Feeling drained, overwhelmed and torn between achieving external measures of success versus personal fulfillment? Do you feel like you’re going through the motions climbing the corporate ladder yet it’s not what you’d dreamed your life would be like?  Dr. Jonathan Marion is an award winning cultural anthropology professor, author, speaker and health coach who feels how you show up in life is the key to living a deeply meaningful and fulfilling life. He’s currently overlapping his transformational coaching, dancing and academic work to help people live, connect and communicate authentically. In this episode of The Health Fix Podcast, Dr. Jannine Krause interviews Dr. Jonathan Marion on his process of helping clients become truly present so they can lead more rewarding meaningful lives.

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What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • Why keeping a “should journal” gives you a “could” choice to change the situation
  • How to use your senses to be in the present and connect deeper
  • Why – when things don’t turn out the way they “should have” it’s seen as a threat to your nervous system 
  • The power of changing how you show up in each situation
  • How what you’ve learned from your culture shapes your thought processes
  • Learning to choose to view the “shoulds” as how “could” I do something when you’re feeling frustrated
  • Dance as a moving meditation to be present in the moment

Resources from the Show:

FREE Download, 5 Steps To Optimal Health - Learn what steps you need to take to begin feeling healthy and start living your best life today!

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Podcast Transcript

2:29 – What led Dr. Jonathan to cultural anthropology?

7:51 – Why is being present important?

11:21 – How to be present

12:45 – Mindset side of being present / Keeping a should journal

17:52 – Can you put yourself in a different state of being?

22:19 – Learn how to show up differently for your day

34:33 – How do I want to be?

39:43 – What led Dr. Jonathan to Brazilian Zouk dancing?

47:32 – Different types of attachment

51:42 – Where to connect with Dr. Jonathan

 [Intro] Welcome to the Health Fix Podcast where health junkies get their weekly

fix of tips, tools and techniques to have limitless energy, sharp minds and fit

physiques for life. Hey health junkies on this episode of Health Fix Podcast. I’m

interviewing Dr. Jonathan Marion. He has an interesting history where he is an

award-winning cultural anthropologist, a professor, an author and he’s working as

a life coach. But what’s really cool is think about anthropology and think about how it is the study

of how we evolve, but it’s the study of culture. I find this absolutely fascinating and I’m hoping

you’re going to love this podcast too because we’re talking about how culture shapes our thought

process and how we look at the shoulds and how we can turn those into goods in the moment to

relieve our frustration and we even go down the route of dance and how that helps with communication,

non-verbally and that whole concept that I want you to be thinking about with this podcast is

connection, communication, and how this ties into helping you be present in the moment.

All right, let’s introduce you to Dr. Jonathan Marion. Hey, health junkies. I have Jonathan

Marion today and we are going to be talking about being present and what that means, like

focusing on you, how you want to be because I think a lot of us think about what we want,

but we’re not thinking about how we need to be to get what we want. And I bet Dr. Jonathan may

agree. So Dr. Jonathan, Marion, welcome to The Health Fix Podcast. 

DR JONATHAN: Thank you so much for having

me, Jannine. 

JANNINE: So one of the things that we were talking about of course before we hit record,

and I think a lot of people will be fascinated to know that you have a background as a cultural

anthropologist. And when we go to school, and especially at my age range 40s plus we go, okay,

Anthropology, super fascinating, never knew that there was a cultural anthropology because I might

have actually went for it in that terms because I’m fascinated by people. I’m fascinated by

their backgrounds. I love traveling to different countries and learning about the culture. And

this is something that a lot of folks don’t necessarily take into account when they’re looking at

someone’s health, but also looking at someone’s whole like, “Why they do the things they do?”

So give us the scoop, what drew you to culture on anthropology,

and then moving right naturally into a coaching career?

DR JONATHAN: Absolutely, thank you for the question.

So it’s really interesting as an undergrad,

I didn’t take a single class in cultural anthropology,

not a one.

And then after undergrad, I took some time off

and I was backpacking through flight from Sweden down to Egypt

and spend time volunteering on a communal farm in Israel.

And I kept saying, yeah, I’m going all these great places.

And like, I love going to new places.

I love doing new things.

But it’s the people.

What do people think about the same and why?

And what do they think about differently and why?

And so then when I got back to the US,

like two and a half years after I finished my undergrad,

I was applying to graduate programs.

And where I’d been at one point,

had an adoptive family who sort of looked out for me, they had just gotten back from a year in Tonga

where the woman had been doing her anthropology research on the games that women played with their

children and how that sort of socialized them for cultural values. It was pretty anthropology in

the back of my brain. I applied as many people due to multiple graduate schools and it was only

what I was done applying. I realized each one was in a different discipline. I’m like, oh, that’s a

really brought umbrella. Well cultural anthropology was the broadest. It’s the study of people.

And so that’s actually how I ended up going in the direction of cultural anthropology.

And my most popular class is both when I used to teach in California and then at the University

of Arkansas, we’re always either body and identity or culture and medicine. And the culture and

medicine class got taught both at a nursing program in California and to pre-med students

and was part of founding the medical humanities program in Arkansas. So there were a lot of

times and as far as the shift I was actually in Brazil in the first half of 2019 doing research of

my own and staying with a really good friend who very generously always let me stay in a small

bedroom of his and at the time he lived in Rio de Janeiro and not one of the tourist areas. I was

probably like the only person from North America in that area and I remember looking out the

the window in his living room across the street

and realizing that the room he was letting me stay in

was smaller than my closet at home,

but I felt more at home here in Brazil.

