Intrinsic Drive™

Transcending Tactile Intelligence with Benny Vaughn

April 06, 2022 Phil Wharton - Wharton Health Season 3 Episode 3
Intrinsic Drive™
Transcending Tactile Intelligence with Benny Vaughn
Show Notes Transcript


The deep south was a dangerous and treacherous place for a young black man in the 1960’s; Benny Vaughn drank from “colored” water fountains, pedaled away from viscous dogs while passing through white neighborhoods, and rode in the back of buses. 

Benny turned hardships into opportunity through his actions. He was the first black athlete to win the Georgia state high school cross country championships and during the spring of his senior year, he won the 440, 880, Mile, and Mile relay—leading Baker High to its first ever state track and field championship by a two-point margin. 

One of the most highly recruited athletes in the country, Benny accepted a full  scholarship from the University of Florida, one of five African American athletes picked as ambassadors for racial equality in a slowly desegregating southern landscape. 

For over forty-six years, Benny has been internationally recognized as the father of sports massage therapy, supporting athletes at five Olympic Games. As medical liaison and manager of athlete services for the Atlanta Centennial Olympic games, he incorporated massage therapy into the medical provisions for the athletes. This iconoclastic trailblazer prepared his whole life to break stereotypes, oppression, and prejudice.

Through the mastery of his craft and the harnessing of his healing energy,  sharing his tactile intelligence, knowledge, education, and experience at his state of the art, Benny Vaughn Athletic Training Center. Benny continues to mentor athletes and massage therapists thorough his Benny Vaughn Life Coaching programs. 

Benny is the recipient of the American Massage Therapy Association Merit Award, the One Lifetime Concept Achievement Award, the Award of Excellence from the National Athletic Trainers Association, and an inductee into the UF Health and Human Performance Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2020 Benny gave the commencement speech at his alma mater, to graduates of the UF College of Health and Human Performance. It is such a joy, honor, and privilege to welcome my friend and earliest mentor Benny to this episode of Intrinsic Drive™. 


Intrinsic Drive™ is produced by Ellen Strickler and Phil Wharton. Special thanks to Andrew Hollingworth, our sound engineer and technical editor.  For more information on this and other episodes visit us at www.whartonhealth.com/intrinsicdrive   Follow us on socials (links below) including   Instagram  @intrinsicdrivelive  

 

Phil Wharton:

A lifetime of training, practice, study, hard work through discipline, some achieve excellence, mastery, fulfillment, self actualization. What can we learn from their beginning discoveries, motivations and falls? How do they dust themselves off and resume their journey? During these interviews, stories and conversations, we reveal their intrinsic drive. The Deep South was a dangerous and treacherous place for a young black man in the 1960s. Benny Vaughn drank from colored water fountains pedaled away from vicious dogs while passing through white neighborhoods and rode in the back of buses. Benny turned hardships into opportunity through his actions as the first black athlete to win the Georgia state high school cross country championships. During the spring of his senior year, he won the 440, 880, mile and mile relay, leading Baker high to its first ever state track and field championship by a two point margin. One of the most highly recruited athletes in the country, he accepted a full scholarship from the University of Florida, one of five African American athletes picked as ambassadors for racial equality in a solely desegregating southern landscape. for over 46 years, Benny has been internationally recognized as the father of sports massage therapy, supporting athletes at five Olympic Games. As medical liaison and manager of athletes services for the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games. He incorporated massage therapy in the medical provisions for the athletes. This iconoclastic trailblazer prepared his whole life to break stereotypes oppression and prejudice through the mastery of his craft, and the harnessing of his healing energy sharing his tactile intelligence, knowledge, education and experience at his state of the art Benny Vaughn Athletic Training Center. Benny continues to mentor athletes and massage therapists through his Benny Vaughn life coaching programs, Benny is the recipient of the American Massage Therapy Association merit award, the One Lifetime Concept Achievement Award, the Award of Excellence from the National Athletic Trainers Association, and an inductee into the UF Health and Human Performance Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2020. he gave the commencement speech at his alma mater, to graduates of the University of Florida College of Health and Human Performance. It is such a joy, honor and privilege to welcome my friend Benny, to this episode of intrinsic drive. Benny, take us to the Genesis take us to the beginning of your journey. Was it sitting on the back of the bus with your mom in Columbus Georgia at seven years old? Or traveling to Germany with your family on the military base that opened your eyes? What was the inciting moment for you at the beginning?

