Episode 52 – 52 Weeks of Speaking From The Heart
Listen to this episode here!
This episode marks the 1-year anniversary of the podcast and Rachel celebrates 52 weeks of storytelling, epiphanies, tears and so much laughter. She shares how in a way, podcasting has become part of her personal development and allows her to, in an honest way, process her emotions every week… Sort of like therapy! She gives her gratitude to the community for listening and holding space and also shares her biggest inspirations and favorite spiritual teachers.
[001:57] Hi and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, and boy am I sick of repeating those words! I have been recording this podcast, this week’s podcast, I have done this now … just now, this is my fifth do-over. I’m sitting here and I’m recording and I have a topic, I started off talking about something, and then 20 minutes in I wasn’t feeling it and I was just like, “No, I have to start over. No, that wasn’t it.” You know? And then I tried something else, and then no I wasn’t feeling it, and then I tried something else, and then the baby woke up and in the middle of recording I had to go downstairs and she was super sad, all of the sudden it’s an hour later and I go back upstairs and I was like, “What the hell was I talking about?” Like, again and again and again.
[002:46] And I never … Like, I record these podcasts every single week. I have never sat down to record and not immediately have everything flow and had like a good topic in mind or something that organically just … Okay, and now I’m burping. Come on Rachel! Let’s see if we edit that out, maybe we keep it. And I have organically had things just flow. For me this is such an easy part of my life, and I love it so much! Like, I love recording this show! And then now I just started over again, and I’m talking about something, and as I’m talking it’s like I’m floating out of my body listening to myself talking, and like, “This is not working!” So I’m like, okay, fork it, I’m going to try to go with the flow. That’s part of my practice right now is to not force things if it doesn’t work, and not, like, bang myself over the head with something. Just try to go with the flow. So maybe there’s a reason that things aren’t working. Let’s just, like, shut it down.
[003:44] Then I go to Instagram and I see a bunch of people requesting my mom to come on the show, and she hasn’t been on the show in a really long time. And I’m like, okay, maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’ll try to see if I can convince her to come on the show, and that’ll be this week’s podcast, and then I realize, like, I open my inbox and in my inbox is an email from my assistant saying, “Don’t forget, this is the one year anniversary of the podcast.” And I was like, “What? What?! Holy shit!”
[004:07] I could have sat down just down and recorded a whole hour episode about something … Okay, so I started talking about food and the challenge of having a different diet than your family relationships and stuff, and, you know, like me and Dennis have a different diet. We started talking about food, whatever. And that didn’t work. And then I started talking about something else, and then I started talking about this retreat we have, and I was like, “What the hell? I could have had a whole episode on our one year anniversary podcast where I did not even mention the fact that we have hit, like, an insane milestone. Like, this is totally insane! It’s totally insane! And all of the sudden I’m like all inspired and now I’m talking to you, and what the fork you guys?! One year anniversary of this podcast. That means I have done this 52 times! Every week for an entire year I have sat down to record, and every week there has been people … Okay, and look at how unprofessional I am? You probably just heard my phone go off in the background. That’s kind a perfect representation of the evolution of this podcast is where we began and where we are now. Some of you listening … I know there are people out there that have heard every single episode. There are so many of you that from day one, week one, you’ve been tuning in, you’ve made it part of your routine, it’s like, “Friday is podcast day!” You wake up in the morning and you commute to work or you go walking with your baby, or you go for a run, or you have that one day of the week where you catch up with the podcast. You know, so many people are like really religiously following my words and my episodes every week. And it’s the most amazing thing. Like, the community that we’ve built around this podcast show is totally mind-blowing, and not what I could have happening.
[006:03] The fact that my phone just went off is like, okay, when I started off, if anybody has heard … I mean, anyone who hasn’t heard the first ever podcast episode, it’s called The Birth Story, and it was the week after Lea Luna was born. So, how can I not, like, remember that now as the one year anniversary? I have a photo of me recording the podcast with the baby, because I recorded the show with her on my boob. She was one year old! One year? She was one week old, one week old when I recorded this podcast. And then I think about it now, and I’m like what kind of insane person decide to launch a podcast when she has one week old baby? Well, this insane person, that’s who.
[006:40] It’s so very typical, very typical of me to do something that wild and insane. Doing the podcast is something that I wanted to do for a very long time and people kept telling me it was a bad idea because you have to stick with it, and my schedule is already kind of insane, and we’re always super busy, and sometimes I feel like I spend every day trying to catch up with things that I do, so adding another thing, not just a one time thing, but a recurring thing, every week there’s this major thing that I have to complete or do, um, is kind of insane.
[007:15] So, everyone around me were pretty against me launching the podcast. Especially Dennis. He was like, “You know what? This is … I don’t see …” He didn’t really know what a podcast was, he’d never really listened to a podcast. I guess, like, it kind of reminds me of the first time he ever took my class. Like, I’d been teaching yoga for a while, he’d never come to my class, never had a yoga experience, and then finally I convinced him to come. He took an hour of vinyasa class, or something. And then afterwards, when we were driving away, I was like, “So? So?” And he was like, “Well, you found the perfect gig.” Like, “What do you mean?” “I didn’t know this is what yoga was.” I’m like, “Well what do you mean?” He’s like, “Well, it’s basically you just talking for 60 minute straight, telling people what to do. It’s everything you love wrapped up into one.” (laugh) I was like, “Yeah, that’s pretty much it. It’s just an hour of talking and me getting to dictate and tell people what to do. Where to put their bodies and what to do. Like, it is the perfect gig for me. It truly is.”
