Coach Sam Falsafi and Marine Corps Vet Deric Keller have an amazing conversation in this week’s episode, where they share stories of war, anger, decisions, turning points, and liberation.
Parable #1: Anger Suppression
- Sam: When we’re kids, we’re given this checklist of what to do and what not to do, and part of that checklist is how we’re not supposed to be angry at our parents. As children, there are emotional events and incidents that take place where we involuntarily adopt certain patterns and behaviors that are associated with that event or situation, which patterns unconsciously stay with us for years.
- If anger is a feeling that takes place as a result of that event or situation, since I’m not “supposed’ to show my anger towards my parents, I begin sedating and suppressing it. Eventually, at some point later in life, that anger will show up because I’m never been given the frame of collision.
What emotional event took place when you were a child that you have been suppressing for years?
Parable #2: Shattering the Armor
- Coach Sam: When we deal with anger in whatever ways we learn to process it, the feelings of blame, guilt, and shame get forged into a type of armor that we carry for the rest of our life, until we go through the process that breaks the fucking armor with a hammer, and we suddenly feel 300 pounds lighter.
- Deric: I went through similar instances having shame and guilt with my kids. I used to sit on the couch and watch tv, then when it was time for punishment, “dad” would react. Today, we’re in constant communication to where when it’s time for me to be the disciplinarian, it’s in a completely different way.
What has been your experience surrounding shame and guilt?
Parable #3: Child of War
- Sam: Between the ages of 8 and 10, my family and I lived inside of a Civil War. I saw things I should not have seen and witnessed so much pain. I would go to school and see the empty chairs of my friends whose homes had been bombed during the night. I didn’t know what the fuck was happening.
- For me, this was normal because I didn’t know anything else. There was no television or social media exposing us to another world, no education exposing us to another possibility. When we left the country and went to Canada, war was never spoken of again. I didn’t talk about it, I suppressed it; I suppressed anything that symbolized war.
What reality were you previously unaware of but can now clearly see? What happened?
Parable #4: Worm On a Hook
- Deric: We called ourselves worm on a hook. Basically, we were bait. On April 4, 2003, we got attacked by militia as we were headed into Southern Baghdad. We had a new lieutenant with bright blue eyes who ended up getting killed on that mission. Until an evolution at Warrior Week, for 14 years all I could see were his bright blue eyes staring at me each night went to sleep.
- It’s not that we’re leaving it all over there, the majority of our feelings don’t hit us until we’re back stateside. We’re processing things at a different level and a different manner. Over there, you just keep moving. You’re losing people and people are falling off to the wayside, but you’re constantly moving forward.
What emotional event has haunted you for years?
Parable #5: The War Within Never Ends
- Sam: For the past four years, I’ve lived and taught the Warrior’s Way and have been living in the greatness of being a dad. Inside of 24 hours, I have become the most shitty dad – twice. That’s proof that the war within never fucking ends. The old self? He’s always fucking there. The minute I believe he’s no longer there, he takes over.
- But if I acknowledge he’s there, from time to time I can be a shitty man, husband, father, or leader. If I don’t acknowledge that, then all I’m fucking searching is this imaginary game of perfection that doesn’t exist. I’m chasing something that is telling me to fail every time I chase it.
How long have you been chasing the imaginary game of perfection?
Parables from the Pit:
“You’re a man of war, I’m a child of war. Here we sit side by side. Although we can say the war within is not fucking over, we’ve won some major fucking battles and we’re at peace right now. But we know for sure that the war within never fucking ends.”
— Coach Sam Falsafi
“I didn’t realize that I was trying to hide that I had PTSD because to me it was a weakness. I didn’t want everyone to judge me. I had a vision of guys with PTSD living in gutters or my uncle living in a VA home. That’s how I envisioned PTSD. So when I was labled with it, I did everything in my power to make sure people didn’t know. I was scared. I didn’t understand that I could still function.”