Could suffering hold the key to our happiness? Kyle Montgomery thinks it might.
The 34-year-old from Bulli has launched a podcast, called 'Shit Happened', to explore the many facets of suffering - from grief and loss to cancer, suicide and body dysmorphia.
He thinks overcoming our human tendency to shy away from the hard things in life could be the best way to cultivate connection, meaning and, counter-intuitively, happiness.
"It took a long time to come to terms with and understand the suffering I experienced in my life," he said.
"I looked to things like Buddhism and Stoicism, which led me to the understanding that suffering is an integral a part of everything.
"If happiness is your only goal people often feel empty and lost. When you know what it's like to truly suffer you can appreciate what it's like to not suffer."
He's uniquely placed to know.
After a freak training accident in 2019 Kyle went from being an athlete to a quadriplegic in a split second.
Faced with such an extreme trauma, he found the Aussie attitude of "she'll be right" didn't quite cut it.
"I was pretty privileged for most of my life, and then I jumped into this situation where I'm completely reliant on others," he said.
"That was something I had never experienced before.
"Australia has such a jovial attitude to everything, we don't like to delve into other people's problems because it's too overwhelming.
"But telling someone to 'just get on with it' diminishes their experience.
"It's not good for our mental health to disregard things like that."
Kyle was encouraged to journal as part of his rehabilitation, and began to use Instagram as a platform to share rehab videos, often accompanied by journal entries.
He said initially people struggled to engage with his posts, because they were uncomfortable with the rawness of his suffering.
As he continued to share, his honesty empowered people from across the world to reach out and share their experiences of suffering with him.
Many of the stories were tough to hear, but they also brought a sense of shared humanity.
"A lot of people from Europe messaged me and it was a culture shock what they have to deal with," he said.
"Disability is treated very differently over there and there aren't insurance schemes like we have here with the NDIS. America is similar.
"When I first thought about the podcast I wanted to talk about my experience; then I realised that's a way of hiding myself from other forms of suffering.
"Connecting to people with a completely different life to mine, a completely different perspective.
"Maybe through sharing our knowledge we can all get tips that might help us come to terms with our own situations."
It was when he was talking and laughing with a friend he had made in hospital that Kyle realised sharing hard experiences could be profoundly healing, if we have the guts to look them in the face.
He had toyed with the idea of starting a podcast for a couple of years before he resolved to go for it.
"I don't honestly know what I'm doing," he laughed.
"One of my favourite quotes is 'commit first, figure the rest out later'.
"That's how I started my business and I applied the same attitude to my podcast.
"I've been teaching myself how to edit and I've come up with some themes for the first season and I'm just going to run through them and see where we end up.
"I'm seeking out guests with different perspectives to challenge me and make an interesting conversation."
Kyle encouraged anyone keen to chat with him about their experience of suffering to get in touch via the podcast's Instagram page, 'Shit Happened'.
'Shit Happened' can be found on Spotify.
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