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Highest Self Podcast 425: How To Heal Trauma + Restore Inner Peace with Gabby Bernstein

podcast425

Have you ever noticed that you have certain triggers that don’t seem to go away? Maybe it’s codependency or getting reactive to something your parents say or addiction. These triggers come from traumas, both big T and little t, and only through diving into our own healing journey can we bring them into healing.

In this powerful episode, I sit with best-selling author and dear friend Gabby Bernstein as she vulnerably shares how she realized her drug/ alcohol/ work addictions all stemmed from a childhood trauma she experienced that caused her nervous system to cope through hypervigilance.

She then shares the most transformative tools she found to heal from these triggers and restore inner peace within her being. We also discuss how often spiritual people may bypass their own emotional healing and how important this part of the journey is. I also share an awakening moment I had through the book about my childhood and relationship with my father, which led to me diving deeper into my own healing journey. This is a deep conversation and one that just may change your life.

Get Gabby’s new book Happy Days here.

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Intro + Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor

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TRANSCRIPTION

 

Episode 425: How To Heal Trauma + Restore Inner Peace with Gabby Bernstein
By Sahara Rose

[00:12] Sahara
Namaste, it’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes You, Your Soul’s Highest Evolvement.

[00:19] Sahara
If it’s your first time listening, welcome! I’m so grateful to have you here! Really, the Podcast is all about spirituality, but making it modern, grounded, related, approachable, because I feel like what happens sometimes, in our spiritual journeys, is, we get so caught up in our heads and the practices and we’re connecting with intergalactic beings, and it’s like “Okay, how is this going to help me heal in my life, in my relationships, in my sense of purpose?”

[00:44] Sahara
So, I love having conversations, especially with thought-leaders, like today’s Gabby Bernstein, about practical approaches to healing that can help us live our fullest expressions.
And I think what happens sometimes, when we get on a spiritual journey, is, we forget about the base level, psychological and emotional healing that also, simultaneously, needs to take place. and we can do this thing that’s called ‘spiritual bypass’, which is when we bypass how we’re actually feeling in the moment and think “Oh, well, you know, it’s all good, everything happens for a reason”, and negate what is actually showing up for us.

[01:20] Sahara
I know, for myself, if you’ve been listening to this Podcast for the past couple months, I’ve been diving even deeper into my own healing journey because, truthfully, it never ends, it’s a constant spiral that forever unfolds. And the point is not to be totally healed either, but it’s to look at the triggers, the wounds, the shadows, as they come up, and to be courageous enough to dive into them.
Sometimes we’re with our parents and something’s really triggering us and annoying us, and we stuff it away or we take our anger out on our spouse or someone else, rather than sitting with what that trigger is and why we feel that way around that parent, and what is activating within us emotionally that wants to be heard and felt and expressed. And when we can go into it, we actually find so much more compassion for ourselves of like “It’s not that I’m an angry person or an anxious person or a depressed person, but it’s actually a natural result of however I’m feeling in a deep level that I just haven’t been addressing”, it’s that dormant emotion that’s wanting to be felt and experienced. And the beautiful thing is, once you truly feel an emotion, it no longer has a hold over you, you’re no longer scared of it, it’s not that boogeyman under the bed, but you’re just in it, you’re feeling it, feeling your feelings, it’s the bravest thing you can do, it’s the ultimate path to freedom.

[02:44] Sahara
So, I’m really excited to sit with Gabby Bernstein, whom, many of you know, she’s been on the Podcast multiple times now, she is a nine-time bestselling author and a good friend of mine as well, who really inspires. Before I wrote my first book, she was someone that I really looked up to as a female in the spiritual space, sharing her story. And this book is beyond my favorite of hers because she gets very, very vulnerable, and I really related to so much to what she said about, especially if any of you guys listening, are entrepreneurs or the people in your house who are responsible for a lot of things, maybe you’re the eldest child, child of immigrants, so many different facets that might make us really overly responsible and feeling like if we don’t control things, they’re going to fall apart.
And in her new book “Happy Days”, she shares her own experience of diving into her control, but also her many forms of addiction that she experienced throughout her life, that a drug addiction became a drug addiction, became a work addiction, became even a spiritual addiction, and she was finally able to get to the bottom of that, which she shares in a really vulnerable way, and then offers us practical tools to embark on our own healing journey.

[03:58] Sahara
So, I do want to share a trigger warning that there is conversation about sexual abuse that does happen in this Episode, so if that is a trigger for you, I just advise you to proceed accordingly and really take care of yourself.

[04:11] Sahara
And with this healing work, just know that sometimes triggers do arise and it’s so important that we get the support that we need to be able to move through whatever experiences are showing up in a way that we feel completely supported.

[04:25] Sahara
So, with that, this conversation is so inspiring, to hear someone bravely share their story of healing, someone who even could seem like on top of the world to so many people, and I hope it inspires you to know that it’s never too late to do the healing work, and the level of growth and trust and connectedness to the people in your life and to yourself, that you experience when you do say yes to your internal healing.

[04:55] Sahara
So, with that, let’s welcome Gabby Bernstein to The Highest Self Podcast.

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[06:31] Interview

[06:31] Sahara
Welcome back Gabby, to The Highest Self Podcast, it’s so great to have you here.

[06:36] Gabby
Hi gorgeous, from watching you dancing on the beaches with funky animals! I have my beautiful leopard cat in this room with us. Okay, if you want to cry out loud, go in the other room, okay?

[06:53] Sahara
So, the first question I’d love to ask you is what makes you your highest self?

[06:58] Gabby
Hmmm… a good place to start! What makes me my highest self? The commitment and the devotion to my inner sense and safety, allows me to show up for myself and the world, in my highest and best.

[07:17] Sahara
And it really is such a courageous act to go into the depths of our pain and those feelings and thoughts that we so don’t want to have and we spend our lifetimes trying to run away from, so I just want to acknowledge you, first of all, for going into it and doing that brave work, but also the courage to share it on the other side, and I can only imagine how vulnerable it is.
So, for those who haven’t read your new book “Happy Days” yet, what was that realization for you, that there was deeper work to be done?

[07:50] Gabby
Well, I’ve probably known you even before I knew there was deeper work to be done, so we’ve had some history here. I got sober when I was 25, and I was a cocaine addict and an alcoholic, and I didn’t understand why I was an addict. And getting sober, I turned to workaholicism and love addiction, and I just didn’t understand it, I just didn’t understand it. And all the while, I was doing really great work in the world, and really of service to the world. And by the time I was 36, I had written more than half a dozen books, I’d been on Oprah, I’d had a lot of great, great work that I had I’d put out, in vulnerable, and authentic, and genuine ways, but I was still dying on the inside. I had so much spiritual practice to just keep me from losing my shit internally, so I relied on my spiritual practice to just be a way of managing this internal discomfort.
And by the time I was 36, I just started to crack and crack and crack, and that cracking started to look like meltdown after meltdown and panic attacks. And my mantra at the time was “I can’t go on like this”, until I had a dream. And when I woke up from the dream, the visions and the experience I had in the dream were the most real I’ve ever known, and the dream was of being an adult, confronting being sexually abused as a child. And it was so real and so true and so terrifying, so I said “No way, shutting my door on that, not going to look at that!” And days later I was in therapy, and through the dialogue and conversation with my therapist, and in the safety of her presence, I was able to fully remember a disassociated memory from my childhood, a trauma with a big T, that I had been running from. Scariest moment of my life, remembering, but there was great relief in that memory because it was explaining everything to me, “Oh, this is why you’re a cocaine addict; this is why you’re a drug addict; this is why you live in a constant state of hypervigilance; this is why; this is why; this is why!”
And that, at 36, I’m 42 now, began the journey of the next level; the next level of my recovery. My spiritual foundation has been a through line all throughout it, and that foundation guided me one step at a time to the therapeutic practices and the modalities and the spiritual practices and the life experiences that helped me get to safety.
And today, my face is on the cover of a book that says “Happy Days, the Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace”, and there’s no way in hell I would’ve put my face on that cover if I couldn’t stand behind it, Sahara.
And so, I’m so proud to be sitting with you here today, living in freedom and genuine inner peace, knowing what that is, knowing that there is recovery from trauma, and being able to teach others how to get there.

[10:42] Sahara
Wow! Full body chills to everything you just said! And I think, sometimes what happens is, when we start a spiritual journey, we think “I’m here, I got it figured out! I got the tools, I’m manifesting, so I’m good!” And it really brings us to our knees again, when we find that deeper layer of the spiral, of like “Oh, there’s this whole other avenue for me to walk down!”
So, was there any resistance that you had, of just trying to pretend it wasn’t there and move on? Or the moment that you had this dream and this realization, were you just committed to healing?

[11:18] Gabby
It’s a good question. Well, we all have traumas from our childhood, traumas with a big T or a small T. Big T is a storyline like mine, or living through a war, or having an abusive parent. Trauma with a small T is being bullied, which often can become big T, being told you’re not good enough, or stupid, or being put down by a teacher. But these experiences from our past, if they’re not resolved with a secure parent or experience or therapy, or anything like that, become trauma wounds that infiltrate our system and they become (internal system) the driving force for how we work, how we live, how we eat, how we drink, how we love, how we brush our teeth. And the undoing of those wounds is a slow and steady process and it’s a process that begins with recognizing there’s something more underneath it. But in efforts to avoid ever having to face or feel into those impermissible feelings from those wounds, those initial wounds, we build up all these different protector mechanisms.
And in my training, in Internal Family Systems, which I’m trained in, we build up protector parts, that’s what it’s called ‘Protector Parts’, you might think of it as coping mechanisms, but protector parts.
So, the workaholic, the love addict, the judger, all the ways we run from the impermissible. And so many of us just have these protector parts, but we don’t know why they’re there, or we don’t know that they’re bad, and we don’t see them as destructive, or we do see them as destructive, but we just chuck them up to who we are. And it’s when we start to become conscious and aware in all the ways that we’re trying to protect ourselves, all the protector parts, that’s when we can start to gently start to tap into what might be underneath them.
And even spirituality, and this might be jarring to your audience, but I think it’s important to talk about here, even spirituality can be a protector part, because when we have so much suffering and we find a spiritual practice, we feel so much relief because it’s a practice to get above the pain. And that’s really beautiful, and that’s very valuable, it’s way better than alcoholism, you know, but it’s still a protector part, that spiritual bypassing is a protector part. And so, we have to do the work to say thank you to the spiritual practice, for getting us out of wherever we were, thank you to the spiritual practice for keeping us safe, as long as it has, and then ask it to step aside or to relax and be a little less extreme so that we can start to look a little bit more closely of what we’re trying to get above or get out of.

[13:55] Sahara
Thank you so much for expressing that! And I’ve definitely noticed, even in my own self of like “Oh, well, stay high-vibrational if you want to keep manifesting, and be in the vortex”, and the ways that we can spiritually bypass doing that and not be in true integrity with what is present in that moment.
So, for people who may have noticed, they have the, maybe their hyper-aroused nervous systems state, or a hypo-aroused nervous system state, you have this beautiful practice about triggers and noticing the triggers and how they make you feel. Can you share a little bit more how we can dive into that?

[14:31] Gabby
Yeah, this is such a valuable practice for just starting the journey, this is what we begin with in the first chapter in the book, is really just becoming the witness of your triggers and the feelings behind the triggers and how you run from them.
So, a trigger could be feeling out of control or something becoming out of control in your life, and the feeling is terror and uncertainty, and you’re scared and you want to run and you want to avoid, and you’re just feeling nauseous in your body and just tight and intense, and the way you run from it is, you go meditate for 3 hours, you know, or you go do a 90-day training or you go drink, or you go work, or you go get back to social media, or you watch a show, or you numb out, or you eat. So, the ways that we run are the protectors, those are the ways that we say no to the feelings. And so, by taking an inventory of the triggers and the feelings and the ways that we respond to them, we start to get to know some of the patterns of how we run.

[15:37] Sahara
Yes! So, I love the practice you have in your book about “What is the trigger? what is the feeling?” and how you run from that feeling. And I think that’s so powerful because you just named a range of ways that we can run, and some of them our society deems as “Super-great and on it!”, like “Wow, you worked so hard” or “You work out every day” or “You’re so disciplined about your diet”, but even doing that to an obsessive place can actually be harmful.

[16:03] Gabby
Yeah, I was on podcast with a friend yesterday and he was just talking about how he started to witness a lot of his behaviors, and he’s a runner, like a literal runner, and he was like “Yes, my runner is a protective part”, he’s like “I run and I run and I run”, physically. So, yeah, it could be exercise, it could be food, it could be work.
And work’s a bad one because, it’s not bad, but it’s a hard one to find because it’s so socially acceptable and it’s praised.

