To Heal, We Have to Feel favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - February 7th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Healing, Growth

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

What if we grew up with the tools we need to be able to feel the full spectrum of emotion? What if we were taught how to check in with ourselves and process the heavy parts of life?

In this episode, Rachel opens up about the existential life crisis she is having - on purpose! It involves the act of tuning in and becoming really present with your emotions so you can recognize what you are feeling, when you feel it, and why you feel it. The only other option is to lock things deep within ourselves, which usually leads to far worse outcomes.

The practice of checking in with yourself is so valuable and it’s something you should do everyday, too! Rather than suppressing heavy emotions, can you begin to become present with your emotions, shine light on your feelings, and give yourself space to feel? Can you take a moment, step back, recognize the trigger and sit with it? That is how feelings get processed - and that is how we move on.

This episode will remind you that you deserve to live in the full spectrum of feeling absolutely everything. If we shut down one piece of our hearts, we shut out the ability to open up to the magic of the universe. It is our responsibility as humans to feel, and to heal. Tune in to give yourself space to feel your feelings and process them so they can be let go. Only then will you be able to open your heart fully.

Key Takeaways

  • Check in with yourself multiple times a day. Set a timer on your phone and allow yourself to process any heavy emotions that come up.
  • Mental health deteriorates over time, as we suppress more and more negative emotions, the unhealthier our minds become.
  • It is our responsibility to do the work - it’s the only way to change the world.
  • Suppressed emotions can manifest in actual physical pain/symptoms. It is crucial to process and let go!
  • We are all doing this work together. You never walk this path alone.

Interactive Exercise

This week set your alarm for three times a day. Whenever that alarms goes off, take 5 minutes to yourself to tune-in to how you are really feeling.



[0:55] Welcome back to the Yoga Girl Podcast, “Conversations from the Heart.” I feel so weird [laughs] sitting here talking to you right now. I have to admit right off the bat, I’m a little bit hungover today [laughs] which never really happens to me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a day where I was feeling the effects of going out the night before. I mean, it must’ve been…it must’ve been years ago, I dunno, maybe you guys can remind me. But I had a really hilariously awesome, strange, wild night out dancing last night, which is just something that I never really do any more. I’m guessing it’s age, and motherhood, and life having changed a lot. I was never really a going out, you know, drinking type of person, I really enjoy having a glass of wine at home and usually if we ever drink something, it’s on the couch watching a movie.

[1:55] And last night, I was meeting up a friend to go have a glass of wine, and then suddenly it was 4 am and I was still dancing, it was so much fun. So much fun, so much fun. And I was even telling Dennis now “man, I don’t think I can record the podcast, it feels like the podcast is so sacred,” you know, I always before I… [laughs] before I record, I take a moment to ground myself, I sit down, close my eyes, breathe deeply, and sometimes I set an intention for myself before I record, sometimes I just, you know, press play and I just share. But I said “I feel almost like ashamed, like is it okay for me to record this podcast feeling hungover, like I did something bad, you know?” And it was kind of interesting for me to just entertain that conversation that I have with myself inside of my own head, of “what’s bad and what’s good? What’s okay, what’s not okay?” And I had such a fun time, it really really was such a fun time going out, and somehow the next day I have this feeling like “ooh, I shouldn’t have done that,” you know, like I’m…I dunno, like I should be ashamed to say on the podcast that I was drunk last night, like it’s this horribly bad thing.

[3:02] And actually, it’s not at all. You know, I think it’s…it’s kinda cool that I can be 31 years old, be a mom, live this kind of life and still just go out and dance and have fun once in awhile like what’s terrible about that? But I obviously have this idea within myself that that is not something that an adult does, or that’s not something that a mother should be doing, you know, it’s…like it’s easier for me to share, you know, talk about yoga, or therapy, or meditation, or healing…those are the things that are okay for me to venture in toward. But to go out, and get wild and crazy? Like no, can’t talk about that, because that’s shameful or something. And I…I just [laughs] wanted to start this podcast right off the bat just like “hey, that’s where I am right now, and how many of those conversations do we have with ourselves every single day? These ideas that some have been instilled in us from, you know, society, some have been instilled in us through growing up, from our parents, from our family, friends, and some of the ideas we have about what’s good and what’s bad, we tell ourselves, right? And I think it’s an interesting thing to just get really present with those stories. To notice whenever you have that voice in the back of your head go “ooh, that’s not something you should be doing, that is a bad thing, and this is a good thing.” Or even the kind of labels we put on ourselves, like “this is the kind of person I’m supposed to be, and I’m supposed to be that kind of person all the time.”

