety and worry about my own drinking and what felt like an unbreakable daily drinking habits. Becoming an alcohol minimalist means removing excess alcohol from your life. So it doesn’t remove you from life. It means being able to take alcohol or leave it without feeling deprived. It means to live peacefully, being able to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling guilty and without needing to finish the bottle. With Science on our side will shatter your past patterns and eliminate your excuses. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well hello and welcome or welcome back to the alcohol minimalist podcast with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from kind of a cloudy or again we are back to some cooler. Definitely feeling more fall like weather around here in Oregon. And dare I say I’m actually kind of enjoying it. This is odd for me because I am a true Sun lover. But I don’t know it’s you know, pumpkin spice. It’s football. I’m looking for that really cold, crisp morning. No rain yet. I’d like the rain to hold off really forever, but doesn’t happen around here. So today on the podcast. Well first of all, let me just tell you all that you’re getting to experience something new and exciting here on the alcohol minimalist podcast today. I am actually editing this this episode myself. So if it sounds really wonky, I apologize because I my editor had some Well, her she had an event this week that that not an event of a life circumstance that came up that really prevented her from being able to help audit edits this week. So of course, I said no worries, I will figure it out myself. So hopefully it sounds all okay. Luckily I had an interview scheduled and that interview is with Akshay Nanavati. Akshay Nanavati is a Marine Corps veteran and adventurer and an entrepreneur, this from his bio in his book. After he overcame drug addiction in high school, he was a Marine, he went to Iraq. And when he came back home, he struggled with alcoholism, and then got learned how to heal his own brain. And he went on to spend years studying neuroscience psychology and spirituality. And this led him to write for nirvana. That is what we are talking about today. His book called fear Ivana, it is the revolutionary science of how to turn fear into health, wealth and happiness. I think you’re really going to love this conversation. And here it is with Akshay Nanavati. Hi, Akshay. Thank you so much for being here on the alcohol minimalist podcast. I am just super excited to talk with you and share fear vana with all of my listeners. Thank you so much for having me. Pleasure to be here. Absolutely. So, in the intro, which I just gave, I talked about the title of the book. So the revolutionary science of how to turn fear into health, wealth and happiness. That’s a pretty broad that’s a pretty big bold title. Okay, so tell me kind of where this came from what the you know, how did fear vana become? Yeah, the birth fit kind of I would say it began when I moved to the US not obviously I didn’t know it at the time but looking back on my life now, this is what led to everything that is fear mana today, I moved to the I was born in India, I moved to the US at the age of 13. And soon after moving here, I got very heavily into drugs into alcohol, I lost two friends to the Odede I was kind of heading down that path I used to I still have the scars on my arm from cutting myself burning myself very so. I mean, did many things where it’s a wonder that I made it out alive. But yeah, I did. And the movie Black Hawk Down was the trigger that changed my life. You’ve seen the movie. I have, yeah, powerful movie War movie story. And watching that movie, watching the scenes of men, sacrificing their lives for another human being putting their lives on the line getting everything. And that level of courage, that compassion that that gets that can that self sacrifice was all inspiring. And almost overnight, I stopped doing drugs decided to join the Marines. It took me about a year and a half to join the Marines because I have a blood disorder that two doctors told me would kill me in bootcamp. So I sort of fight my way into the Marines. But it was a post 911 military post post 911 world so here’s a young dumb kid wants to go in infantry, well find a way for him. So. So I managed to get in and the Marines is where I first started to learn the beauty of struggle, the beauty of suffering of fear, you know, Marine Corps training was hard boot camp was hard. Infantry School was hard. And I suffered but I loved it. I was it wasn’t so much the suffering but it was the transcendence of that suffering. You know, you’re you’re tapping into something in the human spirit in the human soul to rise above that struggle. And that was beautiful, you know, to figure that out. And after joining the Marines I got big into I was looking for now other ways to test myself and before this to also be clear, like I was terrified, scared of everything. I was scared of Ferris wheels of heights of open water, I was scared of like not even rollercoasters like Ferris wheels, right? Like everything terrified me. And so I began systematically facing these fears. I went skydiving, scuba diving, rock climbing with and without the safety of a rope mountain climbing, like you name it, nature sort of became my playground to explore my fears and ultimately face them. And again, I didn’t know this at the time, but this was all the birthing ground for what is now fear Ivana, right. And, and then