The Need for Self-Care with Suzanne Falter – Podcast Host and Author of “The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care”

Tony interviews award-winning author and podcast host Suzanne Falter. They discuss the importance of self-care and the touching story of Suzanne’s daughter Teal who passed away unexpectedly at a very young age. Teal shared some very powerful advice for how to make the most of life that continues to guide Suzanne’s life. Suzanne is the author of 8 books including “The Extremely Busy Women’s Guide to Self-Care” https://www.amazon.com/Extremely-Busy-Womans-Guide-Self-Care/dp/1492698539/  And you can listen to her podcast Self Care for Extremely Busy Women here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/self-care-for-extremely-busy-women/id1383377400

Suzanne runs a popular women’s group on Facebook for Extremely Busy Women that, at the time of this recording, had over 56,000 women. You can find out more about the group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/selfcareforextremelybusywomen/ Or go to http://suzannefalter.com to learn more about Suzanne. You can watch the video of this episode on The Virtual Couch YouTube channel https://youtu.be/pBdki9xrkAY and please take a moment and subscribe to the channel while you’re there.

With the continuing “sheltering” rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony’s pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ

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] Come on in, take a seat.

Speaker2: [00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode three hundred and two of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. Certified mine will have a coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program, helping everyday people like yourself recover from the harmful effects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. So if you or anybody you know is trying to put that behind them once and for all, go over to Pathbackrecovery.com and you’ll find a short book that describes five five myths that are out there about how to put something like pornography behind you once and for all. Again, that’s pathbackrecovery.com, and I really want to get right to today’s episode, and I want to tell a little bit of story, story, story time. I had someone reach out. To me, it was probably a month or so ago, and it was a representative for a woman named Suzanne Valter. And I get this is so going to sound so egotistical for just a moment. So just bear with me. And I think I talk about this on the interview with Suzanne, but I get a lot of interview requests of people that would like me to come on their podcast now, or a lot of people that would like to have somebody come on my podcast. So a publicist or somebody that has a program or a book or something like that that they’re wanting to promote and that is fair.

Speaker2: [00:01:36] I never anticipated to be in a position where I would be asked to go on as many podcasts or the people would actually want to come on to mine. But Suzanne’s representative, her assistant, had reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to go on Suzanne’s podcast and talk about how to choose a good therapist. And I read it very quickly and I thought, Oh, how adorable. I’ll have to go check out her website because so many people let me come on to their podcast to promote mine early on. And maybe that’s what’s happening here. So I go on her website and it is. It’s huge. It’s phenomenal. Suzanne runs. I’m going to read a little bit off of her about. She runs a Facebook group for self-care. It’s a self-care group for extremely busy women and that has fifty six thousand women on her Facebook group that are very active and very engaged in that group. And she is an author of I Think It’s Eight Books and just has an amazing story, and her work has been featured on in More and Oprah’s Magazine O The New York Times Coast to Coast a.m. Tiny Buddha Elephant Journal Woman’s Day. The Wall Street Journal sells more than one hundred radio and TV programs, and so then all of a sudden I look on this and I think, Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I am worthy of going on Suzanne’s podcast.

Speaker2: [00:02:49] That’s what she’d asked me to come on. So I reach out and I say I would absolutely be honored to come on Suzanne’s podcast and I go on there and we just had energy, and it was so much fun and I immediately said, Could you please come on my podcast? And so that’s what you’re hearing today. My episode, my interview on hers, I think, is coming out later this month. So you’ll hear us mention this, but please go subscribe to Suzanne’s podcast and I think you’ll you’ll find that I’ve binged on quite a few of them in preparation for going on her show and having her on mine, and I’m also interviewing her later this week for my waking up the Narcissism podcast because the more we just got into a rhythm or a flow, I think it was before the interview. We talked quite a while, and she has an amazing story of not only being raised with someone that had had some narcissistic traits and tendencies to then being in a relationship at one point. But that is a whole story. So we’re going to talk about that this week. So I think if you if you probably next week on the Waking Up The Narcissism podcast, you’ll find her there. The last thing I want to say before we get to this interview and this was this was just kind of funny to me after we had our interview and it went really well and I just thought, OK, I have a new friend.

