Chris and I have known each other for several years but to say we were friends would be an exaggeration. Over the years I have had the chance to get to know Bartl a little bit more. I sensed a softer side that seemed to embrace all different types without a ton of judgment. He seemed to have a genuine desire to connect and be part of the bigger whole. When a friend said she’d got to talking with him recently and that he was working on some pretty amazing projects fueled by his rugged past and that I would probably be interested in learning more, I reached out hoping to meet up and get to know what was alive for him and what he was co-creating.
Over coffee Chris and I totally “vibed”. In his share I realized we had a lot in common. His demons were demons I similarly knew well and while we allowed each other to unpack where we had come from, what that had all evolved into and what each of us are now co-creating with that wealth of experience was nothing short of synchronistic. Light attracts light and our lights came together to share, to connect and to say without words, “I see you. Thank you for travelling your path so bravely so that you are now able to bring your medicine into the world.”
Chris agreed to let me ask him some more questions. My aim with this “interview” is to share his heart, his mission and his medicine with you. With all of who I BE I am certain that those of us working to share our medicine with the world connect for a very special reason. That reason, to begin to powerfully pave the golden path back home to ourselves for all of us. Truly, this is why I have created Sanctuary Within which launches February 2019 and from my conversation with Chris, is why he has created Phoenix Transformation Experience, launching in the new year.
“I was always a big, fat kid.” Bullied and picked on while growing up, Chris suppressed all of his anger, emotions and feelings, put it under safe lock and key “where no one really knew where it was, except for me, but even I didn’t know where my key was, and so you forget about it.” As an athlete of violent sports, Chris used this aggression on the field or in the rink to fuel his performance. “I wasn’t much into fighting, but I did like hitting people in sports.” 10 years ago, Chris found weight lifting and although he “couldn’t hit anyone, at least I could be stronger than them and that would give me internal strength as well.”
“When I moved to California, I was introduced to hard core drugs and became a full-blown addict and borderline alcoholic for a good 2-3 years.” Chris describes to me that while sitting on the edge of his bed to put on his shoes one day, he sucked in his belly, held in the air, put on the right shoe, then the left, exhaled and stood up and became extremely light headed. Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he says he will never forget the dialogue that went through his head. “You’re a fat piece of shit; nobody in the world is ever going to love you; you’re better off dead; you should just go kill yourself.” This was what Chris describes as his “traumatic event that wants to lead to change” which is Step One in his program Phoenix Transformation Experience. That very same day Chris applied for a competition that was looking for individuals who wanted to undergo a massive transformation. The program would set the winner up with everything they would need from supplements to personal training, nutrition, check-ins and even a psychologist. In his unorthodox way, Chris applied with not ‘why they should choose him’ but ‘why they should not.’ His essay resonated with one of the coaches and he was picked to be their guy.
Coming off of a massive cocaine bender, Chris threw away his cigarettes, flushed the remainder of cocaine he had and got to work. It was December 1st, 2009 when his transformation began. Losing the majority of his weight during the first 3 months of the program, Chris was all in. “From December 1st– March 1stI lost 100lbs.” If he was asked to walk one hour, he’d be sure he walked 2. Having just lost his job Chris was forced to focus on his mission. Friends fell away as he required their support or to refrain from calling or texting. Chris’ mental, physical and emotional state became his number one priority. “I basically told my entire social structure to fuck off.” “If I wasn’t in the gym, walking or surfing, I was in my room blogging.” “It was awesome!”
Chris built an entire new network of friends and a support system as he began to build a fitness business of his own. “I was terrified”. He was forced to push harder and charge his real worth eventually owning his own gym. Fear of regression, Step Four in his program, fueled this push for building his business. “A guy from out of nowhere, with literally nothing, living out of his car, can build a successful business.” His catalyst, fear of going backward.
As we talked, I wanted to hear more about his mental transformation. Chris shared with me that Step Two is “Feeling Anger.” “I wish I would’ve seen a therapist much earlier on during my transformation,” he remarks. “We are always evolving; there is always something to work on.” Chris adds that he has been lucky to have coaches and mentors who continue to hold him accountable. “Doing the [internal] work is hard, and most people don’t want to look at it and do the work.” What I loved most that Chris shared in this part in our conversation was, “you have to be transparent and show your vulnerability, because that is where your true strength lies.” “Everybody is meant to have a gorgeous life but not everybody is willing to do it on their own. That is where coaches and accountability groups and programs like mine come into play.”
In 2019, Chris declares that he is “going backwards to go forwards.” He is committed to doing more activities by himself that bring about his happiness.” To tap into his own inner self. He reveals that when he was making the most money was the same time when he was surfing every day, going to Mammoth to snowboard 2 times a month and in general, when he was happiest and felt most alive and fulfilled. Being born out of all of this is the launch of Phoenix Transformation Experience. Chris has an amazing and well-rounded program laid out that is designed to get participants extremely uncomfortable in order to spin it all into a positive, new emergence. Phoenix Transformation includes physical fitness training and nutritional guidance all wrapped up in deep mental and emotional work. “I want to show people what life is like on the other side of the fire.” The eight week program is limited to 10 participants during the first round and can be done online or in person. You can find more information and hook up with Chris by going to chrisbartl.com. You can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram at chris.bartl.
I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Chris and more importantly the juice that came out of it. A genuine connection of now friends built on transparency and vulnerability. Thank you Chris for being authentically you.