in 2007, I was deployed to Iraq as an infantry Marine, where one of my jobs out there was to walk in front of our vehicles looking for bombs, before they could be used to kill me and my fellow Marines. Wow, that has to be a super intense experience. It was a yeah dangerous job to say the least, you know, and among other jobs in an in a counterinsurgency warfare environment. So obviously, an intense experience. But once again, learning how to face fear finding, strangely, there was a kind of peace, I found even in war, to the point that when I came back home, I struggled with this world. I didn’t I wanted to go back to war. I didn’t get my chance to go. So over the years, I, you know, found a corporate job and gradually just demons starting to rise. I lost a friend of the war struggle with survivor’s guilt. I started drinking and drinking to the point that you know, first one day two days to the point that I’d by worst, I was downing 750 milliliter bottles of vodka every day for days on end. I mean, I’d be throwing up and then drinking as soon as I stopped throwing up again, till one morning after a five day binge, I was on the seconds away from slitting my own wrists looking at a kitchen knife in the kitchen. And that was, you know, as you can imagine a rock bottom. Yeah, it wasn’t a smooth climb out of the abyss. But that was the the journey that started it. And I went deep into neuroscience into psychology into spirituality, doing that inner work confronting my own demons facing them, to eventually what then led me to fear Vana. And this idea because the whole ethos of it was to combat the demonization of what we have framed as quote unquote, negative emotions. You know, I was told I had PTSD that I had post traumatic stress disorder, we then we deem stress is bad. We think anxiety is bad. We think fear is bad. And I started to recognize that these things are not bad. They’re just part of the human experience. Like I had stress. I felt I felt survivor’s guilt. I was jumpy with loud noises. I didn’t like crowds. These weren’t but these were not a disorder. This was just a normal human response to a war zone, where your brain learns to associate loud noises with that, right? It should normal response. So by releasing that identity of disorder, that label of disorder, I started to accept and sort of normalize and be with the stress and it’s uncomfortable, it’s extremely uncomfortable, but it’s not bad, right? These are not bad experiences or bad emotions and, and that fundamental recognition that there are no bad emotions. There are no bad experiences. They’re just experiences and they’re just emotions. And it’s entirely up to was to decide what we do with them. And by reframing that, by reframing relationships, through fear through stress, it led into this ethos of fear of honor, that fear is not the antithesis of Nirvana, but the access point to it, you know, and that fear of stress, suffering, pain, these can all be and in fact, in my life today, to this day, I do very, very scary things from skiing in Antarctica, where I lost a finger to frostbite last year, to running ultra marathons to climbing mountains in the Himalayas to you know, many dangerous pursuits where I’m constantly terrified to cave diving, and now facing them engaging struggle, I’ve kind of found my peace and there’s a level of bliss you find when you push yourself into these realms. And that’s kind of the fundamental ethos of fear vana is to help people develop a positive relationship to suffering of any kind, and then use it to find live and love their own path, whatever it may be. Okay, wow. So there’s a bit to unpack here. So first, okay, all good. So, first of all, something that you said about this. So the negative emotions, I talk a lot about negative emotions around here, because as you can imagine, right, many people that turn to alcohol are turning and using alcohol as a way to buffer away negative emotions, like stress, and anger and fear, and, you know, anxiety, you name it, right? We do label those negative type emotions, and people are looking to for ways to escape them, they don’t want to allow them into their lives. So I talk a lot about the ability to allow those emotions and also, understanding how we can can create a different story for them. And that’s kind of what I hear you saying, it’s the story that we tell ourselves about these emotions that really make them worse than they already are. Right? So like, we can, like, tell ourselves how terrible this experiences or we can find value in what the experience is and understand. Plus, bottom line is that life is going to be like, you know, 5050, right? It’s not going to be all good. Yeah, it certainly cannot be. And so I know in, in the book, one of the things that I really valued was this idea of embracing a worthy struggle, right? So not adding to our suffering with stories and labels and ideas about what we should do or can’t do, or how this experience should be, but really interpreting our opportunity or, you know, finding opportunities to embrace a worthy struggle. So tell me more about that. And then also, I want to hear so like one of the things that I just want to be clear, so everybody else who understands, we don’t all have to be adrenaline junkies right to go get to like to, like get the benefits of nirvana. Absolutely not. And thank you for clarifying that. I like to highlight that point, like my way is not the only way and to your point about the word the struggle, like everything I stress, and I know when people hear my story they’re like, and I repeatedly need to point out so I’m glad you did that. It’s I’m not saying you need to go run ultra marathons or ski in Antarctica to find some sort of bliss or enlightenment, it’s about finding your own worthy struggle, whatever it may be, it might be raising a child, it might be playing the guitar, it might be singing music, like whatever it may be, we all have our own worthy struggle. And I call it a worthy struggle, because it will be hard, you know, any worthy any worthy pursuit is going to be hard. And to your point that you brought up earlier about, like, you’re going to have to deal with that you almost want to because you know I’ve gone through a period of my life when I came back from the war that I was numb to all emotions, you know, and being numb is not a healthy way to live life it’s not a good way to life. To live to experience this youth is the beauty the adventure of the human condition. And so with with with highs if you want to experience joy, joy, you’re going to have to experience pain right? The hot you can’t have a summit without a valley otherwise it’s all flat ground. And so the ups and downs is really what makes the roller coaster and the adventure of life worth living. And that’s why I call it a worthy struggle because in when you change your relationship to it when you start to accept that fear is not the enemy and it’s literally as simple as just choosing not to demonize it like I’ll give you a concrete example I worked with this client once who was flying to Iceland for a solo just a vacation and he was super scared it was the first time sort of going on vacation on his own and he was beating himself up he was looking at me doing the Crazy things I do and he’s like you know you do all these things climbing the Himalayas and you’re and yet here I am being scared just going to chill vacation and Iceland. His problem was not the fear him because he had never been on a solo vacation. I used to be scared of these things. I’m not anymore because I have now developed more references. So my brain says look like this thing is not scary anymore. So we don’t have to kind of worry about it. But in other things it scared off. So my level of what induces fear is different than yours and anybody’s we’re all different. But it’s not his problem was not that he was scared to go nice on his own. His problem was he deemed himself unworthy and he was judging himself for that. So when you accept that, Hey, it’s okay. I mean, I sometimes did this day. I live in a very nice neighborhood. In a nice place, I’ll get scared just being in the house alone. And, and you know, it’s kind of crazy because I do a lot of insane things. And yet here I am being scared in a nice home. And the thing is, I’ve gotten to a point now I don’t care when fear shows up, I don’t care if it’s there. I’m scared of most things I do. But you will develop over time by practicing it like it’s okay. The fear is there, the stress is there, the anxiety is there, whatever the thing is there. It’s not bad, even guilt for example, everybody told me not to feel guilty. And look rationally I get it right. You can control what happens in war, bullets fly where they fly, it happens. But emotionally I didn’t. I couldn’t make that guilt go away. And then I realized that look, guilt is not the problem. My guilt was just an expression of love. It was an expression of love for my brother. So I learned to use it for a long time actually had a picture of my friend that I lost in the war up on my wall and it said this should have been you earned this life. Hey everyone, just a quick break in the show to talk with you about Sunnyside. Now you’ve heard me talk about Sunnyside on the show before. I’ve had Nick and in the founders here as my guests. I am just so impressed with them. They are deeply mission driven. They are building a service to help millions of people create a healthier relationship with alcohol with no pressure to quit or feel guilty. So you know they are very aligned with everything I talk about here at alcohol minimalist. I wanted to share with you some thoughts and comments made by people in my group and my clients who use Sunnyside. I checked it out and was pleasantly surprised. I have used a few tracking apps and despise to them. But the support the daily check ins and the plan. Yes, the plan. I signed up for three months yesterday and actually looked forward to the check in today. I have no doubt this tool is a step forward for me. I just want to thank you to everyone who recommended Sunnyside in this group and all of your advice throughout, I’m having the best start to a week of moderating Since I fell off the wagon in January, you work the plan, and it works. Thank you everyone. Now you don’t have to take my word for it, you don’t have to take their word for it, I want you to check it out for yourself. Go to www.sunnyside.co/minimalist to get started on a free trial today. My guilt became my fuel, you know, so any emotion when consciously engaged can be a source of value and empower you in that worthy struggle. But the key is it has to be yours. Like if you asked me to go play chess today, I’d be like, I don’t care. It’s not my thing. You know, as some Similarly, a chess player might be like, I don’t want to go drag tires for two hours, you know, so when it’s your worthy struggle, it will light that fire in your soul to make the struggle worthwhile. All right, I love that. So this whole idea so I talk a lot about there’s