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?
09 | How to Stop Being Introverted
"How can I stop being so introverted? Any advice would be very welcome."
I was asked this question for the first time a few years ago. I've been asked it many times since. In fact, the blog post I wrote in response to it was one of the most visited articles on my website.
I wanted to help introverts to move in sync with their natural rhythms instead of resenting them. So I've turned the post into a podcast episode so that we can explore what this might look like in more depth.
Episode Contents* What Do You Want to Stop Being Introverted? | 4:47* Isolation in an Alien World | 8:32* But Everyone Seems So Happy | 13:58* What Do You Mean By "Introverted"? | 20:28* How To Stop Being an Introvert | 23:14* It's About How We Are, Not Who We Are | 25:34* Acting Out of Character | 26:11* The Pros and Cons of Personality Tests | 33:57* Labels and Traps | 41:07* Embracing Who You Are | 44:22
What Do You Want to Stop Being Introverted? | 4:47
It's easy for me to say "just embrace your introversion, it's who you are", but I know it's not that simple. There are good reasons why we might wish we could stop being an introvert. Especially when we compare ourselves with the person we are told to be by society. Our natural preferences don't always fit with the values of a noisy, overstimulating, extrovert-centric world.
It can feel like we don't belong. Like there's something wrong with us. And of course, we might wish we could change that.
Isolation in an Alien World | 8:32
Do you ever get the sense that everyone else is in on something and you missed the meeting?
Have you looked at others and envied how comfortable they are, interacting with an overwhelming world. They appear unfazed by the madness. They know what they’re doing, where they want to go, and what they need to do to get there.
Laurie Helgoe says that this is very common for introverts. An idea she articulates perfectly in Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength.
She describes two kinds of responses introverts might have to an extrovert-centric world:
Shadow Dwelling Introverts:
“Appear (if they can be seen) as reclusive and inaccessible – alien.”
“Do not come off as remote or intimidating because they have almost adapted to the extrovert culture”
The potential problem we might face through these ways of adapting to a noisy world is that they can create alienation. We might become alienated from the world around us as the shadow dweller. Or we alienate ourselves from core parts of who we are deep do...
08 | Create Margin For Inspiration
I don't know about you but sometimes I push myself to the limit and something that would normally inspire me feels like an overwhelming noise. We often stretch ourselves to life's edges. And we squeeze the margin for inspiration to breathe and grow.
Margin is a characteristic of gentleness. It softens the blow of unwanted change and allows inspiration to flow without overwhelming us. But the world often demands productivity, efficiency and the elimination of waste. And in such a place there is little margin for deep and healthy inspiration to truly land.
In this episode of the Gentle Rebel Podcast, we explore what happens to our creative spirit when we live without nurturing margin for inspiration. We will look at the signs to look out for that tell us we're too close to the edge. And we consider the role of rest in life; asking whether it's more than simply the opposite of activity.
Episode Contents* Triggers and Inspiration | 8:29* Trigger Warnings | 10:12* Why Am I Emotionally Reactive? | 14:49* How To Cope When Feeling Triggered | 16:38* The Power of Margins | 19:58* Margins Bring Focus and Clarity* Margins Keep Grubby Fingers Away From The Words* Margins Absorb Excessive Inspiration* Margins Cushion Slips and Bleed* Margins Make Things More Comfortable* Margins Protect The Core* Margins Allow Holes To Be Punched* The Power of Rest | 26:03* Rest is Not One Side of a Binary Divide | 27:38* The 7 Soul-Freeing Sources of Rest* Physical (Passive and Active) | 30:11* Mental | 32:03* Emotional | 33:21 * Spiritual | 35:11* Sensory | 36:27* Social | 38:40* Creative | 41:15* Conclusion | 45:26* A Short Meditation on Rest | 47:18
Triggers and Inspiration | 8:29
An inspired surge of emotion can be overwhelming. It might be hard to tell whether fear or excitement is running the show. It might be a little of both.
07 | The Inspiratory System
The idea of the inspiratory system reminds us that inspiration is a lot like breath. The word “inspiration” comes from the same place as respiration and spirit.
