The Missing Conversation Podcast with host Robert Strock explores an array of complex issues inherent to modern life. From immigration and homelessness to how we as a society find ourselves polarized and facing crises on a global level, this podcast faces challenges head-on with the goal of bringing understanding, healing, and tangible solutions to the forefront of every conversation. A look at Robert’s personal journey sets the tone for podcasts designed to face, question, and envision concrete steps to address difficult topics, issues, and emotions.
Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast
The Missing Conversation, Episode One. On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking. As we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view, your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own Challenges.
Robert Strock: (00:44)
Hello, and welcome to The Missing Conversation. I’m your host, Robert Strock here to share a little bit about the inspiration for this podcast, just to give you a feel for where we’re heading. We’ll be exploring and looking deeply at two levels of conversation that to the best of my awareness are very rarely occurring in our world today. The first conversation is within us and the second includes those innovations that don’t seem to be occurring on the world stage. So both the inner and the outer conversations are crucial from time to time, we’ll be inviting guest hosts, especially related to global issues and the radical changes that are needed or being proposed. We’ll explore unique proposals for among other things, compassionate care for COVID, permanent proposals for housing, the homeless immigration reform, a greater potential for psychology, spirituality, wealth and equality in its many forms. And also including global warming.
Robert Strock: (02:10)
We’ll start with asking questions of ourselves deeply and contemplatively. And please join me by asking right now, how are you most challenged emotionally, might it be fear, anger, perhaps feelings of rejection, and how can you best respond to move in a direction that’s healing at these difficult times? I think you’d agree, especially if you really take the time to drop into what is most difficult to feel that this often isn’t easy for any of us. If we pause and really look at facing the feelings that are most difficult at the same time, look at how we can respond with caring awareness. This becomes an evolutionary step. We’re going to explore in depth how we can specifically identify these challenges and find the inner guidance and direction that’s most healing and caring. For starters, I’m suggesting that you download a free list of what we call Introspective Guides at www.robertstrock.org.
Robert Strock: (03:40)
By clicking on the podcast tab here, you’ll find a list of 75 of the most challenging emotions alongside 75 of the qualities or actions that can help optimize our lives. We’ll use these in future episodes, and they’ll also be an aid for the rest of our lives. When one of these emotions is disturbing us. Our first inclination is to blame others or ourselves. For example, I’m afraid, angry, distrustful because of you. We need to tune into our own disturbing emotions and feelings more effectively, and notice how we project them on to other parties, races, religions, and countries, and how we can attend to these emotions. At the same time, we are repeatedly creating wars outside of ourselves by not facing and resolving the wars within. We fail to make the connection of how this works. An easy example of this is looking closely at how prevalent and frozen the anger and distrust toward other countries, political parties, et cetera.
Robert Strock: (05:13)
Our attitudes and actions have become for generations, hundreds, maybe thousands of years. And because of this inability to resolve our anger, distrust, and alienation, we continue to fight these wars. Do you want to know who’s going to save the planet? It needs to be all of us seeing and resolving the multi-generational anger and aggressive emotions that has carried our world to the danger point. We are in. We need to develop the capacity to let go of age old aggression and guide ourselves to a response that allows for moving toward peace. This may sound simple, but do any of you think this is really an easy process? I haven’t met anyone who finds it easy to balance life’s challenges and healing responses, including myself. This has been my personal and professional work for a long time. And I am in no way claiming that I’m not still a work in progress.
Robert Strock: (06:31)
All of us need to find ways to guide ourselves at our most difficult times together. We’ll explore how we’ve not been taught, how to care for our challenging emotions and how this is a central source of the problems we and our world face today. We’ll thoroughly explore how the lack of being able to relate to our emotions from our heart and wisdom, leave us inevitably and unwittingly projecting negativity toward ourselves and the world. This emotional and heart education is a critical part we will cover in depth. Secondly, by zeroing in on the outer world, while we continue to develop our inner communication, we’ll see that it starts with how we favor ourselves and those we love much more than our country and planet, especially in regard to how we use our money and our time. This loyalty is understandable, but when it becomes self-centered to the point where we lose sight of our need to protect the world we live in, it becomes destructive because we don’t see it.
Robert Strock: (07:58)
We unwittingly support leadership that reflects the same values and one that lacks a desire to substantially care for the world in which we live. We need to ask the question, how do we support the planet in a way that will allow our children and ourselves to survive and thrive and find a natural balance with how we support our loved ones and survival of our planet. The stakes are monumental and the situation is worsening and becoming more obvious as evidenced by personal and political alienation, global warming, economic inequality, and corruption on corporate and governmental levels. We need to develop the capacity to be a wise and caring responder to these challenges by pausing and contemplating the qualities and actions that promote greater wisdom and healing, while most of us can intellectually see and even feel anxious about the state of the world, many of us are not yet motivated to make meaningful changes.