[4:29] I [laughs] almost have a…almost have a hard time these days just because I’m so very present with everything that’s moving inside of me, and that inner conversation of “okay, here’s how I feel good, here’s how I don’t feel good, here’s when I’m triggered by something.” I told a friend yesterday, “I kind of feel like I’m at some sort of boot camp, or [laughs] I’m at like a healing retreat, but I’m on my own at my house, almost like…” I told her “I think I’m having an existential crisis on purpose,” because I’m choosing to do this kind of work, I’m choosing to dive really deeply into my own psyche, and my own heart, my own emotions. And in some ways it’s also exhausting, you know, to try to live with that kind of presence all the time, and to dissect, and to contemplate and inquire into everything all the time. But, yeah, that’s where I am, so…maybe I just needed a night to blow off some steam and not think so much, and not feel so much, and just dance, that’s really what I got to do last night.

[5:36] So, kicking off this show just on the topic of doing what we do, being who we are, enjoying ourselves, I would love to have a moment just to ground. I mean definitely [laughs] definitely I need it. So wherever you’re at, if you’re sitting down, how about we uncross our legs for a moment so we can feel the soles of our feet rooted onto the floor. I always cross my right leg over my left, I try to even that out by crossing the opposite one, just so that I have a little more balance within my body, but one of those things to try to be conscious of, especially if we’re having a moment to center ourselves, is to find a level of balance physically in the body just sitting here. So uncross those legs, and then as your feet touch the ground, see if you can increase your connection to the floor, just a little bit. So actively using your legs to press the soles of the feet down towards the floor, and feeling that connection of the Earth beneath your feet.

[6:39] And noticing right then, you can close your eyes if you like…just, that sensation of Earth beneath you. So I’m barefoot right now, I have a shaggy carpet under my feet, I can kinda feel the texture of that, and just get really present around the sensation around my feet, the soles of my feet, arches of my feet, and all ten of my toes. You do that too, so whether you’re wearing shoes or socks or you’re barefoot, just noticing the feeling of grounding in that sense. And then from that place of feet firmly planted on the ground, let’s take a really deep, full breath in…[inhales]…open the mouth, and let go [exhales]. Let’s do that again: inhale in through the nose [inhales], out through the mouth [exhales] and getting very, very present with being right here in the body, noticing what that feels like. And just sensing if there’s anything special moving through the body in this moment, any specific type of energy or feeling or sensation, and if so, where is that happening in your body right now?

[8:05] You can bring some awareness to the breath, some breathing in and out of the nose and noticing the quality of your inhales and exhales in this moment. Noticing the texture of the breath, the feeling of the breath. And perhaps through that, allowing yourself to also deepen the breath just a little bit more. And then from there, taking a moment to feel into, and also listen, to the beating of your own heart. What is your heart telling you in this moment? Really drop in; what is your heart telling you in this moment? What does it feel like to arrive here, to be here now? And perhaps your next breath can be drawn into your heart space, just opening that doorway a little bit into your…into the emotional container of the heart. So you can give yourself a moment to just…feel.

[9:15] And whatever is there, we’ll give ourselves a moment; just let that be. The most important practice of all, so the most challenging practice sometimes is to just let what’s here be the way it is. So whatever you’re feeling, if it’s joy, acknowledge that, witness that, and feel that joy. And if what you’re feeling is pain or sadness, and allowing that, witnessing that, feeling that, just being present with that pain, or with that sadness. So just for a moment, whatever is here, let it be. Let’s take another big breath in [inhales], take a moment to pause, holding the breath at the very top, and now open the mouth and exhale [exhales].

[10:25] And you can gently flutter your eyes open, so this practice of feeling…feeling into where we are, how am I doing right now, giving yourself space for that to expand, this is really it, for me. This is the practice that I’m immersed in these days, it’s my yoga off the mat. It’s my non-structured mediation practice, but all throughout the day. And normally I don’t live my life that way. Normally it takes usually some serious amount of struggle, or feeling of uneasiness, or anxiety, or maybe even pain, or something big for me to actually realize “okay, hey, I’m not okay in this moment, let’s…let’s take a moment to talk about that, or to share that, or to feel into that.” But it’s not one of those things that I normally do all throughout the day, every day, especially when I’m doing fine, right? When I’m having a normal day, or when I’m doing really good. It’s the beauty of having hard moments in our lives is that it opens up the doorway for us to inquire and learn more about who we are, or why we are the way we are, or a least expanding that container of the heart. Which means that we start to expand our ability to feel and we’re able to hold a wider spectrum of emotion the more we practice.

[11:48] But now what I’m doing, and it’s this…it’s through this strange, purposeful, existential crisis that I’m in and have been in for the past year [laughs] or so, is that I’m doing this all day. Like I way up, and immediately I check in, “okay, how am I feeling here? Hmm.” And I’ve had a couple days where I’ve woken up in the morning not feeling good for whatever reason, I had a cough, or I didn’t sleep well, or had moments of waking up like, “ugh,” kind of, and immediately dropping into “okay, how am I feeling?” Knowing that I don’t even have a story to attach to yet, in terms of what’s happened that day because I just opened my eyes, and still, already something’s there, right? It’s something lingering from the day before, or something present moving in my heart, already. And, whatever I encounter there, it’s in that really brief moment of closing the eyes and just, okay, what’s up, how am I doing?” Whatever I encounter there, sometimes it’s easy, yeah, sometimes it’s “actually, I feel pretty fine,” like it’s this mundane feeling, almost of “eh, you know, don’t feel anything big that I can attach to.” Sometimes it’s, man, it’s joy, “okay, I feel happy, alive, just excited, just energized,” you know. And sometimes it’s harder to be present with what’s there because is not a pleasant one, right? So I’m feeling anxiety, for instance, a super hard emotion to hold, whenever that comes around. And it’s one of those things that, you know, we’ve never been taught how to deal with hard things when they come our way. We don’t, you know, get taught that in school, there’s no one who really, kind of guides us throughout our lives and lets us know, or shows us, or is an example of holding space for us, or for us to hold space for ourselves. And we’re taught so young that any uncomfortable emotion, you’ve just got to rush through that, brush it off, get back to happy as soon as you can.

[13:44 - Commercial Break]

[15:08] Whenever I encounter that feeling of something challenging, like sometimes it’s…anger, or it’s envy, or it’s shame, or it’s sadness, grief, anxiety, whatever that is, it’s almost like…it’s like the feeling is…it’s like I’m wearing a shirt that’s three sizes too small, you know, it’s like, it’s this restrictive kind of feeling of “ugh, I don’t want to be here, ugh, this…ugh.” It’s really hard to just be present with those kinds of emotions. But the interesting thing is, and here’s when it gets really, kind of deep for me, is the moment I get to this place of “okay, I feel anxious, and I just allow for that feeling to be the way it is, instead of, you know, when I’m not totally present with what I’m feeling, I can sense that I feel anxiety, but usually it kind of pulls me up into this very frantic mode, kind of, where I’m running around the house, or I’m trying to fix things, or I’m involved in some kind of drama, or I’m fighting with my husband, or…you know, I get a little frantic, it’s hard to be still. And I feel this need like I have to fix something, change something, do something, or I go for a run, or I go to yoga, or I, you know, I try to do something to kind of change it, right, let’s get back to feeling good again. And it never works. This is what’s so interesting. You know, I can distract myself momentarily if I feel anxiety and I try to do something else. If I do enough, eventually that feeling will kind of fade, but it won’t completely disappear, and I really know this as a fact: if I haven’t given it space, or actually sat with it, processed whatever is there, it’s almost like I’m just kind of putting the lid on anxiety, I’m not looking at why was that there in the first place, you know. What was the thought, or the situation, or the whatever came my way that triggered that. Because that’s interesting, right? Knowing, “okay, that’s my trigger; that happened, I picked up the phone, that person told me so and so, and immediately I went from feeling fine to feeling anxious, whoa.” Like that’s a huge thing, “what was that?” You know, “what does that remind me of, what’s in that place?”

[17:19] So when we don’t do that, it’s like, “put a lid on anxiety, go about your day, but it’s going to stay there,” right? It’s going to stay there lurking somewhere in the body, somewhere in your mind, somewhere in your heart is this anxiety that you didn’t feel. And I think the next time it kind of rears it’s head again, it’s not just the new anxiety of whatever came that day, but it’s also all of the old. And this is how, you know, like mental heath issues, it’s how they develop. They don’t just go from zero to a hundred in one day, it’s something that we build over time. It think it’s really the….of course many things place a role whenever we’re not feeling well and a lot of things, of course, having support, and feeling held, and having a community and, you know, it’s also genetic, a lot of this, and ancestral as well, family trauma…everything plays a part. But I really believe, like I’m a total, total see this as truth, any big issues that we have around our mental health, or eventually feeling totally depressed, or feeling, you know…getting panic attacks, like all of those things, it’s the build up of all the things that we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel over the course of our entire lives.

[18:33] So, imagine, you know, when you were a kid, imagine you had some tools. Like imagine you didn’t have to stuff all of the things that are hard to feel, you didn’t have to stuff them away, or pretend like it wasn’t there, or suck it up, or soldier on, or just be okay, you know. You didn’t have to live or walk through life with this kind of armour, imagine there was space for you to feel something. Imagine when you were little, if you grew up knowing that “hey, actually, sadness, it’s not something bad, or something to be scared of, actually it’s just an emotion, just like joy, you know. What if we grew up in this sense of having the capacity, or having the container, or at least the container that’s growing so that we can feel all of the things that come our way. Even when it hurts.