Just as we need to take in oxygen to live, we can also breathe in other elements from the world around us to keep ourselves feeling good. And just as different factors can impact the quality of the air we breathe, they can also impact what goes on within us and what we are able to create.
This is not just something that applies to our work, it's also about the way we express what it means to be alive and what it means to be (and become) ourselves.
Life is a rhythm, and sometimes we lose sight of that. We value action, productivity, and results (breathing out). But unless we balance this with breathing in, we have a perfect recipe for overwhelm, burnout, and a rather uninspired life.
That's what we're exploring at in this week's episode.
Episode contents* What Is Inspiration? | 6:41* The Makeup Of an Inspired Performance | 8:54* Tankespjarn and Inspiration | 16:26* The Inspiratory System | 24:59* People | 26:11* Media | 27:37* Education | 29:37* Connectedness | 33:36* Place | 35:42* Play | 38:49* Movement | 41:00* Art | 43:13* Rest | 45:46* The Wheel of Inspiration | 49:47* The Price of Inspiration | 55:53* Action and Inspiration (The Cycle of Breath) | 58:26* Don't Be a Donkey | 59:24* The Canvas Strategy (People Remember How You Make Them Feel) | 62:27* Notice What You Notice | 67:00* Conclusion | 69:30* The Haven | 71:47
What Is Inspiration? | 6:41
We are constantly inspired by the world around us, whether we realise it or not. We take in the spirit of our surroundings and then express it in our own unique way. The life we live is a reflection of the things we see and experience. Whether we are conscious of it or not, everything we encounter shapes who we are and how we see the world.
Paula described inspiration as, "a tickle, or a fizz inside as suddenly my vision of what could be expands and reveals giddy-making opportunity. It's very vulnerable though and like a new flame can easily be blown out by my own lack of confidence or self-dismissal."
06 | All Habits Slow and Small
There is a huge amount about the topic of habits and I don't want to regurgitate what is already out there. So in this week's podcast, I want to look at them through the lens of gentleness, sensitivity, and slow growth.
How can we use gentle habits to build a sustainable relationship with our temperaments and natural preferences? And what are some of the challenges we might face when building a life around what matters most to us?
At their core, habits are automatic behaviours. They are the things we do with little or no conscious thought when prompted by a situational trigger or cue.
But we can also have an influence on them. And we can choose to build habits that serve our broader goals, intentions, and visions.
This topic comes from our Tranquility theme in The Haven. Where we've been exploring conditions like our environments, routines, and boundaries. And thinking about how they can help give rise to more of what we want life to look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like.
Episode Contents* Life on Autopilot | 9.35* It Takes Courage To Acknowledge When Something Needs to Change | 10.06* Building Small and Effective Habits | 11.22* Tiny Habits are Built on Gentle Foundations | 16.30* Stop Judging Yourself | 17.07* Take Aspirations and Break Them Into Tiny Behaviours | 17.30* Embrace Mistakes as Discoveries and Use Them to Move Forward | 18.31* Obstacles to Motivation | 21.05* Motivation, Ability, Prompt/Trigger | 23.18* Undesirable vs Desirable Habits | 28.38* What Derails Our Habits? | 31.30* People | 31.38* Rabbit Holes and Distractions | 35.12* Disconnection From Why | 37.51* Habits as Symptoms | 38.30* Magical Thinking | 40.33* Scary Labels | 43.15* Build Habits With Celebration and Shine | 45.24* Rewards are Not The Same as Incentives | 46.07* How Does Shine Feel For You? | 48.49* How To Celebrate With Freedom and Authenticity | 51.28* Stacking Joy Into Hard Habits | 53.38* Conclusions | 57.24* The Haven | 59.14
05 | Too Much Information
The past few years have carried an exceptionally concentrated flow of difficult news. It can feel like too much information to hold at any one time.
In the podcast this week, we look at the impact of information on our senses. We consider a few ways we might process some of the dread that we're trying to cram into our already overflowing bucket.
Can we find more energy, creativity, and gentleness in the face of life's uncertainty?
