Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Stacey Couch
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Introducing Stacey Couch
Stacey Couch is todays guest on Join Up Dots, is a lady with a very different story to what you might have heard on join up dots.
But that is of course what we try to do very hard.
Give a voice to different tales, that some might say are strange, others might think are spot on, but everyone will think are fascinating.
When working as a wildlife biologist, our guest took a full-time role living alone on an island to care for endangered foxes in a re-introduction program, she had no idea that she would discover an alarming absence of meaning and purpose in her life.
And much to her surprise, luckily she had support as she wandered around the island on her own.
She started to find that she had a feathery companion, that would join her, and often annoy her on a daily basis.
Yes a stunning Northern Harriers hawk, nesting close to where she was living in her cabin, began showing her a path that she never thought possible.
And that is just the start, as what occurred is quite honestly bizarre in its simplicity, but as I said right at the beginning fascinating all the way.
So starting her life working at a Colorado Horse Rescue for three years, could she have imagined spending time on her own on a deserted island or would the thought have terrified her?
And how has writing the book and putting the shamanic learnings out to the world, affected her life and the way that people perceive her?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Stacey Couch.
During the episode we discussed such weighty topics with Stacey Couch such as:
How it is so important to allow yourself to simply let it go, and sit in the space of “unknowing” giving yourself the chance to allow things to happen.
How she found it quite difficult to spread her time between being on the island and living back on the mainland of America.
How she remembers meeting the hawk on the island, and was aware that this was the first-time that she was living in a shared world with nature.
How the speech that Steve Jobs, that we play everyday, really forces us to accept that we aren’t going to have all the answers in life, and that it’s ok.
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Full Transcription Of Stacey Couch Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Today’s show is brought to you by podcast is mastery.com, the premier online community teaching you to podcast like a pro. Check us out now at podcasters mastery.com.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:38]
Yes, hello there everybody and good morning to you wherever you are sitting listening to this might be Good afternoon. Good evening, but thank you for being here. Because it is going to be a good show today. It’s it’s going to be a bit different on episode 336. Because today’s ladies got a very different story to what you might have heard on Join Up Dots before but that’s of course what we try to do very hard. bring you to the unusual stuff that makes you think for a while give a voice to different towns that some might sound strange others might think is spot on. But everyone will think a fascinating. Now when working as a wildlife biologist, our guest took a full time role living alone on an island to care for endangered foxes in a reintroduction programme. She had no idea that she would discover an alarming absence of meaning and purpose in her life while she’s out there. And much to our surprise, luckily, she had support as she wandered around the island on her own. Now, you might be thinking, Well, what support did she had? What was it a herd of naked men or whatever, but No, it wasn’t. She started to find that she had a February companion that would join her and often annoy her on a daily basis. Yes, a stunning northern Harry, his whole nesting close to where she was living in her cabin began showing her apart but she never thought possible. And that is just the star as what occurred is quite honestly bizarre in its simplicity, but as I said, right at the beginning, fascinating all the way. So it was Starting a life working at a Colorado horse rescue for three years. Could you imagine spending time on a road on a deserted island or with the full Trudy up terrified and how has writing the book and putting the shamanic learnings out to the world affected her life and the way that people perceive oh well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Stacey Couch. How are you Stacey?
Stacey Couch [2:23]
Good. Good morning, David.
David Ralph [2:24]
Good morning to you. I have to go straight to the chase here. Would it have been better to have a herd of naked men supporting you on the island or were you quite happy to have the bird
Stacey Couch [2:36]
the bird would be my option. Yeah, I actually there was actually number of birds so that was even better. Yeah, but but
David Ralph [2:43]
no naked men.
Stacey Couch [2:45]
No, I have a I had at the time my fiance back on the mainland waiting for me and I was quite happy with him. So and still am my husband now. Well,
David Ralph [2:54]
good, good on bad. So it is it’s an interesting towel you’ve got because I know I was introduced to this towel by another guest that was on my show. And she said to me, David, you got to have this lady on. And I’m not sure if it’s too out there, she said, but I find it fascinating. Now I started reading it and I thought I think this is fascinating as well. But do you get that sort of response? Do some people think that is a bit out there as we are going to touch on but you had this this hoek almost showing you the path to a future life?
Stacey Couch [3:29]
Well, I people are usually very fascinated by it and ask questions and want to know more. So that’s, I’ve found a lot of openness and acceptance from others, which is really great.
David Ralph [3:39]
So So where did it all come about your love of animals? Has it always been from you know from birth? Have you always been surrounded by pets and stuff?
Stacey Couch [3:48]
Yeah, yeah, definitely. That is something I was born with for sure. And I had a Rottweiler growing up hundred 35 pound Rottweiler. He was my big brother. And then I had bunnies and I had a turtle and different birds and, and still have pets to this day and but I always literally wanted to be outside and be around wildlife I always studied. I lived in suburbia, so I didn’t have a lot of wildlife around where I was. So I studied a lot in books. And that was before you know, a lot of the nature shows that we have these days like discovery and in animal planet and all of those nature shows I didn’t have those then so most of my avenue to experience animals as a child was through books, and then we would go on trips to national parks and state parks and other places. And so I’d bring my field guides along with me and, and study the different birds. They’re the different plants. They’re the different mammals there. It was an ongoing thread throughout my entire life.
David Ralph [4:48]
So you feel that your path started very early on. And unlike many people that lose track of the path that I should be on you, you almost could see it all the way along the line or is that too simplistic?
Stacey Couch [5:00]
I think that it’s both true. And there’s another aspect of it as well. And that I thought I knew there’s been a money many times in my life that I thought I knew what it was what the manifestation of it was supposed to be. I’ve always held on to the love of nature and the and the need or the will to serve nature. But I’ve not always known what that was supposed to look like in the world, I’ve made up a different idea of it or picture of it along the way. So that’s initially going into science and being an environmental scientist was, was how I thought I was going to do it. And that picture changed as, as I share in the book,
David Ralph [5:38]
and how how did he change? in sort of essence, was it that you became more interested in the kind of spiritual side of it away from the science side? How did you actually sort of transition?
Stacey Couch [5:52]
I started to find a gap, some disillusionment with the scientific world, because I really wanted to make change and help the animals Help nature and ecosystems really work towards conservation. And I was having a lot of experiences where the work I was doing wasn’t having an impact wasn’t creating change or helping necessarily save the environments that I was working in and studying. And so there was that disillusionment there. And then there was also this kind of emptiness, or void inside that was waiting to be filled. And I didn’t know it at the time, but it was waiting to be filled with an experience of the Divine. And there were these little promptings along the way, I’ve always had a really active dream life. So there’s been these little promptings and dreams and then experiences with the Hawks on Island and other wildlife that have kept kind of shining light through a crack in the door, inviting me into something deeper and a more fulfilling experience rather than just one that I you know, science is really, really all about the mind. And I was really missing the heart and the soul of my life.
David Ralph [7:04]
But isn’t that the true power when you can bring in science of the mind and science of the heart as well and sort of, I don’t know, bring a synergy between the two somehow.
Stacey Couch [7:16]
Yeah. And that’s really what I’ve come to at this point in my life. But at first I had to do one and then the other because I couldn’t see initially how to reconcile the two. So first, it was all the mind and science and then when I left the scientific field, and and over the course of a number of years, discovered shamanism and transitioned into that as a vocation. I really left the rational mind and the science mind behind for a time so that I could really befriend and acquaint the intuitive and non rational side of myself and really learn to trust that and then once I had that relationship nice and strong, then I could bring back in the rational mind, and now the two collaborate really well together.
David Ralph [8:00]
The interesting thing for me bear is would you have been now but to transition if you weren’t used to ants asking the right questions, and that’s what science is about, isn’t it looking at different questions that have never been posed before? If you had to come from the the basis of like a zookeeper for example, but loves animals looks after them. Do you think that would have been too much of a stretch to Did you need to be used to digging around?
Stacey Couch [8:27]
I think that actually that the the digging around and the asking the questions, initially it was helpful, but it and eventually the question started to get in the way. Sometimes we have to stop looking for the asking the question of why things happen as they do, and and be willing to just sit in not knowing in the mystery, that’s what spirit or the divine is about is, is the unknowing and so there was a point when I really had to let go of Almost guy to the ego in that way of letting ret letting the questioning the science mind that I trusted so much letting that go for a time so that I could learn how to sit in the mystery and be okay and comfortable with that because I was really uncomfortable with that before
David Ralph [9:16]
doing the shows, I never expected to have nature thrown at me as much as it has. And more often than not people will benchmark bear success due to the fact of as you say, letting it go, just allowing things to happen as nature does nature just does it in its own organised way. Doesn’t seem to rush and he gets everything done. Did you see a sort of connection again, with business and nature like so many of the other people do. Can you see what angle they’re coming from with that?
Stacey Couch [9:49]
Yeah, definitely. You know, and in business, we can get into that very driven, motivated, focused place, and it narrows possibilities, I think. So going out into nature and seeing that, well, this one project we’re working on at work or this one problem I have that I’m trying to solve is not the only thing going on in the world, the leaves are still budding out from the trees, the tulips are still peeking their heads out of the soil, the spring, everything out in the natural world is just going on, as if this project or problem that I’m trying to solve never existed. And so there is in that an opening up of possibility, I think and also humility that comes in, we can get kind of over inflated in, in our importance in our job and also the importance of our jobs, our of our business or that what we’re doing in the world instead of be able to come back in and realise we’re just one small speck of this huge University, the cosmos that really, I think helps in the business world with inspiration and innovation is brave decision, though, isn’t it to let it go.
David Ralph [10:59]
Just a allowing yourself to sit in the space of Unknowing, not keeping going for the answers I think I would struggle with when I’m working towards something, I keep having to go at it, go Let it go. And I think if I allowed it to just float, even though I’m allowing myself space of thought, and I don’t know, recognition of what I’ve worked for, I think I would struggle with that, I think is the powerful place to be but it’s so difficult, isn’t it?
Stacey Couch [11:27]
The Oh, yeah, it definitely is. And it’s something I continue to struggle with on some days and other days, completely ignore. Well, I’m going to take a break from that even though we can write it’s still operating, but at least in the conscious mind, they take breaks from it at times, but even this morning, I was sitting with a similar situation of, Okay, here’s, here’s a fear I have sitting in the way of where I want to go. And and then getting into that questioning, where does the fear come from and, you know, going into that problem solving mode. It’s such a comfortable place. For us, especially in the Age of Reason, as we’re, as we are in now, that is such an important part in such a thing that we cling to, but we really need to, I think, come back to Faith and learn about a practice of faith and how to learn to trust in the innate genius of the of the cosmos and of the Divine.
David Ralph [12:24]
So So how did you end up on this island? Was it something that you put your hand up and went me me me? I’m gonna do Yeah, Yeah, I did. It was like that was it?
Stacey Couch [12:33]
It was Yeah, I really the island part now is the primary part of the story which is interesting because at the time, it was secondary. I was I had always wanted to work on a an endangered species reintroduction or captive breeding programme I wanted to work hands on to help save a species from extinction that had been a driving force for me since I was very young. And so when I go The opportunity to take this position to help these boxes that were the species of Fox that was endangered. I there was no question for me that I was going to do it. And when they told me about living on an island by myself for eight days at a time and you know, six days on the mainland and eight days back out, I I didn’t really bad and I went, Oh, well, that’s gonna be interesting. That’ll be an adventure. Interesting now that that part of it is the main part of the story. Because Yeah, at the time, I wasn’t focused on it. And
David Ralph [13:32]
the and the six was that difficult to balance because I think I would rather go all one way or all the other I think I would find that quite hard to be on an island with peace and tranquillity and then suddenly getting back into Netflix and all the things that we’ve got on the mainland, and then all that’s been taken away and I’m back on the island. Did Did you find that a struggle to sort of balance both sides, you just getting back into one form of life and being you had to jump back into the old one.
Stacey Couch [14:00]
A really great question. And it did take me a couple of days, there was a couple of days transition on either side. So I just about get settled into the solitude and peace and quiet and get a rhythm going by myself. And then it would be over and then I just about gets used to traffic and going places and being around all these people and phones ringing and all these things going on. And then I’ve had be getting on the plane to go back out to the island. So it definitely taught me quite a bit of adaptability and started to introduce me to the idea of just being in the present moment with what is because I couldn’t change it. I couldn’t there was no way I was going to get off that island once I was there. I didn’t have a boat or anything else. And it would cost a lot extra to have them come get with a plane to get me early. So yeah, it was something that I just had to learn a lot of acceptance with. And I think I you know, obviously I’m fine in civilization. So that full time not an issue, but I think I really would have had a hard time being on the island full time because I didn’t have any really much contact with the outside world. There was no smartphones at the time. And people barely used email even then. So the internet wasn’t much company. And my cell phone reception was really terrible. So I was lucky if I got to talk to my husband. You know, if I got to talk to him once a day, that was very fortunate. So So what
David Ralph [15:25]
are we talking about here then?
Stacey Couch [15:27]
Um, it was 2001 2002.
David Ralph [15:31]
Oh, okay. Well, but Yeah, yep. And for the listeners out there that are probably thinking, where is this island? What’s it called him? whereabouts is it? How far away was it from where you were living?
Stacey Couch [15:43]
It was off the coast of Southern California. And it was about 45 minute plane ride from the mainland. So you can use a lot of people know that la right is in Southern California. So yeah, so I was I be on freeways. Full of traffic and go to the airport get on the plane. 45 minutes later land on a dirt airstrip, a shorter airstrip and and then have absolute silence no motorised vehicles nothing and then the reverse happening. So it was a very extreme difference to very interesting.
David Ralph [16:16]
Cold. I’m gonna googly as we’re talking Well, what was it called?
Stacey Couch [16:20]
It was it was one of the Channel Islands.
David Ralph [16:23]
So it hasn’t gotten.
Stacey Couch [16:25]
It’s called San Miguel Island,
David Ralph [16:26]
San Miguel. Right so everybody out there as they’re listening to this is typing this in. And I’m coming up with San Miguel beer. Santa Monica, California There we go. So I’m gonna So Google base and so I can guess stay with it. So it looks for I’m trying to work out is about three miles wide is it does it looks like a big big island?
Stacey Couch [16:47]
Yeah, it was. I think it was five by seven miles, five miles by seven miles, something like that. So yeah, it was fairly big. But still, I was in view of the ocean at one point or another pretty much whole time.
David Ralph [17:01]
And we were the only person on there but you didn’t get day trippers and people going across.
Stacey Couch [17:07]
Yeah, most, there was a number of tours where I was the only person but other times, people would show up at random. tourists who were out sailing or out on their boat, they would more in the harbour and take a dinghy to shore and come up for a hike. And there were sometimes other scientists on the island, but they were off doing their own thing. So I had my project was oftentimes I was by myself hiking around on the island taking food to the foxes. I couldn’t take visitors to see them. We didn’t want any people around them at all. So it was Yeah, I was alone a lot of the time, even if there were other people on the island.
David Ralph [17:45]
So my question is, what was the problem for the foxes being on an island with no one there? Are they just living as nature intends?
Stacey Couch [17:55]
That’s what we would hope right? But there’s actually a whole ecological story tragedy behind that, and that there was a chemical company who dumped barrels of DDT out into the ocean. And of course these barrels leaked. And so DDT, if a lot of people will probably be familiar with that, and that it makes egg shells of birds really fragile.
David Ralph [18:19]
Oh my god.
Stacey Couch [18:20]
Yeah, Eagles especially so there were bald eagles who lived out on this chain of islands and the bald eagles were eating fish that had the DDT in them, and then that bald eagles couldn’t raise any young so the bald eagles started to fail and no longer be on the islands. The bald eagles were fishermen. They didn’t bother the foxes. So that means the foxes were able to go about their lives without worrying about predators. When the bald eagles went out of the picture, the Golden Eagles came into the picture. And Golden Eagles do hunt foxes they do hunt land mammals more than they don’t they are not fishermen at all. So and the Golden Eagles were very successful at it. They took Fox is down from hundreds of fox is down to 12 boxes.
David Ralph [19:05]
So isn’t it the key thing to look after the first thing the bald eagle wouldn’t have been the easiest thing.
Stacey Couch [19:10]
There was a number of things going on at one time. So we’re there was only on that island there was only down to 12 boxes. So we couldn’t risk losing any more because of the genetic variability. Right. So that’s why they were put in cages just to make sure that they didn’t get eaten and and put in pairs so that they could start to breed and repopulate. And at the same time, there was a whole nother project going on to re introduce bald eagles. My husband worked on that project and they were bringing bald eagle chicks down from Alaska and putting them in hot towers and raising them he helped raise the chicks and then releasing them and and then they would when they laid the eggs they would take the eggs and incubate the eggs and bring the young back to the nest when they hatched. So there was an at the same time they were net, gunning the The Golden Eagles out of a helicopter so they would go and catch the golden eagles and and relocate them they were taking them over to Nevada. So there’s a lot going on
David Ralph [20:12]
yeah as we move on to the next stage of the story obviously the reason you’ve written the book and you’ve gone off in a slightly different direction has had the fox is being looked after are they doing all right out there? are they running around having their Foxy fun breeding at will?
Stacey Couch [20:29]
Yeah, that’s actually one of the one of the pieces of the end of the book and I have a couple of people have asked so I get to share that a number of years later the they were finally able to release the foxes and and now they’re living in the wild and repopulating the island on their own. So yeah, all good news. Everything did be successful. Good,
David Ralph [20:52]
good, lucky, old boxes. Well, we haven’t been the United Kingdom and there were a bit of pain to be honest. They’re all over the place. When I was KTP saw a fox it’d be an absolutely astonishing site and now you literally see him all the time. They’re there. They’re a bit bit of a pest but on an island having their Foxy fan, they can do what they want. Yeah. So how did the hope that come about because it’s this is the the key thing of your hope book, isn’t it? But you’re, you’re walking around the island, you’re doing what you you’ve been talking about, and you’re making a success of it. And there’s this Hulk bothering you. Was it instantly bothering you? Was it instantly aware of your presence? How did this come about?
Stacey Couch [21:37]
There were so these because the foxes weren’t on the island. You know, they weren’t free on the island. These birds had only occasionally visited, they net gret nest on the ground, so obviously they’re really subject to predation by the foxes. So without the foxes there, they could now settle in and create ness and the fox is eight also mice and Because they were now eating the mice, the mouse population was really exploding on the island. So the there was a lot of food and then safe nesting habitat. So they started nesting there for the first time in recorded history. And there were three different nests I discovered on the island, but two of them were really close to where I live. So in the morning, when I would go on my walk to check the harbour, there was a female Hawk that would meet me at a certain point on the path and, and fly alongside me, you know, crying at me basically defending her territory, and to make sure I didn’t go near her nest, but I got the chance to be with her every morning and then throughout my day experience running into different members of the families and seeing them do the hunting or learning how to fly or all sorts of different behaviours, which is incredibly fascinating.
David Ralph [22:49]
It wasn’t not a scary guy, I think if I was walking along the path and this Hawk started, but that was my my Hawk impression. sounded a bit like a crow But still, I thing i i’d be a bit freaked out. I don’t like I remember when we were kids and we had budgerigars and you had to let them out the cage to fly around the house terrified me that did. So are you just naturally comfortable? Or were you a bit wary that this Hawk was being slightly aggressive?
