Highest Self Podcast 479: Taking Care Of Your Mental Health Even When Someone In Your Family Is Struggling w/ Karena Dawn


Family is one of the greatest lessons in our lifetime- especially when you realize no matter how much you change and evolve, you cannot change them.

In this episode I sit down in-person with Karena Dawn, co-founder of Tone It Up, to have a very real conversation about this equally important and sensitive topic.

In this episode, Karena and I both open up about our family struggles and how it’s impacted us, we discuss taking a stand for the mental health of yourself and others, what to do if someone in your family is struggling, and Karena’s best tips on finding acceptance in it all.

This is as real as it gets- I know you will appreciate the genuine vulnerability and emotion we share, especially this time of the year when a lot of things can resurface surrounding family.

I hope this episode reminds you that you are not alone in these experiences.

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Episode #479: Taking Care Of Your Mental Health Even When Someone In Your Family Is Struggling with Karena Dawn
By Sahara Rose

[00:00] Karena

When I think of what pure joy is, or something, and healing, I think of love and just doing things in love, because the more that I use, like, that mantra, or what I do, and my life’s purpose, with the word love, the happier I am and the more I heal from my own trauma, and just connect with others. 

[00:26] Sahara

Yes, and I think that, yeah, like, as we heal too, what are we doing it for? You know, it’s like “I’m healing so I can”, and like, as long as you have a reason, then, like, keep going, yes, like, do every modality, do the infrared sauna, like, don’t feel selfish for that. But if you don’t have a reason, you’re healing for the sake of healing, to heal, heal, heal, then that, you know, in bio-hacking space, you definitely see this in a lot of spaces and it becomes another addiction, it becomes another escape and it lacks purpose, and it lacks that transmutation, because, really, the whole purpose of healing is so we can pass those gifts to other people, not so we can clog the channel and it just goes to ourselves. 

[01:17] Sahara

Hello, hello! I am Sahara Rose and this is The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you, your soul’s, highest evolvement.

[01:25] Sahara

If it’s your first time listening, welcome! I am so grateful to be reconnected with you in this lifetime! And this Podcast is all about taking spirituality and grounding it back to this human experience, because that is why we’re here!

[01:40] Sahara

And I believe in the path of beauty, creativity and joy. I have written multiple books, including the recent “Discover Your Dharma” and created a community called Rose Gold Goddesses, all about empowering women to connect through sacred feminine wisdom. 

I’m also the founder of Dharma Coaching Institute that trains Certified Soul Purpose and Spiritual Life Coaches.

[02:02] Sahara

And what I love talking about on this Podcast is just real-life issues that we experience every single day, that, you know, often bog us down and make us feel like “Oh, I can’t, I can’t be spiritual because this”, or “My family that”. And you know, often times, those obstacles are the way and they’re showing up for us for a reason because it’s through integrating the lessons that we learn from those experiences, that we truly evolve into our highest selves, and live our dharmas, our soul’s purposes. So, rather than seeing them as obstacles or challenges that are taking us off course, rather seeing them as our soul’s unique curriculum, so we can embody and really step into the energy that we are here to share. 

[02:48] Sahara

And for me, and for many of you, our families have been one of those hurdles, and blocks, and challenges in our lives. You know, there’s only so much that we can do, but then it’s like, our families, you’re out of control with changing them, and sometimes that’s through the greatest lessons that we learn, that we can do all the inner work but we can’t change our families. 

And often in life, we have this idea that “If I just, you know, meditate enough and do enough then everyone else in my life will fall into alignment”, and the truth is, we just learn how to become more adaptable, and more patient, and calm, and accepting, despite the challenges that are showing up around us.

[03:29] Sahara

So, in this Episode, I sit down, in person, with Karena Dawn, who you may know as the co-founder of Tone It Up, which is an incredible fitness and lifestyle brand, you may have seen their videos on YouTube. 

And I came across her work years ago, we actually share the story here on the Podcast, and I’ve witnessed her really evolve in the past few years, of being a stand for mental health, especially after the death of her own mother, and opening up about her mother’s mental health challenges and the impact that that made in her life. 

And she recently wrote a memoire all about this, so, in this Episode we talk about what to do if someone in your family is struggling, whether it’s with mental health, or anger, or anything else. And I really, also, open up with my family struggles and how that’s impacted me, and she shares her tips on how we’re able to find acceptance in the best way that we can.

[04:24] Sahara

So, this is a very emotional and vulnerable Episode, and I know, especially in times like this, when we’re around family, it can bring up a lot of triggers and it’s important for us to really look face-to-face at what it is we’re avoiding, and also know that we’re not alone in these challenges. 