Speaker2: [00:04:00] I mean, that was so much fun. She said, I’m going to send you something, and she sent me this book. If you’re looking on video the extremely busy woman’s guide to self-care, and it is really good, you don’t have to be an extremely busy woman to need self-care, and we talk about that. I mean, I love talking about my emotional baseline theory and the concept that self-care is not selfish, and Suzanne takes it to an entirely different level. But I was honored. She sent me this. She autographed it, and here’s where I just thought it was funny. You know, I always wanted to. One of those bucket list items was to become a published author, and I have an opportunity in front of me now. I’ve got a couple of books that I need to write that that I have an opportunity to write and and publishers that are interested. But the book that I wrote my first book, so I’m holding it up now. He’s a porn addict now. What an expert and a former addict. Answer your questions where I play the role of the expert and Joshua. She and I wrote this, and it’s been a bestseller for a couple of years in the sexual health and Recovery category on Amazon. And I am so proud of this book. But I thought it was really funny because Suzanne has a really cool book about self-care that she can send anyone. And I got it and I felt honored, and I just thought, Would that be weird? When I go on a podcast, I say, Hey, let me send you a copy of my book, and then it’s this one that nobody actually probably wants to put out on their coffee table.

Speaker2: [00:05:12] He’s a porn addict now. What an expert and a. Former attack answer questions, so I got to write another book. I think that’s what I learned today so that I can send something because Suzanne sent that and I was I was glowing when I opened that package and saw this amazing self care positive book that she had signed know talking about to my new friend. So that’s enough a story time before we get to the interview just to keep the lights on, pay the hosting cost, all those sort of things. If you are looking for a therapist right now, it can be really hard to find one. But please, you owe it to yourself if you are dealing with things, whether it’s anxiety or depression or OCD or your relationship or parenting or anything. Head over to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you’ll get 10 percent off your first month’s services. They also have a they have. The scholarship is not the word financial aid that if you are struggling, but you really do need help, they have that available. But what better helps calling cards? I’d say right now is their assessment tool. So you fill out a pretty I won’t say it’s lengthy, but it’s it’s a bit in depth and it answers a lot of good questions.

Speaker2: [00:06:15] Matter of fact, I took it myself when I started working with Betterhelp.com, and I just thought it was really phenomenal because it does a nice job of pointing you in the direction of a therapist that can really help you with your needs. So you’ll get access to a licensed mental health, professional, licensed clinical counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, someone that can help you with whatever it is that you need help with, and you can do this through telehealth. You can do it through email, text, anything virtually. And so if you are thinking about just even exploring the world of mental health, and it’s not a bad idea to start with Betterhelp.com. And if you go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch, you get 10 months, 10 months, 10 percent off your first month services. I get my feet wet a little bit, as they say, and that helps to keep the lights on. So go try that out today. And now let’s get to my interview with my new friend, who you will hear more of on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast in just a couple of weeks. Suzanne Fulker, who is a writer, a speaker, and you can find out more about her at Suzanne Pollster.com. I’ll have that in the show notes, but let’s get to my interview with Suzanne. Come on. Take a seat. Ok, so we have so we’re rolling now, Suzanne. Welcome to the virtual couch.

Speaker1: [00:07:28] Thank you, Tony Overbay.

Speaker2: [00:07:31] This is I have to tell a little bit of a story. This is funny and this is going to play into a little bit of my ego and I love when my ego gets knocked down. It’s one of my favorite things. Suzanne and Suzanne’s people had reached out and said, Hey, we’d love for you to come on and maybe talk about. I think the initial request was how to find a good therapist. And I thought, and I know you probably get this as well, Suzanne. I get a fair amount of inquiries of people saying, Hey, come on our show. And so I thought, Oh, you know how adorable? I’ll maybe grace her presence with my or, you know, with. So then I pull up your website and I’m like, Oh man, I cannot believe she asked me to be on her show. Very accomplished writer. And you just had a tremendous amount of impact and effect on people’s lives. And so then I thought, Oh, I am an I’m an idiot if I don’t go on Suzanne Show. And so I really appreciate your invite and then I get on there. And I don’t know if I’ve ever had as much fun of the interview that we did together.

Speaker1: [00:08:24] We did. We did. Great conversation.

Speaker2: [00:08:27] Yeah. So then I just I begged Suzanne to come on my show. And so here she is. And so I am so excited to have you on here. I really do appreciate you taking the time.

Speaker1: [00:08:35] Thank you, Tony.

Speaker2: [00:08:36] Yeah, I was sharing with Suzanne before we jumped on the air that the breakdown of my audience there, there is a large group of women. I think it’s 60 to 70 percent women that do listen to the virtual couch. And Suzanne has a book that I am holding in front of me that is amazing, that it’s it is, and it’s the extremely busy woman’s guide to self-care and for any male listening right now. Self-care is amazing regardless if you are male or female, so please continue, right? So Suzanne, I would just love to sit back, and I would love to hear a little bit of your background, your story, what led you to creating this book and just your website? And I just want to I just want you to vibe for a little bit here. Is that OK?

