Were You Born This Way, Or Did You Learn It? favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - July 17th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Growth, Healing

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

We spend so much time in our armor, protecting ourselves with layers and layers of conditioning. If we do not have our needs met as children, if we are not seen, heard, appreciated or loved, we subconsciously begin to develop a resilience, an armor of protection.

We seek to have our needs met elsewhere and develop coping mechanisms to be healed later in life.

In this episode, Rachel reflects on the internal work she is doing, how it is affecting her, her daughter, her husband, and giving her new perspective and presence.

Doing this work is not easy. It gets messy, uncomfortable things come up, relationships can be affected, and unfortunately there is not one linear line to healing.

But we owe it to ourselves, future generations, our children, our communities, to become aware of our traumas, to begin the journey of peeling back the layers and getting really present with our core wounds.

This episode will remind you that it is ok to prioritize self-care, to nurture and care for yourself when you are on the sensitive path of healing, and that it’s better to peel back the layers in order to move through the world with vulnerability and truth.

Key Takeaways

  • Feeling sensitive is a good thing. If you are more vulnerable to your surroundings right now, adapt by changing how you interact with the world and by grounding yourself in every way you need.
  • Once you get to the root of your pain, it’s easier to communicate your needs. If there is something triggering about your partner, or a close friend or family member, can you get to the heart of that trigger rather than put the responsibility on the other person?
  • Try to take 15 mins at the end of the day for a journaling practice. There is something about the connection of pen to paper that helps process and integrate emotional healing. It’s like a free mini-therapy session.
  • Be in your body. Come back home, again and again. It’s only when we are present in the body that we can process and to feel our emotions so that we can heal (for ourselves, and for future generations too).



[0:03] Welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, Conversations From the Heart. I want to start this episode with a moment of grounding right away. So let’s take a comfortable seat, yeah? Or if you’re on the move, on the go, in the car, just whatever ability you have right now to soften a little bit deeper into yourself. You know we have that opportunity all throughout the day, even if we’re driving a car with our eyes open, or if we’re sitting on a couch back home, the ability to tune our awareness inward, to slow things down a little bit, to feel into our heart space, and connect to this place where we are, this moment here, now.

[0:51] So, allowing yourself to make this connection to you body. If you can close the eyes, of course any time we turn off any of our senses, it makes it a lot easier to listen to what’s moving inside of us. So closing our eyes and turning off any distractions around us, of course, is very, very helpful.

[1:14] And then go ahead and just place the palms of the hands anywhere onto the body. I immediately placed both of my hands to my belly just now; notice where you intuitively placed your hands in this moment. We tend to bring our palms to an area of the body where maybe we are in need of a bit of support, or sometimes an area where we’re feeling vulnerable, or connected. So if your hands ended up on your heart right now, chances are that you are feeling a lot. Chances are that your body has been telling you it’s time to feel a lot, but maybe you haven’t had the space, or the time.

[1:56] I placed my hands to my belly just now, just because I’m feeling a little bit vulnerable — it’s that time of the month and, you know, our belly is our, it’s a very sensitive, soft area of the body, but it’s also a place of “trust resides right here,” that anchor to the world, our ability to stand up tall and feel rooted in who we are. It’s also our place of creation, right? Our womb-space, we create from this place. So just see if you can make a bit more of an energetic connection to wherever your hands are resting now. If it’s somewhere else on your body, what does this part of yourself hold? What does this part of your body represent to you in this moment?

[2:40] And then with that, let’s take a, let’s take a real deep breath, the deepest breath you’ve taken all day in through the nose, fill up [inhales]. Hold for a moment. And let it out [exhales]. Bring your breath back to more of a neutral, natural place, just breathing in and out of the nose. And little by little, see if you can just allow everything to slow down. Noticing the breath in, and how it’s moving through your body, and noticing your breath out, just in that same way. Checking in with what it’s like to be you today. It’s a really big question I think, “what is it like for me to be here, in this body, the way I am in this moment?”

[3:41] What are you carrying right now? What’s hard? What feels heavy, what’s weighing on you in this moment? Where is there maybe some stress, or some tiredness, some fear, some worries; just give yourself a little check-in, like “what’s going on?” If we don’t slow down enough that we can actually tune in and anchor into the answers to all of these questions, it’s easy to just get caught up with day-to-day life, right? And before we know it, we’re just going through the motions, and from thing to thing and place to place, without ever pausing to actually check in, to actually place our hands to our own body, and just listen.

[4:29] And that’s what this practice is for me, and hopefully what this practice can also be for you, just that slowing down, that tuning in. So how are you doing right now? Sit with that for a moment; how am I doing right now? And whatever answer comes your way, see if you can just allow for that to be there, just for a moment, yeah? Even if the answer is really hard to digest, right? If the answer is uncomfortable, if it’s mmm, you know, you’re sitting with something really challenging right now, or really painful. Notice that, “okay, this is how I’m doing right now.”

[5:19] Sometimes, if it’s been awhile since we checked in with ourselves, when we ask ourselves that question, the answer that comes up can be almost surprising, you know; we thought we were having a solid day, but actually, something is lingering there. Or maybe no one’s asked us in a while, right? Maybe no one’s asked you in awhile. When was the last time someone sat you down, looked you in the eye, present with you, and just asked you, “hey, how are you doing? Really? How’s your heart? How’s your day? Are you okay? Do you need something? Can I help you with something?”

[6:00] So giving that to yourself right now, mmm. “How am I doing?” [Inhales] “What does it feel like to be here, now? Do I need help with something? What do I need?” And then sensing this very soft, very vulnerable space beginning to open up inside of you. That place inside where it’s okay to be the way you are, that place inside where we feel safe to actually be vulnerable, to actually feel our feelings all the way, to let ourselves be small, and fragile, and sad, and all the things that come our way from time to time.

[6:52] So see what it’s like just to connect with yourself on a deeper level in this very gentle place where you don’t have to put up any walls, don’t have to hold up any, anything actually, not have to hold up anything. Where you can just put everything down and be the way you are. So another deep breath into that place [deep breathing]. And then from there, when you feel ready, blinking your eyes open. Hey. [Laughs] How you doing? Hey. [Laughs]

[7:49 — Commercial Break]

[9:05] I always feel, when I start this podcast before I do a grounding, it’s like a different hello, and then after a grounding, it’s a different version of me talking to you, and it’s a different version of you listening right now. Just giving ourselves that, that space to, to peel off some layers, you know? To listen from the heart, to speak from the heart, I mean that is the, that is the original name of the podcast, you know, Conversations From the Heart.

[9:35] So, speaking from the heart in this moment here, now, how am I doing? I am…I’m feeling really vulnerable, really soft, really open-hearted [laughs]. Right now it’s getting close to that time of the month for me, which always just enhances my ability to feel everything, and also really strangely my daughter, Lea, she’s in the same space where she’s so, so, so, so sensitive these past two or three days. Like literally she stubbed her toe just a tiny…it wasn’t even really a stub, she dragged her foot on our plain floor, you know, not a stone or anything, and she cried about it for like three hours, you know, and then she kept holding onto her little toe, and like kept coming back to “oh, my God, I hurt myself. I can’t believe it,” [laughing] “I hurt myself,” you know?

[10:28] I was putting her hair up this morning and then I pulled on her ponytail and she got so upset because you know she’s, it’s like everything that happens is a huge deal right now. And it’s a really good reflection of how I’m doing. Honestly, I feel sensitive to everything, sensitive to everyone, which I think is a good thing, you know? I really do think it’s a good thing. And what’s challenging, I think, is to meet people from that place of sensitivity, especially when the rest of the world maybe isn’t in that same place as, as me, you know?

[11:04] Have you ever felt that way, when you’re feeling really in tune, really vulnerable for whatever reason, and then you step out into the world, and then suddenly you realize, “wait, ooh, other people are not in that place,” right? So, I think it’s, it’s an interesting time for all of us right now to [laughs] to peel off some layers, you know? And that’s, that’s what we’re doing in these kinds of practices, whether it’s five minutes of meditation that you do at the beginning of a podcast that you listen to once a week, or whatever your daily practices really are.

[11:38] But peeling off the layers that we have put on all throughout our lives, that we have kind of used to protect ourselves, to hold it together all the time, to be really strong, to soldier on, right? It’s like we’re all sort of meeting ourselves with all this armor on, all the time. And I have come to find that it’s absolutely exhausting. It’s totally exhausting to live that way and to relate with people that way, but it’s also the way we are; it’s just kind of the way all of us are. The way society is right now.

[12:12] And I’m finding that, especially, you know, this year, the, the gift that is 2020 that just keeps on giving, with a lot of challenges, people react in different ways. So I’m sensing some people in my life, I have a much harder time relating with now than I did before this year. And those are the people who, for different reasons, have put up more walls, you know, from everything that came, came their way this year. People who are in that space where challenges come their way, and it becomes a thicker part of their armor, it’s becomes, “okay, I gotta protect myself more from the world,” that place of like, “mmm,” you know?

[12:51] It’s hard to vulnerable when we’re in the midst of challenge, I think, and struggle, but it’s also the only way, I think, really, to, to get to that place of, of, of growing from it, learning from it, of, of allowing it, eventually, finding some sort of peace and ease as we navigate these difficult things. And, you know, it’s a tough world out there. And, I think it’s, you know, as a vulnerable, sensitive person — and I know a lot of you guys listening right now, you feel that way, that’s why you come back to this podcast — where as a person who’s doing a lot of work in terms of inner work and healing work, it’s really fucking hard to, to be on that path and then go and, and interact with people who are going a totally different direction.

[13:41] Right? Does that make sense? And I say this without any kind of judgement, you know, I say this knowing my own journey, how much time I’ve spent in my life with armor on, really rigid, really strict, really controlling, you know; feeling really fearful, not safe enough to, to begin peeling off some of those layers, not safe enough to be vulnerable. It’s also when we’re in the beginning of our healing journey, you know, if no one ever taught us how to do this stuff, how on earth are we supposed to know how to do it? You know, it’s, it’s one of those crazy, crazy things that just make so much sense.

[14:15] So, I’m just contemplating that right now, you know? I don’t know if the Universe is kind of telling me to let some people go from my life, just people I’ve known a long time, people who are, been a part of my life, my world, forever, who I just no longer resonate with in that same way — I have a hard time talking to, actually, right now. And not that there’s anything inherently wrong with them, it’s just we’re in such different places. And I think when we are in a sensitive part of our healing journey, you know, kind of this place where I’m at now where I feel everything, everything is sensitive you know, I’m vulnerable to everything, I’m feeling everything so intensely.

[14:57] Literally, I’ll go teach a yoga class and if there’s one person in the room who isn’t paying attention — you know, which is always, always going to be the case, you’re going to have a, you know, however many people in a room. Right now, because of coronavirus, we have to do social distancing in the shala, which is super weird, but very needed. And so our maximum is 15 people right now, we normally take 52 in the room. So everybody has tons of space. But you know, however many people you’re teaching, you’re going to have that one person who maybe is there for something else, you know? Who maybe has a hard time being present, maybe a person who is feeling, you know, stressed, someone who wants to run out before shavasana, or…and it can be really hard to be in that role of sharing something from the heart totally, and then have someone not listen, right? Or have someone not be in the same place.

[15:47] And, normally, those things, they don’t, they don’t bother me at all, you know, I’m, I’m well aware that we all come to this practice for different reasons, and actually, what I might be judging as someone not paying attention could be someone moving through something really traumatic, you now. Someone having a hard time feeling safe, closing their eyes, like we never know what each person is going through, even those, you know…and sometimes I have people coming to class who are super challenging to deal with, right?

[16:15] I mean, we used to, we used to have…this is so, I tell these stories sometimes in, in our YTT groups, but we’ve had cycles where people come and they, you know, that person in the room who regardless of what I’m telling them, does something completely different, you know. There’s, of course, you know, we should always modify and do our own variations of things that make us feel good, but if you want a home practice where you’re going to do all of your own poses and not, in any way, follow the class, then you should do a home practice at home, you know? You still have a teacher there that, that’s trying to hold space for you, right?

[16:48] And then ,you know, sometimes we get people who come in and have headphones on and want to play their own music in their own ear while we have something going on in the room, or someone who doesn’t want to leave their phone outside…like people come to the studio with all sorts of stuff. And normally, you know, that doesn’t bother me in any way, and now, for some reason, I go to teach a class, and if I sense one single person in that room kind of not a hundred percent there, right, or kind of rushing through things, or checking out a little bit, or something’s going on, I feel so totally affected by that. So sensitive to that, like everybody’s energy; if a person in class comes and is really vulnerable and crying, then I cry in class, you know [laughs]. And you wouldn’t know that, that I am, but I do.

[17:36] It’s almost like every body’s feelings and energy, I’m just a sponge to it. So I’m having a hard time actually spending time in groups right now, which I guess is a good timing for that seeing as we’re not allowed to congregate and be together. But, you know, if you are feeling the same way, and you’re in this very sensitive place where you’re working on yourself, or you’re peeling off layers — like peeling of layers of old, conditioned stuff, whether that’s baggage, or old wounds, or limiting beliefs, or all this stuff that we were raised with — when you’re doing that work, you are going to feel super sensitive, you are really vulnerable to everybody else.

[18:14] So imagine then having people in your life who, who don’t agree, right? Or people in your life who, who’s, you know, maybe energy isn’t helpful to your own healing, what then, like what do we do then? And I don’t know the answer to that, because I think there’s a, there’s a balance between loving the people we have in our lives for what they are, right? Without putting any expectation on other people to be in the same place as us, or do the same work as us, you know?

[18:41] But then we can also get to a place where just, “man, I don’t know if this relationship serves me.” You know, are you leaving that, that friend every time you meet up feeling a little worse than you did before you saw them? Like that’s not good, you know. So just getting present with all of these people that we have in our lives, all of these social situations that we end up in, all of these constructs that we have, the dynamics that show up again and again, is this helpful? Or is it not? [Laughs] And it’s a big question to ask, right? “Is this helpful, or is it not?” And I think we can apply it to so, so, so, so much.

[19:19 — Commercial Break]

[21:06] I’m also realizing as a, as a parent, as a mother, [laughs] I’m sensitive in that same way, where I feel like I’m so in tune with my daughter’s needs that I can almost, I can anticipate them before she articulates them, like I can tell, like we’re very, very in sync right now. And, and I’m realizing so deeply that if I just listen to her, all day, and that’s a really fucking hard thing to do. Anyone who has a three year old that doesn’t stop talking — like she wakes up and she talks, I don’t even know how she catches a breath between her sentences, she just talks and talks and talks and talks [laughing] all day. But if I pay real, real, present attention to her when she speaks to me, then we never have any problems.

[21:54] And this has, this has been kind of a, kind of a big truth for me to realize, that it’s on the days when it’s hard for me to be present, right, when I’m not anchored enough in myself, even though I, you know, I know I’m doing a good job, I know I’m a good mom…we are always going to fluctuate in how we feel, and how we’re able to hold space for other people. But when I really, really listen her, like all the time, especially when I feel like she’s getting whiny, or she’s tired, or she’s complaining, or she’s upset about something, if I just drop to my knees right away, bring myself to her level, and just listen to her and let her say all the things she wants to say, and I nod along, and I, and I say something that really lets her know that I am listening to her, right? Then we have no issues.

[22:40] The tantrums that used to come, they don’t come. It’s like she can talk her way out of her own tantrum, just be my nodding along, looking her into the eye, listening. And it’s making me realize how sensitive we are as kids, how sensitive we were as children, and probably how many times, in our lives, how many times in a day when we were kids that we weren’t heard. That we weren’t seen.

[23:07] And you know, obviously all of us as parents, you know, right now we’re only human, we are always going to fuck up, the point is not to do this perfect all the time, we can only do this the best we can. But thinking about that, what was it like for you to grow up in terms of this sensitivity that maybe you’re finding your way back to right now.

[23:24] What I’m sensing in myself is that I thought I was always a very strong person, very, like, warrior up, like I can make it through anything, I’ve faced so many, you know, hardships and things in my life, you know, I’ll always soldier on. Like I would never cry, you know, normally, and throughout my whole life I was this strong person and I had this idea that “I’m a strong person,” [laughs] you know? But actually, that’s not true. You know, I wasn’t born that way, I, I think I was born a really sensitive person, really, really sensitive human being [laughs] honestly.

[23:59] And I don’t know if any of us is born, you know, with all of this resilience; resilience is something that we learn from going though hard things. And some of us have this kind of strong, harsh energy of, you know, “don’t mess with me,” and “I can take care of myself,” and “I don’t need any help,” and, and I was like that, my whole entire life. And I’m realizing now that, you know, I wasn’t born that way. It didn’t just start out that way. I was a really sensitive kid, and probably, chances are, my parents were going through too much of their own shit for me to be able to be really seen and really heard when I was a kid.

