200 episodes

The Gentle Rebel Podcast is a monthly podcast for quietly creative misfits, hosted by Andy Mort. It explores how to live a meaningful life as a sensitive creative type person, without getting overwhelmed by all the noise of our modern world.



Andy shares his experiences as a creative and sensitive introvert, in a world that doesn’t seem to stop shouting, assuming, and demanding. In order to help listeners find the courage and perspective required to make their own quiet stand for what truly matters in life to them.

The Gentle Rebel Podcast Andy Mort

    • Self Help
    • 4.9, 22 Ratings

The Gentle Rebel Podcast is a monthly podcast for quietly creative misfits, hosted by Andy Mort. It explores how to live a meaningful life as a sensitive creative type person, without getting overwhelmed by all the noise of our modern world.



Andy shares his experiences as a creative and sensitive introvert, in a world that doesn’t seem to stop shouting, assuming, and demanding. In order to help listeners find the courage and perspective required to make their own quiet stand for what truly matters in life to them.

    Let Go

    Let Go

    The ultimate salvation, according to Alan Watts, is to let go of ourselves and our resistance to death.

    We are unable to stop changing. It’s impossible. We can’t hang onto ourselves. Yet we try with all our might to hang onto ourselves as we think we were and as we believe we are. We might build our lives on a drive to resist our change, which raises the awareness of our own mortality.

    What if it’s actually our drive to resist death that is causing us so much resistance to life itself?



    Memento mori

    Memento mori is a call to be mindful of death. An idea encouraged in different ways by a variety of religions and philosophy. It is not telling us to obsess or worry about death, but rather to be free within its presence.

    To be mindful of death is to let go of its threat. And it allows us to be mindful of the deep meaning of life.

    I’ve been asked many times if my job as an undertaker gets me down. Working in and around death all the time must take its toll. “Urgh, that’s depressing”, comes the response from some people when I tell them what I do.

    Yes, it is certainly unusual and a bit of a weird place to find myself. And I find it hard to see people distraught in grief, and struggling within their loss. Unable to bring back what has gone from them. But no, it’s not depressing. It’s very rare that I have a day when I look around me and say ‘everything is meaningless so what’s the point? It doesn’t matter what we do, we all wind up dead’.

    Holding onto Disempowerment

    Many of us might worry that dwelling on the reality of our death will take us into a place of in-action and disempowerment. My experience of reality is quite the opposite. In fact some of the most disempowered people I know are those who will not entertain the truth that they are going to die.

    Whether or not we are mindful of death, death still comes to us all. But memento mori helps us find meaning in life before we take our final breath. And it allows us to let go of the stories, beliefs, and ideas that we use to resist our own sense of mortality. The stories, beliefs, and ideas that actually bring death and stagnation to everyday life.

    When we’re not mindful of death, we become disempowered, and deny ourselves the possibility of real change. When we’re not mindful of death, we deny the potential futures that we can bring to life if we let go of the stagnant waste in which we are treading water. Death comes before life, just like the Spring requires Fall.

    Let Go of the Life Raft

    In order to grow, become, and develop throughout our lives, we need to be mindful (and embracing) of death. It’s what makes life possible. Otherwise we ourselves stagnate. We do the same things over and over. Stuck in ruts, and clinging onto old ways, old ideas, and old beliefs, like life-rafts on a dead pond.

    We spend life bobbing around a body of stagnant water, clinging to these things that are eroding in our hands. Not realising, that if we just let go, the water is shallow and the bed is firm. We can stand up and we can walk onwards. Out. Up. Beyond.

    What happens at the end of a life spend trying to cling on to our life raft? When we dedicate ourselves to deny, conceal, and suppress the fact that death is inevitable? We still die. Perhaps just with more regrets, less freedom, and the realisation that all those immortality projects to which we’ve dedicated ourselves. They didn’t achieve the desired outcome.

