SubscribeiTunes | Spotify | Newsletter

Leave a review to help other dads find the show and become better men and fathersLeave Review

Justin is a life and health coach that helps people cultivate and integrate their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives.

He’s a longtime practitioner of classical Chinese medicine and student of Daoism.

Having always believed the mystical practices of the ancients were relevant in the modern world, he’s devoted his life to sharing just how practical they can be His mission is to help people heal their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives with practical methods drawn from both the ancients and modern-research.

He lives in San Diego but works with people all over the world.

You can learn more about Justin here:

Find Justin online at:






Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to Data work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. This is episode number 91. Struggle, identity validation and grounding to live well and parent confidently with my guest, Justin Erlich. This is a bit of a different episode, guys, I was in a men's group with Justin and a few other guys. And it was just me and him on one call because other guys couldn't make it. And so we just had a good chat, it was a couple of our chat. And at the end of it, I was like, man, there's a lot of good wisdom in here good lessons in here and basically asked him if he would publish his podcast because it was so useful. And he's like, look, I don't know how to do that. But if you want to do it, go ahead. So I have gone through. And I have cut out a little bit here and there. So if the conversation sounds like it's jumping around a little bit, it's not too bad. I just listened to it. Again, it's not too bad at all. But that is why because I've cut out certain things, just for privacy reasons and stuff like that. So what's your budget listened to is part of a coaching call men's group call with myself and Justin. And this is just a place for me to walk the talk, which is to say, be around other men that you can bounce ideas off of. So I have this in my life in a variety of ways. I'm in men's groups, not only do I run the men's groups, but I'm in them as a member as well. So yeah, this is just an excellent opportunity to get some insights into how I think I get some wisdom from Justin on how he approaches things. And, you know, take what works for you and leave the rest. So we're gonna get into it. I don't think there's anything else to say here. We've had Justin on the podcast in the past can go to the Dad.Work slash podcast, and look for the episode with Justin. And I will add that a link to that in the show notes at Dad.Work slash podcast, as well for this episode. So that being said, jump into this one. If you got a few seconds to leave a rating or review on Spotify or Apple again, I would very much appreciate that. And follow me on instagram dead work dot cart. Alright, interested to hear what you guys think of this. We're gonna jump in to episode number 91, my coaching call, basically, I was just an early, there we go.

Justin Ehrlich 2:00

And so it's like somebody may know like, oh, yeah, I'm really angry. They know that they're angry, they can feel their anger, they can tell that. But they're not really rooted into their body. And so you start with acknowledging their anger and getting them in touch with the emotion and then you drop them back into their body. Some people will be like, we can, we can use the emotions to get back into the body, we can use the body to get into the emotions. Some people will be more aware of their body and they got my stomach is really hurting. And it's like, okay, well, let's explore that. And then see what options are there. It's more what emotions are in that stomach pain that you're feeling or that chest constriction that you're feeling, what are you afraid to admit? What are you afraid to be honest with yourself about. And it's this dance of sort of cross pollination between those three layers, because that was there's always three layers of body mind spirit. And we're just trying to figure out where people are at. And some people specialize in like past lives and spiritual realms stuff. And so they work mostly within that upper sort of esoteric, past life, ghost spirit, entity world, some people work more from that heart centered world, and some people work more from the physical routed into the body world. And they're all They're all good, and they're all gateways. But at some level, we want to try to help, in my opinion, at least from the Dallas perspective, you want to cross pollinate between all three, you want to help the person connect the dots between the three because that's what really leads them to be empowered. If I just learned all these physical skills, and then I learned these emotional skills, but I don't learn how to connect them. I'm still disjointed. And the real aha moments in my experience happen when we see the connection within us. Not when we just learn the skills desperately.

Curt Storring 4:12

Yeah, I found like slowing down and integrating everything when I stopped doing to do and started doing to be that was like, oh my goodness, like I have been chasing I've been running out ahead of everything that I've been doing so much so that like none of it's actually whacked into me and done anything. And so it took this is like a year and a bit ago. Like a an alleged failure, my first like big failure where I just like slowed down. And then everything just smacked into me was like, Dude, stop meditating to get away from all that you're needing to feel. And like that changed everything. And that was for me like the first real integration of these two things the body of the feeling,

Justin Ehrlich 4:54

this idea of adapting the May liken it to the water element. That water just adapts and flows wherever it needs to go. Without any attachment, it can get through anything. And it also doesn't have to force its way through it finds its way through because it finds the easiest path, the most natural path. Rather than trying to push through the rock, it finds its way around the rock, it gets to where it wants to go. But it's not stubborn and have to push through the rock necessarily. And to do that, to flow with the Dow, we have to be fully present, we can't be off in the future, we can't be stuck in the past, we have to be fully in the moment of not reliving the time the previous rock blocked our way. And we can't be thinking about how future rocks might block our way, we have to just see the rock in front of us and find a way around it. And so it's in that present moment where we find divinity. And it's like this never ending choice of do I choose resistance to what is do I choose presence of one is an every time I choose resistance to what is I go more and more into resisting divinity as its unfolding, whether it'd be right or wrong or pleasant or unpleasant, I get more and more entangled to get more and more traffic jams. I get more and more irritable, I get more and more hurt, I get more and more suffering, I get closer and closer to hell. Basically. Because I'm more and more hurt, or I'm more and more angry, entangled and all this it shouldn't be this way. When I make the other choice to be like, This is what is let me find a way to the destination that I want to move in the direction I want to move in the vector of my life that I want to move in Who do I want to be? How do I want to be? What do I want the world to be let me move in the direction of creating what it is that I'm in resonance with I move closer and closer to Heaven. But that's a choice, I choose hell or I choose heaven. It's not something that I arrive at. By some virtue of the choices that I make in the sense that they are noble or unknowable. They are noble or not, if we're going to use that term, that judgment, based on me following my truth, while accepting what really is in front of me, I can accept my truth and recognize that there is a rock in front of me, I need to get over there. But there's a rock in front of me. I accept my truth that I'm going to find my way around the rock rather than being upset that I'm blocked by the rock. And it's like certain things in our lives were predestined. We didn't have a say over. And that can be what's happening right now in the world. That can be the fact that we were born as men. We didn't intellectually choose to be born as a man. What we do with that, that is up to us. And that's sort of again, the choosing. It's like there are certain things that come into our lives that we don't have control over. And we can either choose resistance and suffering and eventually end up in hell. Or we can choose to embrace this is what's here. Let me find my truth in relationship to what is here. And the more that you repeat that pattern of saying, okay, there is a rock I need to get to the other side. I'm going to find a way to the other side. And I'm not going to complain about the fact that I have to find a way to the other side. Every time we do that we reinforce our identity to who we want ourselves to be to our higher self. And we get closer and closer to that idea of just practicing being in touch with Well Who do I want to be in the situation and then we're able to move closer and closer to Heaven which is

in Taoism the we have this idea of nine palaces and sort of struggles that people go through that are bigger concepts health and wealth and prosperity and travel and family and career and all these sorts of things. But the last Palace is home. It's arriving at like the eighth really relate to the last one nine, which is home which is self and it's like you struggle in relationship to health in relationship to who you are you struggle in relationship to your wealth in relationship to your self identity, not really about making money, but what making money means to your self identity. Prosperity, how much do I have to give to share in relationship to my self identity, family in relationship to my self identity? And so every time we we are able to make that choice and use our choices to help be at peace with who we are, we move closer and closer towards heaven, in a sense, versus hell. And one of the questions I often use with clients and I use with myself all the time is like, when I'm confronted by a difficult struggle, like, I think it was one of my Zen teachers that that said this to me years ago, and it was, if you didn't know the movie, Groundhog Day, if you had to relive this decision right now, this difficult decision, if you had to relive your choice to eternity, which choice would you make? And usually, the path towards heaven is the choice that we we choose, we know what's right. And it really helps to check the ego. The other way that I like to phrase it is like, if I had to make this choice, will this choice help me die at peace? Or on my deathbed, will I look back at that choice and be like, was not the right choice. I could have done better, I could have been a better human, I could have been a better man, I could have been a better father, a better husband, a better practitioner, a better son.

Curt Storring 11:54

And so I've almost started thinking like, what it I don't even know what it is. But just intellectually I'm going okay, there must be this self that I'm describing, and figuring out and feeling. But who that is to the external world. And each circumstance, I have no idea and it feels like in listening to you just talk about this. Like there's something there I think that relates to being like, Oh, me as this, me as this and me as this or this in relation to me. And I feel as though I'm continually filling in these gaps. Obviously, it'll never be filled. But it just feels as though that's a worthy pursuit for me. And it's allowed me to not be so grabby, Ani, or like cling on to everything else. Because like, Oh, now I see. It's like illuminating these dark spots in the wheel of my external self, or my my internal self, displayed externally.

Justin Ehrlich 12:45

Exactly. And the more that you make those connections, then as new things come into your life, you'll know how to navigate because you'll know your truth in relationship, the more and more of the external world. Right? The more you know your truth in relationship to the external world, the less triggered you'll be. Because you'll just know what's right for you. Things won't faze you, you'll be much more stable, because you'll be rooted into your self identity, more and more and more. But in a way that is adaptable, because you are open to seeing things and flowing with it that obviously be the negative side of rooting into our identity has become very ego driven. It's like mee, Mee Mee Mee Mee we don't want don't want that, obviously. But the more we run into those things, the more we engage with those things, can use it as a reflection tool back to self, the easier it is for us to have healthy boundaries, the easier it is for us to navigate things and when confronted, be very grounded. In that stuff, we become much more thorough, reliable, we become much more of an anchor for people. Because in emotional bonding, we need reliability from a person we need predictability for attachment theory to work, right bonding to work, we need stability from the person, but if you aren't rooted in yourself, how could you be stable for anybody else? And so the more you do that, the more you become an anchor for other people to come to because you are predictable, but not predictable in a bad way. You're predictable in the sense that you will be rooted and grounded and stable within yourself. So you will become this sort of pillar of support for your immediate community because you haven't done that work.