[24:37] And what happens, you know, when, when, when we’re not listened to? Like even as adults, have you ever been in an argument with someone, or a discussion with someone, or a conversation where the person is just bulldozing you? Where they’re not listening to you, where they’re not giving you space to talk? There’s nothing more frustrating. I mean there’s nothing more like, ugh, you know. I can, if I’m in a conversation or a discussion with someone and they do that, I could cry, you know? It’s so frustrating to not have space to be heard, listened to. It a huge, it’s a human, you know, fundamental need, to be seen.

[25:13] And what happens when we’re not seen, and when we’re not seen consistently is we figure out our own ways to take care of ourselves, right? If we’re not having our own, our needs met by our people, our family, our parents, we’re going to try to find other ways to do that; other ways to get attention, other ways to feel good, other ways to find safety. And after awhile, it becomes these kinds of conditioned patterns in terms of what we believe is true about life; how we believe we should be acting, right, to be worthy of attention, to be worthy of being seen, and heard, and listened to. And what if this whole personality structure that we’ve built from that place of not having our needs met, what if it’s all [laughs] what if it’s all not real? [Laughs].

[26:01] And I say that lovingly, because just, just imagining that is so wild and intense and insane, but seriously, think…like really think about this: what if your entire personality — most of your personality, okay, not all of it, but most of it — what if most of it is learned from trying to make your way through really hard things? What if most of what you, you know, what you think of when you think of your personality traits, the type of person you are, what of that feels genuine and is something that’s a part of your core, something you’re totally, totally unique to you that you were born into this world with, right? Part of your own seed structure, like as a little seed planted in this world.

[26:45] And how much of it have you accumulated just trying to fucking survive? [Laughs] I get a little even emotional just saying that because I’ve realized so much of the personality traits and the qualities that I have that I have just deemed, “this is Rachel, this is who Rachel is,” don’t actually resonate with my core anymore. And I don’t know if they ever really, truly did, you know? Even these basic, basic traits that I have in terms of I work really hard, like I’m a very, very hard worker, this is part of my whole identity is “I’m a hard worker,” I can get anything done. Like throw me any problem, I will fix that shit for you, like I can, I can be problem solver in any situation, like that’s what I do.

[27:27] You think I was born that way? You think there’s a kid out there born a hard worker, born a problem solver in the sense of fixing hard situations for other people? I, I don’t know. And I was sitting with, you know, all of those moments that I have in life where, where there’s something for me to fix, where there’s a crisis for me to solve, some drama, something hard, something challenging, you know? That’s the kind of energy that I’m really comfortable in because it’s the energy that I’ve known.

[27:57] But it’s also the energy that led to my burnout. It’s also the energy that’s caused a lot of problems in my life, you know: in my body, you know, it’s that energy that keeps me out of breath, you know. When I get asthma, I have cycles of having a lot of asthma; it’s that energy that give me back pain because I carry so much responsibility and, and pressure, and stress; it’s that energy that keeps me from sleeping well at night, you know?

[28:26] So what if, you know, the core inside of my own being, there is a, a human being there that just wants to rest? That just, just wants to have a calm life, that actually doesn’t thrive under pressure, that doesn’t thrive under having crises to solve all the time, or some panic situation that, that needs to be fixed, right? But a being in there that just wants peace. That just wants safety, that just wants to feel safe, and held, and taken care of. But for me, throughout most of my life, that’s when I was really seen and really heard and listened to, was when I solved a problem. Or when I was able to fix or rescue somebody else, right?

[29:08] So, it’s, it’s been a really big journey for me to realize these big personality structures that I have, that probably if you ask any of my friends, or the people in my life, or my family, like, “what kind of person is Rachel,” they would say those things. And I’m realizing now that a lot of that isn’t who I am. So, what then? Like what then? What do you do when you realize a big part of your personality isn’t actually true to who you are at your core? If you have the answer to that, I would love to, I would love to [laughs] hear the answer, because I honestly don’t know.

[29:43] And what I’ve realized is, first of all, the main shift that has to happen is that I have to get to a place inside of myself where I can allow myself to dwell in moments that don’t have that high energy, problem solving, crisis vibration, right? That’s the number one. So like basically me learning to just be here, in boredom, in the mundane, in the day-to-day quiet moments, and that’s really fucking hard. I have no idea how to do that. I genuinely have no idea how to be there in that. My brain will find something else to do, some other problem to fix, a project to start, you know, something that’s broken, something to clean up, and I’ll find myself in that kind of doing all day. All day. Unless I catch myself in that moment and go, “hey, okay, hey. You’re doing it again,” you know?

[30:39] A really good example of this is, is, this is a big learning that I’ve, that I’ve actually learned, an epiphany that can my way through the dynamic meditation that I’m doing. Today’s Day 34, yay. Yay for Day 34. And in the dynamic meditation, the last stage of it is called the celebration stage. And that’s the stage where most people just love because it means you’re finished this long, hard hour of your meditation practice. And now, it’s just free dance, it’s just moving your body however you like, celebrating the day, basically. And that’s the stage of the meditation that I fucking hate. I hate it. I hate it so much [laughs]. And I don’t use that word hate, like lightly, but I cannot stand this part.

[31:24] And I get really bored with it, I think the music is boring, I don’t like it. Like five minutes will pass and I’m like, “what am I…what’s the point, you know, my meditation is done; I’ve done the silence, I’ve done the motions, I’ve done the hard part, like can I just get on with my day, right? I have a kid waiting downstairs, and a husband, like I have things to do,” you know. And I find myself wanting to turn it off, I find myself wanting to end my meditation 15 minutes before it’s actually over. And what I’m realizing is, you know, it’s, it’s really, really hard for me to allow myself that moment of just feeling joy for no reason. That moment of actually, you know, maybe it’s, it feel purposeless to me. The joy, the celebration in the end, the dance to celebrate the day, it feels totally purposeless, because am not solving anything.

[32:10] [Laughing] Isn’t that the most ridiculous shit you’re ever heard? I’m not solving anything, and the whole point of it, it’s just joy, right? If joy is there, let joy be there. And I feel like just letting joy be there for no reason, but what am I fixing then? At least in the other parts of the meditation, I’m solving problems inside of myself, right: I’m letting my emotions out, or I’m becoming more resilient and strong by standing here in silence for forever, and all this stuff. And then there’s just celebration and my brain goes “eh, no, this is a waste of time. Let’s, let’s go, let’s move on,” you know?

[32:44] [Laughs] And it’s so bizarre, it’s been a really interesting just, thing for me to learn. And then I’m using that, that learning, “okay,” you know, “my practice right now is allowing myself to be bored.” When boredom comes, to not turn the meditation off, to not leave the room, to not busy myself with the next task, but to sit there, and feel that feeling of absolute freaking discomfort. And if I get really, really present with that feeling of boredom, I can actually track it in down in my body, and it lives in my solar plexus. I don’t know why it lives there, but it lives there. And it’s this feeling of, it’s almost like a sharp, high note feeling of extreme discomfort that sits in my solar plexus, and it makes my whole skin just itch, like if I get really present with that feeling. And underneath it, right, why do I feel so uncomfortable with that boredom, with that quiet, with that thing that I deem purposeless, right?

[33:43] Well, if I had my whole life thinking that the only way I’m worthy of being really seen, right, of being really listened to, is when I’m fixing something, or rescuing someone, right, then what does that mean for my sense of worthiness when I’m just doing nothing? When I’m just doing something purposeless, right? When I’m just here, on my own, not solving anything, fixing anything, busy with anything, right? It means that underneath all of that, there’s a huge layer of feeling totally worthless. [Laughs] And I can say this now like even with little smile, because there’s a part of me that just, that knows how untrue that is, that knows how worthy I am, but that can still recognize and hold that wound form that little girl inside of me who feels like she’s not worthy of any love, and the only way anyone will see her is if she takes care of them, right?

[34:42] So I have to just stand there, in that boredom, in that totally terrible place, with my hand to my solar plexus feeling that sharp pain of discomfort, feeling unworthy, feeling unloveable, feeling, “if I stand here, no one’s going to see me, no one’s going to listen to me. I’ll have, I have no purpose in life, no footing in this world if I just stay here, the way I am.” And then I make myself stay there anyway, right?

[35:11] And even just saying that, I have to, I have to shrug my shoulders just to shake that energy off because it’s so intense, and it’s so intensely uncomfortable. But it’s like every moment I give myself to touch on that place of discomfort, to dwell in that place a little longer, it increases my capacity to hold it, and my capacity to be present in that moment. And then I hope, eventually, what will come out on the other end of this is a feeling of being purposeful anyway, right? Is a feeling of, of being loved, of being held, of being worthy, of being seen, even when I’m not doing anything.

[35:53] And isn’t that what we’re all sort of looking for, right? You know, we look at our children, I look at Lea Luna and it’s just, there’s nothing she could possibly change about who she is, about how she moves through her day, that would make me love her any less or any more, you know? That love I have for her, it’s so unconditional, it’s so ginormous, you know, it’s immeasurable. And I know that all parents, you know, we all love our kids that same way, what stands in the way is all the stuff that lingers from when we were little, right?

[36:29] And it’s, it’s exactly like that, like what do I teach my kid if I’m never still? Or what do I teach my kid if I never allow myself to feel joy and pleasure for no reason, right? But if I only let myself feel joy as some sort of prize at the end of having accomplished something? Well then I’m teaching her that that’s what life is, right? That joy isn’t accessible. That being quiet is something scary, something dangerous. That we always have to be in perpetual motion, right? That being seen and heard is dependent on accomplishing something. And even though I’m not telling her those things, if I treat myself that way, that’s what she will see. That’s the energy she’s going to feel, that’s what she’s going to know in her core.

[37:13] The way I treat myself, the way I move through my day, teaches her what it’s like to be a human being in this world, right? I’m modeling all of this for her every day. Every day, all day. So what I thought, you know, when I had a kid I thought, “the most important thing I can do now is to learn how to be a really good mom,” right? How to not make any mistakes, how to be a really perfect mom, how to focus all of my energy on parenting, right? And it’s not true, it’s a huge, big lie. The biggest gift I can possibly ever give her is to give myself that presence. To give myself that love, to give myself those tools and resources for healing, and to have that practice of taking care of myself.

[37:57] Really taking care of myself, not just that day-to-day surface stuff, but really doing the hard shit, which this journey is, right? Sitting with that pain, with that discomfort, that boredom, that feeling of unworthiness, processing it and using tools to get to a place of, of truth, right? Continuing to peel off those layers. Moving through this world with more vulnerability, with more truth. Like that’s the greatest gift I could every possibly give her, ever, in my whole life. And I can really recognize that now, that I can see her, and I can listen to her, and I can feel her, and I can be totally present with her when I’m present with myself.

