Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Q: How did you get here?
A: I always wanted to take care of people and help them heal. I became a nurse working in liver, pancreas, small bowel and kidney transplants but felt it was an impossible task. In addition, by the time people got to the hospital - it was was too late for my help to have major impact on their health. So I became a Patient Care Director to help the nurses help the patients but that didn't solve the problem because systems and profits and the struggle of middle management......
While I was working in the hospital I had been using yoga personally:
-to get rid of pent up energy that I unknowingly collected in my body
-to strengthen my body
-to calm my mind
My favorite part of the hyper yoga classes I was taking (which was all I could tolerate at that time) was the opening and closing and what i called at the time Dvar Yoga (a meaningful idea to provide an intention for the class) and the breathing practices but that only made up a tiny fraction of the class. so I went to yoga teacher training to learn more about the light and insights being offered during those short talks. Slowly through inner work and lots of stillness was able to hear my desires , my needs and understand my role in life (not what I wanted it to be or what I thought would please others or what others thought i should do) .. Now I hold space and guide others to find their voices and intuitions that may be drown
Q: What is your over arching philosophy?
A: We are here in earth school on a journey of repair. We are here to heal our souls. the universe / Hashem / divine intelligence is constantly guiding us towards:
a) our purpose for this life
b) the lessons or healings we need to heal our soul.
The way we heal is through our thoughts, words and actions. They either bring us closer to our WHOLE self or farther away.
No two people have the same required healing or purpose and therefore no two people will get the same blessings or challenges
If we work on ourselves and our small world (our house, our kids, and then expand to our community) the world we experience will reflect back what we put out into it
Two years into working with my teacher after finishing my 200 hr ytt and reiki certification
she asked me what do i want (I don't remember what she was referring to) but I had no idea
For years I had been so busy trying to do what I was supposed to do or what others wanted me to do - I could not hear what I wanted at all. I started doing all the things to get clarity.
I had to first quiet the weight of all the opinions around me and then spend time with myself quietly listening before i began to start to know....
After developing a self love self acceptance practice i was able to support myself enough that i could hear my higher self and stay aware of my thoughts, words and actions (its amazing how hard it is to just stay conscious of yourself!)
It helped in part because I made responsible choices from my highest self but also because i felt good about my choices. Feeling good about your words, actions and thoughts puts you on solid ground and decreases the noise in your head. You know you made a thoughtful choice so even if you didn't get the outcome you were looking for -thats ok.
With the knowledge of where my higher self was guiding me, and faith that everything I saw, everyone I spoke to - had a message or wink in it from the universe to me it became much easier to set priorities and identify must dos vs may dos.
From there you learn very quickly NO ONE knows what you need or can do better than YOU!
Q: How do you deal with comparison? How do you decrease stress around keeping up the Joneses?
A: Compassion is the death of happiness
No one needs what you need and you don't need what others do.
Imagine if a carpenter had a scalpel and a surgeon had a hammer .........
We are all over extended and I would say Simplify your life
Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself
A frazzled person cant think straight -- if you are stressed it will be very hard to hear your priorities and even desires.
We must find calm and be able to manage ourselves in it before we add to our expectations of ourselves
In a gym if someone was bench pressing 200 lbs and about to drop it on their chest
But wanted you to encourage them to keep going
You would say put it down, get off the bench get a sip of water maybe some fresh air and then go back to the bench when you are ready and add weight slowly mindfully so you know when its serving you and when its draining you
Then eventually mindfully you may be able to train and increase your lift to the 200 lbs that was dangerous before
When it comes to our schedules and our kids schedules though somehow we just keep adding despite the feeling overwhelm.
When trying to make a choice ask yourself what will serve me? What will bring me the most inner peace tomorrow?
Q: Is there such a thing as indulging in too much self care? How can I manage internal/external guilt?
A: Lets start by defining self care - for me self care is showing up for yourself the way your would for your toddler
Its putting on socks when your feet are cold
Its going to the bathroom the first time you get the urge
Its predicting tomorrows needs for yourself
Parent your own inner child
For me that cannot be indulgent the more mindful and precise we are the more we can impact what we experience on a day to day basis
But i understand how someone could feel that way:
"Put on your oxygen mask first before your kids" until a few years ago i always thought- no way I would put my kids masks on first they are small and fragile and i will be fine...
but that is not a sustainable attitude and if i am not able to care for them it will be a lot worse than the seconds it would take me to put on my own mask
You cannot pour from an empty cup
If the guilt is coming from others you have 2 choices - you can find a way to make it stop (stop seeing those ppl, explain why whatever they are saying is not helpful or find a way to keep their comments entirely separate from you (so much of what others say to us has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them)) or find a way to lets those comments role off your back (because so much of what others say has nothing to with us and everything to do with them)
If the guilt is coming from you- that is a great place to start learning about yourself! Self reflect , journal understand what in your past led you to feel guilty for caring for yourself such a basic and expected need. When you find hard feelings try to see them as a chance to learn about yourself and grow- that's what they are there for
Q:How do I explain my needs to my kids?
