274: Spirituality, Psychedelics & Circumcision: Taboo Topics With Luke Storey 274: Spirituality, Psychedelics & Circumcision: Taboo Topics With Luke Storey

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Katie: Hello and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and I’m so glad you’re here. In this episode, I am joined by Luke Storey who is a former celebrity fashion stylist turned public speaker, lifestyle design coach, thought leader, and entrepreneur. Luke has spent the past 21 years relentlessly searching the world to design his ultimate lifestyle through his extensive and sometimes even dangerous personal research and development. We’re definitely gonna touch on a couple of those things today. Using “The Life Stylist Podcast” as his platform, he continues to share his strategies for healing, happiness, and high performance living each week and covers topics including sex and relationships, yoga, meditation, smart drugs, health myths and medical conspiracies, spirituality, mindfulness, health food, supplementation, alternative medicine, and he digs deep into biohacking technologies and tactics.

In this episode, buckle your seat belts because we deviate from my normal topics and we go deep on a lot of semi-controversial and tough subjects including Luke’s amazing story and history with drug use and his recovery, his experience and healing with methods like Ayahuasca and other psychedelics and the effects of circumcision, which is really a must listen part of this for any parents. And we cover a lot of other topics as well. So buckle your seatbelts. Here we go.

Luke, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Luke: Thank you for having me. I’m stoked that I was able to catch you live in California.

Katie: I am so excited to be here and to chat with you. You have been on my list actually for a long time that I’ve wanted to talk to you.

Luke: That’s funny. Likewise.

Katie: Awesome. Well, to start, I think there’s tremendous value in a story. And from what I know of you, you have quite the story of your life. So I know it’s a long one but kind of give us the overview of how did you get here.

Luke: The truncated version. I’ve learned to do that after being interviewed on a number of podcasts, the short, medium, and long version. I’ll give you the short version. So I have had a really interesting, colorful life. My parents divorced when I was three. They met in Aspen, Colorado. That’s where my dad was from. My mom, shortly after, took me to Northern California and that’s where I was raised and it was Northern California in the 1970s. There were a lot of ex-hippies that bailed from Haight-Ashbury and moved up north to where we lived, so I was exposed I think just due to my environment.

I was exposed to like a lot of rock and roll, drugs, and all that kind of stuff as a kid, experienced a fair amount of trauma. I don’t know if I just hang around with traumatized people where every kid goes through trauma but my childhood was pretty rough and I got in a lot of trouble in school, with police and all that kind of stuff. Eventually, was shipped off to a sort of cult-like boarding school in the middle of the mountains in Northern Idaho, a reform school of sorts. And in that reform school, there was a lot of therapy and personal development work and I went there from 14 to 16 and that was where I was first introduced to the idea of living a life without having to use drugs to cope which I had been doing prior to 14, weirdly enough, and that’s what got me in a lot of the trouble that I was in.

I was kind of self-medicating, you know, looking back. And in that school, we did a lot of like primal scream therapy and all this sort of stuff. This was the early ’80s and so there were things that had come out and kind of pop psychology toward the late ’70s and into the early ’80s and they kind of experimented with a lot of that on us kids and we were the problem kids that were sent there. It was kind of a rich kid school. I wasn’t rich but my dad, I think, barely was able to send me there but Barbara Walter’s daughter was there and Sam Walton of like the Walmart Walton family.

So here I’m kind of this like borderline white trash kid in the school with all these rich kids who were kind of like just spoiled, rich kids from Beverly Hills and I didn’t really fit in there but I went along with the curriculum because the alternative was going to a place that was like a lockdown facility. So I went along with it and as a result, I really got some help and got my act together, came out clean-cut, wasn’t listening to Black Sabbath anymore, parted my hair on the side, wore like pink shirts and was like this preppy ’80s kid, came out and was thrown back into public high school in a really small town in Colorado and I immediately reverted back into my old ways because I just…I didn’t know how to relate to the normal world.

You know, when you were sequestered away at…the school was called Rocky Mountain Academy. Now alumni of that school consider themselves survivors rather than like students. Yeah, there is Facebook groups, the survivors of Rocky Mount Academy. A lot of the disciplinary measures practiced there were very controversial and it was eventually closed down for such measures. So I got out of there and I just had no idea how to relate to normal kids and kind of went back down the self-destructive path, moved to Hollywood, California when I was 19 and just was completely set loose on the streets here and in this area, very much where we are right now, still 30 years later and I had a lot of fun. I started playing in bands and I was free of my parents, I dropped out of high school, I elected not to go to college and I just started playing music and having a lot of fun and hanging out with all these rock stars that I had listened to in high school and had a really great time.

And then those great times started kind of getting dimmed by some of the self-destructive behavior and I ended up in a place where my health was really compromised, my mental health was deteriorating. I was extremely depressed and suicidal and just in really bad shape and got to a point where I was totally unemployable. I mean I couldn’t even work as a waiter anymore, and no offense to waiters, but it’s not like being a CEO. You know what I mean? You show up and someone says, “I want a cheeseburger.” You go and you tell the cook, “Give me a cheeseburger. You put it on the table ultimately.” And that was like way too much responsibility and pressure. So essentially when I was 26, my life just kind of crumbled inside and I had been exposed to Eastern mysticism through a couple of members of my family that went to India to study under these gurus and things like that.

So I had an idea that perhaps there was an answer to my problems in spirituality but I didn’t really know how to fully avail myself to it or live that as a way of life. So I ended up checking myself into treatment, started very earnestly praying to God to save my ass. I mean that’s the only way to say it. And my prayers were answered and it worked and I walked out of that place 28 days later and from that moment until this, I’ve never ever gone back to that way of life. Of course, I’ve had to do a lot of work since then but when I got out of there, I started to really get serious about my spiritual pursuit and just reading every spiritual book and going to India and chasing gurus around and learning every meditation and breath work and all of the kind of psychic change that was necessary in order to feel sane enough to not use those negative, self-destructive coping mechanisms.

And I also discovered that my body was really toxic. So this would have been 1996-’97. So I started doing colonics and infrared saunas and got into Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic herbs and Native American herbs and just all the things that were kind of popular then. I think the big things then were like making your own kombucha and those big…what do you call them? Scoby? Those big, gross, flam discs. But we would make kombucha and boil all kinds of herbs and do a lot of colonics and the saunas and all that kind of stuff and that was sort of the beginning of being a health nerd or biohacker and taking tons of supplements and all this in. So I started to really work on getting all the toxins out of my body and out of my home and eating organic and all that stuff. I became a vegetarian for many years and then I just kept kind of pursuing the spirituality. And while I was doing all that just for my own health and survival really at first, I got a job working for Arrowsmith which, to me, was like the dream job. I was working for their wardrobe stylist and that catapulted me into a career as a fashion stylist in Hollywood which wasn’t as good as my original plan which was to be a rock star.

So I ended up dressing rock stars for a living and then that was my day job and then by night, I would go play in bands and go on tour and do my thing and then go back to work and dress the people that had actually made it. I never really made it in that regard where I was able to make a full living from it. So I did that all in for 17 years. So I dressed celebrities for red-carpet events, magazine covers, tours, music videos, all that kind of stuff. So a fashion stylist or a wardrobe stylist is someone that goes out and gets the clothes and makes people look pretty basically. And I did that for a long time then 10 years into that, I started a school called School of Style, which I still own, which teaches people how to do that as a career which was basically an alternative to college or an alternative to traditional fashion school. And that was successful and enabled me eventually to be able to move out of doing that career myself because I kind of accomplished what I wanted to accomplish and I really wanted to work in the health and wellness space and help people find solutions to the problems that I had found.