And what was that about?

And the more I thought about it,

it was that Jeff, I was good at certain things,

didn’t mean I loved that.

And that the people who I was friends with in Brazil,

they knew what I did professionally,

and they might have been proud of me or proud for me,

But they didn’t care, they loved me the person.

And as long as I stayed in academia,

it was always gonna be about external accomplishments

and not about internal resonance

because what are your latest teaching you, Vales?

Have you gotten a grant?

What is your latest publication?

Which papers are you giving it, which conferences?

Et cetera, et cetera.

So that’s what brought it to mind and just to wrap up,

I didn’t looked at what did I do as a tenured faculty member?

Well, 40% was research.

Okay, I’m good at it.

I published multiple academic books.

I don’t love doing it.

20% was servants, professional leadership.

I’ve been the president of a couple of national organizations.

I’m good at it.

I’d rather get involved than see things go awry

if I feel I could help.

I don’t love doing that.

And 40% was teaching,

but it wasn’t the formal standing in front of a room

lecturing to them,

having the administration ask the students

like how useful was this for your future career?

Maybe not every class is about that.

Maybe a 19-year-old isn’t qualified to answer that.

But those five to 10 minutes right before or after class

where students had informal questions

about how some of the concepts related to their own life

or my graduate students working on their MAs or PhDs,

I didn’t run a lab.

It wasn’t tears and experiment to do under my research.

It was helping them find what were their questions

and how are they going to find their own answers.

But wait a minute.

helping you figure out your own questions and how you’re going to find your own answers.

Huh, life coaching.

There you go.

JANNINE: Isn’t it fascinating?

I mean, having been a professor myself teaching anatomy and physiology and biology, I found

the same thing.

I loved the beginning and after class and people would hang out, you know, and we just talk

about life and talk about finding your own answers.

And this is one of the things that I want folks to really hone in on this podcast right

now, finding your own answers, not looking externally, because as a doctor, that was

one of my other biggest frustrations.

Here I am guiding folks, but I’m trying to get folks right to find their own answers.

Unfortunately, we have a medical society of, give me the pill and that gets fixed.

And so such a conundrum.

So I’m excited today to kind of take that bridge that you found in those moments before

and after class and helping your students to really look at being present, looking at what is,

looking at focusing on the how, over the what. So let’s get started a little bit of talking about

why is it so, why is it so important to really analyze what’s happening right now present,

being present. Because I think so many people talk about it, but they don’t talk about why being

present is so key. 

DR JONATHAN: Yeah, I think it’s, as you said, so easily overlooked because

even when we know we want something to change,

we know where we want to go.

But if you don’t really take stock,

and so I look at this in two ways.

One, there’s a strategic piece

that’s part of my larger being framework,

and we can come back to that.

But I think the other part is,

you can only make a change right here and now.

If we’re thinking about the past, we can’t change it.

If we’re thinking about the future,

we might be able to set some plans in order,

But life happens, things change.

They may not even be applicable by the time we get there.

The only time we can actually influence

is right here and now.

And so if we’re not present,

if we’re in our minds worrying about the past or the future,

what someone might think, how they might respond,

what you could have done differently,

you’re not actually here,

which is the only time that you can actually shift things

for yourself or anyone in your surround.

JANNINE: Yeah, it’s true.

I think we do get hung up.

I mean, I heard a quote once about how much time we’re stuck in the past.

And like how we keep thinking about the past stuff,

trying to figure out how to make it better when it already happened.

And then there’s all the future stuff too.

So it makes perfect sense.

So when we’re thinking about, okay, where we can really only make the biggest changes

is in the present.

How do you bring folks to really buy into that?

What kind of tips, tricks, tools, what’s kind of your process on that?

DR JONATHAN: Yeah, I think there’s a few things. One of the ones that I just want to mention, because

it comes from not the cultural anthropology side of my background, but biological anthropology.

Like, we actually, our bodies work in a certain way. And one of the issues is that this time

span for biological evolution and cultural evolution are very different. We change as

the species very slowly. Our culture changes very quickly. And so our autonomic nervous system,

where we get our stress responses, is a very old system. And it’s meant for life and death

stressor, where fight, flight, freeze, fawn, those are all ways to avoid life and death

situations. The problem is what triggers them in society today. They’re not life and death.

but we don’t have a separate nervous system for social situations. So you’re getting all of those

stress hormones and all of that stuff flooding into your body from your boss was pissed off about

something. A coworker didn’t do something. Your kids didn’t listen. There’s more traffic than

you expected. You went on vacation and the weather sucks. And unlike real life and death situations,

where yeah, there’s that flood of everything, but then it dissipates. When does stuff dissipate?

When do those little annoyances go away in most of daily life?

And so I think that’s a cause of just why it’s so hard to just be present with what is because it’s all of these

essentially fear news where you’re again at a nervous system level. It’s almost life and death even if low-key

So I think there’s really two things one we need some stuff around just embodied practices and just being present and regulating the nervous system

And whether you go with different types of somatic experiencing polyvagal theory, there’s legitimacy to all of them, but find what works for you.

And you don’t need official mindfulness practices, but you know, anything that draws your attention to here and now.

So is it that every person you encounter, you’re paying super attention to just the texture of their hair?

Is it that when you’re washing the dishes, you’re focusing all your attention on the texture of each thing, whether it’s the sponge versus the soap versus the silverware versus the bowl?

Like anything that puts you in contact because your senses are only here in that.

Those are great starting points for people to use.

The other one that I think is a bodily one, we hear all too often when you get stressed, take a deep breath.

I think that’s absolutely wrong because if you’re already tense,

you already have so much contained.

I would say exhale as deeply as you can first.

If you’re stressed, exhale entirely.

Now you can take a deep internal breath, hold it for a few seconds and you’ll

actually almost be giving a hug to the, you know, polyvagal nerve and getting

some real oxygenation.

Now you can start to maybe release a little bit of tension.

That’s the physical side.

On the mindset side, go ahead.

JANNINE: Oh, no, I was just saying I like that.

I like that because we talk about that a lot.

So yes, OK, keep going.

Yes, I love that.


So on the mindset side, I think the biggest trap we all

fall into is should.

It should be different.

Someone else should behave differently, whatever it is.

So my boss should have recognized my work.

My coworkers should have done their fair share.

My kids should have listened to me.

I should have gone to the gym.

I should have eaten more healthy.

Karen Horne, I back in the 50s said,

it’s the tyranny of the shoulds.

And as one of my coaching mentors pointed out,

any version of should is fighting with what it is.

And so one of the exercises I tend to have a lot

of my clients do very early on is keep a should journal.

And on one side of the page,

anytime they think or say a should related to themselves,

write it down and on the other side,

other column, if you will, if it’s about someone else.

And just write it down, nothing else.

But at the end of the day, before they go to bed,

go through it, cross out every should

and rewrite the sentence with could.

My boss could have listened to me.

My coworkers could have done their fair share.

My children could have listened.

I could have gone to the gym.

I could have worked out.

The weather could have been better.

Now, yes, it could have been, it wasn’t.

So now what do you wanna do?

Now you’re starting to deal with what is and making a choice as opposed to getting caught up in assigning blame.

JANNINE: Yes, yes, because the blame, I mean, that’s back, you know, like back ruminating on things. I think we do spend a lot of our day in that negative space of

Shoulda, coulda, woulda you know, all of those and that makes perfect sense. I’ve never thought about

doing a journal and writing it out. So I think that could be incredibly helpful for a lot of folks

to kind of move through the side of things. The other part that you mentioned earlier with the

fight or flight nervous system and how we’re responding to things left and right. And we

don’t even probably know half of why we respond to something other than pass trigger, something

coming up in that department. I feel like it’s so intricately tied into the shoulda, coulda,

woulda department. Do you feel the same? Like most folks are their own bears all day long in

the shoulda, coulda, woulda thought process? 

DR JONATHAN: Absolutely. And that’s the point that we only have the

nervous system that’s evolved for literally a bear, but it’s the same nervous system that gets

triggered by anything that feels like threat. And it’s not life or death threat literally,

but it feels like it. You know, existentially it’s this is who I am, this is what I do, and there

is a threat to it. And I don’t have a separate nervous system for social cues versus actual

life threat cues. And so it’s exactly that. And so I think that’s part of why we get so

stressed out when things don’t go the way they should have. And that’s also part of where

the different cultural influences come in. Because where do we get so many of those

shoulda’s from? It’s not even the things we’ve learned formally. It’s the things we pick up

that we enculturate from just whatever surrounding we grow up in. And we get this idea of this is

how things are supposed to be. 

JANNINE: Yes. Yes. Yes. And we can get really wrapped up in that. I feel

like, you know, and just basic talking with a lot of folks that this is how that was supposed

to be. This is how that was supposed to have gone. This is how, yes, yes, you know, this is a great

point because I think that we talk about it, but we don’t highlight this component. How much the

this was supposed to go this way and it didn’t. And now that is my stressor.

Yeah. And I think that’s where the value of could is so important. This could have worked out a

a different way this person could have recognized. They did it. So now what do I want to do? Because

I can’t change anyone else. I can’t change certain external factors. I can change what I do. So it

can be, I change how I show up. It can be change where do I show up. It can be, I change who I even

show, choose to show up with. I can change how long I show up with certain individuals or

circumstances. But now we’re in the space where we actually have some agency and ability

to decide how we want to show up.

JANNINE: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. That makes sense. That makes sense. Now, I have a question that was kind

of burning in my mind since the beginning of when I knew I was going to interview and

I saw your history. A lot of people, you know, like you’d imagine you go on vacation and

the water wasn’t what you wanted. A lot of people think about going on vacation to places

that are chill. Cultures that are more chill, right? I just came back from the Caribbean islands.

You know, that is a different culture that does kind of embody island time and things of that nature.

Now, the question is, can you, if you’re kind of one of those folks, you shoulda, shoulda

shoulda, you’re figuring out how the coulda can fit in there, can you culturally unwire yourself

from what you grew up in to culturally put yourself into a new state of being. So can you get yourself

on island time? Can you do it working on certain principles? What do you think? What’s your, what

have you seen? 

DR JONATHAN: So what I would say is overall yes. Okay. It doesn’t mean it’s a given, right?

Like every person’s different. Some people are wired in certain ways. We all have natural

proclivities and we see this even with infants like long before you have a chance to really even

them to start picking up anything like they’re just wired differently. So one of the issues is

no culture does everything on the arc of possibility and so what’s considered normal

is really just what range of that arc does a given culture say this is accepted

And so some of it is just being able to say that the same person might fit in very differently

somewhere else, just based on natural wiring. But they’re not wrong. It’s not, you know,

there’s something wrong with them. It’s just there’s more of a mismatch or a better fit.

That one piece. The other piece that I think you’re getting at is, you know,

maybe early on in anthropology, you know, as the discipline was being founded, we had this idea,

you know, cultures were a little more monolithic almost.

that if you were from this culture, you thought a certain way. But that’s not the current view.

And it’s really more that we have so many cultural influences around us, and that it’s almost more

like a Venn diagram. Each person is a unique point of confluence. So the more things you have in

common with the people around you, it means the more rain zones of overlap they’re up.

But it’s all about culture as learned, shared patterns of ideas and behaviors.

will learn. No one grows up wired to speak any given language. You could be born on one side of

the planet and if you’re flown overnight to the other side, you’ll learn whatever language is where

you grow up equally well. And so yes, once we’ve learned certain things, we all know this. It’s

harder to unlearn than to learn. And that’s true for anything. But you can always learn new things.

And so yes, it’s absolutely possible to really get invested in and find value in other frameworks.

And I think one of the most helpful ideas and that I used to always use in teaching

is this idea that no one on the planet wakes up in the morning.

Think through their possibilities goes, this makes no sense. I’m going to go do it.

No one.

They may think it sucks, but I guarantee you, it still feels like the best choice to them based on what they’re aware of.

And the underlying framework there is what I call cultural logic. There is a logic behind what every single person does. And if instead of jumping to judgments, how could you think that we ask it with real curiosity.

How is it that you think that because there is a reason. Well, now I can start to explore other ways of thinking and being able

JANNINE: I find it fascinating to think through, you know, culturally, I think a lot of people think just

because you grew up on, let’s say the Cayman Islands, you’re going to be automatically a

chill person. And I think that a lot of people in their mind, when they wake up in, you know,

not in the morning, but they, I think you start to think about like, well, if I just move somewhere,

I’m going to be more chill, right? It’s going to like absorb, right? But I find that more often

and then not, I’ll hear from folks that are expats or whatnot,

that they’re like, yeah, I just took all my stuff with me.

It’s all still here.

And they didn’t integrate into other than it just being

associated with it’s an island, that equals chill.

But it’s so much more than that.

And then a fabulous explanation for that.

So I think my next question ends up being,

there’s this concept of how we want to be.

And there’s this, you know, like you said,

the possibilities in the morning,

we don’t think about the possibilities of like,

well, that’s stupid, I’m not gonna do that.

We think about all the stuff that could go wrong.

I think for a lot of people,

that’s the first thoughts as waking up.

How do you coach folks about their wake up process

and really framing that how you wanna be throughout the day?

DR JONATHAN: Yeah, so I think there’s two pieces there

because we certainly work with it on a daily basis,

But I think that, at least in the people I’ve spoken to,

no one really ends up living a really like

meaningful or fulfilling life

if they’re only going day by day.

There needs to be a, you know,

in the service of what?

What’s the North Star?

And that doesn’t mean that all coaching or advice

or whatever needs to be about that,

but I think it’s a crucial piece.

And so if you’ll indulge me,

I wanna quickly work through sort of

strategically build that piece so that we can then make sure that day by day it’s in alignment.

JANNINE: Yes, let’s do it. Let’s do it.

DR JONATHAN: So this goes back to the question you asked earlier, because I use being as the acronym for

my approach. Okay. And that comes about for a couple of reasons. One is we were talking about,

I think especially in today’s society, we’re so caught up in these external accomplishments

and achievements in doing that there isn’t the space for just being. And so, again, it’s a model

if you don’t like it, if it doesn’t serve you, throw it out, it doesn’t matter. I’m not attached to it,

but I do like using it because I think it draws some attention to just being how we want to be

in the world and how important that is, and not only focusing on those external things.

And I had a conversation with someone several years ago where we were talking about this in

the context of some dancing movement practices. I really thought I understood it. I thought I was

on team being, if you will. Then in November 2019, I had a really bad spinal injury and nerve damage.

And for five weeks, I couldn’t even roll over on a side on my own. And it was, it was mishandled

medically I was sent by my doctor in an ambulance to the ER for an MRI. They never even did an MRI,

let alone an x-ray, sent me home with nothing. And so I was really faced with an existential

challenge. It was, am I the same Jonathan? Do I have as much value as a human being if I’m not

doing all the things I used to do? And so I really was thinking about that stuff when I sort of

came together with this framework. So B is for begin where you are. And this is the question you

were asking about before because so often we want to go. But when you get on your phone for like

your Google map or your GPS in your car or even an old-fashioned map, if you don’t have a pin that

says this is where you are, you cannot navigate. If I can’t get a signal for my phone so it knows

where to start from, it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t know the destination perfectly. I cannot get there

if I don’t know where I’m starting from. Most detailed map in the world is useless without a

“you are here” pin. So I think that beginner you are is not about the show. It’s not about how do you

think things ought to be. It’s what is really going on. And yeah, there are some challenges

if they’re not, congratulations, and then you’re not looking for any help getting anywhere else.

And could you please come coach me if you know how to do that?

At the same time, yes, there are challenges, but you also have lots of things in your toolkit already.

Because we have all of the skills, all of the strengths, all of the know-how, what things don’t

work for us and why not, what are the networks we can rely on, what are the things we’ve learned

not to lean into. Like, let’s actually start by assessing where are you now, so begin where you are.

is it for where you want to go? And so again, I think all too often in a society that chases

those external accomplishments, the promotion, the pay rates, if those serve you, great, go for them.

But what comes with those? What are the additional responsibilities? What are the additional time

commitments? What are the additional expectations? Do those really serve what you want the most?

So yes, you get more money, which means you can take your family on vacation more, well,

So you actually care about spending time with them

more than anything else, which is why that’s important.

But wait a minute, you’re actually going to spend

the last time with them total because of the responsibilities

of the new job.

Or to use your application analogy.

Some people want to go somewhere where it’s

forest and mountain.

Some people want beach and sunset.

Some people want tropical rainforest.

Some people want museums and art galleries.

There isn’t a right answer.

It’s what actually is what you want.

So explore where you want to go.

I is for identify your options.

So what are the different ways to get

between those two locations?

Is it the most efficient route?

Is it the most scenic route?

Is it the one that lets you stop

and visit people you care about?

And I think another super important part of this

is identify how you’ve made your best decisions.

So again, this is one of the things I tend to invite people to do, one column on a piece

of paper, what are the best decisions you’ve made in your life?

And best meaning looking back on it in retrospect, has been the most meaningful, fulfilling

decisions you’ve made.

And on the other column, which are the ones that are the least successful for you, that

have been the least fulfilling?

And once you have those two lists, figure out how did you make the decisions on each


So for one person, pro and con list for someone else, listen to their gut.

For someone else, talk to close friends and family who know them well and see what they


So identify how you’ve made your best decisions.

Now take that back and apply it to whatever brainstorming you have about the routes between


So now we have beginner you are, explore where you want to go, identify your best option

for traveling, which brings us to end.

start because all too often people are trying to get the perfect plan and

perfectionism is just a version of should, right? I should get it right and

there is a single right. And if you really recognize that you know which way

you’re going between point A and point B and why you’ve chosen that, it’s not a

problem. We’ve all been driving home and there’s a detour. It’s not like, oh crap

I’m lost now. I go around it. It could be I’m driving home and I think of oh I’m passing fairly

nearby it’s only a little out of my way it’ll be more efficient if I go and do this. Oh this

person’s in town I could stop and see that. So whether it’s a detour caused by external forces

or a choice as long as you know where you’re starting where you’re going and why you’re choosing

the way you’re going. Fine things happen in life. I think one of the sort of most cliche

things I’ve heard but that really resonated for me is that life is 10% how you make it 90% how you take it.

JANNINE: Hmm. Okay. 

DR JONATHAN: Well, so many external things happen that we have no control over. So how do we roll with the what do we make of that?

What do we choose? How do we take it? Like is it just, oh, this is a obstacle? I can’t do anything or is it okay?

It’s an obstacle. What do I do now?

Do I just bang my head against it or do I go over it go around it backtrack and come back another day? It’s up to you


We’re up through and right begin where you are where we’re gonna go identify your options now start in G

Yes, get your best life and I don’t mean this in the sense of you’ve arrived and it’s

Done, but I think all too often we’re so busy chasing things that we don’t actually take time to appreciate

the distance we have traveled and to consolidate,

you’re in a different place in your life now.

And you have new resources, new skills,

you now know things to avoid,

you have new tools, new capacities,

which you can now apply to anything else.

And you can also look at part of that idea of G

as also gratitude, which is again,

just sort of acknowledging and thanking yourself

and the universe for where you’re at now

versus where you started.

And I think that’s just a healthy way to start.

And so this is to me the strategic piece.

And if that’s in place, it’s super useful

for them making all of those day-to-day decisions.

It guides it.

JANNINE: That makes sense because I think a lot of folks,

we’ve got all these, like, ping, ping, ping,

just much like life, you know, pinging all over.

We don’t have that like where we headed.

What’s the mission?

You know, what’s the goal, whatever.

you know, you call that.

And in getting there is, you know, everyone talks about,

“Oh, enjoy the journey.”

And a lot of people just roll their eyes and like,

“Oh my God, if I hear that again,

I’m just gonna, you know, ah, rip someone apart.”

But really, I think it’s fascinating to reflect, right?

And look at the gratitude of like,

Holy cow, I have made steps towards where I wanna be.

Cause I think so many people, myself included,

I spend a lot of time back in the should land

of like, “I should be here now.

I should be here now, like, and I, and forget about where I’m at, what I, what I actually accomplished.

DR JONATHAN: Absolutely. And I think this goes, I, I mentioned it before in the cultural context of, you know, we internalized these ideas of just

how things should work out. But again, I’m trying to, like, I think it was back in late October, you had Theresa Lear-Levine.


DR JONATHAN: And some of that was about, you know, exploring how much of your life was created by others ideas.

Well, those are the things we internalize. It’s what we’ve been told by society,

your internalize from media of the way we’re supposed to live, which may or may not be authentic

to what’s really resonant for you.

JANNINE: And I think part of it, and I wonder if you’ve seen this too, is developing the courage

to live a life outside of what maybe you think is supposed to be or I don’t even think like let’s

put them culturally maybe attuned to or even within your own family been been for the lack

of a better term brainwashed to think that’s how it’s supposed to be. 

DR JONATHAN: Absolutely. It’s funny. I

actually had a minor struggle with this earlier today. I was I’m in Sao Paulo, Brazil right now

staying in some sort of like co-working spaces.

I’m here doing some Brazilian zuc dancing.

It’s one of the things I really enjoy doing.

But it’s like there are co-working spaces.

And to me, it was like, I should be able, should, right?

I hear it.

To expect a certain amount of quiet,

you know, if the studio is in full for dance lessons.

And I knew we were going to record this.

And I’d had a meeting earlier this morning.

