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Episode 99
The Doctor's Farmacy

Time To Go In

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*For context, this interview was recorded prior to the World Health Organization’s declaration of the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.

Sometimes we need to get quiet to really find the answers we’re looking for. What better time to do that than during this down-time at home?

Artists, creators, and dreamers have always been our best teachers on breaking free from the distractions of life and just “being” with ourselves. They take facts and turn them into stories from which we can gain new perspectives. We can all learn many different lessons through various mediums—one of my personal favorites is poetry. 

This week on The Doctor’s Farmacy I sat down for a deep talk with poet IN-Q. 

Throughout our talk, I am truly touched by the way he weaves his view of the world and our most human issues—from love to climate change—into words that touch the heart and soul. 

We also talk about the power of nature. After college, I grabbed my backpack, filled it up with a week’s worth of food, and went hiking in the Shenandoah Valley to figure out what I wanted out of life. This is how I discovered I wanted to be a doctor. Nature offers an open invitation for us to step into the present moment and be present with ourselves. 

Taking space from our plugged-in lives is another topic we talk about. I find so much freedom from ditching my phone for the weekend and spending time with my wife, listening to jazz, and playing with my cats. It’s things like this we can all make more space for right now as we get comfortable in our own homes and minds. 

IN-Q also recites several of his poems, bringing tears to my eyes in this episode. It’s extremely moving and I hope you’ll join me in enjoying the beauty of his words and finding comfort in art during this time.  

You can pre-order his book, Inquire Within, here.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv, AquaTru and AirDoctor purifiers, and Farmacy.

I recently discovered Joovv, a red light therapy device. Red light therapy is a super gentle non-invasive treatment where a device with medical-grade LEDs delivers concentrated light to your skin. It actually helps your cells produce collagen so it improves skin tone and complexion, diminishes signs of aging like wrinkles, and speeds the healing of wounds and scars. Check out the Joovv products at joovv.com/farmacy and use the code FARMACY at checkout. Once you’re there, you’ll see a special bonus the Joovv team is giving away to my listeners. 

We need clean water and clean air not only to live but to create vibrant health and protect ourselves and loved ones from toxin exposure and disease. That’s why I’m teaming up with AquaTru and AirDoctor to offer you the AquaTru Water Purification System and AirDoctor Professional Air Purifier systems at a special price. Learn more at www.drhyman.com/filter.

Everyone gets off track from time to time, that’s why I founded a new company Farmacy to create best in class protocols that combine food, lifestyle habits, and supplementation to support true wellness. Our first protocol, The 10 Day Reset is a systems-based approach designed to help you get back on track and reclaim your health. Learn more at getfarmacy.com.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn (video / audio):

  1. Why IN-Q named his book Inquire Within
    (3:04 / 7:27)
  2. The value of putting down our phones to just be with ourselves
    (9:03 / 13:26)
  3. The week I spent alone and decided to become a doctor
    (11:06 / 15:29)
  4. How we can feel connected by connecting with nature
    (13:00 / 17:23)
  5. Reframing our pain
    (13:56 / 18:19)
  6. IN-Q shares his poem “85”
    (22:49 / 25:55)
  7. Examples of American’s creating Victory Gardens and coming together during World War II
    (35:28 / 38:34)
  8. IN-Q share his poem about climate change, “One Little Dot”
    (37:20 / 40:26)
  9. Being vs. doing
    (44:54 / 48:00)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
IN-Q

IN-Q is a National Poetry Slam champion, award-winning poet, and multi-platinum songwriter. His groundbreaking achievements include being named to Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 list of the world’s most influential thought leaders, being the first spoken word artist to perform with Cirque Du Soleil, and being featured on A&E, ESPN, and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. He’s inspired audiences around the world through his live performances and storytelling workshops. Many of his recent poetry videos have gone viral with over 70 million views combined. 

Transcript

IN-Q:
Where does creativity come from if not empty space? Infinite possibilities is empty space.

Kaya Purohit:
Hi everyone. Just wanted to let you know that this episode contains some colorful language, so if you’re listening with kids, you might want to save this episode for later.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Hyman. Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy, that’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, a place for conversations that matter. Today’s conversation matters if you care about your soul, and you care about love, and you care about family, and you care about making the world a better place. Because our guest today is doing that every single day, day in and day out. I’ve known him for many years, I’ve been a fan, actually. We haven’t got to hang out that much, but a little bit. His work is telling stories through poetry that changed people’s lives.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m so excited to have him here, his name is IN-Q, he’s a National Poetry Slam Champion, an award-winning poet, a multi-platinum songwriter. His groundbreaking achievements include being named to Oprah’s Super Soul 100 List of the World’s Most Influential Thought Leaders. That is no small feat. He’s been the first spoken word artist to perform with Cirque Du Soleil, he’s featured on A&E, ESPN, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, sports rapping poetry on ESPN, that’s great. He’s inspired audiences around the world, including me, to his life performances and storytelling workshops, and many of his recent poetry videos have gone viral with over 70 million views.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m really excited to have you here, IN-Q. Thank you for joining The Doctor’s Farmacy.

IN-Q:
Thank you so much for having me, man. I’m a fan of yours as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was checking out your book that’s coming out, Inquire Within, a book of poetry. Poetry is sort of, kind of in a way, in our vast digital culture, people just don’t take the time to deeply dive into poetry. It is one of those things that shapes people, that moves people. It’s different than a novel, it’s different than a non-fiction book because it brings us together and moves us in ways together that other words can’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Just to share a little bit about your book, it’s a book that contemplates universal issues of love, loss, forgiveness, transformation, and belief. Your book Inquire Within shines a light on our lives and provides a whole unique and dynamic lens through which to think about ourselves and our world. It’s rhythmic, it’s original, it’s authentic, inspiring. It’s the journey to the center of the soul, which I think is a good place to be today in our chaotic world where we’re so far away from our soul.

IN-Q:
For sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Inquire Within is a provocative, entertaining debut from an award-winning poet. You’ll never look at poetry again the same way, and you will probably never think about yourself and your place in the world the same way. I’m so excited, it’s really a tremendous book of poetry, and I think something that we need to be focused more on as a pause from the chaos of life to savor what really matters and to think about things that really matter in a different way. So thank you for doing that.

IN-Q:
Mark, thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you for doing that.

IN-Q:
Yeah, I appreciate everything that you said right now, really, it touches me, man. I think that one of the reasons that I wrote the book and that it was entitled Inquire Within was because I had to inquire within myself to create it, and the person that’s reading it and holding it in their hands, they have to inquire within the pages, and ultimately inquire within themselves. Because when you think about this modern day society that we’re in, consumerism, the culture basically trains us to look outside of ourselves for validation, over and over again.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, I think the best way to solve that would be to turn the flip function off on the phones so people can’t do selfies.

IN-Q:
Right, right. You know it’s funny, I was visiting the prison that Mandela was in-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

IN-Q:
… for years, and years, and years in South Africa once, and as we were passing his cell, somebody took out their phone and took a selfie of them self smiling in front of the cell. I was like, “They are not present to why they’re there or the experience that he had, and they’re not reflecting.”

IN-Q:
I think, really, that’s what I was talking about, is everything is trying to take from you, it’s trying to take your attention, it’s trying to take your money, it’s trying to take your likes, your information, your love. And technology is this incredible thing that was created to bring the world together, and yet, with all of this technology, and the internet, and even what we’re doing here today, we’ll never be able quantify the ripples of this getting put out into the world, and that’s wonderful. It’s a really beautiful thing, but it’s also isolating people. People feel more alone than they’ve ever felt in their entire lives, and they don’t feel a connection beyond their screens.

IN-Q:
So I think there’s a difference between using these tools, and these tools using us. If you think about what people need more than anything else right now, it’s actually being quiet to find their own answers. If I don’t know something, I automatically look on Google, or I look in a book. I try to find the answers outside of myself. And really, people need to inquire within. I hope that this book ends up being a window for them to do that within themselves.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so good, which is so powerful. And for you, it sort of was a sideways journey into being a poet.

IN-Q:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You never set out to be a spoken word poet.

IN-Q:
I don’t think there’s any straight way journey into being a poet, you know?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, how did you get into this? Because this is a very novel career, and you’re smashing it.

IN-Q:
Thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I would love to get up and say poetry and tell stories all day, but how am I going to pay the rent? But you figured out how to do this in a way that’s so powerful that moves people, and people gravitate to you. So how did you get from having to intention to being a poet, to being this killer poet?

IN-Q:
Well first of all, it took me a really, really long time to figure out how to monetize it. I mean, I was not doing it for money, or fame, or anything like that. I was doing it because I was passionate about storytelling and sharing my experiences through this particular art form. But I started out rapping when I was 13 years old, and I grew up in a single parent household, my mom is a school teacher, and my dad wasn’t around, so I think freestyling, initially, when I fell in love with it, was my first form of meditation. Because when you’re freestyling, you literally can’t think of anything else but the next word that you’re saying. It puts you in the moment like nothing else can, and it provides an outlet for you to get thoughts and emotions out of your system that you might not have another avenue to do so. That was a huge thing for me. Then when I was 19, I wound up at an open mic for poets in Los Angeles called The Poetry Lounge.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, isn’t that like where Jack Kerouac and all those guys … Or was that-

IN-Q:
I don’t know if-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That was a different-

IN-Q:
No, I don’t think Jack Kerouac ever came to The Lounge, but they were part of the beat movement.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

IN-Q:
This was kind of the spoken word movement, and it was a different time period but the talent was insane. It was the first time that I ever, from an audience standpoint, saw people being celebrated for their vulnerability. I mean, if someone would get up and say something true, there’s 350 people in the audience every single Tuesday night, and they would be like, “Oh, whoa!” And snapping. There was a lot of alchemy that was happening in the room of taking these stories and this pain, and transforming it into something beautiful. And I just never left.

IN-Q:
I started doing my rapping acapella, people responded, and that was the beginning of me becoming a poet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true, we make sense of the world through story.

IN-Q:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I tend to be fact-driven and more concrete, but the truth is that we change through story, we change through our emotional context, and through having our heart touched and our soul moved. I mean, that’s what actually drives people to change and grow and learn. It’s such a gift being able to take that.

IN-Q:
Can I just say something off of what you said?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

IN-Q:
Because I feel that you actually are incredibly good at taking facts and turning them into story. That’s something-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I try!

IN-Q:
I’ve seen that. I’ve seen you speak a number of times, and every single time, you engage the audience, you make them lean in, you put it into your books, and I think that’s very important, is to find a way to make facts entertaining for people so that they walk away with something specific that they can then apply to their life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Yeah, it’s true. But you know, it’s the artists, and the creators, and sort of dreamers that actually change the world, right?

