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Spirituality and Mental Health

Do I need Jesus or Xanax? Nurse anesthetist Nick Angelis discusses difficult topics as a Christian and a clinician with Hank the Sonic Shaman. The medical system can’t answer spiritual questions. Unmet expectations can harm our mental health, substituting truth and sincerity for shallow self-righteousness. The first step is to know ourselves. Are Psychedelic and indigenous medicines reconcilable with faith and science? What about ketamine? With so much potential to heal, can it make people worse the way marijuana hasn’t lived up to the medical hype?

hello and welcome to the ascend health show i’m  your host nick angeles and i’m here with hank  settler today and i thought i had a cold but i  think i’m over it maybe i should have discussed  this before we started well it’s too late we’re  all in now

yeah i mean we’re at least four  feet apart or yeah that’s enough social  distance

absolutely so i first met you at the  host of health expo and it was fascinating to me  because and i’m sure there’s a more eloquent and  delicate way to say this but i could almost sense  like desperation of a lot of people there that  they really wanted either spiritual fulfillment or  the medical system had let them down i’m a nurse  anesthetist and i think i mentioned i own ascent  health center that’s why i’m in scrubs today so  you know i was trained to believe that the  medical system could cure you it could whatever  problem you had there’d be an answer but then  once i started my own practice here and once i  got in tune with some of the more holistic  practices around i realized nope there’s plenty  of people that went to 8 9 10 specialists and  they’re still suffering and they’re either told  it’s all in your head or the opposite this is  just a physical manifestation there’s no depression or apparently chronic cough  so it’s just so fascinating that i was like what  is it driving people to find these alternative  methods of healing right

and i really think  it’s both things our tagline when we did the expo  was psychics to physicians and most everything in  between and we literally had a functional medicine  doctor like dr k right who’s a colleague of ours  right next to mary anne mankowski the ghost  whisperer and it was really people could get  both things and educate themselves as to what was  going to be right for them and their whatever was  going on in their world

absolutely and we have  a different show it i think it’s called toasters  in the bathtub that is a disclaimer basically  saying don’t listen to either of us for your  medical advice actually schedule an appointment  you can go to ascendhealthcenter.com and that  has all the information for my practice and  what’s your website again

my website is my  name hank sotola.com that does make it easier  so as you well you know over the years i keep  learning new things and every time i learn  something new i built a whole new website  rebranded myself and then i realized like you  know the one thing that never changes is me

  that’s great well actually at one point i was  told that i should name my practice angelss health  center but i was like that’s kind of conceited to  say like i am everything and if you don’t go with  my last name like this isn’t gonna work um but  in your case that actually makes a lot of sense  because as you learn and and to be honest when i  got into holistic medicine myself that was always  a challenge for me because unfortunately i’m the  sort of person who’s like well i put this effort  in like i must take it to completion as opposed  to wait i’ve learned something new i have to pause  not to move on with this new information

see i’m  always hungry for more information everybody said  hank you got to pick one thing and stick to it and  here i am learning dozens of healing modalities  and then just starting to blend them together and  then i love collaborating with people like you and  dr k when there is something that i don’t know  you know how to help somebody i have people that  i can refer people to and i think it’s really this  energy in this day and age of collaboration it’s  really the energy and humanity we’re moving from  the kingdom of me to the kingdom of we and really  starting to work together not in the spirit of  competition but how we can benefit one another 

 that’s true that so when i first started  i was the only ketamine clinic in the area  and now there’s a few more and in fact uh  this morning which is one of the reasons i was  late to my previous show um i took care of another  ketamine clinic’s patient they needed a dose that  only I as a nurse anesthetists could do so  we worked together where we had this plan so  she the patient can go back to the other clinic  and for me it’s like well this makes sense like  of course we’re in this very niche business so  it would make business sense to be competitors  but we’re also all dealing with people who are  very complex and when you are in like a real life  situation where it’s not someone who i’ll just  take this pill and you’ll be fine then