Episode contents* Focussing On Where We Want to Go | 2:20* Dread Stacking | 7:34* The Cost of Stracking Too Much Information | 10.09* People Are Under a Lot of Stress | 11:26* It's Nothing Personal | 16:40* Space Between Stimulus and Response | 18:30* How Do We Know What We Need to Know? | 24:04* To 'Be Informed'? | 24:59* We're Not Wired For This | 27:42* Sensory Information Processing | 28:56* Starting From a Place of Humility | 29:41* Too Much Information And The HSP | 34:40* Depth of Processing | 35:05* Easily Overstimulated | 39:14* Emotional Reactivity | 43:20* Sensitive to Subtleties | 44:50* Awareness vs Alertness | 46:22* Expanding Our Capacity To Hold Information | 50:27* What The World Needs Most… | 53:30* Slowing Down | 55:47* Joy Emerges in The Cracks and Stains | 56:10* How Do We Stack More Joy? | 57:47* The Haven | 61:38
Focussing On Where We Want to Go | 2:20
Resources about coping with information overwhelm often tell us to limit, control, and challenge our actions and thoughts. But this is unhelpful. It's like looking at a tree when we're in control of a vehicle.
We get more of what we focus on. If we want to avoid the tree it's no good focussing on it. It's far better to focus on where we want to go instead.
Dread Stacking | 7:34
Dread Stacking is what happens when too much information builds up and we don't have time to process it. It comes from the relentless and endless string of painful stories from situations, events, and changes across the globe.
The fast-paced world means attention moves from one thing ...
04 | What is Sensory Processing Sensitivity?
When I first saw the term, "Sensory Processing Sensitivity" I looked straight past it.
It was around 2011 when I had recently started reading about introversion. While hanging out in the personality rabbit hole I kept seeing the question, "Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?"
Every time I read it I repeated a gentle but firm, "no" to myself. But it wouldn't leave me alone. So eventually I gave in and clicked on one of the links.
* Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
* Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
* When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
* Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
* Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
Oh. Hang on.
I dug deeper. I read The Highly Sensitive Person by Dr Elaine Aron. And it turned out I probably WAS one of those highly sensitive people after all.
Part of 15-20% of the population with an innate trait (Sensory Processing Sensitivity) that "reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting".
It was a game-changer for me. A liberating moment.
And so began a journey of reframing the past, re-writing the present, and re-imagining the future.
I still didn't fully connect with the "highly sensitive person" label. It didn't fit properly. But I knew it held something life-changing within.
And I share my journey of discovery with you in this week's podcast.
Episode contents* What Is Sensory Processing Sensitivity? | 3.59* Depth of Processing* Overstimulation* Empathy* Emotional Reactivity* Sensory Acuity/Subtleties* What Sensory Processing Sensitivity is NOT | 7.47* Can We Come Up With a Better Name For High Sensitivity? | 10.15* Reframing The Story Of Sensitivity | 22.08* Overwhelmed By Bright Lights, Strong Smells, and Sudden Noises | 23.55* Described as Shy or Sensitive By Teachers and Parents | 29.30* Startled By Sudden Noises | 34.03* Noticing Life's Finer Scents | 38.10* Performining Tasks Worse Under Observation | 41.17* It's Unpleasant to Have a Lot of Things Going on at Once | 49.29* Needing to Withdraw From Overstimulation and Busyness | 50.43* Other Peoples' Moods Affect You | 62.41* Conclusions | 68.39* Individuation and Deep Sensitivity | 59.25* Research and The Future For Sensory Processing Sensitivity | 69.
Beautiful and humble
Really enjoy listening to Andy. I find his honesty and tone both refreshing and enlightening. Thank you!
So glad I found this podcast. It was perfect timing. This podcast feels like a wonderful breath of fresh air.
Very interesting podcast!
So I just found this podcast but Andy’s style is very slow and relatable. It is definitely needed in a world that says you have to do this and do that. Almost the cross between a philosopher and counselor. Listen to this show if you want to take a break from the noise of this world and take a breath of fresh air.