I had just finished reading Prince Harry’s book, Spare. A few weeks prior to that I had lightly read Gabor Maté’s new book, The Myth of Normal (sorry Gabor, that book was longer than I wanted it to be). I was contemplating a post about Prince Harry’s book when…
Imagine my delight when my inbox flashed with an invitation to sign up for an exclusive interview between Gabor and Harry. From an undisclosed location of course.
If you’ve ever seen Gabor live, you will know that he’s very authentic. He shows up quirks and all. He will be kind, he will be reflective, but he won’t hide behind any niceties. So I was curious to see how this interview would enfold.
I loved reading this book by Prince Harry. The reference to the word Spare is what he was called at birth. They had the Heir – William and the Spare – Harry.
After having decades of people telling their version of his story in the media, he takes the time to share what it was like to grow up with extreme wealth & privilege while at the same time trying to fit the mold of what he was supposed to be like to be accepted by his family. He shares his wounds and his healing journey.
The Myth of Normal
If you’ve read any of Gabor Maté’s books – When the Body Says No, Scattered Minds (ADHD), or in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts (Addiction), there is a strong theme of exploring the myth of what is deemed “normal”. I highly recommend all of his books. The Myth of Normal felt like that beautiful moment when the central themes of previous books come together into one.
One of the strong themes that Gabor & Harry discussed was the universal dilemma of authenticity vs. attachment. When we are children, we learn what is acceptable by our families and what is not. We then learn to engage with people and the world in different ways to manage that reality.
Prince Harry found areas in his life where he started to connect with his authenticity when being in the army and Botswana, but anytime he returned to London excited by some of this, it was quickly crushed down or disregarded.
As adults when we try to continue to use child-hood patterns of coping, these coping mechanisms often start to fail at some point. This leads us to find ways to manage the symptoms that emerge. Sometimes it shows up as a diagnoses, sometimes it shows up as regular substance use or abuse, sometimes it shows up in repressing emotions or reacting in violence (verbally or physically) or passive-aggressively.
At some point, we may seek help to see our blind-spots, bring compassion to these areas, and consider different ways to be and live in our lives.
Prince Harry’s 6 Methods of Healing
Prince Harry talks about writing this book as an act of service. In a world where men often feel like they’re not supposed to be vulnerable, he wants men to see that vulnerability can be freeing.
Gabor and Harry summarized his main sources of healing
- Therapy: Bringing awareness, acknowledgement & processing past pains and intentionally making new choices for the future
- Nature: Harry talks about how being outside, wherever he has been in the world, has helped him connect to who he is
- Meditation: He’s an on-again off-again meditator, but found it helpful as a tool
- Psychedelics: He described how these helped him remove life’s filters and redefined reality for himself. Both he and Gabor talked about how how psychedelic use (with a guided professional) helped them see the unconscious parts of themselves and process some of this.
- Relationship: Harry talks about how his relationship with Meghan (and others) helped him see his blind-spots and become a better person. They also brought healing and attachment when he showed his authenticity.
- Service to Others: He talks about how starting a non-profit for war veterans and also his environmental and community work in Botswana as being big sources of healing for him
The risk of breaking out of old patterns is the loss of attachment from important people in one’s life. Prince Harry talked about how challenging it has been too lose attachment with people he loves. At the same time, you could see the relief and joy on his face as he expressed the gift he has been given from this process: Freedom.
Facing his Racism with his silence
He also talked about his journey to own his white privilege and speak out and take action against racism.
Perhaps the biggest gift he got was a more loving relationships. He and Gabor talked about the importance of touch. Both grew up in environments with the loss of physical touch for different reasons.
“It’s All About Energy”
I couldn’t have made this up if I even tried. Yes, they both talked about energy – how our energy impacts those around us and becoming aware of that and making decisions based on this. Many of us can pick up energy in a room and whether it’s a good time to be there or not. As an Energy Healer, I just loved that they said it out loud. 100 percent.
This was a thoughtful interview. You can tell that they don’t know each other well, and that Gabor has read The Spare whereas Prince Harry has not read The Myth of Normal. I continue to be awed by Gabor’s energy and his willingness to show up and have challenging conversations with empathy and curiosity. Prince Harry very generously shares more of himself, when it might be easier not to.
During Christmas this year, my husband’s family got into a friendly debate about Prince Harry & Meghan doing things that seem the opposite of wanting privacy. The people who had watched the Netflix special had empathy for them. Those who hadn’t watched it had much less. Gabor highlights this feedback as being similar online – those who haven’t read the book or watched the Netflix series can show up has judgmental and cruel online. Those who have taken the time to read The Spare or watch the Netflix Series see things with much kinder eyes and words.
Did you watch the interview, the Netflix series or read Prince Harry’s book? Did you feel more empathy for them afterwards? I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions.