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Late Starters Club Podcast
Late Starters Club Podcast

This is the place for inspiration, motivation, and mindset resets. You will walk away ready to take action with practical and informative advice from some of the most amazing “Late Starters” on the planet.


Ep86 Transcript: Interview with Fleet Maull

April 17, 2023

Andrea Vahl: My guest today proves that it’s never too late to make a big impact, even if you’ve spent 14 years in jail for drug smuggling. Dr. Fleet Maull has reinvented himself in his fifties after getting out of prison. He’s gone on to affect millions of people through his mindfulness institutes that he has founded, and he’s an amazing person to talk to and learn from. Tune in.

Hello Dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration mindset and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Hello late starters. It’s your host Andrea Vahl, and I am so excited today to be with Dr. Fleet Maull. And his bio is going to be gonna take the whole half hour to go through if we did go through it.

So, he is done an amazing number of things, including the Heart Mind Institute, the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, Prison Mindfulness Institute. He’s the author of Radical Responsibility and he has gotten his late start in life after a 14 year prison sentence. So, welcome Dr. Fleet Maull.

Fleet Maull: Thank you for having me, Andrea. Good to be with you.

Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Good to be with you. And you’ve had just such an amazing journey in life. You had this prison sentence when you were, what about 35? Is

that’s right.

Yeah. After a drug smuggling.

That’s right.

Yeah. Yeah. And so that radically changed your life and forced you to make some big changes in your life. You had a nine year old son at the time.

That’s correct.

Yeah. So tell us a, just a little bit of backstory on the before and after picture of your life.

Fleet Maull: Yeah, I’ll try to keep it brief so we can get on to the after. But , I’m a baby boomer. I graduated from high school in 1968, a very tumultuous year in US History. If people can remember back then, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Ken State killings.

It was just a very tremendous amount of upheaval, maybe reminiscent of some of the things that have been happening in recent years here. But very unstable time and at any rate, I was a classic, angry young man. I had some alcoholism in my family and I just arrived into adolescents, young adulthood with a big hole in my gut that I was trying to fill with anything, patch up with anything and everything.

And so I went head long into the counterculture of that time and all the drug experimentations, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, the whole thing, any war politics. And I just, and I tended to take things to extremes. Had become really alienated from the culture. I’d been up, I had a good middle class, grew up in the Midwest of the United States, Good middle class, Roman Catholic upbringing and a lot of good values.

I mean, basically a very good family, but also some real problems with alcoholism. And one of my parents showing up on a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde way and that which was incredibly splitting and for my psyche. And I mean, I didn’t realize even back then how much it was affecting me, but. At any rate, I, it was, I was just set up to go into that, all that.

And so I was also always a spiritual seeker and interested in education and so I ended up getting a I lived as an expat in South America for quite a while, and just because I just really wanted to live outside a system and just justify it with all this us versus system thinking and which fortunately eventually got beyond.

But back then, I justified it in that way and was involved in small scale drug smuggling just to live outside the system. Eventually went back to school, did a three year clinical training program in Buddhist and Western psychology. It was a really deep three year clinical training, training us to work with people in extreme states, basically psychosis, schizophrenia, things like that.

And very deep program. And yeah, I really went into that looking more to the deepen my meditation practice and connect with the Tibetan master who started at university, who became my teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and so before I could untangle all of that I earned my way into a federal prison sentence.

And so, the thing, a lot of people think I discovered meditation in prison, but I didn’t. I’d been trained as a meditation teacher for a long time and had I had a lot of clinical training and a lot of education and a lot of deep practice under my belt , but I hadn’t managed to untangle all that and get free of it.

I arrived at prison with a lot of skills. And and I was just in this hell realm of an environment. And so I became very motivated to create a better legacy for my son, who was nine years old at the time than just his dad went to prison. I was absolutely devastated by what I’d done to him and his mom, and myself, and my family and everyone, and really having to face the really unconscious decisions I’ve been making, selfish decisions I’ve been making for so long.

