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Cultivating Curiosity: Exploring the Path to Personal Growth with Chris Cirak

Are you ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth? Join me in this episode as we dive deep into the transformative experiences and insights shared by our guest, Chris Cirak. Get ready to explore the power of mindfulness, connecting with your truth, and embracing curiosity as we navigate the path to inner wisdom and authenticity. Tune in for a conversation that will inspire and uplift you on your own journey of transformation.

Show Notes | Transcript

“Life is your teacher, and it’s always reflecting who you are back to you, and there’s always a lesson contained in every experience.” – Chris Cirak

Author, speaker, and meditator Chris Cirak is passionate about turning sophisticated topics into accessible, meaningful, and inspiring experiences. With an extensive background in design, psychology, and tech, he breaks down traditional teachings to make ancient wisdom accessible and discoverable by modern audiences. His challenging upbringing led Chris to discover his true calling to help people navigate their own paths to self-awareness. His BE YOU mindfulness program helps you gain transformative insights to reacting less and thriving more. Discover how Chris’s journey of self-discovery and mindfulness can inspire you to embark on your own path of inner exploration. Tune in to gain valuable insights and guidance on finding peace, purpose, and authenticity in your own life.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The importance of embracing challenges as opportunities for growth and authenticity.
  • The benefits of self-reflection and surrender in personal transformation.
  • Insights on mindfulness and the power of being present in daily activities.
  • The significance of connecting with one’s inner truth and standing up for it.
  • How mindfulness affects relationships and personal growth.
  • How holding space for others and the power of inner peace influences external relationships.

Related Live. Love. Engage. episodes you may enjoy:

Manifesting Magic: Harnessing Intention and Emotion to Shape Your Life
Why Mindfulness Matters with Kristen Manieri
Meditation is the Path to Self-Love
Neil McKinlay: Healing Through Meditation and Community

Resources:

Connect with Chris here

Follow him on Social Media: @ChrisCirak

Join the Soulful Women’s Network here

Send me a message here

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Live. Love. Engage. Podcast: Inspiration | Spiritual Awakening | Happiness | Success | Life

TRANSCRIPT

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Welcome to Live, Love, Engage, Chris.

Chris Cirak:
Hi, Gloria. Thanks so much for having me on.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Well, I have been looking forward to this interview for quite a while and I love all of the wonderful work that you’re doing in the world and from where you’re doing it from. Bali is definitely a place that I would love to visit. It’s on my bucket list. But I love to start off our interviews talking with our guests a little bit to kind of get to know them. And in particular, what was that overall journey that kind of got you into doing the work that you’re doing now and talking about mindfulness and things like that?

Chris Cirak:
Yeah, well, it’s the journey that turns into our callings. People ask me, you know, what, what’s my real purpose? And I always say, Well, just look at your challenges. Because it’s, it’s the challenges that we become experts at overcoming, and then we can, you know, help others in similar situations. And that’s what makes us authentic. So my journey, really, I was very fortunate to have a loving, caring home. But the, the external was more the chaos and the turmoil and moving around a lot. My parents were civilian contractors for the military, and a lot of different cultures and, and mentalities and and moving right when you made friends and leaving again. And so it was pretty rough on me. And, and I felt like I really didn’t belong anywhere. So in the end, you know, over time, we reflect on these things and, and realize that, well, that’s what really shaped us into who we are. And in a way, if you kind of really look deeper than it had to happen, because your blueprint is kind of wrapped up in that you’re what you ultimately wind up giving back and being of service for is your journey and your experiences. And so that’s led me to today is just to really look at life as a teacher. And we’re all conditioned to be Superman and Superwoman and to have to figure it all out ahead of time, ahead of actually living life. And the planning and the steering and controlling, and that’s all crazy making. And to really adopt the mindset of a student. life is your teacher, and it’s always reflecting who you are back to you, and there’s always a lesson contained in every experience. And that, I find, really takes the pressure off ourselves, and the criticism, and the shoulds, and the coulds, and all that. And we’re more in a state of learning, and open-mindedness, and growth, and expansion, without being too hard on ourselves.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah, that’s the key, isn’t it? I’ve been guilty of beating myself up. In fact, I’ve been called out on that by a coach in the past. And so it’s something to be always to be mindful about. Was there any though particular like, you know, Okay, come to Jesus moment is coming to mind. I don’t know where that came from. That was sort of interesting. I don’t usually use that phrase, but any sort of one thing that really in particular in your life, I mean, certainly I can understand, you know, moving a lot when you’re a kid, but maybe when you were an adult that’s kind of said, okay, I don’t want to live like that. Or maybe just like, yeah, this is definitely what I want to do.

Chris Cirak:
Yeah. Well, you know, there’s a lot of terms in pop culture that kind of point to a lot of the spiritual stuff and the awakening and the awareness of consciousness and all that. Come to Jesus moment is one of those. Midlife crisis is another common concept. I think maybe the difference when it hit me was that I took the time to really retreat and reflect. And I saw a lot of my friends just, for one reason or another, often responsibilities that they couldn’t avoid that they had to get up for the next day. And, but I took the time to really let myself feel that which was wanting to, to come out. And that, you know, very quickly turned into a full-blown you know, quote, unquote, awakening and having to kind of rebuild my life from a different perspective through a different lens, or an absence of a lens. And, and so, you know, I see it happen to everyone. I don’t think I’m special. It’s just how do you respond? And what do you make of that situation? Do you push it back down? Do you numb out and go back to work and try to ignore it? Or do you embrace it? Because It happens naturally. You spend a couple decades at least living for outcomes and goals, chasing your happiness, and you learn along the way. It’s like, OK, I achieved this. It was nice for a while, and then it fades again. And that’s the nature of life. It’s just temporary happiness that we find in those things. And then, and then we eventually we look to the last place we haven’t looked, you know, to find that permanent joy, permanent happiness, and that’s within. And so that’s what I did. And I’ve been a researcher all my life. And I, you know, work with people and psychology, you know, psychology, tech and, and design, and the intersection of that. And, and I just went to, I just dug in and started researching. And then the more you kind of allow it, the more the, you know, it takes you over and you surrender. It wasn’t easy, but you have to surrender to just kind of that greater current. Because the old way of doing it was just, it expired.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah, for sure. And I do know the benefit of going within. Is there any particular method that you have found either personally or even in working with your clients that does seem to do the best? Or is it that maybe every, you know, because everyone is, we’re all the same and yet we’re all unique as well. And so we all come with our own baggage and things like that, that maybe some people need a different type of technique to help them to, you know, get unstuck or something when they face this like, you know, midlife crisis sometimes or what have you, what have you found?

Chris Cirak:
Yeah, you know, I was just recently rereading Many Lives, Many Masters and the Brian Weiss book and how the message from the masters was that all humans are not equal, because we come baked in with different experiences and different skills and lifetimes. And But we wind up equal. So the funny thing is that we all are headed towards that one destination of more unity consciousness. So all our journeys are going to be different. All my clients have vastly different stations that they’re at. And it’s about tuning in. For myself, one of the funny things is once you kind of let go of what I call the truth structure, this more rigid view on reality, And you start to just see things as they are, and thereby tapping into the infinite potentiality, as D eepak Chopra likes to say. New talents might arise, and new ways of not just navigating, but a new skill set. And it was funny. I discovered that I’m quite adept at energy healing. And that’s what I wound up then developing a program around, my inner power program, and helping people release those stuck feelings. It’s a somatic approach, and there’s many kind of different things out there that one should experiment with and see what resonates, what sticks. It’s all about resonance, right? It’s like, lean into it, and then your body will tell you that this is a full body yes, full body no, and let that guide you. Again, life is a teacher. There’s a built-in GPS. Just follow it. Just listen. Of course, we have cluttered minds and a lot of noise that tends to drown out that subtle, quiet inner voice. But I would say at the beginning of your journey, it’s definitely want to try everything out, which is what I did. I was a retreat junkie is what my friends used to call me. And I went to all the luminaries of our time, if they were still alive, and just studied all the ancient texts as well. And some things work for certain periods, and then you move on, and other things stick around. There’s Vipassana meditation, which is my core practice after really exploring a lot of other things. But I encourage everyone to really try that for themselves. So the clients I work with, it’s a very tailored approach.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah, we have a lot in common. I can see that, because I’ve definitely explored different things. And I think that’s a good point that you brought up, that I think it’s good for people to know that they don’t have to be locked in to one particular modality, that there’s maybe like a time and a season for different things. you know, I did, I first learned Reiki like way back in I think about 2003 or something and didn’t, you know, kept that up for a while and then kind of let it slide. I’ve been meditating since like 2009. That’s one thing I have done. And I did actually do Vipassana for a while because I went on a 10-day retreat that was a silent retreat that was quite amazing. And so yeah, that’s definitely a good practice. I love all of that. So yeah, I think it’s great. And definitely energy healing is something that I firmly believe in. I think it’s certainly worthwhile for really helping to, as you say, clear out those blocks. I know one of the things you talk about and when we were getting ready to do the interview, one of the things I know that you wanted to talk about was the importance of connecting with and standing up for your truth. So why is that important and how can someone go about doing that?