[008:13] So, he didn’t really know what a podcast. He was like, “This is just going to be a burden, and who would even listen to that? And what does it mean? You’re just going to sit down? You’re going to have like a topic? What kind of topic would that be? It’s going to be a headache for me where every week you’re going to complain about having to do the podcast. No, I don’t think you should do it. It’s a lot of pressure.” If there’s one thing my husband doesn’t enjoy, it’s pressure.
[008:42] So, when I started doing the research and figuring out how to do it and found the production company and all this stuff, and it was really coinciding with the birth of the baby. So, I recorded the very first podcast when the baby was just one week old, like, against all judgment. She was on my boob, like, the whole time, almost, I think. At least in the beginning, and then I think she started crying downstairs? I can’t even remember. I’ll have to go back and listen to it. But the first episode ever was called The Birth Story, and it’s how I shared the birth of the baby, like, the whole story of how the baby was born. And this is also weird, because I had an epiphany about her birth very recently, and I was like, “Oh, I should share that on the podcast,” because it relates to a lot of things that I talk about, and I haven’t really shared, aside from the very structured birth story that I shared in that episode, you should listen to it, um, I think you will be able to hear, like, a drastically different version of podcaster Rachel Brathen from one year ago with the podcaster Rachel Brathen sitting here right now.
[009:58] For the very first episode I was, of course, super nervous to record. I had never done a podcast before. Like, I have spoken before. I have been guest on other people’s podcasts before. I had done public speaking. I clearly speak for a living. I was just really nervous about recording my own podcast. I felt like I had to do this, like, perfect thing. So I had, like, written down the outline of the birth story, the story that I wanted to tell, and I had this whole Word document open, like, “Podcast Episode One” it said at the very top. And I tried to make sure, because I can get side-tracked, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I have already gotten sidetracked from two things I started talking about with this episode, and it just started a couple of minutes ago. I tend to start telling a story, and then I remember something else I really want to share, something that ties into this other thing that I was talking about, and I can spin off into some stories forever, and some people, like, it drives some people insane. It’s just how I story tell. I think I’m pretty good at tying it all together at the end. I don’t know, you have to be the judge of that.
[011:00] But, for this first one, I really wrote stuff down, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t get side-tracked, and I wanted to have this very serious, like, storyline or red thread and make sure that I covered everything and that I could kind of wrap it up in a good way and close with something inspirational, or like a wholesome way. So, I wrote all of this stuff down and recorded the podcast, and of course, like, I had just birthed a baby. I had just had the biggest life change of my entire life happened. Hadn’t been away from the baby for a whole hour, at all. Literally, at all. For the first six weeks after she was born, I mean, she slept on my chest every night, every day. I didn’t separate. She didn’t have her own sleeping area or anything, we were just merged as one being, basically. And then Dennis had her downstairs for an hour, and I was all freaked out about that.
[011:47] Then I recorded the podcast and I thought I did a great job, and then I sent it off, and then in production, Bob, who edits my show, he wrote me back, he was like, “Hey, you know what? For a first try, like, that was okay. Let’s try it again? And maybe don’t script it this time. Like, just try to be a little freer with your words.” And I had just spent like an hour recording this podcast. I was like, “Oh my god! I’m horrible already. I suck at this! Whose idea was this to have a podcast? This is just another thing you have to do … I already spent an hour doing this and now it’s not good enough! I was like, “Ugh, god!” And then I thought about it, I was like, “Okay, well he does this for a living, so probably he knows what’s good and what’s not.” So it’s like, “Okay, let me throw this script away.” And I left like a couple of bullet points instead of this story. And I tried to do it like a little more organic and all of that.” And he was like, “Okay, that was a lot better. We can work with this. That’s good. Thank you.” But if you listen to that episode, it’s still very serious. It sounds a little a bit scripted, and I was really nervous to talk.
[013:00] And now, I mean, I’m sitting here, my nose is a little stuffy, I’m sure you can hear that. My phone just went off in the back. You can normally hear, like, the dogs walking around or the baby crying. Like, stuff happens. Did I just burp? Was that this episode? Oh my god, my brain. It has gone from this very structured thing, this idea of something that I accomplish or do, into something totally organic where I just can sit down and roll with what’s here. And I really got to say, it’s a pretty awesome fucking gig to have! Like, it’s not a bad thing. It’s really not a bad thing. It’s become not just this show that I do, and I think, of course I’ve had guests, I’ve had some amazing guests over the year join me on the show, and every time I have a guest, it becomes more of a thing that I‘m doing, versus just me being who I am, if that makes sense to you guys listening. So, whenever I have a guest, whoever the guest is, and of course, the closer friends or the closer I am with a guest, the less I care or the less nervous I am. But if I have a guest that’s calling in from afar, or that I maybe haven’t met in person, that I don’t personally know, I get really nervous about it. I don’t want to waste their time. I want to know my stuff, I want to be prepared for what I talk about. But, of course, I can’t script anything because it’s a conversation and it’s natural and organic. So, there’s always, like, a little bit more pressure.
[014:15] I’ve been trying to figure out which episode .,. because they’re kind of even in terms of listenership. We have about 600,000 people listening, and growing, every single month. So that’s pretty amazing. And I wanted to figure out, like, is it better if I’m just alone and it’s me talking, or is better to have on some guests. But it’s pretty even. I think the flow that we have now, where mostly it’s just me talking into the mic, and sometimes I get a really awesome guest on and then we switch it up with something new and something different, I think that’s a pretty good way of doing things.