Speaker1: [00:09:16] I will. But when I was in my early to mid-50s, I had a massive life transition. I’d had a husband for 25 years, even though I knew secretly I was gay and I came out as a lesbian. I left my marriage in upstate tiny town New York, and I moved to San Francisco and trumpets blaring. I came out,

Speaker2: [00:09:39] You, you don’t. You don’t do anything small, then, right? You go across the country.

Speaker1: [00:09:42] Everything changed, you know? And my daughter by then had moved out. She’d grown up and my son was almost fully grown and off to Taiwan for a year and we all sat down as a family. And that all changed. Yes. So in San Francisco, I got involved with a narcissist pretty early on. It was my first committed lesbian love relationship, and it absolutely whipped me around for 14 months and I didn’t know if I was coming or going by the end of it. And at the end of that relationship, I was a broken workaholic. I’d lost my values and it wasn’t just because of her, it was because I had set this up for myself beautifully. Yeah, and I had really lost everything that grounded me in life, and I hadn’t stopped to grieve the end of my old life or my marriage, which was an amicable breakup. I mean, you say when your partner is gay, you can’t really give them that heart at a time, you know?

Speaker2: [00:10:46] Well, that’s right. Well, that’s why I feel like you’re so right with even if there’s acceptance around a life change, you still have feelings and emotions and grief or loss. And yeah, man, when you mentioned narcissism and a little bit of a spoiler alert here, when Suzanne and I were on her show and I talked about my waking up the nurses and just said, Hey, I’ve got a story for you. And so I have asked Suzanne if she would come on my waking up the Narcissism podcast and be my first guest on there to talk about her story because your story with that. And I love how you’re laying out the timing. The timing couldn’t have been maybe worse and really what that did to you. So you say you felt like you lost your sense of self?

Speaker1: [00:11:21] Yeah, it was a vulnerable, horrible situation from which I emerged in May of 2012, and I began wandering around the Bay Area trying to figure out where to live. I no longer had an apartment at that point, and I was so confused about who I was and what I was supposed to do. And I even closed my business, my workaholic business, because I felt so burned out by it. And the next month, my daughter Teel, who had come to live in San Francisco and was kind of excited about the idea of maybe she’d start a whole new life. Twenty two years old, but just seeing the world in fresh eyes full of energy and wonder, well, she dropped dead from a medically unexplainable cardiac arrest. I had dinner with her one night. Two hours later, I get a call that she’s in critical condition and in San Francisco General Hospital and TIA was. World traveler and went all over the world with her little backpack and her little travel guitar, and she was just a woman of the universe and a total free spirit. And suddenly she had collapsed and she had epilepsy, but her epilepsy was very well controlled with drugs. And there’s a very, very rare condition that can happen epileptic in which this happens anyway. Six days later, we had to take her off life support because she had extensive brain damage and would never recover.

Speaker2: [00:12:50] I can’t. I mean, I honestly, I cannot even imagine that alone and then mix that with the the big life transitions you had made. What do you remember about that time?

Speaker1: [00:13:00] There are so many. It was so critical. And Tony, I walked into tealeaves hospital room and I looked at her all stretched out on the bed and there were all these machines around her. This was the first time I’d seen her really since she’d arrived at the hospital, and she was barely visible behind all the equipment around her. And I had this profound understanding that my life had just dramatically changed. She would die and I would be altered in a way that would dramatically change my impact on the world. Wow. And the thing about teal was that she had she had gone to Berklee College of Music. It was a great blues singer and really

Speaker2: [00:13:42] Gifted a great video on your website. Oh yeah.

Speaker1: [00:13:44] Oh, I’m glad and sounds good.

Speaker2: [00:13:47] I’ll make sure those the link is in the show.

Speaker1: [00:13:49] Oh yeah, that’d be great. Yeah. So Tilly collapsed from this thing, and she had said to me a year prior to her death that she really wanted to be a healer, that she didn’t want to be this driven musician. She wanted to just heal people, and she really didn’t even know what it meant. And the day after her collapsed, she was going to begin taking classes at City College in San Francisco and esoteric things like astronomy and Native American ceremonies. She thought that would be her path to being a healer. She’d created this for herself. And suddenly, here I am the mother of this dying child, and it’s going to be my job to heal people. But first, I was going to have to heal myself. Yeah. So I began a very, very focused course over the next two years of not working and becoming a different person. And believe me, Tony, I tried to work my way through this because workaholic, right? Ok. And I tried to restart my business four times, and each time it failed the final time launching a business, I mean, a relaunch of a product that had done well in the past and five times hackers destroyed the learning area within 24 hours of the launch. Oh wow. And my webmaster had her hard drive eaten by malware in the process of trying to save it. It was like, hands off, OK, I’m not going to restart that business, which I didn’t even want to do anyway. I’m going to focus on what I want. So for two years, I didn’t really know what I was going to do, and I just got

