Like most humans, Jack McIntyre has always been searching and seeking for more pleasure and less pain. Early into adulthood, that meant sex, drugs, alcohol and dreams of being a rockstar. But he quickly realized that that path didn’t work… so he continued searching.
He wrestled with anxiety and depression along the way, exploring a range of therapies and solutions including antidepressants, CBT, talk therapy, psychedelics and somatic therapy.
In this episode, he talks about the benefits and drawbacks of the various therapies he tried. He also tells the story of a traumatic ayahuasca ceremony that he compares to a car crash… as well as one of the distinct advantages somatic therapy has over just about everything else when it comes to anxiety and depression.
Thanks for listening to this podcast with Jack McIntyre! Join the free daily newsletter and unleash the beast in 7.3 minutes a day.
In This Episode Of The Rageheart Podcast With John Wood, You’ll Discover:
- How Jack beat anxiety and depression (plus, the various tools he tried, what worked, what didn’t and what was a disaster)
- Jack’s surprising take on big cathartic releases via Wim Hof and Vipassana meditation retreats (hint: they’re not as good as you might think)
- Jack’s approach to meditation and the specific type of meditation that works well for him (and how he knows when he’s done too much meditation)
- The benefits and drawbacks of antidepressants, talk therapy and CBT when it comes to anxiety and depression (according to Jack, it’s not black and white)
- how it all comes back to B___ h____ n_____ (Jack’s simple phrase for remembering the key to it all, whether you use meditation, somatic therapy, antidepressants or psychedelics)
Links From The Episode:
- Email Jack: jack.mcintyre (at) live (dot) com (dot) au
- The Daily Rage (Rageheart’s daily email newsletter)
- Somatic Experiencing
- Irene Lyon’s course Smart Body Smart Mind
- Adyashanti on “allowing everything to be as it is”
- The Presence Process – A Journey Into Present Moment Awareness
Heads up! Some of these links (and other links on this page) are affiliate links. That means Rageheart may receive a small commission if you purchase after clicking one of these links – however, there is no additional cost to you. This helps Rageheart continue to spread the message of unleashing the beast and nervous system regulation.
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All right, it’s John Wood here, the founder of Rageheart. I’m here with my good friend and cousin, Jack Mack, Jack McIntyre. And I thought I’d get him on so we could talk about somatics and the nervous system and how to work with all that stored survival stress because he’s got a pretty cool story and I’ve been able to witness it, most of it, and it’s been pretty fucking cool to watch. So I got Jack here to talk about what…
happened for him, how it benefited him, how it helped him. So if you’re curious about it, wanting to learn more, it’s a good place to begin and you can find out and see if it’s right for you. So, what’s up, Jack?
Hey, how you going?
Good man. How you doing?
I’m good, I’m good. Ready to rock and roll. First podcast, yep. Making history today.
It’s your first podcast, right? First podcast, popping the cherry. Ha ha ha.
Pretty much, that’s the way to live, right? Make history every single day of your life. Ideally, I don’t know how much, make washing dishes and cooking foods, making history though, it’s making my history.
Anyway, so I know all about you of course, we know all about each other, but let’s talk about, we’ll get into the semantics in a second, maybe tell people a bit about who you are, who is Jack at the moment? And what do you do? Tell us a bit about you.
Who’s Jack? Well, um… Uh… Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Other than just saying pure consciousness, I know you’re into the non-duality stuff, so like, let’s not get too philosophical with it. We don’t have all day.
I live in Australia. I was born in Sydney, born in Cronulla on the beach. Grew up sort of at the beach surfing, all that sort of stuff. Had a lot of different jobs. I’ve done bar work, construction, sales, retail, telemarketing, just, you know, all the jobs you can do without qualifications basically. And then I ended up doing… I was born in Sydney, born in Cronulla on the beach.
four years in the army, went overseas to the Middle East. And now I’m working in mental health in Australia, doing as a support worker in drug and alcohol sector. So essentially working at a rehab, which is great. I love it. So that’s kind of bringing you up to speed in about one minute.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha nice wrapped in a nutshell too. I see that what kind of nut is it? Are we talking like an almond nut or a walnut or a?
Probably a macadamia, I think. They’re the best.
Okay, what’s happening? You wouldn’t say like a bull nut.
A ball nut? I don’t even know what a ball nut is.
Well, that’s the knot… one knot of a bull.
Oh, okay. The singular. Singular ball testicle. Right.
Well, like, yeah, exactly, right? I didn’t want to say testicle, but you know, but that, it’s a joke. Maybe not a very good one, but yeah, I try, I try sometimes. So you kind of, I’m a little bit tired. I had a big day yesterday, as you know, we’ve been talking for a while and my brain may be doing zigzags tonight, so, but here’s what it is.
That’s right, I appreciate it.
So you got these jobs, you kind of life at the moment, would you say it’s like life’s pretty good at the moment, right, you’ve kind of got the job you wanted, working exactly kind of where you want to be. It’s not where you want to be forever, but right now it’s kind of it for you, right?
Yeah, yeah, pretty much. I mean, I’ve sort of been working towards this for the last few years. I had a period of time when I got out of the army where I didn’t really know what I wanted to do was pretty kind of confused and didn’t really know what my purpose was and, and that sort of thing. And I had to do a lot of deep.
reflection and kind of soul searching, I guess, and realized that I wanted to help people in some kind of way. And at first I thought that was maybe through doing physiotherapy. So I did my first year of physiotherapy at uni, left with a diploma of health science.
But I kind of figured some way through that process that I actually wanted to work more with human behavior and mental health. And it was just, it just appealed to me and called to me a bit more. So then I went and did some studies in youth work and drug and alcohol. And
Yeah, now I’m working at a drug and alcohol center in Australia and you know, my sort of day-to-day job is pretty varied, but it’s just great being able to interact with people and you know, meet people from all walks of life and hear their story and it’s been a really good experience for me. I don’t know if it’s what I’ll do forever, but I’ll definitely probably be working in the kind of mental health, community services sector,
Mm-hmm. Oh, cool. But it wasn’t, I mean, that’s an interesting point you bring up, like the past, the army. Like what was life like? Because you come a long way, like, you know, especially with what you’re doing lately and, you know, the nervous system stuff. But let’s like rewind back to, I don’t know where an appropriate point is. Because even before the army, like, it’s like you were, my understanding is, if I remember correctly, like you’ve been searching for a while before the army. The army was like one step on that path to kind of figure out like wanting to do something.
