Episode 65 – Epiphanies, Self-Care and Being Alone
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode, Rachel speaks of her time away from her husband and baby girl and the epiphanies that accompanied her during this time alone. She recollects on her past, and how her childhood shaped her into a ‘fixer’ who always put other’s needs before her own. Now as a working mother, Rachel notices how her attention is pulled in thousands of directions, and still never on herself. After six days on her own, Rachel speaks of the shift she felt in her inner energy and how she reconnected to the grounded and calm person she is at her core. Diving further into this topic, she discusses the ways she can keep this feeling of space and translate it into her everyday life. She realizes that to be a better mother, wife, friend, boss, and more the best thing she can do is take care of herself first.
We all need to make sure our cup is full before we try to fill others. It is possible to use the resources we have to arrive to a place where prioritizing ourselves is natural. Recognizing this is the first step, then we can go squeeze our loved ones.
[001:17] Hi, and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. I am talking to you right now from my kitchen table at home, and in my hands I have an orgonite, which if you don’t know what that is, it’s a sort of crystal pyramid. It’s actually quite unbelievable. Someone just sent me this in the mail. I opened it five seconds ago. It’s like a resin pyramid that contains crystals and herbs, and mine has a little new moon and glitter, and it’s so amazing, I just, I can’t stop staring at it. Anyway (laugh) I’m so blown away by this orgonite, I don’t even know … I lost my ability to speak a little bit.
[002:05] What an orgonite does, it completely can change the energy of a room. I’m not a specialist here, but maybe I’ll do a whole episode on crystals and on orgonites, that would be amazing. But this sweet girl, Gentine I think her name was that sent me this, thank you so much. This is so beautiful. And very timely, because, so, right now it’s Tuesday as I speak these words. It’s Project Alone Time Day Six, which is the final day. I’ve had an absolutely amazing day, an amazing time throughout this past week, with so many epiphanies and so much learning, and I can’t wait to share all of it with you. But just now when I came home I’ve had a really kind of intense day, and I just had big work meetings so I was in a very different space. This morning I was crying because I was having so many realizations about myself, about motherhood, about life. I was literally just in tears and in awe of all of life. And then I kind of stayed at the studio and I was pulled into some work stuff, and then I did this big work meeting, and then I came back and I wanted to really record this podcast from that vulnerable, emotional space of all of my epiphanies. And then I was like, “Ugh, but I’m not in that space anymore. Now I feel all high and electric, ready for my day kind of.” Then just randomly I opened this package, and I’m now holding this crystal, pyramid thing in my hand, and I immediately, like, I feel like I’m going to cry right now! Oh my god, okay, now I’m crying. It just completely helped bring me back to that energy that I had this morning, or to that vibration of just feeling in absolute awe.
[003:48] I am in awe. I am in awe of so many things. Where to begin? Where to begin? So, if you heard last week’s episode – if you didn’t I suggest you go listen to it, because it kind of gives a little context into what I’m going to talk about right now. But I kicked off Project Alone Time, which is six days. I thought first it was four days, because Dennis sort of tricked me. He was like, “It’s just four days on your own, at home in Aruba.” And then I realized, “Oh wait, my travel day. That’s five days, that’s five whole days.” But then today, today is the day that they arrive, and they arrive at 4:20 p.m., so it’s a whole day. So yeah, it’s day six of Project Alone Time, so it’s almost an entire week that I have been alone in Aruba, in my home, without my husband and without my baby. And not just that, without anything to do. And that’s also a really big and quite important component to all of this. Because yes I have left my baby and my husband before, for very brief moments of time, never for this long. But it’s always been under this guise of doing something very important. Like, I have to go teach a class, I have to run the business, I have to take a meeting. I have to do this and this and this and this. There’s been a lot of doing involved, all the time. And now, Project Alone Time, it came as kind of a result of me not feeling well, being on the road for a long time and traveling around Europe, and I just kind of … It was almost forced by my husband to go take some time off, because I just haven’t been feeling well.
[005:18] So, this time around, I’ve had nothing to do! And of course I orchestrated it that way. You can always find things to do, you know, if you must, or if you want to. But Ii really, just I put all meetings on pause. I have not been in my Inbox. Okay, maybe for a second, like, yesterday. (laugh) But pretty much throughout these whole six days I haven’t been working. I haven’t been … I haven’t been busy! I haven’t woken up in the morning with this big to do list of things that I know I have to get done. I’ve just really been able to put everything aside. And then of course I haven’t been with my husband which is … we’re never apart. And I haven’t been with the baby, which is even wilder, somehow, it seems. And all alone! (laugh) All alone.
[006:08] I realized right away, so, I was so panicked about doing this, I was really fearful. The thought of me, alone, by myself, with myself was really terrifying. And now I can’t even really connect to that feeling so well, because I’m in such a different place now. I feel so amazing right now, and I can’t even really remember, like, why was I so scared to be by myself? But it’s one of those things that kind of slowly creeps up. If you haven’t been alone, or if you’re not used to being alone, you know, there’s a lot of things that goes on inside of us that we don’t spend a whole lot of time dealing with if we’re always busy, all the time. If we’re never alone, if we’re always doing things, going places, if we never give ourselves that space to just be, right? So I think I was terrified of, okay, what sort of emotion am I sitting with here? And maybe I’ve been so busy stressing and worrying and all of these things. You know, being a mother is … it’s a trip. (laugh) I mean, it really is. It’s a trip. It’s just … And people told me that, “Oh it’s going to be so hard, and it’s very overwhelming, and you’re not going to sleep, and you’re going to be so busy, and you’ll never sit down again.” All those things may be true, but that’s not what’s taxing for me. It’s hard sometimes, but what’s really draining, or what’s really exhausting is the fear, right? It’s the amount of love I feel for this tiny little human being who is like on a daily fucking suicide mission. Like, if I didn’t keep track of her, she would jump off bridges and put her fingers in the electrical socket, and throw herself into the road, and eat all the dog food. She would just go crazy. It’s very emotionally draining to love a tiny little crazy person this much. Because I’m always worried something is going to happen to her, and I’m always like, you know, my eyes are on her all the time. Especially now that she’s a toddler, because she runs around, she’s super fast, she’s never in one place. It’s sort of become this thing where not only is my heart living outside of my body, and I love her so much, you know, it’s overwhelming and insane. But also my energy and my focus is always in a thousand different places. Because, you know, I’ve got to keep with her.
