Highest Self Podcast 480: How To Move Through Sucky Situations With Ease + Grace with Neeta Bhushan


If you are experiencing heartbreak, grief, or any form of pain and suffering – I see you. I feel you. It is a lot to take on and comes in so many layers.

This week on the Highest Self Podcast I have a very deep, profound conversation with my dear friend and Dharma Coaching Institute co-founder, Dr. Neeta Bhushan, to talk about her new book That Sucked, Now What? She shares how to find magic in the mess and overcome life’s challenges such as divorce, death, heartbreak, job loss, and the list goes on.

Neeta’s experience truly shows how it is possible to move through grief and come out on the other side as a phoenix.

This is a super open-hearted and vulnerable conversation that I hope lands with you and where you are in your journey, allowing you to transmute your challenges and alchemize them into gold.

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Episode #480: How To Move Through Sucky Situations With Ease + Grace with Neeta Bhushan
By Sahara Rose

[00:00] Neeta

Something has to shift within us. We can actually choose, we can choose to say “Alright, that sucked” or “This sucks. This sucks, right now, that I’m still in it”, because the victim, we just, it keeps us safe, it keeps us in that container and it keeps us wallowing there. 

And for some of us who are so used to shoving things under a rug, or distracting, or burying, or doing the next thing, like myself, getting, you know, fully immersed in work, in all of these things that, on the outside made me so happy, but on the inside, I was so empty.

And I think that is the biggest thing that we can do for ourself, is to really cultivate that radical self-awareness. And the radical self-awareness piece, that I talk about in part two, of your bounce factor, it’s one of the greatest gifts, but it does not come without the interpersonal challenges that we go through just with other humans because we are really mirrors.

[01:19] Sahara

Hi, 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.

[01:26] Sahara

If it’s your first time listening, welcome, I’m so grateful to be reconnected with you, and if you’re here all the time, there are a lot of shifts happening, I’m sure you can feel it, hear it in my voice, see it in my energy on social media, for the past two months. 

[01:41] Sahara

But I will share with you that I, recently, got divorced. And this Episode could not come at a better time because I have been navigating the deepest, darkest night of my soul, and healing through it, and coming out of it like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It has truly been the greatest initiation of my life and it has taught me so much about myself, about my desires, about emotionality and empathy, and not settling for anything less than what is in your highest alignment. 

So, I’m already so grateful for all of the lessons that I’ve learned through this experience. While it has brought out the biggest grief that I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, and one day, the story will be shared in a book, but for now, just know that if you are experiencing heartbreak, if you’re experiencing grief, if you’re experiencing any form of pain and suffering, I see you, I feel you, it feels like a lot. And there are some moments that you’re like “God, I can’t handle any more, please, like, I don’t even know what to do”. And I had one of those moments when I first got here in Bali, where I’m recording this from, and it was my first real surrender moment, of things were just so stressful and I just felt so lonely, and sad, and scared, and fearful, and confused, and angry, and hurt, and all of the emotions. And I just hit this point that I was like “Spirit, lead me, I don’t know. I don’t know what to do right now”.

[03:22] Sahara

And when I had that, like, true surrender, like, Jesus, take the wheels moment, it opened me up to truly navigating this healing journey, not from the mind, but from the heart and listening to all the cues that were showing up around me – meeting certain people who would lead to certain practices such as doing yoga and going to temples with them, and different realizations. And there were some days that I would just be by myself all day and just process, and feel, and write, and grieve, and there were other days that I felt amazing, and sense of freedom, and meeting new people, and having an amazing time. And grief comes in so many layers. 

[04:08] Sahara

So, I will definitely be sharing more about my healing process through this divorce in other Episodes. And this conversation could not have come at a better time because it is with Neeta Bhushan, who is my Dharma Coaching Institute co-founder, who wrote a book called “That Sucked, Now What?”, and the book is really about navigating life’s challenges such as divorce, death, heartbreak, job loss, you know, the list goes on, life always – there’s not one person who gets out of it unscratched, but it’s about how we take these obstacles, because it could either be our greatest demise or it can be our greatest transformation, depending on how we look at it. 

[04:48] Sahara

So, this is an amazing conversation where she shares with us, step by step, her five-step process into how to take a challenging life situation and transmute it.

So, I ask her questions like “How do we know if we’re fully healed from past traumas? How do we know if they’re going to show up again?”, and she shares with us her personal experiences having lost both of her parents and her brother, all before age of 19, dealing with her own divorce, due to domestic violence, and she has experienced her definite fair share of grief, more than most people would’ve ever experienced in their lifetimes, and has just come through the other side, like, such a phoenix, and shares with us such practical tools that we can do at home to help start processing this. 

And I’m so grateful for the healing work that I have done before this journey for me began, because it allowed me to, now, in this ringer that I’m in, be able to really show up and know, like, in my early 20s when I was, like, experiencing the issues with my family and you know, my dad disowning me, and my health challenges, I didn’t know there was another side, I thought I’m just here. Whereas for this time, I’m always talking about ‘your mess is your message and your pain is your purpose’, and here I am, now, in the most challenging experience, far harder than what my early 20s were. But I’m telling myself the same thing I told myself then, and this time I know it to be true, that I’m just in the shitty part of my memoire and the lessons that I learn are what I will share with others. 

And that’s what alchemy is, is to transform the bronze into gold. And in life, that’s what we’re doing, we’re transmuting these painful situations and alchemizing them into gold, and when we can really receive them for that and not be like “Why is this happening”, but rather like “Oh, wow, this was the blind spot that I was overlooking, thank you for showing me and now let’s really move through this, let’s feel it all”. Because when we feel it all now, that allows us to not continue to repeat the cycle later and later again.

