You Are More Than What Happened To You - Identifying and Healing Trauma with Shubhaa Kassima Fisher favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - January 3rd 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Healing, Exciting Guests

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

So many of us are struggling to heal from traumatic events that took place in our past. If you have suffered through loss, separation, disease, abandonment, abuse, neglect... You are not alone.

Trauma is not identified by what happened to us, but by our ability to respond. We often minimize trauma by saying “it could have been worse”, but when something comes our way and it’s too fast, too much, and too soon it can leave us in shock and suffering for years to come.

In this episode, Rachel is joined by trauma therapist, psychologist and Path of Love leader Shubhaa Kassima Fisher. Together they identify and unpack trauma, dive into how to begin the road to healing, and answer many questions around the topic of trauma and overcoming adversity.

Life is full of ups and downs, valleys and peaks, highs and lows. Those lower vibrational emotions, such as anger, frustration, and loneliness can get trapped in our hearts. The process of healing will only begin once we acknowledge them, and once those feelings are validated and metabolized. If you’re reading this, you have probably already felt the desire to heal!

There is no better time than now. This episode will help you to acknowledge your own trauma and shine the light on a path forward to help bring you closer to healing. Shubhaa also shares a profound example of the power of healing trauma in her own post-partum recovery story. Tune in to begin the journey!

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Key Takeaways

  • Trauma is defined not by the circumstances of what happened to you, t by your ability to respond.
  • When your mindset shifts from living in trauma to acknowledging the longing to heal, the road to healing begins.
  • Find the safety to feel your feelings. Don’t try to fix or overcome, just allow them space and validation.
  • If you are healing from trauma, a powerful tool is to imagine what you would have needed in that situation and envisioning the support you needed at the time.
  • It is easier to heal from trauma with someone to hold your hand and help you through your healing. Reach out and ask for help!
  • Set boundaries for yourself and try to keep from projecting your negative feelings on others. In difficult moments, turn to something simple that makes you feel good such as yoga, cooking, or spending time in nature.

About Path of Love

To learn more about the Path of Love experience from Rachel’s view, click here.

To sign up for Path of Love, please go to this affiliate link and use code YOGAGIRL (for every person signed up, we get a kickback to use toward scholarships for people who cannot afford to go).

For more information on Shubhaa, please visit her website here.

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Transcript

[0:02] Hi, and welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, “Conversations from the Heart.” Today, I have someone very, very dear to my heart on the show: my friend, my teacher, my sister, one of my all-time favourite people in the whole world, Shubhaa Kassima Fisher. If you have read my latest book, To Love and Let Go, you already know a little bit about her because she’s featured in Chapter 20 as the teacher that I had in my Path of Love process that really changed my life. As a therapist extensively trained in trauma resolution and with a master’s degree in psychology, Shubbha has 25 years of experience in helping people heal trauma and childhood wounds, with a very special focus around conscious relating, intimacy and couples dynamics. I am so grateful and honoured to have you on the show Shubhaa, welcome to the Yoga Girl podcast.

Shubhaa: Oh, thank you so much.

Rachel: How do you like this intro for you? Was it good?

[both laugh]

Shubhaa: Aw, you warm my heart. It's really a pleasure to be here. And all that is also like, you know, what I feel for you too, you’re so dear to me.

Rachel: It’s so lovely to sit here, finally. We have our babies in the pool with our husbands.

Both: Yeah.

Rachel: It’s like a very special time.

Shubhaa: Oh, sweet.

Rachel: I am so happy to have you on the show. I was sharing a couple of weeks ago on the podcast that I was hoping to have you here. I’ve kind of mentioned you on the podcast, I’ve spoken about you in the book, but for people who are listening and maybe they have no idea who you are, could you share a little bit with us what you do?

Shubhaa: Of course. I’m from Brazil and I live part of the time in Sweden, in Stockholm, which I love. I love to be there. I love Swedish people. And I have been studying about people, and about myself, of course, and that has been a long journey. Has been started actually when I was a missionary in the church. Yeah. So I went to India in the name of Jesus, and I went there to somehow talk about Jesus and uh…

Rachel: This sounds to me like another person.

Shubhaa: I know.

Rachel: I cannot imagine you.

Shubhaa: It’s such a long time ago, it’s almost a past life. And then actually I found for the first time meditation. And I started to be very curious what it did to me. And the cause and effect also to people around me, and friends. And that came like a glove and a hand to fit in what I was doing, because I was in my psychology university at that time. Yeah. And it made the whole difference of how to…explore the humankind, starting within myself, therefore, with people, which I love to do.

Rachel: So you were always interested in psychology even before.

Shubhaa: Yes, yes.

Rachel: How do you think it has impacted your practice and your learning of psychology, meditation? Because a lot of people go down the regular route of master’s degree in psychology, you become a psychologist, you have a practice…and you do it in a little more…how do you say…like a holistic way, with meditation, and…

Shubhaa: Yeah, meditation was a turning point for me. It was really the division of the waters, I must say. Because somehow, the space that I could go inside of myself and…that I don’t need to pretend to be anything, and I don’t need to achieve anything, so there’s nothing to be done, nowhere to go. It’s just this space that I can just close my eyes and even is so turbulent inside, it’s like "let it be." So that space that I can just relax within and even, you know…it’s not easy, many times actually, to sit and to just close the eyes and be there. But something starts to recognize that I have a very safe space inside to just be. And that for me makes a whole difference. And also working with people in that way is always a reference, that I can go inside of myself. That that will never be taken away from me. And that, I find that very precious. And of course you cannot “do” mediation. It’s something that you cannot do with your hands. Like “now I’m going to be very quiet inside." It’s impossible. But you can prepare the soil, like you can practice that again and again, like having the space for that and then suddenly silence just takes you. It’s a space, even if its just a little bit of moment, like to relax inside…and there is this pause and then suddenly the whole system is recharged. Yeah.

[5:06] Rachel: So when you found meditation in India, did you leave your missionary ways…

Shubhaa: [laughs]

Rachel: …behind right away? Was like a totally life changing thing, or was it little by little?

Shubhaa: No, was a…was very intense time [laughs]. Yeah, what I can say is that I left the church. I left the concepts and the dogmas and the ideas about it that I was very restricted, very rigid. But that feeling of working with people and being with people that remained, actually, it became even more expanded inside of myself. Yeah, so I feel that that heart of being there for people and also exploring together with people, that has been growing since then, even more.

Rachel: And now you’ve been working as a psychologist, as a therapist, with a focus on relationships, and intimacy, and healing trauma, and childhood wounds for, for how long?

Shubhaa: It’s gonna be, yeah, it’s 25 years already.

Rachel: That’s a lot, a lot of people you’ve seen.

Shubhaa: Yes, yes it has been. And I must say that I can’t stop being wonder every time that something…every retreat, every person that I meet, every breakthroughs that happens…

Rachel: Is always new.

Shubhaa: …it’s always new. It’s so touching, to see what is possible to all of us in this path of self-exploration, self-development, doesn’t stop.

Rachel: Right. No, I wanna…because I’ve…I talked about this on the podcast a lot, I think. Well you and I, we just finished our Healing the Heart retreat that we’d done twice this year.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: Which is different from the regular yoga retreats that I lead, so it’s kind of a merge between…or merging the yoga with the healing experience — the somatic work, the meditations, the…therapy, the all of it, in like a big pot that we’ve beens stirring just this week with these magical participants that we have.

Shubhaa: How wonderful is that week?

Rachel: What a ride. [laughs]

Shubhaa: Wow. Wow. It was amazing.

Rachel: And it’s hard because you cannot really explain to anyone. People ask “Oh, how was the retreat week” and then you smile and you say “it was great” [laughs]. It is so hard to put into words…

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: …and I think anyone who’s experienced healing in that sense, that you, you have an experience where you have support or tools and you leave feeling…feeling the feeling of having healed something, or stepping deeper into the journey of healing, or, like a puzzle piece clicking, you know, its very hard to explain with words what it feels like.

Shubhaa: Yeah, yeah.

[7:51] Rachel: And for me, the first time I, I had this similar type of experience for myself was when I was, I was eighteen — I’ve shared this on the show a couple times — and, uh, I went to a retreat center in Sweden for a process, so for a…like a holistic therapy retreat, the kind of retreats that you lead now, but it wasn’t with you.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: In Sweden.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: And I did two of those groups, and then I, uh, had the big realization that came, for me the biggest piece was I need to live my own life. That was really a big, big one for me, I had my whole life, 18 years, bending over backwards to please everybody else, to try to take care of everybody else, and I didn’t have one breath of space in my life where I listened to what I wanted to do.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: And then I left. So I left Sweden, I left family, left my past, left my pain. Started a new life in Costa Rica, and then started on this journey that led me to yoga, and Yoga Girl, and Dennis, and all of these things…teaching, and becoming, you know…this podcast and everything that’s come along with that, so it’s kind of started in the same roots, with the same work and the same community that you do. And I met you at that time.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: Yes we did, many years ago. Amazing, no?

Rachel: So many years ago, and I remember this so clearly. I think I was nineteen, I had…I had been away from Sweden for like a year. And it was the year of my life where I…it was really, I came back a new person and it was anyone who knew me at that time could really say, like, “Rachel found herself.” Like I was totally, totally new life. And I was coming from Costa Rica back to Sweden for my…I think my brother was graduating high school or something…and my mom threw a party in the house that we had…

Shubhaa: Yes, exactly.

Rachel: …on this island where she lived.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: And you were there. [laughs]

Shubhaa: Yes, yes.

Rachel: So strangely.

[9:44] Shubhaa: So…and I remember that when I came into the kitchen was the first time that I saw you, and I came into the kitchen and then you were there in this amazing dress. And I look at you, and I felt like “Whoa, there is a light here.”

Rachel: [laughs]

Shubhaa: And then I, I told your mom, I said like “whoa, you have a very pretty light star daughter.” And then she said “I know, I know.”

Rachel: [laughs]

Shubhaa: I said “she’s so pretty,” and she said “I know, isn’t she.” So she was very proud of you, and I remember that was very impactful see you in your beauty, in your…something very bright in your energy.

Rachel: And if you would’ve met me one year earlier, it would’ve been a totally different experience, because I was really heavy, weighed down, sad. And then I, I got to have this experience of merging this very special kind of meditation with this trauma healing type of work, which was really…I could feel physically lighter, I felt visibly…like I had light inside, which I never experienced, and I had that, that year, especially, people would stop me in the street and go “hey…wow” and just say, like “ how are you?” and “you, you looks so happy, what is…what…?” They would ask me “what did you do,” like I had some magic powder or something.

[both laugh]

Rachel: Because that’s how I felt. I had one year of kind of, uh, looking at the world with these eyes of “everything is amazing,” because that was the feeling of release, having let some of that heaviness go from my past. It was very visible.

Shubhaa: Right, yeah. That’s spot on, thats actually what happens when you really go deep in such, uh, work within yourself. People look at you and say like “wow what did happen to you?”

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: Yeah.

[11:35] Rachel: And I think the people who just left our retreat, we talk about that a little bit, reintegrating to our regular lives, and how it is so visible. So I think this is such an interesting question because…for anyone out there — and we had so many questions sent in around trauma, around childhood pain, around recent pain, anything that weighs us down, makes us feel like we cannot live life all the way because we had something really hard happen in our lives — how is there even such a thing as beginning down the journey of actually fully healing something? Because so many people out there have a really really really hard hard hard experiences in their past, and uh…that…I think that the longing to relieve ourselves of it is so intense…

Shubhaa: Absolutely.

Rachel: …that we don’t know where to start.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: You know? And not everyone has these, uh, you know, retreats at their fingertips. They go to Aruba and spend one week immersed, you know? People have regular lives with kids, and work and you know…so how does this, in your view, how does this process work and does it work?

Shubhaa: Right. Yeah. It does. It does work…I, I…yes. I feel very confident to say that because I have been seeing that, and also in my own life, it does work and there is a hope there. We are very much designed and wired to…heal…with things that has happened and happens to us. Absolutely, I can say that. I think the first thing that comes to me when you mention that is we are not only the things that happens to us. If you see, like, the pain that we cross in life, and the difficulties, and absolutely impactful situations…we are not only that. There is much more also that makes us to survive, makes us to be here, alive, and that also needs acknowledgement, because if you’re just focusing the things that, uh…the bad things, and the things are very hard, they are there of course, and they are very difficult to cope. But they are not us as a whole. There is other parts in us also that makes us to keep on going, that makes us even to ask that question, “is that possible?”

Rachel: That it can feel like that. Like if we’ve had a trauma, like, like that’s our whole lives.

Shubhaa: Yeah. Yeah.

Rachel: So someone who might be working through or…or experiencing something really heavy, and it’s like the lens is really small…

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: …and then we look at the whole world from this place of the wound.

[14:26] Shubhaa: Yes, and this is exactly what trauma does to us. Is like makes us to, to see from one…only from one lens, you know? It’s like life becomes very rigid, very narrow, and everything that you see in the world is from those kind of eyes which has had experience in the past, or even now the difficulty is there. What we can call it is trauma, or a painful situation, so everything else you just see through those lens. And this is the delicacy here, that we needed to…that I wanted to say: we are not only that spot that is very intense. That’s why it becomes huge and spread all over our lives. But if you really see, there is more than that. Like what makes your day to…go on? What makes you to even ask the question “can I heal myself?” If you really see there is a spot, even if it’s tiny tiny little one, but there is something inside that wants to knock at the door of healing, a door that wants to say “I want to open actually, to something new. Is there any hope for me?” Who is asking those questions? Who wants to heal? Is not trauma in itself, it’s not the pain in itself, it’s something there that wants a way out. Something there that wants to breathe, that wants to say, like, “I want…I want a turn of direction here, is there any chance?” That spot needs also recognition. Does it make sense when I say that?

Rachel: Yeah…yeah, yeah.

Shubhaa: And, uh, when you started to realize that “aha, there is a space inside that wants something different,” and then you bring a little bit of attention to that spot, maybe you’re going to start to see that actually there is a being there that is longing for life. That is longing for healing, longing for something different than just trauma and pain and disillusion.

Rachel: And when you bring more attention to that part of ourselves, that…that longing to heal, that longing to have a good life, that part that continues and carries on, then we can do something.

Shubhaa: Yes because then…

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: …that part gets enhanced by your attention. That part actually starts to have a bit more of energy, because you’re looking and saying “oh, wait a minute…oh yes, there is a part in me that wants to knock at the door of healing or something different than just pain. And let me give a little bit of attention and energy to that part.” How that part feels like, what that part wants. How does it sound like. And then you’ve started to somehow shift a bit of your orientation out of the trauma, and going a little bit towards what I call the Resources, the part that you see has life also, not only pain.

Rachel: And what is…what constitutes a trauma?

Shubhaa: Trauma, basically, I wanted to say…trauma is not in the stories. People tend to think that I have a very traumatic life based in your stories, or I don’t have any trauma, also based in stories. Trauma is not stories, is actually the capacity or not being able to respond the circumstances or the situations that has happened to you…so…. And basically when something is too much, too fast, and too soon, that doesn’t give capability to your system to respond that situation, and then that amount of energy that wants to get mobilized, it’s stuck in the nervous system, and that can be called as trauma. So…

Rachel: Because sometimes we minimize things, right?

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: So “oh, that’s no so bad.”

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: You know, "other people have horrible things.” But something that for someone can be very traumatic, the same circumstance for another person maybe is not.