So like what was sort of going on for you before? Like what was motivating you to kind of search? What was going on inside you or in your sort of day-to-day experience that was driving that search?
Well, I think I’ve always kind of had that sort of element of just my personality. I’ve always been a bit of a seeker or a searcher. Um, not even really sure what I was searching for a lot of the time, I think. Probably like most of us to avoid pain and seek pleasure. But, um, yeah, like, I dunno, growing up, I always thought that
I wanted to be a rock star and, you know, playing bands and do that whole sort of thing. And that, you know, didn’t really pan out the way I thought it would. Then I had a bunch of different jobs and I thought that was maybe going to be the answer, like maybe being a carpenter or building and that sort of stuff. And that didn’t really give me the fulfillment that I was looking for. And then I, you know,
decided, well, maybe I’ll join the army. And that, you know, to be honest, was really a big catalyst for me, like probably the best thing I ever did, best decision I ever made. But it was a bit of a double edged sword, you know, that brought its own challenges and struggles both when I was in and then when I left. But yeah, I think I’ve always just been trying to find myself and trying to find out who I am. And
try and work through some of the issues that I had, different traumas and just shit that accumulates from just being alive, being a human.
Oh yeah. Oh, how was this? I mean, if you’re up for sharing it, like what, when you say traumas, we don’t have to go into the details of what they were, but how are they like affecting your life? What were they, you know, stopping you from doing? How are you feeling day to day that was making it difficult if you’re open to sharing?
Yeah, yeah. So I think, you know, growing up, there was just some different situations and things that, that kind of happened that, you know, weren’t, weren’t that, that great. And that sort of affected me in a few different ways. But the biggest way would probably just be like, just, just depression, like just I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. Going right back to when I was, you know, like
in my early teens, probably even maybe younger than that. And that’s always been something that’s kind of always been there. And it’s kind of like this dark cloud that kind of just hangs around and just, you know, just doesn’t really fuck off. But I think that was like a big drive, like kind of had this emptiness in me for a long time or this, just this feeling of like, like, like
What am I doing? Like, who am I? Why am I here? What is this reality? What is this life thing all about? Like, I feel like sometimes…
I used to sort of feel like I’d walked into a movie like once it had already started and I missed the opening scene. So I was kind of just like, you know, I’d look around and all my friends and all these other people seem to be so together and like knew what they were doing and knew what they were about. And I’d just be like, did I miss something? Like, I feel like I’ve come in late. Like how does everyone have this life shit just figured out? And so I think I was always just trying to find something that made sense to me.
and sort of find what gave my life meaning.
Right. And so that was the, you know, trying different jobs to see what was sort of working for you, eventually culminating in the army, uh, four years in the army, which you said, so it was great.
Yeah, well, I mean, like all the jobs that I have done have been great, like all the different experiences that I’ve had when I was doing, you know, construction, that was great for a time. You know, I think that all these experiences you grow from and you learn a lot about yourself, but really the army, that was, that was a big one because it was like, um,
It’s like going to a parallel universe where there’s this whole other set of rules and regulations and culture. And you know, you spend months at a time or like months of the year out in the bush, just isolated with other soldiers doing army stuff and, you know, shooting guns and blowing stuff up and you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of fun, you know? And yeah, I really felt like that.
when I was in the army, I really felt that sense of belonging and that sense of, um, you know, brotherhood and, and, and meaning that I hadn’t really experienced before. I had a real song, strong sense of, uh, of family, I suppose, during that time. And, um, gave my, my life a lot of meaning. Um, like looking at it now, if someone asked me now, like, would I join the army again? I would say in this current day and age, no, because I can sort of see now that, you know,
I’m a bit kind of anti-government now, I suppose, but there’s just a lot of corruption that goes on with all this stuff and wars and all these conflicts. We don’t get the full story. And I think most people that sign up to join the army or the military.
have good intentions and, um, you know, maybe a little bit too idealistic or a bit too patriotic and they want to do their duty and serve their country. And the government sometimes swoops in and takes that, you know, sort of pure intention and, um, utilizes it for, you know, financial gain or power. So, but that’s another topic. Let’s not get into that.
Good old politics. And so what kind of, when you talk about depression, like what kind of things you, I know you were trying different things because like we all do, we read books and what kind of things did you try to fix it and what, you know, what worked, what didn’t work in the early days before you ended up finding the nervous system and stuff and some of the other things.
Yeah, the early days. I tried antidepressants pretty early on. I think I did maybe six months or so on antidepressants. And I found that they kind of made me feel like a bit of a zombie and just a bit numb. Possibly helpful for a… I’m sorry.
What do you think that is?
Uh, I think that, well, they shut down negative emotion, but they also shut down positive emotion. So you end up just being kind of not really feeling anything. Um, and they, I feel like they made me a little bit, uh, they affected my personality a little bit and that I was taking a lot more risks that I wouldn’t normally take, um, during that time. But for a short term treatment for a couple of months, like it could be, could be beneficial.
I suppose they did kind of help me get out of a little bit of a rut that I was in, but long term it’s the antidepressant road is not something that I, that really resonates with me. I didn’t find it to be, to be that effective for me. So yeah, tried that, tried a lot of drinking, a lot of alcohol that, that worked for a time or at least help mask the…
the negative feelings or the depression. Same, same with different drugs, worked for a time, but then usually you get the rebound and it makes you feel even worse in the following days. So yeah, like I really felt that like there wasn’t any real answers to be found in drugs or alcohol in terms of dealing with whatever was going on for me, in terms of my emotions.
and medication, yeah, didn’t really work for me. Exercise always worked. That was something that I would always come back to and looking at it now through more of a somatic lens, I guess it’s because it gets you out of your head and gets you into your body, which is something that, you know.
I’m sure we’ve all heard a lot. I know I’ve heard it since I was very young. Like you just got to get out of your head. You just got to get out of your head. And one way to do that is to get into your body. So, you know, whether it’s running or, you know, the gym or boxing or whatever like that has always been my kind of go-to for a long time. Especially when I was in the army, that was basically my therapy was exercise.
