Check In (Don’t Check Out) favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - October 30th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Healing, Self-Love, Lifestyle, Growth

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

How are you doing? It’s a question we get asked all the time, but when was the last time you answered that question from a place of raw, honest truth?

Let’s check in. In this moment, how are you doing – REALLY? Instead of answering on autopilot, drop deeply into your body. Close your eyes. Place to hands to your heart. Breathe deeply. Feel. What is it like for me to be here, as I am, in this moment?

Checking in - becoming fully present in your own body - is a practice that will completely transform your life.

Our days are a roller coaster of ups and downs, thoughts, experiences, and triggers that impact both our state of mind and our emotional heart. If we don’t recognize a trigger when it comes our way, we will not understand why we feel the way we do, and we usually end up turning to coping mechanisms without knowing what lead us there in the first place.

This is why we must consistently and dedicatedly check in with ourselves - not just once a day on the yoga mat, but as often as we can.

In today’s episode, Rachel shares the important practice of checking in (and exactly how to do it), over and over again. This is the practice of coming home to your heart, taking deep breaths, and listening to what is really there. Over time you will gain the ability to make sense of your feelings, understand your reactions, and feel at home in your body.

This practice also allows you to notice where and how you tend to numb and check out (without judging yourself!) so that with time, you can choose differently.

Tune in as Rachel shares her own personal triggers, the causes and reactions behind them, and the impact this simple practice has had on her life.

By creating the space to check in, you can begin to live a more conscious, present life, and figuring out what you really need becomes a little easier every time. Tune in to come back home to you.

Key Takeaways

  • Always begin your day by checking in with yourself. Give yourself space to feel, move, write, dance, or anchor into any practice that brings you back to your body.
  • Our bodies hold more answers than we know! By bringing energy and awareness into the body, we can listen to its beautiful intelligence.
  • When you are having a hard moment, sit with it. Recognize the coping mechanism you usually turn toward, but don’t reach for it. Feel where the trigger is coming from before reacting.
  • Take time to consciously wind down at the end of the day. Reach for a resource, listen to a podcast, take a walk, journal, shake, or do anything to clear your head instead of numbing out.
  • Healing starts with acknowledgement. Acknowledging when something isn’t working and making the commitment to living a more present life is the first step.



[0:03] Welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, Conversations From the Heart. How are you doing today? Ouff, such a big, important question. How many people ask you a day how you’re doing? How many times do you get asked that question? How many times a day do you actually give yourself the time and the space to answer from a place of truth, you know? It struck me just earlier this week how so many of us, we just live in this auto-pilot state where every time someone asks us, “how are you doing?” “I’m great, I’m good, I’m fine.” Or, “yeah, you know, so-so, but it’s okay,” you know, and actually, we have these moments all throughout the day of people in our lives asking us to check in, right? They’re checking in with us, which means it’s an opportunity for us to check in with ourselves.

[0:59] So I wanna start this podcast today with just exactly that. How are you doing right now? Hmm. Just imagine right now, I kind of wish we were standing face-to-face, and I could look you in the eye and just go, “hey, are you okay? Hey, how are you doing? Hey, what do you need?” So just dropping into that place right now, and a place of checking in inside of yourself, how are you doing?

[1:33] And sometimes it takes a moment for us to get to that answer, especially if we are moving on auto-pilot a lot, especially if you’re, you know, having a hard, hard week, hard year, hard life, what’s it like to live in your body right now? How’s your heart doing right now? What’s going through your mind? How’s your breath flowing through your body? What is going on with you?

[1:59] Let’s just take a really deep breath and see if we can find the answer to that inside of ourselves; full inhale [inhales] and exhale [exhales]. So this podcast is called, you know, From the Heart, [laughs] so I’m asking you this question right now because I am in the personal habit of, of asking myself that. Not just once a day, or once in a blue moon, but all throughout the day. It starts early in the morning, you know, I wake up at 4:45 or five o’clock, and one of the first things I do is I take a moment, place my hands to my heart and just check in, like “ouff, what’s going on today?”

[2:43] And the interesting thing is when I do that, I get a totally different answer every time, and more often than not, the answer is, “I don’t fucking know,” [laughs]. Like, I really don’t know, you know? I’ve had a whole, entire long night’s sleep, hopefully; sometimes it’s a good night’s sleep, sometimes it’s terrible. I struggle with sleep a little bit, I struggle with winding down at the end of the day, so I’m really trying to make sleep a priority in my life. But I wake up, and, and I still feel a little bit disconnected, most mornings I feel a little bit of a disconnect.

[3:17] So, that’s why, as part of my morning routine, my morning ritual every day, I begin immediately by moving my body. Just right away. Especially if the answer to that question is, “I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel, I can’t answer that question at all.” I feel a little numb, like when I wake up in the morning. I don’t know if that’s normal. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, I’m just, I just know that’s what it is [laughs]. And I also don’t know if this is normal, or, you know, common for me, because I haven’t had this habit of getting up this early, of having this super sacred, fairly disciplined ritual every day. And then having that ability to really check in, to really tune in with myself.

