[0:57] Hi you guys! Welcome back to the Yoga Girl podcast “Conversations from the Heart.” I am sitting [laughs] I’m sitting here in my house, having just completely cried my eyes out. I cried three times today, so far, and it is 10:04 am. I feel like I’m doing pretty well on that front right now. I have a lot of things to share, so much moving inside of me, a lot of big realizations that have come my way this week, but I would love for us to…before I dive in, I would love for us to take a moment just to ground and center ourselves a little bit. So wherever you are, doesn’t matter if you’re sitting down or standing up or out for a walk, but wherever you are, take a moment to pause so you can close your eyes. Just pausing so you can close your eyes.
[1:53] Let’s take a moment just to tune into the body a little bit here. So, if you have any tension lingering anywhere in the body, make a conscious choice to soften a little bit. And see if you can let your shoulders drop, let your face soften, and let your belly all the way go. Let your belly go. We usually have a quite a lot of holding on in certain areas of the body, for a lot of us it’s the shoulders, the neck, the belly. See if you consciously just choose to soften these areas of the body a little bit. And then your face as well, relaxing the forehead, your jaw, even that little space you have at the very back of the ears. Let everything go for a moment.
[2:49] And let’s take a really deep breath in right here [inhales]. Exhale it all away. Now let’s tune into this very simple but very profound question: how are you feeling right now? I mean how are you really feeling right now? How are you doing? There’s a lot on that surface level of how we tend to ask each other as we pass each other by in the day, you know “how are you doing?” “I’m good” or “I’m fine.” No. How are you really doing? On that core level, that level of the heart, that level deep inside where…if you actually give yourself a moment to tune in, you’ll find a bigger answer. How are you doing?
[3:48] And give yourself a moment or two just to see what answer arrives. Sometimes, you know, we could’ve had an amazing week, but right in this moment here now, you’re not feeling amazing, And that’s okay. Maybe you’ve had a great day, but just now something occurred, or a thought came your way that triggered an emotion that’s challenging. So not “how were you a couple of minutes ago,” or “how are you overall this week,” but just right now. Here, now, in this moment.
[4:23] And you can feel that in the body. You can feel that on that emotional level of the heart, how you’re doing right now. Whatever answer comes your way, let it be. Let it be. So if the answer to how you’re feeling is amazing, unbelievable, fantastic, great, wonderful, let it be. If the answer tot hat question is awful, terrible, scared, frustrated, angry as hell, let it be. Whatever is there, let it be.
[5:06] And just give yourself a little space in this moment to allow for whatever already is present inside of you to take up a little more space. And this is such a valuable practice, you guys it’s so special this practice of simply tuning in and allowing for that emotion to exist. And emotions are…it’s almost like we have to burn through them, they come our way for a reason and they leave when they leave. And we’re meant to feel them, so the practice of tuning in and giving yourself the space of “ah, okay, I feel depressed right now. Interesting.” “I feel sad right now, okay.” “I feel elated right now.” “I feel nervous right now.” “I feel confused, I feel numb,” feeling numb is also a feeling, “I don’t feel anything,” that’s something. Give yourself a little bit of space to allow for what’s already here. So dropping into that practice of attuning to your emotional space. And then with that, whatever’s there, let’s take another big, full breath in [inhales] and this time open the mouth, and let a little something go [exhales].
[6:26] And go ahead and blink your eyes open. Hi. Again. [laughs]. It’s such a…such a big question to ask yourself, I really think it is, how am I feeling? For me, the answer to that is, all over the place. I am very emotional [laughs] today, right now. I am a couple of days away from getting my period, my moon is on the way. I’m using an app to track my cycle, I started doing this a couple of months ago, I just realized I…I’ve started to get really increasing amounts of symptoms around PMS, whenever I’m close to that time of the month, and I didn’t used to have that, and for, I think, for all of last year, I would have a moment every month where I just felt so awful, so sad, totally depressed, just everything feels terrible, and then I’d get my period and I would go “ooh, everything makes sense.” And then it would happen again the next month, and the next month, I just wasn’t keeping track or being conscious enough of my cycle enough to anticipate. So I started using an app for it, which is really lovely. It literally alerts me and says “hey, if you’re feeling down today, it may be because your period is right around the corner, cut yourself some slack.” And I go “okay, everything makes sense.”
[7:53] So, this is making me, yeah…it’s heightening my sensitivity, it’s making me more emotional, I get easier upset about little things, big thing, but it’s not just that, it’s not just…not just moon time stuff, I am in the midst of a super…super challenging couple of weeks right now.
[8:14] Where to start? So, you guys all know that this year is a drastically different year for me, I’ve been…made the big drastic choice to give myself time off to make these huge changes in my life, and the year started off so amazing. I recorded a podcast where I cried from happiness [laughs] literally. I was literally so overjoyed having suddenly found myself with space to do what I wanna do throughout the day after having an entire year of what felt like, just unbelievable pressure and tension and too much work and feeling overwhelmed. The first couple weeks of this year were a literal dream, an absolute dream. I was, you know, doing a lot of yoga, running a lot, baking, you know, spending a ton of time with my family, my husband, my baby, taking care of the house, cooking, spending time in the garden, just really beautiful things.