[18:35] Shubhaa: Exactly. Exactly. And then some people have crossed super difficult situations and they have their resilience and the…the capability to respond and to keep on going. Then suddenly that very traumatic situation can blossom into something that is completely different. So, maybe for someone else it just gets so imprinted in their lives that they cannot even go on. And like something really loses, and grief, for example, can be sitting there for long, long time. So it’s really about my own capability to respond the situation. And how can I activate my nervous system to actually to respond and to let that amount of energy to free, be free, by by on my body and my system, biologically speaking.

Rachel: And with this kind of viewpoint on trauma, do you ever encounter people who’ve never had anything traumatic in their entire lives, or is it something we can kind of count, that almost everybody will move through in their life?

[19:49] Shubhaa: I think all of us. Because as I said, it’s like trauma, this word is quite heavy word. “Trauma.” Right?

Rachel: Makes it sound like “death” or…

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: or “panic” or…

Shubhaa: Yes. But, uh…as I say, that is not about stories and the content in itself, but how I respond something my life that sometimes is too much, and that’s life. You know, we all have challenge and things and days that we face things that sometimes we feel overwhelmed, we feel that “oh, my God,” is like “give me a break, it’s too much.” We all have those moments, even, you know, what is not…what is too much for me is not for you, and vice versa. And we all share that. That actually makes us to bond as human beings, because we all share those moments. So I never crossed someone that…

Rachel: …never had…

[20:44] Shubhaa: …never had…happened, yeah…challenge moments or difficult times, you know. We all know that…

Rachel: …we all have, and how interesting that we do. I imagine that a life with no challenge, with no need to be resilient, no need to seek, to look, to…there’s also part of that process that, uh…that really builds us in a way.

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: And I think that the interesting point I think is that…is that moment when we become very aware, I guess? Maybe it’s a nagging feeling that we have in our lives of “something isn’t working", or we’re exhausted all the time or we feel out of place, we feel fearful…little nagging things. And then getting to a place where we make the connection of “aha, actually, I have something to work on”…

Shubhaa: Yes

Rachel: …this thing in my past, in my childhood that I felt wasn’t a big deal or…

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: …happens to everyone, or…you know, we don’t want to talk about it, it’s too hard. And that turning point of deciding “ok, I wanna…I wanna heal something."

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: And I think it’s something that a lot of people also in this community, especially I feel like the Yoga Girl community is very bonded around…around overcoming pain…

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …and then the vulnerability of…of daring to share.

Shubhaa: Right:

Rachel: “I’ve had hard things happen in my life,” and then bonding with other people who’ve maybe shared these same things. And once we get to that turning point, I think, of realizing “oh, I have a trauma here in my past, or a challenge, or something I want to work on,” it can be terrifying because what’s the work? And I, and I think that a lot of people find their way to yoga that, because yoga can be such a good resource of feeling the body, and learning to breathe, and maybe that experience of…of finding a safe place inside that you were sharing in the beginning of the show.

Shubhaa: I know, it’s a strange thing that…

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: …the, the body, like…

Rachel: Empowerment.

Shubhaa: …embodying it yourself, right?

Rachel: Absolutely.

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: But what I found, because so many people find their way to yoga because of hard things, because of, you know, we’re on a healing journey, yoga becomes a resource. But for me at least, yoga is not the whole way. And that was something that I struggled with for a long time, this idea that “yoga is everything,” you know, “yoga is my life. I’m a yoga teacher, I teach yoga. Yoga, yoga, yoga.” But what I found for myself personally on that journey is like yoga is not enough to just roll out my mat every day and do my sun salutations and, and sit in silence, or study this sacred text, or…it’s not enough, there was this moment of my life where I felt really…I’m scratching at the surface with this yoga, but it’s not…it’s not taking me to the…to the depth of this healing that, that I need to find. I had that since the moment I met you then when I was nineteen, that year, I’d heard about this process called Path of Love, this retreat. And every year I told myself "I want to go,” I felt very drawn, because I knew it was a big, big healing process, that’s all I knew was very, very big, that feeling. And then every year, for eight years…

Shubhaa: Wow.

Rachel: [laughs] I told myself “this is the year I’m gonna go.” And I even had interviews with the…with…because you have to do an interview to get accepted….

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …and I had a plan and my schedule to go on one in England, to go to another one somewhere else, and then I’d cancel, and I’d cancel, and I’d say “next year, next year.” Until I got to a place — and this was 2016…beginning of 2016 — where I just had the feeling of uh, enough now. I had this feeling of “something isn’t…isn’t calm. Something isn’t settled, like there’s something…there’s something that I’m not seeing inside of myself that’s hindering me from feeling all of life, like totally fully.” And then I told Dennis “I’m going to, to Path of Love this year.” And I told my mom “I’m going to Path of Love.” And both of them said “but why”

[both laugh]

Rachel: “There is nothing wrong in your life.” Because I had a very calm year that year. “Nothing is wrong with you. Why would you go?” And it was such an inexplicable thing, like “I have to, I have to go.”

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: And then I met you. And of course I didn’t remember then that I met you before. [laughs]

Shubhaa: Right, right.

[24:58] Rachel: And then I met you and you were my uh…my teacher, the leader of the…of the group that I was in in…in Path of Love.

Shubhaa: Which was wonderful.

Rachel: It feels also like another lifetime. [laughs]

Shubhaa: Yes, a long…yeah it feels like a long time…

Rachel: It’s not so long, it’s like…

Shubhaa: …it’s not so long time…

Rachel: …three…three years ago.

Shubhaa: Three years ago?

Rachel: Yes, 2016.

Shubhaa: What?

Rachel: Three and a half.

Shubhaa: It feels more.

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: It feels much more.

[25:19] Rachel: Yeah, it feels like decade. But for me in this process, and I’ve spoken on this podcast so much about Path of Love, and we send a lot of people to Path of Love, which is one of many experiences you can have toward healing and healing trauma. It’s not the only way, it’s like yoga, there’s so many…

Shubhaa: For sure.

Rachel: …so many ways. But my biggest — and I share this a lot when people ask, also how we met and our connection — I had a moment during my own Path of Love process where I was, you know…crying all day, every day, deep in my own work, really figuring all of life out, it was very very heavy for me. And with you as my teacher, I had this other presence there during the process where I was almost stepping out of my own process to look at the work you were doing. Not just with me, but with other people. And I could see like “wow, this kind of work — this way of working with people, this interaction, this connection, the way you do it, this method — is genius.” And it’s like you can really…I could go out of my own process just to acknowledge like “wow.” And I had this little voice of like "I wanna do this.” Yeah. Super intense. Was very intense. And after that process, again I was shining and feeling, you know, new life, all of this. And I told you afterwards, said “Shubhaa I’m going to do what you do one day.”

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: You did!

Rachel: Yeah, yeah. And you said “I believe it.”

[both laugh]

Rachel: And now here we are, doing these retreats together.

Shubhaa: Amazing.

Rachel: But how can you explain, because for someone who’s wondering, like how does it work, the process of healing trauma, working together with someone…

Shubhaa: Right.

Racehl: …what are the components that…that you wanna put together? What are the tools that we need?

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: You know, maybe someone listening thinking “where do I begin? It’s so big.”

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: Yeah? What’s the step?

[27:13] Shubhaa: Well, one of the things that I can say is that if you would imagine like a landscape that has…uh…piques, that you of course, is like if you see that beautiful pique, that you go there and, uh, you can see everything from there. And it’s fresh and probably a beautiful view, and…

Rachel: A peak, you mean, like a mountain.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: Ah.

Shubhaa: Like, uh, that you see like a high sky, but a blue sky, that you just feel “ah, yes, I want be here forever.” And then suddenly comes that you need to walk down from there, leave that place, and you start to walk, and walk, and then suddenly you see that you’re walking actually towards a valley. And down you go. You feel like "I don’t want to go down there. I prefer to be all the way up there. It’s pressure, it’s more beautiful, I can see. It’s almost like I have the control of the feel and the everything.” And down you go, you start to almost deny that “oh no, this doesn’t look good.” And yet, it’s part of the landscape. And that, in itself, if you started to see that down you go, you started to see different gifts and different experiences that only the valley can bring to you. And why I’m saying this because I feel that this is exactly what life brings. As you were saying before, like we tend to hooked up in the things that we want to be our…full-on experience, which is the highest peak of joy, happiness, things that we want to happen for us, it’s going exactly the way that we want…

Rachel: Yeah, let’s keep it that way all the time. [laughs]

Subbha: Absolutely, you know. Then doesn’t have tears, doesn’t have a discomfort, doesn’t have, you know…everything is under control, and everything is just bright and uh…no, doesn’t work that way. And I think this is what you were mentioning about the yoga at times that I just want to feel good. I want to feel good about my body, about my diet, about my emotions and my daily life. It doesn’t work in that way. The valleys, the down…times, they also bring an immense…experiences in our lives. The tricky thing is how we can deal with that. How can we actually deal with discomfort.

Rachel: And why is it so hard for us?

[29:55] Shubhaa: First of all, we don’t see that as a welcoming part. We reject that, we want to deny that, it’s like, uh, “get out of here. I just want the good stuff,” but the bad stuff it’s not…it’s almost like doesn’t belong to me.

Rachel: Like it’s a mistake.

Shubhaa: Yeah. Yeah.

Rachel: I’m feeling sad.

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: I’m feeling frustrated, it’s not supposed to be this way.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Get me back to happy. Yeah.

[30:17] Shubhaa: Exactly. And I don’t know how to deal with the, with the….I don’t have the, the…inner strength, even like the inner container to embrace discomfort. To actually, to see that that in itself is coming for a reason. That, in itself, is coming for me to enhance my own capacities to live life. Because life includes everything. It’s not only the good moments and the soft situations that we can go and be in charge of it. Many times, things that I'm not in charge of it, many things that I don’t have the control how to deal with that, and many things that I feel that I want to hide them, ashamed that I feel capable, it’s so vulnerable in how to actually see those things as, uh…guests. That they are coming for a reason, that you can start to look at them and say “okay, maybe I can actually learn a lot about myself here.” Let me said push it away, let it open the doors and say “okay, you are knocking at here many times” even, you know, already moving inside of your house without even asking permission to get in, and there they are. And then suddenly you can start to look, “okay, if you are here for a reason, let me get to know you. Let me actually, you know…tell me your plans, you know. Introduce yourself to me. What are you doing here?” And in that way, that attitude, it starts to shift the whole thing. And I’m not saying that this is uh, good…

Rachel: …suddenly easy…

Shubhaa: …easy or comfortable, or is like a “yay.” No. It’s tough. Many times is like “oh, my God, we cross things.” People are crossing, in your community for example, such a strong experiences. People are dealing with very traumatic and losses and pain and pain of separation. A lot of things there that seems to be too much. I would say that those episodes and situations, there is a way to welcome them slowly there in finding “okay, how can I make peace or coming to terms with those situations and what they are here to teach me. Because if they are happening with me, there is something in me that can be embracing this situation.”

Rachel: If I’m allowing them.

Shubhaa: Yes. If I’m allowing it.

Rachel: It doesn’t mean that it’s joyful and happy and I’m excited to feel the pain but its like…

Shubhaa: I’m capable.

Rachel: I'm capable.

Shubhaa: I'm capable, I can make it.

Rachel: And it’s…it’s so…I find all of these things, applying them to our own lives, I think becomes extra interesting around motherhood, or around parenthood. And I’m seeing it in our…in our babies, because we have babies born 4 hours apart which is really uh….

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: I left Path of Love, and the day I came home I got pregnant. And the first person I told was you. [laughs]

Shubhaa: Such a great week.

Rachel: And the next week, next week after, Shubhaa calls me, she says “guess what?” [laughs] And then you were also pregnant.

Shubhaa: I’m pregnant too.

[both laughing]

Rachel: And then born on the same night, four hours apart, your Jai and my Lea Luna. But I can see it so clearly now how…because how we do this as a society, we do it as parents…and I can see how older generations, because we didn’t have maybe the awareness of how we are teaching kids to cope with emotion.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: Because it’s very uncomfortable as a parent to see your child in pain, in any kind of pain. And we weren’t really taught to hold the full spectrum of all of our emotions as children, so it’s really hard to be a parent that suddenly is very comfortable allowing it for your child.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: So…I see it in her if she falls, if she hurts herself, or she’s sad about something and how the…the tendency is “it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.”

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: “Look, happy blue sky, ahh!”

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: “Everything’s fine.” Because…and it’s not out of bad intention, it’s because we don’t want them to feel pain.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Of course we want only good things. An easy, happy life for our children. But then it’s like, we’re teaching them somehow that…that the sadness is scary, don’t go there. As soon as sadness is there, let’s go back to happy, right away. Or you hurt yourself, “oh, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.”

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: So we take away the space of actually letting them feel “ow, it hurts!”

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Like, “life hurts!”

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Sometime, “wow. Let’s feel that that. Oh I understand, yea, oh that looked painful, wow, wow, mummy’s here.” You know?

Shubhaa: Yeah.

[35:01] Rachel: And I can almost in my daily life with her, I have to give myself space around all the things that happened to her, to not do with her what my parents did to me…out of love.

Shubhaa: Right, right.

Rachel: So it’s almost like, do you…have you found that in your experience that the…it’s like parenting our children is a…opportunity to re-parent ourselves, almost?

Shubhaa: Absolutely, absolutely.

Rachel: And how does that work?

Shubhaa: Like in this way you are saying, it’s like we were taught to distract away from pain. That pain is not welcome. That feelings are not welcome. My emotion, something is wrong with feeling my emotions. And this is what exactly what I was talking…was referring as the peak and the valleys. Like the peaks are really good: if I’m happy and going forward and all that and, like, full of energy, it’s ok. And if I’m sad, if I’m emotional, if I’m vulnerable, that is not ok. It’s almost that is not allowed because it’s not powerful.

Rachel: Hmm

Shubhaa: And it’s not attractive to be in that way. So with the babies and with the kids, I see that how important it is in this example that you just did, like I hurt myself, to validate first and not get them distracted away from the pain, but “hey, yes, I see you. I recognize, yes I can see this was painful, I feel for you, I’m so sorry that you have hurt yourself, yeah.” And then you can say “ok, but it’s going to be good” or, and then “let’s do something else.”

Rachel: So we don’t wallow in the….It’s not like we’re on the floor the whole day, “Ugh, remember the pain! Ugh!”

[both laugh]

Rachel: You know, it’s like you give it the space. Validate.

Shubhaa: Exactly. And then, let’s move on.

Rachel: Yeah.

[36:49] Shubhaa: Yeah. But both. And not just minimizing the pain and taking the pain away so…so quick. Because in that way, what you’re doing is uh…feelings are not okay. And feelings are okay, and this is the way that we can learn how to grow in our inner container. That when I sense that “okay, I can say yes to my feelings. They are just feelings, and they are okay, I can feel them. I don’t need to be afraid of my feelings. I can let them in. I can allow.” Suddenly sadness is there, “okay.” Suddenly I feel visit by meaningless…isolation, loneliness and then suddenly I can, “okay, that’s the way that I’m feeling now.” And the problem is that because I’m not familiar with that, I feel afraid of feeling that, and if I go there I’m going to be completely lost into it. And then becomes like down spiral that I don’t know what is the way out again. That’s why we don’t go there.

Rachel: Yeah, that’s a feeling, it’s like Pandora’s box…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: …if I open it, I don’t know what comes out.

Shubhaa: So it’s better to not even go nearby.