IN-Q:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like that old Apple ad, Think Different. It’s the disruptors. I think, in our world, where we’re so disconnected from each other, and we’re so not in our soul journey, this book, Inquire Within, is such an invitation to get back to that. I think we’re so distracted digitally that we’ve lost the ability to just be with ourselves. I grew up, I’m 60 years old, so I grew up with no cellphone, with no internet, with no email, with no texting, with no social media, and it wasn’t until I was, God, I was in my 40s, that really it started to come on.

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I remember those times of just savoring, of just being, of reflecting, and wondering, of walking.

IN-Q:
It’s necessary.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’ve really been focusing more and more on leaving my phone at home, and not bringing it. With my wife, for example, I gave her a present, which was a little box, and she was like, “Oh, it’s such a nice box.” I’m like, “No, no, I’m going to put my phone in the box and leave it there for the weekend.”

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
“And you get the gift of my presence.”

IN-Q:
That’s beautiful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And she started crying. I’m not always good at it, but I’ve realized that I thought I did it for her, and when I had that weekend to myself, I just was able to lay on the floor and listen to jazz, and play with the cats, and not have to look at my phone every three seconds, you know?

IN-Q:
Totally, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s such a horrible habit it takes us away from the spaciousness of needing to be able to actually connect with ourselves.

IN-Q:
Also, it’s like where does creativity come from if not empty space?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

IN-Q:
Infinite possibilities is empty space, so that’s why people practice through meditation, and my meditation practice has been a non-negotiable part of my life. But that’s one avenue to finding that space. Even just sitting down and being in nature, or being by yourself in the silence, and seeing what comes up, but not using a mantra or an anchor to get down, which is, as I said, non-negotiable for me. But there are other ways to find that space and to find that silence, and you might be surprised at the answers that come out of that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so true. I mean, how I became a doctor was I basically grabbed my backpack, filled it up with a week’s worth of food, and just walked for a week.

IN-Q:
Really?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And just walked, and walked. I went backpacking in the Shenandoah Valley, all by myself, and I just had this incredible spaciousness and time to really reflect and be and think.

IN-Q:
Do you remember the moment that it clicked in for you?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I’m like, “I really want to do something where I’m in contribution and service, and actually add something to the world.” I felt like, “Why not?” Because I wasn’t pre-med at all, it was after I graduated from college. I’m like, “Okay, now what? I got a degree in Buddhism, so what the heck do I do?”

IN-Q:
Right. That’s cool, man.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m not going to become a monk, but the principles of Buddhism are about healing.

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s really about healing the mind, and healing the soul, and it’s all sort of connected, and it just sort of took me to like, “Okay, why don’t I try being a doctor?” And it sort of worked out, it’s been okay.

IN-Q:
Well, you’ve also been able to bridge those two worlds.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, but it was really taking that long, extended, solo, walking, being in nature with no nothing, just me and my backpack, and my little camp stove, and my sleeping pad. I don’t even think we had Patagonia back then. But it was just a really special moment, and I think, I’m actually, my wife and I were talking about it last night, my life is so on, right?

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m doing so many things because I feel compelled to be a contribution to what’s good in the world.

IN-Q:
And you have momentum, so you want to, of course, follow your enthusiasm and your momentum.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. But I’m like, we were just talking about, “I think I want to just take week or two and just go have a solo journey. I don’t know what, or where, or how, but I feel like-”

IN-Q:
I absolutely support that. I think you should 100% do it. I mean, even just-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like soul food.

IN-Q:
… yeah, people think you need to be around other people to feel less lonely; nature can make you feel really connected, just being with nature, because it’s like, I was thinking this the other day, the birds aren’t singing to win a Grammy, you know? They don’t want to go platinum.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, they don’t want to get on Oprah.

IN-Q:
They don’t care, man. They are in nature. They are nature. So when we’re around nature, it is, as you said, an invitation for us to step more into the moment and to fully be present.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so true. A lot of art comes from pain.

IN-Q:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you talk about some of the challenges you’ve had, about your dad not being around, growing up in a challenging environment, some of the setbacks and failures you’ve had, and you also say how it can be our greatest celebration. So how do we sort of reframe challenges in our life to a place where we can grow, and how have you done this for yourself?

IN-Q:
Well, the celebration comes from the transformation, so I think you have to celebrate it first. Everyone’s so afraid of their pain in our society. We are so fucking afraid of our pain, man. And everyone’s finding ways to run from themselves so that they don’t have to feel it. But the reality is, if it doesn’t come up and out, it will manifest itself in other ways in our lives.

IN-Q:
And there’s nothing really to be afraid of. So if we could find a way to celebrate our pain, to feel through it, to release it, to transform it, that is a pure form of alchemy, and you can do that through creation, you can do that through sharing, you can do it in many, many ways. You can do it through yoga, athletics, activities that you decide to do, sitting with nature, as we discussed. But you have to do it.

IN-Q:
And the first thing is to not try to hide from it within yourself or with other people, because we might have different circumstances, but we’re all going through the same human experience.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And for you, the challenges you face, I imagine, were what spurred you to start to write and to speak your truth, and to talk about the hard things, right?

IN-Q:
Yeah. I mean, it certainly was the biggest outlet for me. Poetry, ultimately, has been the biggest outlet. Even when I teach workshops, all I’m really doing is providing people an opportunity to explore these moments who have changed who they are through this particular art form. When they do something like that, and they choose something that’s moving and meaningful to them, they get the story outside of their system. And when they can see it, they have more separation from the story, and the story doesn’t own them as much, so they have a sense of empowerment. Then when they give it away, and they see the mirror of humanity in other people’s eyes, they have a sense of feeling less alone.

IN-Q:
I had that same experience, I’m trying to provide people the same experience that I’ve had with poetry over, and over, and over again. All the things that I’m writing are really just either me purging or praying, but they’re reminders to myself of the life that I want to live.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, so powerful. I think, in the telling of those stories, there’s something that happens, and it’s happened to me many times when I’ve listened to you say your poetry. It’s almost like a crack that happens, like something snaps where you shift your perspective, where you see things in ways you didn’t see them before, where you make connections you didn’t make before, where you’re inspired in ways that you didn’t realize you needed to be inspired, you’re emboldened to make changes based on what happens in the raw telling of the truth in that form. And it’s sort of unlike anything else. I mean, you can watch a movie, you can listen to music, you can watch a play, and maybe it’ll do some of that, but there’s something sort of magical.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think you’ve really been able to sort of break through some of those stories that were your origin stories. How do you help people break through the stories that they create for themselves?

IN-Q:
Well, first of all, I just want to piggyback off of what you said. Some of my most incredible art experiences have been in the audience watching poetry, other poets getting up and sharing their lives. I mean, it’s really been transformative for me, so I think that inspired me to do that within myself, and now I hope that I’m inspiring other people to do that within themselves.

IN-Q:
When I do the actual workshops, as long as people start in a place that’s true, and then they give it time and space, the poem will surprisingly almost write itself. That’s my process. I mean, people ask me all the time, “Where do you get your inspiration from?” And I just say I pay attention. I pay attention if something moves me, if something annoys me, if something inspires me, and then I start there. Then I try to get out of the way because I’m the vehicle and the obstacle for my art.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s more of downloading than writing, is that it?

IN-Q:
Yeah, but it’s downloaded through my experience, so it’s like I have to be there. Like people always talk about the ego, how to lose the ego. You can’t lose the ego. Your ego is a part of humanity. There’s no way to lose your ego, but you can not operate from your ego as much.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right.

IN-Q:
You can find a way to know that your ego is a part of you being involved in this human experiment, or this illusion of separation. You know?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Speaking of separation, what effect did your father’s absence have on you? And how did it sort of be a force for good in your life, even though it was sort of bad? Can you talk about that?

IN-Q:
Yeah. I mean, I have a poem that I explore this in the book, it’s called Father Time, and it really kind of delves into my whole experience. Ultimately, it’s about forgiveness, full circle. It came to me forgiving myself and forgiving him, and being grateful because who would I be without that experience? I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today. I would be someone else, but I wouldn’t be who I am today.

IN-Q:
That’s the thing, is every single thing that happened to us, whether we understand it or not, we choose to be a victim to it, or to be empowered by the transformation that comes from it. I mean, it’s not a product, it’s a process, and I’m still, of course, working on it, but I have a lot of peace with that subject in my life now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, that’s so great. It sort of reminds me of a book by Ram Dass, who just died, called Grist for the Mill. Everything is grist for the mill, everything is sort of juicy stuff for us to do our soul work with, right?

IN-Q:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think even in our culture, the whole idea of soul work is not something we really think that much about anymore. We’re so outward focused, and in some ways, we’ve been co-opted by large tech companies and large businesses that are actually capturing our attention, designed to be addictive, so usurps our free will, and that drives us into choices that don’t serve our good, and serve their good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In a way, poetry is like a sword that cuts through all that, and it brings you back to what is true.

IN-Q:
I think poets have a responsibility, like all artists, to speak truth to power, but they’re also speaking truth to illusion. There is this mass distraction machine that is always trying to take, and poetry doesn’t want anything from you, other than to be.
Speaker 2:
Hi everyone, hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company, Farmacy, and their first product, the 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey, it’s Dr. Hyman. Do you have FLC? What’s FLC? It’s when you feel like crap. It’s a problem that so many people suffer from, and often have no idea that it’s not normal, or that you can fix it. I mean, you know the feeling. It’s when you’re super sluggish, your digestion’s off, you can’t think clearly, or you have brain fog, or you just feel run down. Can you relate? I know most people can.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But the real question is what the heck do we do about it? Well, I hate to break the news, but there’s no magic bullet. FLC isn’t caused by one single thing, so there’s not one single solution. However, there is a systems based approach, a way to tackle the multiple root factors that contribute to FLC, and I call that system the 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The 10 Day Reset combines food, key lifestyle habits, and targeted supplements to address FLC straight on. It’s a protocol that I’ve used with thousands of my community members to help them get their health back on track. It’s not a magic bullet, it’s not a quick fix, it’s a system that works. If you want to learn more and get your health back on track, click on the button below, or visit getframacy.com, that’s getfarmacy, with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, .com.
Speaker 2:
Now back to this week’s episode.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We can talk about poetry all day, but I’d love for you to share a couple of poems.
Speaker 2:
For sure, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The first one I really want to hear is in the book, Inquire Within, which everybody should get. It’s a phenomenal doorway to wisdom, the soul, to cracking open parts of yourself that probably need to be cracked open. The first one is about love, so can you tell us a little bit about it-

IN-Q:
Yeah, of course.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… and then share the poem with us?