[9:09] And, of course, on the side of that, I’ve been working on the regular day-to-day things that I do. And here’s a little area that I didn’t fully anticipate. So on the side of the big groups, and trainings, and retreats, and tours, and big classes that have taken up the majority of my life for the past years, I also have a regular full-time job [laughs]. I absolutely do. So running my businesses, you know, creating the content that I create, writing, [laughs] dealing with the finances of our day-to-day, managing the studio that we have in Aruba, we have a big team of people, big staff, tons of projects in the air that I, you know, kicked off most of them last year, that are sort of coming to fruition now, so it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing. It’s just when I compare to the pace I’ve been going at for so many years, it literally feels like I have a year off, but I have a year of regular sort of working hours, with regular, you know, a normal inbox to empty every day, and regular meetings to take and, you know, day-to-day things.
[10:14] Which for the first few weeks of this year felt…it felt like vacation, just total vacation. And then, something happened [laughs]. I don’t know exactly what the trigger was, but I think making the decision to have space, and then realizing that “oh, I still don’t really have as much of it as I thought that, you know, my ability to sneak new things into my schedule, my ability to start new initiatives, to, you know…plan new meetings, to continue working, I guess, or to continue planning more work into my day, even in areas where I don’t have to, where it’s not 100 percent crucial, I took that totally for granted, I was very very naive, so I found myself after a couple weeks realizing that “okay, I’m kind of…I’m busy again. I’m busy again with these things, I have all these things happening now, we have a big launch coming up soon about something that’s so wonderfully heartfelt. Maybe I can share a little bit about that on this podcast, but something that we’ve worked on for the past two years. It is the…the initiative, the project I’ve poured, I think, the most of my heart in…into in a really long time. And something around mental health and well-being, and something that actually has the potential to change a lot of lives. It’s a really wonderful thing. So it’s coming soon, and I’ll be…I’ll be releasing and sharing through the podcast as well. But that’s the thing, so things I kicked off years ago, or months ago, you know, they are leading to work, and things that I…that I need to get done now.
[11:51] So, normally this is not a problem because I’m working all the time, but I had a moment, I think — I don’t know, a week and a half or maybe two weeks ago, it’s the end of January now — where I started realizing that every time I took a meeting, or every time I had like a little deadline of some sort, like, “oh, I have to get this thing off of my table now, to finish it,” I started feeling a huge amount of pressure, a huge amount of stress, I started feeling anxious around things that normally are very, very small. Things that I wouldn’t even think of as a big deal, that wouldn’t even feel like a lot of work, things that are normally so easy, suddenly were starting to give me anxiety. And I think I realized that I have a really hard time finding the balance between on and off, if that makes any sense.
[12:42] So I would love to have a life where I work a normal amount, a little bit, where I can choose my schedule, and I do the things I want to do, but for me it’s like either it’s totally off, like the first two weeks ahead of this year were nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, or I start and then suddenly my plate starts filling up again. And…I can’t have that. [laughs] I just found myself with this moment of panic of “hey. I’ve got to be super conscious of how I live my life. I am in charge of my own life, nobody else, I’m my own boss.” You know, “what kind of year do I really want? Do I wanna sit here three months from now and suddenly I’m just as busy as I was last year, just with different things, because I know I can snap my fingers and create that kind of reality.”
[13:25] I will never have a problem doing, creating, performing, succeeding, like the doing part of life, the moving fast part of life, like that’s in my nature. So for me to commit to slowing down, like that takes actual effort. Takes actual effort, but it took a little while for me to actually get present enough with this feeling of feeling overwhelmed, of feeling anxious, and then I felt really ashamed. I felt so ashamed. I really felt like “oh, my God,” I could hear that inner critical voice inside of me go, “hey, you know, who…how privileged are you? Like how ridiculous this? You quit all of your trainings, you quit all of your retreats, you quit all of your tours, all of your big commitments, and now you have all of these little things that you have to do day-to-day that you do from home, and you can’t even manage that? You can’t even manage the simple stuff that you do behind a computer. Like you can’t even manage these simple meetings that you take with your team, you can’t even….” And this inner critic is just getting so loud, telling me I should be grateful I can work from home. I should be grateful, like, compared to last year I have half the work load. Just do it, just get it over with, this is not a big deal. Be more grateful for this amazing life that you have, for the fact that you can do this from home, do most of your work when the baby’s asleep…and it’s just this nagging voice, “I should be more grateful, I should be more grateful, I should…I shouldn’t take this time for granted, I should just get on with it.” But it wasn’t true [laughs], right? It really wasn’t true. And then I just found myself in these meetings feeling…just feeling my heart beating really intensely in my chest. Or after a meeting, or after a deadline, or after something, this feeling of unsettledness, like I’d be snapping at Dennis for no reason, or I’d feel totally unsettled in my body.
