The Gentle Rebel Podcast is a podcast for quietly creative misfits, hosted by Andy Mort. It explores how we might slow down and become more aware of what's going on, both in and around us. So that we might live life with more meaning and intention, and without becoming overwhelmed by all the noise, absurdity, and posturing of today's world.
Andy is a songwriter and professional slow coach; and he shares his experiences of a world that won't stop shouting, assuming, and demanding. He asks how we might take better care of ourselves and each other, so that we can nurture the courage required to tune into our creative sensitivity and change the world from the inside out. Are you ready to join the gentle rebel alliance?
359 | What Script Are You Writing For Your Life? (with John Perry)
"You can’t make choices that don’t occur to you."
This is a simple truth worth considering. And it sits at the heart of what we're digging into on this week's podcast, which revolves around my conversation with psychotherapist, coach, and trainer, John Perry.
I first encountered John in November 2021 when he led a brilliant three day Transactional Analysis training workshop for the Coaching Academy. In one of the sessions John uttered those words..."you can't make choices that don't occur to you".
It stopped me in my tracks. Wow! I don't think THAT had really occurred to me before. At least not in an overt way. And in many ways it seems to sum up a core premise of Transactional Analysis, which is about expanding our options and perspective, so we can choose the most useful way to show up in any given situation.
We cover a LOT of ground in this conversation, and talk about:
* The core ideas of Transactional Analysis, such as Ego States, OK-ness, and Transaction Types
* How 'Rubber Band Experiences' can take us back into an adaptive child state where we draw on behaviours that helped us cope when we were young
* Where "contamination" can lead us to act out of character, and how we might recognise it in the way we construct our understanding of the world
* How ulterior transactions can leave us (and others) with muddled and confused experiences after an engagement - the importance of saying what you mean
* Why we should never underestimate the importance of kindness
* The role of the 'Stroke Economy' in our need for recognition as a social animal and the different types of strokes we give and receive on a daily basis
* Why the call to 'Try Hard' can become a sabotaging crutch and a reason it can become impossible for some people achieve goals
* How the word 'try' tricks the brain into anticipating resistance and failure, and turns achievable goals and desires into insurmountable challenges
* The signs of 'Slot Rattling' (going from one extreme to the other) and how it can be detrimental to helping our relationship with drivers
* The difference between writing a winning and non-winning (losing or bland) life script and how we might change the style and content in the next chapter
* Why a winning life script doesn't always look like success, and why what appear to be success to the outside world might actually be symptoms of a losing life script for the individual
* And a load more!
Over to You
Did anything in particular resonate with you in our conversation? Did you experience any interesting aha moments? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below or on social media!
If you enjoyed this conversation and you want to a bit dive deeper, join me over on Patreon where I share John's essay on 'Constructive Alternativism': https://patreon.com/andymort
358 | The Play Is In The Person, Not In The Toy
What is play? How does it look, feel, and sound to you? What's the point of it? What gives rise to it? What hinders it? How did we engage with it as kids? How do we hold it as adults?
These are a handful of the questions we are prodding at in this week's episode.
It's my hope that it gives your imagination a little spark and leaves you feeling ready to bring more play to your day.
We will take a trip down memory lane and think about some of our experiences of play as children. And consider what happens to our relationship with play as we grow up. Oh and the (unintended) impact our words and actions might have on the play and imagination in the minds of future generations.
"As both adults and children, do you think we allow ourselves less and less of this open, ‘pointless’ time? I think so, and yet it is in this time that the mind can freewheel, new connections are made, new ideas are born." - Michael Rosen's Book of Play
Am I Doing It Right?
Play is absolutely foundational to human life. It's at the core of emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual well-being and development. But it's not just about what we do. It influences our relationship with everything we do. And it can influence every aspect of life, from the cradle to the grave.
The more play we invite into our lives, the more meaning, joy, and gentleness we will begin to notice and experience. Both in ourselves and in the world around us.
The Fewer Toys Children Have, The More They Play
Through her research into the potential impacts of excessive toys, Claire Lerner reported that children, “get overwhelmed and over-stimulated and cannot concentrate on any one thing long enough to learn from it so they just shut down. Too many toys mean they are not learning to play imaginatively either.”
We have been looking at this article in The Haven, and considering its implications and applications for adults too. Could we do more with less? Are we doing ourselves a disservice by using specific (closed) tools, toys, and technology to solve every little problem we encounter?
In the episode we also think about:
* The impact of associating "make believe" with a sense of lack or deprivation
* How getting 'the proper one' can crush imaginative play
* Why learning to surf on a styrofoam lid or using a stool as a drum, are not inhibitors to progress but fuel for it
* How imagination can get chipped away over time as we become subservient to the so called 'real world'
* The question that haunts our relationship with play... "am I doing it right?"
