We have a very good episode for you this week! I’m interviewed by my friend Brandon about some recent questions we received online. Join us as we talk about PTSD, trauma, and compare the “VA Way” with the natural “Warrior Way”. As usual, I don’t hold anything back as we explore treatments that actually work. We discuss how I transformed my life as a healer to make a direct impact on helping Veterans with PTSD, Stress, Insomnia, and Anxiety.
Gary: [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of, it’s a good day to live. My name is Gary Ferguson. Having recently wrote a book called a good day to die. The response that started coming in both via text, Facebook, and email. It became apparent that I should probably have a conversation on a regular basis, more about a good day to live than a good day to die.
[00:00:28] So with that, I’d like to start by what is usual and customary now. By standing and pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all. That just seems right. Quite honestly. It seems a lot.
[00:00:58] More right today than it did when I was a small boy in my classroom with my classmates that started every day at school by pledging allegiance to something greater than ourselves. Little did I know at the time that that would go on to become one of the course character strengths that I would rely on as I grew up and started to experience the experience that I had both in the civilian world.
[00:01:26] The military world than back in the civilian world. So, what I’d like to do is respond to several of the questions that have recently came in as a result of our last podcast.
[00:01:37] Brandon: Hi, Gary. Thanks for having me. I’ve really enjoyed these podcasts and some of the questions that we’ve got on social media and an email, one in particular that keeps coming up is your experience at the VA.
[00:01:50] and I believe at one point you said that you thought they even, put your sobriety at risk. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
[00:01:59] Gary: Oh, absolutely. Oh shit. It was amazing. I go there and I’m in the process of being evaluated and they came back with an evaluation that I have 100% disability for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
[00:02:14] Okay. And I said, great, what do I do now? Well, go to mental health and apply to get into a program. And, and. The meantime, here’s a bunch of prescription drugs that you can take. Some of them, I couldn’t even pronounce the name, she’ll camp, and I said, Oh, okay. So, I went to mental health only to find out that unless I was willing to take the drugs, I couldn’t get into the program.
[00:02:42] And if I got into the program, I had to follow a certain protocol. And I said, well, wait a minute. I don’t understand. I’ve been clean and sober 17 years. Why would I take drugs? I spent a whole bunch of time in heartburn getting off of medications and you want to medicate me like there’s something wrong with me.
[00:03:02] They don’t even know what the definition of post-traumatic stress is. Other than the one that they’ve came up with, which is to provide a symptom so that they can provide a medication to keep people stoned. I wasn’t interested. I’ve learned. By dealing with the trauma of going to war and bring it to the surface and speaking openly and honestly about the collateral damage and consequences of war from a participant’s point of view.
[00:03:34] Brandon: So really, they were putting your integrity and your sobriety at risk through learned helplessness.
[00:03:41] Gary: Absolutely. And when I told him that ain’t going to happen, they said, well, you can’t be in the program. And I said, well. So here I am, I got a, yeah, I’ve rated at 100% posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury from being blown up at with a satchel charge and losing my hearing, and I don’t qualify pretty much yet.
[00:04:00] It’s like, wow, okay, I got it. So, unless I’m willing to subscribe to a state of learned helplessness and be medicated and sit in a room full of people talking about shit, that is irrelevant. And being a victim to learn helplessness, there’s no help for me. I’m driven to find a solution to the faking disorder that we as human beings are currently suffering from as a result of the illusion of self and self-interest.
[00:04:36] I’ve still got some time on this spinning rock out here in the middle of nowhere. So as long as I’m here on this planet, I’m going to speak the truth as it occurs for me. How would it occur for you? Is your business okay? But I’m old enough and quite frankly, wise enough to know better. Okay? It’s not easy to stand naked in front of the world and risk being vulnerable and continue to risk being vulnerable.
[00:05:09] It’s not easy. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it is the most freeing thing I’ve ever done because frankly I don’t, what do you think of me is not my business? What I think of me is my business, and I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Listening to people in authority who has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, providing the leadership and direction in this country that’s supposed to be the light of the world.
[00:05:42] I’m done. It’s ridiculous. I mean, I don’t need more than one second on any mainstream channel to realize the stupidity that is flowing out of the lips of 95% of every human being on this planet.
[00:05:56] Brandon: So, would you say that in 2010 is sort of when your story is, is being retold, I mean, you kind of started your, your purpose work, is that correct?