[3:57] So I just don’t know, is it, is it normal, common, you know? What is normal anyway? But what I do know is that the moment I give myself that opportunity to move first thing, to just move, to move my body. Usually the first ten minutes of movement in the day for me is, is I spent ten minutes jumping up and down on my trampoline, with music [laughs]. And I try to shake a little bit, and move my shoulders, and my arms, and my legs, and let out some sound, and just, you know, it takes awhile for me to drop into my body.

[4:26] And I think that’s such a, such a fascinating concept because we live in these bodies all day long, all of our lives, we’ve never known anything else other than this body. So why is it so common for us to not be here, you know? Why is it so hard for us to, to fully be embodied, to really be present in the body, here, now?

[4:48] So what happens about ten minutes into my trampolining is I start to feel really alive. I just start to feel like I’m coming to life; it’s like I wake up in the morning and I’m half dead [laughs] you know, and I start to come to life through movement. And it is such an important practice, and the thing is doing this first thing in the morning, it reminds me, sort of sets the tone for me to have that same practice all throughout the day. Because here’s the thing about amazing resources and amazing self-care practices, and rituals, and things like that, is it doesn’t really work if we just do that one thing one time, and then everything in our, in the rest of our day remains the same, right?

[5:30] We know that a self-care practice is really working for us when it starts to impact our day-to-day lives, when we start to recognize inside of ourselves that, “oh, actually, I’m behaving in a different way all throughout the rest of my day from doing that practice in the morning,” for instance, right? Or anyone here who, who has a yoga practice probably knows that feeling of the moment we really get solid in our practice, and we feel like we found yoga, yoga is really making us feel a certain way, all of a sudden we realize that that reactivity that we were so quick to before, just doesn’t show up in the same way, you know?

[6:07] Maybe we’re in line at the grocery store, and someone cuts us off, or we’re stressed and we’re just having that hard moment, and normally we would, you know, feel really frustrated, or we would get snappy, or it would ruin the rest of our day, and then all of sudden we realize that we’re standing in line and we’re taking a deeper breath, right? That is a beautiful, perfect example of the yoga practice working on us off the mat, right? So that means the yoga is working, right? So it’s not just the 60 minutes I spend on my mat in that one class once a day, but actually how it increases my sensitivity to everything around me, how it increases my sensitivity to how I feel, meaning I can acknowledge and notice what’s going on inside of myself, cut myself some slack, and then make a different choice, right?

[6:56] When I’m aware of how I’m feeling, when I’m in my body, when I’m here, I can probably have a little bit of an easier time recognizing that, “hey, the reason I’m snapping at the grocery store right now, or feeling super frustrated isn’t just because of this moment in the grocery store, right? Chances are, I had a really long day, I’m really tired,” or, “I just had some weird news, or a strange, strange interaction with a loved one that left me feeling weird, or I’ve had this negative self-talk all day, and it brought me to this place,” you know, there’s a reason why we feel the way we do. There’s a reason why we act the way we do.

[7:33] So for me, with my, with my morning practice, what really has happened is that moment of checking in in the morning — and it begins first thing, and then I come to life through trampolining, which is, you know, I really recommend it, people ask me about that a lot because I, I don’t know if it’s a bit of a weird thing to do, but if you can get a trampoline, like the one I got was like 60 bucks or something from Amazon, there’s really cheap ones you can get that are pretty sturdy, and it’s really small. Like it folds up and I can put it away in the closet, I don’t have to look at it all day. If you have kids, maybe you have a big trampoline in the, in the garden, like I really wanted to get one of those so I could play with Lea and things like that.

[8:10] But rebounding, you know, bouncing, jumping up and down, has amazing health benefits for the physical body, for our mental state, and for our emotional body as well. So physically what it does, it flushes the lymphatic system which helps the body to cleanse and to move, detoxify, you know, it’s a great thing to do first thing in the morning. And it actually hydrates our cells; there’s been a really cool study showing that there’s a difference between like jumping on a trampoline or shaking the body versus other kinds of exercise in terms of how it actually hydrates our cells, which is really cool, like it hydrates you.

[8:49] And it’s good for the immune system, there are studies that show that it helps you sleep better and, you know, its a wonderful thing. And I find that energetically wha it does, it sort of aligns you with this repetitive vibration that just brings you right back home to yourself. Like it really, really does. And then, emotionally, at the end of my trampolining, I’m so ready to go, because I’m in the body, and there’s something about it that just taps into my heart space a little bit, if I can really let go on the trampoline.

[9:18] So, side note: get a trampoline, if you have the ability to, and then spend ten, twenty minutes on it every day, like that’s enough, don’t have to spend hours on it. And of course, you know, this is like, I forgot to say, but it’s a workout. Like it’s a workout. You’re going to sweat, it’s hard, you know, it really [laughs] really, really is. So, hopefully, if you get one, let me know, and I hope you’ll, you’ll enjoy it.

[9:40 — Commercial Break]

[11:06] So back to my, back to my story of checking in; so, I do that, and then I have the rest of my morning ritual, which basically is — and I was really thinking about this, just from a, like a zoomed out perspective — it’s basically me having two hours to myself to check in, again and again and again. And as I transition from practice to practice in my morning, there’s another moment every time to check in, you know? I go from the trampoline, to dancing, for instance, and all of a sudden I’m checking in with myself in a different way, in a freer way, holding my hands to my heart, like really arriving there, you know?

[11:41] And then I drink some tea, and I transition to the next thing; I begin my yoga practice, I have a moment there where I set an intention, checking in again, you know. And then I go to the next thing, which is I meditate, I set a timer for that, I take a deep breath, I anchor in, and I check in again. And then I journal, and when I journal, or I inquire inside of myself, it’s like a long moment of just checking in because it’s like I’m in conversation with myself, right? And then all the other things I do, it’s like this constant returning, returning, returning.

[12:12] And where this gets really interesting, or where it got really interesting for me when I was just contemplating, like what is it, really, that happens for me in the morning that changes my life? Because it is, and it has. And just like when I found my yoga practice and I realized that I was reacting in different ways, or behaving in different ways thanks to what I was learning and adapting to, and dropping into in my practice. Same thing with this morning practice that I have now, this morning ritual, is I find myself feeling different all throughout the day, making different decisions all throughout the day, and decisions that used to be hard are actually easier.

[12:51] Things like, you know, making healthier choices when it comes to what I eat, or drinking enough water, or a practice that I am super immersed in with my husband, which is taking moments to physically connect with each other throughout the day. And I’ll talk a little more about this later, but we are really different people, Dennis and I; he’s a super physical person, and I am more of a mental, emotional person, so for me, intimacy happens through communication, and for him, intimacy happens physically, right?

[13:21] So, I just realized, this was like a couple of weeks ago, that the man probably spends a hundred times a day holding my hand, giving me a back rub, giving me a hug, you know, making a physical, intimate connection with me at some point. And oftentimes, I’m like, you know, “hey, I’m busy. I’m going here, I’m doing this,” anyways, [laughs] I’m in, I’m in that conscious practice of having moments of physical intimacy with Dennis presently throughout our day, which is super beautiful for us. It’s like a small shift that I’ve made just inside of myself in terms of, you know, making a conscious effort to hug more [laughs]. How amazing and easy is that?

[13:59] And I just realized that, that all of those things are happening with ease because I have that space in the morning. And because checking in, and checking in, and checking in, and checking in all through out the morning, it puts me on the track of doing the same thing all throughout the day, right? Does that make sense? Because this is really where, where I think the magic happens, where the life changing, transformative stuff actually shows up.

[14:25] So it would be a different thing if I spend two hours doing something super special and sacred, and then the rest of my day was just…unconscious, right? Or the rest of my day, I was frantic, or stressed, or frazzled, or not coming back to the essence of the thing that I’m practicing in an undisturbed, sacred way in the morning.

[14:46] So an example of that is, you know, and it starts already early on, like I kind of seal my morning practice when Lea comes in which is usually 6:30, so that’s like an hour and a half, 6:45, if I’m lucky, she comes in at seven and I get a whole, a whole two hours to myself, but it’s different every day. And the moment when she comes in, you know, I’m not rushing downstairs, like “oh, my God, Lea’s awake! Let’s eat breakfast, let’s get dressed, we have go to school,” you know, all the normal things you do with a three-year-old in the morning. She’s almost four, by the way, I have to stop calling her a three-year old. But I invite her into that space, and then we check in together. Like I don’t close my thing and then jump into the rest of the stuff, right?

[15:29] I take a breath, we go outside, we sit and hug, just hug her for a really long time, this morning we stepped all the way to the edge of our rooftop, and we just stood there, like her little head leaning on my chest, just, just watching the sun rise, you know, looking at the clouds, and then she’s painting pictures with the clouds, like, “that looks like a triceratops,” and “that’s a pterodactyl.” I’m like, I don’t even know what a pterodactyl [laughs] looks like.

[15:56] But having that moment to breathe with her, to check in with her, to be present with her, right? And if I’m tight on time, like I can do that, I can spend two, three minutes doing that, and then it’s like, I’m setting that tone with her as well, so we don’t have to drop in to any kind of frantic, frazzled space, because we’re totally there, right?

[16:16] And then the next thing that happens — this is something that I’m shifting, because I realized I have this time with her in the morning, and then when it’s 7:30, I start to get frustrated that Dennis is still asleep, and we have stuff to do, you know, and I’ve been awake for [laughs] two and a half hours, and we’re ready to go and he’s still asleep. So what I do is I go into the bedroom, and I pull up the blinds, and I go, “rise and shine, let’s go! Chop chop!” Like that’s literally how my husband wakes up pretty much every morning is like, “let’s go,” you know?

[16:43] And now, what I’m really trying to do — and it’s funny how it’s easier for me to do with Lea, probably because she’s a child and we have that, she has that kind of, I don’t know, innocent, calm, like open space — and with Dennis, our relationship gets more complicated, right, because we’re adults. So now what I do is I go in, and I give him a ginormous bear hug, like I just crawl on top of him, and I take a deep breath with him, and I give him a kiss, and I say, “hey, good morning.”