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: It’s like “let me out of here.” But actually, it doesn’t work in that way either because then you’re just, like, denying it, minimizing it, pretending that it’s not there.

Rachel: And what happens then, if we live a life that way? So…because a lot of people do, and a lot of people haven’t had the…maybe the safety to actually explore their inner wounds, or maybe the support, or the space in our lives to actually look at our own things, you know? It’s…it’s easy, I think, to get caught up in life, and everything else is so important that we live our whole lives with these big…wounds that we never looked at. But what kind of…what kind of…why can we not just live that way?

Shubhaa: Well, then you start to see in different areas of your life the outcome of the denial. For example, one of the big ones, like intimacy in your relationship. It’s like something that you look at your life and you feel like “well, I’ve got a good life. I have everything that I want. Everything is alright, I have health in my life…in my family, all okay. But then when I really go very close to my beloved, I can sense that intimacy doesn’t really…melt us. Like doesn’t really have an opening to intimacy,” for example. And then you look and you cannot really understand, “how come I cannot just…I love this person, this person loves me, but something doesn’t melt, something here doesn’t get nourished, and what is that?” And this is what we started to see in different areas, this capability to be open. To be living life fully in different areas of our life. That is where those things in the past plays out. So its not about so much to work the wounds in the past, actually. Sometimes doesn’t even matter if you remember or not about stories, but is about now, what is happening now, that actually I can see that I want to…I want more but I can’t make it. Something that I want to live fully, or my potential is knocking on my door, and I cannot understand why I cannot unfold myself fully. Those blocks that you started to see now, this, that is where it shows the things that are in open accounts from the past, if that makes sense.

[40:35] Rachel: So it’s like we deny ourselves one area of…of feeling. Like okay, I’m going to feel the joy, I’m going to feel the gratitude, I’m going to feel the peaks. But I’m not going to let myself go to the sadness, or the anger, or the shame, or whatever is there. And then it sort of prohibits our ability to feel all the way in our lives.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: Right?

Shubhaa: Right. Right.

Rachel: Maybe in relationships…

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …or friendships…

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …or with our loved ones. That it’s like you cannot shut down just a piece of your heart and let everything else stay really open. It’s like we deny ourselves one area and then suddenly we keep all the feelings away a little bit.

Shubhaa: Exactly

Rachel: And then it gets hard also to feel…total joy, you know? We allow ourselves day to day a little joy here and there, but the total joy and intimacy and love becomes also really hard because were not allowing.

Shubhaa: Exactly. I remember when my father died, I was sixteen…and when he died I felt…it can sound very strange what I’m going to say…but I felt such a great relief that he was gone. Because he was a person…he was an alcoholic, and he was super violent…physical, physically violent towards us, towards my mom and us. And that was so strong to be with him, I was always, like, in fear. Absolutely fear. I was terrified to be around him. I…it was so unpredictable, his violence, I never knew what would happen, what could happen around him. And the day that he died, I felt such a great…happiness. I was so happy and so relieved that he was gone. But and then the other side of me, I was feeling so bad because I was feeling that way…

Rachel: Of course, yeah.

[42:33] Shubhaa: …and I didn’t want to feel in that way at all. I was feeling such a bad daughter and everybody else was…you know…feeling sad and feeling, like, this mourning energy around, and I was super happy inside of myself. Like “ah, finally, now we’re going to have peace.” And then it was very interesting for me because I couldn’t really feel gratefulness or love towards him, but I could see that only when I really allowed anger; only when I was seeing that I was full of anger inside of me towards the things that he have done towards us; only when I allowed that, and I could express that, that I could sense like "okay this is a part of me that is in my system anyway, what am I going to do with this anger? It’s here.” I cannot just make myself a good daughter and say like “okay, I’m gonna be a good person here and feel, you know, my heart towards him, and I forgive you,” without even feeling, you know, I wasn’t feeling that. How could I do that? Impossible. And then I started to realize that actually there was a lot of anger in so many different ways inside of me, when I could express that in a very safe way, and I remember that I did some letters that I wrote to him afterwards, and also I worked together with a great person that was accompanying me as a therapist at the time. And when I could release a lot of that…rage against all the things that was actually happening to me and to my family that I had been seeing and experienced, and then finally I could find love. Love was there too, but was hidden by the anger. Was hidden but this misunderstanding of “how come that he could treat us so bad.” And when I let that go, and then I could feel the gratefulness underneath of all that I felt like “wow, I carry your blood. And you gave me such a strength as a person.” And I could see actually…beautiful things in him that I could not see before. But not because…from my mind I wanted to see them…

Rachel: …because you were looking for them, no.

Shubhaa: Exactly. Was just a blossoming out of my heart because I was cleaning the dust that was also accumulated there for so many years. So…yeah…it’s like, doesn’t have a shortcut.

[45:09] Rachel: But this is such a hard thing, and I, I…this example is so strong because it's also…when someone passes away, you know…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: …then we have this idea that “oh but they’re dead,” you know. “We have to…have to love them,” and "they’re gone,” and “appreciate the memory” or, you know, “how can you be angry with someone who isn’t here anymore?”

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: And it’s such a hard emotion, I think, for us to deal with because it’s, it’s one that we’ve been taught to…

Shubhaa: It’s dangerous. Right.

Rachel: Anger’s scary, you know. If you’re angry, then something’s wrong with you, that we’re supposed to contain all the time.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: Especially as women, I think, that the anger is sort of not allowed.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: So, if we recognize that anger is there, how can we….especially if someone has passed away, or if the person isn’t in our lives, or maybe, especially if they are…if we’re angry with them, does it mean we have to tell them “fuck you, you motherfucker, I hate you”? [laughs]

Shubhaa: Not at all, please [laughs]

Rachel: How does it work? How does it work? How do we hold space for the anger in a healthy way?

Shubhaa: Right. Being responsible for that, I would say, number one. Which means it’s my anger. It’s like, it’s uh…the uh…anger is a feeling as any other feeling that is moving within. That is passing by. It’s not something that is going to be there if you work through it. And when I say “work through it,” it’s like first of all recognizing is that what I’m feeling is anger? Because it’s going to be there anyway. So, if you don’t see it, that’s the problem, because then you’re going to act out, or that can be even, like, creating disturbance in your system such as anxiety. Such as stress. Such as, like, you cannot really sleep. Or you cannot see beauty around you even though you are being blessed. So first thing is to realize “okay, what am I feeling here?” And maybe you can realize “can I dare to say that this is, for example, anger?” Yeah. And if there is…finding a safe way that you can let that be seen by you. It’s not about putting that in any way in any person or situation or circumstances. It’s to be responsible for that. So if you realize that when you’re feeling, maybe if there is somebody that you tend to project that anger, maybe you can write a letter as I did. Please don’t give that letter to that person…

Rachel: [laughs]

Shubhaa: …but, for example, just as a way to clean out, to ventilate your system. To let it out, because it’s there anyway.

[47:46] Rachel: It is one of those things that when we’re angry, it’s like we automatically jump to “that person made me angry.”

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: Right? “They messed up my life. They did this thing to me,” yeah? So now I’m angry, So it’s…so it’s on them. It’s like we have to tell them how angry they made us, or they wronged us. But the way you’re explaining now it’s like…that anger that is ours, is our feeling, it’s now regardless of what the people did. They did what did, it happened what happened, now it’s our feeling….It’s changing the vibration to something sacred, almost…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Like this anger is wow, ok.