[06:49] Sahara

So, this is such a great conversation! You’re going to take so many notes, I recommend writing down the different steps that she suggests and actually doing the practices. 

And she also shares with us her new book that’s coming out and I will have that link in the show notes below because she has some amazing bonuses that she shares at the end of the Episode. 

[07:05] Sahara

So, without further ado, let’s welcome Dr. Neeta Bhushan, to The Highest Self Podcast.


[07:11] Interview

[07:11] Sahara

Welcome back Neeta, to The Highest Self Podcast, it’s so good to have you here again! 

[07:16] Neeta

Oh, my goodness, I’m so glad to just be sitting with you, love! I’ve missed you! 

[07:21] Sahara

I know, it’s been a minute! I’ve been on a journey of really understanding your book to a deeper level right now, than when I received the book too, to where I am now. And I’m so excited to be having this conversation with you at this point in time.

But before we get into it, the first question I’d love to ask you is, what makes you your highest self?

[07:42] Neeta

Right now, I feel like, playing. Playing with my kids, playing like there’s nothing else to do, and evoking that childlike play, for sure, definitely!

[07:58] Sahara

It just alchemizes those sucky moments. And sometimes when you’re in them, you’re like “Am I ever going to play again?”

Like, for me, for some of the people who follow me on social media, might know that I have just gone through a divorce, and it has been a huge dark night of the soul for me, and something that came very unexpectedly, and showing up with all my tools and practices. And there was a moment for me that I’m like “I don’t think I’m ever going to like to dance again”, “I don’t think I’m going to like bright colors anymore”, “I don’t think I’m going to be that person that I was”, that version of me died. And it’s true, that version of you does die.

But I remember the first time that I finally danced again, and it’s like “Oh, she’s still here”, and then, like, when I started to, like, slowly, like bright colors again, I’m like “Oh, that part of me still exists”.

And even tonight, I went to this, like, very inward ecstatic dance and can even feel my body coming alive again, and it’s like you know when you’re healed, when you can play.

[08:58] Neeta

Oh yes, yes! And I feel like there’s so many different levels of that healing. And I just want to, you know, I want to honor you in this stage of where you’re at. And I think for so many of us that have gone through the sucky, the hard, the gut-wrenching, just in your face moment, where, many times, you’re like “Am I going to ever get out of this tunnel, this hole? What is this cloud?”

I think there are those slivers of joy, so I’m so glad that you’re coming back into dance, and I’m so glad you’re coming back into that practice that makes you, you, and the different essences. 

And I think so much, so often, we kind of judge, even, how we’re supposed to heal, or the way grief, kind of, takes over in our life, in our body. 

And I remember, even vividly, going through some of the depths of my losses, you know, my mom, my dad, my brother, because this all happened within a span of 4 years. And I remember that dance, growing up, was the only thing that I could do that would get me out of the cloud, and thank God for that! Whether it was Indian dance, like, even structured Indian dance, Filipino dance, it was performative, but I think that it really just, it makes you smile again, it makes you laugh again, and it makes you human. But I think, for so long, I also judged that, like “Am I supposed to be doing this? Can I do this? Is it right to do this? Because I should be grieving right now, I should be crying”. And I just think that there’s, especially writing this book, there is the duality, there are the highs, there are the lows. 

And I’m sure, in your journey, throughout this whole, kind of, unfolding, it’s probably been similar. 

[10:57] Sahara

Yes, it definitely has, and it’s given me such a greater appreciation for the range of emotions and how we truly can’t experience joy without grief, and pleasure without pain. And I’m recognizing ways in myself that I was like “I just want to be in joy, like all the time! Can we just live here!?”, and like the purity of that. But then it’s like, if all you experience is one emotion, even if it’s joy, then that eventually will just become neutrality, when there isn’t that opposite polarity there.   

And me going through this grief, and I want you to share more about your story after this, but when those joyful moments come, when that love comes, when that, even, this feeling of like “I’m safe, I’m okay”, when they come, they’re so much more meaningful because you know what it’s like to be without that. 

So, I’m so grateful for the grief, and I’m so grateful for the pain, and I’m so grateful for the suffering and I’m so grateful for the suck, and I’m so grateful that you wrote this book about things that suck because it allows us to actually be in those beautiful experiences in an embodied way, that we just don’t fully get until we’ve accessed those other realms.

So, I want to hear more about your story, for people who have not yet heard it before, because you’re my fellow co-founder in Dharma Coaching Institute, we’ve had you on the Podcast, I feel like we haven’t fully gotten into your story, and you really share it in this book. 

So, can you share a little bit more about why you called to write a book about things that suck in life?

[12:32] Neeta

Yeah. Well, I never wanted to be known as the queen of resilience and grit, I never wanted to be known as – you know, maybe queen of reinvention, but that, the resilience and grit, that has been such a big, profound way of my life. And I think, just alchemizing everything that I’ve been through, I think that this book came at a time, honestly, when we met and connected and we were going to do, you know, our dharmas together. 

But I think, for me, it was “Oh wow, I see so much more perspective because now I’m in motherhood”, and when, specifically, you know, I’ll share, first the story, and then we’ll go back. 

But specifically, I, when I first got pregnant with my son, I was so adamant, I was like “I am not having a hospital birth. There is no way I’m having a hospital birth, there’s no how”, we were in LA, and it took me a really long time to convince Ajit that we’re not doing the hospital thing, and he was like “Wait, why? We’re not in India, what are you doing?”, and I was like “No, there’s just no way, I’m so adverse to it and we have to go the natural route”, I made him watch all these movies, I did all of the things and it took months for him to kind of get on my side, he’s like “Why would you go backwards? This is what we do over there”, and I’m like “But there’s a reason and I’m all about the natural everything, all up to the T”. I mean, we were, I was getting my PhD in natural home birth.

And, I mean, right up till the actual time of when I went into labor, I was starting to just get flashbacks of, and I don’t think I’ve shared this really anywhere, but I started to get flashbacks of my childhood, my upbringing and how I would spend – because I became a child caretaker, at 10 years old, to my mom, who battled, you know, she battled with a long cycle of breast cancer. And it was on-and-off, but I remember, after school, going to the hospital. I was still in ballet, I was in all of these, you know, things, because, you know, Filipino and Indian parents, that’s what they kind of do, and so, we would perform for the nursing staff.

When I was 14, the cancer spread to her lungs and her brain, and so, she was now there, this was like an everyday thing. And so, we would come after school, while all my friends would be hanging out or doing sports, I was definitely there, in the hospital, and that was just a – I didn’t know what else life could be because I wasn’t going on dates, I wasn’t doing anything else, I was like “Alright, my homework is going to be here, and the nursing staff, I’m going to practice my piano, because I had a keyboard”, and so, I would do this every single day, and of course, my brothers would come (I was the oldest of two younger brothers).

And so, she transitioned when I was 16, but I would start, when I was preparing my birth journey, I would start getting flashbacks of these moments, of “Ooh, I don’t want to go back there, I do not want to go back there”, and I just kept, it was like a mantra in my head, fast-forward to, while we were doing all of these beautiful things to have the most amazing home birth, I had all the affirmations out, I mean, anything and everything that you can imagine, we had. We had, like, the top team in LA, I mean, we were just in our own little baby bubble of natural birth. 

And well, I went into labor on that Monday, and it would start and it would stop, and it would start and it would stop. And they kind of say this for people who either have a lot of things going on in their mind or they have multiple children, that your labor can stall during the day. And so, I didn’t actually progress into that labor until Thursday. And mind you, I wasn’t sleeping from Monday through Thursday, and I was just starting to feel the full range of “Okay, wow, we’re going to do this”, and there were, even though I’ve done quite a bit of work, there was so much of this, I felt, now, looking back, this unprocessed emotion and unprocessed grief, and why was I so adamant about not going to the hospital. You know, I was telling myself “Well, I want it to be on natural, I want it to be this, a medicalized birth”, I mean, I was in all of that. And well, that was not going to be the plan for me. 

And so, on that Friday, my water broke and I said I couldn’t do it anymore because I had sciatica pains and it was just, I mean, not sleeping, it was the whole thing. And we ended up going to Compton, our back-up OB ended up working at Compton, which, for those listeners who don’t know even where that is, it’s a shady part of town where you have to get three metal detectors to just get even in the hospital setting, okay. And I’m already in so much pain, and I’m, like, feeling, because now, my body is like, actually feeling this. And I think the sciatica was actually worse than the actual pains of birth, of labor, but I was so afraid, and I remember telling Ajit, I was like “Oh my Gosh, this is, I have to face this fear”, and it clicked because I had lost my mom, I lost my brother a year later, I had lost my brother to an asthma attack and he was at the same hospital my mom passed the year before, And then, two years after that, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. And so, he only had 10 months to live. And so, this all happened, all before I was 19. 

And so, I knew, energetically, spiritually, that there’s no way I’m visiting – I hadn’t visited a hospital in so many years, and I thought I had worked so hard to get to the health, to get to the, you know, body, the wellness, my mindset, everything, for pretty much so many decades after that I’m like “Alright, this is not going to phase me”, until I was faced with “Oh, wow”, because, in my mind, going to the hospital meant death. 

And when I finally got there, oh, I totally released all of that because the nurses were so, you know, they were so chirpy and so… I mean, after all the metal detectors, it was the most beautiful experience. And that hospital, Martin Luther King Jr. hospital, I mean, it was so beautiful! It was a teaching hospital so you had all these residents and they were sitting and they were helping put my candles and my crystals everywhere, and they set the ambiance. We had the whole chanting in the room, with all of the music, it was the most beautiful experience that I had to fully integrate full circle of life and death. 

And I did not know that was going to be the most powerful lesson of fully integrating. After all of the deep hard work that I’ve been immersed in, to say “Wow!” And I was able to pull Arie out from, you know, between my legs and I was still able to feel, but it was, I felt held. And that was the first time that I would really allow, because I’m known to take care of everyone, that’s what I grew up. I grew up early and I was the glue of the family, and so, for me to actually be on the receiving end and the outpouring of the nursing staff, the doctors, and they were like “This is just the most beautiful birth we’ve ever seen”, and that fully shifted my – it really healed my views on leaning in to our most fearful, fearful desires and fearful, you know, the worst-case scenarios that can come up, because you are…

You know, when I wrote this book “That Sucked, Now What”, it was not to say “This sucks. This sucks, that I didn’t have the birth that I wanted”. This sucks, that because 8 years before that time, I had a marriage, as well, that did not go to plan, that I thought was going to cure all of my hardships because I fell in love and I found love after such heaviness of heaviness of grief and heaviness of, like “Is this cloud ever going to end? Am I ever going to get out of this?”, and to, then, be met with such life and such joy 8 years later. It was such a, it was a beautiful alchemy, but that’s where, I think, the initial writings of “That Sucked, Now What” came to be, because it’s not to say that the situation that we’re at “This sucks”, I didn’t write that because that would mean that we’re still really in it, it’s to actually acknowledge that “Wow, I can’t change the past, I can’t change what I couldn’t control, I can’t change that I had beautiful intentions for this relationship or this thing that I wanted, that I was envisioning in my mind, and for it to crumble”, it’s “That sucked and I acknowledge that that sucked”, and I might still be in it, but now we turn a leaf and we can say “Alright, well, what that North Star? What’s the now what?” Even though we still might not be fully out of it, we can actually embrace it, pull in and embrace the duality of all of those emotions all at once.


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[24:05] End of Advertisement


[24:07] Sahara

Such a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing that. And, you know, I’ve heard that birth is the closest we ever get to death in our lifetime. And it’s almost like your soul was ready to face that trauma head on and that’s why you felt called to be pregnant and have this child, and even do it this natural way which is, like, even teetering closer to those realms, but then for you to heal and alchemize the hospital story, which, I think, all of us have on some level because you often get the bad news in your life at the hospital, you know. And then the hospital becomes the scary place, when actually, maybe, the hospital was just the place that you find out, luckily, and had you found out at home, or didn’t find out, that could’ve even been worse. And there’s so much in the natural birthing world, and I’ve seen so many mothers who are, like, really for it and then, just, their birth went another way, and then they had to rewrite their story of like “What is a good birth, or a bad birth?”, and, like, a guilt around that.

But a question that I have for you, that came up as listening to that is, how do we know if we still have unprocessed trauma around something? Is there a way to know before situations like this show up? Like, how do we know if it’s, like, teetering in our lives?

[25:25] Neeta 

This is such a great question. I think for so many of us, that we think we can make meaning of things in our mind, that “Okay, I’ve processed through it”, but if we can just imagine, you know, in the work that’s there around it, but if we can just really imagine, well, we’re like an onion, it’s going to unravel in the way that it will.

And I’ll tell you another story before I get into, kind of, some of the ways that we can actually look in and see “Well, am I still sitting in this right now?” Because, for the biggest awakening that I would have, to really kick start and catalyze my healing. And I feel like we’re, it’s just how you’ve been going through your journey and it just reminded me so much of, even, when I knew, internally, that my first marriage wasn’t, it wasn’t going to go anywhere. 

I was in denial for a really long time, but I always had this feeling and I couldn’t pin-point what it was, I didn’t have, obviously, the tools that I have now, but I knew I felt – and now, of course, on the other side, I knew I felt unsafe, I knew that for the longest time, I was so afraid of being alone and I was willing to be with somebody that would demean my light. And of course, I didn’t have the language for that until, well, sometimes the pain has to get so bad and something actually has to fall, it’s what I call in the book. We have a falling and the fall could be, you know, a physical diagnosis, it could be an actual literal fall or a car accident, or something that, like, shakes you up, infidelity, it can be, you know, in my case, it was domestic violence. 

And Sahara, I mean, there were times we would go to galas to support domestic violence and I would be there and I’m like “Wow, how do these people, you know, get into these situations?”, because I was in such denial of my own reality, and I thought that “Oh, well, you know, it could be worse”, but I hadn’t faced, again, my biggest fear, which was fear of abandonment, fear of being alone. And until that was head on, and until you think that you have faced it, because I had, I had gone through the traditional talk therapy, because that’s really all what was, you know, in my reality as a late teenager, especially when you’re going to school and the teachers are worried that you’ve been through so much trauma that you’re probably going to hurt yourself. 

And so, it was that, sort of, let’s check the box, kind of thing, for our family. However, I wouldn’t get into the depths of what the healing process and what that really looked like until I had my own fall, which was December 31, it was New Year’s Eve, 2011, when we’re all supposed to be celebrating, you know, New Year’s, and that’s when it clicked. That’s when it clicked, when I said “Oh wow, my life is being threatened. Am I going to stay or am I going to go?” And that’s when I had to stand up and be courageous and be brave and say “I don’t know what the reality is going to be, I have no idea where I’m going to go”. Yeah, okay, fine, to the external world I was already a cosmetic dentist, I had this practice, I wasn’t even 30, I had made it to all my aunts and uncles, and everyone who was so worried about me, I was taking care of my youngest brother, who was 5 years younger than me at the time, and you know, I thought I made it, but I was so afraid to let everybody down.

And I think, to your point, how do we know – well, my reality, at this point, was like “But I made it, but I was doing really well for myself, how could my internal world come crashing down?” And that’s really what jump-started my next 7 years of fully healing and really diving into the depths of grief. And I mean wailing, screaming, crying, feeling all of these emotions that I thought that I was okay with, because, guess what, you know, similar to you, that, when I was growing up, I was told “Be strong, Neeta, you’re strong, you got this”. I was the glue, what did that mean? I grew up performing, when I was so young, so I took on the performative hat, I was like “Alright, everyone’s going to see me and we’re going to just do this together, and I got this”, until I couldn’t anymore. I was bursting at the seams and I had to really sit with the depths of the anger and the rage that I was – there was no place for it in my house because things were already so chaotic, how could you even act out as a teenager, there was no place for it. 

And so, there were, then, moments that I think, in our humanity, as we go through the twists and turns of life, we will, essentially, be met, and the best way to meet that is through other people. Like, it was a gift to meet my first husband, it was a gift because I needed to really reconcile all of that grief that I hadn’t processed or even gone through because I was in such survival mode, I’m like “Let’s get out of this tunnel now!” I mean, there were points where, in my adolescents, where I was working three jobs just to support me and my brother, things were just so – it was a very dark time. So, then, to get on the other side of it, through monetary success, through validation, and that’s a coping mechanism that, I think, choose your vice, we all have, but I think these are the coping mechanisms that, yeah, they make us human, Whatever addictions, for myself, also toxic positivity, I was like “Nope, I got this. Yep, I know, thank you for paying your respects”, or you know, people would always say “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry you lost your parents”, and I’m like “Yeah”, and I would try to just change the subject because I wouldn’t want to live there because I knew that reality was so dark, that I would instantly go into the mode of “Alright, she’s happy, we’re good, we’re good”, until I wasn’t good, and I wasn’t good for a very long time. And I remember, just, my prayers in the very beginning of that, “Let me be safe. Let me just be”. And I would even time my grief, daily, so that I could allow myself to go into and feel.

And there’s something that I write in the book around, you know, when we’re in it, because I think, many times, we are so far in our own story that we’ve made up in our mind, because at this point, after the divorce, I thought “Alright, I just need to be alone and I’m not going to find love again, I’m not. I’m just going to be. I’m going to travel, I’m just going to see what I can do for myself”, and I have a whole – there’s this idea of when we’re in our victim spiral, and many times, especially, if you’ve been through big T traumas, even small T traumas like bullying, but big T traumas like sexual violence, assault, any of those things, even domestic violence, right, even if you’ve been rejected ten times by something and someone, we get into our pity party mode, like “Wow, nobody’s going to want me, how did I even get here, why is this happening to me?”, and many times, I think, that something has to shift within us. We can actually choose, we can choose to say “Alright, that sucked” or “This sucks. This suck right now, that I’m still in it”, because the victim, we just, it keeps, it keeps us in that container and it keeps us wallowing there.  

And for some of us who are so used to shoving things under a rug, or distracting, or burying, or doing the next thing, like myself, getting, you know, fully immersed in work, in all of these things, that on the outside made me so happy, but on the inside, I was so empty.

And I think that is the biggest thing that we can do for ourself, is to really cultivate that radical self-awareness. And the radical self-awareness piece, that I talk about in part two, of your bounce factor, it’s one of the greatest gifts, but it does not come without the interpersonal challenges that we go through just with other humans because we are really mirrors. And we could probably try to process it on our own, in an ashram, by ourself, or at a vipassana retreat, by ourself, those things are still going to come when we are relating with other people that we actually love, and that’s how more of that is going to get excavated, as we go along.

So, I think we shouldn’t be afraid of getting into relationships, we shouldn’t be afraid of showing all of ourselves to the people who are actually there, because they’re there for that witnessing. And that’s what, there’s also something also that I speak of in the book around your soul support, possie. You’ve heard me talk about this so much, but it’s true. I mean, every season, and I know this is true for you, every season, there are angels, there are people, there are guides that come in the form of people, to just say “Hey, I got you”. We can resist it or we can actually notice when that’s happening because they are there to usher you into that next evolution of yourself. Whether it’s through holding that space, whether it’s through just being a mirror for, maybe, some of our own insecurities, and maybe just to forge a deeper relationship with yourself.

[36:05] Sahara

Yes! Like, nodding along with you and everything that you said, and so deeply resonating and relating! And I think one of the hardest parts of someone who, it sucked, but, like, very recently sucked, you know, that, I think one of the struggles is, and especially when it comes to relationship, is like, that person that you typically processed your trauma and your hardships, and just, like, processed life with, they become the person that you’re processing from. And I think that the biggest, like, mind fuck of it all, because it’s like, you want to tell them everything you’re experiencing, but they are no longer that person who holds that space for you. And in fact, sometimes even hearing what they have to say about you can, like, retraumatize you. 

So, what advice do you have, and it’s been so interesting, because I polled on my Instagram stories, I’m like “How many of you are going through a heartbreak right now?”, and 65% of my audience is currently going through some sort of heartbreak, which is crazy! And I’ve just seen so many spiritual, powerful, like, incredible women going through these divorces, separations and break-ups right now, for a number of reasons. So, what advice do you have for creating that new neuropathway that you’re no longer coming to that person, who is like your primary, not only caregiver, but lover and companion, and everything, when that person has now, in many ways, to you, feels like an enemy?

[37:31] Neeta

One of the big things that, you know, in the book, that I talk about, is how do you cultivate your bounce factor. And you know, for anybody that has been going through tough times, there’s, I’m going to talk about two different ways to think about this. 

But the very first is to really start to introspect. And immediately, we can start, especially when we are rebuilding, when we are rebuilding ourself and things are so raw, things are so fragile and you feel like you’re in the depths and the thickness of those emotions, and they come in waves, they come in wafts, and many times we think “Okay, I need to not feel this right now because this is too much”, and so, then we start to do, to get out of it.

One of the things that I talk about in the book is to just allow yourself to feel it and pick whatever tool you like. You like journaling, great, start doing that. If you feel like you want to just sit and start to, like, cry and release, because you know that maybe you haven’t been with it, start to feel that, and allow yourself.

The thing that we get wrong here about our emotions is, we start to judge them, which is why, in the bounce factor, there’s four parts. The first part is, let’s start looking at our upbringing, let’s go back, let’s go back to the basics, kind of, like, when I was at my dark night of the soul, both of those instances, through divorce and then through motherhood, I had to really face what I was so afraid of. And many of us here, many of the listeners here, have started to do the work, have started to process this, but when it comes to love relationships, when it comes to heartbreak, we don’t want to, then, say “Oh wow, well, okay, let’s look back at how’s my relationship with my parents? What happened in my upbringing that maybe, maybe, is playing, kind of an underlying, low-key role here, that, perhaps, for the longest time, I haven’t really looked at?” Maybe there were losses, maybe there was divorce when you were younger, maybe you were a latch-key kid, that you were just given the keys and you had to take care of yourself; maybe you were helicopter-parented; maybe you were tiger-parented, and you didn’t, you were so constricted, and so, your parents were there for everything. Whatever that is, maybe you were bullied when you were younger, maybe you were the kid that got made fun of a lot, whatever that is, it’s going to dictate how we, our patterns, where we then start to attract these types of energies and people into our lives so that we can start to understand and honor a little bit more of ourselves. So, that’s the big piece there, we cannot change our upbringing, right? We can’t blame our parents, we have to start to be compassionate for where they were at.