A: When my kids are giving a hard time about going to sleep at some point when they keep asking for something and I have no more patience, I find myself saying "I'm done." I have explained to them that means that I have spent hours of the day helping others and devoting myself to our family and now its my turn to rest.
Watching yourself can be hard and even after doing this work for years at first I criticized myself for what could have been misinterpreted as not caring but then I noticed my boys started saying "I'm done" when they felt they had nothing left to give to a situation and I could show them grace and help them find space to recover their energy and presence before asking them to rejoin.
So what I worried was “selfish” was actually a wonderful learning opportunity of empowerment for them and gave them the words to advocate for themselves.
Q: Asking for what you deserve in every area of your life. Boundary setting. Tough conversations.
A: For me this about self worth - I have watched so many of us suffer from imposter syndrome and the bottom line is that all boils down to is true self worth.
The best way to improve our self worth is show up for ourselves again and again.
When you make a commitment to yourself keep it as if it were a professional commitment.
When you make goals for yourself ensure they are achievable so you get a win and then raise the bar from there.
Learning to see all the parts of yourself and all your dysfunctions with empathy and compassion also shows you how much you have to give and will help you find self worth.
Have you ever the idea: "I used to avoid conflict and I was drowning in it Now I embrace conflict and I have none." The more direct and forthcoming you are the easier the conversation is. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY
Q: How do you help kids with anxiety or other hard feelings?
A: Kids have really strong feelings that a lot of time make us uncomfortable so that where we need to start. What are your feelings around their feelings? Anything other than acceptance and unconditional love needs to be explored and only after you have been able to come back to neutral can you actually help anyone else.
Sometimes letting the child cry even though it makes us uncomfortable is what is most helpful to them and teaches them its ok to be uncomfortable.
It's ok not to be OK
Kids mirror the energy they see and are as close to psychic as you can imagine so the next step is assessing your feelings around whatever they are upset about.
Are they repeating back your anxiety to you because then you have to start with yourself and use the example of relieving your own anxiety as a role model to the child for how they could do it for themselves.
Q: How would you help kids with self-confidence?
A: Confidence is more self worth and self acceptance
One activity i love to do with kids is ask them something they did for themselves today that was valuable or ask them something they are proud of themselves for and then have them say their name and clap and have all the other kids say "GO Rebecca" and clap for her.
The connection of saying their name out loud and clapping helps them make it more real in their body.
If its not a class I will take a kid to the mirror and have them say things they feel proud of about themselves while looking at themselves and then clap and say "Go _______"
Q: Managing your emotions/stress/burnout and being present in the moment.
A: Just trying to stay present will help with your emotions and stress.
If you can be present you can regulate your nervous system.
You just need to decide you want to experience something different and then take steps to get there.
If i find myself getting triggered the first step is to admit to myself that its happening and smile at myself (NO JUDGEMENT NO CRITICIZING --YOUR THOUGHTS MATTER).
Then in real time I will use a tool to change my emotional state (breathing, jumping, visualizations, comfort myself by rubbing my hand).
Later i will reflect on why I got triggered not because I find fault in myself but because thats a clue for me to find a new part of myself that needs healing.
For me one thing that always ended in hard feelings of stress was not preparing appropriately and not being on time.
Then I would try to squeeze what could have been done calmly into a few minutes/ hours/ days of stress.
Now I try to do my best to prepare and not be late but I know that I am doing my best so if I find myself unprepared or late it doesn't have the same power over my emotional state that it used to because I know I am doing my best (as opposed to coasting).
Q: What's 1 practical tool everyone can start doing tomorrow?
A: Your breath is the most under utilized tool
It may be the only involuntary activity in the body that we also have control over.
You can't stop your heart or digestions but you can change the quality, rhythm and depth of your breath.
Create a breathing practice for yourself so that you can call on it during hard times.
Depending on what shift you need a breath practice can:
-bring up or down
-cool or warm you
-bring you focus or bring you balance
My favorite breath practice is Nodi Sodana -alternate nostril breathing - because the focus and counting gets me out of my head and balances out the right and left sides of the brain
But a breath practice can be as simple as slow counted inhale and exhale, belly breath, or connecting your breath to a specific movement.
You and everyone else are worthy, unique and can change the world
Change is slow
Love is patient
This is an excerpt from a panel I was recently on adapted for the blog.