And so I became dedicated to really transform myself, get all the negativity outta my life, and do something good with my life in there. And I was in this place of profound suffering in a maximum security federal prison hospital in the height of the AIDS epidemic. And so I got very involved in, I was a school teacher for 14 years, helped start their first hospice program at a prison anywhere in the world.

Taught meditation. Very involved in 12 step work, led a very disciplined service oriented life, but also hours a day practicing meditation and studying. I completed all the coursework for my PhD while I was in there, and I knew, it’s where I really developed the philosophy of radical responsibility because it became clear to me early on that I really had to embrace 200% ownership.

Having gotten myself into that situation, what I was gonna do with it, whether I’d be able to survive my time and whether I’d be able to create any kinda life for myself when I got out. And so I really just, let go of any, really worked on dissolving any emity I had towards anyone, any sense of blame.

I just really focused. My own choices and working to, really transform myself and then to really show up and serve in that world where I was. And so, I was there for 14 years and was able to create a lot of programs to our two national organizations that catalyzed two national movements that are still flourishing today.

And I knew once I knew how much time I was gonna do, it took a while because originally I had this 30 year no parole sentence. And I didn’t realize under the old law, I was sentenced fortunately before 1987, you got a lot of good time if you stayed out of trouble. I was in prison for a while before I even figured that out.

I thought I was gonna be 65 before I had any chance of getting out. And then I realized I would serve 18 and a half on that. And then my appeal took three years to go to the court, through the courts, and they knocked off one count. And so that reduced it to 25. And so eventually I knew I would serve 14 and a half if I stayed out of trouble.

And that’s not easy to do in prison. So, otherwise, when you get in trouble in prison, they start taking away that good time in chunks. You even hear some people, I did my time day for day. I don’t know if that time to be proud of. But at any rate, I did serve 14 and a half years.

And I also knew that once I knew that, the timing of that, I knew I was gonna be just short of my 50th birthday when I got out. And. It’s not easy to start over at fifties. It’s not easy to start a life and a career at 50. Plus, I would’ve a serious criminal record. And I was gonna owe the IRS like $300,000 if they assessed me for the drug trafficking.

And, it’s pretty hard, pretty tough to start off that way. And so I just focused on training myself and serving for 14 years and hope for the best. And it really worked out every, from the day I got out, I’ve had nothing but opportunity. And I’ve had, I’ve been out now since 1999, so, going on 24 years this spring.

Yeah. And and it’s been quite a journey and I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had.

Andrea Vahl: Yeah. And it’s amazing to think about too, because if you look at all you’ve done, I mean, you started a lot of programs, like you said, in prison, but you’ve also done so much since then with all the summits you lead and all the speaking you do and the books and the, the people you’ve partnered with and connected with in, in being a real force for good in this world.

So that’s incredible. That’s such a great thing to keep in mind that it, time is short, but it’s also, you can get a lot done. So, so…

Fleet Maull: There’s a great, there’s a great quote. I think people tend to really overestimate what you can get done in, a few weeks but really underestimate what you can get done in, let’s say a year.

Andrea Vahl: Yeah, that’s, that is so true. It’s amazing when you look back and list all the things that you’ve been able to do, it’s incredible. So, so what is one of the early things you did getting out of prison age 50? Where did you start, , coming from this space, how did you say, I’m gonna go start an institute, or I’m gonna go start a summit?

How did you get started?

Fleet Maull: Yeah, well I had started these two organizations. Prison Dharma Network, which is now mostly known as Prison Mindfulness Institute. And National Prison Hospice Association. So I started those from inside prison. And so those were going I didn’t really, when I got outta prison, I didn’t wanna burden either one of them with my livelihood.

So I was immediately looking to establish a livelihood. But I, but I also really wanted those organizations to, to flourish. And there was someone who’d been involved in the prison work through another organization and we were in the same meditation community contacted me and we were involved by correspondence even like the year before I got out.

And and then when I got. Immediately got involved in the organization that I had started Prison Dharma Network. Had been a friend of mine in Boston, had been running it with me as in partnership with me for quite a while. And we had agreed that I would move it back to Boulder Colorado, where I was from.