Speaker2: [00:15:26] Like, I was saying, What did you do on a day to day basis? I mean, imagine

Speaker1: [00:15:31] What I did on a daily basis was let go and practice letting go. I’m a writer, have been a writer for 40 years, and I spent a lot of time sitting on my bed with a cup of tea and a little the housemates cat. I was living in a rented room by then and someone’s house and the housemates cat under my arm and just typing essays. I have hundreds of blogs about what I discovered in the process of this journey, and those blogs were really fundamental to me, really feeling into the opportunity that was this collapse, this total collapse of everything I’d known. And it’s such a good question. How did this feel? Because along with the bone crushing grief came strange flashes of joy, and I really attribute that to the joy of teal around me in an ascended sort of transformed form. And that’s that healing energy, and I still feel it today. And it’s not something I can explain, and it’s not even something that we need to believe. I just know that I have this joyful transcended life as a result of the loss of everything I had clung on to vigorously including the bad relationship, which I had broken up and going back to three times the trauma.

Speaker2: [00:17:00] A trauma bond.

Speaker1: [00:17:00] Anyone right? Travelbag, baby. And Ken, what was cool? I woke up after Till’s death and I realized I had no friends in the Bay Area because I had been very sequestered in the West. Yeah, wow. So I started going to recovery groups and years earlier I had. On some recovery work and knew it and knew I needed help with those issues, and I knew I could trust the 12 step folks that that was a safe world for me. So I started there and eventually found my way to a grief group for grieving parents. And along the way, as I rebuilt my life, I began to really notice one of the big themes in the recovery work was self care. And I started noticing, Hey, I think I might be getting pretty good at self care. I’m really noticing a difference as I slowly make my way through this period that the only thing that really made me feel better was really taking care of myself. So you asked what my days were like? Well, I’d spend a lot of time sitting and noodling around on my blog and I’d go to the gym and work out, and I’d lie in the sunshine on this lovely old couch in the dark under these big trees.

Speaker1: [00:18:09] I mean, we’re in Northern California, so it’s always pretty nice. And I drink my superfood smoothies and I journal and I just be OK. And when I was given a notebook that had been her journal and on it, it was in the last year of her life and she had said to me a year prior, Mom, I keep hearing all these insights when I’m meditating, what should I do with them? I said, Oh, write them down, honey, just write them down. And they became these sort of quotes to live by. Wow. And this little notebook was just filled with incredible wisdom. Tune into your body when you don’t know what to do. Live as you want others to live. These are basic, basic fundamentals of being a whole person and on every single page. Tony, she wrote the phrase. Just be, just be. And she used to say that I used to be like, Just be what got to be something you can’t just be, you know, that was wrong.

Speaker2: [00:19:13] Can I share with you? What I love, too, is I’ve been talking a lot lately on my show about that. We often do try to just think our way out of these thinking problems and that it’s to do and then people will say, Do what? And I love that you did self-care. You did writing, you did journaling, you did sunshine, you did exercise and you feel like every time. Were there times where you didn’t want to do those things, but you did them anyway, OK?

Speaker1: [00:19:36] There were times when I lay on my bed. This was the other great thing I learned. There were times when I lay on my bed and I just wanted to cry. And I had a very empathic housemate who was also a little bossy. She wouldn’t mind me saying so, I’m sure. And she would pound on my door and say, You have to let me in. I have to help you. And I’d say, No, please let me cry. Please let me be alone. And one of the big things I learned, which I had really lost track of by the end of my life and especially in the relationship I’d been in, was boundaries. It was boundaries. I had to relearn boundaries, Tony. I really had to learn how to say no and how to be OK with annoying or disappointing people who were counting on me to say yes because I’d always been a yes girl.

Speaker2: [00:20:23] I said, You know, keep going back to the go, please. We haven’t even recorded it yet, but please go listen to Suzanne’s interview on waking up to narcissism because that boundary concept alone, a boundary to a narcissist is a challenge. It’s a right, it’s a target. And I don’t know if you experience that.

Speaker1: [00:20:40] Yeah, because you can’t keep boundaries around people who are intent on controlling you. And I had been controlled most of my life with a narcissistic mother, et cetera. But in in my new life, what I found was that boundaries were actually kind of fun. The other thing that I learned that was so interesting was how to listen to people. And I’d always been told I wasn’t a listener. You’re not a good listener. I got this feedback in my work positions when I was a copywriter. I got these feedback in my former marriage, and I didn’t know what it really meant because I didn’t know how to listen. So I started shutting up and letting other people talk. And I found out the world is pretty fascinating.

