Interview with Dr Gary Wohlman

Dr. Gary Wohlman is an archaeologist of the soul. He integrates presentation coaching, transformational body therapy to awakening creativity and to liberate stored physical, emotional and creative energy in our bodies, our chief instrument of communication. In Australia, his “Wohlman Method for the Whole Person” therapeutic modality received government endorsement from the Department of Education & Training. His published book and living legacy, “Get up, stand up for your life”, is available on his mypresentationdoctor.com.

This episode of Resonate podcast, an inspiring conversation between Aideen Ni Riada and Dr. Gary WohIman, presentation coach, Transformational Somatic Trauma Therapist & Awakening Creativity Artist, we focus on sharing with our viewers a plethora of tools, tips and techniques Dr. Gary has created and developed over 50 years to bring your VOICE and MESSAGE out into the world as you’ve dreamed possible. It is our shared intention that, through listening and viewing this special session, that our audience find the courage to fully express ourselves, discover our purpose and inspire those around us.

Dr. Gary Wohlman is an archaeologist of the soul. He integrates presentation coaching, transformational body therapy to awakening creativity and to liberate stored physical, emotional and creative energy in our bodies, our chief instrument of communication.  In Australia, his “Wohlman Method for the Whole Person” therapeutic modality received government endorsement from the Department of Education & Training. His published book and living legacy, “Get up, stand up for your life”, is available on his mypresentationdoctor.com.  Dr Gary’s background also includes being a champion springboard diver, a professional improvisational storytelling court jester. Throughout his adventurous life, Dr Gary has guided souls on an inner journey to identify, express and manifest what matters the most in their lives, to fully embody their most passionate purpose in the world and trust moving into unknown directions that call to their heart and soul.

Connect with Dr. Gary

Website:  Dr. Gary Club

YouTube: @masteringpresentationskill4125

Audiobook: Dr. Gary Audiobook

00:02 Welcome. This is the Resonate Podcast with Aideen and my guest today is Gary Wohlman coming to us from Australia. You’re very welcome, Gary. Thank you so much, my dear. It’s a pleasure to know you. I did meet you through a networking event in Australia called the Serving Circle. And you’ve been at my voice and song session. Um, uh, they’re not classes, I suppose. They’re more like workshops and I love to have you there. So thank you so much for doing that.

00:32 I’d like to tell everyone a little bit about you and we’ll go from there. And looking forward to having a chat with you about your career, your journey within creativity and how you help people now as well. So Dr. Gary Holman is an archaeologist of the soul. He integrates presentation coaching, transformational body therapy.

01:00 And to awaken creativity and to liberate stored physical, emotional, and creative energy in our bodies, our chief instrument of communication. And Dr. Gary’s method for the whole person is a therapeutic modality that even received government endorsements in Australia. He also has a published book and living legacy called Get Up, Stand Up for Your Life, which is available through his website, mypresentationdoctor.com.

01:30 Gary’s background also includes being a champion, springboard diver, and a professional improvisational storytelling court jester. We’ll talk about that, Gary, for sure. Throughout his life, Gary has guided souls on an inner journey to identify, express, and manifest what matters the most in their lives, to fully embody their most passionate purpose in the world, and to trust moving into unknown directions.

02:00 that call to their heart and soul. Sounds beautiful. Tell us a little bit more about how you got there. Well, hearing you read those words, which I just recently written one of many revisits and revisions of that age old resume, it’s been an amazing journey in these 71 years of evolving.

02:30 as a soul now fully dedicated to serving humanity and awakening consciousness through the body. I’ve always been into the body from the earliest age, besides climbing trees like a monkey. I became a champion springboard diver, gymnast, track star, and I always enjoyed what the body, my body, could do.

03:00 interested in more metaphysical matters. Actually, springboard diving launched me into ways that I was able to navigate through space different positions and expressions and perception. It was absolutely a way for me to explore dimensions of being that I…

03:25 was very capable of doing with spins and twists, most of the time landing in a good way and other times puncturing eardrums and slicing parts of my body that still kept improving my ability with mind-body coordination. When I moved from the East Coast of the U.S. and began my Western migration of my entire life, I moved from New York to California.

