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Podcast title B-RAD with Brad Toews
Website URL https://bradtoews.com/podcast/...
Description Go to the root. Engage in an experience of words, music, ideas, and stories with the B-RAD Podcast. An invitation for you to step off the familiar path where together we can be radical in our becoming.
Updated Sun, 23 Feb 2020 00:12:26 +0000
Image B-RAD with Brad Toews
Category Religion & Spirituality

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1. 50 - Source to You
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My wife and I have been working with the dōTERRA essential oil company for the last seven years.

When first introduced to essential oils, it was another tool in our toolkit for a healthy, holistic lifestyle.

Essential oils changed our health, became our livelihood, and have become a means for us to positively affect the lives of other people. I am incredibly proud of the life-changing impact of dōTERRA, the quality of dōTERRA's products and their mission to source only the most pure, potent, and effective oils on earth.

It's a privilege to partner with them.

Working with dōTERRA has taught me that source matters.

My spiritual journey has taught me the same lesson.

When it comes to essential oils there is a cycle, a relational loop, in how we source the oils, in what those oils do for us, and how they affect our bodily well-being.

And when it comes to Spirit there is also cycle in how we respond to Spirit, and how Spirit influences our being in the world.

It is the dynamic interplay between spirit and matter that provides the flow of energy in my own life, and I believe, this is the spiritual movement of the whole universe.

Join me in this episode as I reflect on dōTERRA's mission to source pure, potent, and effective oils; and consider the Divine lessons we can learn from our very human practice of harvesting and using the earth's plants in sustaining and life-giving ways.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

dōTERRA's Source to You. Chocosoltraders

Related B-RAD podcast. I am Human

Music by Be Still the Earth.

More at Brad Toews.

2. 49 - Imagine That
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I love language. I’m a reader, a writer, a person who loves ideas.

I recently watched Tolkien and loved this line from the movie.

Language isn’t just the naming of things, it’s the lifeblood of a culture, a people.

You can catch that clip for yourself here.

Language is definitely my own lifeblood. (That, and music.)

Language helps us explain the world. Know the world. Name the world. And we’re often trying to improve the language we use to describe the truth, to explain exactly what happened.

We want language to be specific, precise. Literal.

I’m grateful for this specificity of language. Our ability to name, sort, and label our experiences and interactions with the world.

Without this, our lives would be a soupy mess.

But literalism has limits where it bumps up against another tool of language, something even more powerful at explaining reality – metaphor.

Metaphor engages our imagination, it opens possibilities, it invokes play.

Carl Jung said,

The great joy of play is that for a time we are utterly spontaneous. In a state of pure being, no thought is unthinkable, no image is unimaginable. Every good idea and all creative works are the offspring of imagination. (emphasis mine)

Metaphor is the language of our imagination. And it speaks the truth in ways not possible with literal language.

Join me in this episode as we explore the limits of literalism, consider the power of imagination and metaphor, and play with these ideas in the context of the Christian tradition.

More at Brad Toews.

3. 48 - Unknowing God
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Like many people who grew up in a religious context I was taught the purpose of our faith, the meaning of life in fact, was to know God.

Not only was this the goal but it was actually achievable by getting saved, reading the bible, having a personal relationship with Jesus, going to church, praying, participating in Christian community and basically following the path laid out by church traditions and authorities.

Pursuing this mission - to know God - would set you on the right path.

In the Christian classic "Knowing God", influential evangelical scholar and teacher, J. I. Packer, says it this way.

"Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God most of life's problems will fall into place of their own accord."

Wow. That's a confident claim overall, but maybe the most bold and perhaps presumptuous part of that idea is the assumption we can actually know God.

Can we know God? Really? Is that even possible?

I don't know.

But what I do know is that our claims to knowledge (how we know, what we know, the extent of what we know) changes over time. At least it does if we're growing and evolving.

What happens when what you experience doesn't fit into the box of what you know? Maybe it's an experience of God, or Ultimate Reality, or Love or some other deep truth.

What if that experience takes you outside of your current frame of knowing? What if life, usually great love or great suffering, rocks you to the core and what you thought you knew, about God, others, the world, or yourself, you no longer know.

What happens in the unknowing?

Join me in this episode as we talk about the well-trodden path of order, disorder and reorder (and its many synonyms), read the words of an old monk who calls us "to never stop loving no matter what comes your way", and challenge ourselves to experience God as The Great Mystery to endlessly know and un-know, discover and re-discover.

Shownotes at Brad Toews.

4. 47 - Past Lives
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I recently had the opportunity to take a trip back to where I grew up in central Alberta.

My immediate family members no longer live there and so the last time I was back was thirteen years ago for my grandmother’s funeral.

Like most forty-somethings I’ve changed a lot since childhood. I’ve changed a lot in the last thirteen years.

Sometimes we look back on our past selves and our past lives with a certain arrogance. I can’t believe I used to be so immature! Or we look back with regret. I can’t believe I made that choice!

I’ve experienced my share of both but on this trip what I felt most of all was a deep sense of gratitude for the place and the people I’ve come from.

Grateful for my past lives.

People can hear the term “past lives” and infer all kinds of meanings, including reincarnation, something I’m open to but don’t have any personal experience of in my own life.

Regardless of what you think about reincarnation (in this episode I play with that word a little, exploring other possible meanings), we all have past lives, a collection of moments, strung together that make us who we are.

Join me for this episode where we deal with, accept, and include our past in our present; honour and acknowledge where we've come from; and bring all our past lives with us as we move forward in our becoming.

More at Brad Toews


5. 46 - Something to Say
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There is a price to pay for speaking the truth. There is a bigger price to pay for living a lie. - Cornell West

Sometimes I'm not sure what I was thinking about when I started this podcast. Podcasts about hosted by talkers, right?

I'm a quiet, more reserved person by nature. I love to read and write, but generally speaking, I don't have a lot to say.

But I'm learning how to communicate better, both on this podcast and in my personal and professional life. I'm learning I have Something to Say, and how to say it.

Join me in this episode where I talk about a bodily experience in aligning my heart with my voice, and how we can lean into good music to find the courage to both speak our truth and know the truth of our identity.

Shownotes and good music videos at Brad Toews

6. 45 - Back-to-School for Adults
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As the father to three kids, September is marked with back-to-school energy.

Something about the shift in season, summer turning to fall and kids back in school, inspires an air of possibility for new habits and making change in your life.

In this back-to-school episode I’m diving into 3 metaphors that can help us approach and instigate changes in our lives.

1. Take it to the curb

Maybe you don’t usually see your household waste as a metaphor for life changes. It could be a bit of a stretch but I think garbage, recycling, and compost can teach us something about how to deal with the mental clutter, unhealthy attitudes, unfinished projects, stagnating habits, and even broken dreams of our lives.

2. What are you bringing in the front door?

In our homes there is an impact for every item that comes through the door, from furniture to dog food. It’s the same for our individual selves, both physically and spiritually. Nutrition, breathing, and rest; emotional and spiritual influences in our lives, all of it affects how we experience life.

Making changes in what we “bring into our lives” in these areas can help kickstart better habits and practices.

3. Pay full tuition

Go all-in on your personal development. Don’t cheapen the process or results by looking for the discount.

I’m not necessarily talking about financial cost. I’m talking about your commitment to growth. Don’t look for shortcuts or cheap opportunities. To get full value, you have to pay full value.

Join me in this episode as we find our fall groove and get back-to-school in our personal growth and development. Related B-RAD Episode:

Dying Before you Die

Full shownotes at Brad Toews

7. 44 - Follow You
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I’m a learner. I LOVE learning. I’m constantly reading, writing, listening, digesting and assimilating things I’m interested in learning. To be engaged with ideas this way is a big part of what makes me feel alive.

I have a strong tendency and bias to depend on outside information and inputs, constantly seeking more knowledge to inform my choices.

Often this is beneficial. Research can help us make better purchases, for example. Whether that’s the food we eat, the clothes we wear, or the car we buy.

But I lean very heavily on external input for almost all my information gathering, even for decisions that benefit more from inner knowing.

So, on my wife’s recommendation, I took a break from inputs. I went on a short retreat to a friend’s farm where I disconnected, put-down, and left behind the books, podcasts, and online articles by the experts.

I wanted to give myself the opportunity to be with just myself for a period of time, without outside influences, to find my own wisdom.

