Give Yourself Permission to Feel! Live from NYC favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - October 11th 2019

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Self-Love

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

This week’s podcast is a special Live show recorded in NYC! This podcast begins with a hilarious open from Dennis, and is filled with courageous, heart centered sharing and stories from both Rachel and audience members.

Rachel reflects on what it means to consciously feel our feelings and how to consciously navigate your emotions, every day. It’s so important to give yourself permission to be the way you are! Learn how to lean into uncomfortable feelings, and process and do the work around your wounds and triggers. If you keep doing the work, you will gather enough healing moments where you can appreciate your feelings, and truly begin to work through the lessons they are teaching you.

Grab a pen and your journal as Rachel guides the audience through stream-of-consciousness journaling and a heart opening sharing exercise. The audience has a chance to share with Rachel, and this episode is filled with beautiful, heartfelt stories while Rachel holds space for all to breathe, heal, feel, release and grow.

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Transcript

Oct 11, 2019 Episode - Give Yourself Permission to Feel! Live from NYC

Listen to the podcast here.

[00:00] Hi everyone, and welcome to a very, very special episode of the Yoga Girl Podcast. What you are about to hear is a live podcast recording that we did last Saturday in New York City for my 31st birthday. It was such a beautiful night. Seriously, such a profound and special experience. I’m just so grateful I got to share it with everyone who came, and that I get to share this with everyone who is listening from afar. In this episode we do a little bit of journaling, so if you have the space to sit down and listen in a quiet place, you can journal along with us. That would be beautiful. If you can’t, or if you’re listening to this podcast on the go, you can always come back and do the journaling prompts later. We also have a section on the show where we do a little bit of sharing. I would love for you to find someone to share with as well, either in real time or after listening to the podcast as well. Without further ado, here it is, Live from New York City, the Yoga Girl Podcast: Conversations From The Heart

[01:04] Dennis: Hello! Hello, hello, hello, hello. Good evening everyone! [laugh] [cheers in background] I immediately regret doing this [laugh]. I’ve never talked more than, I don't know, 30 seconds in my life? And now I have five minutes and thirty seconds to fill. [laugh] This whole podcast started about, I think, two years ago? And I think Rachel was trying to do it like four years ago, and we were all telling her not to do it because she’s kind of busy already with, I don't know, running an animal rescue, a yoga studio, a subscription platform … So we thought, okay, we cannot put one more thing on her plate. And then, against all advice, she did it anyway. And apparently it’s going really good! [laugh] And that’s where I come into the picture. I never wanted to talk, and she dragged me onto one of the podcast shows in our bedroom, and the next thing I know, I’m in New York City, standing in front of a lot of people. [laugh] [cheers] You can’t really tell, but my hands are shaking. No, it’s going to be fun. I’m really excited to be here, we’re really excited to be here. I can’t imagine any other way to share a couple hours with you guys. It’s going to be awesome.

Audience Member: Thank you!

[crowd cheers]

[02:52] Dennis: I guess that’s … [laugh] Five more minutes. [laugh] No, I’m kidding. I don’t have that much to fill, to be honest. All I had to do was to try and make a nice introductary for Rachel. Yeah? I guess that’s about it. She just released a book, To Love and Let Go. I’m at Chapter 15, so don’t tell me how it ends. [laugh] Although I do think I know the ending. But, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my wife, my baby mama, and my best friend, Rachel Brathen.

[crowd cheers]

Rachel: Oh my god! Hi! You did really good. You did really good. That was … That was fucking fantastic. [laugh] I don't know if you guys can tell, but Dennis is a man of few words. Even the first time I invited him on the podcast, I had to literally pull him by the hair. And he was like, “If it doesn’t go well, it’s on you. If I make inappropriate sex jokes it’s on you, I am not taking any heat for anything.” So for this show I was like, “Hey, maybe you want to, like, you know, introduce us and say a few words.” He was like, “Words? About what?” I said, “I don't know, whatever you want.” And he said, “Okay, okay.” And then we were … I’m assuming you guys listen to the podcast sometimes, and he was on the show and this was, like, I don't know a few months ago I think? Maybe weeks ago? He made this joke about wearing a tuxedo for this live podcast. And it was like a five second joke, it passed very quickly, and that’s all we thought about it. And then when we were traveling from Aruba here, halfway through the trip, we got to the airport and I’m like, “What is that thing you’re carrying?” He had this, like, case. He was like, “My tuxedo!” I was like, “What?!” I didn’t even know he had a tuxedo! What the fuck? Anyways, so that happened.

[05:09] Thank you guys for being here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh, thank you! Thank you! [crowd cheers] Thank you. Thank you. It is my birthday today. This is-

Crowd: [singing] Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Rachel, happy birthday to you.

Rachel: [laughing/crying] Oh my god. Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. That was … that’s the best … that’s the best birthday I’ve ever had already! Oh my god, my god. This is … it’s my 31st birthday. I have a feeling 31 is going to be better than 30. I don't know about you, but I had kind of a rough year this year. Who had a rough year this year?

[A few “woos” in the crowd]

Rachel: It’s good to have a rough year because it humbles us a little bit. I think if we’re on a high for too long, eventually we lose sight of why we’re here. And it’s something that moving through challenging times or difficult times continues to teach me again and again. If you guys have read the book … I think you guys have read the book. Don’t tell Dennis how it ends. He literally hasn’t finished the book. [laugh] He’s listening to it when he runs like 100 miles at a time he listens to the book. He’s read one book. What is it again? Of Mice and Men. He has read Of Mice and Men. My first book, he made it to Chapter 3 and still hasn’t read the rest of it still to this day. But I’m really excited and happy to be here with you guys. We’re going to have a really intimate evening today. I am really grateful that you’re here. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a birthday, seriously. I got to have a pretend birthday with Lea Luna, with my daughter, two days ago, so I kind of got the best of all worlds right now.

[07:08] But for the coming hours I would love for us to not feel like this is a theater right now. So for us to imagine a little bit more as if we’re in our own living rooms. Or I like to imagine us being in the Luna shala, which is the yoga space we have at our yoga studio at home, so a space where we feel like we can share and talk and connect and breathe. What’s hard about these kinds of things for me, ok, I’ve never done an event like this in my life, specifically this. But with the book and touring and things like that, whenever I’m on stage I have a really hard time with it, because I actually don’t enjoy being on stage. So I like to hide behind a yoga mat. I like to teach yoga because then I don’t have to be someone people look at, but then you just listen. I like the podcast because no one looks at me. And yet here we are right now because of the fucking podcast! [laugh] So I’m really grateful, but this evening is definitely a step out of my comfort zone totally, totally. And I would love it if you guys would put a little trust and faith in my tonight, and also maybe step a little bit out of yours. At least that’s my plan.

[08:18] So for the evening of course we’re going to have some storytelling and if you listen to this show you know how I like to do the podcasts. But also I have planned a little bit of sharing. Not just from me to you, but the other way around, and also between you guys and the audience. So maybe let’s begin to look to your left, look to your right. Say, “Hey!”

[audience interactions]

So if you arrived here tonight with a best friend, a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, someone in your family, someone that you know, we are going to have a portion of this evening where you guys get the opportunity to find a partner to share on a topic, which I know for 85% of you is like, “What the fuck? I’m going to walk out of here! That is not why I came. I heard this podcast might be interesting …” No. So I talk about the practice of sharing on the show a lot, so if you’re listening to the podcast, you know a little bit what it’s about. It’s a different thing to hear about it, it’s a different thing to do it on the podcast than it is in real life with a real life person looking you in the eye. But that is also what we need to move deeper in toward the space inside of our own hearts where we can figure out what the hell is going on. This is why therapy works, 100%, but I find that a cheaper way to do it, and a way that we can incorporate that kind of healing practice in our day-to-day life is to find someone or some shape or form that we can share every single day. I try to do that every single day. You guys are going to get the opportunity to do it today as well. And you’ll learn that sharing is not this thing where we talk to each other, and how’s life and what’s the weather like … Sharing involves the art of holding space, meaning that we get the chance to really connect with another person. Not on the surface level of, “Who are you? What do you do? What’s your thing?” But connecting with someone in a sense of being there. So that’s awesome and terrifying at the same time.

[10:20] I find, especially in New York City, I don't know, are you guys from New York City or did you … [crowd cheers] Yeah. I love it here. I could move here tomorrow. My husband doesn’t like crowds, he would never live here. He’s too tall for New York City. Every hotel room he hits his head all the time. But I find especially in New York or in big cities where we are surrounded by so many people all the time, it’s kind of strange how rare our opportunities for real human connection actually is. We don’t get that chance all the time. We can be surrounded by people but feel totally and utterly lonely and alone. And for me that’s what my work is about in this world. It’s what everything I do is really on is finding that connection between people, finding the connection between my heart to yours. And that’s why these things are hard for me, because you guys are looking at me expecting me to say something. I would rather sit in the crowd and look you in the eye and go, “Yo. [laugh] What’s going on?”

[11:19] So yeah, so that’s a little bit about the evening. I also have a couple of assistants in the crowd, my beautiful girls, they’re wearing Yoga Girl shirts, wherever you are … If you need anything during the night, and I mean like a tissue, a hug, if you want to grab the mic and ask a question, anything at all … If you’re looking for a partner to share with, they will also assist and help. Okay, let’s start!

[11:40] The way I love to do at the beginning of every podcast episode, let’s take a moment to connect, yeah? To tune in, to feel. So if you have your legs crossed you can uncross them. Uncrossing them, just so you have a little bit of connection to the ground, right? So feel the soles of the feet rooting to the floor. And then let’s right away just close our eyes. So, closing our eyes in this moment … Taking a couple of breaths, just so we can really drop into that place of being here, now. So let’s do a really deep, full breath in through the nose … Out through the mouth. Now let’s do that two more times. Inhale, fill the body … Open the mouth, let it go. Last one, deepest breath of the day, take a moment a moment to pause. So, hold your breath in and just notice what that feels like … And now open the mouth and release. And then let the breath return into that natural, neutral space where you can just sense and feel the breath in, moving through the nose … And the breath out, moving through the nose as well. What does it feel like to arrive here? Just noticing that energetic movement that’s taking place within your body right now, what does it feel like to be here, sitting in this chair, feeling your feet on the ground, noticing your breath. How are you feeling right now? Give yourself a little space to see if you can listen in for the answer to that question, how am I doing right now? Not, “How was I yesterday?” Or, “What’s going on tomorrow?” But in this moment, right here, right now, at this point in my life, “How am I?”