[014:49] But it’s been, like, a really healing thing for me. One of the epiphanies that I had in last week’s episode was that recording this podcast every week has become part of my spiritual evolution. It’s become part of my personal development. I don’t know … anyone who has been to my class or a retreat or teacher training knows that I work a lot with sharings, just intimate sharings between strangers where you sit really close together, you look each other in the eye, and we practice active and mindful listening and active and mindful sharing, which means one person just talks and speaks on a topic, and that topic can be anything from death to fear to letting go, to manifesting abundance, to just … to your mom, to your dad, it can be any topic that I kind of throw out there, and then we sit very intimately with someone else. Usually it’s a stranger or someone that we don’t know, because it’s easier to do with someone we don’t know, and we get to speak. Maybe it’s five minutes, sometimes we do 30 minutes sharings. They can be really long or really short. We’ve done, like, a minute sharing. There is something super transformational about that. About, literally, being in a conversation … not being in a conversation, but being in a space where you can share, like, your real truth, your real point of view. Your real story. It’s just you purging yourself off of whatever weighs you down. And then a normal conversation what happens is that people try to direct the conversation and tell you you should … and oh, nod along, where they want you to say something that they think is interesting, or they’ll look concerned, and then maybe that makes you feel like, “Oh, you’ve said the wrong thing.” They’ll ask questions. But most of all, people will interrupt you when you speak, and they will tell their own stories, right? People are usually listening, but listening in kind of a mindless way where we’re actually just waiting for our turn to speak, right? In most conversations that’s kind of what it is. We have this idea we want to share, or our own story that resonates or that kind of is connected to theirs. So we’re just kind of waiting for a gap in the conversation so that we can tell our thing. But are we really actively, mindfully listening to the other person? Conscious listening, also known as holding space. Holding space for someone else, it’s a super amazing gift to give. To give yourself, and to give the other person, to learn how to hold space and to hold space for someone else. It’s super, super, super beautiful.
[017:12] As I’m leading these retreats and these classes, I have had many moments throughout the past couple of years where I have felt alone in my own personal development. I actually often get the feeling, whenever I’m leading retreat or holding space for a big group, like, I’ll go home after a really amazing day with a group, and I’ll get like, “I kind of wish I was a part of this retreat.” You know? Sometimes I don’t want to be the person who is teaching or holding space or leading the group. I just want to be part of the group. I just want to be in community, equal, and in the same space as everybody else, as someone who is just searching for their truth.
[017:49] It’s a challenging thing, to be a teacher. Anyone who is a teacher out there … to also really allow yourself and make space for you to be a student at the same time. Not just within yoga, but the type of work that I do that’s very centered around healing and healing wounds of the heart … It’s very anchored in therapy, in holistic therapy, and in … Yeah, like, I really believe most of my work is around heart healing, and whether we do that through yoga or meditation or therapeutic exercises that I love to do, sharing is a huge piece of that as well. And sometimes I feel like (sigh), you know, I don’t want to always be the one who talks, or who has to share, you know, tell everybody else what to do. Sometimes it’s actually quite nice to be on the receiving end. Being the type of person that I am, I never make space for that for myself. I never go to retreats. I definitely should. I never, ever do. I did one the week before I got pregnant with the baby. It took me eight years to go. It’s called “Path of Love.” I’ve spoken about it, I think, a lot on this show, but I’ve also not spoken about it a lot because it’s a really hard thing to share, but it’s basically … it’s anchored in the teachings of Osho. It’s super out there and kind of insane, anything related to Osho sort of is kind of out there and crazy, in the most beautiful, loving way. Yeah, if you’re interested you can send me an email. Sometimes through email, like, I can explain a little bit more about what Path of Love is about, if you’re into that, but it’s definitely a life changing thing.
[021:09] So that means it’s been already two years since I went, which is totally wild. That was the first retreat that I took … let me think … Since we got engaged! Me and Dennis, we went to a retreat in Maui the year we … that was 2013, I guess? The year we got engaged. I actually had such an awful experience at that retreat that I just kind of didn’t do it again, I guess. Yeah. It’s a really long story, I’ll save it for another episode, but I felt really not included in the group of that retreat. There was a lot of drama and stuff. Anyway, so I never take the time to do that for myself, and sometimes I’ll be leading this groups, and I’m so focused on the teaching and the leading and the guiding and making space for opening and staying really present and holding space for everybody else, and teaching other people how to hold space for each other, and I just come home and I’m like, “I just want to be a part of … I just want to experience and on the other end, I just want to … I want to lie there in a Yin class and be, like, poured over with love and just mushy, gooey yumminess from the Island Yoga team, because that’s kind of what we do. It’s like we have this big pillow party of just love.
[022:27] I can get really sad about that sometimes. Like, I need to get better at providing for myself and being on the receiving end. So, what I haven’t realized is there are so many ways in which I create that for myself, but for it to work for me, I have to disguise it as work! (laugh) I don’t know if that makes any sense. But, I’m the type of person that if you talk a lot about … I like the idea of relaxing, I like the idea of a spa day. I really like the idea of, like, in theory a spa day sounds awesome! You get a treatment, people pour creams and stuff over you, or they like polish you with salt and things, and then there’s like a sauna maybe or a pool. I don’t know, you just relax, right? The idea of a spa day is awesome.
[023:25] I am horrible at spas! Like, I do it kind of often. I don’t know, I try to do it often, but I’m really, really, really bad. I’ll, like, be in the lounge of a spa. Like, I get body work a lot. I’ll get a deep tissue massage, for instance. I want to say … My New Year’s resolution was to get something done every week. I’m going to say every two, three months, I’ll go get, like, a massage. But there’s always that moment where you’re waiting in the lounge area and everybody’s wearing a robe and they play the spa music, and it’s supposed to be all relaxing, and for me I’m usually sitting there like, “Oh my god! Like, I could be doing so much with my time!” So, I lay back, but everybody else is so relaxed. Of course, it’s not a working zone, so it’s not like … you know, if anybody is into, like, meetings at the spa, I would love that! You go to the spa and then in between your relaxing moments you get shit done and you tick things off of your to-do list … Like, that would be relaxing, because actually for me to be put in the space of relaxation, I need to first work a lot. I need to exert myself a lot, first. That’s kind of how things go.