Curt Storring 14:49

Right. Like there's a traceability that gets engendered, I think,

Justin Ehrlich 14:53

yeah, it's like you won't fly off your rocker that often because you're more a occurred, you're less thrown off by things because you have stepped into the dark. And it doesn't scare you as much because you keep stepping into these unknown spaces. And when you run into the dark, you use it as a way to build a new neural pathway, build a new network of self understanding. And so you become a person that people can rely upon. When they are scared when they are unanchored, because you won't throw it in their face, you won't give them drama. Instead, you'll be able to hold space because your space of self identity keeps growing. I think we talked about it on the podcast. But there's like that, that whole thing of being a child versus a parent before you're socialized, is that you have limitless possibilities. And all the social programming and all the trauma that happens begins to firm up our identity and limit us, I can't be this, I have to be that. And so much of the healing is then stepping back out and realize I can be this and they can be that. And the more you can be all those different things, then more and more people will feel safe in your presence, because you don't judge all those things, because you're very adaptable. Right, right. It's very important for leadership, or parenting or space holding. Is that. Like, in a very basic sense, how could you hold space for somebody that you can't hold that space for yourself? Yeah, right. And it begins to make you more of a sense, like a polymath, intellectually, in a sense, because you're able to be multiple personalities and have an underlying truth within those multiple personalities. That somehow, it's like, how can you be this and that, and it's like, you can see the line of truth of who you are between these seemingly disparate identities. And not have judgment, social programming, traumatic programming, get in the way of that. No. And in the, again, in the Trinity model, and Taoism, they go from survival, to socialization, to independence. And it's like, you can only get to know who you really are by having gone through socialization. And so it's all those journeys out in the sort of idea of the Hercules or the Greek myths of the inventor. And returning home, it's only after you've gone into the fight the dragon, and you come back that you can have accomplished something.

Curt Storring 18:06

Yes. And that's so hard as a parent, because what I've noticed is there there is and there wasn't, there still is a sense of the so so called, like, helicopter parenting, in the physical sense. And I mean, like moms who don't let their kids climb moms who have moms and dads, I suppose you have leashes for their children. And what I'm seeing now is more so helicopter parenting in the challenge, and just slaying the dragon sentence. There's this one, there's this want to bypass the intellectual and the spiritual struggle, that will give rise to character that I'm seeing now more than anything, it's like, oh, even in doing my work as a dad, I'm trying to lessen the burden and the impact on my kids. And yet it was exactly that which made me the man I am today. And so like, am I actually doing them harm? I don't think I am, but am I actually doing them some form of harm by not providing so much struggle, and then it becomes my intentionality, to bring struggle to them in a way that is safe and encouraging and whatever. So they they know, they can do it, without ever having to like really had to go through it. So how do I then like create, struggle and strive for them so that they can hone their edge so that they don't bypass and go to the so called White Knight before having gone through the Red Knight? They need that like fire, anger, energy adventure, and if I'm like, being this really, you know, aware, dad and really mindful parent, like, where are they going to get that? So that's like such a, it's a, it's a mindfuck in a sense, because like, I've thought, I'm doing everything right. And here I am creating this whole new batch of problems to solve.

Justin Ehrlich 19:55

Well, they're, they're different problems. And I think, you know, one thing to remember is like The world is going to be the world, your kids are going to have trauma, they're going to have drama, they're going to have struggle. Even if you were perfect, you know, that's not going to change, somebody at school is going to break their heart, somebody at school is going to bully them, they're going to fail a test and have social pressure for not being good at a subject when somebody else is good at the subject. They're gonna have performance anxiety and want to make this team or that team and not make the higher levels and not get to play as many games or whatever it is, they're going to, they're going to have all of that, which is part of that socialization. And you are only one, you're a major part of that socialization. But the role of the parent is not, at least as I understand it, is not to try to take on all of the socialization. And not to remove the struggle, but rather to teach them how to navigate the struggle. And so whether the struggle comes from you, or the struggle comes from the outside. The goal is that when you see them struggling as you help to guide them through the process, feel your body feel your emotions, whereas this you teach them the skills, rather than avoiding the struggles. If they fall, they break their wrist because they're playing on the jungle gym. And like how many kids fall and break a wrist or you teach them how to do physical therapy, you teach them how to exercise, you teach them how to learn to ride a bike, you teach them how to learn to hit a baseball, you teach them how to learn something, rather than to prevent them from having to need to learn it. And you do that through like how you and I like how you and Natalie are in the sense of like, if you guys fight and they see it, you talk to them about it. And you help them to see that like you can argue and still love each other. You can they can see the two of you to each other at different times, say I'm sorry, I was wrong. Let me do that over. And it's through those examples. Rather than like protecting them. It's that you accept that the trauma will happen. And you empower them to, to heal trauma, because that in a sense is. Again, like his work, we're working with trauma. For anybody that's been through trauma that has some form of PTSD, basically. Going back to that idea of the the root of the person that blower Don Jim's strength, self identity thing is that trauma always creates fear can creates a constriction creates a sense of insecurity that I'm the dragon is going to kill me. And when we get stuck, it's because we still think the dragon is going to kill us. And so our work is to help a person become unafraid of the dark. And whether the light is on 10%, or the light is on 50% or the light is on 70% or 90%. We don't need the judge, we just help them begin to become less afraid of the dark. So for whatever reason, he's scared of that bathroom. And so he wants us to go in there with him. And we're like, No, you can do this on your own. But we'll stand over here. And we just keep being further and further and further away. To help him learn to navigate that it's okay that it's safe. But there's a cushion there and we just make less than less of a cushion. And in that process, he becomes more self reliant. And so the fear becomes less and less because his self identity becomes stronger. And that's part of like, every time your kid has a struggle, and you push them to, to navigate through the struggle. What ends up happening is they become confident. They become empowered, knowing like I've navigated all of these struggles when the next one comes along. It's less scary. Right? That's, that's really for me, I think the the important part of, again, whether you're working with a male client, a female client or a child, it's not really that different. The set of tools that they need are different. But the human journey is the same.