[13:53] The beauty of asking ourselves that question is if we become really quiet, usually our hearts will tell us the answer to that question almost right away. You might feel a little bit of emotion there. You might feel like you’re totally ecstatic and happy and joyful, and your heart will tell you that. You might feel something else. Maybe you’ve had a hard day, hard week, hard year, hard life. Your heart might tell you that. Maybe there’s a bit of heaviness there, or some sadness, some frustration. Just noticing whatever is present here, now. And then actually give yourself some space to feel into that. And then take another few breaths and see if you can draw those breaths into the center of the heart, into those emotions, just clearing some space. So, giving yourself the chance to actually feel your feelings in this moment. And that’s a hard thing to do. Especially if we don’t get these opportunities a whole lot, to just close the eyes and feel. And if you want you can even take one of your hands and just place it to your heart. And then really press the palm of your hand to the top of your chest and feel into that place. What does it feel like to arrive here?

[15:37] And then taking this moment to acknowledge everything it took for you to be here. Not just the things that had to happen today for you to arrive here, but everything it took for you to make it to this place in your life, all the challenges you’ve had to move through, all the hardships you’ve seen, the hard days, the good days, everything in between. And then regardless of how challenging your past may have been, the thing you know for sure is that it brought you here. Everything that happened had to happen that way for you to make it to this place. So, see if you can breathe a little bit of gratitude into your heart with your next breath. Deepening the breath in … And deepening the breath out. Take another few breaths right there, breathing in … and breathing out. One more time, let’s make this the deepest breath of the whole week. Fill the body up, inhale, inhale, inhale … hold the breath. And loud and clear, let it go. Good, now you can gently blink your eyes open.

[17:17] Welcome. Speaking From The Heart, how am I doing right now? [laugh] Aside from being completely overwhelmed by looking at all of your beautiful faces. I’ve had a really hard week. Oh man, oh man. I kind of … I had this idea about this podcast, like, “Oh, I’m going to pick a topic and I’m going to make it a really inspiring topic, and I’m going to stand there and I’m going to motivate and inspire and like … And that’s just not who I am. That’s not who I am. One, I’ve never planned for anything in my entire life, including tonight. [laugh] Never planned a yoga class in my life, never planned any of the important things that I do. Even when I think I should plan, because planning is good, planning helps you calm down, planning lets you know what’s up in your life. I am incapable of planning important moments, because I can’t orchestrate what’s about to happen when I walk in to teach a class. The same way I can’t decide what’s going to come out of my mouth sitting here looking at you guys because it’s really hard to be totally present and also pre-plan what you’re going to say. And if I have to choose to pre-plan and feel calmer, or just be in the moment and feel a little bit anxious around it beforehand, I choose that, strangely.

[18:34] But I had that idea that I wanted to share something really inspiring, and then I was kind of looking back at all of the past podcasts that I’ve ever done. Which ones do people really like? What’s the #1 most listened podcast? We’ve been doing this for two and a half years, there’s a shit ton of shows. Guess what our most popular podcast of all-time? Ringo on the fucking plane! [laugh] For anyone who hasn’t heard that episode, it’s called, “The Flight From Hell.” You know, I have podcasts with amazing people, like Glennon Doyle and Cheryl Strayed and Hilary Swank and Dennis Schoeneveld, all of these superstars have been on the show. I’ve had shows that have been so from the heart, gut-drenchingly honest and pure, where I recorded and I walked away and I was like, “Best podcast ever.” But no, there’s a podcast where I explain how Ringo had diarrhea for eight hours – Ringo, my Italian greyhound – for eight hours on a plane. And that is the most listened to podcast! [laugh] So the idea of looking at track records of shows and then deciding what to talk about, that’s out. [laugh]

[19:48] But no, it’s been a really hard week. I’ve been going through some really serious anxiety lately, which is kind of a hard thing for me to share, because I am not that well-versed, I guess is the correct term … I’m not the kind of person who normally experiences a lot of anxiety. I can look back at my life and know moments that I’ve had where I’ve felt uneasy, where I’ve felt unsteady, where I’ve moved through really intense grief. And I can always point it to something, right? So I had a really hard year. I wrote this book, To Love and Let Go, about the hardest year of my life where all of these things happened: My best friend died, my grandmother passed away, our dog died, my mom tried to commit suicide. All of these things happened in one year. So, I felt really shitty that year, and the year after. But it was almost like it was okay, because when I asked myself, “Why do I feel like shit all day, why am I sad all the time?” I could point that too something. “Yeah, these things happened.”

[20:44] And I can remember from that time, I mean, it was a really really hard time, I can remember looking back and almost, in the really hard moments, feeling like it was kind of nice to feel really bad for a while. It was nice to give myself permission, like I had permission to be low. And I learned a lot from that time. But one of the most important things, really, were that having to validate my emotions all the time is a really exhausting way to live. So, having to be, if I’m happy I have to be able to point to happiness, for some reason. I’m happy, and I’m happy because I had success today. I’m happy because I reached a goal, I’m happy because so and so. Because then what happens when you don’t have things going your way, right? Then all happiness is out the window, completely. Or feeling sadness, yeah, I’m sad because that happened. But then there are moment sin our life where we just feel sad, right? We just feel sad. We just feel low. There are moments where we just feel joyful, we just feel happy. Having to point it and attribute it to something specific puts our emotions in this little box that suddenly becomes really unattainable. And I think I’ve been in that space for the past couple of years, having the baby, having a lot of really beautiful things in my life, like, “I am so happy, I am so grateful. All of this good stuff has happened.” And then this year we’ve had a lot of … not disastrous stuff happen. I haven’t had death, I haven’t had horrible things. But just not everything totally going our way. We had to let four people go this year. That’s been super hard, gut-wrenching, so painful. We’ve had some challenges in our business, we’ve had just things … I haven’t been healthy, I’ve been sick.

[22:22] And then the past couple of weeks I’ve felt this sense of anxiety, just out of the blue, which is something that I honestly don’t know what to do with. I didn’t even know it was anxiety, because I haven’t felt … I guess that, in a sense, means I’m very blessed, but I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling like something is on my chest, I can’t breathe easy anymore. And then what do I do? I google it. Waking up at my … can’t breathe easy, and then it’s like weird YouTube videos, like, “How to ease anxiety.” I was like, “Oh, anxiety, okay that’s what that is.” And I can get a laugh about it right now because obviously I’m not experiencing anxiety right now, but that’s what this past week has been for me, for whatever reason, related to hormones, PMS, or not.

[23:13] And it’s an interesting process, if you’re doing this kind of work that I … I kind of know that you guys are in the same space with me because I think that’s why you listen to the podcast. You’re also on this journey of wanting to figure shit out, right? You want to know why you are the way you are. You want to know what makes you happy so you can go look for that. You want to know what’s in the way from your past so you can go and clear that shit out and make space for better things. You want to heal the old, broken things from your past so that you don’t have to carry that shit around anymore. I mean, we all … right? Yes? I mean, fuck yes. We all are on this same path. So, the hard thing about being on that path, which I’ve found, is being really conscious with how you’re feeling all the time is exhausting, is exhausting, totally exhausting. I can remember being 16, being drunk every day. That was fun. [laugh] I can remember being really angry at whatever person for some stupid reason, and I didn’t care why I was angry. I was just pissed off at whatever person. Now it’s like, I’m angry, I’m like, “Oh, what’s my trigger?” The person, I mean, yes they’re an asshole, but … it means something. They’re showing me something inside that’s triggering me and that I need to work on. “It’s a blessing, it’s a blessing.” You know? Motherfucker cut me off in traffic and it’s teaching me important lessons. You know? It’s like [laugh] after a while it’s like do I have to read everything into everything all the time? It’s like I kind of miss living a slightly more boring and more unconscious life, where stuff just happens and you just float along. But yeah, that’s no way to live, also. Those years of my life where I kind … time before finding yoga, before working on myself, before healing, I guess. Time before healing, I can call it. Saddest time of my whole life, I mean, my first 16 years were kind of shitty, that whole chunk was really really really hard. So no, I don’t want to go back to this. But having something like that, like anxiety … Looking it up, sitting with that, feeling my feelings, it’s a really … It’s a really hard process. But somehow I am really convinced that we are where we are for a reason, and at one point I had that week of just like every night I was feeling anxious, I was feeling this … And then I had this idea of like, “Everything is so hard in my life. I couldn’t sleep last night because of anxiety.” Where does that come from? I have nothing to be anxious of, I have a perfect life … ugh, but now everything is hard. The baby isn’t sleeping and my husband is so awkward, and all of this stuff. And I start looking for all of the things that are wrong in my life [laugh] … There aren’t that many things that are wrong in my life, but that’s how it works. If we start looking for it, we will inevitably find it. So if you’re looking at life through the lens of, “Everything is shitty,” yeah, you’re going to find shitty things all around. Every person will give you something shitty on a silver platter and you’ll go, “Ah, I knew it. Life sucks.”

[26:14] It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, at the end. That was my week last week. Being in this little pit of like, “Everything is hard, everything is hard.” And then I’m envision- … like, who was I talking to? A friend of mine: “Oh and it’s so hard and Dennis is so annoying today and I don't know, and then I have to go to New York and do this live podcast, so much hard … hard things!” And then she was like, “What!? Excuse me? You have to go to New York and do this live podcast? Five hundred people are listening to what you say on your birthday in person? You won the lottery!” And I’m like, “What?! What the fuck is that to complain…” You know, but that’s how it goes. Even the most beautiful, heart-felt, fucking amazing things, like I’m going to look back at this night ten years from now, fifty years from now and go, “I had four hundred something people sing me happy birthday when I turned 31. That is the peak of my life!” It is! But even something that fucking amazing, your mind can make it into a negative if you’re looking for the negative. And I guess that’s my lesson that I’m trying to share, is that for us to get to a place where we actually have things we enjoy in life, not just beautiful things on paper, but that heart space where we are enjoying them, where things like this are amazing and up here and not a hard thing we have to do, we have to change our inner state. We have to continue to work on opening our hearts. We have to do the inner work of, “Why am I triggered right now?” Not the guy is an asshole, sure assholes are everywhere. But I am still thinking about that thing, because it’s rubbing up against something inside of me that’s real. There’s a wound there. If there wasn’t a wound there, I wouldn’t give a shit about what that person said or did, because it’s not … it wouldn’t bother me. We have to do that work again and again and again every damn day. And eventually we get enough of those beautiful moments that accumulates, I think, a really beautiful life. And hopefully we can look back when we’re 70 and go, “I felt that.” You know? I lived my life, I took part in my life. I wasn’t some bystander complaining about stuff, but I felt it. I was there. It was hard, and it was beautiful.