    If You Want a Better Grip, You’ve Got to Let Go

    It was 2008. I was sat at my desk, distracted and discouraged. Another day, overwhelmed by the work I needed to do in order to finish my degree. I’d start one thing and feel punched in the face by all the other things that weren’t getting done.

    • 48 min
    Luxury

    Luxury

    In week six of The Artist’s Way, Recovering a Sense of Abundance, Julia Cameron focusses on our relationship with luxury and limitation.

    It is a fascinating theme to explore. All about that strange and difficult relationship many of us have with ideas around wealth, money, and materialism. It looks at the ingrained messages we have built into our lives about who we are and what we feel we deserve.

    There is a difference between ‘Fake Luxury‘ (a judgement we place on others). And ‘True Luxury’ (a freedom we grant ourselves).





    Our Relationship With The Idea of Luxury

    We often think of Luxury as something other people enjoy. Not us.

    “Oh I wish I had the luxury of a lie in” or “if only I had the luxury of a four bedroom house”.

    In this sense, luxury becomes a foundation for dissatisfaction, envy, and even resentment. Luxury is an external; enjoyed by others. It is lavish and extravagant. Beyond what we can ever possibly have for ourselves.

    But as we explore in this month’s podcast, true luxury is something to which we ALL have access.

    Luxury of Introversion and Sensitivity

    As self-awareness and understanding increases, there is a transition which I see over time with people I work alongside. In the early days, there’s a sense that something is lacking. A kind of poverty, where to them, it feels like they are missing something that others have.

    We might look at extroverts and wish we had the luxury of their confidence or approach to life or whatever. Then, over time it starts to become evident that the luxury isn’t in the external appearance, but it’s found on the inside.

    True luxury is in the self-awareness and the ability of a self-aware person to better manage their natural preferences and tendencies, rather than resenting, and working against them. As we learn more about introversion and sensitivity, we step into a place of luxury.

    No longer do we need to feel alone, weird, or like we are lacking something. There are many of us, we are weirdly normal, and we are enough. We have enough. We are equipped to learn what we need in order to thrive.

    Dropping A Wet Blanket On Other People

    Julia Cameron talks about a formidable artist friend of hers, who has disappeared into ‘Wet Blanket Mode’. When she told him about the horse she bought, he responded by saying, “well, I hope you don’t expect to get to ride it much or even see it much. As you get older, you do less and less of the things you enjoy. Life becomes more and more about doing what you must….”

    You can probably recognise that kind of mentality. Maybe someone specific comes to mind. A particular situation. Where your excitement about something new was brought to a crashing halt by someone who projected all their own dissatisfaction onto you. Julia Cameron continues…

    “Although not yet fifty, he has already been singled out for lifetime achievement awards. Nonetheless, this is an artist suffering in the throes of artistic anorexia. Although he continues to work, he does so at greater and greater cost to himself.

    Why, he sometimes wonders to himself, does his life’s work now feel so much like his life’s work?

    Why? Because he has denied himself luxury. Let me be clear that the luxury I am talking about here has nothing to do with penthouse views, designer clothes, zippy foreign sports cars, or first-class travel. This man enjoys all those privileges, but what he doesn’t enjoy is his life.

    He has denied himself the luxury of time: time with friends, time with family, above all, time to himself with no agendas of preternatural...

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Becoming

    Becoming

    What are we becoming? Who are you becoming? Where are we emerging?

    We are currently experiencing a strange combination of uncertainty, change, and stasis. The future feels a little difficult to fathom. So I wanted to share some thoughts on these ideas because I think we all need a little bit of gentle reassurance and hope.

    To ‘become’ is neither good nor bad. It just is. It’s a fact. Everything and everyone is in a constant state of becoming, whether we believe it or not. We are always becoming, and we never fully arrive.





    Becoming and Coaching

    Coaching fast-tracks intentional becoming. From where you are to where you’re going next. And the coaching process give the coachee autonomy over where they want to go, and ultimately, how they will choose to get there.