Chris Cirak:
Well, it’s all important. If we’re, you know, your truth, your inner truth comes from within, that’s, that’s what’s resonant when we encounter certain situations. If we’re kind of living through the mental lens of judgment and constant validation, Then we’re always, the monkey mind, and this is anyone who’s tried to meditate, will notice how quickly their mind drifts from your breath or a mantra or whatever you’re focusing on. And it can barely stay focused on something as basic as your breath for more than a few seconds. So it’s kind of shocking when you first realize how really fickle the mind is. In the same way, if you’re living through mind-based truths, then it will constantly either require validation by looking around, what are others thinking, you’re also in a defensive state, and you’re just constantly having to back up what you already believe in, and that’s very consuming and it’s not a good frequency to be in. Now your inner truth does not clash with the truth of others. That’s where you stand in your power, your inner power. And others can say whatever they want to say, and whatever they believe in, and you’re just not offended by it. You’re like, that’s great. It’s great that you think that you want them to have their own inner truth, in fact, because everyone’s inner truth is is unique to them. But you don’t feel threatened by it. And that’s kind of a key differentiator. And that takes a lot of stress and relief and all that pressure off your shoulders from constantly having to uphold this mental truth structure. And it frees you up in a really big way. How to go about it? Well, it’s learning to come out of the head and into the body. Many of the things we just discussed and different practices and breathwork and meditation are all about that, is to ground yourself really in the one thing that is present, which is your body. You’re always here. It’s the mind that tends to go down rabbit holes. and take you out of this moment. But our body, and that’s where wisdom is, our blueprint, when things resonate, we feel it in our body. So really refocusing the place from which we live, that’s the core practice of mindfulness. And it’s a state of being, really. Mindfulness meditation, these are just words, but they describe a state of presence. 30% to 50% of your awareness should always be with your sensations, with your body, because your body is the feedback, the message, the connective tissue, a message board to your environment. You’ll feel that resonance. And you can absolutely go about your life and have conversations while still being in touch with your body. And it takes a little practice. This is one of the things I practice with my clients. But as soon as you get the hang of it, it really is your internal GPS. So it’s, it opens up the whole, all the possibilities.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Wow. And I, and I’m glad you said that it’s something that you work with, with the class. Cause I, when you first said that, it’s like, you know, we are so bombarded with so much stimuli and everything and to, to be able to, come to where you can do that, where you could really spend paying attention to your body, I would think is challenging for people at the beginning. Is that been your experience with clients?

