The Vision | Veteran Healing Through Nature & Community with Mark "Matz" Matzeldelaflor

The Vision | Veteran Healing Through Nature & Community with Mark "Matz" Matzeldelaflor
Guardian Grange
The Vision | Veteran Healing Through Nature & Community with Mark "Matz" Matzeldelaflor

Aug 09 2021 | 01:43:00

Episode 1 August 09, 2021 01:43:00

Show Notes

Guardian Grange is a veteran powered humanitarian and environmental regeneration project, founded by a former US Navy SEAL to protect natural resources, strengthen communities, and uplift veterans with a renewed sense of purpose. Our focus is facilitating individual and community healing through working in nature. We are growing a decentralized network of regenerative permaculture properties to build the infrastructure for a soil based economy, and serve as healing spaces for veterans and co-creative community projects that build deep-rooted relationships and inspire stronger sense of community for generations to come.

Hello friends and fellow humans, thank you for tuning in to the very first Guardian Grange podcast. I am your host, Mark Matzeldelaflor, founder of our non-profit mission and Co-creative Engagement Officer.

In this first episode, I'm going to discuss a little bit about myself, and my life's path from early childhood to becoming a Navy SEAL, combat experience, dealing with the tragedy of suicide and veterans mental health issues, experience with earth based sacraments (or entheogens, often referred to as psychedelics or "hallucinogens" with undeserving stigma) and reigniting my fire for life which is what lead me to start this nonprofit mission to facilitate veteran healing through working with nature... and why I've dedicated my life to building a regenerative permaculture network for food sovereignty and a community focused infastructure for a soil based economy... 

We'll dive into the Guardian Grange vision, and chat about what our core team has been able to accomplish so far... where we're going, and how you can assist.

Finally, I'll close with how you can help support our effort (see links below), manifesting the Guardian Grange vision, along with some final thoughts...

Our mission at Guardian Grange is to uplift veterans, protect nature's resources and strengthen communities through humanitarian and environmental services dedicated to repurposing veterans’ skillsets for regenerative agriculture, holistic land management, rehabilitating public building projects, repairing ecological damage, and transforming distressed land into healthy ecosystems. By connecting to nature in a community setting to do good works, veterans can reignite passion and rediscover purpose to lead communities through service, protecting the land and people in new and honorable ways.  

While we are a young organization, there is no shortage of work to be done, and we have been diligently building programs that will require significant resources and volunteer effort. Any contribution to our cause will greatly help us achieve our goals by funding veteran rehabilitation, land restoration, and other activities that support our mission.

Please stay connected to Guardian Grange on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and at our website to follow along with our progress as we help transform the world into a more beautiful, healthy, and friendly place one community at a time.

Guardian Grange is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3), EIN 85-3841605. Contributions are tax deductible.

Your donation supports our efforts to improve humanity and the environment by uplifting veterans to protect natural resources and strengthen communities.


Donate directly through our Donorbox campain here:

You can also donate through our website by clicking the "Support The Vision" button.

Survey Link (Open til 15 Nov 2021) 

Subscribe to the Guardian Grange Youtube channel (FYI we need 100 subs to get a customized link with the name of our org instead of the jumble of letters at the end): 


Mark Matzeldelaflor

Guardian Grange | Founder & Co-creative Engagement Officer

P.S. Here are some shout outs to the bros!


Ryan Parrot (swim buddy & advisor to Guardian Grange): Sons Of The Flag (Burn Care Foundation) & Birds Eye View Project 

Watch the Story of my good freind and SEAL brother, Rob Guzzo on the History Channel

Will Spencer of American Warrior Association 

Andy Arrabito of Half Faced Blades Blades 

No Ordinary Dog by Will Chesney: 

Kevin Lacz of American Sniper & The Last Punisher 

JP Dinnell: Echelon Front 

Special thanks to our partner communities:

Xerces Society: 

Bottoms Up Community Garden 

Church of the People for Creator and Mother Earth 


Thank you to Dr. Bronner's for sponsoring this episode: Special thanks to Alissa, Emily, Les & David for being helpful, kind and supportive during our birthing as an organization. Thank you for believing in the Guardian Grange vision.

For those of you who are still reading, here's my writing which I read from in the beginning of this podcast to set the tone:


Modern humanity must shift its focus from extraction to exchange, and move from creating destruction into creating synergy... if we intend to continue as a species, we must reimagine the system and manifest a well-balanced relationship with our humanity and nature.

It is not only within our human nature to transform, transformation is the highest natural order of humanity. It is divinely human to work creatively with the natural world as a partner, instead of exploiting it in endless competition for hoarding of natural resources.

Instead of taxing the earth through egoic pursuit of exponential economic growth... as responsible human beings, we should seek balance by securing socio-economic stability that lives and breathes with the natural rhythms and cycles of our local environments.

The ego driven desire to control all of earth by small groups of people will forever lead us into mismanaged states of conflict because no centralized governing body can effectively manage any local environment that it is detached from... nor can such government honestly, respectfully and responsibly dictate how the communities interact within their local environments to support their ways of life.

Humanity will never truly thrive with nature by conforming to distant, disconnected, foreign governing authorities. Instead, communities should coexist with mutual respect for one another to lead themselves through their own local awareness, and work in partnership, instead of competition.

Centralized micromanagement of human civilization has been an abysmal failure, always leading, over time, to empires being built and collapsing under their own bloat and reckless overconsumption.

Responsible local communities invest their hearts and souls into their relationship with the land in which they live, and by networking together in a decentralized structure a synergy can be achieved that empowers each with sovereignty while nourishing the local environment into holistically thriving states of health.

This is the path I see toward a civilization of mutual respect and cooperation...

This structure mirrors the wisdom of nature, from the growth of a single tree to the ecologically cooperative system of an entire forest.

In order to manifest this reality, we intend to create the infrastructure for a community focused, soil based economy... one where food is grown locally and regeneratively in permaculture communities to create diverse food forests, immune to devastation from disease by the very nature of their balanced composition.

This system of soil based communities with their own regenerative microeconomies will support balanced growth in perpetuity by keeping local communities responsibly engaged in their own food production, water management and natural ecosystem health.

It's not impossible, just paradigm shifting...

As we guide people away from a centralized system of extraction toward a decentralized system of mutual exchange and creation, the fruits of our labor will become less destructive and more nourishing for both our humanity and this earth.

This is a path to convert the wealth of our collective human energy into environmental synergy.

This is how I see humanity creating and maintaining balance while thriving.

This is how we can follow the divine wisdom of nature which synthesizes and synergizes life. 

This is how I picture a more peaceful image of humanity.

When human beings choose to truly see each other as brothers and sisters of being human, and children of creation blessed to live on this earth, such honest connections from the heart may open the gates of heaven on earth, one by one.