[19:27] Man, I am so convinced that this world that we live in would be entirely different. I think most of the real issues that we have in this world, they being on that inner level of conversations that we have with ourselves, and how we’re feeling in our own bodies is going to directly relate to have we relate to other people, right? And if we have a hard time relating with other people, if we’re fighting with other people all the time, we’re dropping into drama, or gossip, or we can’t trust people, we feel abandoned, maybe we are abandoning, or we’re doing things so we can’t be trusted, we’re kind of going through those cycles of having heavily, negatively charged relationships, so at the end of the day we feel really alone. And then it’s like this circle just continues of we have no one to talk to, so we don’t share. Hard emotions come our way, we stuff them under the surface, and then it creates more tension, which feeds heavier things in the relationships that we have. And of course with time, this grows into this big beast of, you know, terrible things come out of that, terrible things happen in this world, like abuse, and trauma, and abandonment, and separation, and so many of the heavy things that a lot of us are survivors of, you know, happened to us because people didn’t have a space space to feel something. I don’t think anyone is born bad in this world, you know, even the people who are, who have done horrible things in this lifetime, I don’t believe that there’s such a things as a bad child, you know. I think we’re all born in this total place of light and love and then some of us have a lot of support and a lot of tools and some of us have none. And of course the trauma, and pain and abuse that is inflicted upon us when we’re little, we’re going to grow up and do the same, or worse, because it’s all we know.

[21:15] So it’s like, at some point…and obviously if you look at a huge scale, of course this all relates to why the world is the way it is, why we have these massive global issues in terms of, you know, having an entire humanity that doesn’t know how to take care of this planet, doesn’t know how to take care of each other, doesn’t know how to live a life of peace, like we don’t know that as a society, at all. And I think we can start kind of scratching at the surface of trying to fix things from the outside, but as long as we’re not doing the work on the inside, and we have that same pain there, that…this world is going to continue to be a reflection of that. It is. I don’t believe we’re going to see any huge, sustainable change in the outside world until we have created or at least begun the journey of that sustainable change on the inside.

[22:06] And that means, you know, we gotta work on our shit [laughs]. It means we have to do the work, it means that it’s not just, you know, shouldn’t be just a privilege to be able to do this inner work this inner healing to deal with your traumas, to deal with the pain that you’ve seen in your lifetime, for you, of course, to feel good, for you to heal, for you to have peace in your heart, peace in your life, but actually it should be a responsibility that we all do that, that we all do the work that has to be done. It’s going to be the only way to change…to change this world.

[22:41] And the more I do this practice, the more I really think, like “what if we grew up that way,” you know? What if…what if we, like you listening to this podcast right now, me sitting here recording this podcast, talking to you right now, what if this generation, us, we are here to set a new precedent for our kids. We are here to raise our children differently, so that they’ll have a different kind of start to life. I…I so believe this to be true. I so believe this to be true. And of course, that hard part about this, and I’m very immersed in, in the idea of conscious parenting, right now. But the interesting part about this is I cannot, you know, teach my daughter how to do this work if I am not doing the work myself. And that’s why having those moments every day of closing my eyes, dropping in, feeling into my body, into my heart, and then coming across those challenging emotions and just letting them be there…it’s almost like “ahh,” you know, every time I do that, every time I drop into that place of “okay, here is what’s present inside of me, it’s as if I’m taking a big broom, and I’m sweeping out the cobwebs of whatever yesterday was. It’s a clearing out somehow, it’s sitting with that emotion it’s processing that emotion, whatever the emotion is. And when we process, we release. That’s how it goes. Anything that we want to heal, we have to feel. Have to, have to, have to feel.

[24:21] And what’s amazing is that more I do this, it’s still hard, right, it’s going to continue to always not be a fun and great and easy thing to sit with your own anxiety, you know, or to feel grief, or to feel sadness, or remorse, or whatever it is, those hard, hard things, it’s always going to be a challenging thing; but the more I do it, the greater my capacity to hold it next time becomes. So, it…it’s almost like…have you ever had that feeling of “I don’t know if I wanna do this kind of healing, I’m kind of scared of what’s going to…what’s behind that door, you know?” If we’ve put enough stuff kind of in our basement, you know, we put all of our pain there, we put all of our fears there, all of our traumas there, all the horrible things that have happened to us in this lifetime…it’s like we stuff it in the basement, close the door, lock it, throw away the key. And then one day, inevitably, you are gonna find yourself feeling this sort of…like an itch that you have to scratch, like “I…I think I gotta find this key again. I think I gotta maybe think about one day opening opening this door, see what’s down there, because I haven’t looked at it in so long.