[28:25] So on that note … [laugh] I don't know what I’m going to say right now. On that note … did you guys bring a journal and a pen? If you didn’t, don’t worry. I’m very sure you have a cell phone. Do you have a cell phone? Okay, cool. So, if you have a journal and a pen, if you really want … do we have pen and paper too? Yeah, if you feel like I really don’t want to do this on my phone but I don’t have a journal, we have pen and paper. All of our assistants have pen and paper. If you want to just raise a hand, someone will bring you something. So if you have a phone, you know, if you have an iPhone … I don't know any other phones, but most phones have some sort of Notes app. I think? Oh, hello Tuxedo Man. The orange shoes complete this ensemble. Okay, so … we’re going to do just a little bit of journaling as a way to tune in. Okay, so we’re going to do something called stream of consciousness journaling right now. Stream of consciousness journaling literally means that we’ll take a moment to tune back into our heart space. I’ll give you guys a topic, and … I’ll give you the first sentence. I’ll give you the first sentence that you’re going to write on. So, first we’ll tune in, I’ll give you the sentence, we all write the same first sentence at the top of that page. And then you keep writing, write? So it’s an open sentence. You’re going to write it down, and then you’re going to keep writing. If you have pen and paper you’re not going to life the pen off the paper until I let you know, okay? If you’re on your phone, just keep writing. Use your little thumbs, keep going. So the point of it is sometimes when we journal … do you guys have a journaling practice? Some of you? Yeah. So when we journal, the idea of thinking about a topic, “Okay, I’m going to write something heartfelt about this topic,” we approach it from the level of the mind. It doesn’t really become that. So stream of consciousness journaling means it’s like word vomit but on paper. You just let whatever is there come out. And that could be, “I don't know what to write.” Then you write that. “I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write. This is weird. This is stupid. This morning I saw a dove …” [laugh] Just whatever is on your mind. You just, like, put it on paper, okay?

[30:56] So, let’s again close the eyes, just as you are, don’t change anything. Take another deep breath into your heart space. And then as you feel back into that place inside of your heart, our question this evening that I really want us to move a little bit closer to answering is, “What do you long for?” So, in your heart of hearts, what do you long for? And not on that surface day-to-day level of things I want to accomplish or things I want to add to my life, but what do you long for? What is that thing you want to create in your life? What is that thing you want to surrender and release? What is that thing you want to invite? What is the change you want? What do you want the quality of your life to be? Something you long for. Perhaps you want to be free of something, yeah? Maybe there is something really really heavy and it’s weighing on you, and you want to rid yourself of that heaviness. Maybe you’re looking for love, self-love, love with a partner. Some kind of quality you want to invite to your life. What do you long for? So, your sentence is: In my heart, I long for … In my heart, I long for. So, in my heart I long for … So take a few minutes to write, and you keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. Don’t stop. So, in my heart I long for … what do you long for? What do you want to invite, manifest, create, surrender? Okay. And we’re going to add to this. So, whenever you feel complete, or as complete as you can be in these short minutes, just put a dot at the end of the last sentence. And then you’re going to get one more inquiry right now. And that is, “What is in the way? What is in the way between you and this longing? What is in the way? What’s the space between you being here right now, longing for this thing, this experience, this person, this whatever it is you’re searching for or longing for. What’s in the way? What are you struggling with right now? What’s the obstacle that’s there? What’s that thing that you find yourself rubbing up against again and again and again, that obstacle that’s just reappearing. Perhaps it’s a pattern. It’s something that you see showing up in different areas of your life. What is in the way?

[33:36] So, second sentence begins … and I like to add a little unknown in the beginning. So, as far as I can see right now, because we don’t know all of the things, as far as I can see right now my greatest obstacle is _____. As far as I can see right now, my greatest obstacle is … As far as I can see right now, my greatest obstacle is … And the moment you put pen to paper, write on that. What is that obstacle? What is that thing that’s in the way? What is the struggle right now? And everybody struggles. No one has it easy. It’s not … a walk in the park, really, for anyone, this life. We have moments where we struggle, all of us in this room. For many of us that struggle reappears in different ways in our lives. It might be something that shows up again and again and again in different forms. Let’s take a minute on that, writing … and you’re not going to show this to anyone. It’s just you and your journal. So, writing on that struggle, on that obstacle, see if you can get a little bit vulnerable with yourself right now.

[Commercial Break]

[36:02] Anybody feel anything, just doing that? It’s so simple. It’s so simple. I like to talk to my heart the way I would talk to a friend, yeah? Sometimes I try to … I get really into my head about problems that I have, or things I want to fix. And we can’t solve anything from up here if we’re only connected to that place. We need the mind working together with the heart. And we live in this society that’s really centered around everything around the mind, around the intellectual, around the knowing, around learning and school and work and exceeding and excelling and … And I really think that’s why we have … that’s why you guys are here. That’s why somehow this strange little podcast that I do from my bedroom floor reaches a million people every month, because it is an opportunity to feel From The Heart. And we long for that. Man, all day long, we long for that. We long for someone to look us in the eye and go, “Hey. I see you. Do you need something? Can I help you? I feel like you. You’re not alone, I feel the same thing. Just for someone to actually be there and genuinely be present, and not be there and wait for their turn to talk, right? Or tell a story that’s bigger than yours, or give you that super awesome point of advice that they’ve been waiting to tell you all week. That’s, unfortunately, a lot of the dialog we have, even with the people in our lives that we are really close with, we get into this space where we sort of exist side by side instead of together. And we have to make that conscious effort to do this kind of work. And it could be this simple. For me it’s putting on Fleetwood Mac, journaling for three minutes and forty seconds, or however long that song is. That can be enough for me in one day to go, “Hey, okay, I feel that. Okay, I’m back now. I’m living from here.” And if I let too much space go between those moments, then my awareness goes. It’s like everyday goes from here, a step up, a step up, a step up, until I’m living in my head. In my head I see all of the problems I have. I see all the things I haven’t accomplished, all the things I’m not, all the things I’m kind of terrible and I’m ugly or I’m fat or unsuccessful and all alone, because that’s what the mind tell us, a lot, is all the things …

[38:24] There’s a great talk by Alan Watts. Do you guys know Alan Watts? Amazing. And he had, there’s a really amazing talk about the mind and the ego being sort of like the raider on a ship looking for what’s in the way. The mind is always looking, what’s out of place? What’s bad? Where’s the danger? Which is good, in a sense, keeping us away from things that aren’t safe. But if we only live there, we live from this troubleshooter, then everywhere we go there’s trouble. And we have this part that’s just ready to receive and feel and immerse ourselves in all of these amazing experiences that actually make up this life, right? Which are those vulnerable moments where we have our hearts open, we get to meet someone on that heart level. If you really look back to the best moments of your life, like the best, the highlights, the moments that you know, “Man, before I die, I’m going to remember these things,” they are never moments that took place in your mind, you know? From that intellectual place of talking from that space. They all took place in your heart. They all had or involved some shape or form of vulnerability, of you opening up to that space of feeling. Even though it’s scary. Because when we’re vulnerable we also … you know, we open up to things that maybe aren’t only love and compassion and joy and truth and all of those things.

[39:43] But we have the choice. We can walk around our whole lives closed and shut down and shut off, terrified of feeling anything. Or we can choose to open up and to feel and touch on that level of vulnerability as much as we can. … So we’re going to do that right now! [laugh] The practice of sharing, so before we start, I want to share this: The practice of sharing – and when I say sharing, I mean what I call The Art of Sharing, or the Practice of Sharing, which is a vulnerable thing to do. What it means is you’re going to have a partner in this room that you’re going to share with. And now you’re going, “That’s okay, I came with my friend.” It’s not going to be that friend you came with. It’s going to be a stranger. And the reason why this is done with a stranger is because it’s a thousand times easier. A thousand times easier! It really really is. A person that has no idea who you are, they don’t have a pre-conceived idea of who you’re supposed to be, right? It’s really hard for me to share with Dennis. Oh my god, I have to dig into the corners of my life, because he knows me, right? I can’t fake it with him. I can’t pretend with him. He knows me really, really well. But there’s also this idea of who I think I am with him. Who I think I am in relation to my mom. Who I think I am with my friends. I am this version of Rachel, and then I’m that version of Rachel, and then I’m that version. I’m all of these versions of myself with these relationships that I have, right? When there’s a stranger there, someone who doesn’t have a pre-conceived idea of who I’m supposed to be, I can tap into a place of just who am I right now? Like, right now. Not the idea of the compassionate me or the successful me or the really happy me, but right now, what’s there? And sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s shameful. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes it’s dorky, ridiculous. Sometimes it’s amazing, ecstatic, happy. It doesn’t matter, it can be anything, but it’s easier to tap into that place with someone you don’t think you have to perform for or be someone for. Does that make sense? Yeah.