Chris Cirak:
It’s challenging in one way, but it’s also, you know, we’ve spent by the time somebody, you know, has a midlife crisis, say, for example, they’ve, they’ve lived for 40 years, but I’m hearing a lot of third life and quarter life crisis, people are coming down the pike as well. So it’s happening sooner and sooner, which is great. But you’ve spent, you know, decades living a certain way. And that’s been hardwired into into your brain. the reactivity to your situations, the judging of those situations. There’s no gap, you just instantly react and that’s how we repeat patterns. and really relive the past constantly. But it’s also miraculous that within a very short amount of time, I mean, sometimes in the first session, but within a handful of sessions or a handful of weeks, you can start undoing that old wiring and replace it with a little more awareness. Suddenly you’re lost in thought less or you catch yourself sooner. When we’re lost in thought, we’re not really here. It’s basically time lost from living. And I always say, if you can regain, top studies show where between 50% and 70% of our day we’re lost in thought. We’re thinking about things that have no relevance to what we’re actually doing. And we’re so focused on living a long, healthy, productive life, yet here we are lost in thought for much of the time. So if you could just regain some of that 5%, 10%, you’re gaining back real life, real lifetime. It’s as if you could live to 140 if you get all that time back.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah, absolutely. I can see, yeah, for sure that you’re definitely gaining years back of your life. So that’s very cool. One of the things that, you know, we’re talking about mindfulness is, do you know, is there maybe a commonly held belief about mindfulness that you passionately disagree with?

Chris Cirak:
Well, I talk, I go to a lot of conventions, I do a lot of public speaking on this, and I have people coming up all the time who, it’s funny when they say, I’ve tried to meditate but my mind is too busy. Or I’ve tried to meditate, but I can’t sit for extended periods of time. And so what really appeases people and kind of gets them not thinking of it as this separate activity that they now have another to-do item that they have to make time for in the day. We’ve got enough things on our list. And really think of it as a state. a state of being that we bring into the situations. And that, along with that reframe, along with some very simple, basic exercises that kind of reground you within seconds. And it can change everything. Before I go on stage, I focus on the breath at the entrance of my nostrils for a few seconds. I love to play tennis. Between points, I just reground myself again through the breath. The results are tremendous. You stay equanimous and balanced and calm and ready for the next moment, ready to perform. And so it’s actually, you know, I like to work with people in a pragmatic way where it’s not the separate activity, but it’s like, how can we use the existing routines that you already have? It may be going down to the corner store in the morning to grab your coffee. Well, let’s make that, turn that into a mindful walk. and, and stop to smell the roses, talk to somebody that you haven’t talked before, just start opening yourself up to the aliveness of everything that’s happening around us. And it’s really the senses that keep us engaged. And so asking people to, to start seeing, really seeing what they’re seeing and tasting, touching, smelling and hearing and feeling all these things is, it’s a delight. It’s, it really is, even just making your bed in the morning, feel the fabric, see it, see, watch it, get taught, you know, take that in. And it already, it changes everything. And And so you don’t have to sell everything you have and move to a deserted island like I did. But you can just bring that mindfulness into what you’re already doing. And it’ll get so much better and more fruitful that way.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
I love that. Well, and since you brought that up, I wanted to ask you about that. So how did you end up living and working in Bali?

Chris Cirak:
Yeah. I’d come here many years ago already and there’s something about a lot of less developed countries. One year I was in Armenia, it was the same experience where there’s just, everything’s farm to table. The food is just, there’s no industry. And that’s just so nourishing. And so I already made myself a promise to visit every year, to visit some country. just for the nutritional aspect. But then I came here for meditation teacher training a few years ago, and I just got the download that I should stay. And this is when you’re more and more in touch with your inner voice, is you’re not having to stress and compare a million things and try to decide, but rather you just know, it’s that inner knowing, and then you take action. And again, you’re part of the unfolding of life in a way where you don’t stress over the supposed finality of things. Nothing’s final. Just lean into it, see how it feels, and then you can go from there.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah, definitely. And I’ve found, for me personally, that the more I do that, the better results happen. And maybe not necessarily even with what I’m doing, but it might even spill over into another part of my life. So have you seen that as well, that that sometimes happens?

Chris Cirak:
Yeah, exactly. And that’s because nothing is ever as we expected. So we can, you know, imagine whatever and make a decision based on that. But it’s never going to, it’s not like that. So lean into it, let it actually unfold, and you’ll discover new things about it. And that will truly inform you. You’ll be responding to the situation, as opposed to reacting to some, some projection in the head. And there’s always something magical and new and different. Or it just points you into another direction altogether. But it’s, it’s based on something real, as opposed to just imaginary stuff. Again, the fickle mind is, it’s amazing that we, we get to where we get just kind of thinking. It’s not very effective.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah this is true because what do they say I don’t know what the percentage is but it’s it’s something huge but the thought number one that we’re like repeating the majority of our thoughts are the same thoughts every day and then also that like the majority of those thoughts are negative or they’re they’re not empowering should we say maybe not necessarily negative but they’re certainly not ones that make you want to go you know stand up and yell and cry with joy and things like that. They’re more critical at least I’ve found. Now, are there any interesting things that you haven’t done yet that you would like to do?

Chris Cirak:
Oh, wow. Well, you know, the interesting thing is I call this the secret design of life is we all start out, you know, with our problems and our issues. And we’re so self-centered and focused. And a lot of people think that they have guilt around that, which it shouldn’t be. You are focusing on yourself for a reason because there’s energy knots, there’s, there’s stuck feelings and trauma and all these things. And all that needs to be released first before we can help others. And so the natural evolution of life really is to focus on yourself, work on yourself. And then eventually, as you kind of reach higher ground with yourself, you start to naturally open up and turn outward and look for how can you contribute to the world and be of service to others, and so forth. And That’s kind of, you know, the pattern. And it’s really a beautiful, lovely design, right, is to heal the wounds and then help others. And so really, life has our utmost well-being at heart. It’s really, we’re love at our core from the passion of creation. So what’s left for me, I mean, it’s really expanding into helping others. discover the state within themselves as well. It’s where we’re all headed towards. But we can, with some awareness, we can accelerate things. We don’t have to make the, you know, a kind of a blind decision, and then perhaps spend decades living with the consequences of that. Just to learn a lesson, there’s ways to avoid that in a way, and speed things up, if you will. It’s never about right or wrong, or good or bad, or worse, better or worse. It’s, but there’s a way to live more in integrity and in alignment. And that gets you recognizing your path and ultimately your purpose sooner, and that’s a really fulfilling state to be in. So this is my purpose now, and I hope to help others discover their own as well.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
I like that. One thing I was thinking of as you were speaking is, and I know this again from personal experience and even talking with other people as well, is you know, we can have this desire to want to be more present and to be, you know, to spend time going within. But what happens when you have people in your life who are not as aware, shall we say? How do you how do you, I don’t wanna say deal with that, but how can you, I guess, maybe make peace with that, I guess, is that if someone’s not on the same path as you, or how can you be able to still maintain good relationships?

Chris Cirak:
Yeah, that’s one of the core challenges for everyone, pretty much. We all come baked in. Most of our challenges are not our own challenges, these things we’ve been imprinted with, it’s family patterns, behaviors that have been existent for generations, and then suddenly something about us, you know, says this, the buck stops here, I refuse to just blindly continue this, but you know, thereby becoming the black sheep But, you know, the challenges around that are real. Having community and like-mindedness and the support network is very key. It’s one of the things I provide. I have a private, private conscious community that, that you can join and be, be part of that and find some of that support. It’s something I wish I’d had when I was going through my awakening. And, and it’s super important. because the energy of others does matter, especially during that time until you’ve found a stronger, established a foundation from which you can just allow people to be the way they are. And, but also recognize that this is an incredible honor, a special moment to, to be called upon to, to heal yourself, but essentially the patterns of all the others. And that’s a, that’s a great calling, something to really embrace and be proud of. And And then with that, you know, responsibility, you can start to not want to change others, but through your own work on yourself, certainly what helped, you know, completely changed my relationship with my family. The more I worked on myself, the more I remember wondering, oh my gosh, why is everybody so open and peaceful and harmonious? And I didn’t do anything. Well, I did things for myself. And ultimately, that energy, that inner peace does affect everything around you. And so we become messengers of that mindfulness without even you know, saying anything. So keeping that in mind, and then ultimately we can really, with some work, get to a place where what I call recognizing the experience someone is seeking to have. And that’s the ability to hold space for them in its fullness without injecting yourself into it, without running what they’re saying or doing through your own mental filter of validating or critique, but just to purely stay on their side, be that witnessing presence. And then you can really be powerful and heal people. And most people just want to be heard and validated and, you really to hear themselves speak and to hear themselves think, essentially. And there’s so much healing power in that. So to be able to just create that safe space for somebody is super powerful. So you’ll heal everyone around you just by being you.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Isn’t that wonderful to know, folks? I think that is so important to know because I know, I think when you first start on that awakening journey that sometimes you can feel that sort of tension that’s going on. But as you say, and I’ve definitely seen this in my own life as well, that if you just relax into it and just focus in on yourself, that miracles can happen around you without you even trying. So I love that you brought that out.

