The band brings back Jenn Zahrt to catch up on how the winds of change are moving everyone. The gang gets into how to roll with change and work magic to aid it too.
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ANDREW: [00:00:03] Hey everybody, welcome to episode 100 of The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I decided to get the band together for this episode. So, I am here with Stacking Skulls, being Fabeku and Aidan and myself and we have corralled [00:00:18] Jen Zahrt to come in and add to the mix today. So, hey, everybody!
ANDREW: It's three months since we recorded, four months since we recorded, what's going on in your worlds? How are things, what's up? [00:00:34]
AIDAN: I've been good. I'm just enjoying the spring. Weather has been lovely. We got new kittens and yeah, everything is good. I, since the last time, we crested the one [00:00:49] year on Six Ways. So that's kind of wild, is to realize that that's been out and perking for more than a year.
AIDAN: And yeah, it's just, just keepin' on!
ANDREW: That's great. [00:01:04] How 'bout you, Fabeku?
FABEKU: Uh, good. It's been, yeah, probably the best thing for me. I've been doing tons of art, just cranking out tons and tons of art on an almost daily basis, which is good and [00:01:19] fun and exciting and then writing like crazy, usually in the middle of the night, which kind of sucks, but you know, at least it's getting done. Yeah, digging the spring/summerish weather that's finally happening, and [00:01:35] yeah, it's good, mostly things are good. Tea, donuts, cats, you know, usual shit. So.
ANDREW: Usual stuff.
FABEKU: Yeah. For sure.
ANDREW: Curtains being destroyed.
FABEKU: Yes, every day, every day. [laughs]
ANDREW: How about you, Jen, [00:01:50] you went on a bit of an adventure?
JEN: Yeah. I realized I'm on day 87 of my trip.
JEN: And it's been um, three continents, and also, you know, [00:02:05] I thought to myself like when I go home, I'm not really going home to anywhere specific and that it's been almost just over 400 days since my apartment flooded last year. So, I really haven't been home for quite a long time. Yeah, so [00:02:20] it's a wild ride.
ANDREW: How do you find that sense of continuously shifting right? Because since the flood you've been sort of on the move in one sense or another that whole time, right? [00:02:35]
JEN: Yeah, pretty much. I always have traveled to England for work. So, when I come here, I feel . . . That's where I am right now. I'm in Bristol, United Kingdom right now. So, I'm staying with somebody who I've stayed with for longer than I ever lived in the apartment that I had, so [00:02:50] it feels more like home than my home did, but it doesn't have any of my stuff in it. So that's a continuity. And yeah, it really makes you think about continuity and change. I really enjoyed the cross-country trip that I took last year, [00:03:05] and I went to Mongolia last year as well. So, these things were sort of moments of excitement and I was staying in a temporary place in Seattle. But yeah, so it's just kind of, it's been kind of having to roll with it. And ironically, [00:03:20] it's been amazing creatively because I've had all of this energy unlocked to just do my stuff, you know, like, and try to do magic on the run. [laughs] So, yeah.
ANDREW: And how is magic on the run?
JEN: [00:03:37] Not as easy as you'd think. Well, I mean, maybe you wouldn't think it's easy.
JEN: But yeah, it can happen. You can do it. It's possible. You just have to get really creative and not be too attached to certain things. You know, you can't reify like, that object, you [00:03:52] know, you sort of have to just launch a sigil when you need to launch a sigil and not be too concerned about being precious about the things that you're using.
ANDREW: But do you think it's changed your, the way you're approaching stuff going [00:04:07] forward, or do you think you'll sort of revert to what you were up to before once that's more of an option?
JEN: I don't really know. The astrology's showing me that it's going to be quite a while until I have something that people [00:04:22] would consider fixed and stable. So . . . [laughs] Knowing that, I'm just kind of like, okay, you know what? Here we go, swim, you know, you can't really fight it. So I'm really trying to go with it. Yeah.
AIDAN: We're trying to pretend that we're being, that we're fixed and stable but we expected this. [00:04:37]
JEN: Well, that's just it, you know, it is actually an illusion!
AIDAN: It's probably a load of crap, so . . .
JEN: It's an illusion, and sadly, Andrew knows all too well! You know, you have this thing where you're like, it's all good, it's going, it's going, and suddenly, boosh, it's gone. And like what are you going to do, you know?
JEN: And you just have to keep going, you know?
AIDAN: Well, that was my interpretation of Andrew's stream of questioning, is he's like, okay! [laughter] What can I dig out of here that would be helpful?
ANDREW: Right? For sure! For folks who may not know, on March [00:05:08] 20th, my store had a fire and basically everything was destroyed. You know, nobody was . . . Nobody was hurt seriously. Firemen had some issues with smoke during the fire. But other than that, everybody was okay, and they're okay now. [00:05:23] But yeah, it's a big change, right? You know, I've been running the shop for six, almost seven years, I've been in that space for almost, for over 5, you know, and it's . . . Yeah, what can you do, right? [00:05:38] Uranus transits your midheaven and you're like, "Oh, I guess I'm changing a whole lot of stuff about where I'm going."