[40:37] Sahara

And do you think just the awareness of it is enough or it also needs to have like a somatic approach of really experiencing those unprocessed emotions as well?

[40:47] Neeta

Oh, my goodness, oh, absolutely! There’s a practice that I have in the book, it’s, you know, one of the emotional release practices, and where you can basically set a timer, set a timer for five minutes, set timer for ten minutes, whatever feels really good for you. But the first step that we want to do is just close your eyes and just hand over our heart. When we’re actually taking our hand and putting it over our heart, that’s immediately connecting our mind and our body and our soul, and we’re actually just – I don’t know if you remember, but when you were little, and maybe you were a toddler or you were in grade school, but you had a hard day at school, you wanted an embrace, you wanted to just go into the arms of your parents to say “I got this”, well, guess what, maybe you wanted your partner, your lover, to say that. Maybe they’re not there anymore, it’s you now and all you have to do is say “I got this, I got you. Whatever you are experiencing right now, it is all good, it is all perfect, we don’t have to judge, we don’t have to do anything”, but allow yourself to feel. And what we’re actually doing is, we are going out of this fight, flight, freeze into more of this, let’s just regulate our nervous system, let’s focus on our breath, let’s focus on “Where am I holding the tension right now? Am I holding the tension in my tummy? Am I holding the tension in my neck? What’s feeling out of balance? Am I having tension headaches? Am I feeling that my throat is getting choaked up because I’m trying to hold it in?” 

So, when we’re practicing these subtle instances of our own knowing, we are now starting to get more in tuned. How do we then create new neuropathways? Well, the second part of building your bounce factor is inviting good stress in. And what I mean by that is saying yes to different experiences, saying yes when you don’t want to, saying yes when your friends are like “Oh, come on, let’s just pour into you right now, let’s do something fun”, and you’re like “No, no, I feel like I need to sit in this”, but maybe you’ve been sitting in it for a really long time. Start challenging yourself, in small ways, I’m not saying, you know, go to a full retreat if you’re not fully embodying that for yourself, but I think there’s definitely a difference of these tiny little incremental ways where we are starting to forge our new reality. And it can mean yes to a new meditation class, maybe yes to a different way to meditate, maybe yes to just journaling out “Well, what have been my patterns in my past relationships”, because in activating that good stress, we’re also saying, we’re leading from a place of curiosity and not judgment, and we’re also activating our personal responsibility. And for some of you who are in heartbreak right now, it might be too soon. It took me a while to even get to “Well, Neeta, what role did you play in this?” And, you know, for a long time, I was in a victim mode and I was like “Are you kidding me?! How could somebody like that, how could I even sit in this?”, but actually, when you go a step deeper and you are open to that because you’re leading with curiosity and not judgment, for those feelings, you’re actually saying “You know what, yeah, I wanted to recreate a family I lost, that was the underbelly”. So, to find that out, we may have to immerse ourself in new things because when we are drawing, when we are coloring, when we are painting, when we are dancing, when we are traveling, when we are – and I’m not saying we’ve got to, you know, go all around the world, but maybe you’re evoking a different sense and shifting your current environment, because your current environment, that can be very heavy, that can be really dark, that can be really reminiscent of what you are living through.

I remember, at 20 years old, I begged my aunts and uncles, and I write about it vividly in the book, on how I just needed, I needed to get out of Chicago, I needed to get out of the thickness of what was happening. And that was just an intuitive hit, I didn’t know about intuition at the time but I was like “I just, I can’t be here”. I told my aunt and my grandmother that they would take care of my brother, and it was a school study abroad trip, but I needed that for my soul. And I’m not saying everybody needs to go, you know, to Italy, Rome, like I did, or even Bali, but maybe it’s going to a different coffee shop and just sitting there and observing, or inviting yourself and saying yes. The first thing I said yes to was one of the things that scared me, which was improv, that was the very, very first thing I said yes to and I’m like “Oh my gosh, I can’t do this with other people right now”, and that became the most therapeutic thing. And you know this, because we talk about it at DCI, is to get out of your comfort zone because when we’re getting out of our comfort zone, yes, it’s scary, but yes, it’s also igniting ourselves, it’s sparking this new aspect of ourself that may have been dormant, that person still lives in us, may have been dormant, but she’s coming alive in a different way. 

I love that so much that I took two rounds of stand-up comedy! I wasn’t trying to be a stand-up comedian, I just wanted to know when I was talking about my hardships, that it wasn’t always going to be hard, that I could actually play in that, that I could actually evoke, maybe, a little bit of joy, and that’s why I fell in love with stand-up comedians. 

And I think that, you know, whatever is calling you, maybe subconsciously, or through other people, have that time where you’re like “You know what, I will do a month of yes. I will do a month of yes because that’s going to awaken different neuropathways for me to start experiencing and maybe start developing a different part of myself that I didn’t even know existed”, and changing your whole reality. So, that’s step two. 

And then, step three is the emotional capacity work. This is the emotional capacity work. I thought toxic positivity was, like, yes, a savior, and I thought like “Oh, we don’t have to feel the feels”, until the Universe brought me the experiences to actually say no. We’re going to feel what that is actually looking like, we’re going to go into “Well, where is it?”

And I think, for you listeners right now, why don’t we think of “Are there emotions where, maybe, you were told that that emotion wasn’t safe, that emotion wasn’t allowed in your house”, and where have you suppressed it, either yourself or where have you got triggered when other people were expressing it, because it triggered something in you? 

And I’ll be honest, I’ll go first, for the longest time, I couldn’t hold anybody’s rage. I mean, there was a lot of PTSD in my first marriage, I could not hold that. But guess what, it’s only because, and this was such a revelation later on, probably while I was in the throes of motherhood, when I actually went into the depths of postpartum depression with my first child, and I realized “Wow, I’m not good with rage because I never could never experience rage and anger”. And I’m not saying for those of you who – I think we’re so afraid of what we will do to project that anger or rage outward. And what we really should be doing is finding ways to express that rage, anger, frustration, hurt, fear, that we can actually feel it, but in a healthy way. 

And one of the ways that I do, and even in my book, one of the ways to really release it is, just take a pillow and just start screaming into the pillow. Just go into your back yard, in an area where there’s a lot of people around and you don’t want that, go in nature and start screaming. There’s a reason why they do primal screaming at a lot of these retreats, to release a lot of this, to let it go. And I think there’s so much stigma around “Okay, she’s a crazy woman if she’s expressing her emotions”, especially, you’ll see these memes of, you know, oh, yeah, the ragged mom with her kids and she’s, like, losing her shit – well, yeah, because she hasn’t had a place where it’s safe for her to express. She’s going to express when her kids are whiling out and she’s tired and sleep-deprived, and all of these things. Why can’t we give ourselves permission to express?

And movement is such a huge part of that. I mean, yes, I grew up dancing, you love dancing, there is such a reverence to, then, the connection of our bodies, when we are coming from a place of just tuning inward, and it’s not performing for other people, it’s knowing your own sovereignty in yourself. But we’ve got to get there, we’ve got to get there.

And even for myself, I had to repattern and recreate that. And so, that is the fourth step, which is building that muscle of radical self-awareness. 

And we’ve talked about it a little bit, but it could look like just taking stock and ownership, “Well, how are the relationships in my life right now? Who do I want to, maybe, spend more time with, because they’re really nourishing for my nervous system right now? They’re really holding me, especially through this grieving process, especially through this tough time.”

And I think a lot of times, if you are in the suck of a hardship, you think that “Maybe I just need to be by myself”, and that’s great, and there is, you know, there’s definitely a point to that, absolutely, but there’s also where we can say who and what is going to feel really good for me, because this is also going to dictate “Well, what do I need for myself? Do I actually need support? Should I go to that trauma-release workshop? Should I get that book, because that’s going to help me spend that time doing my own internal work. And/or, shall I get a girlfriend to do it with me?”

So, it’s really asking ourselves these questions, and literally, spending time – I would, actually block out 30 minutes, 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at night, just to allow this practice of thinking about it and going through it, because when I say we have to schedule time for our grief, it’s so healthy, because it’s, like, we schedule time for our joy, we schedule time for our workout, we schedule time for, you know, our date nights, what about scheduling time for processing these stuck emotions? And it doesn’t have to be grief, it can be “Why am I judging myself again? I feel like I’m having these anxious thoughts”, because if we don’t, and we’re in that stuck season, it’s going to ruminate, it’s going to fester, it’s going to come out in different ways. And I think that’s the greatest gift that you can give to start building that bounce factors, to start the process of healing and being compassionate with yourself, because it’s not just, you know, an all-or-nothing game, it’s going to be bite-size, it’s going to come in waves. And some of it’s going to be harder than others, but in this process of allowing, I think that’s where the magic can be found in your mess.

[52:40] Sahara

Everything you said is, like, so tried and true, because I’m like “Yep, yep, yep, yep!” So, this book will work for anyone, you know, no matter what your grief is, what the pain, what the trauma. And, like, no human on planet earth is without this, and ignoring it is not going to make it go away. In fact, it’s just going to make it manifest into more drastic and more dire situations that often hurt the people that you love most. And, you know, and it’s important for us to address these unhealed traumas while we can because it gets passed on intergenerationally, until one person is brave enough to stand up and say no. 

And, you know, just recognizing myself in so many of, like, both the patterns and the light of, you know, I’ve been traveling for the past six weeks and I can feel in every hotel room, I’m leaving behind a piece of me, and I’m, like, coming into this new version of me because I’m in this literal new state with a new view and a new thing. But then there’s also that energy of “Go, go, go, go”, because, like, just being in it is so much sometimes, so I’m, like, witnessing the healthy and the unhealthy of that, or witnessing the healthy of wanting to be around community, and I’ve had so many friends like yourself and Ajit, and my friend Amber and Christine, like, came to Bali to be with me here, and I’ve had friends come to Egypt with me, and Dubai with me, it’s been, like, amazing to see how friends have, like, shown up.

And at first, when it all happened, I was like “I don’t want to be alone. Like, I just need to be around people all the time”, because I’m, like, afraid of my thoughts on my own, but then I was like “No, I need to learn to be alone. Like, I need to be able to be in my thoughts and to be whole within myself, and not to rely”, but then, I also noticed the tendency of, like “You know what, I don’t want to be a burden on people. Like, no one wants to hear about this anymore, so, like, let me just be in it too”, and it’s, like, having that perfect balance of, like, now, some days, I’m just alone all day and I’m like “This is perfect, this is how I’m meant to spend the day”, and some days I’m with friends and meeting new people, I’m like “This is how I’m meant to spend the day”. And, like, just grief takes you into the greatest surrender experiment of your life because it just puts everything into the unknown and you just trust, day by day, you’re going to get the exact code, the next piece, the next conversation, the next decision, that leads to everything else. 

So, it has been the most profound journey of my experience and I’m so grateful for people like you who have walked this path before us and have created this beautiful masterpiece of a book that I know I’m going to be bringing to me anywhere I go, moving forward, because you’ve outlined this process so beautifully.

So, can you share with listeners where we can share this book, both in print and audible? And I know you have tons of special goodies and bonuses for people as well.

[55:28] Neeta

Yes, yes! So, the book is, yes, it is here, you can definitely pre-order it, and when you do, it’s at thatsuckednowwhat.com and you actually also get, not only my five-day fly forward healing practice – so, it’s a five-day healing practice, and it comes with healing, first, on day one, your most precious commodity, which is our relationships and how we are, kind of, attuning to our relationships. And day two, it’s going into where we’re leaking our energy, if that, and how to optimize our energy and vitality. And day three, we go into a welcoming, all that’s making its way towards us. And day four is all about taking brave action, taking courageous action passed those sucky moments. And then day five, we center it all back to ourself and what we’re actually creating for this next chapter and evolution of who we’re becoming. 

But then, you also get a 44-page, in-depth, color-coded, Sahara’s going to love his because it’s all her jam, guidebook, where we go deeper in a lot of the concepts of the book. And honestly, we’re now partnered up with domestic violence organizations, teachers, prisons, we want this to be accessible to so many people because, I think, it’s really (the guidebook that I’m giving you for free), is really what I wish I had, especially going through the depths of that.

And so, yeah, it’s great! Get it for a friend who’s also going through it, doing it together, I think it’s the best when we actually have that buddy to go on it, on our own, with ourselves and on our own, and with somebody else, and give yourself that gift. So, Sahara, so amazing!

[57:14] Sahara

Thank you so much for sharing that! Ah, the guidebook sounds amazing and all of it! I will have that link in the show notes so people can get it as soon as it’s out, which will be right on the day that this Episode comes out, so, I highly, highly, highly recommend this book! This woman is a queen, she is the baby mama of Dharma Coaching Institute with me, and I fully trust her and support her with everything! 

So, guys, like, if there is one book to read this year, that’s going to help you through everything, like, life is so unexpected, we just never know where it’s going to go, and it’s better to be prepared with the tools and the emotional resilience – and I’m so grateful for all that you’ve taught me over the past few years because it’s allowed me to show up in this massive initiation in my life, with so much more embodiment and grace, had I not been walking this journey before. Like, I don’t even know where I would be without it! So, it really just shows the way that these tools build up on each other. So, thank you for sharing them!

[58:09] Neeta

And I think, you know, it’ just now making sense, of how we even came into each other’s lives. How crazy is all of that? And to come full circle of. 

So, I know that you’re on your next great evolution, and it’s here and it’s sucky, and it’s painful, and it’s all of the emotions, but there’s joy there as well, and you already know that. And I’m so glad to be here as well, with you!

[58:33] Sahara

Aww, love you! So grateful to have you and thank you all so much for tuning in!

[58:38] End of Interview


[58:39] Sahara

That conversation could not have come at a better time. Like, so many of us are going through it right now and it’s so important to practice the tools, not just talk about them, but to practice them, to punch the pillow, to scream, to stomp your feet, to cry, to let yourself be in your emotions, because that’s what they’re here for, they’re here to be felt. And when we feel them, we’re no longer afraid of them anymore, it’s like “Oh, pain, here you are again, let’s dance”, because when you do that dance, you know it’s not going to last forever, it’s the pushing them away that makes them last forever.

[59:16] Sahara

So, I highly recommend checking out her new book, I’ll have that link in the show notes, to get the bonuses.

And if you’re interested in becoming a Certified Soul Purpose and Spiritual Life Coach with us, we have a school called Dharma Coaching Institute. And it is the most incredible, transformative school that trains you, step by step, on how to actually create a career, coaching others doing this work. So, she teaches a lot about emotional grit and resilience, I teach all about spirituality, living your dharma, your soul’s purpose, and then her husband is also in there, teaching you how to make this into a business. You will graduate as a Certified Soul Purpose and Spiritual Life Coach. 

We are also accredited by the ICF, we’ve graduated over 1200 students and have seen the most powerful transformations. 

We have so many students who are full-time coaches right now, we actually have a directory on our website, dharmacoachinginstitute.com, so you can also hire a dharma coach to support you in your purpose and join our community in becoming amongst the first ever Purpose Coaches. So, you can head over to dharmacoachinginstitute.com and you can find that link in the show notes. Again, our class opens this Spring, it’s a 6-month training and you’re going to love it! 

[1:00:32] Sahara               

So, again, find those links in the show notes, I’m so grateful for you to be here. I’m so grateful I could be open to this community and for all the love and support that I’ve gotten through my own journey and my own shifts. And I can feel every cell of my being has shifted, and upgraded, and upleveled, and my range, and my ability to express and channel and feel, is just, it has quantum leaped through this experience. And I know if you’re experiencing pain right now, as well, just know that that is possible for you on the other side of healing. So, I’m sending you all so much love! 

[1:01:05] Sahara

And if you loved this Episode, please leave a review on the iTunes Store and I will send you a free gift of my Womb Meditation. So, head over to the iTunes Store, write a review and take a screenshot of it and email it over to me at [email protected] and I will send you back my Womb Meditation, which allows you to connect to your womb’s inner wisdom so you can receive her answers. And you can also find that email and those steps in the show notes as well.

[1:01:32] Sahara

I’ll see you in the next one. Namaste!    

Episode #480: How To Move Through Sucky Situations With Ease + Grace with Neeta Bhushan
By Sahara Rose

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