[04:42] Sahara

So, without further ado, let’s welcome Karena Dawn, to The Highest Self Podcast. 


[04:47] Advertisement

So, in my own spiritual journey of really honoring the sacred feminine energy within me, I realized that we’re not all the same and we all have different pathways that we can take, that I put together in creating five archetypes, which I call The Rose Gold Goddess Archetypes. They are The Embodiment Queen, The Womb Whisperer, The Intuitive Oracle, The Expressionista and The Joy Priestess. And I’ve put together a free quiz so you can find out what your unique combinations are.

So, The Embodiment Queen is the person who is always in her body, dancing, moving, very connected to her nervous system. The Womb Whisperer always knows where she’s at with her menstrual cycle and probably has a yoni steamer in her bathroom. The Intuitive Oracle has three oracle card decks, on them a pendulum, and knows about their past lives. The Expressionista is creating art through everything, through singing, dancing, writing poetry, everything for her is an opportunity to create art. And then we’ve got The Joy Priestess who wants to laugh, dance and not take herself super seriously. You can find her doing karaoke at an improv class or twerking it on the dance floor (you can guess which one I am). 

So, you can head over to rggquiz.com to learn what your unique Rose Gold Goddess Archetype is. Again, that’s rggquiz.com and you can find that link in the show notes. And I’ve created custom graphics that you get in your results so you can share which Rose Gold Goddess Archetype you are. I’m super excited to see!

[06:21] End of Advertisement


[06:21] Interview

[06:22] Sahara

Welcome, Karena, to The Highest Self Podcast, it’s so great to have you here!

[06:26] Karena

Thank you for having me!

[06:27] Sahara

The first question I’d love to ask you is, what makes you your highest self?

[06:32] Karena

Wow! Just being me and being okay with that, and being a good damn person, no matter what obstacle in life comes your way, being able to move through it with an awareness that any obstacle doesn’t have to change your life, but it can improve it to not freak out.

[06:57] Sahara

And you’ve gone through this journey in many different ways, but this journey hasn’t always been easy for you. And you share, in your new memoire, about your journey struggling with a mother with mental health challenges. So, can you share a bit about your journey, for us, and also, even when you had the realization of like “Hey, there are some mental health struggles in my family”, because, sometimes, we don’t even realize that until later on in life.

[07:26] Karena

Yeah. So, my mom was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia when I was like 11-12 years old, this was in the 90s, so no one was talking about mental health, right? And mental illness, it is a disease of the brain, so I had to self-educate on that and go to the library and look up a book on schizophrenia and figure that out.

It’s affected myself, my family, in so many ways, and I’ve been able to turn it into a positive thing through my life. 

[08:02] Sahara

And for people who don’t know, and this was something I learned in your book, what is the difference between schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder?

[08:10] Karena

So, schizophrenia – my mom was a paranoid schizophrenic and she had delusions, and then, I would say the best resource, because I’m not an expert in this, would be to go to nami.org or thebigsilence.com to educate yourself on the many variables of mental illness. 

So, my mom, being paranoid schizophrenic, she thought that my father part of the anti-Christ. She thought that she was a religious ciliate, that, just, you know, we couldn’t have any graven images, or watch tv, or listen to music, or have CDs, it was a crazy upbringing, it’s all in the book, it’s too much to even describe here. But she was a missing person many parts of my teenage years, where we had to hire private investigators to try to find her, but it was just – and she had voices in her head. And later in her life, she passed away, a little over a year ago now, but later in her life, she recognized that she did have a mental illness, but there was the stigma around it where she didn’t want to take medication, she didn’t want to admit it.

[09:27] Sahara

And for you, as a child, when did you have that realization of “Okay, there’s something different going on in my family?”

[09:34] Karena

I don’t think I realized it until 8 years in. I thought that I normalized it, because when you’re growing up in a household where crazy is the normal, and I say crazy in, just, it is, you normalize it and then you realize “Oh, wow”, and then I talked to my friends about it, because I always say my mom brainwashed me in a way because she would share her delusions with me at a very young age, and you believe whatever your mother is saying, you’re like “Okay, dad is the anti-Christ, the church is bad, all of my friends, parents, are part of the anti-Christ, they’re going to take over the world”, it’s like “Okay, I can’t trust anybody”.

And so, at such a young age, it’s instilled in you, so imagine the years that it takes within, once you find out what truth is, to dig deep in that trauma and undo what you thought the truth was and realize what real is real.

[10:31] Sahara

So, how were able to understand what is real? Like, I think a lot of us, whether we grew up in a religious family, in a cult, in a family with mental illness, what I hear happen is a feeling of “I can’t trust my intuition, I don’t know what’s real”, so how were you able to regain that trust of your intuition? 

