Isolation as a Spiritual Bootcamp favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - April 10th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Healing, Family, Motherhood, Growth

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

How are you doing in quarantine? Have you asked yourself that question lately, and then allowed yourself to sit with the answer? Are you having a hard time being present with your surroundings?

In this week’s episode, Rachel unpacks the collective quarantine experience of slowing down, removing distractions and doing our inner work. While being faced with that regardless of the social isolation, there is a voice inside her head that still wants to get up and go, do, create, work, bake, keep it moving, Rachel has big realizations about her childhood wounds and how they relate to her fears around this pandemic.

What if for each of us, this could be an opportunity to look within? To step onto the path of healing, without anything distracting us?

This is not a time to to be productive or dive deeper into work but a time to rest, to reset, to sit and become aware of the slowing down and the opportunity return to what’s truly important.

The goal is to enjoy the simple art of being. To be able to recognize our triggers, discomfort, fear, anger, sadness, and to breathe through them. To lean in to the unknown and trust. To look up to the sky and have faith in the divine timing of our path. To know that the earth is healing, and that there will be a rebirth after this loss.

This episode will remind you that its ok to let yourself feel, to breathe, to trust, and to look forward to whats on the other side of where we are now. A new world where we value human connection over the dollar, where we are growing our own foods, and taking the time to sit and do the inner work to heal.

Key Takeaways

  • Yoga and meditation practices (or whatever you do for self-care and healing) are non-negotiable right now. We MUST do the work!
  • Plant new seeds! Hopefully this is inspiring us all to live a more local, self-sustained life. Start to think about how you can begin to grow your own food or connect with Mother Earth in a deeper way.
  • Social isolation is bringing so much to the surface for so many of us. The time to look within is now!
  • There is an opportunity here to heal in this. Take it.
  • Your worth lies in who you are, not what you do. Who are you at your essence, at your core, at a soul level?

Untitled design-min


0:57] Welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast. How are you doing in this moment? Just sitting down just now to record I had this longing, and it’s strange because it’s a longing for something that I’ve never experienced, but I had this longing of “I wish I was in the same room as you right now.” I wish that all of us, everyone listening to this podcast right now, that we could be in the same room with each other, that I could speak to you looking you in the eye, holding your hand. I tear up right now just saying that. I’m really missing right now physical community. Of course, you know, I have virtual community, which I am very grateful for, very, very grateful for, I think I’m more connected than ever right now from afar. Every morning I wake up, I go live on Instagram at 9am. We have this 30 day yoga challenge with free yoga classes on, so I’m talking to so many people all day, and I really feel like I am doing a good job with the virtual connections.

[2:06] But I woke up this morning with this longing for physical community. I miss the feeling of being in the Luna Shala at Island Yoga sitting in circle, you know? Sitting in actual circle where we sit so tight that your knees and your legs are rubbing up against the people next you, and we hold hands and circle and you can just reach out and touch someone’s shoulder and say “hey, I see you. I got you. I’m here.” That feeling, you know? That feeling of…just the feeling of…that I took so for…I didn’t even know how much I was taking it for granted, but the thing I used to do almost every morning is just drive to the yoga studio and roll out my mat in a room full of people that you know, I don’t really know. Practicing around strangers and at the studio people are always coming and going, or locals blending with tourists, and I like to be a little incognito, I always show up late. I always show up at 9:29 for a 9:30 class. And I sneak in and I roll my mat out in the back and just that feeling of [sighs] looking out at the room, being close to other people even though we’re all in our own practice, you know? But knowing that we’re all breathing the same breath, setting intentions, moving our bodies, like, I miss that. I miss that so much.

[3:23] And of course it’s a privilege to miss those things you know; I’m not missing a roof over my head right now, I’m not missing a job — I still have a job. We are all privileged, our family is okay, and I know so many people out there in the world aren’t, and I…just this longing for physical community, I didn’t know I would feel it this intensely. I took a moment this morning where I just…yeah, let myself feel the sadness of that. So reminder here, now that whatever you are sad about today, it’s okay, yeah. I’ve really been able to anchor into that knowing of “the more I process my emotion, the more of service I can be.” And that’s the truth. That’s 100% a truth. In the beginning of this pandemic, I had a very, very hard time because I was, I really felt like my feelings weren’t valid; who am I to complain about anything? We are so blessed with our specific situation here. Of course we have fear and sadness and grief and all those things, and big challenges that we have, but there’s people out there that have it so much worse, and the first weeks of this pandemic I felt almost ashamed, that, “who am I to feel sad? Who am I to feel angry, who am I to feel…to grieve, you know? I’m okay, like we…we have a house. I still have some semblance of a job,” you know?