[024:32] With Dennis it’s the other way around. He gets really tired if he doesn’t do things. Like, the more he chills, the more chilled out he becomes. And I’m the opposite way. I can’t chill out unless I’ve done a lot before. Anyway, so most spa days I have, I’m just kind of trying to enjoy myself, but I’m actually … you know … I’m actually not, really. I always enjoy the body work, but not the rest.
[024:58] What I realize now is that this podcast, this is like, honestly, launching this podcast, which is a crazy thing to do when you’re a new mom … It was my soul. Like, my soul was craving for this podcast to be birthed! I swear to god, you guys, I honestly, I really, really believe that this is true. I think I was pregnant for a really long time. I was super … I mean, I was pregnant twice as long as everybody else. (laugh) That’s what it felt like. I was way more pregnant for way longer than anybody in the whole world. And I’m kind of a controlling person, so I have a hard time letting to of pregnancy, and motherhood is all about letting go, because you can’t control jack shit. And I actually needed to get a lot of things off of my chest, but I didn’t have the space for that. I was so immersed in Lea Luna, so immersed in Lea Luna, and also so terrified that something was going to happen to her, and I was really terrified, you know, to leave her for a second. At all! Like, I wouldn’t even let her sleep alone, because I’m kind of psycho like that.
[025:58] So, starting the podcast, I think, was my soul craving a moment every single week to just vent. Like, to just share. For someone else to hold space for me to share the way I lead a retreat, for instance, or the way we do in our teacher training. In my world I’m never going to create that for myself in terms of, oh you know, go doing something, because I think everything is a waste of time. This is how the universe provided for me, you know? It’s disguised as a working thing, but it’s not! It’s not at all! It’s not at all! I make money off of this podcast, actually, I make pretty good money off of this podcast. I’m so grateful for that. I’m super grateful for you guys being so awesome. Being really graceful with the ads that we have in the show, really grateful for the production company, Cadence 13, that I work with that convinced me to put ads in the show, because now it’s actually part of my income and I’ve been able to create something really cool with the money that we’re making on the podcast. I’m really grateful for every company that’s reached out and that’s been a part of the offerings through this year, because it’s kind of … It’s disguised as a working thing, but actually, all of you together, you’re just holding space for me to be! It’s so weird. It’s such a weird thing. I don’t know if anybody else podcasts like this, but – okay, I’m tearing up now – but just by listening, by tuning in every single week, you’re holding space for me to share. The fact that I don’t have that in my life, like, it’s kind of insane, and I definitely want to work on that and change that, but I’m always the one holding space for other people.
[027:38] Also in my friendships, of course, I have amazing friends where I can share and vent, but all of my best friends live abroad. That’s just a super sad reality. All of my bests, my top 5 closest, closest, oldest best friends live in five different countries. And it’s shit! It’s total, total shit. And I have good friends in Aruba where I live, but not those types of friend, you know what I mean? Like the friends you hold hands with until you go to sleep. The friends where you don’t have to … you know, if I need to share or vent with something where I can just kind of pour my heart out and know that I don’t have to … I don’t have to be anything, you know? Like, friendship, really, really, really good, intimate friendship is hard to find. And probably I’m not an easy person to make friends with either. I’m pretty sure I have, like, really amazing opportunities with people that I’m good friends with here in Aruba, where I live, but I’m the reason that we’re not great friends, because I am really busy!
[028:34] Also, I’m kind of an introverted person. I’m an introverted extrovert. I’m always hosting parties and dinner parties and things and gatherings, and I’m building community and starting businesses … but I kind of like being home alone with Dennis and the baby. That’s kind of my favorite thing. I want to be invited to all of this stuff, but I don’t want to go. At all! But like if you don’t invite me I’m going to get sad, but if you invite me, I’m probably not coming. I just want the invite! (laugh) I don’t know if anybody else is the same, but that’s kind of how I am. Being able to sit here and talk about that, I am really speaking directly with you! For me, this has become the most intimate way to connect with everybody that follows my life through social media or everybody who takes my class, or everybody who feels … it’s in this community, this has become the most intimate way for me to communicate with you, because I’m not performing here when I speak into the mic, when you’re listening to the show, at all! I mean, even when I press record, like now I was trying to record this podcast like five times over, and it was a weird thing, because I was trying to come up with a thing to talk about, and I never do that! I haven’t done that since the first episode! Literally! Because it’s flowed so organically and it’s been so easy for me to just share what’s now, what’s currently playing out. And because we’re all so intricately connected, like, we’re all so deeply, deeply, deeply interwoven and connected, many people, like, I’m going to say most people listening resonate, or you’re going through like almost the same stuff I am at the same time!
[030:15] That’s the number one comment and review. Like, the number one comment that I get on every single podcast episode is, “Oh my god, I can’t believe you’re talking about this this week. I was just thinking about that! I was just talking about that, I’m going through this same stuff, you’re just different words!” It’s CRAZY how connected we all are! Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy! And not planning or planning out your podcast when it’s as big and listened to as mine could be kind of a scary and messed up thing to do, because what if it sucks? What if this podcast didn’t happen, but the other five that I tried to record that just weren’t flowing organically, you know, but if I have no plan and it doesn’t turn into anything good, like, yeah, it’s kind of scary. But also if you have a new guest on every week where you have a pre-decided topic every single week, it means you’re not truly flowing with what is right here, right now. Right here, right now.
