Peace + Joy with Jerry Zehr

Updated: Jan 16

Contributing to the conversation this week is the author of "The Peacemakers Path" and "Blurring The Lines" Author, Jerry Zehr.

When he isn't writing, you can find Jerry giving inspirational speeches or leading Interfaith ministry alongside his wife of 35 years, Diane.

Jerry has a way of bringing together wisdom from the world’s major religious traditions and showing that we have much more in common than what divides us! This conversation is equal parts inspiring and charming.

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Interview with Jerry Zehr:

*Text has been edited for clarity

Jerry Zehr: Oh, good. You got it!

Leanne: It was wonderful. Jerry, I had a blast with this book.

Jerry Zehr: Thank you.

Leanne: With spirituality. It's kind of like a hard thing to talk about, especially like, I don't have a lot of background in it. So it's very, I guess it's individual, no matter how you grow up. But I loved how you had all the different faiths and religions saying the same thing. Like it kind of said, what I've always thought in terms of like, there's got to be kind of a central message here. But all the rules, the man-made rules kind of split it all up into different things.

Jerry Zehr: Yes, yes. You know, it reinforces to me that there's a, what you call a higher power, Universal Consciousness. There was something beyond I mean, the Hindu scriptures were 1000s of years before Jesus, were written in India. Then you had the Baha'i scriptures, which from Iran, all these and there's, they're not exactly the same, but they're similar enough that you could tell. I mean, you just can't make that up, you know, and have them all be so similar 1000s of years from apart, that it just reinforces to me that there's something greater that's drawing us to the divine within and beyond?

Calla: Yeah, yeah. Well, when you sent this like I said, we both dug into it, and I'm actually on day 23 with empathy today. So I was really excited about that. Um, but knowing that you were coming here, I was reading more, and I went back and I read "Blurring the Lines", and I could not put it down.

Leanne: She was telling me all about it before you came on.

Calla: I really enjoyed it. I woke up early this morning, just to finish it. Because I was like, so into it. It should be a movie.

Jerry Zehr: I know. I kind of as I wrote it, I thought, you know, this could be a good script. I mean, of course, it's based on my experiences, but it's not all true.

Leanne: Oh yeah, that's what we were going to ask.

Jerry Zehr: So like when my mother read it, she's 92 now but when it came out, like 10 years ago, she was like, you didn't do all that stuff did you? And I went, Well, I didn't do all the dark pieces, you know, I mean, but what's fun is that for a book just to be about me singing the Johnny Carson Show or whatever. I mean, but that is the theme, what are you willing to sell your soul for? Was very real. That was very real to me as far as one of the stories in the book, which is true was the guy wanted me to do some porno. And, and I $100 back in those days would have been a lot of money, you know? Or the woman who wanted to invite me up to her room. Give me a big tip.

Leanne: I love the giggle afterward.

Calla: Like it was just like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, you're just rooting for Thomas to just get it together. Like you know, you just seem so naive but so just like trying to make it and I feel like that's just so alive and real for today more than ever and I think I experienced it now as a mother through a different lens too, and then knowing people that were in similar situations to what this character went through in my own personal life. It was just like like I said I couldn't put it down.

Jerry Zehr: Well, I think that scene but what are you willing to sell your soul for? It goes across I mean people in sales, people in finance. I mean, I've known friends who've been in jobs where they were paid money under the table if they did certain things, you know. And finally, like my one friend is It just got to his conscious so much he quit the job. As soon as that happened, the company got busted. Like, oh, he was so lucky, you know. But it's so anyway. Well, thank you that that makes me feel good.

Calla: You are a great storyteller, a great storyteller.

Jerry Zehr: So tell me as you read in The Peacemakers Path, what connected for you? What did you find?

Leanne: Oh, Jerry, I've got a whole set of notes here for you. You asked the right question. I actually, I had an idea because Cal and I do a live show on Thursdays. And we decided to take some of the questions from your book and just kind of talk through them and have a conversation about it. And I did have some of my favorite ones that maybe towards the end, I could ask you, your opinion on because you did write the book? That's what I was curious about. How did you find God and how has your understanding of him changed as you've gone through life?

