A Journey of Commitment: Authenticity, Love, & Relational Transformation


Episode 238

Drs. Katie and Gay Hendricks

In this episode of The Psychedelic Podcast, renowned authors Gay & Katie Hendricks join host Paul F. Austin to share their insights on conscious loving and the impact of MDMA on relationships.

Katie and Gay discuss their own journey of meeting and committing to each other, as well as the principles they teach in their work. They reflect on their early use of MDMA to facilitate a deeper connection and self-discovery in relationships. The conversation also explores their work with executives, the importance of commitment and authenticity, and how to balance personal and professional relationships.

Through unpacking their journey together, Katie and Gay reveal the power of turning concepts into experiential practices. They share their current and future projects, including Gay’s newest book “Your Big Leap Year.”

Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks have been pioneers in the fields of body intelligence and relationship transformation for more than forty years. They’ve mastered ways to translate powerful concepts and life skills into experiential processes where people can discover their own body intelligence and easily integrate life-changing skills. Katie and Gay have empowered hundreds of coaches around the world to add a body intelligence perspective to enhance fields from medicine to sports psychology, education, and personal growth. Together and singly they have authored more than forty books, including such bestsellers as Conscious Loving, The Big Leap, Conscious Loving Ever After: How to Create Thriving Relationships at Midlife and Beyond, and The Genius Zone. They have appeared on more than 500 television and radio programs, including Oprah, 48 Hours and others.

Podcast Highlights

  • Kate & Gay’s connection story
  • Early work with couples and individuals
  • Leo Zeff, unconditional love, and healing with MDMA
  • Transformational work with executives
  • The dance of balancing personal and professional relationships
  • Learning and discovery in relationships
  • Lessons in commitment and authenticity
  • The Spiritual Cinema Circle
  • Current and future projects

These show links may contain affiliate links. Third Wave receives a small percentage of the product price if you purchase through the above affiliate links.

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.3 Paul F. Austin: Welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave, connecting you to the leaders and pioneers of the Psychedelic Renaissance. This is your host, Paul F. Austin, and today I'm speaking with Gay and Katie Hendricks, founders of the Hendricks Institute and Foundation for Conscious Living.

0:00:18.1 Katie Hendricks, PhD: One of our commitments is to be willing to learn from every relationship interaction. When you're experimenting with living in your own genius and expressing your essence, you're always gonna be changing and discovering. And so that creates a kind of variety that I think a lot of people miss if they lock into roles with each other and expectations with each other. But if you really know you're on this adventure together and you can both contribute to the ride for each other, then that's just a whole different playground.

0:00:56.1 Paul F. Austin: Welcome to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave audio mycelium, connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the Psychedelic Renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance, and collective transformation.

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0:02:38.3 Paul F. Austin: Hey listeners, this is Paul F. Austin, founder and CEO at Third Wave, and today I'm excited to bring you a conversation on authenticity, love, and relational transformation with Gay and Katie Hendricks. Gay and Katie have been pioneers in the fields of body intelligence and relationship transformation for more than 40 years. They've mastered ways to translate powerful concepts and life skills into experiential processes where people can discover their own body intelligence and easily integrate life-changing skills. Gay and Katie have empowered hundreds of coaches around the world to add a body intelligence perspective, to enhance fields from medicine to sports psychology, education, and personal growth. They have authored more than 40 books, including such bestsellers as Conscious Loving, The Big Leap, Conscious Loving Ever After, How To Create Thriving Relationships At Midlife and Beyond, and The Genius Zone. They've appeared on more than 500 television radio programs, including Oprah, 48 Hours and others.

0:03:38.4 Paul F. Austin: In our conversation, we dive into Gay and Katie's connection story and their journey of forging their paths as committed partners in both their own relationship and transformational work. We explore the principles of their work with individuals and couples, and Gay and Katie bring us into their early use of MDMA to facilitate a deeper connection and amplify self-discovery in relationships. Then we take an interesting look at how they've adapted their work with individuals and couples to the corporate world. They share how they've put their principles into practice in their own relationship over the years. Before we dive in, take a moment to follow The Psychedelic Podcast on your favorite app. You can also help others find the podcast by leaving us a review, and of course, you can like and subscribe on YouTube to watch the video version of these episodes. All right, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Gay and Katie Hendricks. Gay and Katie, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.

0:04:35.9 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Oh, thank you, Paul. Great to be here. Thank you.

0:04:38.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Great being with you.

0:04:40.1 Paul F. Austin: So right before we went live, I mentioned the opening question, which I always love to do when we have couples on, which is the story of how you two met. How did this incredible love story begin?

0:04:54.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Well, I always say that Katie was the answer to a prayer I made. When I was 34 years old, I had a flash of insight about what it might take to have a really good relationship. And it was based on all the mistakes I'd made in the past. I realized that they all. There weren't that many of them, but the ones I made, I kept making over and over again. So I saw through that suddenly this one day in 1979, and I realized that I messed up every relationship by one of three things. I either would not tell the truth about something important, either something I'd done or something I felt. So I would hide that, and then I would not take responsibility for that. I would blame it on the other person. So I would hide something, then I would project onto the other person.

0:05:51.3 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Well, I didn't see that until this particular day in 1979, I realized. And the third thing was that I realized that I had compromised my creativity in just about every relationship I'd been in. And so these three things, I kind of. On this one day, I took a vow, "From here on out, I'm gonna tell the truth in relationships. I'm gonna take responsibility instead of ever blaming, and I'm gonna make sure I connect up with somebody else who is so passionate about their creativity that it wouldn't occur to them to oppress somebody else's creativity." And so with those three things in mind, I found myself the very next month in a room of about 50 or 60 people where I was giving a talk at what then I didn't know, but it was Katie's graduate school where she was on the staff of faculty, and she was also finishing her PhD there. And so she was in that room.

0:06:52.3 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yes, she was. And so we were all seated. I went to an unusual graduate school where we had our meetings in a dojo where there are mats on the floor, and it's an open floor. So people were sitting around because the director of our school was a fourth degree black belt in Aikido. And so one of the things we all did was Aikido. I did two years of Aikido in my graduate school. So we were a multi-dimensional graduate school. And so Gay was almost directly across from me, I think. And I saw him looking around the circle and I could see that he was checking out people's energy and he was going around the circle, and I could do that, but I'd never seen anybody else doing that. And so I was very interested in just what he was doing.

0:07:35.7 Katie Hendricks, PhD: And then he came around past me about a couple of people and came back. And we had this, what I now call a recognition. We recognized each other with this kind of big blast that it took us about six months to unpack. And then he went he went on around the circle, and then he opened his mouth. And that was it, because I thought immediately, "This is the funniest person I've ever heard. And this is the. Your voice just still enchant me. But I thought. I know I was madly writing. I still have the notebook that I was writing in longhand, all of these things that he was talking about. And it was as if wisdom was a new chapter in describing. 'Cause it wasn't intellectual, it was really energetic, embodied wisdom about how psychology actually works. And so that was our first meeting. And so at the break, I went up to ask him a question, and I never got the question out of my mouth. And I now can't remember what the question was because the first thing he said to me was, "I'm very attracted to you."

0:08:50.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: See, I was committed to telling the truth in all my relationships. And so I actually. I went on this little wrap. I said, "I'm very attracted to you and I would like to ask you out for a cup of coffee. But I want you to know that I'm only interested in relationships where both people tell the truth, both people take responsibility for things that come up, and both people are passionately committed to their creativity. So on those terms, would you like to have coffee with me?"

0:09:20.0 Paul F. Austin: You said that.

0:09:25.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Actually he said a little bit more than that. But that's the gist of what he said. And but I got to tell you here's what I heard, I heard. Listen, I don't care what you're doing, I'd like you to drop whatever you're doing and I'd like you to come out to Colorado to join me in this adventure. And this cosmic adventure and I don't know what it's gonna be but it's gonna be just amazing and so it took me about 15 seconds to respond and so how I responded is. How about lunch?

0:09:56.8 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yes. And.

0:09:57.0 Paul F. Austin: Step one.

0:10:00.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: You mentioned we've been together 40 years. Actually last Tuesday is our 44th anniversary of that day that we met. January 9th is the anniversary of when we met in 1980. And so we've been together now more than 44 years.

0:10:17.5 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah.

0:10:18.6 Paul F. Austin: Wow, that's beautiful. Congratulations.

0:10:20.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: And of course there were some things that came up along the way, but that recognition and that thrill that I experienced every time I see you has not wavered in all of these years.

0:10:36.7 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. That was it for me.

0:10:39.6 Paul F. Austin: And so you picked up and moved.

0:10:43.3 Katie Hendricks, PhD: I picked up and moved.

0:10:46.6 Paul F. Austin: Soon after lunch, or was it a few?

0:10:48.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: It took about six months.

0:10:50.7 Katie Hendricks, PhD: But it was pretty fast.

0:10:52.4 Gay Hendricks, PhD: But it was fast because I think we met in January and we moved or you drove out to Colorado with me in August or something like that.

0:11:00.8 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. In August. Yeah.

0:11:00.9 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. But time has a different way of operating when you're in your Zone of Genius. I talk about that a lot in my book, The Big Leap, how most people settle for living in their zone of excellence rather than breaking through to that level of genius, what they love to do and what makes their biggest contribution to the world. And so Katie and I just came from the same place with that. We were both passionately committed to changing the world in a one person at a time kind of thing, changing it from inside out. And we'd both been political types back in the '60s, like demonstrations and that kind of thing. But you don't have to go to a few demonstrations to figure out that the people that are in the demonstrations are sicker than the ones that are demonstrating.

0:11:53.8 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Often. Yeah.

0:11:55.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Often that's the case.

0:11:57.7 Katie Hendricks, PhD: So what we started doing right away, Paul, was to. We wanted to have all aspects of our life in flow and in harmony. And we sat down in Colorado Springs very early on. We sat down in a cafe called Poor Richard's in the window and really talked about what do we want and what do we want to create. And then we just started doing it right away because we started working with people that very first summer. And what we were intent about and still really passionate about is body intelligence of the power of our own natural resources, our breath, our movement, the language of movement and the dynamic of what we call the relationship dance, what goes on when people get close and when people want to individuate and express their own creativity. And so we've just been exploring that and been fascinated about that for more than 40 years.

0:12:57.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And during the 1980s, we did a lot of work with couples and individuals. Of course, Katie had been in private practice for many years and I was a professor at the University of Colorado in the counseling psychology department. But also had a private practice. And so both of us had worked with people for many, many years. And you mentioned Oprah. It took us like during the 1980s, we did a lot of the groundwork with couples and that kind of thing. And then Oprah called right at the end, right around 1990 or '91. And by then, though, we had been working with, you know, umpteen dozen different couples in our living room. And I always say we went overnight from working with 10 couples in our living room to working with 10 million people on Oprah, it was quite a transition because up until Oprah struck, we were happily selling 10,000 books a month to graduate students and folks like that. And then after Oprah, we were selling 10,000 books an hour to people all over the world. And so life changed significantly about 30 years ago.

0:14:08.8 Katie Hendricks, PhD: But it's always really the same theme of helping people to reveal essence, who they really are and to be able to share their essence with others. And then also the dynamics of a healthy relationship, whether it's a romantic relationship or business, we actually found that the relationship principles apply to all kinds of relationships. And some little tweaking for couples that are not heterosexual, but most of that's cultural. But the dynamics we found are always so interesting because the pattern, you know, if people are trying to talk about what's wrong, they're always looking in the wrong place. But if they're really looking at what they're actually doing and what's going on at a feeling level, it's really a journey of discovery.