[008:23] This is just what toddlerhood is like. Every toddler is like this, and every parent goes through this phase of just absolute madness. But what it’s done, even more so is it’s completely brought all of my focus and all of my attention away from myself, which I know is normal. There’s going to be a lot of mothers listening to this like, “Yeah, what else is new. This is what motherhood is. Of course that’s what it is and that’s what it’s supposed to be,” and all of that. But this big realization for me now is not being alone and not giving myself the space and the time to really, truly take care of myself on a level that’s much deeper than taking a yoga class a couple times a week, or go getting a massage, or, you know, like little things that I still do. When my mind is constantly absorbed with all of this doing and all of this worry and also all of this love, there is so much going on, I can never really drop into that place of connecting back to me. So, I haven’t. I mean, I really, I really haven’t. (laugh) And when I arrive now, I shared that the last week’s podcast I recorded the same day I arrived in Aruba, and I started off really rocky, I was crying, I was terrified, I felt absolutely awful, terrible. And then I had this sort of shift, this total shift on the plane coming here. And then when I landed I started feeling really good.
[009:52] And my first days here, it actually … It was sort of like a little part of myself had been waiting for this moment to really happen. It was like, there was like a little Rachel inside of me that was just like, “Can you see me now? Please see me. Please …” You know, like, my inner child maybe. There’s a little baby version of me inside that’s also looking for attention and for love and for care. And I’ve just totally been ignoring that part of myself now for a long time. So, when I, you know, got to land here, the first thing I did, I mean … Every day here over these past couple of days, I have woken up really early in the morning, I mean, just by myself. Of course I’m a little jet-lagged, so that helps. But I’ve been up around five every day just so I can sit and see the sunrise. And something like that, and this has been a … I don’t know why I don’t do this more, but I absolutely have the possibility to do that when I’m with the baby. I mean, nothing is stopping me from setting the alarm two hours earlier and getting up, watching the sunrise in the morning. Except for the fact that there’s no time in my day for anything. So I squeeze everything in at the end of the day when she’s sleeping, after seven or eight o’clock. And then, you know, there’s not a whole lot of hours left in that little space where I want to do everything. Maybe it’s work stuff. I want to connect with my husband. Maybe I want to try to do something for myself and get on my yoga mat. I want to, you know, watch a movie, drink a glass of wine, whatever. I try to squeeze everything that’s supposedly for me in that little time after she sleeps. Except I’m not really doing that in a genuine way. Like, it’s very very … I’m not really doing that in a genuine way. Maybe, you know, watching a movie with my husband on the couch once in a while is great, but kind of mindlessly zombie-ing out in front of some, whatever, Netflix show that I don’t really care about, maybe that’s not exactly what my heart, my body, my soul really craves in that moment. But, at the end of the day, you know, sometimes that’s all I have energy for! I mean, really, I can be so tired at the end of the day, the thought of eating dinner sitting at a table? That’s just too much. I need to just collapse on a couch.
[012:07] And I know also, like, in our society and the way we all live, we’re all this busy! We’re all … everybody feels overwhelmed. No one has enough time in a day. We always feel like there’s more things that should get done. We should be able to accomplish more. We should get better at everything, and we should be fulfilled, and we should take care of our bodies and our careers and our family and our relationship. It’s this never-ending list of things that we should do better. And there’s never enough time for it all. But then also in a day, you know, I do fill my time with things like that just because I don’t have the energy sometimes for other things.
[012:44] Now, what’s been really different is, you know, of course this has been a major luxury and something that I wouldn’t be able to normally do, but I have had, you know, the energy to wake up at that time every single day. And also realizing that waking up at that time has also given me a whole lot more energy to sustain a full day. And yes it’s a day without baby, and it’s a day without husband, and a day without work. But my inner energy feels completely, completely different. And what I’m trying to figure out is how can I translate this into my real life? Because of course these six days, this has not been real life. I mean, it just hasn’t.
[013:21] I’ve been up at five every morning. I’ve watched the sunrise. I have given myself the space, the permission, to be on my yoga mat for as long as I want to. But also without any sort of, like, I had morning where I was like, I don’t know, 30 or 40 minutes in. I was like, “I feel done now.” And then my mind was like, “What? But you have time! You should take advantage of this, do more yoga. Like, no, like, I felt done and then I was done. I went and I lounged by the pool for the whole day. I mean, really, I’ve been trying to so truly listen to that inner voice that speaks to me all the time, but that I’m always really fast to shut up, to kind of push aside and to not listen to. That means getting rid of the structure or this idea of, you know, life, when I take care of myself should be, or it should look in this very specific way. Like, yoga should be this. Like, I should do yoga for two hours every day now that I have the chance. Maybe all I need to do is just listen to what I need every single day and go with that. And maybe some days, yeah, that’s Netflix with my husband on the couch. Maybe some days it’s going to bed really early so that I can get up at five and really feel energized to watch the sunrise, because that gives me energy for the whole day.
[014:34] So it’s not so much about, you know, installing a brand new routine or changing everything, because when my baby and my husband comes back, it’s not about that, it’s more about listening to what do I actually need? And that mere thought of, you know, asking that questions, “What do I need?” (laugh) I never do that. (laugh) I mean, I never, ever, ever do that. I mean, really. Like, I have a hierarchy of peoples’ needs around me. I’m not going to say I’m at the bottom of that list, but yeah, baby is the top. What does Lea Luna need? That goes far above and beyond everything else. What does Dennis need to be happy? What does my business need? What do my employees need? What does my family need? Does my mom need something? My sisters? My siblings? The dogs, what do they need? The goats, what do they need? I have this kind of checklist of people and animals in my life that I care super deeply of and that I’m always wondering how they’re doing, and I’m always wanting them to be okay and to feel well. And of course my friends are really high up there too. And I can sometimes really take the time to sit down, “Okay well, hm, okay I have a friend who is going through a rough time right now.” And I’ll sit down, maybe with Dennis, maybe alone, like, “I really want to do something for her. She’s having such a hard time. How can I be of service there? Can I do something more than just FaceTime and try to be there? Should we send something? Can I get her a pass to take a class somewhere? Therapy? How can I support her?” Like, I really will sit down and think about that. And of course with the baby I do that every moment of every day, like, how can I improve her well-being and make sure that she’s 1000% cared for?