[4:51] [Sniffs] And as I’ve been really processing throughout this time — really processing deep, deep, deep inside of me, really [sighs] really doing the work, actually, during this time — I have been able to see that truth, like to absolutely recognize that truth, that all of my feelings are valid. When I feel grief, it’s real, like it’s because that grief is very real. All my feelings are valid, I’m allowed to feel the way I feel, it makes sense that I feel the way I feel, and trying to not be sad or feeling shameful about my sadness because other people are sadder…it’s, it’s ridiculous. It doesn’t serve anybody. All it does is make me tightly wound, you know, I have to hold everything together even though I don’t feel that way. And the more I process my feelings, the more I allow my feelings, the more of service I can be to this world. The more I can wake up in the morning and go upstairs to our makeshift office and turn the camera on and sit down and say, “hey, good morning world. Let’s breathe together. Let’s meditate together. Let’s pick a card together, let’s talk about today’s topic and theme and let’s find inspiration and purpose together.” And I know this free, the free practices that we have on and this challenge where we’re all really doing this together, I know it’s served a purpose for so many people. You know, we had thousands of people immediately join in and it’s been, it’s been so beautiful. And I know that it’s important that I am here doing this kind of work, and for me to do this kind of work I…[laughs]…I have to do my own work, right? For me to serve a greater good, I have to work on myself.

[6:31] And if anything, for me personally, this has been one long…I feel like I’m on…I’m in a spiritual bootcamp [laughs] right now. I said that a couple months ago, the feeling I had when I was kind of going through my burnout and everything challenging was, the feeling I had was as if I was moving through an existential crisis, except on purpose [laughs]. And that is really the feeling I’ve brought into this pandemic except now, yeah, it’s still on purpose, I just feel like a lot of things are out of my control. I know we all feel that way. So something we can control in this moment is our ability to be here, right? To the very best extent that we possibly could, our ability to just be here, to breathe here, to feel here. So let’s take a moment right now, as you are, as we are, to just close the eyes. To just close the eyes. [Inhales] And then noticing in the body right now what feels tight. What feels restricted, what feels painful, challenging. And then breathe into that place. Whatever hurts, wherever in your body you are holding emotion or holding energy right now, breathe into it. In through the nose, full inhale…[inhales]…open the mouth, exhale [exhales].

[8:25] How are you doing right now? How are you doing right now, really? Yeah? What’s the true answer, reciting in your heart in this moment? And even when we’re, you know, collectively moving through this challenge, I find that we are all more vulnerable with each other than we normally are which is a beautiful thing, but sometimes that kind of vulnerability is just overwhelming, right? We have days where we want to just “hey, I don’t want to talk about how I’m feeling,” right? I would rather just put on a brave face and go about my day. I’m fine. So you also might have that natural response that you come back to again and again, like “I’m sad,” you know, or “I’m confused,” or “I don’t know.” But dropping into that place right now where you really feel into how you are in this moment. Chances are it’s not the same as what it was five minutes ago, and chances are it might change five minutes from now, we don’t know. All we know is “this is where we are.” So how are you?

[9:43] And whatever feeling is there — and it could be a lot happening and moving inside of you at the same time — take another breath into that place. Another breath into the heart, another breath into the pain, another breath into the sadness, a breath into the anger, a breath into the fear. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. And as you’re holding this beautiful, loving space for yourself, because really this is a practice of self-love, self-care…self-care has very little to do with spa days and bubble baths, and everything to do with holding emotional space for ourselves. Being present with ourselves. Giving ourselves the space and the support to process all of these really challenging things that continue to come our way. So take another breath [inhales] open the mouth [exhales].

[11:00] Now placing one or both hands to your heart center, “what do I need today?” Ask yourself that question: “what do I need today?” So as you’re holding this emotion or all of these emotions, just feeling in for a need that you have. Some sort of need, something you need help with, something that you’re longing for or craving today, or maybe something that you’re lacking that you really need to provide for yourself today. What do you need to feel a little bit more grounded, to feel a little bit more at peace, to be able to make it through this day? And then listen in for the truth of what lies in that space. Perhaps what you need today is a bit of alone time. That’s true for me. Yeah? Maybe there’s something you can do or some way you can find a moment to be alone today, even if that means locking yourself in the bathroom for 30 minutes, going for a walk if you still can, go sit in the forest or by the ocean or on your balcony and meditate, yeah? Maybe what you need today is to move, move some energy around. Perhaps what you need is to emotionally process your feelings, go scream into a pillow. Maybe what you need is to ask for help. If what you need today is to do nothing, let go of the idea of trying to be productive throughout this isolation and sit on the couch and watch 100 episodes of whatever silly thing is on Netflix today, then do that. Yeah? Today, really give yourself permission to meet your own needs. And take a breath into that place. Notice what happens in the body when you just give yourself permission to ask for help. To give yourself what you need. To feel what you’re feeling right now. [Inhales] Exhale it out [exhales]. And blink your eyes open.

[13:22 - Commercial Break]

[14:29] [Exhales] Hi. [Inhales] I want to take a moment to share how I am doing right now [exhales]. It’s strange because I feel strangely okay and absolutely not okay at all at the very same time. I’m contemplating how much of what I’m feeling in a day is my own and how much is the collective, right? I think it’s important that we’re able to feel into that as much as possible, like “what of this pain that I’m feeling in really painful moments is mine right now, and what am I feeling that’s part of the whole?” Because one of those things maybe I can do something about, and the other one I have to just sit down and pray, right? There’s two levels to this, where we can make sure that we do what we can in a day to meet our own needs, right, that we have this sacred spiritual practice of looking within, of moving our bodies, of being with our families, all of these things. And then at the same time, the collective pain that we’re feeling right now we cannot change; that collective fear, that collective grief over what’s happening in this world. That is what it is. And about that, for me the only thing that works to ease, or to — I had to breathe a little bit of space into that feeling of just collective despair that I feel heavy on my heart sometimes — is to sit down, look up at the sky and ask for divine help. Yeah, it’s that letting go of thinking that I have any semblance of control, right? Of thinking there’s something I can do to fix something or change something. I can’t, yeah? I can’t, I really can’t.

[16:16] I can do what I can for myself, for my family, can try to be of service in my community, but when it comes to stopping the suffering on a global scale, I can’t do anything about that. But what I can do is pray. So I’m doing that, a lot. How am I feeling…[sighs] I feel very vulnerable today, and yesterday. We have a full moon in Libra right now, it’s a Pink Rose moon. I’m a Libra, that’s my sun sign, so I think I feel everything very heightened, very intensely. I’m crying a lot these days, absolutely. And I’ve been having some really major, major realizations and epiphanies around my own pain, around my own wounds and traumas, and I’m actually wondering who else is having that same experience, because I’m able to connect the dots right now so much in terms of the journey that I’ve been on over the past two years, which has been this feeling of this long, dark night of the soul. This burnout and how sick I was and then somehow it led me to this unbelievable blessing of having 2020 without work, you know, knowing that that’s…that’s the reason I can even sit here, probably, right now, and that we still have a business, that I’m not in absolute panic cuz I lost everything I had, it’s like that burnout was a blessing because yeah, that allows me to be here.

[17:51] So I’m just really seeing how purposeful a lot of the agony and pain that I went through over the past two years has been, and it’s also been that process of unravelling what’s inside of me, right? Because I’ve realized that I have done so much inner work and done, you know, so many groups and retreats and Path of Loves, and you know, so much, and I got to a place, I think, where I thought like “I have done more work than most people have, so I’m kind of done.” You know? I became a little conceited, a little arrogant, actually, around my own inner space, I think because I was constantly putting myself in that position of a teacher, right? Of a leader of…I was constantly guiding people through this kind of processes, like, through heart healing and heart opening and that’s really been my job for so many years that I stopped being a student for awhile. That’s been one of the realizations that I’ve had is that I think maybe it was too much for me to actually hold some of the heavy things still in my heart while helping other people hold theirs, you know, while holding space for other people to move through their own journey, that I couldn’t do both at the same time, or maybe I was trying to distract myself, making sure that I couldn’t do both at the same time.

[19:19] Also, my life has always been so busy, right? The moments in my life that I can look back and really see some massive, massive, massive change, transformation, huge moments of letting go, they’ve never happened, you know, in happy times. They’ve never happened during those times in my life where everything’s been butterflies and rainbows and I’m just, everything’s fine, right? It’s always during moments of extreme heartache. When I’ve lost a loved one, you know, when I’ve been through some sort of upheaval or separation, or experienced some sort of abandonment, like it’s been all in those moments of crises and trauma that have led to those big, big moments of transformation. And I’m really contemplating that right now, because it’s a…there’s a duality to that for me, because I also thrive in moments of crises. I have realized this. I started therapy, you guys know, I talk about that a lot..I can’t even remember, was it a year ago or six months ago? [Laughs] It feels like a long time ago, I don’t know. But I have been in weekly sessions with a therapist for a long time.

[20:29] Okay, that’s not a long time on the scope of like, a life, but for me long enough that I feel like I’m really experiencing some big moments of transformation, for sure. And what I’m realizing is [sighs] the biggest epiphany that I’ve had this week has been that there are layers to the wounds that I have from my past. I used to think…one big one that I had was this thing inside of me that pushes me to keep going, right? Like I have this, this drive inside that keeps me moving all the time, this voice inside that tells me “you have to work harder.” It’s that voice that tells me no matter how hard I work, actually, I’ll never be enough, you know; I can always work a little bit harder, I can always give a little bit more of myself. I will work to the point of literal exhaustion, to the point of my body giving up and getting sick, and I’ll never cancel, I’ll never stop, right? I’ve spent years working non-stop, morning to evening, thinking that that’s totally normal, you know.