[38:40] And, doesn’t mean, you know, that if we’re having a hard time, and a hard time to be with ourselves right now that we’re shitty parents; no, fuck man. If you’re a parent listening to this, you’re doing an amazing job. Amazing job. You’re doing the best you can. And we have the tools that we have right now; we can only do the best we can with what we have, right? And what I want to really get to here is that if you have any kind of, you know, guilt around taking care of yourself, or feeling that you should be exerting yourself more for your kids, for your family, you should give your family and your kids more time, more energy than you give yourself, that is also untrue. You need to give yourself permission to do this inner work for yourself to be the best parent you can be. It has to start with that, you know?

[39:35] And probably along the way of doing that healing work, things are going to get kinds ugly, right? Things are going to get really hard. You’re going to get super sensitive, you’re going to feel all of a sudden that you have to make all of these changes in your life. You know, it’s not this straight line to something easy and beautiful, it’s messy, kinda ugly, you know? Brings up these shameful things.

[39:56] I’m questioning now, you know, my first years as a mom, the amount of anxiety that I carried, the amount of fear that I felt that for sure, for sure I passed on to her. For sure, she’s felt every day of her life, you know? Our first year together. Basically that whole year was me being terrified that she was going to die, that something was going to take her away from me. I didn’t feel safe in my body, I didn’t feel safe as a mom, I didn’t feel safe in our house. Like I didn’t feel safe in this world in any way, I felt so unsafe.

[40:31] And, and I know that that’s a hundred percent, you know, and it’s a part of her, and it’s also knowing and trusting that, that the traumas that we go through, and the hardship that we move through, that it wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t something that was meant for us to move through. And I’m not talking about, you know, abuse; being in a current, active abusive situation that we absolutely need to leave, but the things that come up inside of ourselves, right? That those things are surfacing because apparently now is the time, right? Apparently now, you know, then, me being a mom, that was the time for me. Giving birth was the moment for me where I really got to deal with my fear of losing people.

[41:15] I didn’t know I had that fear so intensely; I thought I dealt with it, I thought I was healed and fine, and then it took, you know, giving birth. And my first actually my first, my first thought, my first realization when I had her in my arms was, “oh, she’s alive.” You know, realizing that I spent nine months, up until that point, expecting to give birth to a stillborn child. I never really believed that she would be alive, that’s how much fear of loss, that’s how much grief and unresolved pain I had inside, that I was certain that she was going to die.

[41:53] And then it’s, it was the first year of her life undoing that, right? Every single day that I got to keep her, trusting a little more that, “okay, she’s here to stay. Okay, she’s here to stay,” you know? And that was the doorway in, like without that, without getting pregnant, without birthing her, I would have never been able to open the door to that fear that was always there all along, right? Just like if it wasn’t for getting through that, finding that sense of safety in motherhood, and then getting to this place, you know, and having a burnout and then 2020 with all it’s joys of pandemic and [laughs] everything falling apart that I could realize that, “okay, for the past 20 years I’ve been running really fast,” right?

[42:34] I kind of felt like I was this super present mom, but mmm, you know. I’ve been with her, totally been with her, you know, but deep inside, I haven’t been with myself. So there is another level to my ability to be present with her. And it’s kind of cool to go through these motions and also trusting that, you know, that she wouldn’t have had a mom with that kind of fear for the first year of her life if there wasn’t something hugely important for her to learn and grow into from that experience, you know?

[43:09] It’s like if we were meant to go through perfect childhoods, where everything is wonderful all the way through, then what kind of people would we grow up to be, right? So it’s that really delicate balance of allowing our kids to have hard things happen to them, right? Glennon Doyle has a really good quote about this that I’m of course forgetting right now, but about the type of people we want our kids to grow up to be; we want them to be strong and resilient, right? And how do we become hard and resilient? By going through hard things. So we can minimize that, because, you know, the universe is going to throw our kids hard shit, like there’s no way around it, we can’t protect them from everything, it’s not going to be the case. But we can do our own work as much as we possibly can.

[43:54] And I’m sensing that right now in my own, in my own little, Little Moon, my own kid. The things that come out of her mouth just alongside of me doing this work…. Today we sat down, I picked her up from daycare, and we sit down to have lunch and she goes, “momma, can I talk to you?” And I said, “yes.” And she goes, “will you listen to me?” And I said, “yes.” “Okay, I want poppa to talk too, and then I’m going to talk, and then you’re going to talk.” She’s three, right? Like I mean she’s very articulate, articulate to say these things like this, and I’m like, “you wanna have a family talk?” She’s like, “yes. Family talk.”

[44:30] And then poppa sits down, and we’re all around, and I’m like, “okay, what…there’s something important that she wants to share,” you know? And she says, “it’s not going to matter anyway because it’s hard.” And I go, “what’s not going to matter anyway?” “I don’t know, are you listening to me?” And I say, “yes honey, I’m listening to you.” “Okay. I thought there were monsters in my room.” [Laughs] And I go, “ooh, okay.” I thought she was going to say something, you know, extremely big and profound about our family dynamic or something, she goes, “there’s monsters in my room.” And I go, “oh okay, okay.”

[45:00] She starts telling this story how there was monsters in her room, and she thought they were in the closet but then she checked and they weren’t there, and then she went to daycare and she was thinking about the monster then…and it’s this whole big thing for her, you know? Maybe she had a nightmare, or she had a thought about a monster in her room, but just the way she brought that forward, you know, I was kind of in awe of “hey, can we talk? Will you listen to me? Can poppa be here too?” Like she needed us all to be there so she could tell us the story of how she thought there was a monster there and so I could reassure her that she’s really safe, right?

[45:33] And just seeing her using these tools, like asking to be heard, and I can tell whenever we are, you know, if Dennis and are talking about something, or we’re getting into a heated conversation about something you know, as we do, as, as a married couple, she’ll go, “hey, momma! Why are you not listening to poppa?” And then I go, “yeah, she’s right, I’m not. I’m just talking over him because I want to get my point across,” and I go, “okay poppa, let’s talk,” you know?

