The second book is called alchemy something. And it was really interesting. I just started it like the other day. He's like, Yeah, so in this book, The next couple chapters are going to be on identity. And the chapters after that are going to be on alchemy. And I was like, Oh, welcome back to SINCE3000. I'm your host, Danielle Leslie, and I'm so glad you decided to join me, because I have a really amazing guest. I cannot wait for you to meet. You've probably seen his work without even realizing it. iconic photographs of celebrities like Justin Bieber Usher, Jessica Alba and more. Advertising work for brands like Nike and Coca Cola and editorial shoots for Conde Nast, Marie Claire and cosmopolitan. He is a man of many skills and talents. And he's a talented designer creating custom totem crowns, which you'll hear all about, and a growing line of accessories. He's the host of the onken radio podcast and the self proclaimed creative Alchemist. I'm so excited to welcome the incredible Nick Onken to SINCE3000. Thank you for being here. What an honor. Yeah. I'm so excited to bring you today's episode. But before we do, I need to make sure you've heard about member up. So community driven products are the future. But Facebook groups are a thing of the past. And after 10 plus years in the online education space, I've taken all my learnings and I've built this incredible platform member up. It's a customizable easy to use all in one platform where you can build a premium course community or membership site without the tech headache. Gone are the days of having to duct tape together, your content, your community, your payments, all on different platforms. I want you to do me a favor, do yourself a favor and head over right now to member up.com Ford slash Danielle. And you can get started for free today. I promise you, I can't wait for you to see this platform. It's beautiful. Okay, the design is amazing. Your community is going to feel at home here and you are going to take pride in your online business. It is the place to start, head over to member of.com Ford slash Danielle. Now let's get into the episode. I had the opportunity to have you photograph me actually the photos for this podcast a year ago. And isn't that wild? Oh my gosh. So wild. And I remember crystal my best friend she she came in and like, almost like offered you on a plate to me. She was like I found this amazing photographer. It's Nick onken. And I was like, he's on my vision board. And I'm like, How did you know? Definitely there were best friends. But But I had already like seen you online. And I was like he's such an interesting guy. And so it was such an honor to work with you. And you're just so dope. But I'm curious about your just photography journey and how that got started. Because you've photographed like, assured Justin Bieber like Lewis Howes like big names all kinds of people. So I'm curious, where did it start? Where was that first person? You photographed that first, like big job you got and how on earth did that happen? Yeah, so I'm I was a graphic designer first. That's what I went to school for. And so I took some photography classes in high school and college just because they were part of the design program. I ended up doing that for five years. And then I picked up a digital camera when when that technology got good enough to actually use on the computer, and started shooting just for my design work and started having fun with it. And then I convinced a nonprofit design client of mine to split the expenses on a trip to Africa. Wow, I love that to build a photo library for them. And I was like, where did you go? Specifically, I went to Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi. It was like a life changing trip. Life changing? Yeah, Bill, a photo lab photo library for them. So like I like kind of like what we did for you and what I do for a lot of clients. It's like, we build a library of images that they can use for the brand. God, honestly, like I had no idea what I was doing. I literally had a glorified point and shoot camera and they're like, Yeah, that sounds great. I was like, okay, because nobody knew like this was just kind of I was an offering this to them because I want to just practice and so they paid for my travels to go there. That was the first the first time that I've ever had anything like that. And I was like, Wait, people are getting people pay me. Even so for you to be just beginning your journey, and to have someone call it like having audacity, you know, like to like make that kind of request. I'm curious, where did the idea come from or the confidence you know, to even make the request in the first place? You know? I had I had a friend who was an IT guy and he had donated his time to like this, this organization and Kenya and he'd gone over there and they've paid for him to go over there and set up this whole IT network and stuff like that and I was like, I want to do that. I want to like donate my Time, but also have somebody pay for my travel. And this was like, you know, early days, and I was like, I mean, nobody's gonna pay me to do graphic design on location. I was like, Oh, wait, I've been taking photos, maybe maybe I could do a photo thing. And so that's where the idea came from. Got it. And then I was like, you know, let's just throw it out there. It's and see what sticks. And so I emailed them and asked them, and they were like, Yeah, that sounds great. Let's do it. And I was like, really? I mean, yeah, let's do a horse. So that kind of reminds me of when you are they talk about how when you're in the room, and there's, if we're not that we rate people, but let's just say, according to what you're attracted to, there is the 11, or the 10, or whatever in the room. And it's like, everyone's going for the middle, because we're like, that's the safer route. Whereas there's like the one person who is you essentially asked for the 10 for the 11. And they probably had no inquiries for that. And they're like, Oh, actually, yeah. Instead of asking for, you know, what's been asked for before? Yeah, I mean, I guess it's like, at this episode, what's the worst? They could just say? No. Okay, well, why not? And then they said, Yes. And I was like, oh, yeah, great. Let's do it. And I literally had to reverse engineer and figure out what I was doing. And then I was like, Okay, well, how do you do that? So I found another photographer whose work I really liked. And I asked him, and he ended up like, giving me some, like tips and tricks and things that I could utilize to go and I just kind of prepped myself as much as I could, and then did the whole trip. And it was life changing. I mean, that was my first time in the developing world. Never been in, in that, that space before. And you see kids like running around on the streets and, and they'll give you the shirt off their back, and they don't even have a shirt off their back. And it was just like this whole interaction that I had never been in before. And I think that's really helped shaped everything, my whole perspective on life and my business. And so I've always been giving back as part of my business since then. Which is, I think, also that's like, foray into everything else. But until like, shooting all these different personalities and things like that. So that was like, my I was, that was the eye opening trip, a just personal life perspective wise, but also be opening my eyes to the world of photography. I was like, Oh, somebody's gonna pay me to travel around the world and, and take photos. This is amazing. Yeah, let's do this. So, but I was still kind of like, I hit this man, I'm reflecting on identity alchemy. For me, like I was still attached to the identity of being a graphic designer. So I was like, still on the fence of like, letting that go. Or, however that looks because I was like, That was that was the track that I was wanting to be on was like graphic design. But then this photography thing came into my, my field. And I was like, Oh, this is interesting. So then I connected with a photographer in Seattle. And he took he kind of like, took me under his wing and showed me some things opened my eyes to like, actually, photography can be a business, and you can actually make money with it. And I had no clue that that was the case. And so from there, I was like, oh, I want to be a commercial photographer. And that's where I began to, like, let go of the design and kind of really decide, oh, this is what I'm gonna do. And again, I and then I went and like sort of reverse engineering everything and like, Okay, if I want to be shooting this, what do I have to do to get there? I have to be shooting work that people would like, want to hire me to do that. So you're talking like campaigns for Nike and Reebok and Coca Cola. And so what was the first commercial campaign you worked on? So the first commercial campaign was a Nike job? And this was like, a couple of years, literally, like two years later, I get this call from a friend. Or actually, no, I get this call. It wasn't even from my friend from New York. I was still in Seattle at the time. And this was a couple days before Christmas. And he's like, Yeah, I'm a producer for Nike. And, you know, we have the shoot next week. And whenever you want to save, you're available. And because we like your friend, or like our director, Brian recommended you and I was like, Oh, he's like, Yeah, we want we want you to shoot these guys. It's a it's both like Ben Roethlisberger and Brian or locker and Albert Pooh holes and Mariano Rivera, I literally had to, like write these down to Google them because I'm sitting there like some of the biggest sports players in like baseball and football. I literally had to write them down. Like I was like, How do you spell that again? writing them down. So I could go home and Google them later and figure out who they were gonna get the Nike, so I feel like they're probably a big deal. Yeah, it's Nike. So I think we're good there. Yeah. So yeah. And then it took a couple days to negotiate. And it was literally the next month and Christmas is in between Christmas is on Saturday. So I had to like figure all this stuff out and they didn't like sign off on it until Thursday. Wow. We had to find equipment in San Diego. I'd booked tickets to leave on Monday and shoot Tuesday. And what was the shoot like so How do you remember yourself being on this? She's like, what is happening? I guess if I'm been asked to do this, then there's something that says, Okay, then, like, they looked at my work. And they said, okay, yes, he's capable of doing this. And it was the most money I've ever been paid for shoot before. And I was like this, you know, and we just, it was like the Amazing Race, we flew to San Diego. And then the next week, we flew to Pittsburgh, and I had to figure out how to like, I don't even really know studio lighting. At this point, I don't know, I've been playing with it a little bit. I ended up finding a lighting tech assistant. And he ended up driving the equipment down to San Diego and like flying with us and setting up all the lighting for me and everything cuz I was like, I need this. I need to figure out how to figure this out. And so I would just, I would guide him visually of what I wanted. And then he made it all happen technically. Lighting wise, I love that you because sometimes we can take like a DIY approach and be like, Alright, I've got to like figure it all out into it myself. But it sounds like in that moment, you're like, Okay, I'm the visionary. Let me just tell you what I see. And then like, relinquish control and gave someone else permission to be in their genius zone to be like, Alright, I got the tech side. Cool. You want the you want the glow? We get the glow. This is how you do it. Exactly. Exactly. So yeah, that was kind of my first really big job. And then I was just like, and then I didn't, that was funny, because like, I was like, Oh, I'm in I'm this commercial photographer. I just shot for Nike and like, yeah, what's Yeah, and then I didn't see anything like that, for two years has like crazy for like two years. I mean, I was like shooting like I would shoot weddings. And I would shoot like portraits and do different things. But But yeah, like, I didn't see any big jobs like that for a couple years. And then a couple years later, I got another Nike job. And then I was started doing a lot of Nike work for a couple years. And then I got in, I think it was that that was 2007 2009. I signed with an agent in New York. Yeah. And I'd started coming in thought of like a photographer signing with an agent. So is this like a talent agent? Yeah. So in the commercial editorial world, there's agents and they, there's a whole system of the way that works and like you go after ad agencies, and they represent, and this is way back before the this is just when like, internet was getting good enough. And like people were doing like actual photography websites, but we had to have like, actual physical portfolios. I had 10 portfolios. Wow. And they were like, if if somebody like wanted to, like hire me for a job, they would be like, oh, I want to get your portfolio. And so like, my agent would have to like FedEx overnight this like 11 by 14. portfolio that you flip through? It's a whole book, pre website, pre Instagram. Yeah. Because people didn't trust like the quality of the web at that point. Yeah. So they wanted to see an actual physical portfolio book. So that was, and that was right around the time that I met. My friend, Adam Braun, who founded this, this charity called Pencils of Promise. Yeah, they build schools for kids in the developing world. And they started in Laos, which was our first trip together. Wow. Because he was like, Hey, this is why when my career started taking off, and he was like, Hey, I'm going to allow that we met up for a beer and he was like, I'm going to Laos in December, if you want to come, I can't pay can't pay for you. But like, you're welcome to come. And this is like he had One Belt One school. So there was no not even barely an organization. At all. It wasn't it was just he had funded another school. And he was just starting to organize the nonprofit. But he's like, if you want to come great, you were there. And like Pencils of Promise is one of the largest. I mean, it's like an example people looked at as what's possible with an organization is making a huge difference. That's amazing. Oh, my gosh, yeah. So that was like, I helped build the branding imagery for Pencils of Promise, like I've done. I've been to all countries multiple times. And we just do brand shoots, essentially. And it's great because we get to go and play hanging out with the kids at the schools. And it's such a beautiful time. So that first trip was to Laos, and we that was really what kicked off the whole organization was that trip. Oh my god. Yeah. And we were it was just like, it was like the wild wild west. It was me and Adam and this woman, Leslie. And she Leslie was just kind of like, oh, that sounds fun. She was a school teacher just kind of coming to hang out with us. And we were just like, going through the jungles and up rivers and all this stuff to go visit these different sites and potential sites and things like that. And then knots kind of visit the organization started to be built from that. Oh my god. Yeah. And so giving bows I was like, I want to do this is like a piece of my business. So we done at least one trip a year to the different countries and stuff like that. Up until COVID Everything is kind of shifted since then. But yeah, then like a year, I would say probably like a year year and a half later. I really stepped foot to photography book. How to photography book. Oh, no way like a physical book. Yeah. Publish Random House. Yeah. Because like it was so long ago that I even wrote a book. I didn't know. Oh, yeah, yeah. And we did a really big I did a huge gallery showing in the city with like when I just blew up photos from that Pencils of Promise trip. So we like kind of did a tag team. I use that as a way to like raise awareness for the organization. right around that time, Adam, we were talking, we're hanging out and Adam was like, Hey, check it out. My brother found this kid on the internet. He's gonna be huge. One day. His name's Justin Bieber. Why? No way. Yeah, I was like, Who? Okay, cool. Whatever, whatever. Yeah, sure. Yeah. And so yeah, it was so funny. And then like, literally a year later after that, like, Justin blew up became the biggest thing since sliced bread. Dropped him. It took a while for me to actually meet and get in because you got that time to scooter his brother became like so big that he's like untouchable and Adam and told me about him many times had told him about me many times, but unless you're like in his radar like he's so busy like you one of the biggest music moguls out there. You wouldn't he wouldn't register that. And then a couple years later, a while later after, this is after the never seen ever movie came out and scooter actually became a public public profile. I was I got this email from scooters email. And it was he was like, it was out. He's like, Hey, Nick. It's Adam. I'm on scooters phone. Yeah, he's like we're in Guatemala, can you come down tonight or tomorrow? And I was like, because he's like, this is my brother's first time in the field. And we want to capture that and capture some images for the charity and stuff like that. And I was like, Well, I got a big campaign tomorrow to shoot, but it was like shooting a footlocker campaign. It was kind of inconvenient time. I was like, I could come down first thing Saturday. And I mean, I would probably have like 24 hours down there. But I mean, that's all we really need. He's like, great book, a ticket come down. So I booked a ticket left at 6am. Saturday, flew down to Guatemala for 24 hours hopped in a hop to like we like met up in a van. I hopped in with them. And then the for all of us went and went to the schools and I was shooting photos. And that's kind of where I got to know scooter and and then that built the relationship there and then ended up traveling with him. Six months later, we ended up going on vacation with Asher. And it was just this whole like, led to like photographing Justin and usher and just building that relationship. So it's been a it's been an interesting ride. That's amazing. I just love how you, you're able to connect with people in a genuine way. And they're like, why wouldn't we want you to photograph and come on this trip and be the person to help us build this out? Like, I love that? Yeah, yeah, I think I mean, being a photographer really takes if you're photographing people, it takes a personality to really like, kind of get in there and build rapport with people and be cool. And especially like, because I've photographed so many different people from kids in Africa, all the way to Bieber. And so it's like everyone in between, it's like, you're dancing with different personalities and different energies. And you've got to like figure out how to, like, get in there and and build a rapport with somebody to the, to the fact to the point of getting them at ease and making them feel comfortable. And so I've learned a lot you do that so beautifully. And I would say even today, you arrived and you're like, I have a gift for you. And you're like, check this out. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, so you design these? I did yeah, I love this. What like why? Why did you decide to design the fan? And explain like what's on in the elements? Yeah, well, so my hat brand onken made is my whole brand is really around activating people's super powers or, you know, the totem crown hats are really like they are you know, Totem is like a spiritual a thing of spiritual significance or meaning. Let's pause so yes, let's start at the hats. Yeah, cuz that'll that'll lead into this. Yeah, gosh, one of the most noticeable things about you is your hat. And then I realized you make these and you call them totem crowns. Yeah. How did this start? And when I say make, I mean, the, the like, in in? Yeah, like codes. So tell me Yeah, told me about about the total crowns. So the totem crowns. I mean, I got into hats like probably five or six years ago from a friend of mine. And then like, probably three years ago is when I was like, Oh, I, I was I kind of took some of those that I was funny. It was like, like, all full circle, right? I had I took a hat that I was I had made with her and I just like started. I had a whole bunch of them that I was kind of doing my own designs with I was burning up and doing different things. And then I was like, I had this one or it was like I Okay, this feels like really what I really love and I was wearing it around. I was in the Soho House in LA. And I was walking. I was walking down sweater and got up to go to the bathroom. And I got I was sort of walking across the room and I heard this like, Yo man, I like your hat. And I was like okay, I turn around and it was Justin Bieber. Oh, Oh, Justin and Haley and that is while. Yeah. And I shot him like two or three times since this but it was a while back and I had a shaved head at that point and like, and then when I saw him, I like my long hair now and so he did barely right. He didn't recognize me. Yeah, I was like, it's Nick. He's like, Oh, hey. So he's like it. That was another hatmaker I was like, No, it's mine. He's like, Oh, so cool. Yeah, and then like, and then he gets in, they just like, scurried off. does his thing. Whoa, I was like, okay, if I'm getting like, I got something here, maybe I'm getting hollered at Justin. Like just randomly placed, I was like, Maybe I should probably like, do something with this. And so that was where I and that was the kind of the catalyst for me to be like, Okay, let me invest money into all the tools and everything that it takes to do these there's like hat blocks and everything cuz I'm making my hand like if block the felts and all this stuff. So they're all custom. And eventually, this is like kind of within the last year, I did a rebrand which is what we're seeing here. And I started calling them totem crowns. Because when I do a custom process, I give somebody if I give them a form to fill out and I kind of I asked like, what's meaningful to like what spiritual things are what it doesn't have to be spiritual, but like, I think spiritual I'd become a more spiritual person over the last few years and so that's just follow the the rabbit of for my, my own journey is gone. And so, totems is like a totem is like something of a spiritual significance or meaning to you. And then obviously, a crown is a crown, like, oh, let's just call them totem crowns because I'm doing stuff that's it's way more customized, it's way more meaningful to who or where is it? And then I'm even putting like intentions inside the you know, I'll take your intention and put it inside the hat there. And then you know, when you put it on, it's like, okay, I'm wearing the intention and there's really such a spiritual significance around the sheer the intention you have on this one. Yeah, this one is this one says move with gratitude. Or no, wait, no, this one says magic magic is within you. Magic is within you. It is magic is within. So I did a rebrand and we did I wanted it to there's the there's the rabbit. So follow the White Rabbit. That's always been like a thing. It's like follow like, the brand is around, you know, diving into your own consciousness diving into who you are. And then these are like the crystallization. That's really crystallization of the universe inside of you. I love so mushrooms. I mean, what can we say is the rabbit hole and then butterfly. It's the metamorphosis is metamorphosis and that's the that's the identity alchemy piece as well, that kind of ties everything in together. And so activate your superpowers and you know, change the world and the universe inside of you. So that's what the brand is about. So I'm doing I just did some silk scarves that I just put out and started to make jewelry and just kind of really added this this morning. Oh, wow, I just made that this morning. Yeah, I had this magic one. caston design and cast it and then I just put it on the chain this morning. Yeah. Oh my gosh, I love this. So So you mentioned love frequency. Oh, I love Oh my gosh, yeah. See a whole jewelry line? Yes, it's happening in production. About you, you just seem to you are truly a vessel like you know that you are and you like let things flow out. And it's all beautifully like self expressed. The sense I get from you is that it is just like, free flowing. Yeah. And I think that's the alchemy, right? Like, that's the inner alchemy piece is to be able to get to that space. And I think plant medicine has definitely helped with that. And I've been reading a lot of different books and things like so it's like how can we create an open channel to let source or divinity flow through us because we are divinity and self Express and like if we can get to our fullest self expression, like that's where we live. That's where the magic lies. That's That's what is magical about life. We are divinity just wanting to express and experience this life to the fullest. But we're the ones that create the limiting beliefs and like, from society, what society has told us to be who society's told us to be and that pretty soon just gets sick. Have you ever seen the movie soul? Yes, I love a great movie. And it's so true. And it's like you know, when when you're not when you're not living in your truth and you have all these like negative stories and beliefs that are happening you get it covers up your true essence. Absolutely. I was it was interesting. I was just at a dinner for our like CEO retreat. And one of the ladies was sharing, you know, when I was a little kid, we shared what we wish our superpower was. And so it's like, okay, well, well, what do you wish it was now and so we each shared what we wish it was as an adult as we are now. And what was top of mind for me was being able to decipher the difference between like my voice that is Spirit God versus, you know, society, ego, others, their desires, what they do. And I find that as I progress in my journey, and I'm new to spirituality myself in the last few years, and so I have a lot to learn, and I've been having fun learning it. But as I progress on my journey, that's like a muscle. I'm like, Oh, this is a muscle to work out like this being able to decipher the difference, you know, where's this message coming from? Is it from inside? Or is it from the outside? Well, yeah, we're the ones that get in the way of that. It's like our head is the thing that gets in the way of that, and the second guessing and the fear, it's like, it's all comes out of love and fear. And we're making decisions out of fear versus love. And that shows up in everything. And I would love to hear about your spiritual journey, because you mentioned it started like a few years ago. So I'm curious, what have been the biggest lessons for you? And what is that even? What does that even look like for you your spiritual journey? Yeah, the spiritual journey for me, I guess, kind of started in two phases. So my commercial as as social media started to rise. My commercial, like business was like starting to struggle. Because like, the industry didn't know what to do with itself. Like people were like, well, it's social media. We don't want to pay for that. We don't want pay as much as we would for a print campaign. And so then you had this whole thing. And you had like, way more photographers coming in doing those jobs for basically nothing or for free. And then like you're trying to figure it was this whole thing. And so I started losing all these different bids, and my business started crashing, and I was like, What is going on? And I was like, I started crashing. And I was like, like, I didn't know what was happening. And then Louis, actually, my friend, Lewis Howes, he was like, Hey, I'm doing this, like emotional intelligence and leadership training is out in LA. I was like, I need that. Tell me more. He's like, and he had like, skipped Summit Series to go to one of them. Exactly. Skipping this year. That's impressive. Okay, give me a sign me up. So yeah, so he so I went to I started going to this. It's called MIT out in LA. And it was really that I don't know if you've ever done landmark or Yes, landmark is like changing. Yeah, so it's same. So they started from est. They're both started from S, which is the same curriculum. MIT T was just a more experiential version of the teaching. What is est? Est is like, it was what what it was before landmark, right? So people asked the program right around the limiting beliefs and living a possibility, whatever, like the whole curriculum that they teach, came from asked, and then they started landmark. And then they also started MIT. And then they kind of shifted, so they teach the same things. But MIT has way more like exit like exercises. So they anchor the teachings with actual experience, because how you show up, and with one thing is how you show up and everything. And so the how you show up in these exercises is how you show up and like, so they really pressure cook these things, and then they up to the surface, you're actually feeling these emotions, right? Yeah, yeah. Cuz my experience in landmark I remember, you know, we were encouraged to go to the front of the room, because then at least you would get some modicum of like exercise and being in the moment, but a lot of it for me was learning through others. And then, you know, making sure I did my part of the work outside of the room. Yeah. But I love that. That sounds like a great yeah, this was like, okay, every everybody gets to participate. And if you're not participating, what's keeping you from participating? Right, so that's a whole it's a whole different dynamic. Yeah. And then that that pressure cooks feelings, and then like, somebody shares and then the trainer goes in, and like 360, the 360 train around that, right? What year did you do this? 2014 or 15? Maybe, okay, so Okay. Yeah. And that was life changing. For me. It really like it showed me like, I had, like, I discovered that this huge, huge fear of judgment from my parents and the way that she, they showed up to me. And so like, that was very eye opening. And then I went all the way to the top program where they we had to like it was public speaking. So they like literally it was and I did it with Louis and like Preston and Alexi, and oh, my God, my friends, Brad and Brad and Jenna, and the who now started ALA, which is if you're going to do it's all ascension