So is that it or is there more on that list? What came out through exercise? There’s a few more things.
Oh, there’s definitely more. Yeah. Well, what happened was I ended up getting a bit of a shoulder injury or it kind of a neck injury just through my time in the army. And that really limited my ability to, you know, go to the gym or.
or do boxing or Muay Thai or these sorts of things that I was really relying on to kind of keep my life together and keep everything in check. And when I hurt my shoulder, I found that I wasn’t able to have that release like I was getting in the past. So I started just everything started building up and it kind of culminated in a point where
I was working three jobs at the time and just, I didn’t know how to, I didn’t know how to stop. Like I didn’t know, um, how to, how to have a sort of balanced lifestyle. And, uh, I ended up just crashing. I got really sick. Um, I ended up getting meningitis, um, and ended up in hospital and I don’t know how I got it or, you know, anything, but I mean, I believe that it was because I was pushing too hard for too long. And
my body or the universe or God or whatever you want to call it was like, if you’re not going to slow down, like we’re, we’re going to make you slow down. So that really just smashed me and, um, took me quite a long time to, to kind of get back on my feet after that, like energy wise and just physical wise. And I was like, right, well, I have to learn, I have to learn a new way of dealing with all this, uh, you know, this emotional turmoil or whatever’s going on inside me. So, um,
had to start like, you know, looking at other options. So I started doing therapy, counseling with a psychologist. And I found that very helpful. I did quite a lot of that over a couple of years with different therapists. And that was really good to just unpack things and, you know, get stuff off my chest and work through kind of like the more narrative sort of storyline that we, you know, we have in our head, the stories that we tell ourselves every day.
about who we are and what we identify as. So that was quite helpful, but after a certain point, it kind of just got to be like going to speak to someone and just talking about your problems. And you’d feel a little bit of relief, but nothing was really changing, which I think is an issue a lot of people run into.
I think talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy is absolutely fantastic, but it’s not the full story. There needs to be an element of body awareness and embodiment and dealing with the emotions and the feelings that are coming up in the body. If you’re going into a rage every time you get in your car and somebody beeps their horn at you,
and you see red, I mean, you can talk about that all day about why that is and, you know, why this person, you know, as soon as the light goes green, why they should accelerate within one second. And if they don’t, you know, you can talk about stuff. But if you’re not dealing with the actual
energy that’s in the body, you kind of selling yourself short. Like it needs to be, in my opinion, you need to address it from both angles. And that’s where a lot of the more body based stuff has come in for me. Yeah. So I think that, you know, like, um, I started with stuff like yoga. That was kind of the
sort of introduction was, you know, and I’m terrible at yoga. Like I’m, that’s why I like it. Cause I’m so bad at it. Like I can go there and I’m, I’m like the tin man. I’m not flexible at all. And it’s, it’s kind of a humbling experience for me. Um, but it’s, you know, that’s not what yoga is about. It’s about, you know, trying to find your edge or find your, your stretch or your little moment. Um,
with your body and with what you’re feeling. And can you feel this uncomfortable sensation and can you sit with it and can you just allow it? And so that was kind of like the entry point. And then, I mean, as you know, sort of my story, it kind of progressed from there into different things are sort of happening or sort of in the spaces around me. People were…
experimenting with magic mushrooms and different psychedelics and things like that. And I started getting sort of involved in that a little bit as well. Yeah. Which was a double edged sword, I would say. Yeah. At the time, to put it lightly.
I mean, that’s like most things, I suppose, but psychedelics and plant medicine, especially. So I think around that time we’d be, I can’t remember. I mean, we were taken, you know, drinking and partying together and we’re like 18, 19. But this is where I’m 33, 32. And we, I don’t know where it started. I don’t even know what year.
I drank, I remember drinking a Oscar in 2018 in Melbourne with, uh, with dad. And, uh, and then I went back to Thailand after that and then came back to Australia in 2020, I think. Yeah. I think it was then. And then you, you might’ve had something, um, San Pedro, I think, um, at some point when I was gone and then we came back and then we, we drank a few times on, um, on a farm.
which was, and that was just after I’d got into some of the, the embodiment stuff and you were still sort of on the fence with it and more doing yoga and Qi Gong, I think. You were kind of doing a bunch of that stuff.
That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. That sounds about right. I can’t remember the exact timeframes, but yeah, there was, I sort of hadn’t done anything. Cause obviously, you know, being in the army, like, you know, I didn’t even really drink much when I was in the army, like just complete, you know, straight edge as we used to say. But yeah. So it was kind of like,
I think the first thing I did was, yeah, the San Pedro cactus. Um, I did a ceremony with that and that was, that was quite, um, quite beneficial. Yeah. Like I, uh, did it with a group of people out on, on the farm in, um, kind of rural New South Wales, as you know, and, um, it kind of helped me to, to learn to trust people again, because up until that point, I’d sort of, um,
since getting out of the army, like sort of, I don’t know, I’ve become a bit antisocial and had a hard time just being around people that I didn’t know really well. And I’d, you know, probably heaps of reasons for it, but yeah, so that was a good experience. And then I remember you came back over to Australia and I think, yeah, we had one or two times after that where we did.
I think the San Pedro cactus again. And from what I remember, there was one day in particular that was quite emotional. I think you just, you might not want to talk about this. Yeah. I think you just broken up with your girlfriend at the time. And
No, no, let’s go ahead. I was gonna bring it up anyway, now that we’re there.
I was sort of realizing that my relationship that I was in, um, which was a five year relationship was coming to an end. And I remember we were just kind of bouncing off each other and just, there was, there was a lot of tears and there was a lot of, um, you know, heartfelt, uh, conversations and it was, it was really good. Yeah. It’s an interesting day.
I remember, I think we were sitting around like a little fire, there’s five or six of us there and you were playing guitar and I don’t know, I just started to feel really sad. So yeah, I’d just broken up with my girlfriend in four years, this girl in Thailand. I was like, oh, I think I’ll just drink San Pedro the day after because obviously I’m really sad and this will just move it quicker is my thinking, which is exactly what happened because yeah, you were playing guitar. I remember for a walk.
somewhere because I could just feel the sad. I just needed to cry. So I start, I’m just crying over near this fence and then you and another dude start walking over, you playing the guitar. And I remember you playing this like happy reggae song and then you got close. And then I think you saw that you saw me that I was crying and then you burst into tears. Cause it just, it’s like, that’s what happens in these ceremonies with plant medicine is it’s like things resonate. So if someone else is having their oldest grief, the sadness come up and the sadness in another person. It’s like they resonate like guitar strings.
and it brings it up and then this other person takes a damn into their stuff and after that I mean yeah there was anger too I remember you screaming at the top of your lungs on top of this hill it was that was a fantastic day man
Oh, yeah, yeah. It was good day. Yeah. I got some really shifted some, uh, some emotion that day for sure. Yeah. But, um, yeah, like I think we had those experiences and then, uh,
During that time, I feel like I kind of went a little bit off the rails. Like when I separated with my partner at the time, I started smoking a lot of pot and just, just was a bit crazy. Like just the way I was living my life. I sort of didn’t really have any routine or I was just, yeah, I was just kind of on this runaway train. Just, you know, I was.
Yeah, it’s got a bit out of control. And I think I was at that same time doing, you know, things like the cactus. And I just, it probably wasn’t the best time for me to be doing that sort of stuff in hindsight. And that kind of culminated in me doing an ayahuasca ceremony that really just…
fuck, I don’t even know what to say about it. Just blew the doors off, so to speak. And yeah, it was just like a really, really intense experience that took me a very long time to kind of come to terms with just sort of what had happened. And… Pfft.
Yeah, I don’t know. It was just, it was too much for me. Like I didn’t have, you know, if you want to speak in more of a somatic experiencing kind of language, like I didn’t have the capacity to really, to hold that kind of energy in my body. And it just, it just sort of, yeah, lost it.
Are you open to sharing? Would you be able to sharing a bit more about what happened at the ceremony?
Um, yeah, yeah, sure. Um, so did a ceremony in Australia. I think there was maybe 20 people there or something like that. And, um, you know, I probably like most other people heard about ayahuasca as, you know, a treatment for mental health issues or depression. And at this point in my life, you know, I was, I was trying, trying a lot of different things and just trying to find some, some relief.
So I was like, oh, well, you know, I’ll give it a go, I suppose. And so I went along and the setting wasn’t great. It was outside on a farm at night.
and kind of like a thunderstorm was rolling through over the sort of hills and the mountains as we were starting and it was a bit windy and a bit cold and just, I don’t know, that it wasn’t really like a safe feeling sort of comfortable environment. But I was like, oh, well, you know, we’ll crack on. And so, yeah, I don’t know, they gave me the…
What was that?
the drink and I had it and within like, must’ve been about 10 minutes, I just, I don’t know what happened. I just started freaking out. I got stuck in like this thought loop. I was just saying like, where am I? Like, I feel sick. Like, what the fuck’s going on? Does everyone else feel like this? Like saying it is like more like yelling at us, suppose I was saying it very loudly. Oh, I
Yeah, cause the scene essentially like and was very disruptive to everyone else, which, you know, I do feel bad about, but it’s sort of like, well, you know, it was kind of like a recipe for disaster, like just the way where my headspace at that time and then that setting kind of came together and then the storm started picking up and I just kind of just had a bit of a meltdown. And because I didn’t know what was going on and
eventually someone sort of, you know, took me inside and with it being inside for maybe five or 10 minutes, I was like, Oh, like, I feel all right. Once I was out of the elements, I felt okay. But just kind of got thrown into this sort of existential crisis, thinking about, you know, concepts of timelessness and infinity and existence and all this kind of pretty kind of heavy sort of stuff. And it was just too much for me at that time. And I just sort of
Yeah, didn’t know how to deal with it. So I kind of flew too close to the sun and caught on fire.
but then founds like a fire hydrant on the way back from the sun and cooled yourself off before you burnt to a crisp.
Yeah, I didn’t burn to a crisp, no, I did not burn to a crisp. But that experience, yeah, who knows? That experience though was.
Not yet anyway, maybe you’re still burning inside. I don’t know.
I mean, life changing in the way that like a car crash would be life changing. Like it was, it was quite, it was quite traumatic in some ways. And that sort of really
pushed me to really have a good hard look at myself and my behavior and how I was living and what I was living for. So it’s been, that was a couple of years ago now. And I would say that, you know, it was a positive thing. Um, like good has come out of it. Um, it really forced me to look at myself and go through a bit of a sort of dark night of the soul period and, um, integrate a lot of parts of myself and things that I’ve been, um,
hiding from, but it wasn’t fucking easy. Like it was really, really tough. Um, and I was lucky that I had people like yourself and, um, some other friends around who had a bit of a experience with, with these sorts of, um, you know, psychedelics and, um, these kinds of, uh, different states who were able to, um,
help me through it and help me kind of find that grounding again. And one of the big pieces that kind of helped that was somatic work, somatic experiencing or, you know, body-based kind of therapy. Along alongside also, I was also still doing cognitive behavioral therapy, but the real kind of, yeah, the real sort of benefit came from the somatic stuff for sure. Yeah.
All right. I mean, I remember, I think I was 2020 when I got into it, that stuff, the somatic nervous system stuff. And, um, and then that ceremony was, I think October or November that year. And so I’d been raving about it all year to anyone who would listen, if you got to try this thing, it’s incredible. It’s like, so I’d meditated for a long time. I’d done all kinds of, you know, different, slightly different things to you, but you know, like books and courses and therapy and coaching and, and breath work, all kinds of different things. And
You know, they all have their, they all had their benefits, their sort of advantages. But, um, finding this nervous system stuff was like, Oh my God, this is what I’ve been searching for this whole time. This to me, it felt like this is what everything else is trying to do. It just, it’s just doing it better. It’s just pulling it all together into one really powerful thing. So I’d been talking about it, raving about it until people, some people are probably sick of me talking about it. Shut the hell up, John. Um, and so I’ve been telling you about it for a long time and you’re like, Oh, sounds cool, man. Yeah. But you weren’t that interested until I think it was that ceremony where.