When you're leaning into something that's scary, it's really not any different than your kids leaning into something that's scary. The emotional struggle part, the same for noon, right? Like, it's one of the I think, for me, one of the the bigger aha moments, in my own journey was seeing how the struggle of a child is no different than my struggle. It very much helped me to, to sort of develop a lot more compassion and empathy, and reduce my sense of judgment. Because there was no need to compare anymore because I realized it was all the same. Just that you're struggling with your knee, and I'm struggling with my elbow, but like, should I compare that a knee is worse than an elbow or an elbow is worse than any? It's just like? We're both struggling, and we're both in pain, and it sucks. And we have to do exercises and we have to take medicines. We have to do all the stuff, but it's like it's the struggle is the same.

Curt Storring 25:59

Yeah, that rings. Very true. Yeah, it's so it's interesting. The, my two older sons, one of them is, I mean, I clearly see I am reflected back mercilessly at my failures early on, when some of his behavior today and I'm grateful for the reminders, and glad that he's, you know, turned out as well as he has, and then we've got a relationship. But one of the things I've noticed that I struggle with, is when I it's probably just the way I approach it, because I probably still have some remnants of that anger. But when I suggest that he take responsibility for doing something like hitting his brother, sometimes his defense mechanism will be like, Oh, well, I'm, I'm just stupid and like, I deserve to be punished. I'm like, I see it as going into victim which like, Oh, I am revolted by that. I like I am so and the antithesis to my existence is victim behavior. Unless I'm being triggered, as we talked about a few weeks ago, then I go into victim, but like, I judge that so fucking hard. And I was wondering the other day, like, Oh, I wonder if this is like just a fear response of keeping you safe, because you're judging yourself before I can pass judgment. And if you think you need to be, you know, hurt, then it makes you not have to deal with being disappointed by me or me disappointed in you. And so that's one thing that I'm struggling with, like, What the hell am I supposed to see that as? Is it victim mentality? Is it like a fear response? How do I best support him in that other than going like, oh, like, take some responsibility, bro. And then in my, my middle son, he is having like a hell of a time in school. He just hates it. I don't love what I see in school. And we're strongly considering homeschool because of that. But I go like, I am going to give you the tools and to talk to you about this and and tell you that it's going to be hard. We had a good talk this morning. And then he just like, goes wild. his nervous system is like a little bit haywire right now I was a story that I tell myself is that he's still heart hurt from no longer being the baby, he's squeezed out because his older brother is so talkative like he will not let you get a word in edgewise and drives everyone crazy. But like, that's just who he is. He's gonna be a great orator, or eight or one day, and the baby gets all the attention. So John, in the middle, is the classic left behind lost child. And so I see that as being acted out in like, crazy, man, look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me, I can't sit still. And I get to distract everyone in class, and I can't like do anything. But then I'm gonna get like in trouble for that. And then not be able to chill and like, help myself. And so I go, why can't you help yourself like I breathe in front of you. I do like circles with you to calm me down to sit with you to help you to show you look at all this meditation, I'm doing John, like, do something different. And so I want to share that just because it's real. And because I love any feedback on the sort of, I don't know, if you want to say psychological or spiritual level, but maybe just to get more perspective. Well, I mean,

