How To Go From Hurting To Healing favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - November 22nd 2019

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Healing

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

Are you feeling hurt? Betrayed? Upset by the actions of someone close to you (or a perfect stranger)? Wondering how to get to the root of your emotional triggers?

In this episode, Rachel talks about unpacking emotional wounds through the use of observing, recognition, holding space, therapy, and putting the pieces of the wounded puzzle back together again.

Don’t get lost in obsessing over other people’s actions. You can’t control what other people do - can only control how you react what comes your way. Every time you feel hurt is an opportunity to move closer to healing. Taking the time to hold space for your emotions, to express yourself openly, to observe and recognize your triggers can fully change your life. These wounds actually create our realities and are the source of the stories we tell ourselves.

This episode will help you get past hurt, stop wasting energy on people who are stealing your energy and help you open up to feeling more compassion for yourself and the healing work you are doing.

Yoga Girl 014300-min


[001:31] Hi and welcome to a new episode of the Yoga Girl Podcast: Conversations From The Heart. I am sitting in a kind of interesting place at this very moment. So, I just had a therapy session. I’ve shared that with you guys that I started therapy a couple of months ago and I have a session weekly these days. And today I am sitting with a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. So [laugh] I don't know if it’s a normal thing to do with like a million people listening, but for me, whenever I get to actually sit down and just feel into my heart and into my body and talk and share, it’s become a really beautiful part of me processing things, especially processing new realizations or new information, or specifically old information that I’m just recognizing or becoming conscious of right now.

[002:35] Man oh man! Can you believe that we’re already, like, more than halfway through November? It’s almost December already. I don't know how that happened. It’s almost December. It’s almost time to Christmas decorate. It’s almost the end of the year. I honestly feel like our … we had a New Year’s celebration. It felt like that just happened. I don't know where this year went. This year has been a hard year. I have been sharing a lot over on Instagram over the last couple of days in a slightly different way. And I was sharing yesterday – or was it the day before yesterday maybe? – that I’ve had a little bit of a hard time knowing how to communicate or articulate how I’m feeling, especially through social media these days. This podcast, I have said before, I’ll say again, it’s my favorite platform because it’s really intimate. It gives enough space and time for vulnerability, and I think when you’re listening to this podcast, chances of anyone misinterpreting what I’m saying is really really small, actually. One, you’re listening to this because you’re resonating in some shape or form to the things that I’m saying, right? I don’t think you commit to listening to a whole hour-long podcast, like most of my podcasts are an hour long, unless you are feeling some of the same things. So, around this podcast, this community around the podcast is very loving, very open-hearted, very understanding. And of course we can debate and discuss and all of these things, and we all have different things going on in all of our lives. But I can sense this general kind of … almost agreement of yeah, like, this is who we are. We’re all just looking for those moments of inspiration and those moments of genuine reminders that we’re all in this together, right? We’re all feeling the same things. My favorite feedback to receive from this podcast, which is the majority of the feedback I receive from this podcast is, “Wow! That’s exactly what I’m going through.” Or, “That’s been on my mind.” Or, “I recognize that, I see that, I get that,” in some shape or form.

[004:48] So I love that about being able to sit here and speak From The Heart freely. I don’t feel ever on the podcast like I have to filter myself. I don’t pause and really think about, “Hmm, how is this going to be received by the world? Am I saying this the right way?” No, I just share, right? What comes comes, and at the end of a podcast, you know, I’ve never in my life listened through one of my own podcasts before releasing it. Either it feels good at the end of it or it doesn’t, and either way I just … I share it if it’s good. So anyway, the difference there, or where I struggle a lot currently is on Instagram. Instagram was my very first platform, it’s the platform I kind of … things started moving for me quickly, it’s where the community started growing. It’s been my main platform for a lot of years to share and speak. And lately, not just the … I mean more the past couple of weeks, but lately really over the past year or so I have felt a little bit more of a disconnect there, like I have a harder time actually honestly sharing how I feel. And the reason that is is because I get a lot of very mixed comments in return.

[006:02] And that’s the challenge, I think, of being human. I’ve spoken about this on the show before. The one in the one hundred. If we get a hundred people that are telling us how great we are and how amazing everything is, and then one person tells us we suck and we’re terrible, then somehow our awareness, our attention is going to get stuck on that one person. So I have a big, a really nice podcast with my friend Jen Pastiloff, like one of the early ones, if you want to listen a little bit more on that. She shares that in a beautiful way. Anyway, and I find that when we are moving through an easy time in our lives, when we feel stable and grounded and things are good, it’s so easy, it’s much easier for our automatic response to be to direct our awareness and focus on the hundred people that are telling us that we’re great, right? And then when we’re moving through a hard time in life, where we’re challenged or feeling depressed or anxious or whatever is going on, that we have a much higher probability of getting stuck on what that one negative person is saying, right? Because we already have sort of a negative mindset, or we’re moving through something challenging, we kind of look for that a little bit more, I think, wherever we go. So we’re going to notice negatives, or negative feedback more than we normally would, and also we are more likely to attach something to that, like we get confused thinking that there is truth to what that negative person is saying, or the negative feedback that we’re getting.

[007:27] And for me, especially this past year, I have had a really hard time dealing with negative comments. And that’s kind of new for me. I have done this social media thing now for, what, seven years? Six, seven, eight? Look I can’t even count. I started my Instagram account in 2012, it’s 2019, almost 2020. Yeah, like seven, seven and a half years I’ve been doing this thing online. So if anyone is used to and knows what it’s like to receive judgmental or negative comments, like, that’s me. I’ve done this for years. Normally I have fairly thick skin. I’m especially good at kind of weeding through stuff and if I can feel triggered by something or maybe there is a spark of something and it really rubs me the wrong way, to distinguish between, “Okay, is this because there is actually something for me to work on here?” A really good example of that is the super important extremely valuable conversation sparked last year in the Instagram world around yoga and cultural appropriation, where I had what felt in the beginning what for me felt like a total attack. I had people who were writing me really kind of harsh things, that I was stupid and I wasn’t carrying on the tradition and lineage of yoga in the right way, and I’m a white woman, I shouldn’t be teaching yoga. All this stuff. And I was just kind of in shock, wasn’t super educated in that area at all. Also sitting with a lot of white privilege that I hadn’t begun to unpack or really wrap my head around. And my first reaction was like, “Oh my god, this is crazy. You people are crazy, stop talking to me in this way. Stop being aggressive.” I was kind of immediately rejecting that feedback as like, “Stop.” I didn’t want to listen. But then it stuck with me, right? It stuck with me. And the reason it stuck with me is because there was some truth in that commentary. There was some truth in that discussion. And there was a huge side of this entire discussion that I wasn’t … where I wasn’t educated and where I actually needed to do a lot of work on myself. So that was the reason I felt really triggered was because there was truth to it, right?

[009:46] And then there were other comments. So, it’s kind of rare for me to have a big moment like that, but I can really look back at those what I felt was negative feedback, which that was actually super important and valuable, and it changed a lot in terms of how I look at the world and how I interact with the world, a lot of things. And then there are other comments that I get sort of on the daily, like if you get a comment that says, like, “Ugh, stupid bitch.” Or, “Oh my god, you’re so fat.” Or, like, ridiculous comments that just people are just blurting out stupid stuff. I’m really good at not even, like, I don’t even look at a comment like that twice. That’s what you get being on the internet, right? But this past year, this year, these months where I haven’t been feeling super well, I’m struggling with my mental health, a lot of things coming up, feeling burnt out, it’s like my tolerance or judgment or negative feedback or negative comments, I’ve lost it somehow! I don't know. So comments that normally wouldn’t rub me the wrong way, or that I wouldn’t put energy or attention to, I’m suddenly absorbing in a totally different way. And I’ve been really challenged in getting negative feedback on something and then sitting with that all day, right? Actually letting that get to me and actually feeling like there’s truth in what other people are telling me when actually, looking at it later, there hasn’t been, at all. Where I am just kind of making myself feel smaller or unworthy or like I’m not enough by reading into super judgmental and sometimes really hateful people on the internet who don’t know me at all.

[011:20] So I’ve been really mindful of that, which actually has shifted and changed a lot in how I engage and interact on that platform. So, I used to share much freer. I used to be more like, you know, if I had an epiphany or a realization or if struggled with something I would just open my Notes app, because that’s how I journal mostly is just through Notes on my phone, on the go, and I would write about however I was feeling, copy/paste, put it on Instagram with whatever image and share, right? That’s how I just always have done it. And I also think that that’s been why the community on Instagram has grown really quickly and why my posts reach a lot of people is because I have had this ability to really share From The Heart in an unfiltered way and speak truth in some way that resonates with other peoples’ hearts as well. And now, because I just feel like I can’t deal with the negative comments that come along with social media, I am just not equipped for it right now, so I have started to hold back way more. If I’m sharing something, I’m likelier to share something a little more superficial these days. Maybe I speak about how I’m feeling, but I don’t really go … I don’t go as deep as I would on this podcast, for instance. Of course, it’s a more limited forum to share, but also it’s just because I … I feel like it’s not welcomed, I guess, anymore. And I also feel like I don’t want to deal, it’s not helpful for me to deal with that kind of energy online. And it sucks, and I wish I was in this space where I just listened to the hundred people who say that everything is great and I’m amazing, because of course there’s always … the majority is that. The majority is still positive, the majority is still really beautiful and supportive. But because of my inner workings, because of how I’m feeling right now, I’m not in a good place, it’s harder for me to do that. And that doesn’t mean that I’m ungrateful, it doesn’t mean I’m stupid or I’m doing that on purpose, or I should just change my mind and focus on the positive, it’s just I can’t right now. Especially when I’m having a bad day, I just, I want to … I can’t. So I’ve been trying to cut myself some slack, I guess, by just taking a little more distance through social media.