I was only three days. But it was hard. And also very good.

I did allow myself to journal and I asked myself a string of questions at the beginning and end of this retreat.

Join me in this episode as I explore these questions and propose a way that we can live in the pages of our own book, and consider our inner knowing as worthy of following. Resources mentioned in this episode: Strengths Finder

All music in this episode by Brad Toews.

Related B-RAD Episodes: People on Pedestals – why we follow certain people or esteem them Obviously – the importance of journaling & reflection

8. 43 - When Marriage is a Let-down
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Have you ever been disappointed by your spouse, partner, child, parent, or friend?

Perhaps nothing stings as much as the disappointments we face in our long-term romantic relationships, especially marriage. Unfortunately our popular culture sets us up for these disappointments and let-downs with happily ever after and other insanity like Tom Cruise’s classic line, “you complete me”, from the movie Jerry McGuire.

As if.

I’ve dealt with my share of disappointment in my eighteen year marriage. Both giving and receiving. And more than that, I’ve been completely undone and stripped bare, learning how to re-imagine a marriage after deep crisis. It hasn’t been all unicorns and rainbows, that’s for sure.

In this episode I interview my wife Dawna about her perspective on expectations, disappointments, and the let-down’s of life, in the context of marriage and our closest relationships.

Four years ago we stepped back from the brink of divorce and have learned to recognize unhealthy ingrained patterns of behaviour and habits, to let go of false beliefs about ourselves and each other, and to realize that frustrations and disappointments are the opportunity for healing and true growth into who we are meant to be as individuals.

More than that, we are learning how to show up for each other in our marriage without expectations of the other. And learning that letting go of how we think our spouse should be allows them to be who they really are. It frees them to move towards us in safety and honesty. That’s real intimacy. Better than a fairytale.

My wife Dawna is a wise woman and she shares some strategies for helping people move through and learn from the let-downs of life; ideas for how to let go of our expectations of other people (our partners and children especially), how to connect with and release our emotions in a healthy way, and how to cultivate true gratitude.

Where to find Dawna & resources mentioned in this episode: Instagram Facebook Rawmama Switchfoot’s Beautiful Letdown

Full shownotes at Brad Toews

9. 42 - Find your Frequency
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This spring I attended a meditation retreat hosted and taught by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

A fan of his work, it was amazing to experience, in person, the principles of his teaching and research. One of the thing Dispenza teaches is a modern take on chakras, the ancient Indian understanding of energy in the body.

My introduction to chakras was through yoga but more recently I’ve been learning about these ideas from Dispenza, specifically in his book Becoming Supernatural, and also at the meditation retreat I attended.

I’m no expert, but the seven energy centres in our body are fascinating to discuss and explore. And so I start this episode with a summary of each energy centre or chakra.

As if integrative medicine, transcendent spiritual experiences, and quantum physics weren’t interesting enough I add another angle to this conversation, the idea of harmonics theory in music.

I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a guru. But I am a musician. And the theory of harmonics adds a layer of depth and a complementary lens through which to understand energy, both scientifically and spiritually.

Maybe those two categories – science and spirituality – often seen in opposition to each other, are just two sides of the same coin called “being human”. Join me in this episode as I sit down with my upright piano to teach the seven chakras and an introduction to harmonics theory (and consider how these two things might be related); and ask you to evaluate the frequency of your own life and what it’s teaching you. Resources mentioned in this episode: Blessing of the Energy Centers meditation by Joe Dispenza Assaff Wiesman Harmonics Series in Music TED Talk Becoming Supernatural: Home Common People are Doing the Uncommon

Music in this episode by Brad Toews.

Shownotes, links and other resources at Brad Toews

10. 41 - Make Some Noise Drew Brown
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Drew Brown is an award-winning singer-songwriter, music producer and a friend of mine from way back. We have a shared history of being involved in contemporary Christian music, or CCM for short.

In this interview Drew and I sit down in his kitchen to talk about music and being a musician. We talk about how writing, playing, performing and producing honest music tells the story of our lives and gives expression to shared experiences. Including the experience of a disillusioned and deconstructed Christian faith.

What do we do when we no longer experience God the way we once did? Or when God is silent? When faith becomes riddled by questions and doubts, when we find ourselves in the wilderness?

We keep telling our story, we keep making music, that’s what.

And we start to notice that love isn’t confined to one book of scriptures, one story, one man, one experience. It’s everywhere, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. And we realize that music, especially our Christian music, won’t have all the answers if it’s going to be an honest telling of that story.

It’s ok to live in the tension, and the best music will hold space for this tension.

In this interview we also talk about investing in community and being a good neighbour, even if we’re hard-core introverts.

What does it look like to be a good neighbour in your context? How can we make a difference in the world right where we live? Drew explores these questions with me, sharing stories from his own community.

Join me for this interview with Drew Brown where we talk about the power of music to express the deepest human experiences of great love and great suffering (those portals of the Divine), the potential for new life that springs from the shaking of our faith foundations, and how we can create spaces for connection and community with music and neighbourhood-relationships. Drew’s Music: Hymns for the Architect

Liturgical songs and prayers for the church and songs for people that need a song while in their “night season”. Songs of hope while doubting hope, of faith while seeking faith, of love while rediscovering love, and prayers for mercy that acknowledges mercy as undeserved.

Drew Brown Music Drew Brown on Spotify Other musicians and resources mentioned in this episode: Andrew Peterson Audrey Assad Parish Collective

All the music in this episode by Drew Brown.

See more at Brad Toews.

11. 40 - A Meditation: Fools Rush In
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For my previous episode Elvis the Theologian, I recorded my own piano playing as part of the background musical track. A first for the B-RAD Podcast.

Today is another first.

In this short episode I offer a meditation on Divine Love paired with that piano recording.  

Inspired by the imagery of the wedding scene from Crazy Rich Asians and the Elvis song Can’t Help Falling in Love, I invite you into this experience of Divine love and awareness; giving ourselves over to the love already rushing, already flowing constantly in our direction.

Show notes at Brad Toews.

12. 39 - Elvis the Theologian
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When I was ten years old, I fell in love with the movie "The Princess Bride. After seeing it in the theatre, I must have watched it almost a dozen times in the years that followed.

If you also enjoyed that movie the wedding scene may be etched in your memory as it is in mine.

You’ll have to listen to the podcast for my rendition of the priest officiating the ceremony. Or you can watch the clip in the shownotes.

Mawwiage… mawwiage is wot bwings us togeder tooday…

So classic.

While this farce of a wedding is taking place, Princess Buttercup’s true love, Westley, is storming the gates of the chapel to rescue her from the dark, evil Prince.

Like all great story telling devices, movies have some really memorable wedding scenes. This is one of them. Another is from the much more recent movie "Crazy Rich Asians"".

During the wedding scene in that movie the musicians perform the iconic love song “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1961. Sung by many performers over the years since, it’s a song deeply embedded in our popular culture.

This scene in "Crazy Rich Asians" is a spectacle to be sure but the artistic message of the water flowing up the aisle to the lyrics of “like a river flows surely to a sea” speaks to more than just ingenious set design and theatrics.

That flowing water, a symbol for human love journeying from one heart to another, is a visual cue for a deeper truth about Divine love, and the true nature of reality.

Is there something we can learn about Divine love, which is to say God, from "Crazy Rich Asians""? Or from the lyrics of an Elvis Presley song?

And is it possible that Elvis was a kind of theologian?

Join me for this episode where we talk about great movie wedding scenes, expand our ideas about the nature of Divine love with an Elvis song, and critique the notion that God withholds love until we “believe”, acknowledge, or even recognize God’s existence.

Show notes, videos, links and other resources at http://bradtoews.com/podcast/elvis-the-theologian/

13. 38 - The Enneagram with Liv Lacroix - Part 2
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Your personality creates your personal reality.

Joe Dispenza

This is the second half of my two-part interview with personal friend, Enneagram Coach and Facilitator Livingston Lacroix. Listen to Part 1 here. We continue our discussion of the Enneagram and walk through the needs, focus, issues, and fears of types 5 through 9.

Join me as we are challenged, regardless of our Enneagram number, to live radically (to the root) within and beyond the limits of our “type”.
Show notes, links and other resources at Brad Toews

14. 37 - The Enneagram with Liv Lacroix – Part 1
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Learning about the Enneagram was a light-bulb moment, or rather many moments for me, in my self-discovery and becoming.

The Enneagram, like no other personality assessment I know, challenges a person to face “their stuff”. It’s a brutally honest lens, or mirror really, that allows a person to understand their core needs and fears and how that drives one’s behaviour.

It’s not all bad news however, the Enneagram also provides a hopeful pathway, marking the trail to growth and transformation for your particular “type”. Want to know how to be a better partner and parent? Want to understand why you keep getting stuck in the same ruts of behaviour and thinking? The Enneagram can help.

In these two episodes I interview a personal friend and Enneagram Coach & Facilitator Livingston Lacroix.

In part one, after a brief chat about leaving our church traditions and finding a more honest expression of religion and belief in our lives, we dive into an introduction of the Enneagram.

Liv gives a brief overview of the system of 9 numbers, wings, and subtypes. (It’s not a cult, honest.)

Then Liv takes us through an in-depth discussion of Types 1 through 4 explaining the needs, focus, issues, and fears of each type.

We have a good time discussing Type 4 in particular, since we’re both special that way. Listen to the interview, you’ll understand what I mean.

Join me in this episode with Livingston Lacroix as we talk all things Enneagram, and buckle up for some honest self-assessment.

Show notes, links and other resources at Brad Toews.  

15. 36 - Let your Yes say No
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Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power, our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter. So that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it. ~ Rabbi Harold Kushner

Kyle Kirschbaum is a close friend and mentor of mine.

In this interview he shares from personal experience the importance of identifying what we’re saying Yes to in our lives. And then making choices to live that Yes.

Kyle’s childhood and his unique temperament cultivated in him a desire to go after what he wants in life. But it wasn’t until he learned the lesson of saying No to somethings that he started to see the results in saying Yes to the more important things.

This is a lesson Kyle has learned over and and over again, as we all do in any growth, professional or personal.

Saying Yes in the modern age usually means saying No to the tug of social media specifically. A tension in Kyle’s own life that he talks about with candor and integrity.

Turns out it’s pretty difficult to listen to your heart and bring to life the unique things only you can do when you’re constantly scrolling on social media. A lesson Kyle has learned the hard way.

Sooner or later because of social media, a lack of clarity, or reaching a plateau in our life, we’ll experience the discomfort of feeling stuck and dissatisfied.

Kyle proposes three questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling stuck.

Have you said yes to too many things? Every Yes to something means No to something else. Has social media taken over your life? You need to eliminate the distractions that drain your creativity. Do you need to overcommit to your goals? Sometimes raising the stakes on a dream or a goal, investing resources and time, helps push us to the next level of doing the work to make it happen.

You don’t leap at your goals. You step there.

What’s the next step you can take to move in the direction of where your heart is calling?

Taking those steps, doing the work, that’s the magic of life.

There is something specific, unique and true about each one of us, that only our individual selves can take ownership for.

Ideas that want to be expressed in this particular body, at this particular time, in this particular person.

It takes courage to say Yes to those ideas. It takes work. The system doesn’t bend to make it easy for you, you are going to change the system.

The things that really matter in life, loving other people and doing good work, aren’t cheap. Our Yes will cost us something, in time, resources, and effort. But it’s our very choices that are the gateway to the changes we want to make in our lives, to the professional, creative, relational, and spiritual growth we seek.

Join me in this episode where we get honest about social media in our lives, reflect on life-changing adventures and projects, and challenge each other to say a hearty Yes with our life with body, mind, and spirit to work of living.

Music by OBOY.

Shownotes, links, and video at Brad Toews.

16. 35 - I am Not Sorry
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With a world population on the cusp of eight billion people (unbelievable!), I sometimes wonder if my single life matters. One person out of eight billion hardly seems significant.

Does my presence matter?

Do I deserve to exist?

I live in Canada, the 14th least densely populated country on earth. We have lots of land and few people. We probably have room for some of those billions, as long as they don’t mind all the rocks and trees and trees and rocks and water… (cue Arrogant Worms song here.)

In addition to being known for our pristine wilderness and Tim Hortons, Canadians are notoriously apologetic.

“Sorry” seems to be part of the Canadian identity. We make fun of ourselves for being this way. We apologize for being sorry. (Like how much more ridiculous can we be?)

I don’t want to overthink this too much, or take away part of our national identity, but the frequent use of the phrase “I’m sorry”, from a Canadian or otherwise, might be a clue about an individual’s sense of worthiness more than a guilty reaction about one’s offensive behaviour.

Definitely there are moments when personal responsibility requires an earnest apology, and “sorry” is the appropriate word.

But a shallow sorry (“Sorry I’m standing next to you in the Tim Horton’s line”) is like apologizing that you exist.

Don’t ever apologize for the space you occupy. It discounts what you have to offer, and it rules out what others are able to receive.

You don’t have to be sorry that you exist here as one in nearly eight billion that currently live on this blue-green planet.

You are worthy to be here as an individual.

We are worthy to be here as the collective.

Even if you’re a Canadian.

Join me for this episode if you question the value and contribution of your one life in the many, if you find yourself apologizing for your existence, and if you’re ready to embrace the truth that you’ve got nothing to prove and nothing to defend.

Show notes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

17. 34 - Free Your Inner Guru with Laura Tucker
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Laura Tucker started her professional life as a school teacher before transitioning to the private sector working in training, sales, and coaching.

Always wanting to make a difference in people’s lives, from the time she started coaching baseball as a teenager, Laura’s leadership and communication skills helped her succeed throughout her career and in her consulting work serving the automotive industry.

Until she reached a place where she observed a big disconnect between her successful professional life and her relationally-strained private life. Around the same time, the financial crisis of 2008 was negatively impacting the success of her work.

Searching for a new way to support her clients and to deepen her own spiritual and personal growth she embarked on a journey of self-development under the leadership of rising star, James Arthur Ray.

During a 2009 ‘Sweat Lodge’ led by Ray, three of Laura’s peers died. One of the victims, Liz Neuman, was seated next to Laura.

Overcome with grief and shaken to the core, Laura recounts, “what followed was a very difficult struggle, as I shrank under the weight of guilt, shame, and my self-assigned burden of responsibility.”

This was a tragic end to a supportive community of inquisitive and dedicated students, led by a charismatic leader.

Years of not trusting herself and quieting her voice followed that trauma. Until Laura found her voice again by contributing to the documentary Enlighten Us.

Out of great tragedy and a slow and painful healing process Laura has gained confidence to speak her truth. Having learned the hard way what can happen when people’s inner wisdom is silenced by following a dynamic and compelling leader.

Laura’s work as a coach, transformational speaker and host of Free Your Inner Guru podcast is born from that tragedy, everything that came before, and everything that has come since.

Join me in this interview with Laura Tucker where we talk about the journey of self-discovery through tragedy and trauma; the strengths and weaknesses of community and leaders in our personal development; and how the path to success and spirituality is rooted in the practices of responsibility, alignment, and discernment.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Free Your Inner Guru Podcast with Laura Tucker Free Your Inner Guru™ Guidebook 7 Day Comfort Zone Challenge Enlighten Us Trailer, Documentary on Netflix

Music by Aslever Lake.

Show notes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews

18. 33 - Here, but not Here
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Time can be a considerable source of stress for us in many ways.

I grew up with an antique clock in my home that was wound up, by hand, once a week to keep it going. Time literally had a sound, a tick-tock, one second after another.

Often it feels like time is weighing us down. It’s the persistent, subconscious tick-tock soundtrack of our lives. Time is an enemy or an adversary. It’s a limited quantity. We work against its constant decline to get things done, in our days, in our weeks, in our lives.

Humans made up “time”. The seasons set a natural rhythm to the course of life, but as we advanced as a species we made up clocks and time zones and alarms. We collectively choose to live by the clock.

I’m not necessarily complaining. I like having things “on time”, being “on time”. But there’s something not right when we’re so worried about our future, which is always diminishing, and regretful of the past, time that is forever gone.

We’re told to appreciate the present. This is the only time we have. That too is just another emotional burden around time.

Certainly in our modern culture we might feel like time defines our existence but our true existence is completely outside of time. If time had not been invented as it had, our system of clocks and schedules, could you still exist? Of course you could. And you do!

You are completely removed from the constraints of time. And yet we all live within the constraints of time. We are in time, but we are not of time.

