Fear Journey: I am intentional with Stewart Ramsey

When Kyle began his fear journey, he had recently experienced the loss of an important person in his life, Wendy Ramsey. She was, in his words, the center of their family. Wendy left an impact on everyone she encountered, inspiring Kyle in more ways than one. Most specifically, prompting him to explore the role fear plays with death. What is her legacy teaching him? And what is it teaching you?

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“Instead of saying, “‘F you,’ as my fear statement, it’s become, ‘what would Wendy do?” And I think that pretty much encapsulates this entire journey.” —Kyle

When Kyle began his fear journey, he had recently experienced the loss of an important person in his life, Wendy Ramsey. She was, in his words, the center of their family.

Wendy left an impact on everyone she encountered, inspiring Kyle in more ways than one. Most specifically,  prompting him to explore the role fear plays with death.  What is her legacy teaching him? And what is it teaching you?

After You Listen:

  • Join the journey with Kyle, text Tiffany to download a copy of the self-guided Fear Interview. Text the word FEAR to Tiffany at 317-350-8921.

I am intentional with Stewart Ramsey

Stewart: You really don't have to go very far, like scratch that far beneath the surface to discover that most people have similar stories to us, the ones that we're having right now, where you've lost a loved one, or, you know, some tragedy has occurred in their life and it's painful and it's full of hurt. And, um, I think mom would.

Be like, yeah, bro, lean in now, now that's on you. Like you have a new, you do have a new level of levels, empathy. Like whether you know it or not, or can articulate it, but like go, go out and . Use it.

Kyle: I'm Kyle Lacey, and this is my fear journey.

Uh, real fast for those of you who maybe, maybe this is the one you're jumping into, maybe this is the first one. And so we probably should give you just a little bit of background on what we're doing. Um, I went through what is called a fear interview a couple months ago. Um, and. The point of a fear interview is to kind of help me take time, to fully understand myself and take back control of this narrative in my head.

You know, this fear that's in my mind, it's in all of our minds, we all deal with it. Some of the fears that I called out were fear of death, fear of faith. And so we have episodes for those, but one of the main reasons why. Well, the reason why the fear of death came up in our interview is because, um, the passing of my aunt and stewards mother, Wendy, in may of this year, very lucky to have such a close family on my mom's side with my cousins and Stewart being one of them, because all of us are kind of around the same age.

And, you know, I've, I've ran into plenty of people. You know, they just don't like their cousins or they don't like their family. And we just got really lucky that our cousins have all kind of grown up to be very. Respectful and just great human beings and stewards one of them. And here's my conversation with my cousin, Stewart Ramsey,

Stewart: mom, Wendy Lee Ramsey. Um, she, uh, was an amazing human. Obviously I have some or a huge sense of bias as being her son, but I also feel, I feel very confident of. I was able to have a pretty objective viewpoint of who my mom was mostly because of how other people would communicate about her to me. And it was just always consistent.

So yeah, it's anybody or a lot of people probably could say, oh yeah, my most best, my mom's the greatest blah, blah, blah. But maybe not everybody. Or maybe less people could say like, oh yeah, but my best friends said she was a great lady. And. Her coworkers said she was a great lady and her husband and my dad said she was a great lady.

And, you know, on down the line, the concentric circles of relationships, just people more or less at the same view of who this lady was, who my mom was. So that gives me the kind of a cool, just more data points around. Really, really like who she was and who she consistently was, but she, uh, she was an amazing woman and just totally, I think, more than any other person that I've ever encountered, uh, just really embodied, uh, love in its truest sense, grace and its true sense and true.

And generosity. I, I, I think those would be like the key words that I'd pull out. I was just totally selfless. And then at the same time, she was the president of a mechanical construction company where they're doing like heating and air conditioning and commercial projects like hospitals and schools and things like that.

Her, my mom and my dad ran their business for like 33, 35 years and ended up selling it in a lot of that company. Success was due to her. So she had this pretty amazing professional career was she obviously cared a ton about, um, mostly because she could invest in people, but then her real, like I would say, quote, unquote life's work was.