[25:38] And the feeling becomes that if I open that door, it’s like opening Pandora’s box, like I don’t know…I don’t know what’s going to come pouring out of this fucking basement, all the ghosts of [laughs] every person past I put in there, you know, all the pain. It’s like the feeling is “it’s going to overwhelm me to the point of I’m going to drown.” I don’t know if I’ll…if I’ll be able to, to manage. So it’s…it’s easier to keep the door closed, it is. And then, with time we’re going to see how keeping all that stuff hidden away, it starts to hurt, it starts to show up in different ways in our lives where we see how limited we are. Or perhaps by shutting down a piece of our heart, we’re also shutting down our ability to actually feel love. Our ability to feel positive things, our ability to feel held and supported and all those things…it’s very hard to shut down just a piece of your heart, like decide “I don’t wanna feel the pain but yeah, bring on the joy and the gratitude.” No, it doesn’t work that way.

[26:40] As soon as you shut just a piece of your heart down, you are shutting down your whole capacity to feel the beauty of this life, too. So, what I’m getting at is that that urge to open the door…follow that urge. And I think it comes our way in times in life when we actually have the abilities and tools to do it. We’re not going to feel the longing to heal, or kind of that urge to, “man, okay, there’s something I have to look at here” until we’re ready for it. And it’s almost like life knows when you’re ready, and suddenly you’re faced with an opportunity to look at something, to heal something, to work on something. And then making the choice of “okay, yeah, I don’t have the throw this door open and jump headfirst into this scary basement, but I can…I can figure out where the key is, and like put the key in the lock, maybe. Crack it open a millimetre just to bring a little bit of space, you know, a little bit of light into that place. And what’s amazing is, every time we do that, every time we…we feel one of those emotions that we’ve hidden down there, even if it’s just a little bit, like it’s like a second of “okay, here I am.” And then we can close the door again, and kind of go about our day.

[27:58] The next time you do it, you’re going to be able to sit with that for like, a second and half, you know. And then you do it again, and then suddenly, the things that felt like they were so scary that we couldn’t even look a them, we realize that actually, you know, it’s not that bad. Yeah, it’s hard, and yeah, it’s heavy, but it’s not going to kill me, you know, it’s not going to drown me, actually I can…little drops at a time begin to look at whatever it is I have chosen to escape, or chosen to steer away from in my past. And I can give myself permission to just allow that that came my way. “Yeah, that was my reality. Yeah, and that hurt. Yeah. And I can feel a little bit of that pain now.” So that I don’t have to shut my entire heart down. And having this daily practice of continuing to be as present as you can with yourself and your own emotional space, trust me when I say that this can absolutely change your life. Absolutely.

[29:10] When it gets really fun, I think, is when we start to connect the dots between feeling what we’re feeling, and something that came our way right as that happens. Like we start to connect the dots in terms of “there are certain things that happen in my day that really trigger some intense emotions and normally, I don’t even know why. I just all of a sudden…” and it happens to me all the time, all of a sudden I just feel totally low. I can feel fine, great, normal, go about my day and then suddenly I realize “hey, I am…I feel totally low, like I’m on the floor, just feel heavy.” Ugh, it’s like everything feels hard all of a sudden. And yeah, I can reach for the things I reach for, you know, which are kind of my go to’s like, “I’m going to need a glass of wine at the end of this day,” or “man, like I wanna have a Netflix marathon, and like not think about anything,” or “let me like, eat a chocolate cake,” or whatever is that, like that go-to that I have. But when I get super present and go “hey, okay, wait, let’s take a moment here, close my eyes, take a breath, I was fine just a moment ago, and now I feel this low, like what..what happened?” And then I look back. And sometimes it takes a little bit of finessing, or kind of a little bit of detective work because we’re not usually aware of our triggers and what actually brings us kind of over the edge into these…these challenging things, because it doesn’t even have to be something big. Like obviously if someone walked up to you in the street and punched you in the face and that made you upset, [laugh] you know, you have something to point at, like “yeah, that person punched me in the face, I’m pissed off.” But that’s not normally how things go about in our lives. But the things that trigger us that suddenly make us angry, that suddenly make us low, they’re very subtle. And sometimes it’s just the action of something totally neutral that has happened in our lives or outside that triggers a thought inside of ourselves, that triggers a feeling, that takes…takes us down this big loop, because it’s something we’ve experienced before, or something that we’re scared is going to happen again.