0:15:02.0 Paul F. Austin: So it's 1980, you've joined gay in Colorado at this point in time. And we were talking about this a little bit before, MDMA is legal in the early '80s.

0:15:20.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Well, one day we got a call from Leo Zeff and he was a psychedelic, he was kind of the Johnny Appleseed of MDMA.

0:15:35.2 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Hurling it everywhere.

0:15:36.7 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And he was the most wonderful man, he was a twinkly little guy, that he was in his 60s when I met him. But he called and said, hey, I've got something new, I think you ought to try. And at first I said, oh, I haven't done that sort of thing in a few years because, I'd been into LSD and mushrooms and that kind of thing back in the '60s, but I kind of lost a little bit of interest because, like Tim Leary used to say, once you get the message, hang up the phone, don't keep calling over and over again. And I felt that way. I sort of had felt like I got the message. And Leo said, well, this is different, MDMA. And he said, but I think you ought to try it, I think you'd like it. And so anyway, that's the context in which we first got some MDMA.

0:16:29.5 Paul F. Austin: And what was, I mean, when it's legal, when you're working with it in practice, what results do you notice? What outcomes, what impact, what did that, how did that help couples who you were supporting?

0:16:43.3 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is that it shines a light on a different part of yourself that you're not used to feeling and seeing. You know, that MDMA, when it works right in the right dose, immediately takes you from here in your head down into your heart. You suddenly feel loving toward things you haven't felt loving toward, especially in yourself. That was my experience. And I think the first time I took it, you were sitting for me, if I remember correctly. And I remember feeling kind of shaky going in and you said, it looks like you're scared or something like that. But immediately I connected with whatever feeling it was. And then I was in this other state, suddenly it was just like that. And so that's the nice thing. It can take you instantly out of your head into your heart. I think that's the main value of it. And once you're there, there are lessons to be learned there. But again, I don't think it's a good idea to keep going back there over and over and over and over again, trying to get the same message. It's now after you got the message, your job is to apply it to your life, to get out there without the drug. The drug is just a finger pointing at the moon. And once you've seen the moon, oh, okay, I get it.

0:18:13.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. And so a lot of our work with breathing and movement and the practices that we teach people allow them to access that same space of openness and discovery without the drugs. The big thing that I noticed in all of the work we did was that people landed in an unquestionable sense that they were lovable. So I think for everybody who's doing any kind of transformational work, there's that sense of there's something wrong with me. If people really knew me, if I uncovered myself, I'm fundamentally bad or wrong. And what I noticed was that people would encounter the belief or the pattern that they had, they learned, but it would kind of poof, it just they couldn't hold on to it. And I also noticed that people could reference them that space of loving themselves as a new kind of anchor. And boy, it eliminated like years of therapy work in one session. But with regard to keep coming back to the well, I was just reflecting, I think I've only done MDMA three times. So a couple of times in the '80s, and then once in the early '90s, because I got it. But we also got a lot of pleasure and and discovery out of sitting for groups that we would have spread out all over somebody's home. And yeah, Rita and I'd be traveling around and...

0:19:48.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: We'd be floating like butterflies.

0:19:52.9 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yes and because there was always this thing that we called the time of the cosmic babble where the person would sit up from wherever they were and they would start saying, I understand everything. And we'd be, yeah.

0:20:08.4 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And Leo, he always had the same thing. He said. He would listen for briefly, and then he would say, back to the music.

0:20:15.7 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Back to the music.

0:20:17.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: To go and kinda gently guide you back down.

0:20:18.2 Katie Hendricks, PhD: To the earphones and the eye shades. Yeah.

0:20:21.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And then you'd take that energy inside instead of babbling it outside. And whoosh you go into a different dimension?

0:20:30.5 Paul F. Austin: There's, in the last few years, there's been a resurgence of, interest in psychedelics and plant medicines and MDMA and psilocybin. And what you're describing reminds me of, there's a particular musician in New York who's a professor at Columbia. His name is Alexandre Tannous. And he's trained all of these incredibly gifted musicians to guide these ex group experiences with psilocybin and MDMA. And I went to one about a year and a half ago in New York, and it's like 30, this one is more like, it's 30 people. It's in a, not a tiny New York apartment, but it was tight, and a similar thing, every now and then you'd hear someone pop. Sometimes what we would call it. And if it was too much, if, because sometimes people would be overtaken.

0:21:31.3 Paul F. Austin: By emotion or so sometimes people may need to go back into a private space, but a lot of times it's just put the eye mask back on. Go into the body. And what we did as part of that ceremony, which was really beautiful, I hadn't done before, is right after we took the medicine, we did about 15 minutes of, a holotropic breath work. Where, and it just helped the medicine to fully land, fully got you outta your head. And it was just like a smooth ride from that point forward. And the element, one of the, my favorite elements is always like, after we have this experience together, whether it's four of us or six of us, or 10 of us, or, sometimes it's 20 of us, the group sharing afterwards.

0:22:23.4 Paul F. Austin: Having those intimate moments where we might be eating soup and sharing some fruit and just starting to unpack a little bit what came up for us and, how did we feel? And I think what you mentioned the part about love is so important because unconditional love is often not, we rarely experience it as humans. It's a very, and this is why spirituality is so healing, I think, and so transformational because God is purely love. And so when people have this experience with medicine, like you said, Katie, it is an anchor. It's an imprint that they can return to and have as a, oh, this is possible. It is possible to, and now, the real work begins of, well, how do I actually show up when I'm not on MDMA or, these other things.

0:23:20.9 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah, for sure. And what was interesting to me though is that I experienced this with lots of different people that that experience of being lovable did not disappear. So in some kinds of, talk therapy and experiences that people have that are more cognitive, they can easily disappear, from your overall, your inner map. But this, my experiences that people could tune into that and have a refreshment of, oh yes, this is who I really am. And then I was also, thinking about, 'cause you were talking about debriefing each other, what we found, we would encourage people to let themselves just experience for several days to park their analysis for several days until one, they felt like they could walk around easily, and maybe even drive a car. And then the aspects of analysis that could be helpful, like, here's how I wanna implement this. Here's some of the different choices I wanna make. Those could arise much more as a discovery rather than as a project. Of working on myself, self-improvement, people dropped out of self-improvement and just into, oh, life can be really beautiful and I can contribute to that beauty. And, that was so wonderful to see.