Shubhaa: Exactly. It’s sacred because it’s empowerment. Because it becomes your own empowerment to say “here I stand" and I can metabolize that energy which is so strong inside of my body, and I can even make something good out of it. Which means…limits. Which means maybe even you need to set up boundaries. But not putting your anger on anyone or situation but maybe even say “wow, this actually doesn’t feel alright for me.” Or maybe even for many women, “wow, I have a voice, my voice is here. I have a voice. I can speak out what I feel, what are my needs, what are my values. I can live my life.” As you did, you were saying before, right, "I gotta live my life.” And that is an energy in itself that I can say empowerment that comes out of anger many times. Which makes you to stand up for yourself and what you want to live out of your life. How…

[49:30] Rachel: So it doesn’t have to involve the other person at all. Because I think this, uh, is one of the things that keeps people from allowing the anger, or from working with anger, or recognizing the anger, is we assume it means confrontation…

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …and of course, especially if it’s our parents, especially if it’s someone who wronged us, someone we have a sensitive relationship with, maybe something happened in the past but now we are okay, or now they are working on themselves, they are trying really hard, now is no longer drama, but the something bad happened then. So if I allow the anger, it means I have to…I have to tell them, I have to go down this path of opening the Pandora’s Box with them…

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …and telling them “look what you did.”

Shubhaa: Right, and that’s actually the…the part of anger that is not constructive.

Rachel: Huh.

Shubhaa: Because if you put that on someone, you’re powerless. Because that person maybe’s going to understand what you’re saying, maybe not. And how can you make someone to change or get your point of view. Is like, you cannot put that in someone else’s hands…it’s you. So it’s about you. If you are feeling triggered, if you are feeling that anger state inside of yourself, it’s yours. So it’s something about you, in that responsibility, things can really metabolize, because and then you can…even if you need to put boundaries towards somebody or a situation But that is gonna come in a constructive way that you can even talk about it, you can have your voice and say “when this has happened, that wasn’t good to me” or I just make a line here that I don’t want this from my life any longer. But in a, in a very powerful way, like a responsible way, not just putting someone else to see how much discomfort they are creating for you…

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: …so you gotta change and then I will feel better.

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: You seen what I mean?

Rachel: It seems like an endless loop…

Shubhaa: Absolutely.

Rachel: …because then they won’t change. Of course.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Yeah. It’s like, uh…forever and ever we can live our lives like “they wronged me.” And it’s almost like we put ourselves in a place of being the victim instead of the person charge of the situation.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: What’s moving inside of us. And this is such a delicate thing, especially if the thing we’re angry about is, uh…that we were totally powerless. Like what if that person, they wronged us immensely? What if there was assault, or abuse, or rape, or something there’s a…someone did something terrible…

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: …and then of course not having the…the person in our lives anymore, or maybe not even knowing who that person was. Like, I feel so many women have some sort of experience like this in our lives that the anger is actually a healthy mechanism in the path of healing.

Shubhaa: Right.

[52:20] Rachel: Like it’s like learning to recognize that the anger is there, is very…makes us very, makes us very strong.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Right?

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Like we have this power to “wow…"

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: “…that was not okay…”

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: “…what happened.”

Shubhaa: Exactly. And uh, coming back to your question even before when you were saying about the parents especially…

Rachel: Huh.

Shubhaa: …the mother and the father, for example, because how can you be angry towards them? They have done everything to us. We should just be grateful and loving. But actually, what should I do with that feelings…they, they are there anyway…

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: …so…

Rachel: …what if I’m not grateful, you mean. What if I’m angry, what if I’m disappointed?

Shubhaa: Yeah, it looks that you are very ungrateful…

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: …that you’re feeling like “how could you feel that in way towards them?” It’s very important to know that the love is there forever, that, uh, it’s unshakable. You’re going to be forever as a daughter and they’re going to be forever the parents. So the love is there, it’s intact, but it’s very important also to recognize what are the feelings that are there that is moving within you anyway. And that needs also validation, in a responsible way, to metabolize that unto, as I was saying about my father, that I could finally feel grateful. And today I look back and I feel like “whoa, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t because of that man.” That man actually, exactly as he was…shaped my life in such a beautiful way…and made me to be here, now, for example, working with people through traumatic situations…. I couldn’t do it if it wasn’t because of my father also. I wouldn’t be here bringing this example. So it’s amazing to see what is possible when we become friendly with our emotions, and not enemies of our choosing, “I want this but I don’t want that.” Actually, I…you know, I am bringing everything inside of myself. And this is…for this episodes that you’re saying about traumatic abuses and situations that are so…tough among of all us women…not just women but also…

Rachel: …everyone, yeah.

Shubhaa: …in your community things that are coming up about inescapable attacks, right.

Rachel: Where you have no control, yeah.

Shubhaa: And you have, like, situations where you feel actually as a victim, and in such situations that is so…it creates such an impact and an imprint in our systems. So I would say that a big antidote that is to regain that healthy anger that can establish “hey, I have survived. I have made it here. And I’m not only that situation. I am much more than that.” That energy of anger, healthy anger what I’m calling, is, uh…it’s a great way to reclaim your path again, and your direction again, and your voice again.

[55:29] Rachel: An interesting question we had, because a lot of people shared some very personal things when I was taking questions for this episode, and having moved through specific very hard, very traumatic situations…for someone who maybe recently had or experienced a trauma, or maybe just realized that they have experienced a trauma, where do we start? It’s like, uh, can we do this work alone? You know, do we need to go to therapist, do we need to go to groups, is there…do you have some, some tips, some advice for someone to really take some action with this?

Shubhaa: Yeah, it’s…it’s a personal also…it’s a personal answer, I would say, depending on the cases but…because sometimes it’s very hard to do it alone. It’s very important to do it someone who can hold your hands and say like, “hey, I’ve got your back, let’s do this together.” It becomes easier if you have someone to hold the hand with you in those situations because it’s very important to navigate what I call, like, the Pedulation between the Trauma Vortex and the Healing Vortex, which means like, you’re going to go into those situations but…a little bit not, uh…get totally lost into the trauma there that you feel overwhelmed by the situation. And then you, you just go a little bit into it that you can feel comfortable to feel…enough…and then you come back to resource in yourself. And that, when you have someone together with you, is easier, because that person can navigate together with you, bringing you back when it’s too much. Because if it’s too much, it’s too overwhelming…

Rachel: So like a therapist, or a psychologist, someone…you mean a professional person.

Shubhaa: Yes, I would say that. But if you are alone, let’s say if you cannot do such a work with someone at this moment, for example…writing is something very helpful. Having space to find your own resources, things that you can remember that you’re not only those difficult things, and situations, and memories, but you are more than that. Simple things during your daily life that you can say, “ah, this is me, here” or “I have made it here.” Things that you remember…

Rachel: What are some examples of that?

[58:06] Shubhaa: Some examples: things that you like to do in your life, for example, that brings you a sense of wellbeing, that you can see yourself through those lens of “okay, I’m here.” Let’s say that you like to cook, let’s say that you like to take a walk or if you want to…if you like to practice your yoga, or dance, or listen to music, or write…something that you feel “yes, this is me. This is also part of me here.” And that sense of wellbeing can have a little bit more space in your daily life. And that remembrance of yourself, it can be a shift that you’re not just the dark clouds, you know…

Rachel: Right, right.

Shubhaa: …that you’re also the blue sky.

Rachel: It’s like between the work, that you can come and take a breath and…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: …and come back…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: …and feel the body…

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: …and be here.

Shubhaa: Yes. Because that charge…recharge the body, recharge the feelings that you can sense good again, a wellbeing again. Yeah. It’s super important.

Rachel: And we all have different wants, of course. For me, it’s uh, animals and babies.

[both laugh]

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: The easiest way to…whenever I am working through something, or to, to…or cooking and baking, those are like the top four to “ah, here is my home.”

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: Whatever is there.

Shubhaa: Right, it sometimes can be so simple…

Rachel: Yeah.

