Battling Burnout - Hard Lessons and Big Blessings favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - October 18th 2019

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Healing

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

This episode finds Rachel sharing something that is really hard for her to say: lately, she hasn’t been feeling well mentally.

As someone who provides healing to others in her courses and retreats, and as someone with an incredibly blessed life and so many exciting events surrounding her; the hardest part about the anxiety Rachel has felt has been having no clear reason as to why this is happening.

Sometimes we are drowning in a feeling of failure and unworthiness for no reason, and this is ultimately what brought Rachel to her first therapy session. The path toward healing can be a dark one, especially when you cannot see the insight, lesson or epiphany that is waiting for you at the end.

Tune in for an episode that will reinforce the importance of asking for help when you need it and allowing yourself to feel what you feel.

It is possible to live an incredibly blessed life and still not feel like yourself sometimes, and that’s okay.

Yoga Girl 014295-min

Transcript

[01:04] Hi you guys! Welcome back to the Yoga Girl Podcast: Conversation From The Heart. This is the vacation edition of this podcast, which is kind of strange. I don’t know if I have recorded this show ever on actual vacation, and I think the reason that is is probably because I’m very bad at tacking actual vacations. Of course we’ve taken nice trips and done nice things with our family and in our lives, but I’m always kind of working, even when we’re traveling for pleasure or for joy. And right now I am in … I am a little bit outside Monterey, California, where we have rented this beautiful kind of ranch-looking house in the middle of nowhere. And it’s Dennis, me, and the baby, and then we have some friends here as well with their little one. And we have had three days of doing absolutely nothing. Or actually, we’ve done a lot. [laugh] But nothing in terms of … I haven’t been working, I haven’t taken any meetings, I haven’t opened my computer, I’ve been keeping my phone turned off. It’s been really, really, really nice.

[02:14] So sitting down here now to record this show feels like, “Huh, yeah, it’s like a vacation podcast. I feel like I should be sipping a pina colada or something as I’m recording. It’s been a … wow. It’s been a very, very, very intense couple of weeks. It’s been a very hard couple of weeks. Really, really, really hard couple of weeks. I feel like it’s been a hard couple of months. But especially the past couple of weeks have been super challenging. I actually don’t really know where to start. Last week’s episode of this show was our live podcast from New York City, which we recorded on my birthday. It was so beautiful. Ugh. I just think back on that night and it was just … so much love in that room. We sold out the Grammercy Theater in New York. All of these amazing people came to watch the podcast be recorded live, and we did a lot of interactive things with the audience and sharings and journaling, and, you know, people were crying and opening their hearts to such beautiful ways, and it was really really really a beautiful evening.

[03:15] And at the same time it was a very challenging thing for me to do. And I … I don't know now … It’s kind of hard for me to share this. But if you follow me on social media, which I actually know not all of you guys do who listen to this podcast. I’m getting people who find the podcast and then they come to Instagram after that. I’m kind of used to it being the other way around always. But I’m really glad that this podcast is growing and the people are finding me off of social media. But if you followed me on Instagram, I shared a really vulnerable, hard … hard and heartfelt post about my mental health and the fact that I haven’t been feeling super well lately. And it was a really hard thing for me to share. A really really hard thing for me to share. And when I think about that, it was one of those, you know, things that I wrote down and took a deep breath before I posted it, which I almost never do, even when I share something absolutely really vulnerable, really painful. I can talk about loss and separation and anxiety and the insecurity, I can talk about all of it. But this thing for me to share was really, really hard.

[04:28] And the reason it’s hard – I’ve been meditating on this a lot – is that I’m still in the middle of it. So I’m really good at sharing vulnerably about things that have happened in my past, things that I have somehow made it through to the other side of. Things that I’ve found some sort of realization, some sort of clarity. I’ve been able to make my way to the blessing that was hiding beneath the lesson of whatever it was that was happening in my life. And with this that I just shared, I have no answers. I haven’t found the blessing in it. I haven’t found the lesson. I’m not sitting here with some big epiphany. Truth of the matter is I am just not feeling good. That’s just what it is. I’m not feeling good. And it’s been one of those things that, yeah, if you listen to the show, the past year I feel like I’ve been … we’ve had this theme on this podcast of me sharing the fact that I haven’t been feeling super well. And it started physical, it started with my body, I was really sick. It was exactly a year now to the date when I started getting sick. The yoga teacher training we did at the end of last year. And then I struggled with my physical health, yeah, since then. I think it was maybe a month back, two months back that I started feeling a little bit more normal, that I wasn’t in pain every day, that I didn’t feel like I had the flu, or throat pain or sinus stuff or headaches, or this extreme tiredness. Like, almost just exhaustion. I’ve just not been feeling good at all.

[06:04] And this whole year for me has been almost this uphill struggle to do everything in my power to get my physical health back on track. So, you guys know I’ve done all the crazy things. I had a couple of months where I only ate raw food. I did these very extensive tests for my health where I found out that I was intolerant to 52 different things and I cut those things out of my diet. I stopped drinking caffeine, stopped drinking alcohol, completely stopped eating all sorts of sugar, stopped eating gluten, all wheat. I mean, I had this very intense, horrible, horrible diet. I would not recommend this for anyone, where I couldn’t really enjoy any food anymore. Right? I stopped baking, I stopped cooking, I stopped eating dessert, I stopped enjoying that social part of food. Which for me in my life, food is at the center of everything. It’s how we gather for everything. And with that, started feeling more and more low. I could really feel the correlation between having had that outlet of cooking and baking and the social aspects of eating and also enjoying food a lot, having that cut off from my life, how it made me really really low.

[07:16] And then of course having several consecutive months waking up every morning feeling like I was hit by a truck. Every morning I would wake up feeling like absolute shit. And after a while, you know, I could really feel how this physical … yeah, not being 100% well physically really started affecting my mental health. I mean, really. I would get sad easier or frustrated faster or kind of started contemplating big questions and sort of feeling a little bit like I don’t know where I’m going and questioning myself. And all of this has been piling up this year. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s just been kind of things that I’ve been adding on, adding on, adding on. And the big realization I had a year ago when I started getting really sick, which was after these two incredibly intense years of working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, of having more programs and retreats and teacher trainings than I’ve ever had in my life, of expanding our business faster, in crazier ways than we ever have in our lives. Taking a lot of risk, starting out a lot of new projects, hiring new people. We had all of these things kind of happen over the past two years that a year ago, when I got sick, I decided, “Hey. I need to stop.” That was my big, big, big epiphany.

[08:35] But it was a whole year ago. And I can look at that now of like … I was middle of this teacher training, super super sick, so unwell. Like, crying myself to sleep every night because I was just feeling so, so shitty. And somehow managed to wake up in the morning and rock 14 hour days with my 52 yoga teacher training graduates. And it turned out great. They turned out amazing, it was this beautiful month. But it was sort of at the cost of my well-being in some shape or form.

[09:07] And I chose that, right? All of this has been my own active decisions. Nowhere along the way did anybody force me to book the schedule this intensely. No one is telling me what I have to do. I am my own boss. So the hard thing about having this kind of work, or this kind of job the way I do as a yoga teacher, as a studio owner, is that about a year, sometimes a year and a half in advance, we sell out the coming year. So 2019, I think the programs and the books we’ve had at the studio in 2019, we sold early 2018. Maybe even end of 2017. Like, at least a year if not more in advance. So, of course I can’t anticipate a year from now, you know? And I’ve never been sick before in my whole life. I’ve never had any struggles with my health like this. So, you know, it was just this thing that I couldn’t get out of. And I didn’t want to get out of it either, you know? It’s my passion, it’s what I love to do. I just wanted to feel good and not feel like crap all the time. But I couldn’t. But then also not having the option to cancel, right? It’s not an option in my life, to cancel these commitments, it’s just never going to happen. No way. We have 52 people who have bought plane tickets and paid to be there and changed their whole lives to come for this amazing, amazing experience.

[10:26] So, over the last year I’ve kind of pushed myself through these big commitments that I’ve had. And it’s all been really good. There hasn’t been a single group where I’ve looked back and went, “Oh man, I really messed that up.” Or, “Hey, that didn’t turn out well.” There’s been these beautiful moments of just divinity and grace, where everything came together. I had friends and other teachers step in and help me co-teach, and I’ve had an amazing team, and Dennis has been so helpful. You know, everything has been okay. There’s been no disaster, at all. But looking back at the past year, I can see how I have been really really climbing uphill to make all of this happen. It hasn’t been this effortless thing that happened with ease. It’s been really fucking hard. Even just saying that now, it’s like, yeah, it’s been really hard.