[17:11] You know, instead of waiting to do that later in the day. Normally we kiss for the first time in the day when, when he leaves to take lea to school, or when I leave to take Lea to school, we say bye and that’s like our moment to connect in the morning. But it kind of means that like I have a checked out moment with him first thing instead of a check in moment with him first thing. And it’s such a tiny shift, right? Instead of pulling up the blinds going, “let’s go, wake up, rise and shine, good morning,” I take a breath with him. I let that moment be super calm, I let it be intimate, I let it be really soft.

[17:42] And maybe for some of you guys listening to this, you think that this is like, ridiculous, cause that’s what you do all throughout the day, all, you know, all the time — I’m not that kind of person, and I know for a lot of you guys, you’re not that kind of person either. I’m the kind of person, it’s easier for me to drop into that, “go, go, go, let’s get going, move on, next thing, hello? Chop, chop.” How many times do i say, “chop, chop” in a day, I don’t know [laughs] a lot. I have that fiery, kind of frantic energy around me, you know? So for me, it’s like I have to make a conscious effort to slow down, and to check in, and to maintain that intimate, quiet space with everyone in my life. It’s really, really true.

[18:25] So by this time, you know — and it’s like eight o’clock, or it’s 7:45, we go to school — I don’t even know, I can even really count how many moments in the day I’ve already checked in with myself. Ad I’m realizing I’m using that word a lot, like checking in versus checking out. So just explaining what that means in case that feels confusing, but checking in, you know, it’s giving yourself that opportunity to drop into your own body. To get really, really, really present with you, wherever you are in that moment.

[18:57] So, it’s coming back home to yourself, you know? And it doesn’t mean that — and here’s where I think where a lot of us gets this wrong — it doesn’t mean that we wait for the sacred moments to, to give ourselves that opportunity. Which I think a lot of people do, and which I think I used to do a lot in the past, is I would wait for my yoga practice, for instance. That was my moment of checking in in the day. For a lot of us, our yoga practice is our big moment of checking in for the day, where we get to, through movement, through intention, through breath, through guidance, you know, through these amazing postures, and breathing practices and everything we do in yoga, right? We get to really come back home.

[19:36] So, before, I think, that was my big moment of checking in, and then oftentimes, I would go from yoga class and I was already rushing to the next thing because, life is busy. You know, I have a meeting, or I have to pick up my kid, or I, you know, million things we all do all throughout the day. Whereas the difference between having that kind of practice where we’re checking in all the time is we don’t wait for those special moments, we don’t wait for life to provide us with that space, you know? “Here’s your yoga practice, here you are undisturbed, here no one’s bothering you; now go ahead and come back home. Now go ahead and check in.”

[20:12] Instead, I am deeply committed right now to creating those spaces in my life. To cultivating that all throughout the day, and — and this is the tricky part — to check in even when things are messed up. To check in even when I feel stressed out, when I’m having a really hard day, when I get bad news, you know, because those are the moments when, you know, when we start to really check out. So if checking in is coming home to ourselves, what does checking out mean? Well, checking out means we leave ourselves. Checking out means we, we go someplace else. We leave this moment, you know?

[20:54] And for so many of us, if we haven’t cultivated the awareness and the ability to really notice what’s going on inside of ourselves, you know, to get totally present with our triggers, our traumas, our past, that whole, beautiful journey of just figuring out why we are the way we are. Like how did I end up like this? [Laughs] Why do I react that way in those kinds of situations? Why does this stuff make me go totally crazy, or why does this make me super sad? You know, if we’re in this unconscious place where, which is sort of how most of us end up as adults, we haven’t had those moments of awakening yet, or of, of, of, of beginning that journey yet, which is totally okay, which is not something we judge, or, you know, majority of people are still in that space, just, just going through the motions. And then hopefully, we get to have that moment of waking up in our lives.

[21:47] Usually, what takes us there is some excruciating kind of suffering. We don’t just walk down the street, happy-go-lucky, you know, living some sort of vanilla, medium kind of life and then find a moment of awakening, no. Moments of awakening come through death, through disease, through divorce, through betrayal, through our lives falling apart, through a global pandemic, you know? Through the many different things that life will throw our way when it’s time for us to wake up.

[22:20 — Commercial Break]

[23:58] So I’m going to go ahead and assume that, you know, you’ve had those moments in your life, that’s why you’re listening to this podcast and you resonate with this. And maybe you’ve had many moments like that in your life; like I’ve had enough awakenings where I had moments where I was like, “this is enlightenment, this is it” you know? “I’m done. Like I’m done, I found it,” you know? And then the next thing would come up and I’d go, “oh, yeah, okay, well, still, still got stuff to work on, okay, cool.” [Laughs] And that’s the beauty of being human, right? It’s like, we’re not done. Life will continue to give us opportunities to evolve and to grow.

[24:32] But in the day when we check out — and this is something that I find, and I would love to offer you as a, as a practice today and throughout this week — to get really present with those moments. So, noticing where in your life do you have a tendency to really check out, to really go somewhere else, to really disappear? Because I think there is a difference between going through the motions and really checking out, actually leaving ourselves, which many of us have a tendency to do in certain patterns or in a habitual ways.

[25:07] I can give you a, a really good example of that because I, I have been practicing this a lot lately. So I have a tendency to check out when any kind of wounds that relate to abandonment get triggered in my life. And that might sound really complex and like, “oh, that must be very rare,” no, that happens to me all the time. So I have a huge abandonment wound from, from little, it’s one of my biggest trauma is abandonment; my mom trying to commit suicide several times in my life, sort of losing my dad at a young age, divorce and separation, and losing a lot of people, including my step dad, and grandparents, and my best friend, and just people that I’ve lost in my life. That feeling that, that wound of abandonment is really, really, really massive inside of me.

[25:55] And I think because I experienced a lot of abandonment in my really early years, right? So it’s a big one, it’s not just something that came my way in my twenties, but that happened a lot before I was seven in those first, formative years. And I’m really present with this being a wound in my life, like I’m really aware; my closest people, my closest friends are really aware that this is something that’s triggering for me in my life. So a totally mundane experience that most people probably wouldn’t even notice as a thing, that regular people, or people who don’t have this wounding wouldn’t even, they wouldn’t even pause to acknowledge, right, can sometimes trigger inside of me this overwhelming feeling of, “life is about to end,” right?

[26:41] So something as this: we make plans to go hang out on Friday. We’re going to go and have dinner, or, you know, like, like anyone, say you and I, we make friends [laughs] to go hang out on Friday, and we’re excited, and we’re gonna, we’re going to go have a glass of wine, or go eat dinner, or whatever. And then all of sudden, come Thursday evening you say “hey, I’m so sorry, I can’t make it,’ and you don’t give me a lot of information, it’s just, “so sorry, I can’t make it,” and instead of going, “okay, that’s cool, you know, life, how common is it that we cancel plans,” my initial reaction is “[gasps] oh, my God, they don’t like me. Oh, my God, that person is leaving me. Oh, my God, there’s something wrong with me. Oh, my God, they’re probably cancelling…” and then my mind starts spinning, right?

[27:27] “Because they have a more interesting friend to go spend time with right now,” or, “oh, my God, it’s something I did. Yeah, I must’ve said something wrong, and now, now they’ve decided they don’t want to be friends withe me any more,” or, “oh, my God, maybe they’re going to go be with someone more interesting and they’re going to talk badly about me when they’re there.” Like my mind can take me into such wild and crazy places just from receiving a text message that someone has cancelled plans with me.

[27:51] And the cool thing, or the fucked up thing, which is also kind of cool, is oftentimes, I get really relieved when people cancel plans with me because I don’t really like to leave my house all that much. So my real truth is that, you know, I actually don’t mind. I actually really enjoy being by myself, that feeling that a lot of us has when like, “ooh, something is cancelled, like okay, cool, I can stay home on the couch,” like I feel that way too. But my initial reaction is dropping into this big spiral of abandonment. And especially if it’s something, you know, I shared a really minor example, so that’s probably usually something I would get over really quickly, or something as simple as I can ask a question like, “oh, hey why?” You know, “let me know why you’re cancelling.” And then, “oh, you know, I couldn’t get a babysitter,” for instance. Or, you know, “I have a really, I realized I have a deadline at work, and I need to stay home and work” or whatever, there’s a reasonable explanation, just hearing that usually for me is enough to like, take a moment.

[28:45] But so what happens in those moments of, of having that wound triggered as an adult, is I check out. I check out. And it takes almost like a superhuman amount of awareness and consciousness for me to not check out. And what I find more often than not is my immediate reaction is I check out, meaning, in this scenario, that I immediately jump to the next thing where I realize, “this is extremely uncomfortable for me, I feel abandoned by this person, I feel like they, there’s something wrong with me, they don’t want to be with me,” and I go [gasps] and I can kind of sense my whole body contracting, and then I jump into the next thing in my day.

[29:24] So I take that whole experience that I had, which even though it was triggered by something small, it means something big to me, right? For a long time, I used to feel like, “that’s stupid, it’s silly, I shouldn’t react that way,” but it’s just what it is, right? And we all have that big, sometimes it’s like a mother wound, or a father wound, like a really big one that gets triggered by seemingly trivial things. And telling ourselves that that’s stupid, or silly, is not helpful, right? So owning that, and acknowledging that, and taking that seriously and letting yourself be seen in that is super, super, super important.

[29:58] So, how I check out is I, I, I, I can sense my body just contracting, and I jump into something else. Meaning I just kind of hold my breath, and all of a sudden I’m totally immersed in my inbox, for instance. Or all of a sudden, I’m picking up the phone and I’m scrolling through Instagram, and all of a sudden, I lose 20, 30 minutes doing that. Or all of a sudden, I’m in a fight with somebody, like I’m like annoyed with Dennis because he didn’t do the dishes and I’m snapping at him for some reason. I just completely check out in that I leave my body, I leave the moment, I leave the experience, I’m not aware enough that, “hey, something triggered me just now,” you know?

[30:37] And instead of being with that and just unpacking that for a moment, and dropping in, I check out and I go someplace else. And on days when I’m not able to catch myself in that, because sometimes, it takes awhile, right? It’s not until the next day that I realize that, “hey, I have a weird feeling with that person who’s like a friend of mine, for no reason. Like they didn’t do anything wrong, at all, and now I have a weird feeling with them,” and then I go back into that kind of like, you know, peeling back the layers, “but like, what happened? Wait, okay, let me take a moment here, go back, rewind, it was yesterday…oh, they just kind of callously cancelled plans on me without telling me why, and I went into this space of, of thinking it’s something to do with me, and that triggered that wound of mine, so actually, I felt really abandoned. And actually, I wasn’t present with myself at all yesterday after that, and actually, at the end of the day, I inhaled a bag of chips and went to bed. Oh, okay.”

[31:37] [Laughs] Do you, do you guys get it? Like I’m trying to paint this picture of like, how we can get into a state of complete unconsciousness, leaving ourselves completely, and then have the whole entire day play out like that. So if you have a day where at the end of the day, you feel, you know, so totally depleted, there’s no other option for you but to inhale a bag of chips, or drink a bottle of wine, or binge ten episodes of something dumb on Netflix, like any of the things that you go to when you check out, right? Any of the things you turn to to numb yourself, chances are really, really high, I’m going to go ahead and say ten times out of ten, you had an experience prior to that that triggered something really big inside of yourself, but you weren’t able to catch it.

[32:24] Maybe you didn’t have the safety to do that, maybe you didn’t have the space and the calm in your day to do that, or maybe you just don’t have that practice yet of using those moments as an opportunity to check in. So, one thing happened after the other, and then you just found yourself kind of numbing out all throughout the day, because it takes a lot of energy to not feel feelings, especially feelings that have been triggered by a big wound, like a mother or a father wound, right?

[32:52] So you spend all day a little checked out, right? And at the end of the day, you’re so fucking exhausted, there’s no way you have energy for yoga, there’s no way you have energy for sex, there’s no way you have energy to eat something really healthy, or to cook, or to, you know, to do any of the nourishing things that you actually know fills you up, you’re done. Like, you’re done.

[33:11 — Commercial Break]

[34:17] The way to approach this is, and I try really hard with myself to approach this, is to not judge ourselves for having that response, right? To not beat yourself up because you drank the wine and ate the chips, and you numbed out. To not judge yourself for checking out, but to actually realize that hey, this is a coping mechanism. This is something really intelligent that my body does for me. This is a really intelligent thing that I learned to cultivate as a child because, oftentimes, the pain was too much for me to bear. Oftentimes, the really big, heavy, challenging situations that came my way, they were too big for my consciousness at that age to deal with, so I had to check out to manage.

[35:06] It’s totally true. It’s a genius thing that we do for ourselves, it’s, it’s part of our intelligence that we numb out, that we escape, that we check out. And probably, there were moments when you were little where you absolutely had to do that to survive. I can relate that to, now I was using a really small example, like someone cancelling a plan. And of course, if I have a good day, if I am stable and steady, it doesn’t trigger me the same, right? If I’m feeling stressed out, or unsteady, unstable, something small can trigger me in a huge way. And I look at how that relates to that big wounding when I was little, you know, having a mom who tries to die, you know? Just like, the ultimate abandonment, a mother who doesn’t want you any more, doesn’t want to be with you any more, doesn’t want to be your mom. Who, who left. Didn’t die, so didn’t leave physically, but left in every other way.

[35:59] I think after that, the way I had to check out, you know, and not be present in my body, was, was, was huge, massive, massive, massive. And the coping things that I did when I was really little were kind of similar to what I do today. Like I would dive into doing of some sort; even as a kid, like seven, eight years old, I wanted to have all A’s, I wanted to be the best kid in school, I wanted to get praise from every teacher, I felt like if I would accomplish something, I would be seen, right? Someone would see me, someone would hold me, someone would acknowledge my presence. And, being really busy with stuff, whatever it is, is a really great way to not have to be here.

[36:41] And I’ve done that my entire life. So of course, the things we started doing when we were young — for me, this happened at four and a half, five years old — it’s super hard to wake up one day and just realize, “oh, I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to check out any more.” But the moment you have that realization, the moment you have that epiphany, and maybe you’re having it right now, maybe you’re in the middle of something in your life that is bringing you that realization of, “man, I don’t wanna numb myself any more. I don’t want to check out any more.” Maybe that’s what brought you to this podcast, and this whole podcast topic is a huge affirmation for you, just reaffirming that, “yeah, this topic, this thing is really important to me.”

[37:22] Just having that, that is an awakening on it’s own, right? And it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden, you have all the tools to go from checking out to checking in, but it means you started that journey. So, most important thing is that we don’t judge, that we don’t hate, that we don’t beat ourselves up for the things we do when we check out, but that we invite some kindness into that space. That we love on ourselves a little bit extra in those moments, you know?

[37:51] I can give another example, this used to happen to me all the time, and it doesn’t so much any more because I, I’m communicating this now, but when I was really, really, really busy — and it’s funny how this, this would happen all the time, and it’s almost like I was bringing it about from this wounding inside — I was really busy, always really busy, constantly, I think in my group of friends, the busiest person. Like everyone knew, chances that Rachel shows up to a party, to a dinner, to an after-work, to a gathering of any kind, is super slim, because Rachel is always in a retreat, always in a teacher training, always working, always away, always not here, right?

[38:27] So after awhile, when you keep not showing up, which is what I was doing, the very same thing that triggers me, I was doing to other people, to my friends, just not show up, or cancel last minute, or not be there, right? Because I had something. I was doing the thing that was triggering me to other people all the time. After awhile, if you keep not showing up, after awhile, people stop inviting you. Like that’s just really normal. Like, when I don’t show up for the tenth, like after-work in a row, you know, the eleventh time, I’m probably not going to get the invite, and that’s not so strange, you know?

[39:00] And what would happen is, this is like a big cosmic joke is the reason I was so busy in the first place is because I had to numb myself, because all of this wounding was too much. I wasn’t able to be in my body all the time, it was too much to be in my body, I had too much stuff going on. And I was on this track of just, “this is the only way I know how to live,” right? So, I would be in that kind of energy, that kind of frantic, go, go, go kind of energy because I was checking out, right?

[39:28] And then by doing that, not only was I triggering other people the way they were triggering me when I had plans cancelled, was eventually, I would stop getting invited. And I would see friends of mine going out for dinner together, but I wasn’t invited. Which for me, is like the biggest wounding of all time, you know? Which would trigger this huge thing of like, “[gasps] oh, my God, my friends are out there together, and I wasn’t invited,” and it would send me into like a spinning place of like, holy moly, where that wound was just so triggered that I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

[40:01] So what happened is, I would work a little harder, and I would tell myself, “well, I have a different kind of career than they do,” right? It was like, “my work is more important,” or, you know, “I’m on another level at what I do here, so it makes sense that they are all doing that. I don’t have time for that; actually, I don’t have time for friendships to be that deep,” you know? And I would discard them a little bit, or completely, like tell myself that “actually, I don’t care.” When I cared [laughing] more than anybody else. So just by being in this kind of space, I would just reinforce it all the time, you know? Trigger the wound, and it became like a negative cycle that just was ongoing, and all of sudden, that abandonment wound is just triggered all the time.

[40:41] And then I check out even more, and I work even harder, and I have less ability to sit with myself and to acknowledge and honor that, “hey, something big is happening all the time.” [Laughs] You know, and I can laugh at this now because my life doesn’t look like that any more, this wound of mine isn’t triggered like that anymore because I changed a lot for myself. I had, actually realized that I have the ability to make shifts, I don’t have to wait for healing to arrive, right? But by practicing checking in, by being present with myself not just a couple times a week when I practice yoga, but all the time, and catching myself in those moments of checking out, that’s when we start to change the cycle. That’s when we go, start to go from triggering to healing, which is two totally different paths to even be walking down.

[41:33 — Commercial Break]

[42:51] So, don’t beat yourself up for doing the thing that you do when you check out; love yourself. Give yourself that kindness, and connect the dots as to why it’s been intelligent your whole life that you’ve had this as a coping mechanism, and it’s okay. And then, at the same time, acknowledge to yourself that “I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to live a present life. I want to be in that kind of healing path, right? Not the triggering path, but I want to be on the healing journey. I don’t want to numb out in this way, I want to heal.”

[43:26] Acknowledge that, which on it’s own, it’s just kind of stating that to yourself. It’s, it’s, it’s aligning yourself with the vibration of something different, already setting the intention for, “I don’t know how to do it, but I want something different,” you know? That’s huge, just getting to that place. And then, of course, beginning in this kind of way, just what I explained to you just now, beginning of this show, “how can I find ways all throughout the day to check in, instead of checking out?”

[43:52] And in those moments when I find myself triggered, when I’m having a really hard day, maybe at the end of the day, you know, when you begin reaching for those things that you do to numb yourself, can I take a moment here before I do that? Can I have some sort of end-of-the-day practice or ritual that just gives me the space to check in? So I don’t go from work, to kids, to couch, right? Which for so many of us, is like the thing that happens. Work, kids, couch, and then we wake up in the morning, and we don’t feel good, and the whole thing begins again. Before I drop into couch, because oftentimes, I think, for so many, I mean, at least it is for me, the moment my butt hits the couch, it’s like, “okay, if I’m going to do something to check out, it’s going to happen there.” [Laughs].

[44:36] So before I get there, can I carve out space for me to check in with myself? Can I, you know, have a fifteen minute yoga practice when I come home from work? Can I have a shaking meditation as a part of my end of day, somehow? Can I journal a little bit, after dinner, when I put my kids to sleep, before I, I go to, to, you know, watch Netflix, or whatever the thing is? Can I have some sort of end of day ritual that gives me a practice, that gives me an opportunity to close my eyes, take a deep breath, place my hands to my heart, and ask myself, “how am I doing, really? How am I doing, really?”