Robert Strock: (09:26)
Many feel helpless because of not knowing what to do. This needs to be the beginning inspiration to experiment, not a state to get lost in as Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund has said when you don’t know what to do. Just start having said all this I liked to tell you a bit about my background. I’ve been a teacher, psychotherapist, author, humanitarian for close to 50 years. I envision new structures to help society be living in accordance with principles that will support the world and our country to survive and thrive. And I have to tell you, it’s driven me crazy every time I watched the news talking about homelessness or COVID or the police or the protests, Black Lives Matter situations, because there are some very, very clear answers. If we were just following common sense, I think you’ll agree with me, if you hang in and follow the next episodes. For the past 45 years I’ve maintained a private practice for transforming individuals, couples, and families to establish their truest and highest values, while also considering the world supporting, integrating their maximum potential. Given the actual situations they’re facing. I’ve also been a teacher in strategic guidance, communication and collaboration with the nonprofit sector. I’ve worked with entertainment and government leaders, as well as numerous caregivers in a number of fields. I’d like to share a challenging story that includes the greatest suffering of my life, both because it’s a major part of what I believe all of us need to eventually face to see our common humanity. And because it was, and to some extent still is my life lesson in being underwater and finding a way to move toward healing in wisdom. Shortly before my 50th birthday, my world was turned completely upside down and my identity inside out, an inherited condition had reached a critical point and I had a kidney transplant. For most people this is normally the great news, but I had major complications from the medications necessary to keep my one new kidney alive. For the first time in a life I’d experienced as fulfilling and fortunate, I became profoundly disoriented.
Robert Strock: (12:41)
I couldn’t feel peace, love, and the tenderness that I was so familiar with or any other qualities that I knew as a key part of my sense of self. Instead of my mostly stable experience of love and gratitude for being alive, I was agitated, exhausted, and empty. I was really afraid these losses were permanent. And to an extent, some of them are, up to that point. I had faced and dealt with the normal challenges of modern life reasonably well. I’d also been blessed with a considerable amount of fulfillment and success in addition to a wonderful family and good health. I had a flourishing psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles. Over the years, I had developed physical, psychological and contemplative methods for staying balanced and fulfilled, not only for my own life, but also the lives of hundreds of clients with whom I’ve worked, which seemed to be proof that I’d learned what I needed to know.
Robert Strock: (14:00)
But then that world vanished. I felt a completely indescribable grief about losing the life that I had though. These words don’t even come close to touching the hell where I was. My core identity seemed to have dissolved. It was as though I had a heartectomy, I felt as if my heart had been taken away. Who is this person I would ask myself, what’s happened to me because of the medications I was taking to prevent my kidney from being rejected? The resulting severe insomnia and exhaustion and the need to take further medications to deal with these side effects. I had little or no control over how I felt. I meditated, I prayed and I used my therapeutic strategies, but I just felt worse than ever. No matter how hard I tried to feel good, I was helpless and unable to get there. The very medications that were enabling me to survive were undermining my quality of life from the first day of ingesting the transplant medication.
Robert Strock: (15:26)
I slept an hour a night for the next six months. If you really let that in is inconceivable. I woke up after my hour of sleep in a state of complete exhaustion and drivenness at the same time, it was a living hell, what on earth could I do? I’ve written a book Awareness That Heals where I share eight practices, most of which were created, or definitely deepened as a result of this medical, personal chemical and professional crisis. I had the added motivation to develop these practices because my well-being perhaps even my life depended on them. And I also still had a deep yearning to be of support to my clients and the world. These practices were an extension of my life experience before my transplant and largely transformed through it. In summary, I believe we all need to be asking ourselves some critical core questions.
Robert Strock: (16:43)
What are the conversations I need to have with myself to face what is difficult? And at the same time to respond in the best, most constructive way I can. The next question is what is needed for me to balance taking care of myself and those I love with caring for the country and planet on which I live? Let me repeat that. What is needed for me to balance taking care of myself and those I love with caring for the country and the planet on which I live. Once we get the knack of contemplating these questions, it can become ongoing and the source of inspiration and peace for the rest of our lives. I’m urging us all to consider developing a new approach, to optimize our contemplation inquiry and actions, to transform our relationship to the world and ourselves today. This will be a unique space for us to grow and hold each other accountable. As we actively innovate the change we hope to see.
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