I think that’s when it happened. I was after that, you were looking for better. You’re like, whatever I’m doing right now is, I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but it seemed like whatever you’d been doing, we need something more. There’s another piece here that I’m not getting. And then I think it was around that time, like you said, when you got into it yourself.
Yeah, yeah, pretty much. Yeah. Um, there was something missing from the approach that I had. Um, and yeah, I, I, I did a, um, can I, can I say what course I did or is that, I don’t know the rules of these podcasts things. Um, I did a, um, uh, a course with Irene Lyon, um, who has a, an online course that, um, that I did that went for,
Yeah, go for it.
I’m not sure how long it was, maybe a few months or something. And I just worked through it at my own pace and it was deceptively simple. I mean, I guess whether you’re doing.
whatever kind of school of thought you’re doing, whether it’s Peter Levine or like, it’s all kind of the under the umbrella of somatic work or somatic experiencing. It’s these ideas of, you know, coming into your body, grounding, feeling the grounds underneath you, which sounds deceptively simple, but you know, it’s surprising the effect it has, you know, orienting to the safety in your environment, you know, working with your adrenal system, working with your kidneys and doing
I’ve got a lot out of a specific exercise where it’s learning to work with your kidneys and get them to drop. So get them to come out of that holding pattern or that bracing and kind of relax a bit. And I remember the first time I got that to click, I got this, it felt like I’d…
you know, sat down in a warm bath or something like it was this really, this, it was really this strong visceral feeling of like, Oh, like just, wow, something is just like, let go. It’s, um, and I still get that now when I do it, it’s just the system is just.
letting out, you know, like a sigh of relief, like, Oh, okay, we can relax. We’re safe. Like we can chill. We can, you know, kick back. So, um, yeah, like that course and just, you know, the work of Peter Levine and just, um, you know, I had a lot of conversations with yourself because by that point you were, you were well into, um,
into all this stuff and you’d been like a little parrot on my shoulder for about probably 18 months saying you know and it’s funny because I do the same thing now to people like I would always be be saying oh I got this issue I just don’t know I just I don’t know how to get at this issue and you’d be like do the somatic course do the somatic course you know and now I find that I say that to people that someone be talking about so I’m like you should really look into like um you know like
It’s kind of funny the way it works out, but it was great because you’d already gone into that space and explored it a lot. So I was able to bounce ideas off you and say, like, hey, like…
I’m trying to work with this, this, you know, orienting to the safety thing, or I’m trying to work with, you know, this, this Feldenkrais stuff or whatever it might be. And you’d be like, Oh, yeah, yeah, I, you know, I spent a lot of time doing that. You should try this or give this a go. So that was really awesome to have that. But yeah, for me, it was a game changer. It really helped me to just come back to the body and just
get out of my head and get out of these stories. And it’s something that I kind of use pretty much all the time every day. Just the framework of it of.
these ideas about having having a capacity in your nervous system, you know, like, especially in today’s world, there’s all this talk about, you know, having these big breakthrough cathartic experiences like, you know, plant medicine or, you know, another one is Wim Hof breath work or holotropic breath work where you essentially hyperventilate for, you know, an hour and you go into these altered states and or non ordinary states of consciousness and have, you know, the tears and all this stuff come out and, you know, there’s a place for that, sure.
if the system’s not ready for it, you know, another example would be like a vipassana.
silent meditation retreat. There’s plenty of stories if you look for them online of people going and doing a 10 day retreat, never really meditated before, had much exposure to that stuff and all their demons come up, you know, all these skeletons come out of their closet at once and they can’t handle it and they have, you know, a psychotic break or they have a break from reality and like it happens, it might not be common, but it’s something to be aware of. And you know, I’d always thought, oh yeah, well that’s just, you know, path of the course sort of thing. That’s just what you go through.
you know, maybe it is, but maybe there’s a more gentle way to work with the system so that you don’t have to go through that. And you can do it step by step in a gradual way and still get the results without, you know, blowing your head off.
Yeah, I mean, it’s crazy. I’d meditated for 10 years before I stumbled across this nervous system stuff. And like, you know, I could like, I’d had a few like cool experiences with psychedelics and meditation going kind of to some, I don’t know, dropping into some sublime spiritual, whatever you want to call it, states. And they were nice and stuff, but they didn’t really change me that much. I think outside of that was nice at the time. There was an afterglow for a few days or weeks and then it was just back to life as normal.
It was very difficult to pull some of that wisdom or insight back into the day to day. This is after meditating for 10 years, almost daily, 20 minutes a day, not every day for 10 years straight, but very, very close. I’d say 90% or more. And then the somatic stuff within like two weeks or a week, I can’t remember what it was. Like just that orienting thing, feeling the ground, seeing what’s around me, noticing the breath, putting it together into one thing. Like
within days, like I realized how angry I was about something. And also how sad just because of some stuff that was going on at the time. And, uh, like I’d been meditating every day, you know, around that time as well. And yet I hadn’t done that. It’s like somehow, I don’t know if everyone does this, but I imagine in the Western culture was so good at disconnecting from the body, from emotion, from experience was so good at it. We don’t even know we’re doing it. Cause I didn’t think I was doing it for the longest time. I was like, I’m a pretty chill dude. I get this.
I’d have a fight with my girlfriend at the time and she’d be angry about something. And I’d just be taking deep breaths thinking I’m like a Zen monk. I’m super calm and super mature. And in retrospect, I was totally shut down and disconnected from what was going on inside me. And it wasn’t meditation that taught me that it was this nervous system stuff and understanding fine and fine and freeze and you know, it just changed everything. And now like I don’t really meditate anymore. If I do, see if I just drop in. I don’t usually do it even with my eyes shut now.
But if I do, occasionally I might do it. I do some chanting or something, but it’s all now informed by all those techniques from the semantics and the nervous system. Where it’s like, here I’m gonna chant or I’m gonna meditate. I’m gonna make sure I’m feeling my body, feeling the ground, noticing the breath, putting it like all at the same time. Otherwise there’s this tendency for, I can make the mind goes quiet, but it might be not because the body’s gone quiet, but because I’ve disconnected from the body. So there’s this, it’s very like subtle and tricky. And I think it,
can happen without people even realizing what’s going on.
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, well, it’s that’s an interesting sort of topic as well. And something I think about a lot because I love the somatic approach, but I also love meditation. And it’s trying to walk that line between, you know, meditating or like traditional meditation, and not disassociating and not disconnecting, which is actually pretty tricky. And I think that, like you said, you meditate with your eyes open. I think that that
is definitely helpful because when you shut your eyes, you can kind of very easily disconnect from the body. I find different types of meditation probably lead more to that. Like if you’re shutting your eyes and you’re doing purely focusing on the breath as an object of awareness that can sometimes you get kind of tunnel vision on the breath, but you don’t really feel the body.
I’ve kind of been getting into meditation a bit more lately. Um, and yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a constant sort of, um, something to be aware of, like, but having that sort of background or that basic knowledge of how the nervous system works with the sympathetic and parasympathetic and fight, flight, freeze, all that stuff. You can kind of get a bit of a sense.
I’m a little bit too calm. There’s some shit going on. Maybe I should be feeling something like, um, because, you know, like it’s, it’s nice, it’s nice to, to sit there and meditate for half an hour, an hour, and just, you know, Zen out in this state of bliss, like, and when you do it for a while, you can, I know for myself, if I meditate for half an hour, an hour, I can get into like a really nice.
state of relaxation or whatever you want to call it. And the system feels calm down. Everything feels relaxed. You know, I feel like I am dropping into that, you know, that sort of rest and digest part of my nervous system. But if you’re doing that all the time and you’re not also getting the stuff that’s
in there that’s stored in there out or working through it, that’s where it becomes a bypass or it can become a bypass. So I think that you really need both. And
Yeah, I think at the moment I’m in a bit of a sort of phase where I’m kind of looking into non duality and you know, self-inquiry and those sorts of things, you know, quite a lot. And I can feel sometimes this little bit of like, Oh, got to be careful. Like I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to resist anything. And that’s why the sort of meditation that I really like to do these days is
more of just an allowing. So Ajay Shanti talks about it. You know, you sit there, you focus on being still, you commit to being still. The second commitment is just allowing whatever comes up to come up, whether it’s emotion, fear, anger, you’re basically just sitting with yourself and being like, hey, like, what’s going on? Like, and sometimes things come up, sometimes they don’t. And then I think if you take that approach of just,
you know, allowing things.
that need to come up will come up. You don’t need to force them to come up. You don’t need to try and dig them out. They’ll come up when they’re ready. It’s like Ram Dass says, like a snake can only shed its skin. Like when it’s ready to shed its skin, like you can’t go up to snake and peel the skin off. It’s not gonna work. It’s only gonna come off when it’s ready. And I think, I know in the past, I’ve had a tendency to wanna be like, no, like I wanna do it all and I wanna do it all now. It’s like, no, it’s just gotta relax. It’ll happen when it wants to happen.
Uh huh, I mean it’s funny man, I’ve got people going through Rageheart at the moment.
is quite, there’s a few people who wish it was faster. You know, it’s like, cause I’m making people take, you know, a day, Rageheart for people who don’t know is a course that will teach, teaches you how to do all this nervous system stuff, somatic stuff. And, you know, I’ve set it up so you can only do one rage, one lesson a day.
which to me as a thing is important because it slows things down. It means people can’t rush ahead and do more than they’re really ready for. Cause it can be very subtle as well. And so it’s this culture. I think that we have like, you know, in the West where it’s all about getting things done, being productive, moving quickly, moving fast. And if we can’t do that or don’t do that, we can make us anxious. We feel like we’re not doing it properly. I’m not getting it done.
something along those lines and like one thing I’ve learned, I don’t know if you’ve got this too, but it’s been like a learning to slow down, um, to, I mean, it doesn’t mean always going slow, but it means learning to really trust the body, um, in a sense of rushing cause rushing really brings us into that fight or flight or into sympathetic to the more we, you know, create that kind of energy unnecessarily. I think the more it gets in the way of this kind of process.
It really is a process of not rushing, of not trying to get anywhere with it, of just doing the different practices. And like you said, things, it’s almost like letting, because the mind wants to be like, oh, it should happen now. Like I’m gonna fix this thing now or in two weeks. But when working with the body, it’s more like the body has its own schedule. You can have all your ideas about when something should happen or clear, but at the end of the day, the body will just do it when it’s ready to do it. And all you can do is just create the right environment.
the fear of stuff to start to move.
Absolutely. Yeah. And that whole thing about going fast, it’s like, just reminds me of that classic saying, you know, slowly smooth, smooth is fast and it’s so true. And it, it applies not just to somatic work, but just applies to a lot of things, you know, whenever you, you, you know, you’re right. Yeah. You’re running late and you’re like, Oh, and you’re trying to go fast. And then you, you know, you knock a cup over and it smashes or something and you’re like, shit. And, but if you just slow down, you know, everything’s okay. So yeah,
Absolutely, man. You can’t rush it. And another thing that I’m learning is that there’s so many different approaches to, you know, working with the body or the mind or the psyche or, you know, however you want to conceptualize it. And I think that, you know, different approaches work for different people at different times in their life. You know, like for me, like this somatic stuff, if somebody gave this to me when I was, you know, 16, 17, it wouldn’t have, it wouldn’t
I mean, it may have, but I don’t think so for me. Like, I think that you really need to be ready for it. And…
It’s like they say, you know, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And it’s, you know, life is kind of like that when you’re kind of ready for something to happen or ready for that next step. Life has a funny way of, of bringing these people or these, um, ideas into your kind of world so that you can, um, you know, take that next step.
It’s funny you mention that because I think my dad sent me an article about somatic, someone working on a car accident with a somatic therapist. And I read it and I was like, oh, it’s just like this other thing. I read the presence process and that was as far as it went. And that must have been like, man, 2016. So like four or five years before I got into the more the nervous system, somatic stuff properly.