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, thanks, Phil. So, before I begin, I want to add one more Olympic Games. That's five Olympic Games. I'm so I was in Tokyo. That's right past summer. So that's that's number five that I have been privileged to be part of the sports medicine team, helping USA athletes, and specifically, my great interest in track and field athletes for USA Track and Field. And that's been my passion. For 46 years. That's what I do. I'm coming to you right now from my Athletic Therapy Center in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Where I've already seen three clients this morning, before coming online with you. And when we finish this interview, my next client is a 400 meter Olympian who was in Tokyo who I worked with there, and he'll be coming in for a session with me. So I still do this. I still do this, because I love it. And what's important for everyone out there is when you are faced with facts, conditions and circumstances in your life. Press pause and ask yourself what would I love? And that will guide your decision making on what you should do what action you should take. Ask yourself the question. What would I love? Well, I would love to train three days a week. I would love to race in this meet. I would love to get an associate's degree in Kinesiology. So always ask yourself that question when faced with facts, conditions and circumstances. And notice what you're noticing. Notice how you feel when you answer the question, because your intuition will never let you down. And, and that's what you did Phil is your intuition did not let you down. And in a roundabout manner, that was the position that I put you in, as a high schooler was to ask yourself the question, what would I love? And what you would love at that time is that you wanted to run on the track and field team at the University of Florida. So that's what you would love. And that energy is what drove your action to make that dream become. And so you ran for the Gators.

Phil Wharton:

And that's so amazing because that information came in forms that came from the heart, from you directing me towards that heart. And then there was a series of, you know, all these things came into alignment, all the doctrines that you passed on to me, were just a part of that essential experience, which you directed me forward into.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, exactly. So where did all this begin for me? The advantage that I have had, and I call it an advantage. There are some who say, Well, it's a disadvantage, right? And here's what I mean. The advantage of being a young black man in America, in the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, 80s, and on, but especially in the 50s, and 60s, yes. And the early 70s, being a young black man in America was treacherous. It was dangerous. And up until now, I realized now that this was a great advantage for me for what I do, now. Yes. And what I mean by that is, I was given the opportunity to test my dreams, and to test my patience, my persistence, my imagination, my perseverance. Because when you are stopped in Columbus, Georgia, in 1964, for no other reason, than white male officers could do it to young black men, you become very good at having patience, and strength and understanding the power of your words. And so that really prepared me. So I am happy and grateful. Now, for all those white police officers who stopped me in Columbus, Georgia, for all those white Americans who called me names at the high school that I went to, because it was the first year of desegregation. Remember, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. That was my freshman year in high school. As my first year in high school. I was in the ninth grade. And I was bused to the previously all white high school, Baker High School to meet the desegregation policies that the federal government had proclaimed to all the states. Now, not all the states paid attention to that. Right. Right. Not all the states paid attention to it. And some just flat out say, well, we're not going to do this. Right, you know, segregation now, segregation, then segregation forever. Paraphrasing Governor George C. Wallace of the state of Alabama, Alabama, right, who stood in the doorway of the registrar's office to block the entry of a black American young person who simply wanted to get an education. That's right. Just wanted to get an education. So these things that I went through And when I think about the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who passed away several weeks ago, transitioned several weeks ago. You know, mud is part of the earth, you need mud, you need anger, in order for the Lotus to grow. So the Lotus can grow in a muddy watery field,

Phil Wharton:

as a catalyst for that growth

Benny Vaughn:

as a catalyst for that growth. So anger is a way to grow, when it is directed and understood appropriately, and not let it consume you. So I never let anger consume me. Because remember, we live in a thought universe. Yes. Everything around us. begins as a thought, begins as an idea. Everything around us, we everything that we we shape and form from nature begins as a thought. I think I'm going to build a rocking chair. So you have a thought. And then you take forms of nature, and you reform it to take my word and you reform,

Phil Wharton:

it becomes a sketch and the sketch has dimensions.

Benny Vaughn:

Yes, exactly.

Phil Wharton:

And then there's craft and all these things that come from that thought, but the thought, yeah, that's the genesis.

Benny Vaughn:

Exactly, exactly. And so that's what I do, is I support people in their thought process because you have thoughts. no matter whether you're on the podium or not. You had your personal best. And that's the measure that I impart to athletes. Yes. Not to compare yourself to this athlete or that athlete or this and that, but compare yourself to yourself. Yeah. To keep yourself inspired for your personal best. And that's what I believe, really magnifies performance, and especially in track and field,

Phil Wharton:

And it clears the space. I mean, many don't you know, you see these people that it's the classic Zen paradigm right. The Archer sets up, the archer aims for the target in the Zen in the art of archery. The Archer always hits the target. Now the archer sets up and starts thinking about the gold, the gold medal or the prize. The Archer it does no longer is focused on the target. And so it's all these externals, the money, the fame, the things that are fleeting, love that sandbox, that beautiful child that was running free, even against oppression, even when they said you cannot compete. You can't drink out of the same water fountain. You can't sit and have lunch at the luncheonette. But, Mama, there's a better way, as you said to your mom when your feet hurt. And you said, Look, you there's an open seat in the front. Let's go and see, let's investigate, but stand up. Let's channel that anger into positive action as Dr. King would say.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, absolutely. And those were the moments that really switch for me. So there were several moments that made a difference for me. So let me go to 1959. 1959 I take my very first

Phil Wharton:

Oh, wow. Okay, yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

And it is to Germany. My father was an Army cook. He was stationed in Crailsheim, Germany with the fourth armored division. And if you were a married soldier, you could bring your family over for your three year stint. So he set it up where we could come over. So imagine this, I'm coming from Columbus, Georgia, been living in the segregated south all my life, not being able to drink out of this water fountain riding at the back of the bus. And we were just conditioned to behave this way. In Columbus, Georgia, I was not allowed to walk through the white neighborhood. And if you dare do it, then be prepared for dogs. So as a young boy, one of the things that myself and other young boys would do. In our own way of pressing the envelope, we would get on our bicycles, and most of our bicycles were sorta homemade from parts like we didn't go, we didn't go to like a Yeah, like store, like you'd, you'd find a frame and then you find a tire, and you got to be a pretty good bike mechanic. That's great. And so you kind of put together your bike. So one of the fun things that we would do as a dare. And I think this is what young people do, you know, girls and boys, is that we would get on our bikes. And we would ride through the white neighborhood that we weren't supposed to great. And then they would send their dogs after us off the porches. And so the deal is that you get up as much speed as you could, and then you put your feet up on the handlebars, while the dogs are nipping at you.

Phil Wharton:

That's good training though.

Benny Vaughn:

We're young kids. I thought, Hey, man, this is kind of fun. But at the same time, I think intuitively, we were just sending a message that this is not right.

Phil Wharton:

That's right.

Benny Vaughn:

This is not right. So we're gonna ride our bike through your neighborhood anyway. Yeah,

Phil Wharton:

It's a positive act of defiance

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah. And so. So I just remember, I would always say, Man, I hope I get up enough speed that I can coast on out of this neighboorhood. Because the dogs knew where the border line was. And it's so funny Phil. The dogs would stop at the border of the block. It's almost like they knew okay, well, they're back in the black neighborhood. Now we'll go back to the porch.

Phil Wharton:

Almost like an invisible fence that wasn't there. It's like anyway, segregated dogs. That's bizarre.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah. It was just kind of hilarious. Okay, so we go to Germany, and then a 24 hour period. This young black boy goes through culture shock. Because I am now told by my mother, once we arrive, that we are going to live in an apartment building with white people. Okay, and that it's okay. Yeah, I was just like, my eyes got as big as saucers. Like, we're gonna do what? We're gonna like, live in a building that white people live in. Yeah. And then I thought, wow, where am I? I didn't even know where Germany was on a on a map.

Phil Wharton:

You could have been on the moon. I mean, it's it's totally different.

Benny Vaughn:

And I'm like, what? Then my mother says, she sits all us kids down. She says, Okay. This was on a Thursday. And she says, Okay, on Monday, y'all are going to start school. And you're going to go to school with white kids. You're going to have white teachers. And you're going to be able to be in the same classroom. And it's okay. I was just like, Oh, my goodness, where am I? Yeah. And of all places for me to have this experience in post World War II Germany, right. I mean, how? I mean, like, what does that even mean?

Phil Wharton:

Right. Right.

Benny Vaughn:

So. So my experience is, and that's when I got involved in sport was in Germany. So I have a photograph of my army youth association baseball league that I played on. And I was the only black kid.

Phil Wharton:

Like to see that one.

Benny Vaughn:

I have a photo of my first massage therapy business and school that I opened. in Gainesville, Florida. I have a group photo of all the students and the staff and this and that, this is 1976. So I'm the only black person in the photo. I go to my first American Massage Therapy Association conference in Orlando, Florida.

Phil Wharton:

In Orlando, okay.

Benny Vaughn:

There are only three black massage therapists there. And one was from Canada. So I'm not sure if I right. If the count them. Yeah, they're from Canada, they're a little more progressive, right,

Phil Wharton:

A little more open.

Benny Vaughn:

And that was it. Wow. And then I joined the track team at my previously all white high school. And I'm the only black kid to the point that when we traveled to track meets Phil. And keep in mind, this was 1964 Civil Rights Act has just been passed, my coach would have to Sam Roberts, he would call ahead to the motel in Tennessee, or South Carolina, or even parts of Georgia, where we're going for track meet that would require an overnight stay. So we traveled on Friday, stay at the motel Friday night, compete on Saturday, and then we drive back Saturday night. He would have to call to be sure that the one black kid on the track team could stay with the rest of the team, which was all white at the motel. And he would always reassure me on Thursday, before Friday travel day, that he had called the motel and had gotten permission. And it was okay for the colored boy to stay with the rest of his teammates. But again, I look back on that Phil. This was preparing me to face anything. And, and I still had those challenges, you know, people calling you names and this and that and, and I just spoke through action. I would just win on the track. I would just win on the track up to the point where my senior year in high school. I won the State Cross Country Championship in December of 1968. I come back for the outdoor championship at Terrif Stadium south of Atlanta. I get the most valuable athlete award. I win four events. And I am part of the team title that we won by two points over the favorite team from Savannah, Georgia. And I signed with the Gators to be an athlete there.

Phil Wharton:

I mean you were highly recruited.

Benny Vaughn:

I was recruited by every SEC school. Every SEC school offered me a full scholarship. And I still I still have the letters from I have a very famous letter from Forrest Towns.

Phil Wharton:

Oh

Benny Vaughn:

Who was the University of Georgia coach. In fact, the track is named after Coach Towns.

Phil Wharton:

I recognize that from the track.