there’s these primal kinds of emotions, right, these. So fear is one of those I talk about, like the six primal emotions, they’re more like the emotions that stem they, they were part of that lower brain that we evolved, you know that the mammals evolved so that they could create the kind of emotional connections and I know you talk a lot about lower brain higher brain to in the book, I also work a lot with people to understand that, that those primitive responses are survival instincts that that Slayer up that really don’t have a basis in our real worlds today, right? They’re still reacting in some sort of instinctual survival mode way, when we really don’t need to be in, you know, there’s no, we’re not threatened. Right now, we’re not talking about war, obviously. But we’re talking about here on a daily basis. The other opportunity that I have that I talk about with people is the ability to actually redirect and create the emotions that we want to have in our lives by how we think so our thoughts actually create our feelings as opposed to just you know, it being the other way around, so that we’re having to just interpret what’s coming up from inside. Yeah, how does that How do you feel about that? Do you feel like you have the ability to kind of create how you feel on the inside with how you think? Great question. So I think it’s a bit of both in my take, like, the way you look at it is there’s two separate entities, there’s the mind and the brain. So the brain is the physical thing and you don’t like for example, if somebody came into this room right now with a gun while I’m sitting here talking to you, right? My brain would respond with fear, right? normal response, I’m not choosing that response. It’s a normal response. But what I do it that is my choice, right, that’s where the mind is the and you can also in neuroplasticity, they call it like top down versus bottom up neuroplasticity, right through thinking through top down through conscious effort. I can control the feeling and then ultimately change what physically happens in my brain. But simultaneously, my brain is also reacting and responding to the stimuli of the world. Right? So, you, you want to accept and embrace both sides of that. And that’s what coming back to what I was saying earlier about letting go with the demonization of the emotion. And then once I accept this emotion is there, okay, I’m scared now. I’m feeling fear. I’m feeling guilt. I’m feeling sad, whatever the emotion. Okay, got it. I’m feeling it. But I don’t have to let it define my actions, what am I going to do with it and to your point, and that’s when through the conscious effort, I can now change the experience, I can change the emotion I can control my experience, if reality through the will through conscious effort. And so that duality can coexist a great way to to actually understand this is this concept that I talked about in the book of second guard syndrome. So secondary, yeah, yeah. So Buddha said, we’re all stabbed with the two darts of suffering. The first start is the one I don’t control. So somebody comes in here with the gun, I’m feeling fear. I’m not choosing that my brain response. The second dart, that’s our point of power. What do I do with that? What’s my conversation around that fear? Like going back to that example of my client, you know, he can say, okay, it’s okay to feel the fear. But that’s not who I am. This is enough to define me. I’m choosing to step into the fear. And actually, that’s a reflection of my courage. And using that experience of as, as as a tool to drive you forward. Like To this day, I’m terrified of going back to Antarctica, terrified. I literally feel fear on a daily basis, knowing what waits me out there, and I kid you not, that’s not an exaggeration. When I say on a daily going back, I am going back Yes. I’m going back to do something quite big out there, I’ll be spending 110 days alone. In in Antarctica, the most hostile environment on the planet. Skiing for the mission is to ski for 17 1700 miles across the entire continent, which will be the first ever human powered crossing of the continent once once accomplished. And needless to say, especially after losing a finger out there, I am absolutely terrified. Wow, I’m sorry, I’m kind of terrified for you. I’m gonna try not to be but wow, wow, that is, okay. Again, no, I don’t have to everybody just just, you don’t absolutely don’t have to do that. It’s not the only path of bliss or to enlightenment or to finding meaning in this existence. But that’s my path, right. And the point is to say, though, like, my fear is something that I want, my fear kills complacency. Like I’m scheduled to go after we speak here to drag tires for two hours. And I’ll be very honest with you, I do not want to go today. Right? Sure. It’s like 100 degrees outside, I’m in Phoenix. But that fear of what awaits me, it drives me to get out that door. And I will get on that door this evening. You know, so, fear is beautiful. When you leverage it, when you exercise it, it can drive you into purposeful action. And you can it can, it can move you forward and from a place of power, when consciously engage from that point of power, which is the second art. Yeah, and we have to become aware of it. Because if without that, our fears, our fears can lead us into other things that aren’t so great, right. I mean, like, like, that’s the downside, if we don’t become more conscious of it, if we don’t understand some of the value in these less, you know, these, whatever fear and other type emotions that people tend to want to avoid that, then that’s where we get into trouble. I mean, that’s a, it’s a great point, I was just speaking to my students in my program earlier today about this, that you, if you if you avoid if you avoid that point of pain, the fear, the stress, the the trauma, whatever the thing is, it’s going to live in with the within you and control your actions. Anyway, like, as Carl Jung put it profoundly. Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fake. Right. And that quote, and it beautifully summarized, as he also said, people will do anything, no matter how absurd to avoid confronting their own soul. And so we do everything to escape that feeling. And the thing is, it feels good in the second, like, this feels horribly uncomfortable. So I’m going to run away from it. But it’s only that’s that vision, we all kind of notice that it’s only going to lead to deeper and deeper into the pit. But if you face that discomfort for a minute, if you face it, and look, you’re gonna have to keep facing it, because you might be scared today, and then you’ve caught you conquered it today, you faced it and gotten out of it. And tomorrow shows up again, you’re gonna have to keep facing and but over time, it’ll transform your entire relationship, and you build new patterns in the brain, you’re literally physically building a different brain, like how I think today about the world is not how I thought about it three years ago, in every context, you know, and so that changes over time through through the will through conscious effort, but you have to first sit with that disconnect. So I love that you brought that up. You got to sit with that discomfort. Like I’ll give another example of this. I did this interview with Dr. Drew a few years ago, and somebody had called in she had going he was going through PTSD from the Boston bombing. You know, we were sharing some some things that might help and at one point I said to her you know what, when you feel when you hear noise, how do you kind of respect and react and she was like that, that like she feels anxiety and she wants to kind of run away from it. I said, I want you next time that happens. Just kind of sit with it. And I said something along these lines. And she goes, but that’s really hard. And I know exactly I know it’s really hard. But that’s, that’s the way through it. Like you can’t get over those symptoms of posttraumatic stress, you can’t move through it without facing that, you know, and I, and I don’t blame her, like, we all want to get out of that because it’s horribly uncomfortable. But if you if you escape it, you’re, it’s you’re gonna live your life, the rest of that life in that pit, and it’s gonna control you. Yeah, I’d say I tell my people all around here all the time. You know, we can do hard things. We have to just tell ourselves, we can do hard things, you know, and you got to build your way up. I didn’t I didn’t ski across and I wasn’t born like this. Like I was terrified to know. Yeah. I really missed that point. Yeah, because people think like, oh, this dude is just some crazy dude. He’s but and it’s not like, I used to be terrified of Ferris wheels. I didn’t even like running the 200 meters. Forget about running ultra marathons. You know what I mean? So build yourself the ladder for us one inch at a time. All right. So everybody listening up. This is this is real life, podcasting, poor actually just had to listen to me tell the dogs to be quiet here so that we could go back to our podcast recording. It’s the reality of real life podcasting. So I want to hear a little bit more from you. Actually, if I can about your How about your alcohol use? Because I know you you mentioned that when you came back from Iraq, you were severely addicted, are you you know you were? So but we also have said that you kind of you got over that. Or you told me before we got on on to this call that you that you didn’t go like that you recovery isn’t a thing for me. That wasn’t what happened. You didn’t go into a program. And you really started this whole process by overcoming that. Yeah. Is that accurate? Absolutely. Yeah, I didn’t, I did not go go to rehab to rehab. You know, at first, I tried to moderate it for a little bit. And I was and this is not to say like, My path is the only path. I know people today, who used to drink heavily stopped and now they’re able to moderate and they’re totally fine. Like, they might have one glass of wine. And they’re great. Like everybody can, you gotta find your own journey, right. But for me as, as evidenced by the things that I’m doing going to Antarctica, I’m not really good at moderation I discovered. So I tried, it didn’t work, because everyone saw a trigger would hit and I would drink heavily again. And so I was like, Okay, this is not working for me. And I don’t like there’s no reason it’s not doing anything good in my life. Why do I need so, you know, like, I was never had a problem being social, like, there’s just no reason to do so I stopped and it was a journey. I’ve broken my sobriety multiple times. And but it’s that’s the that’s the thing. It’s like the work doesn’t ever stop like that inner work, right. And this is, I think one of the hardest things that I noticed more and more of my work from having worked with people as a coach. And even now the work I do in my programs is that we think that okay, one day, I overcame this demon, or I like beat this, and I did awesome. But the next day, it’ll show up, and the next day, it’ll show up, and the next day, I’ll show up, or the next week, it’ll show up the next month, it’ll show up, right? Whatever it is, but the thing is that work, that inner work is relentless. And if you embrace the it, and I don’t mean to make that sound bleak, like that shouldn’t sound like so hard. It’s actually a beautiful thing. Because it’s in that work that you find the bliss, like it’s in the work that you have to practice that like it’s it’s embracing that. But recognizing that the day to day process of fighting one demon at a time overcoming one problem at a time, like I always say that progress is not the elimination of problems, progress is the creation of new problems, you’re never going to get there quote, unquote, there, we always think once I get there, the million dollars, the house, the car, the sobriety, the relationship, then everything will be golden, and something else will pop up. But that’s okay. You know, in overcoming of each problem, each battle that you find a new awakening you find something new within yourself. And again, that’s not going to happen overnight. But over time you build that pattern as I said, I’m I don’t want to go out drag tires later today, you know that so that still shows up even though I’m a pretty a pretty consistent at exercising very, very hard, but it still shows up that I’m like days where I just don’t want to do it. And then you got to fight that you know. So yeah, that work is where is where the the awakenings happen where the bliss happens. Yeah, no, I totally agree with you because I tell people all the time, you know, this is a I talk about creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol and that’s for me where I’m at. I have a peaceful relationship with my deceased mother who was an alcoholic and I have a my own. I don’t crave alcohol. I don’t desire alcohol. I don’t turn to alcohol to when I have a when I have a stressful moment, right? Yeah. But the work that I really mastered through all of that was the mastery of my own of that my own thinking that my own mind. And that is really what we’re talking about. And that is a continual process. That is something that I am never going to be perfect at and I’m not finished at but what’s wonderful about this work and about really understanding the neuroscience really understanding and diving into it all and understanding the brain In the consciousness and the mind is that you do have the power, and the agency to create that story for yourself. And really, for me, I really just didn’t understand I used to look around and blame the circumstances of my life for everything. That was how I felt, right. Like, every, it was everything else around me. And instead of understanding that, there was actually my own version of, you know, my decision on what I, how I interpreted, the things that were going on around me that was creating these feelings of whatever, you know, the negative feelings that I was having, like, I had an opportunity to actually change my perspective now, for me, like, I’m grateful for the journey that I had with my mother, right? Because if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have had all the things that I’ve created and done from that. And I feel like it’s the purpose, right? It’s my purpose was, I’m telling or are helping her story and in a better way than it did. And I’m hopefully going to help other people change the story and change the endings to their own stories with alcohol. So I think that that’s but what but, you know, I don’t know how you feel about this. But I say, you know, I’m not some special snowflake, everybody has the opportunity to do this. It’s really all about how we learn about our brains, how we learn about our minds, and how we choose to think about our lives. Exactly, yeah, the meanings we create to our reality to your point, right? Like, you could look at the things that happen and feel victimized by it. Or you can choose it to see that there’s meaning in it, like same thing with my all the whatever I’ve been through my life, it’s, you know, and I get it that sometimes it’s easy to look back and say this is a gift. But sometimes when we’re in it, it’s hard to do that. But when you actually start to and that’s why the very core essence of fear Ivana, like my fundamental mantra that guides me is the words suffer Well, when you develop a positive relationship to suffering, that’s, that’s how you transform your life. Because then it won’t matter whether life hits you hard, or whether you’re seeking that worthy struggle, you’re seeking a challenge, you will be able to enjoy the suffering the process, the struggle in the process. And that’s how you find meaning in it. That’s how you find beauty in it and you turn whether it be a past suffering, or whether it be something you’re going through right now, there’s a gift in that if you choose to see it, but it is a choice. And that choice has to be made over and over and over and over again, right but it’s a choice and it becomes you the more you make it it becomes the very essence of your soul the more you make it, but we we get to create our own reality. I mean that to your point about the agency, you know, that’s how and I had to do that same work to battle my demons that were driving me to alcohol, it was avoiding it was escaping it was running away from you know, and and I had to face those demons. I mean, I didn’t I’m not saying everybody again has to do this, but I went into seven days of darkness like and then a few months ago I did 10 days of darkness where it’s been 10 days in complete darkness, silence and isolation like just in a completely dark room. You literally cannot see your hand in front of you darkness just to be still within and see what will show up. It was a profoundly beautiful experience. Wow, I have so many questions about that. Mostly not very appropriate salt. Wow. Mmm hmm. Yeah, well, okay, so tell me more about now so the books out I know the books been out for a few years now you’ve got a lot other stuff going on coaching programs we’ve got you know, things that you’re you’re things that you’re doing with people, you’ve got these side adventures and expeditions that you’re doing yourself. So tell me more about what the mission moving forward is for nirvana? So now with fear Vana? Yeah, we have I mean, the long term our our goal is to build this whole ecosystem of products and services. Under this ethos of fear Ivana to help people do those kind of three things First, transform their relationship to struggle, in order to find live and love their worthy struggle. And that’s kind of life right. If I find my path, live that path and love the journey that’s the essence to a blissful, meaningful life. And so we currently have like a fear of on a fuel supplement line, I have digital training programs called the fear chasers Alliance, where I go deep into mindset stuff around everything under the umbrella of mastery and growth. We are launching a fear of on a clothing line, we’re going to eventually launch like fear, vana fitness Nirvana adventures, we’re gonna retreats like this whole ecosystem under the umbrella and that’s the business in the brand. And I’ve partnered with people way smarter than myself in the various categories. And my role is kind of to be the face of nirvana. And I also do these expeditions on the on I wouldn’t even say on the side, they’re more sometimes a full time job training for them. Yeah. Then the work, but I’m like, I would call myself an adventurer and Explorer as well. So I’ve done all kinds of things from again, mountaineering to I was in Antarctica last year, as I mentioned, when I went up to Denali in Alaska, the year Before I was just in Iceland, I wasn’t doing the 10 day darkness retreat, just various these kinds of expeditions on the edge of the human experience, you know, on the edge of the soul, and finding wisdom that I can then bring, bring back into this into the, into this realm, if you will, and use that wisdom I gained from the edge in order to help other people navigate their own darkness and bring light into their own darkness, whatever it may be. So I’m kind of now sort of the face of the brand. And then I partner with people to run the business side of things in the in the identity, and we want to grow into this, this global, we already are global, but really grow into this massive thing all over the all over the globe, where I mean, everybody suffers, right. And I think our collective relationship to suffering is very unhealthy, which is what creates more suffering. So I think your vana is, I don’t mean to say and say this egotistically or arrogantly at all but sort of the cure for the greatest ailment in the human condition, which is our negative relationship with suffering, because if you solve that, then then life is blissful. And ultimately at the core of why we do anything we do, whether it’s like making money or getting a job, getting a house, whatever it is to be happy, fulfilled, inner peace, whatever word you want to use, right? And when you fall in love with suffering, you inevitably create that and that’s what we want to do is help people give the to give them the tools, the resources, the insight, the awareness, to create that life of bliss and meeting whatever it may be for each person. Wow. Again, a pretty big bold mission as well. Okay, well, we will link all of that in the show notes, folks. So I will link on how what’s the easiest way for folks to find you. You can find me on the social media platform I use most is Instagram, fear, Vana. I also my website fear vana.com. And the book is on Amazon in paperback, Kindle Audible 100% of the profits in the book, go to charity. So we support many beautiful causes as well. Yep. And folks, we’ll also have a we’re gonna I’ll have a link to the fear chasers Alliance as well. So you can learn more about that, especially for you thrill seekers out there, I bet to anybody, I bet you I mean, not just thrill seekers, not at all just for thrill seekers. But I got to, I got to imagine that if there’s gotta be some sort of if there’s going to be a retreat, I gotta imagine it’s going to be there’s got to be some sort of, you know, the eventual plan when we do the retreats is we’ll have three levels. Level three will be level three, right? Yeah. Okay. work their way up. So that’s the plan when we do start the in person retreats, but the alliance is for anybody just who wants to grow. It doesn’t have to be for us, Antarctica. Yeah. And mindset is everything folks, as you know, I talk about it all the time, so Akshay Nanavati. I really appreciate you stopping in putting up with the barking dogs. And, you know, being here and sharing your wisdom with my audience. I appreciate you taking the time. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Use something you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible. You have the power to change your relationship with alcohol. Now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com