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Dec. 14, 2022

Episode 57: Pursuing Freedom From the Past with Chad Peevy


CHAD PEEVY gave himself permission to break and untangle the mindsets he inherited growing up in an emotionally and physically abusive family in rural Arkansas. Childhood trauma caused depression and anxiety to follow him into adulthood, but Chad developed a method for managing those. He realized he could do much better than just survive; he could thrive. Today he writes, teaches, and speaks about what he continues to learn.

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Transcript

🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶

🎶 Episode Intro: Hey, welcome back to the podcast today. I'm pleased to introduce you to Chad Peavey. Chad grew up gay in rural Arkansas and was emotionally and physically abused by his family in his church. Chad has survived that trauma. And as an adult, Chad realizes that there is a better way. He writes, teaches and speaks about all and he continues to learn. This interview was so much fun. I can't wait for you to hear it and meet Chad. 

I have also included a bonus episode this week about reading our Bibles. The Bible has so many contradictions that don't make sense when we lift out literal passages from the scriptures. In this episode, I talk about how to use historical context and ground these scriptures in understanding and how that will help us to be faithful today. This episode talks about how we can use all of the Bible for faithful living, and how God provides a pathway of redemption and blessing for people who are gay. 🎶

Episode:

Melissa Ebken  0:01  
Chad, welcome to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast. I'm so thrilled that you're here with us today. How are you?

Chad Peevy  0:07  
Melissa, I'm great. It's wonderful to be here with you. Thank you for having me. It's such a it's such an honor to be your guest.

Melissa Ebken  0:15  
Well, Chad, I gotta tell you, you're a smart guy. And I know we're gonna have a lot of fun. And we're going to cover some amazing topics. So if it's okay with you, I just want to jump into it.

Chad Peevy  0:27  
Yeah, please, let's do. 

Melissa Ebken  0:29  
So I have a copy of this book called break and untangle. Now, if you're listening to the podcast, you can't see me holding up the book and peeking around the side of it. But if you want to get a visual jump over to YouTube, @MelissaEbken, and you can see this interview. But Chad, you wrote this book. There's a lot of fantastic stuff in it. We're not gonna get to cover every single page, though I would like to. But what else do you do?

Chad Peevy  1:00  
Well, I'm glad that you have the book that makes me very, very happy. I'm I am one of those people that I really like a page turning book. I've tried to get into e-readers. But the fact that you have the paper in your hand, and you can write on it and highlight it, it makes me it makes me so happy to see you with that.

Melissa Ebken  1:19  
And to shove a bunch of bookmarks inside of it.

Chad Peevy  1:23  
Yes. And dog ear the pages. I just love it. I would never, never never, I would never accuse you of that. But I hope that you do. So I wrote the book. So I'm an author, I suppose as a result of that, and I do some speaking. And I am a coaching curriculum developer, which means that I write the curriculums for coaches to train from. And so if a life or business coach is looking for a curriculum or a method from which to train or coach their clients, I'm the person that writes those methods and curriculums.

Melissa Ebken  2:01  
You're the guy. Excellent. So all right. Anyone listening, if you want to be a coach call Chad, that's right. Yeah, we'll hook you up ring ring. So Chad, we are on a podcast called Pursuing Uncomfortable. You have not had an easy journey to this point. You didn't just wake up and were bestowed with these gifts and these talents and these abilities and the wisdom for the curriculum. Although I haven't asked you this question before, maybe you did. But I do know that it has been a journey for you. Yeah. Can you tell us a little bit about the journey you've had?

Chad Peevy  2:36  
Yeah, of course, I have earned my stripes. I have. I have been through the wringer. I grew up as a gay kid in rural Arkansas. And, Melissa, I'm not sure how much time you spent in rural Arkansas. But

Melissa Ebken  2:49  
Enough to know that that would not be an easy life.

Chad Peevy  2:53  
Not easy. Not exactly a gay utopia there in rural Arkansas. I actually did not meet my first openly gay person until I was in college. I went to the University of Arkansas, which is about 45 minutes away from where I grew up. And that is where I met my first openly gay man. And so I grew up without a whole lot of without any representation, without seeing anybody like me. I grew up in a what I would only characterize as a Christian fundamentalist environment. We were Missionary Baptist, very rooted and Calvinist doctrine. And my, the pastor of the little church that I grew up in, which is mostly family, by the way, it was, church services were almost always less than 20 people. I was there on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday evenings. And our pastor also had a prison ministry. And I can remember as a little kid listening to him talk about the prison ministry, and he would talk about the redemption of people that have done some really, really horrible things in their life. And the their redemption stories, but I never heard a redemption story about someone who was gay. That was like the ultimate, the ultimate, ultimate sin. And I grew up with that fear and live with the consequences of that, I would say even still today, with some internalized homophobia issues. And so that was that's how I grew up around faith. That was certainly an uncomfortable situation. My dad was a sadist. And so I had a whole lot of emotional and physical abuse growing up. And that that's how I came into the world and how my lens and frame of perspective of the world was developed. Was was through that through that lens.

Melissa Ebken  5:01  
Chad, as you know, I'm a pastor, we've talked about this previously, also released today is a bonus episode of the podcast that has a view of the Bible. I don't believe that we have to look for a secret passage that allows for the inclusion of all people, I think the Bible from cover to cover proclaims a story of redemption of all people. And if you're interested in how I get to that understanding, then tune into the bonus episode, because we're gonna go through it all. If you have any questions, any comments, respond to that, and I would be happy to take those questions there. But that said, Chad, on behalf of all that you have suffered at the hands of people who are supposed to love you unconditionally. I offer a deep apology. That's not a good representation of the Christian faith. It's not a representation of a gospel that supposed to love and redeem. That said,

Chad Peevy  6:02  
that's very kind. And I, I take that to heart, I appreciate that.

Melissa Ebken  6:08  
But what wasn't lost on me is that you said that your church experience was mostly family. So this was coming not just from a group of people that you could write off, but this was coming from your people, your tribe,

Chad Peevy  6:23  
Right. Yeah, that makes it especially difficult when the people that are supposed to love you the most, don't, or have conditions around that. That's extremely unsettling, and creates an enormous amount of uncertainty, and makes it very hard as an adult to trust other people and trust connection and trust, love. I had to completely redefine and work on and ex and experience a lot of just redefining how I look at love and belonging and connection. And spirituality has all had to be redefined for me, because of the what I would I would consider a sort of a perverted expression of that growing up.

Melissa Ebken  7:20  
So when did the healing begin for you?

Chad Peevy  7:24  
I would say the healing began. Well, there was this there was this phase of my life where I was just surviving. Like, that's all I knew. Surviving my, my abusive dad meant staying small all the time, staying off of his radar, going unnoticed at home as much as possible. And so I learned to be really, really small and quiet in the world. And that was part of the survival, learning how to survive. Also, learning how to survive was was learning how to be a chameleon, around people that weren't like me. I was the kid at school, that I could go to any table in the lunchroom. And I could sit at any table in the lunchroom and fit in. Not because that was authentically me. But because I learned how to be a chameleon in a dangerous environment for a young gay kid. And so that was that's how I learned to be in the world. And then as a young adult, I go to school, I graduate, I moved to Austin for graduate school, and I start being around other people that are experienced in the world in different ways that are expressing themselves in different ways that are having a totally different experience of love and commitment, and joy and happiness and friendship. And I'm going, what is this? What is going on? I didn't understand any of it. Yeah, yeah, I didn't get any of that. And so I feel like before I could even begin to heal, I was extremely Melissa, I was extremely messy. I mean, I just went out in my life and I created an absolute mess, a mess, personally, professionally, socially, financially, all of it, I created an enormous mess. And only when that mess got really bad, did and I sort of rolled around in rock bottom. I found myself in bed for about six months with a severe depression where I was absolutely unable to get out of bed for about 23 hours of any day. And only then did I really go I'm either going to check out of life or I'm going to figure this out and go all the way in. And that decision point which my book is called Break and Untangle. And that break is making the decision to break away from that past, break away from the hurt as much as one can and decide to untangle everything that you've been through, work through it, do the hard work and keep moving forward. And that's what I decided to do.

Melissa Ebken  10:22  
I'm glad you chose that. Me too. Me too. You have a section in your book titled pick your own journey to God. And you have a quote by a Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings, having a human experience. I love that quote. Me too. What does that quote mean to you?