[016:11] But when it comes to myself, I don’t do that! I deprioritize myself every single day thinking that I have to take care of everybody else or everything else, like business or work and those kinds of things as well. And then, at the end of the day, if I randomly happen to find myself with an abundance of time, like all of the sudden I have time and I didn’t expect to have time, that’s also … I don’t do that as well. That’s not a time where I sit down, like, “Okay, let’s focus on me.” You know? Then I immediately fill that time with, “Okay, wait, what else can I get done?” I mean, it’s kind of an insane way to live. But I know it’s the way many of us live. Especially working moms, I mean, stay at home mom is a forking, like, twice a full time job. It’s crazy!
[016:59] So, when we do this long enough, it kind of becomes this conditioned thing where we stop prioritizing ourselves. Or maybe we were raised to never do it in the first place. I don’t know. I mean, I at least feel like I had more of this before the baby was born, where I would like sit down, “Okay, wait, I’m going through something now. How can I give myself a little more space?” I would at least have the conversation a little bit more before having the baby. But since having the baby, it’s like, I’m not even on that list. (laugh) Which, of course, is totally nuts. I mean, totally totally crazy. You cannot give from an empty cup. The first person that I should really focus on taking of should be me. I mean, and that’s kind of crazy to say. Like, yeah, it should be the baby, but actually, it should be me. And that means more than a 60-minute yoga class here and there, because even in those classes, you know, I’ll have those really rare moments where I feel completely at peace and calm. But a lot of times, you know, it’s too brief! It’s so short, and it’s over so quickly, and I’m out the door of the studio. I kind of like, it’s like, Namaste and I’m out. And then I’m back into the doing and the going and the stress of the rushing and all of these things. I’ve really really really had some major realizations about myself over this week, and I haven’t been trying either, and that’s the crazy thing. I haven’t been doing all this self-inquiry or reading spiritual books. No, I read chick lit, you know? Like Marian Keyes, I read two Marian Keyes books, amazing. Carlos Ruiz Zafón book that I always read, “Shadow of the Wind,” it’s so good. I read just books for pleasure, because, you know, I also have this part of myself, like, my mind tells me, “If I’m going to read, I should read to study. I should get better and grow as a teacher. I should do this and that.” No, I should read because I want to forking read something. So that’s what I’ve been doing, really going with that.
[018:57] And just relaxing! Like, literally, just relaxing. So after my sunrise and then my yoga and then I have some homework that I do with Lara, who is one of my teachers and also Jonas who is my naprapath who I work with sometimes. And I’ve done that stuff, like really healing stuff that I know is really good for me, that isn’t part of my conventional yoga practice. I’ve even made space for that. And then I’ve kind of sat down, like, “Hmm, what do I want to do now? Hm, oh, coffee! That would be nice. And then I go make a coffee. And then I sit outside and I don’t just chug the coffee while I’m doing something. Like, I’ll sit down, really prepare this beautiful coffee. Maybe with a book or maybe just with nothing, just looking out at the cacti in the desert here where I live. And just holding the coffee in my hands, like, inhaling it, smelling it, embracing it, really enjoying my coffee, and then every single sip has been super special, because I gave myself the time to enjoy a cup of coffee. It’s been, I mean, maybe this sounds silly to some of you, but it’s been marvelous. Like, the coffee that I’ve had, and it’s the same old espresso machine that I’ve been enjoying all year here, it was a Christmas gift from Dennis, I mean, it’s never made coffee that’s this good. And I’m not even that great at making coffee. It’s the best coffee I’ve ever had. Then, you know, I’ll do something else and I’ll pick up like a crystal, or maybe I’ll roll my yoga mat out again, or pick up the phone and do something and talk to a friend. I’ve just been really floating around. And I get hungry and I open the fridge, I’m like, “Hmm, what feels good?” And, you know, I haven’t been worried about making proper meals or eating specific things. Just totally nourishing myself with whole foods that have felt good in that moment. I’ve been very intuitive with my body throughout this whole week.
[020:42] I think going with that intuition, if you’re not used to doing that, or if you’ve been deconditioned to do that, because I’ve had years of my life where I’ve been really good at those things, and I also find that I tend to ride on the vibration of the place I’m in. So, for instance, whenever I go to Costa Rica, like, I lived in Costa Rica for two and a half years. Those years were very much like that for me. Just living in the jungle where you’re so in tune with nature and swimming in waterfalls. There’s something about being with nature in a way that I think Costa Rica is really rare in being able to provide such a sacred space like that. It’s been easier to just really intuitively eat, intuitively move, intuitively make decisions, intuitively connect with other people. But then we start to de-condition ourselves of that, you know, because life. Like, Jesus, life is hectic, it’s busy, we have so much to do in a day that little by little I’ve stopped listening to that voice, and then I start working on kind of autopilot, you know? Like, whatever, I’ll grab whatever in the fridge is there. I’m not listening. Okay, so I’m hungry right now, what am I hungry for? Am I hungry? Am I just thirsty? Like sometimes I eat but I’m actually really thirsty, I want to hydrate. Like, I have a sweet tooth and I’ll get this massive sugar craving sometimes, like, It’ll him me like a brick on the head, like, oh my god, I need something with sugar right now or I’m going to die. There is something behind that. But when I’m in that space of just working too hard and not giving myself that space to sit and listen, where there’s not enough calm in my life for that, that space between the initial urge and me reacting, it’s very, very small.
[022:18] But when I give myself that calm and that space and listening to my intuition and intuitively moving, that space between the urge and the action, it’s much bigger. It’s much wider. So I’ll get like a craving for something. Like this week, I haven’t had any sugar. I decided I’m not going to have any sugar or any alcohol. No wine. No wine for me for a whole week! [crying voice] No, I’m kidding. But yeah, no wine and no sugar. And sugar is by far, like, my hardest thing. And it was not even hard. I mean, I swear to god. I have had 0 processed sugar of any kind. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Like, not even like, you know, like they sell these little bliss balls at the café, like dates and stuff like that. I’ve stayed away from sugar. Just fruits, but not even a whole lot of that. And it’s been so easy! Like, it’s really been so easy. And I had one moment where EI had this massive craving for something, and my first urge was to just sit down and close my eyes. That was my first urge! Like, “Oh my god, I really want something sweet right now. Like, a Swedish fika would be amazing.” Fika is a very Swedish amazing thing where we just eat buns all day, basically. And I sat down and I realized, like … you know, and of course that was the day where in the morning I had FaceTime’d with the baby, and she started crying, bawling her eyes out, saying, “Mama, mama, mama,” reaching for the phone. We had to hang up while she was crying, and then I cried just a little bit in the morning, and then I kind of went about my day and I shrugged it off. But that sadness of missing her was still there, like, it was totally still there, but I didn’t really express all of it. And then later in the day that manifested as this, like, “Ugh, I need to cover this emotion up with something!” Like, I need to escape a little bit. Like, give me some sugar, give me … You know, those are the moments where we go to our escape route. Like, what can I do here to not feel or to not have to sit with this emotion that’s inside of me right now? Because it’s uncomfortable. And for some people, yeah, that’s alcohol, it could be a cigarette, sugar, it’s food of any kind, maybe it’s sex, maybe it’s gossip, maybe it’s Netflix. You know, there’s a thousand different ways to escape ourselves. And, you know, some of us, we have like 100 of those moments a day. And that’s how we start building, you know, maybe unnecessary, unhealthy patterns. Like, you know, maybe we feel the urge that we have to gossip all the time. We have to bring drama and something to excite us and distract us all the time. Or I have to have something sweet all the time, and then you start developing this total sugar addiction, which, you know, I am super guilty of floating in and out of.
[024:50] So, right now, this realization of, okay, all of those, my little escape route of sugar, of course, every time tied to something really specific. But the less I listen, the harder it’s going to be. Because fighting a craving like that when I’m not listening, when I’m just going going going, pushing pushing pushing, it’s impossible. I mean, absolutely impossible. And I haven’t even been in a space where I’ve wanted to fight that. Like in Europe just now, we’ve had a really unhealthy ten weeks, yeah, where I’ve had like, I mean, easily, like, dessert after every dinner, I have had fika every day. Little ways of just consuming sugar left and right, and I haven’t even had that urge to not do it, because it’s sort of been my, like I’m self-medicating with cinnamon buns, basically. So of course I was extra miserable when we were in France, because there was nothing vegan available, at all. Like, nothing. I didn’t have any sugar when I was in France because there was none available. And then we got back to Stockholm and there’s vegan sweets and vegan treats all over the place, and then of course I slipped back into that place because I was feeling like shit, but I didn’t know what to do with my feelings, really.
[027:08] I’m so grateful I am not going to drag my husband into this because he didn’t have the same experience as I, but I’m so grateful I had a shitty trip. (laugh) I really really really really am, because I would have never, I mean, in a million years would I have ever left my baby and my husband on another continent to go be in my house by myself for almost a week. (laugh) I mean, just saying that, it’s so totally insane what I’m doing right now. Maybe it shouldn’t be insane, maybe this should be more of a normal thing, but I mean, this would have never had happened. I would have needed a super excuse to leave her and also to leave him. It’s totally … it’s insane!
[027:56] But for every day that’s passed now, these six days, every day of me just floating like a little butterfly from thing to thing and doing very little, and just cooking and swimming and yoga and I went for a run once, and, you know, it’s been so much nothing, but it’s been everything. And for every day that’s passed, I’ve felt my being settle a little bit more. Like, there’s this piece inside of me that’s been kind of high strung, almost floating above my body a a little bit that I’m able to pull back in in moments, you know, of intense yoga practice, or when I’m in serious meditation, or when I’m in the bathtub, I have these ways, these tools, of course, that I use for self care. But those moments of feeling like I’m anchoring back into myself, they’re always really brief because then I step out of them and I don’t take that practice with me, and I don’t live that practice of self care. I don’t, and that’s a really hard truth. I teach the practice of self care, I’m not living the practice of self care. At least I have not been since I became a mom. And I’m wondering, now, about that balance or it all, and if this is how motherhood is so beautifully and imperfectly designed, that it’s supposed to be this way, because going from maidenhood to motherhood, I mean, that transition, it’s out of this world. I mean, it truly is. And yeah, there’s a physical change that happens in our body where we have to physically make space for this new being, right? So the fact that our inner organs, our internal organs get all shoved up our necks, I mean, it’s totally crazy. If you haven’t watched one of those little videos of what happens inside of a woman’s body, where her internal organs go to make space for the baby, it’s crazy. I mean, that shit is, like, supernatural. It’s insane. That has to happen, we have to learn how to expand, our skin stretches, and along with this re-arranging of our insides, there is also an emotional and energetic rearranging of our entire lives, because we’re sort of leaving behind … and maybe it’s not permanent, but leaving behind for a while the old self. Okay, like, this is me as maidenhood. Like, it stays back and now I enter and transform into this new role of the mother, and it requires this whole totally different life.
[030:21] And then we have the baby, and it changes our lives, because yes, of course it does. And all of the sudden there’s this being that we love soooo much. I mean, we can’t even put it into words. We love this tiny little being so much, and nothing else really matters, for a while. At least, I mean, I felt that way in the beginning. I just kind of drowned in her. The first three months were just, oh my god, I can’t even remember a lot of it, because really I just disappeared into her and into my love for her. And then as she’s grown older it’s gotten easier and easier, and then she’s growing into her own self, stop breastfeeding, there’s more independence there. And she’s a very independent baby as well. And as she runs around, she has her own personality, there’s definitely, like, she’s her own, glorious, amazing human being. But still, I have been very very lost in her for all this time. And it hasn’t been a negative thing. I want to really stress that. It’s been the most beautiful time of my life. And I’m pretty sure that that’s what motherhood is supposed to be. I’ve been very very lost in her, and it’s been a glorious experience.