[21:33] How many things have I missed over the past decade? You know, parties and celebrations and moments with our friends and with my husband and you know, it’s just been this natural thing that I miss out on those things because I’m working, I have things to do. Right? “I’m writing a book, I’m recording 15 podcasts, I’m leading this team, I’m starting new non-profits, I’m building a new platform, I’m launching a clothing line, I’m duh duh duh.” A gazillion things that I’ve just…that I’ve just done, and I’ve lived in that space of “this is normal.” But I’m realizing now it’s not normal. Not everybody lives that way. There are people out there who know how to take a vacation and actually enjoy that, right, actually be still. And not just that, there’s a difference between working hard because you’re passionate and you love to work, and working hard because what drives you to work so hard all the time is something that’s broken, right?

[22:26] So that was my epiphany last year in terms of like the drive that’s inside of me that keeps me going. It’s the same voice I’m experiencing now during isolation when I’m on the couch with my husband and my daughter and there’s a voice inside of me that tells me “get up. Get up. Get up. Can’t just sit here all day, like Jesus Christ, get off the couch. Do something. Clean the house. Redecorate something. Paint something, fix something that’s broken, go into the garden. At the very least like cook something, bake something, do something.” I am faced with the rash, that like harshness of that voice right now because all of the regular distractions that kept me from hearing that voice very clearly, they’ve all been cut away.

[23:14] When I’m leading a group of 55 people through a teacher training, you know, I have huge commitments every single day, all day, so that “get up, keep going, keep going,” it’s just an automatic, like I have to do it because it’s work, right? I’m in the middle of it. Then I would have moments between groups and I would have things to do, catching up on all the work I missed when I was in a group, right, so it’s like I’m justifying all the time, “go, go, go. Keep going, keep going, keep going, morning to night.” And now, you know, so much of that has been cut away. I don’t have that kind of work schedule, I don’t have that kind of pressure, those kinds of commitments at all. So now I’m really faced with the fact that that voice is still there even though there is nothing work-wise that I have to get up and do. That voice tells me other things, you know, it’s that…that voice that keeps me from being able to just sit on the couch and watch a movie. Like I can’t, that’s not…[laughs]. And it’s ridiculous, like I feel almost ashamed saying that, but the layers to this that I realized is that that drive that I really thought was “okay, it’s because I had these traumas and these wounds where I was little, when I was little where I really thought that I was the one in charge of the family,” right? It was my job to keep everyone together, to keep everyone alive, to makes sure that we were safe, to, to, you know, like “if I don’t steer the ship, the ship will sink,” like that feeling. And that it’s left in me this drive “I have to keep performing and succeeding and creating because that’s my worth.”

[24:42] I have a podcast episode called “What Matters is Who You Are, Not What You Do,” and that was another realization that I had of “that’s what I’m looking for.” I have lived my life thinking that my worth is in what I do when actually, I don’t have to do anything to be worthy of love. I don’t have to create or produce or succeed at anything, but my worth is just in who I am. So…and I sat with that epiphany, that realization, for a long time. I wrote that sentence out a million times, really, like “my worth is in who I am, not what I do. What matters is who I am, not what I do.” And I’ve really been you know…like that’t my wound, right, that I’ve been confused about that since I was little. And now, I’ve realized that there’s a layer to that wound; that’s one layer, that’s the first layer, you know? I think that if I succeed and produce, then everybody will love me, right? That my worth is in what I create and then I have to keep creating or else I’m not lovable. Actually, there’s a layer to that wound if I go one step deeper — and I had this realization mid-therapy session just this week — if I go one step deeper to that, it’s not just that I think I have to keep doing and driving and I have so much fire and go, go, go and I don’t know how to be quiet and I’m burning out, and I…it’s hard for me to relax and all these things. But I don’t feel safe when it’s quiet. It doesn’t feel safe for me to relax. And I really…when I had that realization literally mid-therapy of…I was sharing the story with my therapist of, this was a couple days ago, I’m home with the toddler, three years old. We are very blessed with her because she’s a Pisces, she is so quiet, right? She plays alone, she has imaginary friends, tells stories, she’s not like a crazy active, wild kid where you know, she needs to be outside and run for hours in a day. Like she’ll spend two hours in the bath, without toys, just talking to herself, like she’s really [laughs] really like a true Pisces.