03:53 And that was when I didn’t get into medical school. I had such a yearning to help and to connect the physical with the emotional and the mental and the creative. In my school, in the high school I went to, I went to a very highfalutin, very intellectually demanding, challenging, and up there high school called Horace Mann Private School in New York City.

04:21 and graduated in that school as the senior with the, I got the headmaster award and what that meant was I received, one senior student gets the award per year in the class of about 100 students, for the student that has the best combination of both athletics and academics. And that’s been my whole life. When I moved to.

04:47 San Francisco, I discovered the field since the Human Potential Movement was just beginning in 1973, Gestalt Therapy, Bioenergetics Therapy. I’d already been studying with J.L. Moreno in psychodrama near where I grew up in New York. He brought that over from Europe. And I had such a feeling of connection between the body, the mind, the emotions and creativity that when I had all these wonderful trainings.

05:14 wonderful trainings with all these different people who were body therapy trainers, out came all this creativity, out came all these songs and paintings and stories. Where in the world? And I made a dedication in my early 20s, and I remember this, that if we’re all buried in our own landscapes, just like you shared a few moments ago, Aideen, if we all are buried in our own landscapes and we have that physical layer.

05:41 on top of tension that is held in place by the emotional holding patterns, the self-talk, the decisions we made about can’t do this, limitation of that, belief of who we have to be from the different wounds that took place throughout our lives. Once we free, once I had my own physical tension freed and the emotional holding patterns released, out came these gifts of creativity.

06:06 And that’s when I made a decision that for the rest of my life, even in my early 20s, I yearned to create a pathway, a pioneering pathway, because I’ve always been a pioneer, always doing something first before other people ever did. It’s just my way through life to create pioneering pathways for people to awaken.

06:28 As an archaeologist of the soul, I didn’t have that terminology back then, freeing the physical, emotional and creative layers has become the source of my life. Wow. So moving, I kept, yeah, go ahead. That’s the question. I just want to reflect on what you’ve been saying because you’re saying a lot. And I want to make sure that our listeners are really absorbing that because

06:56 I mean, what I’m getting from it is that that our physical form may be more important in unravelling what we have within our mind and within our soul. And that we can’t let, let, leave that out when we’re trying to discover who we are or discover what our passions might be. And I know a lot of people don’t really.

07:25 and give their body maybe as much credit for that, which they maybe should. But I know for myself, it’s been a journey for me, my physical. And I’ve had some physical issues with problem with my foot since being a baby. And I’ve always been listening to my body and asking myself, why is my, why is the left side versus the right side having, you know, tension and.

07:54 So I’ve had issues to deal with that have drawn me into an awareness of my body that I probably didn’t have. But what you’re saying is even going a step further. It’s like that there’s something more within to offer the world, but it comes through exploring the body. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Well, I can. And hearing what you say, I’m going to respond to your mentioning now.

08:21 about the difference between the left side and the right side of the body. In my studies, in my practices, and in my understanding, I’ve developed this form of transformational body therapy over the years that stretches the muscles while speaking in rhyme like Dr. Seuss. At the same time, the muscles are being stretched on the exhalations. I’ve made a very specific science here, and I’ve discovered and learned to find by even touching the…

08:49 muscles in the body and hearing where a person’s challenged, the conversations that are embedded in the different areas, in the neck, the area of speaking one’s truth or being held back, in the heart that band around the chest and heart, the ability to receive a full breath, but also the connection between receiving breath, life force, emotional support, and abundance.

09:18 on all levels and dimensions of the being. So when I stretch those areas of the body or in doing more online work these days, help people to free these areas horizontally across the chest and heart, vertically from the neck down to the base of the spine, conversations that have been embedded begin to unravel. Tears come out, shame, blame, anger, pain unravels through the body. And I take people on a journey often.