[031:29] And now that I’ve had this space for myself, because now, I mean, she’s 15 months, she’s going to be 16 months soon, and I mean she’s not a baby anymore. She’s a toddler. She’s grown so fast. And having this time for myself now is really the first time in all of this time that I’ve realized that maybe there’s a way that I can exist as her mother and love her just as much as I already do, and take care of her just as well as I already am, but without losing all of myself. I get little goose bumps saying this, and I feel myself tearing up, because I know it’s true. I think sometimes there’s a little bit of a … almost like a glorification of this super mom, you know, like we’re supposed to lose ourselves in our kids. We’re supposed to really live through them and be everything for them and put their needs above our own, all of this stuff. And I’m wondering, is that really how it’s supposed to be? Is there a space where I can be Lea Luna’s mom, but where I can also be Rachel? And not just be Lea Luna’s mom? I mean, I’m starting to think that absolutely hell-fucking yes. There is a way for that. And that’s going to require, what it’s going to require is some life changes for me in terms of how I take care of myself on a day-to-day basis, but also more than anything I think a little bit of a different looking, right? So, the idea of we can’t pour from an empty cup, of course that’s true, so if the guilt that I feel normally every time I leave her, because that’s real, and I talk to my husband about this a lot. He doesn’t feel that. I mean, he’ll go, like, every Sunday he goes biking for eight hours. Not one inch of his being feels guilty that he’s left the baby behind, that he should be with the baby, he shouldn’t be biking, you know? If I go take time for myself and I go to yoga, I go see a friend, I feel guilty almost the entire time. I mean, truly. Sometimes I’ll have a really busy work day and I’ll get home super late after tons of meetings and the baby is already sleeping, and I know I’m only going to sleep four or five hours now, I really need to sleep in in the morning, and my husband is like, “Of course, no problem, I’ve got the baby, all good.” You know, like really stoked about it. And then she wakes up at seven in the morning and I slept four or five hours, and I know I could really use another few hours. Then I hear her talking, and there’s this combination of me, like, I really want to be with her all the time. Everything is better when she’s around. I want to be with her. I want to be the one to pick her up in the morning from her crib. It’s the best moment. And also, if I sleep in, there’s a little bit of guilt there. I mean, definitely, there’s enough guilt there to get me out of bed every single time. That’s just the hard fact. Maybe not every mom feels this way. Maybe I’m alone or very specific in my guilt that I feel, but it’s definitely there.
[034:24] So, what it also does is it sort of inhibits my ability to really enjoy myself when I’m away, and also to give myself the space to really really take care of myself in a loving way, because I have that voice that’s like, “I should be with the baby. I should be with the baby. I should be with the baby,” all the time! And I don’t know why that voice is there! I mean, I’m thinking that voice has been there. It’s like this sort of judgmental voice telling me I need to be better than who I already am. I need to do better all the time. I can look better, I can be thinner, I could be more good linking, I could be more successful, I could work harder, I could be a better wife, blah blah blah, list is endless. And of course now that motherhood is the most important thing for me, then yeah, that judgmental voice has followed me into motherhood saying maybe I’m not a good enough mother, right? So I should feel guilty if I take time for myself or if I do things that aren’t around her.
[035:15] And I know that that voice is not speaking truth. I 1000% know that that voice is not a truthful voice. This doesn’t make it any easier, though, to hear it all the time. And also, I mean, it’s not like she’s suffering when I’m not there. She has a dad that, literally, I mean, our parenting, we’re 50/50. We’re super equal. First few months when she was breastfeeding around the clock, of course, it was different then. But I mean, since she was at least, yeah, six months old, it’s been 50/50. She has a dad that’s as present as her mom. They have a blast together. It’s just, yeah. It shouldn’t really be any different between us, as mother and father, at all. And she’s so cared for with him. So it’s not like she’s suffering. There’s nothing lesser than going on in her life, at all! So, how do I rid myself of this guilt? Or, maybe it’s not so much thinking that I have to suddenly turn off this judgmental voice because I know it’s there, but maybe how can I invite enough space in my life to care for myself in a really genuine way, so that that voice doesn’t become too loud? I think that’s really the key (laugh). Really, really truly is the key.
[036:26] In all this time now, where every day I’ve felt a little more peace, every day I find myself talking to myself around the house. I’m telling myself little jokes, cracking up at stuff. Everything feels easy. Things that I thought were problem, like work related stuff, I’ve felt really easy going, everything is going to work out, I don’t even worry about it. I haven’t been obsessing about the baby at all. Actually, I haven’t been thinking about the baby and Dennis. I’ve really tried to practice out of sight, out of mind, because I realized if I’m going to sit and FaceTime them all day, this is not going to work. So I’ve really been focused on just being here with myself.
[037:02] And for every day it’s been a little bit easier, and I can sense myself lightening up. And then I start gravitating for different things. I don’t know, I rearranged my closed a little bit, kind of organized some stuff. Not because that’s like work, but because I love to do those kinds of things. I’ve been wearing old clothes, clothes I haven’t worn since, yeah, years ago. I don’t know, I’ve been sort of channeling Rachel pre-baby, the old Rachel, so to speak. And it’s been really quite amazing! I don’t know what to tell you. Just putting on a pair of shoes that I haven’t worn since maybe I was 21 or 20 years old living in the jungle … It’s helped me, energetically, to pull that carefree … Oh, that’s my dog. And to bring that carefree version of myself forward. That version of me where, where really I was very anchored in who I was. Yeah, it was a more selfish version of me, it was a more immature version of me. I don’t want to go back to that version of me, at all. I mean, the learning and the growth that I’ve had since becoming a mom has been absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything. I’m not saying I want to go back to being who I was many years ago. But there is a part of me, then, that was very, very, very anchored and felt very at home in my own body, and that always really knew. I knew what I wanted, I knew what I needed to feel good. And I made sure that I took care of that, and I cared for myself.
[038:36] There is a part of that old Rachel that I really want to keep with me for the rest of my life, no matter what I go through, no matter what responsibilities I take on, and no matter how much I love my family. Really. I want to arrive at a place where I can take care of myself and where that’s a natural thing, and not hard. And where I can give myself enough space to keep listening to my own wants and needs. Because also I know that it’s going to make me an even better mom! I mean, hell yes, for sure. I’m going to be more patient, more joyful. It’s so clear to me that, I mean, the best thing I can do for my family is to give myself what I need, and to take care of myself in this best possible way. It sounds like it should be a very easy thing to arrive at, like a really easy epiphany to have, and people have told me this over and over, you know, but it’s not going to click until it clicks, and it’s not going to click until it’s time, and my time really was now.