[15:11] And, it took awhile of like, man [laughs], trying to fight this voice, until I actually gave myself enough space to sit down and go “okay, what’s really going on?” And it was a couple of days of really trying to untangle this knot of not understanding why, “why am I not feeling well? Why…why is everything suddenly hard? I had these amazing weeks where I could just see myself this year like having all this space, and enjoying myself so much, and feeling good, and now I’m not feeling good again. Why?” [laughs]
[15:44] The feeling is kind of like I put all of my eggs in the basket of ending all of these big commitments, and then what if I still don’t feel well, you know? Then what? What then? That’s a terrifying thought. Like, “what if I make this huge, drastic change in my life, but still…and that’s not working, right, I go back to anxiety, to feeling overwhelmed, to feeling burnt out?” Oh, my God, that feeling was just…[laughs]…pure terror, right? So in those moments, in those days of feeling crappy, what have I been doing to manage that? I have been drinking more wine than usual. Also, a shame to admit. I have been eating more sugar than usual, also a shame to admit. I have been watching more Netflix than usu…than I usually do, also not a fun thing to admit. I have been going to bed much later than I normally do. I have been sort of engaging in these…behaviors that I know don’t make me feel good in the long run, but it’s almost been like I’ve spent all day kind of holding my breath a little bit, or fighting this…having this huge internal struggle, fighting this internal critic that tells me that nothing is good enough. Nothing is good enough. And then at the end of the day, I have no energy left, it’s like I’m self-medicating somehow. Like, “I need a glass of wine, I need chocolate cake, I need to watch a stupid show on Netflix that doesn’t forces me to think, and I just…I just have to be there like a zombie for a couple of hours,” like that’s been…it’s been this thing that I almost can’t fight it.
[17:21] And then, of course, that for me is just…you know, no big deal. Like, watching Netflix with my husband, like having dinner on the couch, amazing. Like having dessert, amazing. Having a glass of wine, amazing. All of these things on their own, you know, I don’t think at all are harmful, or bad, not at all. But for me, it was this absolute…like this cloud, this unconscious cloud, almost like I’m covering myself with a thick blanket of “I don’t wanna feel what’s going on so I’m engaging in these things as a way to self-medicate, as a way to escape,” right? It’s not watching a movie with a glass of wine, eating a dessert with my husband because I enjoy it and it’s awesome, which is how we normally do things. But it’s been like, I don’t want to talk about anything. I don’t wanna go into these feelings, I feel really overwhelmed, I feel fearful that I’ve made a huge mistake, like what if this whole year is a huge mistake? Fearful that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to feel good agin. It’s been like, I need to numb myself, that feeling. I need to numb myself with some wine, with some cake, with some Netflix, with, like, not going to bed, like staying up til one, even though I’m up at six — you know, that feeling of unconsciously having to engage in behaviors that numb me, that make me escape my present moment, that is not good. That is not cool, that is not taking care of myself, it’s not constructive for me, doesn’t take me anywhere positive and makes it really hard to get out of this negative cycle of, you know, my inner critical voice basically killing me every day, telling me how I’m not good enough. Because of course, on the couch eating cake, you think that voice is kind? No, that voice is suddenly screaming at me like “I’m so unhealthy now, and now what if I get sick again and I’m eating sugar and that’s bad for me, and you’re gonna get fat, and you’re bad, you’re bad, you’re bad.” And that’s really been a loop. An inner critical, inner judgmental loop that’s just…yeah. It feels like it’s never-ending, but it’s been, I don’t know, maybe ten days. [laughs]
[19:25] I…I’m also want to recognize I have a lot of tools to process this. I know there are…I, you know, before I found yoga, before I found meditation, before I changed my life, I probably had years living like this. I think my whole teenage years I was…numbing myself with different things all the time, because I had no tools, no space, no safety, to actually feel my feelings. So I am very aware that I have a lot of tools, I…you know, I’m equipped. But for me, having a week like this feels like, you know, ugh, this is not good [laughs]. And I feel grateful that I can be conscious with it, right, that I can recognize that this is what’s going on, okay, but just recognizing that hey, I’m engaging in this behaviour to numb myself doesn’t really change anything. It’s acknowledging it, yes, but doesn’t stop me from doing that again the next day. So what’s my go-to? And it’s kind of cool that this is now my go to: therapy. Woo! [laughs]
[20:30] So for anyone who recognizes any…anything, any part of what I’m saying — and it’s hard for me to say, it’s hard for me to kind of share this with you, because I like to see myself as a healthy person, I like to see myself as a positive person, I have this idea of the version of Rachel that’s like, the best version of me, and I should be that version all the time. Well, the version of Rachel who’s numbing her feelings, lying on the couch eating cake, drinking wine, it’s not the best version of me, and it’s also…makes me feel ashamed, right? There’s a level of shame attached to that, where it’s hard for me to talk about. Like, I feel like I’m failing, I feel like I’m disgusting, I feel like I should…you know, and those feelings just perpetuate the cycle and make me go deeper into this cycle of shame that make me likelier to drop into that same pattern again, right? So it’s like the more ashamed you…I feel, the worse I feel about myself, the more wine I want to drink, and the more wine I want to drink, the more ashamed I feel and there’s the loop, right? You get it.
