Scott Shigeoka sits down to talk human to me about the beauty in every human, the infinite connections between humans from all our senses, his path to finding his identity in the LGBTQ community, his emotional healing journey from domestic and sexual abuse, the complex relationship he had with his father, and the importance of holding space for each other.
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Our Conversation with Scott Shigeoka
00:24 Jeffrey Shiau: Okay, lets get started. [chuckle] Scott, Scotty, I'm so excited to do this. I've been wanting to have this conversation with you also forever. I forget when we met. Before we met at the pier, how did we meet?
00:43 Scott Shigeoka: We met online.
00:45 Jeffrey Shiau: Oh, we did.
00:45 Scott Shigeoka: We're an online meeting story.
00:47 Jeffrey Shiau: We're an online meeting story. Okay. It was probably Facebook.
00:50 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah.
00:50 Jeffrey Shiau: Okay. I forgot who it was through, but it just happened and it worked out. Oh, I think I know why. I brought something up and then you're like, "Oh," and you actually commented back in those and then that's how we decided to go hang out together. [chuckle]
01:04 Scott Shigeoka: You heard it here first, folks.
01:05 Jeffrey Shiau: Yes, exactly.
01:06 Scott Shigeoka: Facebook.
01:08 Jeffrey Shiau: So, as a lot of our listeners know, I start with the exact same question every single episode. And that is, what about humans strikes you the most?
01:30 Scott Shigeoka: They're so beautiful. [chuckle] I love the way that everything falls into place on a human. And what I mean by that is, there's something that's connected to another thing, everything's so interconnected, and it's all so neatly placed on us, in my eyes, in my perspective. And I mean that physically, but I also mean that spiritually, and I also mean that socially. I feel like I've lived a life where so many instances have felt like serendipity, or I've met someone and they look so familiar to me. Or I look at my hands and I wonder what's the relationship between my hands, my left and my right. And also feeling so grateful for them. That I have these things that do so much for me, and I just think that people are so beautiful. And I think a lot about what exists beyond humanity, too. But you just asked me about humans.
02:56 Jeffrey Shiau: Well, talk about humanity, what exists beyond?
03:00 Scott Shigeoka: I think about the fact that there's a word for the light that shines through trees in Japanese. I wish I knew what that word was. [chuckle] You can google it. And I also think about...
03:17 Jeffrey Shiau: Is it the way like "Oh, there's a word for Umami, but not in English." There's a...
03:22 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah, I don't know if there's a word for "the way that light shines through trees" in English. There might be, I don't have an expansive vocabulary.
03:29 Jeffrey Shiau: That's right. They're actually the same thing. It's very much the same in Chinese. There's a lot of words in Chinese, like I'll see my parents struggling to express something in English 'cause they're like, "There's no word for it."
03:41 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. But more than the word I just like that there is a word for that. And I was in this yurt, and...
03:50 Jeffrey Shiau: What's a yurt?
03:51 Scott Shigeoka: A yurt is a structure that has different cultural meanings for yurt. Yurt means a lot of different things to different people. But in this particular case, this yurt was in Iceland, and it was actually built for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and my friend...
04:10 Jeffrey Shiau: The movie?
04:11 Scott Shigeoka: The movie, yeah.
04:12 Jeffrey Shiau: Okay.
04:12 Scott Shigeoka: And my friend basically said, in a nice sounding accent, "You can use this land if I get the yurt." [laughter] So he has a yurt now. And I slept in this yurt for a few days. And one of the individuals, the humans, the beautiful humans I was with, she was Japanese. Her name is Yoko, and she taught me about the definition of my last name, Shigeoka. And again, I clearly don't know a lot about Japanese, I am Japanese, and I wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to go deeper into who I am, my ancestry, and she said my last name Shigeoka means layers of hills. And so how I interpreted that is, when you're driving, and you see in the distance, maybe in a dessert, you see this haze around the mountain tops, and there's so many mountains, that extends so far beyond what you can see in your naked eye, that they almost blend together in the 2D way, but they're actually hundreds or thousands of feet away from each other or more.
