Where does creativity come from? The answer is unique for each of us. Will Cady, Reddit’s Global Brand Ambassador and founding Head of Creative Strategy, has written a book and created a system to help you unlock and embrace the powerful ingenuity and intuition that lies within you.
Will has leveraged his uniquely blended approach of creativity and mysticism to counsel business leaders toward impactful, empathetic marketing of powerhouse brands including Apple, Google, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. He has consulted with entertainment leaders at Netflix, Disney, Amazon Studios, Paramount, and more.
As artificial intelligence gains an increasing foothold in our work and our lives, the need to find and maintain our uniquely human creativity is growing more urgent. His new book, Which Way Is North will ensure that you stay on course as you navigate through the complexity of modern times. It will help you open new pathways to creativity and equip you with tools for your personal and professional journey to becoming a conscious participant in creation.
Will has developed a way for you to locate your inner authentic truths and gain an approachable way to transform anxiety into creativity so you can flourish in every part of your life.
MORE FROM WILL CADY
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Robyn: Where does creativity come from? The answer is unique for each of us. Will Cady Reddit's global brand ambassador and founding head of creative strategy, has written a book and created a system to help you unlock and embrace the powerful ingenuity and intuition [00:01:00] that lies within you. leveraged his uniquely blended approach of creativity and mysticism to counsel business leaders toward impactful, empathetic marketing of powerhouse brands including Apple, Google McDonald's, and Coca Cola.
He's consulted with entertainment leaders at Netflix, Disney, Amazon Studios, Paramount, and more. As artificial intelligence gains an increasing foothold in our work and our lives, the need to find and maintain our uniquely human creativity is growing more urgent. His new book, Which Way is North, will ensure that you stay on course as you navigate through the complexity of modern times.
It will help you open new pathways to creativity and equip you with the tools for your personal and professional journey To becoming a conscious participant in creation Will has developed a way for you to locate your inner authentic truths and gain an approachable way to transform anxiety into creativity so you can flourish in every part of your life.
There is so much to [00:02:00] discuss. Let's get started. Hi,
Will: Will. Hello. Glad to be here.
Karen: And wow, just have to say, Robyn, in that introduction, I don't think I've ever heard the words mysticism, marketing, and authenticity all grouped together Ever. So I wonder if that's a really good place for us to start will talk about that.
Why do you refer to yourself as a mystic maker, marketer, break it down for us. Tell us your story and how you came to identify yourself in these areas.
Will: Yeah, that's the idea is to put all those things together and among those different words I would say that authenticity is the key because that is the word that I have heard many marketers say in brainstorms or on panels in different meetings in different forms of any sort where We, as marketers are talking about what we're looking for and what I have long suspected and what I explore in this book is that the word authenticity is the word we put over the sacred we're really pointing to and that there [00:03:00] are perspectives, systems and tools and mysticism that can be brought to bear to help marketers figure out what authenticity really means.
What does it mean to you?
Karen: How do you
Will: define authenticity? It's different for every person, and it is speaking from the intelligence of the heart. There is this idea that I have that the mind thinks, but the heart knows. So there's an honesty in the intelligence of the heart that is beyond poetic.
Not just talking about follow your heart, like you see in a Disney film, but that there's really an intelligence there. And it is not capable of being diluted. It is not capable of being manipulated by an algorithm. It is something that is deeply human. And everybody's authenticity is their own, just as everybody's heart is their own.
Robyn: I love that definition. And I know you talk about it a lot in the book as well. And just going back though, to your story and how you came into This knowing, and even being able to talk about authenticity in that way. How did [00:04:00] this begin? I know we've talked to before, we understand a bit about your upbringing, but I find it really fascinating to know where you came from and where you are now.
Will: Yeah. Dominantly the path was through music and I have a very thorough creative education, which has been one of the great privileges of my life. Being able to go to an art school and a music school and play professionally as a musician for 15 years. I, on the other side of graduating those schools, I was saddled with a lot of student loan debt.
So I had to get to work. And that was. troubling for me at first because I felt like I had to defer my dreams, but the path that I ended up taking brought me into engaging with the world with mainstream culture, with business as it is. And the tools that I brought to bear from creativity were incredibly.
valuable and incredibly absent in the education of a lot of my counterparts. And that was something that I noticed. I was like this is a curiosity. This is [00:05:00] strange. I remember the first moment that it happened. I was in a brainstorm and then somebody said, I can't come up with an idea. You're the creative one.
You do it. I was like, what are you? What? What are you talking about? I've never heard that before, which goes to show you how narrow my experience was at that time. But there was an element of being really empowered there because it felt good to be seen as that creative person, but there was also something deeper that I felt that I was like, no, this isn't correct.