[Commercial Break]

[015:19] And then what’s happened now, I guess, over the past couple of weeks … what’s happened now is just I started sharing a little bit more. I’ve felt inspired to write more. Going to therapy, working with a therapist has brought me a lot of realizations about big things, and in those moments when I’m recognizing them, I have been inspired to write and to share. And the feedback that I got, I don’t even know when I started getting this, but I started getting this in kind of a major … for me it feels like I’m getting it in a major way if several people write similar things to me. And usually how I get it is through DM, direct message. Or comments on whatever post where I’m sharing something like, “Hey, I’m having a hard time, I’m having a hard day,” and someone writes me, “Oh my god. Stop fucking complaining. You are complaining about everything all the time. You have such a good life, can you just get off the fucking internet, start appreciating the things that you have. Do you know there are children starving in Africa? Stop complaining, this is exhausting. I’m unfollowing you.” Comments like that. And obviously, you know, everything is … nothing is personal and everything is personal. So for someone to write that to another person, they’re obviously going through their own stuff and probably feel triggered, because maybe they’re looking at the outside of my life or things that I’ve shared that makes it look all dreamy and perfect. I live in the Caribbean and life is so amazing. And then for me to share that it’s not makes me look or appear totally ungrateful, like I’m not appreciating my life, like I’m a spoiled brat, you know? Not appreciating any of the good things I have in my life.

[017:03] Which I can sit here and very confidently say is 100% not true. At all! And it’s … the only thing it does really for me is makes me not want to share the real thing. It makes me more likely to just … Okay, I have to be grateful all the time, right? It’s not safe for me to share when I feel depressed. It’s not safe for me to share when I suffered from anxiety, because I have a lot of blessings, so I shouldn’t be depressed, I shouldn’t feel anxious, because I have no reason to. I have so many good things. So then I just kind of suck it up, take a deep breath, push those feeling far away, put them in some corner of my soul, shut the door, and then soldier on with my day of like, “Man, let’s be grateful. Gratitude, gratitude, everything is great.” When actually it’s not, you know? I have great things in my life. A thousand blessings, super privileged. I have so so so many things to be grateful for. I am also, I think, in the middle of a burnout right now. I am also suffering from a lot of anxiety these days. I am also struggling a lot with feeling any kind of gratitude, with feeling that just kind of effortless joy and actually really recognizing and connecting deeply to the beautiful things that I have. Especially on hard days.

[018:36] So all it does, sort of, for me to revert back to this idea that I have to just be fine, like, come on, bring on the gratitude. It’s not there, it’s fake. When I try to put on that face, it just, it doesn’t resonate because it’s not going to be real, because it’s not what I’m actually experiencing, right? And what it does is it kind of spirals me down into a deeper level of sadness or a deeper level of anxiety. Makes me feel even more like I’m not enough, like I’m doing something wrong, like I should be grateful, but I’m not feeling it in that moment, right? Because I’m having a fucking hard day.

[019:14] So I’m struggling with that lately, and now the past couple of days I don't know really what happened. I just had a moment of like, “Fuck. Fuck it!” In a year am I still going to be on Instagram? Hopefully not. For the past two years I’ve been wanting to leave social media completely. I would love for the Yoga Girl account on social media to become an account for the community. Maybe for the foundation to do good. Maybe for the brand, for the community, for people to share, for it to be more of an open space where it’s not just me and my story, but other peoples’ stories too. And the reason I’ve been thinking in that way for the past two years is just because … [deep breath] I think I’ve reached a place where I don’t know if the good parts about social media actually outweigh the bad. I don't know if it’s good for me to spend this much time online. I don't know if it’s good for me to spend that much time answering comments and reading direct messages and posting and sharing and doing all of this on Instagram. I honestly don’t know. And with time, yeah, I would love to live a life where I have no pressure to do anything or share anything or speak about anything at all. Where I can retreat into a little cave or, you know, [laugh] go into the jungle somewhere and not be connected at all, right?