When I got out, if that’s where I released to. And so anyway, we did and she got involved and. And she also was very helpful in immediately arranging opportunities for me to teach and do speaking events and so forth. So, , a few things got started that way.

I also had connected with a man in prison. I had brought up a training program into the prison about four years before I got out. Called the event. And in prison we called the program, I think we, we called it. Something about change. But he had gotten in touch with me because he had run into some of the writings I was publishing from inside prison, wanted to use them in a curriculum of this program he was doing.

And we had in touch that way and just really connected. He came to see me and we were just like long lost spiritual brothers and. And so I got this really powerful training program that he was running on the outside, into the prison. And we did four of ’em. While I was still there. So I was getting trained in that and I hope when I got out to continue training with him.

But and he also had started a consulting company using some of the, not the same exact same training technology from that training, which is incredibly powerful, but a lot of the same context and a lot for, to do consulting work with, with companies and organizations. And so I thought I was gonna train up and all that, but I couldn’t travel when I got out.

They, I was under supervision. They wouldn’t let me leave Boulder County right. And, and after a while they wouldn’t let me leave the state and eventually they didn’t let me travel. But he came out one time and, spent a day with me introducing me to a few, some of the stuff to use in the consulting stuff and gave me some materials to work with and then said, okay, go.

And he also was very kindly set up an office for me. I was living in a halfway house. And he set up, he rented an office that ended up being a sublet within a person who’s now a close friend of mine. And so I had an office to go to and a phone and , he covered that for the first six months.

And I remember I would initially walk to that office from the halfway house. And eventually I was able to get a bicycle and then I’d bicycle to the office and I was under such close supervision there. If you can imagine. When I got to the office, I had to call the phone monitor and say, I’m at the office now.

If I wanted to get up from my office and go down the hall to the bathroom to the restroom, I had to call them and say, I’m going to the restroom now. And then I had to call them when I got back to my office. And then when I was coming back to the halfway house, leaving office, I had to tell them I had to call before I’m, before I left.

Yeah. Which didn’t make any sense to me at all, but, and a couple times I forgot to do that. I’m just about to come into the halfway house. I go, oh my God, can I get back and forth and my bike, cause they’re gonna violate me, send me back to prison, it was very crazy kind of time.

And but anyway, I got through that and once I had a bicycle, I was going around offering my services for free, different places. I did some processes, consulting design processes for free, for Naropa University, for Colorado University. I would go around the companies drive, go there on my bicycle, on my briefcase, on my suit, and park my, put my, hide my bicycle in the bushes and walk in, and say, I wanna be your management consultant and it took me six months to get my first paying client and it worked out really well cuz at the end of six months he said, look, you’re on your own because I can’t keep up paying the rent. And I got my first client and negotiated a $5,000 a month retainer and I was off and running. And it was a, it was a great gig that I had for about two and a half years with a wonderful company that was in the traditional Chinese medicine field, both publishing and making the formulations and teaching and so forth. And they were located in Boulder, Colorado. And I really helped them a lot and learned a lot in the process and started getting other clients. So I’ve always had consulting clients ever since then, since six months out of prison. I’ve had a consulting business. I still have consulting clients.

I’m not trying to expand that right now, but, but and I’ve also, as part of that work of doing a lot of process consulting, a lot of design work with companies to help, I, I got into a niche of helping. Mostly smaller companies, I worked in some Fortune 500 companies, but I didn’t really enjoy too much.

Too political and it’s hard to see the impact of your work. I mean, some people are very successful there and and blessed them. But for me, I ended up gravitating towards smaller privately held companies, sometimes family companies. And I, I just fell into niche or of running into opportunities with companies where they’d hit a wall of scalability they really hadn’t updated their business model. They maybe hadn’t changed in 20 years. And now the competition was really eating them alive and, they had to change or they were gonna fail and they were up against that wall. And I would come in and take ’em through long-term change processes.

I very commonly had, was with companies from anywhere from three years to 12 years. And completely re-engineering the companies. In every aspect. The culture, the processes, the systems, the management structure, everything. And , I developed that niche. But I never re really went into it completely full-time because I was also running these prison organizations.