05:24 Scott Shigeoka: And she said that, "In Japanese naming convention, your last name balances out your first name." And so, my first name is Scott Shigeoka, which is not Japanese. And she said, "Well, if I was gonna give you a Japanese first name, it would be something like... " and she looked out towards the sky for a few seconds and she said, "Satoru." And I was like, "What's Satoru? What does that mean?" And she said, "It means enlightenment." And I said, "Why did you give me that name?" And she says, "Because Shigeoka is very grounded, it's a grounded name. And so it needs something to balance out its grounded-ness."
06:00 Scott Shigeoka: So Satoru "enlightenment" feels light and it feels aspirational and it feels like it's pulling in an opposite direction. And I thought that was so beautiful that there are conventions that humans created that are about balance and are about the way in which we are named, and are about things that we see with our eyes and I want to bring meaning to our life. And there's so many things in that story that I find so fascinating and beautiful, and I think it's a representation of who Yoko is. And I feel like that is why I feel like humans are so beautiful because we think about those things. Like somebody in some point in time thought about that.
06:50 Jeffrey Shiau: Does she live in Iceland or...
06:54 Scott Shigeoka: She lives in DC.
06:55 Jeffrey Shiau: Okay. Oh, so she was she was traveling with you?
06:58 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah, I was putting on an artist residency at that time.
07:02 Jeffrey Shiau: Oh, great.
07:03 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. And she was one of our artists. She's really fascinating and does really cool work around sound. So she creates music, beautiful music. She's an ambient electronic musician. And she had a near-death experience and she realized in the hospital bed that there's all these sounds in a hospital that are just not conducive to healing, and not conducive to me feeling taken care of. And so she asked people... She would be a great person for this. She asked people a really provocative question, which is, "What is the last sound you'd wish to hear before you die?" Because they say that sound is the last sense to go. And...
07:50 Jeffrey Shiau: That's interesting, because it is the first sense to receive, I think. Think about any time... All your other senses, but it is one thing that's very sensitive and that allows us to react and receive something. A baby doesn't emit enough of a smell to warn you. It doesn't do something with its arms to catch your eye's attention. It doesn't throw something into your mouth to get your attention, it wails and it cries. Because it knows that the ear can be the first thing to receive in a moment of need. Just as the first thing that pulls your attention is usually a sound, not a smell, not something you see, not something you taste; so I always found that fascinating. Like why is the ear so sensitive? And elicits so many emotions, so that just blew my mind what you're talking about. And when she recognized, why do people always feel bad at hospitals? It is because of the sounds, it's like "Oh my God, but she's right. There's always all these sounds that are not comfortable."
09:14 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. And it's all the senses, really. There's a hospital somewhere in Asia that has a bakery in its basement, so that you can smell this lovely, beautiful scent. That really brings back a lot of memories, but also feels homey. And so I like that humans think about those kinds of things. That there are those beautiful humans that whether you're at the beginning of life are at the end or somewhere in the middle, maybe you're in a rough spot, there's someone thinking about how to help you feel a little bit more well. And I think that's such a beautiful thing.
09:57 Jeffrey Shiau: All these connections that you think about and just the senses and our almost unspoken kind of energies. Like some people believe this there's actually aura that can be visualized between two people, even if they're not touching. When was the first time you very viscerally understood or started recognizing, "Wow, I'm very in tune with myself, my body, or/and also the people around me."?
10:51 Scott Shigeoka: So, I had a tree, at my backyard, this is connected. I had a tree in my backyard, it was a mango tree and I grew up in Hawaii. And my grandma, my grandpa they built this mango picker, it's a bamboo stick with a claw at the end of it. And we used to pick mangoes together. And when I was little this bamboo stick was 10 feet tall or long, so I couldn't hold it up with my strength. And so they would be right behind me kind of supporting the bamboo stick, so I can be picking mangoes, putting them in our bags and then we'd sell them sometimes. We'd run around and sell them. And sometimes we'd give them to neighbors. Sometimes we would eat them ourselves or give them to friends or family. And then they would reward me, and they would take me out to the beach. And we'd go body-boarding and we'd eat lunch on the sand and then we'd go home. It was like a really beautiful tradition or ritual that we would do. And in sixth grade around that time my Dad, who is really great with his hands, he wanted to create a tree house with me. So I was super excited, obviously, because tree houses are amazing. [chuckle] And he mapped out this plan of a two-storey tree house, multiple ladders. I mean, this went so high into the mango tree that I could see the entire surrounding area.
