[1:11] Rachel: Welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, Conversations from the Heart. I am sitting here right now about to introduce our next guest for the show, and I’m just feeling so humbled, and honored, and in awe of this life. As you guys all know, I made a huge change in my life a couple of months back when I decided to change my entire day and begin getting up at five a.m. in the morning for two undisturbed hours for myself. And this is a change that — and I’ve explained many times on this show — really changed my life. Well, one of the people responsible for sparking this change in my life, for inspiring me to commit to this with discipline is Robin Sharma. Chances are you’ve heard about Robin Sharma, chances are you’ve read many of his books, changes are you follow him online, if you haven’t, I’m just so excited to introduce this amazing human being to you right now. Robin is a best-selling author, he wrote The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which is a book I read a million years ago. The man has sold over fifteen million books. He’s one of the world’s premier speakers on leadership and personal mastery, and he’s the author of the book, The 5 AM Club, a book that really changed and transformed my life. I am so excited for you to tune into this conversation, it is so inspiring; so everything you’ve ever wanted to know about rising early, why we should get up early, what’s so special about five a.m., how to be kind to ourselves when we’re going through challenging times just like we are in 2020, how to really inspire long-lasting change when it comes to our daily habits, and how to have a really good life. I really know you’re going to enjoy this conversation, so in just a moment, let’s dive in.
[3:04] Rachel: Well, welcome to the show. I wanted to start off and just say I am so grateful to the Universe and to you that we are able to sit here, talking right now, so thank you for, for joining.
Robin: Rachel, it’s a pleasure, and it’s, it’s amazing what you’re doing with your, all the people who follow your work, so congratulations.
Rachel: Thank you. You know, I have been, I read The 5 A.M. Club, which I really want to get into; it’s a book I really feel changed my life. And I was sitting today, just kind of holding the magnitude of how amazing it is that I, I, I got to read that book, it made a huge change for me, and now I get to sit here talking to you, so just in awe of that. This show is called From the Heart, so I would love to just being, in this moment, the way you are as you are, from the heart, how are you doing?
[3:53] Robin: Oh, I think that’s the first time anyone has started off a podcast interview with that question, but it’s a great question, I appreciate it. I think I’m doing really well, I believe…it’s obviously a year of massive upheaval and great change, even when we were trying to set up this call [laughing] you know, just making the connection was…and I think it’s, you know, obviously our brothers and sisters on the planet are suffering, and if we didn’t feel some of that collective trauma, then we wouldn’t be human. So I think it’s a hard year in that sense, seeing what’s going on. And yet I think if you look for the benefits, which I always try to do, then, you know, there are incredible growth opportunities this year, and I’m really looking for those to maintain my hope, and to, to use this year for my own healing, and to use this year for my own growth, and to use this year for my own philosophy — to try to develop my own philosophy.
Rachel: Hmm. Yeah, it is a, I think a hard thing for all of us to balance, you know? So many of us have found big healing this year, big internal shifts and changes for the good, and at the same time, there is so much trauma and so much, so much loss. Do you feel overall hopeful? Or do you feel like we really have to make some collective changes for us to end up in a, in a good place?
Robin: No, I have no hope for the future whatsoever, I think. We’re all…no.
Rachel: No one ever says that…
Robin: I think we’re doomed!
Rachel: …but sometimes, you know?
Robin: Candidly, I think we’re doomed! No.
[5:29] Robin: I think, I think, I think there’s incredible reasons for us to be hopeful. Look, if we were to go macro, there’s, there’s, I love being in nature, my sense is you do too, and there’s these woods I love to walk in. And I walked in them for 21 years and I called them my healing woods; when my heart has been broken, I go there to, to, to purify, and to try to release what I’m feeling. And when things are great in my life, I go there for a great walk and to reconnect with nature and something larger than myself. So there’s a sign in these woods, Rachel, and the sign says, “from time to time, natural disturbances” — like fires, insects, windstorms — “will take down large tracts of this forest. This is necessary for the long-term survival of the forest.” And so if you look at history, there’s, every, you know, once in awhile, there’s dramatic change. And I think this change is necessary for us to get to the next level of consciousness, the next level of humanity. And I think if you see it like that, then you find more ease and more grace, but you also realize there is much to be hopeful for. I mean I’ve, I’ve used the quarantine to write my new book, I’ve used the quarantine to make better pasta for my family, I’m working on my spaghetti al limone right now; family connections around the world have come closer, a lot of us are taking stock about how to connect with human beings, a lot of us are working on our, our music, and our art, and our creativity. And I think once we get through this period of disruption— and I think it’s going to be a few years — but, you know, we grow the most in disruptive times, don’t we? And then we’re going to come out of it, I think, a higher level of consciousness, higher level of decency, caring, wisdom, and creativity, and that’s very good for us.