Making herself available to love really well.

Kyle: My family moved away from Washington state where all of us pretty much congregated and we're in had family. And we were very lucky that Stewart's parents, uh, went into Wade, had a, uh, property on a river in Northern Idaho, around, around Sandpoint, Idaho. And we would go out there every summer, you know, and it was, and continues to be the place where we congregate.

And most of them. Most of us in the immediate family were married there. Um, most of our significant others were tested there as to be able to be welcomed into the family, but it all, it all centered around her and, and not, not in a way where she, it was pushed in that direction, but it was because she cared so deeply about everyone.

Right. I think that as, as I went through this interview process and, you know, uh, we had just lost her during that time. A lot of my thoughts were I don't, I don't want to leave this world without having at least a. Little bit of impact like Wendy did and you can, and you, you saw it through, you know, we, we had a celebration of life for her and everybody, you know, you all spoke and, but you see it through just the way that all of us live and try to invest in each other.

And because we had, we, we have and continue to have through, through all she lives in all of us. Right. That, that exactly. And I don't know if it was something I thought about a lot around that and I, and I continue to do.

Stewart: Yeah, totally, man. I mean, the, I will even, I guess I didn't even go into how mom died and like why or how and why she died as part of her background too, is that she got diagnosed with leukemia and, um, which normally when people have.

Uh, leukemia, I think very acute. Like when children get leukemia and die, like relatively quickly, she had a different form it's called chronic lymphocytic leukemia. And so it's the same process, but hers was just slowly. So we, she, that was, yeah, that was 2003. Uh, was when I was, she was diagnosed. So she had leukemia for 18 years and it finally caught up with her in, yeah.

And this year, may of 2021. And, um, it, she, she, uh, went through all of this. Really cool. Literally state-of-the-art treatments over those 18 years to avoid chemotherapy as much as possible, like have avoid toxicity when she could, and like completely changed their diet and all this stuff to try to beat the disease.

And it really helped, helped a lot. Like I look back on those 18 years and it's like, had she not been as proactive around her disease? Like gathering data and knowledge and being on top of her own blood work and all this stuff. Uh, yeah, we probably would've lost her a lot earlier realistically, but when she did pass away, there had been so much focus on mom.

Like, Hey, what do we gotta to do to help mom? What does she need? What does she need right now? Um, and, uh, and then. Yeah. I felt my focus almost immediately shift to my dad. Cause I mean, they had been, uh, they were like high school sweethearts. So my dad had been with this woman with windy for the majority of his life and she's gone.

And like I, so anyways, the point I'm trying to make is I felt like my, a lot of my focus went to my dad, which I've never seen my dad as devastated as that before. Understandably, but. Just kind of a new, gnarly experience to see kind of my dad at the bottom of the barrel. Um, but I think going back to your point of an, an, an a, maybe just starting to come around to this is like, there's some like easy, obvious ways.

Like, Hey, what does it look like for us to honor windy? Like, how do we do that in our family? I need my kids my four year. Max and my one-year-old Otis. I need them to understand all those great things that we talked about, about windy. Like, and then it came back and there's like easy, obvious things. Like mom always like had a tub of red vines or whatever, and like just simple step that like, Hey, we, this can be, we can use it as a reminder.

Um, but. I think the, the void or the size of the shoes that seem like they need filling, um, are massive, you know? And it just, I feel, uh, well just kind of going off the fear, like theme here, it's just that incredibly inadequate to ever be able to. Yeah, you can get close to what she was capable of, selflessly giving her community.

And obviously like our, to your point, our immediate family, um, immediate meaning extended in this, but like our family that we share, like was priority number one for her, you know, and to think of. Yeah, that we could ever like fill those shoes. And I don't even know if that's the right language, you know, I think I'm, I'm going to counseling right now to try to figure that out a little bit of like, what does it look like to honor her celebrate her?

She is in us, we are honoring her and celebrating her, but what, how do I fill those shoes? Is, are those the right questions to be asking like, Yeah,

Kyle: no, I, I, so I, I think what was, um, it was interesting because after it happened and I've reflected and there'll be, uh, random moments throughout the day where I wouldn't say it's daily, but where something will happen, where I will think about her.