[11:15] And all of that kind of came to this … I don't know, this culmination a couple of months ago, or a month ago, where we added two … not added to the schedule, where I was already feeling overwhelmed, already feeling sick of being sick, already not 100%. And then came this release of my book. Which, it’s something that I’ve worked on for five years, you know? And I knew before booking the book tour, I knew already, okay, I am really spread thin. I am really tired. I’m really sick. I have a lot of commitments. I really, really, really need a break, and I really need to slow down. And I knew that, right? And of course I had … publishing a book comes with a certain mount of commitments. But I also have some control, right? I can decide how many stops to do on the tour, and what do I want to do? What do I not want to do? But nowhere in that whole process of booking this tour did I go, “Hey, maybe I should slow down a little bit. Maybe we shouldn’t do allll the things. Maybe we shouldn’t go to 15 different places. Maybe we shouldn’t travel back and forth for these three legs of a tour. Maybe we should schedule this a little smarter.” Not at a single point did I go, “Hey everyone,” … because of course there’s a lot of people involved when it comes to booking something like this. There’s a publisher and then my editor and then my agency, and we have this tour promoter who we work with for these big classes and these venues, and of course my own team, all of that. So all of these wheels in motion. But not … at no point in time did I go, “Hey, guys, let’s slow down.” Or, “Hey, let’s scale back, let’s take it easy.” No, I went full force, like, “Hey, of course.” Because I wanted to celebrate this book. This book … it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done. That’s what it feels like. Work-wise, career-wise, when it comes to my creativity, what I put out into the world, this book is the most important thing I’ve ever done. So yeah, I want to get out there, shout it from the rooftops, have these events, promote the book, do it all in, all the way. And I’m not used to having to scale back or slow down. I’m used to being able to go 180 miles per hour without really needing to thing about anything else. So, I can see now how, like, hmmm … that probably wasn’t a really smart idea. Right? Probably wasn’t a genius thing to do. But here I am, and I am who I am. So we move forward.

[13:46] And then the weeks leading up to the book launch was, you know, they were very emotional for me. Very … stressful, but not in a way of having all of these commitments and things I have to do, but almost emotionally stressful. It was such an emotional relief to write this book, and then putting it out into the world, it was … I have a really hard time explaining. I was trying to explain to Dennis the other day too, that almost the emotional pressure I felt around the fact that it’s like … I don't know if it’s in a way unearthing all this loss that I’ve had and all of this pain that I’ve felt, and then getting out there to talk about it and getting out there to read, hear what other people thought of the book, it’s this full circle in a way. So in a way it’s like I’m opening up old chapters, but I’m closing this big chapter at the same time. So it’s just been this very emotional process for me. And because we’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had a good outlet. I haven’t been talking to anyone. I haven’t had any time spend with my friends, because I’ve just been super busy. So I think I’ve been feeling a lot and then not had a whole lot of ways to share, I guess. Or maybe process what I’ve been feeling.

[14:58] And then the book came out, and then we went on tour. [laugh] And for the past, the book came out in mid-September, so it’s been about … It’s been exactly … Oh! It’s been exactly one month. Okay. Exactly one month. And you know, I had to leave the baby at home, and then went out on this crazy tour where we are just jetting back and forth, waking up at 3 am to be at the airport at 5, and then huge events in the evening, and going to bed at 12 at night, not really eating well, drinking a lot of wine as a way to wind down because of this really high intensity moments, these events. And then, you know, going on stage in front of 500 people, or getting in line with hundreds of people who are just waiting, you know, to excitedly give me a hug. Right? To excitedly tell me how much they love the book. To just support me, right? So it’s been this very, very, very hard thing for me to balance, because everything around the event and the gathering of this tour has been so hard. All the flights, the hotels, being away from the baby, not having routine, not eating well, late nights, not sleeping, you know? Going back from place to place, all this stuff, that’s been so so so so hard. And then I get to the event and I get to connect with the people who came there, and it’s … and everything feels worth it, right? Everything is so beautiful. I’m crying tears gratitude. Every time we got in a cab or in a car to leave an event, I’m just in awe of the power of this community. I’m just so fucking grateful!

[16:32] So I don’t want to complain, right? Because it’s just … I feel so grateful. So grateful, so grateful. Who am I to complain that I only got four hours of sleep when there is 500 people here to hug me, to tell me how much they love this thing that I wrote. Like, who gets to experience that? No one! This is a once in a lifetime thing! And I’ve had this little voice in the back of my head going, like, “Don’t complain. Don’t complain. Don’t complain. Enjoy it. Enjoy it. Be grateful. It’s amazing, it’s amazing, it’s amazing.” And that’s kind of the attitude that I’ve kept over this past month, like it’s amazing, it’s amazing, it's amazing. But at the same time, deep inside of me, I have reached a level of exhaustion that I barely know how to address.

[Commercial Break]

[18:56] I think about it now. I don’t know how to explain how I feel. I don’t know how to … I don't know how to talk about it. And I got to this place where going from these high intensity, high stress moments that I couldn’t wind back down. I couldn’t wind back down. And I’ve never had this problem in my whole life. I’ve always been a good sleeper. You know, I have a lot of tools. And yeah, usually wine isn’t my first go to. I have a lot of other ways to ground myself in these high energy places. But I just kind of lost the ability to do that. So we would go to these big events, and of course spending four hours hugging 500 people, I don't know if you can imagine the energy that you’re left with at the end of something like that. And I really like to be super present with each person. I want each person to really really really … to feel like I saw them. I want to see each person. I want to meet each person. I want to know how they’re doing. I want to hug them for real. Not like a pat on the back and then, you know, a fake smile for a photo and move on. No. I want to connect with them. I really really really do.

[20:10] So… and I think my energetic output at each of these events has just been beyond. Really really really intense. And I haven’t had a way to balance that with any kind of common grounded input, throughout this past month I haven’t. And I’ve gone from thing to thing, haven’t been able to wind down. So somewhere, I don't know, two weeks ago? Somewhere middle of this tour I stopped sleeping. And I don't know … I don't know. I mean, I can understand why, that I’m telling this story … and it was a shock! All of the sudden … and I’m exhausted, SO tired. Even at home. Because we had a week when we got to be home in the middle of this whole tour, or five days home. Even at home, I just couldn’t wind down. I would go to bed, Dennis is asleep right away, and I’m just lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, feeling the insides of my body buzzing with so much energy I don't know what to do. It’s like my feet and my hands are just tingling. And I would take a bath, I would … do all the things. Diffuse lavender oil, drink chamomile tea, do some yoga. I started turning off my phone really early so I had no screen time at the end of the day, I did all of those things. And nothing worked. Still at the middle of the night I’m just lying there awake.

[21:31] And I don't know how long that went on. I don't know. And I was kind of saying, like, “Eh, it’s just a little phase. It’s just like I’m not sleeping well right now, it’s going to pass.” But the thing is, it didn’t pass. So I had a … I don't know, too many days in a row where I kind of fell asleep at 3 am, you know? And then I would get up at 6:30 or 7, and I would be fine, I thought. And I would just kind of soldier through my day. And then I do that again, and then I do that again. And eventually I got to a place where I wasn’t fine. I wasn’t fine anymore.

[22:02] And I had, in the middle of the night, without being able to relate it to anything – and this for me was the scariest part. Because I’ve had anxiety before. I’ve felt anxiety at many moments in my life. I’ve had a panic attack before, I wrote about it in the book. But I’ve always been able to, whenever I find myself in really intense moments of anxiety, to relate it to something, right? So, yeah, my best friend died. That’s been a big one. So now I feel anxious and sad. So I’ve been able to justify, somehow, in my mind, like yeah, it’s okay that I’m feeling that way, because I can point it to something else. Or, yeah, my dog died, I felt a lot of guilt around that. I wrote about that in the book as well. And then I would … I had a panic attack, and I could point it to all of these hard and terrible things happening in my life.

[22:56] And now I’m living this amazingly blessed life. So fucking blessed, it’s like … it’s hard to even … to put it into words, how beautiful everything is. And I’m at this really amazing place in my career, I have so much support from my family, we have a beautiful home, business is going well, all of these things. And in the middle of the night, Dennis was away, he was doing ironman, in the middle of the night I had a panic attack. And it took me a long time … it took me a while to figure out what was happening. You know, because I had another one of those nights of insomnia, couldn’t sleep, and then started feeling this pressure on top of my chest, just like this weight was sitting there. Had a hard time breathing. And then, yeah, I could just sense this impending doom. It’s the only way I can describe it, as this doom, this dark, heavy, horrible, anxious … This, like, I couldn’t escape this feeling, and it was coming from inside of me, and I had nothing to relate it to. I couldn’t go, “Oh, I was thinking about that terrible thing that happened and now I’m feeling anxious.” It just came.

[24:05] So it felt like … the feeling that was really scary for me was it felt totally outside of my control. Because whenever I felt that way before, and I could relate it to, “Oh, I was thinking about this sad thing that happened,” well, just stop thinking about that thing, right? Or I would distract myself, or do something else. Or even like put on a movie, talk to someone, change … you know, kind of how I do it with the baby when she’s having an emotional meltdown of any kind, I just change the environment and everything is okay. Well, now I couldn’t do that. It was coming from inside of me. Not from the outside, not from something I was thinking about. I couldn’t relate it to anything. It was like this panic was sitting inside of my body.

[24:49] And … I don't know how many hours I spent in total, yeah, panic, agony. Alone. Dennis was about to do this Ironman, I didn’t want to disturb him. I didn’t want to call him in the middle of the night right before he does a crazy race, you know, and go like, “Hey, I feel like I’m going to die. I feel total panic.” And afterwards he was like, “Of course you could have called, are you kidding? Why didn’t you call? Nothing is more important than this! What?!” So of course I could have called him, but I just … I don't know, I felt like maybe I was … yeah, like I didn’t want to make it a big thing. Almost like if I would ask for help, it would be acknowledging that, hey, this terrible thing is happening.

[25:29] So I didn’t and, you know, it passed. But what happened after that was that every time I went to bed, in the back of my head I went, “Hmm, I wonder if that’s going to happen again.” Which, you know, isn’t necessarily a super fun way to spend your life. I can laugh at this now. I thought I was going to record this podcast and cry, because it’s been really hard. It’s been so hard. And I think now I feel a little bit of distance between it, so I can actually share this story. I don’t mean to minimize it. This is a really … this, right now, I’m going through one of the harder times in my life. Which feels … like, I’m super sad that that’s what it is. It feels like a true bummer to have to say that, because it’s also this beautiful time in my life. But that’s just the truth.

[26:15] So all of this was happening, and then before the last week’s podcast, you know, which was this big event, I had an anxiety attack the night before that event. And knowing that I had over 500 people waiting for me at this sold out theater, where, you know, we have this huge team of assistants and people helping through the night, and also it was this kind of event that I’ve never done before. So that was also giving me some anxiety because I felt like I had to do something new. And I had this thought, like, what if I fuck it up? What if I can’t do it? I don't know what to say. What if I sit on stage and it’s just silent, and I just sit there for an hour not talking? I don't know, I had this … I don't know, because of this anxiety I was thinking about all of the ways it might go to shit, right? So I felt this … even though it was this beautiful evening, before we got there I was just … ugh, it was horrible, horrible! And I’ve never felt that easy before any kind of event ever. And I just did!

[27:14] And I took a deep breath, and I walked out on stage, and it was great! It was great. It was amazing. It was beautiful, it was real. If you listened to that episode, I spoke about my anxiety, I spoke about how I was feeling. I was able to open up to that place of truth and not have to fake it, right? Because if it’s something I really don’t want to do is do these kinds of things and not be real, and feel like I have to put on a show, or like I have to be perfect, or smiling, when I’m not feeling that way. I want to be … I want to be real all the time. It’s really exhausting to play a role of some sort, but it’s also really hard to share this when I have people waiting to come see me. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are contributing they are contributing to my stress in any way, or to be worried about whether or not I can kind of fulfill that event. I didn’t want to have this conversation be around that.