IN-Q:
Absolutely, and I appreciate you saying that, man. This first piece, it’s called 85, and I originally wrote it because I used to live in this little back house, and the woman that owned the main house, her mom moved in at a certain point, her name’s Delores, she was in her 80s, and we shared a kitchen together.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You and grandma.

IN-Q:
Yeah, and basically we would sit, we’d have coffee, we’d talk about life and love, and my ex-girlfriends at the time. And I came to really love her, man, you know? After she was there for about six months, I woke up one night, it was like 3:00 in the morning, and I had this big window, and I could see the lights from the ambulance outside the blinds, and she was getting taken away on a stretcher, I watched her. She was still alive, but she was having major health complications. I went and I visited her in the hospital, and she had tubes in and out of her system, and she had a really high fever, and she didn’t recognize me.

IN-Q:
They said that she was in real trouble. So I sat with her for a while, and I just basically said my goodbyes, because I thought that that was her time, and I didn’t want her to suffer anymore. But she got better, and they ended up getting her better enough to where she could move to a retirement community, and after about a month of her being in this retirement community, I went and visited her. We were literally sitting outside, and she was in a really good mood, we were in the garden.

IN-Q:
I was like, “Delores, why are you in such a good mood?” And she leans in and she goes, “I met a guy.” So in the month she had been there-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And she was 85!

IN-Q:
… she literally met a guy, and they had started dating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow, love that.

IN-Q:
I just thought that was so beautiful, not only because love could be around any corner, but because I thought her life was over, and not only did she survive, she was excited about something again, she was surprised by something again. Oftentimes, at any age, people just become obligated to the choices that they’re making.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Ossified.

IN-Q:
They just look around, they’re not surprised, they’re not excited. And I’m curious, what will I be like in my 80s? What will I wear? What will I want-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A hoodie!

IN-Q:
Yeah, probably the exact same thing! But what will I want to explore? So that’s where this poem came from.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing. All right, give it to us.

IN-Q:
It’s called 85. I want to fall in love at 85, go on shuffleboard dates, and dance to hip hop from ’95. We would also listen to the song Staying Alive, but only for the message, otherwise we’d keep away from disco, it’s depressing. We’d rock matching track suits and rope gold chains. We’d look like Run DMC, but in their old age. We’d take aerobics classes and wear bifocal glasses and eat at IHOP, and hold hands at Sunday masses. And when it comes to the bedroom … Well, nothing much would happen in the bedroom because we’re 85, but we would still be down to take a walk or take a drive, or sit and talk, or have a drink, watch the passersby, ask each other why, and how, and who, and where, and when. And then we’d laugh and cry again about the people we had been.

IN-Q:
And I would touch her withered skin, and comment on how thin it is to keep in something infinite. And she would smile sweet and blush, then tell me that I think too much. She’s right, I think too much. It’s always been a problem, but then again that’s how I made my green like the goblin. When I was in my 20s, I was eating Top Ramen, counting up my pennies, saving up to go food shopping. But now I’m 85 and somehow I feel more alive. I turn my hearing aid up and bump Jurassic Five, or the Jackson Five. I read the sports page while she peruses classifieds. We like antique stores, garage sales, and barter buys.

IN-Q:
And when it comes to the bedroom … well hopefully, every once in a while, she lets me knock her boots into the floral patterns of our bed posts, then hold her head close like death isn’t chasing us, planning on erasing us, and replacing us with better versions of us, reshaping us, remaking us, then recreating us with new identities so we can make new memories. Hush little baby. Lear to walk, and talk, and think, and lie, and feel, and fight, and love, and die, and never get the answers why.

IN-Q:
She dips a joint of grass and wheatgrass, and we get high. Her hair is silver as the moon in the Miami sky. We still pop pills, but it’s not the molly anymore. Whenever we can’t sleep, we listen to the ocean floor. She got a Sound of the Sea CD from me from the Brookstone store, and ever since, I’ve been snoring like a, like a … like a really good metaphor for snoring. Sorry, I go blank sometimes. What? I’m 85. I’m not complaining, I’m just happy that I’m still alive, and happy that I have my better half by my side, super fly. She doesn’t look a day over 75.

IN-Q:
When I first saw her, I was totally in awe. She was classical, so I was like, “Yo, yo, ma.” And that was all it took. A single look, and I was shook. I fell for her like some loose shingles from our Spanish roof. And Imma love her until she loses every last root and has to glue dentures to her gums to chew solid food. Ooh, now that’s real love, dude. That’s some push comes to shove love, not when it’s convenient love. Hospital bed love. Feed her ice chips love. Never leave the room love. Sleeping in the chair love. Pray to up above love. Have to pull the plug love. Miss her in my bones love. Everything about her love. Die within a month love. Can’t live without her love.

IN-Q:
Love. The only reason that we are alive, and none of us should have to wait until we’re 85.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. Made me cry. Holy shit, wow. I don’t think I’ve ever cried on my podcast before.

IN-Q:
It’s all good, man, thank you for listening.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Whoa.