[020:38] So that’s kind of been on my radar for a long time and I think I’m moving in that direction eventually. And then I know … then I have those moments where I let myself share something super authentic, like the other day I just shared, “Hey, I’m having a really really really hard day, and I’m having a really hard time feeling like I have permission to share that I have a hard day without coming off as ungrateful or like I’m complaining.” And then I shared that, and I wrote From The Heart and I just put it out there. And I had over 2,000 comments from people who were like, “Wow, I feel so relieved to hear you say this. Thank you for sharing. I feel the same.” Or just, “I see you, I got you, please don’t stop sharing.” Like really really really supportive comments from amazing people. And then I have one of those moments that I have frequently through this podcast of, “Ah!” Like I feel recognition, right? I feel … not in that sense that I’m looking for praise, or I want people to tell me good things all the time, not in any way. Just that I feel less alone, right? I feel like other people actually do feel the same things as I do, and actually that feeling that I have that urge to tell the truth, even when it’s ugly, that that urge is coming from a place where it actually creates something good in the world, right? That urge to story tell that I have all the time to write From The Heart, in the moment, that I have that urge for a reason, because it’s meant to be put out into the world, right? It makes that creative side that I have of being able to articulate my pain, which is really a gift that I have. And I can confidently say that I know that I have a gift, in terms of communicating, writing about, speaking on, and articulating hard things in a way that not everybody has, and in a way that I know can help other people spark emotion and find other tools for their own healing journeys. And I want to keep doing that!

[022:40] So on that note, I have just been opening up a little bit more, also in the hard world of social media. And then whenever I come across something … I don't know, whenever I come across someone who totally doesn’t agree, or someone who just, yeah, thinks I’m a spoiled brat sitting in my perfect life on the beach, complaining when I have nothing to complain about, I’ve been trying to give myself first a little bit of space in that moment. Like, “Okay, here is something. It’s triggering something in me. It’s making me feel like I want to close the account or walk away.” You know, I feel kind of exaggerated emotions around everything these days. Can I give myself a little bit of space just to sit with this feeling right now? And recognize that … it’s not so much that new situations are giving us new things to work with, right? So say someone tells you something super mean … yeah, I could pull up my phone and dig up an example right now, but say someone says something like, “You are so ungrateful, you should stop complaining and just be happy,” right? That’s a pretty mean thing to say to someone who is struggling with whatever, right? At least it’s a quick jump to a big conclusion around someone’s life that we actually don’t know anything about. So … a comment like that wouldn’t hurt me if I didn’t already have that emotion inside of me. So it’s not like other people can ever make us feel worthless, or other people can make us feel less than. It’s that we already walk around with these wounds, we already walk around with those limiting beliefs of not being worthy, right? Of being worthless, of not being lovable, of not being accepted. And then other people, scenarios, experiences trigger that original fear, or that original lack inside of us. It’s already there, right? It’s not like … honestly, it’s not like anyone could ever … and especially that goes for these kind of … I’m sharing this in like the lighter little pains that people share with us. I’m not talking about abuse or horrible things that people actually do to us that causes trauma. But like the day-to-day things that trigger us, that hurt, or people who betray us or abandon us, or they do something mean, or whatever. And it’s so easy to get caught up into thinking, or overthinking, or over-obsessing about the person who said the thing, or what exactly they said. And they shouldn’t have done that, right?

[025:33] So for instance, for me it’s very fruitless to get into a conversation with someone who has commented something mean or something negative on one of my posts online. Totally pointless. I’m not going to … that’s not going to take me anywhere at all. And the best course of action, for me, is probably one, to spend less time engaging online overall. Especially when I’m moving through hard moments like this, to have more time without my phone, to not get lost in this world that actually isn’t even really real. That’s number one, of course. And number two, to recognize what is sparked inside of me, what pain, what wound is triggered by that comment. And then look at the wound. Don’t look at the person who wrote you. Or don’t over obsess about the person who said the thing or how they said it. But look at what’s triggered inside of you. Because that thing that was triggered was already there. It was there long before they said that thing, or long before they did that thing, or long before they betrayed you or hurt you. That wound was already there or there would be nothing to trigger, right?

[026:36] And here is when it gets really good, I think. Or when all of this, for me at least, starts to make a lot of sense. When we are able to sit with our own stuff enough to actually recognize the major major big big big wounds that we have inside of ourselves and how actually, for many of us, those wounds create our realities.

[Commercial Break]

[028:30] I don't know if I’m rambling now, but for me this is like … like going to therapy, having all of this stuff internally happening and moving inside of me, it’s almost as if I’m laying one of those ginormous puzzles, right? You know one of those 10,000 piece puzzles. And everything is totally jumbled. And it’s one of those tricky puzzles where it’s just color, and you don’t really know … there are no borders or outlines of things or images to piece together. It’s just like a big puzzle of color. And I have all of the pieces, right? I have all of the pieces in tact, in front of me. They’re just jumbled. And I’m beginning to piece them together. And with every piece of the puzzle that connects, there’s this moment of, “Ah.” Like, total relief. Even if it’s a small little piece. And even if I have almost the whole puzzle to go, I’m just kind of getting started. It’s every piece that I connect. It’s like, “Ah, okay. That’s why I am the way I am. That’s why these kinds of scenarios continue to manifest for me.”

[029:35] And having a therapist on the other end to sort of mirror that for me, it’s not like she’s telling me new information, it’s not like she’s … she’s not digging at, like, “And how does that make you feel? Let’s move into that.” It’s not like we have a destination where we’re moving, it’s more me sharing things, or me realizing something, and then she holds up the mirror and like, “Okay, so where did that come from? What is it like to realize that?” And it gives me space to just move deeper inside of myself to get to the piece of the puzzle that I already have, right? I already know it, it’s just I haven’t been able to piece it together in front of me. I’m not cognitively, like, connecting the dots.

[030:17] And one of those big things that I had this week, or today, that session I just had today … and this is a weird thing for me to say, because … I don't know, for anyone out there who is in therapy, or if you ever had, like, okay, you have therapy, you’re going to sessions, or you’re talking to someone, you’re getting counseling. Something, someone, you have some sort of support. And then you have this big thing that you’re dealing with and you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got to talk about this thing that I want to try to figure out.” And then you start talking and you realize that the thing that you thought was a problem is nothing. It’s like literally not the point at all and something totally different starts to [laugh] … starts to unfold in front of you. I don't know if I’m making any sense.

[031:01] But so for instance today, this week, or these past two weeks I guess we’ve been doing this teacher training for 23 days and almost throughout the whole training, or the last two weeks of the training I have had a struggle. And I’m not going to share details about it on here because I don’t want to stir up specific drama, but I’ve had an old partnership, an old thing that I created that didn’t end up the way I wanted it to end up. It had an amazing intention and a lot of love and energy and time and money put into this thing to not have it go my way, I guess. To have it take a totally different direction than I had intended for this thing that I created long ago. And seeing that unfold in front of me I really didn’t want it, losing control of the direction of this thing that I co-created has been really really really hard. And then I’ve had a person who was a part of that who kind of is … making things really personal and kind of going out of her way to put up obstacles for me, or to step on my toes, or to create drama, the kind of drama that I really don’t want. But I’ve been sitting with this over the past couple of weeks, of like, okay, we have a dilemma and some things that have to be settled, and just behind the scenes working through this stuff that’s been really sticky. It’s old relationships and personal and business and hard, you know? And it’s felt like a really big problem, like man, I cannot have this shit. This, for me, is not okay, you know? I have to draw a line in the sand. I have to set a boundary. I have to speak up. This cannot continue this way, this is not how this was intended. I am not okay with this. So I’ve been debating this so much within our company and with Dennis, this issue that we’re having, all around the teacher training I’ve kind of been like, in my quiet moments in between or in the evening dealing with this thing, this issue. Because it’s a big issue. And then that’s what I was gearing up to talk to today with my therapist, like I have this thing and I feel like I don't know if I have a pattern and it keeps repeating in this way, but I really needed to vent about it, to get to the bottom of something.

[033:25] And then the first thing she asks, I’m like ready to talk about this thing, this problem that I have, the first thing she asks she was like, “So how was the teacher training?” And I was like, “Oh! Yeah, actually, really really great! Really easy. Much easier than other groups. I felt like this group felt very very very grounded. And it was really true. We’ve done five yoga teacher training groups now, and this group was by far the most calm we’ve ever had. I even said in our closing circle the last day, I started crying in the circle and I just shared, like, after the year I’ve had, this group felt to me like a gift from god. I’m like, “You guys are literally like grace. I don’t think I could have handled a very emotional or very dramatic or kind of a lot of hard things coming up in a group. I’m so grateful that everyone was so self-reliant. Of course in a teacher training there’s a lot of emotions and we … people don’t really always know the big journey we embark on, especially these kinds of trainings, they’re very very heart-centered and focused on healing what needs to be healed inside so that we can connect to our true voice, and then speak it and share it with the world. So it’s always very emotional. The difference with this group, I think, was that everyone was so self-reliant in that, like, “Oh, I’m having a really hard day.” And instead of throwing that out into the group or throwing that out on the wall, like, “Man! Everything is hard for me!” The first response of this group really felt like, “Huh, okay, let me sit with that for a moment.” And everyone was, from day one, using all the resources, all the tools that we provided to deal with their own stuff, right? So where normally we have this huge demand on our team to help people move through really hard things, this group sort of … they did it on their own, right? It was so beautiful, so amazing. And I was in the closing circle sharing that, of just like, you know, “I’ve had a really long hard year, and actually at the beginning of this year I had a moment where I was looking out at the year ahead and seeing all of these big things that I had on my schedule, all of these many tours and book release and so many retreats and trainings and all of these things, and at the end of this long marathon of several months without any break that I’ve had now, at the end of that came this training, this 23-day massive training.” And I said, “Earlier this year I had a moment where I looked at that. I don't know how my schedule always becomes this. It does. Next year is different because next year I’m not doing anything. But yeah.” And I said, “I even had a moment where I just felt massive anxiety of, “Man, how will I pull of my yoga teacher training at the end of all of that?” And I just felt, like, all panicked around it. And now coming out on the other side of that where actually it was … it was like the best training ever. It was so calm. Of course long and hard and super hard work, but there was this level of total groundedness all throughout.” And I got to share that with the group with so much gratitude in my heart. It was so wonderful.