[26:50] So we are very blessed in that sense, but of course, 24/7 without a break, without even the ability to leave her for five minutes, we are starting to climb the walls here, yeah. Like running out of things to do, things, ways to entertain her, keep her busy, I’m trying to get creative every day, but it’s getting hard, and there are some days that are harder than others. And I was sharing with my therapist that I had this day of, of just realizing that when I’m doing things, then I feel fine. So that’s why I’m baking. I am baking like I have a bake shop here, like I could…I think right now in our kitchen we have like two, two big things of cinnamon rolls, I have like a ginger spice cake, we have chocolate chips cookies, blueberry muffins, chocolate cupcakes, sourdough bread that’s proofing, or dough that’s proofing…like there’s scones downstairs, I made pancakes this morning…I am baking my way through this quarantine, right? I mean if you follow me on Instagram, you have seen me bake and cook [laughing] my way through this quarantine. And I’ve realized that baking and cooking, you know, it was something that I really deemed as like “that’s what I do to relax. That’s such a treat,” you know, “it’s such a calming, quieting thing.” And it is, it is part of my self-care practice, it’s really good that I’m baking and cooking and I’m not looking over balance sheets and trying to start a new business right now, or freaking out about, you know, that I’m not working like that. But at the same time, I’m kind of kidding myself [laughs]. And, when I’m baking and cooking with my daughter, which is really fun and she participates, and we do it together and we’re spending time together, I am also creating, right? I am producing something, there is something that I’ve produced and done at the end of that, like I am feeding my family. I feel purposeful, I feel useful, right? I baked something delicious and beautiful, I feel purposeful, I feel like I did something, you know? It’s like that mental checklist of “okay, I’m doing.” I’m still immersed all day long in doing, right? It’s just I’ve changed the doing from high intensity job and commitments to things I’m doing around the house, but it’s still that kind of frazzled energy of not being still.

[29:02] And I’m sharing this with my therapist that I can do those things, that I can be in the garden with my daughter and you know, we play like clean up games, or we’re even painting, or sculpting something, or playing with clay or Play-Doh…like all the things where I’m creating, I feel fine. We spent 30 minutes building a fort in the living room, like 30 minutes like building this elaborate fort, and it was so fun and exciting and she loved it, and then you know, she wanted to decorate it and put pillows inside and duh duh duh. And then when we were done, she goes “okay momma, come inside, now we go in the fort.” And I go in the fort…and then we’re just sitting there [laughs]. And I go, “so what are we going to do now?” She says, “no momma, now we’re in the fort.” [Laughs] And I go, “okay, but like, what do you want to do in the fort?” She says, “no momma, we’re just in the fort.” “Oh. Okay.” And I’m sitting there. I’m sitting there, my daughter is totally content, just sitting there, enjoying her moment in the fort. It’s like of course for her, we’re building the fort so that we can enjoy the experience of being in the fort. I was in that fort for two minutes and then, like, I…I can’t…I cannot sit still. And I get immediately bored, you know, and I’m like “hey, but…okay so…” and I look at my clock and I’m like “okay, well it’s like 5:30, I have to have dinner ready by six, so maybe it’s time I like start cooking now,” and I get up, and I leave the fort, and Lea goes “momma, come back to the fort.” And I said “but momma has to make dinner.” “No, it’s quiet time now. Come back.”

[30:33] And she makes me go back in the fort, and I’m sitting there, and I’m just so uncomfortable sitting in this fort, you know, and I feel like I’m forcing myself to sit in the fort. And I spent like another three minutes in the fort, and then like “okay, I gotta make dinner now. Okay, I love you,” and I go downstairs, and then I cook and then I feel okay again. This is just like a small day-to-day example, but I was sharing this with my therapist and I just cried. I just, it touched me so much when I was contemplating and reflecting on this afterward, it’s like “what kind of person am I that I can’t spend five minutes sitting in a fort that I spent 30 minutes building?” Like what kind of a mother am I, what kind of human being am I that I can…that I can only move, that I can only be in motion and be producing and creating and doing, right? But when it comes to the being, I have no idea. I have no idea how to do that.

[31:25] For me, it’s like the yoga and meditation practices that I have in my daily life, they’re not optional [laughs] right? I cannot…there’s no version of my life where I don’t have those disciplined practices, because if I didn’t have them, I would burn off the face of the Earth, like I would just spin off into space. Those things are non-negotiables for me, right, it’s not like I’m enjoying my yoga and meditation practice, I have to have it. I can’t even imagine what kind of person I would be without them. But I was sharing this with my therapist just crying, just like…and then she really helped to just guide me in that moment, like “hey, what are you touching on right now? What is this feeling that touches you so deeply?” And I just, I just, I just…I think there is a version of me that can be still, right? I don’t think I was born into this kind of doing, being, having to be in motion all the time. I think there’s a version of me that can sit still in a fort with her daughter. A person…like a version of me that can just be quiet, that can just sit in the bath and enjoy that, that can just be, right?