I’m very dedicated to that work. I was also very active as a meditation teacher through. Both the Shamal community, the Tibetan Buddhist community that I was part of, and also the Zen peacemaker community. I practice and teach in both those traditions. So, , I had a very varied life and I started traveling as soon as they would let me, I started traveling internationally and , so from, maybe from a year and a half after I got out when I could start traveling internationally till when the pandemic happened, I was just traveling the world.

All over the North America, but all around the world teaching leadership, training, all kinds of seminars prison work, consulting work and meditation teaching, leading retreats and so forth. So it just evolved like that. But I, in one sense, I was always through all that period, I was doing.

Earning a decent income. But I was really trading hours for dollars. And you could only do so much, and I was doing a lot, right? And really rewarding work and I loved it. And I did all the nonprofit work pro to bono for the first 11 or 12 years that I was out.

Eventually I moved to the East coast from Colorado and I left Naropa University. Oh. I was also teaching university for the first 10 years. I was teaching like three classes a semester at university. The first 10 years. And but when I went to the East Coast I, in order to get health insurance, I started taking a small salary from the nonprofit.

And then apparently grew. And , today they paid me a good salary, but. So anyway, that was the kind of landscape, but. I always had aspired to , I’ve always been very entrepreneurial, so I always aspired to actually, really more than just having my consulting business where I’m trading hours for dollars.

My seminar business and all the things I do. I wanted to really create a business that could be more leveraged and grow. And so now I’ve actually started two businesses in my seventies. Yeah, talk about getting a late start.

Andrea Vahl: I know, and it’s incredible too, the, the summits you do and the, the institutes that you’ve been a part of and everything that you’ve accomplished.

Do you feel like there is a particular key to your success with all of this as you’ve evolved and grown and, embraced change through all of this?

Fleet Maull: I think I’ve always been entrepreneurial. , prior to going to prison, my, my entrepreneurial spirit got expressed unfortunately through the drug trafficking.

But even there I wouldn’t say I was that entrepreneurial. I was just trying to, I was just getting enough money to live outside the system and keep my problems at bay. I did. I never really tried to get rich doing that. But I did grow up in a family that had a small, good, small business in the Midwest.

And again, it wasn’t like super fast growth, entrepreneurial kind of thing, but a good family business. So I’ve, I guess I’ve always had business in my bone, so to speak. But I, I kind became more entrepreneurial and, know, I, I think of myself as a social entrepreneur of really doing well by doing good in the world.

And really trying to, if, doing, growing either growing nonprofits or growing for-profits business for the purpose of social impact. For the purpose of transformation. And, I really think , there’s a place for both nonprofit and for-profit businesses. And the whole B Corp thing I think is a very great model.

But but I do think the engine of for-profit business can be a great driver for social change and having a very positive impact on the world. And, you we’re reaching literally millions of people now with with transformational education through our online summits.

And , so that. Before was, I was , I was traveling all over North American, Europe, as I said, doing workshops with 40, 50, 60, 70 people. And, , and really rewarding work and doing really, personal work, a hands-on work with people. Very gratifying. But, , since starting the online work and, both through my online courses and the summits now, started reaching tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands and now million.

Of people in, in that way. And so able to have that kind of impact. And so, that’s in incredibly rewarding and it’s all just unfolded. I got invited by , it’s the way life happens. There was a young woman who became marketing director of one of the retreat centers, part of the Shamala Buddhist community that belonged to for over 50 years, called SH then called Shamal Mountain Center in, in Colorado, in the mountains of Colorado. And she wanted to do an online summit. And she reached out to me because I had big networks of the kind of speakers she wanted. And so I was a host for that one and recruited a lot of speakers and got involved in doing that.

And I ended up being, A speaker on other people’s summits and helped her do a few more summits. She eventually spun off a company, her own company called The Weight Network of still doing summits, we’re colleagues and partners. And just as the pandemic was kicking in 2020, just as the lockdowns were starting in March of 2020, I was sitting in my living room chair and I just had his flash that we need to catalyze a global conversation about resilience. We’re really gonna need to build our individual and collective resilience to get through this. And so I had this idea of doing a summit on resilience and I called my wife and, I said, I really think we should do this. And she said, you’re crazy. You’re already maxed out. Yeah. And she just looked at me, shook ahead and said, you’re crazy. And walked away. And then she came back about 20 minutes later and said, I think you’re right. I think we should do this. And. My business partner at that time, the business I had started a year earlier , I’d always had my consulting business.

But again, it was mostly just me working trading hours for dollars. But I had started partnering with this guy. I was giving him some coaching and he was helping me. We were trying to learn how to do digital marketing and we lost. Like 20,000 the first year. In 2019. But I called him, I said, we’re gonna do a summit.

He said, okay. And so my wife and he and I put together this online summit in five weeks. Oh wow. I wouldn’t begin to try to do that today. Yeah. But we did it in five weeks and it was really successful. And that got us into the summit business and now we’re doing prac. I have two companies, and with both of them we’re probably doing almost a summit of the month.

Yeah. That’s amazing. And it just, it just grew like anything grows, but. Really, I’ve tried to apply everything I learned in being a management consultant with other companies to now, very build my own team, right? Companies, there’s two companies. We have separate teams.

We co-op, we share resrources but, really in trying to try to do this, but again, the whole thing is about both inside and outside is about supporting healing trauma and helping all of us become more deeply embodied, more heart connected. More connected to the earth, more resilient.

So, a, anything we do, it’s all about that. Everything we do is about that inside and outside. And I think also that’s one of the secrets maybe the short answer to your question was to have, make sure your insides match your outsides, right? That that you there’s integrity in what you’re doing, you really believe in what you’re doing.

And that what you’re doing out in the world is just an expression of who you are and the on the ongoing inner work that you’re,

Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That, and when you’re in alignment with all that, I think there’s probably just so much more flow and, and just things that with universe, the road rises to meet your feet, as they say, yeah. So you’ve had so much success along the way here since since exiting coming outta prison. Is there. Time where things didn’t work out, you felt overwhelmed or there there was a point of failure and it, how did you approach that and what did you do to get through that?

Fleet Maull: Yeah. Well in terms of my my professional life and now my business life I wouldn’t say there have been any major barriers or huge setbacks. But I’ve had other setbacks for sure. I lost my son in 2020 the year, first year of the lockdowns. And he was, he had moved, he’d been back and he was, his mom was from Peru.

And he’d lived in, back and forth his whole life. Completely bicultural, bilingual and he had been living near me and then he decided to move back to Peru. He suffered from seizures from a head injury he had in 2008. And seizures won’t usually kill you, but they can precipitate a respiratory event and we don’t really know what happened.

His mom. He had a little, he had built a small house for his mother to live in the sacred valley of the Incas. A very magical place where I had spent time years earlier and, and where we’d gotten a small property in recent years. And so he built a small house for his mom and then built another one for himself in this little compound.

And so she, she had gone to check on him and found him and he was already gone. I mean, she got me on the phone right away where we were trying to figure out, but pretty quickly realized he was gone and, yeah. And So, so, that was beyond devastating and yeah. Sorry to hear about that. Used all of my training that I’ve been using

and all the, all the deep meditation practice and, and self-regulation practices and, just everything I train and teach , I really had to work on. Going through that grieving process in a way. That has been profoundly healing and transformational. But nonetheless, it’s, just devastating.

And of course it’s an ongoing journey, although I’m at a really good place now. I mean, I look at, I have a big photo of him right. Where I do my meditation practice every morning. And when I see his face I just smile. I don’t like collapse in the grief like I would’ve , not that long ago, but today I pretty much just a smile of joy comes to my, and appreciation for the time I had with him.

Prior to that the woman who had been my off and on again, girlfriend before I went to prison and during my prison years, we were both very clear that she needed to go on with her life. But we stayed in close touch and became very close friends. And when I got out, we were actually considering whether maybe to get back together.

She was living in Canada and had a daughter there and couldn’t really just uproot herself. I couldn’t right leave where I was. And, but about a year after I got out, she contracted cancer and from the moment she knew she had cancer to the moment she passed was only about. 45 days. Oh my gosh.