[036:35] And then my therapist asked today, because we didn’t talk for ten days, she says, “So how was the training?” And I said, “Actually, it was really easy. So yeah, I’m really grateful for that, because it was really different for me, a different experience to have a group where they needed me less. They were really grounded.” And then she went, “Oh. So what was that experience like for you?” And I’m like, “What do you mean? That’s a weird question to ask. I mean, of course that’s amazing, you know?” And I was like, “What do you mean?” She says, “No, like what was that experience like for you? Because it’s very different from anything you’ve ever done in terms of groups, to not be needed in that way, right? To not have fires to put out every day. To not have a big, emotional need to fill with every person in the group, or all the time.” And then she asked me that, and I had to really sit with that question, not just like, “Oh, but it was great. The group was so easy so I had a great time.” Because, honestly, it wasn’t true! The natural … what you would think would be the natural answer was of course, it was amazing, the group was so calm. For me, the real answer to that is that’s not true, at all. And actually, what I felt throughout this training was a little bit of panic and a little bit of a disconnect between me and the group. And when she really gave me space to sit with that and she said, “So how did that manifest?” I said, “I don't know. It made me feel almost purposeless.” And as I started to share and she really gave me the space to just share, I started crying, I started bawling, I started really, like, something really opened up for me there where I realized that if I’m not surrounded by some sort of chaos, or I’m not surrounded by some sort of massive need that I have to fill, or a huge thing that I have to solve, fires I have to put out, then I don’t really know who I am. I don’t really know what my purpose is in the world if I’m not fixing something. And because this group, this gift from god of an amazing group, didn’t … wasn’t filled with things I had to fix or people I had to fix or take care of, instead of that bringing me relief and calm, it actually gave me a sense of panic or a sense of unsettledness. It gave me a sense of purposelessness, if that’s a word.

[039:06] And the deeper I went into this inquiry of … because I didn’t consciously know that that was true. I was just like, “The group was great, everything was great.” Where actually it made me feel in every other area of the training like I didn’t really know what I was doing, you know? We had a moment near the end of the training where I was just, you know, everything was so smooth and we’re doing lecture after lecture and class after class and everyone was teaching and they’re doing great, and I was just like, I had to ask the team like, “Hey, is this a good training?” And they were like, “What?!” Like, “Yeah, is this a good training or is it a bad training?” [laugh] And they were like in shock. They’re like, “What do you mean? This is the best one we’ve ever done! This is … we’re getting amazing feedback, this is awesome! Why would you ask that?” And I just said, “I don't know, I feel disconnected. I feel like I can’t gauge in my head if it’s good or not. I don't know. I feel disconnected.” It wasn’t until just now today talking to my therapist that I realized the reason I felt disconnected is because if I don’t have a major emotional need to fill, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what my role is in this world if I’m not problem solving.

[040:25] And it was … it might not sound like a big thing. I don't know, for me it was like … in Swedish we say [Swedish], which means … it’s like you put the coin in the machine and the coin drops down and the jukebox starts playing, or the thing you’re doing begins, it’s like, “Ah.” Like the click, like man, the realization I guess, the light bulb moment. I had that moment of, “Yeah, that’s …” You know. And then immediately I’m like, “Well that’s terrible. What kind of person lives their life that way? I don’t want to …” And I go into this kind of judgment. And she’s like, “Hey, you don’t have to solve this now, you don’t have to put a label on it or good or bad. What is it like to just sit with that, just to sit with that recognition or that realization of, ‘Yeah, I don't know who I am when I’m not lifting someone else up, when I’m not holding someone else up, when I’m not saving someone, when I’m not putting out the fires, solving the problem, moving through the challenge, moving through the struggle.’” Without those things I don't know what my purpose is, and then I immediately start to doubt everything I’m giving, you know? So I don't know, are my classes good or bad? Are my lectures good or bad? Is the group good or bad? Is the training good or bad? I lose all connection to everything and I don't know, because I don’t have that fire to put out.