Stacey Couch [23:16]
I actually my experience because I had been working in the field all over New Mexico and Washington and Oregon, doing Wildlife Research. My experience was animals were always way more afraid of me than I ever was of them. I had very few experiences where I was felt any sort of threat from an animal, usually they steer clear of us. So I always kind of fascinated by the fact that she was willing to be so close to me and when we actually when I actually found the nest and then when I would go back to check the nest, I ended up wearing a hard hat because when I get close to the nest, she would she would die that me and her and hit me like hit my head with her feet. And so that’s I started wearing a hard hat because I was dying. Going into the bushes and I thought, Oh, this is really foolish Is she really actually going to hit me with her feet so I wore a hard hat one day just to see and she sure enough her feet hit the top of my head.
David Ralph [24:10]
a suit of armour would be like a night walking around the island on me. Oh yeah, that would be pretty funny. So well, what were you getting from it? Well, how did it start to change your life? The fact that you’ve been surrounded by animals all your life? Have you ever had the feeling that something was slightly different before?
Stacey Couch [24:34]
This was the first time that I had the ongoing experience of feeling like the animals saw me and were interacting with me because as a scientist, I was taught to be the objective to to be the witness to not interfere with the subject matter rights and to make sure I wasn’t seen or to not trying to affect their behaviour, but in this opportunity, I wasn’t researching these Hawks. So For me, it was the first opportunity to really not shy away from them seeing me and and having an interaction having a relationship with a wild animal that was really the first time I had that and that was something that really deepened my connection with the natural world. I didn’t feel apart from it anymore. I started to feel a part of it. Like I was another member of, of the ecosystem, which is the truth but I wasn’t allowed to see the world that way as a scientist is because perspectives a lot different in the scientific world.
David Ralph [25:36]
So did you feel that you were entering into her world or she was coming into yours?
Stacey Couch [25:43]
I that was where the shift was. It was our world. We were inhabiting the same world.
David Ralph [25:49]
Okay, so it was un and What was her name? This Hawk.
Stacey Couch [25:54]
This Hawk didn’t have a particular name the while I didn’t name them myself. They’re just the wild hawks that were out there. And then the later on in the book I talked about when I finished working on the island, I couldn’t take it anymore. Essentially I would have had enough of being on my own and wanted to just live with my husband and you know, and be in one place all the time. They have some pets because I couldn’t find that lifestyle. So I moved back to the mainland and my husband got a job and I was looking for work and in the meantime, I started volunteering at a raptor Education Centre. And they did wildlife rehab and then education about hawks and owls and Falcons. And that’s where I met a hawk, the same species of Hawk. Talia Her name was and she was in northern Harrier Hawk just like the Hawks out on the island and they’re not usually seen in captivity. So it was actually quite a synchronicity that I got the chance to meet Talia and after some time, the I was able to start Volunteering and taking care of her and training her and feeding her and interacting with her one on one.
David Ralph [27:06]
And did you think it was just a coincidence that this same breed of hope was there? Or were they sort of quite common place?
Stacey Couch [27:15]
They are, they’re fairly common place in that they’re all over the continent, but they are not like I said, very commonly seen in captivity because they don’t take to it very well. And so a lot of, you know, and that they’re just Yeah, they don’t get caught very often or have problems where people find them very often to bring them into a rehabilitation centre. But so yeah, I definitely when I saw her, I knew that something was up like it. It couldn’t have been just a mere coincidence in my mind, and, and I had to follow that path and see where it led me to that.
David Ralph [27:56]
the wrong word did it concern you that you were going into a path that, quite honestly, a lot of people would question. And you must have questioned it. Because coming from a scientific background, you’re trained to question as we said earlier, so were you suddenly going towards the heart and away from the mind? Did you have to have dark nights of the soul where you were thinking to yourself? What’s happening here? I just don’t understand why I’m feeling this way.
Stacey Couch [28:26]
Yeah, and the dark night of the soul is very much about coming into a place of being lost of being lost in the mystery or not feeling. Feeling faith is part of it. And I definitely had this times like, wondering, what am I doing, I should go out and get a job, you know, because I was volunteering at the time and, and, and following the following my intuition or following my heart that I was not comfortable doing that for a number of reasons. So I definitely had to struggle through that, but I was really for And that I did around the same time I got the chance to meet a shamanic practitioner Not that I saw her out. I actually my mom had gone to see her and told me about it. I didn’t even realise that there were people practising shamanism in this day and age until my mom told me about seeing this woman. And so I was immediately wanted to go for myself and to have that experience myself. And so coming into relationship with that with my first teacher was a really fortunate thing at that time because I was feeling lost and very afraid. And so it was amazing to have support and guidance at that time.
David Ralph [29:38]
So for the listeners out there, but not not sure what shamanism is, give us an understanding of what this teacher was offering to you and your mother.
Stacey Couch [29:48]
Yeah, shamanism is a couple of things. First of all, I like to pitch it as a world view. So it’s very similar to Buddhism and that mnemonic perspective. We see everything is animate everything has a soul. So that’s very Buddhist and perspective. And also it’s a very Earth based Earth centric type of mindset or worldview, and that we see that everything is connected and we are connected and not separate from the earth. And we are equal to everything is equal, all life has its place and its purpose. So that’s the world view portion. shamanism is also a healing modality. So it’s very much steeped in traditions of spiritual healing. It’s an ancient practice, it goes back 10s of thousands of years and anthropologists have done research and found that there’s shamanism evidence of shamanism at the root of every culture on every continent around the world. So all of us somewhere in our genetic lineage, have a shamanic practitioner or shaman somewhere. And that’s one thing I really love about it is how universal it is because it’s really like a container. So you can bring any beliefs you have. So some people have a really strong belief in working with angels or archangels other people are bringing a Catholic to their Catholic faith to shamanism and can talk about the saints and work with Jesus and energy of Jesus and that way, other people are more pagan, so they bring in animals or nature spirits, so whatever beliefs and whatever spirits or kind of cultural flavour people are drawn to, they can bring that into the container of shamanism Hindu shamanic practices as a way to help come closer into connection with with the spiritual world as they see it.
David Ralph [31:50]
So it’s spiritual as in the the other side is it so that the middle ground is that what you’re talking about? So it’s not sort of our internal spirit Judaism where you have a personal faith in yourself. It’s more the kind of the afterlife.
Stacey Couch [32:07]
It’s, it’s actually both Shimano practitioners, it’s very, very important that we do our own work, and that we really maintain and work with our own intuition and our own connection to the divine. And then at the same time we travel, so we do what’s called shamanic journeys, which are, I use rhythmic drumming, and that’s one of the more common or modern way to go into shamanic journey is to do a rhythmic percussion brings your mind waves into the same frequency that the earth is that so it helps the mind come into resonance with the earth. And and then on these journeys, it’s like a waking dream. So, going in going into what we call non ordinary reality. So the mystical realms and and then interacting with spirits and guides and bringing back healing for people from non ordinary reality.
David Ralph [33:06]
Now, obviously, I’m being devil’s advocate here whether or not but there’s going to be a lot of people listening, that won’t buy into this. Is it the case, but they just haven’t had it occur around them? Or is it the case but you’ve got to literally open your mind to be accepting before it’s going to happen.
Stacey Couch [33:26]
Hmm. I think it’s a little bit of both. And it is happening all around us. And there’s if we look at quantum physics and a lot of other new emerging theories right now, the whole idea of parallel universes and an end time not being linear time being all happening, coincidentally everything happening at once or everything happening in a cycle. And so there’s that really you have to have somewhat of a perspective different from convention. I think Be willing to open your mind to other possibilities. And we see glint at the same time we see glimmers either on the corner of our eye or have these synchronicities happen, where we’ll have a dream about something and then we’ll see something that’s directly related to that dream in our waking reality, and there’s no way we could have known that was going to happen. So either premonition or or just having the same symbol or you know, like a picture of an owl showing up at one place and then seeing you now another place and then the person at the grocery store talking to you and about an hour, those kind of synchronicities start to that was what happened for me and I see for other people, too, is this kind of synchronicity start to overwhelm us where we can’t explain there’s no cause and effect between these events that happened, but somehow in meaning or metaphor, symbology they’re connected, and that starts to show that there’s something going on outside of the world we can see in touch with our five senses. And so that’s, you know, just being willing to go in and look at, well, what is what is there beyond what I can sense with my five senses because I, I intuitively within myself feel that there’s something there. And then following that thread i think is important.
David Ralph [35:13]
Well, the theme of the whole show is joining up our dots looking back at those moments in our life where, quite honestly, we couldn’t see that they had any relevance at a time. It’s only when you sort of look back on them, you can see how they connect, and all those moments, all those kind of coincidences. We all have those in our life. Don’t worry, we all look back on and go, that was amazing. I went internet pub, the first time I ever went in there and I met this girl and now we’re together for the rest of our lives. And it’s just is it fight? Is it destiny is it just the fact that we happen to be in bear and we can kind of accept it on a kind of sliding doors mentality where if you go through one door, you end up somewhere and you go in another door, you end up on somewhere else? But when you’re talking about it so openly, like you’re doing it, a lot of people will find that difficult to actually understand my name.
Stacey Couch [36:08]
Yeah. And at the same time, I, you know, we’re keep going back to that I have that science mind. And so in the questioning, the questioning really became about how could all of these things happen, that are seemingly connected but not related in time and space or by cause and effect? There’s just too much evidence there to say that, that the world is all all rashon and all cause and effect and that there’s not some other greater divine plan going on. However, that looks and not to say that I don’t think free will is comes into the picture. We definitely have that but to think that we’re driving our entire lives based on free will or that it’s just all happening by accident. I think both we start to lose a sense of meaning or purpose in our life and one of the innate characteristics I think of the experience of being human is Is to question why we’re here and what we’re here to do. And and that question can only be answered by starting to go over into realms outside of what we can see and touch and taste and feel.