You’ve existed in the past, you exist in the present and you’ll exist in the future. This moment right now, it’s already the future.

Join me in this episode as we explore our understanding of time, as I playfully challenge you to step through the doorway of timelessness in your own life by inviting your past, present and future to hang out together, get acquainted, and occupy one space – You.

Show notes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

19. 32 - Addiction to Approval
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I have an addiction. I'm addicted to approval.

I’ve never attended an AA meeting, or had a close friendship with someone in those circles, but my guess is that at the genesis of addiction you find a desire. Without desire, none of us would do anything.

It's easy to judge what we see and say “if I could just stop doing this (fill in the blank with the activity or behaviour) then I would conquer this addiction".

But simply addressing the behaviour is missing the point.

I've been addicted to approval, but as a recovering addict I can honestly say that seeking validation from others does not serve me well.

The approval, the affirmation (fill in your addictive behaviour here) only temporarily meets a craving. And after getting that hit we keep coming back for more.

Trying to hold on to something.

When we use our addictive behaviours as a lens to see deeper into ourselves we come face to face with our deep-seated desires. And we realize that the only source that will ever satisfy all the longings and desires is already found within, not without. It’s as simple and complicated as that.

The heart of an addict is healed by the heart within the addict.

Join me in this episode as I talk about being a recovering addict, affirm the place of desire in our lives, and propose how we might use the metaphor of Thor's hammer to help claim our own power.

Show notes at Brad Toews

20. 31 - Originality is Overrated
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There's a lot of pressure in our culture to be original. And the self-actualization subculture isn't any better. It's probably worse.

Do you have to be an original? What if being original is overrated?

In the music world artists regularly cover other people's work. Musicians like Jamie Cullum prove that a good cover is a valuable art form, in and of itself.

What many other great artists and individuals know is that filtering another person's ideas (their art, music, parenting or leadership style, etc.) through your own lens can be a profound experience unto itself; can create its own magic.

You don’t cover an original because you lack originality. Rather you play with someone else’s creation as a means of creating yourself.

Join me in this first episode of season two as I talk about my own experience as a musician playing musical covers, share my joy in Jamie Cullum's The Song Society project, and propose that the pathway of any artist, leader, or parent is to imitate until you originate.

Show notes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews

21. 30 - This is B-RAD
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I turned forty the same week of launching this podcast, and in honour of that milestone birthday I set a goal of releasing forty episodes this year. I didn’t quite reach that goal. I am ending my first season of the B-RAD Podcast with thirty episodes.

This thirtieth and final episode of the first season feels like a good time to tell you what B-RAD means and what it means to B-RAD.

I’m a self-diagnosed self-development junkie. I seem addicted to the process of growth and development. I’ve read books, participated in programs, hired coaches, attended webinars and seminars; anything I can get my hands on.

But when I “signed up” for self-development I didn’t realize I was saying yes to the evolution of myself. I wasn’t just saying yes to growth and greater well-being, but to change. I was saying yes to some very difficult lessons.

The B-RAD Podcast is my contribution to the world of ideas in which I’ve been immersed. It comes out of what I’ve learned and am still learning, always a student. It stands on the shoulders of all these teachers who have influenced and changed my own life.

But what does it mean to B-RAD?

B-RAD is a play on my name Brad. Radical is from the Latin word radix, which means to “proceed from a root”.

Radical is about the base of all things, the origin, the root.

It’s the source.

To be radical is to be connected to the root, to proceed from that root.

Being radical is primarily the path of discovery, of going to the root.

The philosopher Ken Wilber says that we are given the incredible opportunity of a “radical transmutation and transformation at the deepest seat of consciousness itself.”

This dramatic change in form (transmutation and transformation), proceeding from the root (radical), is what it means to B-RAD.

It is a becoming from the ground up.

Join me in this final episode of season one as I recall my first big gains in the journey of self-development, tell stories from my youth (anyone else know what it’s like to dig an elevator shaft?), and trace the meaning of the B-RAD podcast to its latin roots. (And here you thought it was 90’s slang!)

Show notes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

22. 29 - Knowing What's Unknown
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John Maxwell, renowned leadership expert, New York Times Bestseller List author, well-known speaker and septuagenarian says that as he has matured, the things he truly “knows” can be summarized with the five digits on one hand.

Those are the things he knows that he knows and he can’t be budged on those points. But he has learned to let go of everything else he thought he knew.

I love knowledge, studying, researching, and reading. I'm a learner.

But I wonder if we've elevated knowledge to something it's incapable of providing.

Do we look to knowledge, as a society and as individuals, as something that will sustain, save, and validate our existence?

Two ancient prayer practices brings old-new insight to how we understand knowledge, at least in a spiritual sense.

Kataphatic knowing is the use of images, words and thoughts to guide and cue our knowing. Our senses pick up on what is seen and from that we gain a sense of knowledge or discernment.

Apophatic knowing is a knowing drawn from silence beyond words.

I love how Richard Rohr describes it:

Apophatic knowing is the empty space around the words, allowing God to fill in all the gaps in “unspeakable” ways.

This type of knowing requires access to another set of senses, the ability to perceive reality in ways that can't be formally taught.

I personally enjoy the formal process of learning. But in the silence and the spaces in between the words there is another kind of knowing that can direct and guide me towards knowing what is unknown. Knowing by "participating with" instead of "observing from a position of separation. Knowing, subject to subject, instead of subject to object.

What is required to know what is unknown is to come to the end of ourselves; to know that I don’t know.

Join me in this episode as I get honest about my need to not look stupid, consider different ways of knowing, and visit outer space with Jody Foster to boldly take the journey to the the place of unknowing.

Show notes, video and other links at bradtoews.com

23. 28 - Obviously
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The story by David Foster Wallace goes like this; there are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “what the hell is water?”

This simple story challenges us to ask, at the very least, what are we really swimming in? And how can we even become aware of it?

Simone Weil says,

“There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.”

Things that pierce our heart offer a window into reflection but what if we could increase the frequency of the reflective moments of our lives? Revealing things hidden in plain sight, like the very water we're swimming in.

Whatever form our active reflection takes, the function is the same, to bear witness to our life.

Every once in a while I am struck with this simple, but profound insight, “you know Brad, it doesn’t have to be like this. You do have options.”

There are many things in our life beyond our control, things we don't choose. But we do choose our responses. We have options.

How do we become aware of the options? How do we have eyes to see the obvious?

By cultivating awareness between the experiences of stimulus and response. Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, writes that we can choose which path to take:

Be tense and lean into the event, reacting automatically, without pause or reflection. Be relaxed and lean away from the event, creating space between the event and our reaction to it.

Join me in this episode as we ask, along with David Foster Wallace's fish, "what the hell is water?" and are challenged to create a space, a pause button, a practice of reflection to help us be more aware of what is hidden in plain sight all around us.

In-depth shownotes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

24. 27 - Goodness Me
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The phrase "good enough", which is so ubiquitious in our culture, implies that there is something better than good. Perfection, something without flaws, something pristine and ideal, is better than good. Isn't it?

In the beginning creation was declared good. Tov is the original Hebrew word which we translate as "good" in English.

But Tov is so much more than just good. It's a word that celebrates life in all its diversity - birth, death, re-birth, seasons, warmth, cold, the messiness and sexiness of it all.

In contrast, the Greeks gave us the word Telios. This is the ideal form, the pursuit of human achievement, attaining something that can’t be improved upon. It's the Olympics and perfect human form, it's excellence and precision.

Why would we want good when we can have perfect?

The problem with perfect is that it's unattainable. Once you reach that ideal, the place you thought you'd feel complete upon arriving, you realize you don't find fulfillment here. And so you're always looking for the next level, the next pedestal.

You can keep improving till you die but never find rest and satisfaction, not knowing that you could have experienced a deep, abiding, and grounding sense of "good" all along.

I am grabbing hold of good as a powerful and potent word; messy, rich, and expansive. I am claiming it for myself and sharing it with you. You're not less than, you're not better than, you are good. Goodness is you. Goodness is me.

Join me in this episode as we go back to the beginning of time and space, learn a little bit from two ancient languages, and are invited to reclaim our original state of being as declared by Being itself.

In-depth shownotes, video, and other resources at Brad Toews.