Justin Ehrlich 29:17

like, so like, the middle child is acting out to get attention, because he feels lost. Right? And so it's like, one of the things you can do is to instead of like, he's too young to intellectually grasp, but that's why he's doing what he's doing. And so one of the things that you can do is to frame it for him. It's like, oh, it seems like you would like some attention right now. Give him the language to say that. I would like some attention right now. So you're you're you're doing a lot to get our attention right now. Seems like you would like our attention. It seems like you'd like us to focus on you And then like, acknowledge that because he doesn't have the language to articulate that, or to self soothe, because he can't really articulate that he's feeling left out. And he's just trying to draw attention to himself. And so then you can with his older brother there and be like, Oh, well, we're going to focus on what's his name again, John, John, we're going to focus on John right now. So we're going to give, we're going to set a timer, I'm going to let you hit the button for the next five minutes or the next 10 minutes, we're going to focus on John, and then we're going to come back to you. Or I'm gonna ask you to step out so I can give John my full attention. But it's like you're helping John develop the language to articulate that he needs attention. And whether he needs it because he's been ignored whether he needs it, because he's been pushed over whether he needs it, because he's just needs, it doesn't really matter. What you want is for him to be able to learn the skill to articulate his needs, so you can meet him. But if he just acts out, it's very hard to read what that is. And exercising, will help reduce some of it meditating or breathing will help relax some of it, but it won't ever none of those will actually meet the need to need will only be met when he can say like, Hey, I'm feeling my older brother is talking too much. And I can't get a word in and it's frustrating to me. Can you please shut up for like 10 minutes? Right? Yeah. And then you and Natalie can hold space for that and try to like balance. Okay, we're gonna give you some attention. And maybe that means that he gets isolated playtime with you. Where he just feels more seen in a way that helps to begin to sue sue the nervous system. And with kids, a lot of it is that it's like learning to see their acting out as a message. Rather than being an acting out. It's like, okay, what is what is it that they're trying to say? A big part of it really, again, is universal between adults and children's that we need to validate a person's experience. Oh, you seem really upset. Oh, it seems like you you do want some attention right now you want us to talk with you. You seem upset by this. Tell me why you're upset by this. This seems important to you seem like you'd like some attention right now. You'd like to lead what we're doing, you'd like to lead the activity. Seems like you'd like to choose what we're going to do. You'd seems like you'd like to choose what we're going to eat. It seems like you'd like this, it seems like you'd like that. Because kids just can't articulate that way of like Natalie's upset, you can go to her and be like, Oh, it seems like you're upset right? Now tell me about like, what's bothering you, and she can articulate it. You can like, she can get there. But kids just can't. And so our job is to help them develop that skill to articulate what they're experiencing internally. And then as we watch what they're struggling with, it will play out a lot of the stuff that we struggle with. And that's part of our healing is to be able to see like, Oh, this is hard for me. This is a struggle for me. And we can share that with them like, oh, it seems like you're struggling with this. That's a hard thing for me too. And we let them know that that's okay. Because we're and we also like it in the sense of letting them know that we struggle with it. We also let ourselves know it's okay. Sort of like we're meeting our kid as part of our own soul journey as the next line. And as we help hold space for their experience with it, we're also holding space for our experience with it.

Makes us I see it and it makes you sad when your dad yells at you and your dad does this or when your mom does this or your grandpa does this or whatever it is, I can see that that really bothers you. Or bother me too. I remember like you know, you you share your experience of struggle, and it helps them normalize their experience. They're not alone in it. And it helps us feel like we're holding for them what wasn't held for us. I find like again and like working with the adult side of it. I often use the the what the why, as the question is what is it does bother you? Why does it bother you? And then validate, I can make sense of that would bother you based on your history, based on your experiences, it's okay for you to feel what you're feeling. It might not make sense to me, I might not feel what you would feel. But I want to validate that you have the right to have that emotional response. And in a way, like that's, we're trying to help kids learn to articulate that. So they don't shove down their emotions. But if they judge it, and think they shouldn't be having the reaction that they're having. And it's like, right, if you try to tell your son not to act out to draw attention, but he needs attention. There's this conflict there. He needs attention, for whatever reason, whether he's, again, he's been bullied, whether he's been overshadowed whether he's been neglected, whether he's just sensitive, and he just feels neglected, even though he's not truly neglected. Doesn't matter. It's just like, that's what he's feeling. You want to be like, Oh, you need some attention right. Now. That makes sense. That's okay. How can we help you get that attention? And the same for being bad? It's like, oh, it's so it seems like you feel bad for having hit your brother? That would make sense, I would feel bad if, if I hit somebody? How could I? What do you think I could do to to not do that again in the future. And you sort of like, begin to train him to discipline himself, to reflect upon his things. So he's not looking for you, to punish him or to judge him, you become the anchor to help him navigate self discipline. So when they're throwing a tantrum, which stuffed animal would you like? And it just immediately gets them to make a choice, which gets them out of that sobbing, temper tantrum space and into problem solving space? And okay, which I gotta have you squeezed my hand? Which, which hand would you like to speak to, and excuse my right hand or my left hand. And it just like, it helps to get them out of that space in. Because again, they're like, they're in this overload. And they don't know how to self regulate in their body, just as much they don't know how to self regulate in their mind, just like us. So it's, again, like these, these very universal tools. But again, the tools that a five year old needs, and the tools that you are I need are going to be different.

That makes sense.

Curt Storring 37:48

Yeah, absolutely. It's, it's nice to be reminded of all this, and to just get the extra perspective, because I, I will be doing this as work. And doing my very best to make sure I'm spending the time and noticing what I'm doing so that I can keep sharing. And then it's just like, sometimes it's just like, Oh, come on. So yeah, like this is great. And we've we've worked with a play therapist before and learned a lot from that. And yeah, it's just, it all boils down to like, I want them to suffer for meaning. But I really don't want them to suffer at all. And like, how do I bridge that? And then it's like, oh, I'm being triggered, because I know, when John's making noise, and he's on the floor, and he's like, inch warming his way. And I'm like, get off and put your backpack away easily. It's like, Oh, my goodness, like, I will scream in a moment. And when George is like, Okay, I'm just bad. Like, no, you don't even have to like me and like, bro, take responsibility. And like, you know, ages, these are like deep triggers for me. And it's interesting to continue to develop them, which is good. Because before it would be like trigger scream, trigger, scream trigger stream. Yeah, I'll just out anger you and all I would scare you. And now it's like, oh, no, I gotta sit with it. Which is, again, wonderful. And it's privilege and all the rest of it. But it does help to just say it and notice it and be sort of imagine that validated by you in the experience. So yeah,

Justin Ehrlich 39:29

you can either crawl on the floor to get your backpack, or we can have storytime in bed. Which one would you like to do? Yeah, you got to do this now. And so like I just instead of getting frustrated, and like my pattern wouldn't be in terms of myself would be to walk away. That's my like, I just removed myself from the equation is my typical pattern. And so I watch for when I do that, or I will be like, oh, I need to reframe that energy into something that engages him to make a choice in one direction. So that I don't say so frustrated with him being stuck, and him resisting. Yeah. And so, for me, that's a big help, because I get triggered as well, you know, like, they're going to have struggles that are not logical to our brain because our brain is developed more than theirs. Right? We've gone through that learning curve back when we were that age, our brain was the same. We want to unlearn that suffering is bad. Struggle is good. Struggle is where we grow. And so what we want to do is like, is this a worthwhile struggle for your kids? Hard and suffering are two very different things. Yeah. Is the suffering is the struggle is the work that they're going to have to do the resistance that you're going to have to face? Is that going to take them in a better direction? Ultimately?

Curt Storring 41:06

That's the question underneath this whole, like, what do we do about schooling for John? Is this because like, I've literally we've had this conversation repeatedly, which is he is struggling? Is this the right struggle? It's like the Choose your pain, right? You're gonna suffer? If you do it, you're gonna suffer? If you don't? So which would you rather do? And it's like, okay. I don't know, it'd be almost becomes like a balancing act between which suffering is more harmful, potentially, I mean, not like we can see the future. But what do we see as being more harmful and more negatively harmful? Not suffering, in a good way? Is it staying in school when he he is, I don't think any human being is designed to sit in school inside four walls all day. But you know, is his temperament specifically worse. Because George loves it. He just like runs his classroom, he's got a friend and every single person, and like, loves to talk, obviously. So school is great for him. And I would have to work very hard to make homeschool work. But John, like, this morning, I was like, Oh, just stay home. And like, I would love for you to just stay home today. Because this is not worth it. You know, like, I see you trying so hard. And I see this. And so where is the struggle? And like, where do we make that decision, and then just like put it to rest?

Justin Ehrlich 42:27

And I think maybe one way to look for the answer of that is in not which struggle does more damage or does less damage, but which struggled to you and Natalie have the tools to help them integrate better, because whether it's damaging or not damaging is really on how well he can integrate the struggle. Right. And to him to for him to integrate the struggle is about how the two of you can help him do that as parents the same way you would with a client, like an exercise coach can help you get in shape, because they know how to lean you into getting in shape. It's not the struggle that's hard. It's that they know how to guide you through the struggle. As a coach. They know how to hold the space for that struggle. And so whether you choose homeschool or you choose public school or private school or you know Montessori or Waldorf or whatever sort of schooling program

it's really like how, what tools do you have to support the struggle that he will encounter. And then you start to choose struggles that you can meet him at, to help him grow. Even though he's struggling,

Curt Storring 43:57

and that that was profound shift. That was, that's probably the best reframe I've ever heard on just like how the hell do you figure this out? So I really appreciate that. Thank

Justin Ehrlich 44:07

you. You're welcome. Yeah, maybe it's really because there's not, there's not an answer. Right. It's just really not and,