It's not a, I know I'm like choking up just talking about that, but it's not a, it's not a painful thing. It's more, it's more of that. That's the example, right? It's like she was such a center of influence that it makes me. Want to try to be that. And I don't, and I'm not sure if that sphere right now. I think the fear is telling me that I'm that I am not even close.

I mean, even you sad. Yeah. We're not even close to being, we're not even close that the influence that she had and, but all that we can do is try to better understand how to at least start. And for me, it's been, Hey, I need. We, my family needs more tradition, right? I mean, what makes that so powerful for me is the fact that I've been to that place, what we call, what the family calls, the magic cabin, and it's magical.

It was magical because of her and him. And, uh, we'll be in the future. But for me, it's, for me, it's been tough trying to figure out what to do with my kids. And create that tradition as much as I can. And I fear the fear is telling me you are never going to live up to what she did. And I don't think we need to.

They bought this property in the early eighties, I think. And it was just. Patch of weeds. And since the 80, 81, 19 80, 19 81, they've built up. Like we event, we initially went there and there was a, uh, camper and there'd be tense and it's, you know, it's right on the water. The river's about two miles wide.

It's huge. Um, Yeah, it's two miles wide, but it's really, really, really, really long. And it's, and it's right. It's mountain water. Cause it's up in, I mean, it's Northern Idaho, so there's a lot of glaciers and, and you,

you stayed in tents and then they built a garage that we all slept in and then they built a house. And then as the family got bigger, We had to rent hotels and all that stuff, but most of the family conversations would either happen down on the dock. They still do. I keep saying that they don't like we did this couple of months ago.

Uh, they go down on the dock where it's like six o'clock in the morning and the water is glass and everybody sits down there with coffee. Or it's exact opposite where you start a fire and everybody sits around the fire and talks. You know, everybody got married there. All the cousins got married there.

When we were, when we were all there, you could, you could always tell that she would spend a certain amount of time with everyone, like a one-on-one. And so you've got like, God, how many cousins do we have? Good. Six or seven. And you would see that throughout the weekend or week of her spending time doing that and talking to people, you didn't necessarily see that from anyone else.

She, she was the one that went about, uh, seeking that I've been spending like two months just trying to write down everything. And it really was. How intentional she was about everything. And so if there was something that, that she disagreed with, she would, she would like kind of tell you, then come around like four months later and ask you about it.

But that's just, that's just being intentional because most people, they don't do that. Most people do not do that. They ask you if you're all right, you say yes, and then you just move on and she, you could tell. That she actually cared

Stewart: the little exercises that I've done, you know, it's like, what would your mom say to you if she was sitting in the room right now, which is like, it's amazing how such a simple exercise can, how profound it can be. But like a lot of that times when I'm working through that exercise, it's like, um, she's like, bro, don't worry about it.

Like. I'll have that expectation of you and, and like a lot of affirming stuff of like, oh, you already are doing it, you know? And then, um, but then even like, kind of just going off some of the, what you just said that, um,

I think for her to achieve the level of influence that she did paradoxically. She was able to achieve that because she was not ever trying to achieve it. She was like this person, Kyle, this person, Stuart, this person is sitting in front of me and I am with you. And I care about you. And I'm going to show you that by primarily listening and then empathizing.

And then telling you the truth in love. Like she was so good at, especially for me as a son. And I'm like, I'm sure. Or I know she did this with you because you did it with everybody and because she loved you, but like, she could completely like admonish me and be like, Hey, you're being such a douchebag, but like feeling.

Loved in that scenario. And that's just, that is really special and like, kind of weird. So I think you brought it up before where it was like, um, you know, was she, was it just this natural ability or was it a skillset or something? And I, I kind of think it's both is like, she was built that way or created that way or whatever.

And, and then she also, at some point. I realize that she had, uh, a muscle that she could flex and, um, yeah. And just did it with complete humility, you know, like where maybe you or I had. Oh, I have this, I have this skill set. I'm going to like freaking manipulate people with it or something, you know?

Kyle: So some people said, I think one thing to call out is that she, she dealt with the disease for ever. Like, I, I actually, it was a revelation to me. That she had been dealing with it for that long. And some people might be sitting here thinking, oh, well it was her fear of death that made her do that and, or made her live that way.

She was, she's always been like that. And are her sisters and brother, you know, my mom, um, our aunts and uncles, they're all like that. Right. And I think that it helps me. Deal with some of the mind trash or head trash. When I realized that it's a, we, we have it, we have that DNA. We just have to be more cognizant of it.

And, and because of what happened I am, and that is, that is a. Embarrassing to say, honestly. Um, and I think it's part of, uh, a legacy that she will always have is that I'm not sure that any of us will forget it ever, and we will continue to strive to be better because of. No, we can't, we can't speak for your brother, but I guarantee you, he would say the same thing.

Um, and that's where, you know, part, part of the, part of the process, the fear interview is you, you coming up with like fear response. I can't actually remember what it's called, but like a fear response. Am I? So the therapist says. As you leave and go out on your, uh, out on your day and your week and months and years, and you hear feet, you hear that third person for your telling you something, you need to state fierce statement of what you say to fear when you hear it.

So, as, as I, as we went out and had, um, you know, Wendy's celebration of life and we got to spend a lot of time as a family together, my ah, My fear statement kind of changed from what you were talking about? Like what, what, uh, I mean, it's, uh, it's what, yeah. What would Wendy say? What would she do in this situation?

And, you know, if you, you can talk about legacy all day long, but that, that is if I can, um, at the very least. If my kids can think that way, um, then, then I'm not fearful anymore. And that, and I think that, that, that's kind of the, the realization that I've come to as I've thought about this is that's, I will never live up to.

And I, this is not fear of talking. I know. Um, she, she had, she had a gift to be able to do this and I will never live up to that full. I don't have enough empathy as a human being to begin your mom. Your mom had tons of it. Most people don't. Yeah, definitely. But that's kind of what, like, that's where I've landed as I've thought about this.

That's kind of where I've landed. Yeah.

Stewart: Yeah, man. That's like kind of give so much that I would like to respond to with that new site.

Mostly around the idea of like, like windy had fears, you know what I mean? Like it's not, um, to like, it's a weird thing to conquer fear or like move past it. And I, and I think there's a lot of good, like wrapped up in that obviously like, you know, like you're trying to climb Mount Everest. There's obviously like fears involved in that whole process, but.

To conquer those fears and stand on top of the mountain in this case, the proverbial mountain site. There's, there's a lot of great, great things that come from that. Um, but like sneaking through my mom's journals, I was just so after she passed away, um, which I still am like conflicted about whether that was a good thing or a bad thing to do, but it was so, I mean, I actually.

I think it was a great thing for me to do, but I'm sure to just process through stuff, but yeah. To kind of get hints to some of those fears, fear of death, you know what I mean? Like, uh, she was not pumped to not be able to be a grandma, you know, and not, uh, like that's, that's real, you know, and then, um, but then another like huge, like.

Glaringly consistent thing that in her writing was, uh, this weird thing that we're, as she as heard the amount of like suffering expanded in her life, she also experienced this like equal and opposite. Uh, uh, ability to like experience joy and love. And, um, and, and so like, that's just a weird thing. I don't, I don't totally know what to do with that.

Other than like, we have experienced a loss and they experienced some suffering and like a lot of that hurts and just sucks and is garbage. Um, But like going back to that, my mom was writing about, I, I also think it's like growing us. I can't say that it's like conquering fears necessarily, but it's like equally stretching us in the, in the ways of, I think maybe ways that mom was really good at like being able to empathize with people of like, we.

We've experienced a new level of suffering and you really don't have to go very far, like scratch that far beneath the surface to discover that most people have similar stories to us, the ones that we're having right now, where you've lost a loved one, or, you know, some tragedy has occurred in their life and, um, and it's painful and it's full of hurt.