I don't believe what you just said. I don't think that you're not creative. There's something missing there. So I felt like I was carrying something that was valuable that was worth sharing. And the surprise was that underneath my creative education was the mystical education that locked right into it.
That could do the same thing and help people, as I said, in the book jacket participate in creation.
Robyn: Yeah. And what I find interesting too, just even in the way you were telling your own story. Is that for me growing up, I thought of myself as creative, but not mystical and for me, I understood [00:06:00] that more as I reached my thirties and so forth, that there's something else going on here which I believe.
So the creativity and that mysticism together. it's so exciting that we're sharing that with so many people right now.
Karen: Can I just ask what is the definition of mystic?
Will: Yeah. So a mystic is somebody that is dedicated to spiritual arts and sciences.
Some would say sciences of inner investigation of the different domains of reality. So it's somebody that might be committed to an esoteric path in any. Religion or spiritual modality it's a term that, like a lot of other terms like shaman and guru is being stretched quite a bit today.
And it carries a different charge in different contexts. There's, a strict definition of a mystic. For some, might be somebody who is an ascetic that has given up all worldly possessions and is... fully, dedicated to their path. In other [00:07:00] contexts, a mystic might be Dr. Strange, a character in a Marvel film, right?
And there's a lot in between. I'm using the word mystic here, first and foremost, because I can't resist opportunities for alliteration. It's
very authentic of you,
but also it's a word that is not spiritual. And there is a lot of people's walls come up when there is conversation about spirituality. And I'm really interested in sparking a new conversation that doesn't engage with those walls. And so that's the opportunity of working with the word mystic.
That's what that represents. And that's my intent behind it. Very helpful.
Robyn: So talking about mystic and mystical, your parents were seekers. Yeah. Can you expand on that a little bit?
And I also would love for you to expand in your introduction to music as well, because I know you talked about how that then led you to Do I have to give that up? And something else came [00:08:00] along. So you were able to marry that love and also the practicality of having A job that was bringing in a steady paycheck. But let's start with your parents and where that the seeker and mysticism
Will: came in for sure.
They were both, seekers in their own right. And I think that was very much the basis of their love of what brought them together. They've both passed, I still carry them with me. So as far as like my spiritual identity, my mystic identity, my connection with them is today very powerful part of that.
And my mother, she was the writer, actually, and I didn't really know that. When my father passed away, my sister and I were going through a lot of their things as we were preparing sell the house and move on to this next chapter, and we found all of this really just incredible philosophy and poetry.
And we were like, is this dad's? And she was like, no, screw you guys. That's me. I wrote that. And it was a really powerful reframe because he was so outward. He was like a peacock, they both wore tie dye every day, but everybody knew, that he was like this wizard in our [00:09:00] town, basically, with a walking stick, and long, flowing white hair, and his colorful wardrobe and whatnot, but she was holding the ground down for him, so that he could be that person, but they were both
people that had such a huge appetite for exploring what it means to be human.
Robyn: And did they teach you meditation at a young age?
Will: My dad did. Yeah. So he became a Renzai Zen Buddhist priest. And in that he was really pushing me to learn how to meditate and he was pushing me to do yoga.
And I was really resistant when I was a teenager because it's just What you do and man, I regret that. But he was on his own path and he brought me into some of these amazing initiatory experiences at such a young age that I am so grateful that he architected those experiences for me.
Robyn: just speaking of him
Robyn: you talk about , your experience? you were playing music wherever he practicing and becoming a Zen Master. And you [00:10:00] sat next to, I don't know how you would refer to the Zen Master that was
Will: there. It was the Abbot of the Order.
So the head of that Zen Do, that whole situation. Absolutely fascinating character in their own right. But I have a great photo that I'll have to share at some point, but it's me and one of my friends we were at Berkeley college of music and we are playing music for the monks and.
we didn't have a music stand. So one of them he did a little flip and then he like has his feet up and we have the this book of sheet music resting on his feet that we're reading while we're playing. It's such a funny picture. So they would be in these silent retreats where they would be going deep.
Deep for days into silence. And then we would be invited in at the end of that to play music as the bridge back to where we all meet. And in exchange for that, I was given one on one sits with the Abbott to basically, that was it was like a meal and then a very sacred session as my, compensation, I suppose you [00:11:00] could say, or my energy exchange, as some might say. And oh, that was so clever that they did that, because I wouldn't have signed up for that myself. I was there for the food, right? Because I was a college student. And it was I recounted really the opening scene in the book, and it was really powerful to have a Zen master just rip me open.