[59:33] Shubhaa: …you know, can be like taking a hot shower and put a nice clothes that you feel very…comfortable with, and you sense like “oh okay, now I’m in my own skin right now and its okay.” Another thing that I would say is to remember about safety and reality. These two things are super important when you have crossed difficult moments like this that we are calling trauma. Safety, it’s a big one to look around you and sense and recognize “am I safe here right now? Am I really safe here right now?” Maybe I’m at home. Nothing is happening right now, right? And then that links to the second one, which is reality. Reality is our best lie. Like it’s a best friend to bring that anchor…anchoring of reality, you can even look around and see “what is my reality right now?” For example, we’re sitting here, I’m looking at you, and there is this blue sky through the window, and the white clouds passing by, and there is this beautiful picture in front of me, the lighting…so it’s like you bring that anchoring of “what is reality right now?” Because that brings a shift in your system to out of this overwhelming feelings to what is happening actually here now.

Rachel: That actually I’m not back there.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Yeah. The thing that played out then then that can feel so paralyzing, it’s like “okay, here now. And that’s where I think yoga can be such a fantastic resource…

Shubhaa: Absolutely.

Rachel: …because it gives us tools to use also when we’re not on the mat. Also when we are on the couch, or out by people, or whatever is going on, that we can use the breath and the connection with the body to, to come back, come back.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: So that yoga teaches a lot of tools that way.

Shubhaa: Yeah, and it’s strengthening the body, I find that so…

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: …because and then you are…it’s like the owner of the house is back.

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: Right?

Rachel: Right. Right, yeah. I love that. Something I wanted to ask, and purely because we had so many questions around this, uh, specific…and of course there’s a lot of women in this community, a lot of mothers in this community. And there was a lot of women who wrote in asking questions around trauma relating to giving birth. Or trauma relating to the birth of our children. And I think its very, very, very common, it’s probably more common that as, uh, as we are giving birth, as society almost, that we each feel out of control. Especially with maybe having something unexpected happening, or not knowing where this birth is going, or maybe having a medical intervention, or…of course birth never goes to plan [laughs] no matter how much we want…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: But for someone who is maybe really sitting with the trauma from giving birth, or from the birth of their children, do you have some advice on how to begin to resolve that, or begin to move towards healing there, in that instance?

[62:40] Shubhaa: I would say that if you find the safety to feel the feelings that are there, even if it’s small proportion, like a little bit, just, uh, sensing what is in there and not trying to fix quickly and trying to overcome and…or transcend what is in there, but actually allowing that…that space that feels…maybe something that is not even rational and logical, and to allow that to be there and feel that, at least a little bit. And if it’s too much, maybe even calling a friend and saying like “can I open something to you? Can I share something to you?” And in a way that you can allow the feelings to pass through and be felt. That for me has been a great treasure for my life. When I can just lean back and allow my feelings to have, uh…space to be felt as it is. One way that comes to me is to share my own experience, may I?

Rachel: Of course.

Shubhaa: Uh, when my baby was born, was a 36 hours of…[sighs]…labouring there, and was such a tough one. And when he came out, he was in the umbilical cord, like, in his neck, like, three times around his neck and they needed to cut it immediately and he took…they took it away. The midwife just looked at my husband and said like “come with me right now.” And her tone of voice, and when I look at the…my baby he was totally purple, and totally like no tonals whatsoever, totally…like was looking really, bad. And, uh, she run out of the room with my husband…

Rachel: And the baby.

Shubhaa: …and the baby. And I felt like “of course he didn’t make it.” And nobody was telling me anything, just “wait.” And I got in this emptiness, and it was so scary for me. And I was asking, nobody was answering me nothing. So was a great impact for me there, and waiting and waiting.

[65:03] Rachel: How long? Do you know?

Shubhaa: Well, for me, it was feeling like a long time, but after I found out that it actually was like, between 17 to 20 minutes.

Rachel: But that is a long time.

Shubhaa: But for me was like an eternity, that moment. And then they came back, and, uh, when, uh, he…my husband came with the baby in his arms and he did not…he was not really crying yet, and they were looking for that, waiting for that.

Rachel: But he was not purple any more?

Shubhaa: No. They…they said that, uh, he have a great resilience there, so was ok. He was totally fine. So he was back into breathing again. But what has… what happened to me was that the impact was such a…so big, for me, into my system, that my whole body felt collapsed. And I felt that even my logical part, like my memory, and my wanting to be there for him, was immense, and wanting to be there, like even like breastfeeding, nothing my body was working. And I couldn’t really be with him. Something in me was shocked out, and I was trying hard to be present there, but I…something in me just couldn’t. And I couldn’t realize what was happening in that moment, it was just too much. And, uh, my husband was putting him in my breast, but and then the body wasn’t really producing anything, and it was that whole…gap between, like, my mind wanting to be, you know, a certain way, and my body wasn’t there.

Rachel: Your body was just in shock.

Shubhaa: Exactly. I wasn’t responding. And of course, the mind was attacking me, saying like “hey, do something,” you know? It was like “you gotta be there in a different way, that’s the moment” you know, “wake up,” you know, “do something.” And I just couldn’t. And, we were there for three days in this hospital…and uh…and one afternoon, I was laying down…there with the baby in my arms, and the midwives were trying…they were trying everything that they could, very sweet. And they were trying to…

Rachel: To, to…

Shubhaa: Breastfeed.

Rachel: …feed.

[67:34] Shubhaa: Yeah, helping me with the breastfeeding and, uh, trying to me…make me calm, that everything was ok. But and then, my husband just pulled me very close to his arms, and then together with the baby there also between us, and then he started to talk to me about the…that moment that, um, I saw them leaving the room. And he started to…come back in my memories. And the question was what I would have…what I would have needed then, that actually didn’t happen. And that questions made a whole difference, because I started to slow down inside of me and my feelings and I start to name, moment by moment, what actually I would have, uh, liked and needed to happen, even wasn’t reality, but I started to reorganized piece by piece the way that actually my system would have liked to experience…

Rachel: And what was that?

Shubhaa: …that situation. And I started to come and to say “I would have liked the baby to come into my arm immediately. I would have liked that he could breathe in a natural way. And I would have liked that you would,” I told my husband, “that you would have embraced me there. That the three of us, we could be there, and everything would have just slowed down. And he…and I could hear him crying, and then I could feel him reaching for my breast, and I could feel the warmth of and the weight of him on my chest.” So I started to slowly, piece by piece, saying what I would have liked the situation to be like. And suddenly my whole body started to discharge, and I started to feel the pulsation of my heart and the great beat like was like…my breath was like coming in and out in a different way, and I could feel my whole body like, uh…releasing, just by imaging the situation that I would have liked to be. And that moment was so special because my breasts started to just to drop milk. And then my husband said “I’m getting wet here…”

Rachel: [laughs]

[70:10] Shubhaa: “…what is that?” And I said, “yeah I’m getting wet too, I don’t know. Maybe he’s peeing, what…what is happening here?” And when I look, was like my…the milk was coming out of my breast. So that impact that shocked out my whole body, that didn’t allow the milk to be produced, in that moment was released just by making sense what I could not respond then, I could respond in that moment.

Rachel: And then he fed? He latched?

Shubhaa: And then I put him immediately in my breast, and then he started to, like, get, like, the…the little mouth in the…just pour…you know the, like, pouring milk out of my breast Was so special and, uh, me and my husband we were crying, and feeling like “whoa! What a power to feel the feelings as they come.” So even the situation, you see, I didn’t change anything in the past, but I allowed my feelings to just have…space to ventilate exactly what I wanted to be, even wasn’t reality.

Rachel: Huh.

Shubhaa: So was a very magical moment.

Rachel: Wow.

Shubhaa: So, since then…

Rachel: This is like the…

Shubhaa: …I breastfed for two years

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: This is such a…like, the embodiment of the…of the healing work, right?

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: And in the moment to, to right away see and feel the reaction of the body.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: And it's so…I think its so, fascinating because so many of us walk around with this holding that you were experiencing during those three days.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: But maybe our whole lives.