[031:15] So, for me, talking to you right now, it’s kind of like teaching yoga class. And I get this question a lot, as a teacher, like, how do you plan and prep your classes? And this is the worst thing for, like, a teacher to say. Especially the teacher trainees, now that I’m leading teacher trainings … I don’t plan my classes. I have never planned a class in my entire life, never, not once, ever. And it makes me sound like a horrible teacher, and probably it may be that I am a lesser teacher because I don’t prep and plan. Maybe one day when I mature I will, but I just … I have never written a sequence out, I have never sat down and decided to clean. No, never. Never! And sometimes I think, like, okay, especially for big classes, like if I had 1,000 people in class or I’m doing a huge event, or … I should probably like, you know, get like an outline of a general idea of what 1,000 people are going to do with me today. And every time I try, it just, it doesn’t happen. I’m just physically unable to prep and plan because the magic, at least for me, the magic that’s created in the room, it springs from whatever is present, in that moment, in the room. So, even if I would have this grand plan, you know, it would be like trying to force a podcast on a topic that actually isn’t just flowing out of me in that moment, because maybe it was true, like, the hours before, when I planned it out and all of that, but … you know.
[032:45] Of course, there’s a way to plan your sequencing in a way that you can still speak organically to what’s happening to you in the moment, but for me those things are just … I can’t separate them. I can’t separate sequencing and poses and asana and body from heart and soul and spirit and what I’m speaking of, in terms of healing in the present moment. All of that ties together. Which is why I don’t like to label my classes. I hate writing class descriptions, because I don’t want anyone to think that they’re coming for something, and then we end up doing something completely different, because I want to just be able to go with what’s right there in that moment.
[033:21] And isn’t it sort of true that most epic, like magic happens from this spontaneous place of being here, now? Being here, now.
[035:20] I am listening to so much of Ram Dass’ talks. Okay, wait, I’m going to go to my phone right now and I’m going to tell you the one that you just … you just have to. Okay, when you’re done with this podcast, I want you YouTube, and I want you to YouTube search “Ram Dass,” and there’s one called, “Here We All Are,” it’s called. Um, yes. It’s a two hour, one minute, 57 seconds and it’s this beautiful photo of him in black and white, just, ugh, I’m so in love with this man! It’s crazy! It’s called “Here We All Are.” So every night now, this is my new thing, every night before I go to bed … (laugh) This is all so interesting, I’m having another epiphany while I’m speaking! Part of my new year’s resolution was … So, me and Dennis have had this kind of shitty habit, and we go in and out of it. We got really into it when I was pregnant and I wasn’t sleeping well and it’s that we’d go to bed instead of, like, watch a movie or something on the couch, we would go to bed, and then we’d bring a phone into bed, and we would YouTube comedy shows. Like, late night … and also like the political. Like, you know, we started with SNL and fun stuff. But then we got really into … We watched the Daily Show every night, or we’d watch like Stephen Colbert or Seth Myers and Trevor Noah. You know, like, the political shows. And this was just right around the elections, and Trump had just become president, and it’s really hard to not get caught up with whatever is on your screen, right? So, instead of just watching something that’s entertaining, like, I would get really fired up with all of this political stuff, what’s happening in the world and politics and blah blah blah. That would just literally be the last thing that was on my brain before I went to bed, when I was really pregnant!
[037:12] And just not really the best idea, and actually I think it was my doula who was like, “You know? Maybe your baby-“ when I was like overdue, like, “Maybe she doesn’t want to come out into a world that’s like that. Maybe you need to center your thoughts and your mind on something else. Just entertain yourself, but don’t have it be negative and intense and political! Maybe at least not right before you go to bed.” And of course this is so super mega true! But I wasn’t sleeping, like, at all, and I just needed ways to entertain myself, and like I, you know, wouldn’t read books all night long. So it was just like a guilty pleasure that we had.
[037:50] Then I stopped it I think a month or a little while before the baby came. And yeah, then the baby came, so there has been none of that whatsoever. If we can watch … If we can watch, like, I don’t know, one episode of Friends we’ve been like super lucky, all of last year. Then, I don’t know if it was December, November, I don’t know, we got back into that habit again where we were, like, oh my god … We got super into watching The Daily Show before we went to bed. And then I could feel immediately, just took like a week of getting back into that little habit, because I don’t normally have a phone in my face right before I sleep, I started getting so stressed out, and I started sleeping really poorly, and I would kind of wake up in this frazzled state of like … You know when you wake up and you’re like, “Where am I?” Like (groan). Your head is heavy and, you know? There’s days you wake up and you feel really, I don’t know, at least I have those days! Maybe, I don’t know, I’m thinking we all have those days where we just wake up and we’re really already in the flow of things. We had a good nights sleep, we feel rested, things are good. And I found that every time that I would keep my mind busy right before bed, I just wouldn’t have as good of a night’s sleep. Which, of course, makes total sense. Like, really! Really really really really really.
[039:01] And we used to have a rule that was no phones, no TV, no electronics of any kind before 10 a.m. or after 10 p.m. Nothing, at all. So the last thing that we do before sleep should be, like, talking to each other or meditating, or lighting a candle, or having sex, or doing something that’s intimate and real, you know? Something that’s grounding and helping us to arrive at a place of a good night’s sleep. Not listen to whatever insane thing Trump did that week. You know? No!
[039:32] Then somehow we got back into that in December, and I felt really shitty, and I made it my New Year’s resolution, like, I made it a real, very very serious thing. Like, okay, I’m totally done with this! This, for me, has become … it’s like a guilty pleasure thing, but I know it’s bad for me. It’s like I’m eating a shitload of sugar, like, I’m eating too much sugar, okay? Like, which is also a thing that I do, by the way. Oh my god, my vices, like … I don’t like the word “vice.” I don’t like guilt. It’s just things that entertain me a lot, okay? (laugh) Things I enjoy but sometimes I over do, I guess, is the word.