Robyn: Yeah, especially at such a young age
Will: yeah. I had no idea what was being assembled for me. I'm very privileged to have had that. When you say
Karen: they ripped you open, what do you mean by
Will: that? So the sit, the ritual, I remember they referred to that as an ego deconstruction ceremony.
So you know, an ego deconstruction ceremony for an 18 year old guy.
Robyn: Wow. I don't think I understood that until I was in my early,
Will: yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of ego to wade through.
Robyn: So then when you talk about, you were at that point of, you're trying to figure out what, how you were going to make a living.
And so then how were you introduced to the business part and that marketing part of things?
Will: Yeah, I think that's also going back to my [00:12:00] parents where a lot of that came from because that was my mother's side My father was highly creative but my mother was the breadwinner and she was the one that had the successful, career in the business world and Was able to reconcile that with her identity as a seeker and whatnot in a different way than I do but I was able to model after her and tap her identity when it came time for me to figure some of this out.
And I basically needed to be dragged into that. I don't think I would have chosen the career that I had, but as far as all of the great breakthroughs in my life story, I've always been pulled by the ear into them. So I wouldn't be having this conversation. I wouldn't have this book.
None of this would be my story if it weren't for, being pulled into the business world. And so I had a lot of other people in my life to that helped me to just get A sense of what to do. I was in Boston and I was a musician in Boston. But I was surrounded by strategy consultants.
And I'd be at parties at their house and I would read their MBA [00:13:00] materials. And I was like trying to get up to speed on this kind of stuff. And I was working at a small music effects pedal company and experimenting with how to market. Through YouTube and Reddit and social media, and there were no books.
There were no curriculum on that. So I had to make all that up as I went along, and through that that's, how I discovered the power of Reddit. Those years in Boston really were like almost a little bit of a grad school without paper at the end of it. And then I took that to Los Angeles and just worked and worked and was able to grow professionally at a couple of different companies and just make my own way with just the knowledge that I had picked up.
Karen: said the power Reddit. For those in our audience, maybe who don't know what that is, can you tell us what Reddit
Will: Reddit is Reddit is where the best questions live. So we even have famous questions like, is a hotdog a sandwich or would you rather fight 100. Duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck.
But there's the Ask Me Anything community and all of these others. it's a place where people go [00:14:00] for advice. And so it's been around for 18 years, and it's always been a place that doesn't serve you. Answers that get jammed down your throat like everything else, but it's a place where you can find questions that other people have asked that you can relate to.
And because of that, it's created all of these different communities that are anywhere from, like 2000 people to 40 million people that. Become these contexts where culture is really thrive. So it's been a place that's been a good fit for me. First and foremost, because back in those days where I was educating myself on how to be in business and be a marketing, I.
Reddit was the one that worked for me the most. figured out how to get a lot of attention for my music or for different projects by posting right kind of content in the right community such as that it would get to the front page and then you would have hundreds of thousands of people suddenly seeing it.
So I was able to put together that playbook and then going to join Reddit. It really fit with my kind of explorer ethos because each of these different [00:15:00] communities are these different rabbit holes. And over the course of the last eight years, while I've been there I've had the joy of being a part of team that is figuring out how do we build business off of this thing?
Because it can be a lot of different things, but we know that it's powerful. And that power comes from the communities and the questions.
Karen: the idea, especially with. Chat, GPT and all of this, technology out there, which is sourcing from all over the internet, for answers or for intelligence to have a destination where it's really about community and really authentically tapping into what they think and how they feel and it not being a black and white factual based.
Yeah. for people to find information. It's so unique.
Will: That's right. That's a huge part of what makes it work. people want to join conversations.
Robyn: Yeah. And they want to feel heard too. I think there's a lot of places that especially. On a lot of other social media platforms where you can maybe be seen maybe, but not necessarily heard and it's a platform where you can have real
You certainly can, [00:16:00] and you can choose different contexts as well. And sometimes you want to have a conversation and not have it be about who you are, but about what you're asking.
Robyn: That's right. I know I certainly have used it. especially when it comes to the spiritual community on there.
I think that really a lot of thoughtful answers sharing of stories.
Will: there really is and so one of the great utilities of reddit is that people come there to learn and so you have all kinds of different spiritual communities on reddit But you also have communities like the meditation subreddit There's a million members there and I worked with them for a while doing some live audio meditations for a couple years great community And the tarot community, the astrology community, there's a couple others like that where the context of that environment is people that are stepping into this for the first time and they're trying to learn how to meditate.
Or they are interested in buying their first tarot deck. And then you've got, other communities that are way in the deep end, and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. [00:17:00] And you can choose your depth, and choose your culture within a larger domain of something like spirituality, and then multiply that times anything else.
Sports, or crafts, or parenting, right? It's the same pattern across all of them.