ANDREW: Unexpectedly, right?
JEN: Yeah. Exactly.
ANDREW: Yeah, and you know, I mean, kind of what I hear from what you're saying, Jen, which is what I've been [00:05:53] really trying to do is: Okay, how do you just lean into that change, right?
ANDREW: Instead of being like, "Oh my God, how do I get back to where I was?" How do you, how do you kind of lean into that? How do you accept that and embody that? You know and I, [00:06:08] because you know, after the fire, there's so many questions about whether or not, like what would be the future of the space that I was in. I have the answer now. It's going to be a very long time and I'm not going back there. So, that's done. [00:06:24] You know, what's, what do you do next? How do you do stuff? You know?
ANDREW: And when you've been doing it for a while, it's often, if, it's often so much easier to sustain than it is to step [00:06:39] back into it as if you're starting over, you know? And so, you know, for me, the the prospect of retail is a big question mark, as it stands because rents in Toronto are insane, and because I'd been there [00:06:54] for such a long time. I had such a good deal, right? So.
ANDREW: Looking at all those possibilities, but also endeavoring to lean deeply into that change and be like: Okay, what what can I do? What would I like to do? Where's my excitement about this [00:07:09] stuff? You know? And so, just last week, from the recording of this, I took over a space that I'm calling The Hermit's Lab, and it's a space to, you know, see clients and teach, but also to work magic [00:07:24] and make products and make art and you know, really kind of get into what I've been enjoying anyways, which is the, the process of, like, you know, collecting plants and making things from them, and you know, doing stuff like that, that sort [00:07:39] of more, more, more active magic and craftsmanship, and more stuff that comes out of, you know, my, my sense of connection to the land and the plants and the things that are here, you know, [00:07:54] so, yeah.
JEN: Yeah, yeah, it's, it just clears the decks in a way, and you think differently because all the potential things that used to be habits are completely shifted and you can't rely on that default mode anymore.
ANDREW: Yeah, exactly. [00:08:10]
AIDAN: Yeah, it is an interesting thing to think about cause there's a way that I look at . . . I know what Fabeku's up to, I know what y'all are up to, and the shifts that I did in the shop and everything kind of produced that same thing. You know, Blu and I just looked at it and went: [00:08:25] Okay, if we do this, we'll be able to pay the rent, and so, let's just do that and see where we end up and what makes sense to do in there. And we're way deep in that process because it's, it is, it's like, yeah, we've gotten into the habit we were in, even though we've [00:08:40] moved a lot, and switching that up changes, changes the possibilities.
FABEKU: Yeah. I think it's interesting because I was thinking about, I mean for me, a lot of the flux and shift . . . It hasn't been location-based so much, because that's not, [00:08:55] that's hasn't been much of my experience. But you know, there's just been weird health shit in the last handful of years and stuff just pops up out of the blue like, every, everything is totally cool, and the next thing you're in the emergency room. And they're like, "Oh, you could have died." And it's like, what the fuck is happening, right?
And then [00:09:10] on the other side of that things are different, and you, like Jen was saying, you, you end up doing magic differently. Again, for me, not because I'm traveling and don't have access to my stuff, because there's, there's different physical capacity, there's different energetic capacity, or there's just different bandwidth. And [00:09:25] you know, I was thinking, I think originally, one of my main drivers in getting into magic was I wanted . . . This was, you know, 30 whatever years ago. So it shows the sort of naivete of youth, but it was this desire [00:09:40] to somehow control the chaos, right? Like if I can, if I can just get a firm enough grip on it, then shit won't pop up out of the blue and shit doesn't happen and these weird things . . . you know, of course, all this anxiety, fear-driven kind of stuff. And then at some point, you realize: "Oh, [00:09:55] that's, that's not the way life works." Right?
So instead now, it feels to me like magic is more about, for me, figuring out how to sort of surf that chaos, you know, how to stay on the board, instead of getting taken under by the waves and drowning [00:10:10] in the process and, realizing as the wave travels, as it goes, life looks different, magic looks different, the responses to magic looks different, and just learning to be way more fluid with that then, then I ever really thought I would be or could be, [00:10:25] or wanted to be, really, so.
ANDREW: Yeah, I mean, I think that the, the magical cultivation of resilience and capacity to go with the flow. You know, it's [00:10:40] not, it's not sexy. Right? You know?
FABEKU: Not at all. Not at all.
JEN: I think I make it pretty sexy. I have to differ!
ANDREW: I think we all make it pretty sexy. But I think if one was to publish a book that says, you know, The Magical [00:10:55] Guide to Resilience. I'm not sure it'd be a best-seller, you know?
JEN: Are you challenging me? Are you challenging? That's a challenge! I'm writing this down.
AIDAN: Don't worry, I think we could have--
ANDREW: I'll write a chapter, it'll be lovely.