09:47 when there’s a feeling of being held back, whether it’s a singer, a performer, a presenter. I worked particularly well with these types of people, being one myself, who have been held back recognize a time that my mom, well in my case, I’ll be just transparent with myself. My mom had great expectations for me. I did become an A student and a great scholar and a wonderful athlete.

10:17 with the huge expectations she had for me, I never felt good enough. So I developed this complex of trying too hard and never feeling like I could be enough, even though I’m kind of the opposite of that, I’m too much or I’m more than enough. And when I work with someone who has a similar pattern of their alive is being suppressed or being told, whether they’re a woman or a man or a woman,

10:45 be quiet, be in the background, don’t speak, who do you think you are? All of these things, we all have a version of that. I create this simple exercise, and it’s this exercise. I have someone shake their hands as though to flick out the old pattern. And after flicking out the old pattern, to let out what I call Monty Python velocity of ridiculousity. That is, to let out a vomiting sound as though you’re letting out the disgust about the attachment to the pattern.

11:14 of being held back. No one likes it. And so I’ll ask someone to go, blah, blah, blah, blah, but not to act it, to enact it with full sincerity. There may be crying, there may be tears. To get a person into the zone of reconnecting with the pain. And then I say, now take your right hand and extend it out towards the person that oppressed you and say to them, or if it’s a group or an experience, I address you. And from the way you brought me up and you were so critical and I felt good enough.

11:44 I’ve carried this feeling of worthlessness, even though I’m quite a commanding presence and I actually am able to achieve so much in this world, I still carry this unworthy pattern. It’s not who I am, but its how I developed a certain survival mechanism in order to deal with your oppression and criticism. I take this pain and ask a person to dip into one hand as though it’s a chalice and with the other and say, and I send it back to the source. I send it back.

12:14 back to where it came, which gets the energy out of the body. By that time, people are often very cheerful. They realize they’ve been holding onto this for decades. And then heels of the hands up into the air, heels of the feet down to the base of the ground, declaring, I reclaim fulfillment in my life. Renewed again. Today for me is a new day. And then I feel a little silly with them. And I say, do this with your hands on your hips. Go hip, hip. What comes next?

12:42 Hooray! That becomes a little silly and the silliness creates a bit of an anchor. Then the next part of that process, the ritual is my new self-talk is. It could be I’m worthy, what I say has value and people love to see me perform and be in my essence when I reach them with my fullest humanity and authenticity. It could be something like that. Then I have them sing it, whisper it, mouth it.

13:11 Do it in mine. Write it down. Sing it. I have them sing that affirmation three times until it becomes so much a part of this multi-sensorizing and anchoring program ritual that I’ve created for them that that becomes the new default program that they come from. It actually turns around their ability to communicate and share their essence with ease and with speaking from their inner core.

13:41 I realize I was about to start that particular conversation talking about the left side and the right side and I didn’t mention it so I’d like to mention that and then we’ll pause.

13:54 The left side and the right side of the body are often known as the left side, the female, or this nurturing side, the right side, the male. Often when I meet people who have a left side shut down, their relationship to self-nurturing is shut down and possibly some challenging relationship with their mother or female energy. It doesn’t have to be just their mom or a person. It can be that they shut down their ability to be nurturing and tap into their intuition.

14:23 When a person’s right side is shut down or tight, tighter, it often means that there’s a hesitation or an oppression or resistance or challenging relationship with one’s male energy. It could be even a woman that has that. Doesn’t have to be male. And it could be with the father or one’s ability to be assertive. So when I see the left and right side of the body and I work with it, then I help free.

14:47 So there’s a balance and harmony between the two. It’s about creating balance between one’s natural nurturing nature, intuition on the left side, and one’s natural assertiveness. Most people are skew one more than the other. So this is part of the practice is to create rituals where people experience that beautiful balance, a dynamic balance, because it’s always evolving between the intuition and the assertive nature. Yeah.

15:14 I mean, it’s so interesting that ritual that you’ve created, but also, I think it’s so important that you brought in the voice and with the body and the voice in many ways. The voice spoken, the voice in singing and even, you know, the inner voice and even the written voice. And it’s through using all of those together that you get that transformation. Is that right?