Chad Peevy  10:52  
Well, like I mentioned to you, before, I felt like the pathway to God that had been laid out for me was one that I described as perverted I in my book, I call it spiritual terrorism. I think that our spirit, those parts of the human experience that are difficult to put into words that often aren't able to be put into words, the spiritual experiences that are internal expressions of and feelings of joy and happiness and freedom. And those spiritual experiences that are outside of us like enjoying looking at the stars, or going to the beach or experiencing the the natural wonders of what this human experience allows for us. I had completely shut that off, because of what I had experienced as a kid. Spirituality specifically, and religion and I understand the distinction between the two. But for me, those had been intertwined as if there was no distinction. And the pathway to our spirituality became more important than spirituality itself, the methodology, the doing it properly, was more important than what it actually meant. I can remember I was baptized as a as a little kid. I think I was 12. And I was baptized in a stock tank and for your, for your listeners that didn't grow up in rural America know what a stock tank is. It's this giant metal bowl that you put out for your livestock. And that's how they drink their water. My dad thought it would be a good idea to have one of those as a swimming pool in the backyard. And it was also sufficient for me to be baptized in and I can remember, when I was baptized, the preacher took my head and held my nose and dunked me underwater, and lifted me back up. And everyone kind of freaked out because my feet had gone above water when my head was below water. And so there was this big ordeal, how do we fix this. And so my dad helped my legs down, then the preacher dunked me under the water again. And instead of the emphasis being on what the ceremony of the baptism meant, the washing away of the sins, the death of the old and the resurrection of the new, the emphasis was all on the proper and the mechanics of it. And I felt like there was sort of that, again, this sort of perverted view of what it all means, what our spirituality means, and our obsession with doing it right. And my way is right in your way is wrong, then the emphasis on that which is meaningful. And so as I grew up, and I basically ignored the spiritual part of myself wholesale, I just discovered, like I felt malnourished I felt like there was a part of me that I wasn't in touch with that was incomplete. That needed I needed some soul food Melissa I needed to I needed to be able to feel again and experience that side of myself. And so that's what it meant for me you I don't think that we can detach the human experience from the spiritual experience. I think that it's just as important as you know, having eyes or arms or it's just part of who we are and this human experience so that's that's what that meant to me.

Melissa Ebken  14:29  
Okay, Chad, you're in dangerous territory here because I'm about to start preaching on the  intagration of body, mind and spirit. Do it do it. All day, all night. We can go on that topic. Also, I baptized my son in a stock tank. Oh, I love it. It works. It does. And you know, as you were going through the ins and outs of it being quote, unquote, properly done it donned on me that humanity has a long history of taking a good idea and a good intention and legalizing it to the point that it's no longer recognizable. Yeah. And that happens in religion that happens in about every aspect of life that we have. Yeah. What's the we prioritize the form over the meaning? I think that's a good red flag that we need to stop and look at what we're doing.

Chad Peevy  15:29  
I absolutely agree. I just think it misses the point. I can also remember, and I think it's a way that we, we it's a way of reinforcing the tribe, like, right, so like, our tribe does it this way, and our tribe is right. And the way that our tribe is right is we do it a certain way I can remember doing taking the Lord's Supper. And I can remember, distinctly as a kid, how much emphasis was put on grape juice, or wine, or leavened bread or unleavened bread, and there was so much more emphasis on the right way of doing it, than there was what that stuff meant, what it meant to stand there with that group of people and go through this ritual or this ceremony and what it signified. And I just find that to be sad.

Melissa Ebken  16:18  
Yeah, I'm there with you. I'm here with you. Tell us about the other side of comfort?