[00:06:06] Gary: Yeah. I would say the real purpose work started in 2010 and quite honestly, it, it, it didn’t start until probably in real earnest until about 2015 primarily because what I realized that despite all of my intellectual accomplishments and all of the information and knowledge that I had gathered, there was a, there was something that was missing and that was an experience.
[00:06:34] So when I discovered sound healing and some of the other technologies that are available, uh, and I started, I started, uh, looking into technologies and different healing modalities that would allow me to experience an accelerated, uh, uh, energetic healing, if you will. So, I didn’t have to spend two or three hours in my backyard meditating.
[00:07:03] I could spend 15 minutes in the morning in a state of meditative trance, if you will, or meditated state of being that would allow me to go out with that, uh, with a zippity doo da, uh, flavor. A few well, uh, in my taste buds that I was no longer experimenting with old news, but I was able to start listening to new news as it unfolded without an opinion.
[00:07:32] And what I realized that vibroacoustic sound and influencing the cellular memory at a cellular level with information that could be, uh, released during the day that I would. Actually, come out better in the end because now I have more energy at the end of the day than what I started the day. So, I’m kind of reinventing myself, if you will, using the technology that’s out there today.
[00:08:00] The technology that we have in front of us today is just absolutely incredible. It’s mind boggling. Okay. Most people think when they look at it, they just look at me and shake their head, and it’s really because they don’t have an understanding of the power of thought. You know, we create our reality, but the thoughts that we think are influenced by the food that we eat and the opinions that we have.
[00:08:26] So once you learn how to be authentic with yourself, and that authenticity can be shared with others. Without judgment, you actually get to experience a way of being in life that is beyond extraordinary.
[00:08:42] Brandon: So that sounds a little bit like being a kid.
[00:08:45] Gary: Oh God. Yeah. I get to live my childhood and I’m now 73 years old physically, and I am in the state of being.
[00:08:54] A child. Again, I’m not childlike in the sense of childish. I’m childlike in the realm of wonderment and possibility and seeing in all things the beauty of the creator. I don’t have judgment. I don’t have fear. I don’t have any of the nonsense that usually goes on between our ears as we’re trying to figure this thing out.
[00:09:16] We call life. I figured it out. There’s nothing to figure out. There’s just being in the state. Of authenticity. Period.
[00:09:26] Brandon: So how did you stumble upon, I mean, for most people, they’ve never heard of vibrational healing. I mean, how’d you stumble on some of these technologies and teachers?
[00:09:37] Gary: Again, sort of like finding the book purpose driven life on my doorstep, if you will.
[00:09:43] I, a friend of mine had a healing center and asked me if I would be interested in floating. And I remember floating back in the 50s with the John C Lilly and Timothy Leary and all those characters back in the day, you know, sensory deprivation. Actually, sensory deprivation is used, uh, in Navy seal training currently today.
[00:10:03] So I said, yeah. So, I started floating and I did 90, 90-minute floats in 90 days. And, uh, somewhere around two thirds of the way through this whole process. I said, there’s got to be more to this. So. A friend of mine asked if I’d ever done sound healing. I’d done tuning forks before and acupuncture and sound bowls, and so I’d been around him, but not really did I dive into it.
[00:10:32] So I started researching it, so I created what I call the Restation Lounge. It’s an acoustic lounge. It takes information and impregnates into it, into your cellular memory, through a zero-gravity lounge. It’s very comfortable to sit in and you just listen to music. And that music goes in both auditorily and, uh, the low frequencies go in through the Viber acoustics, and you’re imprinting information music into your body so you can get a state of relaxation.
[00:11:02] And for me, it’s always been about anxiety. That creates stress that creates insomnia, and that’s the number one in finding a solution for posttraumatic stress. I, that’s what I started out. How do I find a solution for posttraumatic stress in my life without drugs? I don’t want to take drugs anymore.
[00:11:21] And so I started the research and experimenting on myself. How can I create an environment? That doesn’t take but 15 or 20 minutes every day as a discipline to give me the state of peace of mind so I can go out through the whole day with an attitude of gratitude and be of service to humanity without getting caught up in all the irritations that show up along the way.
[00:11:45] Some people can be quite irritating. You haven’t figured that out. Just get on a freeway. So that’s how I started. And it started because I wanted to heal myself. You can’t heal other people if you can’t heal yourself, you know? That’s the number one gig. If you want to heal others, you got to heal yourself.
[00:12:02] So I’ve been on a journey of self-healing for a little over 33 years, and I’m just getting warmed up.
[00:12:08] Brandon: So how did you transition self-healing into working with. Veterans, and, and people at the VA.