    I have come to really love this process. Especially when I get to delve into surprising discoveries and breakthroughs with clients. When the person they thought they were becoming, and the goals they thought mattered most, turn out to be less important to them than they thought.

    When this happens, the becoming is about getting unstuck, un-wedding, and releasing ourselves from the stories we thought were true. And aligning our next steps and actions with a fresh sense of what and who is next.

    Becoming is about changing, transforming, evolving, growing, developing, exploring, following, leading, testing, trying, experimenting, learning, observing, noticing, reflecting, emerging, honing, whittling, crafting, deciding, culling, removing, reviewing. It can’t be rushed. The process lasts forever, and the results don’t last for long. There is no agenda or motive.

    The Possibility of an Entire You

    Within a single acorn is the possibility of an entire oak tree. A whole oak tree is inside that tiny little seed. That’s pretty mad when you think about it.

    It’s the same with everything…Human beings. You. Me. Everyone we know.

    The entire possibility of who we are was in that tiny little egg when we were conceived. The possibility of all we have become and are continuing to become. Out of that moment in space and time we have emerged and are emerging.

    What if Nothing is Missing?

    We often move through life with the attitude that something is missing. We search high and low. Every new idea is a chance to discover the magic secret. This leads us to believe that getting this mysterious missing part will help us to find ourselves, discover our purpose, or uncover our calling. These can be dangerous ideas. And are directly related to the image we have of the universe.

    I’ve recently been listening to Out of Your Mind, a collection of seminars and talks by Alan Watts. It’s been an amazing companion to me during lockdown. The recording opens with him speaking about the power of language in framing our basic image of the world. For most of us in The West, this image (myth) is one of two main models: The Ceramic Model and/or The Fully Automatic Model.

    Myths (images) of the Universe

    1. The Ceramic Model of the Universe

    This is based on the book of Genesis, from which Judaism, Islam, and Christianity derive their basic picture of the world.

    This image sees the world as an artefact. It is made in the same way a potter takes clay and makes pots, or a carpenter takes wood and makes tables and chairs. This sees God as a technician, who has in mind a plan, and fashions the universe in accordance with that plan.

    2. The Fully-Automatic Model of the Universe

    The original model has everything responding to and obeying ‘the plan’. Watts suggests that Science allowed people to hold this image without needing to believe in God. Because the hypothesis of God doesn’t help us make p...

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Static

    Static

    The word ‘static’ has been on my mind this month. Since Jacob Nordby used it when talking about ‘connection‘. I’ve been thinking about different types of static and how they are showing up at the moment.

    There is a lot of static in the world right now. I’m writing this in a state of lockdown. You may well be reading it in a similar place.

    The COVID-19 outbreak has meant we are in a period of physical stasis, unable to go far and unable to move without good reason. There is a lot of static noise, from the repetitive feedback loops of our news feeds, social media, and email inboxes. And we might be experiencing moments of electrical shock as we rub up against these strange unchartered pathways.

    In this episode of The Gentle Rebel Podcast I look at three specific types of static. We will explore how they show up in unexpected ways, and whether they can even be a potential source of deep joy and possibility.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struggling amidst the static. Swirling shifts in my mood. Jumps from feelings of healthy stasis and balance, to a feeling of being tethered, rooted, and anchored in a place I don’t want to be.

    A lot of us are feeling these tensions. These leaps between moods and feelings. Ebbs and flows. Ups and downs. This is completely normal, and we need to allow them to be. We can’t fight them. But we can sit with them, observe them, and let them pass.





    This Too Shall Pass

    This is a saying I’m hearing a lot at the moment. Most often it is a point of reassurance. That no matter how hard things are, we will move through to the other side of this moment.

    I spoke with someone recently who said she finds the saying a little frightening. And to her it’s actually a voice of foreboding joy. It tells us that no matter how good things are right now, it wont last. “Oh yeah. Wow. True.” I thought.