[039:31] I even had people on Instagram when I was sharing, like I’ve been sharing yoga videos that I used to do back in the day that I just never give myself time for anymore, but I love doing that. And people have said, like, “This is such a retro feeling! I feel like it’s the Old Yoga Girl that I’m watching!” I had people write me like my face looks smoother, I look younger, all this stuff! And it’s really funny because I feel younger, like, I really really really do. I feel really beautiful right now. I feel really at home in my skin. I feel great. I really do feel great! (laugh)
[041:44] Now it’s day six of all of this, and of course, I mean, there’s been some, I mean, not a lot of lows. I had one or two moments where I was really missing the baby and really missing Dennis, but not really. I mean, I thought I would have way more of an emotional roller coaster being alone, but it’s been pretty steadily awesome. And even, I think yesterday I told a friend, I’m like, “I’m feeling so good right now, what if I don’t want them to come back? (laugh) What if this is my great escape into aloneness forever?” But no, of course, that’s not the case. As soon as I start directing attention back to family, that longing becomes more and more overwhelming. So, this is definitely a brief little intermission in my life.
[042:27] But this morning we had, it’s Tuesday today, and we have dynamic meditations at Island Yoga on Tuesdays. If you’re ever in Aruba and you want to join, feel free. It’s free, free of cost completely, everyone can join. For the dynamic meditation, I was leading it, and I was really excited about it, because we haven’t done them in a while, and I’ve been away. And that normal feeling that I have when I to to a dynamic meditation to release emotion, it’s like, “What am I ready to release?” And my past meditations have all been me releasing anger or sadness or frustration. Like, I’ve had a lot of low emotion that I’ve been able to channel and release through dynamic. Which is awesome, and it’s an awesome avenue to do that.
[043:07] But now I was driving to the studio and I’m, like, singing, and I’m listening to this awesome Caribbean music that I love and my windows are down and everything is just so, I’m feeling so high on everything that I was really thinking, like, “How am I going to even, like … Is it possible to lead a dynamic meditation when you’re so high on life?” Because really, I can’t remember ever leading a meditation like that feeling like this. So it’s interesting now that when I do the meditation, am I going to be able to connect to any of those heavier emotions as well? We’ll see.
[043:39] So I get there, I park my car and we had quite a few people join and there was a lot of new people, I think we had at least eight or nine complete beginners that never had done it ever before. And then I immediately, I kind of switched out of that zone like everything is easy and awesome and I started getting a little worried about the group. Because what happens, I mean, at dynamic meditation, I talk about them on the podcast now all the time. I feel like so many people are out there doing them and realizing how insane and wildly crazy and awesome it is. But when it’s a new group, because everyone is really fearful in the beginning and tentative, and when you get to the second phase of releasing emotion, catharsis, it can be … it can be really hard, it can be really, really hard. So I whole room full of people wearing blindfolds, expressing themselves, so whatever is there. One, it can be scary, it can be absolutely like a shock, like, “What the fuck is this?” And it can also be really hard to actually access those emotions. That’s really really common for beginners is it’s hard to feel anything. You know? We kind of have this expectation of, “Oh my god, I have to immediately feel something and release it,” and then maybe there’s kind of like a shock and like, “Wait, what am I supposed to do here?”
[044:47] So normally what we do with new groups is if I have assistants in the room, we’ll kind of exaggerate a little bit. Make a little more noise, yell a little louder, like, really bring extra gusto, kind of, to the whole thing, because the energy of other people really helps you channel your own. So that’s just something that I always do if I know I’m in a new group. Especially if I’m leading. So, I had that mindset already in the beginning when we started, like, “Okay, it’s okay, I don’t have to do all of this all the way because I’m more here for the group,” right?
[045:21] So, we start, and there’s this musical component to dynamic meditation that it’s five stages and the music changes every time. You never have to change anything, it’s just this progressive kind of playlist that’s one song, sort of. But my big fear has always been, and this is like, I can’t explain this. It’s very … It’s very hard to explain. But I have a huge fear around something happening to the music in the midst of a very emotional moment in the dynamic. Of course the same when I’m teaching yoga. Like, imagine anyone who is a yoga teacher out there, imagine you’re teaching an amazing class, and you spent the whole class kind of unraveling stuff and getting people really into their bodies, and it’s very intense. And then you get to this very emotional place right at the very end, and imagine for a second that right as your savasana song is about to come on, like, hip hop starts? Or, you know, imagine your phone was on Shuffle and the wrong music came. This might sound like who gives a shit, that doesn’t mean anything. To me, I am the master of ambience, and evoking emotion is sort of what I do, that’s what everything I do is centered around. So, ruining a really emotional moment by something as stupid as having a phone on shuffle, it would never in a million years happen to me. And I’m always really cautious about those things. I’m very very invested in the vibration in the room, and music has so much to do with that. I’ve always had in the back of my mind, since we started leading them at the studio, the dynamics, because there’s a progression to the music. So it has to be stage one, stage two, stage three, stage four, stage five. It cannot be wrong. So, since we started, I tell everyone, “Make sure your phone is not on shuffle, make sure the phone is not on shuffle, make sure airplane mode is on, test the music, make sure it’s good because of the emotional component. It’s so important that everything works so that people can have this optimal experience of really following the energy of the whole group.” It’s always just been this thing at the back of my mind.
[047:22] As we start today, and I’m already like, okay, I know I’m not going to be all the way in it for the catharsis, because I’m more focused for the group, and that’s always what I do, every single time, and then we finished the first phase, which is the breathing phase, and then the song switches, and it’s the wrong fucking song! (laugh) And I was like, oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god. I told the girls at the studio, like, twice, make sure that everything is set. I don’t know what happened, if it was a malfunctioning of phone or whatever, but suddenly it’s the wrong part of the meditation is on. And of course it’s very confusing. And some people are crying, some people are screaming, there is definitely emotion already happening, and then the music is fucked up! Like, oh my god. And then I run over to the music station and I’m going back to wear it’s supposed to be, and then the app implodes, you know, the way the iPhone does, it’s just a bug I guess, the phone needs to be updated or something, it’s the studio phone that we have, and then everything shuts off, and the music dies.