Robyn: And how did you bring meditation and tarot and really mysticism to a degree into
Will: the workplace. Yeah. With that story that I shared in terms of bootstrapping my education into business from being a musician, it from the start enabled me to brandish a different kind of approach and different sort of identity than people might expect.
So I carry that with me and that made it easy for me to continue to be. So I put meditation on my calendar every day. 30 minute meditation in the afternoon. And I did that when I was a people leader, when I was building out and managing Reddit's Los Angeles office. And there's a very transparent culture in the company.
So my calendar was visible to [00:18:00] everybody's and that's a pretty common thing. So people saw that and I did that on purpose, maybe a little bit to virtue signal, but mostly to be somebody that gave them permission to do that for themselves. And because of that, When it was 2020 and when we really dropped into these anxious times, it was somebody else that volunteered voluntold me to start leading meditations for others because they had seen that On my calendar and they were like, we think that will would be a good resource to do this.
And through that I was invited to just continue to cultivate that similar with tarot as well. So I was just pulling tarot cards for myself on a picnic table at a company event and then somebody was like, Oh, you're doing tarot cards. Can you do me next? And I was like, yeah, sure. And then next thing I know there was a line that went for three hours and I, did tarot readings for half the company and then that side of me was out.
And it was a little strange for a tech bro to be that. [00:19:00] But they also knew that I was this musician. So this is again that relationship between creativity and spirituality. That they're right next to each other. So it wasn't too far of a cry for the musician to have a little bit of a mystical side to them.
Karen: you talk about that a little bit more about creativity and spirituality being right next to each other? What do you mean by
Will: that? Yeah. So at a surface level, it's like, where do ideas come from? Where does inspiration come from? And, what is your relationship with creation?
A lot of the mystical systems talk about creation. And creation as not an act, not as an object, but as everything. As a word for reality in mystical systems. Not that the Big Bang happened and creation is in the past, but that creation is happening right now. And the Human awakening is to take part in it.
And then more technically, the seven directions in the book, the number seven, there's seven notes in a musical scale. There's seven [00:20:00] chakras, there's seven planets in classical astrology. So knowing how to work with different combinations of seven is one example of many of where the knowledge of creativity and spirituality intersect.
Robyn: That's a really good introduction to talking about the book. Can we talk about The Seven Directions and how did that come to you? Was that something that came out of inspiration and meditation? Was that something you were already practicing before you wrote the book?
Will: It came quickly. So structure came within a matter of minutes and those in the spiritual world will call that a download, right?
And then the rest of it was how do you integrate it? But how was the table set for that? There, I think a lot of what I've been sharing here so far has been like the unfolding of my identity where there's like a deep sort of imposter syndrome from the beginning where I was like, supposed to be a musician, I was supposed to be on tour and then I got into trouble because I was in debt and then I started.
Reading other people's course materials to try to figure it [00:21:00] out unofficially, right? And then somehow, somebody gave me the keys to an office and then I was in an office and I was doing this work and, so then when I started doing this work, people were Recognize that there was something different and then that started to click and then my career started growing and That I think were part of the roots of the book because I was like there's something happening here I thought that I was going to fail but the opposite is happening.
So I should really unpack that And I got to a point where I think really because of Reddit's growth as a brand and as a business and the fact that I got to take a part in that, I was like, people seem to be listening to what I have to say. So what do I have to say? And. I don't think imposter syndrome ever ends, but I started to believe that I have a method for coming up with ideas that comes from a different place that is therefore worth sharing.
I sat down and I was like okay, how can I deconstruct my own brain and basically teach what I do intuitively? [00:22:00] And the seven directions just came in like that. A lot of that was because of music. The seven directions are what is in front of you, what is behind you, what do you receive to your left, what do you give to your right, what do you rest upon underneath you, what shines upon you from above, and then the seventh direction is your heart in the middle.
That is all basically a rebranding of how my musical mind works. Because, as I mentioned, there are seven notes in a musical scale. At the bottom of it is a root note. That's your heart in the middle. And so music is made from the relationship between that root note and all of the other notes around it.
So even though sheet music looks like, lines, music is very spatial in that way. And as a bass player, it was very connected with the root note always. So I had to discover that. I was like, yeah, when, so when somebody asks me like, what should we do for this brand in this moment,
I would just go through that in my head and be like, I just turn it around in all these different directions. Okay, what are these directions? And that is where I started to label the containers of [00:23:00] those directions with questions. Because... As I shared before, questions are more powerful than answers.
And the question of what is in front of you is meant to be a very open ended question, because that starts a conversation. It could mean so many different things. And I was developing that at the same time that I was tapped on the shoulder to start teaching meditation. And that's when I realized that the seven direction system is both a system for creativity and for resolving anxiety.