AIDAN: Exactly. Surviving the chaos . . .
AIDAN: . . . while generating chaos. Yeah.
ANDREW: [00:11:19] But yeah, that's, I mean, that is a lot of what's been going on. Right? And a lot of what I've been doing, you know, I mean, I only recently returned to divining for myself. I was just like, "I don't know. What am I going to ask? Is it going to be okay? Is it going to be okay? Is it going to be okay? [00:11:34] It's like, well, you know, just work at it, work at making it okay, as opposed to like, you know, going to the cards all the time and you know that kind of stuff. And you know, and I think that a lot of the, [00:11:50] the stuff that makes getting through these challenging times possible, is about just showing up where you're at and being, "Okay, you know, this is, this is where my health capacity is. This is where my energetic capacity is. This is . . ." [00:12:05] You know, it's like, you just, you go there and then you work from that place and then, that's either the new limit for the time being, or a permanent limit or whatever, but you just kind of keep trucking with that, right? I mean, I think that's, [00:12:20] that's the deal.
AIDAN: Absolutely, and I think it's super interesting because it's a . . . There was a guy who was one of the co-trainers at a strength-training seminar thing that I did years and years ago, who dropped [00:12:35] off the map. He had kind of a highly relevant website for me for a while in the . . . Around 2010, is when I was kind of really involved in his stuff. I don't remember him from the seminar, but I know he was there assisting. And he just popped [00:12:50] back up on my radar because he had, in the interim, become a Green Beret medic, and then got blown up and lost both of his legs. And the thing that was, is the most fascinating [00:13:05] about that, to me, is, it's like it really made me look at how much I kind of . . . Because the guy looks great. You know. He's like . . . His target is like, "I won't be able to ski this year, but next year I'm skiing." You know? And he's got that kind of [00:13:20] capability to ride that, go, "Okay, I did this thing that truly mattered to me, and this is part of what came from that, and so that's just what it is, and let's continue, you know?" And I think it's been very helpful for me, that he popped [00:13:35] up when he did because I was kind of being a whiny whiny person about some stuff. And it's like, oh, yeah. No. No, all of this is kind of because of how I chose to live my life and all of that. And I haven't had anything severe happen. It's all good. It's all, it's all stuff I can [00:13:50] functionally work with, you know?
JEN: Yeah. I mean the length of my lease-less-ness or home-free-ness, I would say, is my own fault because I could have easily flipped around and said, "Oh, my apartment flooded, let me sign a lease," but my goal was actually to travel, [00:14:06] and then I just didn't stop.
JEN: And I haven't stopped and now I'm actually getting to the point where I'm realizing what my limits are, because I've finally met them, but I didn't, I hadn't met them until this point, you know? And so, and it's good like, now I know, but I just kept going, [00:14:21] you know, it wasn't enough. I had to go to Mongolia. I had to spend three months in Africa, you know? And now I finally get it and it's like, "Oh, I think I could probably be okay with signing a lease now, you know?" But for 400 days, it wasn't okay, you know, and I was choosing not to have that, so I wasn't [00:14:36] complaining about having a home. It was more like, I'm, I just, wasn't done with my trip. You know. [laughs] I was choosing to continue it as much as it needed to be, I guess.
AIDAN: Yeah. Well, it's [00:14:51] interesting. I was, I've been thinking a lot about you, Andrew as you roll through with the Instagram feed and stuff and seeing your thing. And it is such an interesting . . . It's an interesting experience when kind of life makes the move, right? Because [00:15:06] we like to have that impression that we make the move, and in general, we just don't, right? [laughs] Or we pick the really safe minor ones, and then something really major that is seemingly random, you know, from our control [00:15:21] side. And it's been interesting to see because I can kind of cycle going like, "Okay, what are all the things he's got to figure out now?"
AIDAN: Because I know you're not really . . . There are some folks that, that happens, and they go, "Okay, [00:15:37] 90 days, I'm back in business as I was before, bigger and better," right? That's kind of, we're not going to tip. We're not necessarily going to take any information out of what occurred. What do you find is kind of, what's the process [00:15:52] that you have going on with you about that? What are you thinking about? What do you find is brought up by this?
ANDREW: So, I think that leading up to the fire, like always, I'm always sort of like, looking at: [00:16:08] Where am I? Where am I enjoying stuff? Where am I not enjoying stuff? Right? What are the challenges? And you know, I sort of had like an 18-month to two-year plan to shimmy stuff in different directions, right? And, you know, I had been finding myself [00:16:23] realizing that there were things that I wanted to do that having a retail store kind of acted more like an anchor to, you know? Going to a conference is a huge effort [00:16:38] when you have to make sure that the store is running in your absence. Right? Taking time off is more complicated when you don't have full, full-time staff and you have to kind of cover payroll and make sure everything's flowing around your work time. [00:16:54]
And I've been having this sort of impulse towards making more art, making a new deck, you know, like a bunch of stuff like that, and, and I didn't have any time for them. And not because I'm [00:17:09] like, horrible at managing my time, but between, you know, having, having two kids half the time and running the store, it's not a lot of spare time left over, you know? And so, when [00:17:24] this happened, my first impulse was like, I mean, I certainly felt that like, "Hey, you should decide stuff now, you should get going," and my first impulse was like, "I'm not doing anything for like two or three weeks. I'm just not going to think of a decision. I'm just [00:17:39] going to deal with immediate stuff, insurance and what-have-you," right? And then, and then, I felt this like, push, be like, you know, you should, you should re-establish something, you should whatever and I was like, "No, you should make a list of things [00:17:54] that you would like," you know? And it . . . One of the things that it started with, so, in Toronto, I live, some people would say downtown, but kind of downtown-ish. Right? And when you go north to where the shop was, there's, for Toronto, [00:18:09] not for where Aidan lives, a big hill, right?
ANDREW: And it used to be that I cycled everywhere, right? But I'm a person who gets kind of sweaty, and [00:18:24] in the winter, it's dangerous, because we get snow and ice, right? To go up and down that hill. And I don't have a shower at the space, or anything like that. And I was thinking about where it would be nice to be and kind of one of the, like what I would like? I was like, you know, it'd be really nice, [00:18:39] really nice, if I could just cycle to work again all the time. Like if I could just not take transit very much, and just, you know, just cycle, and then as I was sort of kicking around looking at opportunities, you know, there's . . . [00:18:54] I was out strolling around with my partner, Sarah, and we saw this place in Chinatown. And I was like, "How great would it be, to like, you know, be, be just 15 minutes from my house?" As opposed to like the, [00:19:09] you know, somewhere between 40 minutes and an hour that it takes depending on transit. You know? I was like, "That'd be really nice," and it just sort of became this like question of like, what's possible? And what can I make happen? And so on? And then, [00:19:26] my other partner, Erin, sent me a link to this space that I ended up getting, which is literally a five-minute walk from my house. And it's just kind of, it's amazing. Right?
And so now, they're these changes that happen where, [00:19:43] things that I wanted to do but wasn't doing because of time, things that I wanted to do, like, I've been thinking about running a men's circle for a couple years now, but it doesn't make any sense if I have [00:19:58] to commute an hour each way to get there to run it or go in that much earlier than my regular day. But now, I'm like, oh, that's a five-minute walk. I can just, I can do it on any day that I feel like, and just be like, oh, yeah. I'm going to walk down to the shop. [00:20:13] You know? I'm gonna be there in five minutes. I'll be there a few minutes early, we'll hang out, we'll do our thing, we'll go home or whatever. Like, it's easy, right? And you know, the, the prospect of, you know, I mean, having kids, it's easier now, but I live [00:20:28] in Toronto. I don't have a huge place. And having space to make art and really like make a mess and whatever, you know, it's complicated, right? And leaving out my paints and stuff. I mean, the kids are great about it now, but it's like, there's not a lot of room, you know. The place [00:20:43] where . . . I either was thinking about setting up some space and giving up the walk-in closet in my room, glamorous space, right? Or it's the kitchen table, which you can't leave it on indefinitely, right? But now I have this space where I'm just going to have a permanent [00:20:58] worktable and easel and wall space for doing big stuff and you know, these kinds of things.
Because that was one of the other things. I was like, thinking about . . . People kept . . . People have been making references between the Orisha deck I made and Basquiat's art. And [00:21:13] I remember how much I loved how big a lot of his stuff was. And I'm like, I would love to be painting big, but I just have nowhere to do that. Well, you know, I've got 25 feet of wall space here. It's got enough and it's just, I can have it [00:21:28] on the floor. I can do whatever I want on it, you know. So, so it's this process of like looking for where the excitement is, looking at . . . You know, I sat down one night and made, [00:21:43] made this big list of, okay, kind of panicking about the future, is how do I, how do I make the kind of money I was making before? Which I need to support everything that I do in my life. How do I get to that? [00:21:58] You know? And my partner Sarah and I made this list of like, okay, well, what's everything that you can or have or would like to do for money, you know? It's just like going down a list of all these things. You know? One of the great realizations was, I was like, okay, what do I need [00:22:13] for these things? And the only one that requires a store was retail, right?
ANDREW: You know, that was the only one on the list that actually required it, you know. There's like, a whole, you know, field notes little pocket journal of like list of like 25 [00:22:28] things that I could do or have done or, you know, are currently doing, that I can just opt into instead, right? And it's just, so, it's not like I've been sort of, I don't know, [00:22:43] aimlessly leaning into abundance mentality and thinking that I'm going to just manifest everything without kind of thinking about it or working at it, but it's a lot more like I've been looking at possibilities, challenging assumptions, [00:22:59] looking, looking to keep an open-ended set of possibilities, you know? Like, even the place that I'm in now, you know, the advertisement said that you had to be willing to sign a year lease and I, when I came and I was, met the landlord and was getting shown around, I was like, [00:23:14] "So, what do you think about six months, because this is my situation" and they were like, "Yeah, that's cool. We can do that." You know, like, it's like, let's see what's possible, you know, and I think that when that happens then, you know, more becomes possible [00:23:29] and, you know, I've been thinking about stuff that I never even considered before, you know?