[00:12:16] Gary: The people at the VA’s been at challenging because they look at me like they actually nicknamed me 51 50 Ferguson because I’m so far out of the box.
[00:12:25] But how I got the help in veterans was, Hey Charlie, why don’t you come over to the house and I’ll put you on the lounge and see if I can help you with your anxiety. So, veterans would come over, they’d get on the lounge and you know, sometimes an hour later, sometimes three hours later, they’d get up and go, Oh my God.
[00:12:41] And I come back tomorrow, and I said, well, it depends on what you’re experiencing. So, they would try to describe it, and I said, okay, great. So, I’ll let you come back and have another experience if you’re willing to share the experience and put it in writing and share it so others might benefit.
[00:12:57] So that’s really what started the pathways program, if you will, where we have a pilot study where veterans can come and go through the online program, learn how to tell the truth, and in the process of learning how to tell the truth, uh, find out how to reinvent themselves and mind, body and spirit that gives him a sense of purpose through service to others that actually gives them relief from the anxiety and stress.
[00:13:21] That creates the insomnia as it relates to their pre and post military experience, let’s put it that way. So that’s how it started. It started by helping myself and then sharing it with others and others, sharing with others and other sharing or the others. Now everybody wants to get on my lounge.
[00:13:36] Brandon: Huh. So, you went from, you went from Mr. AA to Mr. VA, is that right?
[00:13:42] Gary: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I went from Mr. AA to Mr. VA and then I told the VA to go fuck themselves because they’re plowed with horses. They don’t want to help veterans. There’s no money in helping veterans. The money is in keeping veterans ill.
[00:13:58] Brandon: wow.
[00:13:58] Gary: That’s the reality of the medical model that we currently live in, and that doesn’t mean there’s not good-hearted people in the VA. It means. That you cannot solve a problem from within the problem that created it. You’ve got to get outside of the problem for the solution. Our veterans are not broken.
[00:14:21] Our veterans don’t get the experience of being heard. Nobody’s listening. They’re too busy trying to think of something clever to say in order to fix them. It’s a load of crap.
[00:14:37] Brandon: And do you have some fond memories of the VA? I mean, any stories you want to share that kind of,
[00:14:46] Gary: Oh, I love the VA. When I went back to the VA, they were willing, as long as I was willing to go along with the program, it was great.
[00:14:53] But as soon as I said, wait a minute, I don’t want to take drugs. There’s nothing wrong with me. You tell me you’re going to take a 19-year-old draft them. Send them halfway around the world and put them into a situation where they have to fight every day to survive and then take them out the same way you took them in and drop them off at the airport and say, have a good life.
[00:15:19] That who thinks like that. The very nature of the experience is the definition of insanity. There was no debrief. There was no reintegration. There was nothing. They, you know, they didn’t ask me. They told me, you’ve been drafted, you’re going to war. If you don’t, you’re going to jail. Which one do you like?
[00:15:44] There was a certain part time in our history where we would call that Shanghai slavery. We’ve got all kinds of words. Is it through history? You know, they didn’t ask me. They told me, just like they didn’t ask me. They told me, if you were willing to take medication, you can go into the programs we have to offer.
[00:16:03] And I said, no thank you. I’m not interested in being medicated.
[00:16:06] Brandon: And without using any names, do you have any stories of people at the VA or veterans that you’ve worked with?
[00:16:13] Gary: Oh, hundreds. Hundreds of stories. You know, I remember the, there’s one, I don’t know. I won’t, uh, well, I think it’s in my book.
[00:16:22] I think I put it in the book about Lincoln.
[00:16:25] Brandon: I believe so.
[00:16:25] Gary: Yeah. Well, there you go. There’s a story in Lincoln. I mean, that’s probably one of the most profound stories because that was a jaw dropper for both the VA counselor and Lincoln. Not so much myself, but certainly Lincoln wife. The reality is, yeah, the evidence.
[00:16:41] That shows up as a result of the pathways program is overwhelming. You cannot hide from the truth whether you deal with it today, next week, next year, or never. Okay? Truth is truth. The longer you mask the truth, the more pain you will create. Suffering can only occur if you’re hanging on to something.
[00:17:04] That’s the definition of suffering. You’re hanging onto Something if you let it go, there is no more suffering, but people are addicted to suffering and their story and all the drama that’s associated with the trauma of some event in their life. Wow. If you want to get rid of the drama and the trauma, rewrite your story.
[00:17:26] You can’t change facts. Shit happens. Get over it, okay? It’s how you relate to what happened. You become victim or you to become responsible. I become very, very strong.