Speaker2: [00:21:25] I fundamental when I love everything you’re saying because I remember in grad school to be a therapist, one of the first things we had to do was learn to listen and be intentional and listening and sit and not and be aware of the response I want to make. Try to set it aside and stay present. So it was that was that quite a journey of that learning to listen?

Speaker1: [00:21:42] No, because I was going with the tale notes that said just be. And actually, what was really funny is she had gone to lunch a few weeks before her death with a very well-known coach in the Bay Area, who was a personal friend of mine at the time, a colleague. And that particular person, fat, was going to talk to teal about her career path. What’s it like to be a coach? And Teel ended up coaching her because she started pouring her heart out to tell about how, you know, she didn’t really love her work, and she was too stressed out and tells a. Oh, now, come on, just be, you know, how to just be. And she told me later that it had been this very important conversation for her and this idea of just being was just something I had to learn. But once you just be even setting boundaries is easy because all you’re doing is allowing the other person to just be and you don’t have to rise up and react to them. Yeah, and that’s fundamental self-care. I have this Facebook group, the self-care group. Let’s talk about the

Speaker2: [00:22:50] Five fifty five thousand

Speaker1: [00:22:52] Fifty five thousand members and they’re and they’re what’s really incredible about that group. It’s not about me, Tony. It is not about me. Nobody really even knows who the heck I am. They’re they’re in there talking to each other. And what I love is somebody will say, I I don’t know where else to ask this, but you know, my husband, I haven’t really loved my husband for years, and I hate to let him down or I’ve got this bossy mother in law and I don’t know what to do about her. People are bringing some real s t, right? Yeah. And there there is a wide variety of women in this group. There are women of all different colors, grays and creeds, races, geographical locations, religions, and they’re all helping each other with this incredibly deep stuff. I didn’t intend for that to happen, but this is again the teal healing effect, because during the pandemic, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had 10000 people in that group and I usually would get 30 or 40 requests a day and it was humming along. And I’ve been doing it for a couple of years and you know, there was more focused on traditional self care. Well, then one morning I wake up and there’s two thousand seven hundred member requests and I’m like, Do

Speaker2: [00:24:12] You have to put them all one at a time?

Speaker1: [00:24:14] Yes, we did. I had to immediately hire a team of helpers because you could only process about 100 at a time, and we were really going through these to make sure there weren’t fake profiles, which is an issue on Facebook. Long story short, the next day there were five thousand and on and on and on six weeks, the group went from 10000 to more than 50000. And then it kind of leveled off in a beautiful way because I found, Oh my God, I was trying to manage it all myself. Being a former workaholic, yeah, and I pretty quickly found out that that didn’t work and I had to ask for help, which was another big fundamental of my self-care journey. And so immediately, six seven women showed up and wanted to help. And one of them was a woman who I just really, really resonated with, who’s an expert on self-care for black women. Ok, and Tamala Gordon and Tamala just came became my true partner in this thing because she had had some very successful Facebook groups already. And I’m like, I do not know what I’m doing. She said.

Speaker1: [00:25:22] You don’t know what you’re doing. That’s really true because we’d had a kerfuffle in the site in which the way I rolled was totally misinterpreted because there was a conflict and I removed it and everybody thought I was taking a side and that was just like, I was like, Hell. Mercy, mercy. And I’m just trying to lead a group here. And so Tamela helped me retrain the moderators or trained the moderators because we were all new at this, relatively speaking, some with more experience than others. But she brought in a really great inclusivity perspective, and that was powerful because we were really all trying to create this utopia, which we created and and it was a place where black women could feel safe. It’s a place where Muslim women can feel safe. It’s a place for everybody because what are we talking about? Fundamental self-care, which is an inside job? Yeah. And I credit her a lot with the shape and beauty of this group, and it’s been a joy to work with all of my moderators. Oh, that sounds also women from a very diverse bunch of backgrounds, which

Speaker2: [00:26:32] Is really well. And I love how you’re talking about it sounds like I think sometimes people think self-care. It is just the the exercise or the organization or. But do you feel like how important is that to be heard or that mental health component? What is that like?

Speaker1: [00:26:47] Well, look, if you’re not, I mean, one of the things I write about in the book is you got a go and set some limits in places in your life because one of the big issues for extremely busy women is they don’t think they have the right to say no or to set boundaries or to pull in. They think they got to be everything for everybody all the time. So I have an entire chapter on setting boundaries at home, and I have an entire chapter on setting boundaries at work because it’s a little different. You’re dealing with different dynamics of different people and the big job. That those chapters do is they give people permission to actually say no. Ok, great little story from the group. I asked a simple question one day, what are you tolerating that you could let go of? And this woman posted, OK, well, I read this, and I immediately tried to quit my job because I’m way overworked. But I went in to talk to my boss and I told him I wanted to quit and instead we renegotiated a new deal for the same money. I now work half the same hours. Oh, OK. Beautiful. Yeah. Never know until you ask.