One of the projects that I'm going to start undertaking is I'm going to hand paint a set of majors, [00:23:44] major tarot cards, and you know, and then depending on how that feels, maybe I'm going to offer to do that for people, you know?
ANDREW: Like, you know, it's like, my friend Sullivan, who from [00:23:59] Tarot Sheet Revival, who does the Budapest Tarot and other stuff. Hey Sullivan, if you're listening, this is, this, this is a question I'm going to email you about soon. I'm like, he mixed cards in the traditional way, right? And he comes to Toronto sometimes. And that, you know, so he hand laminates all the layers, [00:24:14] and folds the background onto the front, and does all this stuff, I'm like how, let's do a workshop on that because like I want to learn, I'm sure there's lots of people that want to learn, you know, and so stuff that, that was never even on the table, that migrates in different directions starts to feel [00:24:29] really possible. And then also noticing the, like, yeah, that's what I want to spend my time doing, you know, really, really takes it that way, you know, so. Anyway, that's my long-winded rambling answer to your question, Aidan.
AIDAN: No, [00:24:44] that's awesome. And it syncs up with my kind of experience so well and it's interesting because I'm like, I don't have much resistance to change compared to most people, but I still do have that [00:24:59] thing?
AIDAN: And then I have all the kind of layers of worry that come along with, if you're going to make a big change and it's going to directly impact your ability to pay the bills and, you know, feed your people and all that stuff, but . . .
ANDREW: You've got kittens to take care of, right?
AIDAN: [00:25:16] I've got kittens to take care of! Kittens need beef!
AIDAN: Beef is the answer to all kitten ills, truly. A little off [00:25:31] and not right. We switched them to half beef and they're giant now and totally healthy. So, beef is the answer.
FABEKU: I think the piece of it that makes sense, in my experience. What you're talking about is that [00:25:47] that kind of figuring out where the zing is, you know, figuring out the things that are exciting, figuring out like it sort of, once the chaos happens, it creates this weird kind of break in state where, rather than just continue to roll through the list of shit [00:26:02] that you do every day and assume that that's the program and that's the thing, you have a moment where you either get to or have to look at that stuff and say wait, is this really the stuff I want to do? Is this the stuff that matters? is the stuff I'm excited about? Is this the stuff that drives me? It's [00:26:17] this, you know, whatever it is.
And you know, I mean it's certainly been, you know, kind of a big reassessing and reshuffling of some of that stuff for me, and you know, kind of redistributing the weight of attention and you know, what I'm, what I'm spending my time doing, and [00:26:32] you know, I think for me that kind of sinks up to that deeper idea of looking at that chaos and kind of relating to it as like sort of building materials. You know, it's like somebody takes it and throws it all up in the air and it's like, okay, now that it's everywhere, rather [00:26:47] than look at that as some tragedy, and not that there's not tragic components to it, obviously, but you know, rather than sort of drown in that, looking at okay, now that the deck has been reshuffled, how can I how can I reassemble this stuff? You know, what do I want to keep? [00:27:02] What do I want to toss out? And if this is what's left, then, you know, what is, what is the new, the new octave of stuff look like on the other side of this, this weird chaotic event, so.
ANDREW: Yeah. I mean, one of the things I find myself saying [00:27:17] sometimes to people around the Tower card is, you know, when when the Tower gets struck or whatever that disruption is, you have a choice, right? You can either be like Bugs Bunny in the cartoon sticking fingers in holes in the dam and hoping [00:27:32] that it's not coming down, or you can get at the sledgehammer and help, and then once it's disassembled, then you call in the architect and the engineers and, you know, work together to figure out what's happening next, right?
ANDREW: So. Mm-hmm. So, and I also think [00:27:47] that you know, one of the things, you know, to be clear too, because I think that there's a lot of "rah, rah, I just overcome stuff," out there, right, you know? And, like, this process [00:28:02] and what I'm talking about now, you know, it's almost three months post fire, you know, and, like, you know, I was in shock for the first two to three weeks, like literally just still physically in shock, you know, and [00:28:18] there were, there were times, you know, like I . . . I'm usually a person who has a lot of control over their mind, you know, I mean, I spent years sitting and meditating and training myself in different magical and sort of yogic [00:28:33] driven ways. So, like, for me to not be able to wrangle my mind back under to, you know, some semblance of control is, you know, it doesn't really happen much. And it totally happened after this, you know, I was out [00:28:49] at a concert, and I was I was just watching my friend play, and then this thought just came to my brain, which is your house is on fire, your house is totally burning down right now, and people are trying to call you, and you're in the concert and you can't hear them. And [00:29:04] I couldn't restrain it. I . . . In the end, I pulled my phone out and looked at it. I'm like, nobody's called me. If someone . . . at that point, I was like, okay, now, nobody's called me. Somebody would have called me if my place was on fire. There are lots of people who would get direct ahold of me. It's fine. But [00:29:19] you know, it's, it's important to really notice that stuff and to deal with that too, right?