[46:01] And just this ability to be super, super present, and how that increases her ability to articulate what she needs and to notice, “hey, they’re not listening to each other now,” like that’s a big thing. And the reason I’m able to catch these moments, and make little changes in these moments, and really be with her, and see her, and…it’s all because I’m spending that same time being with and seeing myself, right? In these meditations, in these weird-ass, hard practices that I’m doing every day, in therapy, in journalling, in yoga, in reading, in making different choices, right?

[46:36] And it’s [exhales] it’s hard sometimes because I don’t know what the end of the road is. I kind of feel like every week there’s a new layer I can peel off, there’s a new trauma uncovered, there’s a new memory coming my way about something really hard. And every week, at the same time, I can sense something different in a really positive way, whether that’s in my, in my family dynamic, with my husband, with my daughter, with myself.

[47:03] So the question to return to, again and again, again and again, again and again, is “how am I doing and what do I need?” It sounds so simple, and it’s not. “How am I doing, and what do I need?” You know? Imagine, you know, imagine a moment you had this week, or a moment you had today that was hard, right, whether you’re fighting with your partner, or a hard day at work, or a worry about something, you know? Imagine to give yourself those moments all throughout the day: how am I doing, what do I need? Like what’s really the truth that’s underneath the situation?

[47:44] And is there a way for me to articulate that need to the people in my life? Or, if I can’t, or if that need can’t be met by them, how can I meet that need myself? And that’s kind of a cool practice to get into because the more you do it, the more you’re going to realize that a lot of this stuff that we think we need to have from other people, especially if you’re in a relationship and you’re banging your head against the wall about something, because people are the way they are, right? People are the way they are, you’re not going to, you know, I think people can make changes in their life, and you can go on a big journey and, and make a big change, but people are who they are. You’re not going to be able to change anybody.

[48:22] So say you have a need that is consistently not met be a partner, or by someone in your life. To get really intimate with yourself around that need, you know, “what is it here that I feel actually is lacking? And how am I in terms of siting with the discomfort of that lack? How present can I be with how this lack, how these need manifested the first time it happened? What’s the core wound, what’s the source of that pain, and can I go back and sit with that, right, and really go to the heart of this whole mess? Rather than nag at my partner every day to be a version of themselves they just can’t be.”

[49:03] And it’s, it’s a really, mmm, it’s a [laughs] it’s a really juicy thing to do, right? Let’s do a little practice right now. Hey, if you have a partner, imagine them, if you’re not in a relationship imagine a close friend, or a relative, or a family member, someone you’re close with in your life, you know. What’s a thing about them that bugs you? Like what’s a thing about them that you end up fighting about all the time? What’s a thing about them that just drives you up the wall that’s reoccurring in that relationship that just, man, like that person, they drive you crazy wit this thing that they don’t do, or this thing that they do too much, you know? And take a moment to really sit with that, like “what is that thing? What’s really, really, really that thing?

[49:48] I’m going to give you an example, and this is the first that comes to mind. My dear husband, I love him to death, I love him so dearly, but obviously we’re married, I can count ten things immediately that drive me insane that he does. [Laughs] One of them, the first thing that comes to mind, is his unbelievable messiness. Unbelievable. He’s so messy. He’s so messy, it’s unreal. And it, it manifests in different ways every single day. So a good example is, we have a shed outside where we keep all of our tools, he has a tool, a whole shelf for his tools, with a big toolbox and everything in designated areas and you know, a lot of stuff, he’s doing a lot of handiwork around the house. And every single day, he loses his tools. Every day. Every single day.

[50:34] And every day I tell him, “why don’t you put the tool back where it lives, after you’re done using it, then tomorrow, when you need it again, you’ll know where it is. And he won’t. He won’t. And I’ve ben with this man for ten years, I know he’s not all of a sudden going to wake up one morning and be an organized person, it’s not who he is, right? He’s just super messy. But every day, I find another reason to bring his up, like, “hey, why don’t you put your things back, then you won’t spend all this time looking for stuff. And asking me to help you look for your stuff.”

[51:07] And sometimes, you know, if I’m, if I’m honest, I, it drives me really crazy, like we can have a real fight about how much time is spent looking for things that to me, it’s so simple, just put them where they live and for him he just doesn’t do it, right? So we can fight about this and go round and round in circles, right? But if I get really present with, “okay, what is at the root of this for me, right? Put aside the day-to-day annoyances of, of things being messy and a little unorganized, like why is this such a sensitive point for me? What does this actually tell about me and my past, me and my childhood, me at my core?”

[51:45] I have a huge need for organization. Huge, huge, huge need in my life to, to know where things are, to know where things live, to know that everything is in it’s place, right? For things to be ordered. For there to not be any unknowns in my life, right? And why am I that way? Well, when I grew up, my whole life was extremely messy. I spend so much time growing up feeling like there wasn’t any structure in my life, you know. We lived in like 20 different places by the time I turned ten, everything up and down, you now, relationships changing, had ons of step-fathers, step-mothers, people coming and going, people dying.

[52:26] I always sensed this huge feeling of life being unsafe, of life being unsteady. And a way for me to assert control was to make sure that I had control of, over the little things in my life, right? So, I can’t control my family, my family’s crazy, I can’t control who lives or dies, I can’t control this feeling of being unsafe, right? But, I can organize my closet so I know where all my things are, right? I can make sure that all the books are in alphabetical order on my bookshelf. I can make sure it’s always clean and ordered around me and my space, right, since the rest of the house probably isn’t going to be that way.