[45:19] Because oftentimes, that’s all it takes. That’s all it takes. And the more you come back to that, the more opportunities you can give yourself throughout the day, so not just in that one practice in the morning, but throughout the day, the easier it’s going to be to actually remain in the body, to not have to go someplace else. And, I, I don’t think I’m there, because I really think it’s, it’s sort of the, the default, you know, that we go through the motions, and I think there’s a difference between just, you know, going from thing to thing, to actually checking out because we’re triggered; you know, many of us, we’re just going through the motions and then, we check out and we come back, and it’s like we open and we contract, and that’s the normal part of the process.

[46:02] But of course, the end goal being, “I wanna be in my body every moment of the day. I wanna be present in my life. I want to be here, fully, all the way. I want to be here for all of it. I want to be here for the pain and the joy. I want to feel the love and the fear, you know? I want to, even in the triggers, even in the wounding, I want to be here, I don’t want to go someplace else.”

[46:28] And I can even sense myself, like tearing up a little bit saying that, because that’s how urgent it is. This urgency I’m feeling of just, “I want to be here, now.” And [laughs] having that, that kind of morning where I check in, check in, check in, check in, check in, that means that it becomes more of a natural thing to do that all throughout the day, you know? To at lunchtime, when all of sudden, I find myself in some like negative self-talk, or a little agitated, to just go, “hey, you know, take a breath,” you know, takes me thirty seconds, close my eyes, take a breath. “What am I feeling? Oh, okay, I’m feeling stressed because of this one email I got fifteen minutes ago. And it didn’t even hit me that ooh, that was like a stressful message I just received, or something that, you know, made me feel pressure, or uneasy for whatever reason. Can I sit with that a little bit, and just acknowledge that a little bit?”

[47:23] And maybe there’s a different outcome; instead of moving on down my inbox, I take a moment with that email, with that message, you know? I really examine what is going on, and can I solve it right now, or can I at least invite some space to not have to go elsewhere while I deal with this uncomfortable situation? And when you think about it — maybe it sounds wild, the way I’m kind of breaking this down right now — but for all of us, this is all day long. All day long.

[47:55] We get presented with difficult things, and it’s small things like someone cancelling dinner, you know? Or someone sending you a bitchy email, or getting bad news, or getting cut off in traffic, or your kid throwing a tantrum, or the list is endless, it’s all day long we get triggered by tiny and big things. So it’s almost like the moment we start dropping into that practice of checking in, it becomes so eyeopening realizing just how much time we have spent checking out constantly.

[48:23] And the moment you have that practice of beginning your day from the inside out, being present with yourself, reminding yourself all throughout the day to come back home, to come back home, to come back home, the easier it becomes to continue doing that. Just like the more you check out, the chances get bigger that the next time the similar thing comes your way, you’re going to do the same or worse, right? The more you check in, the easier it’s going to be to check in next time something happens. And the easier it’s going to be to not dive head first into that bag of chips at the end of the day, which means it’s going to be easier for you to get up in the morning and do your morning ritual where you check in in that big chunk of time, setting the tone for the rest of the day. It becomes a positive cycle, instead of a negative one.

[49:09] And you have the ability to do that right now. Literally right now, to not wait for yoga practice, to not even wait for your morning ritual. To the moment this podcast is over, turn your phone off, or put it away, close your eyes, place your hands to your heart and go, “how am I, really? What does it feel in my body to be here? How is my heart doing? What’s going through my mind? How is my breath? What is the feeling I’m experiencing right now? What is going on?”

[49:41] And then wait for that answer to show itself, to reveal itself to you, and whatever the answer is — because sometimes it’s terrible, it feels terrible, sometimes it’s wonderful, sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low, sometimes it’s pain, sometimes it’s love — whatever the answer is, you allow. You acknowledge. You embrace. You give yourself that space for your experience to be what it is. And you take a breath into your own experience. You just let yourself be in your body.

[50:13] And perhaps at the end of that, an answer shows up, where it’s, “oh, I want to act a little bit differently in this scenario.” Or, “actually, I’m not going to spend as much time in this area right now,” or, “actually, hey, I’m going to go outside, breathe some fresh air, I’m going to reach for a resource.” Oftentimes, after we have checked in, an answer reveals itself. And it usually isn’t the big answer of, “how am I going to solve this problem?” It’s the big answer of, “how can I come back home to myself and stay there?”

[50:43] Let’s take a deep breath, all of us, right now. Inhale [inhales] and exhale [exhales]. Thank you so much for tuning in with me today, for listening to this show. If you want to have an entire week of checking in, we are doing a one week yoga retreat on I’m going to be live every day, yoga practice twice a day. We haven’t announced it yet, so I’m kind of teasing it on the podcast, but if you’re feeling really called to join in for a whole week of choosing you, stay tuned for that, it’s coming to super soon. Until then, stay with yourself, and continue coming back home to you. Thank you so much, I love you so much, be kind to yourself all throughout the day. I’ll be back next week.

[51:39 — End of Episode]