12:23 Jeffrey Shiau: The mango tree was that big?
12:24 Scott Shigeoka: It was massive. There was hundreds of mangoes on this tree. It was huge.
12:29 Jeffrey Shiau: Oh, it's just not your typical backyard like apple tree?
12:32 Scott Shigeoka: Oh, no. This is 40...
12:32 Jeffrey Shiau: Oh, okay. [chuckle]
12:34 Scott Shigeoka: 40 feet tall probably. And we would get pallets, and we'd get plywood, and we'd nail this thing together, and we followed his plan, and we had this beautiful tree house. And I remember this becoming a sanctuary for me and also a play house. It served two purposes. Play house first, and then sanctuary. A few months after we built that tree house, my dad went to prison. And I was going through this moment in my life where there was a lot of trauma and a lot of not so great things that were happening. And...
13:15 Jeffrey Shiau: How old were you?
13:16 Scott Shigeoka: This is in middle school.
13:18 Jeffrey Shiau: So you were like 12, 13?
13:20 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah, around there. And...
13:23 Jeffrey Shiau: Can I ask why he had to go to prison?
13:26 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. So we have this three-strike policy in Hawaii and a few other states have it too. So basically, if you get arrested for the same crime, after the third strike, you get this sentence that might look disproportionate to the crime, but because there's this three-strike policy, you get an extended period in the criminal justice system. What he did was he is an alcoholic and he would basically drink and then try to drive. And that's obviously very dangerous. I do not condone that at all. And it's also the root of an illness, an addiction. And so this happened, other things were happening in my life, as well. And this tree house became this place for me to, no longer just play in. I used to create movies there. I used to invite my friends up there.
14:30 Scott Shigeoka: But it became this place where I now was healing. And I didn't consciously know that that was happening, but your question was, "When did you know you were so connected to your senses?" And I remember being up in this tree house and feeling my emotions, and internalizing, and processing my emotions. And I felt physiologically something moving in my stomach as I was taking all this emotion in. And that was a way that I was processing all of these experiences, trying to make sense of it, and trying to detach from it. And it all happened in the midst of these trees, and in the midst of this mango tree that also gave us so much. Like this was a tree where we pulled mango from it, and we got to eat nourishing fruit. Obviously my favorite food in the world, mangoes. And then two, we got money from it because we sold mangoes. Three, we got street cred 'cause we had the best mangoes on our street. [chuckle] And it was a... Four, a gift giving tree. We could give it to so many people. And then five, it was this structure, this skeleton for my sanctuary. And that was the place where I first connected to my senses in a really clear way. Where I started to question why I was feeling this way, and question why my body was reacting to the stress in this way. And...
16:13 Jeffrey Shiau: Was it overwhelming at first?
16:16 Scott Shigeoka: It was almost like intuitively, I knew I had to do that. I knew I had to scrunch up into a ball and process my emotions in that way. And it was my therapy. And it was self-guided and self-directed. No one told me to go scrunch up in a ball and go to the tree house. That was just something that I felt like I needed to do. And many years later, my dad got out of prison and he died a few years after that. And many, many years after that, I remember telling this story and my friend asked me, "Do you think he knew that you needed that space? That tree house? Do you think he built that intentionally for you?" And this actually happened in Oakland when I was questioned this. And he said, "He must have because it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of energy, resources, money to build this tree house. He probably knew that you were about to go through something and that you might want a space for yourself to go through that with." And we call that anticipatory need finding in the work that I do. But I think outside of the professional world that's just like anticipating needs. Like knowing what someone might need in the future, even though it's not present today.
17:51 Scott Shigeoka: And again, why I think humans are beautiful, because that's what we're capable of. [chuckle] We're capable of anticipating what's to come and what people might need now, or what we should start building now for what is to come later. And, humans are capable of intuitively knowing how to heal through trauma and trust. I didn't need someone to tell me how to process things. I was lucky to live in a place like Hawaii and be surrounded by people who, whether intentionally or not, helped me learn how to connect to my intuitive self. So that was how I connected to myself and my senses. That was the first time. And then with others, that's a completely different story, which I can talk about if you want.
18:42 Jeffrey Shiau: Yeah. I definitely wanna talk about that. I do want to talk more about you connecting with yourself. In all the following years, especially leading to your father's passing, what was that journey like within yourself? Would you describe it with words like chaotic harmony, or almost like a stillness and was actually very peaceful, but you're... Was it like you were out of your own body watching an experience? I'm just trying to fathom all this processing of emotion and this energy that comes from... Again, I think you're in a very massive tree. And I'm also a big believer that nature is very much alive, and that actually putting your hand on nature and people who are hugging trees is a transference of something that happens. What was that emotional, internal journey like? I'm just trying to get a better picture.
20:01 Scott Shigeoka: I agree. I believe that nature is healing. I believe that there are positive effects to people, humans, when we are in nature. And there's a lot of science to back it up, too. I think to describe the journey, the word I would use is complicated, [chuckle] because it never was the same at any point in the journey. It felt very difficult at times. It felt very easy at times. It felt...
20:35 Jeffrey Shiau: What was the difficult moment like?
20:38 Scott Shigeoka: A difficult moment felt like not having the answers to how I was feeling, not being able to articulate why I was experiencing something, and feeling like you don't have control over your emotional state.
21:04 Jeffrey Shiau: Was it like during a moment of sadness or even elation, both sides of the spectrum?
21:13 Scott Shigeoka: Mostly... I don't know if sadness is the right word. More like grief and shame and...
21:29 Jeffrey Shiau: Why shame?
21:31 Scott Shigeoka: Shame because at times, you ask yourself, "Shouldn't you feel sad right now?" And that's shameful because for me, at that time anyway, I rationalized this experience as "Your father, the parent that just birthed you into this life is now gone." If we're talking about right after his passing, is gone. "Why aren't you feeling sad about that?" I mean, I feel a little sad about that. And then, that just can spiral you into a whole line of thinking about who you are. It questions a lot of the beliefs that you have about yourself, the beliefs that you are empathetic, the beliefs that you are compassionate, the beliefs that you do care about the people that you love. And then it's a dissonance because you're longer feeling that way, or you feel like you're not feeling that way. That's why it's complicated because it's not all sadness after grief, in this particular case. It was a mixture of a lot of different emotions. Also, there was moments of gratitude, too. A lot of moments, especially many years after when I began to do some deep exploring, and I had some wonderful people in my life that really helped me question through this part of my life and this aspect of my life.
23:06 Scott Shigeoka: One person in particular, Christian, who I met in Iceland when I was living there, he asked me a bunch of amazing questions. He's a really great asker of questions. He asked me some really, really targeted deep questions. And he took the time to learn about what was happening with my relationship with my Dad and the context behind it over many, many days to arrive at the set of questions that would allow me to shift my perspective and shift my understanding of myself. And so the outcome of these conversations, which he so generously gave to me, was why I should be so grateful, actually, for the things that my Dad did give me, and the things that I've learned about myself because of the things that have happened to my Dad, or the things that my dad has done, or the things that he's given me.
24:00 Scott Shigeoka: So that's an ongoing journey. I'm still continuing to unpack that, and I'm happier now about that relationship. And I feel more woke. I feel more wise about the relationship. I see it as a relationship. I see this entity between my Dad and myself, even though he's no longer alive. That's still alive, that entity, that relationship. And so I'm constantly always finding ways to nourish it, and to give to it more and more.
24:37 Jeffrey Shiau: If he was still here, what do you think would be the first thing you'd say to him?
24:47 Scott Shigeoka: There is this story when we were spreading his ashes [chuckle] at this beach. And it was almost like a Big Lebowski moment where we're spreading his ashes, and this gust of wind comes.
25:00 Scott Shigeoka: It comes right for our family, and it's almost like that moment comically where we're all running away from your dead father's ashes.
25:09 Scott Shigeoka: And that's so his sense of humor.
25:13 Scott Shigeoka: And so I would ask, "Why did you take control of the wind and throw your ashes back at us, Dad?"
25:19 Scott Shigeoka: "What was up with that?" I'd probably say something like that even just to break the ice.