Chris Cirak:
Yeah, and something to add to that, it’s to recognize that if we’re unhappy with somebody’s behavior, who they are, our resistance to them is 50% of the equation. We’re keeping them in place by not allowing them to change. We’re resisting who they are. So to come out of that resistance, suddenly whatever they’re saying or doing, it’s not met with resistance any longer. And so now they start to reflect, or at least there’s an opportunity.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Yeah, definitely. One last question I want to ask you before we wrap up, because I love asking my guests this. So what are you curious about right now?

Chris Cirak:
Oh, that’s a wonderful question. So curious, going back to yeah, going back to what we said in the in the beginning is is should be that’s the state of a student, right? Life being the teacher and, and you being cognizant that everything is a reflection of who you are, life is happening, not to you, but because of you, essentially, and then you want to move into the space where you realize it’s really happening for you. It wants you to grow. Life doesn’t, it won’t allow you to stay small and anxious. It wants you to become whole and complete. So to really embrace that dynamic and not feel like you have to be Superman or Superwoman to solve it all, that’s really, curiosity is one of the core components of having that open-mindedness and really looking forward to see what the next moment brings, what lesson is contained in that.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
Very, very good, very good. I am sure someone listening to this today or watching this is very much wanting to connect with you and would probably want to find out more about what programs you offer. So what is the best way for people to connect with you?

Chris Cirak:
Yeah, absolutely. You can always find me on my website, sirak.com. That’s C-I-R-A-K.com. I feature a lot of events. A lot of it is free just to get a taste. Like I mentioned, the Conscious Community and a lot of downloads and so forth. And then you can find me on social media at Chris Sirak on all platforms.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
All right, very good. Well, thank you so much for spending your evening with us. And I appreciate it so much. And I hope you have a good rest of your evening. And thank you so much for being with us today. I really appreciate it.

Chris Cirak:
Oh, thank you, Gloria. It’s such a pleasure. Thanks.

Gloria “Grace” Rand:
And I want to thank all of you as well for watching and listening. And it’s my pleasure as well. And hope you’ll tune in next week. I’ve got Randy Rolfe, who is an author, a speaker and nutrition coach, and she’s going to be talking about transforming your relationship with food, so that you can feel whole and in control of your health and well being. So Be sure and if you’re not subscribed to the podcast or subscribed on YouTube, make sure that you do that so that you will be able to automatically get the notifications. So until next time, as always, I encourage you to go out and live fully, love deeply, and engage authentically.

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About the Author
Known as The Insightful Copywriter, Gloria Grace Rand is also an inspirational speaker, author and host of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast. Prior to launching her SEO Copywriting business in 2009, Gloria spent nearly two decades in television, most notably as writer and producer for the award-winning PBS financial news program, “Nightly Business Report.”

Gloria turned to writing as a way to communicate, since growing up with an alcoholic father and abusive mother taught her that it was safer to be seen and not heard. But not speaking her truth caused Gloria problems such as overeating, control issues, and an inability to fully trust people. After investing in coaching & personal development programs, and studying spiritual books like “A Course in Miracles,” Gloria healed her emotional wounds. Today, she helps entrepreneurs develop clarity, confidence and connection to the truth of who you are, so you can create a business that has more impact, influence and income!

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