there’s  no room for ego there’s no room for anything other  than whatever we have we have to combine it into  this uh almost among them of what will actually  work for you right and actually the the shamanic  tradition that i practiced the pako kuna tradition  approved they have this idea that if you have  the best chocolate chip cookies it’s your job to  make others have the best chocolate chip cookies  it’s not a matter competition like if you’re  like the best at something like why not share  that with the world and let everybody else become  better and that they look at that as really like  kind of a duty of if you’re if you’re the best at  what you do

right there was a netflix documentary  i watched once and of course the disclaimer here  is that it’s a netflix documentary like it could  say that shoes are bad and at the end of it you’re  just gonna think you know what i’m never gonna  wear shoes again they’re right so that’s the the  whole way these documentaries work but i mentioned  how the native americans had that concept of the  owning with communal that no one really owned the  land they couldn’t even understand the concept  of how could you say that this land is yours  right there is something to that right and there’s  even like a step beyond that they believe or in  my tradition we believe we are the earth we’re  made from the earth and in a sense we are one  even though we’re separate and so like who are  you fighting against who are you competing with  and that’s words

i love that phrase like  the kingdom of media the kingdom we where  we’re really coming together and collaborating  and with what’s going on in the world today  right we are choosing as a species like where  do we stand and who do we choose to be and we  have to work together in order to kind of shift  where the world has been going yeah and i think  it’s interesting too so in christianity there’s  often these two dueling opinions oh in case your  viewers haven’t noticed hank comes from a shamanic  background and just a born-again christian and  you know we hang out and talk about things  and sometimes we don’t agree with each other  um but what these sort of conversations do is they  really force people to think like well what do i  believe and why

which is very awkward for a lot  of people right but that’s where the we have this  idea that the gold is in the differences and when  the spanish came in and conquered peru they were  looking at like these little stones that that  they have and they were like oh these are these  are like our apoos or these are like our chakras  and they’re like no your chakras are chakra  are now zanawi they had a different system but  it’s like you don’t want to relate away what you  think you know because it’s a parallel you want  to look at really what’s the difference here and  what could i take away and learn for myself

right  because uh before i went off on my tangent which  i’ll continue to do for the next 20 minutes oh  it’s one non uncon it’s a one continuous tangent  so it’s all good right right otherwise we would  have had to like you know come up with a script or  something something ridiculous but so there’s the  idea in christiano of like almost a conquest type  of thing that let the uh that we need to capture  the world for jesus i mean honestly probably what  they use in peru when they they they actually  handed the inca a bible and said here’s our god  and he held it up to his ear and said and threw  it on the floor and said what good is a god that  doesn’t talk and that’s when they used that as  blasphemy and they came in and took over wow  so yeah so that’s one of the ways of like how can  we take over and but then there’s another concept  of where in the lord’s parents says you know  that kingdom come that will be done on earth as  as it is in heaven worth more heaven coming to  earth and that’s more of the instead of hoping  to be raptured or rescued or viewing every  interaction as hostile it is how do we make  this life uh look and approach more of like what  we expect in heaven because the one approach is  look the earth is cursed and we must prevail and  we must work hard

it’s something that you said in  our last interview because i was listening it  to again this morning of the idea of ease that  you can work hard but the feeling of it the  the hard work is still a life of ease where  things are coming easily where you’re not  uh striving or pushing against a brick wall  and that’s how it is that instead of this  uh trying to go automatically to conflict  it is the idea of instead no we are trying to live  an abundant life one that not necessarily mimics  heaven but one where we’re bringing those values  closer to earth well there’s a bible quote i love  the kingdom of heaven lies within and if that  is true then what if it’s just our allowance of  allowing that to show up in our life and that’s  where the real ease comes is from getting away  from how we were taught to be in the world because  our parents taught us you have to work hard you  have to study hard but what if you could work  joyfully and study joyfully and then everything  happens with ease but we’re kind of conditioned  by society and things for life to be a certain  way but what if when we start waking up and  realizing we do have this still small voice  within things can go a lot differently for us and  and

i do want to talk a lot about expectations uh  a lot of the patients that i see with a  debilitating mental health problems some of it  is from this expectation that i must be all these  things and the sheer weight of like wait i can’t  compete i i can’t become everything that i was  supposed to be um but at the same time how do we  embrace that idea but not get into mimicry  meaning uh and this is whether it’s christianity  or eastern religions this is kind of everywhere  but the idea of like not fake it till you make it  because we’ve talked before about how that works  out in many cases but almost uh a oprah type  spirituality that really isn’t anything like where  you just take jesse enough of the smorgasbord of  spirituality where you almost have something but  it’s it it only works until something bad happens  to you i think the real key is don’t take anything  at face value everything that you come across  start to question like what do i really know about  this what do i really need what do i really feel  about this who do i choose to be regarding this  instead of reacting we’re starting to choose  responses and that’s where we’re just showing  up more consciously in everything that we do  and not taking anything at face value because  that’s how we have so many religions nowadays  because somebody heard something and then they  instead of going into question they went into  well i got it differently so therefore you must  be wrong and then here we are with everybody  fighting against each other right

oh absolutely  and especially i come from a pentecostal tradition  so once you add the idea of a personal prophecy to  something which by its nature is esoteric and open  to interpretation i mean it almost becomes like a  science fiction off of like well if i heard it and  then it becomes it is like time travel where you  change the time but does that change the future  so you can get really spun into this world of like  let me make this happen instead of finding that  good balance between uh the one example i used to  use was uh something in the in a lot of christian  circles especially when i was younger there’s the  idea that god will find a mate for you so i had  this mental image of uh somebody in their basement  well more specifically their mom’s basement  just eating cheetos waiting for prince charming or  princess charmander just to materialize and again  it’s a balance because you also don’t want to be  the opposite where you’re trying so hard to find  the best person and you’ll just have no interest  in anyone who is up to your high standards that  you self become this judgmental person who you  know is not someone compatible with a long lasting  intimate relationship right

i always think it’s  more about a declaration of what you’re choosing  to the universe and i give the analogy of a robot  like once you say universe i would like to have  my perfect mate or whatever the universe starts  rowing it only knows yes but you have to do your  part too and if you don’t row then you end up just  going in a circle so it’s about that good orderly  direction my acronym for god because if you  remember i’m an acronym nerd you are yeah but it’s  like the good order direction to start declaring  your will to the universe and then taking a vested  role in the co-creation of that with you know with  the universe itself sure so what do we do when  we don’t get our will because in american culture  that’s that’s almost an obscene thing to say like  are you allowed to say that on the show this is  community tv get out of here nick and hey but it’s  so against everything americans believe that like  sometimes like you’re not good enough you can’t  do this thing you’re gonna have to do something  else i would say that if you’re really pure in  your conviction and it’s a true declaration  of well the universe only knows yes if it’s  there’s a nail down to walsh is one of my favorite  authors he wrote this book conversations with god  and one of his workshops he gave this example  this guy reading the bible and reading that  part about if you had faith so much as a mustard  seed you can move mountains and this guy goes out  because he was like the head deacon at his church  and he’s like i can move this mountain he’s like  he tries for days just staring at this mound just  mountain move you know and then at the end he goes  just as i thought so we have like one level belief  where we we think something’s possible but then we  also have this place where we know and if you’re  coming from the place of knowing i believe the  universe only knows yes but we are full filled  with self-doubt and we have to go on our own  journey to kind of heal that first okay that makes  more sense i get it and

i think too so there’s a  book about how a lot of those cliches like one is  god closes a door but it always opens a window as  an example and it’s very comforting at first  until you have like an actual devastating loss  that you can’t use bible verses like all things  work together for good to those who love god to  those who are called according to purpose because  like if you’re going to be looking at the truth  as you’ve mentioned if you see things that say are  you like nope this is still a terrible thing that  happened and that’s all there is to it so but a  lot of times it is more of an understanding that  there’s not this malevolent force of god trying  to teach us things through terrible heartache that  sometimes bad things happen and then we do what  we can with them and maybe i’m a little bit jaded  from my work you know in healthcare where you  know two uh two families are praying fervently for  you know they’re told to get better and one  does and one doesn’t and i think when we’re  younger uh going back to what we’re supposed  to talk about expectations like there’s this  understanding like well if i do this if i don’t  steal cookies if i listen to my mom and dad then  everything’s gonna go great but and we have such  a big cause and effect uh idea when we’re younger  too that well this happened just because i didn’t  do this right right

i’ve been sober 16 years and  in the programs of aa they say that expectations  are resentments waiting to happen and in shamanism  when we do healing work we say we do the work with  zero expectation that anything will happen yet we  do it anyway if we can remove the expectation that  a particular result is required anything that life  throws at us is typically we can receive it a lot  more easily and worth more grace right yeah and  for my own spiritual journey that was a very hard  but very important lesson that we are responsible  for the starting work but there isn’t a  situation where we’re responsible for the outcome  just how responsible for how we respond or  choose to be in relationship or actually i  like the word creation ship to the outcome right  absolutely um before i go off on another tangent  will you uh so you already showed me the singing  bowl earlier but i don’t want to forget because  i know we’re going to keep going and talking about  what just you know we’re just following the energy  but for those of you who are seeing me for the  first time i call myself the sonic shaman and  part of that is because i blend uh the peruvian  tradition of shamanism along with sound healing so  i just brought a crystal ball just to kind of get  a people a taste of what a crystal ball can sound  like and what it could do and the nice thing about  sound is it also is a bridging modality because  some people when it comes down to the shamanic  stuff they just don’t have space in their belief  system to think about it but with sound there’s  science behind it it causes a puffing response  in the cells that releases nitric oxide that  helps with inflammation and pain and then it  even goes into balancing energy centers which is  kind of bridging into more of the metaphysical  thing but i love it because some of the husbands  that come to me that are like this because their  wife dragging them i can speak to the science  behind the sound and people can kind of grasp it  and if they can see some science behind that  then maybe the shamanism is an easier step  no that makes sense there’s certain hurts where  if i play music in my clinic during ketamine  infusion a lot of times the patients seem to be  deeper into either the psychedelic experience  or they get more results from it so and one of  the shows that i was watching while you were  the filming that occurred before mine  they were talking about the organs and how  the liver could become fatty there was this lady  named barbara hero who did all this research with  frequencies of a healthy organ and by using tuning  forks or frequencies of healthy organs you can  help the organs come into sympathetic residents of  course i’m not a medical doctor i’m not claiming  to treat diagnose cure or any disease or anything  but like that just is another testament of how  sound and frequency can have a huge benefit to  the body right well and

i haven’t thought of  this term before but there is a nervous system  dissonance that i see with a lot of my patients  and i think in the next five to ten years we’ll  find that more and more an example is pots which  is a disorder where your blood pressure isn’t  stable and there’s so much more of it now that  long COVID has become a thing so i think in our  world the way that we don’t take care of ourselves  more and more the body is reacting by the  nervous system being completely out of whack 

 yeah there’s a guy named dr john boyeu he wrote  the book human tuning who had a theory that you  could tune the human body and he started doing  experiments in anechoic chambers and they could  actually tell the difference between the pitch  of the nervous system before and after the use  of certain tuning forks so just to go along when  you talk about that nervous system dissonance the  perfect fifth c256 and g384 specifically he found  was really beneficial for the immune or not immune  system for the nervous system

right well there  are connections too so at my clinic i often do  anesthesia blocks that target certain nerve  ganglions and it’s a way to kind of get your  nervous system your sympathetic and your  parasympathetic nervous system to align  and it’s just there’s new research showing that  you can actually get a pneumogenic pneumonia where  your mind gives you pneumonia because your nervous  system and your immune system are interconnected  in ways that scientists never before knew because  i think it was only a few years ago that they  found out you have lymph nodes in your brain  you think after hundreds of years of medical  students kind of categorize that they would have  noticed hey look there’s there’s lymph in the  brain as wel