leadership, NaVi same concept, same curriculum, but they just created an even better container. So you're gonna do it go to Ala. Okay, same thing, just better container. Okay, so Yeah, and like, they would make us get weird. Literally get up in a group in front of a group of 20 and just like speak, and then everybody gives you direct feedback. And you're like, wow, yeah, talking about learning. And then the thesis So you had to like, do, you had to create a two hour workshop and enroll at least 30 people in to the workshop and do the whole thing. Really what works? So I didn't I didn't mind on seeing life through the lens of creativity and creating your life when I love you. Yeah. So it was fun. So that was really like, that was the slumps, I realized that, like, I was finding all my self worth in being a photographer and who I shooting what I was shooting and realizing that, like, my ego identity was so attached to that, and that's why I crashed when my business crashed. Oh, so good. Yeah, so that kind of like, that was like, okay, then I was on an upswing and kind of like different space in life, I started my podcast, I was like, I have all these cool friends, I'm just going to interview them. So I was like, interviewed Scooter, and Asher and Louis, and all these people on my podcast is great. And then I got into another relationship a few like my seven, six or seven years ago, five years ago. And that relationship was the relationship that I needed. What do you mean by that? It was the relationship that really pushed me it was great, and it but it was also very toxic. And then it pushed me into a dark night of the soul. So between that and try to restructure my business, and like trying to keep up with my business, and like support this person, and really like, take on all of that. It was a lot can you break down dark night of the soul? Because you were actually the first person I heard that term from, and I remember you saying it, and I was like, Oh, that's a new, that's like a new word for me. So for you who doesn't know what Well, I didn't even know it until I while I go through this breakup, I started reading. I was like, I just feel so I don't want to do anything. I wouldn't necessarily say I was like, suicidal. But I was like, What's the point of all this? It's all made up. We're all just like, this is all just made up so that we can exist, right? And I was like, why are we here? And then I did Bufo five Meo DMT. And that sent me to the stratosphere and back, and I was like, Whoa, well, if that's out there, and that's what really exists. And really, what are we doing here? Now I'm like an even darker, whatever. And I didn't even know that term, dark night of the soul. And then a couple of years, was it a couple months later, I was like, I was just one step in front of the other. I was like, just keep going, keep going, keep going one step at a time when every day just tried to feel better. And I was just really in this dark, dark time. And then I was at this, I went to this yoga or acro yoga thing. And after the acro yoga, this guy was like, he's like, Hey, if you guys want I trained with Wim Hof. I'm a trainer. And if you guys want to do a breathwork session, I'm happy to lead one. And so he led this breathwork session. And he like turned off the lights. Everybody put like an eye mask on, he put some music on and led us through this like six rounds of Wim Hof. breathwork. And I was like, Whoa, because I started hitting these the states in the breathwork that I hit in DMT. Whoa, whoa, I don't even this is just like with three minutes was that session? was like 45 minutes. Wow. Yeah, yeah. So I was like, I have to do this because I was like, I feel better. I don't know what this is. But I feel better. Can you give us an example of was it like the rapid breaths in and out? Yeah. So it's like, it's like, you do two and a half minutes of like, circular breathing, where you're not taking a pause in between, you're like, you're laying on your back, like with an eye mask, typically, if you want, because it makes it go inward. And then do two and a half minutes of that. So pumps your body full of oxygen. And then you exhale all of your air you hold for as long as you can. And what's crazy is when you've pumped your body full of oxygen, you can actually hold your breath for like three, sometimes four minutes on an empty chamber. Wow. And then you call it, you can't hold it anymore. And then you take a breath in and hold it at the top. And you get this like rush of whatever that is. And what it's doing is it's pulling you out of your default mode network in your brain. So the default mode network in your brain is this. It's that the neural net of the story that you run in your mind. So in depression, PTSD, you're running a story, we all run stories, right? Typically stories that don't serve us. And so those stories and the more you think the story, the more the neural nets get woven, and the more harder it is the players I want to get your head right, you're like so the breath work and psychedelics and meditation, they pull you out of that default mode network. And so that's what I experienced. Was this, like, free? You got a breath, like a breath of fresh air like so to speak? Yeah, it's just like you're free from your own mind. Whoa, yeah, I was like, Okay, I started doing it every day, one every day and I had like the timer and I was doing the thing and then I was like, actually, maybe I should just do it. So I created my own like breathwork track and took some music and over they'd like my own vocal guiding that the at the right time constraints or the timeframe timestamps so that I can just like drop in more deeper in a meditation. So of looking at a stopwatch. So when the voice prompts was it more instructional, it was more it was like a voice meditation, right? So it's like, okay, now just like start round one, start now. And then breathe. And then like, at the two and a half minute mark, I'd say like, you know, take two more breaths, exhale and hold. So that I knew it was like a guiding it was vocally guiding me. So I could just hear it versus like having to look at that. Because that lets you it lets allows you to drop in even deeper. And so you had music or like, yeah, I put I use like a Moby soundtrack. Like, I just use a mobi album. And it's amazing. It's like, I still do it. And I still use it. And I'll take people through it, as well. But yeah, it was a really amazing experience. And then I was like, looking at breath work. And I was researching this stuff. And I saw something on Facebook, like Holotropic breathwork. And I was like, What is this? And I saw a friend of mine, John Stein, actually, who runs he was running summit stuff for a while. I saw he liked it. And I was like, emailed him. And he was I was like, Oh, you like this? Holotropic breathwork stuff. He's like, Yeah, it was going through a dark night of the soul. And I was like, was a dark night of the soul. Ah, no, he was like, oh, it's like when you're kind of like in this weird depression, like, state or something like that. So I started looking googling dark night of the soul. And I found this like, test online. I was like, oh, yeah, of course, some like lead, opt in lead magnet. We need your emails are deeper. Okay, yes, I'm definitely in a dark night of the soul. And so that was like, give me framework around what that actually was. That shows the power of naming something. Yeah, like that really almost like, releases the power that it has over you. Because you're like, Okay, that's what you are. Like, that's what you're okay. Got it. Like develop tools and look for things. Absolutely, absolutely. So yeah, that's kind of what gave me framework around it. And then I started doing, just kept doing the breath work. And then I read Michael Pollan's book, how to change your mind, around psychedelics. And that shifted my whole perspective, because I drew, I grew up with the whole Christian thing of drugs are bad and never do them and all this stuff, and there's nothing good that comes out of them. And I read that book, I was like, whoa, wait, this is completely contradictory to what I grew up with. And I was like, okay, set setting dosage. Like all these things make sense? What were your biggest takeaways from his book, like certain ones are treated more like more as medicines, right? You actually heal addiction, or as drugs will like, make you more addicted, you get addicted to drugs, whereas medicines will actually heal you from the addiction even to drugs or smoking or tobacco or whatever that is, and PTSD as like, Okay, that was the first reframe so helped make the distinction between drugs versus medicine. Yeah, exactly. And then the other piece was, like, it's so much about sentence setting, and the context because if you're doing these medicines in a public setting, you take some mushrooms and go walk in Central Park, or New York City and and like, that'd be like chaotic, because you don't know what energies are going to, you're going to bump into, or, I mean, New York's chaotic and crazy and of itself. So I was like, Oh, that makes a lot of sense. So I started crafting my own journeys at home, where I would like create a container in my apartment, with an IMS with a psychedelic therapy playlist. Mix it we're having Mr mixing with cacao, because that blends is a heart opening space. So it kind of the medicines fuse together. And so you get a more heart open journey. And I would just like, do Sunday service at like 11 o'clock at 11am on a Sunday and just drop like three to five grams of mushrooms and really just go for journey. I started doing it with another friend. And then eventually I was like, started doing it just on my own. And I realized doing them on my own, I go even deeper. Because there's nobody else in the room. That's like because you're always like subconsciously managing other energies. So you don't fully surrender into it. I mean, he you can like you can learn to do that. And it's as you do more medicine, you learn how to like work with the medicine and go deeper and go deeper and and you get all these different aha moments or growth spurts in the medicine takes you where it needs to go. And obviously, like I think we talked