ANDREW: Because even, you know, even as somebody who has, you know, a lot of experience sort of wrangling back their mind from various things, [00:29:35] there comes a point where it's just not controllable and that's fine. You know, it's acceptable. It's real, you know, and to, to work with that, you know? And like, I also, you know, I have a person I do peer counseling with, [00:29:50] and other friends I get a lot of support with, and, you know, my friend that I do peer counseling with was like, I'm available as much as you want, and I saw them like, a couple times a week for the first stretch, just you know, and just one-sided more than an exchange, because it's just [00:30:05] like, I just need the support. I just got, I just need to talk this through, you know? And so, I think that leaning into the possibilities is absolutely crucial, and, you know, dealing with the trauma of it, whatever [00:30:20] level that's at, is the other side of that equation, right? Because without that, you know, I feel like I would just carry the sense of worry about stuff going forward . . .
ANDREW: And it would make every exchange with things, you know, like, [00:30:35] you know, like when my landlord voided my lease, you know, that would be a re-triggering thing, when, you know, this happens, you know when you're sitting waiting for the insurance to tell you how much money they're going to give you, that'd be another thing, and you know, just keep stirring [00:30:50] it up and stirring it up. And instead, I'm like, you know, have done a lot of cleaning up of it and so, it's way way easier now. So, yeah.
FABEKU: Well, you know, one of the things that happened for me after the [00:31:05] other big health event last year, which was about . . . It was mid-April last year, and after that for like six to nine months every time I would have even a tiny sensation anywhere in my body that didn't seem completely normal, [00:31:20] I would freak the fuck out. It was like, that's it. It's happening again. I'm about to drop dead. What's going on? At one point, I was talking my doctor and I said "Listen, this is a thing that happens." And she said, "Right, you get that like people get PTSD or some version of PTSD from events like that [00:31:35] that pop up." And I was like, "What?" And she was like, you know, "Come on, like, this is a thing that happens to people." And so, I get that, I think that there . . . And, and I appreciate that you brought that up, because I do think that it gets a little . . . The conversations [00:31:50] about it get a little one-sided. I mean the possibility is great and that's useful and important and helpful and there is this other shit that you know, it just kind of goes along for the ride with these weird kind of chaotic life events.
And then figuring out how [00:32:05] to manage that and how like you said kind of clean it up, and for me it was a process, and it's still kind of a process sometimes, of, you know, like how do you peel, how do you peel those layers of that charge off of that thing to where, you know, when your, when your leg goes numb because you're sitting weird, you're [00:32:20] all of a sudden like, "I'm about to drop dead," and then you just lose your shit, you know, it's inaccurate and not helpful, you know? But I think that that's it and you know, one of the things that my doctor said to me, it was interesting, was she said, well, you know, over time, [00:32:35] just, that I get that you're not going to love this answer, but, she said, "Over time you'll get that you're actually not about to drop dead, you know, because these things have come and gone, and you know, they pass and you're still here and it's fine." And yeah, I didn't, I didn't really love [00:32:50] that answer too much. But, but that's it. I mean that is part of the, that sort of peeling off of the charge, and I think that's that's a huge part of the process. It's a huge part of the process, for sure.
JEN: Yeah, it took me a long time to feel that [00:33:05] charge dissipate. When I was in downtown Seattle, it hurt and that's one reason why I kept leaving, was because it hurt too much to be near my old apartment. I felt like it had somehow spontaneously rejected me and said no, you can't live in downtown Seattle anymore [00:33:20] and it was physically painful and it took . . . It wasn't until I got back from Mongolia that it started to be, and that was about four months after the event? And then it slowly started when I would leave and come back and leave and come back, [00:33:35] each time I came back from a long trip, it would be less painful and less painful. And now I can walk around just fine, and I don't feel as much, but being there was painful, so I had to go and then return and . . . Just that, it was almost like I had to establish a new [00:33:50] story of my relationship to the city, because my only relationship had been with that apartment, and suddenly that was gone, and it was like, now, how do I live here? I don't know how to live here. It doesn't want me. You know, it felt like it was rejecting me. So, I had to re-establish that [00:34:05] relationship by rejecting it many many times before I could say, oh, okay. Yeah, I know, I think I can actually do this, you know.
AIDAN: Yeah. It is really interesting . . .