    We load a saying with our own meaning. We project what we need into things like that. The simple truth it contains is this: change is inevitable. Even when things seem static, they are still transforming at some level.

    This situation is changing us, it’s changing the way we show up in the world, and it’s changing the state of the world itself. Within an acorn there resides an oak tree. Not all at once. Not yet fully formed. But it’s in there. From every word, situation, and moment resides the possibility of what it will become.

    Static as Stillness

    On the one hand static is balance, rootedness, and a solid foundation. And on the other hand, it is stuckness, imprisonment, and lockdown.

    “An anchor keeps a vessel at bay, planted in the harbour, unable to explore the freedom of the sea” – The Minimalists

    Isn’t that the whole point? An anchor is a tool to prevent the boat from drifting away with the wind or current. It doesn’t restrict the vessel. It protects it. Surely?

    I remember finding this quote rather challenging idea to get my head around at first. The notion of being anchored had always felt like a compliment. A positive. I thought of anchored people as good people. They have their stuff together, and they’re reliable and trustworthy.

    But as they unpack the idea in the book, it makes more and more sense. They had followed this desired description of being very anchored, and conformed to it in their early 20’s. They climbed the corporate ladder, bought property, and appeared well adjusted to the norms and expectations of the world around them. But this anchoring was stopping them from exploring the world they wanted to see. All these commitments, ideas, material possessions and debts were anchors (weights holding them ...

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Connected

    Connected

    We have woken up to a simple yet profound truth…

    Everything and everyone is connected.

    These are extraordinary times.

    I’ve just returned from my ‘one form of daily outdoor exercise’. And I write this, locked down at home, during a global pandemic. I never thought I’d write that sentence in a non-fiction context. Weird. It’s all quite surreal.

    Moments like this bring all the things we take for granted into focus. And we gain clarity on the under-the-surface norms and ideologies that underpin our beliefs and values. The more we disconnect and physically isolate, the more we can see how connected we truly are.

    Everything impacts everything else.

    Emotions, information, and ideas spread like subsidiary metaphorical viruses from one person to the next. Markets crash when the proverbial butterfly wings flap gently on the other side of the world. And the image of a single shelf of empty toilet paper can lead to mass hysteria and global panic buying of something that wasn’t a problem until it became a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Everything is Connected

    In this month’s podcast I decided to develop this theme of connection. So I connected with friends (some old and some new), and invited them to share some encouragement during this period of uncertainty and upheaval.

    It’s turned into the longest episode I’ve ever produced. I had a great time putting it together, and am excited to share the lovely responses from my big hearted gentle rebel friends. I asked them two questions: ‘how are you connecting right now?’ And ‘what does this make possible for you, for us, and for the world?’





    How are You Connecting Right Now?

    We are connecting with other people in different ways. We are connecting with new parts of ourselves. And we are connecting with aspects of society that have been inaccessible until now.



    We are Connecting With Others

    “It’s wonderful to have this technology. In a time when we must physically distance, we don’t actually have to socially distance.” – Mark Pierce

     

    “Even though I’m an introvert, I know my limits. And I know that it can feel easy for me to go days without seeing anyone in person. But I still desperately need to connect with others. I need to be heard, and I need to hear others. And ideally I need to see them, even if it’s just on video. I just need to remember that.” – Cat Rose

     

    “I am connected more with my friends, and I even connect more with my family at home. Because we are doing things like playing games and spending time together which we don’t often do.” – Lydia Wilmsen

     

    “There have been moments of connection with strangers. Exchanging eye contact which says ‘this is weird isn’t it?’ There’s a moment of connection there. This shared loneliness is making it all a bit less lonely.” – Neil Hughes

     

    “The family Zoom conference was such a rich experience for us. We laughed and reminded each other of how much we care. These digital tools can be used to continue spreading fear, static, and frustration in the world. Or it can provide a forum for laughter, where there’s real connection.” – Jacob Nordby





    We Can Connect With Ourselves

    “The world is slowing down. And it’s really tangible. We can feel it. We’re all part of this. We all contribute. And this global quiet is a result of all of us slowing down.” – Ben Fizell

     

    “I’m connecting on the inside. I’m meditating and spending time doing inner work. And it’s such an empowering feeling because I don’t ...

