George Hofmann | Managing Mental Illness, Bipolar, & Anxiety
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In this powerful episode of the Remarkable People Podcast, author, speaker, and genuinely great guy George Hofmann shares with us his journey of overcoming mental illness, bipolar type 1 disorder, and anxiety. His story is not only remarkable, but insightful, helpful, and eye opening.
Listen or watch this episode of the Remarkable People Podcast to see how George has managed his mental illness successfully for over 20 years, has been able to lead a full and “normal life” (wife, daughter, career, dogs, etc.), and how you can live well too!
After a series of hospitalizations and a lot of bad behavior, George Hofmann managed to overcome the worst of bipolar disorder by adding practices in focused attention to the usual therapies of medicine and talk. He teaches others with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder how to do the same. He maintains the site “Practicing Mental Illness,” which promotes meditation, movement and meaningful work as keys to growth and healing. George lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife, their daughter and two poorly behaved dogs.
EPISODE PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:
- The Gideons International, Distributing Free Bibles to the World since 1898 (https://www.gideons.org/get-involved)
- Rob Jackson Counseling, The Iceberg Model of Christian Spiritual Formation (https://www.icebergmodel.com)
SHOW NOTES, LINKS, SPECIAL OFFERS, & RESOURCES MENTIONED:
Read George’s New Book:
- Website: https://practicingmentalillness.com
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-hofmann-77625018/
Need a Bible?
EPISODE CORE THEMES & MENTIONS:
- Core Themes: Managing mental illness, bipolar disorder 1, manic depression, suicide, Bible, signs of mental illness, meditation, biblical meditation, how to meditate, George Hofmann, overcoming anxiety, overcoming depression, overcoming bipolar, guided meditation, RPP, Remarkable People Podcast, encouraging, podcast, Real, True Story, unscripted, self improvement, personal development, inspiration, motivation, hope, self help
- Mentions: Gideons International
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The Remarkable People Podcast S2 Episode 32: The George Hofmann Story
[00:00:00] David Pasqualone, Host: [00:00:00] Hello friends. This is Dave Pasqualone with the Remarkable People Podcast, season two, episode the George Hofman story, George. Thanks for being here today, brother.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:00:12] Thanks. Thanks David. Glad to be here.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:00:14] Yeah, I am so excited for this episode for our remarkable listeners. What we’re going to cover in this episode is George is not only a remarkable human.
But he has gone through his life with amazing adversity resilience, and he’s willing to share what he learned and how you can apply it to if this is something you or a loved one struggles with. So, George, I don’t want to steal his thunder, but he had a bipolar disorder, anxiety, different stress disorders, and he learned how to not only control them.
But live a victorious life and get married and have child and be free. So this is an episode I’m super excited for because we’re not only in a stressful society. Not only every day are more people being put on drugs and they’re not helping. They’re just medicating. But George is going to talk about the balance between.
His process and meditation and drugs and therapy and talk therapy and the whole balanced picture of how to get well. And before we go on, though, as you can see in the background, if we do air this as a video cast, there’s an Eagle sign. George, do I need to do my Patriots yet, buddy?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:01:39] I think you should also, although late lately I should take it down.
It’s kind of embarrassing to be an Eagles fan lately. So,
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:01:46] so what’s the story with the Eagle sign? What is that all
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:01:48] about? Well, when they were in the Superbowl against the Patriots, Well, you have plenty of, plenty of happy moments. Give us our one. I love that my daughter, my daughter had some friends over. We let them stay up late and watch the game. So they made the sign and hung it up on the wall. And then when the Eagles did win, they all ran out in the street. Cause we’re right.
I’m in Philadelphia, we’re right in the city. And they ran out in the street and they claimed cow bells and, you know, made her rockets in the middle of the night. It was fun. It was fun.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:02:20] I have to tell you. I am a Patriots fan for life. I grew up 40, I mean, 20 minutes outside of Foxborough stadium, but if they had to lose to anybody, I’m glad it was the Eagles.
I really am glad that was a great Superbowl.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:02:33] So Superbowl,
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:02:35] it was, and for those who don’t watch football, you can go back and YouTube. It, it was great.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:02:38] So let’s
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:02:40] get to the story though, how this show works is you’re going to share your remarkable story. Then we’re going to transition towards the end of where you are today and then where you’re going to our audience can help you.
So brother, I don’t want to waste time. People don’t need to hear me. They need to hear you. And the truth God gave you to help them grow. So George, please share your story.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:03:00] Great. Like David said, I do have bipolar disorder dealt with it, you know, all of my adult life. And by the time I was in my late twenties, it had really wrecked everything.
I was. Getting to the point where I was psychotic, you know, as well as the typical mania, depression, the ups and downs that go with bipolar polar disorder. I had started to hallucinate. I had. Lost, you know, relationships. I was in a job. Things were not going well at all. And it came to the point where I was in Richmond, Virginia at the time.
And, and about my 31st birthday, I filed gun license, a firearms license. And during that, cause I was gonna kill myself on my 31st birthday. And during that waiting period, I was coming committed to a psychiatric hospital, fortunately. but after that, there were several hospitalizations in and out of hospitals, everything from medication to electroconvulsive therapy, another serious suicide attempt, we’re actually did try to kill myself and fortunately again, did not succeed and several more hospitalizations.
And then finally, I came back to Philadelphia where I grew up and got some good doctors and they got the medication, right? The drugs, the medicine and things began to level off, began to be more stable, but there were still difficulties and there were still a couple of hospitalizations ahead. So about 16 years ago, I started meditating and the meditation brought to me.
The ability to actually manage episodes and even predict when they were coming and then intervene with things. I had worked out with my doctor in my family, to be well. So since I established the meditation practice, now I still take the drugs. Won’t stop that. But since I established the meditation practice, I’ve had no significant episodes of mania, depression.
I have [00:05:00] not had any hospitalizations. And like Dave said, I’ve been able to settle down, hold job, have a wife, have a family, you know, all those things that I thought impossible. For most of my life.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:05:13] Yeah. And that’s statistically as something that shouldn’t have happened, correct. I mean, with the severity of what you had, they pretty much, yeah, no family for you.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:05:21] Yeah. They have by bipolar, as severe as I had it, it typically lasts a lifetime and really wrecks things. And people end up on most many people on short term or longterm disability on social security disability for their whole lives and just pretty much stay on the couch and. Unfortunately have a terrible life.
And so I, I worked today to try to help people in that situation.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:05:43] Now, some listeners know exactly what you’re talking about, maybe not to the same degree, but they struggled with depression, anxiety, even bipolar. What describe for the audience members? You don’t really know firsthand? What are these episodes like?
Because I can only imagine with the severity you had it, how. Scary. Those moments must must’ve been, but, but walk us through what were those episodes like? So people understand as we go through what you really God’s allowed you to be free for.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:06:14] Yeah. I have bipolar disorder, one, which is typically tends towards mania or mixed episodes where you get a bit of mania and mania and depression and what, what will happen as I, or typically anyone goes manic, get you lose impulse control.
Get really irresponsible with spending money, with sex, with drugs and alcohol and make bad choices. Get to the point where you can’t function well socially. I mean, you become obviously ill to people who were around you and just continue to make the bad choices that I believe that you have to take responsibility for those choices.
After they happen, however, while it’s happening, while you’re really in the grips of a manic episode that you can become out of control. And mine often mix, they were mixed episodes. They brought in elements of depression and that would add a real dark. Mood impulse towards suicide, strange religion. that we can talk about.
No, God’s the real focus, but strange religiosity, everything from a cult stuff, you know, the, and, and it’s just, it’s a loss of reason, really a loss of reason that happens.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:07:31] When were you, when did you start seeing the first signs of this? Like, did you know as a child, like something’s not right or were you like, boom, at 15, it just clicked on what happened back then.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:07:40] Childhood was ideal. childhood, I mean, everything’s great. Great family, brother, sister. I mean, everything was well. Bipolar disorder typically comes on like any effective yeah. Disorder, mood, anxiety, depression usually comes on in late adolescence or early adulthood. When I first went to college, there were some signs started with some bad behavior, stopped going to class.
However, then it stopped pretty quickly on its own. And that’s good because I was in blue collar, New Jersey. We didn’t know about psychiatrists and things like that. So they were, there was no help coming. Through my twenties. There’s a condition called hypomania, which is a low grade mania that actually very seductive.
It makes you charismatic. It makes you fire your best. And unfortunately, a lot of people with bipolar disorder, try to duplicate that hypomania and they’ll turn to substances and bad behavior to do that. But that really, for me, fueled success through my twenties, I was a tremendous success in financial services, became VP of sales of a company before I was 30.
But then. Maybe the stress of the job, whatever happened, things started to click and the psychosis began and then I was really unable to function.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:08:51] Okay. So Anne explained that the height, I know I haven’t personally not heard of hypomania. So is it a compensation you’re doing consciously or is it something that kicks in.
Instinctively. How does that work?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:09:05] It’s something that kicks in. I mean, M a mood disorder. They believe things like bipolar and depression have a genetic component. There’s a predisposition to this, something in life. Some stress events, something happens that clicks and the condition begins. And in hypomania it’s real low grade mania.
So you get an incredible drive for success. You get. I mean, like I said, real charismatic, a person who’s hype and holding it together is a great person to be around because they’re dealing with their intelligence. They’re fun. They’ve full of ideas can be real creative in this state. however, it’s great until it’s not, it’ll typically turn into a mixed episode or mania and then things go completely out of control.
But it really is. It’s a wonderful feeling hypomania. And unfortunately, a lot of [00:10:00] people with bipolar disorder try to maintain that condition or, or get back into that condition with everything from, from, you know, prescription drugs to drink.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:10:11] So it’s kind of what we call like being in the zone.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:10:14] Absolutely, absolutely.
Being in the zone. And it’s interesting because they do some work that a lot of entrepreneurs, especially some tech entrepreneurs have. This predisposition to what’s called cyclo, which is really low grade bipolar disorder where people can hold it together. But hypomania is a common feature of cyclothymia.
And so there there’s many examples if people who really do well and really produce that, stay in this level of low grade mania. But again, it’s something that you just can’t control. So it’s, it’s, it’s not risky cause you can’t really turn it on even though people try to, but it’s a, it’s, it’s an interesting state.
It’s really an interesting state.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:10:59] Yeah. I’ve never personally heard of that. So this has been already, I know I’m gonna learn a ton from your array. That’s just new knowledge I’ve never had. on that you said something that I, I agree with completely. I just wanna make sure we frame it. A lot of people, especially in Christian circles, we have listeners from over 53 countries, all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of worldviews, but a lot of people tend to believe, especially from the Christian perspective that you’re born with gifts, but they don’t want to believe that you’re also born with weaknesses.
And I want to make sure we have a balance here. I don’t personally believe me. You can always disagree. Do not feel like you have to agree with me, George. But I believe that you’re born with strengths and weaknesses, but like you said earlier, we have choice and we have the complete ability to control our fate.
So to speak, God gives us free will. So I think myself, yeah, you and every listener, we definitely have things where we weaker towards, like for you, this was a huge issue for someone else. They might have an, a, like the addicted to alcohol or drugs or alcohol is a drug. But we all have weaknesses, but like you did, you can overcome it.
You did it through the meditation and the steps we’re going to talk about. You did it through a balanced medication approach with, with qualified physicians. So do you agree with that disagree with that?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:12:21] You think I do. We’re born with strengths and weaknesses, but through our lives, we’re tested aren’t we.
Yup. And in those tests, it really comes down to our will our freewill our choices about life, our choices about God to, intervene in any way we can. Now I’m not saying we should, can, will mental illness away. No, it’s going to require medical treatment. It’s going to require therapy, support something like meditation, but what we can will is the desire to do what it takes to take the medicine, to not quit taking the medicine, to live a reasonable life with good habits and good lifestyle to help.
Manage the mental illness and overcome it. So we have the combination of strengths and weaknesses that we’re born with. And bipolar is a fascinating condition because it gives you strength and it emphasizes weaknesses. Yeah. And as we’re tested, With that condition and with the weaknesses beginning to overcome the strengths, then our will, can help us decide to intervene and work well with good support and good advice, you know, to turn life around.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:13:38] Yeah. 100%. I, I agree with you completely. I just want to make sure that people listening aren’t biased at one end of the spectrum for or against, because this is such an important topic. And there’s people who, like you said, are mega successful and there’s people who are charismatic. I can dynamic and I’m like, Oh, I want to be like them.
And behind closed doors, they struggling again. I always think of ’em Charles Spurgeon. Have you heard of Charles Spurgeon?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:14:08] No, I have not.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:14:09] Charles Spurgeon was considered the Prince of preachers. He is like one of the greatest preachers of all time that we know of. Right. And he struggled with depression.
Like really bad. And he writes a bone in his books. and a lot of people like wasn’t accepted. So he talk about it, obviously, not that publicly, but in his private writings, he was very like, transparent about it. Like I’m really struggling here. So all of us in every walk of life can struggle with depression.
I’ve always had a low grade depression or sadness. I don’t know what you’d call it. Maybe you can help me. But then I had some trauma and man, it just lit me up where I really struggle now. So I’m, that’s another reason I personally am looking forward to this episode. I want to take these steps and apply them in my life because [00:15:00] everybody has a weakness.
And the fact that you overcame it, man is just, I’m so proud of you and so thankful for you. And I’m looking forward to this. before we even go further, you said how childhood was ideal, you know, trauma or abuse you got to college, it starts showing its head for people listening. And they’re thinking maybe right now about themselves or maybe one of their loved ones.
What are some signs of this manic depression or bipolar or. You know, these different conditions to be looking for or to say, Hey, it might be sadness, or this might be enough where you need to seek some professional help just to get their evaluation before it progresses. What are some things they should be looking for?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:15:41] You can look for real change in interest. I was real involved with extracurricular school, Senate writing for the school newspaper, and then all of a sudden that just all stopped. And I ended up hanging on the corner with some bad kids. So, you know, change in interest change in energy level. I’m starting to make some bad choices, something as simple as diet or as complicated and dangerous as drug use or alcohol use.
You know, these things, little slips of behavior. And little observable changes in behavior can signify the onset. It’s not always that. I mean, there’s all sorts of troubles that come with new responsibilities in late adolescents in early of all, the people make bad choices and it’s not always a mental illness, but if somebody is really loses interest, In things they’ve been doing, it’s, it’s worth talking to somebody about that.
It’s worth having a conversation and maybe even seeing the doctor.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:16:40] Yeah. And again, to frame this, to like, if you had a trauma in your life, or if your parents went through a divorce and you’re a teenager, then that could trigger this kind of behavior, but you’re talking about where things are consistently and just see me to go well, And then you have that subbing interest change, correct?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:16:55] Absolutely.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:16:56] Yes. Okay. All right. Well, yeah, please continue. Continue with your story. Now you got us. You’re in college and this behavior is going on. Where do you go from there?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:17:05] Well, go to work, go to work, actually. It was interesting when I had trouble in college, the first time I dropped out. And then I went to work for an organization doing sales, and fortunately they had a tuition reimbursement program.
So a couple of years later, I was able to go to college at night while working full time. And then, like I said, things just went very well for a few years. Moved up in the organization, had great success in business before the real change came and the real psychotic mania kicked in. But yeah, after those years of struggle, Which, which we can certainly talk about more, but what came later in life?
I talked about getting the meds, right? Adding the meditation, finding God in all of that, I was brought up Catholic. I mean, religion was always important to me. And oddly enough, religiosity, the strange things became a really predominant. In my experience with psychotic mania, but
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:18:04] I guess, definitely talk about that too, because that’s important.
I have a friend in high school, we wrestled together. He was always a little off and then something happened to him. Traumatic, lost it. His world was completely warped with religiosity. Yeah. And like you, and I know, and for the listeners, if you’re listening, there’s a huge and important difference between your relationship with Christ.
And religion. God is gone. He loves us, but there’s a thousand churches. So we’re not talking about church. We’re not talking about a social gathering. We’re talking about really a relationship with God here. And that’s what George is saying is so important to change his life. So keep going on that, George, if you don’t mind, because there’s so many different religious pitfalls we could fall into, but just talk about what you went through and how you got out.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:18:53] It had roots in my childhood. I had a grandmother. And, and, you know, bipolar disorder, having strong genetic components, we usually find people in the family who also have it. And my grandmother, she was nuts. She was crazy. And religion was her hobby. She used to go from church to church. She used to go for everything from Hindu temples to devil worship, all sorts of different experiments.
Cause she, you know, she would maintain it. I don’t want to live my life as a developer Episcopalian and dying. I find out that I should have been following Buddha all along. So she tried everything and I, as a child, went around with her. So I was exposed to all of this and sometimes it was fun. Sometimes it was horrifying.
But so there was this foundation in searching. That when I got sick later and started to embody some of these different beliefs that I learned from all of them. I mean, there’s a lot of knowledge, well, not the devil worship, not in all there, but there’s a lot of knowledge. There’s a lot of knowledge in different faith traditions.
So it was, it was fortunate to learn all of this and be exposed on this. But with the psychotic mania, the depression [00:20:00] kicking in, I sort of clutched onto the worst. Of these things.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:20:04] And on that topic, when you say she visited, did she show up for one Sunday or Tuesday night and laughed or did she go for like a few weeks or months then switched
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:20:13] marriages.
Sometimes she would just show up and other times she would find something interesting and then a stay for a little while.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:20:20] So you literally were absorbing, not just like one little touch and go, I mean, you’re absorbing most of the doctrine. Like by the time you left that church, you could figure out what they believed.
And that carried with you for life and you’re having all these are fighting and battling beliefs in your head. Is that
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:20:37] correct? Sure. Yeah, there was. And then another experience. It was actually a great one. I like, I grew up Catholic and I was in the Catholic catechism classes. And when I was in sixth grade, we did an exchange student with a Jewish temple that was across the street.
And I, for a couple of months went to Hebrew school and a kid from the Jewish temple came over and went to the Catholic school for a few weeks. And it was sort of like we were sent to each other’s camp to come back and report on what was going on over there. That’s
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:21:06] all, instead of going overseas abroad, you did it across the street,
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:21:09] right across the street.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:21:16] All right. And then, so what were the things that. This is all going on. And you’re absorbing everything literally from Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Satan worship. How did this manifest itself in your life when the, when the bipolar kicked in?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:21:34] Well, it’s interesting because as it kicked in and. And this is, this is one of those things that, you know, maybe you’re just given an opportunity because as it kicked in and there was a lot of religiosity, I was drawn towards contemplative practices and I envisioned myself being a monk.
And I was going to throw it all away and go to a monastery. And it was not a reasonable choice, but I started to visit monasteries and I started to meditate everything from Benedictine monasteries to Zen monasteries. And so the meditation that I started to do was born of this odd religiosity and this experience with mental illness.