IN-Q:
What touched you about it?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh wow, see, that’s the thing about poetry, you can talk about it all day, but then it’s like spiritual surgery. I found myself having the chills, laughing, crying, just longing, remembering what’s important, remembering what I want, remembering what matters. Yeah, it’s like wow, holy shit.

IN-Q:
You know what, man? First of all, I appreciate your vulnerability because it makes me feel closer to you. I see that as strength, and it makes me feel connected to you in a deeper way.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

IN-Q:
And I have the same experience. I mean, I cried the first time I wrote that because it was reminding me of the same things that you’re talking about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Feed her ice chips love, man, wow. I mean, I wonder, does the book come with a box of Kleenex? Because I think you should do a package thing, where the book …

IN-Q:
Well, you know, it’s interesting, the book has … there’s two ways to consume it, and both are different. The book has 60 illustrations. We worked with an amazing artist named Mustashrik in London, and he created these really, really deep and layered illustrations around the concepts of the poetry that help to kind of bring you into a more connected experience, and it gives you something else to look at. Then the way that we formatted everything, and the way that we put the order is meant to bring you through this conceptual through-line. There’s two halves; there’s Inhale and Exhale. Inhale is personal poems, so it’s almost like my own poetic hero’s journey, and then Exhale is social and political, and it’s change yourself and then you can change the world.

IN-Q:
That’s one way to kind of consume it, and then the other way is the audiobook, which is me recording all of these poems. Then you get to hear the rhythms and the stylistic things, the voices that I’m using. Both are interesting to do on their own, and then they’re really fascinating to do together. And this is, literally, it’s the first time I’ve ever had a home for my art. I’ve been writing poetry for 25 years.

IN-Q:
Someone asked me the other day, they were like, “How long did the book take?” I was like-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
25 years!

IN-Q:
… “Well,” yeah, “25 years, pretty much.” I mean, I’ve been working on it over a year, but then one of the oldest poems in the book, The Father Piece, is 14 years old, and it took me 10 years to make that 14 year old poem. So 25 years, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
All I can say is [inaudible 00:32:58] has some stiff competition.

IN-Q:
Thank you, brother.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s one of my favorite poets who gets, the same way, inside, under your skin, and into your soul. Wow, so we could talk a lot more, but that was a within poem. I would love you to share a without poem, a poem about being in the world and what we all need to do in community to actually deal with the real issues we’re facing. One of them I talk a lot about on the podcast is the food system, and climate change.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We were recently at an event for a nonprofit called Kiss The Ground, which everybody should check out, which trains farmers and creates educators around regenerative agriculture. You did this really compelling poem about climate change, and the earth, and the soil. It’s something I know a fair bit about, but it just really opened up my eyes in so many ways, and I’d love for you to share that.

IN-Q:
Yeah, happy to.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I hope I don’t cry in this one too! Oh god.

IN-Q:
You know, I’ll say one thing before I start. I watched the State of the Union last night-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh god.

IN-Q:
… with everyone else, and he didn’t mention climate change one time. The biggest existential threat to humanity right now was not even fucking mentioned.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No.

IN-Q:
It just made me so angry. So this is a poem that I wrote about climate change because climate change doesn’t give a shit about our nations, it doesn’t care about our religions, it doesn’t care about our races. If a space ship showed up right now-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Or political parties.

IN-Q:
… it doesn’t care about anything, man. You know? It is the great equalizer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s true.

IN-Q:
So I think we need to all wake up to that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. You know what’s interesting? Just a little side note before you start on the poem. I just bought this book, We Are The Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer, who … The first two chapters have nothing to do with climate change. The first chapter is about how every molecule of air we take in contains other molecules from other people who have breathed breaths on the planet, from Julius Caesar to Hitler to … and going back forever. So we’re literally breathing in the breath of Jesus Christ, we’re breathing in the breath of Moses, and Mohammed, and Martin Luther King, and whoever walked the planet. And we all are, all the time, in every breath, so we’re so connected through so many different ways.

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re all one community, and we all are connected. The second chapter was about how during World War II the United States, even though it was in an imminent danger of attack, hunkered down and created victory gardens, all the lights went out at dark so the u-boats couldn’t see where we were. But even inland, they had planes flying over the Midwest because they were sort of telling people, “We need to be part of this.” They had people ration their food. In fact, people got healthier because they ate less sugar, flour, and other things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we came together as a nation to fight a common enemy, and we did it through sacrifice, and it actually prevented the ultimate sacrifice, which was the end of our world as we know it. So I think it’s the same kind of thing, we need to get that we’re all in this together, and that we get that we need to make changes. So share with us your poem.

IN-Q:
Yeah, can I just piggyback on that for a second?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Sure.

IN-Q:
Because that is exactly right. It’s not even climate change, this is a war. We need to all look at this like it’s a world war against our own behaviors of greed. You know, I mean, it’s crazy that we’re still profiting off of the suffering of people and the planet, and that we’re okay with rewarding that. And this fucking ridiculous argument that like, “Well, America could change policy, but the world is huge and there’s a lot of other places that are using energy at a quicker pace,” it’s just, we should be leading by example. It’s not even an argument that’s worth discussing.

IN-Q:
So it is an actual responsibility, and existential responsibility. You’re not going to have to convince kids that climate change is real. They’re going to be experiencing it on a moment to moment basis. So I mean … yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, we’re just sacrificing our children’s future.