Speaker2: [00:27:53] No. And I thought that, of course, I’m so used to the busy people that then take on more and more that I thought that story was going to go in a different direction. That’s a beautiful story. So, yeah, you don’t know until you ask,

Speaker1: [00:28:03] Yeah, what what you do less.

Speaker2: [00:28:06] Ok, I know I love that. And can I ask you to the writing? So I encourage people to write often, but then people have a lot of reasons why they don’t want to write, and they feel like it has to be perfect. Do they worry that somebody else will read it or but you’re as a writer, how powerful is the written word for you? Or what do you find in the group of people that write their experience in writing out their thoughts and emotions or feelings?

Speaker1: [00:28:30] I’m so glad you’re asking this, because I’m a big pusher of journaling, and most people have a filter around writing that says I can’t write or I’m not a good writer, and I actually taught writing for quite a few years when I lived in New York City and when I taught writing my entire job. And these were people who were intentionally interested in becoming writers or or selling essays or getting a novel published. My whole job was to encourage people to just keep the pen moving, and I even had an exercise about, and this would be a great exercise for anyone listening to this. You ask yourself, What do I need right now? And you let your pen move for seven minutes. It’s going to seem like an hour and a half. It’s only seven minutes. You put the timer on your phone and you just move your pen, even if the whole time you’re writing, I have no idea what to write. Ok, and what this does is it loosens the logjam of the to dos, the stresses, the disbelief, the angry self commentary. And you begin, if you write all that stuff out, you begin to get to the message that’s behind all of it, which is love. And it might be self-compassion. It might be love for life. It might be love for an idea. It might be love for someone else. But if you’re working with the question, what do I need right now? It becomes focused on love of self care for yourself.

Speaker2: [00:29:55] Ok. And I love that I appreciate you normalizing that people do have this block. Or I would say that they say, if they say, I’m not a good writer, then you’re be like, OK, now what is it going to take to write? Yeah. Right, right, right. Yeah. And so I feel like now I’m channeling some till, well, OK, we’ll just be just just be this something you’re writing. Just just do.

Speaker1: [00:30:14] Yeah. Move your pen. Just move your pen. And sometimes it does require just getting super quiet. I’ve written for so many years that it is reflexive for me to just sometimes I start writing, I don’t even know what I’m going to write about, and I find that the writing flows through us that if you allow it in, it will pore through you because it’s a it’s an expression of what’s going on now. Caveat for some people, that might happen better with the voice recorder and not the pen at all. You might put on the voice recorder on your phone and just start talking to it, ideally while you’re taking a walk in a nice private place back in nature. There’s research that says 20 minutes of walking in nature is the equivalent in stress relief of an hour and a half. In a city, you get under some trees and you start to talk into your little voice recorder. You can hear yourself think. And if you’ve got small children at home or an elder or a high pressure job or whatever you got, this is a no threat way to return to yourself. And the big job of this self-care work I have is about returning to yourself and understanding you and making yourself a priority and letting go of all the fearful and negative and confused voices in your head.

Speaker2: [00:31:35] I love it. I do. Can I ask you a question that I get asked often when people do? And maybe it’s one of the stories people use to when it comes to writing is they? They say that they worry they will start writing in the negative and then it will be this downward spiral and and it will make them feel worse. What do you what do you say to that?

Speaker1: [00:31:53] Oh, I love that question, because here’s one of the exercises I have really enjoyed. I did this a fair amount while I was grieving because of course, I was extremely angry. I was ready to rip apart my former partner because she had treated me for it so poorly. And I went out and bought a great big pad of newsprint from an art supply store and some super fat black markers. Quarter inch tip, right? Yeah. And I just started scrawling everything I could think of that I wanted to say to this person with violent intensity. And I got down and dirty with this pad of paper. And then I used up a whole pad of paper and then got more and did more. And eventually I got to the point where there really wasn’t much left, but it was a great stump expression tool. And of course, I ripped up all the paper. Some would even say, burn it. Ok, well, we don’t burn things, but you know, right?

Speaker2: [00:32:54] Hypothetically, though, but that would be so satisfying, though. And yeah, and I love the fact that I’ve been thinking a lot more lately about we can. We’re only going through this this life once, I guess depending on one’s belief system, it’s kind of like, Yes, in fact, you’re right, but you you can do whatever you need to do. You can be creative with your self-care. And so I would have never thought of grabbing a pad of news this newsprint and a big marker and going to town. But now I think I want to go pick a fight with somebody just so I can get angry at me.

Speaker1: [00:33:22] Hey, try this pick. Pick a figure from your past who you were most angry at. I found I got into therapy ultimately. As part of myself care, because I, my poor dad who would put up with so much from my mother. I was I had some anger towards him too, because there’s always a codependent parent back there who’s not protecting the kids, right in those those narcissistic relationships. And I had angered a lot of things, and I used to hold my mouth in a very kind of. My kids used to call it mommy mouse because I’d kind of smirk and and it was tension. It was angry tension in my mouth and my jaw, and I had been through all this therapy and braces and everything for clenching and grinding. And I was just like this person who had contained way too much unexpressed anger because I was told as a child, you’re never allowed to express anger around your mother, ever under any circumstances, under around your abusive mother. So I don’t make a girl angry and and boy, you know, the big takeaway from all of this work I did on myself is that I became a much lighter, freer person and very much the way Teel had been. Because Teel was just a love, a joy to be around. She was a free spirit. She had her dark days where she felt very sad and confused and not sure what she was doing in life, even though she had this just be message for the world, you know, because living with uncertainty is very hard. But most of the time she was really very light and would walk around singing and, you know, and I became a lighter person and have built a life of joy after all this letting go.

Speaker2: [00:35:06] But I love that you share that about her as well, because I think that sometimes people may hear a message and then think, OK, what’s wrong with me if I want to be that person? But I have the down days and I love that you bring awareness to that because I feel like we’re all going to go through the human experience and the highs and the lows. But then the more we can come back to that just be OK. But you’re human. If you have the days where that isn’t easy, I think,

Speaker1: [00:35:27] Yeah, yeah. I mean her big her big issue was that she was so profoundly sensitive and compassionate and empathetic towards other people that it was really hard to exist. And her therapist later told me that she was really her whole focus of her therapy was How do I survive the the harshness of the life around me? And yeah, I mean, just.

Speaker2: [00:35:58] Have you heard of highly sensitive people?

Speaker1: [00:36:00] Oh yeah, OK. She was an HFP

Speaker2: [00:36:03] Hsp

Speaker1: [00:36:04] And I love that work. And I’ve had HSP, one of the top students of the woman who created the HSP work on this show. Ok, yeah. Yeah, wow. I don’t know. I mean, I feel like sensitivity is what we all want to get back to. It’s what we want to evolve towards, but we’ve got to evolve towards it in a way where we feel safe. Right?

Speaker2: [00:36:28] You know, absolutely. And so I didn’t know up until about three years ago and I had a lady on my show and that again has changed that people in my family identified as HSP and and it has been just a beautiful concept. There was one example I found on the internet somewhere that talked about in a culture. And unfortunately, it’s typically a third world culture where HSP sensitivity is praised from the time that someone is little that then that becomes such a gift and that typically becomes the shaman of the group or somebody that people will bring someone to and say, I don’t know, well, this couple work together. Will this person succeed? And because it’s been nourished throughout their life, that sensitivity?

Speaker1: [00:37:06] I think so. And I think one of the things to heal you is to really manage was meditation, because in meditation, she would hear messages, and she also was a big liar on something called the goddess cards. She loved connecting with goddesses. I don’t. So this is tales actual goddess deck. It’s the goddess guidance. Oracle cards created by Dorian Virtue available on Amazon. And those goddess cards have different goddesses that represent all these different stages of life blossoming inner wisdom, compassion, strength, fierce warrior. It’s all these different spaces that women can find themselves in, and even then, I think the goddess work is available to everyone. But she felt in a particularly esoteric, perhaps way or maybe intuitive way that the goddesses were guiding her and sharing their wisdom in these insights that she would get in her notebook. I’m just getting a little nudge to read. Here’s the note Please do OK. And this is one tattered mind chatter. Is your personality being bored and spewing out junk?

Speaker2: [00:38:25] Maybe the personality being bored? I have to tell you, I just had a client tell me about a book called Symphony of Perseus. To your symphony of souls, and it talks symphony. Yes, yeah, and I love this, I love that concept. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: [00:38:36] The Let’s See you must look at endings and beginnings as opportunities for freedom. Be open because they can bring amazing new experiences. So one of the things I still would do is go work for a while in her job as a waitress, make a bunch of money, go to the airport and buy a ticket to a destination that she saw on the departures board. Really? Yeah. She went all over the world this way and she would get to an airport. And this started when she was not even 20. Ok, so she’d get to the airport and the other country, and sometimes she’d have to spend a night or two there because she couldn’t figure out where she wanted to go or what to do. But she would wander and she wandered extensively through Europe. She wandered around Southeast Asia. She actually precursor to the she went. She finished her senior year of high school early and went to Ghana and was thinking she’d studied Ghanaian music. But actually, she got a gig teaching English to small children in a village who, because Tia was the empath that she was, they taught her Twi their local language and were not interested in learning English, so she just went with it. Yeah, this is about self connection. Yeah. Don’t let your mind chatter overtake you. It’s a body choice. Do what you want to do. She says. Do it. You want to do listen to your body. Your body always tells you what to do.