[21:29] So, what’s…what’s great though, in all of this, is I know that this is super totally, very human thing. We all engage in different kinds of behaviors that numb us in different ways, and it’s not that…you know, that that’s always a terrible thing, or a bad thing, but what’s hard about it is it doesn’t take you anywhere. Right? So you can kind of dig yourself into a little hole of numbing your feelings, and then getting stuck there. And the longer we do that, the harder it is to climb out of that loop, right? So we need tools that can snap us out, or we need to add things to our day to day that..that actually help us add some positive things into our daily routine that…that keep us from engaging or dropping into that place of shame or that place of listening only to the inner critical voice, because that’s a dangerous place to be. Especially if your inner critic is as loud and constant as mine. We all have an inner critic in the back of our heads, some of them dictate our lives, some of them pop up in certain scenarios, for me I have a…we have so many episodes of this podcast talking about the inner critic, I highly recommend if you haven’t listen to the inner critic episodes where…that I do with my yoga teacher training groups where we have 50 plus people sharing their inner critical voices. It’s so powerful to hear, and to be reminded of the fact that we all feel this in certain ways.
[22:55] So, the inner critic, and this is also part of this amazing project that we’ve been working on for two years around the inner world, around providing tools for people to…to snap out of that cycle of shame, to actually become aware of the inner critical voice, that’s something that’s coming so soon. So it means that I’m having this conversation around the inner critic from a very, very conscious place. Like, I know I have this inner voice, this inner voice tells me, usually, that I’m not enough, that’s usually kind of the broken record theme that, that loops in different ways again and again, but usually that’s the gist of it, that I’m not enough, that no matter how hard I work, it’s never going to be enough. That I need to be more, I need to do more, I need to be more successful, I need to to do better, I need to improve, I need to be more fit, I need to be skinnier, more beautiful…it’s…that’s kind of the core theme is it’s just never enough, never enough.
[23:57] And what’s been really interesting for me to watch, and what was this thing that I’m really recognizing through therapy, just sitting with these feelings, one of the first things that my therapist said was like, “hey,” you know, “if you’ve been in this hyper-vigilant state for so many years of constantly working, of being on all the time, you know, of having a hundred things to do at the same time, of, you know, trying to excel and be perfect in every area of your life — be a perfect mother, perfect wife, perfect friend, perfect boss, perfect entrepreneur, perfect teacher, like perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, you know, having to keep so many things going, holding everything together — it’s really hard to snap your fingers and all of a sudden have your nervous system settle and for you to feel totally at peace with being quiet, and still.” She says, “I think you need to…” She told me I…she said “I think you need to cut yourself some slack, like you need to be a little kinder to yourself around this transition that you’re in right now.” You know, so having this…this kind of…you know, I’m in this energetic place, or I have lived in this energetic place of looking around, all the time, you know, staying in control of everything, working, working, working, never being still, never being quiet. And now that I’ve physically arranged my life in a way that I am more quiet, doesn’t mean that my nervous system has met me in that place. But actually what it means is, I’ve slowed down enough that I can hear that voice that tells me to keep moving really loudly. Man. And I’m wondering if this is a fundamental truth for all of us, that when we’re living a life where we act on everything the inner critic says — and that’s kind of how I’ve been living for most of my life. My inner critic says “work harder,” I work harder. My inner critic says, “keep moving,” I keep moving. And all of a sudden, I have more space, all of a sudden I’m a little more still, and that critical voice, it’s still there and it’s just louder than it ever was before, because I’m not acting on the thing any more. Does that make sense?
[26:04] So I think if we have an inner critical voice that tells us “be more productive, work harder, work faster, do better,” and then you’re trying to keep up with that, at least you’re justifying to yourself “yeah, yeah, yeah, I gotta work, I gotta work, that’s who I am, that’s what I do, I’ve gotta provide da, da, da, da, da, da.” But then suddenly, I go against it and I’m just at home, I’m just…[laughs] gardening, or baking, or playing with my daughter, like I have a whole day filled with meaningful things, meaningful moments where I’m more quiet than I’ve ever been, that inner critical voice, of course, goes from “work harder, work faster,” to “oh, my fucking God, you are totally failing. Like, you are failing at everything, You are not,” you know, “you’re not working at all, like you’re just sitting there doing nothing? Like, what did you even accomplish today? Like go through the list of what you accomplished today, what did you accomplish? Yeah, you made a curry, okay, hurray, good for you, you cooked something. Okay. Good job.” You know, sarcastically. Like that voice is unbelievably loud, and I am more conscious about the fact that the voice is there when I’m not acting on what the voice tells me.