David Ralph [37:16]
Well, let’s play the words. But the whole theme of the show visa was that Steve Jobs said back 10 years ago now, and we’re bringing him on the show, and then we’re talking about Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [37:26]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all The difference.
David Ralph [38:01]
So do you buy into those words?
Stacey Couch [38:05]
Yes, most definitely.
David Ralph [38:06]
In what way? What What did they give you? Is it the gut intuition? Is it five karma? What Why do you think that they’re so powerful and to a man and a woman? We all can go? Yeah, I can see exactly what he’s saying.
Stacey Couch [38:22]
Yeah, I think it’s the how looking back and evaluating their our lives can really inform and help us have faith to move forward and learn to trust and that’s really what he’s talking about is learning how to trust intuition and learning how to trust your heart or your gut. However you want to go with that. But to follow your passion, follow your dream. Follow the little threads in life that rationally don’t make any sense that rationally may not lead to more money or a steady income, but will lead to something way more fulfilling than any material things could provide. So here’s someone who has Lot of success and fame and wealth in his life, right? And he’s talking about following your heart. He’s not talking about go out. And here’s how you can. Here’s how you can make more money so you can buy more cars. He’s talking about following your heart, which is pretty amazing.
David Ralph [39:15]
He’s amazing, isn’t it that as you say, he could buy anything he wanted, but that on that statement, it was truly, it’s out there for you. You won’t have the answers. But you’ve got to take chances. You got to do stuff. And then if you do enough of those stuff, then you’ll look back on it. And you can see how they do join up.
Stacey Couch [39:35]
Yeah, and that’s exactly what I was talking about earlier about coming, learning how to sit with the unknown, and how to be in the mystery. That’s exactly what he’s talking about. Because ultimately, we there is no way that we know the outcome of what is going to happen based on this one decision that we have in front of us at this moment. We can rationally go through all the possible options of outcome and One of those outcomes may actually happen but it won’t end up looking like we think it may. So I’ve done a lot of work working with the law of attraction and and visualising our sitting with what I would like to happen, what dreams I would like to manifest and one of those dreams, right was helping an endangered species come back from the brink of extinction. And at the same time, you know, I spent all this time learning how to manifest in the material world what I wanted, but ultimately, it was never the picture never showed up how I how I thought it would I thought I would, it would be ultimately fulfilling right so going and, and helping save these endangered species. I thought would, this endangered species would be the pinnacle for me. And then I was on this island alone. So what the actual outcome of the experience was was something absolutely different than I ever would have expected. So that’s helped me learn to let go of a need to try and control or predict the outcome and, and just follow what feels right and and then be ready for how that’s going to unfold because it’s actually the unexpected part of the experience that is the one that offers a more opportunity for growth and, and fulfilment.
David Ralph [41:16]
So So what is your big.in life? When you look back? What was the moment when it all started to come together for you somehow?
Stacey Couch [41:25]
Oh, wow. That happens on a daily basis. It seems like for me, I don’t know if I could pull out one big dot because there’s been so many. And that’s what I’m so grateful for, is that there’s so many little dots. I think that the little moments, those little shifts in consciousness that have the gigantic ripple effect, it’s like throwing a little pebble into a pool and the ripples making it all the way to shore.
David Ralph [41:54]
You sound like a lady who’s not only very comfortable with herself, but he’s almost In the area of playing and enjoying it and just doing the things that actually lights you up inside Did you feel quite blessed but you created this life by the decisions that you’ve taken and the risks you’ve taken but really plays to your your inner flame somehow.
Stacey Couch [42:17]
Yeah, yeah. And that all comes back to the name of my business wild gratitude and wild firstly speaks to the natural world and the wild and my appreciation and respect for the wild world wild animals. But then it also is that Yeah, kind of carefree risk taking open hearted unfurled way of of living and then the gratitude piece being so in such deep reference of life and what life has to offer, and it’s not always easy to live this way. And there are days when I just want to shut the door and, and say, leave me alone, right? We all have these days but it’s this is those days that are actually starting to turn more now into moments because I can turn back to the face of the sacred in the world much quicker because I learned to rely on it more just like I’ve really learned learn to rely on the mystery actually as a source of inspiration and wisdom and and great gifts.
David Ralph [43:24]
So as opposed to one of the last questions before we send you back in time on the Sermon on the mic is what made you think there was a book in it What made you actually start putting it to paper?
Stacey Couch [43:37]
love that idea that there’s a book in it. I was right i’m i’ve journaled on and off throughout my life quite a bit but at the time of living on the island and then working in that and the Raptor education programme with Talia and then another bird of red tailed Hawk grusha. And then studying shamanism. All of it was everything that was going on was so fascinating to me that I couldn’t help but just record it because I didn’t want to lose it for myself, it was so fascinating to me, I wanted to be able to have it down on paper. So I just journaled very, very extensively for a couple of years and during that time period in my life, and was not planning on turning it to a book, I actually am used to be a very private person. So putting a memoir out in the world was not on my radar. I woke up one morning, and out of nowhere, all the chapter titles for this book were in my head in the exact order they appear in the book. And, and I knew that I had to write them down and I had to start feeling feeling a bit and because I didn’t because there was just the Hawks that I knew what they the service they gave to the story was too much for me to deny. And, and I just and then having it come in that way was not rational and was one of those jumping off into the mystery too. I did me about a year ago. write the book and and then in seven years until I published got the courage to publish it. So yeah.