[28:07] But then I got to this place of … it was World Mental Health Day, and I was just sitting there feeling like total shit. [laugh] After that, you know, because I left the New York event feeling really good, feeling like, man, I don't know why I was so worried. But also having this sense of I can’t live like this, I can’t … I need sleep. I need sleep. I need to feel calm and grounded. And this kind of high intensity life that I’ve found myself in right now, I need to find a way to manage my mental health and feel good throughout all of this. Because this book, what it’s all about is just that, it’s finding light at the end of something really dark. Using the tools that we have available to us to make our way through really shitty things. And then here I am, in the middle of something else that’s really shitty. But then not talking about it? No. You know?

[29:02] So I asked around, I have a lot of resources, so I’m grateful for that. And then made my way to a therapist. Found someone, got a really good recommendation, and on World Mental Health Day I had my first session in therapy. [deep breath] I don't know. And I wrote that and I shared that. And now that I’m saying it I’m like, “Well that’s not even a big deal. Like, man, half the world is in therapy, and the other half should be in therapy, probably.” But for me, at the time, it felt like failing. It really … somehow it felt like failing. It felt like defeat, almost. It felt like … acknowledging to myself that, hey, I need to talk to someone, that, hey, a lot of the work that I do is healing, supporting other people through their journeys of healing, providing healing tools. What we do in the yoga shala is a form of therapy, for sure. So, somehow I think have this idea in my head like, “I should feel great,” right? Because I’m teaching this stuff all the time. I have all the resources, all the tools. All the ways … you know? But I don’t! I’m just a human being trying really hard every day. And somehow then, you know, admitting to the fact, like, “Hey, I need to talk to someone, I need someone who knows more, I need someone to bounce this stuff off of, someone who isn’t my husband or my friends, who have these kind of pre-conceived ideas of who I am. It needs to be someone totally neutral.”

[30:35] And went to that session, and it was great. It was really hard. It was really hard and really great. And since then I’m doing one session a week. So I have one point of contact with my therapist a week. And it was kind of interesting that I had that first session on World Mental Health Day. So, when I shared it, it was one of those, I don't know, few moments in my life where I’ve had to take a breath and go, “Hey, do I want to share this?” Because I haven’t made my way to the insight yet. And then I’m thinking, “Hey, well where’s the truth in that?” Because I can share a lot of vulnerable stuff and hard things. But I like to share it with … Here is why that happened, right? Here is how that made sense to me. Or here was this amazing lesson hiding underneath that. And sharing that with the whole world at that point was just super hard, because I was in the middle of this really dark place. Still am, I guess. Obviously, you know, listening to this podcast right now, you can tell that in this exact moment, yeah, I’m doing good. I’m not feeling any panic or dread or anxiety right now. But then, when I was sharing that, I really did. And I didn’t know really what to expect from the world. You know, is it failing? People are going to be disappointed … I don't know what I was thinking.

[31:53] And, of course, on the other end of that was just support. Just support. And man, you know, I even had some people and friends go, “Hey, that took you a long time. How come you don’t have a therapist? That’s a really sensible thing to do, you know? It’s a really good outlet to have. Especially if you have this high level of energy that you’re absorbing all the time, every day.” And I am. So I think I’ve been, yeah, not super great with using that energy for something, yeah? I don't know if you guys are familiar with this kind of feeling, but I’ve had this feeling that, you know … and I’ve been hugging a lot of crying people. A lot. A lot of people who have been very emotional for beautiful reasons, who I love so much my heart could just burst. And maybe they also went through loss, or they went through something really heavy and challenging. And then they read the book, and the book helped them, right? So then we meet, and then they’re crying, and it’s this beautiful moment. But I’ve had this feeling after those moments where I also feel heavy, right? I’ve just had a hard time ridding myself, or kind of transmuting that energy into something light. Which normally I’m really good at, because I deal with people all day long. That’s what I do. And I learned years ago how to manage that energy in a really good way. And then now it’s like, I don't know, it’s like all of these things are happening at the same time, and I’m having a hard time figuring it out.

[Commercial Break]

[34:32] So … so here I am, right now, admitting to the fact that I’m not feeling great. And it’s more than physical. And I can sense how, of course, my body has been this amazing vessel trying to speak to me for a long time, to change my life. And this is the thing, too. This was a year ago that I had this first thing start, and now it’s a year later, and my life is more intense than it was last year. [laugh] And I remember sitting down with my team and with Dennis going, “Hey, 2019, however we can scale back and slow down, we’ve got to do it, because I have to focus on my health. It’s been too much.” And then somehow, a year later, here I am. And it’s more intense than it was last year. And I’m just dumbfounded. Like how did I get here? How is it that my life is this intense? Why do I put all of these commitments on myself? Why do I keep myself this busy? Because I am the one doing it! I really am. It’s no one else’s fault but my own.