[27:16] [laughing] Okay, so for everyone who’s very, you know, well-vested, well-aware of the inner critical voice, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If for any reason you don’t know what the inner critic says, maybe I sound a little bit, like, schizophrenic right now? [laughs] But essentially, that’s what that inner voice is, it’s…it’s a little bit crazy. And the more, kind of, having the permission you know, through my…through therapy of like, “okay, instead of…you know, beating yourself up that you’re lying awake at night late,” you know, “I wanna go to bed at nine, I wanna go to bed at ten,” and I’m awake at twelve or one and then I’m, you know, beating myself up like “why aren’t you asleep, why aren’t you asleep, you need this sleep, you’re supposed to be sleeping, you’re…da, da, da, da, da” just acknowledge to yourself that this is a transitional time for you and you’re learning how to meet yourself at another energetic level. You’re learning how to…how to slow down, and it takes awhile for your nervous system, for your body, for your patterns, for your rhythm, for all of these things to catch up with that.
[28:15] So, but that’s, of course, I haven’t been kind to myself at all, I’ve just expected that “hey, snap your fingers, stop, slow down,” and then I stop and I should feel great, but of course that’s not the case. So [laughs] that’s been something that’s just absolutely, totally a huge, huge, huge challenge for me. And I think, normally you know, I don’t have to engage or I don’t really have that urge to numb myself when I’m working because — and this was a huge epiphany for me — for me, working, it substitutes the wine [laughs]. I don’t need the wine, the sugar, the Netflix, the staying up late at night, the things that numb me when I’m working all the time because working numbs me too.
[29:03] So, I don’t wanna call myself a workaholic because that sounds so terrible and I think…[laughs]…I don’t wanna put myself in a box like that, but say, like I’m entertaining the idea that what if my drug has been work? And it has been my whole life. Not just saying that okay, I go to work nine to five, and I’m working, working, working, working, but work in whatever form that that may take, depending on the stage in my life where I’ve been. So of course, when I was in school, like school was my work, school was my drug. I had to get all A’s, I had to nail every test, I was always studying, always trying to be the best at everything. I’ve had…it’s manifested in ways of like “I have to be the best at things, all the time,” like that’s been a way [laughs] to numb myself, to try to excel, try to succeed, try to meet this absurd expectation of being perfect in everything I do, I can just look back at my life and see how it’s not so much about what the work is, but it’s the inability to stop. The inability to slow down, the inability to…to, I guess, to feel safe, when I’m still. I’ve never had that feeling before. I’ve had that feeling of “I have to keep going for everything to stay put together, I have to keep going otherwise everything’s going to fall apart. If I don’t stand here holding the entire world with my two hands, literally, someone’s going to die, something terrible’s going to happen.”
[30:37] And, of course, if I go deeper into this place, like that’s how I grew up. That’s literally the…the truth, it wasn’t just a feeling I had when I was little, it was literally my life when I was little, like “I gotta hold things together, keep things together, I gotta keep my mother alive, I gotta make sure my mother doesn’t die,” like that was really the fear of that happening and the sense of responsibility that came with that, the feeling that “that’s on me. That is my job, is to keep her alive.” And I’ve taken that feeling, that fear, that energy of “it’s my responsibility, it’s my job,” I’ve internalized it and I have applied it to every part of my life, and continued to do so until I got to that point like a year or whatever ago, where my body just said “no.” [laughs] “Can’t…can’t run at this pace any more. Can’t be in charge of the whole world anymore, can’t…rescue everybody anymore, can’t…can’t…I can’t keep going like this.” My body told me that, my head, “no way.” Doesn’t matter…you know, didn’t matter how much I was doing, how much I was getting done, my inner critical voice still said, “hey, work harder. Hey, go faster. Hey, be more successful. Hey, accomplish more. Do more. Move. Move. Move. Get up. Go.”
[31:51] And the challenge right now, as I’m finding myself with time, like to look around, of like “hmm, what should I do next,” like that little…little bit amount of space to just not immediately have the next thing on the to do list, like my whole day is just things I’m doing, and one thing merges into the next, you know, there’s not even space between my things on my to do list, it’s just one big list of thing I have to get done. And now, I find myself with that little bit of space of, “huh, what should I do now?” Like I have…I can ask myself that question. And it’s wide open. It’s totally wide open. I can pick up a book, I can, like, clean the house, I can take the dogs for a walk, I can play with my baby, you know, all of those things, and it’s been so wonderful to have that, like it’s been…that’s why those first weeks of this year were like eye-opening, earth-shattering, crying with happiness kind of beauty. But then that voice crept in and it became even louder than before because now it’s suddenly like…[laughs] you know, I can’t justify anything. Before I could tell the voice “hey,” you know, “I signed all those deals today.” “Hey, I secured that funding for that thing today,” or “hey, I…I recorded eight podcasts today,” like that’s thing thing. Or, “hey, I guided 52 people through an entire day of teacher training, like I did a lot, let me…let me rest.” So it’s almost like I could justify the voice a little bit. But now, i can’t any more. And it’s making me so conscious of the fact that I cannot have his voice ruling my life anymore.