And then I realized that anxiety and creativity are the same thing.
Karen: Say that one more time. Anxiety and creativity are the same
Will: thing. Yes. Anxiety is creativity ready to be transmuted.
Karen: Unpack that a little bit more for us.
Will: Sure. An anxiety is an energy in your emotional field. And that energy wants to be put into motion. Energy in motion is emotion. Often times, especially today, where we are all consuming so much information, there [00:24:00] is a lot of energy that is being put into us, and it stagnates, and it clogs us up, and it just, ugh, and it can feel overwhelming.
The seven directions helps you to basically drop in and say, where is the anxiety? And if it's in front of you, maybe Oh, it's that dinner that I have scheduled tomorrow. I'm really nervous about that. Or it might be like, Oh, it's that memory from my childhood that's coming back up right now.
Alright, we gotta go there. Or it could be the tuna sandwich you had last night. That's what's in front of you. That's what's behind you. That is what you receive. But when you are able to locate it in a specific direction, all of a sudden you're bigger than it. It is smaller than you. And there's some breathwork that I teach in the meditation that helps you to basically digest that stagnant energy that wants to be released.
And it can either be released for the sake of letting go, or it can be released in the form of story and creativity because that energy contains information. So let's say it's that first example. If you're nervous about that [00:25:00] dinner you have tomorrow night, is it a business dinner? Is it a date?
Who are the characters? What is the story? What's the environment? What are you envisioning when you go into that place? Maybe there's something worth articulating in the form of a blog post, or a painting, or a song. If it's something from your childhood, that's clearly much richer territory, right?
And there's a lot to pull back from that and express yourself with. So I'm really talking about art therapy there. but it's the empowered choice that the practitioner has to basically say, okay, I'm here sitting on the throne of my heart, like my own king, my own queen, and my anxieties are not my captors, they're now my servants, they are bringing me stories for me to choose what I would deign to do with them.
Oh my gosh,
Karen: That's the quote of the day for me.
Robyn: I love that. And it's really such. A different perspective on anxiety and how to use it and it gives it a positive spin on us, because, I think about my daughter, who suffers from severe [00:26:00] anxiety, , and I can't wait to have this conversation with her, because I actually also think she's highly creative, and with all of the other you.
Things that kids her age have going on, especially like schoolwork and things like that and pressures. She's not having enough time for that outlet. And I'm wondering if she were able to take some of the meditations and the system that you've created and do something with that.
Will: I hope so.
That's the intent for the book to be a software upgrade. And to invite people into the idea that our anxiety doesn't mean that there's something wrong with us, but that there's something for us to do. That it's an invitation to action. And
Robyn: I would also say for people, especially in the quote unquote creative world, who find that they have some sort of creative block, which is also anxiety.
Yeah, this can help them clear that
Will: block. Yeah, exactly because the block It's the color to paint with
Robyn: Yeah, it's a stuck energy, it needs
Will: to come out. And that's really where the book came from, too. envisioned me in my [00:27:00] early twenties in Boston. My life has fallen apart, and I'm at a party talking to nobody, reading a business textbook, trying to figure out what to do with my debt.
That is the anxious place that this came from. So the book itself is the proof.
Robyn: yeah, and can you talk a little bit about the way that you've set the system up in terms of utilizing symbols and meditation, breath, and those questions?
Will: Yeah, so there are symbols that the book opens with, and that's another instance of, this is my first time writing a book, and so there's a lot of anxiety in that process.
And this was this, my fourth draft, I think we were like near the finish line and the editor was great and we had a great rapport, which meant that they could be authentically critical. And I was able to receive that criticism, and when I got that feedback, I was exhausted. And I was like, I don't what do I do?
can I muster the energy to rewrite this again? And I sat back in my [00:28:00] chair, and then I looked at the cover that we had designed, which has the eye. And the eye is a symbol for creative vision. And I swear, I just, I opened Google Slides, of all things, and I put it in there, and then I copied and pasted it and turned it around.
And then I noticed that eye creates a compass. And then I like did it again and I was like when you add another one and you tilt that, then it creates a star. And then it was almost like I blacked out and 30 minutes later I had these this series of symbols that the book opens with that are deeply archetypal about the creative process.
There's a transmission in those symbols that if you contemplate them and look at them as... Kind of the whole book you don't even need to read the words that I wrote like they're in the symbols And then that became when I sat back and looked at it. I was like, oh, that's the substructure and all the chapters so every single chapter writes through what each of those symbols represent to then be the exposition of my Interpretations of these questions that I'm asking what is in front of you, [00:29:00] what is behind you, et cetera, et cetera.
So it came from a really symbolic place and that again came from an anxiety of wrestling with this sequence of this imposter syndrome because I was like, I'm not a writer. What am I doing? But it was like, no keep going, which is the last two words of the book too.
Robyn: I love that
Karen: you actually use the process.
To write the book like that. I think that is again, a very authentic thing to do. And I think for the listener, it helps them your process, how you got there, that you actually went on that journey. And this is the gift that you're giving is how you
Robyn: got through that journey.
Thank you. That was really important to me in the process of making it that the book folds upon itself that It is its own proof, and that is table stakes for mystical writing. And that is something that I really brought into this. So it's another example of some of the tools and systems of mysticism that can be brought to bear for creatives or for marketers is that there is a there's a certain standard that a quality mystical book [00:30:00] has, and It comes from that kind of execution, that the book itself has to be numinous, it has to be like a portal, it has to be something that is metaphysically engineered in that way. And that was very much my intent with this from the beginning. The one area of, jealousy I have is that a lot of mystical books are like I was in a state of gnosis and I channeled this and what you're reading is everything that came through and I'm like, ah, sounds nice because I had to read this thing five times.
Yeah, let me do some of that. Exactly. Yeah. But what that I bet there was some of that. I bet there was. Absolutely. There is. Yeah. And What I think a lot of my wrestling in my path has given me is the ability to have a dialogue with my unconscious self and my conscious self.
Because my conscious self holds my education. In the arts specifically and so that's where there's a lot of incredible synchronicities in the structure of this book and it's designed for people to read it once and then have an ongoing relationship with it [00:31:00] and when you go back to prior chapters it's oh wow that word means something totally different now that I have read it through completely It's shaped like a dreamcatcher in a way.
It's like a tesseract. It's holofractal. It's a mandala. And so that all comes from the unconscious. nobody is smart enough to be able to put together a synchronistic piece of work that is self referential in all these ways. So I was really having to Negotiate through what kind of creativity was being channeled from my higher self and then figuring out how to build a structure that could capture it without Violating it and in some of the best esoteric pieces of writing are the ones that are truly channeled and yet still have that incredible structure without having had the the hands of the craft worker.
Yeah. So there's performance and then there's craft.
Robyn: And then did the title come after?
Will: The title came first. And It came from a joke with me and my friends because [00:32:00] I in this character in my community.
I'm becoming my dad. Good for you. Yeah. Which we all do. And my mom. But in terms of just being this kind of like mystical, caricature. We just it's becoming a joke for the first thing to ask people when you show up at somebody's house or a party or an event is, which way is north?
And don't explain why you're asking that. it was a joke with us for a while. And then it's an example of a curiosity because there's energy there and I was like, why is that funny? And then I like, sat with it for a little bit and I was like, that's a really important question to ask.
Because. I don't always know the answer to it, and people very often don't know the answer to it. And we should really take a look at that, because everybody should, at all times. We should know where on the planet we stand. That's right.
Karen: And now everybody's definition of North is shifting, There isn't just one.
Will: Yeah. How cool is that too? And that's an example. So I would say that whole process was an unconscious form of creativity. I wasn't. putting that together consciously. And then as I started [00:33:00] to write the book, I was like, all right, dude, like you named it, which way is North.
So you got to make that make sense. And as I started looking in these different areas I came across the same thing that you just mentioned, which is that people's definitions of North are. totally different. And, for example, the North Star itself, Polaris, every 13, 000 years, that's not our North Star.
It's Vega, a totally different North Star in the sky. We're on the cusp of possibly our poles shifting. So North may literally Become South. I took a trip to Australia this year for work and I was like, North does not mean the same thing to Australians as it does to me. And so this is like the most foundational thing.
Like it's the metaphor, people's true North, your North star, like it's your identity, it's your purpose. And if even that is something that we actually can't agree on. Whoa.
Robyn: Wow. I love that it started unconsciously. That is a really good story,
Will: I think the key in that is this is what I've been trained as a mystic to have is the recognition of where there is [00:34:00] energy. It's that is making me laugh. Why?
Robyn: Yes. And then speaking, you mentioned your dad again, and one of the stories that really stuck with me and touched me is the story of your dad and the bear spear.
Can you talk about that? And I know it comes in the looking back, right?
Will: Yeah, so there's a lot of layers to that both unconscious and conscious choices because that chapter is very much about our relationship with what we keep in shadow and so for a lot of people that can be trauma and it can be difficult experiences or whatever word you want to use to assign to that and his death was biggest shock to my system, and if I were to identify a single moment of call into who I've become, it would be that moment.
Telling a story about him was necessary for me to really explore this subject of what is behind, what do I keep in my shadow? It's that. And, there's a particular memory that I have. Of a bear spear, which I still have in my house and I have tattooed here on my wrist [00:35:00] and he was creating this bear spear and he was telling me about it in terms of what it represents.