[7:30] Rachel: Yeah, I, I agree. For me it hasn’t been pasta, it’s been sourdough and gardening, but I really think…
Rachel: …we all have that one thing that we will remember forever that we cultivated just this, just this year. I really want to talk about The 5 AM Club, so I have a little story, story for you. So this year, of course, has been challenging for everyone, and I had a particular dip, not at the beginning of the year but around end of the summer where I just, I, I was so low that for almost two months straight, I had a hard time getting out of bed. And I was kind of walking through my day feeling like I was in a, in a, in a haze, you know: rolling out my mat, doing my yoga, doing my things, but still not getting out of that, that, that heavy feeling. And I had a dream one night of me getting up before the sun rose. And it was this very, very vivid, powerful feeling of me just, just watching the sun rising. And, and I had this feeling, like, “man, I wanna, I wanna do that,” but I didn’t know where it came from, I don’t really have that morning routine of rising early, I’m a night owl, have been my whole life, like I’m always up really late. And then one day, on a particularly heavy day, I walked into a book store here on the island where I live, and I saw your book. And it said, I just saw the title, I didn’t even read the back, I just saw the title, The 5 AM Club, I was like, “oh, fuck yes.” [Laughs] Like, and I grabbed the book, didn’t even read it, but the next day I got up at 5 am. And that single moment really got me out of that heavy time, like completely…
Rachel: …transformed my life. So thank you for that. And I know thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people have…millions, I know fifteen million books you’ve sold, is that, is that true? That’s wild.
Robin: It is, it is true.
Rachel: What inspired you to write this book? Because I know it’s not just the book, this is part of your, your life for many, many, many years.
[9:28] Robin: Well, it’s become a movement; The 5 AM Club has really become a movement. And I’ve been at this, you know, teaching leadership, teaching personal mastery, teaching the things I teach for a quarter of a century. And my second book was called The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, and in that book, I talked about a series of rituals that would allow people to exploit their genius, and step into their highest humanity, and one of the rituals was the rituals of early awakening. So I’ve been teaching this 5 AM Club concept for a long time. And then, you know, I started being invited to mentor CEOs and top industry titans, and one of the things we’d always work on was their morning routine. And then the science started coming in, you know, dopamine and BDNF and all these kinds of things, and I’m happy to talk about it, and I essentially refined a morning routine — I call it the “victory hour,” it’s from five to six o’clock, there’s three pockets and that’s the 20:20:20 formula that’s in The 5 AM Club book. And as people started to embrace it, they found that their cognition would increase, their energy would increase, their positivity would increase, their creativity and productivity would increase very dramatically. And, you know, I always go back to Spartan warriors, Rachel, they say “sweat more in training and you’ll bleed less in war.” And I have two kids, if there was one piece of advice I’d give them, it would be rise before the sun, and spend an hour working on what I call in the book your mindset, heartset, healthset, and soulset. We can get into that as well because so many people are talking about mindset, but I actually think there’s three other interior empires: heartset, healthset and soulset. And you, if all of us were to get up at five a.m. and do our morning practice, and do our healing, and take care of our physical dimension, and nurture our wisdom, and then detect how we wanted to live out the day with grace, and creativity, and impact, and love, well then the days would slip into weeks, the weeks would slip into months, the months would slip into years, and we would have handcrafted a world-class or a beautiful life. And so I think if you, if you get that first hour right, it dramatically affects the rest of the day, and that’s why I wrote The 5 AM Club, to share that methodology.
[11:54] Rachel: And it’s something that I can really vouch for; I’ve, I’ve, I’ve experienced that and am experiencing that in, in real time. I still don’t, I think, cognitively fully understand what is it about this specific hour, you know, because I’m doing the things that I generally try to incorporate in my day anyway: I’m practicing my yoga, I’m meditating. I don’t follow exactly the steps in the book, I have added a big component for me which is emotional release. I try to give myself ten, fifteen minutes to dramatically experience and process my feelings, so I have a moment where I generally cry a little bit in the morning, which I, I want to know what you think about too. But what is it about this specific hour that’s so special? Because it works. And it’s not the same as if I would do these things at five p.m. or any time in the day; what is it about five a.m.?
[12:45] Robin: And a lot of people say, “well can I do the process that you teach in the book at seven o’clock at night,” or ten o’clock, and “well what about night owls?” And all that kind of thing. And here’s what I found, and it sounds like you found it as well: there is magic in the air at the time before the sun. And usually on, on interviews I never go here, but I think I can go here with you: so, in India they actually call this period, there’s a term for it, it’s something like brahmacharya or some, some term. But isn’t it interesting how the monks, the sages, many of the greatest poets, many of the greatest creatives of history, they all had one thing in common, that many of them would rise at dawn. And so, there’s a time in the air — and it has to do with the vibration, and it has to do with the tides — that makes this time very simple and very pure. We can go to the science; neuroscience, neuroscientists have realized that when you’re sleeping, your brain actually has a mechanism where the brain washes itself. And when you’re sleeping and dreaming, you’re actually releasing a lot of emotions — like you were talking about emotional release — you’re actually releasing a lot of motion, remotion, emotions. So when you get up at five a.m., or quarter to five, it is the time of greatest quietude in this age of dramatic distraction. There is so much peace. Your mind, you brain has actually cleansed itself, and it’s almost as if your heart and spirit had cleansed itself. And so I believe that the sages get up at five, and the monks get up at five because that’s a period where you are most open to transforming yourself and healing yourself.
[14:32] Rachel: There’s, it’s totally it, and I can feel it in my body, this feeling of, “there’s something electric that, that’s going on in the, in the world, it’s in the air, it’s just this feeling that I can’t replicate it if I do it at noon, or five p.m., or at another time. So, for, for the many people listening, because I did a podcast about my morning routine, and why this has changed my life, and the majority of questions that came in, some from people who were upset, like actually had a trigger, you know, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this a ton too, “well that might work for you, but I’m a night owl. There’s no possible way I could ever do this, so it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s just something for certain people.” Is that true, do you think? Is it just people like you, or maybe like me, and it’s not for everyone? Can anyone adapt this kind of lifestyle?
[15:20] Robin: Well I just look at, at all the people around the world reading 5 AM Club, and there’s a line in the book which is, “all change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and beautiful at the end.” And so Rachel, if I say “well, you can start a business, but I can’t do…I’m not the kind of person who can start a business.” “You can make amazing sourdough bread, but I just don’t have sourdough bread-making genes, and grandpa couldn’t do it, I guess I can’t do it.” “Oh, you’re positive now in the pandemic, but I’m a realist, and I can’t change.” And I guess what I’m suggesting with deep respect is if we recite our excuses long enough, we actually believe they are true. And transformation, and healing, and upgrading our humanity is a dangerous game, because we must let go of the beliefs we believe are true, the emotions we believe we must own the rest of our life, and the life we were living before the transformation. And that really terrifies people.
[16:24] Robin: So it’s much easier to say, “well I can’t get up early. I can’t change. I can’t run the morning routine Robin talks about in the book. I can’t increase my health and fitness. I…” and by the way, there is a part in the morning routine, in the 20:20 formula that is about emotional release, and that’s the reflection part, from 5:20 to 5:40, where you can journal, and you can pray, and you can feel the emotions to release, because I think that’s a very important part of a strong morning routine as well, so that you sort of purify yourself emotionally when you being the day. But I’d simply say to anyone who says, “I can’t join the 5 AM Club,” if you don’t at least try, and the science from University College London says it takes 66 days to wire in a new habit, and there’s that model in the book, the Habit Installation Process, that explains it. So why wouldn’t you give yourself at least 66 days to practice this morning routine, and experience the benefits of happiness, and energy, and strength, and courage, you know? I mean, it’s, we want, we want to change our lives and live beautiful lives, but we’re not willing to spend a few weeks making the change. So really, someone who says, “well I can’t, I can’t get up at five a.m.,” it’s really, “I don’t want to do the work.”
Robin: “And face the difficulty, and face the discomfort of wiring in a new habit; well, that’s like a, a world class gymnast saying, “I want to get a gold medal, but I’m not willing to spend a week or two practicing.”