[040:05] And so I made it part of my New Year’s Resolution to completely stop that. I started plugging my phone in to the kitchen, so I won’t even bring my phone with me in the bedroom, and then Dennis did the same, and we totally changed how we sleep and all of that. Then I found, like, a month later, like after New Year’s, I’m already, like, getting a little bored at night. Or we would go to bed and it’s a little too early, and I’m not tired yet. Or, you know, should we watch something? Should we do something? We could stay in the living room and watch a movie if we’re not tired. But instead it’s like … but it’s like so cozy to do it in bed. Let’s just do it. Get your phone!
[040:42] And it’s just … I don’t know why it keeps creeping back. But then what I realized now is that through Ram Dass, because I’m reading Be Here Now again, I cannot remember. Actually, that book was gifted to me for the first time by two retreat participants that I had on a retreat years and years ago. It’s such a mind-blowing book. And then I started listening to his talks. And he has these amaaaazing, amazingly mind-blowing talks from, like, the seventies and eighties where he talks about, like, you know, psychedelics, of course, but also spiritual enlightenment and his life story. He’ll do these Q&As where he just kind of sits down and he’s like … He has a joke that he makes where he’s like, “It’s so interesting to me that you’re paying me to tell you things that you already know, and you want me to tell you the things that you already know. You don’t want me to tell you the things that’s new, you just want to be reminded of your own truth. And it’s really true! And I feel like he does that for me all the time.
[041:46] So I’ll listen to these talks, and I’ll let that be the last thing I do before I go to bed, if I’m having one of those busy nights where it’s just hard for me to wind down, right? So, if I feel that urge of “Let’s see what Seth Myers has to say about the current political status of the United States, right now, at 11 p.m., because I can’t sleep.” Okay, instead of that, can I find a middle ground? Maybe I’m not in a vibe where I can, like, you know, light all of my candles and sit in silence and do 45 minutes of meditation, but watching a Ram Dass lecture, or listening to a Ram Dass talk is … it’s like the most beautiful middle ground. I swear to god, it’s so beautiful.
[042:28] So I think what we can do is we can take our poison, I guess we can call it. There is something about that mindlessness that sometime is really … I don’t know, it’s not needed, but sometimes, it’s like a relief, you know? It’s a little comic relief, I guess. It’s like a little mindless space that you don’t have to think about so much and you can just get caught up in some sort of entertainment. But there is a way to make that mindful, like, you can keep the same pattern, I guess, you can keep the same habit, whether you label it a good or a bad habit, but at least turn it to a positive, right? So if I’m going to have a phone somewhere in my bed or in my face, late at night, like, let it be of value. Let it be something that speaks of love and of truth and of light. Or it talks about a topic that you’re working through in your own life, let it be something uplifting and healing, at least.
[043:17] It’s, you guys, I swear to God, it’s changing my evenings so much. So, when you’ve listened to this podcast, I want you to go YouTube and listen to the “Here We All Are,” talk by Ram Dass. It has only 8.4 thousand views. That’s so sad! Jesus! Okay, everybody right now, go listen to this talk. Maybe because it’s two hours long and that’s why there’s not millions of people listening to this. So what you can do is just choose, like, do ten minutes a night, or twenty minutes a night, whenever you have a little moment, and just sit back and just hear him speak from the beginning. It’s so amazing. His voice is just like, it’s (sigh). I want to meet him so bad! I had this total fan girl moment. I tagged, like, he has a social media account that clearly he doesn’t run. He’s 90 years old. I tagged him in something, like a quote or something I shared, and then the people from his foundation or whoever manages his social media accounts reached out and they’re like, “Hi, it was so beautiful to connect with you, and we would love to invite you to come to one of Ram Dass’ retreats that he does in Hawaii twice a year, and children are welcome …” I was like, oh my god! This is insane! And then I had this total … this embarrassing moment. I was like, I wonder, like, … okay, I’m not in the sphere, I guess. I don’t know. He had a stroke a couple of years ago, I know, which he phrases in the most beautiful way. He says he was “stroked by God,” which has impaired his speech a lot. So, if you watch recent talks, or the most recent talks you can find from him, it’s a very, very, very slow conversation. It’s a totally different type of conversation, I mean, 100% different.
[045:10] But he still leads retreats twice a year. So I was like, “You know what? You think I could get Ram Dass on the podcast? Is that …” Is that doable? Is that something that I should try to manifest? And then I wrote this lady back, I was like, “Oh my god, we’d love to join a retreat, I’m going to really look into it.” I was like, you know, “Maybe this insane, you can laugh at me just for saying it, but like does Ram Dass, does he still do any public appearances, aside from the retreat? Would it be possible to have a …” And as I wrote it, I was like, oh my god .. It’s kind of as if I went on Oprah.com and I emailed like the general inquiries page, and I was like, “Hey Oprah! Do you want to come on my little podcast that I do from my bedroom? (laugh) Do you want to talk to be about, like” … Not even that. Like, okay, I’m saying Oprah because Oprah is at the top of my list of like dream people to have on the podcast. Actually, Ram Dass is at the top now. Sorry Oprah, you’ve been downgraded. It’s kind of like I went to the Dalai Lama and I emailed the Dalai Lama Foundation, expecting Dalai Lama himself to be on his phone and saying, “Yes, oh yes. That’s Yoga Girl! I follow her on Instagram. Yes yes yes yes yes. Let’s do a podcast with Yoga Girl!”