I mean I solved so many things with grace and hard work and dedication, physical problems, mental and emotional problems, addiction issues, all that stuff. And so three years ago, I just had this burning desire to start sharing the information that I had acquired over all these years. Now it’s been 22 years. So I started my podcast called The Life Stylist Podcast and that was really well received and that’s kind of blossomed into all these other opportunities, speaking gigs and doing workshops and sitting down and talking to people like you on podcasts and just…I have this burning desire to share information with people and when I find a solution to my own suffering or pain in one area of life, whether it’s business or money or family or anything I find any modality, any practice, any truth, any principle that I find useful, I’m compelled to share it.

So I created a platform to do that and it’s been much more fulfilling than I ever expected it to be. And it’s kind of cool because the years that I was putting work in on this stuff and really learning about it all, it wasn’t very popular. It was very esoteric and just kind of something only health nerds were into and super woo-woo new agey people and I was just into all this stuff in my private life while I was kind of playing the Hollywood game. And then when I started to go public with it and create content around it, I realized, “Oh, this is a thing now.” You know, that they have a name. They call it biohacking or whatever different spiritual practices and people were into breathwork now and going and getting neurofeedback and injecting ozone and getting stem cells and ice baths and just on and on and on, all the things, you know.

And so it was like kind of cool to see some of my hard work come to fruition and see that there’s a lot of people that are really interested in that now and I realized, “Oh, not everyone knows about it.” And so there’s a huge audience of people that wanna be happier and healthier and it’s my job to kind of go around the world and try things and see what works and when something works and it sticks, then I share it with people.

Katie: Isn’t it amazing. I have to like just have gratitude every day that this is actually…that we get to share this information with people and that’s actually our job. It’s incredible.

Luke: It’s totally bizarre, isn’t it?

Katie: It’s wild. And I have so many follow-up questions from your story. So was spiritual…

Luke: How was that for short? I’m working on the short version. I think that was…like that’s probably as short as I could do it I guess.

Katie: Yeah. No, that was great. It was a great overview. You mentioned the spirituality came more in that high school-ish phase. Was that something that was part of your childhood or was that a new discovery for you at that point?

Luke: You know, thankfully for me, I wasn’t raised with any sort of religion or spirituality at all and I mean, who knows. I say I’m thankful for that because it’s like a smorgasbord for me now. I’m totally open to all ideas because I don’t have any dogmatic attachment to anything. In the spiritual realm, I just had like a huge glass of kava. Kava is like my new thing. I just realized my stomach is so full. Maybe next time, I’ll like do it a couple of hours before. I was just super hyped earlier and so I had some kava to relax and I’m like, “Wow, I’m just having a hard time talking.” I say I’m thankful that I didn’t have that because I’m not attached. You know, I’m not like a recovering Catholic or I don’t have a big Jewish family that is gonna be pissed if I don’t go that way.

But who knows? Maybe had I had that structure and had sort of a spiritual framework and that community as a kid, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten in so much trouble. Who knows? But no, I didn’t have that at all and I never actually even contemplated the idea of God or a higher power or anything at all. It was like just a non-issue in my home. I think when I was a kid, there was a couple of times where…I think it was my dad had remarried and my stepmom was kind of Catholic-ish and a couple of times, I went to church with her and I think I went to like a Bible Camp one summer and they were talking about how heavy metal was bad and I definitely didn’t like that because I loved metal and I was like, “You guys definitely suck. So this branch of Christianity, I’m not down with.” It was like the fire and brimstone kind of stuff. It was probably in the late ’70s or early ’80s maybe. And so that was like when heavy metal was very demonized and it was like the devil’s music and all that, maybe it still is.

So no, I didn’t have any of that. It really I think started and this is kind of weird but when I was…I think it was on my 17th birthday and I had sort of gone back to the dark side, so to speak, and I took LSD for the first time in my Home Ec class in high school.

Katie: Oh my gosh.

Luke: And it last quite a long time. So I took it in the mid-day and kind of came on in the middle of Home Ec class going like, “Whoa, the pencils are moving on their own on the table.” And then there was a party that night and I had a spiritual experience which is funny and it was just this experience of essentially being zoomed out kind of into space and looking down on myself standing on the porch of this house in Colorado and seeing how insignificant I was but in a positive sense meaning that like all of my problems and all the things that had bothered me and I had been so upset about in the great scheme of things weren’t that important. And I think that was the first moment I went like, “Oh damn, there’s something more to this than just the physical plan.”

Now of course, it was years later until I had an honest desire to pursue that but that was my first glimpse beyond the veil, so to speak, where I saw oh, shit. You know, whether it was a hallucination or not, I don’t really know what happened but I definitely had the sense that there was some kind of God present at that moment, but it wasn’t accessible to me in a way that I could apply it to my life or really use it to help me in any way. It was just like, “Oh, that’s there but what do I do with that? Well, back to the party.” And I went back inside to the kegger and raged on. But I had another similar experience years later when I kind of was really about to hit the wall and this time, you know, it’s funny. I only realized recently that these psychedelic experiences were sort of the precursor to my life of sober experiences with higher power.

But I had a really intense mushroom trip one night and had the realization that I was just a complete loser and I was throwing my life away and that things were about to get really, really dark. And I remember telling my friend who was the drummer in my band, you know, we were really out there on these mushrooms and I was like, “Dude, I have to stop this. I can’t do this anymore.” And he’s like, “What, bro? What’s wrong? It’s all good.” I was like, “No, it’s not all good. I have to find a way to stop this. I could be better than this.” You know, my life was just so small and I felt so hopeless. And so those are my first two kind of awakenings. And then once I checked myself into that treatment center and I started praying to God, I mean literally, it was like that’s all I was given when I got in there.

I asked the counselors like, “So tomorrow morning when I wake up and I’m having withdrawals, what are you guys gonna give me?” And they were like, “Oh, you can pray.” And I was like, “How about Dilaudid or are you serious? Like pray? What does that even mean?” You know, it was a really foreign idea but I was left with no other choice and I really, really wanted to save myself. I wanted to have a life and I knew that…I mean I don’t think my vision of my potential as a person was very high at that moment but I knew it was higher than where I was which was a really dark place. So yeah, so I got on my knees just like I thought what they do in the movies and I think you put your hands together somewhere on your chest and you kind of kneel before the bed and you say, “God, will you please do this or do that.” And that was my first real spiritual experience.

And then after that, I started studying all of these Eastern wisdom and mysticism books and things like that and studying the gurus and learning how to meditate and doing Pranic healing, and oh my God, just the endless different modalities that I’ve tried to apply and the ones that have worked stuck. I think probably the most profound effect on me in terms of spirituality and being able to have a tangible and applicable higher power in my life were the 12 steps just in general, just having that type of support for many, many years where there was not a religious dogma attached to it. It was just like, “Hey, pick a god, any god. Devote your life to that and then devote your life to being of service and stop being such a jerk and don’t be so selfish. Think about other people.”

And it was just basic stuff but if you’re desperate enough to apply it, it can be very transformational. And so I was very dedicated to that teaching for many, many years. And still, I mean, I still am. It’s just it’s kind of the fabric of my character is shot through with that because it’s what built me as a man. It’s like that’s what brought me from being a boy to a man really. So now, the spirituality is just…it’s just a living, breathing part of day-to-day life. So I never did actually find a religion or anything like that. I just sort of keep an awareness throughout the day that there’s something other than myself who’s in charge or it’s in charge, not even a him or her or a thing. I mean, it’s more of a thing. It’s just like an energy and I find that if I align myself to that and stay conscious of that, that life is a lot smoother. It’s super simple, not always easy but it’s simple.