Jerry Zehr: Well, you know, it's interesting. My grandparents were Amish now. I don't know if you know anything about the Amish. Do you know the Amish at all?

Calla: Very little.

Jerry Zehr: You know, they have no electricity, no alcohol, they live on farms. They don't drive cars.

Leanne: I know they make great furniture!

Jerry Zehr: Yes, they make great furniture, horse, and buggies. Right? But so my parents grew up as Amish but they became Mennonite, which is another part the Amish broke off with Mennonite but, and it was very conservative, very legalistic, don't dance, don't drink, don't smoke, you're gonna go to hell. Everybody was going to go to hell if you weren't a part of our church, and I just never bought it. But you know, a minister pounded on the pulpit and was you know, they meant well, they're trying to make you fear God, that would make you live the right path. But I think fear and shame are very unhealthy. Anyway, I so I left the church. I mean, I, I thought, I left God because I thought all churches were like my church. And I thought if God was like that, God, I want nothing to do with it. But I had had a powerful experience of love at church camp. When I wanted the young person at church camp, I would have this community of young people, and we would just be singing and loving and caring for one another. So I still had that on my core. But so I went to LA, I'm performing, you know, outside, it looks like I'm having this great life. But inside I'm very empty. Because every relationship was transactional. What can you do for me? You know, there was nothing feeding my soul. I mean, I didn't even have that language. I didn't even talk about feeding my soul. I just knew inside I was empty. And I was partying and drinking and doing all that stuff. And I just knew I had to get out of that lifestyle. I had to get out of there. And I had kind of my own spiritual awakening, in the midst of all that kind of a crashing and burning. And I just started seeking. So I ended up teaching high school speech and theater. And I found a church. I was my parents were Methodist now, so I was looking for a Methodist church, but I couldn't find that. I didn't know one church from another. And there was a church on this corner and the guy who was on the street corner, I said, Do you know where the Methodist church is? And he pointed down the way, but I couldn't understand him. And I asked him again, and he pointed down the way and I didn't want to embarrass him to ask him a third time. So I saw him go into the church. So I just go into this church. And its a Christian church, Disciples of Christ, which come to say, now we know, because I've become a minister, that is a very progressive liberal, we always support the LGBTQ community, we, you know, men and women, black and white, divorced, married, whatever. There's a sense of love and grace and non-judgment. And I was like, I didn't know there was a different church than what I grew up with. And that Minister became my mentor, and he gave me a new understanding of God. So I went to seminary really just to put my faith together with integrity. And that's when I started studying world religions. And I became a minister working in interfaith for 35 years. And in my understanding of God, I mean, I used to think of God as this, you know, being out there, striking you down if you did something wrong, or you'd say, "Please give me this", kind of like Santa Claus. And, you know, even science now, quantum physics understands there are many dimensions in the universe. Quantum physics says energy cannot be destroyed. So we say spirit sciences, energy, but there's an electric current, there's an energy field inside of each of us, they talk about with chakras, but even you know, when somebody dies, they put the kind of to get them started, you know, they jumpstart the electrical current in their body and even done science tests so that when somebody dies, the body is a little bit lighter than what it was with that person before. And so I believe that that energy that can't be destroyed, leaves the body and gets manifested. Is it reincarnation is it I don't know. You know, I don't know what it is all but So I understand God and a much more universal consciousness there's many let you know words, we get hung up on that sometimes people you know somebody calls it Allah in the Quran, some of my friends in AA call at "Higher Power". Some people call it love. I'm okay. So anyhow, so that's how I came on that journey. Thank you for asking.