0:24:43.0 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Stephen Gaskin used to say that the day after the trip was the most important day. And, if you extend that to the next couple of weeks, the things that, well, some of the medicines, in fact, like I will again, take a couple of weeks to fully get the benefit of. So they last for a while. Some of 'em are in and out of your body pretty quickly. But the point we're making is that the information keeps coming through for the next few weeks. And it's good to stay open to that and keep your posture of, wonder open for the next few weeks after you do a medicine like that.

0:25:20.9 Paul F. Austin: So the next part I'd love to unpack, and here you go into is a little bit more about these relationship principles. And in particular, what you've already touched on a little bit is, and this is my understanding, is that when Oprah happened in the '90s, early '90s, you said '90 or '91 you went from doing a lot of work with couples. My sense is more on, what's going on in these personal intimate relationships and started to expand more into executives and the professional space. And I'd love just to hear how that transition was for you and what were maybe some of the fundamental elements that you had unpacked in your early work that were so helpful in training leaders and executives in navigating.

0:26:18.9 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yes. Well, here's a big secret, and that is that relationship problems are the same in the living room. The bedroom and the boardroom, they're all the same. They all happen because of certain things. And so once we got good at helping couples unwind and disentangle from issues, it was a natural next step to do that with executive situations because they had the same dynamics. Remember those three things I talked about. What causes problems if somebody doesn't tell the truth or more than one person is not telling the truth about what's really going on inside themselves. And so the second thing that happens over and over again in business settings is that people get into squabbles and lock into the victim position and blame the other person. So you get two things, not telling the truth and not taking responsibility. Well, you see the same thing in a love relationship.

0:27:21.3 Gay Hendricks, PhD: But, when you do it in a boardroom for hundreds of millions of dollars, it gets very intense. And the third thing, which is really important is that so many people in executive positions are in their zone of excellence. And they are chafing because they're not in their genius zone. They have this desire to function at a higher level. And because of they can't find their way out of some of those fundamental relationship issues. Nobody gets to be in their genius zone. And that will burn people out very quickly when you have brilliant people who can't do what they really wanna do.

0:28:02.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. It can get really ugly because it looks so much like if this guy over here in marketing would just straighten out, then I'd be able to do what I'm doing. And so turf wars and squabbling, rather than supporting each person in really expressing their interweaving and interlocking genius and the, just the same dynamics could be noticed also by having people give attention to what was going on in their bodies, not just, in their cognition.

0:28:33.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Then the transaction actually got made, because actually we were just, talking the other day to a woman that we've known from way back then who read one of our books early on in 1982 and invited us to come into a company. She was the HR person for a big electronics firm, Silicon Valley firm, and then the word spread around to different, Silicon Valley firms. And so, that was, one of the ways we made that corporation, kind transition into corporate work. But I wanna just emphasize that the dynamics are almost exactly the same frequently. I just flashed on a memory when I used to go down and consult at Dell computer.

0:29:15.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: I was wondering about that. Yeah.

0:29:17.8 Gay Hendricks, PhD: One of the guys there, the second in level guy, great guy, had the problem of blowing up in anger at situations. And then he'd grown up in Brooklyn where you get angry at somebody and then 10 seconds later you drop it, and everybody goes back to eating dinner, and, so, but now he's working in Austin, Texas, with a lot of Midwesterners and people that don't understand that thing.

0:29:51.1 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. And are offended by that. Yeah.

0:29:52.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Or offended by it. And so people would go around scared after one of his five minute pop offs, and he would've forgotten it 10 minutes later. And, but here was where the breakthrough occurred. I pointed out to him, I, because of his body language as he told me about, these conflicts with the employees, he kept touching his chest. And I said to him that you pop off in anger, but what I really see you doing is feeling sad underneath that.

0:30:28.7 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And we were sitting in this gigantic boardroom, just the two of us at this huge table that's about 50 feet long, these two guys sitting at the end of this table, and he's realizing, oh my God, you're right. I'm disappointed. I feel sad, but he said, and here's what he said, but you can't talk about that stuff in a business environment, can you?

0:30:52.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Exactly.

0:30:53.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And I said, well, geez, you feel okay about blowing your stack? Let's just go ahead and be a little more real and tell people that you're sad or feel disappointed, and you don't have to blow up about that. Well, man, did that make a difference in his relationship just all over the building? Yeah. And, in fact, it was one of the priceless moments of my whole consulting career.

0:31:19.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: He went off to another meeting after I had this meeting with him, and about 15 minutes later, I was still sitting in the boardroom making some notes, and he burst through the door and I had drawn him a little picture of the body with its three feeling zones, anger up here in the shoulders, and jaws sadness down here in the chest and fear down in the belly. And I just drawn this stick figure, and he came running back and he said, Hey, can I have that drawing, like it was the holy grail or something. And I said, sure. Why? And he said, well, I'm trying to explain this to some of the other executives, and I wanna show you what, I was just so touched by that, that this grizzly guy, this multi multimillionaire, when I talked to him, he was probably worth at least a hundred million dollars.

0:32:10.4 Paul F. Austin: Wow.

0:32:10.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: He was this, gruff old guy, 60s, in his 60s who suddenly made a life change right in front of my eyes. And to me, I mean, working with people has a lot of, downsides to it. There's a lot of stuff you have to deal with with working, but all you need is one of those moments there and there when you see somebody's life and change in front of your eyes. And I think that's the great virtue of medicines is that, like, I had a guy who was very afraid of dying, and it kept coming up in the relationship. And so I had both him and his wife take ketamine together. And ketamine the nature of the drug, it takes you out of your normal state of consciousness and puts you down into what I call pure consciousness for a while where you may see archetypal figures moving around, but you're really up against the pureness of consciousness. And that's what I got out of the drug anyway. And everybody I've given it to has had a transcendence of that fear of death. That all of a sudden they realize, oh, I see. That's just part of the natural order of things. It's not anything I'm supposed to quarrel with, and if you start quarreling with death, it's the worst than quarreling with life. You start.