[10:50] Karena

It took a decade, it took a decade of my own, just, not believing in love, believing in hope, believing in anything, not trusting anyone, so, isolation, drug addiction, suicide attempt, all of that, because of the confusion. And back then, no one, again, was talking about mental health, mental illness, and so, you’re just alone, by yourself. 

So, then, I don’t know, it was after a decade of darkness, finding out, like, when you talk about, like, your dharma and your purpose, I literally, after a three-day bender, was like “This is not my purpose. There is something, like, deep down and, like, I am not meant here for this, I’m not meant to be here, on this earth, to feel this pain, to be this trauma, like, we need to change this”. And that’s when I went back to, like, when was I my happiest, and it was when I was moving my body. I went through every self-help book, therapy, everything, to heal myself, move my body, got into the water. 

We were talking about, like, the Pitta means water, oh, I stared surfing, that was a huge healing process. But yeah, just going through the healing process and being like “You are not going to be your mother”, because that was my fear, because my mother’s dad was diagnosed with schizophrenia as well, and committed suicide when my mom was 18, and I just thought I was going to be like that, but it skipped a generation, so…

[12:29] Sahara

And I’ve heard similar fears of that, of “Well, what if become like that?” And would you say, right now, knowing what you know now, how much of these different types of mental illnesses are genetic vs. induced by childhood traumas vs. lifestyle? Like, how do you see it from your perspective today?

[12:49] Karena

Interesting! Again, not a professional, but from my perspective, I was raised knowing that (or thinking that) that it was just genetic, that’s what’s going to happen. And then I was like “Well, shit!” I loved reading and doing every kind of drug when I was a teenager and thought “Well, there goes my brain!” But I learned all these healing methods, naturally, to overcome my own, I call it situational depression, as a kid.

I don’t know, it’s, you know, mental health is crazy, literally. And, you know, for myself, I was so fortunate to figure out how to really connect the brain, my thoughts. 

And I think with my mom, she never wanted to go through therapy, she never wanted to do healing, she just wanted to keep running from herself. Where I think you need to, like, run into your emotions and face them and then you can heal yourself.

[13:47] Sahara

And what were some of those healing modalities that were the most helpful? You mentioned surfing, like, what else did that journey look like for you?

[13:55] Karena

So, when I was in my early 20s and I was living in Hollywood, having a grand old time, I had psoriasis on my body, so, you know, a rash all over my body. And I went to a clinic and she was like “Are you stressed out?”, and I was like “Yeah, I am”, and she said “I’m not going to prescribe you anything for your anxiety, for whatever’s going on, I’m prescribing you Vitamin D and yoga”. 

And so, at that time I was like “Well, I can’t afford to pay for yoga classes”, so I volunteered my time at a yoga studio, I started Kundalini, I laid in the sunshine, so there was that. I got into, again, fitness, Vitamin D and therapy.

[14:41] Sahara

And, for you, now, going further into this journey, what have some of the biggest lessons been, growing up in this kind of environment? 

[14:49] Karena

My biggest lessons are that, I mean, I’m an empath, so, my biggest lessons are that nobody should have to go through that. 

And a young kid, going through what I had to, and being so alone, I don’t want kids to be alone, it was horrible. But now, that’s why we started The Big Silence (or I started The Big Silence Foundation) around mental health, to make sure that no one has to feel alone. That’s why I wrote my memoire, it took me 5 years, I thought it would take a year. I mean, you’ve written so many books, and like, you can do it in under a year, it literally took me 5 years.

[15:26] Sahara

Because it’s so personal.

[15:28] Karena

Yeah, and the story was never done. I thought that it would be done, and then, you know, my mom passed and then I had to write another chapter. Writing is also healing for me.

[15:39] Sahara

Did you ever have fear of “Well, I still struggle with mental health”, or, you know, “I still don’t feel like working out every day”, or “I’m not the fittest person, so who am I to be teaching other people about this?”

[15:52] Karena

Yeah, always. You know, but I finally got to a point, 1) yeah, imposter syndrome is a major thing, but then I just, like, once I started to speak out and just be me and say “This is who I am”, I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost weight, everyone’s like “Oh my God, Karena, like, is heavier now, and she lost it”, it’s, you know, openly talking about it. You don’t always have to be perfect, even if you’re this fitness superstar, you don’t always have to be a fitness superstar, you just be you, but if you can motivate people. Like for you and what you do, you’re not always in, I’m sure, in the right mindset, and neither am I, and I’m okay with that. But just to be able to break that silence and to open that, you don’t always have to be perfect, and I am not here to be perfect, but I’m here to help others know that they don’t have to feel that they need to be perfect at all times. But together, we can live our best life and support one another, and pick each other up when one of is down, and vice versa, I think that’s so important.

[17:06] Sahara

Yeah, what you shared about people just, like, critiquing your body, of like “Oh my God, Karena gained weight, and lost weight”, and just the social media world where you’re putting yourself out there for people to just, like, critique and see you as not a human, you know. 

And sometimes I read comments and I’m like, do people not realize that’s, like, a human being who’s going to be reading those. And I think that that fear of being judged holds a lot of people back of even uploading the video in the first place. 

You know, I remember in my journey with Ayurveda, I was going through, like, health challenges, and you know, when I was finally, like, eating more, from going from raw vegan to eating more, I gained weight, and I remember I put up a YouTube video and someone wrote “You’re getting fatter in each video”, and that like broke my heart because I’m like “Wow”, now it’s being reflected back to me, and people are noticing it and then people aren’t going to trust what I have to say because they’re thinking “Oh, she’s fat, I’m not going to take health advice from her”. And the way that that, just, one person with a private profile, who, you know, God knows, probably puts hater comments on everyone’s videos, but it made me delete the video and it made me, like, so shameful and so embarrassed, and I, like, just remembered that right now because, sometimes, little comments like that – like, imagine if that just held me back permanently and then I never posted a video again, and, like, that could’ve happened, and that does happen to people. And I think it’s so important to share that we all get those comments sometimes and it does hurt, and we can’t let that stop us.

[18:32] Karena

Well, the thing is, let me go back to when Karena gained weight and everyone’s like “Oh my God, what’s wrong with her?” They don’t know that that was the year or two that my mom was dying and I was her caretaker, and I was stressed the fuck out, I wasn’t taking care of myself, and not only, like, the stress hormones, the this, the, like, that’s not in the public. So, you never know what is going on in someone’s life. 

And so, then, when my mom passed, last September, all of a sudden, it just like fell off, the weight fell off. Not saying I’m not stressed out still or that, I mean, there was trauma and everything else that we were going through, but it was interesting, I was like “Wow, I wasn’t even, like, trying, it was just like this part of me, the stressor in my life, is all of a sudden, after 30 years of trauma, she’s gone”, and my body just changed. 

[19:31] Sahara

Yeah, we hold on to energy somatically. And sometimes when you’re just holding on to so much energy, tension, trauma, past, your body needs to, like, literally get bigger to hold on to it and then people are like “You must be lazy”, you know, and it’s, like, quite the opposite, you’re just holding on to so much.

[19:49] Karena


[19:50] Sahara

Yeah, I think that a lot of people, you know, just that fear of, I know for myself too, of writing books, like that fear of the reviews and people not liking the book, and that’s always the thing before the book that I am most anxious about. And then, you know, I’m like, if someone’s, like, job I to, like, write mean comments on people pouring their hearts out, like, I don’t respect you as a person and I’m not going to take your feedback, because I take feedback from people whose lives I look up to. And that’s not a hater, especially when it’s not creating change. 

So, now with that, going from YouTube, then you created your first protein powder, how did you know the steps? I think for a lot of people, especially spiritual people, it’s like “I have the vision, I want to see this happen”, but it’s like “I don’t know what to do”, like “I’m not good at business, I’m not good at organization”, like, how did you know what steps to follow? Did you hire mentors? Did you take business classes? What did that look like for you?

[20:41] Karena

No business classes, didn’t go to college, but I’m very good at intuition, Cat and I both, we didn’t, you know, Cat went to college, but we didn’t to school for business, and just like following that intuition. And I’ve always been really good at – when I was a little girl, I literally ran businesses in my basement. I would, like, have, my parents couldn’t read a book in the house unless they rented it from me because I was the library and I stamped when they had to return it, and if they were late, they got 25c per day.

I would have a lemonade stand every weekend on the corner…

[21:18] Sahara

That’s your Pitta energy right there!

[21:19] Karena

Yes, okay! I would go around the house and be to my parents “What do you not need in here anymore?”, and I would have a yard sale. I mean, when I was like 8 years old, I made $300 in a day at a yard sale.

[21:30] Sahara

Oh wow!

[21:31] Karena

Selling my family’s shit. I’ve just always had it in me, just the business side of it. So, I don’t know, it’s just following intuition and I don’t know, just going with your gut. I’ve always been just a go with your gut and your intuition girl.

[21:48] Sahara

Yeah, I think, also, you’ve been resourceful, right? Of just like, figuring it out, diving in, doing a Google search, asking people, going to meet the right people. I think, sometimes, we’re like “Yeah, I don’t know what to do”, and then we’re, like, waiting for it to come to us instead of leaning in. 

[22:02] Karena

Google! I’m like, Google has everything! But also, being resourceful. You say that, so, as a kid, too, with my mom in and out of the house, I had to learn how to take care of myself at a very young age. And that resourcefulness of growing up early, definitely had to learn to be an adult at a very young age. 

[22:26] Sahara

Yes. So, I want to talk about this, of being parentified as a child, because I know I have felt that way, and you share that, and I think a lot of people listening. To me, how it felt being parentified is like realizing I maybe had more wisdom than my parents in a lot of things, they’re, like, fighting about this thing, like, can’t see they see this other perspective. And then that led to me, kind of, being their marriage counsellor and having, you know “Now you talk”, “Okay, you stop right there”, and I would find a feeling od, maybe, confidence in doing so, of like “Wow, I’m so mature, I even helped my parents”, and then that becomes a part of your identity of like “I’m a helper and that’s what makes me a good person, and my family needs me, and if I’m not there, they’ll break apart”. And I could see how that led me on the journey of coaching, you know, of like, finding joy in helping people and seeing things, and part of that was my gift, but it was also the shadow of feeling responsibility of others and being the savior, and if I don’t save the day, everything will fall apart.

So, I’m curious, what that journey of parentification looked like for you?

[23:32] Karena

Oh, I am definitely parentified. But, yeah, so, my mom always came to me when she was sick in her delusions and I always felt like I had to take care of her. And until her dying day, I was by her side, whatever she needed. I always felt like I had to take care of her, to make sure she was safe from, again, remember, I was brainwashed as a kid with her delusions, save her from my father, my family, my friends, everything. And there’s this like ‘a-ha’ moment later in life, because we always look up to our parents as this like “Oh my gosh, you’re so amazing”, and then you grow up and you’re like “Wow, you’re just like me, you’re just like the rest of us”, you know. 

And then, with my mom, there was this moment, 5 years ago, when I started taking care of her, I was like “I’m going to have my mom, I’m finally going to have a mom, we’re going to be friends, she’s going to be my mother, she’s going to love me in the way that a mother loves a daughter”, and then, I, once again, was just taking care of her and then I needed to learn how to take care of myself. And I realized she’s never going to have the mental capability to be the “mother” that you would want, so, there’s that acceptance of that. And it’s such an interesting journey to finally get to that point, and then being the parent to your parent and then realizing that “Oh, shit, you’ve actually done that since you were 10 years old”, and so it’s acceptance and this moving through. 

And yeah, a lot of things that I do, I always want to, like, take care of people, which I love, it becomes a superpower.


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[26:29] Sahara

I think it’s that acceptance piece of, you know, we go into these spiritual journeys and we realize that there’s so much to heal with our parents and that’s that, you know, first stage of really – because I think, sometimes, people are like “I had a great childhood”, and then they look in and it’s like “No, I didn’t”, and it’s to be honest with yourself of where weren’t your needs met, what were the, you know, shadows under the current that no one really spoke about, and doing the healing work. And I think part of that healing work is, like, with that parent, if the parent is alive, of speaking to them how you felt and sharing your truth, but the thing is, we can’t expect them to change. And I had to come with dad to this realization that I always felt like he never understood or accepted me, but in me trying to get him to heal, I was not understanding or accepting him, you know. And, like, the very same thing that I wanted from him, he wanted from me, and we were just kind of mirroring each other because here I was thinking like “Oh, to be a good dad, it’s like, you never ask me how I feel, you never said I love you, you were never, like, emotionally there for me”, but who created this idea in my head of what a dad is supposed to be? Like the Full House show, you know, like, watching different things and I’m like “I want that dad”.

But you know, I think, sometimes, we have this high, we set people to high standards and we’re upset that they can’t meet them. And again, it’s looking at where they’re at right now, and the next stage of the healing is, rather than trying to change them, it’s just to accept them and to not expect anything else, because for me, the times that I have tried to, like, have these really deep, meaningful conversations with my dad, of like, you know, “What are the things that you might have regretted as a father?”, it’s like, he gets so defensive because that means “Oh, you think I made a mistake? I did everything for you! I did this, I did that”, and it’s just so defensive that I’m like “Why do I keep trying this?” You know, it’s like, if someone shows you who they are, believe them and instead of, again, trying to get him to be the healed masculine, it’s releasing that and not expecting anything else. And then you can find the beauty in how they are because it made you the way that you are. 