25:27 Jeffrey Shiau: That says something. I think it shows that you're at this place in your journey where humor can exist now. So kinda coming to now, after this journey of having more clarity about this storm that's been in you, how many years was that? For like seven, eight, a decade?
25:58 Scott Shigeoka: That whole journey really took over about 15 years. Yeah, it's a 15-year journey.
26:10 Jeffrey Shiau: I think that's really a good perspective. I knew a lot of people, especially with emotional clarity and health, feel like a lot of this stuff gets solved in like, "Oh, it'll pass in three to six months." I'm like, "Hey, sometimes it does take 15 years and that's okay. That's what human beings are, right?"
26:32 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah.
26:35 Jeffrey Shiau: So now, we're kinda talking, going back to just the evolution of yourself, and who you are now, and how you connect with yourself. You're about to go into stories of now, how that connection is reflected on to others. And when you say others, are you talking about both humans, nature, objects?
27:03 Scott Shigeoka: Humans and nature. Yeah. And nature being plants, wildlife, and what I see as the stuff I really don't understand as much which is like universal cosmos stuff.
27:18 Jeffrey Shiau: Yeah. Talk about that "What is this... " After you found more clarity within yourself, and I'm guessing that's still an ongoing journey. I don't think anyone ever truly gets full clarity, or his life would be pretty boring.
27:36 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah.
27:38 Jeffrey Shiau: What is that bridge that you're starting to build now with others? Others being nature, people, the cosmos.
27:49 Scott Shigeoka: I talked about serendipity, this moment when things happen right at the right moment, or you meet someone right at the right moment. And I feel like serendipity has been a part of my journey to healing. And so during that period of my life, during my childhood, one of the things that happened was I was a victim of sexual assault. And that, too, was another journey that I was going on to try to figure out how to heal through this. And it actually wasn't until last October when I got through the final strand of being able to get over what had happened, like --
28:33 Jeffrey Shiau: This was your childhood, currently?
28:34 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah, this is in childhood. Once in childhood and once in college.
28:39 Jeffrey Shiau: How old were you when you were a kid?
28:41 Scott Shigeoka: This was around the same time, actually, when my dad went to prison. I was in middle school. So it was two really rough years. I mean there was a lot going on in those two years. And in October of last year, what happened was I went to a friend's wedding, and it was incredibly beautiful. I met this married couple, two men. One was the officiant, one was the singer of the first song. They were just an incredibly beautiful couple, beautiful people. I can't explain how beautiful people are. [chuckle] It's just, Yoko, these two individuals. There's so many amazing, amazing beautiful people. And what ended up happening was we had a intimate relationship during this moment in the wedding, this married couple and I. And it was totally consensual. It was very open. And what was so beautiful about it was they were very caring and communicative through the whole process. And there was something that happened in those intimate encounters that unlocked something within me, and just allowed me to feel totally healed and okay with everything that happened in my past. And...
30:15 Jeffrey Shiau: Really?
30:15 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. And I had done so many different things. I did professional counseling, I did counseling with friends, I did meditation, I did sound healing. I did so many different things to try to work through this and maybe all of that was additive. It was a part of my journey to heal but it was this one thing that really took me over and that one thing was meeting these two incredibly beautiful men.
30:43 Jeffrey Shiau: What was the feeling for those... I mean, a lot of us haven't had this traumatizing experience. What is that you were trying to heal from? Can you describe that?
31:06 Scott Shigeoka: It's a broken trust. It's a feeling of disempowerment. You feel violated. You feel you're questioning some of the things that you're feeling or the things that you did during those experiences. And just like the journey of grief, I think there's also a complex journey to being a survivor. And my friend actually told me at Pride this year, which happened just a few weeks ago. She said that, "There's actually couples, or folks, that do sex therapy," which I didn't know about, but they basically have a practice of helping people to move through sexual trauma. And it's a very delicate topic and what probably works for one person might not work for another. But in my particular case, there's something about being held by two really beautiful people who I respected, admired, and loved. And love, without the 'd'. And I think just being in a open and communicative embrace with these two individuals was what I needed at that moment in my healing journey. And that happened to be the end of my healing journey. At least that's what I feel looking back.
32:50 Jeffrey Shiau: Or the beginning?