Benny Vaughn:

So Coach Townes was the Olympic gold medalist in the high hurdles in 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He was a teammate of Jesse Owens. That's amazing. Okay, And coach Townes, who the track is named after the University of Georgia. I still have the handwritten letter that he wrote me on University of Georgia stationery, offering me a full scholarship to the University of Georgia, anytime that I want it just call. I kept that letter. Because I knew he was the Olympic gold medalist. Yeah, and had been a teammate of Jesse Owens, in 1936, Berlin, Germany and Nazi Germany.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah,

Benny Vaughn:

I just thought that was pretty cool. I still have that letter. And had I decided to go to Georgia, I would have been there first black athletes long before the Herschel Walker's and, and all these other great African American athletes who ended up there. So I was recruited by every SEC school. And I chose Florida. Because on my recruiting trip, I felt more inclusion, I felt more diversity on campus. At that time, I felt more equality, for opportunity. Than I felt at some of the other, up until now SEC schools that I visited. They were all trying to make an inroad. And in 1969, University of Florida had five black athletes. University of Alabama had one. University of Georgia had none. University of Mississippi had none. Mississippi State had none. So this was the very beginning of integration of SEC sports. And I just feel really grateful that I had an opportunity to be part of setting the pace for inclusion, diversity and equality, that has really expanded the playing field for all athletes. Now in 2022.

Phil Wharton:

And they were looking for that model, I think, as well, almost like, it reminds me of Jackie Robinson's manager who really went out there and took that chance. And there was a reason there was other ballplayers in the Negro Leagues that were very good. But there was this character. That's what always struck me about you is that calmness, that that way that you could take us, you know, when we're in the SEC, and you said, Look, trust your training, Phil, you guys have been there, you guys have pushed yourself, even when we're ranked eighth. And we go there to win the SEC championship. Because you you have that transference of belief, because they picked you for this, the ability to have all these things happen. And you being the calm in the storm. Because just because of the experiences of your life. I think we've gone to the ascent Benny, you know, you're rising in your craft, as a high schooler now coming into college at University of Florida, where you're, you know, you're young, when you came in was 17 as a senior? And then what about the discovery? What were you learning to experiences and events and what new things came to light? Who are your mentors, coaches and teachers and what was revealed,

Benny Vaughn:

Well, I'll tell you what was revealed. So on my wall, I have all of my mentors. The first one is my father. And then I have a photograph of coach Sam T. Roberts, my high school track coach. Then below that, I have a photograph of Coach Jimmy Carnes, who was the head coach for track and field who actually signed me to come to Florida and then coach Roy Benson was my specialty coach. And then the third photograph is my massage therapy teacher and mentor, Mr. Bruce Simer. And the reason I have those photographs on the wall, is to remind me of what these individuals shared and gave me. One of the things that I always remember Coach Carnes saying is that enthusiasm creates energy. Enthusiasm creates energy. No matter the facts, conditions and circumstances. Enthusiam creates energy. And that was one of the big things that I learned, excuse me is that enthusiasm creates the energy. What I learned from my high school coach and my father, is that victory rewards the non quitter. You know, stay the course. perseverance, commitment. And then my massage teacher really demonstrated to me that in order to move forward, you must take action, you must make a decision. And it's not it doesn't really matter what the decision is the act of actually making a decision carries power, make a decision, yes or no, left or right. But make a decision. Don't be concerned about if it's the right decision or the wrong decision, suspend the need to know how, and focus on the what. And so those were some of the things that that I learned from my coaches and my teachers that have played out in my life. And I now recognize, acknowledge and am grateful for all the up until now what I thought were hardships.

Phil Wharton:

Right. What I thought were roadblocks. Were simply validation that I was headed in a good direction.

Benny Vaughn:

It's the adversity advantage Exactly. Exactly.

Phil Wharton:

Put you in that position. And man, you are whole, it just and what were the drives Benny? What urged you forward? What were some of the external and internal forces and motivations during this time in your life?

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, the external forces is that I wanted, am giving to others because this was something that my father did a lot of. And when I was a young boy, I didn't understand why. Up until now, I thought he was always giving away our stuff to other people. And I was wondering why he did. But But I got that from him. And so the external is to measure my financial gain by my giving. And so my wife and I have a variety of missions that we give to, including some academic opportunities at the University of Florida. Yeah, that we fund. Because that's what I want to do. That's what we want to do. So that's been the external drive. So the measure of financial gain is really a way that allows you to really do what you would love to do for society, for communities for other people. Yes. And then the internal drive is that for the human species, for humans to continue to flourish, it is important that we have moments of inspiration from other humans. Yeah, that except us, for whomever we are, including those who may produce anger for you. So for me, when I have a person who just believes that they have to call me names, or use derogatory comments about African American people. I actually press pause. And I think to myself. What life experiences have they had that's produced this? And to have compassion for that. And what I always tell myself, Phil, when I have a situation like this, I always say to us a first, I press pause, and I take a few breaths, I don't react, because I want to respond. And I take a few breaths. And then I say to myself, I don't know their full story. I don't know their full story. I don't know their story in life that has produced this ugly use of words or even physical violence, like I don't know.

Phil Wharton:

They're internally really hurting, you know normally

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah and so I just keep that in mind. And I use silence as a position of power. So someone's yelling, ugliness to me. And they are provoking feelings of anger in me. And those feelings of anger are coming from previous life experiences. Yeah, I just remain silent. I just remain silent, and the power of silence and actually looking someone in their eyes because the eyes lead to the soul. And we can communicate intuitively, yes, through our eyes.

Phil Wharton:

That's right. That's right.

Benny Vaughn:

And I just communicate with that ugliness in that fashion. And the response is amazing. Because suddenly, they realize, a learning moment for them, that the weakness that they would love to dispense was it to dispense with has been exposed. And so I just remain silent. And if I have to say something, what I say to them Phil is tell me more. Well, you know, you people have... Silence. Look into their eyes. Tell me more. And for those who want to come up with the way to disarm, violence and anger. Silence, silence is powerful. Because we live in a thought universe. And you can communicate with other people through thought. I mean, we use all kinds of terms, you know, their psychic, their intuitive that we all have that Gandhi said, God speaks to all of us. Yeah. So willingness to listen, is the key.

Phil Wharton:

That's right.

Benny Vaughn:

The willingness. So we all have the capacity, we all have the capability. We're born with it. So I just utilize it. And, you know, I, I read and study, you know, the metaphysics of life and you know, the principles that guide that. Every day, I read something, I study something I put into my mind, guidance that continues to expand my progress, of being with other human beings.

Phil Wharton:

I think that's right, because it's, you know, as they say, energy is perfect, but it's just about us stepping into that frequency. So if someone's on a lower frequency and into a hate or, you know, not understanding that we're all equal as humans, regardless of the color of skin, or socio economic, and then you're vibrating on this frequency, of course, they're not going to be able to be in the room with you or the space. But now that silence sort of brings them up into that frequency, where they get a glimpse, maybe they get a glimpse of that peace of that serenity of that different reverence. And I love that it's very beautiful. It's the ultimate weapon. You know, as we all need swords in life, you know, in the war against this, this type of behavior. What about the fall, Benny? Take me to the lowest moment in your career or life overall? Was there a major inciting moment or event for you?

Benny Vaughn:

Oh, yeah. There's there's been several, there hadn't just been one there has been many, and then life as a human as a luminous light being having a human experience. I suspect there will be others to come. And I begin first by saying that those were in the awareness of fact conditions and circumstances. Those were low moments. Yes. In the world of awareness of infinite energy. It was me growing. So when I was uncomfortable when I was distressed when I found myself in disharmony with contractive thinking. Up until now, I thought those were not good things. I thought those were failures.

Phil Wharton:

You tried to repress that.

Benny Vaughn:

Yes.

Phil Wharton:

Okay for a while before you had the strategies of awakening.

Benny Vaughn:

Right, exactly. So now, I recognize that those were moments of growth. And that moving forward, this is what it looks like, this is what it looks like, yes, you will have these setbacks or failures. But within all of those setbacks and failures and, and challenges, there is a nugget of growth that's in there. So one of just one low point early in my career is I was essentially homeless. And what and what homeless means when you're a young male in Gainesville, Florida, is that you're sleeping on a friend's couch. Yeah. until you figure out what's going on. And Tim Purdy, who ran track at Florida, his parents were professors at the university. And, and I recall that Tim's mother was very upset with him, that he was allowing me to sleep on his couch because I didn't have a place to live. And she envisioned me as a, quote, "freeloader taking advantage of her son, and this and that. And, I understood that because she was coming from her life experiences, and she was coming from common our thinking. And Tim was coming from the standpoint of friendship, I have to help my friend out.

Phil Wharton:

My teammate yeah

Benny Vaughn:

And so I have a paper bag. And I'll try to say this without getting too emotional, Phil. But that's how

Phil Wharton:

I'm not doing the job for you. powerful this moment was for me. Not only was I homeless, I didn't have any money. And consequently, I didn't have any food. And I came back to this little carriage house that someone was letting me stay in for a week until it was behind the old Baird mansion in Gainesville, Florida. And it was basically just a little shack it was it was rat infested. To the point that I borrowed a friend's cat one night and put it in the apartment of the cat jumped through the window and got the heck out of there. Okay, good. Even do the cat actually said I am hanging out here, man.

Benny Vaughn:

Because I could I could hear them at night, like in the drop ceiling.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

And so I came back to that carriage house one day. And there were two bags of groceries. That was sitting at the front and on there on the paper bag. These three women that I knew, had typed a message that because we know you're going to do something great and life one day, we small elves bring you sustenance and encouragement to keep going. I cut that off of that paper back. I still have that

Phil Wharton:

You still have that note.

Benny Vaughn:

I still have that note to remind me. Of no matter how bad you think times can be. Keep taking action. Keep believing and keep trusting your dream of what you would love. And what I would love is that I loved doing massage.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah. Yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

I love being a massage therapist. And at that particular point in time that was going on. I was a licensed massage therapist. I just didn't have anywhere to work.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

And so

Phil Wharton:

The health club jobs hadn't appeared yet where you were doing

Benny Vaughn:

No

Phil Wharton:

In the men's you know, there was a men's women's segregation. I guess it was right.

Benny Vaughn:

Yes, it was

Phil Wharton:

maybe you were doing like Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, but as long as 16 hours 18 hour days.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah.

Phil Wharton:

And you know, and that's, you know, those those that was the initial jobs that yes, started as you honing your craft hours and hours.

Benny Vaughn:

That is correct. And yes, 16 hour day was not unusual for me.

Phil Wharton:

It's nothing when you have that passion

Benny Vaughn:

I loved it. I loved it. And I got really good because of the, hundreds and thousands of repetitions of using my hands. So that was a defining moment that I clearly have never, and never will forget. Because that's what growing looks like. Yes, that's what it looks like. It's not all rose petals, and, you know, bubble baths and all those things that are often you know, no, no, no, no. And so, what's happened now? Is that the work that I have put in, you know, in private behind the scenes, the steady

Phil Wharton:

Yes

Benny Vaughn:

The practice. I'm being rewarded publicly now for yes, yeah. So yeah, it's

Phil Wharton:

An overnight sensation in 46 years of practice.

Benny Vaughn:

That's right. Exactly, exactly. And so what I learned from all of that, Phil, is that I was, I was already successful. Just my level of awareness had not matched it yet.

Phil Wharton:

And that was your pivot, that thought. That frequency that bubbled up in you that maybe it was precipitated by those three amazing women that sort of saw the light within, you're going to do something great. And then you said, okay, okay, I believe, I believe and then And then that's the cascade. That's the domino

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah effect of momentum. And it gosh, Benny if there was a rollback, if you had the opportunity, what would you redo or do differently in your life or career? There isn't anything I would do differently. Because, because now I recognize that all those moments, were preparing me for now.

Phil Wharton:

For this very moment now.

Benny Vaughn:

Was preparing me for now.

Phil Wharton:

For the three athletes on your table just now, for the athlete in a moment that you're going to go back to the 400 meter runner that you were with in Tokyo 2020. And on the anvil Benny, take us to an event or decision at forged you, a defining moment that shaped your destiny on the anvil.

Benny Vaughn:

I would say it was being given the book, Think and Grow Rich,

Phil Wharton:

Napoleon Hill

Benny Vaughn:

By Napoleon Hill. Joe Cirulli Gainesville

Phil Wharton:

Oh, really? Joe Health and Fitness Center. I remember Joe

Benny Vaughn:

In 1976 gave me a copy of that book. He had just read it. And he came to me, he says Benny Benny. He says, Man, you got to read this book. You got to read this book man. This thing is, and keep in mind when Joe gave that book to me. Joe was living in his car.

Phil Wharton:

Wow. Wow.

Benny Vaughn:

He was just beginning his career also. And we're both at the International Health Spa and Beauty Resort on 23rd avenue.

Phil Wharton:

Oh my God.

Benny Vaughn:

In Gainesville, Florida. He was the floor manager for the exercise area.

Phil Wharton:

Okay.

Benny Vaughn:

And I was doing massage there. And this was before he acquired the Gainesville Executive Health Club and they change the name to Gainesville Health and Fitness.

Phil Wharton:

Now, when I when I met you, it was yeah, it was Gainesville Health and Fitness. Yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

And so Joe Cirulli grew that. But he gave me that book.

Phil Wharton:

Wow.

Benny Vaughn:

And he kept saying, you got to read this man, you got to read this book. And finally, to prevent the number of times each week and each day he would ask me, have you read the book? I read a few chapters so that I could truthfully say to him the next time he asked me. Vaughn, have you read this book? I can say yes, I've begun reading it. But I read it. And I started thinking like, wow, like I read the chapter on imagination. I was like, wow, because I had all these ideas of how I could build this massage business and right and then I realized like, wow, this is like this energy is real. So that that was a that was a moment. So I always like to give a shout out to Joe Cirulli, for I mean, you know, he may or may not know that was the beginning point. But when he gave me that book, Think and Grow Rich, so

Phil Wharton:

What's so amazing because people are rediscovering that now and you you hear on the internet? Oh, I'm in this mastermind or that mastermind. Well, you and Joe had the first mastermind for yourselves and 1978 both as kindred spirits, looking to elevate yourself and and using this book that was originally published, I think in 1932. I mean, yeah,

Benny Vaughn:

it was it was 1930 or 32.

Phil Wharton:

So coming out of the Great Depression

Benny Vaughn:

Right

Phil Wharton:

This was a really powerful magic, that he the framework of consciousness. And

Benny Vaughn:

Yes

Phil Wharton:

In a very grounded pragmatic way.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, it's really a book of metaphysics. Yes. Is what it is.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah, yeah. And then Benny on your journey, what's most important to you now? What does the road ahead look like for you, and what's next?

Benny Vaughn:

On my journey now, and what's next, is inspiring, and supporting others to become connected with the harmonizing energy of the infinite forces that shape the universe.

Phil Wharton:

Yes

Benny Vaughn:

And doing that, by supporting them, celebrating them, mentoring them. Because the, the model of elders in the village is a model, I subscribe to passing wisdom on to the next generation, and the next generation, to allow them to expand and grow that. And so what's next for me, is transformational Life Coaching.

Phil Wharton:

Yes

Benny Vaughn:

Supporting other individuals, celebrating other individuals, providing them with wisdom, that is only gained from experiencing it. You can't read wisdom into you. You have to experience it.

Phil Wharton:

That's right.

Benny Vaughn:

You can read knowledge and guidance, but you can't read wisdom. And I want to leave a legacy. So that when I transition, I have left this wisdom with others, who will continue to grow it, continue to expand it, and continue to produce a provide moments of inspiration for others. Because here's what I believe. We human beings, are really an energetic form of light. We are luminous light beings having a human experience. So the question that I often ask myself is, when a person transitions are people usually say die or passed away? What happens to the energy? And the spirit that we felt from that person? When they're having the human experience? Where does that go? What happens to that? Does that energy just die? I don't believe it does. Because I believe this energy, like the ethos that surrounds the planet is infinite.

Phil Wharton:

Yes, it's just part of part of quantum physics. And so everything is is vibrating. So where does that

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah. energy go? You know, in certain religious traditions, they believe that energy returns in another form. It may return in the form of a cat, or dog or tree or something else that energy. So what I'm excited about, what I'm thrilled about. Is I'm waiting for the first photographs to come in from the new telescope. That's 1 million miles away, pointing out into the universe, away from the sun. I am thrilled to see those photographs that that telescope is going to send back because I think it's cavalier for the human experience. To believe that we're the only ones and that we are alone. It's impossible. It's impossible. Yeah. So um, Waiting for those. And I know that in one article I read. The scientists had consulted with theologians. I guess, try to figure out what so how do we present these photographs? Right? If after we screen these photographs, we see some things that because they're actually going to be able to go back in time as we know it.

Phil Wharton:

Oh, wow. Okay.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, they'll be able to actually see the beginning of formations of planets. Because of the light energy that's emitted.

Phil Wharton:

Oh, the light is still there refracted from the dwarfs.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah. So yeah, for so from our model. We the best way we can describe that we're going back into time.

Phil Wharton:

Interesting. Yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

So I'm looking forward to that.

Phil Wharton:

Because that's right in Texas, isn't it isn't the Hubble?

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, they launched it from Texas

Phil Wharton:

Okay. That's amazing.

Benny Vaughn:

Yes, that's gonna be pretty cool.

Phil Wharton:

That is really neat.

Benny Vaughn:

So I just think that going forward. It is, it is my intention to support people, celebrate people, guide people through their own transformation. Through their own transformation, of awareness of what they would love. That's what I'm looking forward to.

Phil Wharton:

And that's something you've always done. And when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And that's always something that you've live by and, that I've taken on through you. And in the short time that 33 years that I've been doing this work. It's been a magic ride every day to live the passion and and to help people to be of service. Benny in the slipstream. Any parting gems of advice you'd like to leave for us today?

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, so the the gem of advice that I'd like to leave Phil, is this. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Phil Wharton:

Well said.

Benny Vaughn:

I live with a scientist.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah.

Benny Vaughn:

Who is now a great professional photographer.

Phil Wharton:

Oh, my gosh, she's got into photography.

Benny Vaughn:

Yes. She is a yeah, my wife, Dr. Joan Carroll PhD in Medical Physiology, and Exercise. Science is a professional photographer now.

Phil Wharton:

It's amazing.

Benny Vaughn:

And she travels the world, literally doing landscapes and wildlife photography. And many times we would have discussions. And often, her fallback point was, well, where's your evidence? Where's the research? And I think so much of humankind has relied on this faulty model that drives our medical system our healthcare system in so many parts of our system. And that's not to say that it hasn't revealed important and useful information.

Phil Wharton:

Yeah. And merit. Yeah,

Benny Vaughn:

But to use that only, and exclusion of faith, belief, and intuition, I believe does not bring balance to the process of discovery. So what I leave is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, absence, that something exists, that something can happen, that something can occur. Because that allows us to believe in our intuition. That allows us to create thoughts and ideas through our imagination. Because we're not required to have evidence that it's possible. And a great example of that 30 years ago, every automobile manufacturer said a electric car is impossible. The battery would have to be the size of a house. It could only go about 50 miles and there's no way we can build this we don't know how to do it. We can't do blab blab blab. What they should have said is that we don't have the will. And we don't have the imagination.

Phil Wharton:

And we can't monetize it properly.