[28:32] Karena

Yeah. I always say, when I sat with my mom, thinking she was going to be that, we say “the mother” that we always thought we would have and perfect mom, and I realized I wasn’t going to have that. Whoever taught us that relationship that we were supposed to have, I always tell her I wouldn’t change a thing. By you not being in my life, and in another house, you made me the person I am today and I wouldn’t change a damn thing. And I even told her again, as she spoke of regret on her deathbed, after three days in hospice, I said “I’m so grateful for you”. And going back, also, with perspective, with our parents too, it’s so interesting. 

So, when I first, like 5 years ago, I had a conversation with my mom and opened up about my past because she didn’t know what my life had been like for so many years, and I told her and she’s like “Oh, I thought when I was gone, you and your dad and your sister just had dinner every night like a happy family”, I was like “Oh no!” But that just made me click in my head, like when you’re dealing with mental illness and that connection, it was so with her, so, victim-based, not even thinking about what was going on at home with your children. I mean, yeah, parents, relationships, there’s such a dynamic.

[29:56] Sahara

Well, I think it kind of speaks into, and it’s a lot of times in that generation of like “Oh, I’m not that important. If I’m gone, like, they probably won’t even notice”, right? And they don’t realize the impact that all of their actions have on our lives. 

And again, it’s like when you don’t have awareness of yourself, of course you’re not going to have awareness of how your decisions and you showing up, not showing up, impacts other people. 

I know for my dad, when I shared with him, like a little bit of what I felt, he’s like “Oh, wow, like, well, I didn’t have any father, so even if you have 50% of a father, it’s better than none, right?”, and I’m just like “Wow”, like, I see how he sees it, he’s like “I had no love for my father, so even if I showed up halfway, you’re luckier than me”, and I’m like “Well, in a way”, I mean, I guess that’s correct, but his awareness is “Well, you do what you can”.

And again, I think for a lot of people, that was their only way they could survive, right? It’s like, do what you can, keep it moving, don’t analyze things too much because they didn’t have the time or the safety to even dive into emotions and feelings and all those things, there was no time and space for that, it had to be just focusing on keeping it moving, what’s next and pull yourself up, you know, and don’t dwell on being sad because, you know, people have it worse.

[31:18] Karena

Right. Well, again, you’re first generation here and what your parents went through. And so, okay, may I ask you – are you going to have kids, are you planning?

[31:29] Sahara

I want to in a few years, and I’ve been doing a lot of healing work around that, just because I don’t want to, and I already am so different than my lineage, but there’s that, like, feeling of “Oh, I don’t want my children, in any way, to be raised with that type of influence”.

[31:46] Karena

Yeah. Do you think it’s possible to break the habit of trauma and having – I feel like everyone that I know, whether they recognize it or not, they have trauma, and from their parents and everything, and I was, Bobby and I have decided not to have kids. But I just was always like “When I have kids, I’m not going to be – I’m going to make sure that they have the perfect life”, do you think that that’s possible?

[32:14] Sahara

I don’t think a perfect life, I think that we can heal from certain traumas, and then there’s like, you just go into nuanced, right? So, like, maybe for my dad, in a way, he majorly healed the lineage, he moved to the United States, and if he had not moved, I would be in Iran right now where I could be killed for showing my hair. 

So, when I was telling him “Oh, I’m doing all of this healing work for our lineage”, he was like “Well, wouldn’t you say I did the healing work of the lineage because I came here?”, and I’m like “You’re right, that did create a huge shift in the lineage”, for thousands of years, our lineage has been on the other side of the Earth, and now, because of you moving, and my mom moving, we’re here on another. So, yes, that was a part of it and now I’m working with more nuanced. No one’s addressed the fact that no woman has ever worked, no one has addressed the trauma, no one has addressed these types of things. And then my children will find the shadows in me that still haven’t been healed and go on and get on a podcast and, you know, talk about it or whatever it looks like in that time. 

But I don’t think we ever get to a place, as long as we’re human, that there’s like nothing, but I do think it just becomes more of like “Hey, maybe you could’ve seen me a little bit more” rather than like “You just weren’t there at all”.

[33:20] Karena

Yeah. I mean, as humans, we’re always going to – yeah, I agree with you. There is no perfection as displayed on Instagram. 

[33:30] Sahara

And I don’t think we would be who we were if we had perfect childhoods, you know, because then there’s nothing to dive deeper into, there’s no reason to heal. I think every healer needed to do the healing work themselves, otherwise, like, you wouldn’t get into this topic because it’s like super sexy and fun, you know. Like, you go into it because there’s a need within. And I think that there’s, like, the beauty within it because as we heal ourselves, we find the tools and we want to pass them along to other people. 