Katie: Yeah. I wanna go back also to your childhood because I come from the other side as a parent now and I’m about to have a teenage son.

Luke: Your kids are so lucky. I bet you’re such a great mom.

Katie: Well, thank you. But it’s something, it’s very top of mind to me because I mean you mentioned that you had tried drugs before you were 14 which is like very relevant to where my kids are right now. And so I’m curious, a lot of people listening are parents as well, what do you think, if you’re able to go back and pinpoint, were some of the factors, I know environment was obviously a huge key, but other than that that like led you kind of into that path or that like led to that at that age for you?

Luke: It’s super weird when I see a kid that was the ages that I was when I was starting to experiment like that which I think the first time I drank I was around six. Yeah, it’s crazy. And then I started smoking weed when I was probably eight or nine and doing other hard drugs shortly after that. And I’ve thought about it too because when I look at a kid that’s eight and I’m like, “Does that kid have like a weed pipe in his pocket right now?” No, I don’t think so. I mean I’m sure there are other kids but I think it was more rare than I realized but it actually was fairly common where I lived. Again, Northern California in the ’70s was just pretty shot through with drug culture at least in my demographic, the neighborhoods that I lived in. There were a lot of Hells Angels and well, they weren’t called cholos then but like Chicano gangs that we call them lowriders. And so I mean some of the neighborhoods I lived in, there were people that dealt drugs and there was a lot of older kids around that were bad influences.

So the availability was there and culturally, it was kind of accepted. I mean not that my parents ever encouraged me to do drugs or would have accepted it had they caught me. I mean there would have been disciplinary action taken, I’m sure, but I was very cunning and my parents were off kind of doing their own thing. Dad was in Colorado and my mom was doing her best to support a kid as a single mom and I was very willful and just kind of was gonna do what I was gonna do and I also…I mean I was talking about how some strict religions blame heavy metal for the corruption of kids but I have to be honest. Like my hero when I was a kid was Ozzy Osbourne and I knew like I listened to Black Sabbath and they had songs about cocaine and weed and I thought drugs were cool because it was rock and roll and rock and roll set me free.

I think maybe my first spiritual experience was really hearing Jimi Hendrix. I had suffered some pretty severe trauma when I was a kid and so music was my first kind of escape from that and I felt high. I felt free when I heard rock and roll and a lot of rock and roll was imbued with drug abuse and it was kind of part of that. So that’s the cultural element and also just the availability. And my other heroes beside Ozzy were Cheech & Chong.

Katie: Oh my gosh.

Luke: I mean, honestly, I had like every Cheech & Chong record. I listened to him over and over and over again and I just thought drugs were cool when I was a kid and my mom was pretty liberal and didn’t wanna be like a strict controlling parent. Her parents were quite strict and she was brought up in the ’60s and then was kind of free toward the end of the ’60s. I have mistakenly said she was a hippie. She’s corrected me because sometimes she listens to my podcast. She was like, “Oh, gross. Hippies were dirty. I was a mod. Get it straight. Mods were way cooler.” She lived in San Francisco during the late ’60s but she wanted to be a cool parent and so I had a lot of freedom and sometimes, kids probably do well with freedom. We’ll hopefully talk about that when I interview you on my show. But my freedom was definitely taken to the next level and I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do it and I was very manipulative.

I learned how to be dishonest and cunning and very sneaky and that’s that. And then I think the reason why I was drawn to that was just because I was just in a lot of emotional pain. You know, I was sexually abused when I was about 5 or 6 a couple of times I think from what I remember and then again when I was probably 11 or 12 or something like that and it’s funny. I was talking to my mom about it the other day actually and I was interviewing her kind of about her life and just asking her some things about my childhood and stuff and she said, “Yeah, I remember.” She didn’t know what happened obviously but she said, “Yeah, you were such a great kid and like, you were just no problem at all. You always cleaned your room. You were great and then when you were around five or six, like pooh, you just went off the rails. There was a marked turn in your character and in your behavior.” And that’s when that trauma happened.

So it’s pretty obvious to me now that I didn’t know how to contextualize that experience or experiences and having studied a bit about trauma actually in my adulthood and even recently, I interviewed a guy named Mastin Kipp on my podcast. He’s a brilliant trauma-informed sort of coach. And he was talking about trauma in the context of having the original event happen to you where you’re victimized but then the perpetrator goes away but the trauma doesn’t go away because then, you’re traumatized by having to frame the experience. And so that’s kind of what I remember. I don’t even remember the experiences being terribly scary or anything like that. It was just like my brain sort of short-circuited afterward. I couldn’t tell my parents. I mean I just had to hold that violation.

And so I think there was no other choice for me but to do drugs in order to cope with that. And thank God, you know, I’m still not an anti-drug person. If someone wants to do drugs, like go nuts if that’s what you need to do. I think there are better solutions that are more effective and have fewer side effects and consequences. It might not end you up in prison or dead but I’m grateful that I found smoking weed when I was a kid and just zoning out to music and riding my bike around. I remember the relief that I got. Had I been a kid today, maybe they would have given me Xanax or Adderall or who knows what if I was sent to a shrink but there was no shrinks back then. You’re just a kid and you just learned to cope and being violent in school and running around like a little maniac and lighting fires and reading porno magazines.

I mean I just did crazy stuff when I was really young and I just was traumatized and that was my way of coping and I didn’t know this of course until probably my early 30s when I started to unpack all of that and really look at kind of like, “God, why did I turn out that way and how can I change and how can I break that cycle so that…” I mean I don’t have kids yet but I assume might at some someday and how do I not be that type of parent. Can I be a better parent than my parents were and keep my kid from hopefully experiencing those kind of traumas and if they do, that I’m able to help support them in a way that’s more productive?

So yeah, it’s weird but with all of that, I’ll just say, as weird as it might sound, I don’t really regret any of those experiences because I like who I am today and I’ve had to work really hard to get there. And some days, I like myself less than others, you know. I’m not like a champion of self-worth but I’ve come a long way and I think that having some of those experiences and having such a textured life with so much contrast and so much suffering at different key intervals that I have pretty deep empathy and compassion for other people and I think that’s what really drives the work that I do now because it’s like, “God, I just know people are suffering. I know there are solutions to so many of the problems, whether they be spiritual or physical or whatever.”

And so I don’t know, maybe I just would have been working in a factory, sitting around watching football, drinking Budweiser, living a normal life out in suburbia had those things not happened to me, but they’ve made me kind of an interesting deep person because I’ve had to really do a lot of introspection and go through many, many, many, many dark nights of the soul and arrive at a place where I really know that there’s a God and I know that that God is working in my life and I know that’s available to anyone. And you don’t have to call it that either but having that direct experience came out of desperation and out of suffering and now I know it’s real, I know it’s there, I know it’s here and it’s something that we can all access.

Katie: Yeah, I think there’s beauty in that, the idea that our wounds make us aware and obviously, as a parent, that’s where the struggle is. Obviously, you would never wish that for your kids. You wish your kids could avoid the wounds entirely.

Luke: Oh, God, no. Totally.

Katie: But it’s a question I wrestle with a lot because you said you felt like you couldn’t tell your parents. And so that’s something that’s been top of mind with my kids is how can I make sure I create a relationship where hopefully, A, they’re never in a situation where anything like that ever happens but if they are, how can I make sure that connection is strong enough that they can come tell me. And it was a really pivotal self-reflection moment for me recently because I had sexual trauma too but later when I was in high school and I realized this one day, I was just sitting kind of like meditating and realized I am being a hypocrite because I am telling my kids all these things and if you ever…if anything ever happens, you can come talk to me. You don’t have to hide these things. We need to talk about them. And I realized, “I’m telling my kids this but I’m not talking about it.” And I have this platform of all these amazing people and we know statistically, one in three of the women listening have also experienced sexual trauma.

Luke: God, is that the stat?

Katie: Yeah. And I’m not talking about it.

Luke: Well, that’s nuts. Do you know the stat for men by the way, by chance?

Katie: I think it was one in four, one in five. It’s like shockingly high also.

Luke: Yeah, that’s so interesting. God.

Katie: But I think like that is part of the solution, is we have to actually make it okay in like what you’re doing and being vulnerable and sharing your story, making it okay to talk about these things so that there are examples, so that when someone else is ever hopefully not in that situation but if it happens, they have had examples of we can talk about this.

Luke: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. And I have to hand it to other people that have come forward before I did in a public way. I don’t know if Lewis Howes was the first one but I do remember one day listening to his podcast and he was like, “Yeah, and then when I was da, da, da, I was sexually abused.” And I was sitting in my car going, “Dude, you just said that on your podcast.” Kind of like I was shocked and I’m not easily shocked, but there’s been other people that have talked about things like that and then you see that there’s so much benefit in that as you’re saying because then other people feel safe to process it and have a place to take that. Like we were talking a little before we record, I sometimes struggle with being tactful and sort of, I don’t know, you don’t wanna be sensational about things that you’ve experienced.

Sometimes when I tell stories about my life, to me, they’re just almost funny at this point, I mean not sexual abuse but just some of the crazy shit that I did and I mean, I’ve just had so many weird experiences and kind of war stories from when I was on the lower path. But sometimes, those stories also make people feel fairly uncomfortable. So I’m always trying to find that sweet spot and use as much empathy and just kind of feel out as much as I can to see if the person I’m talking to is receptive to that because something I’ve learned recently is about boundaries. That if a kid has their boundaries violated a lot, then they grow up to be a person that doesn’t have boundaries with other people and you might not become a perpetrator or abuse other people, which thankfully I haven’t, but I talk about some things very freely that could easily make people also uncomfortable.

So there’s like a fine line between sharing things in a vulnerable way and being authentic so that other people then feel safe and have the courage to go deal with their stuff and saying things that just make people all like throw up in their mouth because it’s so shocking or whatever. So I don’t know if I found the sweet spot yet necessarily and it might be situational based on the context of who you’re talking to or what podcast or whatever but I think that it’s definitely healthy for us to all like accept the fact, like those stats that you just mentioned which are horrifying that this is part of the human experience and that there are really sick, low consciousness people out there that really hurt other people. And if the people that are being hurt and victimized don’t have a voice, it’s never going to get better.

I mean, I personally think there’ll probably always be people that murder people and molest people and are just evil because that there’s duality in the universe. It’s kind of part of the human game. It’s like Earth School wouldn’t be Earth School if there wasn’t darkness for you to work your way out of. So that’s a whole other conversation but I think it’s definitely worth stating as you did that some of us have to kind of come forward and have the courage to say, “Yeah, this happened to me.” And you look at like the Me Too movement and all of that, I mean it’s gotta think about how many women, for example, are gonna feel courageous enough to stand up for themselves when they’re in a situation that’s uncomfortable or they’re being victimized or could be or anything like that. And what I think is healthy also is that, that’s why I asked about the men stats because I really didn’t know, but I think everybody knows this is a delicate topic and I’m like after what’s happening to Tony Robbins, I’m like I watch every word I’m saying when I’m talking about men and women.

But I can say as a man in my own experience, I don’t know if there’s more shame about if you were sexually abused or something like that than a woman but there is definitely a machismo element and guys don’t, you know, they don’t want people to think they’re gay if they’re homophobic or whatever. I mean there’s a lot of stigma about like being a man or even just not showing your feelings and just dealing with it and keeping a stiff upper lip. So if that happened to you, just man up, forget about it, just work through that shit. There’s a lot of that too. The struggle for men or women, I don’t think one is more valid than the other. They’re just a little bit different, I think, at times. So for me, it’s like, “God, it’s so embarrassing to talk about something like that.”

But then I have all these guys send me messages to my site or DMs, “Oh my God, dude, I’ve never talked about this.” And also women too. And so every time that happens, I go, “Okay.” If there was one person out there that’s like, “Yo, I heard you talk about this thing. Now I’m going to therapy. I’m dealing with it.” I win. Like it’s all worth it even if it is embarrassing and I don’t feel like as much of a man or whatever bullshit like that. You know what I mean? Because I know men personally. Some close friends of mine that had experiences like that when they were a kid and they never told any… I mean I started telling people that when I was 14, when I went to that boarding school. I started going to therapy and talking about it and I mean, I’m sure that I haven’t not even healed from it yet at this point at 48 but I have male friends that were like in their late 30s and had never told one person that they had been abused or gone through things like that, but it’s becoming safer now which is healthy.

Katie: What do you think are some of the practical tools or things that have been the most effective for you since then or that, A, have made it okay for you to talk about it but then also to work through it? Because I know for me like especially in the media aftermath, I put up walls and I like vowed I was not gonna like feel it. Like I just put up walls to protect myself and it took a lot of years to break those down and it involves like a lot of different types of therapy. I’m curious, for you, what were the helpful practical things that helped to break that down?

Luke: There’s been so many things I’ve done. I always think, “Well, what was the most recent?” Because the thing is with trauma, it’s like you think you’re over it but then your behavior is still shaped to some degree by those traumatic experiences.” So you get triggered in a relationship or your career or whatever and if you’re an introspective person that’s had some self-knowledge and insight, you kind of will look down and inventory that and see like, “Okay, so I thought it was about this thing but it was really about this thing.” And you dig deeper and you’re like, “Oh, it was my abandonment issues or whatever.” And so part of it is just in that self-awareness and every time I have a breakthrough like that whether it be I mean just in talk therapy or writing about things, a lot of writing and journaling, I think like, “Okay, now I’ve healed it. I’m totally cool and I can talk about it without having that emotional charge.”

You know, there would have been some time ago where I would have just told you the last story I told you for 15 minutes and I would have started crying or something, maybe even fairly recently because it still hurts. It’s just like, “Fuck, I can’t believe that happened to me. This sucks and it’s painful.” And that might still happen but every time I get to the point where I think I’m healed, then I see it at a greater depth. And so to your question, I think the most recent and most profound healing that I had was actually doing an Ayahuasca ceremony in which…I did four of them in a row for the first time which was something I was curious about for a while but it took a long time for me to kind of get on board and make a decision to do it.

But in one of these particular ceremonies, I didn’t make myself go back and relive those experiences but I was taken back there. I had no intention of going into that. I just said, “Hey, okay, whatever is supposed to happen here is supposed to happen and I really surrendered my will and my preconceived ideas about how the experience was supposed to shape up.” And the first couple of them were just beautiful, ecstatic experiences of oneness and universal consciousness and were amazing. And I didn’t think about anything harsh, or, you know, any of those experiences. But one of the times I was shown just how negatively those experiences impacted me and just how deeply I was wounded on a spiritual level, on a psychic level, how I, at that point, abandoned myself really, because I didn’t…you know, it’s not a self-blame thing but I didn’t seek help and I didn’t tell anyone.

So it’s like I just kind of bailed on that little kid that was left there, you know. And so it’s even difficult to put words to but that experience was very healing because I got to really, honestly, feel the depth of that, because it’s been something for years that I can sort of talk about and process and I can see A plus B equals C when you look at it, trauma, and then the responses that you’ve had with that trauma, how you self-medicated and dealt with them, and then that created more trauma on top of it because now you really have ruined your life as a result of trying to medicate yourself and all that.

So intellectually, I’ve definitely like I see the patterns, I see how it all works. There’s been a lot of crying. There’s been talking, writing, as I said, therapy, but in that ceremony, it was like the gravity of the situation was just so deeply felt that I could really, truly experience just how impactful that was. I mean, it’s just, it was probably the most impactful experience of my life. It just changed me forever. I was never the same. You know, my innocence was taken and never came back in a sense. You know what I mean? So that I think was probably the most healing experience because I was able to really own that experience in its entirety and really feel the depth of it.

You know, and from that, then at least there’s a very clear starting point, “Okay. Wow, I thought I had dealt with this.” But there’s a lot of hurt still there, “Okay, that’s fine. So there’s some hurt there. Now we just keep on about the business of healing.” And part of that business is sharing about it and helping other people. Anything that I’ve ever struggled with, that I found a solution to has been exponentially magnified by my ability to take what I’ve learned and help someone else with it. You know, that’s when you really understand something. So now I might have a friend that comes to me and is like, “Dude, you talk about this thing sometime, I think something like that happened, can we talk about it?”

And then I might be able to guide them to do therapy, hypnosis, AMDR, neurofeedback, Ayahuasca, whatever it takes to heal that. It’s sort of like I have like a bum shoulder and a bum hip, these old injuries, you know, from my 20s. And it’s like a psychic and spiritual injury. And there’s still remnants of it there. But it doesn’t have to hurt all the time. And if it does, you just kind of, you know, you just acknowledge it and accept it, and it doesn’t have to run your life. I don’t have to form my decisions from that, or, say, “Be afraid to be intimate and vulnerable in a relationship because I could be hurt or abandoned again,” or something like that.

Also, what’s been really healing has been human connection and relationships, and being really intimate and vulnerable with other people, especially in the context of romantic relationships where that person knows you better than anyone knows you. And you can share your life experiences with them and feel absolutely 100% safe and secure, that they’re going to be able to hold space for you, who you are, the things you’ve experienced, and that they’re still going to be there.

Katie: I mean, I know you get into a lot of biohacking stuff. I think that’s actually one of the best life hacks out there, is connection and community. And, I mean, we know the stats. We can look at it and say, “It’s actually twice as important as exercise. It’s more important than quitting smoking as far as for longevity, and for all these health markers.”

Luke: Oh, that’s amazing.

Katie: But it’s so true. Like that’s a deep core human need. And I feel like we’ve moved away from that in this overly-technological world where we’re connected on social media, but we’re not actually connected at all. And I wasn’t planning to go into the Ayahuasca side but I’m glad you did. I want to talk about this because some of the audience may not even have any idea what that is.

Luke: I’m not even sure I do.

Katie: But it’s interesting because this is something that’s on the fringe of science right now. Certain aspects of that are in clinical trials along with other psychedelics, and these are things they’re looking at for PTSD and for depression and anxiety. So, to the extent that you know, just kind of give us an overview of what that is and what that looks like for you?

Luke: Yeah, it’s fascinating. And I’ll just say and not to give a shameless plug, but for people that really want to know the depth of my interaction with that experience, I did a trilogy podcast on my podcast, “The Life Stylist Podcast,” it’s called “Welcome to the Jungle.” I think it’s called “Welcome to the Jungle: My Ayahuasca experience.” It came out maybe a month ago or something like that. So it’s three episodes in a row, chock full of all these different interviews. But what I did, to really make sure that I was able to transmit the experience to the listeners is I took my little recorder here and I documented the whole experience all the way through.

I mean, not in ceremony, because that would be kind of against the rules, I think, or disrespectful of the ceremonial tradition. And I don’t think on Ayahuasca I could even work a recorder to be honest. But before and after ceremonies and stuff, so I did kind of a Gonzo journalism tell of the whole thing. And then, you know, a summary when I got back and kind of came back to my senses. So that’s there for people who want the long version of the story. But for me, the idea of doing psychedelics was never on the table because I’ve been violent, for all intents and purposes, a sober guy. You know, I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs. That’s just how I live for 22 years. So I’ve watched other people go and have these experiences and thought, “That’s good for you.”

And I’m happy for them. And some people seem to benefit and they have these awakenings and insights. And I just thought, “That’s great. Good for you. That’s not my bag, like I’m on the straight and narrow and sort of the slow, humble spiritual path, just one little breakthrough at a time. And it has been slow. My awakening has been slow. It’s working but, dude, this 22 years of like full-on moving in this direction. So anyway, I thought, “I don’t know. If I do that, then am I still sober? Is that like the equivalent of a slip or something like that?” I just couldn’t quite get my head around it. But I was curious because I want to know more of God and I want to know more of consciousness.

And so I was curious about it. And then I kind of resigned to the fact that it probably was an experience that I would likely never have. Because it might open up this portal again where I’m like, “Yeah. Well, I made it through that and maybe I go have a couple beers,” or something. I didn’t know what happened but I didn’t want to risk going back to where I came from. Because once I was set free from that, it was like I’m never going back into bondage. I mean, it’s literally like I was a slave and I was set free and I’m never going back to the plantation. Not to make light of actual slavery but it’s a metaphor that’s fitting because I really was in bondage in the throes of addiction for a long, long time.

So eventually, I started getting a bit curious about it. And many people I know, including my girlfriend, who you’ve met, had had positive experiences and awakenings and it really changed her life. And I’m like, “Maybe there’s something to this, but probably not for me.” Then over the course of a few months, I started getting all of these signs from different people about one particular place in Costa Rica called Rythmia. And I don’t know, I’m talking to someone like, “Hey, have you heard of Rythmia?” “I went there and did Ayahuasca. It was awesome.” And then someone else and someone else. And when I get so many signs like that, I tend to pay attention.

And then I had the opportunity presented to me to go there and do like a sort of media trade where I go there and have the experience and then report on it and share my experience with people, which happens sometimes when you do what I do. It’s kind of report on a lot of stuff. And people are happy to have me there so that I can spread the word. So I thought, “I don’t know if I want to do that,” and kind of hemmed and hawed and then, again, it just kept coming to me from these different sources. So then I thought, “Well, I’m getting these signs, I really need to look into the implications as it pertains to recovery because I don’t want to go back to where it came from.”

And I really had to grapple with this identity that I had built of, like, “I’m a sober person, what exactly does that mean, you know, in the context of like a 12-step program?” It’s very black and white. Like you don’t do anything that affects you from the neck up. Not like there’s rules, but that’s how one would quantify their own sobriety and, you know, the duration of one’s sobriety, “Oh, I’m, you know, clean 10 years or 20 years,” or whatever. So it’s like do you let go of that? I had to really kind of work on that whole concept. And then eventually, I decided to go do it after having really contemplated that and really looked at my motives. I had to be very honest with myself, “Am I just going to get a free pass and like trip out and see colors? Or do I really feel there’s something that I can benefit from in terms of healing my heart, healing my mind?”