[16:31] Sahara
So, can you share with us a little bit more about this Internal Family System and how we can use this as therapeutic tool to bring back these different parts of ourselves?

[16:40] Gabby
IFS, otherwise known as Internal Family Systems therapy, is about your own inner family, it’s not family therapy. And it’s created by my friend Dick Schwartz and I just, actually, got my certificate, my Level 1 CE credits for this, and very proud to say that I’m very, very committed to learning the model even more and just sharing it in my work as much as possible, because it changed my life. I’ve been practicing IFS in my own therapy for a decade and now I’m trained in it.
What it is, is the belief system that we have exiled parts that the traumatized children that are exiles, and we’ve locked them up under lock and key, and we say “No, never going to go there”, and then we build up all these protectors to protect us from ever having to face those exiled feelings. And we’ve talked about these now, we’ll talk about the workaholic, the love addict – the ways that we manage the triggers. And then we all have self, which, in our spiritual lexicon, maybe we would’ve called higher self or spirit or God, love within us. Self is the compassion, courage, calm, connected energy, the curiosity within us, all of that level of the quality of commitment. And when we have those qualities and we start to tap into those qualities, through therapeutic practice, through a book like “Happy Days”, what we can do is start to let that self energy become the leader of our internal system.
So, here’s an example, what triggers you, Sahara?

[18:19] Sahara
I feel like when people don’t do their jobs.

[18:22] Gabby
So, if somebody’s not doing their jobs, you get triggered? And so, what do you do to react to that, how do you react to that trigger?

[18:28] Sahara
I feel that I create the story, or perpetuate the story, of I have to do everything myself, and then I’ll do their job.

[18:37] Gabby
So, “either I have to do everything myself” is a protector part, and underneath that protector is the exiled child that for some reason believes she has to do it all by herself, but we’re not going to go there today because I know that you probably have a great team that you can work on that with. But I don’t go to those exiles because that’s what I would want you to do in a therapy session or privately with me, because you’re my friend, or whatever.
But we all have those exiles, we have those triggers, and then we have those responses, those reactive states, “I’m going to do it all myself.” So, your “I am going to it all myself” part is a protector part. And so, imagine a world where you started to see that action, that reactivity, as a part of you that’s activated, and what would happen in the moment if you extended compassion to that part, if you were curious about that part? What do you want me to know right now, what do you need right now? If you were calm in the presence of that part? Creating connection to that part, how different would it be? You would be able to establish a direct connection from the activated part of you to self. Very similar in spiritual language, notice your ego offered up through prayer and let God take over, let your higher self take over.
And it is about bringing the presence of love to your disconnected parts, to the fear-based parts.
So, in the book, I introduce IFS and I start to give practices for how you could apply it in your own life. And most importantly, in the book, I share how you can start to create and establish or connect into that self energy within yourself, because when we start to live from self, being the primary voice we hear, compassion, courage, curiosity, all of these amazing qualities, then everything in our life starts to really settle, because we’re not living from the voice of the reaction, or we’re not living from the voice of the addict, we’re not living from the voice of the controller, we’re not living from the voice of the fear, we’re living from the voice of self. And so, when that self energy starts to take hold, it settles our entire internal family system.

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[22:24] Sahara
So beautifully expressed! And I so resonated with so many of the stories and examples you shared in the book because I feel like, especially a lot of us, as entrepreneurs, we’ve gotten to where we are because of our “I’m doing it all myself”, “My control”, “I see the vision and I’ll do all of the steps”, and it’s almost like we’ve created a career to trigger those childhood traumas and almost manifest them until they are healed.
So, I’m curious for you, how do you know when you’ve healed from that trauma, when that lesson is learned? Does it stop manifesting in your field or do you just not react to it the same way?

[23:01] Gabby
Well, both, both, both. It starts manifesting in your field. So, just as an example, my traumas were playing out in my career all over the place, and so, in 2020 I had a team that just was all, they had been with me for like a decade, some of them, and they just sort of up and left, and was like “Wow, why now, why are they all quitting all at once?” Well, because my resonance wasn’t resonant with them anymore, because we start to change our energy, everything in our life starts to change. My whole team now is now a reflection of where I am now, and boundaried, and we don’t have, I’m not extending a co-dependent tie to them, and I’m only going to speak on my part. And so, I’m not looking to save everyone on the team, it’s adults that are so proud to be here, solving interesting problems and serving the world, that’s where we’re at, and that’s a reflection of my internal conditions.
So, yes, the people I’m manifesting in my life are different; the relationships are different; the way I show up is different; the way I respond is extraordinarily different. So, I know that I’m in my recovery when things that used to super trigger me, I can witness the feeling and I can self-sooth in the moment and then I can respond from self rather than from the trigger or from the protector.