* The difference between 'exploration mode' and 'play mode' with our toys (and how too much choice hinders our relationship with the latter)
* How 'out of the box' solutions can only take us so far, and why it's worth creating conditions for flexibility
* The danger of shrinking public spaces for play and connection, and how this limits our ability to imagine to the realm of those who own the physical and virtual real-estate
* How we could apply child-initiated play to our relationship with play as adults (and what we can do to build play into the fabric of our environment rather than seeing it as an activity to set up and tidy away)
Over to You
What role does play currently have in your life? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the ideas in this episode.
357 | Strength and Sensitivity (with Kendra Patterson)
We are kicking off 2022 thinking about the theme of "strength". In particular with relation to creativity, sensitivity, and gentleness - words not associated with traditional notions of 'strength'.
I love thinking about the subversive strength of sensitivity. We can find great joy from noticing, feeling, and experiencing the world at a deep sensory level. And this is a great strength when it comes to nurturing creativity, compassion, and connection around our lives.
But you don't need me to tell you how uncomfortable and difficult this can also be at times. It might not feel like we have much strength on the backdrop of a harsh and hostile world.
Strength isn't always the obvious course of action. It is essentially the capacity of something to endure without disintegrating. To maintain its character in the presence of stresses, strains, and tensions. This doesn't necessarily mean always forcefully resisting or fighting things.
Bowing and Flexing
Last year we thought about the image of the 'bow' and how a tree flexes in respect to the force of wind. Not to submit or cede power it, but to absorb the impact, and strengthen itself against it.
People often talk about "holding their ground", "not giving an inch", and "standing firm" as forms of power. But in many circumstances these can actually lead to fragility and weakness.
What if real empowerment came from nurturing more space to choose our response and use the appropriate tools in any given situation?
In this episode of the podcast I share the recent conversation I had with Kendra Patterson. We introduce some of the ideas we will be exploring around Strength this month in The Haven.
I hope it helps remind you that sensitivity, gentleness, play, creativity, vulnerability, collaboration etc, can be huge sources of strength in our world. And that the episode gives you some ideas for how you can fuel your gentle burning core with more of who you are deep down as you step foot into 2022.
In The Episode Kendra and I Chat About:
* Why true strength is underpinned by vulnerability
* The characteristics of integrity, and how strength emerges from things (and people) working together not against one another
* The dangers of falling for the belief that we need to thicken our skin in order to succeed
* How isolation, separation, and disintegration from unprocessed thoughts/feelings like envy and resentment can leave us weak and dis-empowered (plus ideas for countering this)
* And more...
Over to You
What does 'strength' mean to you? I'd love to hear your response. Please leave your response in the comments below, or get in touch via email/social media
Get in Touch
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* Get the Extended Play Private Podcast: https://patreon.com/andymort
* Listen to my music: https://music.andymort.com/
* Learn More About The Haven: https://the-haven.co
356 | Picking Up The Pieces When Things Fall Apart (with Sarah Santacroce)
Wow, what a difference a year makes.
Sarah Santacroce launched her first book, The Gentle Marketing Revolution in February 2021. It was during 'Random Acts of Kindness' week when we last spoke.
Two weeks after that conversation Sarah received an email, followed by a cease and desist letter from a lawyer representing a client who had just registered the trademark, 'Gentle Marketing'. They demanded Sarah immediately stop using the term on her website and in her book.
This was devastating for Sarah and the business she had worked so hard to create.
Picking Up The Pieces When Your World is Shattered
After her invitation to connect and find a way to make things work were rejected Sarah made a decision. She wasn't going to pour her energy into fighting. She wanted to surrender from a position of inner strength and creativity.
She now has a new business name (Humane Marketing) and has already redesigned much of what she had previously built.
The term gentle marketing represents something that doesn't change. The words are not the thing. While the container has transformed, the content hasn't...the values, vision, and approach stays the same. And Sarah has truly lived out her commitment to those things throughout this year.
I wanted to get Sarah back on the podcast to talk about her journey because I know it's been really tough. There's been a long dark night of the soul, and as we've been exploring recently on the podcast, a lot of noise from beyond her control.
I've been inspired by the way Sarah has gone about picking up the pieces. And while there's still a long way to go, her story so far already has a lot to feel hopeful and encouraged by. She's living out the values she has talked about through her gentle marketing work over the years. Proving that she is ready to walk the talk.
Against The Grain
The instinct might be to react to a situation like this. To fight. To do something and force it. Sarah recognised the cost of such a move. It can lead us away from where we need to be, and leave us with more work down the line.
I hope you find inspiration in Sarah's story too. As we move into another new year it feels like a good moment to think about the kind of world we want to be part of creating. To acknowledge that things outside of our control might happen to hit us for six. To slow down and surrender to the dark night of the soul. And remind ourselves that we get to choose how to respond to these things in accordance with the vision and deep core values we carry with us.
In our conversation we talk about:
* Why looking at work emails in the evening can be a bad idea
* The non-humane or gentle systems we have to engage with...and why we don't need to act in accordance with their normal mode of operating
* How to gently hold space for your values when the rubber hits the road and life is turned upside down
* Why we still believe in values of open source, sharing, and collaborating (even if it means other people will take from us)
* How to recognise a dark night of the soul when you're unable to see anything silver or shiny in the lining
* The power of connection when you only see what you don't have - other people can help you see what you've already built
* How the most effective and creative "doing" always comes from a place of acceptance and being
* How things can transform rapidly when we first slow down, settle, and make peace with our position
* The choice we can make about the type of energy we want to invest in our response to negative situations
* Plus a load of other things...
Check out Sarah's new website here: a href="htt...
354 | Tune Into YOUR Frequency
This is the third part of the series, Beyond The Noise: Respond to Life’s Clutter On YOUR Serene and Creative Frequency series.
In last week’s episode we looked at the position we take in relation to life's noise. Are we empowered or disempowered?
In this part we will be manoeuvring into a position of awareness so we might recognise the things we CAN change.
We've defined serenity as the calmness, clarity and confidence to engage with life in step with our personal vision and in alignment with our core values.
We feel serene by acknowledging we're in the right place, doing the right thing, at this particular time. It is a sense of deep acceptance and peace in this moment. And this will help us identify the frequency on which WE WANT to CHOOSE to operate.
In this episode we will think about:
* Inside-Out Boundaries - how a good 'no' to what we don't want starts with a 'yes' to what we DO want
* The difference between passivity and acceptance (and how we might distinguish between them for ourselves)
* The importance of the words we use when it comes to embracing a position of power in relation to the noise
* How to identify clear and simple actions you COULD take next
The Return to Serenity Island (Responding to the Fog of Noise)
We might know the fog is there when we are unable to see the path ahead. It leaves us struggling for a sense of direction, and it can cause us to lose our feeling of belonging on the map altogether.
We might be waiting for it to blow over, or we might be fighting it in an effort to ‘just keep moving’ at all costs.
But the noise keeps coming. And life seems to be happening around us, as we drift like passive observers rather than active participants.
It's time to become a playful participant in your own adventure story again.
What is waiting for you beyond the fog?
I want to invite you on an adventure.
It's time to connect with the beauty of your unconventional life, and begin writing the next chapter of your story.
What part do you want to play in your story of being and becoming?
Learn more about The Return to Serenity Island Course here.
353 | Sorting Through The Internal Clutter
This is the second part of the series, Beyond The Noise: Respond to Life’s Clutter On YOUR Serene and Creative Frequency series.
In last week's episode we looked at 'Feedback Loops' and how external sensory information can become overwhelming noise. We also thought about the biggest sources of noise for us right now.
In this part we will consider the way we respond to the second question I recently asked subscribers to my newsletter..."What is one thing that would make you feel more serene about your noisy situation?"
I am interested to explore how we approach our response to this question. Where do we position our sense of power in relation to life's noise?
* Are we in a place of personal empowerment? Where we are able to identify what we want and are able to do to address the noise.
* Are we feeling disempowered? Defining the "one thing that would make us feel better" as something outside our control. For example a change in someone else's behaviour or a lottery win.
* Or are we somewhere in between? Knowing what we can't change and telling ourselves we need to accept and be at peace with that. But without a plan to take ourselves away from the source of noise.
In this part of the series we look into the default position to which we tend to jump. We will consider ways in which we can change the stories we tell ourselves so we can recalibrate and re-orientate ourselves in relation to the challenging situations and people that cause us stress.
Do you recognise one or more of these default reactions?
* Other people just need to grow up and change
* I need to suck it up and just get over myself
* I should just keep doing what makes them happy for now...eventually I'm bound to be given the chance to do what I want to do
* I just need to know I'm doing the best I can
* Let's just see how it all pans out - it'll probably blow over eventually
* Someone should do something about this, it's outrageous!
* I need to find someone who will protect or rescue me
We will think about where these positions might come from, and how we might begin changing the story if the current one is no longer serving us.
Inner Clutter From Prohibitions and Injunctions
We might also use internal clutter words like 'ought to', 'should', and 'must' as well as their negative inversions, 'ought not', 'shouldn't', and 'must not', to attempt driving action. But these lead us to feel disempowered and overwhelmed about our situations.
In the next part we will use a simple technique to turn these clutter words inside out. And transform how we frame the actions we will choose to take in the face of noise into calming, powerful, and highly imaginable possibilities that feel good and exciting to us.
A Voice of My Own
At the end of this episode I share a recent guest post that Sophia wrote on The Haven blog.
You can read it here: A Voice of My Own.
Well being oasis
Just found this podcast through episode 319. At a moment when I’m working though isolation as part of nhs. This really hit the spot and I found the episode so relatable. Would recommend for anyone who needs a podcast that comes across a good friend style chat rather than the usual Dr to patient dynamic.
One of my favourites
When much of the world is just a bit too loud or busy, this podcast carves out a creative space to think and be at peace. Andy’s considered and thought-provoking explorations offer fresh perspectives and helpful nudges, along with the comforting reminder that we’re not weird or alone. :) Super soothing (can I say perfect to fall asleep to?) and I wouldn’t want to be without it.
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