[41:45] So I know some of you guys have been to yoga classes with me before, and I do this in all my classes, so you’re not the first people to ever be p ut into these kinds of circumstances in a room with me. [laugh] But so what it means is you’re going to have a partner, you’re going to share. And when we share, one person shares. One person shares. The other person holds the space. Which is this kind of … woo-woo hippy-dippy kind of term, holding space. It’s something very, very, very real. Holding space simply means that we are present with the other person. It means that we’re there with them, we’re not fiddling around, we’re not on our phones, we’re not somewhere else in our minds. We’re present with them. It means we’re actively listening to what that person is saying. And we do it without interrupting. We do it without giving any advice. No advice giving of any kind, no advice. Even if what the person is saying, you’re like, “I know how to fix their life!” You just shut up. [laugh] You don’t give any advice whatsoever. You don’t even reach out to cut them off if they get emotional, or if they share something that really touches their heart, right? Even that, when someone is sharing from a vulnerable place … if you reach out and you hug them you suffocate what was there. The opening the channel of sharing is shut off and close. So all we do … and this practice can – I say this so seriously – can absolutely change our lives. Absolutely change our lives. All of our beautiful assistants today have graduated my teacher training group, and that’s the most important thing that we do. And we do it twice a day, or five times a day, every day, is we tap into a place of vulnerability inside of our hearts, and we share whatever is there. And it doesn’t mean we have to share a sad story. It doesn’t mean we have to be anything. It’s just whatever comes up, that’s what we share.

[43:36] It can be something surface level of what’s happening today. It can be super deep, really real. It’s totally up to you. The beauty of sharing is that there’s no one at the other end pulling anything out of you. Asking questions, directing the conversation, interrupting, cutting you off. Okay? We’re going to give it a try, we’re going to see how it works. Are you ready? Yeah? Are you ready?

Audience: Yeah!

Rachel: Okay, so it’s going to get a little messy in here, but here is how it’s going to work. We are going to find a partner that you didn’t come here with. So that means if you have your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, bestie, you’re going to leave them behind for just a few minutes. You’re going to find a person that you didn’t arrive here with. One person. Find that person. If you’re all alone in a row and you’re like, “Everyone in my row has someone,” then you stand up and you look around and you find that one person, okay? You can be in the aisles, you can stay seated as you are. Almost all of the rows are even seats, so in a perfect world this would be super smooth. It’s not going to be. Okay? If you need help, our assistants are here. Find a partner … now. … Oooh. Alright. Once you have your person … we’re going to come back to silence. Okay, beautiful, beautiful. So what we’re doing now is we’re trusting in this magical messiness of this life that you have the perfect person right now. So we’re going to start sharing just yet. So if you’re talking, we’re going to be quiet. You and your partner, you don’t need to know what they do for a living. You don’t need to know how much money they make. You don’t need to know what they studied, you don’t need to know where they live. None of that is relevant right now, okay? So we’re going to do a few rounds of sharing. We’ll start with something super, super, super short, and then as we go we’ll add on a little bit of extra time. But for this first moment, I want you to look your person in the eye. What?! [laugh] Okay. And let’s see if we can do that. Let’s see if we can do that without talking. SO, let’s see if we can silently … Okay, silently. And this on its own, silently … So this, on its own, is a spiritual practice. This on its own, being present with another person, is a really important thing to do. So, as you’re looking them in the eye, and you can acknowledge this is awkward … How long will this last? I will never listen to this stupid podcast again! Take a really deep breath. So, fullll breath in. And exhale. Good. Do that one more time, full breath in … and out. And then as you’re looking this person in the eye, see if you can do that without having to fidget. Without making any funny faces. Without changing anything. But what you can do is just notice what comes up inside of you right now. Don’t judge it. If it’s hard, notice that this is hard! It’s hard to look a stranger in the eye for this long. Notice if you feel an urge to walk away. You might feel an urge to want to escape, to look away, to close your eyes. Don’t do that. But see if you can give yourself the gift of just being present with them, yeah? You don’t know this person’s story. This person might have gone through hell and back to sit here right now. You don’t know what they’ve been through. You don’t know how similar your stories are. You might have a lot in common. But right now, just looking into this person’s eyes, feeling connected to your heart, breathing, just being right here … beautiful. Let’s take another full breath. And let it out.

[47:39] So, for our first round of sharing, one person shares, the other person just holds the space. That means the other person just listens. We don’t interrupt. And I have my little bells up here, so we’ll start with the bells, and end with the bells, and I let you know when to switch. So, don’t switch until I let you know. For our first round, you’re just going to say your name and something that has brought you joy lately, yeah? Something that has brought you joy, that has brought you total happiness. Something that really has brought joy into your life lately. And then I’ll ring the bell when it’s time to close, and then I let you know when to switch. So just one person. You can spontaneously decide who begins. Your name and something that has brought you joy. And just share that for a moment. [bell rings] Go.

Audience: [crowd noise]

[48:39] Alright, let’s come back to silence and see if you can still stay connected with your person, yeah? So still keeping a little bit of presence there, still looking them in the eye. We’ll take a really deep breath in, and out. Good. And now we switch. So, same topic. The person who just held the space will now share. So, your name, and something that has brought you joy lately. Go. [Bell]

Audience: [talking to each other]

[49:18] Alright, so coming back to silence. And then still staying connected with your person, and just see how you feel right now, just looking them in the eye, if it’s maybe a little bit easier now that you feel that you’ve shared a little something, yeah? And really scope them out. Who did universe bring you for this moment? Look at them, it’s pretty amazing. So for this next round of sharing we’re going to go a little bit deeper, so the topic you just journaled about, what is my heart’s longing? So that thing, that experience, that life that you long for, that you – deep inside of your soul – your yearning for this experience in your life, what is that thing? And you can, of course, choose how deeply you want to share, but I’ll give you a little bit more space for this round. If you get to a place where the person sharing stop talking, don’t turn it into a dialog, yeah? The person who holds the space, just stay silent. Usually that quiet moment is kind of our hearts taking a little breath … It’s like a little [breath], and then we go to another level of sharing. And we might be surprised by what comes out of our mouth, yeah? If you just share from that heart-centered space. So your heart is longing. One person shares, the other person holds space, and no interrupting, no advice giving, we just listen. [bell] Go.

[50:56] And as you return to silence, stay connected with your person. So, return to silence but stay connected with them. Keep looking them in the eye, don’t look at me, I have nothing interesting to share. Just for a moment become really present for the person who just held the space, notice what it was like to not interrupt, yeah? To not share, not give advice, but to just listen, if it was hard … And for the person who shared, noticing what that was like, what you ended up speaking about, if your longing is the same thing you journaled on, or maybe a little bit deeper … Notice if there is any emotion between you right now. Whatever that is, let it stay. Let’s take a full breath in, and out. Beautiful. It’s time to switch, so the person who just held space will now share. The person who shared will silently hold space. Same topic. Our heart’s longing. What does your heart long for? Perhaps you’re longing for a change. Maybe there’s something in your life that isn’t working. Maybe there’s something that you’ve been looking for your whole life. What is your heart’s longing? [bell] Go.

[52:39] So returning to that place of silence, and the same thing right now, stay connected with your person just a little while longer. And noticing what’s present now … So there’s a lot of emotion in the room, it’s inevitable when we start sharing from a pure place, we are going to feel something. And maybe what you feel is reluctance, like, “I don’t like this, this is strange.” That’s okay, yeah? That’s a feeling too. I don’t want to do this. Notice that, yeah? Acknowledge that. Perhaps you feel joy, relief, sadness, something else. Let it be there. We have one more round. Take a full breath in … and out. And especially if you’re not loving to share, this might be your last chance all year. Yeah? You have a person sitting there in front of you right now that genuinely wants to hear what you have to say, yeah? And maybe you’ve already realized that you guys have something in common, yeah? Probably a lot. Okay. So our last round, that second journaling prompt you just moved through, so what’s in the way? And this is the bigger chunk of our sharing this evening, because it’s so important that we have an avenue to share and speak on that. What’s hard? What are you struggling with right now? What’s hard in your life? What’s in the way? What’s that obstacle? And if it is a pattern, like you end up with the same obstacle again and again… my pattern in my life is everybody leaves me. That’s the story that I tell myself when things are hard. Everybody leaves me. People die, people try to commit suicide, people leave me. And for as long as I’m living that story, I manifest more of that, or I find myself strangely out of my control in places in life where that happens. And for a long time I lived that story without being aware of it. And I was entering all of my relationships with the idea that eventually they would leave. The only way to get to that kind of clarity is to share, yeah? And speak and enquire. So it doesn’t have to be that heavy. I mean, I feel like we’re best friends so I’m sharing everything. But what’s in the way? What’s hard? What’s that big challenge that you have in your life? One person shares, the other person lovingly holds the space. Last round. [bell]

[55:27] [bell] So returning to silence, keeping the connection to your partner just a little while longer, and see if you notice a difference now in your ability just to be here. Because that’s what we’re practicing right now. We’re practicing just being here … without running away. Without talking about the weather. Without having to do anything, just practice saying “being here.” For the person who just held the space, see if you can, just through your eyes, convey some gratitude for the person who shared. Perhaps there was something in this story that you resonated with. Maybe you saw a little bit of yourself in what they spoke of. Let’s take a full breath in … and out. Now we switch. So the person who just held the space will share, the person who shared will silently, lovingly listen. So, last round. What is in the way? What’s the struggle? What’s the challenge? What’s the pain? What’s the obstacle? What is it? [bell] Go.

[57:05] [bell] Alright. So returning to silence and just final moments of connecting with your person, so really give them all your presence now. See if you can do that and still be really present in your own body too. For the person who just held the space, see if you can find a way, just through your eyes, to send some gratitude to the person sharing. Recognizing if you saw a little piece of yourself in them just now. And let’s take that full breath in … and out. And now, finding any way you like to thank your partner, it could be with a high five, it could be with a hug. [laugh] And then, from there we are going to make our way back to our seats. So if you shuffled around a little bit, if you’re in the aisle you can find your seat again. And just coming back to a comfortable space.

[58:37] Alright. So if you like, after the show … After the show you can find your person again, you guys can exchange numbers and go to yoga together. [laugh] That would be so awesome. No, but really, so who got a really perfect partner? [cheers] Yeah. There’s some magic involved, I don't know how it works, but we get the person we need. I find when I do these types of exercises myself, in the healing work that I do, when I take groups and things like this, even when I get a person who is totally silent and reluctant, doesn’t want to be here, that gives me something, yeah? In that moment it’s like, “Man, I can connect with that too.” If you get the most excited animated person, you know, we get what we need in that moment. So if you want to find your person afterwards, ask first. Don’t assume, you know. You guys are best friends on a level up here, but like we don’t know each other at all. But you can, you can exchange numbers and go to yoga, grab a coffee, keep sharing. The beautiful thing is when we tap into a place inside of ourselves where we actually just are, every person we meet is the perfect person. Every single person we meet is an opportunity for us to heal something, to open up to something, to feel something, to come back to the reason that we’re here. And that’s the beauty of this kind of work, is sometimes we think, you know, we go to a great yoga class or we go to a retreat, we go do something big, and we’re like, “All the people there were so amazing. I need more of those people in my life.” But usually it’s us, yeah? We opened up to a new or different version of ourselves, and then we get more of that because we’re emanating something, and people pick up on that. So we can change our whole reality so quickly by changing the inner stuff. That’s something I have to remind myself of again and again and again. I sometimes think I have to change things on the outside. I’m the one who needs changing, yeah? I’m the one who is feeling something, hasn’t had a chance to release something, feeling alone, not talking about my stuff. So, if you enjoyed this exercise, do it more. It’s so easy. If you didn’t enjoy it, reflect on why you didn’t enjoy it.

[Commercial Break]

[62:23] Anybody want to share what you just shared with your partner? Hi!

Sarah: Hi Rachel.

Rachel: Hello.

Sarah: My name is Sarah, hi everyone.

Rachel: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: I got to meet wonderful Olivia. She just bought a kitten named Nora, which is also my sister’s name.

Rachel: Oh man!

Sarah: And her roommate’s name is Sarah, which is my name! So immediately there was a connection, so thank you! We went to the same college.

Rachel: Hey, look at that!

Sarah: So thank you for connecting us, because we’re already planning on having yoga dates, I’m going to take her on a tour around the city. So, I shared with Olivia about how you spoke on exactly what I’m struggling with right now, about validating your feelings. And it’s a struggle. It’s something that will be a struggle for me my whole life. And I know that. That’s okay! And to hear it from somebody that’s so inspiring and really practices what she preaches, it’s amazing and it’s inspiration for me to just, you know, keep checking in, keep moving into my body and get out of my head, and things get better when I move. I love the visual, like moving down to your heart, into your body. Because life is better that way. So thanks so much, Rachel.

Rachel: And how are you feeling right now?

Sarah: Oh, I feel fantastic! [laugh]

Rachel: But I mean this is also a moment of … you’re standing here sharing this.

Sarah: Yeah, I weirdly feel okay. I’ve done, you know, deep yoga training work where you have to share with a lot of people, and I’m not afraid of it, because that’s when you really experience life, I feel. So, yeah. I’m really happy to be here with you all.

Rachel: Thank you. But giving yourself some space also with that, right? So when we feel something hard, or you connect with someone, or now you’re feeling something, sometimes we’re so quick to go to, like, “Oh yeah, everything is …” you know, just to let yourself be there a little bit, because that’s also, whenever we do that, just what you’re doing now, just feeling and speaking it, give a little space around it so that the body can go, like, “Ah. I can life there.” You know? Because even with the sharings and the work we did just now, we’re so quick … like you guys are waiting for the bell, and the bell comes. It’s like … we get back to this idea of something, and it’s really a good practice when we do this kind of work, to once we’ve had an opening, to just give a little more space than we want. Because it’s teaching the body a different way of living, of settling in that space. And you’re doing it right now. So, thank you.

Sarah: Thank you.

[64:54] Rachel: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you. Anybody else who wants to share? Hi.

Lorraina: Hi, hi Rachel, hi everyone, my name is Lorraina. I got to share with beautiful Kelly over here. I feel like we have a lot in common. And the thing that I shared was I’m struggling with something that’s … uh, it’s happening in my family, and I always feel like I have to fix things, and it’s something I cannot fix. So your book actually helped me out a lot, just thinking that I just have to let it go and have faith, and that it’ll work out somehow. But it’s just something that I feel like I’m carrying with me every day, and I can’t really concentrate on my own life. Yeah, but Kelly was awesome, and it helped me out because she didn’t say anything, she just smiled, and she looked very understanding. So, thank you, thank you Kelly.

Rachel: And why did you come here tonight?

Lorraina: Um, well I’m a big fan of yours, I listen to your podcast. And your book really, really helped me out, so I finished it a couple of days ago, and I just had to be here, at least to thank you. And just, yeah, the book really really helped me with the situation.

Rachel: But you came for yourself, yeah? For you.

Lorraina: Correct, yeah. I guess.

Rachel: For you.

Lorraina: Yeah.

Rachel: Yeah. Lorraina: Yeah.

Rachel: So this is you doing something just for you.

Lorraina: [crying] Yeah.

Rachel: Yeah.

Lorraina: Thank you, thanks.

[66:27] Rachel: Yeah, similar thing there, yeah? So that, especially as fixers, as helpers, as so many of us are, especially if we grow up with broken things, you know, that everything we do is always for other people to help to fix, and our attention is there. And then the moments we actually go here and we give ourselves something, if it’s by coming here, if it’s by a yoga class, by crying, by whatever we do that’s just spent time on us, that we acknowledge that, like, “Hey, this is my time. I’m not here for anybody else. I’m not here to fix anybody else. I’m not here to learn to give it away. I’m here for me to fill my cup.” You’re doing that right now, yeah. So more of that. More of that. Thank you, love, thank you. Okay. I saw another hand, like in the same aisle. I don't know how to … was there a hand there? Yeah.

Alyssa: Hi, my name is Alyssa. So this might be a trigger warning for some people, it has to do with addiction. I was at an Al Anon meeting this morning, and I didn’t get to share, and I was like, “Ugh, I’m so angry,” I really wanted to share, was really important to me, I have so much stuff in my heart, and I came here and, like, I didn’t expect to talk to anybody or to write anything or do anything. Being able to share about the things that I’m, like, sitting with, and the things I want to let go is just very … I felt like my higher power, the universe, whatever you want to refer to it as, just kind of … I didn’t get to share this morning, and that’s fine. That’s ok. I needed to sit and listen. But I finally got the opportunity to share with my partner, which was very helpful. And … Yeah. So, I just … I really appreciate that I finally got to get out what I’ve been, like, holding in. Which is really nice. So-

Rachel: Thank you, thank you.

Alyssa: Thanks.

Rachel: And that’s a beautiful thing to have another outlet of that kind, right? It’s good to have a friend that gets what this is. If you feel a release from having this kind of sharing, that you have that one person. Like, I have one friend … like, two, but really one who I can just be like, “I need to share,” and she will know I don’t want advice. Even though she gives great advice, I don’t want it. I’m not looking for anyone to fix my problems, I’m not looking for anyone to tell me, “Oh, everything is going to be okay.” I just want someone to listen. So, to have that person that, if we didn’t get the chance in the meeting, or we didn’t get the chance in the setting, that we can create it anyway, you know?

Alyssa: Yeah, exactly.

Rachel: Because it’s really important, yeah.

Alyssa: Very.

Rachel: Yeah.

Alyssa: Thank you.

Rachel: Thank you, thanks for sharing, thank you.

Alyssa: Thank you.

[69:10] Rachel: Thank you.

Onawa: Hi! My name is Onawa. And I had this amazing sort of advanced space holder, Dorothy.

Rachel: [laugh]

Onawa: As soon as I looked at her eyes I was like, “I’m going to start crying!” And today is my 42nd birthday.

Rachel: Oh! Congrats!

Onawa: And she just … she finished her yoga teacher training, and I’m going in November, to Nosara, Costa Rica. So, we have that. And I shared that I think I get to the point where married, separated, divorced … never wanted to be married. Hated that word “divorced,” and had to heal from it. So every person that came into my life I was like, “No, I don't know if I can trust them.” But I’d still get into relationships. And then I realized I can’t trust me. And I felt fake. I was being phony. And I felt like … I know I’m a better person as a partner. I’m a Libra. I love love. I love the idea of love, I love pink, I love hearts. I’m a chameleon. Maybe you can relate? I don't know. And I felt, and still today feel, like I know I’m going to be a partner at some point. But I now know I gotta work on me. And I have to give me more. And I have two adulting children. I mean, you can do the math, 21, 25, started early. Started early. And now they’re out of the house, so it’s like I’m 20-something [laugh], and I’m figuring it out. So I now know that I have to fix me so that I know what and who to trust, moving forward.

Rachel: Thank you for sharing, that’s beautiful, thank you, thank you. I think that’s such a … ugh, trust, that’s a massive insight. Yeah, to feel like we can’t trust in relationships, and then realizing that I don’t trust myself. I think that’s so true for so so so so many of us, that if we’re always lacking trust in our partners and our friends and whoever, whatever relationship that we’re in, either that, yeah, I don’t trust myself in these relationships maybe to stay or to be fully there or to commit or whatever it is, or perhaps it’s that we’re lacking this general sense of trust and life, right? So if we’re not trusting that life is a safe place to be, how on earth are we ever going to find a partner to trust? You know? We have to first feel safe enough just to be here, to be here in this body, to be here with our feet on the ground and go, “Hey, life is a safe place. This world is a safe place.” Then, next level step is to channel that trust through different people. And this is the same, I mean, it all relates to the same kind of work. If we didn’t feel safe growing up, if we had all of these things happen that it wasn’t safe, maybe, to be here … we have to get to that place of feeling safe and supported enough now that we can work on healing that. And sometimes, or I like to believe … I was having this beautiful conversation with a journalist the other day about … she asked me a question that was kind of like … how do you look at your mother, or mothers in general, the older generation versus how we’re raising our kids now? It’s so different. And she meant it not in a bad way, you know? But I’ve been really contemplating on that so much, because I used to carry so much resentment towards my own mom, and she used to carry a lot of resentment towards her mom. A lot of us carry resentment for our parents for everything that ever happened. I mean, that’s kind of the job of parents, to somehow carry that. But I had this big realization lately that not only do we need to be compassionate toward our parents for whatever happened when we were little, but this realization of what if that generation had to go through exactly that, like all of that bull shit? Because a lot of bull shit … there’s been a lot of bull shit in all of our childhoods … for us to sit here now, today, with these tools, where like, “Oh, I’m working on myself now. I found these healing tools now. I found community now. I listen to these podcasts, I practice, I do all of this work thanks to the fact that my mom went through that, and she was able to give me what she gave me because of her mom.” So sometimes we need 21 years, you know? Of just being a mom, to get to a place of, “Oh, actually, I don’t trust in life. I can do that work now.” Right? So that there’s no wrong turns, really. I don't know if I’m making any sense, but for me this was a very big, big realization when it comes to trust and when it comes to realizing that the time to do the work is right now, you know? If it was supposed to be 21 years ago, it would have happened then, but the time is now. So thank you for sharing that. Thank you, thank you, thank you. … I saw another hand somewhere. I don't know, there’s several mics traveling, so I don't know.