[048:21] Of course, everything that’s going on in the room, the whole room is massive confusion. Because you’re in your process, and then the outside … It was just not good. Then I fix it really quickly, and I mean it was like 5 or 10 seconds. It was very brief, I fixed it really quickly, made sure everything was good, and then the meditation just continued. And it’s an hour meditation, so ten seconds, like, flaw, it’s not really a big deal. But what happened in my mind for the rest of this meditation was like, I was so focused on the music, I was so focused on everything working over there, and then I was trying to raise the energy of the room, make sure everything was working. There’s a saying that goes, “How you move through dynamic is how you move through life.” And as I was kind of busy with all these things, but also kind of doing the steps of the meditation but kind of faking it, because my mind was completely elsewhere, like I’m physically doing the stuff, but I’m not really present with it because of all these things. Then it hits me, you know, like how you move through meditation, dynamic meditation, is how you move through life. And I’m like, how am I moving through this meditation right now? What am I doing right now?
[049:35] First of all, before I even got here, I’m so focused on the other people in the room, people I haven’t even met, some of them. I mean, I’m so focused on the group that I’ve already decided that I’m not going to have this full experience because I’m going to make sure that they have a really good experience. Like, I’ve already decided that in the car. And that’s what I do every time I lead one. Leading one doesn’t mean that you don’t participate, like, at all! It’s just giving a little run through in the beginning. Then we’re all in it together. But I do that when I lead them. I tell myself, like, “No, everyone else is more important,” and then I use that as an excuse to check out from myself. And what happened, like yeah, this little fear of a musical malfunction happened, and it gave me another excuse to really be there and be present there to make sure everyone else is going with the flow and that they are feeling and are they okay? And all of this stuff … so that I wasn’t present with myself, and I wasn’t in my body there. Is that how I move through life? Yes! (laugh) That is how I move through life. And it’s also why I much prefer taking a dynamic meditation led by someone else. Really, those or the ones where I really have transformative experiences. But when I’m the one leading or the one at the studio, I don’t, because I’m so pre-occupied with what everybody else is doing.
[050:49] And is that how I walk through life? Yes! It is how I walk through life. It’s how I walk through life every damn day of my whole entire fucking life. I wake up in the morning and I wondering “how is everybody else doing?” (laugh) It’s just, its just… It’s not how I was raised, but it’s how I was brought up. There is a difference between those two things. This realization, and it really big one, and I started thinking about if, okay, how often do I leave myself so that I can show up for someone else? How often do I step out of my needs, my really genuine, genuine heart needs, because I deemed someone else’s heart needs more important? I mean, all the time. I really do this all the time. And motherhood has become this sort of super manifestation of this thing that I do where I don’t give myself the love that I actually need. Not deserve. You know that saying I say also all the time, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Well I’ve been under the impression that I don’t deserve a whole lot. So I don’t invite a whole lot of it into my life. It’s this unfamiliar feeling. It’s easy for me to be the fixer and the caretaker, because it’s how I was brought up.
[052:00] I had that epiphany today alongside with, you know, of course, all of this is so connected, mega-connected. Yesterday my mom called me and she’s been in a spiritual retreat, kind of where you also do this type of meditation, this sort of group/meditational/holistic therapy thing that we do. She was driving back and she said, “Oh, this one was about family and family constellations.” On the phone she was like, “How are you doing? How has this alone time been? I had this big epiphany when I was at this retreat just now,” and she was assisting it, not participating. I said, “What was it?” And she says, “Well, in our family, you know, you really took on the role of the mother.” (laugh) And I’m like, “Mmhm. Is this news to you that in our role of mother daughter, I’m the mother? Not just in the mother/daughter constellation, but in the whole family? Like, um, yeah? I mean, this has been very, very crystal clear for me for a very long time, that because of the circumstances that we had when I was little and mom was depressed, she was suicidal, she tried to commit suicide a bunch of times. People were dying left and right, there was divorces left and right. Abuse. It was a whole lot of shit going on since I was born, basically. I’ve known a lot of chaos and trauma and separation since I was born. And my mom has always been very fragile, I mean, very very very … She’s been like this little baby bird that always needs caring. Not anymore, now she takes care of herself and our relationship is really good. We worked through a lot, but not everything. But yes, since as long as I can remember, I have been the mom, the caretaker, the fixer, the one who is looking after everyone.
[053:39] Because I was brought up that way, or life gave me those cards when I was little, that’s the way I am as a person. It’s just what I know, right? It’s how I function. It’s not natural to me to wake up in the morning and immediately go, “What does Rachel truly need today? How can I nourish myself in the best possible way, because I’m so important and I’m so worthy of all of this?” No. You know, I fulfill myself and my own needs by taking care of other people. And then I’m kind of under this disguise of well that’s just who I am. Like, I feel good when I’m helping others. It’s just my personality. Like, I love supporting other people on their healing path. It’s why I became a yoga teacher, it’s why I do the work that I do. It’s just part of my nature. It is part of my nature, but also not. (laugh) Also not. There’s a reason that I became this person who fixes and who cares for and who takes care of. And it’s okay to be that person, I mean, it’s a beautiful piece of me and I love doing this sort of work. It’s always going to be what I do. But there is a way for me to exist in that role and take care of myself first. 100,000%. It might actually be a prerequisite for me to exist in the other role and to give it my all and to give it my best is to first direct all of that love and all of that care toward myself.
[055:03] And this week has brought me that epiphany, like, smack in the face. Like holy shit, you know? You can tell yourself something 100,000 times. It’s not going to land until it really lands. My entire being, it’s just kind of screaming this at me. Not screaming, it’s singing it to me right now, because that’s the beautiful space I’m in.
[056:58] I miss my family so much. I mean, ugh, I can barely let myself think of them because I’m going to cry because I miss them so much and I’m so excited for this new phase in our lives, this new phase for me as a mom, as a wife, as a boss, as a sister, as a friend, as a daughter, all of this, because I really feel like I found something brand new. I feel like I’ve found a little golden key. Like, wait, what? I can actually feel this good? And honestly, it’s not even that hard. And if you’re resonating with what I’m saying now, if there’s a part of you that’s longing for this … So many people wrote me over the week, “I wish I could do that, I’m just not ready yet. I couldn’t do it. I wish I could, but I could never do that.” I would not have made this decision by myself. I was really forced to it because I was feeling super shitty. But yes you can, and yes I can. And it doesn’t have to be six complete days of nothingness. If you can manifest that and you have resources around you … Not everybody does. If you do, use them. Really. I mean, if you do, many many many of you listening do. You have parents, you have babysitters, you have a spouse, a husband, a wife, whatever. You have someone in your life that can offload you for a second. And maybe it’s not the baby. Maybe it’s something else you need space for. But specifically moms out there listening. If you have resources, use them! Because that’s also part of my problem. I don’t use the help that’s around me as much as I could, at all. And I kind of tell myself, like, “I’m the only one who can do this.” And I do that with everything. “I’m the best at all of this.” I want to control everything. No one else can do what I do. And it’s just not plain true. It’s just not, at all. There’s plenty of people that can do what I do. There’s plenty of people in my life that can take care of my baby as well as I do. And I you have resources, use them. Carve out some time for you to be alone. If you can swing six days, the way I just swung it, fucking go ahead! I mean, it’s going to be terrifying, it’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be like, “Oh my god, there’s no way.” Do it anyway. If you can do a weekend, do it. If you can do one day, you can. I mean seriously, you can do one day. And not that you have to do this all the time and like, oh my god, every month I’m going to have a week off, okay, clearly not. That’s not how it goes. But I think the catalyst for this major change, to integrate it in a really real way in our day-to-day lives, we need a little bit more to start. You need to have a chunk of time and space to sit and be with you. To anchor back into the person, not just the person you were before baby or before stress or whatever it is that’s keeping you from that unnatural sense of self-care, you need to anchor back to that, somehow. You know, a 60-minute yoga class or a massage, it’s probably not going to cut it. So at least a whole day, a day and night, a weekend, something something something. Carve out this space. If you don’t have the resources, and not everybody does, that’s okay, there’s other ways that you can arrive at that place, but it’s going to require a different looking, and it’s going to require a little bit of structure.
[060:12] So, what I have decided in terms of structure now, I’m actually about to go pick up my family in 20 minutes! (laugh) I’m going to leave the house, oh my god. So what I’ve decided now, and this is a very very important step for me. And I wouldn’t have arrived at this, it’s going to sound simple, some of you are like, well maybe you’ll be like, “Oh, well I do that every day.” For me, every single morning, because I’m used to staying up really late. I finish my work really late, I spend time with my husband until late. We’re kind of, I don’t know if we’re night owls, but I’ll usually go to bed around midnight on a normal day. When the baby wakes up in the morning, that’s what wakes me up ever way. And I love that, I have loved that, I wake up with her cooing, and now she’s like, “Mama papa!” She wants to get picked up. I wake up with the baby every day. But there is a way for me to get up an hour, two hours, three hours (laugh) … There is a way for me to get up way before she wakes up and make sure, like, really, like, unwaveringly make sure that every single day, no matter of circumstance, because yeah, having Dennis take the baby in the morning, it’s not going to work the same, because when she’s around I want to be with her, or that little guilty voice comes. But if I wake up every morning one or two hours before, I will have space for me to sit and be alone and no one else is around. I mean, seriously. And if I want to watch the sunrise, I’ll watch the sunrise. I can practice, I can meditate, I can make my cup of coffee and just sit there and stare at it. I can journal, I can read. Whatever it is that’s actually nourishing from my heart and my soul. Like really. It’s not going to be emails and getting work done, it’s not going to be any of those things. Maybe it’s a walk, whatever. Whatever works for me as me time, completely. (laugh) And I need to make sure that that shit happens first thing in the morning, or it’s not going to. Because how many times have I said, “You know what? I’m going to have this evening off, or I’m going to take this time now for this afternoon,” and then it’s just, you know, you know, shit happens, life happens, and then it doesn’t become that. And for that to happen, for me to be able to wake up at 5, if that’s what I want to do, I’m going to have to go to bed earlier, and I’m going to have to carve some things out. I’m going to have to change the structure of my day a little bit to make sure that I’m not working late a lot, that I don’t take meetings too late. Maybe it’s less Netflix with my husband and really getting super serious about that. And I am so serious about that. If I can have two hours every single morning, it might just completely change my life. (laugh) I feel like my life has already changed, but I want to keep this feeling of space. I want to keep it, I don’t want to lose it.
[062:58] I’m really hoping, like I’m a little nervous now, what’s going to happen when we dive back into stuff? But this sense of grounding, this sense of calm, it happens easier for me when I’m at home, so that’s where I should be a lot of the time, right? And just really make space that what I need to have happen every day for this to work, I can’t put that at the bottom of the list anymore. I can’t. It has to be more important than work, more important than growing the business, more important than baby and husband. (laugh) And that’s sometimes really hard. But that’s what it is. Hell mother fucking yes. (laugh)
[063:44] I’m going to … I don’t know more than that. I’m going to make sure that I have my hours before everything else. And I love sleeping in, oh my god, I love sleeping, so this is going to be a stretch for me. I know that. But it’s important enough that I need to make this happen. There’s going to be other changes that I make in my day-to-day, but I haven’t quite 100% anchored into exactly what that will look like and it’s going to happen now that I’m back with Dennis and Lea Luna. But I fucking vow, like, I’m ready to just … to make a vow, make a promise to the whole world right now, I will never fucking leave myself again. I fucking won’t. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t I won’t. I am Rachel, and I’m also mom, and wife, and daughter, and boss. But most of all I’m Rachel and I’m here to stay. … And yeah that made me cry (laugh). So, on that note … Rachel is going to go pick up her husband and her baby from the airport. They land in … In 15 minutes! And, oh my god, I’m so excited to squeeze them and hug them, I can’t even explain. And I’m so grateful.
[065:00] I want to close by sending a shoutout of full on love to my husband. My beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful sweet, kind-hearted, loving, amazing husband, saint of a man. For not just providing me with the space to do this and opportunity to do this, but recognizing that I needed this in the first place, for that, because I didn’t even know I needed this. For seeing me, he sees me when I don’t even see myself. So Dennis, I love you so much. I love you I love you I love you. And everyone listening, go squeeze your people. I’ll see you next week.
[End of Episode]
Transferwise – transferwise.com/podcast
Oatly – oatly.com
Third Love – thirdlove.com/heart
Havenly – havenly.com/yogagirl