However, I stuck with it and it began to work. And then all of the dangerous things, all of the unreasonable beliefs fell away, but I stuck with the meditation that, you know, had it not been for that dangerous psychotic religiosity, I may have never come to. So even in the midst of all that turmoil, the gift came to practice meditation in ancient traditions.
And then from there followed wellness.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:22:48] Yeah. And the Bible says all things work together for good to them that love God, let me do this. I want to ask you a question. and to our listeners too, when George and I are tonal meditation, he’s meditating through the Bible and Psalms, and he’s going to describe that probably should have said that at the beginning of the episode.
So I’ll put that in. When I make the intro. I know several people over the course of my life. Who’ve struggled in this area. But that one young man I was telling you about earlier from high school who was 15, and then it kind of blew up for him as his world just shattered. He had the same desire. They found him in Mexico.
He ran away. He went to a monastery and they found him just sitting there praying over and over again in the rain. What compelled you, do you remember at that point? Like I know you said that was your interest and that’s where you went and ultimately ended up helping you, but I’ve heard so many people that same story where there’s some kind of draw with it to religion.
So I’m thinking isn’t our innate desire that we know every human knows in their heart. There’s a God. And it’s you trying to seek and find him. Or was there something else going through your head at that point, but do you remember that far back?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:24:01] I do. I do. people with severe mental illness tend to skew intelligent and creative and curious, and however, you know, there’s something wrong with you and you know, that life has become dysfunctional.
So you, you start searching for answers. Nothing promises better answers than faith traditions. So it’s very common to be drawn toward a faith tradition and search there for answers that can help you with the loss of control in the sense that things are happening to you, that you just don’t understand and can’t seem to stop.
So I think that’s why many of us with mental illness find ourselves searching. Just searching because we’re different from everybody else. There’s things our minds are doing that we know are disabling, but we can’t stop. So the search for [00:25:00] answers, I think, is very typical. If people would experience such a mine, such as your friend.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:25:05] Yeah. I I’m tracking with you the even, I mean, even the Bible talks about how with much wisdom and much knowledge as much pain, and some of them. Most intelligent people. I know their brains never stop working and it’s almost a curse. It’s like a blessing and a curse at the same time. When you were younger and healthy, did your mind constantly run or was it pretty balanced or are you always been on high octane?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:25:30] I was really curious through my whole life. I mean, when all the kids were out playing kickball ID and reading books and looking for knowledge. So I think it followed that. It followed that, but it’s interesting talking about Bible and other ancient faith traditions. There’s one in Buddhism that say great.
Yeah, doubt, great knowledge, little doubt, little knowledge, no doubt. No knowledge. And so, I mean, we can bring that into our lives lives because I mean, sometimes it’s healthy to question the things you’re sure of because you often find you come out with answers that make you even more sure. And secure. In your face.
So, I mean, so the doubt was painful. The doubt caused me a lot of darkness, but I think the doubt strengthened faith in the long run.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:26:22] Yeah. You have to know what you believe and why we can’t just take our take things for granted. I believe in God. Cause people said, so you have to have it real in your heart.
Yeah, man. So I applaud you for your journey. Cause that’s what we need to do. It’s gotta be real. So you’re going through this. You’re successful. Everything starts going crazy. And like you said, you act now, did you get in Florida? It’s called Baker acted. When you were going to commit suicide that time, did you get hospitalized voluntarily or mandatory?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:26:53] I, it was actually voluntary. I work the financial services company I worked for was an insurance company. We did special risk insurance, everything from travel insurance to credit card coverage, all sorts of different types of insurance. However, this was before the health insurance privacy laws. So I knew that if I went to a psychiatrist that would be reported back to my HR department and my career would be over because of a terrible stigma.
So when these symptoms started to appear, I went to a neurologist and stead. Because there’s often physical symptoms that come along with a mental illness. So he was treating what he thought was fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, or some neurological difficulty as IB can continue to get more and more psychotic.
He, at some point said, look, I’m out of my league. This is out of my specialty. I don’t understand. I want you to go into this hospital. So I planned on it, but I went home and I decided it was a better idea to go out to dinner and drink a lot of wine. when I, when I came back yeah, this like the, the neurologist had actually had police check on me because he heard I hadn’t gone into the hospital.
So I wasn’t actually Baker acted. Although I could have been that the preparation was there, but I had enough wherewithal to say, okay, things, things are challenging here. And I went into hospital voluntarily.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:28:14] Yeah. And you said it’s on night. If you’re again for the listeners, man, I know like there’s two people right now that I know that have mental illness and I talk to them all the time.
Drugs and alcohol are so bad to begin with, you know, anything on a moderation, alcohol drugs, the same thing, but anything that could be potentially bad for someone who’s. Normal. If you have a mental illness, it’s like gasoline on a fire.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:28:44] Absolutely.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:28:45] Yeah. Talk about that for a second. Cause I don’t think people really grasp that or want to grasp that because the people I know right now currently they have serious issues with balance and with, you know, like you said, self control and keeping that reasonable decision making, and then they’re pounding down alcohol and drugs and they’re just becoming a nut.
So talk about the difference between already struggling with bipolar and then adding in drugs
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:29:13] and alcohol. Yeah. There’s so much pain involved with mental illness and often emotional pain can be more severe than physical pain. So a few things start to happen. People try to treat the pain, try to make the pain go away.
And you know, frankly, a lot of substances do that. They do that for a little while they turn out to be much. A lot of bad in the long run, but for a little while, it feels good and it can make some of the symptoms go away. So people will get into substances to help manage the symptoms of their mental illness or in, in, in, in my case, yes, to try to hold that hypomania and hold that wonderful feeling.
I started for a time taking meth. Because it could [00:30:00] get me to that point. Now, granted, you always crash. It’s always a disaster later, but there is a time where you’re either helping moderate the symptoms or helping purposes. the best of the system symptoms. And the sad thing is substances work a little while in doing that.
So a lot of people with mental illness will turn to drugs or drink. To either treat their illness or to just feel the best of it.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:30:27] Self-medication for the short term, but long term. Doesn’t that cause a greater deterioration.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:30:33] Absolutely. Alcohol for instance, is a central nervous system depressant. So a lot of people will drink when they’re depressed, because at that moment it makes them feel good.
But over time, it’s affecting the nervous system, slowing it down, affecting serotonin levels in the brain that will lead to depression. So it’s a central nervous depression system depressant that will get you over consistent use. But the cruel thing is during that use at least early on, it feels good. So you’re getting one effect out of it while it’s causing longterm damage.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:31:09] This is awesome. Thanks George. Because we’re sitting here talking to you and you probably have more knowledge in your head by overcoming this person than a medical doctor has. So thanks for being here today and to the listeners, be writing down your questions. I mean, some of you are driving. Some of you are running some of you working out, but I’ll be not just putting mental notes.
Try to jot down some notes here. So you remember these questions and you can write George and get some questions answered and help. but now let’s get to the part. I mean, unless we, I don’t want to skip anything that you deem important because your story is your story, but if there’s nothing else you want to add, let’s get to the point where you started figuring out the steps to healing.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:31:49] Yeah. Let me, let me make one more point because it ties in with the talk about substance abuse. The odd thing is that so many people with mental illness will turn to substances to feel better. And yet. When they’re being successfully treated with a prescription medication for their mental illness. So many people will stop taking it when they do feel better and find themselves right back into the well of mental illness that the medicine helped them get out of.
with bipolar disorder, it has an 86, 5% treatment effective ratio. That is better than heart disease. It’s better than diabetes. However, 65 of the people that have bipolar polar disorder who are treated, do not take their medication the way it’s prescribed. So they end up going back into difficult symptoms, even though if they stuck with the medication, it would help them.
So you’ve got this odd situation where people will turn to illegal substances to feel better. And yet many of them, when they’re taking a prescription medicine, That makes them feel better. They’ll stop taking it. And the reasons that there’s stigma there’s costs, there’s all sorts of reasons why people do that.
But I always found that strange that we’ll turn to substances to get better, but often when we are better, we’ll stop taking the medicine that has helped us get to that point. I’ve been there too. I’ve done it. I’ve done it. I had a summer where everything was fine, but. I was, I was really worried by the fact that every morning and every night you look in your Palm and there’s pills there and you need these pills for yourself to be, well, it’s not your pancreas.
It’s not your heart. It’s like your very self. And I couldn’t deal with that for a while. So I stopped taking the medicine, ended up a few months later, crushing an anxiety pill at bars, snorting. It. Take chasing it with tequila. And that resulted in a suicide attempt where I almost lost my life. Not an uncommon experience for people with severe mental.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:33:57] Yeah, no. And I earlier, I, I, if you heard me laugh, I literally just wrote down. I was going to ask you, why would people stop their meds? Is it because they live with that stigma in the back of their head, they don’t want to do it. Yeah. Is it self destruction? Is it a false sense of confidence? Like I’m okay now, and then you immediately answered it.
So if I was laughing, don’t think I was insensitive. I was just, I literally wrote the question, you answered it. So thank you so much. And sometimes it is true. Even with mental illness, like we discussed earlier, they might’ve had the weakness, but we might’ve also had trauma in our past. And we have the self destructive behavior.
Like I don’t deserve to be well or I’m horrible. And this is, you know, this is my fate. It’s a, it’s a lie is that Sam puts in our head stigma and self destructive behavior. If you were to put your money on what the most common reason people stop meds, what would you say
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:34:47] that is? yeah, I th I think for it’s probably too, the cost is a big factor.
I mean, typically if you have a mental illness, you end up without a job, you don’t have the private health care insurance. insurance historically has been [00:35:00] difficult to come by, to pay for the medicine and the medicines are expensive. So cost is one factor. The other factor is this stigma. Yeah. If I have a mission in life, David it’s too normal mental illness.
I mean, we all feel this we all, while we’re not all mentioned ill, everybody has had experiences of anxiety or depression. So I want, I want to help people. And it’s been an interesting year because with. The coronavirus pandemic and the economic pain and the health pain in the, and the shutdown. A lot of things, people have been feeling anxiety and have been feeling things that are uncomfortable for them, that they don’t know quite how to deal with.
And I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to normalize mental illness. Let everybody know that, Hey, anybody can feel this way. It’s not a character flaw. It’s not a bad choice they’ve made because it’s happening to everybody this year. And if we can just accept that mental illness happens and that it can be helped, then maybe, maybe we can chip away at the stigma and make people who have mental illness feel more open to being honest about it and getting treatment.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:36:18] Absolutely. And at this point, we’re going to take a short break and for the listeners, we’re going to have an ad. That’s going to be someone who can help you. And as I’m recording this, I have no idea who that’s going to be. And we’re not just going to plug in a sponsor to make money. I’m going to work with George to try to find a resource for you that if you need help.
Check out this sponsor or check out this organization because I feel just very much. So right now we’re going to talk about it. And after this break, George is going to give you the practical steps that you can use and communicate with him to get well. So I’m sorry, super looking forward to this, but let’s take a short break here from the sponsor and we’ll be right back with George Hoffman.
All right, George. Welcome back. How are you today?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:37:08] I’m well, you doing good?
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:37:11] That was a fastest break
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:37:12] ever.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:37:15] All right. To the listeners at this point, I’m super excited. George is going to talk to us about his steps to success. So George. You’re going through so much, the world’s spinning. You’re having these moments of realization where you realize you’re unwell, then you’ll be other moments of manic, highs, and lows.
And, you know, you’re just engaged in the moment. How do you navigate from suicidal tendencies and being institutionalized? So talk to me to me today on the podcast with a wife and a kid, and life’s going well, you just wrote an book and had your release. Talk to us about how you did it.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:37:56] Well, the, the three steps, the first was to decide to take the medical treatment that was working to consistently take the medicine and see the doctor and commit to that.
The second was to change the language. You’ll hear all the time. People say he has bipolar. No, he is bipolar. Or I am depressed. Language is very important that verb in there, changing that verb made all the difference for me because I changed to be, to, to have. So instead of saying I am bipolar, I started to say, I have bipolar disorder.
And I insist on everybody saying that it’s not, she is mentally ill, but she has a mental illness because positioning it this way, separated it from my core sense of self and enabled me to act to lose it. Because if it’s something you have, you can dismiss it and separate from it. Whereas if it’s something you are, it’s just part of you and you can never pull away from it.
So the language change.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:39:09] Yes. Give a pause there. That’s huge because what you just said, George is every aspect of life, but I actually want to just shut up and think about what George just said. I have blank verse. I am, I am is so permanent sounding and you’re lying to yourself and you’re allowing that in your head.
But what Georgia is, I have bipolar, which means you can not have bipolar and you can get rid of it. So that mental setup is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that, George.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:39:42] And it’s in the Bible. I mean, when, when y’all way God’s name is, I am. Yup. But that’s it. I am, that’s what we have. We have ourselves.
We have God, we have, I am. As soon as you attack action object to [00:40:00] that, you change your relationship and you limit yourself. So if I say I am mentally ill, well, that’s it. That that’s what I’ve got. Whereas if you change that, you, you accept the, I am for the foundation of faith and then introduce other things in your life, especially illnesses as I have this, then you can maintain your core.
You can maintain your, your faith and you can position yourself and begin to approach challenges in a, in a healthier way.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:40:30] Yeah. I love that because man, it’s so true. And you ever, did you ever read? I think it’s in Isaiah. We’re seeing and fell and God is the great I am. That’s it, man. He is. I am just like you said, But Shannon says, I will, I will, I will.
I will blind sinful ambition. So the words we use are so important. Thank you, George, for talking about this because a lot of people just flip past it, or that’s just a bunch of, you know, whatever, but as a man thinketh, so is he, that’s what the Bible talks about and what George is saying is dead on reframe don’t lie.
Don’t just say I am Superman. I can fly. That’s right. A turn bad. But if you can reframe it, I have, and know you’re getting to freedom and believe that truth you’re on your way.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:41:23] Absolutely. Absolutely.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:41:30] So step one, you’re committed.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:41:32] Step one. I’m committed that step. Yeah. I’m committed to following the treatment that works. Yep. That’s too. I’m no longer defining myself as mentally ill, but I’m seeing it as something I have that I can either get rid of or manage and live a healthy life. Step three, meditation.
Became the tool to help me achieve that because in meditation and we’ll talk about methods because it’s a worldwide, it’s an ancient tradition. Every faith tradition has meditative practices built in to the original faith tradition. And unfortunately we’ve gotten away from that in many traditions lately, but the meditation enabled me to notice.
Thoughts I’m having about myself in my world. See, and realize where these thoughts are either accurate or inaccurate and simple things like just manage stress and decide to live a healthier, more centered life. So meditation was the third thing that dropped in there that has really resulted in wellness and the ability to have a successful life.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:42:46] And for our audience, as soon as we had a stigma in that, I mean, there’s so much bias with meditation, so many good things in life that God intended to be pure st and takes way out of whack and pollutes and makes them dirty. But meditation, you know, as soon as the average American here’s meditation, they picture somebody hung them home, you know, sitting there with their legs crossed, but that’s not what you’re talking about.
So go ahead and start talking about what is meditation to you?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:43:13] Yeah. Meditation to me, it’s, it’s simply focused attention. It’s focused attention. We do just like he said, we have misperceptions about meditation in our culture, especially in Christian culture today. And it’s the way it’s been taught. There is a mindfulness industry out there because everybody’s talking about meditation and everybody’s selling apps and we’re finding most of what’s being taught in the West today has Eastern foundations and I’ve studied it.
I’ve I’ve been through. With some of the great meditation teachers in North America and to a man or a woman, they all hark into the East. They’re bringing in Buddhist methods, they’re bringing in Eastern philosophy and thought, and they’re presenting that as the way we’ve lost the fact Christians we’ve lost the fact that our tradition is full.
Of meditative practices. We see it as something that they do. It’s Eastern, it’s not Christian. However, we lose, we use the fact that our tradition like mindfulness, everybody throws around the word mindfulness, the first appearance of mindfulness and the English language did not come from some Buddhist teacher.
The first appearance of mindfulness in the English language is in the why cliff Bible in the 14th century. It’s a tradition. That’s foundational in Christian prayer and in a Christian’s relationship with God that unfortunately we’ve lost. We’ve pulled away from that today because it’s been completely presented as an Eastern practice.
And we as Christians feel that that’s not for me, that’s not the belief I want to go towards. So I’m not going to meditate at all.
[00:45:00] David Pasqualone, Host: [00:45:08] Sorry, my friend, my computer, just, I couldn’t unmute my phone. I couldn’t. Yeah, no. And to the listeners, that’s huge because you know the old saying, throwing the baby out with the bath water. That’s what we did. We took a good practice that is biblically based, centering ourself, being mindful of God. Jesus would take time to pray and to be alone with God.
And he wouldn’t encourage the disciples to do that. And like, you, you sound like John White cliff. He’s one of the framers of a lot of what we believe today. And then because of the mysticism and the new age movement. Christian said, well, I don’t want anything to do with that. You know, kind of like, and the Holy spirit you got the father, son, the Holy ghost.
Well, obviously the Holy Spirit’s important Jesus sent the great comforter will come after me. He’s even greater than I. But today in most Christian circles, how often do you hear about the Holy spirit? It’s either one extreme. Oh, he’s there, but we don’t talk about him or the other where people are jumping on the ground barking like dogs, you know what I mean?
So we need things in bounds. A false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. So you committed, you follow the program, changed your language. You started research and meditation. What did your research teach you?
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:46:28] Well, the, the research taught me, well, there’s all sorts of medical research.
There’s empirical peer reviewed stuff that says that this works in terms of stress management and general wellness. And so I investigated it that way. And also, yeah, from, from faith, I mean, when Jesus had his moment of greatest doubt in the garden of get salmony, what did he do? He meditated. It’s right there.
Meditation is simply about focused attention. It’s a moment of solitude, a moment of silence. And when else is God going to speak to you? But in a moment like that, to break away from the busy of busy-ness of life and to just focus it, that’s when you’re going to be most open. To God’s speaking to you. And that’s when you’re going to be most open to finding compassion and love for others who are in our lives and in our society just by meditating.
Yeah. So today you’ll find that again. When you look for meditation instruction, You’ll find Eastern influence, you’ll find Buddhist influence. And that may turn a lot of people off. I mean, I’ve studied Zen a lot and there’s a lot of things to learn there. But in the Christian tradition, the earliest Christian Church, the desert fathers, they meditated the first couple hundred years of Christianity.