[33:29] That’s what I need to work on, you know? Working on slowing down, cutting things out of my schedule, changing my life, the external — yes, that’s one step, but that’s not the problem, that was just a symptom. The actual problem is that…that inner voice, that inner drive. That drive that tells me that..that I’m not good enough the way I am, that I gotta work a little harder. And if I don’t address that, if I don’t dig into that and don’t get to the root of unravelling the knot of that heavy, heavy, harsh, tense feeling that just sits inside of me…if I don’t do that, then nothing’s going to change.
[34:10] That’s a really hard , heavy truth to sit with: if I don’t address that inner space that’s led me to this place in my life, then yes, 100 percent, I guarantee it , I will, you know, six months from now I will be just as busy as I was last year. I will be numbing myself with as much work as I’ve done always, and nothing will have changed. And then, you know, if I continue that way, maybe a year, maybe a couple of years from now, my body will have to tell me again, “I can’t,” but probably it will be more severe, probably it will be more serious, it won’t be…you know, “I have a cold [laughs] that doesn’t go away for six months, like I have weird symptoms.” No, maybe it’s something…scary, it will be something…. I think that’s kind of how the Universe works, like the Universe will tap you on the shoulder like “hey, hey, address this. Hey, look at this. Go this way. Hey, hey, hey, let’s sit with this, hey.” And then we don’t listen, we don’t listen, we don’t listen, we don’t listen, and then eventually you get a brick on the head. [laughs]
[35:14] I had a…I had a little brick on the head, I had like a mini, like tiny little baby brick, like manageable, and I’m pretty certain that…that if get to the place again, push myself further, the next brick, it’s not going to be so little any more. Maybe it’ll be something totally unmanageable, because I know that that’s how life works and I…I don’t wanna get to that.
[35:38] [Exhales] So, where does that…[laughs] leave me in this here and now? Well, number one: the practices that I have that address how I’m feeling inside are my number one priority in my life. I have to make them the number one priority in my life. I can’t have then be these things that I do at the end of the day if there’s a little more space, or things I push…put off to do later, no. Things like therapy, like I’m very committed once a week, it’s so valuable, but I think for me I think it’s not enough, especially if I, you know, I’m at this place where I, you know…I don’t wanna scratch at the surface of this a little bit at a time, like I wanna…I wanna heal what’s there to be healed. I wanna learn the true meaning of rest. It’s…it’s crazy to me, but really, really, really, I…I wanna learn…I wanna learn how to be still, how to truly be still. Those moments I have in meditation, in yoga practice, where I feel…just here, you know, and I’m just here in my body. I wanna learn to connect to that and make that my feeling, the overarching feeling in my whole life. Not…my life is a…moves at 180 miles per hour, and then twice a day I slow down and I have that practice of just being there. Like, I want to learn how to make that practice my life.
[37:08] If I didn’t have my yoga practice, if I didn’t have [laughs] meditation, honestly I don’t know where I’d be. You know, if I would be here. I might not be sitting here talking to you at all right now. And I think it’s…it’s requiring this total shift of perspective in terms of okay, this practice, it’s not this thing that I do a couple times a day and I consciously sit down and I make myself get there. It’s a complete shift of…of how I live my entire life. I wanna live my entire life from that pace of being grounded, of moving slowly, of feeling good, right? And not like every day has to be butterflies and rainbows, but…feeling present enough inside of myself that…that I don’t have to take that inner critical voice as truth. Right? Because it’s only…like when I talk about it now, or when I talk about it in therapy, or when I do my exercises like what we do on Yoga Girl Daily Podcast every day, like every Tuesday we have an inner inquiry, where we enquire about something specific inside of ourselves, and I do that practice and I have that space of “man, like that thing I’m telling myself all the time, it’s not true. Like, actually, that thing I think is truth from long ago that still runs my life? It’s limiting belief, it’s not real. I can change that.”
[38:33] You know, if I drop into a place of…of looking for my inner best friend, instead of the inner critic, and that’s such a wonderful practice to…to sit with. Is whenever you feel overwhelmed with any kind of self-hate, self-sabotage, or just sitting with that anxiety that comes from feeling not enough, or that feeling that I can’t keep up with my life because I have this drive to do more, more, more, more, more, but I don’t have enough space, energy, time, life…I can’t support it. Okay. So my inner critical voice tells me all of these things, well if I would flip that on it’s head, and look inside for my inner best friend, what would she say? You know. And that…this practice is so…and it’s kind of similarly to how my therapist was telling me like, “hey, if you’re a little more forgiving to yourself, like a little kinder, like it makes sense that after a whole day fighting this battle of this inner voice of wanting to be still, not being able to be still, trying to slow down, not work…work enough but then still finding yourself doing all this work, it’s like constant battle, it’s exhausting, of course at the end of the day it’s like man, bring on the cake [laughs] Let’s find a shitty, shitty movie, let’s drink the wine, like of course, like what else is left?” You know.