[042:04] It’s, for me … and then all of the sudden as I’m sitting with that I realize, like, oh, so over the past couple of weeks these other issues that I’ve had, that problem that I thought was major that I was waiting to bring her, about this old partnership/whatever, I’m like is it even a problem? Is it even that big of a deal? If I had a regular type group that was extremely demanding, where I was problem-solving every day, or sitting with someone who is in tears every day, piecing things together every day, would I have even looked at this situation, or would I maybe just have had someone else deal with it? Because that’s, you know, in the big scheme of things we have so many things going on, so many projects and businesses, I don’t deal with everything personally all the time. So I’m kind of thinking, like, “Hey, if I was busy fixing something else I probably wouldn’t have spent this much energy on this problem, and it probably wouldn’t have felt as massive of a problem as it does now.” So yeah, it’s a problem, it’s an issue, but I made it much bigger than it had to be. I totally inflated this thing and blew it way out of proportion. Or it is a big problem, but I made it my biggest problem, right? I made it really, like, I put the problem right in front of me, and then I woke up every morning looking at it all the time. You know? I brought all of my awareness to the thing, that struggle.

[043:38] And it’s kind of a ridiculous … realization, but I did that, right? And then I’m looking back at my life and I’m trying to sit with, well when are things totally effortless for me? When do I have this sense of total ease and total peace? When am I not putting out a fire in my life in some way? The answer to that is never. It never … it never happens. And it doesn’t really matter what my life looks like, you know? Usually it’s business stuff and it’s … I’m justifying it to myself by, “Yeah, we have a big business. We have a lot of employees. We do big things. We have a big community. Blah blah blah.” Like, it’s normal that I’m dealing with all of this stuff all the time, more than other people. But I’m realizing now that this burnout, this exhaustion that I’m feeling all the time, this tiredness, this sense of like, “Man, I can’t do it,” it doesn’t come from the externals of my life situation. It doesn’t come from the fact that I’m working a lot and I don’t have enough days off. Which is what I really thought. I thought that okay I’ve burnt out. I just need to go on a vacation and I’ll be fine. I’ll just take a break from doing so many groups next year and it’ll be fine. I’ll slow down and it’ll be fine. It won’t be fine! It won’t. I mean, it will help, of course, to slow down and cut things off of my agenda and all of this, give myself some space. But the root of the problem is not in the amount of things that I’m doing or the energy I put into my work. The root of the problem sits inside of me, and that very limiting belief, that core idea that I have that my identity lies in fixing and saving other people.

[Commercial Break]

[047:03] Imagine living your life with … and actually believing, you know, not consciously in my head, because I can be objective about it and be like, “I know that that’s not my job. I know I need to spend enough time filling my cup. I can answer those questions as an adult in my brain, yes. But on that core level of being, really being confused and thinking that, yeah, that’s my point in life, right? The meaning of my life. My purpose in this world is to save other people and to fix other people and to be there for other people. Which, of course, is a big reason as to why I do this work in the first place [laugh]. You know, I’ve created a career, a life, a line of work, a brand around this kind of emotional work. That’s not by accident. No! I’m really great at it! I’m really, really, really good at it. Like, ask anyone who has ever been to one of my classes. There is something beautiful that’s come out of it, because I’ve been able to create cool stuff with it. But the root/core cause of it is something really exhausting. Something really really really heavy. And living your life that way all day every day, constantly having to have a problem to solve to feel like you have a purpose in life, that’s the burnout, right? That’s the exhaustion, thinking that what matters is what I provide for other people, not just who I am. That’s where the exhaustion comes from.