And, um, I think mom would. Be like, yeah, bro, lean in now, now that's on you. Like you have a new, you do have a new level of level of empathy. Like whether you know it or not, or can articulate it, but like go, um, go out and use it.

Kyle: Well, one thing that I've kind of, that I was part of this process and I didn't actually connect it to, this is the shared, shared law.

And the fact that you should have conversations about this with other people outside of the people who, who your loved ones that experienced it and that. And so I, I actually didn't connect that. I thought, oh, the first person I thought of, of course the first two were you in Spencer's Spencer's stewards, older brother.

Because we had just experienced that, but there are plenty of people that I know who have experienced it as well. And I actually didn't even think about the fact that I should be having those conversations with other people and not just people where, where we've, we've experienced the same type of loss, because then it grow.

Then it, then it actually becomes more like, I think it's closer to what Wendy would have done. Anyway, which is bring the community together and not just be one-off conversations. And I actually didn't think about that until you used, you said it

Stewart: well. And I think, I think that is like a great example of like the us, like trying or like beginning to understand the shoes that need to be filled is that she would be like, okay, now, you know, you have a new knowledge.

You gained. Piece of knowledge. And so like, you need to pay attention. So, and I think like a good example, hypothetical example of that would be like, you're interacting with someone who obviously isn't connected to like our direct loss, but like might be acting irrationally or like in properly, or is, you can tell that there's hurt behind whatever the action or like language might be.

That's either coming at you or going with somebody else. You manage a lot of people. Like, I'm sure you deal with this all the time, but like, Being able to in grace and love and empathy, uh, the like understand that there might be something more going on giving space for that person to communicate about it and relating with them.

And I think that that's like, I think that's a huge call. First of all, it's something that I'm not. Naturally gifted. That is in the ways that she is. But, but, uh, um, but I do think that that's the like direct application of, of what we're talking about. You know, it's like you bro, you know, now, like, you know, and it sucks, but use it for good go use it for good.

And a lot of, that's just, she just listened to. Yeah, in part,

Kyle: in part of part of conquering fear, doesn't matter, a fear of whatever, whatever the hell you're afraid of. Part of it is having conversations with people and learning how other people deal with fear and deal with addiction and death and failure.

And that was a small part of this, but I think that anybody listening. I'm going to just going to double down on the fact that you should continue to have conversations about this stuff. And just because I'm going through interviews about fear doesn't mean that I need to stop or should stop on just fully understanding how it affects my life and, you know, and doubling down on the theme of today.

You know, I, I, the more I can share. Your mom's story, the better is there. There are very few people who live that way and we all should

Stewart: to at least. The ability to, for sure. And I, I love that, you know, cause I'm not gonna reach that. But, uh, but I mean just for like, from a very practical standpoint, I really love that idea that like, as you're gathering data, which happens in community right by, because you're thinking right.

A conversation is just as you and I were thinking out loud, I don't really know what I think until I like comes out of my mouth. And a lot of times. I'm hearing myself say things as much as you are hearing them, you know? And, um, so like the, that idea that you're out there, it takes community to like unpack data points.

And the more data points you have around a thing that you might be afraid of, whether it's death or like going back to like climbing a mountain or something. It's like, if you. If you're climbing Everest. Yeah. That's insane. But as you learn more about it, like you are like, oh, well this is the route. This is the time of year.

These, these are the tools, this is the gear. This is the crew. And suddenly that at least the weight of the fear is it seems to like reduce, it becomes a little bit more manageable or like a little bit more bite-sized and is still is non-obvious or. We maybe don't want to engage with that stuff or feel like we don't have time for it or

Kyle: whatever.

Yeah. I think, I think the main point honestly, is that you shouldn't have to go through a fear interview to tell a beautiful story. I'm not sure that like, I would hope that I would share your mom's story with people, but it's been height heightened because of this, because yeah, because of the fear I have a.

You know, whether it's tomorrow or hopefully not, but whether it's tomorrow fit 50 years from now, six years from now, 40 years from now, whatever I want, I want people to have this conversation about me and my family. Right. Because of the influence that your mom had over all of us, then that's. I would hope that I would have done that outside of this fear interview, but it was like a cute, because when they asked me to do it and they told me what the fear interview was, that was the first, the first thing I thought of was death death.