Meredith: Hi, my name is Meredith. I spoke with Sam tonight, my new friend. And what I talked about is that I just graduated college and I’m feeling a lot of pressure to have this stable 9-to-5 job, and it’s really conflicting with my actual passions. And I signed up to come to – oh I’m going to cry! – I signed … I signed up to come tonight because I think that these sort of groups, and especially being in front of you is very important, sort of tapping back into your passions. That’s something I needed, sort of this affirmation that the things I love are important. So I feel like I got sort of a breath of fresh air tonight, and I’m very thankful.

Rachel: Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh man, it’s really hard. We have this kind of inside joke, Dennis and I, of ... Ok, I’m going to try to make this story short. When I started kind of sharing my journey through Instagram and social media and all of this, and then I wrote my first book, and I did do this thing where I … I was supposed to go to college and all of this stuff that we’re “supposed to do” and then I said, “Fuck it all!” And I left my country and I traveled to the other side of the world, and I sat on the beach like a bum for a very long time. And then somehow that led me to this life where now I have something that resembles a career, I guess. So I wrote that book, and then when we were touring the first book, Yoga Girl, the amount of 18, 19, 20 year olds who came to my classes and book signings and said, “I quit college!” [laugh] Or that were like finishing high school and like, “I just told my parents I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to study anymore and it’s all thanks to you and your book.” [laugh] And every time I’m like, “Oh, fuuuuuuck!” [laugh] Her parents must hate me. This is just so intense. But because sometimes I’m conflicted between that because in one way I kind of made it look like this easy thing, you know, do what you love, if it doesn’t fulfill you, don’t do it, go … Life isn’t that easy. And the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that life doesn’t always work exactly that, or at least that quickly. So, I think we have to try to really carefully balance that pressure of, you know, what society expects from us, that 9-to-5 job with what do I need to sustain my life, right? There is, I think, an in between. And sometimes we have to do a little bit of the thing we don’t want to do to build to a place, to doing what we want to do. What I think I inspired a lot of people to do a long time ago was like, “Fuck it all!” Which sometimes works out magically. We had this girl in our retreat, she was so young and she came to a retreat and all she did all week, I was trying to convince her to go back, “It’s okay, college isn’t evil, it’s good to have an education.” And she was like, “No! I’m going to do exactly what you do and just teach yoga and it’s going to be fine.” And that’s what she’s doing today, and she’s fine. She’s a great teacher living on an island somewhere, we’re still friends, and it totally worked out. So I think for so many of us, we have all of the opportunities ahead. We really do. But I am more cautious with thinking about it first, not just in a sense of, you know, maybe we can’t do it, but thinking about it in a sense of, “Am I doing it for the right reasons? And what’s my foundation there?” So that I have a feeling of that longing that we just spoke about, right? There’s a longing there to live a certain kind of life. And if the thing we’re doing is the opposite of that, then yeah, we should start to transition towards something that resonates more with that longing. But usually it’s not overnight, and it’s usually not by saying, “Fuck everything, I’m not going to do this.” But by planning that out and planning that out while being really conscious. So I think in the yoga community we have this idea of, “We meditate and it will come.” You also have to work your ass off to get anything done. But you can combine the two, yeah? So continuing to do this kind of work, continuing to affirming, like, what is it that I want to do? And maybe we have to do that 9-to-5 for a while to get the clarity and the tools to take this step toward the thing that makes our heart sing. And for some of us it takes years, like really half a lifetime. For some of us it’s an overnight thing. And I think when I was 19 I was like, “I don’t care about anything!” Because I had no responsibilities. I didn’t have a mortgage, didn’t have any student debt, I really was in that place where I could say, “Fuck everything.” Now I answer that question differently, yeah, because I’m not in the same place now, and many people aren’t. So, follow your dreams, but stay grounded. That’s my advice. Yeah. Thank you for sharing, thank you guys.

[Commercial Break]

[81:05] Rachel: Okay, who else has a question or want to share?

Assistant: I have someone back here.

Rachel: Yes!

Tess: Hi, I’m Tess.

Rachel: Hi!

Tess: Um, so I was partnered with Ashley who shared a lot of incredible personal information with me. But I came tonight with my cousin. And it’s funny because she wasn’t supposed to come with me tonight. We were supposed to come together the first time, she had a conflict, and ended up being able to come here. And I want to kind of go back to what you were talking about, with our parents going through all of these things. We’ve had a lot of family stuff that we’ve gone through and we lost touch for a bunch of years and now have become closer recently. She had her wedding two years ago that I was able to attend. It is an incredible concept that, you know, we feel like we have to hold the burden of our parents. And we lost touch for, you know, so many years because of our parents. And maybe it was a time when we could have reached out to one another, you know? We had Facebook, we were connected on social media in various ways. But I’m so grateful now for the relationship that we do have and that we’re here together today. But it is a heavy burden, and you can’t always shake it. It’s not always easy because you don’t ever want to feel like you’re going against your family, going against your parents in what you’re doing. Because they’re supposed to be the guiding light. But when you get older sometimes that’s not always true. You realize that maybe the decisions they made aren’t the decisions you would have made. And we’re lucky that our families have, you know, healed that relationship and we were able to come together and we live in New York together. She now lives in Connecticut, we see each other often, but you know, if that hadn’t happened, what would have happened? So it is a heavy load to bear as we get older, in seeing our parents, and I know it’s something you’ve gone through … Understanding, trying to reason with the decisions my parents made. What would I do differently? Can I go against them? And I think having that load of family is … weighs on a lot of us. And it’s something that I’ve, you know, as you get older you learn to cope with and you have to decide what makes sense for you.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s a really long … it’s a really really challenging topic overall, and it’s something that all of us … I feel like it’s a very current topic. Suddenly a lot of people are beginning to awaken to the kind of childhood that we had, and what is that doing inside of us. Maybe it’s my age, because I’m in the age now where people I know are having babies, and when you become a parent you suddenly start reflecting a lot on what our parents were like at that time. But it’s such a delicate balance, that balance between having been really wronged, maybe. Having to carry really heavy things. Maybe even having suffered abuse. You know, not every parent is a “great parent,” whatever that means. So how can we take the lessons and also the blessings that were there? And for some people it means that maybe we shouldn’t be in contact with our parents at all. I think there’s not really like a blanket answer to how should we deal with what was there. For some people the answer is space. “This is not a healthy thing for me to be in, I don’t have a healthy relationship there, it’s too heavy, it’s toxic, and we are better off without them. That could totally be true.

[84:34] There has been moments in my life where I felt that way about my parents, 100%. Like, I cannot deal with another week of this in my life! I need that kind of space. But then somehow after that transitioned to, “Oh my god, I can’t live without you.” Like, fully. And then felt stuck in that! And then suddenly, now, I’m in this space where honestly, for me … writing this book, I don't know if you guys read the book, but I share a lot of not super flattering stuff about my mom in there. And I had a really really hard time, one, writing it down the way it was, completely, because I have a lifetime of altering my reality to fit what she wants. My whole life. So if something … if I knew something would rub her the wrong way, upset her, anger her, I would change that to fit with her. Which means my whole life, in our relationship, I’ve been really complacent, really small, really scared to make her upset of any kind. Always happy. Like, I haven’t been able to be who I am, really. So in this book – and we’ve had a really challenging few year – I put it allllll on paper. All of it. And I had a moment before I handed in the final manuscript of really having to meditate on finding a balance between loving her, like, I love her so much. She’s my best friend. Right now, the version of her in my life, like, I can’t live without her. With the version of her then, which was like the most toxic relationship I’ve ever been in to this day. And she’s the same person, right? So if she was still the person she was then, no I wouldn’t be able to sit here and be okay with that. I don’t think I would keep her in my life. But things happen in our life, and now she has healed and gone through a lot, and it’s good now.

[86:18] But it wasn’t until this book was published that I felt this weight lift. Crazy! And I didn’t expect it at all. It was almost like I had to tell the truth, my version of truth, without really caring too much if it would upset her to realize, oh, she’s still there. There was that fear there, “What if I speak the truth and she leaves or she dies and something happens?” I don't know if this is answering any question for anybody, but I think the relationship we have with our parents, it’s a really crucial process of our healing journey, that we look at that and that we realize if there are toxic things present there, we have the opportunity to change them. They’re not going to change it for us. They’re not all of the sudden going to stop being an addict, stop being abusive, stop whatever pattern there that is not serving us. We can make a change. And sometimes us making a change now, healing something now, also heals something for them. And balancing that with the fact that they’re our parents, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. They have gone through hell and high water to put us here. And somehow we made it here, so there has to be some gratitude there too. We can’t have one without the other. So anyone who is a parent struggling right now, I feel you. Anyone who is a son, a daughter, struggling right now, I feel you. And somehow we all connect, because you guys wouldn’t be here sitting with this, feeling this with this clarity without the mess our parents brought. [laugh] And probably in whatever, many years, my kid will sit in a room like this complaining about her, like, hippy mom who won’t shut up about her feelings and all the pain it cost her. I’m pretty sure, you know, because there is no way of getting it right. But we can do the best we can. And also forgive ourselves when we mess up, because we will. It’s not possible to do this in a perfect way.

[88:05] Yeah. Does anybody else have a question?

Maurie: Hi, I’m Maurie.

Rachel: Hi.