IN-Q:
Yeah. So this is something that I wrote about it, it’s called One Little Dot, and it’s really ultimately about definitions and ownership of this particular issue.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s tricky because most people feel disempowered, and we can’t do anything, but you bring it back home.

IN-Q:
Yeah. And I’ve felt that way many times, and yet here we are.

IN-Q:
How can something this big be invisible? The environment is everywhere, and yet it isn’t visible. Maybe if we saw it, we would see it’s not invincible and have to take responsibility as individuals. How can something this big be invisible? If it’s all around us, it should show itself on pure principle. The scientists are certain that the damage is residual, and climate change data is reaching levels that are critical, yet somehow that’s political.

IN-Q:
We argue over math. Our citizens are too cynical to believe in facts. We make excuses and hold onto the recent past. We don’t want to sacrifice, so we refuse to ask. I grew up in a city, it’s all I ever knew, so even now, I have nothing to compare it to. I have to hit the park to see more than a tree or two. I have to visit nature like it’s in a fucking zoo. But California was wild before the parking lots, before the mass malls, before designer shops, before the strip clubs, before the sea change, when mountain lions roamed freely over freeways, before the fast food, before the freeze frames. We live around a bunch of dead shit these days.

IN-Q:
It’s not an argument for better or worse, it’s an observation on we’ve been treating mother earth. See, we protect what is ours. My land, my life, my house, my kids, my job, my wife, my dog, my car, my country, my culture. But when it comes to nature, our perspective is external. The planet, the forest, the ocean, the sky, the mountains, the valleys, always the. Nevermind if it’s not me. Nevermind, I’m too busy all the time. And without the ownership, we ignore the warning signs.

IN-Q:
Just look at all the species on the planet that are dying. The coral reefs, the honeybees, mysteriously dying. One-fourth of all the mammals that exist are dying. A third of all amphibians are at the risk of dying. We’re on a path to mass extinction. It’s almost like we’re trying because relying on an atmosphere that we’ve been frying. I could use more statistics, but you probably think I’m lying because over half the politicians we elect deny them. Well since when did their opinions outweigh the science? I thought experiments were fundamentally unbiased.

IN-Q:
Capitalism uses nature as its example and excuse for competition. The only problem is, we’ve removed it from the ecosystem. Profit and balance in the market are attainable. But growth without a conscience is completely unsustainable. I mean, a lion doesn’t kill all the gazelles. Why do we have to have it all to ourselves? Pretty soon there’ll be nothing left but concrete and cars, and when you see an animal, it’ll be like seeing a movie star.

IN-Q:
The planet, the forest, the ocean, the skies, the mountain, the valleys. Always the, never mine. If it’s not me, nevermind. I’m too busy all the time. And without the ownership, we ignore the warning signs. Our planet, our forest, our ocean, our skies, our mountains, our valleys. Always we, always mine. My planet, my forest, my ocean, my sky, my mountains, my valleys. Always we, always mine, always ours, always yours. One little dot in trillions of stars. One little dot, that’s all that we’ve got. We just forgot that none oof it’s ours. We just forgot that all of it’s ours. One little dot in trillions of stars.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. Wow. Yeah, it’s easy to make it their problem, not my problem. And I think it’s so different it shift the frame to thinking about this as something that matters to us. That ownership conscience question is just so not in the dialogue, and I think that’s why there’s so much polarization. It’s like, I always joke, everybody’s favorite radio station is WIFM, What’s In It For Me? But the definition of me needs to be a little big bigger.

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right? Because without all this, there’s no me or we or us. Right?

IN-Q:
Yeah. And I’m, once again, re-learning that every time I speak the poem, and finding new ways that I can do that for myself when I fall back asleep. You know?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. This is such incredible work. I’ve heard a lot of poets, and there’s a difference about your work that has deep spiritual lessons in it that I think a lot of poets try to imbue in their poetry, but it’s really hard to do. I’m just so moved every time I hear you. I’m so grateful that you’re doing this work in the world.

IN-Q:
Thank you, man.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think everybody needs to get this book, Inquire Within. Get the audiobook, and get the book. Get them both, and listen to them together, read them together, and slow down. Slow the heck down with your life so you can just be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Poetry is kind of like meditation, in a way. It’s just like … I remember when I was in my 20s, I would sometimes climb a mountain with a book of poetry, and just sit and read the poetry, or sometimes read it out loud.

IN-Q:
Was there a specific book that you’re thinking about when you say that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Actually, yeah. I remember sitting on the coast in California, [inaudible 00:44:18] Canyon, up on the hills, overlooking the ocean on this sort of escarpment looking over, and I had Rilke, a book of poems by Rilke, he’s a German poet from the early 20 century. It’s such beautiful poetry.

IN-Q:
Which book, do you remember?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think it was Duino Elegies. It just was so much about love, and he talked about this concept of in-seeing, like seeing somebody’s soul, and I think that’s … Honestly, just sitting here talking to you today, I’ve been going through this process myself, just sort of re-thinking what I’m doing, and how I’m being, and how I want to live, and what matters.

IN-Q:
What have you been thinking of? And what have you been aspiring to?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, when I was in my 20s, I was in the more being stage, and then for the last 30 years, I’ve been in the more doing stage, and I want to get back to being a human being instead of a human doing.

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And not dealing with 400 emails a day, and not having to be in 10 cities in 20 days, and just do good work, but really change what I’m doing because I think I’ll be more effective, I’ll be happier, and I’m craving it. I feel like I’m craving it. And I got a lot of joy from the things I do, I get a lot of nourishment from my family and friends, I get a lot of good. But just to unplug and just be, it’s just funny because my life and I were just literally talking about that last night, about me taking a week or two and just taking a walking tour, like I did before, just walking.

IN-Q:
It’s necessary. I really think it’s like a necessary part of the recharging process.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like a pilgrimage.

IN-Q:
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like we used to do.

IN-Q:
When you do that, also, you remove all of your stories, and you’re just in the world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I know where I want to go, I’ve dreamt of going my whole life.

IN-Q:
Where would you go? Or where will you go?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Mount Kailash.

IN-Q:
Where’s that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mount Kailash is in Tibet, and it’s this-

IN-Q:
Oh, go, 100%.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… sacred mountain that is at, I think, 17,000 feet. It’s a pilgrimage site, and Buddhist pilgrims come to this mountain, and they literally do prostrations, every step is a prostration around the entire mountain.

IN-Q:
So a prostration like a walking meditation?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So literally, like you’ve seen Buddhists bow down, so they literally bow down, get to their knees, go flat on the ground, fully extend it like you’re in a boat pose, and then stand up, take a step, and do it again, bow down, prostrate yourself.

IN-Q:
Got it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s how they go around the entire mountain.

IN-Q:
That’s amazing. What a sight that would be to see.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s a heck of a journey, but it’s something that I’ve long wanted to do and dreamt about doing it.

IN-Q:
You should 1000% do it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s a great book by a guy, Robert Thurman, called Circling the Sacred Mountain. I read the book, and I’m just so hungry to go on that journey.

IN-Q:
Look, I know you have … First of all, far be it from me to give advice, but I know you have such an amazing life, you have such amazing … this thing that you’ve built really impacts and influences people in a positive way all around the world. And as I said, there’s no way to quantify it. But also, the thing that you need to do to feed yourself will also feed other people, and I think you should, please, please, as a gift to me, and to yourself, and to everyone who looks up to you, and who gets stuff from your content, please do that.

IN-Q:
I got a chance, I came back recently from India, and I was able to be at a monastery with the Dalai Lama for this guy named Lama Tzong Khapa, his 600 year celebration into transcending into nirvana. He was one of the earlier teachers of Buddhism, and it was the first-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s he eating? Because he’s 600 years old, I want to know.

IN-Q:
Yeah, he’s a really good guy, very energetic. Plant-based, for the most part. No, anyway, this was a big celebration for him, though, because he was one of the teachers to the Dalai Lama. So we got a chance to meet the Dalai Lama, and it was unbelievable, man. It was a small group of us, and literally, thousands and thousands of monks that came to celebrate this really special thing.

IN-Q:
So when we met the Dalai Lama, he comes in and he sits down, and we all kind of gather around him like children looking up to someone who’s reading a storybook. He goes like this, he goes, “Compassion,” and then he continued on, I didn’t hear anything else he said, but because the word compassion was like I had never heard it before. Because it’s not always what someone says, and it’s not always how they say it, it’s who says it, and what they’ve been through.

IN-Q:
I could just feel his experience of compassion when he said that. But being in that environment, being in that new environment where I get to take off all the stories that I have. It was necessary, and then I came back recharged to re-approach my poetry career and life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, that’s so powerful. So great. Yeah, it’s so true. We need those experiences. We all live out little narrow lives, and I remember being in Northern Nepal, and I met this Tibetan doctor, because I wanted to study about Tibetan medicine. I went and sat with him for a day, and he told me a story. He had been in a Chinese gulag for 22 years, tortured, and beaten, and deprived of everything. 22 years. Finally got out, and I said, “What was the hardest part about being there?” He says, “Well, it was the moments where I thought I was going to lose compassion for my Chinese jailers.”

IN-Q:
Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “Whoa, okay.”

IN-Q:
That’s another level –

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I got some work to do here.

IN-Q:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
IN-Q, thank you for the work you do in the world.

IN-Q:
Thank you, brother.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you for being the sword of [inaudible 00:50:26], which is the Buddhist symbol of someone who cuts through the illusion with wisdom. So you’re that dude.

IN-Q:
Thank you, that means a lot to me, man.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re that dude, and everybody’s got to get this book, Inquire Within, and the audiobook.

IN-Q:
By the way, if you get the book, reach out to social media, I’m @InQlife. Let ne know that you got the book, post about it. I want to spread the word as much as I can. I literally never had a home for my art like this. Self-promotion has always been an issue for me, but promoting this book is a job.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, come on. No, it’s great, everybody’s got to get it. And I think it’d be great even to gather with your friends, and read the poems out loud to each other.

IN-Q:
For sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Have that, I mean, just that shared experience. I literally feel transformed just sitting here. I feel like I got a private poetry reading-

IN-Q:
Thank you, though.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… by a superstar. I’m like, “Whoa!” Feel so blessed, and I’m grateful for you, and everybody check it out, Inquire Within on Amazon, it’s available now. Please get it, it’ll move you, it’ll wake you up, it’ll inspire you. I’m already like, wow, I think I have to just go talk a walk because [inaudible 00:51:40]. It’s been great having you on The Doctor’s Farmacy Podcast.

IN-Q:
Thank you for sharing this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you love this podcast please share with your friends, family on social media, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

IN-Q:
Appreciate you, bro.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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