l imagine what we’re going to know  tomorrow that we never dreamed that was possible  no but that’s a really great point and it’s  really like i think that’s where a lot of the  healing work starts too is give the benefit of the  doubt that maybe you don’t have to know something  in order to treat something or in order to  have a healing sometimes the magic is in  the mystery right and but if we if we follow the  traditional mind thought that it has to be proven  then we’re cutting ourselves off from all  these possibilities

right and in my practice that’s what i tell patients too you  seem even more blunt i’m like look i think you’ve  got enough money for diagnosis or treatment  which one would you feel like having like  a name to what you have or actually getting better  um and there in we might feel that there are some  limits to that like we want a general idea but  there comes a certain point where it’s like okay  this is gonna be five more specialists and a  lot of your insurance dollars to get exactly  to this or we could start in treating let’s say  with a ketamine infusion that’ll help break down  is this a structural issue is this your nervous  system and as we treat we get more and more ideas  and it’s a little bit different from like dr  Krywiak functional medicine where it is a lot of  let’s test and find out exactly what’s going  it depends on the patient like in my practice  usually i see patients after they’ve tried five  or six different things see that’s the thing i  love about dr k though she we have to probably  do a show with her so people have like know who  we’re talking about yeah but she’s i did do a zoom  show with her because i think this place closed  down during COVID

so there’s a lot of like can you  hear me am i on you right but she’s a functional  medicine doctor and she has this amazing bio i  forget what it’s called now but it like hooks  this machine lock this up and tells you all this  information but at the same time she has that  the md behind her where she’s also able to look  at you know prescribe things if she needs to  order blood tests and it’s a really good balance  and her and i work great together in that when i  run into something i send people to her and vice  versa because we just have such different skill  sets as do you like one it’s really uh really a  team type of a feeling where you know you get get  what you need here and then there’s this other  person that has this other piece to the puzzle  and really start putting together like a program  that is holistic that’s going to treat the body  the being and beyond right and a lot of it goes  into the discarding of the ego meaning that  especially in anesthesia if i know my skill  set i can do wonderful work because i can say  nope i’m not capable of this or this is risky  for the patient or this is the best option and  then we can go from there but once you’re  like well i think i can do this or i’m not  you know like well this isn’t really my specialty  but i don’t want to lose this patient that’s when  i feel you get into trouble right and ego of  course i have an acronym for that too oh good i  was hoping you would yeah edging got out that’s  when we’re like not allowing ourselves to tap  into that kingdom of heaven within or to that  that source consciousness that we have within  us and are trying to be the individual instead of  really acknowledging that we’re part of a whole  right and how because

i originally plan to talk  more about like how you came from addiction but  we’ve only got like a couple minutes left so we  can do another show on that but so instead uh what  you’re saying about ego how do we get that out of  spiritual practice because uh often my own concern  with spirituality is that if we make it completely  about ourselves and how we can almost bio biohack  our ways into becoming a more enlightened being  often we kind of leave other people in the dust  or we become so self-focused that we miss out well 

i think it’s more the energy of being self-first  as opposed to selfish so think of it like the  airplane when the mass comes down you take care of  yourself first and then you’re more able to help  others and that’s the energy and the ego i think  it’s a bad rap we blame a lot of things in the ego  but i feel that the ego is more like a prism it is  what allows us to have the contextual experience  here but it’s not necessarily like dictating but  we have to learn to use it for the purpose of  which it was intended to have an experience as  an individual when we’re really all one right so  that doesn’t make sense because we also know that  there’s a bible verse about the heart being  deceitfully wicked and what it means is many times  we look humble but it’s our own manifestation of  the ego like there’s plenty of people i know who  really serve and it seems to be a very unselfish  thing but that’s how they gratify themselves like  oh look at me i really have to do this this whole  place would fall apart if i wasn’t doing this  and it’s not it’s a lot more subtle than the  whole like let me inflate myself so everyone  sees how special i am well if we think if we all  embrace the concept of namaste may the god of me  greet the god in thee for the highest good then we  can be self-first but not in a way that imposes in  somebody else’s free will or their bubble or what  they’re choosing for themselves there is a balance  point but there are people who get caught up with  being selfish instead of self-first and that’s  where we get people doing things at the expense  of others and that’s there’s a fine line with that  well maybe a little bit of it is uh knowing a  polite and a true way to tell each other off  because i i feel that you know generations past  someone’s kids are acting up and the adult’s like  hey cut that out now it’s a big deal to do that  and it’s hard to uh find that life takes offense  to everything right one of my favorite quotes  from neil donald walsh is speak your truth but  soothe your words with peace we are able to speak  our truth but we’re we feel that the only way we  can be heard is by acting out sometimes and it’s  just a you know a reality check that no you don’t  have to act the way you were taught you can be  sovereign with who you are and be able to convey  convey so maybe the lesson there too is like uh  speak your truth and if people aren’t listening  or you feel like oh i really have to be outlanders  to get the likes or to get noticed or for them to  pay attention it’s like well you’ve already said  your thing like just move on right you don’t need  to you know bring fireworks with you and every  time you speak there’s a roman candle launching  or something to that effect whatever the digital  version of that one right yeah because you’re  really saying it for you you said your truth and  what the problem is when you don’t speak your  truth that’s when sometimes you internalize things  and you start to have perhaps health consequences  because you’re not allowing yourself to speak  what you need to say right

no that’s i see a lot  at my clinic a lot of times i’m like look i know  you came here for treatment for chronic pain but  if we just release a little bit of this anxiety  whether it’s from counseling or ketamine infusion  like the pain itself which six pain management  practices haven’t been able to uh do anything with  will actually dissipate so if you can just kind of  let yourself speak or let whatever’s inside of you  that is poisoning you like come on it doesn’t have  to be just cracked open and all in one fell swoop  but a lot of times unless we go to those dark  places in ourselves we have no hope of getting  better you know we could probably do a whole show  just on shadow work and shadow integration because  i find that’s probably the biggest thing where  i find people really need to with the work we do  they have to go inward and really start looking  at those things there is a study of inmates where  it asks like do you feel you’re more moral than  average or less moral than average and they found  out nope even people serving 20 years in jail  think well compared to the rest of humanity i’m  probably a little bit above average like we all  think like there’s something innate in us that  makes us just slightly above the curve well we’re  all uniquely different for sure so maybe that’s  part of the reason we think that way but really  what matters is like

who do i choose to be and  this is me that i’m proud of and like maybe not  compared to everybody and really the question is  is whatever i’m choosing serving me or not and  really getting in touch with who you really are  not who you were taught to be or not to be right 

yeah and that does go back to expectations that  you know was i taught to be a a good boy just so  i can make life more tolerable for those around me  or at the same time am i instead saying to people  that well you know you’ve got to accept me at my  worst to see me at my best which really means  i’m not going to be considerate in many cases  well this has been a great talk so for me  ascendhealthcenter.com you can also call  us 330-754 4844 we do a lot with anxiety depression  chronic pain issues we don’t use any opioids or  and we do use psychiatric meds when necessary but  we do have a lot of options for you and then if  people want to contact you

yep it’s my name it’s  hank settler.com and then on there i have links to  all my youtubes and things where i have all kinds  of content and of course i see people locally out  of the cleveland area as well as online and you’ve  got your tick tock too and i got my tick tock oh  i’ve been doing tick tick-tock’s like crazy i’m  the sonic shaman on tick-tock and that is also  my youtube channel but i’ve been having a ton  of fun that’s probably the most fun i’ve had  just making these little one-minute videos

that’s  great well thanks for joining us today everyone you are watching wctv  wadsworth community television

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