Speaker1: [00:40:05] Yes. Body. And we are not trained to listen to our bodies. We’re trained to listen to them. We’re trained to listen to external wisdom. That is a that is a first world problem, for sure. In other cultures, like the one you mentioned where HSP are more revered or acknowledged, that is a world where people are taught to focus inwardly. And I really think in some beautiful full circle way, the survival of the world depends on people bringing themselves back to a deeper place of interno and tuning into their body. Lie on your bed, put your hands on your belly, feel your feet, maybe tent your legs or your feet are on the bed as well and feel what is in your gut. Put your hand on your chest. Feel what’s in your heart. Do this when you think you feel nothing and you will feel interesting things. Notice if your shoulders are chronically tensed or tense, or if you’re like me, you’ve clenched your jaw a lot. Yeah. Notice if your back hurts. Notice what happens and when it happens. Is it happening at work? Is it happening after an argument with your spouse? Is it happening because you’re not setting a limit with your? Where is that pain relative to the rest of your life? I’m not saying all medical problems are not medical problems because they certainly are a lot of the time. I’m saying use your body as an indicator to look at your life.

Speaker2: [00:41:30] I love that. I love everything you just said. I’m a big fan of Vander COC’s. The body keeps the score about trauma, right? And I feel like you’re tapping into that and the meditation. I do a daily meditation app, Headspace, and I feel like that just when things are quiet is when you really do start to feel and think and do and be and we do. I love what you’ll say in the mind chatter that that mind chatter and I have people that tell me that they’re almost addicted to just having noise, whether it’s just broadcasts or music or there’s yeah, yeah, Suzanne, this went fast. Oh, those really did great conversation. It’s incredible. And I just want anyone, anyone to please go find the Waking Up The Narcissism podcast. Suzanne is going to be on there, and there’s so much to tell about your story there to continue. I would also love for you to mention that you have a podcast if there are women listening here that would want to be involved in your Facebook group. Is that an

Speaker1: [00:42:23] Opportunity? Yes, yes. So the Facebook group is called the Self-care Group for extremely busy women. It’s limited to non men and guys, and I do have a podcast called Self-care for Extremely Busy Women, and my book that is the companion to that podcast is the extremely busy woman’s guide to Self-care. It’s available on Amazon and other places, too.

Speaker2: [00:42:47] And then I’ll be on your podcast soon. Again, that was one of my favorite interviews of all time, and then Suzanne’s written a bunch of other books as well.

Speaker1: [00:42:55] And so, yeah, and it’s all on my website.

Speaker2: [00:42:57] Yeah, OK, good. And we’ll put the links there as well. And I don’t know. I just have really enjoyed getting to know you and I appreciate you coming on and I can’t wait to. We’re going to go deep in that waking up the narcissism when, Oh, I can’t wait.

Speaker1: [00:43:08] Hands are in the hands of a professional hero. I’m all for it.

Speaker2: [00:43:12] And in theory, that’s right. Ok, Suzanne, thank you so much for joining me today. And and I love that. I don’t just have to say. We’ll see you next time on the virtual couch. I will see you in a matter of weeks over on waking up the nurses. And so, you

Speaker1: [00:43:26] Know, thank you so much. Compressed motions flying past

Speaker3: [00:43:33] Our heads and out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind, it’s wonderful. And plastic waste and rubber ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside

[00:43:49] The things that matter most wonderful. To. Maybe 12, three.

Speaker3: [00:44:31] News of discount price, a million, Opportunity’s chance is yours to

[00:44:37] Take or lose, it’s one.

Speaker3: [00:44:42] Funds are always on the back burner until the end of time. You’re always pushed to go further, shut up.

[00:44:58] It goes. Some of. To be.

Speaker3: [00:45:30] Developed systems don’t explode a lot of understanding through to heal the legs and heart, you broke the paint.

[00:45:42] The Chibok girls just might implode.

Speaker3: [00:45:46] My mental strengths

[00:45:47] And times, I’m trying hard to shut them out, what? The dentist is. Well, we did, indeed. To be. You. Screen. It drowns. Dreams.

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