[32:34] And, what I really came to was that [exhales] when I was little, it wasn’t safe for me to just be. I can’t remember, even when I like really look back, and really, you know, contemplate it and go be and breathe with it, I can’t remember quiet moments where everything was safe. Moments where we weren’t constantly moving, or where I had a new stepdad, or new step-siblings, or a new house, or a new family constellation, or a new divorce, new separation. Like I have…I cannot remember that feeling of just being held, right? Like if I fell, that knowing that I would…someone would be there to pick me up. And I think I have that big, big, big childhood wound of just not feeling safe, right? Of not…feeling like it’s not safe to settle in once place and relax, because any moment, any moment this family will have changed again. Any moment, I’m going to lose someone, you know? Any moment, like, like my parents separating when I was two and half, and then my new stepdad dying, and then my mom trying to commit suicide, and then the several stepdads and stepmoms I saw after that, and they all left in the end, you know? Like when I look back at my childhood from like two years old to 18, every two years, or every year, there was another loss, another separation, another trauma, another new family constellation…like when in my childhood was it just safe to relax, right? It never was.

[34:08] So that’s the feeling; that’s the underlying, the deeper layer to that wound that I have explored now recently is it’s not just that I’m confused around you know, “what matters is what I do, not who I am.” It’s not just that, but it’s underneath that, it’s just I have never been in a space where it was just safe for me to relax, I don’t know what that’s like. And I have a daughter now who was born into that, right? And that’s the beauty of this, it’s like having this lifetime of working through these wounds, and we all have childhood wounds, we all have traumas, I don’t feel resentment around anything from my parents or their, you know, their parents and the parents before them, like we all grew up in these kinds of circumstances. But somehow now, through like grace of God, I have found myself in a place where my daughter was born into a different scenario, like she was born into a place where it is safe to relax, right? Where everything…she knows where everything is, or her family constellation is the only one she’s ever know. Where it’s quiet, where she only knows one house, one mom, one dad, who love her immensely, right? Where we haven’t had any traumas, like thank God, I feel like I have to knock on wood, but, no crises, you know…she’s had that, that beautiful safety in her life. And she knows how to be still. Not only that, that she’s had those circumstances, but in her, she has that undeniable quality of just being here, like more than I’ve seen in any kid, like it’s bizarre, really.

[35:41] She’s three years old, can go to the beach and she will spend 45 minutes sitting at the same spot on her towel, watching the waves roll in. Like that’s the kind of child [laughs] I was blessed with, and I can’t sit in the damn fort for two minutes, right? So it’s this beautiful just like realization of “of course she’s my greatest teacher. Of course everything I have left to learn in this lifetime, like I can see that in her, and she’s teaching me things every single day.” But it hurt me so much to have that realization there in therapy, and I was just bawling over it, like I wanna be the kind of mother, the kind of person, the kind of wife, the kind of human being who can be still, right? Who can be truly still, and not just practice being in stillness, which is what I’m doing when I’m on my yoga mat and when I’m in meditation, I’m practicing it, right? I wanna be it. I wanna be. And I think there is a version of me deep inside that knows how to be. And I feel this tremendous sense of loss, and it’s really triggered in me watching my daughter as she is, this part of me that didn’t receive that, right? And it’s not that there’s like anyone to blame, or anything like that, but it’s just I’m sensing this loss that, that maybe I haven’t had the time to grieve my entire life, and my life has been so busy; for as long as I can remember, I have been busy. I’m always busy. Like ask anyone who knows me: there’s not a moment where I’m not busy doing something. Like we can have a party here that’s just meant for everyone to relax; like I am not the one at my own party sitting down talking to people, enjoying it. I’m the one refilling the bowls, and making sure everyone has something to drink, and cleaning up things as I go, and you know, I’m just in constant motion, that’s who I am.

[37:39] And realizing now that it’s not just that I’m confused thinking that I have to create to be worthy, but that actually no one ever taught me how to be still. How would I know? It’s like everything makes sense, how would I have that in me if I never saw it? If I never learned it, if I never got to be in it when I was little? And now with this pandemic, having had every single distraction removed from my life, everything that I said before was “I’m too busy, I can’t,” right, “I don’t have time to.” All of that has been cut away from my life, all of it, and here I am. At home, in stillness, or with the potential of being in stillness, no distractions, literally nothing to do. And I am faced with this like really the harshness of it, like “I can’t even sit in the fort.” [Laughs] And I think if I hadn’t had these past two years of everything unfolding exactly the way it did, starting to learn these things about myself, starting therapy, asking for help, like really…all of that led me to this place where now, I have the ability to do this kind of work in a way that I never had before.

[38:54] So after I had that session with her, you know, and it’s almost like I got to sit with my inner child for a moment and grieve the loss that I had as a child that I didn’t feel safe. And then witnessing that in my daughter every day, the potential and the possibility, and knowing that when I mother her the way I do now, I’m also mothering myself in a way. And after that session in the afternoon, I was in the pool with my daughter and I was I’ve been…since that session, I’ve been feeling really fragile, really close to tears, really close to my heart actually, in a good way. And we’re in the pool, and I was just taking a moment to witness myself. I had that practice of just, “okay, what if I just let myself be here.” So normally when we’re in the pool, we’re playing, like we play wildly. We’re jumping off the edge, and we’re, you know, doing crazy things, or we’re doing swim drills with her, and like we’re moving, moving, moving. And then there’s always a moment where like, “okay, I’m done.” I get to a place where I’m just done. “We’ve been in the pool long enough.” She’s never done [laughs] right? And for me, it’s usually like the 20 or 30 minute mark, like that’s a lot. And then I had that reaction of “okay, I’m done,” and I just, I look over toward the house, “okay, we gotta go shower now, or take a bath and you know, move on with our day,” and instead of acting on it, I just stayed. It was really bizarre, just realizing how quick I am to just act immediately, I have that reaction of “okay, time, we’re done,” and then I get out of the pool. And now I was just like “okay. I have that feeling now, I feel done, where did that come from? Hmm…I feel bored now, okay, we’ve done this enough. I have that feeling like I have to go in and start chopping vegetables for dinner, okay. Hmm, maybe the vegetables can wait another 20 minutes, right? It’s okay if we eat a little later today.”

[40:44] And I just allowed myself to kind of explore that feeling of “I’m done, I wanna move, let’s get out, let’s do something else,” right? And my daughter is so content, she’s just swimming, just jumping, she loves being with me, so much, right? So I just stayed there. It was really bizarre. Maybe it doesn’t sound weird, but for me it was really bizarre. And I just took a breath, and I allowed myself to be with that feeling of “I gotta go, get up.” But I didn’t get up. And it was [laughs] it was almost like [sighs] the feeling was like a cool rush of water inside of my body, or in my nervous system, and I just decided to stay anyway, to witness that. And I recognized that “oh, there’s a discomfort here.” I’m just sitting still right now on the edge of the pool, just sitting here. My daughter’s just sitting next to me, and she’s so content, just being there. I’m like, “I’m uncomfortable, I feel bored, I feel jittery, I feel nervous, all these things I’m feeling and I’m just in the pool with my kid.” There’s nothing crazy happening, there’s nothing like, you know, nothing magic, magically shifted in our reality, it’s just within me, all of a sudden I got bored and I feel like “I gotta move.”

[41:58] So I sat there. And I sat there. And I sat there. And I sat there. And it became almost like…[exhales] yeah, it became, it became like a spiritual practice of nothing [laughs]. I don’t know how else to describe it. Residing in that place of nothingness, it’s like the practice that I do sometimes with breath work when we expand the spaces between the breaths, the little moments of silence between the inhale and the exhale — that whole long moment, and it was probably 20 minutes or maybe more that I just stayed there even though I didn’t want to stay and even though I had that urge to go and do and move. And I could witness the urge and still stay in the being, somehow. It was very uncomfortable, but also really beautiful…super, super strange experience for me to just be there in the nothing. And then, what do you know, 20 minutes later my daughter goes “hey momma, I’m cold. Can we go to the bath?” “Yes, yes we can go to the bath. Okay, yes.” So we get out of the pool, she took a bath, I showered and I went to chop the vegetables and cried into my cooking, as I do every day, and then we had a moment at the end of, after her bath, at the end of the day where Dennis was dancing with her in the kitchen…she loves to be held like a baby these days. She loves to like ask about when she was a baby and she wants to see pictures of when she was in my belly, she’s in that kind of phase. And he’s dancing with her, like we always have Billy Holiday playing in the evenings, that’s like our go-to music. And then she goes “momma, can you hold me?” And then I’m holding her, and then Dennis came and hugged me, and then for just a long time, we just stood there [laughs]. I could cry just sharing that experience now, just standing there in the kitchen, holding each other, you know, with her little heart beating between our big hearts on either side of her, just quietly, you know, holding each other, dancing in the kitchen. And I could be there, you know what I mean? I could really be there.

[44:08] And of course I have moments in my life where I’m here. Where I’m loving, where I’m appreciating this beautiful life, where I’m present, but just recognizing how often I’m quick to go, to move, to do something more productive. How much I’ve missed out on in my life because I act on that so quickly. And I think it wasn’t until I could actually realize and recognize the underlying pain or the underlying wound, right, which is that feeling of not being safe. And it was like I could take a deep breath into just honoring that, like “yeah, it makes sense that it’s hard for me to be still, okay. So how about we practice that now? How about we really sit with that now? How about I allow my daughter to be the teacher that she actually is for me? And how about I listen to her a little bit more?”

[45:02] So that is my, my big takeaways so far from this isolation, the inner work that I’m doing and this practice that I’m very immersed in right now, which is noticing within myself when that feeling of boredom arrives, when that feeling of “mm-mm, gotta get up,” and then witnessing it, allowing it, and allowing myself to stay anyway. It’s kind of like you’re in that hard, challenging hip opener in your yoga practice, like you’re in pigeon pose, but you’ve been there too long, you know what I mean? And it’s like you take one more breath. And then you take one more breath, and you just take that next breath. It’s like Ana in Frozen 2: you just do the next right thing, right? You just stay where you are with everything you’ve been given in this moment, and you take one more breath. You can just take the step you’re taking right now.