0:33:37.6 Paul F. Austin: It's a fight you're not gonna win. There's no out.

0:33:45.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: There were a couple things I was just thinking about people moving from their surface level into, more of a sharing, who they really are, their es... What we call their essence. And one of the ways that I had so much fun in executive coaching was having people identify their personas, their roles that they had learned, usually in their families and early in life that they then brought into a corporate setting. So people would recreate their families and would recreate their, the dynamics with siblings. And I remember in one, was one of my favorites, I had people, brainstorm the personas that they had seen, and put them on each person, wrote a few of them on a piece of paper and put them in a hat. And then I had everybody pick out one but not share what it was.

0:34:41.1 Katie Hendricks, PhD: And then I had them conduct a meeting with each other as their personas. So the person who was trying to control the other people, and the person was like, oh, nobody ever. And it was just, it was so much fun to turn the dynamics rather than analyzing them, turn it into creative expression. And it opened up really all kinds of fun for them. And transformation. It only works when you're having a good time. It doesn't work if you're trying to bully somebody into changing, which is often what happens in a corporate setting. So we invented all kinds of ways for literally for people to play with each other. In a Bell Labs one time I had, everybody had a balloon with a little catch on it, and the balloon said, stress. And so they could blow the balloon not or lessen the, depending on how much stress they were feeling. And so we just invented ways for people to express, even though they may not have the vocabulary, or the understanding ways that they could let people know what was going on for them. So it was really, a lot of times it was really fun. It was sometimes not so fun when people would get more into their.

0:35:57.3 Paul F. Austin: Well, it reminds me a little bit of a few years ago I did family constellation work. This is in a much more, I would say, therapeutic setting. A friend of mine was hosted it at his place in Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains. And there were about 10 of us that came out. And this facilitator from Spain, a woman came over and guided us through that. And then family constellation, the focus is on one individual, but then people in the room become the parents, the dad, the sister, the grandparent, whoever that is. And it was interesting to just experience the dynamic of being in an energy that even as a, not a spectator as a participant, but not the person on the floor, seeing how that moved through. And it is a beautiful aspect of life that there are these masks, and not in an inauthentic, wearing a mask to hide weight, but there are these different costumes that we get to put on and play with. And when we realize, oh, I don't have to be just this rigid ego, same person all the time. I actually can ex. I can expand out of that and play many parts that I, it just brings a really nice flow and creativity to life.

0:37:20.4 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yes.

0:37:22.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yes. We noticed that too.

0:37:24.7 Paul F. Austin: Oh, yeah. So, the next part I would love to unpack with you is specifically the Hendricks Institute. I'm burgeoning, I would say teacher myself. We have a company called the Psychedelic Coaching Institute, where we're training coaches, executive coaches, health and wellness coaches, some clinicians, therapists, doctors in how to work with psychedelics. And I just, the message that was coming through, there's these two authors, husband and wife. Will and Ariel Durant. So Will Durant was one of the foremost historians of the 20th century. He wrote a book called, The Story of Philosophy, and they wrote the better part of an 11 part series on the history of civilization. And I was always, if nothing else, impressed by the fact that they could have this beautiful, loving, intimate relationship and create such incredible, work together that has lasted well beyond their life. So I would just, I'd love to hear a little bit more about for you, what has it been like to be, professional collaborators produce the work that you've produced together? And how do you balance that with your own personal intimate connection? Because anytime I hear about a couple who's also working together, it's like, it. We'll see where this goes. It's a lot to hold. A lot of complexity to navigate.

0:39:14.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Well, yes. And, it was a dream of mine and a dream of Katie's from the very beginning to work together in a whole new way. And be in a relationship in a whole new way. But I wanted to be, I wanted to have our work be a collaboration, because I had, I'd already written a few books and was successful in my field, but I realized that we've had five or 10,000 years of male heroes, and there was nothing further to be gained from that. Look where it got us. And so I wanted to create a new kind of hero that, where relationship itself was the hero. Not the woman or not the man, that, or the whoever. It's just that I wanted to be something different from the usual white male hero figure. And I had a bigger dream. And the bigger dream was to have a relationship that modeled the very thing we were teaching without even having to teach it. And to this day, that's the best part of feedback we ever get, is people say, wow. I don't remember everything you said, but I just remembered the way you were with each other while you were saying it? And that's what we're talking about.

0:40:47.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yes. And, we don't have any distinction between. Our professional life and our personal life. It's all the, the same. We are who we are wherever.

0:41:00.3 Paul F. Austin: Conscious living.

0:41:01.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Conscious living and conscious loving and, the dynamic of being able to... I think the central part of what really has fueled our relationship is recognizing what we've taught others, is how to recognize when you want to be close, that humans have an urge to merge, an urge to experience union beyond their own personal structure. And an urge to individuate to experience their own creative fulfillment in the world. And what often gets people, whether it's romantic relationship or a professional relationship, what gets them into trouble is not recognizing their own signals of whether, at a fundamental, at a body level of body wisdom. Do I wanna be close now? Or am I really interested in my own, I'm on a project now, or I have something I'm really figuring out and it's taking my individual, focus to do that.

0:42:02.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: And so many times in the course of our relationship, one of us would be really interested in, a particular project, and the other would, I mean, we would recognize that, but learning how to make enough space, making a meadow big enough that we could stay connected, but also really be true to our own relationship dance, because we have this illusion in relationships that it's like we, it's like a Minette. When I want to get close, my partner wants to get close, and when I want to get separate, they wanna get separate. And what we found out is it's more like a mosh pit, where, you wanna get close and your partner, no, I don't wanna get close right now. So helping, you know, first recognizing ourselves, what would happen, I can remember that, recognizing that attention is really, our quality of attention is what I call the currency of relationship.

0:43:03.5 Katie Hendricks, PhD: It is more important than probably anything else. And then knowing when you want attention, knowing when your partner wants attention, it's what scientists called bids for attention. And when we began to really recognize those, it made a huge difference in our being able to be together. I remember coming in one time, and Gay was in, you know, he was writing, and there's a particular way I can always tell when Gay's writing, because he looks up and he's not here, you know? And so I had, I realized I had this, 'cause I would kind of sneak in and see, you know, is he available or not available? And I realized I had this program from really early on of don't bother the man. And so when I, when I finally recognized that I would, I would have different ways that I would try to get his attention.

0:43:55.3 Katie Hendricks, PhD: I would come in and I would lie down on the floor and put my feet in the air.

0:44:00.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Like one of our cats.

0:44:02.1 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Like one of our cats. And, and also, on Gay's part, we, 'cause I didn't know, are you available or are you not available? And so we also had a little, he would have a little sign that says, the store is closed, the store is closed for a half an hour. And so we just learned different ways of both acknowledging and telling the truth about, but also navigating so that both of us were getting our attention needs met, but also giving room for both of us to continue evolving our particular relationship dance.

0:44:41.6 Paul F. Austin: It is a dance, and Gay, I want to touch on something you mentioned, which is, and you as well, Katie, the sort of divine union that individually out of relationship there are, let's say, gaps or there are things we are not aware of, or there are, ways that, we can't fully show up. And there's sort of a field of coherence that's created in a very healthy, intimate, and bonded relationship. And this is, in some ways quite common, even in the psychedelic space. Someone wrote about this, how there are a lot of, couples, married couples who do facilitation work, who do workshops, who do various other things, because that sense of love that is, within that field is felt deeply by those who they are working with. And it creates this sense of safety, this capacity to surrender, this capacity to I think allow parts of self to be looked at that otherwise we may be too scared or intimidated because in love, everything is, is acceptable or everything can be seen, or everything can be witnessed in many ways.

0:46:08.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: You know, a important thing to understand that this idea of closeness and individuation, closeness and individuation that goes on throughout life. If you look at a baby in the first six months of life, it's mostly a time for all closeness. But in the second six months, the baby begins to crawl and go out into the world and come back to the home base. But it's a lot about learning how to be individuated. And also, so, if you look at any relationship problem between two people, you'll often find that one of them is more comfortable with union, but not so comfortable with individuation or the other, it might be the other way around. Very comfortable with being the lone ranger. You know, don't fence me in kind of person. But not as comfortable with, being close. So that was kind of where we started 44 years ago.

0:47:16.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: We actually call these two phases, we call them, glumous, which would be me and splitters, and glumous say, oh, I love to be close. And splitters say, I must have my space. And they often, of course, then need each other and try to change each other. And so what we, one of the big principles that we, use in all of our work is your willingness to, your openness to learning, your openness to discovery. And we actually, one of our commitments is to be willing to learn from every relationship interaction. And, so even if there's a hassle going on, if you have that, that openness to learning, there are jewels to discover in every interaction. And it also changes it from a power struggle into a mutual field of discovery, which, changes everything. I love to learn, and I've always been curious all my life and to have, and I was just mentioning this yesterday, I keep learning new things about you. And to me, that, also when you're experimenting with living in your own genius and expressing your essence, you're always gonna be changing and discovering. And so that creates a kind of variety that I think a lot of people miss if they lock into roles with each other and expectations with each other. But if you really know you're on this adventure together and you can both contribute to the ride for each other, then that's just a whole different playground.

0:48:58.2 Paul F. Austin: So Robert Bly, which I'm sure you've heard of him. He had a great book called, The Little Book on the Human Shadow. So he was just, for our listeners, he was best known for writing Iron John in the early '90s, which was sort of the Bible for this modern masculine, movement. But he had a collection of these essays about how in relationship, so often we project our shadow onto our partner, and we blame them as going back to what Gay said, not blame or, always taking responsibility. We blame them for certain things. We give our power in certain ways. And a huge part of individuation, of maturation, of integration is owning all of that and taking it all back rather than, because in love is when the deepest projections, often arise and navigating that can be. There's a lot of enmeshment, and how do we allow for the sacred bond, while also allowing for the capacity to be free and sovereign and, individuated, it's a skill that requires, I think, commitment, devotion, and attention.

0:50:14.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Well, I think commitment, I appreciate you saying commitment, because we found that that was just such a tent pole for constructing everything else. If both people commit to resolving the issue or to opening up to what they really want with each other, then they can recommit to keep moving from where they are to where they want to go. And my sense is that the exploration gets easier, as you focus on what I think is the prime directive, which is authenticity. So when, when you're willing to be real, you can make your way through all kinds of brambles. And I remember in our, we had a, a big relationship kerfuffle, gosh, in '95, where Gay got attracted to a, a younger a woman. And how we navigated that was primarily by practicing everything we've been talking about, but really just one of my feeling what is going on, being real with each other. And what we found was that, with all of the shadow work, removing the shadow of, my dad from you and my mother from you, so, and then what we found was with all of that, polishing that down at the base, like, I really love you and everything else was easy to really let go of.

0:51:47.9 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. I figured out that the whole attraction thing was because I was turning 50 and sort of didn't wanna look at some stuff inside myself. So I created this external drama. But fortunately we came through that and yeah, it was really great. And here we are 30 years later, almost.

0:52:07.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: It seems. This seems amazing. The other thing I wanted to share, Paul, that, what we found really helps people is to turn concepts into experiential practices. So I've even, I've created a, a process for people to understand commitment. And our trainings are full of practices that people can practice themselves, but can also share professionally. And, particularly our, we have two websites, but are nonprofit, our website foundationforconsciousliving.org has dozens of videos and structures. So for example, how to move from fear to presence. We have invented in something called Fear Melters, and how to find out what your Fear signature is. And so the value of that in a relationship is that one or the other can start. Oh, you, got a little fighty there. Or I can feel that I'm holding my breath and I froze. And then can assist people to, open up to what's really wanting to occur through these different practices. And they're also, I think a creative expression from people, rather than just talking about. In our seminars, in our classes, we don't just talk about people are engaged in experiential processes most of the time.

0:53:39.4 Paul F. Austin: Thank you for all of that. So Foundation for Conscious Living, we can, we'll mention it at the end. I know the, the Hendricks Institute as well, which is hendricks.com. Which is pretty easy.

0:53:48.2 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. It's got bunches of our relationship seminars and so on.

0:53:52.2 Paul F. Austin: A lot of great resources there. So one of, probably time for a couple more questions, and one of the questions I wanted to ask, which we've touched on a little bit, but just to go a little bit deeper, is you two have worked on a lot of creative projects together. I mean, 40 books and seminars and trainings, and there's been so much. What has been either the most interesting or the most challenging or the most rewarding, of those projects that you've had a chance to birth together.

0:54:33.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Trying to mirror what kind of challenges?

0:54:36.5 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Well, aside from, having thinking that I'd become an old lady and you didn't love me anymore. Aside from that, I think that was probably, that was the biggest challenge is, I even wrote in one of our books, here I am a relationship expert and I'm in the middle of this challenge. What do I know? But.

0:55:04.7 Gay Hendricks, PhD: As far as working on a. I think that's what I was thinking.

0:55:07.9 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Just thinking of Yeah.

0:55:07.9 Gay Hendricks, PhD: We've gone through, so I mean, we've written 40 books, but I'd say I wrote by myself, but. The ones we've written together, we've written a bunch of 'em, probably a dozen books without any conflict. And so that's one of the values of our work too, is it shows you how to collaborate with other people. Not just in a love relationship, but at work and that kind of thing. So you can have collaborations without all the drama. But.

0:55:38.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: We've also created, we created the, we've created businesses. We created the Spiritual Cinema Circle. No, early in the two thousands. Yes. We.

0:55:49.6 Paul F. Austin: Tell us about that. What was the Spiritual Cinema Circle? That sounds fascinating.

0:55:53.7 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Well, one of our friends, Stephen Simon. Is a Hollywood producer. He produced lots of mainstream movies, like, what Dreams may Come with Robin Williams, and Bill and Ted's excellent adventure and things, you know, like that, as a regular old producer. But his love was what he called Spiritual Cinema. And, I don't know, way back, he made a movie called Somewhere In Time, that's this beautiful love story. But that's an example of Spiritual Cinema, something that, it's about more than just the drama conflicts of life. There's something more to it. And so anyway, a long story here, but, we just kept meeting Stephen at parties and things, and finally, at one point we helped finance one of his projects. And then we also, we wanted to develop properties like, conversations with God and some other things that we had rights to, but we couldn't get anybody in Hollywood to go for it. And so we got thrown out of all the studios and nobody wants to watch those kind of inspirational movies. And so one day in meditation, right after meditation, I had this idea. And the idea was instead of trying to get Hollywood to make movies, let's go to the film festivals where these movies are, and Hollywood isn't buying them. And we'll get the rights to use them for a month and put them out as a subscription. And back then, EBDs were the current technology.

0:57:36.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Right.

0:57:37.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And in fact, streaming sort of put the Spiritual Cinema Circle out of business a few years ago. Just people didn't want. You know?

0:57:45.3 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. You don't want stuff if you can just stream, you don't want a thing, you have to insert and all that.

0:57:51.6 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. So anyway, we dreamed up a business called Spiritual Cinema Circle, and we sold subscriptions and at one point we had 25,000 subscribers paying 20 bucks a month to get these movies that we could have.

0:58:04.7 Katie Hendricks, PhD: It was so cool.

0:58:06.1 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. It was really a cool idea. And it came together like this. It took us less than six months to develop the whole business and everything. And within three months we had people from Wall Street calling us and wanting to put money into us. And we actually took money from one investment group and built the business stuff even bigger. And then Katie and I sold our portion of it in somewhere around '2008 or '10, something like that.

0:58:31.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Something like that. Yeah.

0:58:32.3 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And, well, I continued to advise them. But yes, that was a very exciting area of my life. And I think I've seen enough Spiritual Cinema movies to last me a sort of lifetime.

0:58:43.8 Katie Hendricks, PhD: I also called in Mr. Mogul at that time 'cause he'd be on the phone working out a deal with somebody.

0:58:52.1 Paul F. Austin: And we put out 600 movies over the life of the Spiritual Cinema Circle. So we brought a lot of great movies to be in. And some of the best things, like we got an email from somebody who said that she had to walk miles from her village in Pakistan to the US Information Center place, and we gave them a subscription. And so she would walk there from her village in Pakistan and watch these movies. And how many times are you gonna get an email like that in your life? Yeah. So it made it worthwhile for the service we provided to people.

0:59:27.1 Paul F. Austin: What about the film Zen Noir which you were the executive producer for.

0:59:33.7 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Oh, right.

0:59:34.5 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Oh, yeah. Gosh, I forgot about that a long time ago. Yes, he was. Marc Rosenbush was his name. It's a little movie. Frankly, I don't remember anything about it. But he hit us up for 10 grand to finance part of it, and he was a friend and.

0:59:51.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: And so yeah, so we did that. And I remember being on.

0:59:55.0 Gay Hendricks, PhD: I don't think I've seen it, actually.

0:59:57.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: We were on the set for one of the scenes down in the Hollywood Hills or something, but that's all I remember about it.

1:00:03.0 Gay Hendricks, PhD: But I don't think it has anything to do with our work. It was just a fancy of his that he put together.