I just when you said that I’m like man imagine if I’d gotten maybe that was the universe being like come on man You should get into this thing. You should check it out. I’m like, no, I got my books better than that But really looking back. Yeah, this never system things way better than that book. So I would not recommend that book Unless it’s you know, right for your stage
Yeah. Yeah. No, it look, it is great. It is it is great work. Definitely. I think it’s great for people that have any kind of repressed anger. In particular, like I know that for me, prior to joining the army, I had a lot of anger. And in a way, the army, just that experience was kind of like
anger work because you learn to tap into your anger and aggression and learn how to channel it and, and feel it and not be ashamed of it or scared of it. Um, but then, you know, post army, it’s like, all right, well, how can I do this in a way that is, um, you know, appropriate and not, um, you know,
not snapping at people or not being being overly direct or overly, uh, you know, assertive and those sorts of things. And I think that that’s where the somatic work really shines because a lot of people have this rage or this, this pain or this anger inside them usually because of stuff that happened when they were quite young. And you know, they’ve done the talking, they’ve done the, maybe the meditation or, you know, these different things, but that anger’s there. And sometimes they’re not even aware of how, how fucking angry they actually are inside.
then when you start doing this work, sometimes you might be sitting there and then he’s just like, wow, I’m really fucking pissed off right now. Like I’m furious. And yeah, it’s like that shit is in there. Whether you know it or not, like I think it’s a part of life. And our society these days is quite sterile. Like we don’t really have many ways to move that energy because it’s not.
socially acceptable to, you know, to get angry. I mean, I guess, you know, people go to the gym or they maybe like hit a punching bag or something, but it’s, there’s a way to work with that, that anger in a way that is safe for your system as well. So you don’t get overwhelmed because I’m, I mean, I could be wrong, but I feel like that was a big, a big thing for you, right? Like learning how to work with, with anger.
It’s probably one of the main parts of my journey. The probably most obvious ones so far was aggression coming through where the first time it happened was after a little weekend retreat that I did. And then I went to talk to a lot of my guys working with on this stuff. And
I’ve told you this story, but like we tracked this, I think I might have told it before in one of the other interviews, but tracking this sensation up through the chest and then it gradually morphs in as the thing comes up, the breath increases and then it becomes growls. And, you know, other times it would come up and I’m like prowling around my room like I’m a fucking tiger. And it felt so right. It’s ridiculous, you know, from another perspective, but in the moment it was like, this is just what I wanna do. This is following my impulse. This is so embodied. This is just what wants to happen.
Heh heh heh…
you know, to the point where I’d be growling, I’d be trying to rip this towel in half, the kind of energy that’s like, if this was directed at a person, it’s the kind of energy that would want to kill. And it’s like, this isn’t coming from nowhere. This is energy. This is the fight response, the energy behind the fight response that’s been in my body for who knows how long. And this is, instead of putting it into a person or kids, I don’t have kids, but if I had kids, I might yell at them, right? Instead of putting it into the people around me or the environment.
you know, with these tools, I can put it into a towel or I can put it, you know, I know how to work with it semantically, you know, by embodying, by acting it out. And it’s been amazing, dude. Absolutely amazing. And then as that happens, as the aggression unblocks, it’s like the fire for life to, to, you know, take action and chase goals and just be whoever I want to be, protect myself, have boundaries, all of that, all of that comes from this energy. So.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, because it’s like, if you shut that down, if you’re shutting down that kind of healthy aggression, it’s like, how can you defend your own boundaries? How can you assert who you wanna be in the world? People will just, can sometimes just walk all over you. If you are, like there’s this idea about being nice, like, oh, just be nice, you should be a nice person. And it’s like, yeah, okay, but like.
You know, I mean, even Jordan Peterson talks about this. Like if someone is just nice, um, just because they think they should be nice, they’re not really nice. Like if you are nice, but you have no capability to not be nice, like it’s like, are you really nice or are you just, you just don’t have any other options. You don’t, you know, you’re just, that’s your, you’re just being, you know,
being weak or letting people walk all over you and not maintaining healthy relationships and healthy boundaries because you don’t know how to, or you don’t feel like you have the agency to do that. I think it’s much more healthy to have a little bit of that fire in you, but then to rein it in and to be kind to people. And I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. Like I’m not saying don’t be nice, but I’m just saying that like,
you need to have that fire and that strength within yourself so that if somebody is confronting you, there’s a conflict, you need to defend yourself. It might be something as simple as someone just trying to manipulate you or you’re in a relationship that’s toxic and it’s like maybe you need to stand up to someone. If you don’t have that kind of energy or that agency or whatever you wanna call it within yourself,
How are you gonna, how are you gonna, you know, have healthy boundaries? Like it’s almost impossible. And you know, people will walk all over you if you just think, oh, I’m just, oh no, I just need to be nice. Like, oh, they’re just having a bad day. It’s like, maybe they are, but you end up being a martyr in your own life.
Yeah, yeah, I get so many stories around that kind of a thing. But yeah, it’s like when people are, to me now, anger is a sign. Usually, sometimes I’m angry, I think about it differently. Like, if I’m starting to feel pissed off when I’m around people, sometimes it’s because someone’s messing with me and my body’s picking up on it before my mind is. And I’ll be like, oh, I’m just projecting. All right. Yeah. I need to be a nice guy. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be just, yeah, nice, but why can’t I just be friendly? What’s going on?
And then it’ll be like, lately, you know, the last year or two, since doing all this nervous system stuff, like, no, I see what’s going on. They’re doing, they’re fiddling, you know, it’s like usually like a little manipulation because it’s not usually outright physical violence for most, most of the time, at least in where we live. Um, it’s, it’s, you know, so it’s going to be emotional violence, you could say emotional abuse, manipulation, try people trying to fuck with you.
Yeah. Yeah. No.
Sometimes they don’t even know they’re doing it. Maybe on the surface they’re not consciously recognizing it. Deep down, I think you pointed out, sometimes they’ll end up with a cheeky smile on their face. Like on some level they know exactly what they’re doing. But the body will pick up on it before the mind.