[46:00] [Exhales] So, thank you for listening to me sharing my, my experience of this time. And I think the way through [laughs] really, and we’re in two different places here, so some of us are privileged enough that we don’t have to worry how we’re going to feed our kids, right? That’s a privileged place to be, knowing that we have a roof over our heads. If you don’t, right, if you’re not stable or secure in that sense, the only thing you have to worry about right now is yourself, right? And if you feel like you have space in your life for these kinds of practices, this kind of inner work, the self-inquiry, the yoga, the meditation, if there’s space for that, absolutely. Do as much of it as you can. But if there’s no space for that in your life right now and you’re listening to this podcast driving somewhere, or while taking care of your kids, or, you know, that’s okay. You are doing the best you can.

[47:00] If you are in a place right now where you feel some sort of stability, right? Yes, we are all fearful. Yes, we are are all super worried, we’re all grieving. But yeah, if you’re, if you’re in that material sense you have your basic needs met, then this is that absolutely, unbelievably important opportunity to look inside. To do this kind of inner work. Because what I think is that the new world that we’ll see it after this, because I don’t think that we will have a return to normal, actually. I hope we won’t have a return to normal, there has to be some kind of rebirth, something positive that comes out the other end of this, where we don’t return to those regular ways where we were destroying our very own planet. Where there is something that comes out of this that makes us feel more connected, that brings us back to what’s truly important. Where we’re all growing our own foods, spending undisturbed time with our kids and appreciating that closeness that we are forced into right now. Where we value that human connection more than we value the, the dollar. And I think the way to get there is for each of us to use this time, if we can, to heal. To look at everything we’re feeling right now not as just a new emotion, right, it’s new fear, new grief, new pain, but also looking at “what is triggered inside of me that’s old?”

[48:33] Like me and this absolute fear that I feel of not being safe, it’s because I never felt safe, you guys. I haven’t had a day in my life where I felt like it was safe for me to relax. And it led me to this crazy life, this crazy burnout; it’s also served me, sure, because I’m productive as hell. I can create anything, I can pull miracles out of my ass when I have to, I can move mountains, right? It’s also served me, but it’s made me into a person that doesn’t know how to sit still in a fort with her daughter. And I really want to be the kind of person who can be still in a fort. That’s my life goal. My life goal is to not just build the fort, but to be in the fort, to enjoy the being, right? And I can take this time right now to look at that, to ask those hard questions, to feel the hard feelings when grief comes my way to breathe into that and cry for my inner child that didn’t have all of those things. And that’s, I think, at the end of the day, what’s really going to create this new kind of world that we’re all entering into. If all of us have a little more wholeness inside, if we feel a little safer inside of ourselves, if we feel more at peace inside of ourselves, we will have an easier time creating that peace around us.

[49:59] So not just going about this change that we all want to see from that societal level, of structure and politics and yes, we all gotta be out there and do the activism and be of service, hell yes. But it’s crucial that you take care of this inner pain. That you take care of your own inner child, that you look at your own trauma, your own wounds, your own conditioning, really, that you do your own healing work. And if you find yourself now suddenly kind of thrust into this new reality where you’re contemplating everything, just like me, where you’re like “wait, how did I end up here? All of these things happening in my life, in this way? All of these relationships changing, all of this stuff being triggered,” it’s like what if there’s a divine path and you’re on it, right now? What if this is all happening in this divine order so that you can be here right now, listening to these words, feeling into your own heart? What if all of this is happening for you right now? There’s an opportunity here, take it.

[51:09] Let’s take a deep breath in…[inhales]…and out [exhales]. If you would like to join me on this inner work, every single morning, 9am EST, I am live on Instagram talking about our theme of the day. We have 30 days of free yoga happening on, you go to, create a free account. With your free account, you get a new yoga class every day, and every day we have a journalling prompt to help us, to help us on this journey. Today we had a big, big exercise on the Inner Critic and the Inner Best Friend. All of the lives are saved on my Facebook page, you can go to Yoga Girl on Facebook and find all of the old videos if you haven’t seen the lives yet. All of the yoga classes are on for free, and the journalling prompts you can find on my Instagram in a highlight right there.

[52:05] And if you need help with anything, please ask. I think the more we stay immersed in community, the more we talk to other people, the more we speak our feelings out loud, the more we’re going to feel whole throughout also the hardest days, just being reminded again and again that we are not alone. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me, for doing this inner work, for being this important part of the whole. I appreciate you so much, I love you so much, and remember, you made it through all of your hardest days. You have survived all of your hardest days. We’re still here. Keep going. I’ll see you next week.

[End of Episode]