[24:15] Sahara
I love that so much! And it’s almost like when we heal that aspect, that part of ourselves, and we give it that unconditional love and then it doesn’t need to scream to be heard anymore, it’s like “Oh, I see you there!”

[24:29] Gabby
Let’s use my son, my toddler, who’s 3 years old, Oliver, as an example. So, Ollie is 3 and he has tantrums. If I push past the tantrum or push it down, it only creates more of a tantrum for him and it would tell him the message “No, not cool to have a tantrum, it’s not safe to have those feelings”, but if I show up with my presence, my compassion and my calmness and my curiosity about where he’s at, “What’s going on sweetheart, what do you need to share with me?” And truly, just be a presence of love for him, he settles, he calms down, we connect and he can redirect. What if we treated ourselves like that? What if we witnessed all of our little inner children when they’re activated, and sat with them and held them, got curious about them and extending compassion to them? How different would we be as humankind?
And so, there’s also a chapter in the book about reparenting yourself, taking these methods of IFS and methods from the therapeutic practices that I’ve used from parenting books and my friend Dan Segal, and following methods that he offers for children and parenting, and applying it on myself. And I share that in the book, of how you can practice the four Ss, which Dan talks about – Seen, Soothe, Safe and Secure. Works like a charm with my son, my priority is to see him, soothe him, keep him safe and secure. In that secure environment he can be resilient, in that secure environment he can move through anything. And so, how come I never thought about doing that for myself? Till I wrote this book and I said “Oh, you know what, I’m going to practice the four Ss on me”, and it became the whole chapter in the book.

[26:19] Sahara
And I love a story that you shared of, you, I think, I believe, you had a dream and you had your son in your arms, and then that baby in your arms was you.

[26:30] Gabby
Yeah.

[26:32] Sahara
And such a beautiful example of our inner children live within us and they just want to be seen, validated and carried with us. So, how do you work with your inner child now?

[26:44] Gabby
All the time, Sahara, it’s such a beautiful connection! So, whenever I notice myself activated, whether it be emotionally or physically, like, right now I’m having some jaw tension, like really clenching my jaw, and so I’ll ask the jaw tension (so, the protector part), I’ll notice it, what does it feel like, does it have a color, does it have a sensation in my body. And I’ll check in and be like “What do I know about this part?” And I’ll be like “I know that you are really trying to protect me from something and that you’re holding on really tightly, and that something’s underneath there”, and I’ll ask the part “What do you need right now?”, and it’ll say “I need to just take a break. I need to relax. I need to feel some feelings.” And so, working with that jaw is working with the child part because you are the protector that’s protecting the child part.
So, as we start to relax the protectors, then we can get closer to the little children.

[27:45] Sahara
And I think so many of us can resonate to that somatic feeling of the shoulder’s tense, the jaw’s tense, holding on, and likely, we had an experience in our lives that caused us to tense up and that just becomes our natural reflex state.
You also share your practice of somatic experiencing that I’ve done as well, and is so, so helpful to just – for me, a huge one is just to let myself feel supported, what does that feel like in my body and my mind is like coming up with all of the evidence of how I’m not supported. But it’s like, drop the mind and feel it physically.
So, what has that practice and experience been like for you?