This is the highest path I see to connect our humanity to our true divine nature, and it is my intention to manifest this vision through honest work with honest people of like mind and kindred spirit.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:00:00 Hello friends, fellow humans and beautiful souls. Thank you for tuning in to this very first guardian Grange podcast. I'm your host Mark Maxwell. Dayla floor mats for short. I know that's a mouthful. I'm the founder of our nonprofit mission here at guardian Grange and the CEO, which I like to refer to as the co-creative engagement officer, because, uh, what we've got going on here is a true community effort. It's a lot of work and it's going to take a lot of, uh, teamwork, you know, so be here. Uh, I don't know why it's going to come make an appearance here, but, or just out in nature, if you're watching the video, you can see the background and, uh, my little dog Wyatt snooping around. So he might make an appearance here. We're going to test this out and see how the, the natural sounds work, because, uh, I'd much prefer to be out in nature, doing these podcasts than in some kind of studio just feels, feels right. Feels better. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:01:12 So in this first episode, I'm going to discuss a little bit about myself and a lot of bit about our guardian Grange, nonprofit vision for veteran healing, through regenerative, agriculture, environmental preservation, and community building. I'll tell you what, we've been up to, what we've been able to accomplish over the past nine months as a new organization, growing in this strange social soil of our collective pandemic predicament, we all find ourselves in. And finally, I'll close with how you can help support our effort to manifest the guardian Grange vision along with, uh, whatever final thoughts I have. But before I get into it, I'd like to read a little something I wrote, which I feel will kind of set the tone for an engaging first podcast. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:02:13 All right, here we go. Modern humanity must shift its focus from extraction to exchange and move from creating destruction, into creating synergy. If we intend to continue as a species, we must re-imagine the system and manifest a well-balanced relationship with our humanity and nature. It is not only within our human nature to transform transformation is the highest natural order of humanity. It is divinely human to work creatively with the natural world as a partner, instead of exploiting it in endless competition for hoarding natural reasons, instead of taxing the earth through egoic pursuit of exponential economic growth as responsible human beings, we should seek balance by securing socio economic stability that lives in breeze with the natural rhythms and cycles of our local environment, driven desire to control all of earth by small groups of people will forever lead us into mismanaged states of conflict because no centralized governing body can effectively manage any local environment that is detached from an Oregon, such government, honestly, respectfully and responsibly dictate how the communities interact within their social environments, within their local environments to support their way of life. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:03:56 Humanity will never truly thrive with nature by conforming to distant disconnected foreign governing authorities. Instead, communities should co-exist with mutual respect for one another to lead themselves through their own local awareness and work in partnership. Instead of competition, centralized micromanagement of human civilization has been in a Bismal failure, always leading over time to empire as being built in collapsing under their own bloat and reckless over consumption, responsible local communities invest their hearts and souls into their relationship with the land in which they live. And by networking together in a decentralized structure, a synergy can be achieved that empowers each with sovereignty while nourishing the local environment until holistically thriving states of health. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:04:58 This is the path I see toward a civilization of mutual respect and cooperation. This structure mirrors the wisdom of nature from the growth of a single tree to the ecologically cooperative system of an entire forest. In order to manifest this reality, we need to create the infrastructure for community focused soil based economy. One where food is grown locally and regenerative Lilly in permaculture communities to create diverse food forests, immune, to devastation from disease, by the very nature of their balanced composition, this system of soil based communities with their own regenerative micro economies will support balanced growth in perpetuity by keeping local communities responsibly engaged in their own food production, water management, and natural ecosystem health. It's not impossible. Just paradigm shifting. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:06:03 As we guide people away from a centralized system of extraction towards a decentralized system of mutual exchange and creation, the fruits of our labor will become less destructive and more nourishing for both our humanity and this earth. This is a path to convert the wealth of our collective human energy into environmental synergy. This is how I see humanity creating and maintaining balance while thriving. This is how we can follow the divine wisdom of nature, which synthesizes and synergizes life. This is how I picture a more peaceful image of humanity when human beings choose to truly see each other as brothers and sisters of being human and children of creation blessed to live upon this earth. Such honest connections from the heart may open the gates of heaven on earth. One by one. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:07:02 This is the highest path I see to connect our humanity to our true divine nature. And it is my intention to manifest this vision through honest work, with honest people of like-mind and kindred spirit. So that was the, uh, writing that I wanted to share it's Monday morning. So we get some construction sounds in the background. We'll see how that, how that sounds here. Um, just outside of a little town called Ojai, California, well neighborhood. So, uh, we'll just roll with it and see how it goes. Test run. All right. So, um, that is essentially my long-term vision goal for guardian Grange, like, or, you know, that's the direction I'm going with this. That's where my vision's at, you know? Um, Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:08:02 Yeah, but before I get into that, I feel it's important to let you know, you know, who Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:08:11 I am, how I got here and why I've decided to dedicate my life to this work. This is a, that's what I'm going to do until the day that I die. I'm not going to stop. So for those of you who don't know me, that was a, a taste of my writing, which is a massive part of who I am. It's how I collect my thoughts on much better writer than I am speaker. At least that's what I feel, um, allows me to collect my thoughts with the highest clarity. It's my meditation. It's my therapy. It's my heart out into words. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:08:59 I'm a creator. I imagine things constantly, my mind is always creating. And this writing is one of my highest forms of art set, buddy, found a little stick. It's chomping on a stick out there. Um, so how I arrived in this space that I am is a long windy road, but I'll condense it down to some of the more notable twists and turns. But basically as far back as I can remember, I I've always been just deeply connected to nature. Um, my, my farthest back memories of being a kid is just rolling through the, through the forest. You know, I grew up in the woods in New Hampshire climbing trees, hanging out, watching the animals, just sitting in silence, mostly alone, but I never really felt, you know, I never really felt alone in the forest. Uh, it felt like home, like I belonged more to the forest than I did to civilization. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:10:24 To me, there was nothing better than cruising through forest rock, jumping across rivers and streams, feeling the breeze on top of a mountain and just hanging out in the wild in nature and the raw and the real that's real magic to me witnessing the wonders of creation, watching sunlight dance on a leaf, listen to a symphony, a birds and chipmunks flowing with the wind through the trees, hearing a wide over here, chomping on a stick and coughing every now and then it's all part of it. It's all part of the, uh, this beautiful world we live in to me, you know, as a kid that's that's, uh, that's all I really saw was beauty in nature. And it was peaceful to me, you know, is still, is always, has been the forest was my first love. I could climb a tree, spend all day sitting on a branch, literally hours and hours and hours just observing it all. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:11:43 It's more impressive. You know, nature's creation more impressive to me than any architecture or invention of man, and that's not to downplay those things, but, um, nothing compares. There's nothing that I've witnessed learned. I've heard of experienced, does more powerful and magical than just existing in nature, deep in the mountains, you know, existing as just another pair of eyes and ears in the forest. That was my church. And it is still is, this is, uh, it's on beeble man. It's ahead. We should. Yeah, it's beautiful. And you know, I never really fit in with, uh, what was considered normal and I'm okay with that. I'm actually glad because it allowed me to see things in a much different light than a lot of people, you know, it, uh, helped shape my experiences and who I, who I became as a man, as a human being on this earth. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:13:08 But even back as a, as a kid, I never fit in school was not my thing. I got decent grades. I had some subjects that I enjoyed, you know, um, math was interesting to me, but I, I never liked doing the work. You know, I just like putting the answer down and I'd get kinda graded poorly for it because I didn't show my work. Um, I liked biology. It was kind of interesting chemistry, you know, but you know, it just, wasn't my thing. Uh, I always felt it was kind of a waste of time for me personally, get in the way of, uh, where I was naturally drawn to be, which was deep in the forest and the mountains. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:13:59 As I moved through grade school, into high school, I eventually had to figure out my grand entrance into the machine and how I was going to pay the bills. That's what adults do, you know, get out there and go through school, go to college, you get a job, you pay your bills, you pay your taxes, you have your weekends. That's the kind of the traditional Western model of life. I just wasn't really down with it. You know, wasn't my thing. Wasn't my jam. Didn't make sense to me still doesn't really make sense to me. Um, but anyway, that's where I was. That's where I was at in my own head as a kid. And, uh, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, you know, within the system, but I did know that I didn't want to work in any kind of office job whatsoever. You know, I had, uh, out a few gigs as a kid and like working at a laundry mat, did some DJ stuff, um, painted houses, did some construction, like construction, nothing crazy. Um, but yeah, that office life white collar stuff did not appeal to me whatsoever. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:15:27 I loved, uh, I did love the sciences. You know, like I said, chemistry, biology, also physics. I was really into physics, got into quantum physics at a young age was just found a fascinating, um, and actually got to take a class when I was about a sophomore senior, I forget, but it was new class studying photonics, which is light the study of light. And I really liked that. And if I didn't go in the military, that's where I was seriously considering pursuing. I think I was looking at going out to Arizona, um, for college, if I, if I was going to go that route, but I really was not into, into continuing the traditional education path. Um, you know, the wilderness was just calling common name. I wanted to figure out something to do to keep me outside. Um, that was my medicine, my meditation, which is my life. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:16:33 I mean, it felt natural to me. It's where I wanted to be. It's where I wanted to spend my days. And so I started paying attention to, uh, what I knew of the military, mostly from movies, you know, always dug the Vietnam, jungles, the jungle movies, um, in my imagination that, you know, the thought of crawling through a jungle was super appealing to me. I love forest. And the jungle was just like a really lush forest to me, um, with a lot more stuff in it, a lot more animals moving around a lot more life and I just wanted to be in it deep, you know? And so, you know, I started learning about the branches. I didn't have a lot, I knew about military a little bit, but I wasn't like super into it. You know, I didn't have, I had an uncle who was a Marine. Um, both of my grandfathers had served, but it wasn't like a super, like in your face kind of thing. It's just something that was part of who they were. Um, my uncle being the most, he was, uh, he was for sure he still is. He solid dude, um, military guy officer, but, you know, for those military people out there, he was very much a he dog mindset as, from what I knew, he was just a dude, a solid, good man as a human being good father, um, good uncle. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:18:10 And so, you know, through, through my uncle, I kind of learned about the Marines and, and I thought, Hey, that'd be cool. You know, they seem like they get after it, you know? And, uh, that's what I was going to do, you know, I didn't know really anything else. And then I met, uh, some army ranger duty came to do a, a speech at some group might've been when I was in boy Scouts or something. I don't remember exactly, but I remember hearing stories from this army ranger guy and I was like, whoa, that's cool, man. That sounds really, that sounds really awesome. And then, so I started looking into different things that you could do in the military and what was out there in the different branches. I learned about special forces for those of you who don't know it's the green Berets of the army. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:18:58 And, uh, you know, it started snooping around gathering the information and learning about what they did, what their mission was, what it was all about, kind of as much as you can from the outside. And, uh, eventually I learned about Navy seals, you know, and at the time there was a discovery channel thing out there about buds. I watched that and I just kind of consumed a lot of information. He was just really called to me, you know, the, there's just the fact of like small teams moving through any environment imaginable, cold wet, Sandy land, sea air, wherever any means to get in clandestinely, secretively, sneakily, you know, that was my jam for sure. And so I knew pretty much as soon as I, as soon as I first heard about it, I was like, this is it like, this is, this is where I want to go. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:20:00 Um, and you know, uh, I don't know when I told my family and my dad and friends that think it was mid high school when I had made that decision, like, uh, junior, sophomore year, probably somewhere around then. And I was, as I was, I already made my decision, you know, there was, uh, no changing my mind as some people tried to get me to like, oh, what about college about this? Or that you get all these opportunities in front of you. And I'm like, yeah, this, this is the one, this is my path. And so even when I walked into the recruiter's office, it was just like, they didn't have to do any recruiting. I researched everything I needed to know at the time you could do a seal challenge contract where if you pass the physical requirements and the ASVAB testing scores, um, and you did to your AA school at the time you had to do, um, and you pass that, then you would have a slot at buds. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:21:02 And so that's what I did. They tried to, they did try to pull some recruiters stuff and get me to go somewhere else. You know, Hey, no one, no one makes it through buds. No one does this, no one, no one actually gets through. So you're better off going to like the nuc program or something. Cause, um, you know, I, once they, I think they see kind of a little bit of dollar signs once they see like your score on ASFAB, that fits a specific job. Um, they were trying to push the new thing on me and I was like, not man, no, thanks. I'm here to be a frog man. You know, that's what I, that's what I came here to do. And, uh, probably the easiest, one of the easiest recruitment things they ever had. Um, and so after, after I graduated high school, I just, it was like a week later, um, that I went to shipped off to bootcamp and now bootcamp for me, man, it was just, it was like school for me except way worse because it just felt like, man, this is really just wasting my time to get to where I want to go. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:22:10 And just dealing with the whole drill instructor mentality. Um, uh, I'm not the most obedient person, not obedient at all, actually. Um, I'm, uh, uh, my own person, you know, I, I don't like the authority structures too much. I have respect for them, you know, what, as long as they're respectful. And so I play the game obviously, but it was not, it was the longest period of my life just because time moves so slow. And, uh, it was just, that was probably just the, the most difficult time to deal with just from the fact of how planned in life was, it felt for me, like I wasn't into any of it, really. I wanted to go to this warrior group over here and this stop did not resonate with me, all the military stuff that was going on, the, the, the marching, the yelling at people and this and that, you know, it's just like, it seemed really silly to me. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:23:16 I get why it, you know, is the way it is. Um, but again, I came in to be a warrior, not a sailor, not a soldier, you know, um, that's, what's in my heart. And so after bootcamp, I went to an AA school. Gunner's made a school, which for the, the big guns on ships and stuff and missile systems, that's where everyone has to kind of go her arm armors to work on small arms, but mostly it's the, the shipboard systems. And so I learned about electronics and pneumatics and hydraulics and circuitry. And I actually did, I did like that. I did enjoy it. Um, I did enjoy learning about those things that was up my alley. My curiosity alley did good through that school. And at the time, you know, we'd just continue to prep for buds running swimming. We'd have morning workouts, regularly, cold plunges, you know, hanging around seals, uh, who were the motivators, the dive motivators, who they were very, uh, very formative, like solid, solid people. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:24:29 When you, when you w whenever I was around them, it felt like, yeah, these are the, these are my people, these, their mindset, how they act, how they carry themselves, um, the discipline, they had self discipline and just the, kind of the warrior wild style, man, you know, they're, they're, uh, well, we now, but at the time they were a really inspiring, you know, um, and so I always looked up to them. I remember I'll drop a name out there, Eric Hatter, if he ever listens to this, like, you are always a solid, solid a dude with your sarcasm. Um, that's another thing about seals and especially like in the instructor path, like the, the, uh, the, yeah. Dry humor, sarcasm, and just shit talking is it's genius level. It's awesome. It's always a good time. And so anyway, I eventually went to buds, um, classed up with 2 45 and, you know, it was, it was scary real to me cause it was just like everything I want to do. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:25:53 I was like, holy shit. I'm, I'm so like blessed that I have been able to do this thing to like, have this opportunity to go to buds and with these, with these other like highly motivated, just fucking awesome people, man, like the best of the best people that I've met as far as like have your back, like down to fucking do whatever needs to be done for each other. You know, that, that those, those, those types of people come to buds you'd get like the riff Raff and whatever, but they usually filter out every now and then one or two will make it through. But for the most part, everyone that makes it through buds is solid. At least from my perspective, you know, at the time, um, and everyone before all the, all the, the guys that came, they were solid warrior class, awesome human beings and just real fucking warriors. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:26:52 And, uh, I was honored to just have that opportunity. And, uh, you know, I was about 18 at the time cause I had just graduated high school. Um, so it was young I guess, but a lot of the guys in the class were around that age. We had some guys up to like the oldest guy I think was about 35, right. On the edge. And, uh, yeah, we just had a good time, man, you know, running everywhere, getting beat for all of, you know, what we did our little, uh, our pre pre phase. I forget what the, what we call it now in doc. And, uh, we'd basically just run and swam and get beat and get decommissioned and be cold. And, uh, just always working, always doing pushups, sit ups, running, swimming, um, and then reclass up phased up and just get, you know, just get beat down psychologically and physically. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:27:52 I mean, you do it to yourself. If all the physical stuff is voluntary, so you can quit at any time. So it's really you, uh, fuck just doing what, what they say, because you want to be there and putting yourself through, you know, just the physical process, which is what it is. Um, it's cold often, but it's much more of a mental game as I'm sure there's so many stories and documentaries about buds these days. Uh, I'm not going to just rehash all that, but I did pretty good. Uh, I had trouble swimming as far as in the ocean going straight. And that's what, that's what my big, my biggest struggle was. Um, because I thought I was good, man. I thought I was just like, whatever, I can go jump in the water and I can swim. And I never really trained specifically to like swim laps or, um, other than like the, the Bud's prep stuff, but I never like got my stroke down. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:28:52 So I was kind of a sloppy swimmer, you know, so I wasn't efficient. And, um, that was a struggle for me. Um, but I pushed through, you know, it's, it's humbling, you know, to, to not just be able to coast through something like with ease, um, had to really work for that one. And I, uh, in dive phase of that class, I ended up failing the tread, getting rolled back, which was really silly, ended up passing it the way I would have passed it originally, which was doing these like kind of eggbeater kicks instead of the normal flutter kick it just how I work and, uh, ended up being really good because it allowed me to go where I went. But, uh, at the time, you know, it really was, it, it was be myself applause, demoralizing. It hit hard, had to work through a lot of, uh, just psychological stuff around like man, a fucking failed. That shit is bullshit. Like what the hell is, you know, all that stuff. So I dealt with that and just kept grinding, working on my weaknesses class backup with 2 46 and a awesome class, a lot of solid bros. Um, many of them are doing great things. You know, you got, uh, Andy or Beto half face blades, and yet we'll, G's doing his, uh, canine stuff, got a book out there Chesney. Um, man, just a lot of people, a lot of people out there everyone's doing some, some cool stuff and it's cool to see where everyone went, where everyone is. Um, and, uh, yeah. So after, after buds, you know, the, the bud story went to team five, which was cool because I, so you got to ask you T seal qualification training and do some intermediary step training for, uh, getting to the team to prepare you like CQC stuff, more weapons, training things, combat swimmer things. Um, and so before you graduate, you got to choose like, Hey, where do you want to go? And my first choice was five and I forgot I was all west coast. I didn't want to go back to the east coast. You know, I came from New Hampshire wasn't was not, would not be thrilled to have gone back to, uh, Virginia Beach, which I had never been to, but it was east coast. And I didn't want to go back to the east coast. So I put down like five, seven and three... I believe something like that. And everyone, everyone pretty much from our class, which is not normally the case. Um, but we all pretty much got to go where we went to, wanted to go. There was, uh, guys who chose STV guys who chose east coast, west coast, you know, that everyone got to go there where they went. And so for us, all of us, we went to five. There was about, I think five of us went to five and we were jumped in towards the tail end of their workup. So they were basically getting ready to deploy in like three months, two, three months, somewhere in there. And so we kind of got attached as this little bastardized group under, uh, some solid rose will Spencer. Who's got a, um, warrior foundation that I'll put in the show notes description here. Um, and he was, uh, the epitome of a team guy. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:32:30 He was exactly what I expected of a team guy to be. And actually all of five at the time was, was that like everyone, there was just war machines, you know, fucking warriors, um, honorable, just wild west solid beast of human beings. And, uh, so we were in this little cell, um, we're going to be like basically supporting all the teams on deployment that we were around and just kind of filling roles and doing some, uh, some sneaky stuff with, with will there. But, um, along the way, there was a, a platoon got, uh, restructured, reorganized, um, you know, kind of broken up and spread to the wind for some disciplinary action stuff and nothing, nothing crazy, just more, uh, they were party animals, you know? And so they're just like you guys are to the, the, the head shed, the, the brass, the, the officer that you guys are too, you're too much a warriors. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:33:40 We're going to break you up. Basically. That's how I saw it. Um, cause they were solid motherfuckers, all of them, they were solid dudes, the exact bros that you want in war. Um, you know, and that was kinda my first taste of seeing like the disconnect of officers, you know, an administrative side versus the actual warrior class side, you know, there's, there's a saying, there's a team guys and there's guys in the teams. And, uh, I was one of my first direct experiences of that. And so anyway, they, they pushed us all to different platoons and ended up deploying to, uh, the Baghdad on that one. And we did a rep, which is just a split. So we did like half deployment in Baghdad. And then we went to, uh, um, the Asia, Asian countries based out of Guam. Um, and in, uh, in Baghdad we were doing at the time PSD, which really put a bad taste in my mouth because that is not what, uh, w w w what frogman signed up to do really. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:34:48 Uh, it's not, it's not what I considered. It's not warrior shit to me. Um, and I know, like the reason we got that is because, um, the guys at dam neck did a real fucking kick ass job with the cars I detail. And, and, uh, it just gave us a good rap, like everything we did as operationally, as seals as a community, we had good reps. And so people wanted us to, to do the work, you know, so then that became part of our mission set. And actually before, before going out, you know, we I'd done, uh, the only parts of the workup I did were combat skills, which is like CQC, close quarters, combat rifle, pistol work, um, working in an urban, urban, uh, urban drain called that Mount at the time. Now it's SOC whatever it's word games that they play. Um, and PSD, the personal security detail stuff like executive protection basically. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:35:46 And so that's kind of was our role in Baghdad. Um, and I really was not into that whatsoever. It was not, it was, it was another experience where I'm like, eh, all right, strike, strike two for me. And, uh, we ripped into, um, into, into Guam had a good time, you know, I'd never really traveled outside of the continental United States before, cause I just came from high school. And so it was cool seeing another part of the world. And, um, I went to Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, um, some little island that I can't remember, we stopped over and just absolutely had a good time. But, um, came back from that deployment, got to, uh, go to sniper school, which was bucket list, you know, seal and sniper. That's the only school. That's the only school I wanted. And I got, I didn't even have to ask for it. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:36:53 They just kind of threw it at me. Um, just cause my rivals skills are good. Shooting skills are good. And so like, Hey, you're going to go to sniper school. I'm like sweet. And, uh, I love that school man. It was, um, at the time it was, um, six months school and it had, it was broken down into three phases. You know, he had a photography phase called pick and then a scout stocking phase. And then the shooting phase where all of it got wrapped up into one. And the, the, uh, the reason you have the photograph pick photographic, uh, capturing phase is because part of being a sniper is gathering data surveillance, reconnaissance. And so I actually really enjoyed that because you have these big lenses on these cameras, these Canon <inaudible> and a big telephoto lens that we'd work with to be able to zoom in and get facial IDs and license plates and whatever we were looking for. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:37:48 Um, and he had to be able to move around and camouflage yourself, camouflage that big lens, which glares in the sun. And I really liked that the field graft of it, memory games, Kim's games, all that stuff. I really dug it. And then the next phase, uh, S uh, scout stocking, that was like the ultimate man, if that was my jam, like, that's what I grew up doing as a kid, just moving around the woods, hiding, sneaking around. And I love that and I did great, and I loved, I absolutely loved it as best. Some of my best times in the teams were in sniper school, um, in those fields. And, you know, the whole time we were just basically sneak around, try to set up on a, whatever a target would be, and there'd be people there'd be, there'd be people moving throughout the terrain instructors who were trying to identify us, trying to catch us. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:38:47 And if they caught you you'd fail and there'd be people down at the target with binoculars looking for us and at any, at any point, if you got seen you'd fail. And then when he'd set up to, to be able to identify, there'd usually be some letters or colors or something that you'd have to identify, like description of what's going on at target. You'd have to pass that, um, information on. And, and when you did that, then they'd send a Walker over next to you. And the instructor would like glass your area. And if they saw you'd fail, and then he'd, he'd put his hand on top of your head finger, like this, uh, just fingertip onto your head. And they'd just stare at you with glass where your position, and if they saw you, if they saw, if they could tell there's a human there through binoculars, you'd fail, and then you'd have to take a shot. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:39:38 Or sometimes you take a shot first, you know, to signal that you were set up and just kind of depended on the evolution, but, uh, we'd take a shot and they'd be, it would be with a blank round. And so when you shoot, they'd be staring at you, and if they saw any movement flash, um, you know, from the, from the gun blast or any of that stuff, you'd fail. And so I really liked that. And it was, I felt really good about myself, just passing all that, you know, and just, it was my element, man, you know, land navigation terrain. I would always like even coming out to nature, I can move without a map. I understand drain like the back of my hand. I know I just know that stuff. And so I always liked land navigation and added stocking and sneaking and being on your own in the wilderness dude, that was, that was it. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:40:31 I was like the best they could get from me. Um, and then our next phase, we went on to just shooting where you'd actually train like snaps and movers, different yard lines, unknown distance, just get tested on your shooting ability time, um, calculating distances, spotting for spotting other people's rounds. And, uh, yeah, it was cool. It was a really good time out there in Indiana at the time we were doing that school. And so came back to the platoon and for our next deployment, we went out to Ramadi after the, uh, the, uh, fairly well known at this point, uh, team three, uh, bruiser, a platoon with Jocko and, uh, all them, Kevin leis, JP Denelle, they got, you know, they get the echelon front thing. They're doing Kevin Lee has got a book out, uh, also, um, the Chris Kyle movie, American sniper, um, that they did. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:41:29 And so that, that stories, uh, out there. And so we relieve that platoon in Ramadi. And to me that was, um, another pinnacle of the job, you know, that's, it's like being a professional athlete and then going to the super bowl, basically, like we got to go to the show and, uh, I understand that war is, where's not good. It's not it's hell, you know, but it's sometimes, sometimes it, sometimes it happens, you know, and I'm a fucking warrior soul spirit, you know, and just like all the bros where, you know, that was our, that was our jam. And so being out there was just, uh, actually felt that peace in war. Um, you know, every time we'd go on a mission United say my peace of God asked for protection and was perfectly okay with whatever happened because I knew I was, I was making those decisions to be there and protect my bros. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:42:37 And they had my back, we had each other's backs and we were doing some, some solid work. We rolled up a lot of, uh, bad people, tortures bomb makers, just not good people, you know, despite whatever your feelings are on, maybe on, on that conflict. Um, I know in my heart and soul, like everything that I did, I'm at peace with, um, because we were doing real work, man, you know, taking care of some bad people. And that, to me, that experience in Ramadi was it was awesome. It was really good. I loved it. Um, well of course we had, we did have, uh, a couple of bros get hit, no one, no one passed on that deployment. We had a Haley and Joe got hit by an ID. We're all, all of us are out there in a triangulated position. And, uh, the command deck clocked off this IED improvised, explosive device for those who are unfamiliar. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:43:47 And, uh, it was big black mushroom cloud from our position. It was probably like three blocks away from, from our, my sniper position we were at. And as soon as that explosion happened, we knew like some, some bad shit happen. And so those guys got hit pretty hard. They got evacuated out of there and we just absolutely did what we do. You know, we unleashed fucking hell on the enemy and, and, uh, yeah, it did what we did. So, um, we did a lot of, uh, we weren't calling them sniper ops. They were called, like, I forget even what we were calling them. They always had some new name to deal with the polit politics of it all. Um, which is ridiculous to me in war. And I was another red flag for me. You're not a red flag, just, it was just a strike. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:44:46 You know, it was another strike in my books, just how, how the political administrative side of the whole military operation was going down. It was just, it was not my thing, you know, so although I had a good time, it was kind of just wearing on me. And I was just like, yeah, I dunno if, if this is really where I want to continue to invest my time and make these sacrifices, you know? Um, so when I got back, I could have done another platoon if I would have re-enlisted, but I wasn't sure if I was going to stay in. So I just did an extension. And because of that, I got to, um, go to a trade at, cause I wouldn't have made the deployment cycle. And so they're like, Hey, you can go wherever you want to go and trade. Uh, and so I chose combat skills. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:45:33 That was the only other place I would have wanted to go was a maybe sniper, but there was no slots there. And so, um, I chose combat skills, which was the whole, uh, close quarters, combat pistol rifles skills, um, and urban warfare. So I had a really good time doing that. A lot of great bros worked with, um, uh, it was with JP Denelle out there. Who's working with those guys at echelon front, um, a lot of good bros and I did another extension there. I ended up doing three years out there, had a great time training, you know, all the west coast teams would roll through. And, you know, I was making my decision basically based on, um, what I saw from the community in the administrative side and how I saw some guys being treated, you know, who'd get in, in, in trouble, administrative trouble for something out in town or whatever. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:46:31 And, you know, kind of some of the issues that come up with, with that being dealt with and just to see the, the administrative system, just fuck them over, basically really put a bad taste in my mouth. And, uh, at some point I just said, all right, I got, uh, I didn't know what I was going to do. And it broke my heart. It was the hardest decision I ever made in my life was to leave the teams, um, because there was nowhere else for me that I saw that nothing else I wanted to do. I didn't want any kind of job I wasn't after money, um, income, any of that shit, I just want to do honest work. That was true to me as a human being. And you know, it just wasn't, it, it was, it was close. It was there. The guys were fucking awesome. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:47:26 Um, really good people that I worked with, but just the, the, the head shed structure, chain of command thing, uh, it was not going the direction that, that I wanted to be a part of. And so I made my decision to leave and kind of just, you know, floated around, um, figuring life out again. Um, uh, first thing I did was sell cars, new cars at a Honda dealership. Cause I'm like, I gotta get a job, I gotta do something, you know, I gotta pay bills. Right. And so I went and did that for a couple months and it was interesting. I enjoyed it. And from the fact of like, oh, this is what kind of people do out here. Cause I never really had that experience. So I'm like, all right, here's a, here's a job you're working 7:00 AM to seven, eight or 9:00 PM, six and a half days a week. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:48:18 So six days, one week, seven days the other week, you'd get a day off every other week. And you know, after two months of that, I'm like, yeah, this ain't for me. I got other things to do with my life. Nothing, nothing, if you love car sales, nothing against you, it just wasn't my jam. Um, and so I just decided, well, I get this GI bill thing. I might as well go to school even though, you know, I had the, my military break. So I was kind of ready to go back and actually learn from school, like use school for what it is there for college. And, uh, I went in and I had these thoughts, like I'm going to go into do, I'm a double major in psychology and economics. And so I just went, started going to the community school. Cause I didn't know, I didn't really research anything with college and like, I'm just going to start going to college GI bill, all right here, I am going and I'll figure it out as, um, as a minute. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:49:10 And so as I was going through it, I didn't like set up my courses properly. And so I would have had to do an extra year of math to continue on that path. Although I was really good at math, I would have had to like get those credits. Um, and I didn't, I just didn't want to, um, we continue on with so much extra time. Um, and I also had a little bit of time limits from my understanding back then, um, to, to get that degree done. So I didn't want to like push it and then I'm like, all right, I gotta just change what I'm going to do. And so I kind of just read through all the descriptions of what was there and I chose to, I'm like, Hey, if I'm going to go to school, I already know I'm good with economics and psychological understandings of things just naturally and just how I am and where my interests lie. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:50:00 And so I decided I should work on a weakness, you know, and I was not a good public speaker, very shy growing up cause I grew up isolated and stuff and, and uh, they had a communication, um, major, and that was all about public speaking. Um, oral presentation, Debbie, you know, all those kinds of topics like human communication. Non-verbal um, all these I'm like, all right, I'm going to go put myself into this uncomfortable situation and do this. And cause that would meet my time requirement and I felt it would enrich who I am. You know, my part of my philosophy is like if I recognize a weakness, I want to build it up into a strength. And so I'm really glad that I made that decision because I had to do all kinds of weird stuff like a spoken word poetry. And you know, I, I put myself in really uncomfortable positions for me, like in front of a class doing poetry stuff and, and uh, all these different activities, some creative, some speech, some debate, um, and it really helped hone my edge of who I am as human being and develop those skills that are so important, you know, to be able to communicate effectively to other human beings. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:51:14 Uh, it's one of the most important skills a human being can have. Um, if you're talking about interacting in the community. And so I really liked that. Um, and you know, during this time I also did some contracting like on the summer breaks out in, uh, Yemen helped pay the bills. And I, uh, I co-founded a tech company with a partner that's, that's still going on. He was running it. Um, got some cool experience in the finance world through that, just as far as like understanding how currency works, um, the F the entire, just the finance system and just seeing what a shit show it was, and really understanding the mechanisms that work behind it. Um, we did some business plan competitions where we raised capital. We were chatting with angel investors, VCs, all this stuff. And so did that while we were going to school. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:52:17 And, uh, during this time I reconnected with a bro from team five, Guzo Rob Guzo solid dude, solid brother. And, uh, you know, I went through a breakup at the time when we reconnected and we started just like hanging out drinking and he's like, Hey, man, you want to just like move in here? And I'm like, yeah, fuck. Yeah, let's do it. And so we had a little, two bedroom place out in San Diego right off the trolley tracks in a mission Gorge area, mission valley, I guess. And, uh, yeah, it was a good time and we were both going to SDSU. He was going for kinesiology. I was going for communication. So at that time I had like transferred into San Diego state college or, uh, an, uh, uh, from the community college to continue this communications degree. And, um, and we had a great time and just being bros, man, hanging out partying, you know, doing, uh, that life, living that life, um, school and party. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:53:27 And man, you know, after military, it was a cool break. It's like, man, this is all right. This is what people do traditionally, I guess, from, um, high school. But it was different having like all the life experience that we had. And he had even more cause he had actually gone to college before the military. Um, and, and now, you know, we're back, he was working on a master's and we're just having a good time. But, um, eventually he became a casualty to this war. This is a internal war that affects a lot of veterans. And he ended up taking his own life when we were, uh, roommates. And I was in, you know, I was in my room, he was out in the main room and we had a, there's a couple of friends over three friends. Um, they had all been out earlier. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:54:26 I was somewhere else. I came in late at night and they were already like deep into drinking and stuff. And so I just ended up passing out in my room, woke up to, uh, the news of, um, you know, everyone kind of freaking out. And I thought, I always thought it was a prank. He and I went out and saw him laying on the floor. And, um, as looking at him like, no, like I'm like, Hey bro, get up like this shit. Ain't like, ha, cause he was kind of a prankster, you know, he was a big prankster life of the party guy. He was always getting into some stuff. And uh, there you go, buddy. I just knocked the camera down. Hold on a second. We're almost done, buddy. You can just hang out. Um, Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:55:25 Went out there and he was a on the floor and I ended up figuring it out eventually, obviously that it wasn't a prank and just heart sunk, fucking indescribable, like the feeling of, of, of what that's like. And I immediately knew like, well I have to, um, tell his family, uh, someone's got to do it. And so I had fortunately met his father who was also a frogman Bob yuzu, um, prior. And so, you know, we had, we had hung out before and as, as, as bros, as team guys, as his as father and my good friend. And uh, I ended up calling him up and saying like, Hey man, um, it was, it was, I think like five or six in the morning, early, early morning. And, uh, he didn't answer at first. And so I left a message and I forget what I said, probably just something like, Hey, call me back. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:56:40 Um, and he had called me back and uh, he was like, Hey, he, he could kind of feel that something was up. Cause it was so early, you know, and like I never call him, you know? And so, uh, I called him and I said, Hey, um, uh, I didn't have words. You know, I was like, Hey, it's, I'm calling about Rob. Um, the, uh, he took his life, basically something to that effect and not much more I didn't have, I don't know what else to say. And he's just like, are you serious? Is this real? And I said, yeah. And he's like, all right, again, thank you. I get to make some calls. And that was that as that was the, uh, the phone call that I had to make for it. And so it obviously affected, he was, he was, uh, an awesome human being wonderful light of the world spirit. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:57:41 Like he lit up the room whenever he'd come in. And so a lot of friends from growing up from just our network everywhere. He was a very well loved man, uh, solid warrior. And it just really hit hard. You know, he had recently found out that he, um, you know, had, uh, add a child, um, and he was doing really good, really good being a father. It was awesome to see it was really cool, really inspiring. And it was the cost of cocktail man, that, that kind of, uh, of everything, you know, the mental, the mental stuff that went on, dealing with that, a lot of veterans deal with and then combine that with the, the psych just pharmaceutical medications that they put people on. It's like, Hey, here you go, buddy, have fun, uh, take these drugs and everything will be just however it is. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:58:45 And so, you know, that just really threw me for a loop. I kinda just didn't give a fuck about anything. Like the company that I had started. I kinda just did everything. I just school, I didn't want to go to school detached. Um, and so I just like emailed people. I'm like, Hey, I'm not going to be coming in. Like, here's what happened. And kind of just hung out with the family and his friends and did the, the service forum and floated around, slept on a couch for awhile. I didn't want to stay in that apartment, slept on a couch for his, um, aunt and uncle for a while, and then ended up moving on to a boat of a friend, stayed on that for awhile. And, uh, I ended up like staying in school and continuing on. Um, but I, uh, I, I had a lot of stuff to deal with. Mark Matzeldelaflor 00:59:46 You know, I spent a lot of time just by myself alone, um, with people too, but I spend a lot of time alone just being out in nature, running and working out, um, walk around with my dog, just like just sitting in reflection, kind of like how I did as a kid, you know, and just being with myself. Um, and I hung out with people too and stuff and tried to like, kinda drink away the pain and stuff and distract at times. But I sat with it too a lot, but it gets to be a lot, you know? And so eventually I, uh, from living on the boat, I realized like, Hey, I'm gonna there's these boats here. And I ended up buying some boats and ended up living on boats for awhile. Um, still kind of detached unplugged, went through school and had a couple jobs in contracts that I did, um, started like fixing the boats up to be flipped, you know, to sell and, uh, I'd buy and sell cars and stuff on Craigslist and things like that to pay the bills, you know, get some jobs here and there. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:00:58 Um, uh, and towards the end of school, the last thing we did was this Euro trip, which was really cool. It was cool. Went with a group of, uh, communications students to, uh, to Europe. We went to London, Paris, Munich, Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland and Prague. And that was a, it was a cool experience, man, just hanging out, living life, bouncing around, seeing these cool spots. And, um, it was a good reset and I really fell in love with, uh, Lauterbrunnen Switzerland, man. That place is so beautiful. Just steep mountains, lush well-balanced residences. You know, it's not like this, like sprawling a metropolis or out of balance, um, manufactured homes or something like that. Um, it was just really had a lot of character, had a lot of life, the really well balanced. And that, that was like a storybook like, man, this is like, this is how human entity should be. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:02:09 You know, this is like, this is a cool way of living like so balanced. Um, I really dug it and, uh, came back from that, did the whole job thing, um, sold some gear, but none of it was my thing, man. None of it was my jam that went back into shooting instruction for about three or four years. And, you know, I could do it, I have this skills and proficiency, but it still was not like a passion. You know, it was not a passion for me, um, as new as more to life. And so during this time I kind of, uh, connected two nature through a mushroom experience. You know, I never, uh, I never done mushrooms before and it was a magic mushrooms. The siliciden ones that everyone is becoming a lot more topic of conversation now. Um, and so add an experience with my friend. I'm going to change position here a little bit. My, uh, Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:03:13 My joints are hurting. All right. So I, uh, had his mushroom experience and deeply connected to it deeply connected to the mushrooms and nature earth. It was this familiar feeling like I had, I had been there before and I never had, you know what I mean, at least as far as I know in this life and I never took that, that natural substance. Um, and for those of you out there who are unfamiliar, I, it's not a drug, um, these definitions that people place onto things that society places, uh, bye I seize on and stigmas onto like the mushroom is a natural organism that comes from this earth, put here by crater and it's for us to use into access. And I say this with great passion because it's helped a lot of my friends who could have gone down a similar path as Rob, you know, it's helped them come out of it. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:04:29 Not saying that it's a cure all, but it has, I've witnessed, seen, experienced hundreds of times over with veterans because they ended up doing, starting to do some work, which I'll get to in a bit, but like helping people out. But, uh, it just really connected. And so I started learning everything I could about mushrooms. I was just like, man, these things are like, what are, what is this like, where did this come from? Um, how has this here, like, how is this even possible? These feelings, it's this state of awareness that you can get into. Um, and it was just completely fast. They needed me and put me back into this, reconnected me to the love affair with nature that I had. And so through the mushrooms, I learned about all kinds of things like the soil, um, you know, which I intuitively kind of knew as a kid like digging worms and chasing lizards and like digging in the soil, like you knew what healthy soil was, but then just learning about it from this other perspective, it was a really a reignite. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:05:47 It reopened, uh, my connection to being a human being in, uh, in the way we're supposed to be or the way I feel I was supposed to be like, it just felt right. And so I just pursued that, not knowing anything, just learned everything I could about it. And through that, I ended up working with like bees because I went to learn from Paul Stamets up in Washington at his place, did a little course at his lab and learned, you know, about his processes and mushrooms. And through him learned about like the relationship that mushrooms had with bees, my psyllium with bees to boost their immune system. And, uh, I just started making, just seeing all these connections, feeling that connections being connected and it just set in motion, a new path for me that came basically in, uh, envisions later on, uh, when I got deeper into this, um, medicine work, they call it plant medicine. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:06:54 But I call it a earth based sacraments because it's not there. There's more than just plants in this sphere of natural, um, spirit medicines is what I'll call them. And I, and I'm hesitant to use the word medicine because it's been so cooptive by, uh, by science to mean a specific thing that, uh, it's much bigger than that. And so I like to say earth based sacraments. Um, some people say psychedelics, but that's, again, it's another, it's got a lot of weight to it. It's got a lot of stigma to it and it's not what people think of. It is not what it is. And, and the agenda is, uh, a better term we could say, which is spirit medicine at the end of the day. Um, and so I S I got invited to a, an Iowasca ceremony, which is a tea it's a jungle brew from the Amazon, and, uh, had an awesome experience with that. You know, first time I kind of just dropped right in, I was able to let go and really connect with, uh, with that energy and drop deep into my own consciousness, connect to God in ways that are indescribable, um, connect to this earth, connected to my humanness connect, to just extreme for being here, reignited passion. I started like working out again. I started eating healthy, so all this stuff, and just having like all this motivation, all good things. And, you know, through that work, I went in with a bunch of, seals like fellow seals in veterans, special forces as, uh, it was mostly seals, but as, um, some other people, like from our backgrounds who had, you know, stuff to deal with and just seeing the transformations that came out of that was fucking amazing beyond amazing. There's not a word for it because the modern medical system and its lack of understanding of the mind consciousness, what it is, it's, it's, it's disconnection from God creator and it's, uh, you know, basically denial of the spirit world, which is very real. I mean, whatever you believe is what it is, but, uh, I was, I don't have, I don't really hold beliefs. I just hold awarenesses of my experiences. And I know what I know. And so I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes, but it is what it is. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:09:28 And, and the positive impact that comes out of this work when done properly in a proper setting with good community and not medical. I mean, medical people, you know, you can do what you what'd, you do like the whole maps thing. Like you're doing your, your scientific research, but there's much more beyond what the science can ever describe way more. And so I ended up help helping facilitate space holding space for a lot of people as they did their work with these medicines and went on their healing journeys, which were healing themselves by using these tools. And, um, and I worked with, uh, Sonoran desert toad combo, which is a frog medicine, all kinds of different medicines, which may be able to talk about at some point, but don't need to get into deep. Just the fact is that these earth based sacraments are sacred and they should be respected. And I have a, a deep connection and passion to them and for the gratitude for what they've done for, you know, my community, my people, myself and other communities that I've linked up with, you know, the work has just been amazing. And so in my work of do more journeys and you know, there's a lot of healing. That's one, that's one thing that can happen with, uh, On the skin check that we're still recording. Yup. So there's a lot of healing that can go on, but that's not all that there is, you know, a lot of these, um, communities, they kinda just go over healing over and over and over again. And for me, I mean, that's beautiful if that's the work you need to do. But for me, I was going into very creative spaces in my consciousness. Um, spiritual connection, communicating, you know, with higher power in my own way. And, uh, I'm not ever going to be able to describe that accurately for anyone, but just as what it is. And I just started getting like visions of what ended up becoming the working model for guardian Grange, this decentralized infrastructure for soul based economy. And it really drew from like all the areas, all the experience I've had in my life from like understanding the financial system, understanding economics psychology, like knowing the, the issues that exist in the, in the veteran community and just the environmental issues with pollution and just industrialized chemicals, toxins, all this stuff. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:12:17 That's being pumped into our environment in our system. That's making us fucking sick mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually sick. And I was just like, man, this shit is just, it's not cool. We need to, something has to be done. And so this vision was so clear to me that I'm always like, all right, I'm going to make enough money to basically like, self-fund this somehow as a, as a, as a nonprofit, like, it just makes the most sense to do that, but I know I need money to get it started, but along the way, you know, Corona virus happened. And, uh, when that COVID happened, it just, I was tracking on the financial instability of global economies for a long time. Like since before the 2008 crash, you know, just from the work that I did previously and I was aware of the fragility of the system. And when that happened, I just really recognized like this is, we're not set up to, to bounce back from where this can lead. You know, our food systems are extremely weak. They're centralized, they're industrialized communities don't have food sovereignty. And so why I'm doing this is because Number one, the veteran mental health crisis that the veterans administration and modern medical system has no, absolutely no fucking solution for none. Uh, they're starting to tap into these, um, plant medicines, um, or even things like MTMA like they're starting to play around with that, which have good results, but at the same, at the same time, like they don't really know what they're doing. They, they get studies and data and they can describe things, things mechanistically, but from a spiritual consciousness side, it's, this system is not designed to emotionally connect and bond and spiritually connect and communally connect, which is all extremely important parts of the, of these healing processes. It's not like you just give someone some pill or some substance, and then all of a sudden everything's great. It takes a lot of internal work, um, drive determination, discipline, um, doing work outside of that and your day and your everyday life getting re-engaged with the community. And so that's, that's number one. Number two is just the weak food systems and environmental damage that's going on. And my connection to nature that I knew was healing for me personally. And I know other people, everyone loves to go look at the grand canyon and these, the redwoods that are just hiking, hiking nature. And so I, I, that was number two. And number three, is this what I would call rapidly dividing social structure and dissolving of the fabric of society fueled by all kinds of things from bullshit that I'm not going to get into things that the media does putting out fear and rage and just complete fucking bullshit. Sorry if you don't like swearing, but it is man. And, uh, as got sick of it. And I saw an opportunity to create a synergy, to bring all those things together, to bring veterans back together in community, engaging with communities, getting these food systems up, Oregon on the environmental, uh, issues and, and just really starting to do work. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:15:57 And it motivated me like to the coronavirus motivated me. Like I don't have time to just wait to try to get all the money I need to self-fund this thing. I just gotta put it in, apply for the 5 0 1 C3, get this thing going and start talking to people and start cranking away. And so that's where we're at, you know, that's, that's where, that's where, that's where it started at. And to summarize that vision, you know, it was basically, uh, a radical transformation for communities to become happy form family oriented, naturally balanced, thriving expressions of human awesomeness, you know? And so now I'm just going to get into a, I mean, I kind of covered the vision really, but I'm going to talk a little bit about more of the nuance, like operational vision that I see going on, you know, that's, that's like the big picture, broad, broad, broad strokes, but getting into it like this regenerative of permaculture design, which is trading food systems and water management systems in a way that is closed loop, that is not dependent on inputs, fertilizers and outside sources. Like we, the goal is to become for each property to be completely self-sustaining. So all life could be sustained on it. Everything you need from your food, your water well-balanced nutrition. Um, and at the same time, we're not, monocropping the land. We're not tilling the soil. We're not destroying this massive environment. That's ocean. The soil is like an ocean of life, a proper healthy soil. And so Tilling Fucks that up and getting it back to healthy could be, it could be a process. It can take like 7, 8, 10 years potentially, depending on how bad the soils are in an area, because we've got to get the life back into it. And so part of this regenerative agriculture model is reintroducing animals onto land because animals have a, it's a food web. It's a everything's cyclical. Like the shit from the animals feeds the soil. Um, the saliva, like from the, the, uh, the bison, they used to roam all over 30, 60 million tens of millions of Buffalo and these massive herds that used to exist in north America in those great numbers that have now been re kind of replaced by cattle, but not really, not in the proper way, but those animals, those creations of nature have a natural, sacred relationship with this land. They know what to do there, everything from their saliva to their feces that works with the environment too, to keep the soil healthy and their, their ability to roam free on land. They just do. They Maintain the land better than a human being ever could. And where I see our role in things like that is to, is to get back as close to that nature as possible on all these properties to allow nature, to do his thing and to input in a way that creates a synergy. So we're either going to let nature do its thing, and if we can't improve it, we're just gonna take care of it. And if we can add some, some things, you know, work with, uh, food to make the soil a little bit healthier and reshape some certain areas to help water management potentially in a, in a balanced way. Like these are the kinds of things that regenerative agriculture and permaculture seeks to do. And so through that work, we have opportunity to train up this massive, uh, disenfranchised ch base of veteran community who has high drive motivation, determination to get work done. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:20:09 And so my vision here is to kind of merge those two worlds and repurpose, um, what's going on, you know, repurpose, um, these things that are just out of sync, the being the, the human veteran community and in nature, and using both to heal each other, like we'll heal ourselves through working with nature and in communities and at the same time build community around that, um, because we'll be working in communities and it, it, it just makes sense to, uh, get as much engagement and involvement as possible to really build, like, get to the pinnacle of like where humanity can be. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:20:55 And we also, you know, the veteran community, like we have other, uh, skills, especially from my background of, of, uh, as being a seal, like we used to go out and do surveillance and reconnaissance deep in the wilderness high risk evolutions. Um, and so I see us, uh, partnering with, you know, maybe educational institutions in the, in the, in the future to help out with like gathering data or maybe doing some reconstruction projects. There's a lot of, there's a lot of, um, adaptability. We have that, that serves this role and fulfills this mission of healing human beings through our efforts to heal nature and these regenerative, um, properties that, um, you know, kind of, I call it a decentralized network of regenerative agriculture properties to build the infrastructure for a soil based economy. Right. So that's what we're doing at this grassroots level. And we're just in a way to kind of shift this infrastructure that isn't really working, you know, the, uh, the modern industrialized infrastructure. It isn't doing that. Great. I get SCADA is it's, it has it's has had benefits, but it has had a lot of costs too. And so it's not like we have to just abandon everything we know, but we have to reset re-imagine in an honest way, not, not, not reset like this, a great reset, bullshit, where they're trying to recentralize control and the same people who fuck shit up are trying to pretend they have the solutions for us all. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:22:42 No, I'm talking about a reset of a human reset within our own consciousness, within our own communities to say like, Hey, we're locally, individually, and communally responsible for our local environments. And we don't have to solve all the world's problems from our little chair or think about that. We just need to solve the problems directly around us in our environment. And that's where I think a lot of, a lot of energy is just dispersed and spent in a way that is nonproductive, because everyone's focusing on the big global problem, but not so much the local problem, like how many people will go to a rally for an environment, but never planned a fucking tree or a Bush, or engage with wildlife or help manage water system or something like, or protect a natural environment or any of that stuff. Like there's a big disconnect there. And I see I'm not, I'm not into it. That's not me. I'm, I'm here to do work. And so that's who I surround myself with. I surround myself with people who are also here to do work, and I've been blessed to be put in contact and link up with some solid people, some solid communities. And I guess that's where I'm going to go into, like where we're at the accomplishments we've made so far in these past, uh, kind of nine months of pandemic stuff. Um, so along my, uh, plant medicine journey, I was blessed to meet a, uh, a lot of good people, a lot of good people. Um, but I met a bro. He was working close he's works with our organization, Joe, up in, uh, up in the bay area. He's been really instrumental to helping us grow this. And, um, through him met another solid bro Carlos of a decriminalized nature. And through that connection linked up with Shane Norty of the romp Marango band and mission Indians, the pocket gym, the original people of the land in a San Diego area on the LA Jolla reservation. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:25:04 And, uh, through that relationship, we've, we've done a lot of, a lot of like deep healing work, uh, with people from our communities, the veteran communities and the, the native indigenous communities. And, um, it's become a really cool relationship. It's an honor to, to, to do that work in that capacity with real people, um, in a way that's completely free of charge. There's no cost to anyone else. And, uh, it's helped a lot of it's helped a lot of people. And, uh, we'll get into that in another episode, uh, not going to go too deep into that work here, but part of working with that church is, you know, the healing journey is our missions are so aligned. You know, I mean, uh, the natives, that's just who they are as people who they've always been on this land base for hundreds of thousands of years before like this entire machinery of Western society existed. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:26:13 And so it's just a natural connection that we made. And our, we share a lot of the, uh, an aligned vision, not just a very aligned vision of a gain community back on track, reconnecting people with creator, you connecting people with the earth, um, and just doing good work, you know, honorable work. And so that's, one's really solid connection that, that we have made that I'm proud to be a part of. And it just really gets me motivated. Um, we also working with some solid people, uh, partnered up, uh, with, uh, Seneca bottoms up community of Oak Oakland Ocala. He's got a community garden in the city doing fucking awesome work, growing, growing, uh, crops. He's got goats, he's got chickens, like just doing the work man, just getting done, what needs to get done, like kind of, kind of bros. We need kind of people we need to do this work. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:27:16 Um, we also partnered up with, uh, the Neiman shell ranch out in Belinas to, uh, get some pollinator programs going, get some, uh, restore the native plant life, um, because the pollinators like Monarch butterflies and other pollinators have been decimated through various various reasons, pesticides, you know, it's a complex topic, but pesticides, radiation, all kinds of environmental damage that has just wreak havoc on them. And in turn wreaks havoc on the native plant life and the health of the soil and all that stuff. So we're doing the work to help reinvigorate, um, the natural plants on that land. So we got some projects around that we're going to put in some, uh, some fruit, some Berry patches and also some plants and trees and, you know, the native plants and also probably put some sheep on there at some point to help with the soil. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:28:18 And, uh, we're gonna couple other projects that are, you know, on the table. Oh, in, uh, the, uh, bay area down in San Diego, Ohio where I'm currently at right now behind me, um, working on some stuff here, um, still early stage. And then we have a couple brothers get some properties out in Texas that we're going to be planting some flags on and, and doing some work out there. So, and this has been all grassroots. You know, we, we, we did get a, uh, a couple of donations come in and, and some, some sponsorship, um, which we'll chat about in a bit. Um, but for the most part, it's just been grinding work in building relationships. And now I am, we are at a point where, you know, the fundraising is we got to kick into high gear and, you know, as much as possible, it's not like, eh, I guess shouldn't say we have to, because we're doing the work regardless, but it would greatly help the mission to, uh, pull some funds in here that we could, we could accelerate some of this work, um, and help, uh, help more people. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:29:40 So that's bringing me into our next, our next portion, which is, uh, how you can help, you know, um, number one, you can share this message, you know, I intended this to kind of just lay it out for anyone who's interested in what this is all about, this guardian Grange vision, um, that they could listen to this and, and get it, you know, and really see if it resonates with them. And if it does awesome, you know, and, you know, if you can help in some way, whether that's donation, whether that's volunteering, whether that's providing some kind of skillset, um, serve as tools, whatever, anything we need, the help. So we're open, get in touch with us, um, through our, through our, uh, [email protected], that's guardian, um, and Grange, which is like range, but with a G in front of it. So it's guardian G R a N G Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:31:03 And that's where you can find us. It'll links to our social media on we're on Instagram and Facebook. And I got a Twitter I haven't been using, but most, mostly active on Instagram for now. Um, and w we'll get more active on there too. Um, so follow us there. Guardian Grange, send us a message. You can email [email protected], also [email protected] gets to us. If you have any kind of ideas or you just want to connect and collaborate, we're big on collaboration with other nonprofits. We chatted with Xerxes foundation on the pollinator stuff. Um, again, we're working with church of the people for creative mother earth. That is Shane <inaudible>, uh, church that I mentioned, uh, before the work we're doing with the veterans down there on the reservation, Morongo band of mission Indians, the whole, the Hoya Rez. Um, so yeah, we're, we're down to collaborate the bottoms up a community garden up in Oakland. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:31:57 Like we're already doing it, you know, Neiman shell ranch. We're just, we're collaborating. That's, uh, we're doing what we need to do to make this happen. Um, so if you've got a collaboration idea, feel free to hit us up. If you're a veteran and you have a passion or you, or you think this might be something you're into send us a message. Um, but yeah, for sure, share this with as many people as you can, who would have interest, um, if you have the means to donate and you feel called to, uh, you can find that at the website as well. Um, and also what will help us out is, you know, if you have ideas for podcasts, guests, or topics that you want to hear love to hear them, uh, if you, if you're listening to this on whatever podcast platform, if you could, which will help out the podcast, if you could go leave a review on it, that would be really helpful because those ratings kind of help rank the podcast or whatever, and we're just starting out. So if we get some, some good ratings on there, it would really, really help us out. Um, and I'm also going to leave a survey, uh, for the next 90 days. Um, so what is that? Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:33:21 So like November 15th, let's say, I'll get the survey up. And if you could just go to that survey, it's going to ask some questions, like what you thought of this podcast and things that you could provide input on to kind of help us improve. Um, and if you'd fill that out, it'd be awesome. It really helped us out. I'm just gonna leave that up for 90 days. Cause I don't know how far this, how many people are this pod has, is going to reach since we're just starting out. But, um, um, if you'd be so kind, it'll be a quick little survey and I'll put the link in the show notes and also have it on our website, social media. And if you can't find it, just send us, send me a message. Um, and I'll, I'll get that to you. Um, as you know, this is a community effort in, and your feedback is it's everything. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:34:08 I mean, without, without feedback from people, there's no community. And so we have our core group, our core team that's built, but we're growing this in an honest way and love to have you participate in whatever way you can, even if that's just like throwing comments back and forth on social media or whatever, you know, throwing ideas back and forth over email or, or, um, calling, you know, chatting on the phone, having a meeting, uh, putting in touch with potential donors, um, all kinds of things, whatever you can think of, you know, we're, we're, we're here to make some big changes and it's going to take a lot of work and we're going to need a lot of help in my mind. Uh, I mean, this is grassroots for sure, but in my mind, it's, I like to it's beyond that because grassroots is usually associated to some political stuff and we're not political at all. So I'm going to call this a forest roots because we're a community of communities working together to build this decentralized infrastructure for a soil based economy, you know, uh, uh, divinely optimized way of being human with nature. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:35:21 And, uh, we welcome diverse communities, not just welcome to our growing forest, but encouraged to, to thrive with us as we grow. You know, we're not, we're, we're, we're collaborative cooperative. We're just here to do work, you know, and we, there's not enough of us to get everything done. So, uh, individually, but together we can, we can do a lot of good work and we can shape, uh, the future up in a cool way, you know, a really awesome way. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:35:50 And now that's pretty much gonna wrap it up. But before I, before I close, I want to give a little shout out. I want to take a break, a break and, uh, to thank Dr. Bronner's, who has so graciously sponsored this episode and, uh, the first 10 episodes, actually, I'm sure you've seen their products floating out there in the consumer verse. You know, they get the, the labels with a lot of writing on them. You should, you should read them sometime. They're pretty interesting, good stuff on there. Um, but what you may not be aware of is that their products are all natural ethically sourced and behind the scenes, they're doing great things like donating a huge chunk of their process, profit, something like 45% to support causes. They care about, for instance, us at guardian Grange. And, uh, to be perfectly honest, like what I like most about Dr Bronner's is how they defy the norm, even in their corporate structure, you know, they, they don't have to pay the talk, the cap, the top executive, you know, to, uh, five times what the Lowe's employees being paid, but they do. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:37:03 And I think that's a well-balanced way to, to operate, you know, they didn't have to make that commitment, but it shows just a healthy operating vision for both their community and the camp compassion they have for the employees who make it run. Uh, it just keeps the management team grounded in reality. And I imagine it creates a real sense of community beyond our typical corporate structure out there. That's kinda just like, you know, taking as much profit as they can as they can up the chain. So I'm not saying, you know, they're the best thing since sliced bread or whatever, but I do respect how they're, how they're, how they're working, how they function. And I am saying that they're part of a co positive consciousness shift, where we see successful individuals in corporations, investing profit, not to drive more profit, but to create social return, that benefits humanity and nature by supporting communities, families, and people across this planet and beyond the limits of time. So that future generations will inherit a beautiful, abundant, healthy planet to call home. In my opinion, that's the pinnacle of human nature. And that's what we're about here at guardian Grange to inspire positive action. So this is more than just a, a sponsorship to me, it's an approving nod from pioneers in their industry that they see a future in us worth supporting. And to me, that is truly an honor. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:38:35 So yeah, I think, uh, I think they're pretty cool and their products are nice and ethically produced with care. So pick some up the next time you're in the market for some soap put soul and be sure to read the label when you do also a special thanks to David, Les, Alyssa, and Emily for being helpful, uh, over this, this time, uh, supportive during our birthing as an organization, basically thank you for believing in the guardian grains, grains vision. It made a big difference. It matters. Um, so that's that, that's a sponsor for this episode. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:39:18 All right, this is going to bring us to a wrap up going about an hour and 40. Now I'm closing on that two hour gap, but we're going to close out here in the next few minutes. Thank you for your time. Listening to this podcast and sticking through with me to the very end. Thank you for showing up. And I hope to earn your attention again. Please share this with everyone you can think of who might be interested in listening or supporting our mission. It will really help us out. We got a lot of work to do and can definitely put any donations to work again. You can, um, we're a fully registered 5 0 1 C3 in good standing. So donations are tax deductible. You can donate by going to and clicking the support, the mission button. And you can also call us at one eight four four four Grange. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:40:16 That's 1 8 4 4 4 G R a N G E. Or if you're into digits ads, 1 8 4 4 4 4 7 2 6 4 3. And it just basically rings me. You know, we're a small organization, but figured have a good, easy to remember phone number. If people like to chat on the phone and get ahold of me that way, um, also you can email [email protected]. He follows on social media. Again, I'm going to leave that survey link in the show notes description on our social media to help get your feedback for this podcast. Um, there'll be live until November 15th, 2021, and it'll really help us create better content in the future. If you have requests for topics, ideas for guests or any other feedback, please take this quick survey Lincoln shownotes. Uh, also if you'd like to sponsor an episode, please email sponsorship request to [email protected] until next time friends, fellow humans, and beautiful souls be well and do something good today. Humanity's counting on you. Peace. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:41:28 Oh, and one more thing. Actually, I'd like to send gratitude and support to the indigenous of this north American land base who have been fighting to protect the earth, water and air for a long time forever. For as long as they've existed, they've been up against some hard infiltration of their sacred sites from Oak flat to line three and old growth forests. We'll talk more about that in future podcasts. Um, I'd also like to send my condolences for the thousands of residential school deaths of indigenous children at the hands of the missionaries and Canadian us government institutions from the 1870s through 1996, that have been recently discovered uncovered, I guess they were known, but they've been uncovered in, in shown to, to be true. You know, not that it, not that that needed to happen. We all kind of already know the history or, or we should. Mark Matzeldelaflor 01:42:26 Um, and we'll, there'll be continued to be uncovered. You know, there's, uh, there's nothing more sacred on this earth than the lives of children, nothing, nothing at all. And not my opinion. Um, not what I know. And, uh, these crimes against humanity are a scar on the consciousness of this land base and humanity. And I pray for the healing for all who are affected. I'm honored to be, to be on native land and to be working with the Morongo, try was Shane and the bros is, and, and Lou dog and you know, all the bros, man, uh, we're doing good work. So peace out.

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