And in fact, that’s how I first got a passport was the, I got the US government and the Canadian government to agree to let me go up there to see her. And I got up there and spent a couple days with her the week before she died. So that was absolutely devastating and it threw me into a deep depression.

First time I’d ever really experienced that. I mean, the. The time of my prison years depression was right there, like right abyss. But I just was committed to not going there. Right. And , I was, it wasn’t that I wasn’t dealing with my stuff, I was in deep spiritual processes, but I was just clear that, that’s an abyss that I’m not, gonna let myself collapse into.

But just after Karen died, It was like a physical depression. I literally, I felt like I was swimming through mud. I, I really had a hard time even getting up and dressing myself in the morning. I had to keep working, so I just, pushed through it. And it was about six months, and then the physical part of the depression just lifted one day.

The grieving, process continued, but, and then , I had already lost both my parents. I lost my dad six months before I got out. I lost my mom six months after I got out. Wow. One of my greatest hopes was for them to see me out and doing well. I think by that time they knew I would do well.

But I really wanted to have time with them and for them to see me doing well. And so that was devastating. And then losing Karen a year after that. And then , I fortunately, met a woman who was in our meditation community that I’d actually known her and her sister before I went to prison.

We were friends, I was never involved with her. But we have started dating and, really, we, we didn’t end up getting married. We would’ve, I mean, you were basically life partners. And she died of cancer in 2008. In fact, my son went through his head injury in Peru. And was maybe never, we didn’t know if he’d ever be functional again.

A very severe head injury. He was in a coma for seven days. I was down in per sitting by his bedside. And then we had to eventually smuggle him out of Peru and try to get him into a good head care clinic in US and they weren’t doing anything for him. Eventually I had to take him out of there. It was costing me, that whole thing, that whole episode with him threw me into deep financial debt.

It cost me like a hundred thousand out of pocket. And threw me into deep debt and eventually got him to a retreat center. A friend of mine had, and we didn’t know if he could stay there or if they could handle him, cuz he was just totally inappropriate, belligerent, violent, so he was just nuts.

He had frontal lobe head injury. Not physically violent, but on the verge, threatening to be there, he was like, he was just crazy. And, but eventually, I guess the blood reabsorbed in his brain and he was himself again. Yeah. And actually, but that was all happening while denise, my partner was on hospice care dying of cancer. Oh my goodness. So, I mean, in, really tough times and fortunately he recovered. I did lose Denise and I really regret having never really asked her, how am I supposed to continue living without you? The the grieving process. Just really, yeah.

I kept going with my life, but I was an absolute mess for the first year after she died and , I thought probably, that’s it for me. But very fortunately, I met my wife Sophie. I don’t know, it’s been six or seven years ago now. We’ve been married for, let’s see, we got married in 2020, right?

Yeah. Not long before my son was at our online wedding. Oh, wow. And so, 23, I guess we’re going on three years and Yeah. And. So I feel very, fortunate in that way. Yeah. And there’s, but I’ve been through these, , I haven’t had any really huge business losses other than the financial challenges with my son, really. I’ve been in, deep debt, having to dig myself out of debt because of that. But But professionally in business wise, things have mostly worked pretty well, but I’ve had personal challenges that have been very intense.

Andrea Vahl: Right. And then is also amazing.

And first of all, like I love that you got married in, in 2020. That’s another late start. It’s never too late for love. Right. But what’s also amazing is that I think we. Take a look at these accomplishments that are easy to see on paper and we forget how much can be going on in someone’s personal life.

That is such a struggle, but you’re still able to do so much. So that is just amazing. And congratulations for making it through all those really difficult Personal challenges and still be able to do wonderful things in the world. So that’s great.

Fleet Maull: Well, thank you. And I really credit that, I mean, I all, everything I teach in the world, which is, all, it’s really all at the intersection of , ancient ancestral wisdom.

Our, our profound contemplative traditions. And and really all I have a great lover of all the great contemplative traditions and all the major religions and so forth. But I’ve been most deeply trained in various Buddhist traditions, but contemplative Christianity, contemplative Judaism, sophism, the ante, the Edic traditions, yoga.