Leanne: I love the themes of how you broke up your book into different themes. And Calla I talked about one of my, my favorite questions that you asked the Do you remember your first experience of awakening? Yeah. And mine was I had started going to a nondenominational church like a young adult ministry. It was the first time that I had heard and let it really sink in that, that God has a plan for my life. And that's the first time I really felt a kind of unshakable sense of self-worth, that I don't think I had previous to that I was extremely insecure, without really realizing how insecure that I was. And your entire theme on love, broken down day-by-day, I almost was able to re-experience that feeling of like, you know, cuz that was done probably 10 years ago, you know, and so you get busy things to get in the way, and it's not top of mind. And so to revisit those different themes within the loving yourself that was, it was such a nice reminder for me.

Jerry Zehr: Well, and you know, I grew up with a lot of shaming, guilt, a lot of anxiousness. So, in my 20s, I was very driven, judgmental, I was a perfectionist, I could never do enough, you know? Society says You got to do more. And then my parents out of their conservative background, you know, that just was so ingrained. And it's funny because, Jesus says, what's the greatest commandment as Jesus and he says, to love God, with all your heart and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. But so often we focus on loving others, you know, being compassionate, caring, which is all good. But we don't focus on loving ourselves very much. Self-care, of feeling good, affirming yourself. And so, you know, a lot of times, I'll ask somebody, what are three things that you love about yourself? And they'll just like, I don't know. I mean, it's hard to feel, you know, because we're kind of we're taught not to be prideful. Well, I disagree. I think a young person who's full of themselves, and you know, now if you're self-centered, that's one thing. But to feel good about yourself and confident, oh, gosh, I didn't have that. I didn't have that feeling till I was in my 40s honestly.

Leanne: Still trying to get there.

Jerry Zehr: I hear you.

Leanne: It's exhausting Jerry. I'm exhausted.

Jerry Zehr: Well, and you know, as parents as well, and just as girls, it's so it was staggering to me, girls at the age of nine, start to feel inadequate about their bodies, they already are taught that they're insufficient, that their bodies aren't pretty enough, skinny enough, this and that. And, you know, I just thought to myself because as guys, we already had the dominant role in society, and women have to break through a lot of that. And so you guys have had to work through so much of that breaking through the stereotype. Being yourself. It's hard when you have so many expectations of others put upon you.

Calla: Thank you for acknowledging that. That really makes me very happy.

Jerry Zehr: Well, I must tell you, my wife is a minister, we met in seminary. And so you can imagine 35 years ago as a woman in the ministry. I mean, actually, the people who have resisted her more were other women who had chosen to stay home. And we're upset that she chose a path of a career. I mean, she had two children. But, you know, it was hard for people in the pulpit to see a woman because they're so used to male-dominated. So I've been through that with her and I, you know, I see I see things that it's given me the heart to understand.

Leanne: Well, I think too it kind of puts up a mirror in front of certain people who maybe haven't followed their passions or something or you know, taken a leap to do what they know in their heart they really want to do if they see your wife up there doing what she loves doing a great job then they can't help but reflect on why haven't I chosen that?

Jerry Zehr: Well, and when we became co-pastors, that was the first one that pastor that church had. And so we had a number of people who left, they didn't want a woman in the pulpit. And the sixth-grade girl got up in the pulpit, and she's up before Sunday morning, up there, kind of looking around. And, you know, Diane, my wife says, What do you think about that? She says, "I like this", you know, and you could just see that she had never imagined the possibility of her being a minister until she saw my wife. And that's the breaking of the glass ceiling barriers. You know, it's no different than two guys who are gay, who finally get married. And then people go, "Well, what's wrong with that? These are two consenting adults. What's wrong with that loving?" I mean, they're beautiful human beings, you know, and it changes out of a relationship, you know because I had friends who were just against homosexuality. And then they got to know some people, you know, who were in the church, and they went maybe it's, you know, maybe that teaching is really, actually that teaching is not Jesus, by the way, Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. So just for you to understand that teaching comes from Paul, but it's not even Paul, because the Greek translation of homosexuality, homosexual, didn't even come back to the 1800s. The Greek translation, and if you do that, you'll find it talks about older men with a young boy, it's about the power over an individual and the pedophilia, the incest, those that language, you know, that wasn't about two consenting adults. Anyway. Sidenote.

Calla: That's very interesting.

Leanne: Well, for the things that are more gray, like not necessarily acceptance of gay or straight. You brought up perfectionism, and how that was kind of a struggle for you. You had a quote in your book that I absolutely loved. It says "Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It's a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us nothing we do will ever be good enough." I felt exposed. Jerry, you saw right through me. Can you explain the toll that perfectionism has on a person?

Jerry Zehr: Oh, wow. I mean, I will I think, you know, this, like, I know, like, you know, it's, it's never enough. And I could have 99 People say, Jerry, that was a wonderful speech. That was That was fabulous. And I'd have one person who would criticize it. And I would focus on what that one person said was wrong. And I still want it for three days. You know, and then I realized, okay, that's a personal perspective. But, but that's not all. And, you know, I think, if somebody would say, What would you say? What would you want to say to the 30-year-old Jerry, or the 35, or whatever, are 25-year-olds, I would say be easier on yourself. Give yourself some grace. And you guys know this as parents, I mean, you're so hard on yourself, as mothers, you're trying to do this. And that, raise your kids, kids are there and you feel like, I can't do this, it ate me. You know what? And you're doing so much. It's giving yourself some grace.

Calla: Yeah, mother has taught me that for sure.

Jerry Zehr: We are harder on ourselves and our spouse than we are on our friends. You know, this is why this is what I've realized as being married for 37 years. When we first were married in the 10 years. You know, I was harder on my wife. I mean, because I felt like I could say things to her and get away with them. Because she'd stay married to me. I would never have said that to one of my workers or my wife the same way. You know, or, or I would never expect things from people that I expected of myself. I mean, it's good for us to, you know, have a bar of expectation. But it's the same way. I think it's we forgive others more than we can forgive ourselves sometimes.

Calla: Yeah. Or the people that have hurt us. That was a lesson that I learned early on in my marriage as my husband was like, you know, you will get people on the street more respect than you will to certain members of your family and I was like, well, damn. I've never forgotten that. Because it's a hard truth that I needed to hear and I've never forgotten it and it's changed the way that I speak and act.

Jerry Zehr: Yeah, I think it's true. I mean, as I say, we treat those who we, who are closest to because we say things bad to him or we hold on to things. Because it's so close. Our relationship is so close and, and the wounds sometimes feels deeper than it does from somebody else. But yeah, you know, that's that whole thing about forgiveness. So anyway, yeah, perfectionism can drive you crazy.

Leanne: Yeah. I know that all too well.

Calla: It sure can.

Jerry Zehr: So give yourself some grace. Give yourself some grace. realize it isn't really even about being perfect. Because we can't be perfect and, and we do our best. You do your best. And that's what I say to myself. You know, I mean, it's easy to go down that road. I'll have this interview, and I listen back to it. And I go, Oh, gosh, I don't even want to listen to it. It was terrible. And then you just go, "Jerry, You did your best.

Calla: Yeah, this is what came out. The intention was there.

Jerry Zehr: Yeah, like I didn't intentionally you know, what to not do a good job. Or like my wife when she first got divorced, had for 13 years. And for so long, she would beat herself up about divorce, being divorced, she felt bad. I said You didn't go into the marriage intentionally wanting to get divorced, you did your best. But that's a retraining of the mind. You know, I talk that a lot about the thoughts in our mind, and how we need to retrain those thoughts.

Leanne: I heard it in one book, called unlearning, unlearning what you've you've been taught or just accepted as truths in the past, but haven't really looked into when you were talking about your wife struggling with the divorce. I think that's part of the tough spot that a lot of religions kind of get behind for me, is anti-divorce and work through it. I grew up Catholic from a young age. And I know that it's very frowned upon in the Catholic Church, and a lot of people would just rather stay together unhappy than go through a divorce and be frowned upon. What are your thoughts on religion and divorce?

Jerry Zehr: Well, I think those are man-made, you know, I mean, that those are the church's the institutional rules that they have made. And like you say, you grew up with it, and so you believe it. But when you look at Jesus' teachings, he doesn't say any of that. In fact, a woman from Sumeria, who is a woman at the well, she'd been married four times, was living with another man. He doesn't say anything about that. He doesn't shame or guilt her. She's from a different faith tradition, being from Sumeria. What does he do? In those days, a Jew was not even supposed to talk with a woman, let alone a Samaritan woman. Jesus goes to her, talks with her, validates her as a human being, and then he says, You worship the God you do not know. We worship the God we know. But one day we'll worship in spirit and truth. And, and I think Jesus is so much more about valuing and affirming the woman who committed adultery when they were ready to throw stones to her, Jesus said, that person who has you know, never, never sin can throw the first stone, and they drop their stones. I mean, so I think that whole sense of a judgment, of guilt, and shame it's manmade, you know, it's human beings putting their things and, and we all religions have some of that, but when you go to the core teachings, and you really look at the core teachings that I've shown, like, in my book, you see that those things are not, you know, that's not what any of the religions are really about.

Leanne: Would you say that the core teachings are each chapter in your book, forgiveness, reconciliation, patience?

Jerry Zehr: There's probably even some more but those four kinds of themes are those six themes of loving others and loving yourself. And, you know, karma is, you know, what we reap what you sow, those are at the core. And, you know, I mean, all of our religions have taken in some of the conservative Christians have taken some of the scriptures to justify, you know, your actions and that's human nature and some people go well, look what religion is done in a bad way and I go, Well, don't blame God for peoples sin You know? Because if they didn't use religion, they would do something else that was more about power and competition. And they just use religion to beat up on somebody to make themselves feel superior. If it wasn't religion, it would have been something else.

Calla: That's been my whole experience,

Leanne: Same, I am yet to find a church, that the man-made pressures and rules haven't kind of tainted it.

Jerry Zehr: Well, you have to find, and it's hard as the Christian church Disciples of Christ, we have no creeds and no doctrines. And all men or women are equal. They're in a leadership role. There's the United Church of Christ that's like that, you know, that's in the Christian tradition, if you want to stay in it because there's Unitarian, that's kind of a Universalist. But in the Christian tradition, some non-denominational churches say, they don't have any creed. But when you hear some of their teachings, they come out of a conservative bent. And, and that's where it's, it's a little harder to, you know, you like the music. But then when you really unpack like, what are they saying, what do they think about people of other faiths? What do they think about gay people are people who are living together? Do you know? Then you find out well, they say they're, they're welcoming and loving, but only for certain people.

Calla: Yeah. Especially in the leadership roles, too. You know, that's a very, very contrived thing in that, wow.

Jerry Zehr: But there are faith communities that are open. I mean, you just kind of got a Google, you know, liberal congregation, our congregation that supports gay people. And usually, those congregations that are they support gay people. They're like, they're pretty open because so many congregations don't.

Calla: It's weird that that's the thing. Like, who sent out that memo because it went out far and wide?

Jerry Zehr: You know, the gay issues kind of generational people under 35. It's a no-brainer. People over for, you know, 35 I mean, makers, we grew up that way. But they're like, except unless they grow up in a real conservative and stay locked into that. But that goes back to your guy's point about, just because you grew up with certain beliefs. You know, you both have questioned your beliefs, you question some of that as I did. And I think that's healthy. I was taught growing up not to question my beliefs that that was sinful. Well, I think questioning is good. It's seeking. It's that walking the Enlightened path awakening to your own sense of call.

Calla: So my parents divorced when I was around the nine-year nine-year mark, and, and my mom was very much you're gonna find your path. She was like, you know, we had a choice into what we did. And I mean, I looked into everything from a young age, I mean, I wore the red ribbon for whatever that was, you know, for the longest time, and I was into Buddhism, and you know, I've always been, I've just loved the different teachings. Um, then, on the other hand, I had another parent that was just like, you know, no, this is the way, this is what you do. And you know, so it was very, very confusing to me. I think I've still to this day, carry a lot of the guilt on that of what's right and what's wrong, and why can't I just have a relationship with God without all these expectations or rules? I guess that's the right way to put it.