[39:53] And once I have that looking just a little kindness, like, “ah, man, I haven’t done that this week because I’m a terrible person, I haven’t done that this week because I suck, because I’m worthless, because I’m terrible, because I’m unhealthy,” it’s like “I am doing the best I can to cope. Really, really, really.” So…and the moment I can bring in that little bit of compassion toward myself, then it’s like “okay, it’s not so crazy, it’s not intense, it’s not because I’m terrible, I’m just a human being,” and I really think that’s the…that’s the biggest thing. Whatever behaviour we’re engaging in or that we’re stuck in, that we know doesn’t make us feel good, right? The first step really has to be to be compassionate and kind toward ourselves about why that behaviour is there in the first place. “Okay. Yeah. And hey, I’m not killing myself here, I’m not engaging in something that’s totally wild and insane. Is it good for myself in the long run? No. But okay, that was this week that I had, it was a hard week for a variety of reasons, alright.” Also, I’m about [laughs] I’m almost on my period so I know that, that relates to the chocolate cake and then wine as well, but the biggest piece is how can move from a place of…of numbing my feelings to a place of feeling my feelings in a way that feels safe. So who can I talk to about how I’m feeling? Who can I find that I know will just be there to listen, right?
[41:19] So of course therapist is awesome, having a podcast [laughs] is awesome, a friend is a really good place to start. A husband, a wife is a really good place to start. Sometimes, with Dennis, sometimes he becomes a part of the thing I’m struggling with, we’re so close, he’s my husband, he’s my everything. And especially this week, it’s for a lot of things, there’s been..it’s been a hard week for a lot of reasons, but we’ve been having some struggles between ourselves as well. So then this week, it was better for me to pick up the phone and call a friend, right, in those moments where “hey, I’m not feeling good right now.” How can I give myself a little bit of space to just talk about how I’m feeling, and not just let that cycle of shame continue, because I know that leads to another cycle tomorrow, but I need that space to vent, to share, to move a little bit deeper inside of myself of, “hey, there’s something going on here.” Like, “this is a sign, this is really a sign to…to look at this.” How can I give myself the space to feel what’s actually there?
[42:22] So, the moment I had [laughs] this realization of connecting the dots, of “okay, like I’m spending all day in this internal struggle, beating myself up about trying to have time off, but also trying to work, but I don’t wanna work, I really don’t. I really, really, really don’t.” I can feel everything that gets added to my calendar, there’s resentment from me there because I don’t want it there, but I’m letting it be there. [laughs] You know, I’m doing that, I can control that, I can cut that out as well. Like, I can, I can make that effort. Like there a little things that I am allowing, or inviting, or creating in my life that’s making that anxiety worse. And after a long day fighting with myself [laughs] listening to the inner critical voice telling me “I am a terrible person, I’m worthless,” hell yeah, I wanna sit on the couch and drink some wine. The moment I’m clear with that, suddenly that behaviour doesn’t seem so shameful any more, doesn’t seem so weird, doesn’t seem so terrible. And, doesn’t seem so hard to stop. Right? I’m not saying, like “oh, I’m never going o have chocolate cake in my life again,” like no, but it’s replacing that numbing of feelings with feeling our feelings, so that the next time I want to have chocolate cake, I’m having chocolate cake because I enjoy it. Not because I’m escaping something, like there’s a…that’s a huge difference between those two things.
[43:43] I wanna enjoy my life. I wanna…drink wine because I enjoy drinking wine. I wanna have a cozy evening on the couch with my husband because I love him and that’s a cozy thing for us to do, not because I am actually inside freaking out, feeling anxious, feeling horrible, hating myself, and I don’t wanna feel anything, you know. Such different things, similar, but so totally different. So number one, finding someone to talk to, finding someone to share with, getting those dark, heavy things off of your chest — so damn important. Man, if you don’t have a therapist, a friend, someone that you’re close with, someone you can talk to, it could even be, like, a structured sharing. I love them so much. Picking up the phone and go “hey, can we take five minutes each just to talk about what’s hard in our lives right now?” You can do that with your best friend, with your neighbor, with your yoga friend, your husband, whoever, today. Let’s set a timer, five minutes, for each of us to just talk about what’s really fucking hard. There’s hard things in our lives, life is hard all the time. It is. It’s hard without an inner critical voice that tells us we’re worthless. All the regular day-to-day things of life are challenging the way we are, right, so then adding that to that…it’s a lot to manage.