And I also think that there can be an addiction to healing as well, of like “I need more healing, I need more healing, I need more healing”, and sometimes it’s, you know, taking a little pause from the healing work and integrating and doing things that bring you joy, putting energy towards your dharma and then the next iteration of healing will unfold and you don’t need to chase it, necessarily, but rather, it’s the areas of your life that are blocking you from the things that really bring you joy and purpose. Those are the things that are meant to be healed rather than like being, like, on a scavenger hunt for healing.

[34:29] Karena

I feel like, because our generation is so open to healing and talking about trauma, do you think we are, like, overcompensating at all?

[34:41] Sahara

I think that healing can be used as an escape mechanism as well. You know, I remember when I first went to Bali, like, in 2014, and I saw the community, I’m like “This is amazing, I want to live here forever, people are just ecstatic dancing and yoga and doing kirtan and drinking green juice”, I’m like “I’m living here forever!” 

The first month I felt like that, the second month I started to notice like “What do people do all day? They just heal”, you know, it’s like, now I’m healing my past life trauma, now I’m rebirthing, now I’m healing my ancestors, now I’m healing this, healing that, I’m like “Okay, what are you doing out into the world? How are you being of service?”, and it’s like “Oh, no, no, no, I’m not ready, I have my parents paying for me so I can, like, focus on healing”. And another month would pass, and another month, then I started to realize, it’s like, you can also get into this bubble of healing because, again, it negates you of that responsibility of needing to take action on those things and realize that there are people, where you are right now, who could benefit from some of the wisdom that you have.

So, I think it’s because the older generation just did zero healing and we’re, like, exploring all of these new modalities that we’re, like, diving into all of them because they’re brand new and we haven’t heard of them. But I find the next phase of healing is creativity, you know, and then instead of doing things to heal, you do things to create, you do things because it makes you feel alive. And that’s where I want our future generation to go of like, not having to spend their entire lifetime healing from the first part of their lifetime, but, like, hey – and I see that already happening, it’s like, Greta Thunberg, she’s like “Hey, I’m here to help the environment and I’m going to do it”, or “I’m here to reduce plastic waste and I’m going to do it”, or whatever world’s problem that they’re here to solve, and it doesn’t need to be so focused on healing like, we had to do. You know, they talk about indigo generation and the rainbow children, but the indigo generation often had to be like the lineage breakers, you know. And then the rainbow children, because of the indigos, get to, like, express and create the new world. So, I hope that this next generation can be the rainbow generation. 

[36:47] Karena

Yeah, I feel like, that’s why I started The Big Silence too, is just to, I mean, I could heal all day and do all the bio-hacking, all the woo-woo stuff, but really just finding connection and helping others and in coming together as community and being like “We are one”. 

And I think, when I think of what pure joy is or something and healing, I think of love and just doing things in love. Because the more that I use, like, that mantra or what I do in my life’s purpose, with the word love, the happier I am and the more I heal from my own trauma, and just connect with others. 

[37:35] Sahara

Yes. And I think that, yeah, like, as we heal, too, what are we doing it for? You know, it’s like “I’m healing so I can”, and like, as long as you have a reason, then keep going, yes, like, do every modality, do the infrared sauna, like, don’t feel selfish for that. But if you don’t have a reason, you’re healing for the sake of healing, to heal, heal, heal, then that, you know, in bio-hacking space, you definitely see this in a lot of spaces and it becomes another addiction, it becomes another escape and it lacks purpose, and it lacks that transmutation, because, really, the whole purpose of healing is so we can pass those gifts to other people, not so we can clog the channel and it just goes to ourselves. Because if we’re not continuing that river, the river, you know, it starts to get mucky and the water gets bacteria on it and it starts to just be nasty water. And sometimes I see that happening in these spaces of like, the healing never leaves the circle and then there’s like a whole world of people who could’ve used even just an ounce of this awareness that you’ve cultivated.

[38:36] Karena

Yeah, and then turning healing into like, I think for me, just making sure you’re living in present. I think there’s so much going on in our world where we’re all healing to live, but are we living? Are we living to heal?

[38:54] Sahara

And I think that’s like how you made the decision of like “I’m going to surf”, you know, and it’s like, for me, “I’m going to dance, I’m going to DJ”, for someone else “I might create art, I might garden”, you know, doing the things that make you feel alive, not just for the purpose of healing because that becomes another, like, productivity obsession, right? If you’re only doing things so they can heal you, so you can get to the next level of healing, it’s like, at the end of the day, what really matters to us.

And I think, ultimately, we’re here to embody bliss, Ananda. And sometimes, the best way that we can do so is to, like, step away from, like, the self-analysis and just to dive into something that’s bigger than us.

[39:32] Karena

I love that! 