That your mom was the first person I thought of. And I don't think that's fear. I think it's just the, it's my yearning to be more like her or closer to her, me.

Stewart: Well, and I might even mentioned it. I mean, not to put words in your mouth, but like, it seems like that fear of fear of death is more closely. It seems like it's more closely associated with like leaving the proper legacy.

Yeah. And having had time to like, have done that,

Kyle: you know, you can, you could say that all day long, but when you, when it, when something happens where it's. Visible, right? Like you're, you can see it happening and you see, you see an example of what you want, right? Yeah. I think that's what made it so front and center and where we're, I mean, we can, we could end the conversation on a good story or whatever, but we are very lucky you and I and our family.

So. To be able to experience that, to be able to have that as an example, because most people don't,

Stewart: it seems like to me, the only appropriate response is a gratitude is like being grateful for like, because what else do you do? It's like, this was amazing. Wow. And it was really rare. We have this great example in the, this human's life and Winnie Ramsey grateful.

Like I don't, I don't know what else to do or what you can do other than like,

Kyle: well, we better, we better figure it out. Cause we have a . Lot to live up to

Tiffany: before the fear interview. Were you aware that you had a fear of death?

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah, it's, it's, it's, uh, the, this whole idea of legacy, which Stewart, and I kind of talked about, uh, that, that is definitely, that's been top of mind only, just because, you know, my parents are getting older, so it's probably just more, uh, front and center.

So you, you, so, yeah, it just, it just was compounded, I think when Wendy died, so I'd always thought about it, but she gave me an example of.

Tiffany: One of the things that you talk about in the conversation with Stewart is that you don't think that you'll ever live up to Wendy's example or her legacy. What, what, how help the audience understand

Kyle: that?

I think that's probably more a fear of talking than it is me. If you call it out, right? Maybe it's more of the understanding that I don't believe that you have to necessarily live into somebody's legacy. You create your own. And so that for sure, the statement on the interview with Stewart was definitely more fear talking that I could never invest into people deep enough that Wendy did or care enough about driving conflict and relationships like she did with Stewart.

And she did with me, but I know I can, and I'm starting to do it with just trying to create memories. With my kids that are tradition, because I think that was the root of all of it. What was telling was that she did it with everyone. It wasn't even like her family. It was just constant. And it wasn't, it wasn't, uh, because of the cancer, she, you know, Stuart talks about reading or her journal.

She was thinking about that when she was like 17 or 18 years old, like. It just came very naturally.

if you were doing this when she was still living, what would you tell her if she was sitting on this with us?

Kyle: What would I tell her? I mean, it's probably thank you. Yeah. I mean that she, she, and she knew this when she was alive, but, uh, she, she guided all of us and I would assume that.

I would assume that most of the cousins would say that as well. That there's not really much more you can say than that because, uh, there was, she had such impact.

Tiffany: What will you do now as a result of the legacy she has left?

Kyle: Like try to be intentional. I think it's, I think it's reminding myself daily.

About, um, taking it, taking it one step further to invest and people and individuals and, uh, ask questions. Um, just in terms of like more than just the surface level questions, which has kind of been this, this journey in general is taking it a little bit. Intentionality is the number one thing it's like just digging into investing a little bit deeper than just asking people how they're doing.

Tiffany: You can continue to hear his journey by listening to the following episodes. And I encourage you to listen to each of these and think through what are your own fears and how would your life be served by having intentional conversations about the fear is so desperately wants to quiet the greatness that is inside of you.

If you're interested in more intentionally exploring your own fear, going on your own self guided fear journey. Download the fear interview that we developed with Nathaniel Maguire. Nathaniel is who did both my fear interview and Kyle's link is located in the show notes. Or you can also text me 3 1 7 3 5 0 8 9 2 1 text the word fear to 3 1 7 3 5 0 8 9 2.

And that's how I'll know that you would like a copy of the self guided fear interview. Thanks for listening.

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