[45:02] So perhaps what you need is just a little bit of support. You need someone there on the other end to listen. And of course, it requires the active participation from your end to decide, “hey, I’m going to phone right now. I’m going to let myself cry, I’m going to admit that man, I’m having a hard day, a hard week, maybe even a hard life, okay. I’m gonna get really clear with that, cut myself some slack, forgive myself for whatever it is I’m beating myself up about, and then if I need help to change something, I’m gonna reach out and ask for that help.”
[45:34] For me, it looked like, you know, crying, a lot. I actually had a lot of tears to cry that I hadn’t cried for awhile. That’s usually a sign for me that, you know, when I’m feeling good, I cry a lot. Like, not all the time like I’m depressed, but it’s easy for me to cry, get things out of the way, and then I feel good again. But I actually, during these ten days, I haven’t cried almost a single time I think. And it’s because I’ve been really internalizing everything, struggling with this big thing on my own, thinking that I’m failing at so many things on my own and I should be…I should be able to manage it on my own. But I couldn’t, right? So, spoke about it, spoke to my best friend, spoke to Dennis, spoke to my therapist, cried a lot about it, and then I started journalling about it, which has been a really, really helpful thing. So at the end of the day, like after I put the baby down, you know, after we’ve had dinner, which is usually that little gap where, for the past week I’ve been like “okay, let’s eat some cake and lie on the couch,” I’ve started sitting down to journal on how I’m feeling.
[46:37] So simple. Journalling is like…it’s like a master practice, it’s literally, it’s…it’s…it’s so fundamentally simple, but it can change your entire life, I swear it to God. Because it’s just you and your thoughts. And setting a timer for fifteen minutes, “I’m going to journal for fifteen minutes just about how I’m feeling, okay, well…actually….” And maybe in the moment I think I’m feeling good, like “hey, let’s watch a movie,” actually, no, like “I’m upset today, I had a fight with Dennis, with didn’t even finish the fight, like we were interrupted because, you know, the baby was there. We were having a discussion about something, it’s not good, and then we just left it like that, like what? How did that happen? And we didn’t repair, we didn’t come back to finish that conversation, to get back on the same page and now this weird…” like things like that that accumulate if we don’t give ourselves the time and the space and the intention to look at it.
[47:26] We gotta look at what’s messy, we gotta look at what’s hard, and then when those feelings surface, we need to feel them. Literally. The option to feeling our feel…the other end of that is numbing yourself for the rest of your life. And the more you bury, the harder it gets to open the door to feeling what hasn’t been felt. Trust me on that. So if you can have that daily practice, weekly practice, daily…it should be daily, of “hey, how am I doing right now? Really? Like really, really.” It’s gonna change your life.
[48:03] And I…I know it’s changing mine. I kind of feel like I’m…I’m at this turbulent sea [laughs] I’m in the midst of so much change in my life, and I’m trying to navigate it, and you know, reaching for old behaviors that I didn’t used to before, and then, you know, dropping into total vulnerability, feeling my feelings, crying a lot, journalling meditating — I’ve been meditating on my rock in my garden every day — practicing a lot of yoga, like taking care of my body, and then like “whoop” going over here and doing something like, totally different, okay, I’m navigating this, like there’s no perfect way to live my life, you now. There isn’t. There is no perfect way, it’s doing the best we have with what we can. And all I know is…I wanna feel alive. I wanna live this life alive. i wanna be totally, totally here.
[49:00] And I think that’s…that’s just where I am right now, maybe that’s where a lot of us are, it’s this uncovering of who we really are, why we are the way we are, what actually hurts, and that voice inside of our heads? Maybe it’s time to change the tune. Maybe it’s time to…let that inner critic [laughs] go sit in the back seat for a little while. Maybe it’s time to invite that inner best friend to come forth. That inner best friend that tells me, literally, if I listen to what my inner best friend tells me, it’s “man, making the choice to slow down is the bravest thing you’ve done in a long time. It took courage to do that, it took real, genuine courage to change your life in this way. Man. And you deserve this break, you deserve that. Actually you don’t even deserve it, you don’t have to work to deserve to rest. Rest is your birthright. And what you do is not who you are. You’re not worthy, and lovable, and accepted, because you create these things, because you work, because you save…no. You are worthy of love just for being who you are, there is nothing you have to do to deserve love. You’re worthy of that love as you are in this moment. Also when you are sick. Also when you are tired, also when you are lazy, also when you’re not accomplishing anything. In all of those moments, in your most shameful state on the couch with the cake, you are worthy. And lovable. And beautiful”
[50:37] That inner best friend that’s just…if I listen to that voice more, and I tap into that feeling of “man, I am worthy the way I am, I am worthy of love,” it’s way easier to take care of myself from that place. Man. Everything is easier from that place of acceptance, of…of giving myself a little more compassion, every day. And I know my inner best friend is trying to teach me how to be still. And this is what learning looks like.
[51:10] [Inhales] I want to thank you for being here on this journey with me. I appreciate you so much. And, little reminder that just the way you are, right here, right now, you are lovable too. Thank you for listening. I’ll be back next week.
[End of Episode]