Maurie: Thank you so much for traveling to the nosebleeds, Dennis. [laugh] So I had the opportunity to speak with also Rachel, but different Rachel, beside me. We both connected on this notion of sort of like looking at ourselves in the mirror, but not really recognizing our faces and not really knowing who we are. I think that that’s something that, like, most people struggle with. But, you know, being familiar with your story, Rachel, I understand that, you know, I grew up in an alcoholic home also with a mother who has, like, tried to commit suicide many times. And you become this … you sort of shape shift to be a person in that moment that’s not going to trigger anything bad. And I thought that, okay, well I’m like that, I’m one of four, I don’t want to disrupt, I’m not loud, I don’t want anybody to ever be uncomfortable in my presence and all of this stuff, and I’m just like I’ll just be this perfect person in every scenario. And I was like, “No no no, but when I move out of the house and go forward in friendships and relationships with colleagues, you know, romantic relationships, I won’t be that person.” But you just realize that you … you know, you are that person, you drag it with you. We carry all of these scars. I also, you know, it’s an interesting thing because when I think about one thing that you said one time on a podcast or something, about how we speak about our bodies when we speak about ourselves, but in all actuality you are your body, your self is your body, your one thing. And I think that I am struggling and going to continue to struggle and I’ve been struggling all 22 years of my life with this notion of like who are you? Would the people in my life like me if I was who I am? Would that deter people in my life? Would that … Does that person make my grandparents proud? Does that person make myself proud? And obviously none of my thoughts right now are linear and there’s no ending to this ramble-

Rachel: [laugh] That’s okay.

Maurie: But I just-

Rachel: No, I get you.

Maurie: Yeah. I just want to say that I’m super grateful for Rachel, Rachel … both of you Rachels! And just hearing that from other people is so helpful that other people feel this way because, you know, when you grow up in an Irish-Catholic home that doesn’t practice spirituality or practice really anything to do with mental health, you sort of just exist in this place where you go through the motions, and you never really look at yourself in the mirror or get to know yourself. And I think through a lot of your work you have helped me immensely to get to know myself and get uncomfortable, to then get comfortable with who I am. So, I really appreciate that.

[91:33] Rachel: Thank you for sharing. Thank you thank you thank you. Thank you. Yeah. I had a … no, I had a really good conversation the other day about whichever relationship we find ourselves in, it’s going to be hard because we’re there too. Whoever we’re seeing, whatever relationship we’re on the other end of, we’re in that relationship too. And it’s hard to live with ourselves. And everything, especially if we’ve grown up with any kind of co-dependency, if we have grown up, you know, in a home where there was alcoholism or abuse or any kind of really challenging space, it’s going to be really hard to grow up and suddenly as an adult realize that this is who I am without that. If every moment in our lives up until that point, or when we were kids, was trying to avoid something or avoid angering someone, or avoiding triggering someone, then suddenly, of course, we find ourselves in that same version of, you know, we’re the savior, we’re the fixer. We’re the … whatever we were when we were little, we have that version of us still really present. And if we don’t do this kind of work and we walk around life no knowing what our thing is, not knowing what our trigger is, not knowing that there is a little girl inside of me, like I just shared, there’s a little girl inside of me always waiting for everyone to leave. Even when all the proof, like, as an adult is the opposite of that, even when I’m in the most committed, stable relationship, it doesn’t matter. There’s going to be that little version inside of me that’s terrified of being abandoned all the time. And if that’s in me, I can choose to ignore it and pretend like it’s not there. And I’m going to have things trigger me all the time. All the time. Where I react in a huge way to little things, because I have a fear of abandonment. I don't know if anybody else has that same kind of fear, but that has been the lot of my life has been little things that, actually, looking at them now it’s like that didn’t mean anything. Like, I can have friends go out for drinks and didn’t invite me, and I lose my mind. Lose my mind! And they were like, “You were teaching a yoga class.” Like I was legitimately busy. And I’m like, “I don’t care if I can’t come. I need all the invites all the time from everybody in my life. If they’re doing something in Aruba now, I’m in New York, I need to be invited. I need to know that I’m welcome. And it’s ridiculous! Like totally ridiculous. But I have that inside of me. And if I pretend it’s not there, then I walk around feeling kind of like I don’t belong all the time. Or with the people in my life that I can trust, I share with them, “Hey, this is my thing. So can you do me a favor and just invite me even when I can’t come?” And they do that. It’s so dumb, but I need it, I need it. And when I can communicate that, I have no problems. All of those relationships are fine, they don’t think I’m crazy, and they share their stuff with me too so that I can be sensitive to what’s going on with them. And we all have different stuff.

[94:21] So, knowing who we are, which for me is a practice or a process that has opened up through sharing, through yoga practice, through meditation, through the practice of feeling my fucking feelings every day and exposing the things that most people just keep in the dark. Which is, yeah, when I’m having a really hard week, then I talk about it. Even when everything tells me that this is shameful, this is bad … “You’re Yoga Girl, you’re not supposed to feel anxiety ever. That’s not going to sell well.” I have to share that, I have to speak about that. Because if I don’t, it’s going to suffocate me, right? And we all have that responsibility of … I think it’s a responsibility to not pollute the rest of the world with all of the emotions that we’re letting fester inside of us, but to release them, to clear the air inside so that we can clear the air around us all the time. And that will make all of our relationships easier too.

[95:16] Again, I feel like I’m rambling a little bit, but thank you so much for sharing that. Thank you. Let’s do three more questions, okay?

[Unidentified speaker]: Hi. First of all, happy birthday!

Rachel: Thank you.

[Unidentified speaker]: Oh my god. Um, just like her, my sister’s name is Rachel, and I’ve always looked up to you, so happy birthday. You’re kind of the only reason I have social media is like back in the years-

Rachel: I’m so sorry.

[Unidentified speaker]: I know, right? Like, fuck you. I know. [laugh]

Rachel: [laugh]

[Unidentified speaker]: No, I’m just kidding. [laugh] But I’m vegan because of James Aspey’s podcast.

Rachel: Oh, you’re welcome. You’re so welcome!

[Unidentified speaker]: Yeah, yes! So, um …

Rachel: Are you vegan because you wanted to go vegan or because he’s really hot?

[Unidentified speaker]: No! Like, it just, like, I was like what am I doing eating animals? You know what I mean? It was kind of like that. And then I was like, “Damn, he’s hot!” You know? I didn’t know what he looked like. My boyfriend is right here, okay?

Rachel: [laugh]

[Unidentified speaker]: But happy birthday, and thank you so much for everything. I don’t even know where I was going with this.

Rachel: I think you’re doing great.

[Unidentified speaker]: So it was kind of like … kind of with the mother situation, there’s no questions, but my mother passed away in May.

Rachel: I’m sorry.

[Unidentified speaker]: Yeah, like, she was suicidal my whole life as well. And … it is what it is, right? So … we have to live with it. And … we all just need to … just take a deep breath, right? And I guess the question that I’m trying to get at is since she passed away I’m having trouble meditating and doing yoga like I tried to, used to do. Since I’ve actually known your Instagram, when you were like Yoga Girl, you know? Oh, I went to Path of Love because of you. I know Shuba.

Rachel: You do! That’s amazing.

[Unidentified speaker]: I told her to say hi to you, I don't know if she told you.

Rachel: She does that a lot, yeah.

[Unidentified speaker]: Shuba was like … yeah, I know Shuba. So since my mom passed away I’m struggling with meditation because I’m scared of this spirituality in me which is going to come into my dreams and because I don’t want to believe that it’s real that she passed. Do you know what I mean? You know what I mean?

Rachel: Yeah, yeah.

[Unidentified speaker]: So, I don't know if you have any advice on that. And I have your book and everything, so … that’s kind of where I’m at. If you have any advice, like, how do you meditate and do yoga when you’re reluctantly trying to push it away, because you’re trying to push away this spirituality that you know is there, but you don’t want to be there?

Rachel: Yeah, I mean, it’s a really-

[Unidentified speaker]: That’s a rough question! [laugh]

Rachel: I know what you mean. It’s really hard to be in the present moment if the present moment is horrible. Yeah? And that’s a real thing. You know, it’s a real thing. It’s one thing talking about traumas and pains and things that happened in our past when we can sit here now and feel okay with being here now. Because then we’re processing something that’s done, yeah? And if we’re in the middle of an open pain that’s really really really intense, I don’t think we can use those same tools in the same way, if that makes sense. Because it’s really really really hard to let ourselves lean into where we are when that means accepting a reality we don’t want to be true. So … Yeah. But, I think titration, letting ourselves, drop by drop, open up to what that reality is … and I think the body does this for us, actually for us. It’s not to us, it’s a defense mechanism. If it’s too much, too big, too much too soon … we’re not meant, I think, maybe if we can’t handle the massiveness of that pain, then life gives us little bits at a time. And maybe right now that looks like, “I can’t do yoga right now. I can’t meditate right now.”

[Unidentified speaker]: Shuba was like, “Why can’t you cry?” She was like, “Why can’t you cry?” You know in the horseshoes, the horseshoes at the Path of Love, the little horseshoe groups that you do?

Rachel: Mmhm, mmhm, yeah, yeah.

[Unidentified speaker]: She was like, “Why can’t you cry?” I’m like, “I just, I can’t. I can’t feel anything.” So she was very hard on me on that. So, that’s what I’m struggling getting the block through. And I know that this is not a horseshoe right now.

Rachel: Well it’s kind of like a horseshoe right now.

[Unidentified speaker]: You know what I mean? Like, I feel the feeling … You sound like you’re … I appreciate you but … I don't know. I just-

Rachel: No, no, thank you for sharing. And I think also the expectation of, “I have to heal all my stuff right away, may-

[Unidentified speaker]: So job by job basically.

Rachel: And also May was five seconds ago. So a little bit of kindness towards yourself, the fact that you’re standing here right now, participating in this, going to work, doing the things you have to do every day. Maybe right now that’s enough. And then that you keep coming back to the practices that you know have helped you in the past. Don’t give up on them. But maybe drop the expectation of, “This is supposed to work.” It doesn’t work all the time. We need a toolbox that’s bigger than yoga, right? We can’t have only one thing, because then life falls apart. That one thing doesn’t work, then what do we do? Right? And there are moments in our lives where we need therapy, we need professional help, we need counseling, we need medication, we need … you know, there’s a whole big, big world of healing tools out there, and I don’t think we should limit them to just those few things that maybe worked then. So, whatever you need, man, whatever works right now, whatever works that doesn’t kill you right now, whatever works that isn’t numbing.