And what it represents is a relationship with the shadow that there is, this is very much like a father son sort of transition or transmission where he's this is what it means to be a man. You've got to be willing to make yourself the bait in order to fight the monsters of this world. You've got to be prepared to die.
effectively for your people figuratively and literally because the bear spear itself the way that it's used to hunt a bear is that you let the bear charge you while you have the spear on the ground and you anchor it on your foot or on a rock and then when the bear jumps up to attack you raise the spear and it kills itself with its own weight so you are the bait it's a metaphor for courage basically and he was telling me that Not literally, we had no need to hunt bears.
It was spiritual. It was having the courage to face the most difficult things. So a very appropriate [00:36:00] story to share to give to people that totem of the bear spear itself. And there's a few other layers to it as well. That chapter is called, We All Walk With The Same Monsters. Because one of my great frustrations is, How shattered our unity is as a people on this planet right now.
And one of the things that he shared in passing in the construction of that spear is he was like, the people that came before us in Europe and in America both had the bear spear. They both had to walk with the same monsters. And I was like, so that's what? I got the chills. Oh, what a beautiful symbol to tie us together.
So that's what that was about.
Robyn: You just told it beautifully and it's beautifully written.
Robyn: you. And we also talk about it seemed to me that it also was a great awakener
Will: for you too.
Yeah. Side note on psychometry. I uncovered this movie called Vibes from the 80s starring Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper where they are both psychics and Jeff Goldblum's like specialty is psychometry and it was in my [00:37:00] feed and my Amazon prime recommended, I was like, what is this?
It's I'll be charitable. It's a difficult watch, but the fact of its existence is just it's crazy. And so I guess psychometry might have been on the cultural tongue back then and I think the shorthand in this context today would probably be a lot of people would be familiar with the journey of the horcruxes in Harry Potter, that there are these objects that are imbued with a certain kind of energy that people can experience when they touch it.
Psychometry basically posits that is available for any object, that the provenance of an object is detectable if you are sensitive enough and again, ask it questions about where did you come from, and if you still your mind enough. It will show you its stories because those stories, whether we can explain it or not, can be experienced in something that object holds.
So I share a story in in this book in the listening chapter What Do You [00:38:00] Receive?, which is all about listening, of the psychometry class that I took that absolutely blew my doors off because I fully experienced, I'll let people read it, Yeah.
Robyn: And it's another example of how our energy, each one of us is connected.
Yeah. All things.
Will: Yeah. And that's where I take my seat in art because art moves quicker than science. And it's important to verify what is true, but it's also important to have your own experience. And there are many things in the human experience that will not be explained in our lifetime.
And art is a respectable way to explore that without waiting for permission. It's personal.
Karen: Yeah. You don't need clarification from others. It comes. Purely from you.
Will: Yeah, from the heart. And that's another place where creativity and spirituality intersect. Yes
Robyn: well and talking about the human experience and the opposite let's say of that would be Talking about what happens when we're not in the human experience And I know [00:39:00] one of the things that you talk about is the day of the dead And I know Halloween is coming up when this episode will post and you talk about your own experience.
Will: With that. Yeah, so there's a bit of a there's an undercurrent of purpose that's written throughout the book and it's in the question of which way is north, and it's based on this idea that we're lost in the modern age that we have maybe a false hubris about how far we've come. And that there is a deeper story of a more connected humanity that is lurking in the shadows of our past and across past the horizon of our future and day of the dead appropriately because it's about those who have departed both our family and our ancestors seems to be the portal on the calendar where that all comes through.
And a lot of that was learning about the land that I live upon. So that was really about the soil. And the story there is like how I went from Massachusetts, a very colonial place, to Oaxaca and the [00:40:00] Hopi Reservation and Guatemala to see that there are deeper stories on this continent than the ones that directly made me.
And... Dia de los Muertos itself is this kind of intersection between All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve and it's a way where traditions of lost cultures that actually aren't lost can be kept alive because If you're putting the photos of your parents and your grandparents and their parents and so long and so forth on your ofrienda, which is the altar where you remember the dead, you actually don't have to go that far back until you enter myth.
And you enter the stories that made your people, your culture. So that is, that's what I beheld when I took that journey to try to gain some understanding of this continent. And what I found was that. On the Hopi reservation, they call in the beginning of the sacred season, which begins in November, and it has to do with the stars in the sky.
[00:41:00] And it's basically like end of October, early November, around that time. And there is this parade of spirits. called kachinas that come in from the mountains and literally in costume parade through the villages. And then down in Mexico, you have Dia de los muertos, where people dress like the dead and they parade through the city.