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[19:07] Rachel: Something that I, that came up for me that I, I would love your take on too is I, I realized that one of the obstacles I had, this idea that “I am a night owl, I’m a night person,” was that actually, knowing, getting up at five a.m. would mean I had to make a massive shift, not just in the morning time and in my day, but also in my evening. And I was really stuck, especially this year man, I was stuck in this very vicious evening — I don’t want to call it a routine, because it was very unconscious — but evening sluggishness, evening of, “man, I need, I need something with sugar in it, I need Netflix, I just need to sit on the couch, drink a glass of wine,” it was something that wasn’t fulfilling me at all. But it was really a response to the trauma and the challenges that I’ve seen this year. It became more challenging for me to get away from that, the harder things felt. So for me, the idea of, of getting up at five a.m. also meant I had, had to let go of this, let go of this coping mechanism that I had where I was actually numbing myself. And that made it feel really daunting, you know? Because I could force myself to get up at five, but am I going to let go of this sugar that I now really, you know, kind of addicted to throughout this year. So how do those things play a role, I guess? Numbing, numbing, things we do to numb ourselves, because it’s really hard to do that and rise at five. I can’t, I can’t drink two glasses of wine and stay up until eleven, get up at five and do my thing, I have to quit that. How does that relate? Do you think that’s a big piece for everyone?
[20:35] Robin: Well I think it’s be very easy for me to say, “one must get up at five a.m. every morning,” and for, of course, no one has to do anything. But I think the most honest thing I can say is this isn’t, this is, I’m not going to say it’s an unprecedented time, I can’t stand how many people use that word now, you know? “It’s unprecedented pandemic.” But the reality is, the world has fallen in many ways. The reality is, old structures that we trusted are crumbling. The reality is, this virus has ravaged the planet, and there’s a lot of countries going into second lockdown. And you’re a conscious, sensitive, feeling, creative person, as I am, and so if we didn’t feel that, and if we didn’t seek out comfort this year, to make us feel a little better, I think it’s almost more unhealthy. And what I’m trying to suggest, Rachel, is I think I’ve had more carbs this year…
[both laughing softly]
Robin: …than I’ve had in, in many years, and I’m usually Mediterranean-Keto in terms of my, my diet, so…
Rachel: Oh, thank God, so it’s not just me. [Laughs]
[21:49] Robin: No, I’d say, you know, look, I’m back on five a.m. on the, you know, now, but I was not doing it every single morning in, let’s say five months ago, I was probably doing it four times a week, and that’s okay. And that actually speaks to one of the key models in the book, which is the Twin Cycles of Elite Performance. And i think it’s, it’s, it’s in, it’s so important because we get a lot of messaging from society, which is if you’re not up every morning at five a.m.m, and if you’re not running all the rituals, like the 90/90/1 Rule and all the other ones I teach in the book, or whatever your rituals are. And if you’re not incredibly productive all through your day, and if you feel like taking a nap, or Rachel, you feel like having an extra piece of pizza or two glasses of wine, well then the messaging from society is that you’re bad, and that there’s something wrong with you, and that you’re broken. And what I would say is the Twin Cycles concept in the book is simply this: if you look at any great creative person, they have seasons of the harvest, like a farmer. They’re toiling the soil, and they’re reaping the harvest and they’re really productive. And then they pull back and they have a fallow season, where they allow the soil to regerm, regenerate. And that’s a really great way to live your weeks and to live your life. Periods in the sun, I call it in the book “the High Excellence Cycle” where you’re up at five a.m., and you’re really productive, and you’re, you know, your time is very well spent. And then once you finished that cycle, you, you trust your natural rhythms rather than forcing this “I must be productive, I must be fully scheduled.” Which I’ve learned is actually going to hurt your creativity. So then you go into your, the second cycle, which is your Deep Recovery Cycle. And that’s where you might have some more wine if you like two glasses of wine as sometimes you do. And that’s okay. And you might want to watch more t.v. And you might want to take a nap at ten o’clock in the morning because you feel like it. You know, John Lennon said, “time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
[24:11] Rachel: I love this, this is like a big affirmation for me. I, I tend to be very, very rigid, which is part of why I think I was in the sluggishness for a long time, because for every night that I was up late or, you know, for every cake I baked with my daughter, I was kind of telling myself, “this is bad, don’t do this,” guilt came with those coping mechanisms that I was actually using to navigate a super challenging time.
Rachel: So I love that affirmation of, “it’s okay to have those cyc…not just a day but those cycles of, “okay, I’m not as productive now.” And if you look at the world, the way it is this year, it’s not, you know, it’s not strange that many of us are in that softer cycle, because we’re navigating something collectively really hard.
[25:00] Robin: We are, and I’m also saying that we must take time to do nothing to produce our master works. It, it’s doing nothing, or baking bread with your daughter, which is absolutely doing something, or taking long walks, or taking three months where you’re just looking at art, and thinking, and writing in your journal; that is necessary for your next level of creativity. I’m, I’m reading about this Indian artist, his name is, I believe it’s M. F., M. F. Husain. And I was in India, I get there every few years, but I was in India ten years ago, and this gentleman was walking through the hotel lobby in barefoot. And I said to my seminar partner, I said, “wow, look,” you know, “this man looks really interesting.” And he said, “yes, he’s, he’s called the Picasso of India,” and I believe it’s M. F. Husain. So I started reading, I believe, you know, few days ago, I was just reading about this gentleman, and he talked about his work routine. And he said he would get up at, at sunrise — so he might have been a member of the 5 AM Club — and he said he’d paint in his studio for four or five hours. And then the interviewer said, “what do you do for the rest of the day?” And you know what he said? “I just loaf around.” And he said, “I think loafing around is really important to my art.” So, there’s a concept I teach called The Five Great Hours, you know, our society says, “work five a.m. to eleven, and then you’re, you know, hustle and grind,” and I’m, with all due respect to the hustle and grinders, I think that’s a great way to grind down your long-term, sustainable genius. And I love this idea, anti, an anti-hustle and grind philosophy. And I teach it, in my course, I teach it and I call it the Five Great Hours Rule: all you need is to work for five sweaty, world-class, intense hours. And then, bake bread bread with your daughter. And then, work on your gardening. Then do some yoga. Then scratch your stomach. And then, look out and watch the sun rise. Then, watch a great movie, or — you know, I just watched a great documentary on Steve McQueen. And enjoy your life, and then you’ll come back stronger and more interesting for your work tomorrow morning.
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[29:09] Rachel: I, I adore this. I adore this concept. I know it is increasingly challenging for people to, to feel like it’s okay to loaf around when we spend so much time on social media, watching other people hustle and grind everyday, you know? And there are those people out there who that’s what they share every day is “go get it, go get it,” and every time I’m not getting it, I feel like everyone is…I’m missing out. Everyone is more productive, everyone is getting more things done. How do you feel around, especially around the 5 AM morning routine of course being a technology-free space, but in general around how much time we are spending on these devices: is it helpful, is it still inspiring? Is it challenging? What’s your take?
Robin: I think it’s, I think it’s incredibly…well, let, I would say it this way: I would say social media is an extraordinary servant, and it’s a brutal god. And what I mean by that is look at you. You know, you’re, you’re using social media, I’m using social media to add value, to build relationships. I think it’s extraordinary, you know, I’ve got my phone here in front of me and we’re talking. And millions of people are going to watch this episode. And that is an incredible thing to celebrate. Incredible! You can build an entire business with a 400 dollar phone. You can change the world with a phone! You know, if you do the right dance on TikTok. No, if you deliver content, maybe even a one hour webinar, you could influence and transform millions of lives. It’s a beautiful time, you know, social media’s incredible, but there’s a line in 5 AM Club about how to manage digital distraction. And in, in the book, I call them “sheeple”. We’ve shifted from people to sheeple. And so it’s, it’s a, it’s a terrific servant if you use social media and digital technology to serve your mission, to serve your desire to be a humble servant of as many people as possible. But it it a brutal god.
[31:28] Robin: And I actually would say most people have become addicted to their devices, and there’s a line in The 5 AM Club which is, “an addiction to distraction is the death of your creative production.” Because if you’re checking your phone, not only at five a.m. but also in the day, you’ll never get into flow state. There’s a model in the book called Transient Hypofrontality, which explains that every human being is built for genius, and this is scientific, and it speaks to the flow state that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from University of Chicago first coined, which is the state when we’re not in alpha or beta, but our brainwaves go down to theta. And we all can access this state, but most of us are so in the world, and we’re so distracted that we never get into the stillness, solitude and silence that allows us to hear the solid whispers of our internal genius. And so, you know, one of the secrets of genius is isolation. You’ve got to get away from your phone, but you’ve also got to get away from the world if you want to do master work that changes the world. I’m, I’m finishing my new book now, I’ve got my copyedited manuscript right here. And a lot of this work I’ve done in, in complete isolation, and it’s not just because we’ve been in lockdown because of the pandemic, but I’ve literally found places where I could lock myself away from technology and people for long stretches of time. And I think if you look at any artist, they all use strategic isolation to, to, to do their best work and to access their magic. Because you can, you can change the world or you can be in the world, but I don’t think you can do both.
[33:15] Rachel: We spoke a little bit just before starting this episode about Human Design, and that we both share, you’re a Manifesting Generator, and I’m a Manifestor. And the first thing I learned about the Manifestor part of Human Design is this massive need for isolation, and solitude.
Rachel: And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s rare, I think, I think a lot of people are feeling really isolated, especially this year, like we don’t have the, the heart-felt human connection, vulnerability, intimacy that we crave, but at the same time, we are surrounded by people, by distractions, by stuff constantly and all the time. If we don’t have that ability, like I’m thinking of myself, I have a three and a half year old, it’s extremely challenging for me to get that alone time. And that the dream of like, “I want to go into the woods, get a cabin and just be alone for awhile, but right now in my life, it’s not possible.” How can we carve out that space for ourselves so we can access that, that genius that we all have inside?
[34:13] Robin: It’s a great question, I would say with a three and a half year old daughter, it might not be that time that you can get the cabin in the woods, but it will come, for sure. I would say, of course, no surprise, I’d say at five a.m. And, you know, if she’s not up, but my guess is, my guess is she’s probably sleeping at that time, so at least give yourself from five to seven, or train yourself to get up at four, or four to six, while she’s sleeping, give yourself those two hours. And then again, people would say, “well four o’clock? Three in the morning? That sounds bizarre.” Well, it sounds bizarre because it’s a foreign idea. But the internet was a foreign idea. Tesla was a foreign idea. A woman or a man on the moon was a foreign idea. So I think if you look at the world builders, they’re contrarians, and you don’t, I don’t think you want to think like most people think. And so, getting up at 3:30 is a wonderful time to get up. And that might mean you have to go to sleep at eight o’clock to get your seven hours, because science has confirmed the number one way we reduce our lives is sleep deprivation; the 5 AM Club concept is not about sleep deprivation, but maybe you just have to, for the next few years, go from 3:30 or four in the morning to six in the morning. And you can do that: the human brain and the human body is wired for adaptation. We adapt to new environment, look at us now! We’ve got masks, we’ve got this, we’ve got restaurants that have like these little greenhouses with separate tables and lights, and the server comes up and leaves the food on a tray, and we’re all adapting! You know, we can get food delivered, and groceries delivered right to our door, and we’re adapting. As, as a human animal, we’re built to adapt. Darwin talked about survival of the fittest, adaptation. And so, you can adapt to a new routine, you can get up at four a.m., you can find a structure that will allow you to have that quietude where you can do work that’s better than you’ve ever done, and I know you do great work, but if you’re not finding quietude, I, I, I’m excited for you. Because once you structure even three hours a day where the world can’t get to you, you’re going to do, you’re going to do the deepest, most profound thinking you’ve ever done, and actually, you’re going to do work that is so heavyweight, I believe it will take your impact — which is already very large — it’ll take it to a whole new level.
[36:45] Rachel: And this is a, it’s a, it’s a new thing for me, I feel like I’m starting to scratch at the, at the surface of this. I, I had a pretty big burnout about two years ago, and I’ve realized recently, and through my time at five a.m., that the burnout in itself wasn’t so much just this constant working, but the lack of, the lack of alone time. That even when I wasn’t working, I had a baby, I had my phone there, I had always someone demanding something to be fixed, or my attention in some way; I never had the space to direct my attention inward. And a question I want to ask — and a lot of people who, who listen to this podcast, we talk a lot about trauma healing on this show, emotional release, therapy, psychology, all the tools we can find to, not just feel better in our day-to-day, but to heal really big things. For someone who’s experienced something massive, you know, real, real, real trauma, real struggle, or for someone who might be under the consistent, constant trauma of systemic injustice, for instance, or racism, making these changes is going to be a harder thing. Do you agree with that, first of all that it’s, I’m just assuming, I’m not the expert, that one, if you’re carrying heavy things, making the daily changes for something more constructive is a little bit heavier. So that’s the first question, and then second, how can we apply — because I think the heartset, soulset, healthset, mindset is a really amazing concept to apply to trauma healing as well, if you’ve ever gone down that path.
[38:19] Robin: Absolutely, I’ve been, I’ve been healing trauma for twen…actively for 21 years, and I didn’t know we were going tog et into it, but I’m absolutely delighted to get into it. So your first question is would it be heavier for someone who’s gone, you know, who’s had, let’s say, macro-trauma or very deep trauma to make these changes, and I would actually say it’s just the opposite. That, that might surprise you, Rachel, but when you’re going through trauma, sometimes it feels like everything’s falling apart, so why not wire in your new structures when everything’s falling apart? When your life is falling apart, it’s actually a beautiful place to be because everything’s possible. When everything is going great, it’s pretty hard to make changes because everything is going great, and we want to stick to our winning formula because it feels so good. But one thing I’ve learned in my healing is if it doesn’t feel good, it’s not bad, it’s generally a blessing. And difficult feelings are actually transformation in wolf’s clothing. I’ve grown the most when my heart has been broken, and when anger, and shame, and guilt, and sadness, sorrow, when those are in my face, that’s, that’s when I’m in the fire, that’s, that’s when I’m being purified. So I would say if you’re going through deep trauma, it’s an incredible time to transform, whether it’s your morning routine, whether it’s to do your healing; I believe there’s a, a divine magic, or there’s a magic that orchestrates the universe, and I believe when the time is right, you get the event that creates the trauma that activates your healing.
[40:01] Robin: And your second point about heartset, yes! I mean, what I’ve tried to do in The 5 AM Club is to, to, with deep respect to all of the pundits sharing everything is mindset, that never felt right to me. Because I’d read the positive thinking books and work on affirmations, and visualization, and reordering my belief system, but what about the pain I was feeling? And that’s why, you know, a lot of these positive thinking books have been written by men. And I never understood it Rachel, like if I’m going through a hard part of life, and I’m like, I’m like, in my solar plexus I’ve got all this sadness, I’m supposed to do some affirmations to feel better? That, that doesn’t feel right; that’s like swallowing the trauma which is going to come back to bite me with dis-ease later on. So that’s why over the past fifteen years I created this Four Interior Empires model in the book: mindset, that’s only 25 percent; heartset, which is your emotional life; healthset, which is your physicality; and soulset, which is, is your spirituality. And I believe, in my curriculum, those four inner empires are what you want to work on at five a.m. every morning: your intellectual life, your emotional life, your physical life, and your spiritual life. And those four interior empires, if properly cared for, will produce extraordinary gains in the way that we live and exist in the world, the way we interact with other people.
[41:31 — Commercial Break]
[42:42] Rachel: And for someone listening right now going, “okay, I’m in that place,” you know, “I’ve had this immensely challenging thing happen in my life,” is there one of the four that you suggest going for to sort of propel you to get more activated and find that motivation to rise early? Is there one of the four that’s more important when it comes to, to healing?
Robin: I, I think, I’d answer it this way: I’d say all four are important, because you can have emotional healing, so that you’re releasing the repressed energy, which is incredibly important in healing trauma, but if you have belief systems, for example, that are of scarcity, and you can’t make money, or “people are bad,” or “I’m not a genius at heart,” or “I can’t transform my life,” those belief systems will sabotage the emotional healing. If you heal the mind, the mindset and the heartset, but your healthset is, you know, you have inflammation, and you have a weak immune system, and you have no energy because you haven’t taken care of your physical dimension, you’re going to sabotage the other two. Similarly with soulset, the fourth interior empire: if you haven’t taken care of your spiritual life so you’re okay with death, and mortality, and you, if you haven’t, connect with the force that rules the world, and have that trust and faith which is, “I’m going through trauma,” or “I’m going through a pandemic, but all is in order, and we’re being led to a better place,” well then you’re still not going to live with grace. So I think all four of those are important, but if, if you’re, if you’re dealing with trauma specifically, I think what I call heartset is most important, and using prayer and maybe hypnotherapy and, you know, all the different techniques of emotional healing are extraordinarily valuable and, you know, like I say, I’ve done my own healing for over two decades, emotionally, as well as the other dimensions, but it’s, it’s transformed my life. It’s been the hardest, most dangerous, most beautiful thing I’ve done to build intimacy with my feelings and try not to judge sadness as worse than wonder.
[44:58] Rachel: Hmm. Mmm, and that’s such a lifelong, beautiful, heartbreaking practice.
Rachel: I found just now, just listening to you that for me to access that place, that heartset practice of feeling my feelings, processing my feelings, really having them release from my…
Rachel: …my physical body, I need to tap into the healthset of movement. So usually what I do in the morning, the first thing I do, I go into my space, which is where I’m sitting right now, and I put on the most amazing song I can think of, and I dance until I cry. That’s my first [laughs] thing that I, that I do, and I feel like it’s, it’s this beautiful transition of dropping into the body so I can tap into the heart. But without the body, it’s hard for me to, to arrive there, so I think they all really intertwine.
Robin: Yeah, that’s interesting, because I’ve heard people say that, and I’ve never understood it. Maybe it’s women being different from men in that respect, or maybe it’s just me, but when I do my emotional healing, it’s…not moving is incredibly important. And what I often do is I’ll get up at, these days I’ll get up around four, especially when there’s a full moon, I don’t know what happens to you [laughing] when there’s a full moon, but it plays some, some, some interesting games. So, I’ll get up at four, and I’m just wired, you know? I don’t, you know, there’s a lot of cycles this year, aren’t there, with the energy?
Rachel: Tons. Wow.
[46:27] Robin: Okay, yeah. And, and what dreams we’ve been having, no?
Rachel: [Laughing] Yeah, crazy ones.
Robin: Right? You know what I’m…
Rachel: [Laughing] Yeah.
Robin: …you know what I’m speaking about. And then we wonder why we’re, we don’t have all this energy during the day; you lived an entire…
Robin: …forty year life while you slept, my friend. Of course you’re going to need a nap at eleven o’clock, you were battling Spartan warriors in ancient Greece for four hours in the night. But what I do is I get up at four, and I just lay in bed, and I lay on my back because then I don’t go back to sleep. And I just lay there and I process, and I’ll, sometimes I’ll verbally pray to Spirit, so I, I can become the kind of man I want to be, and have the impact I wish to have. Sometimes I visualize; sometimes if there’s heaviness in a part of my body, and I think you know exactly what I’m talking about, I just investigate it, and I stay with it, and I breathe into it, and I feel it sort of loosen. And I think that’s a very powerful way to heal old trauma or repressed feelings is just sort of shine a light on the shadow, as Carl Jung would say, and the shadow beings to dissolve.
Rachel: Mmm. Yeah, I think you are right in terms of there being a different, maybe between women and men, I don’t want to generalize, but my husband is the same way, he, he does process in quiet…
Robin: Oh, interesting.
Rachel: …for me it’s like I have to start the engine in, in that way. I like to end every podcast whenever I have a guest on by asking the same question: how can all of us listening, all of us present here with you, right now, be of service to you today?
[48:15] Robin: Well…truthfully, I’d love it if, if all of your followers read The 5 AM Club book, I spent four years of my life on it and I, the philosophy and the methodologies really, they work. It’s not, it’s not a motivational book, you know, and I think a lot of people that are looking for tools that work, and ideas that work, and that create real transformation; and I’m not going to suggest transformation happens in a day, but transformation that can happen for a human being. So I would say number one: read The 5 AM Club book, or listen to the audiobook, which is on Audbile, which a lot of people are enjoying. And then I’d say number two to be of service to me, do your own, do your own work. I, I think if each of us would only rise at five a.m. and spend an hour working our our mindsets, heartsets, healthsets and soulsets, day by day we would become braver, stronger, more loving, decent, creative, productive people. And we would bring more light into the world, and we would be more polite to people on the street. And we would do work that was meaningful to our hearts. And we would be kinder to our family. And we would live life with more decency. Just by doing our own work. And that would be helpful to me, and it would be helpful to you and your daughter, and it will be helpful to the whole world. You see, Rachel, I think it’s very easy to say, “we wish there were great leaders on the planet now,” like the Mandelas, and the Mother Theresas, and the Gandhis, and the MLKs, but I think the real ticket is for us to…build intimacy with our own native heroism. And if the whole world, if all of your followers, your millions of followers would do that, we would transform this world very, very quickly.
Rachel: That’s a very empowering thing to hear. Sometimes I think we are waiting for, we’re waiting for the next Mother Theresa, next Mandela to come and change the world, but we all have that possibility inside, in this moment and every day. Thank you so much for joining me on the show, I appreciate your teachings so, so much. So much gratitude, thank you.
Robin: Keep on changing the world, Rachel.
[Rachel laughs softly]
Robin: It’s been really fun.
[50:44 — End of Episode]