[31:08] So for me, for instance, I can have that feeling of feeling totally low, and then I pause and I back up and I say, “what happened? Okay, wait; I was baking, I was in the kitchen, I was feeling fine, dancing to the song, and then…okay, wait, I got a text from someone, and then I was on Instagram, and then…ah,” and then it makes sense. And then it can be as simple and as totally neutral and even beautiful as I’m on Instagram stories, and I see two of my best friends in Sweden are out having coffee, you know, with their babies. Like having a…having like a totally normal afternoon and they’re like posting something cute on Instagram stories. And then inside of me in that moment, I have a trigger of “man, I feel left out.” And it’s totally unreasonable, right? I don’t live in Sweden, I live in Aruba, I live here by choice, have a great life, good friends here too, all is fine.” But it’s like a little trigger of “man, I wish I was there, like I miss them. I feel left out,” and then the thought that came my way was “ugh, they are like best friends now, and I’m not a part of the group anymore.” Like that’s the thought that just came my way as I’m watching this really cute Instagram story that doesn’t even mean anything.

[32:17] And then that thought — it’s just a little thought of like “ooh, I’m not included,” you know, “they’re better friends now, I’m not invited, and I’m…you know, I’m a hundred thousand miles away.” — and that little thought of “oh, I’m not included there,” sends me into a little spiral where suddenly I’m reminded of all those moments I had in my childhood, in my past where I felt excluded, right? Where I felt all alone, where I felt like I didn’t have any friends, where in school when I was bullied when I was young…all those things that happened in my past that led me to this absolute, total fear of abandonment, like there’s a wound there, you know. And just watching that little Instagram story triggered a thought that made me feel not included and all of a sudden, this feeling of total heaviness and kind of sadness has just filled my entire body. And I don’t even know how it happened [laughs]. And I can laugh about it now because it’s just…it’s so obvious, it’s so silly in a way, but then also, it’s absolutely not.

[33:14] So the moment I get that present, and I can actually sit with that and go “hey, oh…okay, now I get it. I had that thought…I saw the Instagram story, I had that thought, I became super sad. Okay.” And then I can actually get present with “well, let’s do a reality check,” like, “hey, Rachel, little reality check. That thought that you just thought, you’re not included, you’re not invited, it it true?” You know, “is it actually true?” And it doesn’t take very long to realize that “no! Of course it’s not true. Oh, my God, it’s so far from true, you know. I have so many friends all over the world, talk to them all the time, it’s a wonderful thing that my friends are friends with each other, and I know I can go to Sweden at any moment and just come right back to my family and friends there, like nothing has ever…like I never left. Like I have a lot of love and trust in those relationships. They’re beautiful, right, there’s nothing for me to feel fearful of, and there’s no reason for me to actually feel in this moment, in this reality, to feel left out.

[34:16] And then, you know, I can be kind to myself in terms of “okay. Yeah. Like it makes sense that you feel that way because you’re reminded of something from when you were little, okay, but now, in this reality, it’s not true anymore. Hmm.” And I can take a breath, clear out that thought with the realization of the fact that “yeah, it’s not true to this moment. It’s not true anymore.” And I can just exhale and let it go. And then suddenly I’m back in the kitchen, and listening to my music, and dancing, and baking, and I’m having a good day again, right?

[34:51] So it’s so intricate, this kind of work, and yeah, time consuming. But once you start doing it, with time it becomes almost like second nature, kind of. [laughs] So…this is what I mean when I say it’s like I’m having an existential crisis, but it’s on purpose because I’m choosing to do this work. And what it does is that it’s like I have a level of presence infused in my day to day that I normally don’t have. And being able to make sense of all of these triggers, of all of these feelings, it enables me to somehow…just be who I am, in a sense, in every moment of the day. And realizing how much time I’ve spent in my life not listening to this voice in the back of my head that tells me things, or not recognizing these triggers, and just going through the motions and suddenly I’m anxious, I don’t know why. Suddenly I’m angry, I don’t know why. Suddenly this happens and I’m acting out, and it’s like I don’t have any control of anything. And by just being present with it, it’s not really changing everything in terms of…like I still feel these feelings, they still come my way, triggers still come my way, but I can make sense of them. I don’t feel like a crazy person anymore. I don’t feel like something’s wrong with me, because actually, everything makes sense.

[36:12] And this practice a healing practice. This is how…this is how we heal. And I think this is the same kind of work that, you know, similar kind of work that we would do with a therapist, with psychologists, that we do in big healing groups, you know, taking that step to ask for help and support and wonderful to do this when…with a professional, one hundred percent recommend that. But knowing that we can infuse these kinds of practices in our day-to-day lives? Right? Because that’s when we’re going to see an actual, real change.

[36:46] So similar to this morning when I was laughing with Dennis because yeah, I’m hungover, had a super fun time [laughs] last night, and entertaining that voice in the back of my head that tells me like, “ooh, I did something shameful, like I was a drunk.” Like “that’s terrible,” you know. And then giving myself that space to “okay, I can go into that, like a spiral of ‘I shouldn’t have been out last night because that’s a bad thing to do, you know, I’m not… it’s not a mature thing to do, how can I be a good mom if…and be drunk,’” Like of course I wasn’t with her, but just these ideas in my head. And then that can take me down a spiral of like feeling really shitty all day. Regretting that I was out last night, like beating myself up, you know, “how can I get out of this feeling,” and instead of going down that loop, because I have no interest in beating myself up over something totally ridiculous and stupid, I give myself the space to just listen to “hey, okay, what’s the idea here that’s trying to get me into this negative space?” You know, the ideas that I shouldn’t be that kind of person, you know, I shouldn’t be the kind of person that goes out and parties. I should be a mom that’s always home, I should be asleep at ten o’clock, I should be doing yoga at 6 am. I should, I should, I should, I should.”

[37:59] When the reality is that I can be all those things and also go dance to reggae-ton at three in the morning and have so much fun. Like I can still be all the things that I have, that I am, all the things that I label as good and solid and mature, and not always act how I’m supposed to act and actually in that moment choosing myself, like totally, totally choosing myself by having a super fun, super fun night out, like what a gift to give myself to be able to go and just have a whole night out dancing, having the best time. What and amazing thing to do for myself. And what if I could do that without any guilt? What if I could let the guilt go? So when I sit down and I process that thought, like you know, is it me, and I have a night out dancing, does that equate to me being a bad person? Does that somehow relate to being a bad mother? Like actually those things that I’m thinking to myself, when I give myself that reality check, like actually, that’s not true, at all. It’s old ideas that I’m entertaining for the sake of habit or, or something, it’s not serving me, it’s not leading me anything good. And just holding space for that to feel what’s there, it’s like I didn’t have to go into that terrible loop of beating myself up all day, it’s just…I’m having a really fun day [laughs] actually, being a little bit hungover, laughing with Dennis, you know, reminiscing of all the things that happened last night with my friend through WhatsApp, it’s like…it’s been a really good day. But it could’ve been a harder day if I continued to beat myself up or if I didn’t make the connection between what I feel and where it came from.

[39:36 - Commercial Break]

[41:12] A really great example of this, actually that I just thought of, so last night I was with my friend, we were having a glass of wine, talking about these things, like literally talking about feeling our feelings, talking about this kind of practice, and we had just finished a conversation around the body, and triggers, where I was sharing that I’m trying to be really present with how my body reacts to certain things. And I can really sense, you know, I’ll…if I have a day and I wake up and my throat’s super sore, chances are that something came my way the night before, or the day before, like there’s something lingering in my body that I haven’t processed and it’s showing up in certain ways. And not always, I mean obviously we can get sick and things can be out of our control, but a lot of the times how we feel in the body and aches and pains and little things that show up, they relate to something emotional. They totally do. And I was sharing how, you know, I woke up with back pain suddenly and actually had a really, really hard conversation with someone this week, was going through…I was going through this thing. You know, and I could see after it had happened how “oh yeah, of course,” like I felt a lot of pressure, I felt this heavy weight, I felt like I had failed at something, yeah, and then suddenly I have pain in my back, I hadn’t had back pain in so long, like I could connect the dots. And when I connected it, I could also work through it, right?

[42:35] So we just close that conversation, start talking about something else, and I’m dealing with the…yeah, I don’t wanna…share a name or anything on the podcast, but I’m dealing with a challenging relationship at the moment, and I start talking about this, this challenge that I have. And then immediately I just…I get asthma. I got so much asthma that I had to reach into my purse and I was like “oh, I hope I brought my inhaler,” which normally I don’t bring my inhaler everywhere I go. I rarely out and about somewhere, you know, just have to use my inhaler, normally it’s if I’m sick of I’m allergic to something or I’ve exerted myself super intensely, or something like that, I might, might need my inhaler. But I was just sharing something about this relationship or this thing I’m struggling with and immediately had so much asthma, like it just came out of the blue, reach into my purse, use my inhaler and Katrina, my friend, she just looks at me goes “oh, well look at that.” [laughs] And it wasn’t until I had the inhaler in my mouth that I was like “Oh. Yeah. Look at that.” Like this asthma, you know, came from something. It’s reminding me of something, it’s poking at something inside of me that’s like “I have something really deep there that I’m working through right now.” And it was almost like I could just put inhaler down and laugh, like “man, we just talked about this and then we’re here and now…yeah, here I am with asthma. Okay. Yeah, still needed to use my inhaler. Okay. Interesting, interesting.”