25. 26 - I am Human
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Labels aren't bad, they're necessary for making our way through the external world. Imagine navigating city streets or an airport terminal with no labels. Labels are obviously good.

Labels are also a necessary part of our internal framework and personal structure.

They help us identify where we're from (Toronto, Canada) and who we are (man, husband, dad, friend). But we all know from experience that labelling isn't all good and isn't always helpful.

A label reaches the end of its usefulness in our lives when it reinforces, or binds us to something that no longer rings true in our lives.

What do you do with that label?

I come from the Jesus tradition and I am deeply grateful for the formation of myself within that environment and faith. I am who I am because of where I've came from.

And although I've called myself a Christian for years, I don't know if that label makes sense for me anymore, at least not in the way I used to understand "Christian".

Maybe I can just be "human".

To be human is to be both divine and dirt.

One of the most compelling things to me about the Christian faith is the idea of incarnation, which is another way of saying Spirit embodying matter. It's the subtext of the whole biblical story and is made plain in the person of Jesus Christ. The divine becoming human, becoming dirt. The dirt becoming divine.

We are divine, Spirit wanting to incarnate in us. We are dirt, matter wanting to be God.

I can't think of any label more accurate than that.

Join me in this podcast where I challenge the idea that all labels are bad (they aren't!), where I question whether Christian is a label I want to claim anymore for my identity, and where I propose that to be divine and to be dirt is what it means to be human.

In-depth shownotes, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

26. 25 - Smart Water
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Water covers 71% of the earth's surface. The average adult body is 60% water. A human can survive for weeks without food, but she'll live mere days without water.

Water has no nutrition, per se but we require it, above almost all things, to live.

We're not exactly sure how water arrived on the planet but scientists propose it may have arrived as ice in meteors, which means that "the same liquid we drink and that fills the oceans may be millions of years older than the solar system itself".

Water has an interesting chemical bond, covalent to be exact, that both attracts and repels hydrogen and oxygen atoms at the same time; making it an excellent solvent and providing an interesting metaphor for the stability of shared space and resources.

We all understand intuitively and physically how important water is to our planet and our survival. We are water. We are from water.

What can we learn from the 2 - H's and that 1 - O that make up this crucial compound for human physical existence?

What can H2O - honesty, humility, and openness - teach us about how to thrive as a human being, not just survive as a human body?

Join me in this podcast as we talk a wee bit of science, consider 2 H's and an O as prime character traits of personal transformation, and visualize an easy but powerful metaphor to remind us how we access and "tap" into these transforming truths.

In-depth shownotes, podcast video, and other resources at Brad Toews.


27. 24 - All in One
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Rudolf Steiner, who lived from 1861 to 1925, is remembered and revered as a prophet of renewal, asking and answering the question how do we create systems, protocols, and procedures that works alongside what nature provides humans? How do we be a part of the progress of the natural world in healthy, sustainable, and spiritual ways?

One of the answers to those questions was the creation of biodynamic farming.

I’ve learned all of this since visiting the Benziger Family Winery; a beautiful family farm in the Sonoma Valley.

The Benziger family winery website describes biodynamic farming as "when you eliminate all the artificial crutches, you learn to trust your instincts and to trust nature’s ability and capacity to make a great wine."

How might that apply to humans?

When you eliminate all the artificial crutches, you learn to trust your instincts and to trust nature’s ability and capacity to make a great human being.

But losing the artificial crutches is not without risk. It's almost guaranteed you'll fall and what you learn when you get up from that fall is called integrity.

When you have integrity you have an internal structure so there is no need for something artificial to prop you up. No crutches.

Grab a glass a wine and join me in this podcast as I dig into the backstory of the founder of Waldorf schools and biodynamic farming, tell the experience of losing the crutches I had depended upon in my marriage, and propose that integrity is a much richer and earthier idea than moral excellence.

In-depth shownotes, video, and other resources at Brad Toews.


28. 23 - Home Body
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Home - What does it mean? Where is it?

There is a sense of safety and security attached to the idea of home.

The dictionary definition of the word homebody is a person who likes to stay home, especially one who is perceived as unadventurous.

I'd like to challenge that idea. I think a true home body - someone at home in their body - is definitely adventurous. In fact, the biggest adventure you embark on, might just be the adventure of "finding home".

While I've been traveling this year, I've been wrestling with the following question.

Why do I feel unstable when I don't have a house to live in?

In the physical and financial world we think of home as a structure in our external world. But I want to explore home ownership as an internal and personal reality.

Home ownership is you. Home ownership is the totality of your mind, body, spirit, and heart. Every where you go, your home goes with you.

And if this is true, why do we not want to live within our home? Which is to say, why are we so resistant to living in ourselves? Why are we frantic to find other things to fulfill the longing for home?

Traveling is when you physically go somewhere else. But traveling feels inconvenient and unsettling when you hold the belief that home is someplace outside of self.

I love this particular definition of home. Honouring One's Magnificent Essence.

The sense of HOME within you is the incredible truth of your power, belonging, magnificence, and strength.

Join me in this episode as I challenge the idea that a homebody isn't adventurous, re-define home ownership (regardless of what physical structure you live in), and reveal the reason why traveling can be so inconvenient and uncomfortable.

In-depth shownotes, video, and other resources at Brad Toews.


29. 22 - That Four Letter Word
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"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." - Marianne Williamson

I grew up thinking that a certain four letter word - starts with an F, ends with a K, with UC in the middle - was the worst possible word. You had to stay clear of that word.

All the while I was trapped by another four letter word, something much more insidious, dark, and damaging than a swear word. I was trapped by fear.

Fear has been a powerful force in my life, always present but popping up especially during stressful times.

When I was younger my mom wrote out the Bible verse, II Timothy 1:7, on a 3x5 index card: God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.

I clung to this verse for years, carrying it in my pocket like a talisman. And although I've now lost the piece of paper, I've held onto it in my heart.

The words brought me comfort but I only ever I understood them intellectually, I didn't feel them in my body. The only power I experienced was the power of fear and it was louder than anything else.

Until I participated in a Breathwork session led by Tristan Montoya.

As I explain in the podcast, after a series of prescribed breathing exercises lasting about 15 minutes I started to feel an electric-like current in my body. Starting in my chest, going down to my hips and up to my neck and the base of my chin.

I have never experienced this feeling of power in my body. It was surreal and incredibly moving. Afterward I remembered that scripture my mom shared with me, that God had not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind. Now I'd actually experienced that feeling of power in my body.

When I experienced the power in my body in the Breathwork session it wasn't about expelling fear. I didn't have to reject the fear or work against it.

It simply could not exist where there was no room for it.

Join me this episode as I get vulnerable about a deep personal struggle with fear, explore the teaching of some wise folks, and tell about my experience of when the words of an ancient book moved from intellectual belief to bodily knowing.

In-depth shownotes, video, and other resources at Brad Toews.


30. 21 - Chew On This
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Chewing is an integral part of our experience with food. How we chew has biological and psychological affects on our whole body.

After watching the video (link on my episode blog post) by Emily Rosen on the Psychobiology of Chewing I came away with four takeaways:

We're designed to chew and crunch. We eat food too fast. When we don't chew properly we put extra stress on our digestive system. Chewing sets in motion a rhythm that affects our entire body.

But as much as I'm keenly interested in nutrition and healthy eating, which is a big part of my life, I'm equally interested in contemplating how I "chew on life".

To be fully nourished by food we must experience it. We experience it first through taste, through chewing, through that first point of contact in our mouth.

So to be fully nourished - emotionally, spiritually, intellectually - by an experience or an idea in our lives, we must first taste and chew it thoroughly as well.

Do we take the time to chew on our life experiences and ideas? Or, are we more interested in having the "food" hit our belly so we can move onto the next thing, the next idea?

Are we swallowing big bites of life experience and stressing our system to digest and absorb that change? Or are we savouring our life, cultivating a relaxed awareness and gratitude for this nourishment.

Join me in the episode as I share secrets of the potato chip industry, consider the physical health benefits of good chewing, and contemplate how we might apply those to other areas of our life.

In-depth shownotes, video, crunchy food photos and other resources at Brad Toews.

31. 20 - Whose Line is it Anyway?
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We have all been given a script in life. We are born into a culture, a community, a family that follows certain rules and norms. This script forms and informs how we live.

It's how we make our way in the world as humans. This is how we survive and learn, by starting with what the past teaches us, reading our lines and playing our part.