[53:05] That feeling, that need, huge need of organization and order, it comes from a deep, deep, deep childhood wound of feeling unsafe, of feeling like life is totally messy, like life isn’t a safe, structured place to be, of not having routine, not knowing where things are, right? And I always had that feeling around people as well, I want to gather everybody, I want to know where everybody is because I don’t really trust in life, right? I don’t really trust that at any moment, life might take all these people away and I might be left alone, right?

[53:38] So once I get present with that, like “okay, hey, my need for order and my need for organization, it comes from this trauma, right? It comes from this wound, okay.” The moment I can, first of all, acknowledge that to myself, right, it gives me some perspective where I can realize not everybody has this need, right? Dennis didn’t grow up in the same way, he doesn’t have that same need for order as I have; this is something individual and unique to me. It’s very important to me, not as important to him. It’s not part of the fabric of his being, so it’s not reasonable for me to expect for him to be the same way as I am, that’s Number One.

[54:17] Number Two: the moment I can acknowledge that to myself, I can also communicate it to him, right? So instead of it being this thing where I nag him to put things back in order just because I want the house clean, it it becomes this very deep and heart-felt sharing between me and him, where I can say “hey, this is a really important thing for me for my feeling of peace, right? When the house is in order, I can relax, I can sit down, I can be calm, you know? It’s a really important need for me, for my own self-care, that this house is just organized.”

[54:52] And I can say, “I don’t expect it to be that way every single day of the week, but if you could help me just a little bit more, yeah? Because this is really important for me,” then it goes form him looking at me as this nagging wife to, “okay, yeah,” like it being a really sensitive, heartfelt thing, right? It’s an important thing to me. And then the moment we have that communication, we don’t fight about it anymore, right? And then of course, time goes by, and then, you know, couple months pass, and then we get back to that thing and we have to sit down and be vulnerable with each other again and have that sharing again, right? because that’s life, that’s relationships.

[55:28] So allowing yourself to take those challenging moments, those challenges in relationships, especially right now if you’re feeling vulnerable to all the changes around you, if you’re on a level in your healing journey that maybe isn’t, you know, aligned with the people in your life, to get this present with what actually hurts. Get this present with what’s actually bothering you, and how can I trace this back to me and mine, right? Because it’s not really about the other person, you know?

[55:59] It’s not really about the other person, and that’s also kind of humbling to get to. For me to remind myself, like “okay, here’s Dennis putting his socks on the floor next to the laundry bin [laughs] instead of putting them into the laundry bin,” to take a breath and go like, “okay,” you know, my level of annoyance of this, my level of like, “this drives me crazy,” it’s still mine, right? It’s still mine. And I chose this mess of a man, like I made that choice, isn’t that fascinating? I could have chosen a Type A, mega-organized man to live my life with, like there’s a reason I didn’t, right? There’s something about him that balances me, there’s something about him that teaches me something every day.

[56:41] Like what happens if the kitchen isn’t spotless when we go to bed every night. You know, nothing falls apart, it’s okay. It’s okay [laughs] to, to lean back, take a breath and let things be messy once in awhile. Like hey, it’s a good lesson for me to return to again and again. And, of course a good lesson for him to return to again and again, to create some more order in his life, which of course, he needs too.

[57:06] So, see if you can get really present this week with the relationships that you have in your life. With the challenges that you’re in, you know, what they’re actually here to teach you, what you can learn from them, how they can allow you to become even more present with your healing journey. And then, you know, sometimes if space is what we need to go a little bit deeper, then that’s okay too. Trusting that you are where you are right now for a reason. It’s such a cliché, but when it comes to this, you know, healing work within ourselves, it is really true.

[57:39] Not that, you know, if you’ve lost your job right now, hard things happen, and people die, “it is what it is for a reason,” no, fuck that, you know. You don’t have to bypass any pain by going into those clichés, but in terms of what you’re recognizing in a present way coming up inside of you, how can I apply that feeling of, or that knowing of, “okay, you know, even this thing that bigs me about this person, what if it’s more about me than it is about them? How can I learn from that; expand, grow and heal from that? And eventually maybe even find some gratitude for the fact that I was here in the first place.”

[58:16] Something that I would love to invite you to do, if you’re not already doing, or if you are doing, get more disciplined with, is to make sure that you journal every day. Journalling every day, it’s such an easy way to take note of these things that you’re learning about yourself. It’s almost like, say you have one of these epiphanies in one of your relationships; go write it down, immediately. Go write it down and go “hey, I realized this thing about myself, or I realized this thing about my partner through this thing that happened,” go write it down right away. Putting pen to paper, there’s something about that connection of, of, you know, writing it down that actually makes us understand it on a deeper level. Like it integrates, allows us to process that learning in a whole new way so the chance of us having to repeat that pattern again is going to be less and less each time.

[59:05] So, get disciplined with your journalling, journal every day. Take 15 minutes at the end of the day to write about your day, you know? “Today was…” and then just keep going. Such an important practice, and a really good one, it’s like a mini therapy session with yourself for free, right? And then it gives you something really beautiful to look back to also at the end of the year. I can’t wait to read my journals from 2020 at some point [laughs] because this year is going down in history, that’s for sure.

[59:35] Take really good care of yourself, most important thing you can do. Take really good care of yourself, and know that by taking great care of yourself, you’re going to be able to take better care of the people that you love in your life. So you’re the most important person in this world. You are. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, to be with yourself, to be seen, to be heard, to be listened to, to be in your body, present, here, now. And know you are not alone. Thank you so much for listening, I love you. Really, I love you. From my heart to yours, thank you, thank you, thank you. Yoga Girl podcast will be back next week.

[60:18 — End of Episode]