[35:37] So something that I’ve really been able to take away from my sessions in therapy so far has been this … it’s something that I’ve shared in a couple of podcast episodes lately, so I love how this all relates, but that what matters is not what I do, but who I am. I shared that a few podcast episodes ago. Because it’s been this realization that rings so true for me, in the sense that I can see how I’ve spent almost my whole life with this idea that to be worthy, to be lovable, to be worthy of being seen, of being loved, of being held, I have to perform. I have to perform somehow. I have to create something all the time. I have to get all A’s in everything I do. I have to succeed, and I have to work. I have to do things. And this idea of being totally worthy and lovable the way I am without having to do anything, right? Without having to do anything. Also when I’m sick, when I’m tired, when I’m lazy, when I’m just here, the way I am, it’s a radical idea. It is a really radical idea, because I’ve spent my whole life doing. That’s just what it is. My whole life has been immersed in some sort of creating of some sort. Right? My whole whole whole whole whole life. And I’m starting to learn that there is this other way of existing too. And I never really saw anything wrong with that. Like, yeah, I like to work. What’s wrong with that? I like to work. I am a high performing person. I’m really good at what I do. I’m one of those people that can kind of head out to do anything, and I can kind of pull it off, you know? By sheer will or force or … I’m good at a lot of things, and I’ve lived my life that way. And I like to work. You know, kill me. Why is that a bad thing?

[37:34] And then sitting here now in what I think maybe is a bit of a burnout that probably started last year and is continuing into now, with all of these realizations of things that I probably should be changing in my life, and I’m realizing now that it’s not just stopping the intensity of my work. Which, of course, it’s a part of that. And I’ve said now for a whole year, 2020, that’s my year off. 2020 I’m “retiring.” Whatever that means. We have one retreat in 2020, Envision in Costa Rica, which I’m really excited about, because it’s my favorite place in the world. Yeah, in February. That’s it, that’s it. I have no other commitments next year, and I’m really keeping it that way. But then something that I’ve been really sitting with now is like, “Hey, it’s October, there’s a couple of months left of this year. I’ve got to feel good this year. What’s my way of getting there?” And just stopping work, just slowing down, that’s just fixing the symptom of the problem that’s much, much, much deeper, that sits in this deep-rooted idea that I have that I’m worthy if I do, right? And just as I am, I’m not.

[38:46] Saying it now, you know, in this kind of calm place that I’m in now, my mind goes, “Well that’s ridiculous. Of course you know you are so lovable and so worthy, and you have so many people that love you and appreciate you.” Yeah, it’s not about that. It’s about who I believe that I am. And of course it comes from my childhood, and it comes from having a childhood that was really centered around the fact that I had to do a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have when I was really young, right? That I had to take on the role as a fixer and the doer and the savior and the caregiver and all of these things, and that probably at many points in my life, when I was really really really young, there was no one there for me, right? So I had to do things on my own. And then I have equated that with, yeah, if I do things then maybe they’ll love me. If I do this, then maybe I’ll be worthwhile. I’ll be accepted. I’ll be held. Because I was missing that at a really young age.

[39:49] And something that’s been really cool, this has been my coolest takeaway from therapy so far. I don’t want to say, like, hey I’m a therapy pro. I’ve had, like, a couple of sessions only. But immediately one of the things that she asked was, “Oh, so how old were you when your parents separated?” And I went, like, “Oh, but that’s not even a trauma for me. I have a lot of traumas in my life, I have a lot of big wounds and things to work on. That’s not really one of them.” And she said, “Oh? How come?” And I said, “Well, it wasn’t really a big deal. They separated, I was two and a half. They separated and I’ve had big traumas after that, with my mother’s suicide attempt and death and all of these things.” And she said, “Well, it’s not so much about the intensity of the trauma that came later, but you want to make your way to the first one, right? The first one, the first moment of separation, the first moment of loss, the first moment of feeling unworthy. She’s like, “Oh, so you were two and a half.” I said, “Yeah.” She said, “How old is your daughter?” And I go, “She’s two and a half.” And she says, “Okay, interesting. And what about your mom? Were her parents divorced? Were they still together for a long time?” I said, “No, they divorced when she was young.” And she said, “How old?” I said, “Two and a half.” [laugh]

[41:08] So what she was saying was that when it comes to generational trauma, if we have lived through a trauma in our early years of childhood and then we grow up and we become parents, and the moment we get to witness our child at the age that we were when we experienced that trauma or loss or separation, it triggers something really really big inside of us. Both in a sense that, you know, we get to see our child, like I get to see my daughter now safe and held and so loved with both parents and a family constellation that totally works, where nothing is lacking or missing in her life. And I get to … there’s that little two-and-a-half-year-old girl inside of me going, “Well what about me?” At the moment we realize that actually it’s possible to receive that love at that age, and that we missed it, right, there’s a big wound there. And she says that when our children get to those ages that we were when really hard things happened in our life, that it’s really common to have something stir and shake deep inside of our souls. That can lead to a lot of things, right? Mid-life crisis, depression, anxiety, a number of things. And it’s … she said it can be this really hard time in life. It can also be this doorway into healing something now that will also heal what was then.

[42:30] And I love the thought of this, just the thought of this for me rings really really really true. I don't know, I think it’s not a … there’s something synchronous about this age, two and a half. And of course also triggering this fear inside of me of not giving my daughter enough. I’m terrified to make the same mistakes my parents made. What if I’m not present enough? What if I’m not seeing her enough and I’m working so hard. What if I’m unwell? What if I get to a place where I am sad? Saying this now, I’m just realizing this now, you know, watching my mom when I was really little be depressed and sad and suicidal, there’s probably this big fear inside of me too, now that I feel like my mental health is a little shaky, you know, the biggest fear of all-time for me would be what if my daughter had to live through what I lived through? Which, you know, isn’t going to happen. And it’s a very different situation where I am at now. And, you know, I feel like, at least speaking these words right now, I can kind of … I can sense that I’m on the path toward the blessing, you know what I mean? I think everything feels very synchronistic, feels very purposeful, even in the moments that have been really hard, even in the moments that have been really painful, that it’s taking me somewhere and that I’m unearthing something really big in this. And it had to happen at this time, in this way, that I really trust.

[43:58] But I’m sharing this now. I don’t want to fake it. Never, ever, ever want to fake it. I don’t want to pretend. And I want to be truthful. And also I just want to let myself be the way I am, right? Not have this expectation that I should be something or other, that I should be grounded all the time, or Zen and peaceful all the time, or happy all the time, but also be … “Hey, I feel like shit right now. Okay.” It doesn’t have to be the end of the world, right? Knowing that I have this amazing ability to still enjoy the moments that are important, right? On this tour I look back at every single event. It’s been fucking amazing. It’s been … I was watching a YouTube video Dennis made about the first leg of the tour crying, like, man, it’s so beautiful. So it’s not like the fear of me diminishing these events or these beautiful moments, no. Maybe I’m just feeling them more. But I know that the moments around it, right, the traveling, the stress, the getting to the places, the in between, that’s really hard. I’m working really hard now to keep it as calm as possible. To really not stress in the in between. To have my travels calm and steady, to be supported, to ask for help, to do the yoga, to meditate, to breathe, to drink a lot of water, all the basic things that I need every single day.

[45:31] And yeah, I haven’t had one of those moments of anxiety since then, that moment that I shared, which was a few weeks ago now. So I think I’m moving in the right direction. I’m also trying not to rationalize too much for all of this to make sense in my head, where I think I’m at a place right now where everything doesn’t make sense. And I’m blessed and grateful and having a hard time at the same time. And I think that’s okay.

[46:02] So I want to thank you. I want to thank you. I want to thank each of you who have come and seen me throughout this tour. If you’ve taken a class with me or come to a book event or the live podcast, you are literally the glimmer of light for me in a hard time in my life. And I’m so grateful that you’re there. I’m grateful that you’re here. I’m grateful that I have someone to share this with in this way. I’m grateful for this podcast, for this life. I can hear my daughter in the kitchen right now. We’re going to eat some Indian food. I’m happy that you’re here and that you’re listening. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ll see you again next week.

[End of Episode]