Jerry Zehr: Yeah, and I think that's, that's that relearning? You know, I mean, yeah, I used to, I used to listen to that critic voice or that negative voice inside of me more than I would my friend. And then I realized, I'm just letting those voices stay rent-free. What is that about? So now, when that negative stuff comes, or that voice, you know, I can choose to let that go. I can choose to say, I want none of that. And I want to focus on this way. It takes intentionality in work. I mean, it doesn't retraining, because some of its, I mean, especially if you've had trauma in your earlier life, it's almost in your genes, some of that like so deep in you to train and move. And yet I think that's part of the spiritual journey, you know? I'm kind of fascinated with reincarnation, so yeah, part of this is I'm working out I'm a spiritual being. We are spiritual beings on a human experience. And like, if you were just spiritual beings and another dimension, and I said, I'm giving you a million dollars, well, you couldn't really feel it. So you go, yeah, but here because of the dimensions of this universe, of this world, we love being on earth because it's three-dimensional, you know, and I can feel a million dollars or ice cream and pizza. And so I think as spiritual beings we love coming back into this dimension, because it gives us a chance, to work out those pieces internally in a physical dimension.

Leanne: I have some pretty in-depth discussions with my grandma and she was a librarian. So similar to you, she just had a huge curiosity and religions and read all about them. And she told me one time that you know, you don't have our soulmates. You have a group of soulmates that are like your peers in your class. And no matter what life you find yourself in, you'll keep finding your group of soulmates but maybe, you know, Cal and I are friends, but maybe in the next incarnation, we're actual sisters, or, you know, or mothers, you know, and so, I just thought that was so cool. Like, we're learning together, and we're helping each other grow, and then we move on to the next life. And we do the same thing. And we just keep evolving and changing. I thought that was beautiful.

Jerry Zehr: Yeah, you know, it's interesting when I was in theater, so I'm, you know, so I was out in LA, I came to Kentucky to work in this dinner theater production. And so a bunch of us go to this psychic, oh, this would be fun. We'll go to psychics, you know, and, and, and this psychic, does this whole kind of a thing with me where we do this, say these words, and I feel this kind of elevation I and, and it kind of blew her away? I mean, I think part of it was, I was already into that were a lot of my friends were, okay, it's a kick, but I really kind of was open to it. She doesn't know I'm in the theater. Right? She doesn't know any of that. We just don't. She says you are a circus performer. I was something else. And she said you were a Monk in a previous life. So now, and 15 years later, I'm in seminary. I'm in the basement studying St. Augustine, which is a great saint of the Catholic Church, and I'm reading some of his writings. And I go, God, this feels like I've been here before. It was really weird. So and, you know, I say to my friends, who are they're agnostic, and I say, Well, what does that mean? They say I don't know what's out there. And I go, Well, I'm agnostic to I mean, I don't know what's out there. I don't know if there's a heaven. You know, I mean, maybe they're, you know, they say what if there wasn't? If you knew today, there wasn't heaven? Would you change what you do? And I go? No, I don't think so. Because everything I do I do about experiencing heaven on earth. You know, I want to experience the goodness and love of God on earth. Heaven is secondary.

Leanne: I've heard that Deja Vu is like glimpses, little memories to old lives that

Jerry Zehr: Yeah, I know. And, you know, some people, some people don't believe my sister is so science. So she doesn't want to hear any of this stuff.

Leanne: Sorry, Jerry's sister.

Jerry Zehr: We don't even really talk. You know, there's like a block and a half away from me. And it's like,

Calla: Just avoid that altogether. Yeah. I have those relationships too.

Jerry Zehr: Yeah, Thanksgiving time, you know, we just never talked about any, you know, in my, in my other family say about my new book, she just like rolled her eyes, oh, God, you know, here we go. I just think that for me, Jesus said, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So that it really is to bring the kingdom of God or the heaven on earth, the goodness of God on earth. And so many people in the Christian, I need to get saved, I have to get that person to say, so they'll go to heaven. When Heaven is secondary, you know, I think Jesus in all of these, and I write about that in the book, right, that it's all about experiencing the goodness of God here on Earth. And that is in all of our major religions.

Calla: yeah. There was a part where you talked about each of the world's religions can be twisted to justify violence, but each is rooted in peace. Can you expound on that a little bit?

Jerry Zehr: Well, I think a good example currently was ISIS in Islam, okay. ISIS took the Scriptures about the infidel kill all the infidel and they and they took those scriptures Now, when you understand the context, Mohammed was speaking about a period of time that they were being attacked. And he was saying, you know, we need to defend ourselves. And when you talk, and again, I didn't know the Quran, so I just took it from the words. But then as I talked to other scholars of the Quran, they gave the historical context to it. So that ISIS, in fact, which, you know, there's 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, there was 10,000, ISIS, but in the United States, because a lot of our TV shows, like NCIS, like our, you know, I homeland. I love all these thrillers. . But Muslims always are seen as terrorists. So the perception was, all Muslims are like ISIS. Well, when people come to find out ISIS killed more Muslims than they did Christians because they were killing the Muslims who didn't believe like them. And so they justify their actions and twist the Scriptures. And so many of the people that they got to be part of ISIS were young, ignorant, uneducated boys, who wanted money or wanted to belong, you know, it's like any group, it's like gangs in LA. I mean, they're mainly just kids who got to be a part of the gang because they just want to do belong to some group. And they got into a cult that they didn't even realize. So I think, you know, we saw that with ISIS. Christians justified in the Crusades, killing many, I mean, we killed Muslims, terrible amount. Some people have bombed abortion clinics, in the name of Jesus. And, and I just think, I always say to somebody, are you reading the same teachings of Jesus that I'm reading? Because Jesus never condoned violence. I think that can happen. I think people can use religion. People use other things to justify. And that's what's so hard about. It can make a cynical and just go, I can't figure it out. I don't want anything to do with it.

Calla: I feel like that's where I've been a lot of my life, especially my adult life. Very cynical about it.

Jerry Zehr: And I wouldn't invite you and maybe this book has maybe stimulated you just to, to seek, to read to search, the more you can be open to reading, and seeing points of view that help deepens your spirituality. One of the books I read because it was Oprah's Favorite book. I love Oprah. It was the Tethered spirit by Michael Singer. That was a great book.

Leanne: Oh, can I ask you? Are you talking about the Untethered Soul?

Jerry Zehr: Thank you. That's it.

Calla: Leanne recommends that book daily!

Leanne: It was the first time that I learned that your thoughts are not you. And that was you talk about obscure experiences of awakening. I remember where I was when I read that sentence. And I was like, what? I've never felt less crazy in my whole life.

Jerry Zehr: I think it was very great, it was one of the best books, you know. And so, I mean, it's easy to become cynical. I get it. I mean, I have to push against it. There are some days that I become cynical. You know, like, oh, I wrote this book. Well, anybody read it? Will it make a difference? I mean, you can't believe how much how good it makes me feel, to know that you guys read it and really enjoyed it. I mean, because I did two years of this work on this book. Right. And, I mean, it's, it hasn't got a lot of traction. I mean, it's never going to be a New York bestseller.

Leanne: You can't say that not yet!

Jerry Zehr: I shouldn't say no, I shouldn't. And, you know, it doesn't really even matter. I again, I have to refrain myself. I wrote it because it was something I love doing. And if it helps one or two people, it's enough. I mean, I have to get in that mindset because peoAgainple will say to me, what's your book sales? And I go, I don't even look right.

Calla: We get that all the time. Yeah. What are your numbers? What are your podcast numbers, and we get so caught up in that, like, we're not doing enough when we're sitting here doing what we love, and then it takes away from all that? I mean, I

Leanne: It fully takes it away even if it is just for a moment.