[00:17:38] Brandon: Can you tell us the story of Lincoln for the people that have to wait to read the book?
[00:17:42] Gary: Well, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell, so it doesn’t score reading the book.
[00:17:46] How does that sound?
[00:17:47] Brandon: I like it.
[00:17:48] Gary: Okay, good. So here I am. I’m running a program for veterans. The VA gives me 70 70 veterans in this program. So, see what you can do with them in 90 days. I said, okay, great. So, the program was a combination of the Microsoft suite, which was doing this part, uh, learn how to, if you want to get a job, you probably ought to know how to use a computer in today’s world.
[00:18:10] So the computer school was going to teach them computer skills using the Microsoft suite, and I was going to teach stab experience from training, how to start telling the truth, and stopped the con from going on. So, during the process of this, one of the counselors at the VA would have me come into his office during the interview process as he was interviewing prospective people to go into the pathways program.
[00:18:36] So one of these guys shows up, his name is Lincoln. He says the, I forget his age, he was in his, he wasn’t very old, certainly too old to be retired on a medical disability. So, I, uh. I’m in there and I said, wow, you look awful young to be a retired on a 51 50 medical discharge. I said, do you mind telling me what happened?
[00:18:57] And you know the counselor shitting over there as I’m interviewing this guy? And he goes, yeah, I struck it officer in front of formation, and I go, what? He goes, yeah, I knocked him on his ass. They go, wow. What happened? He goes, well, I, I did something around his back, and he didn’t like it.
[00:19:16] So he called me out in front of the formation. I said, Whoa, can you tell me a little bit more about it? And he goes, yeah, you said he had a better way of doing something. So, he went to his commanding officer and said, here’s what I’d like to do, and this is a process I’d like to implement. I think it’d be more efficient, and his commanding officers no.
[00:19:33] Not interested, just do things the way you’re told. And he thought it was still a pretty good idea. So, he went around his commander and went to his boss higher up and asked for permission to implement this. He thought it was a pretty good idea. So, he basically went around the chain of command. So, the process got implemented, the procedure got implemented, kudos came down from upstairs, and everybody would seem to be happy except for the CO.
[00:19:59] So the CO calls you out in front of formation and dresses him down in front of all the man, and he calls him up there and charges a chew him out in front of the man. And he goes, well, I really don’t appreciate you going around the chain of command. I want to know whose Dick you sucked in order to get this done.
[00:20:17] And. As soon as he said that, of course this young kid dropped him like a sack of potatoes, knocked him on the ground. And you know, you’re not supposed to strike officers in the military, so it’s kind of a no-no. And so, he gets brought up on charges in her court, marshal. During the court martial, the advocate thought it would be better to discharge him on a medical 51 50 than to go through a court martial trial and expose what happened.
[00:20:46] During the trial. So, he was given a medical discharge for striking an officer because of what the officer said. So, he’s telling me this whole story, and of course the VA counselors looking at me like, because eyes are getting bigger and bigger. So, I, I said the Lincoln, I said, well Lincoln, how old were you when you’ve sucked your first Dick?
[00:21:05] And the counselor’s eyes, his jaw. I mean, even to this day, I can see his jaw dropped. The counselor just about blew a gasket. And Lincoln goes. Nine and then Lincoln for the next 20 minutes, let go of the story of his sexual molestation by a family member and how he left to go into the military to get out of that circumstance.
[00:21:31] Only to find out when he left that the same family member took it out on his younger sibling and how guilty and ashamed, he was for leaving family members behind. To go through the sexual abuse in his home. And I was able to relate to him simply because I wanted him to let him know, he wasn’t alone because I said, you know, Lincoln.
[00:21:54] I was 11 when it happened to me, and then I shared this story and I believe the story I share is in the book because I too was molested. I managed to escape my captor and run away and try to bury it and hide it. And I didn’t say a word to anybody until I was 35 years old, and then one day it came out in a drunken rage when I unloaded on my stepfather who put me in that position.
[00:22:22] The reason I share this with you is that bad things happen to good people, and when those bad things that happen to good people are left to fester as a secret in the soul, there becomes a disturbance. A disease that creates illness, whether it’s emotional or physical. It’s a disturbance in the energetic field and for Lincoln, when he was able to share the story prior to his military experience, now he can’t share it while I was in the military because you don’t share stories like that in the military, and that’s the problem.
[00:23:09] The kids that are in the military and the kids that have experiences in the military, they don’t share those, those experiences. They bottle them up, but they keep them inside because of what other people might think. And when Lincoln had an opportunity to share that story in front of myself in the VA counselor in that room, when he got up and left the room, he was free.