[046:32] (laugh) And I was laughing so hard at myself later with Dennis. I was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe I even tried.” But, you know what? Sometimes you have to be a little crazy and a little stupid and try to make your shit happen.
[048:29] I am definitely planning a Hawaii trip soon. Also, my astrologer, Debra, is there. We got engaged in Hawaii. Like, I really want to, for our next travels, for sure, that’s what it’s going to be. But throughout this year, like, now that this is the whole one year anniversary, and so much has happened and has been shared on this podcast throughout this past year, it’s sort of ridiculous. It’s not just a space to do storytelling or to share, you know, to share epiphanies that I’ve had. Actually, it’s become the opposite of that. It’s been more of a space where I am allowed to share my struggles, like, my real, deep struggles. There’s an episode called, “Just a Mom: Sleep Deprivation and other stories” that’s literally me sitting down trying to record a proper podcast about some topic and bursting into complete tears. Like I’m just crying so hard into the mic because I was so sleep-deprived. I hadn’t slept in four weeks! I was so sleep-deprived, I was literally going out of my entire mind! And I had this whole show that I was just bawling into the mic. And then I finished and I clicked stop and I was like, “Oh my … Have I lost my mind?” You can’t do a podcast episode where you’re just crying! That’s what wine is for. You get a girlfriend and a bottle of wine, and then you talk about your shit, or you get your mom to babysit so you can have two hours of undisturbed … you know, dealing with your shit, you don’t cry into the mic for an hour and then upload it for the whole world to … And I was like, “Well you know, fuck it! This is who I am.” Right? So I did that anyway. I was a little nervous about it, and the response I got was the most beautiful response of any podcast up until that date because so many people out there feel the same! And not just in terms of being a mom and being sleep-deprived and with babies and feeling like just a mom, but so many people struggle, and just hearing someone else openly speak about their struggles is the most, like, it gives so much relief.
[050:37] So, when I did that, and then you started writing me, and I get emails and comments from people that said, “Oh my god! I feel so good hearing these words, because here’s my story.” It’s kind of like little ripple on the water. It’s like reverberating back to me where I get to read and hear and listen to your stories, and then I’m like, “Oh my go! I am not alone!” I feel so alone in this all the time, and I’m not, and I get to hear your story, and how it’s almost the same as mine, where you feel the same as me. We don’t have the same exact life situation going, but we feel the same stuff. We all feel the same things, just not always at the same time. And that’s, I think, one of our greatest lessons as human beings! We spend so much time focusing on everything that divides us, everything that separates us. Oh, you voted for Trump and I voted for Hillary, or you’re over there and I’m over here, or you’re into yoga and I’m in to Crossfit, and you’re vegan and I’m a meat eater, or you do this … You know, we spend… We continuously look in other people for all the ways in how we’re so different and nothing like each other, and we disagree on stuff and we go different directions, and we’re so different, all of us. Everybody is unique and a snowflake. That shit’s just not true! If you start looking at the things that actually connect us, the things that don’t separate, but the things that make us all one, that deeply, deeply connects us as one, they’re so overwhelming how much connects us, it’s kind of insane. And this big spiritual idea of oneness, of all of us being one, (sigh) just talking about that makes my heart, like, drop into peace for a second.
[052:20] Another person you should really, really listen to or read from is Alan Watts. Oh my god, okay, I’m going to give you another. Okay, Alan Watts … I don’t know why I haven’t shared this stuff with you guys before. Why am I not sharing this amazing knowledge with you? I don’t know, interesting. If you don’t know who Alan Watts is, it’s really weird how obscure, like, not everybody knows Alan Watts. Him and Ram Dass and Osho … but Osho was crazy … but also crazy awesome. But, like, I’m going to say Alan Watts and Ram Dass are the two spiritual teachers that make the absolute most sense to me, that have ever made the most sense to me. And the way Alan Watts speaks, it’s just so beautiful. And he has these talks and these lectures about oneness. One where he talks about the fact that, you know, we’re all just one single being. What if, you know, everything that we perceive as discord and as disruption and as things that shouldn’t be the way they are, on one level, it’s actually a symbol of total harmony and totally peace on a higher level.
[053:33] He has a talk that he does about the fact that we’re all, not mindlessly, or unconsciously performing these things throughout our lives … For instance, when we wake up in the morning, there are all of these functions that happen within our body that we don’t consciously do. Right? You’re not, like, waking up and you’re telling your body to breathe, you’re telling your digestive system to work, you’re telling your heart to beat, you’re telling all of your limbs to move at the same time. There’s, like, a gazillion little amount of microfunctions that happen within your body all the time, but it’s all unconscious. And he uses the word, he’s like, “It’s not unconscious because that sounds kind of dead. Like, it’s hyperconscious, because it’s actually … you don’t have to be aware of all of the things that you do to get out of bed in the morning. You know, all of these things. If you had to, we would never be done! If all of those things had to consciously be switched on, it would never work.” And then he draws the parallel of, “You don’t know, you don’t have to know how all of these function, or how you turn them on in the morning, or throughout your whole life, your whole day, the same way that you don’t need to know how you shine the sun.” And that sentence just blows me away.
[054:47] So he says, what is it he says … He says, “If you work your thyroid gland,” like, you know, if you are your foot, you are your limb, you are your colon, like, you’re functioning with your own systems within your body, you also shine the sun. That’s the organism that we are, and we perceive it as this giant organism of just full of separation and we’re all different from each other, and we don’t belong. But actually we’re just one bit glowing, perfectly-harmonious being, where everything works in unison. And what looks like disharmony on one level is actually a sign of total peace on the great great level of consciousness.
[055:29] And I love this so much! We get so stuck in our own ideas of how alone we are in our suffering, or how alone we are in our divinity, where actually we’re all the same! And we’re not just sort of the same, or kind of feeling some same things, maybe we’re just all really, truly the same, and we’re longing for the sameness. We’re longing for that unity. We’re longing for the … we’re born and we’re born into this perfect little being of light, this perfect little creature. And we know, right? Like the way that a baby knows. Babies and puppies and like … I don’t know, there’s something about animals. Animals and babies and nature and plants. Like, the earth knows, babies just know we belong. And then somewhere along the way we’re told that we’re separate, and our ego switches on and our mind switched on, and we start kind of looking for all of the dangers that are in the world, or how can we protect ourselves from further pain? We build this sort of identity around separation instead of not needing to build an identity at all. Instead of just remembering that we belong in the first place. We don’t have to figure all of this stuff out to feel like we’re worthy of love or like we’re worthy of belonging here now. All of that is already true! So it actually doesn’t matter how much you add or subtract to what you already are, because you’re it, right? So, even if you get the better job, or you lose all that weight, or if you were more beautiful or more successful, had a better partner, more kids or money or whatever it is that you think you need, all of it is for us to get back to that sense of belonging that’s already there in the first place! That we’re already born into. It’s just we have to learn how to make space to quiet the mind, so we can remember that knowing. Same thing Ram Dass says, so we can just remember the things that we already know. Remember the things that we’ve just forgotten.
[057:25] And I would love, I mean, for me, this podcast has become one of those tools that I feel so grateful now that the universe brought me in which I feel like I completely belong, in which I feel that all of my shortcoming and all of my mistakes, and all of my … my fucked up ways! When I’m feeling alone or I’m feeling like I’m not worthy, or I’m not lovable, or I’m fat or I’m ugly or I’m not successful enough or I’m all of these things. I’m not a good enough mother and I’m failing! And I have those thoughts all the time! And actually sharing them, for me, that’s the universe providing me space to remember that I’m not alone! To remember that I’m not separate from any of you. We’re not separate from each other at all. Actually, we don’t just feel the same things, maybe we are the same thing, and we’re all just trying to walk each other home.
[058:19] I’m totally rambling. And also I do not know how many sub-stories to my original storytelling have arrived throughout this podcast, but I am at a place where, like, that Ram Dass quote in the end, you know, “We’re all just walking each other home,” it tells so much truth in just one simple sentence. So much truth. We’re all walking each other home. And it’s really important that we remind ourselves that when we have moments or days, or sometimes it’s months. Sometimes it feels like years or a lifetime of struggle, and we move through all of this shit. And death comes our way, or depression or divorce or disease, and things don’t flow. You know, we have to find those tools in our day to day life where we’re reminded of the fact that we belong, that we’re reminded of our oneness. We’re human, but we’re also divine. So, whatever brings you there, right? Whatever really works for you. And the things that I’ve mentioned just throughout this podcast, I mean, yoga is a huge thing. Getting back into the body is a huge thing. But listening to talks, to lectures, reading books, reading sacred texts that resonate with you. Things that you recognize as truth. And those things are going to change all the time! Like, I have books … My library at the house is huge. But I have books that I felt were, like, law, you know? Like a decade ago. This is it! This is all. Like Power of Now by Eckert Tolle was one of those books that for years I would read and re-read and re-read and re-read, and there was just truth truth, truth truth truth. And now, you know, I haven’t picked that book in like … I don’t know? Since … I don’t know. Really, since maybe before pregnancy. Like, in a really long time, because the truth … It’s the same truth, but it’s registering in a different way. You know? As we evolve, as we grow, as we have different experience in life, we need different types of vessels and different types of mediums and different types of people and inspiration and different types of teaching to reach us in different ways and in different phases in our lives. So, we have to stay really alert! Right? You have to stay really awake and really aware so you don’t miss the teaching, so you don’t get so stuck and sucked into the drama of day-to-day and all the separation that we thing exists that we forget to use the tools that are presented for us.
[060:41] Right? So, don’t stop reading. Don’t stop learning. Go to the talks. Go to the really good books. Listen to the podcasts that make you feel things. Follow people on Instagram that inspire you, but that inspire your heart that inspires your being, that makes you go, “Yes! Yes to this. Yes to this.” And every time you encounter something that’s a no, leave it immediately! Unfollow, walk away, throw that book away, go somewhere else, and just continue inviting more of that light into your life, and you’ll remember that you belong, and that all of those things, like, the depression and the hardship, it’s going to get a lot easier. It’s going to get a lot easier, the moment we remember that we’re all really here for a reason, and that we’re really really really not alone. We’re all here together. We’re all walking each other home.
[061:33] And I would like to take this moment, now, similarly to how this podcast episode brought me to somewhere completely different than where I started or where I intended, I want to deeply, deeply, from the bottom of my heart thank every single person out there. Thank you for listening, for walking me home, for holding my hand through an entire year of really high highs and really low lows, and really challenging stuff, and really beautiful experiences, and absolutely everything in between. Thank you for waling me home. Thank you for holding my hand. Thank you for holding space for me to just be. To not have to perform. To not have to be some sort of, you know, anything other than what I am in this moment. For just holding space, because I really needed that. And talking to you every week is my way of receiving. So, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. I’m going to continue this for as long as I possibly can. I really truly am. It’s been an amazing year, and I’m grateful that you’ve been here through it all.
[062:40] I was going to say just now, “I’ll see you next year,” but I’ll see you next week. I’ll be here.
[End of episode]
Fully – fully.com/yogagirl
SunBasket – sunbasket.com/yoga
Tripping – tripping.com/yogagirl
Quip – getquip.com/yogagirl