And it's a festival of remembrance in that kind of way. Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the same thing. We do this. We put on costumes of the spirits, right? Like characters that we want to embody or figures from our culture that we want to remember. Maybe it's Elvis or Marilyn Monroe, right?
But it's connected. And All Saints Day itself was to remember the saints who had passed. And Literally, the marigold flower such a fundamental part of Dia de los Muertos, the orange and the purple. that's also the flower that is used, I believe, in India around their festival of light, and in Europe in this time.
And like, when you look at the [00:42:00] symbols... And when you look at the general contours of the story, something starts to come together and you're like, I think we're actually a lot more similar than we are different. And there's something here that was forgotten. It's beautiful that it comes through at the beginning of the sacred season because even in the secularism of, the, our Hallmark holidays, you're dropping into Thanksgiving and then, the solstice, which brings Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and all these others.
And this is the time where we think about magic. We think about where we came from. We think about something deeper. We think about belief in these kinds of things. And I subscribe to that. I believe that is the vestige of the culture we forgot and could remember again.
Robyn: It's such a journey, and that's the beautiful thing about your book, is that in all these areas, in all the directions, You really do help people, , unlock within themselves all that's just waiting to come out and at different times.
We all need something different to unlock that door. I [00:43:00] love in your meditations. It's a gateway opening the door. I think that's a great visualization, which is what you give people. I love that thinking when I close my eyes and I'm opening that door in that gateway.
Will: I appreciate that. And when I've led meditations for it, I've noticed that everybody has a different gateway. And so that's why I was really cautious to yes, there is artwork that depicts a gateway, but it's this is, these are training wheels. And somebody said that they just see like a just a circle.
With nothing around it, and it's like a portal to another place. So cool. That's their gateway. And it's an invitation for people to really, describe that for themselves. that's why I tried to describe all these moments where I was in the process of learning. Sometimes because I made a mistake.
Or exploring a question that needed to find an answer to rather than, I'm not trying to tell people what to think. I'm trying to show people a way that I think. And it's a how rather than a what.
Robyn: And I think we've said this in our conversation already, which is. You read the book through once, but then I know the way I will use [00:44:00] it is going back.
As I was just saying, like there are certain times I'll need to revisit something and then look at the way that you explain that meditation or look at that symbol. It becomes something where you get the whole process, but then different parts of it will unlock different parts of you when
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Karen: Is it a process that I should follow chapter by chapter or just. Do exercises within each that can apply to my specific journey.
Will: Yes. I do think admittedly there is a bit of sequencing, so it is good to read it through front to back.
But then the depth of the experience is really meant to be nonlinear and you can use it like an Oracle to just basically, that's actually it's so Obnoxious of me, but that's how I use it myself. Like I'll just flip open to a random page and just be like, what do I need to tell myself today?
Robyn: I love books like that.
Karen: if you were to say this book is for you, if, or this book is for those who are seeking what, who do you think your core audience for this book is?
Will: Yeah, I want to write for [00:45:00] everybody, but that's not a strategic thing for a first time author to do.
So I wrote for the audience that I have based upon how I'm embodied in this world, which is as a tech bro who works in marketing. So basically what I did is I put forward a spiritual book masquerading as a business book rather than the other way around. There's a lot of books that are the other way around.
So the audience is pointed towards marketers because they're also the ones who have the power to make a meaningful change in our culture.
Karen: Yeah. And as someone who's worked in marketing for a long time, I think it would be a great course for those of us who are trying to find meaningful work and put meaning in the work
Will: that we do.
Yeah. We are managers of meaning if we're marketers for sure. It's a big responsibility and I think we've been asleep at the wheel.
Robyn: we talked so much about what those early twenties were for you And that you were able to be open enough. To listen to those
Will: whispers. That's the reason that the first scene is, you meet me at 18. Yeah. Because I think this book [00:46:00] is also written for anybody that is going through a period of transformation in their life, which is absolutely when you're 18, absolutely when you're graduating college, trying to figure out how to make ends meet, absolutely at all of these different other passages in life.
And also we're all, the whole world is transforming right now. So we're all in it.
Robyn: In addition to the book, how can people
Will: work with you? I mostly use LinkedIn and Instagram So I'm on both as will Cady C a D Y is how you spell it.
My website is will-cady.Com. There's a form in there that you can reach out to me directly, but I'm responsive to private messages on social as well.
Robyn: Awesome. We are so grateful to be connected to you and. We're grateful to you for listening and channeling and then taking that channel and really putting together a very useful resource for all of us and to turn that anxiety into something really
I hope it helps.
Robyn: I know it will. So thank you. Thanks Will.