Billy Ojai MasterClass

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Day 1. When Life Comes at You Fast

Life's disruptions. We’ve all experienced it. Sometimes it comes at us from outside, completely and utterly beyond our control.

Think about such things as pandemics, tornadoes, or stock market crash.

Sometimes it hits very close to home, such as when someone you love receives a terrifying diagnosis, or when you experience a death in the family.

Regardless of the cause, upheaval can hit you like a ton of bricks, causing serious disruption in your life on all levels. Worse, more often than not, this kind of crisis is entirely and utterly beyond your control.

How do you deal with this?

This course will take you on a journey through the chaos as you explore the topic of disruptions and how to deal with it.

This is an intense study, but a necessary one. In today’s world, it seems we have more and more upheavals coming our way.

Being prepared is the key to coming out on top.

Thankfully, with this course and a little preparedness of your own, you’re going to be ready for anything.

Let’s get started!

Day 1:

In today’s lesson, we’re going to be exploring the emotional effects of upheaval.

You’re going to run the gamut on emotional fallout after an upheaval.

Expect to hit just about every item on this list at some point throughout. Though even then, you’ll be seeing psychological effects for a long time to come.

When the upheaval is long-lasting or has been especially severe, you can expect to be dealing with PTSD or trauma recovery for some time to come.

The other emotions in detail:


You can’t believe this is happening. You feel distant and even ‘out of body’ as you struggle to accept the new reality.


You want to deny the upheaval ever happened. You insist life is the same as it always has been. This can be especially dangerous if the threat isn’t fully past yet.

Say you’re still reeling from the first earthquake and are caught entirely unprepared for the aftershock that comes an hour or two later.

Of the shock of a forest fire destroying places near, you might blind you to the fact your house is still in danger.


What if it’s not over or gets worse? You may become obsessive with this state depending on the level of trauma.

If the upheaval has been particularly bad, you might develop phobias regarding the change itself.


It’s normal to feel sadness when things fall apart. During upheavals, this sadness can quickly become depression, especially if you couple sadness with the hopelessness of the situation, and start thinking things will never get better.


When upheaval comes at you, and there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s natural to start feeling helpless, as though you’re at the mercy of whatever is happening to you.

This feeling can also bring up a lot of anger at yourself for the perceived weakness, and can even be turned back on yourself in the form of negative self-talk to the extent of self-loathing if left unchecked.


It’s normal to feel mad when something doesn’t go right.

But anger has a lot of physical qualities to it, starting with raised blood pressure, a higher heart rate, and various effects on the body such as indigestion and headaches.

Anger can even lead to things such as heart attacks and has been proven to cause strokes, so rage needs to be watched and controlled carefully, which can, in turn, lead to exhaustion and insomnia.

Add in the effects of angry outbursts on those around you, and it’s easy to see why this can be one of the worst threats to your emotional well-being during a disruption.

It’s hard work to be angry!


If you’re experiencing the upheaval with others around you (for example, in a wildfire of hurricane your neighbors might also be affected), it’s not uncommon to feel guilt.

You might see yourself as having come out of things better than someone else, and even been relieved things weren’t quite so bad.

This can be especially true if you’re feeling ‘survivor’s guilt’ for still being here while others died.

You might also feel guilt if you think there’s something more you could have done to mitigate the disaster in the first place.


Even if you’re not feeling guilty for being relieved about how the situation turned out, relief can be a complicated emotion.

If things are getting better, you might feel like you shouldn’t be relieved at all if other people are suffering, especially if you’re starting to rediscover happiness in the process.

Your emotions might feel wrong and out of place, and even suspect. Here is where people start questioning themselves, asking what’s wrong with them, that they’re feeling anything akin to relief while others are still in the thick of it.


Any emotion at all can feel like it is absolutely the wrong response. Looking around yourself, you might conclude you shouldn’t be sad or angry right now because others aren’t.

Or that you’re too positive.


Honestly, we’re experts at beating ourselves up for experiencing spontaneous emotions.


Being anxious about what’s going on is another one of those responses which is perfectly natural, but worry can spawn insomnia, stress, and even panic attacks.

Worry can also stall you out, as it leads you to become indecisive or afraid to upset whatever the new status quo is.


It’s nearly impossible to get your thoughts in order in an upheaval, especially initially when the upset is so new.

Racing thoughts make it difficult to concentrate or to figure out what the next logical steps might be.


Why has this happened to you? Your mental health can become thoroughly shaken by all of this.

Start putting all these complicated emotional responses together, and it’s no wonder you feel sadness and even depression over what’s going on.

Depression can lead to poor decision- making, such as sleeping all day or turning to other coping mechanisms like overeating.

When depression really kicks in, it can lead to self-harm or even suicide.

All these emotions together create quite an impact on a person. It’s no wonder that people who are experiencing upheaval are more prone to substance abuse, divorce, and lasting PTSD.

Now, let’s take some time to investigate these emotional impacts in more detail. 

Day 1 Exercise: The Emotional Aftermath of Upheaval

On September 25, 2019, Lucy Hone, an expert in resiliency, opened her TED Talk presented in Christchurch with a few questions.

She started by asking people in the audience to stand up if they met specific criteria.

·       If they’d ever lost someone they loved.

·       If they ever lived through a natural disaster.

·       If they’d ever had a miscarriage.

·       If they’d ever had to cope with a physical impairment.

·       If they’d ever known someone who’d committed suicide.

In the course of one minute, this list grew, listing off various upheavals people experience in their lives.

By the end of this list of one dozen various crises, there wasn’t a single person sitting down of the hundreds who’d attended.

No matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe, you will experience things beyond your control.

These things will change your life in significant, profound, and even uncomfortable ways.

·       It doesn’t matter if you’re rich.

·       It doesn’t matter if you live paycheck to paycheck.

·       It doesn’t care what the color of your skin is.

·       It makes no difference if you went to college or even finished school at all.

Upheaval is inevitable and entirely outside our control. The least we can do is learn what impacts it will leave behind, which is what we’ll be further investigating in today’s exercises.

Step 1: Why do you think disbelief and denial are such prominent effects of life's disruptions?

Why can they be damaging to the victim?

Brainstorm Your Ideas Here:

Step 2: Have you ever developed phobias after experiencing upheaval?

Write Your Answer Here:

Step 3: What emotional impacts have hit you the hardest after upheaval?

Why do you think this is?

Write 3 of these such impacts and your hypotheses as to why they may have come about below.

·       Impact 1:

     Hypothesis 1:

·       Impact 2:

     Hypothesis 2:

·       Impact 3:

     Hypothesis 3: