The Bledsoe Show

Corey Capella: The War Within #41

Balancing the roles of masculine and feminine, Rewriting your childhood story, Healing from PTSD, and more.



Guest: Corey Capella

Corey Capella is a podcaster (The War Within), a former CrossFit gym owner (Pariah CrossFit), a veteran, a CrossFit and olympic weightlifting enthusiast, and a plant medicine advocate. Capella has been on a spiritual journey for the last three years. He transformed himself from an extreme alpha male, who was a badass at the U.S. Marine Corps and CrossFit, to a spiritual philosopher with a mission to help people heal themselves.

“A Podcast revolving around the internal battles of the human psyche, the fight between the light and the dark, the day to day struggles of finding happiness, and fighting off depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. This show goes into the depths of post trauma and the effects on life and offers ideas on finding holistic, non-conventional ways to heal promoting quality of life bringing a host of knowledge in from numerous professionals and dreamers alike.” — Corey Capella | The War Within Podcast

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Resources: The War Within Podcast YouTube, The War Within Podcast iTunes


2:45

Who is Corey Capella?

Corey Capella is a podcaster (The War Within), a former CrossFit gym owner (Pariah CrossFit), a veteran, a CrossFit and olympic weightlifting enthusiast, and a plant medicine advocate. Capella has been on a spiritual journey for the last three years. He transformed himself from an extreme alpha male, who was a badass at the U.S. Marine Corps and CrossFit, to a spiritual philosopher with a mission to help people heal themselves.

Capella had a tough childhood, and grew up with a failure is not an option mindset. He joined the military at a young age, where he served for nine years, and took on various roles, including weather forecasting, counterintelligence work, and combat experience, which made him suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

Corey Capella with Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit

After Capella was released from the military, he opened his own gym, Pariah CrossFit in Oceanside, CA. His intention was to attract extreme, like-minded athletes, and form a team to compete at the CrossFit Games. After running the gym for a couple of years, he had to close down because of some bad life and business decisions. Capella had invested all of his money into the gym, didn’t start small, didn’t have the right branding strategy, lacked a solid support system, and was battling internal issues.

After being introduced to plant medicine, including a trip to Peru to do ayahuasca, Capella completely changed his life. But before his transformation, he hit rock bottom, facing the failure of his gym, failure of his cannabis business, and even went homeless for a while.

For the past three years, Capella went through a process of healing and unpacking, fighting troubling things he buried in himself. Three months ago, he started his own podcast, The War Within.

“I came back from the rainforest and I had to change everything.” — Corey Capella

Corey Capella in Peru in 2015

21:05

Capella’s childhood

Capella grew up in Connecticut, in an old school, rustic environment. He comes from an Italian family, who was stuck on old traditions. Such as, boys are tough as nails, and need to get beat, and girls are soft and delicate creatures that can do no wrong, and should be put on a pedestal. Capella was taught that boys don’t show emotion, don’t cry, don’t talk about feelings, and shouldn’t be celebrated. He feels like he wasn’t introduced into manhood correctly.


26:45

Balancing the roles of masculine and feminine

By nature, men are more suited to be masculine, and women feminine. Biology has set us up with constraints that made men gather resources, protect, set the direction, and create the space for women to be creative and create. Women are creators by nature as they bear children.

It makes sense for women to be the primary caretakers of children until they are 5–7 years old, as they teach them how to relate to themselves. Then, it makes sense for men to take a bigger role in a child’s development to teach children morals and reason, how to operate, and how to work with emotions and struggles.

Capella thinks we’re outgrowing this natural structure due to the health of the planet and advances in technology, where both men and women nowadays, find more balance between the masculine and feminine. In the future, he aspires to open his own treatment center, focused on helping men heal, talking about our spiritual roles. Capella wants to teach men how to find balance of masculine and feminine, showing them how to differentiate between the light and the dark.

“Masculinity is the frame of the house, and the walls, and the ceilings, and the floor. And the feminine is what color are we painting, and what furniture, and so forth.” — Mike Bledsoe


33:45

Unhealthy masculinity

Capella looks like the ideal, stereotypical dude on the outside. He’s a big, strong, bearded, tattooed guy. But on the inside, he had a weak, submissive feminine spirit who got abused. He grew up with unhealthy masculinity from his father, which made him hate certain parts of masculinity. His father was full of rage, sat at the head of the table, ruled, dominated, and dictated. When Capella first got into psychedelics, he started hating himself for being a white male, and even wanted to kill himself.

Mike had a similar experience of unhealthy masculinity and self-image, where he didn’t want to be a white male to perpetuate the old school culture. He used to get overreacted, do things in aggression, and end up regretting things he did, which led him swing the pendulum too far in the other direction, of not being aggressive enough.

Today, we have a problem with men who are not speaking up, and are more likely to turn into doormats. And vice-versa, a problem with women who are not in their feminine essence. Some couples work really well where the guy is more feminine and the women more masculine. But for relationships to work best and be passionate, there is usually a need for polarity. A relationship becomes problematic when the gender expression is out of balance, and both people are close to the center of masculine and feminine. There is a need for a strong gender expression from each individual in a relationship. Two people that are very vanilla, lead to a very bland relationship.

“A bland relationship is boring as fuck.” — Mike Bledsoe

Pro tip: To learn more about masculinity and the importance of gender expression, check out David Deida’s books:

The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire

The Enlightened Sex Manual: Sexual Skills for the Superior Lover


44:15

Rewriting your childhood story

A few weeks ago, Mike did a five day workshop focused on his relationship of what he learned from his mother and father, from birth until he was 7 years old. The workshop was focused on experiences until the age of 7, because until then humans are mostly in theta state, which means everything is true. Until we reach that age, we are yet to have the ability to discriminate information.

The first 2.5 days of the workshop are dedicated to the mother, because when you are born, you and your mother are the same person as far as you are concerned. Your mother teaches you how to relate to yourself. The second half of workshop is dedicated to the father, who is your first relationship outside of yourself. That’s when you learn how you relate to others.


46:25

Achieving spiritual balance or harmony?

In his spirituality, Capella tries to walk the line between the masculine and feminine, the yin and yang. He makes it a point to celebrate Mother Earth, as we mostly look at God as a He, as above, but we don’t look at planet earth, the Mother, as equal in the relationship. Capella understands that everything he’s made, his physicality and energy, is part of Mother earth, and tries to find the right balance between both He and She.

“A Perfect harmonic residence instead of balance is… Where walking this line is exactly where you want to be. It’s where everything mixes just right, and is in this kind of flow, where things are ideal.” — Corey Capella

But what might be better than Balance? Harmony. Michael Hrostoski (episode 9) brought to Mike’s attention the difference between balance, which means static, and harmony, which means moving, in flow, or evolving. For example: You don’t balance on a bicycle. When you start pedaling, the centrifugal forces make you move forward, and pull you in some direction. Also harmony rather than balance, leaves room for creation and progress.


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56:45

Spirituality is the way we need to go

People had good intentions when they first formed and introduced religions to other people, but the way it got packaged and evolved, it accumulated aspects that are harmful for our society. If we really live in a high order belief system, following God’s wish, why are we still experiencing the same kind of pain for centuries?

Capella believes spirituality is the direction we need to go. That everybody have their own special cell phone that gets directly linked to the creator or whatever created us. We should be encouraging each individual to find their own connection, and practice their own form of spirituality. Tips on how to practice one’s own spirituality could be helpful, but we should never put on paper how people have to behave. That’s when we get to the darkness we’re experiencing now.


58:00

Meditation can help you get more connected

Both Capella and Mike got into a solid meditation practice with the help of plant medicine. Meditation helped them get in better touch with their bodies. There is a perception that people in the fitness industry are well connected to their bodies, but that’s a myth. It’s trending for people in fitness industry to want to punish their bodies for not being good enough. But if you don’t love and accept your body, you can’t be connected to it.

People sometimes use fitness to solve a deeper problem of feeling: “I’m not good enough.” Which leads them to an illusion that they are well connected. That illusion makes it harder to teach people in fitness industry to connect to their body, rather than people who are overweight, and are usually aware of not being connected.

“The ego wants to get something out of meditation, but if you hold it together long enough, you’ll discover something way cooler than what your ego wanted.” — Mike Bledsoe


1:02:45

Capella’s military journey

Capella’s reason to join the military emerged from getting raised without a good belief system about himself, and without a good masculine role model. When Capella watched the September 11 tragedies, even though he had skeptical thoughts about what happened, he found it as a justified excuse to go fight bad people. He specifically joined the Marine Corps because he wanted to be a part of a core group of masculine men.

Capella bought into “all the Chuck Norris shit”, but deep down was suicidal. He wanted to go to war and die, so he can bring pride to his family, and especially to his father. Capella felt a deep pain of never making his father proud of him, and was looking to get initiated. He hoped to find mentors that can teach him how to live a good, healthy life, and believed war was the right initiation.

Capella thought he’d be shooting guns out of helicopters like he saw in the movies, but instead he got recruited as a weather observer. He was given a mundane task to watch the weather every hour — reading instruments, checking visibility, measuring the wind, etc., and hated every minute of it.

In 2008, Capella was forecasting weather in Iraq, where he experienced how soldiers were dying heroically, sacrificing their lives to fight bad people. He felt like his job was too safe, and that he was meant to do something bigger and bolder. So he decided to apply for counterintelligence as a human intelligence specialist, which he got elected for. In 2010, found himself on the front lines in Afghanistan.

Capella wanted to be tested in combat and he got what he wished for — Afghanistan was “like cowboys and indians.” For the most part, the US military was dominating that war, but there were casualties, and Capella felt them first hand. He saw his friends getting killed 15 feet away from him, and had carried dead and injured men under fire. Capella was lucky to survive that war unscathed, but he suffered from PTSD and TBI. Only after Capella was released and did plant medicine, which gave him the opportunity to see his path and come complete with it.


1:27:45

PTSD from childhood

Capella believes his PTSD started in childhood from poor parenting and a poor belief system. His traumas as a youth were the base of the iceberg, and his combat experience was the tip of the iceberg. He now understands his PTSD as a result of the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental reaction to traumatic instances in life and stress.


1:30:45

Healing from PTSD

The first thing you need to do in order to heal is have the desire to get better. You need to feel like you are sick of your current state, and you want to steer in a different direction. Capella didn’t want to get labelled as someone who has PTSD, and felt like the VA (Veterans Affairs) system didn’t help much. Their program included talk groups and very short doctor visits (a few minutes long), and right before he got into crossfit, he was put on medication.

After a year and a half of being on medication, Capella realized the system in place wasn’t going to help him heal, and decided to handle his healing process himself. He felt trapped by the medication and wanted to be self-reliant. When Capella told his psychiatrist he wants to get off pharmaceuticals, she told him he needs to stay on it for life! His doctor had no other game plan for him, and what she registered to him was that he was a broken, flawed human being. But Capella didn’t believe this was true whatsoever.

Capella was introduced to cannabis through a friend, who gave him some cannabis butter. Soon enough, he replaced his medication with marijuana, which took him on some light hallucinogenic trips, but also helped him take control of his own health. Cannabis helped Capella learn about plant medicine, nature, and how everything ties to our soul. Whereas on pharmaceuticals, he felt like his was disconnecting from his soul.

Cannabis helped Capella learn that for every action in the universe, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The world is in a perfect balance (or harmony 🙂 ), and PTSD must have a cure. But cannabis was just the beginning of his healing journey, and soon became detrimental to Capella, as he was abusing it. He started his days smoking a blunt every morning, and was taking 250–300 mg of edible throughout the day! That’s when cannabis became his new addiction, and led him into a daily spiritual roam for 5–6 months.