ANDREW: [34:15 something is missing]
AIDAN: [chuckles] Yeah, it's super interesting, because I do think that we, and I think that we've been [00:34:20] over all pretty good in these conversations in kind of going back to the reality, because it's you know, it's like, Fabeku and I have kind of, you know, I was thinking about this the other day, our time lining on a bunch [00:34:35] of stuff has been really similar, even though what's gone on for us is very different. And for a lot of that, I was a wreck, you know, it's like I was totally able to do certain pieces of what needed to be done. And then there was a bunch of shit that [00:34:50] just kind of had to be jettisoned. And I do think that it's kind of what you were talking about, Jen, is like post injury and surgery and stuff like that. It's been really a weird feeling out process, getting comfortable [00:35:05] moving pretty actively, and doing what I do, because it is, it's like, so, I can pick this thing up. And I know that that will be good for my body overall if I get back to working out because I kind of need it, but is this going to cause me [00:35:20] to have to go back and get opened up again and fixed again, right? And you've slowly got to go, okay, we just take it easy and do what you can do in any moment, but I think yeah, it's a . . . The Instagram culture [00:35:35] is right. Nothing ever, nothing bad ever happens, if you have, if you have the ability to grind hard enough. [laughs]
ANDREW: Well, that's just it, right? You know, for me, you know, back when I used to do martial arts, it was like, oh [00:35:50] you just sprained your ankle. Here. Here's some tape. Let's go, you know? Tape it up and keep moving. Right? You know? It was such a bizarre, otherworldly thing, right? And so, you know, I kind of got to the place where I would get injured, and my response to it [00:36:05] was, did I go into shock? Because if I didn't go into shock, I don't need to go to the hospital. I'm probably okay. Which is which is really not ideal at all. Right? And so like, you know, as I've get, you know some injuries and stuff around climbing, you know, and going [00:36:20] back to climbing, it's always tempting just to push, and I'm still, you know, you could still be strong and weak at the same time, right? With injuries, you know? And so, I was like, how do I control this? How do I like, derail my impulse just to like [00:36:36] get excited? And it's not even about being macho in that sense. It's just like, oh my God, this is so fun, and this is so exciting. I really want to like, hang off this upside-down thing and try and do this move now, right? And it's like, oh no, that's not good. And so [00:36:51] I was like, okay, what I'm going to do is this: I'm gonna go to the gym and I'm a climb every single climb of one level in an evening, and when I can do that, then I'll go up one notch, you know? And you know, it's like, but it's this constant [00:37:06] thing, and you know, just be like seeing stuff and looking at it, being like, oh my god, I'd be so excited to do that. But then it's like, well but can my body, actually, in a deep way, sustain that, right? You know?
ANDREW: It's, yeah, requires patience and attention, you know. [00:37:22] So.
ANDREW: Well, and the other thing that's, you know, interesting for me is, I mean, all my Orishas are at my house. So, they're fine. [00:37:38] But almost all of my functional magical gear and altars and statuary and all of those things all burned, right? They're all gone. You know. I saved one meteorite that I had, that I found, I'm like [00:37:53] if it can go through the atmosphere, it can go through this. That's not a big deal. I'm gonna see if I can, if I can clean, and I mean like not spiritually, but just practically, clean my, [00:38:08] moldavite pendulum. I'm not sure, you know, it was exposed to a lot of smoke stuff. And, and that's it. You know, all my, all my cards are gone, you know? All the decks that I've had over the years are gone. [00:38:23] You know, and I mean, for me it's fine. I can replace many, if not all of them, and I don't really need a ton anyway, but yeah, it's this question of like, okay, what do I need? You know.
And I just remember it was a time in the process where [00:38:38] it was kind of getting down to, they're like, okay, so the engineers have been in, it's safe, you need to go in and decide what you're taking, and then everything else will get disposed of," right? Because you know, although a lot of people were like, oh you can clean stuff [00:38:53] and whatever, it's like, you know, my couch burned, so like all that Styrofoam smoke is in the space, you know, like so much toxic stuff, right? And it's like yeah, maybe you can clean that off, but I'm not really sure. And I don't know, [00:39:08] it's got toxic stuff on it, and I don't want to keep a lot of stuff, you know, and that smell is really hard to get rid of, even off of hard stuff, right? And so, I just kind of went in and I went where all the, all the shrine stuff was, [00:39:23] and just brought flowers, and I'm like, all right. So, this is a juncture, my friends. If you want to continue with me, let's continue, carry forward, and if this is a time at which you want to, you know, go on to do something else and then then let's called it at that, [00:39:38] you know, and just spending some time there. And you know, it's sort of, there's been a bunch of conversations where people, you know, expressed sort of that the loss of these items was the loss of that connection to spirit and, you [00:39:53] know, for me it hasn't really been, you know, and I don't think that it ever needs to be, but I think it's easy to identify in those kinds of ways, and you know, I'm like, I wonder how that is for you, Jen, too, like, did you lose magical things that you've [00:40:08] had to reorganize yourself around?