It was a meditative practice and people meditated on the word and they stayed silent. I mean, the Apostle’s creed didn’t come about until in the three hundreds. So it was a meditative practice early on. And then throughout history, we’ve had meditative practices as well, which I began with and I can go into them if you’d like me to.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:48:16] Yeah, absolutely. And again, to you and the listeners, if you hear me delay it’s cause I’m trying to click my mic back off mute. So don’t think I’m not interested. I’m on the edge of my seat here, so, okay. yeah, please do George. Cause again, that focus and that quiet time, especially now we’re recording this and it will be released sometime this summer and COVID is all over the world.
We don’t know what’s real and what’s fake with it. I mean, there’s so much on both sides, but people are stressing out, but one thing, and again, you can agree or disagree. I think Covitz being good for us in so many ways as a world, because it shows us more. If we were forced to slow down, I don’t know about you, but for most people you’re forced to slow down and I go through my neighborhood.
And it’s awesome. We’re meeting our neighbors. There’s people walking around people aren’t getting up at 5:00 AM and work until midnight. I think in a lot of ways, this slow down has really helped people and it’s teaching them there’s more to life than just working all the time and being on that treadmill of life to get to the end where you’re like, I just missed the whole journey.
So when George keeps talking about taking that time to meditate, Whether it’s slower in the COVID or whether you get that back to this, sadly, this too fast paced life of busy-ness, which most business doesn’t even matter. George is about to teach us his steps to meditate. So you can have that peace and solitude and recenter yourself with Christ.
So please, please teach us George.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:49:55] Sure. The basics of meditation, as I said, it’s focused attention. [00:50:00] You are taking your full attention and you’re focusing on some words or object. The obvious one that comes to a Christian is prayer. Prayer is a meditation. It’s a full focus on either words that are given to us.
In the Bible or on things that we want for others and things that we hope we need help with for ourselves. So prayer is an entire focus on ourself and our relationship with God. There are many other methods there’s Lectio Divina, which comes in the true Christian tradition, which is wonderful. You take a passage from the Bible at random.
Read a short piece of it, read it over, read again, something in that passage really grabs you and holds on. And then you just sit silent and contemplate that line of scripture and listen, listen for what comes to you about that line of scripture and about your life. The one that I did early on is I’m in the Benedictine tradition, which were monasteries that go back.
Into the six hundreds and earlier in Christian Europe, yeah. Became foundational to my meditation practice in the divine office. They call it at different times of day in a Benedictine monastery. They read a certain cycle of Psalms and over a two week period, you have read all of the salts. Now, of course, none of us have time to follow this rule and none of us have time to get through all the Psalms meditatively in two weeks.
Cause you have to do it several times a day, but we can do the practice. And it’s very simple. You have the Bible, you sit in silence because silence has to be a big part of meditation. Because that’s when things are going to speak to you and that’s when you’re going to discover things about yourself.
But during this period of silence, you’ll read a Psalm and you’ll meditate on the song. And the Psalms are fascinating, fascinating pieces of the Bible, because you’ve got everything from absolute love to sheer violence. It’s all in the Psalms, but you meditate on the Psalms and see what they personally mean to you.
And then go back into silence, focus on your breath, focus in a centered way, and just listen for what comes to you and notice the things happening within you and around you and what you can learn about yourself and your place in the world and your place and faith.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:52:41] Yeah. And for those of you not familiar with the Bible or the Psalms, the Bible is what a Christian, what I perceive as God’s word, a hundred percent true.
Two thirds of it’s the old Testament. One third of it’s the new Testament. And the difference between old and new is before Christ is the old Testament after Christ is a new
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:53:01] Testament,
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:53:02] but the book of Psalms George, and then you and I talked about this in our phone calls. I never understood the book of Psalms it’s poetic.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:53:11] It’s beautiful,
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:53:13] but I’m going to engineering. You know, that part of my brain is just very structured, but once I hit a low in life and had major trauma, the Psalm just opened up to me and I got it.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:53:26] And
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:53:26] I’m sure I can get a lot more. But what I’m seeing is it started making sense. So when George was saying there’s love.
In Psalms and there’s more in songs and there’s depression and Psalms and there’s pain and Psalms, especially for those of you struggling for those of us struggling, the sounds just really connect. So even if you’ve tried to read Psalms before, read it again. And I think if you go back to the episode with, Jill Johnson, Well, she’s talking about grief.
That’s exactly how she dealt with it through the Psalms. So there’s something special about the Psalms. So I’m really, really thankful you’re sharing this. Georgia just keeps reinforcing, you know, there’s something special about that book specifically in the Bible.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:54:12] Yeah. It’s special because, and it, a lot it has to do with.
What it does to us in our experience of God, because we can all get on board with the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want one of the Psalms or walk through the shadow of the Valley of death. I mean, these things, we can resonate with us, but you get to some of them and. They just seem so challenging. I mean, Psalm one Oh three, David asks for God to crush the skulls of his enemies, children.
I mean, how do you, you bring this into your life and you know what, when the Psalms were written. They probably meant that they probably meant that. But to us today, and C S Lewis, the Christian writer who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and [00:55:00] had a lot of theology books in the 20th century, he wrote a book called reflections on the sounds that really changed me because it took these Psalms it’s.
Half of them, half of them are, seem hateful. What we can learn as we read them, is that the enemies. That we ceased to vanquish our within. No, no one is praying to have violence against other people, but we are praying to confront the doubt, the enemies within ourselves and have God give us a way, give us a message.
Give us the quietude to think about that in ourselves. The enemies that rise up from within, and then approach that in a way, you know, that we can improve ourselves and feel better about the world we live in.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:55:51] Yeah. And for the listener, if you’re not familiar, most of the songs like George were seeing were written by David and David’s got an amazing story throughout the Bible, but out of 150 chapters in the book of Psalms, David wrote most of them.
And one thing that’s awesome about David is he’s real. If you think you’re a bad person and you’re not good enough. Read the Bible because
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:56:19] yeah, you’ve got nothing on David.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:56:21] Yeah. David is a wild man and a beast in some way. And he’s he did, he had a horrible upbringing with his relationship with his father.
He became a horrible father. So you hear the stories of David and Goliath and you know, the, the, the taken out the giant with a Slingshot and you hear some of the victory stories, but David had some. Terrible things he did. I mean, adultery murder. And when, when George was talking about him wanting to crush the skulls of his enemies, come on, let’s be real.
Haven’t we all, at some time been so hurt and so angry, we would have prayed that same prayer, maybe in different words. So the Psalms is a real book of real emotion and, I’m sure you’ll find something to connect with. And that sounds so. Okay. So you’re taking the Psalms, you’re reading some, and then you’re thinking about it.
Like, what is this really saying that you’re meditating on, you’re thinking through it, and then you’re listening to hear what God replies, not like audible voices, but where is it leading you in your mind? Or what do you need to deal with in life? So continue there.
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:57:28] Well, it, it, it helped me develop my belief.
In God, in the ability to get well, and it helped to anchor me because I think with meditation, The discipline of doing it is as important as any benefit you get out of it by the act of duty. I think the Psalms, the cycle of the Psalm sitting down to read the Psalms besides giving us introspection in faith, it helps us introduce some discipline into our lives with meditation, you know, doing it everyday at a certain time.
And having a serious practice is a very disciplined event. Dealing with bipolar disorder. I was leading a very disciplined life. So the step toward discipline of practice, doing something regular reflecting at a certain time every day really helped it introduced discipline in my life. And then I was able to move that discipline out to other.
Parts of my life, like taking the meds, not taking the substances, not getting involved in, you know, not cheating on a relationship. You know, all those things that require a really disciplined sense of will to deal with when your mind is telling you to do these things. So that was key.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:58:45] Yeah. And any kind of discipline in the schedule and that kind of balance that’s area area
George Hofmann, Guest: [00:58:52] it’s.
And, and it’s a shame because just like meditation has gotten a bad word for some people here in the United States, this Upland for some people is seen as a negative thing. Discipline is not, especially self-discipline, it’s liberating. It helps you get to your best potential because it gives you focus and it gives you, you know, stick to it.
To help, to face challenges and overcome challenges.
David Pasqualone, Host: [00:59:18] Yeah. And you’re so dead on George, I’m loving this, the conversations about I’m gonna bring out the B word budget. People hate budgeting, but that’s the most beautiful thing because you say these are where the expenses are. This is where the funds are going to go.
And now I can live without guilt and have fun with the rest you’ve budgeted, but just like you budget, you know, We can make more money, but we can’t make more time. Right? So you and for us as a listeners, think about this, why would we budget our money, which we can make more of, but we don’t budget our time, which we [01:00:00] can never get back.
It’s the most valuable resource we have. We have God and we have a time he’s given us this life is on average, 70 to 80 years, and then it’s eternity. So, where are we going to spend that attorney? That’s what these years are for?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:00:13] Absolutely.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:00:14] And to glorify God. So what George is saying, listen, commit, get that balance program, change your language, meditate.
And he’s going to go deeper into that, but get a discipline schedule, wake up at the same time, work out at the same time, eat at the same time, do these things and it doesn’t bring bondage. It brings freedom. You have that. Like, I mean, how do you, I can say that’s how I describe it, right? That like relaxation of knowing that consistent schedule, that makes me feel really good.
I don’t know how to share that relief. I feel, but I love, I never perform at a higher level than when I have a rigid schedule and I’ll break mine down to 15 minute increments. So how do you explain that to someone? The freedom of brains?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:01:01] I think that breath you took, I think that breath you took. Explains it all because, you know, as I’ll talk about the progress of meditation as the Psalms continue to be important, but I move more and more into silence and we’ll talk about why, but in silence, focusing on the breath in meditation, Trains you to have that ability to just, you know, come back to one breath when either you’re segmenting your day or your day becomes overwhelming, or there’s some challenges you face that you just can’t feel like you deal with.