And I mean, it’s something that we all internalize.

And just because I know that it’s an internalized idea,

it doesn’t mean it doesn’t trigger something

in my nervous system.

But it’s like, OK, well, what can I do?

I can’t control what everyone else does.

And it does cause aggravation.

It doesn’t mean that once we have these ideas,

somehow we’re immune to it.

But it does put us in a place of rather than just getting

stuck and stewing in it, we can choose.

And so I think if sort of the being framework is the strategic piece, there’s a tactical piece,

which is what I think really gets to your question of day by day. 


DR JONATHAN: And I think there’s amazing

work out there on, you know, what’s finding your meaning, right? So you can go back to Victor

Frankel and logo therapy, you can go to Simon’s Cinec and, you know, what’s your why. And I think

that works amazing. And I really encourage everyone to look into it if they have any interest.

At the same time in the moment while you’re getting stressed out, I find getting in touch with,

you know, what makes my life meaningful or what’s my meaning. I can’t make that leap. Maybe some

people can when I’m just aggravated and there’s competing things pulling on my energy, I can’t do it.

So it really comes back to a question of how do I want to be? And it can be in a relationship

with a given person, it can be in a given setting, it can be in a given conversation.

how do I want to be? Because that I can influence. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s usually not

complicated to figure out what the answer is. And in the truly most stressful moments, there’s a

version of it. I didn’t have the wording at the time, but I now refer to it as future casting.

Because whether it’s just too many things or whether overwhelmed with emotion,

how will I have wanted to show up? What does the five years from now Jonathan, what is he going

to look back and not go, “Dang it, I wish I’d said something different. Dang it, I wish I’d

handled that differently.” And I don’t know where it, I don’t know, I call it little elves in the

back of my head who work always coming up with stuff and you know, they do a really good job.

Like I owe those little dudes a lot. But I remember I was still recovering from that spinal injury

I mentioned and I’ve been involved in a long distance relationship which to that point

in time was the most meaningful one in my life and it was really amazing and it caught

me a little off guard when again long distance phone call she broke up with me and amazing

woman and I just remember sitting there and having this awareness I’m not going to get

a chance to do this over and you know she asked if I just wanted to you know maybe follow up

another time or if I still want to talk and I said, give me a second. And I just remember like

there were these tears pouring down my face but I’m like, I don’t want to regret this. I’m only

going to have this chance. And so somehow it came to me to say, you know, I just want to thank you

for all of the like amazing experiences and everything we shared and most of all just for being you.

And it doesn’t mean it didn’t emotionally tear me apart but I had zero regrets. I left that the way

I’m glad to have left it because it was an incredible relationship and it didn’t work out and that can happen for any reason. There wasn’t blame in this case.

No one did anything wrong. It just in certain ways.

It wasn’t resonant equally resonant for both of us for different reasons. And that happens.

And so when it really piles up, future cast, looking back at this, because we’ve all been there where two hours, two weeks, two days, two months, two years later.

I wish I had blank, which is essentially saying I should have.



– Yep.

Oh, yes, that future casting component and really coming up with how you want to be.

And that makes sense in the moment.

So I think really what causes the most stress for folks is in the moment as we’re practicing

becoming the new us and having those tools in the moment to be able to be like, Okay,

I see what’s happening here.

I see I’m trying to run an old pattern.

Okay, let’s, let’s, like, you know,

almost like an actor in your own movie.

You’re like, how can I reframe this right now?

How can I switch this?




DR JONATHAN: Absolutely.

JANNINE: So Brazilian Zouk, I want to kind of bring this

all back full circle because we had talked about it

at the beginning that, you know, you’ve really resonated

with the Brazilian culture.

You had a very tiny closet of a bedroom you were staying in

and you were feeling like more comfortable

in that environment than anywhere else.

I think this is something really valuable

for folks to think about because for some of us

who travel a lot, we find that there are certain people,

places, cultures, whatever it may be,

that we feel so much more aligned in.

And for a lot of people having the courage

to make the leap, right?

and having the courage to go after something

like Brazilian ZouK dancing.

This is your passion that I’ve seen.

Tell us a little bit about how you came

to really be like Brazil.

I like this jam, right?

This is good.

And really kind of took your mind out of the,

oh well, is that should I be doing that?

All the shoulds and things.

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JANNINE: Let’s give us a scoop on you and how it all came full circle for you.


it’s one of those funny things because like it’s all one piece but to like pull it apart.

And I mean, I think that’s true of most of the things that are really resonant for us.

It’s not just one element, it ties things together.

And so for me, I done academic research on partner dancing.

I’ve written books about the world of competitive ballroom before it was even a TV show.

One of the last articles I wrote was about what the impact of the publicity had on the,

you know, dancing itself. I’ve written about like salsa and how it evolved on the west coast of

the US versus other parts of the world.

So dance has been something that I actually got into because I fell for someone who was into it.

I was someone who grew up not dancing at all very much more culturally Western.

You know, a machismo culture.

Dads are like, “I want my son to play football.”

That wasn’t my dad. I’ll give him credit.

But like, no, I shouldn’t say none.

But it’s culturally not the norm for father to be like, “Yes, I want my son to dance.”