Chad Peevy  16:26  
Well, the other side of comfort is a lot of discomfort. It's a lot of a lot of the work that I think we have to do to go through a healing process. And I think a lot of people, especially now Melissa, are doing this work sort of unintentionally, as a result of going through a pandemic and experiencing COVID. And the the sort of having to come face to face with who we are absent the distractions that we were able to have pre pandemic when we, when those distractions allowed us to avoid really looking at ourselves. And the other side of comfort is doing that very, very necessary work of examining ourselves and what we're about and what we want out of this life and, and career. And being free to create the life that we want, free from the past and free to create that which we want. And as painful and as unpleasant as doing the work is it has paid off extraordinarily. For me, part of the healing process. Also, for me, going back to one of your earlier questions was meeting my husband. And when I was in bed for six months able to move, it was very much him that helped me through it. And and that was new for me as well. The other side of comfort was realizing that other people can help us become whole. I grew up in an environment and I think our culture as a whole has sort of this pick yourself up by the bootstraps and do it on your own and make your own way. And this fiercely independent streak that we as Americans especially have is antithetical to the human experience. I think that we are social creatures, we need one another. And I don't think it diminishes the work that I've done on myself or anybody does on themselves when they say somebody else played a really key part and helped me become more of who I am and in many ways saved my life. And so the other side of comfort was getting to experiencing love, experiencing love and a whole new way.

Melissa Ebken  19:07  
Unconditional love can heal. Yeah. You know, it's, we look for the meaning of life, we go to so much trouble and expense and difficulty to find it. But it's always such a simple message. All we need is to be loved as who we are. Now, if you're hurting people stop doing that. But if you're hurting people, it's probably because there's something broken or hurting inside of you. And if you have the space that someone allows where you can be loved as that broken, hurt person and just the space to talk about your experience, that can change a life. That can change. If you want to change the world go love people around you in your life. Mother Teresa said, if you want to change the world, go home and love your family, those people closest to you if you can love them unconditionally, and if you can love your family unconditionally, then believe me loving a stranger is not problem. That's right. But the people in your space, love them, and give them space to be. And it's amazing. What can come from that.

Chad Peevy  20:27  
Well, I mean, that would require us to not judge them, and not have so many expectations of them. And I find that really, really hard. I'm curious about in your work, like, how does this show up? How did you end up choosing a life of service through faith as a way of helping others?

Melissa Ebken  20:54  
I was happy being a biologist. I was happy teaching high school. God told me

And a helicopter repair per mechanic like

I was. I was in the National Guard for 10 years as a helicopter mechanic. Because you know, why not? That's a whole other story

Chad Peevy  21:14  
As one does. Yeah. Yeah, as one does. 

Melissa Ebken  21:16  
Yeah, as one does. And I, this is a whole long story. I'm trying to cut it way, way down. But it was not my idea to go into ministry. I thought it was a bad idea. I did not want to. People kept bringing it up. God kept pushing it. Finally I realized, okay, that's what the future is going to be. I need a year to get on board. Because I'm not there now. Yeah. And ultimately, I worked my way there. During the pandemic, what I realized is, when the pandemic came, I was right there at 20 years in ministry in this location, 19 years here, and three years at a church that I served in seminary, the big awakening I had was, you know, I do a good job of preaching, I do a good job of teaching the Bible, I do a really good job of giving people access to God through the Bible through preaching and those experiences. What I hadn't been doing was sharing the tools that I had used to grow as a human being, you know, we tell people to go and pray, but we don't often give them the tools to know how they can do that in a way that's meaningful and effectual for them. Yeah. So that's what I made a commitment to doing is to start sharing the tools of how how we do these things, how we connect with God, and a lot of that is understanding ourselves a lot better. It's underneath all of those layers of ourself and our accomplishments and our ego and our constructs of this world that we encounter. that still small voice, and getting there, that can be hard. But its 

Chad Peevy  23:06  
Why did you choose? Why did you choose religion over philosophy or being a therapist? Or what what was it about that path that you thought this is how I can best serve?

Melissa Ebken  23:19  
I don't think there's a big distinction. I think they just ask different questions. The best way I can illustrate this is the in the village I live, about 16-17 years ago, there was an explosion in the chemical plant right on the edge of town, it was a big, huge catastrophe for us. And when people ask, kids in junior high was come up to me, how can I handle evolution with what I learned about faith and so forth? The image I use is okay, you remember when the plant exploded? If there was a physicist and a poet that both witnessed that event, and they wrote about it, would their writings be the same? No, of course not. Does that mean one of them got it wrong? No, of course not. Science is a way of understanding how things work, how they are related how they go together. spirituality and faith is a why why are we here? Why? How can we find meaning in all of it? As you said, we are embodied spirits in this experience and to be an embodied spirits is to have form and function we can't express ourselves without our bodies. We need our voices. We need our hands or our bodies to give expression to our deepest thoughts and emotions. And that's how this created world works. So understanding that, to me is understanding God at a better level, at a different level. They're all part of the same understanding to me. So to say, I serve God in or I serve the world, through religion instead of through science. It doesn't really ring with me because I do both. It's that faith seeking understanding is a definition of theology. And to me understanding how we can learn about a tree through the different rings in it, we can learn how old it is, we can learn about seasons of drought and seasons of flood just by looking at the rings of the tree. That speaks volumes to me about who I call God, some people might use a different term or a different name, or spirit or higher power to me, I use the word God. But all of that, to me, points me toward that higher power.

Chad Peevy  26:01  
I just thought it was really fascinating as I was learning more about you that a biologist can become a pastor. And I mean, there are there are so many contradictions that exist in in that, that pairing. And I just thought it would be fascinating to hear you talk about how you resolve that. And reconcile that. And if I'm hearing you, right, I'm hearing that there's that we can talk about the why. And we can talk about the how of the same thing. It's just a different way. It's a different standpoint, from which we're looking at it. If you and I were both looking at a dog and one of us was speaking Spanish and one speaking English, the words would sound very, very different, but it's the same dog. Yeah, so I just I wanted to know from you, and hear from you what, how you reconcile that. I thought that was really interesting. 

Melissa Ebken  26:57  
Thank you. Yeah, to me, there's not a chasm to be reconciled. To me, it's all the same reality. I read, Genesis to me as a call and response story, evolution to me as a call and response story. It's God speaking to creation and creation responding, and this is an ongoing ever going conversation.

Chad Peevy  27:21  
How do you though, look at how do you respond to people who take that literally, though?

Melissa Ebken  27:30  
I invite them to consider the very real experience that we had when the chemical plant exploded or any other phenomenon. People come at it from a different place, but that doesn't mean they're wrong. So I think the beginning is to understand that paradox doesn't mean flaw, or problem. Paradox just means another pathway, another way to understand.

Chad Peevy  27:58  
So that that makes me think about the climate that we live in today. Where so many people don't understand me, or people that are in some way other than the norm. How, how do you spread that message? How do you amplify your voice saying there is no real paradox of our human experience? We are all human beings having a different experience through different lenses through different frames, through a lot of paradox, like how, how do we amplify that?

Melissa Ebken  28:32  
I think the key is relationship. We can hold a lot of ideas in our minds. But when we have real relationships with real people, a lot of those differences fall away. We see the other as a whole lot like ourselves. Yeah. In the scholarly sense, or the headspace sense. You know, check out the bonus episode, I'm gonna go in depth, I went in depth in that one on how the Bible speaks to that inclusivity. I want to say this here. If we want to find rationale to support slavery, we can find it in the Bible. If we want to find rationale to abolish slavery, we can find that in Bible. If we're looking for rationale to love and include all people we can find that in the Bible. If we want to find verses in rationale to exclude people, we can find that in the Bible. Whenever you go looking for something, you can find a verse you can pull it out of context and support whatever view you have. But when you look at the context and the message over and over and over again, it's the story of human expectations that God flips upside down to include, to redeem and to love. But I go more in detail about that in the bonus episode.

Chad Peevy  30:01  
But don't you think that that, for me, I find that really refreshing because it puts a lot of I guess freewill back on us about the decision that we get to make about who we want to be. Do we want to search out the scripture that excludes or do we want to search out the scripture that includes, and that's a choice that we get to make. And I, I, for me, I find that refreshing. I like that.

Melissa Ebken  30:31  
Yeah, and a lot of people are going to choose differently than we do. That's the nature of the world. But I think that, you know, in this age of such divisive politics, and for context, we're filming this two days after midterm elections. So there's a lot of divisiveness in our culture right now, that's been expressed politically and rhetorically. But in the midst of all of that, I think if we genuinely sit with people, and listen, not to rebut, and not to respond, but genuinely listen to where another person is coming from. And we have outliers, of course, I'm not speaking to all exceptions. But generally people are coming from a place of good intention, at least. Not always. Some people are very blatant about I do not see you as a full human being. That happens in a lot of different ways that happens in heterosexuality and homosexuality that happens in cases of abuse. I can beat on you, I can diminish you, because I don't feel you're fully human and worthy of my love and respect. That happens in a lot of different manifestations. But again, I think that also comes from a place of hurt and brokenness. I don't believe God creates monsters. I think human beings are really good at creating monsters. 

Chad Peevy  31:56  
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, my dad beat me and I have, you know, scars on my back to prove it. He beat me because his dad beat him and his dad beat him and his dad beat him. And you're right, like, we have done a really good job of creating monsters, we are really, really good at that. But you know, that's that was one of the reasons that I wanted to write my book was, was this idea of breaking and untangling and making a different decision. We can in those moments of feeling different, and other and at our lowest make it as evaluate what what did, how did I get here? How did I end up here? And am I the beneficiary of generations of trauma and abuse and ignorance? And my answer was, yes. And I had to make a conscious decision in that moment to stop living a life of default. And just doing it the way it had always been done. Sort of creating a monster by a lineage of monsters, and just making the decision that that's just not going to be who I am, that it will stop with me.

Melissa Ebken  33:11  
And that's the key. When we heal ourselves. We don't pass down that pain and that brokenness to the next generation. When we heal ourselves, we pass along a different pattern. And then, you know, do some math, multiply that out a little bit, and see the difference. That that's going to make. That's profound.

Chad Peevy  33:36  
It is profound. Yeah, I loved what you were saying earlier about. And it's something that I say in my teaching a lot we have to get out of ourselves, there does come a place in our healing process. I don't know that I was able to recognize it when I was going through the the mud of it all. But certainly when I started making a little bit of progress, realizing how much intellectualizing and how much of a circle I was going in, in my own head about my own stuff. And when I realized, sort of, I guess, healing 2.0 was getting out of self and getting into service. It's not just enough for me to be okay. And that's an the sort of the crazy thing about it is that it's not just that it helps other people. It is our own next step like the our next level of development is the service part of it. And yes, other people benefit from that. But I do think that we reach a plateau a level where you get stented in your growth, if you're not expressing that and exercising that and helping other people grow. And so I just wanted to harken back to that comment that you made earlier and let you know how much I related to that. and how much I think that deserves a a little bit of an anchor of of getting out of yourself getting into service being there for other people, because that is what we need.

There was an episode of Friends, and this is my absolute favorite episode. I don't know if you watch the show or if anyone listening, watched the show. But there's an episode where Phoebe and Joey had this debate about service and about helping others. And I think it was Phoebe who said, there's no such thing as a selfless act, that you always benefit from it. And she was frustrated by it. And I thought that was the most beautiful thing about this world, that there is no such thing as a selfless act. Yeah. When we serve others, when we give, just like you said, it grows us it benefits us. 

Yeah. I was reading about, you know, the, some of the ideas behind Buddhism and Zen this morning. And this idea of, of the one. And the one is, is also the many and how, like there's just this circle of one and many and how it really can't be distinguished. And just how beautiful of a thought that is. Of, of exactly what you're talking about.

Melissa Ebken  36:23  
Chad, how much has gratitude played a role in your healing and in your life in in your career now?

Chad Peevy  36:30  
That's a really interesting question. I'm glad that you brought this up, because it's gonna give me a chance to talk about it, maybe do some processing here with you, Melissa. So I, my past life, I was director of marketing for the world's largest real estate company. And I was, I found myself pretty unfulfilled with that work, it was good for the bank account not so good for the soul. And and now I've transitioned into doing that in a different way, doing the coaching, curriculum development and writing and doing what I can to help other people. But I have really struggled in the transition, I have really struggled coming out of that old self and into the new, I have found in myself that my old self is fighting for survival. And the new self is also fighting to be born. And a lot of what results from that as a sort of paralysis and being stuck and unable to move, when you have two forces pulling you in two directions, forward progress just isn't possible. And I was telling my husband this the other day, I said, I think I'm gonna go to a beach on some random Tuesday. And I'm gonna have a funeral for my old self. I'm going to write out all of those parts of myself that just need to die off. All of those old ideas about who I am or who I was. And they just need to go away. And so I was ruminating on this idea of funeral for myself, and I was planning like, which beach am I going to go to? Where can I start a fire in California on the beach. And and what I all of my ruminating and journaling on this, just a just a few days ago, I realized that it's not just a funeral that I want to have, I want to have a celebration of that life. Like the best funerals are celebrations of life. And I have not done a whole lot of gratitude and celebrating what that old version of me did, and accomplished and worked on and went through. I've not done enough to show enough gratitude to myself to acknowledge and celebrate the work that I've done. And not just me, but the people that have helped me along the way and the people that have played such an important role. And so to answer your question directly, what role has gratitude played? Not enough? Absolutely not enough. And I am searching for ways right now. To manifest that gratitude in ways that that makes sense for where I am in this season of my life. I think that that's what's necessary right now is to celebrate and show some gratitude for what I what I did. Because there was this idea in my transition to what I'm doing now career wise, and a lot of personal stuff. Where I looked back on on, you know, who I was five years ago with some resentment and regret, and I don't know that that's healthy. I don't know that that's what is necessary right now. Because that old self also learned a whole lot also helped a lot of people in ways that I'm not doing now but helped people and made a difference. went and made an impact. And I'm not. I don't I don't know if it's worth just beating up on that guy all the time, so that the new one can emerge. And so Melissa, I want to show more gratitude for that old self specifically right now. So that's where my head is around gratitude right now.

Melissa Ebken  40:26  
Chad, when I was on a forgiveness, journey, forgiveness is one of my huge preaching points. I'm not go there at the moment again,

Chad Peevy  40:36  
it's so fascinating though. I

Melissa Ebken  40:38  
Changed our lives physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. But when I was on that journey for myself, I realized I was holding on to some things, you know, we each have that bit about ourselves that we never want another human being to know. Yeah. And I was confronting those things within myself. And I was doing it with the help of a trusted colleague. And I said it out loud. And that was terrifying, but also freeing, and we talked about it. And he said, have you ever thanked that young woman? Because she didn't have the tools you have now. Yeah. And she got you through, so that you could be this person today. And that blew my mind. Yep. And when I took time to do that, I felt a physical lightness after that. Gratitude is so powerful.

Chad Peevy  41:36  
Yeah, and I, I really love that story. Because when we talk about gratitude, I don't know that we we put enough attention on gratitude for ourselves. Yeah, there's like gratitude for other people gratitude for material things. But I think you just made a really, really good point, you know, gratitude. Not just forgiveness, but also gratitude for our own journey in our own past self, who we were and in the, in our process of becoming in a longer journey. I love that.

Melissa Ebken  42:12  
And when you bury that guy on the beach, by the way, if you need an officiant let me know. I do a fantastic funeral service. But don't forget to thank him for getting you through a whole lot.

Chad Peevy  42:24  
Yeah, I love that.

Melissa Ebken  42:27  
Chad, I have 100 more questions. I'd love to ask you. Maybe we can do this again sometime. 

Chad Peevy  42:33  
That'd be great. 

Melissa Ebken  42:34  
As we close, I want to give you the last word and an opportunity here. What are your best words, your best thoughts, your best wishes for someone going through something that seems unsurvivable at the moment?

Chad Peevy  42:49  
Yeah. I think that part, one of the things that I learned on my journey was just how much suffering there is to life. And I think that there is an important distinction, at least for me, and where I am right now. That if life is about suffering, then I get to make a choice. If I'm going to suffer from or if I'm going to suffer toward. I get a choice about living in the past and choosing to suffer from what my dad did to me, suffering from what I went through with an ex, suffering from the mistakes that I made. Or I can decide to create the life that I want and suffer toward creating that life. And that completely reframes how you look at life. You're either suffering from or you're suffering toward. And what I hope for anybody listening is that if you're going to suffer, that you choose to suffer toward. 

Melissa Ebken  42:56  
Thank you, Chad.

Chad Peevy  44:05  
Thank you.

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Chad Peevy

CHAD PEEVY gave himself permission to break and untangle the mindsets he inherited growing up in an emotionally and physically abusive family in rural Arkansas. Childhood trauma caused depression and anxiety to follow him into adulthood, but Chad developed a method for managing those. He realized he could do much better than just survive; he could thrive. Today he writes, teaches, and speaks about what he continues to learn.