[28:22] Gabby
Well, I love the work of Peter Levine, in Somatic Experiencing, I have a whole chapter of that work in my book. And it’s a body-based therapy that’s really lousy to work through trauma without having to revisit the trauma, but it works on the premise of the trauma that is truncated in our system, in our reactivity, in our fight/flight response, in our nervous system. And so, when we start to, slowly, focus on the body rather that the story, we can begin to let the body actually complete its natural function of releasing the trauma. And with this slow and steady practice of SE, you begin to, slowly, release, even if you can see right now, my shoulder’s going like this, there’s trauma that’s truncated there. And it starts to move through slowly and slowly and slowly, and eventually, you almost get into convulsive shaking because all that pent up energy is just released.
And that’s my experience with SE. And when you have trauma, it’s in the body, and it’s stuck in the body, so this is the way to move it out. When you have that body completion, you also send messages to the brain that there’s a possibility of reprocessing.
And so, the SE practices that I share in the book are body-based practices for grounding and creating safety in the body. Just relaxing your tongue, just try in right now, just relax your tongue, and that’s lets your jaw relax, let’s your shoulders relax, it starts to settle everything. So, it’s a practice of just settling your body. Heart whole, just putting your hand on your heart and a hand on your belly, just holding yourself; or head-hold, hand on your head and your belly, just being in that presence.
And we have all these different ways of being able to self-soothe in the moment and I share so many of them in that chapter.

[30:08] Sahara
So beautiful! And how has this healing work impacted your relationship? Has it made it challenging because you’re moving through so much or has it been able to bring you guys to a closer level than you have before, or both?

[30:21] Gabby
Both, yeah! I mean, I think that my husband read this book right after my, I have an Editor that edits it with me, Zach edits it and then it goes to the Editor at the publishing house, so, he was the first person to read it and it was really activating for him because yeah, to sit there and witness all the trauma that he lived through, as a result of living through my trauma with me for 15 years. And it’s not easy to be the space-holder for someone who’s in recovery, in any form, and it activates your own, other individual’s trauma, so, that was hard for him. But I also think that we’re reaping the benefits of it all now. We do the work, we do the IFS, we do the practices, we do the prayers, we live in the practice that we preach. We, I mean, because he is the CEO of our business and he walks his talk, and in his own way. His path isn’t exactly like mine but we still walk the path together.
So, right now, we’re really in the, just, true gift of what recovery looks like because we’re living in the most profound experience of falling in love in a deeper way, and trusting each other and creating safety within our relationship, that we’ve never known before because as we change, the relationship goals too, because we’re both doing the work.

[31:40] Sahara
So beautifully said! And absolutely, it really allows you to connect in a deeper level, when those layers, that have closed our heart, are not there and we don’t realize because of the protection, of how many of these layers that we hold and hold.
And I think, when you’re excavating a layer it’s like dying for dear life, it’s like “No, keep me here, I need to be here”, and when you shatter that, it’s just opens you up to such a greater level of love and vulnerability, and really, seeing each other for who you are.

[32:09] Gabby
Yeah, that’s right, that’s right!

[32:12] Sahara
So, for someone who’s listening to this and they’re like “Well, I don’t think I have any big trauma, do I really need to do this kind of healing work?” Would you say wait until there’s a big trigger that comes up or just begin the practice and it’s a lifelong commitment of constantly unravelling?

[32:29] Gabby
I would say, we’re living through a really big trauma, collectively, right now, and we are, and we’ve lived through one with Covid, so, even if you don’t have big T trauma, and let’s say you grew up with a secure attachment to your parents, and everything is pretty steady in your system, it’s still really hard to be alive right now, and our nervous systems are consistently shocked with news and horrific stories and fear of going to the grocery store because you don’t want to get Covid, or whatever your storyline is. And so, I would say everyone would benefit from this book, but it’s going to be for those who are willing, it’s going to be for someone that says “Oh yeah, I can see that I have big trauma that came up, that’s historical, or it’s just from the present moment, or it’s from living through Covid, or whatever, and I want to face it now so that it doesn’t get worse and I run from it more, I’m going to face it now”, I also see that I have the bandwidth to be steady in the midst of future crises, because there’s a lot going on.

[33:28] Sahara
Totally! And I think all of us, yeah, collectively, it’s this constant nervous system bouts of collective fear and trauma, and at the same time, too, like you say, when you reach a certain level of safety, you may be able to remember things that you didn’t think about before.
I know, in my own journey with my father, he grew up just very angry all the time, and he would just have these outbursts, and I just thought “Oh, that’s just what he’s like”, but I always had a lot of space and separation from him, but I noticed when I was around him my body would tense up and it would protect myself, and I didn’t want him near. And I actually had just gotten your book, so this is like a recent realization that I had, but I was just reading your book and I was just thinking “What is it about him that’s making me tense up?” and I realized that he has all of the symptoms of Asperger syndrome, and he basically was undiagnosed with that. So, when you have Asperger’s, you have OCD and you have these outbursts, and you don’t understand how it affects other people. So, being able to be honest with myself, with how I felt, allowed me to go deeper into this realization that now allows me to see him with more love and compassion, and from a genuine place, feel closer to him.