15:42 Yeah, it’s the multi-sensorizing of any statement that encodes this new self-talk as a mission statement into the cellular memory instantly by singing, whispering, mouthing with no sound, making gestures that are louder, clearer, writing it down, saying it in the mirror, doing it in first person eye, second person you, third person he or she.

16:12 Well, that’s a really great one. I learned that from, you know, Shakti Gawain’s book, create a visualization. And she, yeah. So she, this is something that, that might be something people might like to, to integrate. So simple. But if you write down an affirmation, like I am enough, and then the exercise would be to transfer it into the ‘you’ pronoun. So I am enough, say 18, and then it would be 18, you are enough.

16:41 And then from an outsider’s perspective, oh, Aideen, yes, she is enough. And saying it in those three different pronouns, as if you’re hearing someone talk about you, as if someone’s speaking to you and as if you’re speaking to yourself, and it can be really powerful. Right? You know, I want to piggyback on what you’re saying because

17:08 Having spent many years as a court jester, when I kept moving west, I moved to New York, California, Hawaii. When I moved to Hawaii, I came out as a court jester. Some people come out and they explore different sexual preferences. I came out and I had all this creativity that was burgeoning through me. I met a woman in the University of Hawaii that made costumes. I said, make me a jester’s hat.

17:35 make me a harlequin outfit, I’m not going to perform. And I did. I went teaching the living legends of Hawaii and artists in the school programs as the jester. The reason I’m bringing this up is one of the ways that I use this particular ritual is as the jester to encourage people to free not just of the words, but to bring it to a whole more fun, ridiculousity.

18:02 of velocity, of ridiculously level. So I ask people to do this. Imagine yourself taking the statement of, let’s say, who I am is worthy, and rather than just singing it, imagine yourself being a herald, heralding the good news for everyone to hear on the rooftops in the Middle Ages, and first starting off with a trumpet, as you’re trumpeting the good news for all to hear and do these exact sounds.

18:31 This is what it has someone do. So it brings the energy into something absolutely ridiculous and silly and wonderfully fun. They’re going, do this after me. And the person goes, do this. And they say these words, the good news is, and they say the good news is, he or she, I’ll say for myself right now, he Gary. He Gary.

19:00 when he speaks or when he sings. He is worthy! And so it gives a person a chance to broadcast it in a ridiculously fun and so silly way that it encodes even more easily than doing it as a more serious exercise. There’s far too many serious therapists out there and I’m not one of them. So this is what I find. To add the element of humor, more of you,

19:28 the equation absolutely accelerates the quickening, the deepening of this statement mattering by repeating it. Multi-sensorizing is my essence. By multi-sensorizing anything, it becomes memorable. It becomes more memorable than the old litanies where a person returns to this new statement

19:56 And then it shows up in the thinking, in the speaking, in the writing, in the singing, in the interactions, in the dreams. Yet first multi-sensorize it, paint it, and dance it. The more senses the better. And then it instantly shifts one’s entire ability to communicate and perceive through the body as the chief instrument of communication. It’s very powerful and it’s so much fun. Yeah. And so playful, you know, and almost childlike.

20:25 which I think is just beautiful because we do, I know that we, a lot of us restrict that playful side of ourselves as adults and almost become more serious or more self-critical. Would you like to speak about that? Yeah, yeah. When a person introduces to me a critical element, for example, let’s say,

20:51 They have a mother or father or sister or brother or teacher that was criticizing them. And they’ve internalized this self-talk of I’m now critical. I asked them to speak to the critic inside and to do a bit of an exercise. I have them with two hands. I say with one hand, speak to the critical side and say this to the critical side.

21:13 I now am ready to have a transformed relationship with you. Up to now I’ve allowed you to overpower me, put me down, I put others down. When I sing, when I present, when I perform, I feel like I’m not coming through in the clearest, most resonant way because I’m full of judgment. I’m going to give you a new job title, critic. I’m going to give you the job title of wise discerner.

21:41 of clear choices. So you can use that same energy all you want, but instead of tearing me and everybody else apart, you can just make better decisions about things. What do you think? I’ll take it. I’ll take the job. That sounds good to me. I’ve always wanted an upgrade. So that often is the way through to turn the critic into a wise discerner of clear choices.

22:11 negative reinforcer in my life around music. And my dad would say, you can’t make money in music. And, you know, he, it was, it was a phrase that he repeated to me more than once. That got very strongly embedded and took quite a, quite a, quite a bit for me to really address that and move on from that. But when I started to understand what that purpose was.

22:37 It was almost like instead of getting positive reinforcement, I was getting a form of negative reinforcement. It was a reinforcement that was challenging me to see how important it was for, to me. So it was, it was showing me that my choice was there. So I loved that you mentioned that they, the critic becomes someone who reveals a choice to you because that was what I eventually came to was that.

23:05 My dad was saying a very blanket statement about music that he truly believed in, was trying to protect me for whatever reason. But to me, it was something that I needed to see clearly as, okay, that is the danger zone. That’s maybe the negative consequence of going down a route. What can I do to address that negative consequence, but also take the steps toward what might be a very positive path for me?

23:36 So I love that. So, because everybody receives negative comments about things that they would love to do and that they are passionate about. Yeah, it’s so interesting, Aideen. I had a very similar experience. I was brought up in a Russian Jewish family. My mom hid from me the truth that all through my 20s, when I was coming out with all this creativity and all of these songs and poems and plays and paintings,

24:04 and from the body therapy and the release of this deep emotional release, transformative work, she did not tell me until I was well into my 30s already after having become a court jester. My parents said, why did you become a court jester before you did the best schools and the best education? What did you do? What did we do wrong? And then my mom told me in my 30s, she said, Gary, I have to tell you.

24:31 that my great grandfather played clarinet for the czar and his brother was an artist. But we’ve wanted to keep you all these years, protect you from having an insecure profession. We want you to have some normal what everybody else does, where you could have good money and a good retirement salary and a good health program. And it never interested me. The more they told me that, the more I realized.

24:58 Now I’m teaching people, showing people how to awake their creativity. That’s exactly what my mom said. You can’t make a living doing that. This is exactly what I’m doing. Wow. Oh my goodness. Well, we’re in good company. Um, but it, it, it is, it is a, just a, uh, an expression of love for that parent that unfortunately is suppressing your true authentic self. And I, I’ve seen parents do this to kids.

25:27 where the kid might say something like, oh, I’d like to do dancing. And the parent will say, oh, well, how about, you know, soccer and how about, you know, swimming? And they’ll offer an alternative that isn’t creative, that they think is more beneficial for whatever reason. And that really broke my heart when I overheard that conversation because I feel that kids know themselves better.

25:57 then their parents actually know them. And then when they come up with something, it can be a new journey that they want, a new path that they’d like to take that they probably need to explore to know for sure if it’s the right thing for them. But if we stop the exploration, that’s not great. Well, I broke free, you know, and I began to rebel and I continued this rebellion into my 20s, 30s, 40s.

26:25 when I came out as a court jester that was a huge act of rebellion. And yet it in some bizarre way tapped me in as a court jester to being in the courts, in which in Russia, my great-great-grandfather was already in that same realm. So in an unconscious way, I was playing out the ancestral wisdom and gifts that were buried. No wonder I’m so, I’m driven.

26:54 to help people in this way. I don’t do this because it’s a great advertising idea. I’m driven to help free people who are oppressed, who are feeling that they are so odd or so different that they can’t share the depths of their wisdom and warmth and wonder. And it’s become my entire life path to show others how to awaken that through song, through being a public speaker.