[048:41] And now this is all just … it’s exhausting talking about this, because I’m still piecing this together in my head. And another piece of this that’s hard for me is, okay, so a lot of this of course relates to my mom and her being depressed and her trying to commit suicide when I was little. Everything stems back to that. And then I have this relationship with my mom today where it’s really good and she’s a fantastic grandma, and I love her so much, and she’s so present in my life. She’s a totally different person today than she was then. So how do you balance that? I got this question from a couple of people in this training, actually, who were dealing with similar things of, “Hey, I have these traumatic things that happened in my childhood, but now my parents are really trying. My parents are really present now. They’re really working through their stuff now. So how can I balance that, appreciating them now while still dealing with the pain and the trauma of what was then?” And my answer to them, I’m realizing now, is the answer to myself, which is that, you know, it’s a wonderful thing, of course, to have our parents turn around and realize what was lacking when we were little and do their very best to provide now and be the best parents they can be now and be present and giving and loving now. But, it doesn’t change anything from what was then. It changes what is now, and it changes where we go into the future, but that big wound that you had when you were little, it’s not going to make a dent in that wound, because what was then has already been. And those formative years, our first years, like 0 to 7, those are the years that shape us the most, everything that happened in that early childhood time, we can’t really fix it by watching our parents act differently today. Of course it’s great, and obviously if we can choose between having that or not having that, of course we choose having that, but it’s really hard to have that conversation with our parents, I think. And I think probably we shouldn’t, because this is work that we have to do on our own, now, you know? That wound is inside of me now, and I gotta do what I gotta do with what’s mine.

[050:58] So for me to sit with that and realize, like, hey, since I was very little I decided that it’s my job to keep my mother alive. That’s a pretty big person in your life to save, right? To feel responsible for. It’s a pretty big job. Big fire to put out. Big responsibility to carry, but problem to fix, you know? Big heart to hold. And making that my job when I was little, it stayed my job as an adult, except now I see my mother in every relationship that I have and every person that I meet. And I take on that role of the provider, the fixer, the person who holds the space, the person who saves, the person who hugs, the person who gives the great advice, the person who helps. And now I’ll take any relationship and I’ll somehow find myself in that role. And that’s the exhaustion. That’s burnout. That’s the pain.

[052:07] And my job now is in little bits at a time, give myself the space to feel the things I couldn’t feel then and to express the things I couldn’t express then. So, in a sense, I think right now I … it’s super strange because I’m 31 years old and I have a good life, all of those things, and I’ve done so much work around my childhood and wounds and personal development, I mean, man! For the past, what, 12-13 years I’ve done so much work around this, but somehow now, at this moment in time, I find myself mourning my childhood, like in a really major way. And I think I probably wouldn’t be able to do that if it wasn’t for me having Lea Luna reflecting back at me, you know? That freedom and that joyful childhood free of responsibility, free of that kind of trauma and pain. So it’s like she’s opening the door for me to really sit with and look at my own. And my therapist asked me today, “Can you pinpoint the moment or the point in your life or in your childhood where you lost that spontaneous freedom of just being a child? Of just being able to play, that lightness that you had, that’s what your childhood is supposed to be. That freedom, that lightness, that beauty, that playfulness. Can you pinpoint the moment it was lost?” And I sat with it and I sat with it and I sat with it, and I couldn’t. And the reason I can’t pinpoint the moment it was lost is because I can’t remember a time when I had it.

[053:56] And then, you know, okay, so can I sit with that? What’s it like to allow yourself to feel some of that pain or to sit with some of that disappointment and direct that energy to the right place instead of recreating similar situations in my life today that’s causing me a lot of harm, a lot of self-sabotage, a lot of pain, a lot of drama. Instead of doing that in other relationships, can I just sit with my inner child and mourn what I didn’t have, what I didn’t get? [deep breath]

[054:37] So I guess that’s what I’m doing right now. Maybe that’s what this depression is, if it is a depression, I’ve been really reluctant to call it that because I’m extremely high functioning and everything is so wonderful in so many ways. But maybe that’s what this is. It’s a mourning of sorts. And perhaps that’s a part of what motherhood is is stepping into the role of the mother so that we can mourn what was lost as kids. Because we all have something, right? We have it to varying degrees, we have varying degrees of trauma and varying degrees of pain that we’re holding today from something that was old. And some people move through similar things and just, you know, totally different ways. So we can’t really compare our journeys to anyone else’s. And if it’s one thing I can sit here and be really really sure of is that there is nothing ungrateful about moving through this kind of stuff. There’s not an ungrateful bone in my body. And sharing, it’s not the same as complaining.

[055:54] And I think I’m going to try really hard to be a little more compassionate toward myself and a little kinder toward myself and allow myself to share the genuine reality of my own situation when it feels good to share. So that’s my plan. [laugh]

[056:20] Are you feeling any of the things I just shared, or resonating with any of the things I just shared? Or feeling a similarity or a parallel with your own life? I would love to know. I really, really would. So share it on social, if you’re present there. You can tag Yoga Girl Podcast or tag me in the post and then I’ll see it. You can email me. [laugh] You can write it on the community board on, that’s where I’m most present these days. That community board is, at least for me, it’s the safest space that we have, because it’s social media-free, I think. It’s just us, you guys. But yeah. Thank you for listening, thanks for giving me this space, and I’ll see you next week.

[End of Episode]