[34:41] Gabby
And also feel compassion towards the little Sahara who grew up in a home with an angry dad, you’d better take care of her.

[34:51] Sahara
Yes, and yeah, it’s such a beautiful, and also painful as fuck practice, to be really present with every single interaction and how your body is feeling, and when you start to notice those micro ways of “Oh, anxiety is here right now”, “Oh, I’m tensing myself”, “Oh, I’m backing away”, what is this telling me? It’s almost like when we start to notice the language of the body and the nervous system, it really opens us up to how we’re feeling in ways that we may have never given ourselves the space to realize.

[35:20] Gabby
It’s a beautiful thing you’re saying right now. Peter Lavine says that trauma is the inability to be present, and that’s why it’s such a body-based work, because when you use somatic experiencing and the practices of going into the body, you start to create a present awareness of what your body is telling you. And what you’re mentioning is so, so profound, of just noticing when you tense up around your dad, and other things that might activate the memory of your dad could tense you up in those moments. So, we have this beautiful roadmap to what we can look at more closely through the body.

[35:56] Sahara
Beautiful! So, if you have any words to yourself like, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, when you really began the spiritual journey, knowing what you know now, what would you tell her?

[36:08] Gabby
I would tell her that she is safe, that I love her, I have so much compassion for her, I want her to know she is seen and that I’m always there to soothe her.

[36:21] Sahara
So profound and a message that all of us need to hear from our higher selves, our future selves, our inner selves.
So, thank you, again, for writing this book, it truly is an act of courage. I’m so grateful to be living in a time that books like this are being shared in the collective and just the ripple effects of healing that it will create.
So, where can listeners get the book, the audio book and learn more from you about this?

[36:48] Gabby
Go wherever you get your books, or go to deargabby.com. You can get more counselling, coaching, love, from me and my podcast Dear Gabby, and if there’s anything that we talked about today, if you’re still listening to this Podcast now, then that’s a sign that there’s a part of you that’s saying “Yeah, I think I want to go look at more”, and I would really honor that desire. And also, take the book slow, you don’t have to pull, you can just read it and not do any of the exercises, and then a year from now, come back and start practicing the methods, it’s all about where you’re at in your journey and what feels safe for you.

[37:23] Sahara
Thank you again for being here today!

[37:25] Gabby
I love you my love, it’s so good to be with you!

[37:28] Sahara
Aww, love you too! Have a good one!

[37:30] End of interview
_____________________________________________________________

[37:31] Sahara
Wow! How powerful was that conversation! I invite you to just place a hand on your heart and close your eyes, and let’s take a deep breath in together, and exhale out. Feeling any emotion that is present for you right now and trusting that you have the courage and strength and support that you need to embark on your own healing journey.

[38:07] Sahara
So, I really just want to acknowledge you for listening to an Episode like that, it’s one that most people would probable run away from because of how confronting the healing journey can be. So, I really just want to acknowledge you for sitting with it and for looking deep into the shadows that truly are where we are here to bring in light.

[38:26] Sahara
So, thank you so much for tuning in! Of course, check out Gabby’s new book “Happy Days”, there’s so many incredible tools there.

[38:33] Sahara
And if you are interested in your own career as a Certified Spiritual Life Coach so you can support other people in stepping into their Dharma, their soul’s purpose, the big reason why they are here and embark in their own healing journeys, then doors are opening this Friday for Dharma Coaching Institute! This is my accredited 6-month coaching institute where you will be trained in everything from coaching fundamentals, discovering your dharma, how to support others in doing the same, and business training, so you’ll actually graduate being able to create your own coaching practice.
So, if you’re interested, doors open this Friday, and I’m very, very excited to invite in our Spring 2022 class. So, head over to dharmacoachinginstitute.com to join our wait-list, to get my free three-part video series which gives you more information and I’m so excited to invite you inside.

[39:22] Sahara
So, with that, thank you again for tuning into this conversation and I’ll see you on the next one!

 

Episode 425: How To Heal Trauma + Restore Inner Peace with Gabby Bernstein
By Sahara Rose

 

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