Shubhaa: Yes.

[71:57] Rachel: Or maybe for years of having a shock to to the system, something too fast, too soon, out of our control, and the body goes “hic” and we seize up, but then we don’t have the support to do anything with it, so we live our lives with that kind of shock, or in that kind of holding on.

Shubhaa: Yes. And we even say, like, “okay, but the situation is gone.” What…you know, it’s like “doesn’t matter, it’s over.”

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: And then what…you know, like, let…just go on and…

Rachel: “I’m an adult…”

Shubhaa: …pretend that it’s not…

Rachel: “…let’s go.”

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Yeah. Yeah.

[72:25] Shubhaa: And actually, if I come back and I started to allow my feelings to be there, as raw it is…. And then suddenly I have someone even to hold my hands, or a friend, that I can say “ah, let me share my feelings.” And if I don’t have anybody, writing. I can write “those are my feelings here,” and then suddenly the whole body, the system, can unload. The system can feel like, uh, tons of weight out of the shoulders and feel like “ah, I feel such a relief here right now.” Even I didn’t change the reality then, something here can have space to let it off and feeling like “ah, I can feel my feelings, I don’t need to be afraid of my feelings.”

Rachel: Right. And then also, in that time, having just given birth is such a hard time. If we have a perfect birth, the most, the you know…the dream birth, whatever the dream birth is for each of us, like the orgas…for me it was like the orgasmic birth dressed in white chanting “ohm” as she just floats out…you know?

[both laugh]

Rachel: Whatever the dream scenario was like, even if we would get that, it’s the hardest time of our lives…

Shubhaa: Absolutely.

Rachel: …to, to have a newborn baby and this whole change of body and hormones and family dynamics and all of these things. So, having a traumatic experience, or a holding on around the experience of the birth, I think makes those first few months or the first year of parenting so hard.

Shubhaa: So hard.

Rachel: And we can feel so isolated and so alone or…or the feeling that I know of for a lot of women like “my body failed me.”

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: Yeah. Like “I should have done something different, I sh…it’s my job to birth the baby and I…I couldn’t do it.” Maybe we had an emergency, something happened there, and it’s so important to reclaim that.

Shubhaa: Right.

Rachel: That feeling of empowerment in the body and…and allowing space for the feelings that are there.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: And the tiredness that it brings, the whole new constellation, and not knowing, and also the moments that you feel like “I don’t want this reality,” you know, “what should I do?”

Rachel: [laughs]

Shubhaa: And then it looks like I’m a horrible mum if allow those feelings to be here, and nobody talks about it.

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: You feel just, like, isolated because you should be just in…

Rachel: Joyful, yeah.

[74:45] Shubhaa: …in heaven and uh, just good feelings about it. And then that would make you a great mum.

Rachel: [laughs]

Shubhaa: But then what do you do with other things? The difficulties, the challenges, the part that actually wants to disappear. So many times you feel like “oh my God, this is too much for me.” Especially if you have difficulties or special kids. It’s so important to welcome that part that actually lives in denial. That part of you that says like “oh, I’m going to be horrible person if I would allow those feelings to be there.” Actually, you’re not. You actually…more because you can allow that part that is in denial or sh…you know, minimized, or being hidden, to come into your consciousness and be embraced and friendly, received by you. Because you yourself cannot welcome that, who is going to do for you?

Rachel: Right.

Shubhaa: Right?

Rachel: We have to also mother ourselves.

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: Just having this conversation with you makes me feel…so…hopeful with the future. Receiving these questions around this podcast, if you stay really focussed around the pain it can feel like everyone has so much trauma, everyone has so many hard experiences, like life is…dark. It can feel really heavy and hopeless. But actually, once we go from that place of living in the shock, or living in the…in the trauma to making the connection of “I wanna heal,” that, that longing that is giving space to that voice of “I wanna heal something,” it’s like the awareness of the world completely changes…

Shubhaa: Exactly.

Rachel: …to possibility, and opportunity, and light. And of course it’s still hard, and hard things happens, but it’s…it’s a totally different lens of looking at the world.

Shubhaa: Right. Right.

Rachel: And I sense a very hopeful, very…

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: …like we can do something. Whatever happened in our pasts, we can do something with it.

Shubhaa: Right. If you allow me for example to ask what is this energy right now when you speak, for example, that wants that. If you just would focus right now on that the energy in itself, which is behind even the solution, or the things that you wanted to be different, but just the one thing, the longing, that feeling like “oh yes.” What you said is it sits there. How does it feel the energy, in itself?

Rachel: It’s like, uh… like life. It’s like…[laughs]

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: …alive.

Shubhaa: Yes. Yes.

Rachel: Electric.

[77:24] Shubhaa: Yes. And this is where I, I…I tend to focus in those traumatic situations. There is an energy behind of the situation, behind of the trauma in itself, that longs for life. That longs for a shift. That longs for the blue skies and the open possibilities that there are there waiting for me. But that one thing, that energy in itself, that’s the…where the magic can happen. Because and then it’s not even “how" or “when” things gonna to change, but your focus what is behind of it, you focus on something that is there, and it’s precious and it’s real, is the longing. It’s raw. Is like, “I have it. It’s here.” And that when it’s focus on that and recognized and acknowledged, has a tremendous power. Because that is what I need in order to make the next step. Right?

Rachel: Yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent.

Shubhaa: It lift us up, can you feel it?

Rachel: Yes! That’s like…

[both laugh]

Shubhaa: It really makes something like…

Rachel: We’re ready to go.

Shubhaa: “…Oh yes, there is something here already.”

Rachel: Yeah.

Shubhaa: Yeah.

Rachel: It makes us, uh, ready to seize the day, in a different…in a different way.

Shubhaa: Yes.

Rachel: I am so grateful for you.

Shubhaa: Oh, darling, you…

Rachel: In so many ways, it’s crazy. It’s crazy.

Shubhaa: So do I, I must say, it’s so…

Rachel: How about, uh…

Shubhaa: …so special, the connection with you.

Rachel: It is.

Shubhaa: Yeah, it feels really like, uh…when you said three years, it was just like “what?!” Yeah.

Rachel: It’s crazy, actually. Actually.

Shubhaa: Yeah, it feels much more.

Rachel: And our babies are so in love with each other.

[both laugh]

Rachel: Jai is going to bed crying for Lea.

Shubhaa: Right, ”I want Lea, momma.” It’s so adorable.

Rachel: [laughing] How are they going to make it apart? Now I don’t know. We have to FaceTime more.

[both laugh]

Rachel: But um, for the many, many people right now wondering how to learn more about you, or find out where you are maybe leading retreats, and groups, and Path of Love or, you know…do you have a website?

[79:32] Shubhaa: Yeah, Path of Love. Yes, we…we have been working a lot with couples which is our…we love to do that, me and my husband, together. We’ve received all couples together, it’s so powerful because and then we can really look into the dynamics. I’m really…I feel fascinated and passionate about that. Relationship dynamics and how, how we can explore this journey of being together with someone. And also for singles, for people that want to create and manifest a relationship also. So…@TalibandShubhaa, so it’s basically if you put Talib and Shubhaa…

Rachel: On Instagram or online or anywhere. Yeah.

Shubhaa: …online on Google or Instagram, you’re gonna find us.

Rachel: I’ll share it in the description of this podcast also…

Shubhaa: Beautiful.

Rachel: …so you can find more information. And after my year off, we will do another Healing the Heart retreat.

Shubhaa: Yay!

Rachel: Yeah! After this break. [laughs]

Shubhaa: Yes, Healing the Women’s Heart.

Rachel: Healing the Women’s Heart, I love it. Thank you for coming on the show.

Shubhaa: Aw, thank you for inviting me, big time.

Rachel: And thank you everyone for listening. We’ll be back next week.

[80:43] Shubhaa: Thank you all.

[End of Episode]