Then I started to interview a couple people about the efficacy of plant medicines. Ayahuasca as well as Iboga for treating people with addiction problems. And that’s when it got really weird. I’m like, “Wait, what? People go to Ayahuasca that are on drugs like heroin, coke, you know, like super gnarly drugs, alcoholics, they go Ayahuasca and they come back sober and they never do it again. And they never go to a 12-step group. They don’t do anything. They just had this experience and now they’re struck sober.” That to me is really weird. And out of the paradigm of the school of thought that I come from, which is like, if you were a coke addict and then you smoke weed, you’re eventually going to end up back on coke. If you’re an alcoholic and you drink and then you smoke weed, you’re probably gonna have some beers and there you go again. It’s like so you just don’t do anything.

But psychedelics are in different class because there’s no record of anyone being addicted to them and there’s not too many reports of people going back to addictive ways after having done psychedelics. In fact, quite to the contrary, many people, as I said, become sober just from doing psychedelics. So as I started to research more of that, I thought, “You know what, I think I’m safe to go do this.” And I went and did it and it was absolutely freaking incredible. And I’m looking forward to doing it again. Not for the faint at heart, not something I would promote. So this is not an endorsement. This is an endorsement for my own personal experience. I think that a substance like Ayahuasca needs to be carefully considered. It can absolutely rearrange your whole orientation to life and who you are and where you’ve been.

And also, I think the traditions and the ceremony and the level of experience of the guides and all these things, the set and setting, your own personal intention is super, super important. So when I did my podcast on, I mean, that’s what I opened with. I’m like, “This is not an endorsement for anyone to go do this. This is not a party drug. This is serious, serious stuff. I mean, you get out there on Ayahuasca and you see things that are really, really deep. And when I experienced the, as I said, the full implications of some of the experiences that I had had that were of the traumatic nature, it was super heavy, man. I mean, I don’t know that I would have been able to handle that had I not done work before and at least chipped away at some of those things.

So by the time that Ayahuasca was like, “Oh, check this out.” And I’m in this like, Technicolor film of my trauma. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t done some work beforehand. So I think I had a much easier time than some people because I wasn’t going in there cold, like, “Oh, I have never looked at the shadow.” I’ve been staring at the shadow in the mirror every goddamn day for 22 years. I know all of my shit, all my little quirks and nuances and issues and character defects and all that pretty well. But that’s what was shown to me, was that and then also just an incredible experience of healing.

I got the sense that my body was being healed, my psyche, my physical brain was actually being scanned and healed by the medicine and all sorts of not like seeing aliens or anything like that but extraterrestrial, like not of this world or at least not of the dimensions that we normally reside in experiences, as if like, a screen or a veil into other dimensions or other realities was lifted and removed. And then it’s kind of like you’ve been in a hole and you pop your head above ground and look around and go like, “Oh, shit, there’s a whole world here I didn’t even know was here.” It was like that and it was just really, really beautiful experience and had a lot of insights in terms of, you know, ways in which I’ve been stuck and why I’ve been stuck and how I could get unstuck and things like that.

And I think, in summary, maybe the most profound thing happened on the final day, which was the fourth ceremony. And it was really weird because that night, I didn’t get any psychoactive effects. Like I wasn’t high on the medicine at all. I didn’t do anything. And it was super annoying actually. I was really uncomfortable. I just felt super sick. But I wasn’t like having visions or any kind of stuff, I just laid there. I was like, “Oh my God, this is the worst ever.” That night just sucked. And then at the very end of the night, maybe six hours in or something, I’m just laying there like waiting for this sickness, nausea to end. And then I had this little vision where I was in a hall. And this has happened super fast. You know, this is like five minutes or so maybe if that. But I’m in a hall and I see a door and I go, “Oh, this is a hospital. I’m in a hospital.” And then I see the door and I go, “Oh, my God, I’m being born behind that door.”

And so the door opens and there’s my mom up on the table giving birth to me, and I come out of her, this bloody little mutant Luke, you know, this little baby that kind of look like me. I could see that these little balls of clay kind of… So I come out and, and then the two nurses grabbed me and put me on her chest and they hold me. She holds me for a moment. And it’s like all happy. And then the nurses come and grab me and take me away into another room. And they put me by myself in a room in an incubator. And then I’m just alone and that’s the end of it. And I was like, “Well, where is everyone?” You know, it’s really, really scary and painful. And I had this feeling of I was just left, I was abandoned. Like I’m not being cared for anything, you know? That was weird. I came out of that.

And again, I wasn’t really high or anything like that. It was just like kind of like when you have a daydream and you just kind of drift off and you fantasize about something. It was kind of like that. But I knew the narrative of the story and so the next day I was like, “This is weird.” And I text my mom. It’s like, “Hey, heads up. I’m in Ayahuasca in Costa Rica,” which I hadn’t told her anything. I don’t even know if she knows what Ayahuasca is. But I said, “I just got a weird question here. I had this vision. Here’s what happened.” And she texted me back. And she said, “That’s exactly what happened, except you were wrapped in a blanket before I held you. That’s the only thing of your story that didn’t match up.” I thought, “That’s weird.”

And she said, “Yeah, it’s because…” I don’t know, her water had broken or something and something like that and there was a risk of infection. So they put me in an incubator. No one could touch me for three or four days. And she said, “Yeah, you were just alone and you didn’t have any contact with humans.” I thought, “Well, that’s not normal, like humans in nature aren’t treated like that.” And that was the first, at least in this lifetime, in this incarnation, that was the first wound. And that’s what the medicine showed me. What does that mean? I don’t know. It means like, “Shit, dude, you might have some abandonment issues,” right?

And then the circumcision comes after that, which is a whole other thing, you know, that you got to spend your life dealing with if you’re a male in America in most cases. So, yeah. So that’s what Ayahuasca is like for me. It’s like, “Oh, you want to see some shit? Check this out.” And some of the things are things you knew, but you didn’t know how deep they were and some of the things that things you didn’t even know. But how do you explain that, right? That’s weird. I didn’t know that the details of my birth. I had no idea.

Katie: Yeah, I don’t think any…or most of us don’t remember that but, yeah.

Luke: So something was activated in my memory or, I don’t know, in some other dimension that you can’t really explain. It’s a nonlinear, nonscientific kind of thing. And I’m into stuff like that. I mean, I’m pretty, I guess, new agey, I guess you could say so. I’m not terribly put off by stories like that. But I’m always a bit skeptical until they happen to me and then I’m like, “Shit, medicine gave me some sort of psychic vision, essentially.” And then there was a healing in that because I could see like, “Okay, so that happened. Let’s move on.”

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Katie: I want to put a pin in this and I want to springboard to another topic you just brought up. But for anyone who’s listening and is like, “This sounds really crazy,” I just want to say I get a surprising amount of questions from like moms in the Midwest about this topic. And so I just wanted to…I’m glad we brought it up but I’m glad we talked about it. And like to add on to what you said about it, yes, I definitely I’ve never done it. I would not say this should be an endorsement.

And it’s also important to note, it is still illegal in the U.S. It’s in, like I said, clinical trials. They’re studying it. I think these types of medicines will be on the forefront, maybe in the next 10 years, what we see in medicine and in treatment for addiction. But right now, like if something any of you are listening do find a safe place to do it in a way that’s legal, don’t break any laws on all those things. Since we’re touching all the controversial issues today, so you…

Luke: Well, real quick, I just want to say that the place that I went, you know, when I say setting is really important is called Rythmia. It’s in Costa Rica. And it’s the only medically licensed facility in the world. And they’re legally allowed to treat people with plant medicines there. And so I have not experienced. I’m sure there are other shamans in other places that are great all around the world, places where it’s legal and it’s all legit and stuff like that. But I think my situation went as smoothly as it did because it was a very well-organized facility. They have a whole medical staff.

I mean, it’s super safe, super clean, super organized, very high vibe, high energy, the intentions are there. They are not doing it for the money. Like it’s a great place. So I would say if you can find a place like that that has a reputation, you can read reviews, it can be really dangerous for people to go down, especially women like, “Oh, I’m gonna go down to South America in the jungle of Peru and just find a shaman.” Like I would not take that route. Because you’re, you know, I mean, look at the story I just told, right? It’s like you have to have people that can really hold space for those kind of realizations.

So when I came out of it, I was able to share with the shaman like, “Whoa, I just saw this birthing.” “Oh, okay, it probably means this and that and it’s totally normal. You’re cool. You’re okay.” Like to feel safe and to feel held and to know that you’re not gonna kind of wander out into traffic because you’re like doing Ayahuasca at a party or something. You know, as I said, it’s serious stuff. And also, yeah, I don’t know what class of drug it is in the States, but it’s definitely illegal. And so, you know, I fully endorse your cautionary disclaimer there.

Katie: Yeah. And so like…

Luke: I’m sorry, what were you gonna say? You had another question.

Katie: I was gonna say since we’re touching on all the controversial topics today, you brought up another one, and I would love to talk about it. As a preface, I want to say like nothing I bring up, I don’t want it to ever come across as judgment on parents. I know it’s a very controversial topic. But circumcision is like a very poignant topic for parents. It’s one that like a decision a lot of parents have to make. And I actually don’t know your view on it, but you brought it up. So I would love if you’re willing and vulnerable enough to share about that because I think it’s important.

Luke: Oh, my God, yeah, there’s a great film called “American Circumcision,” by Brendon Marotta, and this is a topic that I’ve been into kind of on the down-low for a while. And then that film came out, I was like, “Oh, my God, someone is finally talking about this.” And so I interviewed him actually on my podcast, and he’s very anti-circumcision as I’ve always been. You know, we hear a lot about toxic masculinity and the patriarchy and how, you know, men can be oppressive and abusive, and all this stuff throughout history and I would not deny that.

And I think it’s interesting that in our culture, at least in America, that it’s considered normal to cut off half a boy’s penis when they’re a baby and think that that’s not going to affect their personality in any way, that they might turn out to be less sensitive to the needs of others and be less kind and less conscious. I think there’s a direct correlation between males and mental health issues, and them experiencing that trauma. And if you watch that film, which I highly encourage everyone to do, there’s a lot of information about the history of it, whether or not it has any scientific or medical value, based on what I’ve studied, it really doesn’t.

There are some religious implications, Judaism, etc., religious reasons, which, you know, you can’t argue with that if someone believes that that’s part of their framework for having a relationship with God or whatever the case may be. But there’s not really much science behind it being necessary. And to me, it’s like I believe the Creator is vastly intelligent. And if you look at everything in nature, it’s nothing is done by accident, you know, and so if human apes of the male variety are born with their genitalia a certain way, chances are it works just fine. And if we’ve made it a couple million years with some extra skin on our penises, we’re probably cool.

And I would say you don’t need to have genital mutilation for any sort of sanitary or any other reasons. I think boys and men are perfectly capable of washing themselves and making sure that their thing doesn’t fall off from rot or whatever might happen. So, yeah, it’s something I feel pretty strongly about. I mean, it’s not my chosen battle, per se. I don’t have like the intact podcast. You know what I mean? I mean, I’m not taking it that far. There’s a lot of issues that I think are important, but because in this incarnation, I am a man. And the more I learned about it, the more I see that it’s just an archaic practice. And it’s one that we’re just brainwashed into.

Just if you ask the average guy about it in America, they’re like, “Well, yeah. You know, you get diseases if you don’t have that.” I mean, they literally don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ve just gotten some garbally goop pseudoscience from their doctor when they had a kid or something like that. And there’s also…I mean, I love Western medicine for its uses that are…I mean, things that Western medicine can do that natural medicine can’t do is great. If I fall off a motorcycle and break my leg, like don’t get me some herbs. I don’t want ashwagandha. I want you to put a cast on my leg. You know, I respect doctors. I respect science. But there is a financial incentive in hospitals in births and Western medicine.

And circumcision is just like…I think it’s like an extra 250 bucks there they just tack on your bill. And it’s just, if you don’t say shit, they’re going to do it to your kid. It’s just part of the schedule. Like, you know, out of God, in the vaccine thing, we’re not even gonna get into that but, you know, that’s just something also people just assume like, “Oh, yeah, 110 vaccines? Yeah, yeah, just do it. Go for it. I don’t want my kid getting measles.” It’s like, “Well, let’s stop and think about this.” And with circumcision, man, I truly believe that it really harms little boys. I just do. I don’t think it’s psychologically healthy at all. And, you know, it wasn’t even illegal to mutilate female genitalia until…I could be wrong on this but it was like in the ’80s or something. It was very recently that it became illegal to cut off a baby’s clitoris.

I never know which way to say that. But to just take a scalp and be like, “Cool. You don’t need that.” I mean, if you think about doing that to a little girl, who would do that? Oh, my God, that’s archaic. I mean, that’s downright evil. But to a little boy, you’re just like, “Oh, yeah, cool. I don’t know, the doctor said it’s probably good so let’s just roll with that.” I don’t think it’s very thoughtful. I don’t think it’s thoughtful at all. And if you watch that movie, “American Circumcision,” if you can stand it, they show a standard circumcision procedure in that movie. And if you watch that and you still want to do that to your little boy, I mean, that’s on you. You know, no judgment but I’m judging you. Like it’s fucked up. That’s my opinion. And they feel it, and they feel the shots.

And they don’t even wait for the anesthesia to kick in. And it’s the most sensitive part of a man’s body. And also just…you got me in a bit of a soapbox here, and I’ll wrap it up. But as a 48-year-old man, now knowing that that happened, I mean, after I saw that film, I would look down and kind of be like, “I’m not even normal.” Whereas when you’re a kid in America, you think you’re normal because you’re not the one kid in the locker room that has a different looking Willie. You know, you’re like, “Well, there’s 10 of us in here and 9 of us look like me so I’m the normal one.” And then the kid that, you know, was intact is the one that looks abnormal and might even be made fun of and stuff, which is horrible being made fun of for the way God created you is just completely messed up.

But after that film I was like, “Oh, no, I’m actually…like my stuff got jacked up. It doesn’t look how it’s supposed to look, it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to work.” And I would say even a man’s ability to experience the full richness of sensuality and sexuality with a partner is dramatically reduced because of that procedure. And when you hear from guys that are intact, and they describe what their sexual experiences are, like, I’m like, “What? I have never…to me, it’s one thing. It feels one way and that’s it.”

And they have this whole other experience, like much like women can have all sorts of different types of orgasms based on their anatomy, right? Women, at least, that are so lucky to be in touch with their bodies in that way or have a good partner that is. Circumcised men don’t have that. You have one thing. There’s like in out friction. It’s over. That’s your thing. Intact men have these crazy different kinds of orgasms and multi-orgasms and all sorts of things that are robbed from you when you’re chopped off. So that’s my take on it.

Katie: Yeah. Like I said, I don’t ever want to pass judgment or cause guilt. And parents, I think there’s so much of that already. And I know many parents have come to me. I’ve written about it as well afterwards having not researched and there’s a lot of guilt there. And I don’t want to perpetuate that.

Luke: I agree. Thank you for that.

Katie: So I want to like always I know that being a parent is tough. And I just want to send love to all parents because I know we’re all trying to do the best. But I also think you brought up a really good point, which the reason I most hear is from people is, “Oh, this is what it was always done.” And I think that is a terrible reason to do anything is because it’s always been done. And so my encouragement to parents is always do your own research. You owe this to your child. And when it was my decision to make with our children, I thought like just logically, they can always choose this for themselves later. If it’s something that becomes important to them, they can’t un-choose if I choose it for them.

And as a parent, that’s been a lot of my guiding philosophy, is like looking at that in the world, even I don’t put my kids on social media because I want them to be able to choose not to be on social media if they want to one day, if I’ve chronicled their whole life, they won’t have that choice. And I think this is like another extension of that. And since writing about that, I’m so glad that you’re brave enough to talk about it. I’ve gotten emails from so many men who feel robbed or hurt and have a lot of anger because of that and they can’t reverse it. And it’s a tremendous pain for them. So I just I know a lot of people listening are in the stage of life of having kids. So I’m glad we talked about it in a way to say like research this. You owe this to your child to research this.

Luke: And also, I would like to echo your sentiments that if you’ve already done it and then you research it and you’re like, “Oh my God, listen, I’m fine. I’m a good guy. I treat women nicely. I’m not a criminal. I don’t do weird stuff. I have good sex. It’s fine.” You know, it’s just like, well, if I had a choice and I could go back in time, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this. But I know my parents loved me so much and they did everything the doctors told them to do. And when that was on the birth schedule, that’s what they did. They were being good parents to do that because that’s what they were told to do.

And so I don’t blame anyone, shame anyone. Absolutely not. That only makes things worse. You’re going to be a worst parent because now you feel guilty. You know guilt is not a healthy emotion to transmit to your kid, you know, and I think every guy I know that later in life went, “Oh, yeah, I kind of got robbed there.” They’re not like pissed at their parents. They’re like, “Well, of course, that’s what they did. It was prevalent in our culture.” And, you know, hopefully, by conversations like this, at least in my opinion, it would be healthy that it becomes less prevalent, or if people are perhaps even just more thoughtful about it and really think about the full implications and whether or not they want to take responsibility for making that decision for a kid when they can choose to do it themselves.

And I don’t think there’s probably too many men that are like 35, they got, “You know what, I think I’m gonna have half my penis chopped off. Yeah, that’s a great idea.” Unless they’re choosing to change genders or something. I don’t think it’s a very popular procedure. And from what I’ve studied, you know, again, I’m not the number one expert on this, but the men that have done it in adulthood have regretted it because it doesn’t really turn out so well. There’s also a lot of malpractice issues with it too. Like sometimes it goes wrong and then the kid gets mutilated forever and they end up kind of having this sort of femme Aphrodite situation going on. I mean, it can be super, super bad if it doesn’t go according to plan and sometimes it doesn’t. So, yeah.

Katie: Well, yeah. And the research is changing. It’s not at all on the same level. But when I was a kid taking out tonsils was a very common thing. I got strep. They took out my tonsils and now we’re finding out there’s actually a purpose for those and maybe like we should have left that. And it’s like science is understanding now the design that’s always been there. And the statistics are shifting. I think last I heard it’s almost, it might have shifted in favor of leaving intact now. So people who are doing it because that’s the normal thing, it’s actually not the normal thing anymore.

Luke: Well, you know, it’s funny when I did my podcast on it, I thought that it was like all of the West did it. And so I think in some of my copy, I was like, “Well, it’s very common in Western culture.” And all these European guys would message me and be like, “No, dude, it’s an American thing.”

Katie: Yeah. Oh, for sure. Yeah.

Luke: And then I thought, “Oh, yeah, I’ve had Scandinavian friends and stuff like that and we go jump in the hot springs,” or something. I’m like, “Oh, well, dude, we’re different.” And they’re like, “Yeah, of course. Why would you ever do that?” So it really is an American phenomenon. So yeah. Doctors listening, why are you doing that shit? You don’t need the 250 bucks really, man, come on.

Katie: Well, I think we’ve covered a gamut of topics. It’s been fascinating. I want to respect time so that we can switch in a minute. I’ll make sure we link also to all of your episodes on all these things so people can find you.

Luke: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Katie: But any advice or parting wisdom that you’d like to leave? I know that you give a lot of advice and people can find you and keep learning. But any just parting advice you want to leave today?

Luke: Well, God, we’ve talked about so many things that have to do with the inner experience. And so usually, it’s like, “What are your top three bio hacks?” And it’s like, “Oh, again?” God, it’s always the same. Get more sun. Do ice baths. Shield your bedroom from EMFs. Work on your sleep. Make sleep your number one priority in life, not making money. You’ll make more money if you sleep more. You know, I think my advice for people is if you don’t have a spiritual orientation to life and you feel that there is no design, as we said, to the universe and that the human experience is sort of just an accident. And it just happens to you that I would encourage people to explore all of the different paths until they find something that works for them where they can have a faith and in a goodness. It’s like I think that’s what gets me through difficult times like realizing I was circumcised. I’m making light of it now.

But I mean, shit happens, right? You have breakups. There’s the IRS. There’s just things. People get ill. Your parents are going to die eventually. There’s just stuff that sucks in the human experience. And I just think it’s so much more difficult to live as a human when there’s no meaning. It’s like to live in a cold, meaningless universe where there’s no reason for anything. And through my spiritual pursuit, I’ve found a living God that I carry with me, as I said earlier, and it’s not a religious God. Although I don’t have anything against religion. It’s just I know that there’s a purpose for my incarnation and I know that that purpose is to learn and to evolve. And I know that because my life has been designed by a creator.

And so why was my life created? Like why was I given this body that I’m living in and the consciousness that I have to observe the body and observe the thoughts and be able to do things like meditate where there’s a sense of separation between my soul or my true self or higher self and then my personality and the human phenomenon? Like why does all that exist? And the only thing I can really come to is that we’re given an opportunity to evolve in each lifetime. And I personally believe we have many, many lifetimes and that we choose them. And so having a sense of responsibility for my life and having a sense of purpose and meaning and that meaning is to learn and to grow and to share and to love.

And when my life has meaning like that, it’s automatic, the impair…it’s like the impulse to give and share and be of service is just automatic because you know like, that’s what the end of the lesson is. You know what I mean? It’s like you might not be there. Yeah, I’m selfish sometimes. I still get pissed I have fears. You know, I have the human stuff. But I understand that helping others and expressing love and receiving love is the end game. That’s the end goal, even if you’re not there all the time. And believing in a higher power and doing my best to live by that makes the dark times in life worth it, or even if it’s uncomfortable, I know that like, “Oh, this is supposed to be happening because I’m learning something from this. And I’m going to come out a better person and a person with a greater capacity to help others.”

Katie: I love that. And that’s a perfect place to end. I do feel like there’s probably a ton more controversial topics we could cover in a round two.

Luke: There’s a few.

Katie: Because you said EMFs and we didn’t even talk about that. But for now we’ll put a pin in it there and thank you for your time.

Luke: Thank you so much.

Katie: And thanks to all of you for listening and for sharing your most valuable asset of your time with both of us today, we’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.


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