32:52 Scott Shigeoka: Or the beginning, yeah, or the beginning. This is the beginning of a next chapter. I also see it as the end because it was a lot of dedicated work. I mean, there was moments of dedicated work and sometimes there was moments of just forgetting about it and sometimes there was moments of not feeling like I knew how to respond to it. Yeah. It's interesting how people can hurt you, for whatever reasons. But then there's other people, sometimes who you just meet for the very first time that can be so instrumental in your journey that can heal you in ways that you didn't expect. And I'm excited, they're gonna be here in the Bay at the end of this month and I get to see them. It's the first time I've seen them since then.
33:46 Jeffrey Shiau: How many years? That's...
33:47 Scott Shigeoka: Since October, so half a year.
33:50 Jeffrey Shiau: Half a year.
33:51 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. A little over half. We're going into the woods.
33:56 Jeffrey Shiau: This feeling of ending a chapter is literally just six months?
34:05 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. That's when it happened. A little over six months ago, October of last year. This is super new. This is a exclusive.
34:18 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. I've never shared this publicly, obviously.
34:24 Jeffrey Shiau: Thank you for... I don't want to call it vulnerability because it's not. 'Cause I almost feel it's a... It's almost just... It's an internal relief. It makes me feel relieved. I think you're sharing something that is six months old and you're... It's a moment of relief that's opening to exploration and it's also closing something all at the same time. That's how I'm feeling now. It makes me feel excited for you 'cause I... Again, I didn't know any of this and I knew you before that October. I met you the first time before that October. And for those that are listening who don't know Scott Shigeoka in person, the first impressions you get is, "Oh my God, this is the most positive, joyful, connected, freestyle rapper that I've ever met." And, "Wow! His creative mind and his spiritual aura is just amazing." But would you say, you knowing yourself the best, although that's the way I think a lot of people know you, how do you describe yourself? Especially six months now removed internally, you were the only one that really knew that just six months ago. How did you know yourself? Although other people obviously see you as a very positive guy, how you describe you to yourself?
36:37 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah, I see myself as positive. Thanks for that description. Yeah, I totally see myself in that way, and it's one of the many parts of who I am. And I think what I learned in my whole life journey so far is that darkness happens and the MO I have is to take the light out of that. And to see the positive, and to see the abundance, and not just see that the glass is half empty or half full, but to see it as refillable.
37:15 Scott Shigeoka: I think that I see myself in a mirror and I see the beauty that's in me, and I'm grateful for the people that I have in my life that I can share the darkness with and they help me too, to also see the light in situations. And I've developed a practice, I guess over time, that allows me to be authentically positive and I'm so grateful for that, because it's a joyful way for me to live. And I also recognize that the work I do, and I mean life's work I do, is based on the circumstances and experiences I've had and that life's work is around connecting people and filling a sense of belonging. And I think about coming out of the closet, or I think about being a survivor, and I think that in both of those situations, though they're very different, the thing that helped me was to have those people that I could talk to about it.
38:30 Scott Shigeoka: And in both of those situations I remember the first person that I told, aside from myself, told them that I was gay. And then I remember the first person I told, outside of myself, that I was a victim of sexual assault. And thankfully, those two individuals who are still friends of mine today were so incredible at holding space for me, and really listening to me and reflecting light back into what could have otherwise been seen as a completely dark situation. And so, yeah, I see myself as a uplifting, happy-go-lucky guy that just like so many other people in the world, have their own set of experiences. And we shouldn't judge each other or ourselves based on the severity of those situations, or what situations or experiences we had or didn't have.
39:35 Scott Shigeoka: I think what's more important for me is to recognize that we have an opportunity to hold space for each other, and to support each other. And we might not know what it means to go through that kind of experience because we're two completely different people, with different perspectives and upbringings and philosophies, but we can hold space for each other and I think that's really beautiful. And I think that is something that I want to continue to do for the rest of my life, is understand how I can better show up in those spaces, how I can better support someone. And that support looks different to so many people that sometimes it's just listening, sometimes it's giving energetically, sometimes as distractions, sometimes it's an adventure. Sometimes you can't know what you need and therefore you can't articulate to someone what it is you need.
40:38 Scott Shigeoka: So again I'm really lucky that I grew up in an experience where I've been able to tap into that intuitive sense, which isn't always right, because sometimes I tricked myself into thinking that my perspective is what is truthful, that what I'm experiencing is intuitive but maybe it's not, maybe it's affected by my biases and the things that I feel. But most of the time when I trust my intuition, it leads to really incredible results and it leads to really beautiful relationships, and ultimately it makes me feel more human.
41:28 Jeffrey Shiau: With who you are today, what are you most excited about now that you're at this present moment? You just mentioned how you wanna continue to learn and grow with other people. But in terms of yourself, what do you look forward to discovering for yourself and that kinetic energy that you have in yourself and, yes, to the world?
42:05 Scott Shigeoka: I ran this ultra marathon on Saturday which is basically like you do a mileage that's over a marathon which is 20 something miles. And so the ultra marathon was a 50K which is 30 something miles and it was in the Marin headlands.
42:24 Jeffrey Shiau: No big deal. [laughter]
42:26 Scott Shigeoka: Oh, it was a big deal. And it was in Marin headlands which is north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, you go through a tunnel and this beautiful valley, beach, mountains, red woods emerges and that's the Marin headlands, and that's where this Ultra marathon took place. And a lot of people, one, thought I was crazy, obviously. Because there aren't a lot of people that would run that far, which I would push back to them and say actually there's a really huge community of people that do this to themselves, and I say do this to themselves because I think most people who are running these long distance races are trying to compete against themselves, versus competing against another person, although there are competitive races, but I think it's why a lot of people do it, that's why I do. And then two, something that people ask me is, "Why? Why do you do it? Why did you decide to run so far up these mountains, 6 or 7 thousand feet of elevation gain, why would you that to your body, to yourself?" And I think it's because we have these limiting beliefs about what is possible and we tell ourselves that, "My body cannot run that far. My body cannot run up all of those mountains." And those are limiting beliefs and I wanted to break past them. I'd never run an ultra marathon, and I'd never done a trail marathon or a race ever, and...
44:09 Jeffrey Shiau: Any race?
44:10 Scott Shigeoka: I've done road races but I've never done a trail race, so a trail race means it's up and down mountains. You're going through nature, essentially. We encountered a rattle snake on the trail, you were in it. And there are also whales in the ocean, it was really beautiful actually. And there was really, really, really tough moments, especially around Mile 23 or 24. And I was like, "Man, I have about 10 more of this to go," and it was a hot day and I was at the base of a mountain. And I remember where it was because the race was set up as a loop course, so I was right at where a lot of people were finishing. And so everyone turned right and they were going towards the finish line and people were yelling and cheering and I saw in the distance people eating hotdogs and drinking beer. And I had to go straight, I had to go up this mountain [chuckle] to continue on racing while everyone was going to the beach.
45:18 Scott Shigeoka: And I remember thinking to myself, "Wow. This is really hard. This is the moment. This is the moment were it counts. This is the moment where it matters." And I had to reframe things. I had to say, "The sun isn't scorching me. The sun is giving me energy. That mountain is very tall, but just think about the views, Scott Shigeoka. You're gonna get a beautiful vista at the top of that mountain. And you're really, really tired but imagine how you're gonna feel when you finally get to drink that beer. Don't give up." And it was very difficult. And I remember meeting this woman and I was going up this hill and she said, "Hey, what's your name?" And she's talking to me while we're going up this hill. She also finished second for the women so she was very talented. But she asked me, "Hey what's your name?" and I was like, "Oh, Scott Shigeoka." And she introduced herself, and she said, "I just want... "
46:20 Jeffrey Shiau: When you said, "Oh, Scott Shigeoka!" It was like, "Oh, Scott Shigeoka?"
46:24 Scott Shigeoka: And, essentially, yeah. And she said, "Well, I just wanted to let you know that you're killing it. Keep going." And then she went off and started running. And I looked at her, well the back side of her, and I was so inspired and I felt so loved and so supported. Here we are in a race where there are places, there's times, we're competing against each other. But really in this community what I love, in this long distance community, is that everyone is so supportive and... She was running against herself, and she recognized that I too was running myself right in this moment of my mind telling me, "No, you can't do this." And me trying to tell my mind, "Yeah, I can." And she want to give me a little extra nudge then she said, "You're killing it. Don't even worry about it. You can get up this hill."