[39:33] Sahara

Yes! So, if someone is in their healing journey right now and they’re just starting, maybe they have a parent with mental health, or a sibling, or someone in their family with addiction, and it just feels really heavy and a lot of their energy is focused on like “How do I make this person better and heal?”, and they almost feel like they can’t find peace until that person is better, what advice do you have for them?

[39:55] Karena

Because I experienced it myself, you can’t find peace until that person is better. Find peace with yourself first. I put so much into my mother’s relationship with me, and her health, hours a day, that I literally sucked away a lot of my life. And I wouldn’t change anything because I always looked at it as “Well, I’m so privileged in this way, that I need to give back to her”, but maybe I overdid it a little.

So, I’m still healing now, from that, and I get emotional talking about it. It affected my marriage, my mental health. Take care of you first.

[40:43] Sahara

Thank you for sharing that. And I know that everyone listening to that right now can so deeply feel that. And it’s coming from a place of love, you know.

[40:51] Karena

Yeah. Not saying I wouldn’t do anything for my mother, but I took away from me. We talk about healing and living your life and your purpose, like, you’ve got to take care of you. And I would’ve done that, I could’ve been there for her even better. 

[41:10] Sahara

So, for the person, right now, who’s listening to this, who’s feeling like “I know I need to take care of me but it’s just, I can’t even get myself to do that”, what advice do you have?

[41:22] Karena

Just freaking do it! Put it in the calendar, call a friend, say “Hey, I just…”, whether it’s going to therapy or having open conversation, and just, I would say accountability, just like community. Accountability is number one, like “Hey, I’m feeling this way, I think I’m not taking care of myself, I think I’m putting my energy somewhere that’s taking away from me”, just conversation, connection. You know, I mean, again, like even my marriage with Bobby, like, we’re still going through that trauma.

[42:00] Sahara

And I think that, sometimes, when you’re in that space you feel like “Well, I don’t want to burden people with my problems”, you know, and you hold it all inside and you don’t realize that, you know, people want to help you.

[42:11] Karena

Yeah. I mean, I love helping people! I love it when people come to me because I understand the struggle. So, yeah, I think, as humans here on Earth, right now, just being open with each other and know I’m always here for anyone who wants to call me and say “Hey, I have this going on”. Yeah, I think that’s part of our process together.

[42:35] Sahara

Thank you so much for sharing! And can you tell us more about The Big Silence and how people can seek all the support that you offer there?

[42:42] Karena

Yeah, so, it’s thebigsilence.com, so 501C3, so, we have the podcast, the book, we have events you can go see our event page, we’re developing a mental health App with doctors, psychologists and programs all surrounding mental health and inward community. 

Yeah, head over there, it’s just opening up, breaking the silence, The Big Silence is things that we don’t talk about as a society, we’re breaking those barriers and taking about mental health and support and making sure all of us live our best life, whether it’s through tears, or trauma, or happiness, and joy, and dharma, you know, we just need to stick together.

[43:23] Sahara

Well, thank you so much for sharing that, we’ll have that link in the show notes. And thank you for being just so vulnerable and honest and feeling it all. I know it’s definitely such a tough topic to speak about, especially given that your mother has passed away not so long ago. So, thank you for being so brave in speaking that, and I know, in you sharing your story and your voice, it inspires a lot of other people listening right now to share theirs. 

[43:49] Karena

Thank you for having me!

[43:50] End of Interview


[43:52] Sahara

Let’s take a deep breath together now. Knowing that you are safe, you are supported, you are held, you are loved and you are not alone. 

[44:11] Sahara

I really want to acknowledge you for listening to that Episode, I know it can be challenging, sometimes, to go deeper into these emotional realms that can hold a lot, a lot of trauma, and sadness, and grief, so I want to acknowledge you for being here until the end, and allow you to just give yourself full permission to experience whatever you need, whether it’s a cry, or a journal, or lying on the ground, or going outside and giving yourself that space to really let it all integrate.

[44:44] Sahara

So, I want to thank you so much for tuning in, please share this Episode with anyone that you believe can benefit from hearing this message, sharing it on your socials, we never know what other people in life are going through. 

[44:56] Sahara

And I would love for you to leave a review for this, if it touched you in any way. Please leave a review over on the iTunes Store, you can leave a review and screenshot it and send it over to me and I will send you back my Free Womb Meditation.

Now, this is a meditation to connect to your wisdom, to hear her answers that are always supporting you. 

So, again, you can head over to the iTunes Store, leave a review, take a screenshot and email it over to me at [email protected], and you can find that link also in the show notes. 

[45:28] Sahara

Thank you so much for tuning in and I’ll see you in the next one. Namaste!               

Episode #479: Taking Care Of Your Mental Health Even When Someone In Your Family Is Struggling with Karena Dawn
By Sahara Rose

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