Jerry Zehr: It takes your joy. That's right, takes your joy. And so I mean, that's our mentality. The consumer mentality of our society. And then we just have to put it in check and remind ourselves and like I will cherish this conversation all week. I mean, I will. And this is what I've done that makes my life so much fuller, before I would do the podcast, I go, Oh, and I go on to another, go on to another, try to do more and more and more. And, and there's something about savoring, and enjoying that, you know, because some of the people who I do the podcast, but they never even read the book, right? You know, they don't even, I mean, I'll send a copy, and it's just not their thing. But, but like you guys, and some others who've done that. And, and the people who've written some wonderful reviews, and just some of the notes I've gotten, I literally hold on to those. And I think with your podcast when you get feedback from somebody who says, Thank you, you know, I really enjoyed that. Savor those.

Calla: Oh, we do. That's the only that's why we keep showing up. It was going. If it was just about the numbers and those discussions, we would have quit a long time ago, because it does, it just robs your joy. It just takes away from what you're doing and why you want to do this. And we just want to show people that, you know, there are ways forward and let's talk about it doesn't matter what it is, but we can have the conversation about it. And then you can make a new decision. Right?

Leanne: Or the same one and be more validated.

Jerry Zehr: But I think it's also that you do it together. It's like when I ran a marathon, I could have never run a marathon if I didn't have somebody I ran with. And having somebody else makes all well, you know it and so I say bravo for you to to realize that.

Leanne: Bravo Sis!

Calla: Thank you, thank you. No, I needed you.

Leanne: I think this segues perfectly into part of your book, you talk about the importance of patience, and you give examples of all the cascading negative effects of impatience in your life. Can you give a few examples of those or how you came up with them?

Jerry Zehr: Well, I mean, again, it's kind of from my own personal life, being so driven, always, I felt like I always had to do that I was impatient, I was impatient with myself, I was impatient with others. Because you know, it's just like, everything so needs to be so quick. Now, you know, it's reading a book is a luxury and, and I and I would have a hard time reading, giving myself permission to read a book, I would only read a book on vacation, because it was like, Oh, you have to be productive. What's wrong with taking a nap and reading a book, there's a shift that's happening here. And that's an understanding about that sense of not pushing, but surrendering. And, and as I learned to breathe, and a lot of that was learning to do breathing exercises, this seems very simple. But honestly, you know, I have an app on my phone that's Prana Breath. And it's about taking a deep breath in and exhaling. And I will do this about 10 minutes a day in the morning. And when I find myself getting impatient, anxious, a little bit of that way, because I can't control. I'm out of control and I'll feel anxious. I start to breathe and be able to kind of refocus and center. And part of that, for me was trusting that things will be okay. Things are going to work out. Because when I was anxious, I was insecure. I thought the worst was going to happen. I would always like, you know, I don't know for you, but I would hear people say, oh, yeah, things are going well. But wait till the other shoe drops, you know, like, Oh, no. So like, you're just waiting for things to go bad. Yeah, well, that's such a negative way of just enjoying the moment. So breathing was a very helpful way for me to learn to be patient and also, quieting the mind.

Leanne: Do you feel like worrying is a form of impatience?

Jerry Zehr: Yeah. And I think at the core of worry is the same thing of impatience it's the anxiety that I'm not in control of. And you know, people who are Type A who need to be in control, we worry and what you realize is worry doesn't do any good. Now, if and one of the things I've done for myself, Is there something I can do about this now? If there is do it, if not, write it down. and it will be there later. I used to think if I worry more about it, I'll be able to get it fixed. Well, worrying doesn't all it does is take away your energy, right? So I think I think worry and impatience or both their breathing, centering, clearing my mind getting some perspective on things so that I'm in the midst of it. And you know, when you get up and take a walk, and you could just get outside, it's a different perspective on it. And then you realize, okay, maybe this could be okay are sometimes asked the question, what's the worst thing that's going to happen? Like, I was speaking at this big event, and I was worrying a little bit, I was anxious. You know, I was finding myself I want to do a good job.

Calla: How human of you!