[00:23:31] You could feel the energetic shift in his beingness. 15 minutes, 20 minutes later we get a knock on the door while we’re interviewing the next veteran, and it’s his wife who peaks in and says, I don’t know what happened in here, but I want to thank you for my husband. He’s back just like that.
[00:23:53] Lincoln went on to go through the program and do very well. He, I think he ended up going to a four-year college, but the point of this is that as human beings, bad things happen. If those bad things that happen in our life are not allowed to process out of the energetic field and they become trapped in the emotional pain body.
[00:24:13] It will create disease and dysfunction. And that’s the problem we have here in America. And the problem we have in the world today is because nobody’s telling the truth out of fear of what others might think. And at some point, people have got to stop lying to each other and start telling the truth and risk being vulnerable.
[00:24:29] I’m risk being vulnerable on this podcast. Not many people are willing to tell the truth.
[00:24:34] Brandon: You said it. Absolutely. I think that’s definitely a common theme in society. I mean, people mistake courage for, you know, a strength and vulnerability for weakness. You know, when I think it’s really the other way around.
[00:24:48] Gary: Oh, it’s definitely the other way around. People, you know, it’s like when veterans hear the word surrender, they think surrender is a negative. It has a negative connotation. It’s something wrong. You’ve never surrendered to the enemy. Okay, well, it’s all about perspective. The enemy isn’t out there.
[00:25:06] The enemy is inside. What I realized I was the enemy, not the authentic guide, the loving little boy who just wanted to make a difference, but the authentic identity that was created out of experiences that happened early on in life, that I didn’t have enough information to properly process the event.
[00:25:27] So I made it mean something that it didn’t, I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just how we are what we do as human beings. And then we live a life that for the most part, turns out to be a great big lie. You know? And now that we have the tools and techniques and the measuring devices, there’s no law, no reason to live in this fantasy world that we’ve created.
[00:25:48] You know, you want to create your reality, change your thoughts, stop thinking about you and start thinking about someone else. And see what happens.
[00:25:56] Brandon: Amen. Well, Hey, I appreciate you sharing all this. This was a pretty powerful, and uh, thanks for asking all the, answering all the questions.
[00:26:04] Gary: Any other questions?
[00:26:05] Brandon: You know, I think we all need a, something cold and we all need to go to church after this. I think.
[00:26:15] Gary: If you’re lucky and you live long enough, and you experience it and you get sick and tired of being sick and tired enough. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to look in the mirror and smile at what an extraordinary human being you really are.
[00:26:30] When you stop living a lie and you start telling the truth and risk being vulnerable to a complete stranger. You know, I tell veterans is early on in the program. The first one of the exercises I have to do is to go to a mall where there’s a lot of people and usually in the mall where there’s a lot of people, there’s also a lot of windows.
[00:26:49] Because everybody’s showing off what’s inside. So literally, there’s not too many malls out there that don’t have windows. So, what I tell them to do is walk through a mall for a half an hour and look everyone in the eye that you possibly can and say thank you and smile, nothing else. And for those that you make eye contact with that you know, hear you.
[00:27:16] Look over your shoulder left or right, doesn’t matter, and look in the window and look at the reflection on their face as they turn their head as a result of what you say. It’s an extraordinary exercise because most people can’t be with other people. They cannot just look a complete stranger in the eye and thank them and smile and walk by.
[00:27:41] The stranger, of course, turned around and looks with this look of asking. What was that all about? Some will smile and some will have a look of asking, but we’ve lost the ability to connect with one another authentically. We’re so busy with our devices, our distractions, and our aunt authenticity that we’ve lost the compassion and the empathetic touch of another human being.
[00:28:06] And quite honestly, unless we regain it, then I fear that humanity.
[00:28:12] Brandon: I think you made me right. Well, I’d say you’re doing pretty good. I really appreciate your time today, and I know the listeners will as well. These are some, some really powerful stories.
[00:28:21] Gary: Well, once again, I’d like to thank the listeners that have given me the generosity of their time for listening in.
[00:28:29] I really enjoy the feedback that you’re sending in, both in the form of email and text. Feel free to reach out on a good day to die or reach me on pathways for veterans.com we’re here to serve. It is my pleasure to once again bring you to this week’s episode and I’ll look forward to next week. And, uh.
[00:28:51] You’re pithy comments between now and then. So, till them, remember to hug a veteran and say, thank you.
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