And so I never felt a lot of pressure, but it wasn’t something I was comfortable doing growing up,

even through high school college, never went to school dances, proms. It wasn’t something. And

then I fell for a woman who was involved. And I’m like, okay, if I’m got an impress her, I got to go

learn. But then once I started doing it, I’m like, there’s something here. And especially in a

society where men in particular, this is say mid to late 90s, really aren’t in touch with their

body. And there were so many conflicting cultural standards about like, how should you act towards

women. That it was interesting that there was this framework where, because I ended up

interviewing so many people for my research, where it’s like part of the appeal was, we

actually have roles and we know what’s acceptable and what isn’t. So that was interesting at an

intellectual level, at a personal level, what was interesting is just, oh yeah, I’m not just a

brain because I was an academic who’s getting chauffeured around in a body, like my body matters too.

And later and more recently, I trained in somatic coaching,

body-oriented coaching was a course trainer briefly

for the somatic school out of London.

And it’s an important part.

And that’s where some of the things

I was mentioning about the importance of the body come from.

But of all the different dance forms I’ve discovered,

to me, Zouk is the most about just connecting

with another human being.

And that was appealing to me.

And you may be able to tell some of the listeners,

my brain keeps going and traditional meditation does not work for me.

But if I’m on a dance floor and it’s how am I in my body right now?

Who is the partner I’m dancing with? How are they in their body?

How do we interact with each other? What’s the floor like?

What are the people around us like? What is the physical setting?

What’s the music? Like there’s so much like it’s so hard to not be present

if you’re actually paying attention. So to me it’s a moving meditation. All of those

extraneous thoughts, there’s not room. And it’s such a gift. In late August,

life happens. I still have some stress around it, but I fell for a really elaborate financial

scam and I lost a good chunk of money. And I was just on my way into a dance event in Croatia.

And a lot of the time I was still stressed out beating myself up about what in retrospect I

I saw some red flags, you know, have an FBI complaint filed.

It was really elaborate.

But anytime I went to dance, I wasn’t aware of any of that

because if you can just be present in the moment,

and so that’s some of what dance does for me.

And so much of relating to other human beings

isn’t just words.

And so there’s so much about nonverbal presence,

communication, collaboration that I enjoy so much.

And not often, but I occasionally will teach

some dance workshops and related domains as well.


You know, dance is so intricate, right?

And it’s one of those things that unless you participated

fully in dance, do you don’t get that connection,

that knowingness, that feeling that you have

to really understand the next move, right?

And where someone’s going to go with things

or if they ad-lib in something as well.

And I found that for a lot of people,

some of the dance can be almost a,

like you said, meditative,

but also some of a cathartic, like energy freeing,

you’re moving energy as well.

Have you felt this also for yourself?

Like afterwards, you feel like things have just moved

through the body and you feel like more chill, more relaxed?

DR JONATHAN: Absolutely.

And for me, I think connection is just one of those

huge things for me.

like if you know the love language is like quality time and physical touch or my big two. So in a

partner dance that’s a fully improvised form, well I get quality time and physical touch.

But again it only works if there’s a partner who’s really meeting you. If we get caught up

in this move should work a certain way, well then we’re fighting with whatever actually is there

and we get frustrated or we’re busy thinking about the technical aspects versus the way I’ve

always said it in dance context is if you’re trying to lead or follow a pattern, now you’re wrong

because it’s another person. So I’m leading or following a person and it’s just being present

with them and seeing what emerges. And so if like any conversation, you know, one of us asked the

question, the other person gives a response and you don’t know what your next question really is.

You might have some ideas of the direction but it’s only if we’re actually following each step

literally how did they take the step?

What was the weight transfer?

What was the tempo?

What was the angle of the body?

And that the next thing fits.

Well, now we’ve created something and it was an experience.

And so like when I get to connect with someone like that,

yeah, I leave the floor like, and again,

at least for me, if life isn’t about

genuine human connections,

then I don’t know what it’s really about.

And so if I leave a floor like I really connected with someone,

yeah, I’m good, I’m good.

JANNINE: You know, you bring up the, you know, we kind of talked about a little bit before, but the human connection.

And that’s something that is really valuable to me as well.

I kind of discovered it when I was a kid and I was going to Catholic Mass, which is probably the most bizarre statement in terms of how human connection.

But we always did this peace be with you where we shake everyone’s hands and I live for that.

I was like, I can’t wait to do that.

The rest of it.

But that communication, and I feel like for a lot of us,

some of our stress that comes up is communication stress.

Like not being able to communicate authentically,

not knowing how to connect with someone.

And dance of course, you have to,

to have this great flow, and like you said,

it goes well, it goes well, we get this just like high.

But when it doesn’t go so well, it’s like,

“Huh, we go back to that show to what a good department

In communicating authentically with folks,

I want to definitely kind of bring the whole

podcast full circle here because I think that in a lot of what’s

happening in society is that we do struggle to communicate.

And part of that is really some of the stressors that come about.

Can you speak to that a little bit in terms of looking at

authentic communication and where folks can go to kind of help

even start that process and have improvement a little bit better?

Yeah, I mean, I think there are lots of different practices out there, everything from like authentic relating, authentic experiencing, circling. I mean, there’s lots of practices.

And try them out. Figure which ones work for you.

At the same time, I think at the part of it,

it’s not those, you know, internalized ideas of how we are supposed to show up with other people, how we’re supposed to act.

But what’s actually true to me?

I’m gonna be in Amsterdam for a few days later this month.

And there’s someone who I haven’t met,

but like online, we know each other who lives there.

And I respect a lot.

And I sent a message, I reached out,

and I was like, I’m gonna be there for a few days.

And if it works, I’d love to meet up,

whether for a cup of coffee or at a dance event, whatever.