JEN: I did not. I had a very lucky experience in that the part of my house that flooded destroyed property I was already getting rid of but that was quite valuable [00:40:23] and so it turned into a car. So, my apartment left, my things were fine. But . . . And the flood happened in a part of the apartment that made it unlivable. It was the entryway, the bathroom, and the front hallway. [00:40:38] And there was nothing in the bathroom of worth, and then the front hallway, there were stacks and stacks of astrology books that I was going to sell but they were all destroyed so I couldn't sell them. And then, the insurance replacement cost was enough for a down payment on the car. So, [00:40:53] I ended up converting them that way and yeah, anything else, it was, you know, not really things that I missed. You know, certain things I had to get rid. I had to get rid of because they got wet and just was, you know, [00:41:08] we didn't know what was in the water, basically, but overall, the most important things did get saved and so I was lucky in that way. But I put it all in storage. So, I haven't really had access to it up until just before this trip, [00:41:23] but then I left for 90 days. So, it still is like not in my possession. But so, yeah, our stories differ somewhat in that respect and I feel really lucky that I didn't lose everything in that way.
Yeah, [00:41:38] I had a feeling that the protection magic that I had set up in my house was quite strong and it could have easily been that the water had gone in the other direction, which would have been catastrophic, but it didn't go that way. So. And also in terms of timing, is, Aidan, you were speaking that you and [00:41:53] Fabeku had the line up, Fabeku's health incident happened the exact same weekend that my flood happened. So, we were commiserating about that at the same time.
JEN: "Holy shit. What is going on right now?"
AIDAN: Yep. [00:42:09] Yeah, it is. It's a peculiar thing I had . . . This is kind of a switch of topics. But one of the things that was really kind of fascinating, this [00:42:24] last week, is I went and visited my brother in San Francisco. And his place is super cool. They're like, they do an amazing amount of really cool work. [00:42:39] Some of that is art and a lot of it is food and fermenting, and you know, they've got the bees and all of that stuff. But one of the things that I found really interesting is that there was a big fire on their block that took out [00:42:54] the building next to them, basically, even though it was a gas line fire in the streets, just because of the way that the pipe was pierced. It like shot this jet of fire at that building and messed that up. And then, [00:43:09] to get that building put out, the fire department ended up destroying a number of apartments basically, just with water damage, you know, that were attached to that. And then across the street, but moving away from their apartment, got taken [00:43:24] out by smoke and heat, because of the way the wind was blowing, you know. So, it was really, I'm sure they had a mass-, way more awareness that I did. It was very odd being in this house that was like, you know, a couple of feet [00:43:39] away from not existing with so much stuff in it. That was, that they've put so much work into.
And it's, yeah, it's pretty interesting, because we've moved so much, we've become kind of so [00:43:55] minimalist, in some ways, though not in the way that usually gets used, that there's not much here if that happened. And that's where I kind of went. Like, I don't have much left, you know. It would be easier if I could grab [00:44:10] my computer. I would be happier if I could also grab a couple of guitars, but other than that, other than that, it's just the animals but there's really not, there's not much left in here that I am attached. And so that's an odd . . . It was just kind [00:44:25] of an odd thing. Like, yeah, if this place burned down, I could walk away. I could just walk away, and it would be no . . . It wouldn't be fun and there would be shit after the fact, I'm sure. But in general, I don't have enough for it to get taken out. That's [00:44:41] a weird thing, though.
JEN: Yeah, I think it all goes down to also like an illusion of stability, you know, we can set up shop somewhere and unpack and feel the continuity of a certain [00:44:56] period of time and then if it gets cut short, out of our control, and it's not our choice to move, or our choice to end the lease, it feels totally destabilizing, and yet we were actually unstable the whole time, really. You know, it's, it was sort of a, [00:45:12] I don't know. I've been thinking about that a lot. Like what is continuity? what is rupture? You know, how . . . What is security, even? And you know, through these types of challenges, can we still feel a type of security, even though we know at any moment it could change, you know? [00:45:28]
FABEKU: Well, you know, for me what's been interesting with that, kind of going back to that kind of post-event sort of panic trauma stuff that would kick up. I -- and I'm not pretending it's all the way resolved. But I think the way that I finally figured out how to manage [00:45:43] it on a day-to-day basis was, like I started to figure out like how do I, what do I do? Like, how do I amp this anxiety down? So, it's not a constant thing, and I was I was failing at that, because I was trying to grab hold of something [00:45:58] that would say: Oh, you're fine. It's stable. Nothing to worry about, nothing will happen again. It's not a big deal. And that was bullshit and I know it's bullshit because you know, that's, Jesus, I mean, I'm 44, shit happens.
But, and so that's ultimately how I started [00:46:13] to amp it down. It's like, well, the way you amp it down is you realize everybody dies, and everybody dies at some point, for some reason, however that happens, and you really have zero control over it. So, this constant anxiety and this, this grasping [00:46:28] for some kind of control mechanism that absolutely doesn't exist. It's a . . . it's an unwise investment at the end of the day. It's unwise, and it's ineffective and so it rea…