about earlier, where you set the intention going into it, you know, and this was what was interesting, I found doing my podcast, right? I always had a fear of speaking in front of people. This is kind of after the MIT thing. So I got used to it a little bit. And then I started I had started my podcast to start really pushing myself to speak in front behind a microphone and things like that. And then I would still like I would record a solo podcast. It would take me two hours to do like a 10 minute podcast because I Like screwed up, had to go back and re re, like, delete part of it and then keep going. And then. So that was that was part of like when I first started and then I started when I started doing more mushroom journeys, some of the journeys, I'd be like, put the intention to heal whatever that is that keeps my voice from like, flowing. And now, I can do like a 40 minute free flow episode one take. Yeah, well, so that is incredible. So it was interesting. I was talking to someone on my team, and she shared something, what you said made me think of this, I was telling her about was I telling her about, oh, working out. So for whatever reason, I block around exercising and working out. I mean, you know, we get it in, but just on like a regular consistent basis. I've got to like, go through my seasons and all of that. So I was just sharing that with her and saying, I know that it helps me show up as my highest self. I know that I know that it helps me with my homeostasis, you know, regulating my nervous system, like all the things Yeah. Yet there's a part of me that for whatever reason is like, Nope, we're not letting you do that. Yeah, I'm like, Well, what's happening. And so she said, there's a practice that I tried, where she recorded herself, like retelling the story, essentially. So working out or not even working out. But moving my body is fun, and helps me express myself. It's another way for me to express myself because I resonate with that my cool self expression all day, let's go. So you would like retell the story. And then she said, you record yourself saying that, and I think it's like 20 minutes a day, maybe right before bed. And then right when you wake up in the morning, you listen to that recording of your voice saying that over and over on loop for 20 minutes. It was as long as 20 Min. I remember 20 minutes, but it could be like 10 minutes, but it was like at least 10 minutes, 20 minutes. And she's tried it with a couple blocks she had in her life. And that helped rewire that helped, like you know, create a new story or get rid of the story. I love that. All right. I love it. Yeah, yeah, I'm not a fan. I love working out myself. For me, what shifted was like a I was I turned, I turned 30. It was just like a friend of mine was like, What's going on over there? That was the first thing that was like, Okay, how can I like condense this to like the least amount of time as possible? I literally have like, 20 minute routine every day. Oh, that's great. Wait, so what do you do like five minutes of yoga, stretching, and then I do these HIIT workouts. So it's like 45 Second 15 Second rest. And I'll just I'll do three sets of I do I pick five exercises, do three sets of each on a 45 second on that interval timer. Because when you're doing that on a timer, it actually works better because your body gets tired faster. And I just do it at home. I don't have to go to the gym. I don't even like literally I take the morning was how do you do it. So I wake up, I usually wake up at seven. And then I meditate for 25 minutes. And then I go into right into working out for 20 minutes. And then do you listen to music or listen to a book or listen to podcasts? listen to podcasts while I'm working out because then it kind of like takes me into another space and not really. That's so interesting. So I know the first time working out and I think even calling it working out doesn't help me in terms of like how my body receives it in my mind receives it. Um, but you know, working out for the sake of brevity, or movement, movement. Yes. And I think that's that's what it is. It's really movement. I think there's a study where as long as you get your 10,000 steps in, that's actually shown more longevity in your health, and extending your lifespan versus the 30 minutes, hour, whatever a few times a week of like hardcore, like in the gym, all of that that we think of when we think of working out. So I think part of it is me redefining it for myself, what I found is that I like working out on my own. So most recently, I'll just do 20 minutes on the elliptical. Now because I know it's not the best for sculpting certain areas like the ABS and whatnot. But I'm like we just need to get ourselves out oceans. Level one and then we'll get fancy. But what I love about being on the elliptical is it's become meditative for me because it is like the same motion for 20 minutes straight all listen to an album. So like Beyonce, I was listening to her new album. And so then I end up like creative directing the music videos for like every song of the album. So it just becomes like a great just like creative time to like go and creatively direct things. First her album and then you know my life of course. I love that. Like Beyonce. Yeah. Your creative director. Exactly. Hey, this is Danielle Leslie and I have a question for you. If you are a creative entrepreneur, and your business is unique, why are you working with a generic accountant? One of the best decisions I made was who I would partner with on my taxes and my accounting. So if you're creative entrepreneur, you are growing your business, you're scaling your business, I want to introduce you to rebel. Rebel is a firm that can help you whether you're looking to prepare your taxes, or you're looking for that year round support, they will tell you what's happening in your business and why. 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And it's based on emotional intelligence, neuroscience and accountability, she's going to show you step by step how to overcome negative feelings. So you can start taking action and start seeing a difference from day one. So text this number right now to schedule an appointment with Patty and her team to see if this is right for you, and what steps for you to take to overcome your procrastination 813-789-1097. And again, the number to text right now is 813-789-1097. Let's all overcome procrastination together. Now let's get back to the episode. We share this interest I think in identity and also alchemy like my, I have a program called course alchemy. Yeah. And then everything is just we see the power of identity. But you have a very specific practice of identity alchemy, that I think you've developed a framework around it, you have a program you've incorporated into photography and how you work with clients. So I'd love to hear like to you what is identity alchemy? Yeah, so it's been interesting over the last couple of years, or the last couple of years of Okay, where am I at in my life? What am I doing? Well, and reflecting I was working with a friend of mine, and we kind of started getting in on onto this idea of identity alchemy, which is, especially as when it comes to building personal brands, that's kind of where it started was like, oh, yeah, because building your personal brand, you're always stepping into a new identity, whether you like it's conscious or not, we're, we're always and if you're an entrepreneur, and you're in your you realize like, how much of you is in your business. And so if you're always evolving yourself, you're constantly shifting and changing identities and moving through, and I look at my own my own life, oh, man, I've moved through so many different identities throughout my career in my life and belief systems and all these things. I mean, there's I think there's different aspects to identity alchemy, there's there's the personal brand side of things, which is kind of like the more tangible space so for me, like the photoshoots are I call them identity alchemy photoshoots. Now, because when I'm working with entrepreneurs, because it is a process of kind of distilling who they are, and what their pillars are, what their stories are, what their story is, and helping them find that true essence. And building the storytelling images around that. So and that's different for everyone. I mean, you know, and it's kind of different where you're based off where that person wants to go I typically have a form that people fill out that ask questions, and then we take that form. And then we have a creative design console call that we come up with a creative concepts for that and then we that's the end then the third step is like the becoming and the crystallizing of it, where we actually do the shoot. So I'm using this there's the deconstruction deconstruct curate become it's a three step process, deconstruct, curate, and become and so in the in the photoshoot side of things, you're deconstructing who are you? What are your what are your priorities? What are your values? What are your stories? What stories do you want to tell? You know, what stories are you letting go of? out of previous identities? Um, it sounds like you're going through a big identity. Oh, yeah, that's right. So you understand what I'm saying? And it's like, all hitting Yeah. Because you know, who we were a year ago or two years ago, five years ago? Yes, sir, once ago, yesterday. Totally different. And then and so and we're always going to be going through this identity alchemy process, and I think it's an important process to keep moving through throughout your life, even just on a personal level, whether you're choosing to like crystallize it through photographs, or crystallized through hats, or whatever that looks like, you know, that's the personal brand side and that what you're delivering to the world and like allowing people to connect with you through storytelling photographs, now on the inside, I think it's just a great process to really actualize and Activate, Activate your superpowers. Part of part of the deconstruction process is deconstructing your adopted identity, what society's told you to be who society's told you to be even like the identity that you previously were created. Sometimes you feel beholden to an old identity, that of who you don't even feel like you are now. So how do you shift through that and evolve and create space to evolve, I think is really important in that process. I love that you just said that. I, I'm definitely, as you said, making that transition. And it's interesting, because I think about it of three phases, where it's like, first part of my life was discovering who I was, then it was creating who I was. And that's when I like created the course business. And I was like, Oh, we created my dream life. I've got this with that. And then there reached a point where I felt beholden to what I had created. And it's wild, because I'm weak, but I created this. Yeah. However, then I felt locked into that, because it's kind of like the, the Hamilton thing of Aaron Burr feeling like he had everything to lose, I'm gonna lose my family name, I'm gonna, you know, so like, I have this brand. And now I'm, like, locked into it, you can't deviate off the path. But it's interesting, because I'm like, I created this. And I feel beholden to it. But then it was that unraveling, and then moving into remembering who I was, like, that's where I am now. Which is, like I said, developing that muscle of listening to the inner voice and remembering that I'm a vessel. And it's like, I just let it flow through. Yeah, that really resonated. I love that. That's so cool. Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about here, too, is because and also, I think this is where we're at, like starting to do these retreats to and utilizing plant medicine, because plant medicine really helped you deconstruct, and also it'll help you like shed old identities, because what I've realized is that plant medicine helps you to let go of the old stories and because that's what trauma is, right? Trauma is holding on to an old story that doesn't serve you and like letting that just like looping that over and over and over in your head. And that releases chemicals that destroy you, essentially makes you sick. So that's why in the PTSD and depression space, psychedelics really helped with that, you know, in the identity alchemy of building a personal brand, a lot of times, it's like letting go of an old, an old identity and shedding that but we like hold on to that, I found that with graphic design, like letting go of that identity took like a couple of years to really like feel okay, because that was the path that I was on. Letting go of my old religion, like growing up Christian, and really, like, took me eight years to really, like, get rid of the fear of going to hell, essentially. You know, so that's an old identity that I had to shed and like, let go of, and now it's like I now I'm like letting go of just being a photographer. And being a creative Alchemist and doing all these different things. And being completely okay with that, and not needing the ego of, oh, I'm shooting this person shooting that person and this brand and that brand. And letting go that. So like plant medicines really helped me through that whole process, and shedding the old identities and then like, activating new, new ideas and new and now I just kind of follow the flow of whatever I want. I love that about you. Like it's just so like you're so influential in that way. Meaning whenever I'm in my space, I feel like reassured to just flow. You're really like the embodiment of that of the creative Alchemist. And I'm curious. So what was one old story that a that maybe it was a journey that you had that helped you like rewrite that story? Or release it? And like what was the new one that replaced it? Hmm, let me think of another there's Today I had the speaking thing with with that was one big one that I really was a noticeable thing, working through letting go of whatever subconscious I think a lot of it was like growing up Christian, and not being able to speak my truth. Because there was only one truth in the house that I grew up in. And if we didn't live that truth, that that was our truth, then it was the wrong truth. There wasn't a truth it was not truth. So I think a lot of subconscious blocks happened with my voice through that and so I think plant medicine really helped me on a subconscious level release some of that stuff. So and then I would say, like, you know, especially over the last couple years of like, letting go of I think the ego stuff too, like once you go I've been on been through ego deaths on multiple ego deaths on medicine. And I explained for someone who's that's a new term. Yeah. Good question. So an ego death for me is when you realize when you can, like let go of the the narrative construct of this reality. I know that probably is way out there. I listen to myself say that an ego death. So like, you're not actually dying, but your ego is what you operate with in this world, right? We all need it, it's not like a bad thing, it's just a matter of whether your identity is wrapped up in your ego, right? If you are your ego identity, then that's who you believe that you are, then when your business crashes, you're going to crash. You know, that's what happened to me is like, my ego, what I was my ego, I was my business, I was my photography, career. And when that crashed, I went down with it, and I thought that I was worthless. And so being able to, like, die to that and shed that ego, you know, identity was a big piece of my process. So an ego death. Now in psychedelics, that's a whole different, it's a little bit different of a ball game, you're kind of letting go of this world. And it's interesting to have experienced this because it's like, you basically go into a space of zero thought, like, you have no narrative. You have no, because our worlds exist in the cotton, their narrative construct in our mind, it's our thoughts. It's a bunch of stories. Yeah. And that's what all these things do. breathwork meditation, they get you out of the stories and into the quantum realm, or the the realm where there is no narrative construct. So could that be an ego death, maybe I think psychedelics give us the blueprint to go there. And then that's why you can access that is how I accessed it on breath, like the same states as DMT, on breathwork, with just breath. And so there is different ways of accessing these things. And so the ego death and makes you realize that this is just a construct. This is like a matrix construct. And it was really interesting, because my mom passed in November, and I was there for her last breath. And to witness her to walk her home across that line was almost this really wildly profound moment. Because I had been there. I'd gone through that death portal before on psychedelics, where the whole world just disappeared. And I was reborn. And so to walk her through that portal, knowing that that's what she was experiencing was a wild moment. It was a wild moment to to watch her take her last breath. Wow. And so what you're saying is you walked her through into her rebirth? Yeah. Because death is just rebirth, right? It's just, it's, that's not even. It's just a transition of energy. I mean, yeah, into the, the ether. And so I've experienced that on psychedelics that I did a mushroom journey a couple of weeks after she passed, and it was like, that was what came through and the journey was like letting go the the narrative constant because we're so scared like, when you first do plant medicines, or psychedelics, you're like, Whoa, it's so scary because you you're scared of like letting go of this world. Six scared of dying, scared of, it's the fear. And then once you learn how to surrender and let go, then you're like, that's where the Enlightenment lives is the death in between. So take that back to identity alchemy. Yeah, I believe that, like the identity alchemy is a process. And it's a process that's ongoing. And the thing is, is like, we are just like, dressing up in identity costume. We really are. Like, Hey, I was like, I get to dress up and talk to my friends. Like, I get to like, play dress up and talk to my friends today. Yeah, funny. And it's honestly it's Have you heard Do you know Paul Selig? No. So he like channels, like the god the guides or whatever. And he's got like, he's just an Aubrey Marcus podcast. He's got like a few books. He's got one. Just listen to the first one called ai m word. And so they basically it's like him writing it like he writes the channel. It's like them speaking through Paul. Yes, essentially, probably he's pretty big. You might have heard of him. The second book is called alchemy something. And it was really interesting. It just started it like the other day. And he's like, he's like, yeah, so in this book, The next couple chapters are going to be on identity. And the chapters after that are going to be on alchemy. And I was like, Oh, yes. So so that's a wild because as you were sharing that, I was thinking about how in 2016 when I created the like, you know, your fictitional business name, and I was living in the Bay at the time and it was like my first business and I went down to the business bureau or whatever it was, and like filled out the papers, and I wrote course alchemy, Inc. And, to this day, I'm like, where did I get alchemy from? I don't even know that I'd listened to the Alchemist by that point. I wasn't on a spiritual journey yet. But it's so strange that like somehow it was in. Just in my world. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, now we're here. Now. Yeah, so it's interesting because he talks about the the idea of how our personality and our physical body is just an identity mask, it's a costume. And we are divinity expressing through that costume. So really, we get to choose whoever we want to be. And we however we want to express in this world and not to be attached to that, right. And I think taking it back to plant medicine there, I had this distinct journey that showed me that really was like, Okay, this is like a year and a half ago, on New Year's Day, this journey was like, it was mushrooms literally, like, I think I did two and a half grams of Amazonians, I was listening to East forest in my bathtub. By myself, I love it. And I had this whole journey where the mushrooms or the whatever the medicine was, like, every journey up until this, this one has been about healing the trauma and clearing the spacesuit, clearing the attachment to the spacesuit. And realizing that we are a channel, you are a channel. And now it's upgrades. Now we're like upgrading your consciousness, upgrading your system. And I've literally had this like it felt like I had like, a hose plugged into the back of my neck. And I was like downloading information. It was wild. It was wild. Yeah. And so I think that, like that's the that's the alchemy piece of it, right? It's like, how can we detach from the space? How can we detach from the identity that we think that that we are? Because it's just a costume? Then it's like, okay, how do we play and dance through life? How do we create the most epic life experience that we can? Yeah, kinda have a couple of thoughts. But I'll start with this thread, and then have another thread that I want to ask you about a distinction. But when I so I've been watching like Trevor Noah, and he has between the scenes clips on your chest, right? Isn't that the best part of the show. So I watched the between the scenes clips, and then one day it like, hit me and I was like, wait a minute, wait a minute. The between the scenes like he needs to or not needs to be he gets to have a quote unquote, nine to five, he has a very glamorous sci fi, but he works this job, right doing the show, he lives his life, because between the scenes we get to hear about when he was at the park, and he saw the difference between South African parents, how they interact with their kids and American parents, how they interact with their kids. He's talking about that he's had hardships, he's talks about growing up, you know, losing his grandmother, like, those are all things that some could looking from outside and be like, Oh my gosh, like he's had a hard life. It was, you know, hardships and all this. And what I realized in that moment was, what he shares in the between the scenes is like his standup routine. He's like, this is my standup routine, because he would be commenting and commentary on his life. And I realized that, okay, for me, every day, everything I do the ups, the downs, everything however, want to see it. I'm like, I need material anyway. I'm like, What am I going to talk about at the dinner table every night, like, I need material? Yeah. And when I, you know, end this version of this lifetime, and transition, like, I'm gonna need some material at the gates or whatever. The next version of the soul, like, I'm gonna need some material. So I'm like, this is all material is all material for my stand up. That's what it is such a brilliant way of looking at it really removed the pressure. It really removed the pressure. And then I wanted to ask you about, do you see a difference between identity and personality? And I'll give you like the why? Because this occurred to me this morning, actually, when I think about identity, it is something that I relate to as being able to change transform from moment to moment. So it's like this, it's like this, it flows. When I think about personality. It's our like, personal reality. And that's the one that I guess, is often attached to the stories, the trauma, and on a scientific level, ourselves and how they're expressing themselves, as we're interpreting the messages our body is sending to our mind. So it seems like personality, sometimes I realized, I might use identity and personality interchangeably, and treat them interchangeably. When really, when I'm talking about identity, I might be talking about personality and vice versa. So I'm wondering if you've ever thought about the difference between those two or two you what is the difference if there is between identity and personality? Great question. Great question. I think that I would say they're slightly different because I feel like identity is something that shifts and that you can, you can latch on to and attach to. So like you look at identity politics or identity I am this I am that I am a I am a photographer I am. I am entrepreneur, I am this. It's like an identity that you're on. Almost like stepping into, where's your personality, it kind of most comes more from your mannerisms and like how you interact and I think some of that stuff can be shifted and moved and if you're like conscious and aware to it, but I feel like that's less identity and more cellular, you know, your, your personality is kind of like your, your energetic imprint as well, that you imprint into people. Right. And that comes from your deep thoughts, your thought system and reading. Do you read? Have you read Joe? Dispenza? Yes, I think the habit of being Yes, that's where I got Yeah. Okay, personalities, your personal reality from breaking the habit of being yourself. Yeah. And that helped me shift. And I'm realizing, Oh, I talked about it in a term of it helped me shift maybe my identity, when in reality, I'm like, oh, no, it helped me actually alter my personality, because it helped me alter my personal reality, because I was able to retrain how my cells responded, or my mind responded to body sensations, therefore, how it expressed itself through my cells. Yeah, that's where I got that from. Not since I was like, I feel like I've like kind of thought about this before. And I didn't, I didn't remember kind of hitting that in the in one of his books. I was like, That's very interesting. Because the more we repeat something, right, like an action from a thought pattern. And then the more we repeat that, the more it becomes embedded into our personality, and the way that we act. Yeah, I feel like that's less identity and more of a have a way of being. And I mean, maybe an identity is a way of being or it's like a choice to step into. It's almost like, like what actors do right, like step into a person, or they step into an identity or a character. I feel like that's what identity is a stepping into a character, or something of that sorts, or an identification, and personality or just kind of like, okay, this is how I operate in the world. This is how I interact with people, which is also still malleable and and alchemic. If you want it to be, yeah, I think what I'm seeing what I'm visualizing is personality as like the lenses in which I see the world. Because for instance, you and I could both be looking at that tree. And I could say, Oh, my God, that reminds me of when I grew up, and it wasn't a good, and then you can be like, Oh my God, it's like green, green trees. Like it's beautiful. So it's almost like the personality because it's tied to like previous trauma, any relationship between body sensation and thoughts. It's almost like it's the lens in which we see the world which of course, impacts how we show up how we be the energy we give off to someone else, to trigger the things that trigger us. Yeah. Well, what I love is your retreats that you're putting on, incorporate all of that. So the fact that on the first day, you said you start with the body. And that's where the trauma is. And that's where you can release that. And that, to me is tied to the personality. That's deep shit. In its ancestral, like, it's not just, oh, I tried this new identity on yesterday. Yeah, it's like that new, new. No, it's like the deep ancestral shit that like that I saw on one of my trips, like one of my trips, it was amazing. I saw, it was like an excavation site. And I saw like, layers and layers down. And I'm like, and I was, I was bawling. And I was just releasing. And I remember in the moment, I said, these are not my tears, like, these are my ancestors tears, like, I was looking at the excavation site. And I was like, digging out like deeper, deeper, deeper. And so to me, that is like the deep stuff. That's the, as we're calling it, in this context, the personality and love the in the first day, you're reaching that they're like, let's get out of the mind. I'm not going to have you we're not going to, nope, let's just feel feel into it and release it. Yeah, that's like at a kind of subconscious level to really, although we do do like a little microdose of peyote, so kind of drops you in, like a five hour session with this. Like, you could do a private session with this team as well. It's like the guy, the man and the woman. There are a couple and it was five hours, five hours. So by myself, oh, yeah, a long time. Yeah, they just kind of go until they figure it out. They give you your guides as well. So she's, she's Indonesian, and she kind of just has these special abilities to see your field and then she's just like been cultivating that right. And so they start out, they give you a microdose of peyote that drops you into your body and so like I was almost able to kind of like move with their hands it just in drop into what they were doing a little bit more, which is why they give it to you. And so she moves she goes first and she kind of moves you through moves just starts up at the top and moves all the way down your body and finds all of your energetic blockages and she'll like go into the myofascial tissue and like really push it They hard and then like move it through, move it through, move it through. And then at the same time she's seen and then they kind of take a break. And she'll ask usually like, oh, did you have something happen at age six, or the age whatever it she'll go they'll go through different ages where she actually felt like she you experienced something and then she felt connected with your guides. So she'll sometimes you'll see your guide, they'd like five guides, which are amazing. Wait, what do you mean she sees your guides. So yeah, she kind of kind of sees like your your counsel your guides, so I have an eel you'll love this because it's totally me. It's first guide in my first guide was a white male Puma. Second guide was a black female hawk or female Black Hawk. Second one was a peacock. The fourth one was a white female dragon. So like intuition, I definitely have a balanced masculine feminine. So I think that's where that comes through. And then the fifth one was a muck, oh my god, a monk of like wisdom and, and just Zen. What do the first two animals like representative lies, the white male Puma is kind of like, almost king of the jungle. Like I moved through this world with intention. And the the female the black female Hawk was kind of like seeing things from a bird's eye view, but also in a caretaking space. And then the peacock got it? The white female Dragon was is like feminine divine feminine intuition, which I feel like comes forth with myself quite a bit. And then obviously, the other monk was kind of just Zen and wisdom and sharing, sharing wisdom. So it's like now then, then they're able to call on these guides now. Because now it's like, articulated in my mind. Right? And I'm like, okay, yeah, let's call the guides in. Oh, my gosh, so do you. So all of us have a council? Do we all so we all have different, I guess different archetypes? Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, everyone has different ones. Some people have like, there's different animals. The one hacker one guy had a wolf. Yeah, it's for everybody. It's kind of different for everyone. And if you do a private session, then it's like a lot easier for them to like really tap in because it takes her a while of working on you to be able to, for her to like, tap into that. Which one do you call on the most? Probably that I probably lost to the the dragon, the female dragon in the monk, and probably the peacock. I feel like I was like you don't call him the peacock just shows. Always at the party. Totally. I love that. Yeah. So I mean, that's, you know, we're doing this one in October. And I think we'll probably push it like let people if they want to book like a private session, that it's longer and more focused on one person on you, then like, that'll be a great, I think it'll be a good offering to have absolutely loved to know, had just have more awareness around my counsel. And to call on them. It was interesting. I was talking to my dad when he was last year. And it was one of the longest conversations I've ever had with him, which is wild. And he ended up telling me just about how he calls on his ancestors. And it was strange, because I was like, I didn't know that dad. Like, I didn't realize you were so spiritual. But it's it makes sense, because now I'm in more of that space. Yeah. Before I wouldn't even know to ask the question or have the conversation. So I love this, like further defining of your counsel, and each of them serving you and supporting you in a different way. Yeah, and having the opportunity to call on them in different situations where you're like, I really could use this right now. Yeah, it's definitely like it's such more much more clear and articulated just in my own mind, which is awesome. Even though I and I look back and I'm like I've definitely felt all of them come through. Like I've like that feels like it's sung sums me up in like five guides are you down to time travel? Of course. Okay, so we're gonna speak into our future. And by we, I mean, you not the royal way, but you, but you're gonna start and I, as you know, I'm a fan of just collapsing time and not having the A to B to C to D, but just where do we show up? What's happening? So I would love to hear what is a future hire however you want to define it? 10 years from now, whatever it is, who is NEC? What is he doing? Where have you been? How he be? What's he waking up and doing what is he waking up and looking at interacting with? What is your life like? I think Interesting is a like, I love the flow of life and not necessarily planning. However, I have a lot of things that I love doing I love building that I would love to see in fruition that is going to be in fruition it is in fruition as we are speaking. So, all the things that I'm doing now that like the creative pursuits, just scaled and probably living with more nature involved, but my friend 11 and I are doing the retreats with we're building up a project called the House of Magi. Which is part of these experiences like these retreats are part of the experiences but we also want to build like they want to build like a circus and magician, magician circus, but we want to build like creative sanctuaries, where people can come and be creative off grid has everything that from biohacking medicine, space. Art Studios, like these are, you know, 10 years down the road. These are in full, full fruition, multiple locations around the world that we can go and drop into and work on creative projects. We're creating art on a mass scale that impacts the world and influences the world to raise the raise consciousness. My hats are all over the place. I've got photography books, portrait books, I'm learning I'm learning how to tattoo now. So I'll be doing tattoos. And just living life and a greater flow. And wherever that takes me. I think that's kind of what I've been. I don't like to plan things. I like to let life unfold and see where it moves. And I think that's been part of my own alcohol chemic process even now is like how much can I let go of attachment to future results and like let life become even more magical than I could ever imagine? I love that. I love how you opened with and also there is no timeline like this is already happening on another quote unquote timeline dimension like that version of me is living this out has already lived it out is yeah, it's yeah, no. Yeah. Taurus time. And then you're speaking of tattoos, like this is so beautiful. Oh, thank you that this is her. Her name is Elle. Lita, she's in Tulum, actually, she talked to me about, yes, we're actually talking about her come have come to the retreat of two twos. Yes. Like at the end of the week. This is beautiful. Thank you. This is her signature style. It's her signature style. She's got another style that she has been developing, but she actually channeled this through Ayahuasca journeys. And so I saw, like, it took me 10 years because I did this. I did this one, this one, and I waited, and I just didn't have any idea of what I wanted. And I saw her stuff. I was like, I want one. And I got one two days later. Wow. Yeah. While I was down there last year, and you know, she takes an intention, and that my intention was expansion, and that she creates the art out of the intention. I love that it's so beautiful. We're talking about having her come to the retreat. And do amazing. Yes, yeah. Yes, yes. I'm there. I want out there. Yeah. You talked about like, crystallizing the experience. Yeah. And yes, these are costumes, right? The body the three, but it's like, this is a way to have it, like ever present. And to have that crystallization that reminder, like, in our view. Yeah. Every day. Yes, we get lost or in a different version of ourselves as like, oh, let's come back. And remember, yeah, that's what that's the only way it gets out to us is because to like or things like this is to remind me, that's why I put in the hats like the intentions in the hats, the hats of the totem proud to remind you who you are, every day when you put it on. It's like you're stepping into that identity. This is where we can share one truth that we may not even have shared with ourselves yet. And maybe not with anyone else. But yeah, what is one truth that is just coming up for you right now? I mean, I've just kind of really been exploring pushing new edges. And just exploring, pushing myself in boundaries that I've I've never been before. Like, for instance, I just went to a play party for the first time. How fun Oh, my God, how was that it was wild. I mean, I was like, kind of more just an observer because like it was such an edge for me to even go because I grew up in such a conservative Christian upbringing that going to a play party was like, I was kind of actually normal. was the inspiration to go. I've thought about it for a while, like, I've got a lot of kind of friends in that space. And I'm like, okay, and I was like, I think I finally just kind of have worked up the courage to go. And then the opportunity came and I was like, oh, okay, yeah, that's that that resonates. And so yeah, I feel like that is like a truth. That is something that is a new exploration. Thank you for sharing. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we, you know, it's like, all aspects of life, where are we dimming or not letting ourselves fully express. And so I think examining every aspect of my life, and seeing where I feel like it could push boundaries more, if we're pushing and pushing those edges and pushing those boundaries, then we get to live a more expressive life. Yes. And the word Express life is more magic. Absolutely. Oh my gosh, this is amazing. Yeah. Oh, good, good. Love it. After watching this conversation, I know people are going to be running to wherever you are. So where's the best place to find you? Yeah, I would say Instagram at Nick Onken and N-I-C-K-O-N-K-E-N. And then onken.co is I've redesigned in the process of redesigning it because we're coming out with the identity alchemy course. And so I'm like working with some of that. Okay, we're gonna redo your whole page so that people understand your ecosystem, because I have so many things that offerings that people can partake in. So auckland.co will be that landing spot. I love it. Oh, yeah. Listen, sometimes life be life in and we do not know what's coming down that road next. Well, that's what happened to me in 2016, when I was unexpectedly laid off from my job. And I was six figures in student loan debt, I had no savings. And I didn't know what was going to happen next. Now, luckily, I had this little voice inside of me at that time, that I couldn't ignore, and it was telling me to take the leap. It was saying, use this as your opportunity to build your business. Use this as your opportunity to create your dream life. And so I believe that life happens for us, not to us, and that nudge in my spirit, I should listen to it. Luckily, I did. Fast forward to today, I have a business that's made over $20 million. And I've helped over 10,000 people create their online businesses and their dream lives. So do you want to learn how to turn your story into an online product and launch in 30 days, head on over to coursefromscratch.com/SINCE3000. I want you to join us on this journey. So you can listen to that little voice inside of you too. So go now Do yourself a favor of coursefromscratch.com/SINCE3000.