    • 1 hr 38 min
    Quitting

    Quitting

    We can attach a lot of meaning to the idea of ‘quitting’. Whether it’s the judgement that ‘winners DON’T quit’, ‘winners know WHEN to quit’, or the mantra that ‘quitting is the only real failure’.

    There are obviously times when these ideas are helpful to remember and they carry elements of truth. But they are definitely not philosophies of life. They are far too simplistic.

    Quitting carries a whole load of baggage as a word. And much of the messaging is oozing shame from its heart when you drill down a bit. A negative picture of what it means to quit is never far away from shame (a story we believe about ourselves that we want to keep hidden).





    We quit when we believe the story we tell ourselves. For example, ‘I’m a failure, I can’t get anything right’ (I will just quit!) Or, ‘I must shut up and be grateful. I can’t get above my station, and just remember how lucky I am to have a job at all given how useless I am…’ (I can’t quit!)

    Should I stay or should I go?

    Yes.

    Quitting is neither positive or negative. It’s simply a helpful option that is always there. We can remember this when we quieten that voice of shame.

    As Brené Brown points out in her work, the best tool we have against the destructive force of shame is vulnerability. It’s to name the shame, and tell the story. Only when we do this does the power balance shift.

    Blackmail and Internal Ransom Notes

    Shame is like a blackmailer, holding you ransom with a secret that you don’t want anyone to know. ‘Do what I say or else I’m going to reveal your humiliating secret to the world!’

    It’s not always big things. In fact, it works its insidious way under our skin with the smallest things.



    * Making a mistake at work (‘typical, it’s crazy that you still have a job…don’t tell anyone about this, they’ll know how useless you are’).

    * Building a new relationship (‘You’re ugly, they’re never going to like the real you’).

    * Disappointment (‘Don’t tell anyone it didn’t work out as you hoped. It makes you look stupid. I told you not to get excited!’)

    * Around Others (‘Everyone is happier without me. They’re joking and laughing together. They don’t want me here’).



    Shame tells us a story about ourselves and about the world. And it demands that we keep it a secret. And we respond by staying around against our will, or dropping everything and leaving against our will.

    Shame drives spiralling debts, affairs, addiction, and unhealthy patterns of behaviour. Because it tells us ‘no one can know’. It traps us within fear and silence.

    The Perfect Crime

    There is a modern phishing scam that I’ve seen over the past few years. It taps into shame in a big way, using the weapon of ‘sextortion’.

    It tells the recipient that there is proof of them doing something (e.g. watching porn). They tell the potential victim that they have planted malware on their device, and have access to the camera and their entire address book. They’re told that if they don’t want to be humiliated they can simply pay a large but not obscene amount of money (bitcoin), and the problem will go away. The most advanced ones will even have a very old password in the subject line, to deepen the sense of legitimacy.

    There are a huge number of victims of this. Why? Shame. And many many more victims who will never admit they fell victim. Why? Shame.

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

Akanicola ,

Really good

Listened to the podcast on social hangovers today, and i appreciated how it affirmed an experience I have a lot and am only recently learning how to notice and cope with better. The advice given was thoughtful and kind, and it's the first time I've ever really found advice on this aspect of my life, and the advice itself was based on experience and attended to the complexity of what goes on for you after social situations

Viola1916 ,

Great podcast

Just heard one episode about creativity and resistance. Very articulate and inspiring, plus informative of helpful literature. Just subscribed and will listen again.

mikewoosey ,

Great

Good words of inspiration for starting the day. Lots of interesting topics that I never really thought about.

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