A deep lover of all that work and. And so, and then neuroscience. And so the intersection of the contemporary nutrition’s ancestor wisdom and neuroscience, and positive psychology, all of that work is, what I teach and what I’ve been training myself in all these years. And, I’m, I lead a very disciplined life.

I spend the first two hours every day and, meditation and self-care. And breath work. And so, I’ve built a really Nervous system and mind. And, and it doesn’t mean that I, don’t still, that things aren’t incredibly devastating when they’re devastating, but I have the ability to work with it, and I really,

I credit that work and my ongoing, everyday, daily practice for keeping me in the place where I can move through these kind of challenges and continue to get out and show up in the world in a good way and serve.

Andrea Vahl: That’s, that’s amazing. That’s amazing. Well, I wanna ask you one, one final question that I’d love to ask my guests.

If you have a quote or inspirational saying something that powers you through, and I’m sure you probably have a whole host of them, but share little bit of wisdom with our listeners here.

Fleet Maull: Well, I’m gonna share two with you, very short. Yeah. One is kind of, paraphrasing Marcus Aurelius.

Who was sometimes called the last good Roman emperor Re roman Emperor. Who was a Roman emperor. And he was also a stoic philosopher. And his meditations are very famous, his contemplations, and anyway, paraphrasing him, that most people think they’re destiny is controlled by their circumstances, and, but in fact, it’s not.

It’s our destiny is created by our response to those circumstances. So that’s one. And then the other is from my teacher, Cho Fru, and a quite famous quote by him, and it’s very short. Chaos is good news.

Andrea Vahl: Wow, I have never heard that one. Chaos is good news. That is interesting. So that just to kinda unpack that a tiny bit before we sign off basically saying it’s good for you or good,

Fleet Maull: He was always turning everything on its end.

And, uh Right. But , the obstacle to an awaken life are all the conceptual structures that we create to try. Cope with life and , and all the ones we’ve inherited through childhood and through our culture, and we live in this constructed world , we don’t really live in the real world.

We live in a constructed world. And , so chaos is one of the things that can help us allow that to deconstruct, to break that up and actually get in touch with reality as it is. And if we have. Spiritual practices that allow us to access expanded states of consciousness and awareness to where we’re going to really get in touch with the vastness of life and being as it really is, instead of living in this small conditioned box that we, that’s, it’s basically no matter how high functioning we’re, it’s still basically fear and survival based.

Yeah. And so chaos is one of the things that challenges. To let those things go or, can some somehow, yeah. A lot of people who’ve had amazing lives or profound experiences went through profound chain. What often precipitated that was an incredibly challenging, difficult thing they went through.

Suddenly they’re well ordered, life erupted in the cast, but on the other side of that, they’re a transformed human beings. So, I think he meant that both individually and collectively, that cass’s goodness.

Andrea Vahl: I love that. I love that. That’s why I love asking that question, cuz I always come up with find new inspiration from, from people who are doing amazing things in the world.

So Dr. Fleet Maull, thank you so much for your time here. I’m sad it has to come to an end so quickly cuz it just you’ve got amazing wisdom and stories and things to. People get through chaos or no. And so we’ll have all kinds of links in our show notes for pe, how people can get in connected with you through the heart Mind.

I institute through your book the radical Responsibility, which I’ve read the first chapter. Can’t wait to dive in further to that. And thank you for your time.

Fleet Maull: Well, you’re very welcome. And people can get that first chapter for free online at They can download a free chapter if they would like to.

Andrea Vahl: Exactly, Yes, definitely Go do that cuz it’s so far powerful, powerful read. And I, like I said, can’t wait to keep going. All right. Thanks. Bye everyone.

Fleet Maull: Thank you, Andrea.

Andrea Vahl: Hope that was helpful. And make sure you grab the free guide, top Tools for Late Starters on the website at and let’s turn dreaming into doing.

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Late Starters Club Podcast
Late Starters Club Podcast

This is the place for inspiration, motivation, and mindset resets. You will walk away ready to take action with practical and informative advice from some of the most amazing “Late Starters” on the planet.

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