[Unidentified speaker]: Well, yeah. I do numb myself.

Rachel: Yeah. And sometimes we do that too, and that’s okay, you know, if you’re self-medicating. But then how can I add more things? Maybe not remove, yeah. So if we drink or if we’re doing something else to numb, how can I add more healing things to my life? And if yoga isn’t working, then something else. These conversations, that friend that listens, moving your body in a different way, pick up kickboxing and go kick the shit out of something once a week. Maybe it’s something super super super different just for you to keep stirring your heart, so that you can feel, that you can be here. And I think with time life opens us back up into a space where we can lean back a little bit more and relax a little bit more, and then maybe yoga works again, maybe it doesn’t.

[Unidentified speaker]: No, I agree. Thank you very much. Happy birthday.

[102:21] Rachel: Thank you for sharing, thank you. I’m sorry for your loss, thank you, thank you. Okay, we’re going to take our last two questions.

Maddie: Hi Rachel, I’m Maddie.

Rachel: Hi.

Maddie: I got to share with Meghan, who has really kind eyes and bore with me while I was really uncomfortable. And I also was going to kind of shrink in a corner and forget about sharing, but then Katie … Katie caught my eye. So, here we are. I’ve been struggling recently. I’m hanging a really big milestone this week for me, and I’ve spent the last year working on myself a lot and digging into a lot of stuff really deeply that’s been really hard and really painful. And I’ve come alive. Like, I was in a lot, a lot of pain a year ago, and I’m not in that pain anymore. But now it’s kind of scary because it feels like I could drop back into it at any moment. And that’s what I was sharing with Meghan, that like I’m not … I’m not deserving of feeling okay. And I really love listening to you by myself, but I don’t really love sharing with people, because I don’t … I don’t feel like it’s worth somebody’s time, if that makes sense? Which I know isn’t true and I would never say that to another friend, I would never say that to another person, but that’s how I talk to myself. So I am ignoring that thought, and I am sharing with Meghan and sharing out loud, and I’m really grateful that even though this is really scary, I got to be here. And also I’m just having a really hard time being by myself and being in my head and being in my body. And I’m hoping that if I continue the stuff I’ve been working on in the last year and I don’t self sabotage, I can keep doing that. I’m really grateful to be here and I’m really grateful Katie caught my eye. Thank you.

Rachel: Is it okay if … Is it okay if people turn around and look at you right now? You’re like, “Oh god.” No, but acknowledging that you just stood up and shared in front of hundreds of people, and everyone really wanted to hear what you had to say, yeah? So if you guys can look at her for just a moment and send some love to the corner. Because you’re doing fucking great. Really, right now in this moment, I don't know the rest of your life, but right now … yeah. That was really, really good. Thank you for sharing, that means a lot. And I think that that challenge of, you know, “I was in a shitty place and now I’m better. But any moment I might just snap back and all of that work is for nothing and I’m going to be back where I started.” Who feels that way? Yeah, yeah. I go through that too. And I had that especially when I was, yeah, moving through grief and things like that. I had really good weeks consecutively, but there was always that feeling of, like, “Don’t hold on to this feeling. Any moment now someone else is going to die and you’ll be back on square one.” Or, I think the mind likes to trick us into thinking that healing is something linear. Like we build one step, and then step two is up here, step three … That’s not how healing works, right? We’re going to go up and then we’re going to go way down. And then we’re going to go up again, and we’re going to go way down. But that’s the journey. And acknowledging again and again and again that I’m doing this work, right? I’m not where I was then. I am where I am right now. And even if you have a really shitty week, a really shitty month, it’s not a step back, right? There’s no going back, you’re just going up. And I think this work … it’s working because you’re here and sharing in front of all of these people. So just keep validating or acknowledging to yourself that it is working. It is working. Is it working? Yes?

Maddie: Yeah.

[106:17] Rachel: Yes. You’re doing really good. Thank you for sharing. All of you. You’re so fucking brave. Yeah. Thank you. Okay, we’re going to go to … to our last question. Okay, hi!

Amanda: Hi. My name is Amanda.

Rachel: Hi, Amanda.

Amanda: I’m here today with my sister. And last Sunday we lost my dad [crying], and his funeral was yesterday.

Rachel: Oh, honey.

Amanda: And I didn’t think I wanted to share, but hearing everyone speak and feeling a lot of things resonating with me. And I just … I felt the need to grab hold of a mic. And my sister saw you, my older sister, not this sister. She saw you in New Jersey, and that was … a couple of weeks ago, and life was completely different. And I was in a place where I was staying at my aunt’s house. And I have had a tough relationship with my father over my life. And I was in a place where I thought I need distance. This is what I need. And I was coming home. He was in the hospital. He had surgery the day that your book came out, so I have it, and I can’t pull myself to open it, but I have it, and someday I will. And … I … thought that I would put in distance and I had talked to my therapist the Tuesday before he passed and I had a phone call with her and I said, “I can’t do this. This is too hard, being here at the hospital with him, and it’s taking a lot out of me, and I can’t do it.” And then the next day we found out he wouldn’t have much time. And I was supposed to come here with a friend of mine from yoga school. My sister was in France and she’s here with me tonight, and we all got the chance to … the gift of time with my dad at the end. Because we knew that it was coming to an end. And it was entirely unexpected, and in an instant everything in me switched, and I said, “There’s only room for love here.” And all of this resentment that I had been holding on to and all of the therapy that I’ve been in for the last few years, and all of that just seemed to dissolve and it just was … this is the only thing that makes sense is being here. And me and my sister spent a night in the hospital when she came home from France, and we spent the night with him. We were holding his hands, and there was only love. There has only been room for love. And I have so much gratitude in my heart that I’ve been able to forgive him. And I don’t want him to leave me, and I want him to stay with me … [crying] Sorry.

Rachel: No.

Amanda: And I’m struggling to forgive myself because I wish I could have gotten to that point a little sooner and … and I want to find that love and forgiveness for myself. Because I can feel it for my mom, I can feel it for my dad, I can feel it for everyone else. And in myself I’m wishing maybe I could have done something earlier. Maybe I could’ve. And I know that’s not true, and I know it’s not the case, and I feel forgiveness and I feel love. And I feel like even though I haven’t opened up a page of your book, I had to find that love so that he could let go.

Rachel: Oh, oh honey. You’re speaking all of the truth right now.

Amanda: Thank you. And I’m really grateful that my sister is here with me. [laugh] So much gratitude for the family that we have, and … I have no idea how the hell we’re getting through all of this. And we’re still so much in the middle of it. And I want him to stay with us, stay with me, and I want there to just be love. [crying] Thank you.

Rachel: You are all love right now, man. … I don't know if you can sense it, but there is so much love in this room right now. Mmmm. Just you standing up, speaking this love out loud, you’ve opened hearts in this room. I mean, there’s 100 of us crying in here right now. That would not be possible if there was anything else but love. So you said it in the very end, yeah? Maybe the love allowed him to let go. Maybe you wouldn’t have been able to get to the place of love if you didn’t set the boundary first, yeah? The boundary, the love, the letting to. All of that is connected because the boundary is the love for you, yeah? Standing up for yourself, showing that you have love for yourself. And then the love for him, you know. I’m so sorry for your loss. So grateful that you shared. I had a fourth sharing round, but we were kind of getting tight on time, but if you guys want to continue this at home or even if it’s just alone with your journal, journaling, stream of consciousness journaling, what we did, it’s a form of sharing. It’s just we’re sharing with ourselves. But if you want to take the final prompt that I had, it is, “What do I need?” Yeah? What do I need? What do I need? So, when you establish that there is a longing there, there is a longing in my heart, there is something I long to create, invite in, something that I long for, but there is something in the way. And we all have that something in the way. And we can’t do really anything about it until we define what our obstacle is. What is that big thing that is in the way?

[112:46] Then the next step from that is what do I need? What do I need to overcome? What do I need to make it through another day? What do I need to make it through this grief? What do I need to be able to be present in my life, here, now? What do I need? And sometimes the answer to that is just I need to ask for help. I need to reach out and literally ask people to help me because I don't know. I need support. I need money, I need time, I need healing, I need someone with more knowledge than me. I need to feel my feelings like this every day. I need to do yoga every day. What do I need? You need to answer that question and then act accordingly, yeah? And then fight relentlessly to give yourself what you need so that you can overcome what’s’ in the way. Because you deserve to live a life where your heart leads the way. You deserve to connect to that longing and live that out loud every single day. I just want to sit here and cry for the rest of the night with you guys! [crying] I love you so much!

[113:48] It’s my birthday, do you want to go out and drink some champagne with me? [crying] What’s a place that would take 450 people at 10:20? Does anybody know a guy somewhere who …

[114:06] Let’s take another moment to close our eyes. So, to close this evening. Uncrossing your legs so you can again ground your feet to the earth. And placing both of your hands to your heart, so the palms of the hands are resting on top of your chest. And as you bring your awareness inward, feeling what’s moving right here, what’s happening right here beneath the palms of your hands. If you get really quiet, maybe you can even hear your heart and what it speaks of. Tuning into that space where you can really listen. That space where it’s safe to be here. The space where it’s safe to open your heart and share and invite other people in. The space where it’s safe to be vulnerable, to be real. Figure out your heart’s longing, and then fight for that every day. Letting your next breath in be brought all the way down to the bottom of the belly … and as you exhale, feeling your heart soften. And as you continue to feel into your heart space, I want you to bring your awareness to something that you have in your life that you are immensely grateful for. Maybe it’s this moment. Maybe it’s your ability to tap into your heart and feel. Maybe it’s a person, a place, something you are immensely grateful for. Real gratitude. And then feel that. And let that gratitude spread from your heart all the way out into your fingers and toes. Maybe let it show on your face, turn the corners of the mouth up into a smile. And then you can repeat, silently, to yourself, the most holy of alll of our mantras: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Say that out loud. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. To yourself, to your body, to your aching, bleeding heart, thank you thank you thank you. Let’s take another full breath in … open the mouth, let it out. And blink your eyes open.

[117:14] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. This has been the best birthday of my life. Thank you guys. I’m so grateful for you. Thank you for coming, thank you, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

[End of Episode]