27:19 A lot of my work as a presentation coach these days online is actually to help people free their ability to visceralize their message so it can be seen, heard, felt, and experienced with a full body expression. I’ve had to learn this by taking my parents’ very strong and beautifully intended intellectual focus to something that if it didn’t make sense and it didn’t connect with the body,

27:49 I couldn’t relate to it. So when something makes sense, I always talk with people this way, when you can do something that actually appeals to as many of the senses as possible, that multi-sensorize the communication, everything makes sense. In one’s inner and outer life. I know with this conversation, it has to lead a little bit now into intuition, but before I do that, I would love to just update my listeners and for you as well.

28:19 that my dad is actually also a musician and was in a band and was working and everything. But recently, I he mentioned that he had written a melody and I mentioned, well, I’ve been writing lyrics and so we are actually collaborating on writing a song. And it feels like that healing journey is coming to to a new level and it’s a great blessing. So it is possible that, you know, that

28:45 we can reconnect to our parents to their creativity and we can encourage each other in that. So I was really excited that this summer that change happened. Yeah, beautiful to hear this in you. You know, it’s interesting how we do carry on the gifts and abilities from before and are meant to take it further.

29:15 couldn’t go and couldn’t take it further. When my mom’s sister, our youngest sister at age 20, heard that she had leukemia and died suddenly, my mom was 25, my mom’s reproductive system was so screwed up, she couldn’t get pregnant with me until she had all the right hormones and the best doctors in New York City pumped into her and then out came this supercharged kid. And she, when she, before she did that, you know, she, before she got pregnant with me.

29:44 She turned to her mom and she said, mom, the only way we can get through this, the deep loss of my sister and your daughter, let’s become artists. And they both became great artists. My mom and her grandma, my grandma, her mom, they became really good artists. My mom was an award-winning artist. And when my dad passed away, such a beautiful soul, at age 85,

30:11 I turned to my mom and said, Mom, now you can get back into your art. You have such a gift. She wouldn’t. She wouldn’t go there. She said, ah, it’s too messy and the odds are too messy and I have to be perfect when I do it. And okay, you know, she had her heyday. I’ve taken it further. I’ve totally taken it further by finding the place in all of us that is buried inside, that is hungry, yearning to come out in a good way and to make a difference in the world that

30:40 brings one’s legacy that may have never been talked about or hidden or held back to a whole new level. Right now, we’re in service to humanity. We’re either going to survive this present crisis we’re in or we’re not. And I feel like I have a sacred responsibility, and we all do, to step up, stand up, speak up, sing out the truths, the wisdoms that unless we do, we’re not going to make it.

31:10 We have to make it by taking a stand of command in our land, breathe in ground as never before. This is our work, this is our worship. We have this to do. So the motivation to share the gift of song, the gift of belonging, the gift of connection is more vital than it’s ever been. This is what drives me from deep inside. It’s phenomenal.

31:40 when you’re, we should be wrapping things up a little bit now. And what you’ve just said is I just got that feeling. Yeah. And so I’m just want to reflect on this senses, you know, on your encouragement to, to feel the feels and to let those senses guide us, but also let those senses heal us. So we can bring those senses into

32:09 into any healing process that will allow us to transform old energy quicker. But then we can also use those senses to acknowledge what’s true for us, truly true for us. That might be a guidance as to what we should be stepping into next. I love that. In summing up, because I know we’re needing to close pretty soon. But one of the ways I love to work with people, whether I’m online, doing a coaching session.

32:38 or face-to-face in the same room is to ask them to look at what sensations and locations in the body are being activated. And if you could give a voice that matches the senses, the sensations that are being activated at any one moment, what would your body say?

33:00 What would your heart say? What would your higher self say? What would your neck say? Whatever parts are being activated. And that brings the wisdom to the surface. We all have that capacity when given the permission. Oh, if it had a voice, it would say, it’s just right there. It’s right there when given permission. We all can pop out of it just like that. I love that you’re encouraging people to fully value themselves and value their creativity and value what they’re passionate about.

33:27 Thank you so much. Thank you all for listening. You’re, uh, bless you. And thank you so much. That’s it for today’s episode of the resonate podcast with Dr. Gary Wohlman. I’m Aideen. Thank you for listening. Bye, bye.

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