And she wrote back and said,

that seemed like a nice person or her.

but that it just wasn’t calling to her right now.

And, you know, she’s trying to do the things

that are resonant and gets lots of requests.

And she’s like, okay, you know,

thank you for the courtesy of your response.

And I appreciate the, you know,

honesty and the transparency, I value both.

End of story.

And you know, when she wrote back just very briefly,

like that she really, you know,

appreciated the graciousness which that was received.

But I genuinely expressed,

I was authentically interested in getting together.

She wasn’t.

Okay, I don’t have an issue with that.

And I think that it would be a whole other episode,

but some of what we’re really talking about

is like attachment styles, right?

And so we have avoidant attachment

when you’re afraid it’s gonna be rejected

so you don’t reach out, we have anxious attachment,

where we’re afraid it’s gonna go away,

so we hold on too tight, we have disorganized attachment

where you do both, and then few people

who grow up with secure attachment,

And then some people who you can have earned secure attachment.

And so so much about this is, look, all I can do

is communicate where I’m coming from

and then recognize that the other person’s doing the same.

It’s a judgment about themselves

and what’s right for them, not a judgment about me.

And it’s literally true on the dance floor,

but it’s true in life as well.

I wanna dance with the people who wanna dance with me.

I don’t wanna drag someone into a dance

who doesn’t wanna dance with me.

I’m not going to enjoy that.

I don’t want to do it in life either.

And sometimes someone wants to dance with me,

and I don’t want to.

And it could be them.

But more likely, I don’t like this music.

I’m tired.

I’m stressed out about something, and I

don’t feel like I can show up the way I want to.

And if I just recognize that it’s about we dance well when

we both want to dance with each other at this point in time.

And it’s the same thing in life.

And so being authentic is about this is what’s true for me.

I’m going to invite the things I want.

I’m going to graciously and gracefully say no to the things I don’t.

And I’m going to accept that that’s where other people are coming from too.

JANNINE: Well said.

Well said.

And I think this will speak volumes for a lot of folks right now,

just to kind of bring everything into a full circle that, you know,

what comes to us is what we are putting out there.

And, you know, if it’s not the right fit, it’s not the right fit.

and accepting that.

And, you know, as a whole,

I think it’s a fabulous time for us to really kind of go,

“Okay, you’ve talked through all of your techniques,

you know, not all of your techniques.

I don’t want to say that.

I’m talking too much at the moment.”

But really what I’m trying to say is

you have some fabulous techniques for folks to chew on.

They’re, I’m thinking about a couple of things right now

in terms of the being component.

And guys, I’m gonna put this at doctorjkrausend.com.

I would love for you, Jonathan,

to tell us folks how we can work with you

if we’re interested,

because I think at this point,

communication connection, finding the right fit

is so important.

And I know that some folks likely are resonating right now.

So give us the scoop on how they can connect with you

in terms of coaching, the different styles of coaching

that you have and the whole scoop.

DR JONATHAN: Sure, so the, excuse me, easiest way to work with me

is I offer completely complimentary 30 minute consultation.

I just like connecting with people.

We were just talking about it.

And maybe it’s resonant for us to work together.

Maybe it isn’t.

That’s okay.

Like 30 minutes, I’m happy to talk to anyone.

I learn from everyone I interact with.

And so I get just as much value.

And so my website is steps along the way.global.

And if you just go to steps along the way,

doc global slash schedule,

you can schedule a 30 minute chat.

On the website, I have some of the information

as far as different approaches to coaching,

aside from the being framework,

which is sort of my overriding one.

But again, it’s what’s right for anyone,

but have background and training

in positive psychology, coaching,

emotional intelligence, coaching,

body oriented coaching.

And then I do consulting and speaking

on related topics as well.

And again, you know, interested in just many people

who’ve heard of ROI as far as, you know,

return on investment.

The version I read once that resonated for me

as ripples of impact.

And part of how I want to show up in the world

is having those ripples.

And so if how I show up influences anyone

and how they show up influences me,

it’s all for the better.

JANNINE: Awesome, awesome.

And what about Brazilian Zouk?

How can we see you dance?

How can we learn more about that?

because I’m fascinated by it.

And so I’m asking for myself

and hopefully someone else is fascinated by it too.

DR JONATHAN: Sure, so if you just hop on the website

and shoot me an email,

I actually haven’t put together anything on the website yet

where I showcase it,

but I’m happy shoot me an email, say you’re interested,

I’ll send you some video clips of me dancing

of some of the people I respect the most in the world dancing.

Maybe I should put together a little curated list

for people who are interested.

But it’s a really nice dance form.

But again, whatever resonates for anyone in their own body,

do that.

This one works for me as in anything in life.

If someone who says they have the answer,

they were a scary human being run the other way.

If someone’s willing to share what they enjoy

and some of that works for you, go get it.

JANNINE: Love it, love it.

Yes, as you said earlier,

finding what works for you so important

versus following, you know, official guru.

I don’t know if this is, this is what you need to do.

– Man, good stuff here.

Dr. Jonathan, I seriously appreciate having you come on

and chatting and I think we should talk again

a little bit more about that concept

like you were saying of attachments and things of that

nature because I think that’s something

that I haven’t talked about much on the podcast

and could be very important for some folks

in diving into really creating their own best life.

DR JONATHAN: Yeah, be my pleasure.

Thank you so much for having me on.

And if there’s ever anything I can do to be of service

or weigh in, please get in touch.

It would be a pleasure.

JANNINE: Awesome, thank you so much.

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