Curt Storring 44:17

ya know, I relate hard to the eating thing as well. And there's, it's so interesting to, you know, provide the consequences, the intentional consequences without it being punitive necessarily, and to give them the space to learn. I think like, there's so much of this today, which is being hoisted on us as parents to be responsible for rather than there being any structure around it as their potential used to be. Because it gets to be, we are supposed to be the so called Alpha and the Omega when like, that's way too much. You know, I want to have friends around. I want to have other men around and other people around to be like, Okay, off me, you teach him this or you do this with him. And so that's something that Again, the burden falls on the parent to create that in a world. It's not designed for it. But that's something we're trying to be very intentional about, and even media consumption. Like when we were kids, you watch the fucking commercials, there was no choice. There was what was on TV, right. And sometimes, something profound would happen. Like I think, I don't know, if it's Bruce stringy Springsteen, or something like late night TV saw a guy playing guitar ends up, you know, becoming a brilliant songwriter, and a guitarist. Nowadays, the children could go down a rabbit hole of like, watching bluey or Paw Patrol, or whatever it is, and they'll never get anything but this narrow focus. And so what we've thought is like, first of all, we don't do screens very much anyway. But when we do, it's like, okay, you have to you not, you got to watch the commercials, but like, we're going to watch something that you don't want in order to purposely broaden your view. And that's why, like, I read, like pretty heavy shit to the kids, because just because it will necessarily expand what they had even thought was possible. So like, we read the Odyssey, we read The Hobbit, we're reading Musashi right now. And it's just like, all of these things that are beyond the scope of what they would choose to do, because there are no external influences, allowing them to see anything but that which they choose. And so like the struggle, and the burden has fallen on us as parents to provide literally everything beyond what they would normally consume, which is like, almost nothing, but this very specific, limited thing. So that's one thing that I've tried to be very mindful of, and I love the responsibility. But it's also like, Oh, my God, there's so much to figure out and do now as a parent,

Justin Ehrlich 46:40

there is so much and again, like that's, that's being mindful of the struggles you introduced them to. Right. It's like, it's a struggle that serves them, I'm gonna have them hear the story of The Hobbit or the Odyssey and have them get scared, and maybe they don't like it. And maybe they're this and that, but it's like it ultimately it's serves them to have that struggle. And that's, I think, the there's like, there's the, the parental space of like, not wanting to injure them, not wanting to traumatize them, wanting to protect them wanting to shelter them, that is natural. Then there's like the human side of like, I just don't want to deal with the struggle, I'm tired, I'd rather have a beer and relax and like, you know, like, I don't want to deal with a screaming kid right now I just want to relax. And we're navigating those two different sides. It's sort of like I don't want to be mean and authoritarian and injure them. And I don't want to have to be the victim to their tantrum either. Yes, I want it to be easy. But that's not the we don't get that luxury. Basically, and it's the same with life, we don't really get that luxury in life, there will be struggles. So we'll be those external things. And so that's again, where we try to flow like the water and figure out like, based on this moment, tantrum is happening. They're not eating their vegetables, whatever it is, what decision can I make in this present moment that really pulls me towards my truth? That I know I did the best that I could with what was there? And I mean, ultimately, it's like, if, if you were gonna die tomorrow, how would you live? So you could die at peace? You know? And it's like, I think of that in the sense of like, with those difficult choices of like, okay, I'm being asked to show up right now. If I were to die tomorrow, how would I want to show up today, right now I like I feel myself not wanting to show up. I feel that resistance in me, I feel my trigger. And so my anger is that question. Oh, that's right. I better like lean into this. And so when I get triggered when I have a difficult moment, that's what I anchor back to. It's like, in the big picture. What choice can I make right now that pulls me more to my truth more towards heaven. Less away from hell. More and more that has just become my, my like guiding anchor, in a sense, just like okay, trigger, Justin, what do I do? Later? Outside of that, I can ask myself, what would I triggered by why does that trigger me what part of myself is unresolved? That makes this a hook for me? So as you're venturing out into that external world, or helping somebody venture into it, you can be like, Well, what about that external area is the hook for you? What here is not resolved? Why is that a trigger? Why is that hard for you? Why is that scary for you? Why is that wrong for you? Why is That's so important to you. And that's how we begin to like, resolve the trauma, that's their resolve the life lessons that are there. So that instead of it being a wine that tugs you out there, that's just now part of you. And your circle becomes bigger, right? And that would be in the Dallas language that would be alchemy. You take that poison, you turn it into medicine and just becomes part of you. Right. And in terms of like Taoism and spirituality, so we didn't really get to that. But I'm not studied of in Taoism, from a religious perspective. I only learned about it.

Curt Storring 50:45

I think you should just publish this publish this as a podcast. This was incredible, man. Thank you.

Justin Ehrlich 50:51

Yeah, if I knew how to do that I would.

Curt Storring 50:55

You know, this was like, this was a really good one, content wise. And I really appreciate that we were just able to do this. And I know, very selfishly on my part. I'm like, Yes. And obviously, I hope everything's good with the other dudes. But yeah, this was super valuable to me. I appreciate

Justin Ehrlich 51:08

it. You're very welcome. And yeah, if you want to use parts of this for anything, by all means, feel free to just the two of us. That's also like, I'll send the link and you're welcome to get out and use parts of it. If you want to do that. I just don't know how to do that. Technically. So.