Capella thought he was going to consume cannabis for the rest of his life, and started a cannabis business, believing the plant only has upsides. He was smoking, eating, and dabbing all day, every day. But eventually he was led into ayahuasca, and had the intention of getting completely off his medication and healing his PTSD. Ayahuasca helped him dissolve everything in his life that was a burden to him and put him on a the path he’s on now.


1:37:45

Finding the right mix for healing

Recently, Mike had all of his four wisdom teeth removed, and used plant medicine for his recovery. He avoided prescription pills for the most part, and took vicodin twice only when he needed to sleep badly in the beginning. Mike felt that pharmaceuticals made him feel disconnected from his body, which is what Capella felt when he was on them: “They felt synthetic and harmful for the body.”

Mike took a lot of cannabis at first, which helped alleviate pain, but also made him lethargic. He found motrin and kratom to be a good mix to help alleviate pain without getting too lethargic. And also mixed cannabis and kratom, which helped him stay connected to his body. Mike tried kratom alone, and SARMs peptides, but didn’t like how it made him feel.

“A lot of the pharmaceutical stuff, and when you’re introducing certain chemicals, it’s an overriding of your feedback loop. And I think with a lot of things that are plant based, because it’s a whole plant, what ends up happening, it’s not overriding the feedback loops, you’re adding to the system, and now your system is adjusting to what you are inputting. So I think with a lot of pharmaceuticals, because you are changing one thing only, rather than if you’re taking cannabis, you are changing an entire spectrum of shit we still don’t understand.” — Mike Bledsoe


1:47:45

Don’t let them win

Even though ayahuasca showed Capella the new path he should go on, he hit rock bottom six months post his trip to Peru. After his gym failure, and his cannabis business failure, he found himself living in a renovated caravan in somebody’s cannabis grow-op. Capella was off cannabis, but felt completely helpless, and was ready to die.

Eventually, he was somehow able to get out his old negative shadow, and heard his own voice telling him: “Don’t let them win.” He had a vision that his old life story was written and dictated by his family and friends, but he was finally able to invest in himself and become the hero of his own story.

Capella decided he wanted to live and turn his life around. He had an internal feeling that he was the most important thing right now, and he needs to live according to his terms. He was determined to turn his life around, switching from negative to positive, knowing he has the best answers for himself, ready to dictate his own future. Now, he’s feeling better, on a mission to help others, and hosts his own podcast — The War Within.

3 comments

  • I enjoyed the show quite a bit. Thanks for leading this insightful and productive conversations, Mike!

    The one part where I challenge Corey to do some constructive reflection on is with regards to his feelings that “transgender people should accept their bodies as they are, because their spirit chose the body they inhabit.”

    Corey has worked incredibly hard in the gym to restructure his own body to appear a specific way that fits his identity. He has added ink to his skin, and he dresses in a deliberate style to convey his tastes and his sexuality. He has not accepted his body as it is. Instead, he has treated his body as a canvas from which to create an appearance both physically and visually to be in alignment with the best expression of his identity and of his soul. That is no different than what transgender people seek to do with their own bodies.

    • Really dig the insight. That part of the show definitely caught me off guard as it is not subject matter that I get into very often. I’m of the opinion that other people are living lives that I could never imagine.

  • I have had many conversations with Corey on social media. You’d never know he had a sensitive side with all the posts about women shouldn’t have standards, women are what’s wrong with society, and him lecture poor women on how they should behave to attract a man. I have the feeling he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about because several times other men more knowledgeable have shot him down in discussions. He seems to want to promote a world where women are inferior to a man, at least in his personal life. Seems to me you’d be bett off listening to Steven Eugene Kuhn, the number two military influencer, and a man who truly understands masculinity.

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