But at some point in our development we decide for ourself. Am I going to keep living my life from this script?

What values are important to me? What do I want to leave behind?

Whose line is it anyway?

Any jazz musician will tell you that excellence in improvisation, in going off script, is rooted in excellence in the fundamentals of music. You have to learn how to follow the script, or the musical score before you start re-writing it.

And just like musicians we can use a riff, a repeated chord progression of catchy notes, those ideas that just won't go away like the driving guitar line of Smoke on the Water, to help us make the leap to a more improvised life.

That riff that won't leave your head, maybe that's your transition out of the script. Play with it. Copy it for a time. See where it takes you.

Join me in this episode as we indulge our love for driving guitar rhythms, appreciate but also critically examine the script we've been given, and consider how we might riff our way to improvising our life.

In-depth shownotes, video, great riff links, and other resources at Brad Toews

32. 19 - The Art of Good
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Jorey Tessier has a passion for youth and wanted to work in a capacity where he could encourage and influence young people. So he decided to be a teacher.

But when he was graduating from university and was considering his next step, the transition to teacher's college, something inside him had changed. The goal he was pursuing for the last eight years of his life no longer inspired him the way it once did.

Asking himself the question, "what would be the best thing to do now?" the first idea that popped into his mind was to write a children's book.

He had no idea what he was getting into.

Writing and publishing a book is like all creative endeavours, ideas come to us ill-formed and half-baked, raw and unedited. They need lots of work to be brought to life.

Some people feel they don't measure up to a creative standard. We label ourselves, other people, and activities as creative or not. We think some people have more creativity, others have less.

But creativity isn't someone's ability to write, paint, draw, dance, sculpt, or create art. Creativity is engaging with new thoughts and ideas, it's participating in conversations, listening, and taking action. It's the spark that affects change in a person, in both subtle and significant ways.

Like many of us, Jorey's life path has not been what he anticipated but his experience has taught him that

"when you create things in the art of good... there's something that the universe gives you. It's not a gift. It just is. When you create something based on good, when you don't want anything back, you get everything back."

Join me in this episode as I talk with Jorey about what it means to be creative, asking better questions about our work, and pursuing the art of good as a career goal.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

33. 18 - The Sum when Some Givesome
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Have you ever had an idea to create something great that had the potential to make a significant change in people's lives?

In this podcast I interview someone just like that. Someone with a great idea to revolutionize the charitable giving landscape. An idea that was born in an unlikely encounter, an idea that took thirteen years to come to life.

When Jay Whitelaw went to Namibia fifteen years ago he thought he was just going to Africa to teach. He wasn't planning to start a charitable giving app that makes a big impact through small dollar amounts.

But a life-changing opportunity to provide a man with a fridge and a bed (with Jay's friends' money no less!) planted an idea in Jay that wouldn't go away - charitable giving is transformed when people can experience the impact of their gift in someone's life.

Giving isn't about the tax deduction and it's not about the dollar amount, it's about the connection we share as humans.

Givesome, the project founded by Jay Whitelaw, is an app that allows donors to give small amounts - $2, $5 or $10 - to directly fund worthy projects. 100% of what you give goes to the project. Once the project is completed, you get a video showing the impact you and many others made together in the life of an individual or community.

Givesome believes that when people experience the impact their dollars have on the lives of others they also benefit from the experience – and are more likely to want to give again. Givesome is compelled by the incredible potential that a growing number of engaged givers can have on our planet

Join me in this first interview episode of the B-RAD Podcast for some great story telling (you might want to grab a tissue), learn how Givesome is changing the charitable giving landscape, and be inspired by the potential of one person committed to discovering who they are and living who they're meant to be.

Visit Givesome.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.


34. 17 - The Curse of Comfort
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"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

We live in a click culture. We value comfort and convenience. We idolize the instant success stories, we look for shortcuts.

The problem with the click culture mindset, with taking the shortcut, choosing fast and easy, is that not only does it produce lower quality results but it robs us of the personal gains we achieve by working through challenges.

Challenges, difficulties, and setbacks are the catalyst to growth. They reveal something inside us that only discomfort and adversity are able to unearth.

"The shortcut that’s sure to work, every time: Take the long way." - Seth Godin

In the movie the Lord of the Rings when Frodo and Sam are leaving The Shire on their epic journey, they reach a point where Sam says, "If I take one more step it will be the farthest away from home I've ever been".

The growth from discomfort happens in the adventurous and difficult journey when you move beyond "home" territory, past your personal limits and into the unknown. Into a realm of new growth, new understandings, and new ideas.

In John Maxwell's book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, he uses the analogy of a rubber band being stretched to illustrate the potential in adversity.

It's the pulling, the stretching, the tension on the rubber band that activates the power within it.

The potential and possibility is only realized when we're stretched. When we're moved beyond the comfort of the Shire.

In a later chapter of the book Maxwell shares a quote from Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler.

"We don't have a clue as to what people's limits are...The potential that exists within us is limitless and largely untapped...when you think of limits, you create them."

We can move from a comfort zone into a capacity zone. Our capacity zone is beyond the brink of our personal limits (and limiting beliefs), it’s past the Shire.

We see challenge, discomfort, and adversity as the curse and often do everything we can to avoid difficulties. But the curse is the not the adversity, the curse is the comfort.

Our unknown potential and creative spirit dies when we try to cushion ourselves in comfort. But what's born out of adversity is hope, growth, and expansion.

Join me in this podcast as I discuss lottery tickets and quick wins, consider shortcuts vs. epic journeys, and challenge you to see the curse in comfort and the advantage to adversity.

In-depth shownotes, images, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

35. 16 - Hurts Like Hell
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"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S. Lewis

Pain as Teacher

In her raw, deeply-moving and well-written memoir "Love Warrior", Glennon Doyle Melton says that pain is like a traveling professor. When pain knocks on the door — wise ones breathe deep and say: “Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.”

Hard words to read. Hard words to live.

Is it possible to invite pain into our life? Or at least not slam the door when it shows up?

Slamming the door on our pain looks like numbing, addictions, distractions, and blame; unhealthy relationships with people, substances, and self.

But pain will keep showing up in our life, circling back around; the teacher knocking, asking to visit. Do you want to deal with this now? Are you ready to invite me in so I can teach you some stuff?

And as Doyle Melton's story proves, saying yes to the invitation of pain allowed character, strength, and resilience to surface in her life. The good stuff beneath the dirt comes out, not in spite of the pain, but because of the pain.

There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

Pain shows up in our life, whether we want it or not, from the wounds and brokenness of ourselves and everyone around us. We need light to see the extent of those wounds, to clean them out, be stitched up, and to heal. And ironically, we need our brokenness to let our inner light shine through.

The places we've been battered around aren't meant to be patched over, hidden, or ignored. They become our strength, our song, our story.

Have you seen the movie "The Shack"? It's based on the book by the same title by William Paul Young

When Mack, the main character of the movie meets God at the Shack, the place of his deepest pain and sorrow, he asks, why did you bring me back here, to my lowest of lows?

Why bring me to this place that hurts like hell?

The God character answers, because this is where you got stuck in your pain. And to move forward, for you to be whole and complete, this hell has to be dealt with.

The possibility of pain

Pain happens in our life. It's part of being human. We don't choose pain but we do have a choice in how we respond to pain. We can suppress and bury our pain or we can sit with it and learn from it.

I want to live in a world of positivity, determination, good ideas, passion, and inspiration. Honestly, I want to transcend a lot of the muck and mire of life. I'd like to live without pain. But there is a mystery at work in pain. It's an invitation, a portal to uncover strength, light, and love from a reservoir deep within.

We don't uncover these characteristics in ourselves by avoiding pain but by letting pain teach us its lessons.

Join me in this episode as I reminisce about dislocating my shoulder, four times (these are not happy memories), talk about the things that hurt like hell, and consider the possibility of pain to produce something profound in us.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.


36. 15 - The Best Game in Town
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"You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you're outscored." — John Wooden

My kids love playing the game Shotgun. This is not a game with real guns, we're urban Canadians. I'm referring to the game where a person claims the front passenger seat when riding in the car.

Shotgun, the game, is a finite game. It has known players, fixed rules, and an agreed upon objective. There is a winner and everyone else is a loser and losers sit in the backseat, obviously.

What is a finite game?

