Allan Blackwell: Welcome to your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower, brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and 30 day free trial audibletrial.com/your20minutepodcast. Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle, or MP3 player. Now, here’s your host, David Brower.
David Brower: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with your 20 Minute Podcast and our guest today is Christopher Shea from Life’s Journey. He helps you find peace, addiction recovery, he does life coaching, counseling. He spent over 20 years in the addiction counseling field as a clinician and administrator. He’s gone on to do so many things like Life’s Journey. He’s got a great blog there. He is a Director of Campus Ministry at a high school in Maryland, Adjunct Professor in the Family Studies and Community Development Department of the School of Liberal Arts at Townsend University, and McDaniel College’s Graduate School of Counseling. Good Lord, man. How do you have time to see any clients?
Chris Shea: Sometimes I wonder, but I do get in a good five plus a day. I don’t know.
David Brower: Chris, welcome to the show. It’s good to have you here, man. I’m excited to talk to you.
Chris Shea: Hey, it’s great to be on the show. I really appreciate it.
David Brower: You bet. Tell me, how did you get started in this? I know from watching some of your videos and stuff it was like here’s this epiphany you had a young man and it just kind of carried you through, does that seem right?
Chris Shea: Yeah, pretty much. I’ve been working in the counseling and addiction field for a little over 20 years. Yeah, recently looking more on life coaching and helping people to discover their inner peace. A lot of that came about through my own journey of, well, I guess we’re talking about eight years now, or so.
David Brower: Okay.
Chris Shea: I used to tell people three to four years, now we’ve gotten up to eight. Where does time go?
David Brower: Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
Chris Shea: I guess it does.
David Brower: Your life’s journey, four years ago or eight years ago, whichever calendar you’re looking at, tell me about that.
Chris Shea: Typically, I’m a Type A person. I’m always going to be one who tries to stay busy. Life, for me, just got so busy, and so filled with anxiety, and so out of focus that I decided to take a change. I got out of the administrative scene, got out of the corporate world, moved out of the city into the country, and that’s when I took the job with the high school. That first summer, having a summer off, after that first academic year, well, that wasn’t good for somebody like me.
David Brower: Right. Yeah, I understand.
Chris Shea: Yeah, I didn’t really know what to do with myself and it really hit me hard. Looking back, in a very good way. It was a time that I really needed to take stock and, in taking stock, I started writing my blog. As time has gone on, it’s grown from just a blog to the coaching work, to the speaking, writing, all the things I’m doing right now.
David Brower: To me, and I do blogs, podcasts, what have you, but to me, it’s like the 21st century of journaling. I know lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of people that still journal. I have friends that have 200 journals. The way my brain works, it’s more electronically than it is on paper. Is that how you transformed yourself? How you discovered yourself, was through the blog?
Chris Shea: Most definitely. What I really decided to do that first summer was work on journaling. I had done journaling in the past with great success, so I was going to do it again; but this time I figured, well, with the Internet the way it was, and technology, and all, let me just put this online. If anybody cares to read it, that’s great, and maybe they can gain some insight or leave a comment and help me to gain some insight.
David Brower: Nice.
Chris Shea: If nobody read it, that was fine, too. That really was the attitude of this is really for me and anything beyond that is going to be a bonus, the way that I looked at it.
David Brower: Well, I think anytime you have a gift of being able to put something out there that is authentic and still very vulnerable, I think people are attracted to that.
Chris Shea: That’s what I was finding and I really was surprised that people were reading the blog and people were commenting. I moved into a bit of the social media, eventually moved into doing a podcast. Things just continued to evolve as I realized that people were hungry for the message. The more that I was growing and understanding my own transition in life, the more I was realizing others are doing the same thing. Why should we all be reinventing the wheel, maybe I can find the right way of getting my message out and help other people to do the same.
David Brower: What is the message?
Chris Shea: The long and short of it is the message is inner peace and finding your own inner peace. I look at that as different from success and happiness. I think most people are looking for success and happiness in life and that’s where they’re finding failure. It’s not working for them.
David Brower: I don’t know if it’s a buzzword, but it’s certainly a word that has come into my world in the last year and a half in a heavy onslaught and that is mindfulness and being able to learn different ways to be mindful, whether it’s inner peace, whether it’s dieting, whether it’s relationships. I’m sure that plays a part in your world, right?
Chris Shea: Most definitely. One of the interesting things, and as I look back at my 20 some years of counseling work, we didn’t call it mindfulness, but that’s what I was doing with my clients. Right now, that is the big word, and I’m not a big fan of buzzwords, but mindfulness has been around for a millennium. It doesn’t matter what we call it these days, the technique is tried-and-true and even, recently, scientifically studied and proven.
Yeah, everybody is doing that. My version of the mindfulness is really looking at what can we do while we are living in the present moment to find inner peace within ourselves? It’s not an inner peace which is selfish, it’s an inner peace that’s going to lead us then outside of ourselves to then help other people and hopefully help society as a whole.
David Brower: In this world of media gratification, and going 100 miles an hour, and having six jobs, and all of those different things that some of us are involved with, figuring out a way just to be present is very, very tough, right?
Chris Shea: Extremely tough. There are times I still struggle with that and I really work with a lot of my clients who are struggling with that, because we are distracted and bombarded with noise and information. It’s just incredible.
David Brower: Yeah.
Chris Shea: Really finding that balance of not getting rid of technology, but really using the technology as a tool, which is a part of our life, but not the end-all be-all of our life.
David Brower: Right, even though sometimes we think that.
Chris Shea: Oh, definitely. I’m at fault for that, as well.
David Brower: I told my wife just the other day, I go, “Man, I am so connected.” Then I justify it in some way shape or form, but there are days when you just go … On vacation, I turn it all off, but that’s about the only time. It’s fascinating and frustrating, both at the same time.
Chris Shea: Yes, and I agree. I think part of the issue is technology blossoms so quickly, we really didn’t have time to adjust to it.
David Brower: That’s true and it changes so fast that it’s hard to keep up. You are kind of in that tunnel all the time until you figure out a way to pull yourself out a little bit, and that’s where you come in. Getting people out of that tunnel long enough to figure out a way to find inner peace, be present when it’s important, and put yourself first a little bit, even if it’s five minutes a day, I would assume.
Chris Shea: Exactly. I’m not asking people to do a lot, as far as it goes, to formalized type of meditation. 5 to 10 minutes a day, if that’s the best that you can do, then do the best that you can do.
David Brower: There you go, yeah.
Chris Shea: It’s also, to me, all about perspectives and changing our views on things. We could be doing that all day long. Even if it’s formalized meditation is a short period, our entire day could be shifted in perspective if we took the time to figure that out and try to find out what’s healthy for us and what’s going to help lead us to that inner peace.
David Brower: You kind of walked through that, whether it was by design or not, when you left the corporate world, moved to the country, started discovering yourself. You were kind of putting those pieces in motion, whether it was conscious or not. You really started to walk the walk, didn’t you?
Chris Shea: Exactly. A lot of what I write, a lot of what I talk about, it’s coming from reflecting back over these years and looking at those experiences. It wasn’t planned out this way. I didn’t have a strategic plan for the next five-year vision or anything like that. It unfolded and luckily, gratefully, I was open to the unfolding, for the most part.
David Brower: Right.
Chris Shea: That’s what I reflect on nowadays when I’m giving talks, or writing, or whatever I’m doing. Focusing on what have I learned through this, so that, again, nobody else really has to reinvent the wheel. It worked for me, I’m sure it will work for other people, so here’s what worked for me, give it a shot.
David Brower: If a Type A can do that, guess what?
Chris Shea: Anybody can do it.
David Brower: My point exactly. It seems to me, and I think I saw this on one of your videos, if I’m right, but there are so many people out there giving lectures, speaking at groups, having stadiums filled with people or whatever. Teaching them what they know by way of, here, buy my book. I find that troubling, because it’s not as genuine and authentic as your approach is.
Chris Shea: I appreciate your latter point. That’s really what I’m trying to put across. I’m not going to call out anybody, but-
David Brower: No, no, no. Absolutely.
Chris Shea: … it does seem to me, in what you’re saying, as I look around, that I do begin to question what is it that you are asking people to do? When somebody says, “I can teach you how to be successfully financially. Buy my book and you’ll be financially successful as me.” The cynical side of me looks at them and says, “Well, yeah, the secret of your successes people buy your book and you become rich.”
David Brower: Exactly.
Chris Shea: How is that helping them? You’re probably telling them to write a book and sell it. That’s where what I look at in life is, honestly, and this is going to probably sound horrible, but this is just the way I am, I really don’t care if people are successful or not successful, if their life is going well or not going well, to be honest. What I care about is do you have inner peace through it, because life is always-
David Brower: That’s excellent. Yeah.
Chris Shea: Life is always going to throw us curve balls. Life is always going to have hardships and things like that. I’m not here trying to say to people, “Hey, if you follow a certain formula, guess what? Your life is going to be wonderful forever and ever and ever.” No. Hopefully, you’ll find that inner peace so that when life doesn’t go well, you can figure for yourself, well, how best do I get through this? Do I have the tools to make my way through this?
David Brower: There you go. Now you’re talking. I couldn’t agree more, man. I know you speaking groups, and I know you have clients one-on-one, and I know you have a couple of books out there. It seems to me the overall approach of all of that is just exactly what you said, is to help individuals find their inner peace and, you want to buy my book? Great. You want to bring somebody along to the lecture, great. If you want to make a million dollars, go to the guy next door.
Chris Shea: Pretty much, yeah, and make a donation to me.
David Brower: Well, yeah, of course.
Chris Shea: Of course.
David Brower: Got to have a little food on the table while you’re living in the country, come on.
Chris Shea: I can’t grow all my food. Yeah. That’s exactly the way that I look at it. Honestly, I’m out to get the message across and I’m trying to use technology in getting out into the crowds as any means that’s available to get that message out. Yeah, if you can get it through listening to a podcast, or buying my book, or going to a talk, any of the above, none of the above, whatever it was. A freebie of just reading my blog.
David Brower: Right.
Chris Shea: You don’t have to pay anything to read my blog. I just want the message out there because I honestly think we could live in a much better society if people really spent the time to find their inner peace.
David Brower: Couldn’t agree more.
Chris Shea: I think people are trying that, they just don’t know how to do it.
David Brower: They don’t know how to do it. I think once they start to taste it, if that’s the right word, then the word-of-mouth goes along. People start looking at people with a different heart and a different look. It’s like, what changed in you? What’s different about you from a month ago? They have this conversation and they learn about inner peace. Well, I want some of that. How do I do that?
Chris Shea: Exactly. To me, that’s part of changing perspective and the thing really holds true, if I start looking for goodness around me, I will find it. Many of us that say, “There is no good to be found,” are you really looking for? Or are you still stuck on all the negatives? To me, that’s part of that perspective shift.
David Brower: Yeah.
Chris Shea: If you start looking for, you’ll find it, and when you find it, you’ll start feeling it. I hope others notice what you’re feeling.
David Brower: I agree. I’ll share you a short story. I call it my 101 days from hell. It was April 2007. I was diagnosed with … No, what did I have? Yeah, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The next month, I had back surgery. In June, I had my prostate removed. Nine days after that, I had a stroke. I survived all that and all of a sudden the world of gratitude and to my life and I’ve never looked back, to be honest with you. I have a gratitude tattoo, for crying out loud.
When I go to bed at night, I’m filled with gratitude. When I get up in the morning, I’m filled with gratitude. If I have to bend over during the day and pick up some dog poop, okay, I’m good with that, too. Whatever people can find to change their perspective and find that inner peace, and you’ve got lots and lots of tools and expertise to help them do that.
Chris Shea: Again, it’s what I’ve found through my life. I appreciate you sharing your story, because what I look at in perspective shift is the whole fact that we have choice.
David Brower: Yeah.
Chris Shea: Through that ordeal of yours, you had a choice of finding that gratitude and living that gratitude or sitting back as a victim.
David Brower: Yeah.
Chris Shea: Then that’s how you’re going to feel, and that’s what you’re going to project, and that’s what you’re going to bring towards you. To me, it really is, let’s make a choice in life. When people say, “I want to live a positive life. I want to feel positive.” My comeback usually is, “Why are you choosing that then?”
David Brower: Right. If you want it so damned bad, come on.
Chris Shea: Yeah, then choose it and do it.
David Brower: Exactly.
Chris Shea: When somebody says, “That’s too easy,” it’s like, why does it have to be hard? Why can’t it be as easy as choosing to do it?
David Brower: Yeah, exactly right. We are running out of time here in a couple minutes. I want to make sure that people are able to reach out to you. Lifesjourneyblog.com is a great, great website, folks. You’ll learn more about Christopher through media, price, you can listen to his podcast, he’s got videos, books, interviews, workbooks, life coaching packages, web … The whole deal right there and a lot of free information to give you some insight on Chris’ background and how he got where he is. Hopefully, open up a little bit of interest in you. A couple of your books: “Coping With Adversity in Life”, “The Journey to Inner Peace”. Those are all powerful, powerful topics. If I remember right, you have a third book out, right?
Chris Shea: Third one is on its way. Hopefully, any day now.
David Brower: Okay.
Chris Shea: That’s a workbook focused on learning about who am I?
David Brower: Wow, I love that. You are touching a lot of lives, brother, and I hope this podcast touches even one. That’ll be awesome. If people want to get out and reach out to you, I should say, they need to go to lifesjourneyblog.com and all your contact information is on there. Everything about your life, coaching, community support, everything is on there. It’s a very wonderful website and easy to follow.
Chris Shea: Thank you. I’ve had a lot of people help me with that.
David Brower: I bet. I know that drill, absolutely. Hey, Chris, it’s been a pleasure, man. May God continue to bless you and continue to touch lives as you are led. You are on a wonderful mission. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you.
Chris Shea: Thank you and the same. I really appreciate your time and the sharing of your story, as well. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s all great stuff.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.