Curt Storring 51:24

Yeah, like I if you're open to that, I would love to sort of cut out whatever you don't want to talk about and just leave like some of the wisdom in here because man, this was

Justin Ehrlich 51:30

super useful. Yeah. Yeah. How about it?

Curt Storring 51:33

Okay. I'll explore that. No, no.

Justin Ehrlich 51:35

Yeah, I wouldn't do it if I knew how so. Okay. Very

Curt Storring 51:39

cool. Well, thank you so much again. All right. A couple weeks go by. All right, guys. I hope you enjoyed that conversation. And I am actually going to drop it after I speak right now, the meditation that Justin led me through at the start of this call, and you can just enjoy it. Whenever you got the time to do so obviously, don't do it while you're driving, or anything like that when you've got you know, 1520 minutes to sit and meditate. It's pretty good. So I would encourage you to do that and just feeling that it's very calming, grounding, relaxation, meditation and yoga will give you that thank you again to Justin for sharing this with us and I hope you guys got some value out of that. So here is meditation. Starting in a moment.

Justin Ehrlich 52:20

That's always start with a few breaths into through the nose out through the mouth

letting go of tension in the body and beginning to anchor the mind back into the body

always beginning with a bit of somatic awareness.

My anger hands breast over the lower belly at the navel or just slightly below and your arms, elbows sort of hugging the waist gently just supporting the body

tone on the roof of the mouth breathing in and out through the nose

pure awareness down to the feet on that connection to the ground.

My banker downward sensation on the ground

The connection between them or the space between.

Bringing awareness up to the chest feeling that sensation of the breath flowing in through the nose into the lungs expanding the chest cold breath and the breath leaving the body to chest relax relaxing

continuing to anchor the mind into all the somatic sensations

right little bit of breath and chest and a feet on the ground and bring the mind into those physical sensations

solidity up here below validity of the breath coming and going

You dropping the breath down in the lower belly breath expanding lower abdomen forward into your palms to the sides towards your arms and especially back towards the kidneys

taking some deep breaths developing a degree of awareness or abdominal area.

Right bringing awareness back up to the chest. Do the breathing pattern that we did last time where inhale into the chest. You hold the breath, gently push it down into the lower belly. All the pressure they're holding forms the lower abdomen only for as long as it's comfortable and then chat the exhaling letting the lower belly empty repeating inhaling just the breath and guide that fullness down to the lower abdomen. Holding that fullness in the belly feeling of expand the front sides the back and exhaling feeling the belly gently empty

just down to the belly exhaling

One more layer breathing pattern to inhale and just guided down to the belly as you hold, gently squeezed your toes as though you are gripping something on the ground while you hold the breath and as you exhale, keeping that relaxing as you inhale, toes relax. Filling the chest breath pushing it down to the belly gripping, getting just a little bit of a grip on the ground much

Chantal exhale continue to grip relaxing completely on the inhale

the grip ripping off the war.

Right warping the breath down to the lower belly, in the body, moving in and out smoothly without any breath, hope. Just feeling the abdomen besides the back, expand, interact with the breath

Taking a few breaths into the nose out through the mouth letting your awareness drift back to the outside world

Curt Storring 1:11:07

thank you for listening to the dad work podcast. That's it for this episode. But if you would like to stay in touch between the weekly episodes, why don't you go over to Instagram and follow me there because I draw up a number of things throughout the week that are related to what we talked about on this podcast, but usually go a little bit deeper, provide some tips you can find me on Instagram at dad work dot Kurt. That's da di W O RK dot c u r t. And please, if you have been getting something out of this podcast if it has touched you if it has improved your marriage, your parenting or your life, would you please leave a quick review on Apple or Spotify. leave a rating. If you have a few extra seconds, leave a quick review. That's the best way that we can get this work in the hands of more fathers. And I truly believe that we change the world, one father at a time because each father that parents better that loves better raises children who do the same. And in just a couple of generations. I feel like we could be living in a world much better than the one we live in today. Your review will help along that path. And I thank you so much for being here to listen until next week. We'll see you then.

Transcribed by

Leave A Review – The Highest Impact, Lowest Cost Way of Supporting the Show

Are you enjoying this podcast? Do you want to say thanks, and help more fathers find this episode? Please leave a review for the Dad.Work podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Ping me at or on Instagram @dadwork.curt and send me a link to your review and I’ll give you a shout-out on the podcast!

Leave A Review

Free 10-Day Elite Dad Challenge

Lead Your Family, Save Your Marriage, and Raise Great Kids

10 Emails. 10 Challenges. 10 Days.
Life-changing Results. Join us 👇

Get our FREE 14-day Better Man, Better Dad Email Series to learn the best tips, tools, and practices I used to suffer less, love more, and parent confidently.

Get our Free 14-Day Better Man, Better Dad Email Series

Learn some of the fundamental tools, practices, and tips I've used to suffer less, love more, and parent confidently.

Become a better man, husband and father...and never miss an episode.

Join the Dad.Work Email Newsletter