The term finite game originally comes from the work of 21st century philosopher James P. Carse who wrote the book Finite and Infinite Games. Carse's ideas were picked up and made accessible to the masses by Simon Sinek, most notably in his popular TED Talk - What game theory teaches us about war.

In this podcast I'm not primarily concerned with what game theory teaches us about war, but with what game theory teaches us about life.

How does the idea of finite and infinite games inform how we live?

Perhaps you want to pick up Carse's book for deep dive in this topic. Or, you can listen to my take on this episode.

Have you seen The Hunger Games movie, or read the book? The Hunger Games, where twelve teenage children fight to the death, arena-style with one victor and eleven dead losers, were perceived by the characters as a finite game. But as Katniss and Peeta find out, The Hunger Games were actually an infinite game with unknown players, rules that change, and an objective to perpetuate the system.

We all understand the concept of finite games, we play them all the time. Shotgun is a prime example, so is baseball.

But what about the game of life? (Not the board game, but your actual life.) Do you play it like a finite game? With metrics for success and getting ahead. A definition of winners and losers, who's in and who's out.

It's easy to play your life this way. We do it without thinking.

Within the boundary of a finite game we either win or we lose. Whereas an infinite game offers more possibility.

If we choose to play the infinite game, we don't play to win, we play to play.

Which is to say, we live for the sake of living, not for the sake of what we can achieve by living.

The finite game offers win or lose outcomes and the finite game will fail us at some point. Both in our success and in our loss.

But if we're already endowed, embedded, or encoded with the infinite and all its possibilities, beyond simply winning or losing, why do we play a finite game?

What if we stop playing to win and simply play to play?

Join me in this episode as I consider the game Shotgun, The Hunger Games, and a finely brewed espresso as examples of finite and infinite experience, and challenge you to re-think the game you're playing.

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37. 14 - The Little Things aren't so Little
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“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.” — Booker T. Washington

Have you ever installed a door? The process requires framing and positioning a doorjamb, with special attention to the hinges.

When you've installed a door well you don't even notice it's done correctly, it just works. And when you use the door you don't think about the hinges, the doorjamb or the frame, you simply walk through.

One of the most important pieces of a swinging door is also the smallest. It's the pin of the door hinge. Without the pin, the door doesn't pivot and move. It's stuck in place.

The pin is crucial.

I'm about to introduce my first podcast acronym.


A little piece of hardware in a hinge. A little password that lets you withdraw money from your bank account. A little thing with a lot of potential.

You have to listen to the podcast to hear what P I N stands for, but I will say this, Newton's Laws of Motion are involved, and no, it's not boring like 7th-grade physical science class.

Do small actions have significant outcomes? Yes, they do.

Join me in this episode as I talk about how to hang a door properly (as taught by my builder-father), consider the burn-rate of rocket fuel in the Apollo space missions, and explore the potential of small hinges to swing big doors.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

38. 13 - What Lies Beneath
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Guillaume Néry is a record-breaking freediver. In his fascinating TED Talk, he explains the life-transforming experience of the freedive. His diving adventures challenge the belief that we can only go so far and give a new meaning to the religious phrase, "born again".

Néry's diving experience teaches us about what lies beneath. So too does meditation.

I'm a newbie meditator but I've been practicing meditation for a couple years and I'm acquainted with three different meditative states.

Fixing your mind on an idea, phrase, or an object in the room is like the energy-saving swimming technique of treading water. Holding yourself in place, economically and efficiently. Being here.

A state of mindfulness, a non-judgemental observation of thoughts and feelings, is like the motion of steady swimming. Graceful and directional movement across the surface.

Transcendental meditation is going down, falling into the ground of being, a deeper layer below our conscious and subconscious mind. It's a freedive without the physiological effects of crushing pressure and nitrogen narcosis.

In my own transcendental meditative practice, I've experienced a reality not found at the surface of the waters; what I can only explain as a reverence humming deep below the top layers of my life.

I'm not a freediver, but I want to dive into the depths of the ocean that is my heart.

If like Rumi says, our heart is the size of an ocean, we need to understand the ocean is the entire thing, 100%. The surface, the width, the expanse, the layers beneath, the depth, the bottom. The ocean fills it all, every crevice, every expanse.

Sometimes we're called to step into a boat. To go on a journey across the surface, to take a leap of faith and sail toward the unknown horizon.

And sometimes, like Guillaume Néry, we're compelled to dive beneath, because life is calling us into the depths. To discover that untouched and powerful reverence humming within us.

Join me in this episode as we explore the ocean of our heart. As we leave the shore and then go deep to find out for ourselves that what lies beneath can sustain all that which rests on top.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

39. 12 - Dying before you Die
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We often think of life as preceding death. First you live and then you die. But death also precedes life. It's a circle, not a line.

The rhythm of seasons, sunrise and sunset, waking and sleeping, show us this pattern. Our very cells die and are made new. The food we eat, once living, died to sustain our lives.

We see this pattern every day, every hour almost and yet we resist death. Why?

If we view our lifetime as a line that starts and stops at discrete points we will fear death because we don't know what exists beyond the edges. How can we trust what we don't know?

In Carl Honoré's book, "In Praise of Slow", he says the Inuit of Canada's far north use the same word, "uvatiarru", to mean both in the distant past and in the distant future. They understand that "time is always coming as well as going. It is constantly around us, renewing itself, like the air we breathe."

My grandmother died recently. And what I was filled with at her passing was not fear, but gratitude and joy. I exist because she lived. Like all my ancestors, I owe my life to her being and her living.

When someone dies we have the opportunity to engage in the fluidity of living, in the circular nature of life. Because death is not the end.

The deepest truths of spiritual traditions speak to this natural reality, which is what you see in the story of Jesus.

This first-century Jewish man taught us that we can trust the pattern we observe in the natural world. Out of death comes life. This is ultimate reality.

We know that death is ahead for every one of us. It's part of the circle that none of us escape. But what if life exists on the other side of death just as the natural world teaches us.

Do we fear that the sun won't rise in the morning? What is there to fear in death?

Join me in this episode as I pay honour to my grandmother's life, remember my son's birth and the fear that gripped my heart in that life-altering event, and consider what insight we might gain, as an affirmation of what we already observe, in the story of a guy named Jesus.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

40. 11 - The Madness of Being Self-Made, Part 3
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I talk a lot about becoming on this podcast, "be-radical in your becoming". This becoming is a metaphysical journey, where we explore the fundamental nature of our being, and what it means to both become from this being and to become into this being.

We're not static. We're constantly being made. This is our becoming.

What is our fundamental nature? Our identity? What are we becoming from? What are we becoming into?

For many people it is their own efforts, being self-made, that defines their becoming.

In this three-part series, I've been illustrating with story and images the limitations (and sometimes futility) of the self-made path. That's why I titled it the madness of being self-made. It might "work" for a time but at what cost?

I've used hard drives, metadata, and epigenetics to help explain the idea of a hidden identity, like the buried treasure of the soul, which can be uncovered and lived as we do the work of self-discovery and self-expression.

Our identity isn't in that work, it isn't in the self-making, but it can be revealed in the self-becoming.

In this final episode of the series, I explore what the physical body can teach us about how we do the work of becoming. It is work for sure, but it's not the work of defining an identity, it's the work of living an identity.

The body is concrete and real, flesh, blood, and bone. It's our most intimate and accessible point of access to the metaphysical.

Our digestive system teaches us the importance of what we absorb, we are what we eat. The respiratory system teaches us the fundamental principle of inhale and exhale, the effort and expenditure of living in balance with release and rest.

Our circulatory system teaches us to honor the strength of our hearts, the wisdom of our being. And the nervous system teaches us to integrate and communicate between inner and outer realities.

Join me in this episode as I share a story of how we get trapped into a script, tied to the strings of expectation and how we can escape this cycle, breaking free from self-making into true self-expression, by heeding the lessons our very bodies teach us.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

41. 10 - The Madness of Being Self-Made, Part 2
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The scientific field of epigenetics has revolutionized how we understand why organisms are the way they are. Turns out that although a "script" for how our physiological self will develop and grow is written in our genome, we now know that different outcomes are possible because of our epigenome, which modifies how that "script" is expressed.

We're not bound to certain life outcomes as the result of our genetic code. The script matters for sure, but epigenetics tells us, at the DNA level of our being, that we participate in who we become.

Steven Pressfield maintains that when we actively choose to participate in what we're becoming we're helped by "angel midwives".

"Angel midwives congregate around us; they assist as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny was encoded in our soul..."

Because of our commitment to step out in the face of our fears something will be brought into the world that wasn't there before. And we're not alone in birthing it.

We can be caught up in the madness of being self-made, trying to attain an idealized version of ourselves. Meanwhile, there's a mystery brooding inside of us, in our spiritual genome, inviting us into the work of self-expression.

Join me in this episode as I invite you into doing the work - not the relentless pursuit of being self-made but the work of choosing which traits and potential are expressed as you say yes to your becoming.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

42. 9 - The Madness of Being Self-Made, Part 1
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Are you familiar with metadata? Metadata sounds high-tech or sciency, but it's simply data that gives information about other data. For example, when you listen to an audio recording of the podcast you're listening to an MP3 file. On that file is metadata about this particular episode. The show title, copyright, etc. encoded right in the file you're listening to.

The metadata is the background and foundational information of the file's data. Kind of like the true identity of the file.

Metadata gives information about something's existence.

Do humans have metadata?

What is the essence of our "human" being? What does it mean to be me? What does it mean to be here?

Some people try to create their own metadata. They are the self-made man, the self-made woman. They are continually working towards achieving, striving, and accomplishing to give meaning to their existence, to define who they are.

They pursue self-development to make an identity.

But is it possible that we can use self-discovery to find our identity?

What if, instead of defining the meaning of our life and existence with our efforts, we are endowed with meaning already? Instead of creating self we find self.

Something is embedded, encoded in you. The metadata of your being.

Join me in this episode as I talk about finding forgotten treasure on hard drives (not as boring as it sounds), ask all the important existential questions, and tease apart the difference between developing an identity and discovering our identity.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

43. 8 - This is MYU
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"I’m not just one of a kind, and you’re not just one of a kind, and we are each not just one of a kind; we are one of an eternity. No pressure! Each of us has come with a gift. And if we do not give our gift, the world misses out." Mary Beth Ingham

We experience our identity in three distinct spheres or points of contact. Me. You. Us.

Coming into our own as a Me is a very empowering experience. To step out in courage and share our gifts, talents, innate and developed qualities is our birthright and our calling.

But it's not just about Me, it's also about You. Each of us can hold up a mirror for one another to show the beauty, purpose, and value in someone else's life. To call out the goodness in You is one of the highest expressions of Me.

But it's bigger yet, there's more than Me and You, there's also Us. Us is the cosmic painting, or tapestry, composed of all the lines of colour of each individual. It's a masterpiece or a mess, but we're all in there, together.

Our life is defined by all three points of identity. And it's the dynamic interplay between these three that creates a resonance in our life and imbue our being with its "one of an eternity" quality, something John Duns Scotus, 12th-century philosopher, and theologian, called "thisness".

"This" is Me. You. Us.

Join me in this episode as I attempt to explain our "one of an eternity" quality with scenes from my favourite musical and Netflix series; and as I draw from my professional music background to illustrate the ineffable.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

44. 7 - Served by the Slice
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Humble pie, coming right up!

We humans seem to swing between two ends of the humility spectrum: false humility and forgetting humility. False humility is actually low self-esteem, low self-worth. Forgetting humility is an exaggeration of self, it's arrogance. Neither are expressions of true self.

How do we find true humility? Can we land in the middle of the spectrum?

Maybe we find that sweet spot when we admit what we don't know and are willing to let go of what we think we know.

True humility is the posture of a child and a willingness to open oneself to an expanding and evolving understanding of the universe, our own knowledge and experience.

What “we know” right now is temporary, passing, and momentary. We don't have to know it all. We can't.

We can choose to eat our humble pie. A slice is there to serve us while being served to us.

Join me in this podcast episode as I share a personal story of the painful consequence of my own arrogance, the quest for true humility, and learning to appreciate humble pie.

In-depth shownotes, images, links and other resources at Brad Toews.

45. 6 - No Sex for Lent
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In the Christian tradition Lent is a period of fasting. Fasting is a way of breaking a pattern, interrupting a loop in our life; it's a tool to help us re-orient and reset our behaviours.

Behaviour is rooted in desire, and though we can fast from our behaviour we can't fast from desire, nor should we. Desire can manifest in unhealthy and harmful behaviour, for sure, but desire itself is the deep voice of your heart.

Lent, or a time a fasting, can help us identify the desire beneath our behaviours. That thing we truly want.

However, desire has an inherent dilemma. Desire fulfilled is never as satisfying as we hope. And desire unfulfilled leaves us perpetually unsatisfied.

How do we live with the tension of desire? What do we do about the poison of possessing? Can we find satisfaction in dissatisfaction?

Join me in this podcast episode as we investigate the meaning of the desires beneath our behaviours and explore if it's possible to find pleasure in not getting what you want.

In-depth shownotes, images, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

46. 5 - Problems are not the Problem
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Michael Bernard Beckwith says that "Behind every problem, there's a question trying to ask itself. Behind every question, there's an answer trying to reveal itself. Behind every answer, there's an action trying to take place. And behind every action, there's a way of life trying to be born..."

How does a problem have the power to lead you to "a way of life trying to be born"? The power lies in the kind of questions we ask.

Are you asking disempowering questions that seek answers in control, blame, and judgement, of self and others? How do we open up to empowering questions that seek answers in surrender, listening, and engagement?

In a culture of blame and finger pointing it's hard to face the truth about problems. Problems are not the problem. We are the problem.

But in that discomforting reality also lies the truth that if we are part of the problem we are part of the solution, the very means by which "a way of life trying to be born" comes into existence.

Join me in this podcast episode as we explore the reality behind every problem, discuss the difference between empowering and disempowering questions, and discover that the source of our problems is also where we find the raw material for the solution.

In-depth shownotes, images, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

47. 4 - People on Pedestals
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Why do we put people on pedestals? As a society and as individuals we idolize and elevate certain people. We want to hold them in a higher position, superior to ourselves and others.

Why do we seek a pedestal? And can the pedestal deliver what our fragile sense of self is always hungering for - to be seen, known, and recognized?

The pedestal cannot provide what we seek. It's too small, too impermanent. It doesn't hold the power we think it does. It's never enough.

What pedestal are you seeking? What ladder are you climbing to get there? And is your ladder even leaning in the right direction.

Join me in this podcast episode as we take an honest look at people on pedestals, others and ourselves.

In-depth shownotes, images, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

48. 3 - Small Feet, Big Rooms
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Doors stand as an invitation. Asking us to walk through, into a new space, a new room.

Are you growing too large for the room you're in? Are you feeling confined? Maybe you're really comfortable with the familiarity of this room but you're curious about the door and what's on the other side.

Your feet might be small, everyone's are, but they are exactly the tool you need to walk through that door. The new rooms in our life feel unknown, like the lights haven't all been turned on. You might feel a little lost and disoriented in this larger space, but think of all the possibilities there are to explore.

Join me in this podcast as we consider our own two feet, the invitation of the door, and take a peek at the bigger room on the other side.

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49. 2 - 2-2=4
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No one would argue with the statement that 2+2=4. A simple conversation with an elementary student will confirm this for you. But is it possible that subtraction just might lead to addition? A subtraction of old technologies, actions, and ideas.

We live according to the certainty of calculations. However, at some point in life that math doesn’t seem to add up anymore and the only way we can move into a different way of thinking, living, or innovating is through a mode of subtraction or surrender.

Can you let go of what you know, what you've been taught is the predetermined answer, in the hopes and expectation that what could be true, the unexpected math, might actually be better?

Join me in this podcast episode as I invite you to re-think some of your current calculations.

In-depth shownotes, images, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.

50. 1 - Dream Yourself Awake
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Should you really follow your dreams? What does it even mean, “follow your dreams"? Sometimes we get pulled into a dream as an alternate world to reality, especially when reality sucks. And why is it, when we accomplish what we set out to achieve, what we dreamed to make real, we are so often met with disillusionment, disappointment, and dissatisfaction?

Where did we go wrong? Is it possible we dreamed the wrong dream?

Join me in this podcast as I explore answers to these questions, insight that is within reach of where you are - right now, right here.

In-depth shownotes, images, links, and other resources at Brad Toews.