47:14 Scott Shigeoka: And that was so beautiful, and I felt so supported and I finished. I finished the race and I finished with the sprint. And my quads were burning and my calves are feeling like they were gonna give out like tennis calf style, but I finished and I sprinted. And as I emerged through the finish line, all of these friends that, some of which I didn't expect to be there, were wearing party hats and they were cheering me on, and they were like, "Scott Shigeoka! Yeah, you did it! Congratulations! You did it!" And I just remember feeling just so proud of myself and so grateful to have these six beautiful warm bodies hugging into me at this finish line. Hearing the tick of the time clock go up, right next to me. And I remember smelling the beans and the hotdogs. [chuckle] And I was like, "Where is my beer?"
48:18 Scott Shigeoka: And I was just so happy for pushing past that moment. I think I ran that race just to get through that Mile 25 moment, and we all have that moment in races, and we all have that moment in life, and I think that's why I live. I live to prove to myself and to be inspired and supported by others and to hopefully inspire and support others, too, in some of those most difficult moments. And sometimes it's others that are the reason for those difficulties and sometimes it's ourselves. Sometimes we're the people that are telling ourselves that we can't do it and those become limiting beliefs, and I think it's so important that we push past that.
49:06 Jeffrey Shiau: Mile 25. I think that's a new slogan.
49:11 Jeffrey Shiau: Getting past mile 25.
49:13 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah.
49:14 Jeffrey Shiau: Oh, man. I think this is a good place to start wrapping up, actually. We're getting to the hour. I know some of our listeners are like, "We could listen on forever," and actually, I probably wanna schedule part two with you.
49:31 Jeffrey Shiau: So, I wanna thank you so much, Scott Shigeoka. Again, I think this really makes me just begin to learn a little bit about you. And it makes me very joyful about all the other things I will continue to explore and learn with you as a friend, and that excites me. And also makes me very... So grateful just to have you as a friend. So, thank you for taking the time with me today.
50:21 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. Can I honor you, too?
50:23 Jeffrey Shiau: Of course.
50:24 Scott Shigeoka: I wanna honor you, too. I talked earlier in this about holding space and I think you are so wonderful at holding space. You're very, very talented, but also very intuitively compassionate, and I think there's a lot of reasons for that. And I also, too, feel really grateful to know you and I think that I wanna celebrate you, because you make a situation or an environment feel so comfortable where someone's willing to share and disclose all of these things that will eventually land on the internet [chuckle] for all the world to hear. And I think that that is also a positive thing. This is a positive moment in my life to be able to share some of these stories that are very deep and dear to me. And hopefully there is that one person that's listening out there that feels connected and feels encouraged to talk to someone and also holds space for themselves, or holds space for another person in their life, so. Thank you, too.
51:39 Jeffrey Shiau: Thank you, so much. That really means a lot. And that's the reason why I wanna keep doing this, especially for a lot of younger people who feel they're trapped, a lot. So, yeah. Ready for the last question? The same question I ask everybody?
52:03 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah.
52:04 Jeffrey Shiau: All right. So, the last question that we end every other sub with, again, is, "Ultimately, what's the point of all of this?"
52:30 Scott Shigeoka: The point of all of this is something that shows up in different ways to different people, and I think that the point is for us to figure out what the point is. Is that too meta? [chuckle]
52:53 Jeffrey Shiau: We've had more meta, so. [chuckle]
52:54 Scott Shigeoka: Yeah. I think we are here to figure out what the point is, and I think we're here for each other, and I think we're here for the learning, the healing, the tragedy, the joy. We're here for it all. I think that's the point for me, at least. And it's to feel a full spectrum of emotions and to feel the fullness of life and to share moments with people that push me, that comfort me, that love me, that inspire me and vice versa. And I wanna give that back, too. And also to roam and mango trees, and to build tree houses, and to have magical threesomes, and to heal. I think the point is the collection of experiences, that at the end of our life when a beautiful Japanese musician is asking us, "What is the last sound you wanna hear before you go?" You're looking back at this collection of stories, and that is when you will understand the point of all of this, I think.