1:00:10.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Yeah. 'Cause we've also had people. People want us to. Would like to have support for all kinds of different projects. And that is one of the things we do through our foundation is, is give grants to people who are creating projects that we think really align with the principles we've been just been talking about. In fact, one of them that we just we're supporting is a record by Rebecca Folsom, who's a singer-songwriter out of Boulder. And her record is called, or her album, or I don't even know what you call it these days, it's called Sanctuary. And it's really about what people experience during the pandemic and how to support people in making a shift back into a sense of wholeness. And so one of the really fun things about working together and in a creative way is that all kinds of projects show up that are not necessarily counseling or working with people in a transformational way. But I think all of the work, if you're coming from essence, and one of our goals every day is to expand our capacity to give and receive more love, that's bottom line. And so there are lots of opportunities to do that.

1:01:34.3 Paul F. Austin: The creativity, right? That's rule number three, okay, that we started with finding that creative inspiration. Okay. Final question and then we'll wrap up. I'm fading fast over what I was telling you. Gay and Katie are in Ojai, and it's. Well, it's probably about 3:40 and it's about 11:40 here. I was like, I can't reschedule. I'm not gonna reschedule. So just like, I'll have a little coffee later than normal and everything will be good.

1:02:07.8 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And some of those Portuguese egg pastries.

1:02:09.8 Paul F. Austin: Oh, those are good, aren't they? The pastel de natas.

1:02:16.2 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Yes. Pastel de nata.

1:02:17.6 Paul F. Austin: Pastel de natas. Those are fantastic. So you know, Portugal. Okay. So I mean, we've talked so much about your past and what you have done, and I'm curious what you are doing. What's alive for you, January 2024? What are you most excited about creating the next year, three years, five years, 10 years? I mean, my sense is you'll be creating still for a very long time. You're both very vital and alive and active. And Gay is holding up a book.

1:02:52.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yes.

1:02:52.8 Gay Hendricks, PhD: This comes out next month, Your Big Leap Year.

1:02:54.2 Paul F. Austin: Oh, fantastic. Good timing for the podcast then. All right.

1:03:00.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Exactly.

1:03:00.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: Exactly. It's a day at a time book that's based on The Big Leap, one day at a time. And so Your Big Leap Year, it's coming out in middle of February.

1:03:11.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Middle of February, yes.

1:03:11.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And so that's a current big, exciting project.

1:03:13.2 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah, for sure.

1:03:14.7 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And also we have, Katie is our director of training, in addition to being the CEO of the Hendricks Institute. And so she teaches trainings all the time, body centered training, and also relationship training.

1:03:28.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: So twice a year, we have something, I start with something called evolutionary playground, which is to move people from the drama triangle of the hero, villain, victim into a whole new way of being in the world. That's really based on body intelligence. And then we have our body intelligence advanced training in the winter and we have our conscious loving advanced training in the summer. And so now that with the pandemic, we moved all of our live trainings online and that's actually working so well because people get a chance to absorb the material, integrate it, maybe practice it. So it's a week by week, three hours a week over actually a whole semester. So that's one of the things I still enjoy doing very much. I've been doing this for like over 30 years of teaching trainings and then dealing with our training and our facilitators also then continue training coaches so that all of our coaches know how to share modules that we call restoring resourcefulness, sort of the fundamental skills. So for example, breathing and our fundamental process, which we call FACT. Facing, accepting, choosing, and taking action, which is a fabulous process and how to actually do that and how to listen deeply. And so very, five or six things that are fundamental to having a successful life. And that's on our foundation website as well. Those modules.

1:05:08.6 Paul F. Austin: It's a great acronym, FACT. I mean, you can't beat that.

1:05:13.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Exactly, exactly.

1:05:13.6 Paul F. Austin: You're telling the truth. You got to speak the facts. And that's a huge part of it. Well, thank you. Thank you for just being so generous with your heart and your time and sharing a little bit about the early MDMA work. I think just to have even a little bit of a glimmer and glimpse and the deep relational, intimate connection and bonding that you two share, I think is just such a, it's a beautiful representation of what makes life worth living.

1:05:49.8 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah. Thank you. I agree.

1:05:51.7 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. It's really amazing to witness. I just want to.

1:05:56.2 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Thank you.

1:05:56.5 Gay Hendricks, PhD: And a great payoff as we get to have lots of inspired conversations with folks like you.

1:06:01.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yeah.

1:06:01.6 Paul F. Austin: Exactly. Yeah.

1:06:04.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Across the world. I love this aspect of technology that we really can connect around the world. And even though people say, oh, in person is much better. No, I'm happy that we can have this kind of a deep connection because technology keeps improving all the time.

1:06:22.4 Paul F. Austin: And I hope to visit in Ohio at some point in the next, let's say year, this year, 2024.

1:06:30.0 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Great.

1:06:30.1 Paul F. Austin: When. So a mutual friend of ours is the COO at Third Wave, Veena. And she was the one that so kindly introduced us. And Veena is a firecracker, if there ever was one.

1:06:41.6 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Yes, she is.

1:06:45.2 Paul F. Austin: And yet we were still able to connect virtually. So hendricks.com is for the training that you mentioned. Remind me of the consciouslivingfoundation.org. Is that.

1:07:00.4 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Foundationforconsciousliving.org.

1:07:02.2 Paul F. Austin: Foundationforconsciousliving.org is the second one. And you have a new book coming out, Your Big Leap Year, which about the time that we publish this, this will be available. So folks, check out Your Big Leap Year, I would imagine on Amazon or other local bookstores. And yeah, this has just been an honor and thank you both for taking the time today.

1:07:27.9 Katie Hendricks, PhD: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.

1:07:34.4 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners. Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Gay and Katie Hendricks. Remember, you can go deeper into this episode with full show notes, transcripts, and all the links we mentioned in this conversation. Just follow the link in the description wherever you're tuning in. See you next week.

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