I first came across Brandon through his website called Pearce on Earth by way of a Tim Ferriss “Case Study: What Does a 4-Hour Workweek Look Like … With a Family?” Brandon had written a story on his site called “Do Emotions Affect the Body?” and I was immediately struck by his integrity and honesty.
I instantly felt a connection and thought, “this is a man after my own heart”, with how open and truthful he expressed his emotions in his acceptance of himself working through his own health issue. As Oriah Mountain Dreamer conveys in her poem “The Invitation”, Brandon came across as ‘real’ and I felt he would be someone I would enjoy having a conversation with.
First of all, it’s not common for a man to talk about his emotions let alone personal health issues unless it’s possibly “testosterone” related and I wanted to learn more. Since last December, I had experienced some shifts of my own, working on personal issues and was intrigued with the synchronicity of his post and resources, especially exploration of something with subconscious depth rather than just physical ― breathing workshops and qigong practices.
As an introduction, when first meeting someone what may typically be asked is, “What do you do?” But, in this guest interview with Brandon I am most interested first in “Who are you?” in your own words and I would like to know, “What you are about?” as a lead in to our subject on emotions and triggers. So, let’s go first to the Introduction:
Who are you and what are you about?
(PR) I love your family photos and stories and it’s exciting to read of your adventurous family travels and successful work as an Internet CEO/Consultant. Can you tell us about yourself and family, what brought you to Ubud, Bali and why you do what you do?
(BP) Thanks for the chance to share my story. It’s quite a long series of events that led us Bali, so I’ll summarize as best I can. I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, married young (22) and started a family.
I’m also a musician (pianist, composer, singer) and a former computer programmer. While in college, I was teaching piano lessons on the side and decided to create a website to help me track billing and scheduling in my studio. I later turned this into a business that grew to the point where I could quit my full-time programming job.
I soon realized that the direction I was heading in life would have led to a bigger house and nicer car (more comfort and luxury), but not much personal growth. Rather than focus on materialism and achievement, like the culture around me promoted, I wanted to experience other cultures, meet different people, learn new languages, and expand my horizons.
My family decided to shake things up a little by selling almost everything we owned and moving to Costa Rica. We stayed there almost two years, while also traveling occasionally to surrounding countries. After our third daughter was born, we moved onto Asia, eventually settling in Bali. These days, I spend about 5-10 hours per week running my business, and the rest doing things that are more fulfilling to me.
What have been some of the key shifts in your life?
(PR) You’ve had exciting things happen in your life and with your family and you’ve had to make difficult choices and as a result I’m sure there were changes with definite shifts.
(BP) First, when my father-in-law lost his job, I realized that there is no such thing as job security when you work for someone else, and I determined to create my own source of income. Next was the shift I mentioned above about not wanting to stagnate in my growth. Third was a huge one, when, after we moved abroad and had more time for introspection and study, we realized that the religion we grew up in was not all it claimed to be.
This discovery completely shattered our worldview and left us without an identity or a framework with which to interpret the world. We had to start over and recreate ourselves and our beliefs. We also received some backlash and ostracism from family and friends back home, who couldn’t understand our decision to leave the church, and made up their own reasons to explain why we did, from being deceived by the devil to not being strong enough to keep the commandments. This period was certainly an emotional roller coaster for us.
What emotions were triggered in these shifts?
(PR) I know in my life a trigger may be just a little thing repeatedly showing up as if to get my attention or an old hurt resurfacing in a disagreement ― ‘stuff’ presenting itself when we haven’t listened or acknowledged seriously.
(BP) I felt a lot of fear surrounding each shift. Fear is usually forward focused, and because I was stepping into unfamiliar territory, I didn’t know what to expect. I was also afraid of what other people would think of my decisions and how it would affect relationships. On the other hand, I also felt excited that I was discovering more and making progress in my growth. I felt exhilarating freedom and bliss.
I also felt anger because I believed I had been lied to by the culture and religion I was raised in. But I suppressed much of this anger until recently as I was taught growing up that it’s an inappropriate emotion.
I also felt guilt and regret for how I acted under the influence of those belief systems, and the judgmental ways I treated those around me. I’ve feared not being able to take care of my family. I’ve feared being wrong or making a fool of myself. I guess you could say I’ve felt a whole range of emotions, like most people.
In your post “Do Emotions Affect the Body?” you mention you have stories of different emotions that were released, or integrated. Can you talk more about what that means?
(PR) It seems when emotions come on or appear to take over we ride them out without giving much thought to them after they’ve passed. I think it’s only when we take notice and observe, feel what is happening that we learn and grow.
(BP) I’ve begun to notice that when I feel uncomfortable emotions, I tend to resist them, to judge them, to try to control, sedate, or heal them. Or I try to understand them mentally and make up stories about what they mean and why I’m feeling them. I think this is very normal, but I’m no longer convinced it’s healthy. This is more a form of emotional suppression and is a part of myself I’m not accepting.
So, instead of resisting these emotions, I allow them to be. I try to embrace them and let them run their course within me. Sometimes this moves me to tears. Sometimes to shouting. But the end result is usually a huge sense of relief, lightness, ease, and sometimes even mental understanding and clarity.
I’m also considering the possibility that emotions can become “trapped” within the body, triggering further emotional pain, and even causing physical problems.
What gave you the specific courage needed to take action?
(PR) Most times we’re comfortable enough to just settle ― not wanting to make waves or turn our lives upside down without knowing how it will turn out in the end.
(BP) I guess I value growth over comfort. Being able to handle feelings of discomfort, and even embracing that feeling, allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and put me into situations where I could grow much more than if I had stayed where everything was comfortable. I guess a part of me always knew this was important, even before I knew what I was doing consciously.
Were there any changes in your body as a result of these emotions, shifts and decisions?
(PR) Physical symptoms can show up in our bodies from worry and stress ― headaches, sleep deprivation, irregular digestion.
(BP) Within the past couple years, I had developed irritable bowel syndrome, which affected me multiple times per week, despite several medical tests and pills. Once I started dealing with these emotions, the symptoms reduced significantly, to the point where they are now almost gone. I’m also feeling healthier, more “alive” and present as I go about my day.
Currently, where are you today after personal works you’ve done with the shifts and changes and would you do anything different?
(PR) Life has a funny way of reminding us of unfinished business ― most of the time the reminders are gentle and subtle easy to dismiss and then there are other times when it knocks you on your butt.
(BP) I’m just trying to enjoy every aspect of life as it comes to me. I still get irritated when the Internet goes out, or when I get interrupted in my work or study. But it’s an opportunity to look inside myself again and embrace these emotions, and any others similar to it that I’ve buried for far too long.
Likewise, I try to experience more fully the beauties of nature and the pleasures of the senses. Bliss can be found even in the most mundane acts.
These days, I’m also focusing more on creativity, writing, music, and making personal connections with the people around me. I’m in a mode of experimenting and experiencing life. I’m loving the journey and look forward to seeing where it leads.
I humbly thank Brandon for being my guest and sharing pieces of his personal life. I don’t know how anyone could possibly be more real and comfortable in expressing him and his life ― I honor that.
It is the process I’m learning on my path which is why his stories resonate with me. I have felt strongly in my heart on a number of things but when it bubbles up and comes out it doesn’t look the same. I don’t know what happens in between. I suppose it’s what an artist feels when he/she has a picture inside but can’t quite capture it on canvas.
Brandon has the gift of capturing what’s in his heart in how he lives his life and tells his story and I hope you will visit his sites and watch his journey.
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table