Just come to that one breath center, sit, and then be able to respond skillfully instead of just have a reaction where you fly off and maybe do things that you later regret. It’s a centering moment. And with meditation, we’re training ourselves to have that centering moment. And some people will say, that’s a moment with God.
And some people will say, that’s just a pause in your day. But the beauty of meditation is the simple practice works, you know, for all of these different goals and all of these different outcomes. So it can work. It can work for anyone. It can work for anyone.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:02:11] Beautiful. All right, so we’re going to George and I spoke, we’re going to put a link in the show notes.
You can go ahead and link to it, or we may even put. A segment at the end of this podcast,
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:02:26] we’ll roll over right into
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:02:28] it. George is going to walk us through a meditation example of how he does it. So before we get ahead of ourselves though, and to get to that point, continue with describing meditation and how you actually
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:02:39] practically.
Yeah. as I said, I, I, and I think everyone must bring a lot of silence into their meditation. Reading. The Psalms can open you up. And prepare you, but the silence is when God or the Dean best recesses of your mind are going to speak to you. And that silence is when you’re going to start noticing things that happened in around you.
And then that’s where meditation can become very practical. Some people will say they use meditation for enlightenment. Some people will say they use it for director of experience of God in my life. It’s become. More immediate and more practical because I noticed in the moments of silence and the silence, it, it’s difficult.
You sit and you focus on your breath and you feel the breathing. And as thoughts come up in your mind, you just let them go. Don’t start a conversation with yourself. Don’t complete the thoughts, just let the thoughts go and then return to the breath. And in this silence, you really notice things. You notice feelings in your body, you notice thoughts and emotions you’re having.
And I discovered that before an episode of depression or mania, certain changes would take place in my body, even though we talk men. So illness, most episodes of mental illness start with some physical disturbances. Be it pain in the body or a buzzing feeling or lethargy start with some physical symptoms and all too often, we miss them entirely and rush right into a difficult episode that we can’t get out of.
But by meditating, by having this silence, focusing on the breath, taking the Psalms to set me up and come out of the meditation to keep me in touch with the message. But having that period of silence enables me to notice the changes that occur within me. I can now, and I teach others to get to the point where they can actually predict.
When an episode of anxiety or depression is beginning, and then you can intervene, intervene with the medicine. You have doctor, you know, support from your family, better sleep, more exercise, you know, some intervention that will keep that episode from getting serious. So there’s [01:05:00] the great faith tradition of meditation.
Which brought me into it and I still practice, but there’s the very practical man, which is what I choose to teach and write about because. Yeah, th this stuff can help you confront and understand and overcome challenges in your life. And so that’s where I put the bulk of my work in the bat, the practical aspects of meditation, because I mean, the ability for somebody with a mental illness, whether it’s anxiety or mania, To be able to feel an episode coming predicted it’s going to be there and then intervene to not have that episode is amazing.
And then if one is in an episode, meditation can bring the silence and stillness and the focus back to best managing the episode and not really screw it up.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:05:51] Yeah. And the silence is so important because if you don’t listen. You won’t, if you don’t have the silence, you won’t be able to hear things coming.
It’s kind of like self defense. If you’re walking somewhere and you have headphones in and you’re blaring at night, you’re not going to hear people running up to jump you. You’re going to get jumped because you’re not listening. And even though it’s not physical, when our thoughts are bombarding us and we’re not listening, we’re drowning it out with all the cares of the world or the busy-ness.
We have. All these attacks forces are still coming at us. Right, George, they don’t, we’re not listening, so we’re not dealing with them. So if I hear somebody coming behind me, I’m going to turn around and punch him in the face. Sorry, but that’s what I do, right? No before, sadly, cause I had you where they were going to jump me.
But the thing is with those thoughts, we need to confront them head on, knock it out and get rid of it. And that’s what George is telling you to do. That’s a hundred percent true. You need to listen. You need to take those thoughts? Like w how does the Bible phrase it? It’s just a take things into captive, taking captive.
It uses that phrase, and it talks about how taking those thoughts captive and renewing our mind. And we do that through the Bible God’s word. And, I want you to keep going. I, I think my mind is working overtime right now, and I’m enjoying this very much. So forgive me if I keep interrupting, but if you’re listening to us and you don’t have a Bible, Right me.
We’ll get you a Bible. If you need a Bible, it’s yours. Just let me know. And then if you’re listening and you want to support this, there’s a page on our website, David dot com forward slash RPP, remarkable people podcast. You can go ahead and donate and that’ll go right to Bibles. Just put a note, a hundred percent of what you donate goes right to Bibles.
And if nobody donates that’s okay. I’ll still far away. I’ll pay for it. We’ll get you Bibles. So. We want you to get well, George, where he’s saying is so true, I can’t help, but think in comment on it, but just realize if our mind’s always running and we’re always moving. How can you ever get that piece and reconcile things?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:08:10] That’s beautiful work you do with Bibles. I mean, thank you for that. And, Yeah with meditation. I mean, with, with my emphasis on silence, there’s two terrible things that have happened with meditation in the last 20 years. Two terrible things. One is it’s been sold as something that’s all calm and Spacey and happy and gonna make you, you know, be centered and feel good.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s not that way at all. Meditation helps you notice exactly what is happening in your experience right now. And that’s not always good. Just as the sounds can be really uncomfortable. To read some of them meditation, a session can be really uncomfortable if you’re being presented with challenges or physical pain or bad thoughts.
So it’s just to notice these, to notice these it’s not always going to be relaxing. So a lot of people who start meditation because it’s been promised to be this wonderful, relaxing experience, having counters with those difficulties and quit, they think they’re not doing it right. When in fact, if you’re sitting, noticing things, you arguing it right.
The other tragedy with men with meditation is that, you know, everybody thinks you’ve got to have an app or a guide or something to sit with Headspace or something like that, that guides you through the meditation and constantly talks at you, giving you images. Things tells you what to do. You lose the benefit of silence entirely.
So a guide can help and there are some tremendous Christian meditation apps. That can help establish your practice, learn how to do it. Sit there with a guide for awhile, but eventually you have to remove yourself from the guide and sit with silence, sit with silence, to truly notice what’s happening in your world.
Because if it’s always a guide that they’re not necessarily going to take you places you need to go, [01:10:00] and they’re going to interrupt the silence that is so valuable to meditation practice. And I think to being able to develop for a relationship with God as well.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:10:11] Yeah. And so you’re sitting there and you’re in the silence and you’re listening.
That’s how you’re predicting. What’s coming now. How do you handle it?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:10:24] That, I mean, the, well, the good thing about the meditation is besides helping you predict can help you, you know, keep centered. Make good decisions and realize that most many, many of the thoughts we have, especially thoughts about ourselves are lies.
The mind gives us. When it tells us we’re terrible and tells us we’re constantly making mistakes and all, yeah, maybe we are. But most of the time, it’s just this tape we have in our head saying how terrible we are and how unprepared we are. And with meditation, you can change your relationship to that, repeated thoughts and realize those thoughts for the errors that they present you.
So that helps as you go into the episode, it gives you more confidence and it gives you a better sense of reality about what you confronted. I think the meditation can help with compassion. With the episode of mental illness, you need to reach out to others. You need other people, you need community, whether it’s your family or your church, community, or a therapist that you pay, you need community and this mental illness getting you out of your own head and all of these terrible things.
You may be repeating to yourself and this complete self absorption. It can open you up to this influence of others and the people you really need, and frankly, they need you too. And so the meditation can help you be centered enough and open enough to give back to others that are, that are giving to you.
And that’s so important. So that sets you up for success. And then the key though, once you know, that episode is coming and you’re open to the fact that you need help. It positions you to be able to go out and get that help. We cut. We go from a very childish mind once everything now, and is throwing tantrums to an, a more adult mind that can make good decisions, see where we can have positive impact on others and see where others can have positive impact on us.
Seek out that help. Whether it’s a plan you’ve put together with your doctor to take a certain medicine, or just sitting with a family member to have a discussion about how you feel going to see a pastor. To talk about your experience. You know, there’s so many opportunities that can help a person pull back from that race into an episode of mental illness and really stabilize their life before things get out of control.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:12:52] Nice. Now,
when you say that you’re going to take help, you know, like, okay, I need to seek more help at this point. I can feel it coming on. What does that look like? Finding the balance of your schedule? You already find the balance of the medicine that you agree with the doctor to be on and you’re taking it longterm, not up and down.
Cause I can cause more problems. What does that, okay. At this point I’m meditating. I know there’s an issue. I can feel it coming on. How do you neutralize that and get back to a balance?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:13:30] The, the first people in my life, man, I have a wonderful relationship with my wife and she’s, she’s really made my work possible.
and so having. In advance on his conversations with her, about what I go through. I mean, I told her I had bipolar disorder on our first date, so, you know, upfront right away about this. And so having her understand some of the challenges I go through and some of the things that will tempt me and then being honest with her when these experiences start so that we can totally support each other.
And she can be open in there for me, you know, finding the same thing in God. God is always available. Prayer is always available having a relationship with a doctor who I can call, you know, if I feel myself slipping into these things. So, and then, and then more than anything Danielle’s being present for my daughter, I mean, I’ve got responsibilities now and to take an inordinate risk would just be stupid.
I’ve got things I have to live for and people I have to give back to. So, you know, those, those things can really help.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:14:34] Okay, let me do this because this brings up a good point. Some people are out of low right now listening, and they don’t have a supportive spouse. Yes. And worse than not having a spouse is having an unsupportive spouse.
Absolutely. I mean, honestly, male or female, if you’ve got a bad spouse, that’s pretty rough. And we understand that. But for the people who don’t have loved ones to [01:15:00] talk to you. For the people who don’t have that necessary support group, who don’t feel they have it. Our mind can play tricks on us. We might have the most loving, supportive family and friends, but we’re being lied to, and we’re lying to ourselves that we don’t.
But speak to those people for a minute. Cause they, they really need help. They’re hearing like, well, yeah, George made it, but he had a support system. Well, you didn’t have your wife at first, but you made a great comment that God’s always there.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:15:26] Yeah. Yeah. God’s all, God’s always there. And, you know, to add on the people that have difficulty with support, I mean, they may not even have the supportive people in their life, but they may not have the means to pay.
For a mental illness treatment, or they may be one of those people. That’s in a category where the treatment is just not effective. There are treatment resistant episodes of mental illness as well. And I think what we can do, and we can do this directly through God to come out. As benefit for and getting benefit from other humans, because there are other people facing the same challenges.
There are many periods groups available. There are ways. I mean, one, one of them, the disturbing things and positive things about the COVID crisis is that it’s forced us all online. And they’re incredible resources there. We can find people who we can speak with, or just listen to, to feel that sense of community.
But the feeling that you’re not alone is crucial. Sure. People are able to feel that through God, other people. Through peer groups, which you can find there’s the depression and bipolar support Alliance. That’s has chapters in every city. You know, there are places to look to sit down with people who have similar experience.
So you don’t feel so alone. COVID crisis is interesting because you mentioned how we have that pause. In life, some of us, because of this, you can look at that pause either as solitude, which can be a tremendously amazing choice to make or loneliness, which can be really damaging. Again, we’ve got the same situation, the same set of factors, but there’s a mindset positions that either is positive solitude or loneliness.
If a person’s lonely, they need to reach out and hopefully they’ll have people in their life. That can help them with that. But even if they don’t, you need to search out other people, you need to search out reasonable, helpful answers, and more than anything else, just as you want to practice silence in yourself, it’s important to seek out other people who will just sit in silence with you, say, you know, that’s okay.
I understand why you’re feeling these things. If you need help, let me help, not jump in there and right away, say, no, this is wrong. You need to do it this way, or you’re bad or things like that. So as we need silence alone, we need to meditate and community too, and have those silent. Moments with other people.
And so somebody who’s facing these problems that don’t have the people in their lives that are as supportive as I’ve been fortunate to have. You can find that in peers, just like people with substance abuse drinkers will go to AA. Or people will go to narcotics anonymous, sitting there with people who have a similar experience is embolding can really help.
Then that’s why in the work I do. I mean, I don’t have any credentials. I don’t have the PhD, the research, all of the grant money behind me. All I have is my own experience, but that’s experience that many people have shared and in community, in community, we can always find answers. So we just have to take the step toward finding community and finding people that can share with us and sit with us.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:18:50] Yeah. Again, I couldn’t agree with you more, the, the power of relationship with God changes lives. And I know when I was 15, I had a dysfunctional situation and I thought I was losing it. Like I legitimately. I thought I was losing it when I was 15, just so many different pressures. I felt alone. I remember going to a church because I wanted answers.
And I was literally at the point where I like, should I commit myself? Am I losing my grip here online? And I just started listening and asking questions and reading my Bible once, you know, all truth comes from God. Every answer, every question I had, there was an answer in the Bible. And ever since then, it’s been stable as can be.
Because of my rock is Christ. And George is saying though, I had a pastor and I had people, not church who helped me. Yes. As iron sharpens iron. So the main accountants have a friend, God put us here to help one another. Even going back to the spouse, the design of marriage is not only a symbolic relationship of us, God, but it’s [01:20:00] to sh to be each other’s help me too.
And then one each other and help each other. And to encourage one another. And always to glorify God. So George, everything he’s saying is bringing right down the biblical line, how to have a day life and how to have joy and peace and contentment. So we’re moving fast through all the information and some of the things we’re so callous to hearing about.
They’re huge. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You know, we have a remarkable community of listeners. You can reach out on the Facebook page. You can reach out to Georgia and put his info in the show notes. You can reach out to me and we’ll try to help you as best we can, but we’re going to also try to connect you.
She was people that can help you locally and you can commune with, and you can fellowship with, because that’s irreplaceable. There’s only so much George and I can do right. I mean, we can be a friend, but yeah, there’s only so far that can go. So, all right, George. So now you’re taking people down, they’re meditating, they’re listening for these moments of, okay.
I’m about to lose it. I need more help here. Continue that. They’re there. They’re getting that under control. Now for you, you had this happen, you’ve had no bumps in the road, right? It’s all been smooth sailing, right.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:21:16] Or it took a little while and there’s still ups and downs. Absolutely. I mean, the pain is still there and the episode’s still threatened.
To take me out of control, but I think developing the capacity to recognize it, developing the capacity to predict when the episodes come and also having established interventions that can help me at these moments. Yeah, it’s it, hasn’t leveled things out. I mean, I have bipolar disorder. There is no cure for bipolar disorder.
You can manage it with medication. You can manage it with meditation, but. The person will always have it. So these challenges will always present themselves. So what meditation has been able to do for me is just help me confront these challenges. And we’ll be more prepared when these challenges do arise, because I haven’t been in the hospital.
I’ve had a family I’ve been able to live a successful life recently, but it still comes up from time to time. And, I have to. Make good decisions and be prepared to deal with those episodes when they do arise
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:22:23] to help him to help first off put a realistic base. So a realistic expectation. But from what I understand, even though it still happens, Instead of it being like this, it gets lower.
I mean, your ups and downs are they as severe as they were before
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:22:38] they threatened, they threatened to be, but they’re not because of acts. I take, you know, the meditating, the interventions with family, doctor support groups, you know, those things that come early. So they don’t tend to ramp out of control.
You can intervene early and keep the. Keep the waves, a little lower, the blessing we have right now, that seems terrible. But the blessing we have right now for understanding and for learning to manage that is that, I mean, with the coronavirus pandemic, how can you not be anxious right now? Everybody’s experiencing this to a certain extent.
And as you’ve mentioned, there are real blessings here and there are real challenges here. But the work I’ve been doing recently with the book and some other work is turning pivoting a little bit people who have severe mental illness to helping people who, because of the situation it’s situational, but because of the situation they’re facing, anxiety, depression, things like that, and helping get information to them that can help them get through this challenging time.
Without it. Again, without those episodes of anxiety or depression becoming so severe that they become disabling. It’s the person’s life.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:23:51] Awesome. So we’ve gone through a lot of your past before we get into where you are today, where you’re going and doing a sample meditation. Is there anything else we miss a significance that you want to share?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:24:11] I mean, I have to come back to my relationship with my family who have been accepting because I just not, not miss my wife. You know, since then, since I met my wife, I’ve already been in a stable period. So it’s been a strong marriage. It’s been a good marriage without facing unreasonable challenges of bad behavior.
But prior to that, you know, with my family, with my parents, with my brothers and sister, I did some terrible things to really alienate myself from them, but they were accepting enough to bring me back, you know, when I was ready for that and needed that. So that’s one thing. The other thing, the thing that I can’t emphasize enough is.
The idea of faith in one’s life. And faith is foundational. I write in my book about belief and [01:25:00] uncertainty, because belief is challenging because belief is a choice. If you believe in something, you’ve either chosen to believe it, or you’ve chosen not to faith is there. And faith is something that’s foundational to all of us, it’s available to all of us.
We just need to explore that, explore a relationship with God and be not so closed to be open to ideas. And I think the thing that has helped me most is when I became open to ideas, I went through a period in my life where there was no way I was going to church. There was no way I was going to believe that stuff, but I remained open to ideas.
And for me through the practice of the Psalms and meditation, the ideas started to make sense. So I think what anybody can do besides some of the therapies we’ve already talked about, and the mindset we’ve already talked about is trying to stay open. I think we always need to challenge our beliefs because they are choices.
And if we challenge them, we can make them stronger. If the real we’re find more truth in them, we need to challenge them. And we need to say open minded enough to listen to other people and especially to listen to what God is telling us. And how that influence can change our life. So an open mind is really important and that’s a challenge today because in so many aspects of our soul of our society right now, people are absolutely sure about what they know and what they don’t know.
I mean, we all need to take a step back and pause and just consider another point of view for a moment because that openness will give us more strength. In our own space and more strength than the things that work for us and connect us to our community.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:26:48] Yeah. And again, you’re spot on, man. I agree with you quite completely. what you’re doing syncing right at the end. Remind me, I don’t want to misquote it. I believe it was John Adams. And he said how the scariest thing in the world as someone who knows the right.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:27:07] Yeah.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:27:08] You know, it’s like, it’s, it’s I misquoted that I might even say the wrong author, but it’s basically saying that when people are so sure they’re right, because it’s what they’ve been told and they don’t know what they believe and why they just know the right.
Yeah, that can turn on ugly many
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:27:26] times. And you know, what, what better example, you know, in the beginning? Well, earlier we talked about the, the, it says in the Bible that Jesus meditated in the garden of get salmon. And if Jesus Christ was having these doubts, you know, these questions about what is right, what is wrong?