Benny Vaughn:

And we can't monetize it properly. So people who decided, well, I'm thinking way out of box. Oh, yeah. Elon Musk is way, way, way out of the box with this thinking. Right. And he's not doing anything extraordinary, except listening to his thinking, his intuition and using his imagination. I mean, he doesn't have a PhD in Engineering from MIT, or physics or anything else, as far as I know. But he knows how to go find those people that do. Okay, that's the quality of a genius right there. And Thomas Edison did it, Henry Ford did it. When they're trying to build a V-8 engine. The engineers at Ford said, It's impossible, you can't put eight cylinders in a single boy is impossible. And Henry Ford, just simply kept telling the engineers find a way. Find a way because he imagined that it could be done. So that's what I leave with the absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence. And, and so much of it, because what that does, is that that is respectful of our intuition is respectful of our intuition. And in my world, of sports therapy, there has been this huge movement, the last decade of, quote, "evidence based therapy, okay, evidence base therapy". We're only going to do things that a graduate student has studied. And there's evidence that it works or doesn't work. And so if you use that model, you're just going to be stuck with doing ice and stem on everybody forever, and getting little or no results. That's just my opinion.

Phil Wharton:

That's pretty limited. I mean, that's pretty,

Benny Vaughn:

that's pretty limited. And that's pretty much what's going on and a lot of places

Phil Wharton:

That cuts off our hands to do the things that we're tuned to do from the higher frequency from years and years, as Malcolm Gladwell said the 10,000 hour rule way beyond that. I mean, you got decades and decades and decades. And so you go to the room, your hands are just going and you're getting thought frequencies coming in and saying see C-2 is out, L-5 five is out, okay. This person's misaligned, the okay, the disc is subluxated, boom, we go in here, we use this, we use that tool, then we got to strengthen this part, we got to rebuild that. I mean, it's, you know, this is the years and you can just watch him a walking gait pattern, see him see the posture, see all the dysfunction that the forward neck that the anterior tilt, and the pelvis, the Fallen arch, all these things that lead and so you're saying, okay, just because someone hasn't chosen to study it. Because the study is driven by commerce, or by big business, or corporations, like when we first were doing bringing our work out and we said, you know, look, look at the money it takes to fund this. So, you know, you're not moving forward on this, but okay, it doesn't work? Look at the 1000's and 1000's, of testimonials and people that now have Olympic medals, because you and I and my dad and people like us that we've trained are out there doing the do. So it's like, I think that's that's what one thing that coach Vigil told me once you know, it was amazing and he came to Gainesville, you know, the great exercise physiologist and coach. He was it was in Alamosa for years and he said in his great voice, I love it. Phil, by the time we figure out how good altitude is, you and I will be dead and all the metals will be won. So come to Alamosa, and learn to train. Come with my freshmen learn to train. Learn the way, you know. And that's what happened to me when I went to Kenya when I was invited by Dr. Rosa. Why a broken down runner from University of Florida that you that you help bring, bring together and learn these thoughts. Were out there running

with the Kenyans and ran 2:

23 three times, and should have run

2:

30 if he listened to those negative thoughts or not even been not even been running because of the back fusion or the Harrington rod surgery that they wanted to do, which I resisted because of the internal love of that. So, Benny, I just can't thank you enough for being you. I can't wait to for us to be together in person. And I'm so grateful for this time you've given and coming on Intrinsic Drive. You are a joy, a pleasure and a privilege and and a light in the world. So thank you.

Benny Vaughn:

Yeah, thank you Phil and And I'm just thrilled to have been here. And I love your story about Coach Vigil. I'll give you my fifteen second story. So Coach Vigil and I roomed together in San Diego, before our flight to Beijing in 2008.

Phil Wharton:

Oh, great.

Benny Vaughn:

And then I would go out with him each day to be his support medical, when he would take the distance runners out for their training sessions, which we did at a Horse Park, near our training site in Dalian.

Phil Wharton:

in Dalian.

Benny Vaughn:

China. Yeah, so I had a lot of interesting conversation with Coach Vigil, on exactly what you just described. So thank you for you know, acknowledging coach Vigil.

Phil Wharton:

Oh, yeah, amazing, amazing. And, and please, for those that would like to connect, with Benny on on all the different just there's a such a myriad of what he does, he has developed a state of the art training center, it is a $3.2 million dollar center that has just the wish list. Everything there, you know, everything under one roof, and you don't have to be a top bronc rider as he takes care of everybody in the circuit, or a track and field star or a professional, professional athlete, MLB, or NFL. He's looking at people that have been through musculoskeletal pain, want to get a proper diagnosis, want to get moving away forward, but also more importantly, to learn about their lives, learn about their next process, their mission, and that's where the Benny Vaughn Life Coaching comes in. So there's, there's the life coaching, but then there's also the Benny Vaughn Athletic Center. And those are both there. We're going to have all that in the liner notes here of the transcript of the episode of Benny's episode. It's all there so you can go and click on there, I just can't recommend it enough for you to connect with Benny personally, as I have It'll change your life. And then you'll keep giving to others and receive to share. Benny, thanks for coming to intrinsic drive. You are intrinsic drive my friend.

Benny Vaughn:

Thank you, Phil. It was a thrill.

Phil Wharton:

Thanks for being with us. We appreciate you opting in subscribing, and reviewing us for thumbing us up and following us on socials. Liking us. We like you. Drop us a note. Tell us what stories move you. For books, videos, resources and more information. Visit us at W- H- A-R- T- O- N health.com, forward slash shop wharton health. And be sure to join us for the next episode of Intrinsic Drive.