David Ralph [45:06]
And it was a scary moment. Was it when you actually threw it out to the world? Yeah, very frightening. Yeah. What, what what scared you about putting something that was such a part of your life out into the world?
Stacey Couch [45:20]
Well, there was a number of pieces but obviously humiliation, you know, worried about critique people not liking it or saying bad things about it. And that’s definitely a part of the human experience in that I’ve done some work with Bernie browns, the gifts of imperfection, she really helps with understanding shame and vulnerability because really, that’s what I was being vulnerable. And so I found her work at exactly the right time and around the time I released this book, so it really helped me come through that vulnerability and embrace it as a gift rather than see it as a weakness or A point of where I might get into trouble. So there was definitely that piece. And then it’s a very odd thing now to meet people who read the book and to know feel like in some way that they know me or have a kinship with me. It’s takes some getting some getting used to because I used to very take a while to make friends and not have a lot of acquaintances. But that has really been a shift. I’ve had to make it and be and be ready to open up to new people very quickly, because they’ve already opened up to me by spending all this time reading the story so
David Ralph [46:32]
and then what was the response? Was it something to be frightened over? Has it been glowing? Has it been lukewarm? What was the response to the book?
Stacey Couch [46:41]
It’s been overpoweringly beautiful, I have had so many great relationships and connections come and also seen how it’s benefited so many people it’s helped them open up more and learn how to trust their heart and trust their intuition more and also Start to share their experiences of the mystical of things that don’t make sense of those synchronicities or like you were saying coincidences that we can’t make any sense of they’re starting, people are able, and more comfortable to share those after reading my book, which I think is a very beautiful gift. And I have had a little bit just an inkling here in there of the other side of it. So, but that’s authentic, you know, that’s life to experience to expect something to be all one direction is, I think, you know, don’t never say always and don’t know, don’t always say always and never, don’t always say never, you know, there’s there’s no absolutes, I guess, is ultimately what I’m trying to say. So to think that it would be all one way or all another way was unrealistic. And I think it’s, it feels more authentic having, having all spectrums of response to the book, but really, on the whole that the response has been very overwhelmingly positive and, and it’s benefiting others, which is really why I put it out there. It wasn’t for my own for my own fame. Yeah, you see what I was looking for?
David Ralph [48:14]
You know, we all start from that position of being scared the pants don’t wait. We all think to ourselves our as soon as I do this, people are going to have a go at me and people are going to do this. And I find more often than not people either like it or don’t actually say anything I find it’s very few and far between that you get the critical comments. And hey, if you do get the critical comments, look at it and think, are you right? Yeah, probably, I’d be able to do it better next time. It’s only feedback, isn’t it? So Stacy, this is the end of the show. Now this is the part when I’m going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Stacey, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to play the theme tune and we’re going to find out because this is the sermon on The mic
Unknown Speaker [49:07]
here we go with the best of the show.
Stacey Couch [49:25]
I was just saying yesterday to a friend that there’s some things I wish I would have known back then back at a different time at different times in my life. The time that I would like to go back to is the time when I was living out on the island and feeling very alone and very abandoned and empty and questioning what’s the meaning and the purpose of this all and the message that I like to deliver to you beautiful young woman who’s ventured into something she didn’t experience it didn’t expect. And the advice I would like to offer is that to keep doing what you’re doing, and that yes, it isn’t perfect. And that’s okay because that is the learning in doing these things. And studying these things and questioning these things is going to bring you closer to where you want to go and it will all work out in the end. Maybe not the way you would have thought but better actually. So that is worth knowing. The other piece is to let you know that your dreams will come true.
So stay in the moment and enjoy it.
And lastly, this experience that We’re having right now will be the catalyst for great change in your life. And even though it’s painful and it feels like suffering, it is actually a gift.
So be brave.
Unknown Speaker [51:20]
Stacey Couch [51:22]
stay in the moment and be grateful. Because Yeah, it will all work out.
David Ralph [51:28]
Stacy, how can our audience connect with you?
Stacey Couch [51:32]
They can connect with me through my website. Wild gratitude calm. I’ve got a tonne of resources on there for spirit animal interpretations and there’s information about my book. My book gracious wild is also for sale on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or at your local bookseller. And yeah, my phone number and email or on my website, so you can contact me directly, anytime.
David Ralph [52:00]
We’ll have all the links in the show notes. Stacey, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Stacey, thank you so much.
Stacey Couch [52:16]
Yes, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a gift.
David Ralph [52:21]
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Join Up Dots brought to you exclusively by podcast is mastery.com. The only resource that shows you how to create a show, build an income and still have time for the life that you love. Check out podcast is mastery.com. Now,
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.