Yeah, they, yeah. Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting. It’s interesting how that sort of works. Yeah. Yeah, but definitely, yeah, I would definitely recommend this sort of this approach. I mean, it’s worked for me. And not to say that I’m, you know.
walking around every day, you know, um, and like birds are flying up and landing on my shoulder and there’s, there’s rainbows in the sky and like, you know, like it’s a lot, life’s hard. Like I have good days, have bad days, shit happens, but it’s much easier.
now having the somatic tools and you know different meditation tools but particularly somatic stuff to kind of check in with myself and be like okay like I’m getting a bit caught in my head with this this idea or this story or you know going down some rabbit hole about you know god knows what it’s like let’s just come back to the body and let’s just be here now and um you know that’s
I think if there was one thing that I’ve found since I’ve been alive that kind of sums up all the reading and everything that I’ve learned, it’s be here now by Ram Dass, just be here now. It really, it always comes back to that. It always comes back to that. It’s like, can you be in this present moment? Can you be really present with everything that’s going on?
Ha ha ha ha ha
within you and you know, with that on the outside of you, your feelings, your thoughts, like, can you just, can you be, and we live in a culture of doing not being. And I think part of the reason that we’re seeing this epidemic of, you know, mental health issues and
ADHD and all these disorders and all these things just skyrocketing is I feel like our whole society, whether especially in the West, but probably most places in the world, our whole society just feels to me like it’s just become sick. Like we’re so trapped in these virtual worlds of social media and porn and movies and just all this illusion. And we’re
of us. We’re worried about what Trump’s doing or what’s happening politically in some part of the world that we’ve never even been to. And it’s fine to be concerned about things, but…
Like, I don’t know, these days I just try and deal with what’s in front of me because I’ve kind of been down a lot of those roads and a lot of those rabbit holes about, you know, different ideas and conspiracies and stuff. And they don’t really lead anywhere. Like it always comes back to, okay, well, what can I do about it? Whoa, I can just be me and be authentic and be here now.
and just be here now. It’s funny because that’s meditation for you, that’s semantics. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I think to me, like where semantics really works well is, because meditation is the same thing in a way, like it’s learning to be present in your body when it’s done properly, I think. But often people would say, get out of your head, John. You know, when they said it to you, like get out of your head, but get into your body kind of thing. And like, yeah, I can exercise, but like as a general rule, I didn’t even know what that meant.
I’m like, I’m in my body. What are you talking about? Whereas it was like the meditation, at least the way I learned it, the teachers I learned it from, it didn’t show me that. Whereas the semantics, I feel the ground, look around, notice your breath, do this slow, gentle movement. All of a sudden it was like, oh, this is what they mean to be in the body or to be here now. It’s not about zooming off into the clouds in a meditation. It’s about being.
fully present, fully embodied in the entire human experience. And I know for me, like the nervous system and stuff was like, he’s just some tools. Like it’s the same thing everyone else is trying to say. We’ve just got a bit of a better understanding of what works.
Right. And there’s no woo woo bullshit with it either. Like it’s like, here’s the science. This is how the nervous system works. This is how the parasympathetic system works. Like if you do this and apply this method, like this is a result you’ll get. You don’t have to believe in any kind of concept. You don’t have to believe in any sort of, you know, new age idea or anything to do with, you know.
like anything. And I think, because I think that’s what turns a lot of people off, um, engaging in self work is that they, they think, Oh, maybe I need to, you know, really look into myself when they do a Google search and they get some thing about crystal healing or, you know, like, I mean, maybe there’s a place for that, but I think a lot of people just get turned off. They’re like, Oh, this is all just, you know, hippie shit. Like it’s, um, the, the somatic stuff, it’s that there’s no concept that you have to believe in.
because you’re just working with your direct experience.
Exactly. Yeah. There’s no story. It kind of like rules out the story instead of guys that think I’m going to figure out what happened to me. Figure out like analyze and dig and journal and talk about the past. And then I mean, this way is just like none of that matters. All that matters is what’s here right now. And the more I’m here, the more stuff from the past will show up in the here and now. Life has a life does a brilliant job of stirring it up. And even just being here, creating space, things just start to pop, you know, and
And it’s not even about the store. It’s not about knowing where it came from. It’s just about feeling it. If I’m willing to feel it, then it’s gone. It’s like, oh, see ya. I don’t even have to know what it was.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t even have to, you don’t have to remember it. Like something maybe did happen to you when you were young, but you can go on this wild goose chase of trying to, you know, uncover repressed memories or, you know, or whatever, and you know, there’s a place for that, sure. But the beauty of this work is that you don’t really have to remember it.
There we go. All right. Can that’s a fine note to end on or be here now is like, we should we end here? No, let’s keep going for a second. That, uh, we can wrap it up here. If right on one hour, look at that fancy stuff. So, uh, usually I would say to people, uh, well, first I say, thank you for coming on and talking to magic stories. So thank you. Um, you don’t have anywhere to, um, you’re not promoting anything at the moment. You said you might have a YouTube channel one day.
I don’t know if you want to share your email address or a way for people to reach out to you if they ever wanted to chat to you or.
Sure, yeah, I’m not on social media. I’m not on Facebook or Instagram, or I don’t really have a platform or a website or anything like that. I’m a musician, so one day I’ll probably we’ll make a YouTube.
channel or something and put some of my music up, but at this point, yeah, there’s no real self-promotion. I’m not selling anything. If people did want to get in touch with me, yeah, you can email me at jack.mackintyre at live.com.au. I’d be very surprised if somebody emails me, but you know, you’re more than welcome to.
Well, I haven’t launched yet, so I’ll probably get like three listeners at first, or five, or 20, or whatever. But maybe in a few years when I’ve got 10 million, you might get here with a few emails.
Yeah. And I would say, yeah, if you, if there is anyone that does listen to this, that has especially been in the military and wants to talk about anything to do with that, because that’s sort of the direction that I see myself heading in the future is doing support work with, with veterans and just trying to just.
just be a mate essentially, and just, you know, I think lived experience goes a long way. So yeah, if anyone ever wants to talk about anything to do with that or, you know, challenging experiences on psychedelics and stuff, I’m always, always open to it.
Fantastic, fantastic. Well, I’ll have a link or a, might be a link, yeah, on the show notes at rageheart.co. So people can go there and check that out or probably just rewind. That’s probably easier and just type it in. That’s probably the simplest thing they could do. But anyway, thank you again, Jack. Feels weird to be interviewing you and being all professional. Thank you, Jack. But thank you, thanks dude. And maybe we’ll do it again in another year or something. Have a little catch up.
Yeah. Yeah, you’re welcome. Thank you.
Yeah, see what’s changed.