Do I really need to go through with this, you know, how can we condemn ourselves from being, having doubts and at the same time with what you said, David, how can we be so sure. Right. Unless we give a pause to listen, you know, cause Jesus’ meditating and get salmony it reinforced his sure. It’s that he had to do what he did to save.
You know, we by questioning what we’re absolutely right about and being openminded, we can come to that same kind of understanding that the decisions we’re making are helpful to us and helpful to others. And, but it, it, I mean, doubts very important. I think doubt is foundational to faith.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:28:32] Yeah. Having that time to think through what you believe in question it, nor all your questions are answered in the Bible will do that.
Then you have that certainty. This is the real, this is real. And like you were talking about belief. It says even the demons believe in God, but they don’t trust them. They don’t trust them in the Hebrews 11 faith. Faith is what changes things and faith is what saves us.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:28:56] and just, you know, a note there, David, I mean, anxiety, anxiety that we’re feeling now, it comes when uncertainty collides with our beliefs.
And right now we have so much uncertainty in the world who knows what life is gonna look like this time next year. So, so many beliefs we have about ourselves and we have about our society are being challenged. So this collision between uncertainty and belief causes anxiety. And we need to sit in silence and listen to God, to our own mind and what is presents to ourselves and with each other.
To be able to assuage this anxiety, to moderate some of the uncertainty and to make sure we’re believing in the right stuff. That’s going to get us to a good place.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:29:48] Yeah. Well said, well said, so from here, let’s take some time and again, if there’s anything else you want to discuss, let’s talk [01:30:00] about it. I don’t want to do that, but where is George today?
Where are you at today? I know you just released a new book, part of a 10 part series. Where are you at with that? How’s that
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:30:10] going? That’s going great. I mean, I’ve released the book. It’s called resilience, handling anxiety in a time of crisis. It came about with an assignment from my publisher because I’m working on a book that’s going to be released in 2021.
That’s a big book about many of the things we’ve spoken about today using meditation. Meaningful work, which we haven’t talked about, but that’s crucial and movement practices to help moderate predict and manage mental illness. But the publisher assigned a few of us, the task of writing a 20,000 word book in 20 days that can help people in the coronavirus crisis right now.
And so, yeah, that that’s been. A real great experience because I was able to boil down some of these ideas we’ve talked about and, put it out there. And right now I’m speaking with a lot of people that thank thanks to you. I’m speaking with a lot of people.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:31:07] Yeah. We’ll put a link in the show notes to your book so people can continue the help.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:31:12] Wonderful, wonderful. Because I mean that, that, I think in, in God, giving me the stability to overcome the mental illness, I have to use that for, for good. And so, as I said, my mission is to normalize mental illness. My people is to my mission is to enable people to realize there is help and some things they can do to help them through this.
And so I’m just working really hard to get that message out there because it’s a very important time for everybody, not just people with mental illness to get some simple, simple skills, to be able to moderate the dangerous things that mental illness can do. Yeah. And you just
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:31:50] had a big moment. You said you had a book launch in your hometown or virtual book launch right
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:31:54] last night, last night, huh?
Yeah, it was, it was fun to see a lot of, I mean, the bookstore, it it’s, it’s considered one of the best bookstores in Philadelphia, but it’s right down the street from me. I walked. Four blocks and I’m at this bookstore and sauce. And of course we did it virtually. We’re still shut down when we record this.
And there was nobody getting together in the bookstore to drink wine and eat cheese, like usually do in a normal book launch. But, we were on zoom. There were a lot of people, I got a lot of questions and it was just a really great night. It was really great night to launch the book right here in my hometown at the bookstore I always shop at.
So yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:32:32] That’s something special, man. That’s super special. Congratulations.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:32:36] Thank you.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:32:37] Alright, well, you know what? Talk about. Movement and meaningful work quickly. Like, I don’t want to rush you, but I’m saying don’t feel like you have to expound on it deeply, but to the level you’d like talk about movement and meaningful work.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:32:50] Yeah. The, the, I, I positioned them as other opportunities for focused attention to really notice what’s going in your, on your yourself and what episodes of mania, depression, or anxiety may be. Coming on to you movement. I, I, I write about things, things as simple as going out for a walk and turning that into a meditation and exercise, many people who have mental illness have co-morbid physical conditions that are the ones that kill them.
I mean, everything from smoking to cardiac disease, these are all common comorbidities with mental illness and through movement, we can get healthy. When our lives are out of control, our physical fitness is one of the few things we have control over that we can positively impact. And I write about turning movement into a practice, not running with earbuds, not being in the gym with the mirrors and the music and all that stuff.
But spending some time to just move on your own again, in silence, to learn about your body and to feel things that are coming up with you. Work I think is foundational work is the most important practice anybody can do in their life. And I don’t necessarily mean just paid employment. It can be a hobby, it can be something productive, something creative, but work is foundational.
And I’ve spent a lot of time in both Zen monasteries and Christian monasteries. And yes, you meditate a lot during these retreats at these monasteries, but they also put you to work. And it’s funny. Cause I, every time I go to a monastery, I seem to always get assigned cleaning the bathroom. Always I was at, I was at a monastery in California a year ago, having a retreat and the ma the work master said who here is very good in the kitchen.
So I raised my hand. No, I’m I’m good in the kitchen. And he looked at me and he said, men’s bathroom. So, you know, there was a lesson. Yeah. But you know, work, if we’re not working. And working to produce good for others. I don’t think we’re living at all. So meaningful work can become a practice. It can become a way we positively impact the [01:35:00] world.
And I think it’s crucial in life to have something to get up and have to do and want to do, to be able to live a healthy life.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:35:09] Yeah. And how many people are selling books today, just on that premise of find your purpose. And, you know, that’s an N that’s something that God put inside of us to find him and to have meaningful purpose, but everybody looks for all these things in a different way.
And 70% plus people aren’t satisfied with what they’re doing in life and what their day job and. That purpose and that work that George is talking about is absolutely crucial. You need to know you had a purpose and even, you know, as much as I hate to bring it up, I remember the studies you ever read about Hitler and the all, I mean, he did horrible things, but did you ever read the work camps and the experiments they did with moving the dirt?
Yeah. So he’d have one group move dirt back and forth. We move this huge pile across. Move this huge pile of cross. And that’s all they did every day. And those people went insane and died very quickly. And he had another group that he’d have moved the same amount of dirt, but he had them build structures, some purpose, and those people would live far longer and fight harder because they had purpose.
So even though Hitler is a satanic, evil, human. That sense of purpose shows through, and that study that he did. And what George is saying is the purpose of what we do is very important. And when you talk about movement and running, that’s biologically proven that our body reduced releases endorphins and all sorts of chemicals to help us.
So, man, that’s awesome, George. Thank you.
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:36:45] Thank you,
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:36:47] so, okay. Where is George going? In the future. What’s going on with you in the future? Where are we expect to see George
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:36:54] a year from now? hopefully selling another, well, I will be selling another book. I’ve got a book contract, so I’ve got to finish it by September.
So no pressure, no pressure, but no, I mean, I hope you find me spreading this message. I mean, again, I have a mission to normalize mental illness. And I, I don’t have the credentials or the knowledge to go out there and preach and really talk about God and really bring people to God. There are other people who do that.
Very well, people that are I’ve even followed, but I do have the ability to go out and talk about mental illness and teach people to open up things in their life so that something like God may enter them and, and present themselves to them. Or even if that doesn’t happen to give people the skills they need to manage their mental illness and to be well, to be well.
And I hope that’s the work I can continue
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:37:54] to do. Amen. Now, listen, getting an education formally and getting some letters after your name. Obviously you’ll learn. But if I had to learn from someone with three letters, who’s never practically experienced it firsthand. Or if I could talk to you, who’s been a wealth of knowledge for this entire interview.
And I know we’re just scratching the surface rest assured me and I’m sure our remarkable listeners would much rather be with you than anybody else with a PhD. And on some Freudian couch, man,
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:38:26] reach out to me. I mean, I really have mission here. So I’m open if people email me with questions or, or just want to be in touch to tell me their story.
I mean, I would love to hear from people and be in touch. Absolutely.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:38:38] Awesome. So I’m going to give you a chance. Anything else that we didn’t hit or anything else you want to cover? I’m going to give you a chance in one minute, but if not, what we’re going to do for the audience. Thank you for being here today.
Check out the show notes. Look at the links. Reach out to George. If you need help, if you don’t have a Bible, let me know and let’s move forward together. If we can help you in any way, you can reach out through our Facebook group, you can reach out through the website, remarkable fuel podcast.com. They would pass phone.com forward slash RPP.
tons of ways to get ahold of us, but reach out. We’d love to hear from you. We want to help you. Cause like George had his mission is normalizing mental illness. My mission is to help as many people as I can so we can go. Or if I go on and be whole and heal together and live in an attorney and peace.
So let us help you. And you help us fulfill our mission. George. Is there anything else you want to say before we close up this episode and go to a practice meditation session?
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:39:40] No, this has been a tremendous experience, David. Thank you very much.
David Pasqualone, Host: [01:39:43] Oh, thank you, my friend. Thank you to the listeners. We’d love you.
Stick around for the meditation practice session. I’m not sure as I’m recording this, we’re just going to continue on. With this, or if we’re going to pause a minute and then put an extra Link in, you can download, but either way, check it [01:40:00] out. So this is Dave Pasqualone with the remarkable people podcast, George, you truly are a remarkable human and I’m proud to be your friend.
Thanks for being .
George Hofmann, Guest: [01:40:08] Thank you. Thank you, David.