[44:05] So my question is for you, how can you get more present? Not just with how you’re feeling in this moment right now, you know, not just when you’re in yoga practice, or when you’re doing your meditation practice, or in those structured moments, or in therapy with someone, or you know…how can you infuse the practice of being present with your own emotions all throughout the day? All throughout the day. It’s one of those things that it’s hard to start because it feel like kind of this daunting thing, “what am I gonna do, put an alarm on my phone five times a day, or what?” But once you start doing it, it becomes almost impossible to feel a very heavy emotion, like especially the big ones, like anger, frustration, da da da, and not immediately have something inside of you that goes “hey, hey, hey, look at that, look at that, hey. Hey. Suddenly you’re super frustrated like what…what does that relate to?”

[45:00] And yeah, sometimes it’s gonna be, you know, mundane things, like we’re frustrated with our spouse, or someone’s late, or you’re feeling rushed, or you know, yeah, a lot of that. But underneath all of it lies a whole web of super fucking fascinating things that are going on within you all the time. We are complex people, and being a human being is no easy task. And once you start looking at that, it’s amazing, it’s fascinating how things work and how actually, nothing is random and everything makes sense. And the moment you realize “oh, here is how I feel in this relationship,” or “here is how I feel relating to these kinds of people,” or “whenever I’m thrown in with anything that resembles this kind of feeling, or this kind of scenario that I was in when I was little, I drop into this kind of behaviour all the time. And actually that behaviour keeps people away,” or “that behaviour shuts me out from other…from gatherings. Or “that behaviour actually doesn’t allow anyone to really enter my life,” or “that behaviour means I don’t allow love in,” or “I don’t try for new things,” or “I don’t believe in myself,” or we have all these things that actually hold us back all the time, and in the end, we end up living in these kinds of boxes of “this is the kind of person I’m supposed to be, I could never do that.”

[46:20] We feel totally held back, totally limited, we’re looking for all of these things. Maybe you’re yearning for a loving relationship and you’ve been looking for that loving relationship for years, but somehow you keep missing the mark, “why is that not here, why is that not here? Why don’t I have this love in my life?” And then you start looking at this web of just intricate, detailed emotions and triggers and thoughts we have about ourselves and judgements and maybe you’ll realize that “hey, actually, I’m creating this in my life. I think I’m looking for a romantic relationship, but actually, I’m orchestrating my life in a way that no one will ever be let in, making sure I’ll never be hurt again, whatever comes my way. No, no. I’m in charge.” You know, shutting that part of our hearts down means that we won’t have the capacity to actually invite all the beautiful things that make this life worth living. And you deserve a life living all the way, you know. You deserve to live in that full spectrum of feeling everything so that you can enjoy the magic of this universe, that true, real connection, that unconditional love, community, true friendship, health, wellbeing, balance. And knowing that all of those things, enjoying them fully, comes hand in hand with also feeling pain when pain comes your way. Feeling sadness when it’s there, experiencing grief and loss, abandonment, separation, shame, anger, knowing that all of these things are connected. And as human beings, we are here to feel it all, we are are here to experience it all. And you are worthy of being here with your all.

[48:06] This…this was an interesting podcast [laughs]. I would love to close by giving you not the challenge, but…maybe just the gift of the practice of tuning into yourself several times a day. And actually, you can set an alarm on your phone, why not? Or just make it your intention for the day, “okay, any time I feel anything challenging throughout my day, whenever I’m kind of rubbing up against something, when I feel frustration or anger or fear, whenever something big enough comes that actually, it affect how I act, or how I feel about my whole day, taking all of those moments as a little key to “okay, pause. Close your eyes. Take a breath. And check in. How am I actually feeling in this moment? What’s actually going on right here, right now? And then whatever’s there, you just give yourself space to feel. Holding that emotion, expanding that container a little while, letting yourself actually process something, or some part of what’s going on there, and then perhaps you can connect the dots in terms of “where did that feeling come from? What triggered this response inside of me?” That’s it. That’s the practice.

[49:27] I’m excited about this practice, it’s a lifelong practice for sure, and I feel it’s taking us somewhere, somewhere absolutely beautiful, I have no doubt. We are announcing something in a couple of days, I am sharing a project in a couple days that I’ve been working on for two years that relates to exactly this. That is a tool that you can use on this journey if you feel like you need more support, something more structured that you can really use in your day to day to continue to open the doors into those areas of your life that you’ve kept hidden away, so that you can continue healing, feel a part of the whole, feel supported and know at the end of the day that we are all doing this work together. What you feel, I feel too. What you’ve been through, so many of us have been through as well. And you never walk this path alone.

[50:27] Thank you so much for listening, I love you from the bottom of my heart, I truly, truly do. Yoga Girl podcast will be back next week.

[End of Episode]